Richmond, VA
French and Political Science


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Class Act

March 16, 2017

Call me redundant, but it seems like almost every semester I’ve been writing as a diarist, I do a little spiel on what classes I am taking. It may seem simple, or a little boring, but as a prospective student, I think it’s very important to see what types of classes people have the opportunities to take at a university, why they are motivated to take them, and what their opinions are about them. This semester was really the first that I’ve been getting into the higher level classes in my major and choosing classes based on a more focused perception of my longer term goals. Here I might caveat that different students reach this stage at different points in time: some students that take on big majors or double majors have their plan laid out for almost all for years, some students get a feel for a major in the first 2-3 semesters then hone in, others yet continue to try out different things and declare a major at the end of sophomore or beginning on junior year. I suppose I fall into the middle category-- I declared my majors (French and Political Science) at the end of last semester after taking an international relations class that I used to help me choose between International Studies and Political Sciences.

When I was choosing courses for the spring, I had to take a lot more into consideration than I had in semesters past. I knew at the time that I wanted to study abroad for the next year, so I had to think about how that might influence what I could take. I also recognized that I might want to pursue a graduate degree that might require knowledge of more than one foreign language, such as comparative politics or french literature. But I also knew that I wanted to have at least one unit of something that would be just purely for fun and intellectual enjoyment. Knowing that I would go abroad, and that I could complete the remainder of my political science electives at my exchange school, I decided to take a research methods class, one of three that I still need to complete at University of Richmond. French was easy enough to choose, because there the class I’m taking now was the only one available for someone who had taken the classes that I had to date. However, it’s proven to be one of my favorite classes. Called “The Individual and Society,” we’ve read a variety of books, poems, and manifests illustrative of the individual and different parts of life and society such as love, scandal, and art. With three units left to take classes with, I registered for an intensive Italian class (2 units) and a history class called “19th Century Europe.”

These last two classes are a testament to the liberal arts education--I have so enjoyed having an opportunity to branch out from my majors and experiment with other disciplines. I had studied bits of Italian here and there, but am so grateful for the chance to have higher level instruction in it here and really bolster that skill which I hope will benefit me professionally but I am certain has helped me grow and an academic and world citizen. Being able to make comparisons and contrasts between the language and culture not only of France and the US, but also Italy and the US and Italy and France is fantastic and eye opening. History is another topic that I adored in high school and tried out my first semester as UR, but hadn’t made time for since. Taking 19th Century Europe really reminded me of this passion and how integral the subject is for understanding so much else in the world of humanities and social sciences. I ended up declaring a minor, too, after realizing that I was only one unit away!

It’s pretty neat for me, now going from an almost disparate collection of classes that had me dabbling in everything from drawing to linguistics, to finally be honing in on something, but still having plenty of room to branch out. It feels good to have the reassurance of knowing my majors, but the liberty of not being constrained to them and I’m ever so grateful for all of the advisors and mentors that UR has provided me with to get to this place! Just a year ago, I was still utterly undecided and everything has worked out fantastically--even if you have no clue what to study or even what classes to take as an accepted student, everything will be okay!

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.)