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Top 10 things to do before leaving Grounds this semester

As we arrive back to school after a well-deserved spring break, consider what you want your last two months of the 2022-2023 school year to look like.

<p>Spring has been knocking on our door, teasing us with 70-degree weather. Get outside and sit by the famous Pratt-Gingko Tree on the northwest side of the Rotunda. Marvel in the beauty of this historic tree that has covered several generations of students.</p>

Spring has been knocking on our door, teasing us with 70-degree weather. Get outside and sit by the famous Pratt-Gingko Tree on the northwest side of the Rotunda. Marvel in the beauty of this historic tree that has covered several generations of students.

Halfway through our spring semester, we are quickly closing in on the finish line toward summer break. Don’t let exciting experiences on and around Grounds pass you by. Actively shape these last weeks into what you want them to be, and try to make what’s mandatory a little less mundane. 

1. Tina Fey — need I say more?

That’s right, folks. You have the opportunity to hear from Tina Fey, renowned comedian, actress, producer and 1992 alumna, in John Paul Jones Arena for free April 23 from 3-5 p.m. Fey will speak onstage with President Jim Ryan, kickstarting the return of the President’s Speaker Series for the Arts. Take advantage of this incredible opportunity to hear from Fey, who knows this school and community well. Invite friends to what is sure to be a fun-filled event. I’ve already got my ticket stashed away in my dorm room.

2. Soak up the Sun with friends

With the semester coming to a close, spend some time in the sun with friends by walking through the Lawn or playing frisbee in the Old Dorms quad. Hang out as often as you can before move out comes around — surround yourself with good people and good vibes. Whether that be playing volleyball at Memorial Gym, binge-watching the latest Netflix craze or singing karaoke, make the effort to connect with friends— I myself love a Ben and Jerry’s run, where I indulge in chocolate fudge brownie and catch up with friends. Let the good times roll.

3. Finalize summer plans 

It’s time to start thinking about what lies ahead this summer. Maybe you’re excited to go back to your job at home or begin an internship. Maybe you just have an ocean view in mind. Whatever ideas you’re mulling over, start finalizing those summer plans and put yourself in the best possible shape to tackle them. Talk to the Career Center during their drop in hours at Clemons, or apply to positions on Handshake — I did this last semester and discovered some great opportunities. Get yourself set for an awesome summer ahead.

4. Indulge your sweet — or savory — tooth

Let’s face it. You know there’s that one dining spot you’ve heard people rave about at the University, but you’ve never been — mine is West Range, and I’m committed to getting there before finals season. Set a date with friends to go see what all the buzz is about. Head to Orzo or Chaps in Downtown Charlottesville, or stay on Grounds at Rising Roll or The Castle. Wherever that one place may be, bring your curiosity and appetite.

5. Try to spruce up next semester’s schedule with a varied course load 

The notorious course enrollment period begins April 10. Peruse the Course Forum and Coursicle to cultivate the best possible schedule for next semester. Take those required classes, or venture into new terrain and take something completely outside of your major, such as Scuba Diving in the Kinesiology Department, or the Slavic Department’s infamous Dracula course. Looking through student reviews last semester helped me enroll with some of the best, most approachable professors — last semester I took APMA 2120: Multivariable Calculus with Christian Hellings, whose clear instruction and support was critical to my understanding of class material. Don’t forget to check your enrollment time on SIS. Graduating fourth-years, just watch in amusement.

6. Study in the Rotunda

Of all the study spots on Grounds, I think the Rotunda is the most overlooked. Why not study in the architectural gem that was designed as the University’s first library? I myself am guilty of this — I’m a diehard Clark Stacks gal. Students try to find a good spot in Clem, but the Rotunda is “la creme de la creme”. Student study hours are 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Tuesday, and until midnight during exams. Best case scenario, you may just find your new favorite study spot. Worst — you spent a couple of hours in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Seems like a win either way.

7. Splurge a little — or a lot — on Wahoo merchandise

Let’s not dance around it — we all know we’ve been eyeing a certain t-shirt from Mincer’s or sweatshirt from the University bookstore. Stock up on Cavalier gear — I myself just went all in on a Kihei Clark jersey — and support our student-athletes. Spring sports are revving up, so now is a great time to break out that apparel.   

8. Check out the Pratt-Gingko Tree

Spring has been knocking on our door, teasing us with 70-degree weather. Get outside and sit by the famous Pratt-Gingko Tree on the northwest side of the Rotunda. Marvel in the beauty of this historic tree that has covered several generations of students. Take a book, bring some friends or ease your mind under this natural wonder.

9. Get that packing tape out — but ditch the rubber mallet this time around

Save yourself some stress now by getting the supplies you need, so moveout is a breeze. In a few weeks, you’ll be taking down your Hobby Lobby shelves, packing up those fairy lights and throwing out the shower caddy you probably should have replaced months ago. Consider making arrangements to keep belongings you want to reuse next year in Charlottesville with companies like Storage Scholars or Dorm Room Movers — I’m currently exploring storage options as I get ready to head back home to Pennsylvania. Fellow out-of-staters, it's probably going to be a long flight or car ride back — gift yourself some legroom.

10. Bid farewell, fourth-years

Four years have come and gone, and the fourth-years’ drive and persistence will culminate in celebration and reflection during Final Exercises this May. Fourth-years, take the final weeks of your college journey to remind yourselves of all you’ve experienced. Say goodbye to professors who have left an indelible mark on you, grab your last bites at your go-to restaurants and stroll through Grounds one last time. Before you know it, you’ll be donning your cap and gown and walking the Lawn — take the time now to revisit all that is important to you.

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