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Spinning a Web in the Real World - Reflections of a First-Year Spider Grad

By Beth Anne Spacht

April 12, 2013

By Beth Anne Spacht
Admission Counselor

Congratulations and welcome to the University of Richmond! As an Admission Counselor and Class of 2012 graduate, I am so excited to introduce you to the next and best four years of your life.

This May, I will celebrate my one year alumna anniversary in somewhat unusual fashion. Rather than toss my cap in the air, I prepare to welcome a new set of Spiders into my old University home. In a way, the experience is profoundly surreal. As an Admission Counselor, I have dedicated the past ten months of my life to reading, reviewing, greeting, and growing this class. This is the class that mirrors where I stood only four years before. This is the class that has shaped me, challenged me, humbled me, and pushed me to grow in my transition from student to professional. And so, it got me thinking: one year out of the University of Richmond, what is it that keeps me here at my alma mater?

I expect that there are a good number of you out there with the “big decision” still looming in the distance. I know how difficult the decision can be – and how frustrating it is to weed through piles of information and brochures. So, in light of this, I’m hanging up my Admission Counselor hat for a moment to speak to you simply as Beth: a recent Class of 2012 graduate who loves her alma mater.

Here are my top 5 reasons why you should join the University of Richmond Class of 2017:

  • The University of Richmond is grounded in reality. As an English and Latin American & Iberian Studies Major, I feared I would spend every waking hour with my nose in a book. Instead, I was able to intern in-house at an advertising agency in Philadelphia, learning about copy writing, sitting in on discovery sessions, creating my own digital ads, billboards, and print pieces. I was able to live in Valencia, Spain and work at Editorial Tirant Lo Blanch, one of the main bookstore suppliers in Valencia and arguably the best Editorial agency in the social sciences on the east coast of the nation. And yes – I did this AND read Shakespeare. The University of Richmond equips you with the hands-on experience you need to succeed in life after graduation, whether you are headed to grad school, medical school, law school, the workforce, or the field.
  • The University of Richmond is globally aware. I always joke that I could go anywhere in the world and crash on someone’s couch, just because of the student body at Richmond. I’m not kidding, though. On my first-year hall alone, there were students from Romania, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, and China. There were also kids from Richmond, North Carolina (I finally learned how to properly pronounce “Appa-latch-ah”), Oregon, and Massachusetts. In the classroom, global viewpoints enriched classroom discussion in the most fascinating ways. It’s one thing to speculate about life in other nations. It’s another thing to hear about it first-hand. But national or international, our common ground was Richmond. It was home.
  • The University of Richmond is challenging but not cut-throat. Classroom environments are collaborative, not opportunities to one-up the people around you. In fact, I lost count of the number of times I sat next to students doing amazing grant-funded research or incredible internships, completely unaware until I read a feature story about them online. They’re humble, in part because they are passionate about what they are studying – it’s a natural part of who they are and why they chose Richmond. In the classroom, the level of conversation is intellectually stimulating and engaging, driving you to see age-old topics from new angles; or in many cases, voice your opinion on cutting-edge topics which are yet unexplored. As I think back to my friends at Richmond, the top phrase that comes to mind is: down-to-earth.
  • The University of Richmond does not believe in the box. We think outside of the box. In fact, the general mentality is to punch down the walls of the box that “defines” your major or minor, and run with whatever ideas you are actually passionate about learning. I have friends who have studied archaeology in Turkey, Burmese pythons in Alabama, and the life of a mummy in North Court (one of our oldest residence halls, where the Classics department is housed). Professors are all about critical thinking, creativity and curiosity; they will never laugh at your idea. Instead, they invite you to talk about it over dinner.  They’re truly that cool.
  • The University of Richmond is… well, in Richmond. As much as I love the University of Richmond, I would be remiss not to mention the city itself. Although campus is located in the West End, it is only a 15-minute drive to access all the great history, art, and culture offered by downtown RVA. I’ve seen The Lion King off-Broadway at the Carpenter Theater, enjoyed First Fridays at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, toured the Virginia State Capitol, eaten and shopped more than I care to admit in Carytown, caught $2 movies at The Byrd, relaxed with a picnic in the Japanese Gardens at Maymont, and attended many of the countless festivals and events happening every weekend in town. Although I often feel that Richmond weather has a mind of its own, you see all four seasons, and spring/summer tend to last well into October. When the flowers are in bloom, there’s nothing better than going out to explore the city.

As a high school senior, my college graduation was a distant thought in my mind. Now – four years of undergrad and one year of post-grad later – all I can do is to sit back, smile fondly, and wonder where the time went. Although many of you may look towards graduation and the national decision deadline of May 1st with an unabated sense of finality, I implore you to view it as a fresh start. After all, commencement is merely an expression of “the beginning.” You are on the brink of something new and exciting, in part because it is unknown. My advice to you is to take the leap. Richmond is a place that will support you no matter what your goals. It is a place that makes finding your niche visible and accessible from day one. It is a place you can truly call home for the rest of your life.

So, to those of you just starting your search, enrolled with bags ready, or perhaps to those of you who have yet to decide on a college, I’m going to leave you with just two words: GO SPIDERS!!!

Tags: Why Richmond? Richmond - the City

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Tom NicholasTom Nicholas
Senior Assistant Director of Admission 


A Richmond alumnus (Class of 2007), Tom has been working and blogging for the Office of Admission since he graduated. He loves his alma mater and the city that shares its name.

Learn more about Tom


Beth Anne SpachtBeth Anne Spacht
Assistant Director of Admission


Beth Anne was a double major at Richmond (English and Latin American & Iberian Studies) and now enjoys helping prospective students discover the best of her alma mater.

Learn more about Beth Anne

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