I can’t even remember why I applied to UVA, aside from the fact that it was a large state school that sent me an application. Being fairly agreeable in nature, I obliged and applied to only two schools: UVA and Virginia Tech, our largest in-state rival. I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I had no idea of UVA’s stature in terms of national rankings, reputation for excellence etc. All I know is that I was admitted to both schools and UVA seduced me easily with the Spring Fling admitted student weekend and promises of late nights playing cards and eating dominos pizza. I imagined deep discussions about politics and race, surrounded by more black folks than I had ever shared a classroom with. We were fed and courted and entertained. Everywhere we went there were dozens and dozens of other black folks! And this taste of college life was over a weekend so there was no talk of classes, homework, alarm clocks or meetings…bah, whatever. I couldn’t be bothered with such details. Little did we know that this would be the best weekend of our young, black collegiate lives and that 80% of the black folks we saw that weekend…well, could you tell them we are STILL looking for them?
That being said, I loved UVA. I paid for it largely on my own after being beaten out for every.single. scholarship. by oh, let’s call her PATRICIA TOLLIVER. She was the smartest black chick in our high school class and I didn’t mind getting my somewhat above average butt kicked by her. She was humble and funny and had an older and a younger brother who were both named Johnny. She went on to UVA as well and then trumped my measly Masters degree with a JD from UVA LAW. She’s now a successful, high powered attorney in DC. You know, in case you need a good lawyer.
I left UVA in 1997 armed with two degrees, a job with PwC and a vague idea of a future that consisted of some cosmopolitan lifestyle with witty and charming friends, romance, travel and sexy cooking gadgets. Well, let’s just say that 7 years later, I find myself leaving Charlottesville again. Without the cosmopolitan lifestyle, the college sweet-heart a memory, and the future still somewhere off in the distance. The things that matter have made the journey with me. I’m happy to report that my family is healthy, my friends indeed witty and charming-all the more so because we know each other well and still choose to be friends. The trendy loft apartment is now a half-packed studio full of light, my favorite art, music, and sexy cooking gadgets. But most of all, I leave this time knowing never to burn my bridges, becasue you never know how many times you’ll have to cross the same river.