Sometimes it can be a little bit of a downer to return to school after a long, hot four months of working at that same summer job you’ve had since high school, traveling, name-dropping your fancy summer internship, spending time catching up with old friends and family, or whatever other activity you were engaged in that didn’t involve homework or cafeteria food (sorry D-Hall, you’re really tasty and DARN do you know how to make a panini, but you’re still a cafeteria).
Sure, it’s exciting to see everyone’s new haircut and set up your room. Yet, eventually, the reality starts to set in. Five credits. Your on-campus job. Lab. The walk up the hill to North Court. It’s hard to be us. Luckily, I have compiled THE definitive list of the 10 most exciting things to look forward to as we all slug through the beginning of a brand-new fall semester here at the university.
Yeah, I know leaves are a kind-of disappointing way to kick off this list. Stick with me, because our campus actually gets GORGEOUS in the fall. There’s a reason every single picture on the school’s website, post cards, banners, etc. is taken during these next few months. It’s the campus-scenery equivalent of how you wake up temporarily fresh-faced and a tiny bit thinner in the morning after a full eight hours. It’s our magic hour.
Take a selfie and enjoy it.
2) Campus tours
This one might just be me, but I find it pretty fun to overhear little facts about UR that I might have forgotten about or not know at all. Every time I pass a tour group on the bridge and hear the story about kissing in the gazebo, it’s kind of refreshing. You just know that there’s someone in that tour group who is entirely un-jaded and can’t wait to experience college on this romantic little campus.
Also, on a Tuesday when I maybe just stuck my head under the faucet to make it seem a little more showered and maybe am wearing gym clothes with absolutely no intention of going to the gym, I honestly enjoy walking briskly past a nervous tour group and thinking, “Yeah, I already got accepted here, it’s no big deal. I’m just in a hurry because I’m a very important grown-up college student with books in this tote bag. Not just my laptop and a granola bar for later. Books.” I do not feel this way when I walk past a group of girls dressed to pin or a young man who definitely noticed the slight remains of Nutella-toast breakfast on my chin. So I really like the campus tours.
3) Spider Cider
Ask for it with extra Spider and see what happens. (Note to 8:15 employees: Make up something that happens when you ask for extra Spider).
4) Pony Express
If you don’t know about it, Pony Express is this really cool new shuttle that goes to all the best parts of the James River. Most people on campus probably try to get to the river as often as possible, because the river is the best, but are hindered by things such as not having a car.
Now you can go to Pony Pasture, Belle Isle, Brown’s Island and Maymont all in one day and you don’t even need to pitch in gas money! The gas is free because of our exorbitant tuition! As a non-car-having person, I really appreciate this and plan to take advantage of it. You should too.
5) Org fairs
Okay, again, this one might just be me. Maybe you’re too cynical to enjoy the spirit of SpiderFest, ENRICHmond, etc. But to some people, one of the most exciting parts of the beginning of a new school year is the opportunity to find cool new clubs, sports teams, student government groups and whatnot, all full of people you might not otherwise have met. This especially goes for first year students.
If you’re like me and might literally implode if you took on more obligations, then just go to talk to people and take all the free stuff. There is so much free stuff at org fairs. And if you see me at one and I try to recruit you for something, please just be nice and take the magnet.
Thus begins my apparel double feature. Cardigans are great. They complement everything, are cozy but so easy to slip off if you’re in a hot classroom. As cooler weather approaches, but you still want to wear something light or sleeveless, the cardigan is the perfect solution. You may think I’m only addressing women here, but I’m not. Men, or anyone else who has considered the cardigan out of their fashion reach: I strongly encourage you to embrace its elegance and practicality. Thank you.
7) Yoga pants
Whether you are a person who enjoys wearing yoga pants, a person who enjoys seeing yoga pants flood our campus, or both, there are a few things no one can deny: They are so comfortable. They make a t-shirt look great. And you can wear them like three days in a row. It’s still mostly too hot to wear them during the day, but just wait. Their time is coming and it will be glorious.
8) The return of lodges
This one is mainly a kind gesture for fraternity members, first-years or anyone else who may be genuinely stoked about this. Here are some good things about the lodges: First, dressing to theme is actually really fun, especially when you pick the half of the gendered theme that clearly isn’t meant for you. It throws people off in the best way. Dressing for an entirely separate theme that no one is even putting on that weekend is also really fun, because everyone will wonder what secret party you’re coming from.
By late November it will be too cold to rationally wear many of these things, so soak it in now if you must.
Second, as I just learned from my Wellness class, apparently dancing for like two hours straight is really good exercise, which is nice if you don’t like to notice when you’re working out.
Finally, I went to a really awesome beach party lodge last year that had real sand and a kiddie pool, which at least showed effort. Okay, now I’m out of good things. If none of them won you over, check out the CA Alternatives which always show effort.
9) It’s an election year!
Is it weird to plug the Virginia gubernatorial election in an article about fun things to do at UR in the fall? I don’t think so, because Election Day IS in the fall, and because civic engagement is very important. Do your research, pick a side — I’ll only judge if you pick the wrong side and then tell me about it — and vote. Voting is exciting and you can use your campus address to register. Easy peasy.
10) Tricked you!
I don’t have a number 10. Instead, if you think I missed something really important about autumn, the University of Richmond, the merits of yoga pants or anything at all, write an opinion article about it! If you feel too embarrassed, just go back and reread this one. I promise you’ll feel better about it. Also, vote.