Charlottesville, VA: As I first walked onto the campus of the University of Virginia I was struck by its beauty. In fact, like the campus, the people were beautiful, well-groomed and clean-cut. However, I was not intimidated. The dorms were extremely clean, the new bathrooms were spotless (they used not only 2000 Flushes in every toilet, but the toilets are also the new water-saving, 1.6 gallons per flush models). Thomas Jefferson, a famous American despite being a slave owner, designed many of the beautiful buildings which grace the campus, including the keynote Rotunda.
I attended a physics lecture and was impressed with the enthusiasm of the professor. He had some interesting teaching techniques; in order to show the power of static electricity he shocked some girl with a large metal bowl. Her hair got frizzy and everyone laughed, but we also saw the different properties of electricity.
UVA has the reputation of being an academic/party school and this was definitely confirmed by the general atmosphere. The official mascot is the Cavalier, which is a good mascot because a cavalier is "a gentleman trained in arms and horsemanship" and UVA is known for its honor system. The student-administered Honor Code sets expectations for every student and honesty is expected in all areas. The unofficial mascot of the school is the "Wahoo," a fish which can drink twice its weight, but don't be fooled, the "Wahoo" is very intelligent (for a fish). Despite the fact that the "Wahoo" is a bit silly, it serves as an accurate representation of the student body. While there, I stayed with two students who fit this description. They were attractive, athletic, intelligent, and thoughtful men who treated me with respect. They were both extremely good students who were able to strike a happy equilibrium between their academic and social lives.
Overall, UVA is a great school. It provides a nice atmosphere in a beautiful setting. I found the students to be friendly and intelligent. I hope that next year I can join my two new friends in a frenzy of learning and fun.
Reviewed in 1998
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.