Snail Mail: An (Almost) Lost Art

Snail Mail: An (Almost) Lost Art

Opening a letter will always be better than opening an email.

Texting is quick, emailing is largely convenient, and Facebook lets you see how all 629 of your friends are spending their summer. In a rapidly growing, modern society we have begun to lose interest in a unique art form: snail mail. According to CNN, "snail mail has been under attack for the past several decades, with the U.S. Postal Service reporting a drop of 10 billion letters in the past 20 years.”

Rather than taking the time to sit down and write out a thank you note or send a Thinking Of You letter, we simply shoot a “miss ya” text or think that leaving a comment on their Instagram picture should suffice. I know this is true, because I am guilty of it myself.

I’m not saying that sending a text is bad, because let’s face it, texting is how most of us communicate these days. However, there is something so personal about a hand written letter that proves you are willing to take initiative.

Don’t you love when you go to the mailbox and see a pretty envelope with your name on it from someone you love rather than just the usual stack of bills and overly obnoxious fliers? If you take ten minutes out of your day to sit down and write a simple letter, you could be the reason that someone smiles today.

Opening an email or text message will never replace the excitement of opening the mailbox to find a letter addressed to you. It shows that someone took the time to write out a message specifically for you, put it in an envelope, add a stamp, and send it your way. Effort is important, and sending a letter shows just that: effort.

The next time you are in a store, take a minute to look through all the cards that are for sale and choose one to send to someone special. It could be a friend, a grandparent, or even your brother. Believe me when I say that taking the time to hand write a personal letter to someone you care about will never be a waste of time.

Email threads are deleted and texting conversations are swiftly swiped away to make room for more. But a handwritten letter from someone is a treasure. Not many of those are thrown away.

May we never lose the art of snail mail completely, in order to protect our memories and sentiments from disappearing into the black hole known as the World Wide Web. Sit down, grab a pin, and write someone a letter. You could easily be the reason that someone smiles today.

Cover Image Credit: Now Novel

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What It's Like To Take A Class With Professor Yuri Urbanovich

My experience taking a class with one of the best professors at UVA.

I have taken multiple classes with Professor Urbanovich during my time at UVA, and he is one of my favorite professors. Not only does he genuinely care about his students, but he also pushes them to learn more than humanly possible in the span of 50 minutes.

Seriously, I have learned more in his classes about Russian history and politics than I could have ever imagined. Professor Urbanovich’s thick Georgian accent and recalls of personal experiences also make his classes more personal, allowing students to understand the nation’s history and politics on a completely different level.

No wonder his classes fill up in a matter of hours when course registration begins!

The best part of Professor Urbanovich’s class is the many repeated quotes that one can uncover during his lectures. I am currently taking a J-term course with Professor Urbanovich and I have noticed that he says some things a lot throughout the course of his lectures, which makes them that much more interesting and fun.

If you’re interested in taking a course with Professor Urbanovich, which I highly recommend, be aware of the fact that Urbanovich will say the following things a lot.

1. My friends...

Professor Urbanovich does not refer to his students as “you guys” or “ my students,” but rather “my friends.” He often starts his lectures with “my friends,” making the class more intimate and welcoming. He welcomes various thoughts and opinions and treats his students in a way that makes it seem like you really are friends with the professor.

I have only taken two classes with him, but he always remembers who I am (a rare occurrence at a large university).

2. It is inconceivable

Professor Urbanovich often says that certain events or occurrences are “inconceivable”, and when he does, you know that the even matters a lot in terms of Russian history. It’s sort of like a marker for the things you should absolutely remember after any given lecture.

Earlier this week, one of his students quoted Urbanovich’s “inconceivable” phrase during a presentation, and the entire class, including the professor, started laughing. It just goes to show how welcoming and fun his classes can be.

3. I mean, can you imagine...

This is something along the lines of “inconceivable”, but it happens on rare occasions, usually when Professor Urbanovich is comparing the US to Russia and explaining how various events that occur in Russia would not be welcomed in the US or any other nation.

For example, the Pussy Riot fiasco that occurred in Russia was a stab at the religious values present in Russia, but we idolize it in the US. If something like this had happened in Israel or any other nation with strong religious values, we would most likely look at it in a different light. I mean, can you imagine…

4. I am so proud of you

Professor Urbanovich values education over number grades, often telling students that he is extremely proud of the work they’ve done and that they will go far in life. He does give exams, homework responses, and various projects, as any professor would, but he often makes students feel accomplished and successful after the completion of any assignment.

His comments on most essays are very constructive and provide guidance toward the development of better writing skills and the creation of more ambitious future projects.

5. Don't throw potatoes at my head

On the first day of my J-Term class, Professor Urbanovich compared our class to a large group of protestors as a joke, saying that we shouldn’t throw potatoes at his head if we did not agree with one of his statements.

Throughout the course of the past two weeks, he has repeated this phrase several times, especially during lectures that might have sparked opposition among students. Professor Urbanovich says this in a joking way of course, and it makes the class seem less intense than it is, almost as if we were not learning 1000+ years of Russian history in the span of 10 days.

Cover Image Credit: UVA

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21 Things To Do On Your 21st Birthday

You’re officially legal! It’s time to celebrate!

You’ve been waiting for this day for, well, 21 years! It’s one of the biggest milestone birthdays there is to look forward to. You probably never thought you’d make it to this point, but now that the day is here, there’s so much to do!

1. Drink!

2. Go out to dinner.

3. Go to the Casino.

4. Go on a winery tour.

5. Drink!

6. See a movie.


7. Drink!

8. Eat wine-flavored ice-cream!

9. Buy something for yourself.


10. Scratch lottery tickets.

11. Drink!

12. Go bowling.


13. Throw a party.

14. Go on a cruise.

15. Drink!


16. Dance.

17. Drink!

18. Go to a club with friends!


19. Celebrate with family.

20. Open presents.

21. Drink!

You’ve waited 21 years to legally have your first sip of alcohol, whether it be wine, beer or some fruity cocktail. The moral of this is it’s time to drink, so indulge yourself.

But drink responsibly!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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