Saturday, September 3, 2011

Hoo-rah-ray, Hoo-rah-ray, ray, ray--U-Va!

The Good Ole' Song.

It was something that I was supposed to have memorized it in my first year. However wanting to buck authority, I skipped out on a lot of traditions at UVa. Instead, I've made great memories in replace of them and I don't regret not going to the traditional events my first year.

Why? I can argue about the utilitarian exchange of going to the better experience (which is my opinion and very subjective), but I won't. Instead I will say---because now I am a fourth year and I'll be going with first, second, third years, exchange students, transfer students, friends, acquaintances and it'll be a richer experience than if I had gone first year with the few hallmates that I knew.

Speaking from an anthropological view, I am amazed at how much pressure there is to share in a common experience, if you are considered "in the group." For example, traditions at UVA serve to unify a university of 14,297 undergraduate students. These range from participating in sport events to the 112 Things To Do Before You Graduate List to the ritual of passage called convocation. When you do not participate in these traditions, people are surprised, worried, and even alarmed. That is because you are now a "black sheep" and thus people do their best to bring you back in the fold. If you resist, then you will be considered odd and perhaps even ostracized from future events. If you do participate in these events, then you are rewarded socially with friends, future invitations, and affirmation.

So as I sit in my grey silk dress (with no pearls) and the Good Ole Song in front of my desk with the words "Start Memorizing :)" handwritten on it, I have come to terms that I am going to my first UVA American football game. Hoo-rah-ray, Hoo-rah-ray, ray, ray--U-Va!