This year I attended the college tours experiential week trip. I was very pleased with my experience and I definitely had a great time. On this trip, my classmates and I visited and toured several unique colleges and got to experience a wide range of college campuses and atmospheres. We were able to learn about small colleges, such as Washington and Lee and Roanoke, and large colleges, like Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia. On our tours, we usually walked around the college campuses, learned about academics and student life, and enjoyed lunch in the colleges or universities lunchrooms. I loved getting to visit so many different schools in one trip, because it was helpful to get an opportunity to compare several colleges in back-to-back tours. As for my own opinion of the individual schools, I really didn’t like Virginia Tech. It was too big for my preferences, and the atmosphere was gloomy, as if the entire campus was sad. With this said, I think UVA and W&L were my favorites. I thought both of these schools had beautiful campuses and seemed to have lively atmospheres. However, Washington and Lee was definitely too small for me, and UVA was a little bit too big. Regardless, I still really liked the diverse programs and opportunities each of these schools offered, and I hope to attend a school with similar opportunities in the future.
Along with the colleges we visited, our group also visited Jefferson’s historical home, Monticello, and participated in a historical ghost tour in Charlottesville. Visiting Monticello was actually more interesting than I initially thought it would be. I was impressed by the history of the home, and I enjoyed hearing about the abundance of strange quirks and details of the house and the estate. The best part of the tour, of course, was getting to push Caitlin in her wheelchair through a home that was certainly not originally designed to be handicap accessible. It was like navigating a car through a maze made for children! Still, the tour was fun, and I now feel like I have nearly mastered the art of wheelchair pushing!
Although Monticello was interesting, I found the ghost tour just as engaging. Our ghost tour was led by an experienced guide and storyteller, who lead us through parts of historic Charlottesville, after dark, as he told our group a murder mystery story. As our guide told of us of the real murders that occurred in the town, he often made references to ghosts and the living dead. I liked how dramatic the guide made his stories, describing details right down to the bang of the gunshots, but I thought the tour was too long, as it seemed to last all night. If it had been slightly shortened, it would have been better. and I think everyone had a good time listening to the guide’s theatrical story.
Overall, I enjoyed my time over experiential week, and I am really glad I chose the college tours trip. It was a lot of fun touring colleges and historical sights with my friends, and maybe I will do it all again next year on the 2014 college tours experiential week trip!