Richmond, VA
French and Political Science


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About Me

Picking Priorities

March 12, 2017

I am extremely proud to say that last semester, for the first time in my career as a spider diarist, I managed to actually complete the suggested number of posts and did so in a fairly timely fashion. Super great accomplishments, right? Flash forward to halfway through spring semester and I’ve done like, one, which I posted before we even got back from winter break. People say that second semester is a little busier than first and I think that this goes to show I would have to be in accordance...all of this to say that the reason I haven’t posted in awhile is because I’ve been doing too many interesting things rather than not having anything to post about. In addition to taking a full 5.5 units of coursework, I’ve continued to be active in my extracurricular activities and even made moves towards what I’ll be doing over summer and next year.

So I’ve got a lot to catch you up on and I have entire posts to dedicate to all of those things. For this post, though, I want to talk a little bit more about where you all, as prospective students, are now and where you will be in two years. I’ve reflected a good amount on my own college-decision making process and how that manifested itself in my freshman year, which seems to be a primary concern, but now as I move along in my time at UR many of the abstract benefits are really beginning to fall into place. I think that when students are looking at potential universities, each one really offers something unique and all of those potential opportunities sound really appealing, which means it can be challenging to really sit down and do some soul-searching about what you really, really enjoy and value most.

Thankfully, through some combination of luck and fortuitous experiences, I ultimately fell for University of Richmond on account of small class sizes, great study abroad programs, and an abundance of funding for research projects. These are three things that now, come sophomore year, I am very grateful that my school offers. However, there are certainly trade-offs for everything and I think that everyone needs to examine them on their own value scale, keeping in mind not only the present appeal but how you will feel when you are actually doing the activities and pursuing the opportunities. Some of the other schools I thought very seriously about attending and other attractive qualities, for example I was accepted into a scholarship program at one school that would allow me to skip all of the General Education requirements and take whatever classes I wanted towards my major. However, for me personally, general education requirements are the hallmark of the liberal arts education and taking classes like drawing have been deeply fulfilling. I enjoy the challenge of stepping outside my comfort zone of the social sciences and humanities. Another school that was high on my list was a very highly-regarded research university in Washington, D.C. that boasted frequent visits by high profile speakers and many opportunities to take classes from other well-known scholars and professionals. That said, one of the most pleasant surprises for me at UR has been the really outstanding quantity and diversity of speakers and scholars that present on an almost nightly basis, and I really value creating lasting relationships with my professors which are made possible by smaller classes and the fact that most of them are often on campus and stay for more than a semester or so, which is not true of most high-profile people who would come once or twice a week to teach a class that is likely not their highest priority.

Anyways, I suppose all of this is to say that, should you so chose to look through my next few posts, try to get a feel for whether you can see yourself doing these types of things and whether or not they are your priorities in choosing a college or university for your undergraduate years.

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.)