Elize Mercer takes the Class of 2010’s list of 110 Things to Do Before You Graduate seriously. Earlier this year, she and a fellow fourth-year decided they would spend one night trying to check off as many items as possible.
First up: Have a Movie Night at Newcomb Theatre (The Rocky Horror Picture Show—“a shocking experience”).
Second: Jump on Ruffner Bridge.
Third: Get Muddy in Mad Bowl (“We were a little reluctant to get too messy”).
Fourth: Use the 21 Society Box Outside Lawn Room 21.
Fifth: Play a Game on the Lawn with Some Friends.
Sixth: Visit Edgar Allan Poe’s Room.
By then, it was 4 a.m., so they decided to take a two-hour nap before adding one more item: Be the No. 1 Ticket at Bodo’s.
“I still have the receipt on my bulletin board to remind me of that crazy night,” says Mercer, an economics major.
Creating memories is one reason for the list, says class trustee Liz Peterson. It’s also to “encourage fourth-years to branch out of their ordinary activities and habits to experience Grounds and Charlottesville in a new capacity.”
Peterson, a religious studies major, has kept the list on her closet door as a reminder to “live it up” during her final lap as an undergrad. “There are many fun activities on the list that I’ve done with the attitude of ‘It’s now or never!’”
The list continues a UVA tradition, and the items span a spectrum of possibilities, from the sedentary—Study in the McGregor Room—to the active—Hike or Bike on the Rivanna Trail, from the offbeat—Sing Your Heart Out at Baja Karaoke—to the traditional—Sing “The Good Ole Song” with Friends.
Becca Almond, a chemistry major, began the year having already completed about 60 items, and she and roommate Katie Pollak set a goal of checking off the entire list.
“Most of the ones I had not done involved food,” Almond says, “so needless to say the start of our semester included a lot of eating.”
David Leon also had completed many of the items before this term, but he saved one of the best—a hike to Humpback Rock—for this year. “By some stroke of luck, we managed to reach the top just as the sun was dipping halfway below the horizon, and we had a fantastic view,” says Leon, a biology major. “Bar none, the view offered there is the best in the Shenandoah Valley.”
Jacob Neal, also a biology major, found it exhilarating to streak the Lawn, but the tradition of singing “The Good Ole Song” with friends held a special memory. He and a buddy were in New York City and spied something familiar about a couple riding the subway—the man was wearing a UVA cap. Neal and his friend burst into a rendition of “The Good Ole Song,” and the couple jumped up and joined in. “We met two really cool alumni from the Class of 2004,” he said.
Since each class concocts its own recipe for a memorable fourth year, Leon had some advice for the Class of 2011: “Make the list a little quirkier. The 2010 list was nice, but there were a number of items that were quite generic.”
Neal’s bottom line? “Make your fourth year the best one yet.”