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Ladi Smith

Ladi Smith

Year: 3rd
Hometown: Charlottesville
Major: Elementary Education in the Curry School (5-year Master's Program)

What are your intellectual interests?

I want to work with children so I am going to the Curry School of Education. There I will learn the necessary skills to be a teacher, but I am also interested in Religious studies, sociology and anthropology.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve found at U.Va.?

The diversity of friends I found. I thought I would be friends with mostly kids who had also come from central Virginia, but to my surprise I am friends with people all over the world. I was also surprised by the amount of time teachers will designate outside of the classroom to help you. With such large classes I thought I would just be another face in the crowd.

Where are your closest U.Va. friends from?

My closest friends are form the D.C. area, Panama, Jordan, and Canada

If you were stranded on a deserted island, which book would you want to have with you?

The Secret Life of Bees. I absolutely love that book. It took me all of two days to read, and there are a ton of life lessons wrapped up in that book including being open to meeting new people and learning from their experience because in the end we all learn the most from what we haven’t been through.

Why U.Va.?

I chose U.Va. because I felt like I could come here and be able to not only learn in the classroom, but from experiences outside of it. I also chose it because of the different opportunities outside of the classroom. I have had the opportunity to get involved with non-profits, a cappella groups, and many other things because of U.Va.

What was your favorite class?

Tibetan Buddhism

What activities are you involved in?

Invisible Children, A Day In the Life (mentoring program), ReMix (a cappella group), Dance Marathon.

What is your favorite extracurricular and why?

My a cappella group, ReMix. It gives me a chance to completely detach myself from school and bond with my group members through singing.

Have you taken the opportunity to get career advice while a student?

I have gotten career advice from other students and from deans here at the University. From everything I was told there are a variety of jobs a student can apply to get here at the University. From working in the Aquatics and Fitness center, to helping out in a lab there are a lot of opportunities to make money while still being a student. I personally wanted to make sure I could handle the workload without a job so I didn’t work this semester, but I am planning on it next semester.


How would you describe the students who attend

Driven. We all have a passion for success, and we feed of that energy. We push each other to produce the best work we can, and if there is ever a time when you are feeling unmotivated, you can always look to your friends for an extra push. I also think U.Va. students have a sense of integrity and honesty. We also know when to work and when to have fun. We get serious when we have to get stuff done, but we also are a fun bunch of kids who can come together and create a fun atmosphere.


How is college different from high school?

There is more freedom. There are no parents here to tell the kids to study and do your work.  College also gives you more opportunities to meet more diverse people and participate in a broader range of activities. Instead of reciting other people’s ideas from a textbook, college really challenges you to think and come up with your own ideas based on what you read.


What is your favorite memory from your time at Virginia?

My first football game as a U.Va. student. I remember entering the gates and feeling a sense of community and togetherness. Fourth years and first years were together, townies and students where together, and we all we there to rally on OUR team. The sense of thousands of students coming together for one thing was amazing.


What is your favorite thing to do in Charlottesville?

Walk. Charlottesville is a beautiful city no matter what season. When it snows it’s beautiful, and walking around the Lawn in the snow is an experience every student should have. On sunny spring days a walk is great to relax your mind, and take time to reflect on things other than schoolwork.


What’s your favorite restaurant in Charlottesville?

I live in Charlottesville so it is hard to have a favorite. I love Tara Thai a new Thai restaurant at Barracks Road. The food is always fresh and the service is great. The dumpling place on the corner is also great. If you are looking for a quick and cheap meal go here and you will be satisfied. Last, I love Arch’s frozen yogurt. It is some of the best if you have a sweet tooth, and has every topping you could want.

Have you had a chance to study abroad?

I have not studied abroad yet, but I plan on studying abroad this year. There are opportunities to study abroad for a semester, a year or even just for two weeks during J-Term, which is during winter break. Also, if you do not have the finances to study abroad there are scholarships and financial aid that can help you. U.Va. really encourages every student to study abroad at some point during their time here. Study abroad destinations range from countries in Africa and Europe to the Semester at Sea. Students still have the opportunities to satisfy requirements and take interesting classes while studying abroad.

What is something unique about U.Va. that few people know about?

We have the largest hot tub on the east coast!!!

How can a student stay active? 

There are four gyms located on Grounds so they are easily accessible for students.  Students can also stay active by walking and running around Grounds. Intramural and club sports are also good ways to stay in shape. These are open to all students, and they cover every sport that is held at the varsity level.

Is it hard to be a student on a small budget?

It isn’t. The main things you need are on campus. As far as food goes you have a dining plan your first year, and can continue to have one all four years if you would like. Along with your dining plan comes plus dollars you can spend at dominoes, Chik-Fil-A or other places around Grounds. Besides food, once you get to school, there isn’t much to spend on. There are fundraisers you may want to give to but I have not had to spend a ton.

What is the Greek system like?

Although I am not directly involved in Greek Life, my friends who are really enjoy it. They do community service activities together, fundraisers and have parties on the weekend that anyone can attend. From what I see, the girls and guys who participate in the Greek life make friends that range from first years to fourth years, and the relationships they form last even when they leave the University.