I got a call from my sister on Tuesday. She has begun her visits to various universities and, along with it, the treacherous search for just the right college experience. As I talked with her, all the not-so-great memories of applying to colleges and choosing one flooded back to me.

I had a terrible time deciding what would be just the right fit for me. I went back and forth over the pros and cons of each school to which I applied. In the end, I wound up here, of course, and I couldn’t be happier.

For some others here, however, I’m not so sure about the ‘couldn’t be happier” part of the statement. We often hear complaints about the lack of student spirit and involvement in UR Athletics, but I feel that it spreads wider than that. Too many times I’ve heard people say, ‘Well I really wanted to go to [pick your favorite Ivy League school], but since I couldn’t get in there, I wound up here.” Instead of relishing the unique opportunities here, they choose to linger over what could have been, and I find this really unfortunate.

As my sister went over all the amazing attributes of each school she’s looking at, I found myself saying, ‘Yeah, UR has that, too, but it’s even better.” Things like the special approach to a curriculum and programs like Take Five and KEY make UR a choice above the rest. The fact that we have so many student groups in proportion to the size of our student body shows the diversity and originality of our campus.

Many times when I’m talking with my friends, we wind up using the phrase, ‘only at University of Rochester.” UR has a unique personality, and I love the fact that I can be a part of that character. Though I may find myself in some very awkward and weird situations, I think it only adds to the fun and experience of my four years here.

I admire efforts over my tenure here to increase student participation in athletic events.

What I admire even more, however, are the efforts that have been made to make students proud to be a member of the UR community as a whole. Freshman Orientation and Yellowjacket Weekend are perfect examples of this. By the end of the first week of classes during my freshman year, I had already participated in a full-out UR lovefest.

The continuation of events like these throughout the year would help keep the strong spirit felt early on alive in the months to come. Last year’s transformation of Winter Wonderland was a great step toward this goal. Students came together to participate in the winter-time activities and to just enjoy the fact that they are all a part of this wonderful school.

I think it would be really great if Spring Showtime could see the same type of transformation. Student groups are the perfect vector off of which to build another fun weekend. They are, after all, what brings forth the characterization of UR’s student body.

I stay true to my claim UR provides the best college experience out there. So, while my sister has assured me that she could never consider coming here, I still say there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

Philbrick is a member of the class of 2009.

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