When I first started applying to different colleges my senior year of high school I remember having many different qualifications that I was looking whilst applying. Different schools caught my eye for different reasons, some very important, some very dumb reasons. Sometimes the school mascot was a deciding factor and I had no idea what animal a “Cavalier” was, which didn’t exactly tip the scale’s in UVA’s favor.
One of the factors I was stressing about was where the school was located. I was raised in a city, so I couldn’t see myself being in the middle of Oklahoma or Wisconsin (those are pretty out there, right?) . As I narrowed down my choices I was obsessed with UVA as a school, but the idea of it being a small town freaked me out.
I come from Lima, Peru, a city that hosts 10 million people. Charlottesville, on the other hand, is a tad bit smaller, with only 48,000 people living in the college town. The undergraduate enrollment at UVA was 16,331 according to the Google search I just completed for the sake of numerical data. For dramatic purposes, we’re going to say that it’s almost 30% of the entire population in Cville! Thirty! Percent! Our local football stadium (and I do mean football, not soccer) can hold up to 50,000 people.
So apparently the people at my university were basically the entire town. Well not really, but, they’re a big chunk of it anyway. I ended up choosing UVA because, well who wouldn’t, and ended up falling in love with the college town, and can now proudly say my university makes up THIRTY PERCENT of the population.
If you’re a city girl dreading the small town life, fear not! Here are the reasons that I love living in a college town.
1. Things are ridiculously cheap $$$
Many of my friends go to schools in big cities such as Boston, Washington D.C., etc. A night out for them can mean $50 spent on two Long Island Iced Teas. Meanwhile I can buy a round of shots for my whole 10 people philosophy seminar with that same amount of money. A shot of tequila at our local bar, Trinity Irish Pub (Trin for short) is five dollars! And if you go to The Hole you can get two dollar shots. Maybe they do come in plastic cups instead of glasses, but I’m not that fancy anyway.
2. Things are right around the corner
And in Cville I mean this literally. Anything you need is right there on what is called the Corner. You’ve got the bars, a CVS, a couple of restaurants, a hairdresser, a tattoo parlor – literally everything you need. I’ve gone a month without leaving the two mile radius, until my fridge emptied out and it was time to hit Kroger. I guess it was a bit of a trip considering it’s five minutes away in an Uber. Most things are five minutes away walking.
3. All your friends are steps away
Grandmarc, Wertland Square and Greenhouse are some of the building where undergrads live at UVA. You can get ready five minutes before leaving your house because the “pregame at mine!” text means you just need to walk five minutes down the road to get there. Study groups are so easy, you can just agree to meet up in a nearby coffee shop and you’ll get there four minutes later. Additionally, when you’re walking on Grounds you will bump into at least three people you know. I’m definitely aiming low with that estimate. This may be a bad thing when it’s Saturday morning and you’re hitting CVS in your pj’s, but generally it’s the best.
4. You only have people you’re age around
It’s completely normal to go around and just see people your age. In my time at UVA I don’t think I can recall the last time I saw a baby, or like, even a child. There are people of people who ACT like children but I’m talking those under five feet. You also don’t see grandparents. All you see on the weekends are a mass of twenty year olds who have deemed it acceptable to drink at whatever time that they please. It’s weird going back home and seeing other people: like, parents and stuff.
These are just a few reasons why I adore living in a college town. The big city life can be fun but when else in your life are you going to live in a small bubble where everyone around you is going through the same life experiences as you? Also it’s never terrible to avoid screaming babies.