Before I Came to the University of Richmond I Wish I Had Known…

Richmond Students

By Julia Czech
By Julia Czech
Unigo Campus Rep at the University of Richmond
Nov. 12, 2008

The University of Richmond is a great school and the majority of students on campus would say that they are happy here and have loved their experiences at UR. However, even Richmond has its faults and every student has something they wish they had known before arriving on campus

Personally, I wish I had known more about the social scene and the dominance of partying on campus. I didn’t realize how big the party scene was and how much it defined the social life at UR. As it turns out, I’m not alone. The majority of students I questioned expressed a similar desire to have been more aware of the social options available on campus during the weekends.

As a freshman, I quickly discovered that a typical weekend at UR starts on Thursdays. Maybe this happens at all colleges, but I couldn’t help but wonder if they were aware that it was a school night. The weekend then escalated dramatically on Friday and Saturday evenings when the campus came alive at night and nearly every student (so it seemed) was out partying. As I sat and watched a movie with my friends in our dorm room I could hear loud music echo down the hall, while outside my window, I would hear yelling and laughing late into the evening. Maybe this is just college life in general, but I wasn’t prepared for the level of partying that I was met with at Richmond.

While it would have been nice to know how much partying did go on at UR, I think it would have been even nicer to know how little the college offered in forms of alternative entertainment. A sophomore double majoring in history and Spanish who wishes to remain anonymous shared these sentiments and said that while many schools offer concerts and events on the weekends for students,, Richmond fails to do this. As a result, this student also feels that there is a lack of things to do on campus other than drink and party.

Bryn Allen, a sophomore majoring in chemistry, echoed this feeling and said that as a freshman who wasn’t interested in partying constantly, these limited options made weekends tough at first. A rigid division between the “partiers” and the “non-partiers” quickly developed and, at least in my experience, effectively separated the student body. There were students who went out every weekend and there were students who never went out. This was just how it was, it seemed.

Despite this, there was one alternative to partying and many students found it in the active religious groups on campus. These groups — particularly Intravarsity, a Christian organization on campus — often organized dances, sleepovers, scavenger hunts, dinners, and other such outings that students could participate in without partying. Many students did take this route and effectively correlated the “non-partiers” and the religious students. However, what about those students who weren’t active in religion or the party scene?

Elizabeth Hyman, a sophomore majoring in Journalism, wishes that she had known just how big religion was at UR. She feels that she was at a disadvantage because she didn’t participate in any religious groups and, as a result, she wasn’t able to make friends through them as many students did.

I was in a similar predicament to Elizabeth in that I was not involved in either group — I was in the grey unclassifiable zone. However, despite the lack of available options on campus for entertainment, I still found plenty of friends who shared my feelings and who I was able to have fun with outside of the constraints of the two groups. We would go off campus to restaurants downtown, we’d watch movies, we went to the Virginia State Fair, and we would go to Cary Street or Short Pump Mall to go shopping. Sometimes we’d even find something to do on campus such as watch a movie showing in our commons or go see a sporting event or concert. We were never at a loss of things to do.

Richmond is a terrific school and the people here are some of the best people I’ve ever met. However, I, along with many of my fellow students, wish I had known more about the party scene before coming so that I could have had a better idea of what to expect come that first weekend or, should I say, Thursday night.