Dear Brain,

I know you are probably already pretty tired from moving your life across the country, starting grad school, and having to deal with all the new pressures of adult life. Not much is required of you just yet, but somehow you feel just a little on edge. You wonder if you will like it in this strange new town and try to fathom how the next five years will pan out. You try to stay calm and act as if you are cool, collected, and confident, but the truth is you are kind of maybe just a little sort of scared sh-tless.

So I thought I’d give you a pep talk and remind you to chill out. To quote the great (albeit eccentric) Bear Grylls, “Keeping morale up is the key to survival.” For Bear Grylls, this means making a nice warm fire and catching (and roasting) some poor critter. For you, this might mean drinking in the gorgeous view of the “Harry Potter room” in Alderman library or seeking out super tasty (and cheap!) seafood in downtown Charlottesville. Indeed, sometimes all it takes is a nice hearty meal to clear away the frustrations of a particularly grueling day. Whatever ritual you develop, find the sparkle in each day and just keep trekking onward. Grad school may be daunting, but as long as you stay positive (you and I both know that is when you are most productive), things will go along swimmingly.

Grad school is going to be puddle-wonderful. You’ll see.

Sincerely,

Tummy

Some Snow Would Be Nice

I’ve known for about a month now, but this week I finally made a commitment and accepted a fellowship offer from the University of Virginia! This means that I will be moving across the country to Charlottesville, VA in the fall (East Coast, here I come!) and embarking on an excitingly exhausting English nerdfest. In the spirit of things, I’d like to present my list of:

TEN THINGS I LIKE ABOUT U(VA)

1. The official incorporated name for UVA is “The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia.” What a mouthful! (But also kind of awesome.)

2. This year, Forbes named UVA as one of the World’s Most Beautiful College Campuses. The town of Charlottesville has also been consistently ranked as one of the best places to live in the US.

3. Started by Thomas Jefferson (the only US President to found an institution of higher learning), UVA stands on land purchased by James Monroe. James Madison was also a Rector of the University. The three presidents’ homes are all located near the University. Definitely on my list of places to go see! I hear July 4th at Monticello is amazing.

4. Tina Fey (’92) and Katie Couric (’79) graduated from UVA! Georgia O’Keeffe and Edgar Allan Poe also attended UVA (although Poe had to drop out after his first year because he lost his tuition money to gambling). UVA was also home to William Faulkner who donated a huge portion of his writing/collection to the Alderman library upon his death.

5. Every year in March, Charlottesville hosts the Virginia Festival of the Book.

6. UVA is the only university to be designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (together with Monticello).

7. Just as UVA likes to call itself the University, it also uses the definite article for various campus locations: the Grounds, the Lawn, the Rotunda, and the Range, in addition to the Corner on University Avenue.

8. The University is home to a number of secret societies, who leave signs of their existence around campus.

9. UVA has an Honor System where students “make a commitment not to lie, cheat, or steal.”  Established with the purpose of creating a community of trust, the honor code allows faculty to give timed take-home exams and students to purchase books on campus by giving his or her word to pay. Very cool.

10. Charlottesville gets an average of 24 inches of snow each year! And 44 inches of rainfall! *super excited* I love it when things fall from the sky. :]

Of course it doesn’t hurt that UVA has a top-ranked English PhD program.  I can’t wait to become a Cavalier!

I am uber uber excited about going to grad school at UVA and hope that you will continue to follow Sophialiteraria as I embark on this next chapter of my life. Thanks for all your support throughout this process, guys!

(All facts without linked citations come from the Wikipedia page.)