1. Having a better schedule
By fourth year, most students will not have to worry about their general education requirements and only have a few more classes left to graduate. If you’ve been particularly smart with your requirements and getting the hardest classes out of the way, then you may only need to take enough classes to be a full-time student, which is just 12 credits. If you don’t have many classes left to take for your major, then you can take one or two classes in subjects you just find interesting.
2. Fourth Year 5k
Every year, Peer Health Educators hosts the annual 4th Year 5k on the morning of the last home football game. While running may not be everyone’s cup of tea — including mine — registering comes with a free t-shirt and all proceeds go to the U.Va. Leslie Baltz Art Study Fund. Even for those who walk, it can be nice to see the area around Grounds in the fall weather. It can also be a great opportunity to talk to fourth years you know or introduce yourself to people you haven’t met yet.
3. Priority registration
After years of frustratingly enrolling in classes as all the spots for classes fill up, fourth years get to enjoy being in one of the first groups to register for classes. Relying on the availability of seats in a class to determine whether or not you can graduate can be stressful, however, you can rest easy knowing you have one of the best enrollment times at the University.
4. Checking things off your bucket list
While everyone’s fourth-year bucket list looks different, checking off the items can be a great way to spend your last year of college. Whether you are creating your own or going off the Fourth Year Trustees’ “123 Things to Do Before Graduating” list, making time to do something fun or try something new helps get you out of your usual schedule.
5. Trying new things on Grounds
There are many things that you may have wanted to try on Grounds but were unable to because of a lack of time or even the pandemic. From U.Va. Dining restaurants to libraries, there are many new things to experience on Grounds that you can make time for. This being your last year on Grounds as an undergraduate student, you can make a list of places you have never been and activities you’ve never tried and slowly check them off whenever you have time between a class or during a slow weekend.
6. Graduation pictures
As someone who never got a nice headshot and has trouble getting amazing Instagram-ready posts, I am very excited about the idea of getting graduation pictures. With an abundance of well-qualified student photographers at the University, you don’t have to drop hundreds on a professional photographer. Whether you want to get the classic photo popping champagne or something more trendy, this is a great way to add to your social media profile and maybe even get a new profile picture. Plus, the memories will feel more special years later when you have a high-quality picture of what you and the University looks like.
7. Going down memory lane
As many fourth years reach the end of their college life, they often decide to reminisce on their first years at the University. From visiting your first-year dorm to planning a reunion with your hall or suitemates, there are many ways to celebrate all of the memories you’ve made along the way. It is also important to remember the little things that make the University feel like home. That way, when you move to another city or get another apartment, you’ll know how to recreate that homey feeling.
8. Planning your future
For many, finding a new job and apartment hunting in a different city is stressful, but having the future open to new experiences can be really exciting. For those of us who are applying to postgraduate studies, finding a way to experience college while moving on to the next stage of life is refreshing. While this can be uncertain, you have a lot of choices and new opportunities to look forward to.
9. Doing more “adult” things
With most fourth years being above the age of 21, there are many more activities to do. Charlottesville is a great location for touring wineries and some breweries. Even if you don’t care for activities that require you being 21, there are events like concerts that take place at these wineries that you will be able to attend and enjoy. Traveling to a winery a little outside of town can be a great opportunity to truly savor Charlottesville’s incredible scenery, especially if you’ll be leaving after you graduate.
10. Walking the Lawn
After getting through all of your last exams and completing all of your graduation requirements, you get to do the one thing you’ve been waiting all college for — graduate. While you may not be looking forward to walking down the Lawn in the hot Charlottesville weather, carrying balloons and waving to parents with your friends is a truly special way to end your time in college.