’19
Ellie
Richmond, VA
French and Political Science

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Travel Ultimate Frisbee French Art Coffee Books

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What matters most

January 18, 2018

It’s a Thursday night, the first of the semester. I’ve had all of my classes at least once, gone back to my job at Passport café, we beat our cross-town rival in basketball last night, and got a 2-hour delay due to snow this morning. I’m all settled in back in Richmond, and feeling super optimistic about the semester. My classes all seem fantastic (I mean, one of them is about Food in Italy and France…seriously!), it’s been great running into and catching up with friends, and the hustle bustle of the spring is most definitely upon us...regardless of what the weather might say.

I wanted to start off my posts this season with a short piece on what matters to me this semester, with an emphasis on the things that someone looking at colleges might not think about being important by the time junior year comes around. Personally, when I was looking at colleges I thought mostly about the practical pieces of status as a second-semester junior would be for me: major declared, study abroad either completed or in progress, general idea of where to look for post-grad options. Of course, all of these are important, and fortunately they’ve all come through. I’ve declared a double major in History and French, spent the fall in Paris, and know vaguely that I would like to go into graduate school immediately following my time at UR. But a University of Richmond education, for me, has become about so much more than checking the boxes on traditional college obligations and experiences.

So here’s what I’m thinking about most as I approach my last few semesters here at UR:

1)    Maintaining and bolstering the relationships that I have here with my mentors and friends. That’s to say inviting more intense conversations, asking more challenging questions, and having more enriching discussions about whatever topic—personal, intellectual, even some thing silly. Really trying to hit home even harder with the authentic and genuine interactions with the people who I’ve spent the past few years getting to know and who I really trust and respect. University of Richmond will help me do this because, well, University of Richmond is composed of awesome humans and awesome humans have awesome conversations.

2)    Writing my history honors thesis. This is a three semester + one summer long project that I’ll be taking on through the history department that I’m already a little obsessed with thinking about in terms of possible topics and sources. So grateful to the history department to have this opportunity as an undergrad!

3)    Making the most of my time in the city of Richmond. I’m generally pretty good at escaping “the bubble” I tell myself…but then again I’m not sure I’ve really left the campus radius since the semester began. I am really inspired to become active in the community again after the time I spent volunteering at an elementary school last spring, and this time I’m hoping to combine community service with my interest in food quality, sustainability, and equity. My time so far at UR and abroad has really helped me narrow my interests not just in the sense of determining a major, but also thinking more about passions and purpose in the work that I do.

4)    Synthesizing the time that I spent abroad in Paris and the life that I live in Richmond. I want to make sure that I bring back the best parts of that experience to my everyday life here—like taking advantage of every opportunity and pushing myself outside of my comfort zones! Next week, I’ll being taking part in the Office of International Education’s program “The Return” again, which you can read about more in an archived post that I have from Fall 2017.

5)    Okay, I admit it. I’m thinking a lot about a more precise next step with relation to graduate school, and we all know I’d be lying if I said what happens after undergrad wasn’t on my mind. Coming this semester, however, is a post about our awesome new Office of Scholarships and Fellowships and how they’ve helped recommend to me different programs and institutions to look into more closely. My advisors, formal and otherwise, have also been full of good, well, advice! University of Richmond is awesome too because they put on a ton of different info sessions with different scholarship programs and even job-fair type things for students of all years, but with a special target on juniors and seniors.

So, there’s a brief list of the things that are top on my mind! I know it can be hard to look so far ahead when it’s the sit-and-wait part of the college application process, but it’s worth considering how your priorities or concerns may change during the time that you spend in college…I hope this helps!

Greetings future Spiders! My name is Ellie, I'm 20 years old and born and bred in Richmond, Virginia. I'm a serious student and die-hard member of the Richmond Red Hots, the womens club ultimate frisbee team here. In my precious free time I enjoy jogging, reading anything, and afternoon naps. Other hobbies are traveling, hiking, and pretending to be a foodie. Some of my preferences include black coffee, Saturday morning farmers markets, and music in foreign languages that I do not know. My academic interests are broad and constantly changing, however, as of now, my majors are Political Science and French. My two most ambiguous and most descriptive qualities are wanderlust and indecision.

Over the course of the year, some of my goals as a Spider Diarist include exposing little-known or underappreciated things on campus and around Richmond, giving a thorough review/copious list of suggestions for food and coffee in campus and around Richmond, and portraying a genuine first year experience here at UR in terms of campus culture, everyday life, and landmark events. Tag along as I rediscover Richmond from the point of view as a college student in my hometown. I'm so proud of the RVA and always excited to show off the wealth of things it has to offer to out-of-town friends as well as this blog's prospective student readership!


Why UR?

I am utterly, absolutely, and almost vehemently undecided about what exactly (or for that matter, vaguely) I want to do with my life. But hey, that's why I chose a liberal arts college. Even within that vein, though, there are a lot of liberal arts colleges out there, so back to "Why UR?" The University of Richmond is small enough to allow for intimate class sizes, in-depth peer-to-peer interactions, and strong relationships with professors.  At the same time, it is large enough to attract a student body with diverse ideas and backgrounds who all contribute different perspectives and ideas within the classroom environment and campus community. Richmond provides an indisputably spectacular academic experience, but the opportunities that the University offers to all of it's students are what really sold me. From volunteer positions and internships to research jobs and study abroad trips, the level of quality and personal attention that Richmond provides is unmatched. My crazy love with Richmond, the city, aside, UR is unique in (atleast) one more way: out of all of the colleges that I toured, I never went to one place more cheerful, comfortable, or welcoming. Come see for yourself! (WARNING: This blurb is abbreviated, see first post for details.)