Thursday, July 31, 2008


I was two steps away from one of the Orange route buses when it pulled away from me today. Just last week I was three steps away from it when it just roared off. Both times I was running full out towards the bus, not slowly walking on the street. Unfortunately we have non student drivers during the summer driving these buses sometimes, so I can only hope this doesn't happen during the school year. I.. haven't ran into a case when this happened to me, in any case. And it was drizzling a bit, sigh.

But one really nice thing about our transportation system is that all our buses have GPS systems. Which means we can call a number or pull up a website that shows us when the next bus for what route is arriving. This has made catching a bus so much more convenient, but has also made me lazier. Oops. =P

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

which school is easier to get into?

I was just moseying around on the CC forums when I came across a post that debated the merits of applying to our e school versus the college, based on acceptance numbers. Now, I do have to say that reading about people trying to 'game the system' or find a backdoor in really irks me. Why not use all the effort or time to write a kickass essay? Seriously, it's kind of pointless and rather late to be finding shortcuts and easy gimmicks, why didn't you just save a night or two of partying before to study for that test?

Alright, I'm not into lecturing people, just had to rant a little bit. But in all seriousness, you probably wouldn't want to apply to our e school to get into UVA that way. You'd have to stay in the e school for at least a semester, I believe -- and that's no cakewalk. I feel that they tend to have the higher workload and definitely have to study a lot more. Good grades are also harder to come by, so if you go that route you might end up wrecking your college GPA in your first semester of college. What will you do when it comes time for grad school apps? Try to find an easier route in? Oh wait.. you actually apply to the department for graduate school admissions. Oops. Guess that way won't work this time.

And I understand, maybe freshman year of high school wrecked your GPA for college. Heck, I hadn't realized at that time that what my clueless, naive freshman self was doing would become very important in four years. Don't worry if you took the wrong classes or made a mistake along the way. Admissions people know that, they don't exactly expect 17 or 18 year olds to have 20 year life plans or something like that. What would probably earn their respect is if you showed how you've turned that mistake around, or how far you've progressed since that time in your life.

Some of this comes from me picking up phone calls with the person at the other end frantically asking me about what clubs they should be joining in their senior year, or what classes to take that would make them look better. Well, sorry to say, it's kind of too late for that. And aren't you tired of the panicky, gotta do this to boost my chances feeling? Go with what you have. So what if you're not one of those in five clubs, president of student body, student athlete, NMF AND someone who's cured cancer? You're you and that's who UVA wants to look at.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

on a night like this...

It's perfect for taking out my instruments and playing through them. My current favorite is my ocarina -- Wikipedia it if you have no idea what I'm talking about. On a lazy summer night, it's perfect for hanging out with friends, or in this case, lilting notes from my ocarina.

I've been doing some reflection on this summer this weekend and have to conclude that overall, it's been a very satisfactory one. I do what I like at my jobs, have met a lot of great people, caught up with a lot of friends, and dived back into what I didn't have time for over the school year. Given the choice, I wouldn't have spent it any other way. And that, I personally feel, is the best way to spend life. Live it to the fullest and try to have no regrets. It's been my personal philosophy during my college years, and it's worked out quite well thus far.

There's about a month of summer left. some of you guys may be going to new colleges, some of you going back to school for the last year. Hope you're having a good time. =)

Friday, July 25, 2008


I was recently introduced to an Asian drama series - Number 8 Pawnshop, by one of my friends. It's not bad, I've quickly become addicted to it. It sounds really weird with everything being dubbed, but the plot line's not bad and the acting is pretty good.

I think summer is the only time when I really watch TV. I remember watching my roommate bring her TV in the room on move in day, where it sat for most of the year, completely unused. Real life is so much more engaging than TV during the school year, and I think most people end up not watching TV, maybe using it once in a while for movie nights with suitemates and friends.

Summer 2008 is one of my best summers thus far. Very chill, lot of fun with friends, time to do stuff I didn't have time for during the school year, and good pay at good jobs. I'm content. ..and also feel like an old person saying stuff like this. I guess I *am* old, what with being a rising third year and all. *shudder* That's a scary thought, the realization that college is half over already for me. Meh. I'm still in half denial. I don't want time to woosh by so fast that I'm having fun. *sigh*

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

to be... or not to be?

...that is the question, and questions are the main topic of today's post. For this week, the guides have been issued a challenge to listen for the most interesting/odd questions from the tour groups. So those of you coming for campus visits (by the way, no reservations needed! *nod* That's right, just come show up at the tour. And yes, we do have info sessions everyday at 10 am and 1 pm, with the tours following after), think of some interesting questions! =P The guide who wins gets a free lunch. I actually won last week for having the most interesting evaluation -- my name was mangled in an unbeforeseen manner. Haha.

Also related to questions are those asked in class. I don't think I've ever really been in a deadly silent class. Sure you have your fair share of people bored or falling asleep (and it seems the earlier the class, the more people who want to sleep), but classes tend to be very lively discussions. I've found the livelier classes are those with 40 people or less, but people do still speak up in large lecture classes.

And PS. I spent all over yesterday going over what ended up to be 5000+ emails. Hallelujah, I'm done with that.

Monday, July 21, 2008

you've got mail... mail.. mail.. mail... x1000000

ARGH. My inbox has 2500+ new emails and counting. Why is that? UVa Webmail is migrating to a better system -- Gmail. Unfortunately, I've got it set that all my UVa mail is forwarded to my Gmail account (because I love Gmail that much. Truly, I think it rocks). But that means my inbox is getting dumped with mail from two years!! OMG. Sigh.

UVa mail used to suck. Its interface was clunky, non user friendly and ugly. The systems were also down all the time. But now they're migrating to Gmail that has a much better system. But I'm going to be spending the rest of this week deleting a ton of crap... ARGH.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

new soul.

This song has been stuck in my mind for the last week or so -- "I'm a new soul in this very strange world..". College might seem like that to some people -- you're suddenly thrown into a mass of your peers, pretty much left without parental supervision. You can choose to have classes in the morning, in the afternoon, or not at all on certain days. You can choose to read the textbook, do your work, or not even show up to class. (In which the professor will just flunk you, haha). But the thing is, college is a blank slate, waiting to be written on by your choices. Essentially, you're kind of like a new soul.

Take me for example. I was your perfect studious student in high school. Err, make that ridiculously perfect. I was your typical overachiever in high school. I would frequently beat myself up over not getting straight A's or making a sub 90 score on quizzes. I was also super involved in clubs, holding tons of positions and in various clubs across the board. My transcript looked pretty darn good, and I wrote some really nice essays.

In other words.

I had no life.

I studied every day. Woke up, went to school, came back, studied, went to bed. I rarely went out with friends and always stayed afterschool for club related stuff. Of course, a lot of this had to do with my parents being extremely strict, but I definitely missed out on some finer points of life. And I'll admit, I did go for some things because I thought they would look good on my transcript. National Honor Society? Other than everyone having a high GPA in it, what else did it do? (Not much at my school). Loading up my schedule with another position? Granted I had a great time in them afterwards but the initial push to be president, or vp, etc. definitely came from the idea that this would make me more competitive. And alright, taking the SATs twice? Definitely not my idea of fun. I don't even remember much of what I was involved in high school (or that could be my bad memory at work), but this was something I didn't want to repeat in college.

Before I came to college I had the firm idea that I wanted to build an interesting, exciting slate that really showed people the type of person I was. That's been my philosophy for joining clubs, getting involved, and taking classes. I'm happy to say that I'm a reformed perfectionistic overachiever. I still like a nice transcript, but don't beat myself up if I get a *gasp* B-. I make sure my motives for getting involved are all the right ones, and try to study what I'm interested in. I hang out much more with friends now, and have quite a healthy balance of work and play. If you don't like something about you right now, college would be a good time to start over. =)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

ahh moving in..

So other than the thought of summer being half over depressing me.. I've seen some fliers around and about for Greeters, and that just naturally leads me to thinking about move in day.

So first off, you may wonder just what the heck you need to bring to college. Anything you think you want, really, but don't bring all or even half the contents of your room. What I found necessary first year was a couple fans, my laptop + printer, clothes, towels + toiletries, flip flops for shower, shoes, bedsheets + pillowcases, desk lamp, laundry hamper, pictures + momentoes of home, and some type of small filing rack for all the papers for different classes. Of course, what you bring depends on you, but try to bring something that's YOU and can be a conversation starter if people walk by or drop into your room. You'll get to meet a lot of people this way.

Secondly, you may also wonder how you're going to lug your new mini fridge up three flights of stairs. That's where the Greeters come in. On move in day, you'll see students dressed in orange shirts with a nametag on the front that says "Hello, my name is [blank]". Grab one of them and they'll happily point you to the right building or lug up your suitcases. I was a Greeter the move in day of my second year -- a lot of people do it because you get to move in a day early and beat all the move in traffic and general noise and congestion. When it was time to do my Greeter duty though, I almost wish I hadn't signed up. Ladies and gents, that day is HOT. Come in tanks and shorts, you can change into more presentable stuff later if you want. I would say come in as little clothing as possible but not being obscene. In between trips to the car, the sun beating down on you, going up 10 thousand flights of stairs into unair-conditioned areas.. you'll want to die. =P

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

mmm i do so love food!

One of our bosses treated us to a lunch from Mellow Mushroom today to celebrate the end of filing. (All those forms you sent in with our application? Each one goes in a manilla envelope, lovingly processed by an intern.) I love Mellow Mushroom, their pizza is fabulous, and so is the restaurant. I haven't ever been to a Trivia Night -- but I hear it's standing room only with free food given out for teams with the best/quirkiest names.

Some other favorite places to eat in Charlottesville... a lot of them happen to be on the Corner. I swear by Jimmy John's for sandwiches -- they make the best gourmet subs and sandwiches. And they deliver, but don't take 40 minutes to deliver. I also love Lemongrass for Thai food -- excellent food at good prices. I'm a huge fan of Bodo's Bagels -- they're basically sandwich bagels. I usually get a three cheese melt or a roast beef bagel.

Some other good places to eat are Bonefish Grill out on 29, it's actually where I went for the one year anniversary with my boyfriend. Any place really on the downtown mall -- though be warned if you sit outside, a bee might decide you're a delicious flower and stop on your head for the longest time, as a bee did to me.

Charlottesville in general is a pretty good place for food, our restaurant to resident ratio is actually 2.5 to 1, so you'll never be wanting for new places to go to.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

sats suck. so do rankings.

Who here thinks standardized testing rocks? (Please don't let me have a comment from someone whose hobby is ACT testing!) I think it sucks. Horribly. It's time consuming, non constructive, and just spews out another set of numbers for students to feel inferior with.

Why the sudden rant? I had a long conversation last night with one of my friends who's still in high school. He's ready to take his fourth SAT. Eurgh. Cue vomit. His reasons why? He feels that he could really go up another 30 points on his scores. He's already scoring over 2200 on his highest combined scores. *facepalm* That, my friends, is unnecessary overkill. At some point all the testing has to stop, if you can't break a.. 2000 barrier, don't beat yourself up trying to do it. Seriously, numbers aren't everything. These days, I feel that an admissions committee would look at the scores, think "Alright, they can do the work. Next! What makes them special?" And no, I don't think having a perfect GPA and ACT score makes you special.

But really, don't. stress. out!! If you've done your best, you've done your best. Really. Relax, you'll be fine.

Now, why did my friend want to get such a high score? Of course, his parents want him to go to a school ranked in the top 10 of US News and World Report. *cue fit of irritation* Rankings also really, really annoy me. They're so... useless. Do they measure how much the students learn? Do they measure how happy people are at the college? How about how openminded the administration is? How useful the education is, seriously? Nope to all four, yet people go by them as if they're a holy text. They're also really regionalized.

Take UVA for example. Most of you guys probably know that UVA is considered a public Ivy and is one of the top schools in the nation. (Yadda yadda how awesome we are, hehe). What you might not know is that we have a vastly different reputation say in.... Asia. There we're actually known as a safety school, because we're public. Or that we're not a good school at all because we don't have the same prestige as an Ivy League. How different is that? Or let's not even go overseas, let's stay in the continental United States. Those of you on the East Coast. How good do you think California's UC schools are? I've heard some East Coast friends bash it to heck and back, firmly convinced that it's barely a step above high schools. West Coast friends, that's obviously not the case. How about those of you on the West Coast? How good do you think Swarthmore, Wellesley and UMCP are? ..I hope you've heard of them.. Precisely my point.

Nothing irks me more than hearing someone say, "Oh I'm going to be flipping burgers in McDonalds when I'm 30 because I didn't get into Cornell." you won't. Your life will be perfectly fine. Don't pay attention to rankings so much when you're looking at colleges, and don't focus on numbers so much. It's what else is written on the application that really makes the person.

Monday, July 14, 2008

it's a small world after all...

Alright, meeting one of my alum friends on the sidewalk as I was leading a tour today got me to thinking.

So straight off the bat, those of you coming from really small schools might be concerned or even intimidated by the thought of 13,000 undergrads. I know I was, there was only 200 people in my graduating class. But coming here, I've never felt like a face in the crowd. I might've mentioned this before but it feels like an amazingly small community sometimes. It's crazy how so many people know each other. You often hear about a six degrees of separation between people knowing people here, but it's more like two, three degrees of separation at UVA. I absolutely cannot walk anywhere without bumping into someone I know. Don't be worried.

For those of you who like the size though, there's definitely something always happening and new people to meet. I also come from a huge city of around seven million people, so I definitely know what city life is like. In Charlottesville, I really don't feel like I'm missing out. I've gotten used to Charlottesville life and in fact rather like it. Our basketball arena was recently finished -- the JPJ arena and we've had people like The Eagles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Maroon 5 and Justin Timberlake performing in it. I wish I'd remember the day the Maroon 5 tickets went on sale. By the time I finally remembered, they were sold out. *sigh*

But back to my alum friend. Even people who've already graduated, they come back all the time. It's not uncommon to walk into a restaurant or down the street and see someone who graduated two years ago. And I keep bumping into my friends all over Grounds and in Charlottesville. What a place.

Friday, July 11, 2008


It's that time of the year again, when a lot of fraternity and sorority members come back to clean their houses -- aka lots of traffic and parties. I thought I'd address the subject of Greek life and parties in this post, since a lot of you may be interested.

Greek life at UVA - around 30% of UVA students are Greek. It may sound like a huge percentage, but it's not a big deal at all. There's no divide between Greek students, none of the 'you suck we rule' type mentality. People here don't really care what you're involved in, there's over 500 clubs so there's so much to do! Basically, if you're Greek, good for you, if not, more power to you. You have more time to do other things, and you will not be bored on the weekends just because you're not Greek. There is so. much. to. do here it's kind of insane.

Of course with Greek life comes parties. I've been told that we have some of the better parties in this area, but hey, who knows? I went to a couple my first year and quickly got bored. Guess that's not really the scene for me -- and it's alright here if you don't want to drink. There's diversity across all spectrums here and a lot of that includes people who love to party, people who find it's okay, people who are bored by it, and people who don't like to party. I have an active social life and hang out with a ton of friends on weekends. So really, come here and have fun, in whatever way that defines fun for you.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

so.. regarding phone calls

Since I've worked a couple days now in the front desk answering phone calls, I'd like to make a general plea for people calling the office.

1) Most of what you'd like to know is available online, make sure you've checked the website before you call!
2) We cannot release decisions over the phone, so please don't ask. Nope, asking me five times in a different format won't work either.
3) No life stories please. I've gotten quite a few calls in which people start pouring their lives down my ears and I see the 'Call Waiting' button flashing. Not a good situation to be in.
4) No preaching please. The person who did this to me should be glad we were of the same faith, otherwise I would have been horribly offended.
5) Make sure you're calling the right office! No we are not the medical school... or the Semester at Sea office.. true stories, all of them.
6) If you'd like someone's undivided attention, it's best to email them. Our deans are often busy with meetings and appointments, so even if you did get through to them they might be somewhat preoccupied. Email definitely is the way to go.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

my apartment is a... marsh!

Please pardon the lack of an update yesterday, I was hit by a rather weird disaster.

I came home from work on Monday evening to find that wherever I stepped, my footprints would fill in with water. Well obviously this isn't normal. I called maintenance and the first guy came at 8:30 am to tell me that my furnace was leaking. My.. furnace? If.. you say so then. The second guy was supposed to come to dry off my carpet and didn't come until 6 pm. Geez. He only put in a floor fan to help the water dry off quicker.

Get used to stuff like this guys, if you live off Grounds at any point in college, or move on into the 'real world' after you graduate, you'll have to be doing stuff like this all the time.

Monday, July 7, 2008

two months of tours!

This week marks the beginning of the third month that I'm giving tours. Wow. Time does pass by when you're having fun. On my tour today I realized I had it down to an art. I know what stock phrases to say so that I don't come off as a blathering idiot when my mind freezes, I know where to go if an orientation group's in the way. It's almost second nature. This was when I took a step back and thought. Wow. Second nature. College is second nature to me now. It's perfectly normal if I have class at 8 am but don't come home until midnight due to other committments. I'm used to running to the bank, Corner, and route 29 for errands. I'm in control of my own life, and am going where I want to go. I'm truly happy here.

It's crazy to think that a two short years ago I was still a highschooler, living with my parents and having curfew, dinner time, bed time, and homework time. My parents were extremely conservative, traditional people so school parties were about the only time I could go out. Of course, a lot of you reading this probably have a lot more freedom than I do. It's just amazing to think about how much I've changed.

Call a leasing office to ask about apartment rentals? Yep no problem. Chatting to employers at career fairs? Sure, where's a copy of my resume? Cooking dinner for myself? Alright, Indian or Korean style? Going to work and interacting with people much older than me? Sure thing.

Are you guys psyched about college and possibly coming to UVA? Savor it, it really is the best four years of your life.

Friday, July 4, 2008

happy birthday america!

I just finished watching 4th of July fireworks on PBS, all 20 glorious minutes of it. My 4th of July celebrations were quite chill. Slept in late, woke up and went to lunch with some friends. Hung out, had a cookout for our dinner. Quite a few friends actually made their way up to DC to be at the concert live, but all the crowds, heat and bugs wasn't for me. What did your 4th of July celebration consist of?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

*gasp* you're a real person?

You know how in elementary school you would always be partially traumatized if you saw your teachers outside of the classroom? It was the whole "she's a real person who goes out to buy eggs??" feeling. In middle school you kind of get over that and in high school you might even meet up with a favorite teacher outside of the classroom. Well. Working at my other job yesterday night, I bumped into one of my bosses who was out doing some shopping. I struck up a conversation with her and we chatted for a little bit.

That encounter made me think back to my interactions with other people on our administration and professors. I frequently invite professors to my performances, and in fact had lunch with a dean in the Office of Student Life a couple weeks ago. Here I feel very blessed to be surrounded by an administration who cares and is not some aloof, ultimate authority out to 'get' you. The professors pretty much rock, although some like to throw out random questions on midterms way too often. Feel like you want close relationships with your teachers and administration? Definitely consider UVA, we're quite unique in this regard.