UVA students are fiercely proud of their school and love soaking up its history and culture, which is one of my favorite things about the school. While this certainly means that UVA has many stories and traditions passed on through the generations, it also means that this proud American institution sometimes expresses itself in amusingly formal ways. Though I generally don't think of myself as an overly bougie person, I'll be the first to admit that some things about UVA are "a little much," to put it simply.
1. Everyone's major/minor is an entire sentence
I always find it amusing when I'll ask a fellow UVA student, "so, what are you studying?" and they respond with something along the lines of "well I'm double majoring in political philosophy and law and statistics, specifically the actuarial concentration, and I'm also minoring in Asian Pacific-American studies, and I'm planning to apply for the 1-year masters at Batten which I would start classes for during my 4th year." All jokes aside, I love how passionate UVA students are about their studies, and I'd rather someone give me an enthusiastic full sentence about what they're doing than a one-word answer of "Econ."
2. The new, admittedly improved salad bar at Newcomb
You know the one. The salad bar NEXT to the other salad bar, and it's got everything: arugula, goat cheese, beets, fresh corn, etc. I actually dubbed this the "bougie salad" way before I even thought of the idea for this article. It took me a while to warm up to this new salad, but honestly I'm now a total believer because it's healthy, delicious, and a great alternative to the other Newcomb food when all they're serving is "egg tacos" or some other newfangled concoction.
3. The UVA and McIntire embossed padfolios that all Comm students receive at Comm School orientation
When I arrived at Comm School orientation a year ago, I walked into a packed Newcomb ballroom full of anxious 3rd years dressed in business-formal attire, and found an embossed padfolio waiting for me on an open seat. At first, I thought it would be a little too "Comm" for me to use on a regular basis, but I must confess that I brought this padfolio with me to every job interview and networking event I attended last year, as well as to work every day this summer. Something about those McIntire-branded padfolios just makes you feel professional and suddenly ready to print out 10 resumes for no reason.
4. Our obnoxiously huge fraternity and sorority houses on Rugby Road and Madison Lane
I am aware that this is a common sight at many Southern schools, and that our Greek houses aren't even the largest when compared to houses at other Southern schools with an even larger Greek life presence, but these houses still dwarf every other nearby building in size, by a wide margin.
5. The fact that you can't walk two feet around Grounds without seeing a large white column
UVA is known for its majestic Roman columns, but it really takes this image to the next level by having columns or a Rotunda insignia seemingly covering every square inch of Grounds. Seeing all these columns around adds a certain level of grandeur to my daily routine, and gives me a sense of pride knowing that I'm blessed with such beautiful architecture all around me.
6. Our special school lingo, obviously
I've written about this before, but it warrants a mention again here. I do find it funny how UVA uses terms that few to no other schools use, like "Grounds" instead of campus and "first-fourth years" instead of "freshmen-seniors." Mostly I think it's just a way for students to feel superior whenever they hear plebeians or mere mortals around them discussing their "campus culture" or their "freshman year" at school.
7. Elevated attire for football games and Foxfield, two objectively messy events
I'm still not sure when the football tradition evolved, and admittedly I usually take part by wearing a sundress to football games, but I've never heard of my friends at other schools ditching their school colors for "ties and pearls" when they cheer on their football team. I'm just glad that this tradition doesn't extend to basketball games, as there's no way I'd consider wearing anything other than head-to-toe orange and blue when I walk into JPJ, prepared to scream my lungs out for the Hoos.
8. Having the Rotunda dome room as an actual place where people study
I've only ever attempted studying in there twice, and each time in there, I've spent more time gazing at the walls and reflecting on the importance of a college education than actually studying. It's amazing that UVA students have such beautiful study spots, but sometimes it's important to know when you just need to hunker down in a less beautiful spot and get work done.
9. The gorgeous, way-above-my-pay-grade Colonnade Club that hosts fancy events for students and faculty
The first time I set foot in this beautiful Lawn-side pavilion was last year for a dinner event, and the entire time I was in there I felt like I was in a museum of a fancy Southern home. I think that the Colonnade Club generally hosts more faculty than student events, which is why I don't frequent it, but I loved the few hours I spent in there. Hopefully I remain in a high enough standing at the university to be invited back to the Colonnade Club for something in the future.
10. That new vegan place that's (sigh) replacing the Castle
As I understand it, this new eating establishment is scheduled to open sometime this year, and I've expressed my sorrow at this development in a previous article. Though it's always great to have food options that cater to those with dietary restrictions, I'm not sure if we really needed an entirely vegan restaurant to replace our beloved late-night food and convenience store hangout. As a 4th year, I doubt I'll be going there much anyway, but I do hope that the new Castle isn't too bougie for my cheap food tastes.
Despite all of these points, I love how many illustrious and grand traditions there are at UVA, and I'm proud to go there even if sometimes I think it could stand to take its own self-image down a notch or two. What would UVA be, after all, without the Rotunda, its special lingo, or those embossed faux leather padfolios? UVA knows how to provide its students with a memorable, enriching college experience, and I happily embrace it in all of its bougie-ness.