It’s been too long since I last updated this blog, so apologies there. As a first-year (FY), you hear early on that life gets a lot better in the spring, but to be honest, I didn’t ascribe much weight to this argument: I felt I already maintained a pretty healthy balance of recruiting, schoolwork, and fun during the first four terms. However, at this time I can definitively say that after returning from spring break, life is far more enjoyable and, at least personally, geared much more towards enjoying the social offerings of business school. A combination of (a) completion of summer recruiting for many, (b) an open slot each evening that was previously occupied by learning team meetings (FY have now moved on to electives), and (c) nice weather all play a role in freeing up FYs’ calendars. School-sponsored activities also ramp up in the spring (more below), but there are a variety of other factors that make spring in Charlottesville great. Below are just a few of my favorite social activities since returning from spring break six weeks ago:
- BGiA Auction Items. Darden’s major volunteering day is called Building Goodness in April (BGiA), where a number of student-teams volunteer within Charlottesville’s community (my project was rebuilding a playground at a day care that provides services for low income families). A (the?) major fundraising tool used to make the day possible is BGiA auctions, where Darden students generously host a variety of social offerings to raise money, usually with other members of FY sections. Personally, the auction events offered both a chance to get to know my section-mates that much better, and learn about others’ diverse interests: many internationals offer to cook their local fare, others might host a whiskey tasting (apparently that habit wasn’t a complete waste of time), still others offer rifle lessons. Basically, a chance to do something different with new friends and have some fun.
- Foxfield’s. The races, held this past weekend, definitely surpassed my expectations. I’m sure the event is well-chronicled by others, so I’ll share more my perspective than an overview of the event. Darden has a large tent where most students congregate (with great food and drinks), while undergrads utilize more traditional tailgating offerings. I’d say the average Darden student had the right amount of fun, while the average UVA undergrad had a little too much fun (feel free to search photos online). My favorite part of the day might have been wandering through the warzone that was the lineup of undergrad cars at 4pm (the day starts at 9am).
- Golfing. One huge benefit of being in a smaller community. I remember golfing a few times while living in New York City a few years back: without a car and any nearby courses, getting out on a course was a miserable ordeal. In Charlottesville, the UVA golf course is a two-minute drive from Ivy Gardens, tee times are plentiful on Friday (which are now mostly free), rates are reasonable: basically the perfect way to spend a warm spring day.
- Darden Days. Volunteering as an English teacher in Costa Rica at this time last year, I didn’t make it to Darden Days. Attending this year, I’m pretty sure the FYs have just as much fun as the prospectives: the big event on Friday night at the local winery was incredibly classy, well executed, and served as the perfect trial for many Foxfield outfits. A lot of professors and families attended the event, the scenery was absolutely beautiful, and the weather was great: certainly an event that demonstrates how Darden likes to represent itself.
There were a variety of amazing social events this spring (including Spring Social at the Jefferson Theater, which I’m still upset I missed), but I thought I’d keep the above list relatively short. Further, I don’t want to give the impression that the level of class preparation is all that different for FYs: while the two weeks following spring break were a little light, the additional social opportunities are as much a result of FYs knowing how to effectively manage the workload.