Peabody is the building, Jack is the dog, and I'm Dean J (she/her, btw).

Three notes:
1. There's fifteen years of posts here, so the search box can help find an answer to common questions, but please consider the age of the posts when you find them. The college admission process changes over time!

2. The comment box doesn't show up when viewing the blog optimized for mobile. Click the "view full site" link at the bottom of the page and the site will reload with comment boxes.

3. Pick a name, real or otherwise, if posting a comment.

Welcome to the blog and thanks for reading!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Meet Christy, a #UVA Anthropology Student from Virginia on the Pre-Med Track!

Christy joins us today to share some insight into student-faculty interaction and advising. She's also part of a new minor, volunteers as an EMT in Charlottesville, and has a job at Monticello! 
As a reminder, if you are viewing this on a mobile device, you'll want to click the "View Web Version" link at the bottom to get the Disqus comment box to appear.

Hi, everyone!

My name is Christy. I’m from a tiny, tiny town sort of near Virginia Beach. I’m a second year student studying anthropology, but concentrating in medical anthropology, ethics, and care (this concentration is brand new as of last semester!!). I’m also a pre-med student, so I’m going to be diving into that experience a little bit in this post. Outside of academics, I am a member of the University Guide Service, am a Resident Advisor (Dillard residents, I miss you), give tours at Monticello, and recently got certified to be an EMT. Let’s get to it. When it came to making a decision about where to go to college, I was, quite frankly, all over the place. For the longest time, I thought I wanted to go to a small school in a huge city. I ultimately decided on UVA (which is neither a small school nor located in a huge city) based on the few interactions I had with professors and students when I first visited, and now I really can’t imagine myself anywhere else.

The positive interactions that I had when I visited UVA in high school have continued each semester I’ve been a student here. I remember my very first class of first year was medical anthropology with Professor China Scherz, and I was so excited to be taking this class that I decided to go to her office hours that same day. I knew nothing about anthropology, but I went into her office and introduced myself. I told her about some of the books that I read in high school that I thought might be related to the course, and that I was looking forward to the rest of the semester. We ended up having a conversation about the research she’s conducting, what I’m interested in doing as a career, and more generally about other classes and organizations that she thought I might find interesting. Fast forward a year later, Professor Scherz is now my academic advisor and has been such an incredible and caring mentor. She’s directed me to an awesome research opportunity with a physician and professor at UVA Medical School, and is the reason why I’m seriously considering doing a Master’s in anthropology before heading to medical school myself. If you come to UVA, I cannot express how highly I recommend her course.

But, to dive a bit deeper into advising at UVA: as a first year, you’ll be randomly assigned an advisor until you declare a major. UVA does, however, offer these really cool classes called COLAs, which are graded, one credit classes specifically created with first year students in mind. COLAs are advertised as being 80% course content and 20% advising, and the professor of the course will become your academic advisor (this way, you’re essentially able to choose who you want your advisor to be). Enrollment is capped off at 18 students per class, so you’ll really be able to get to know your fellow classmates and professor. I took one called How to Music, which was taught by an anthropology professor, so I had plenty of guidance when it came to picking classes for the second semester of my first year.

I know I’ve been talking a lot about anthropology, but I am still a pre-med student, so I wanted to touch on that a bit for anybody who thinks they’ll be following that track as well. First and foremost, pre-med is not a designated major--it’s more so a list of classes you should take and activities you should do in order to be prepared for medical school. Although my anthropology professors might not be very helpful in telling me which sciences classes to take, the pre-health advisors here definitely are! UVA offers drop-in advising in one of the larger libraries on Grounds almost everyday, and you can also make appointments if you’d like to spend more time with an expert. I also found this website really helpful when I was making my pre-med class checklist.

I will say that, if absolutely all else fails, your peers will be some of the best sources of information. I’ve been able to volunteer at a rescue squad in Charlottesville because a friend told me about an EMT certification class that they were offering. I got a job at Monticello--doing something that I absolutely love to do--because a friend told me they were hiring. Your peers will also be some of the best sources for support. I’ve met some of the most intelligent, passionate, and incredible people here at UVA--many of whom I consider my best friends. It’s because of them that I truly cannot imagine myself anywhere else. Even when we’re away from Charlottesville during this crazy time, we’ve managed to keep in touch by having pancake dinners over Facetime, playing card games over Zoom (truly a feat), and watching Netflix together using a neat little chat extension. It was the people that initially drew me to UVA, and it is the very same people that have made UVA a home.

If you managed to read through all of that, you’re amazing. I’d be happy to answer any questions that you have about literally anything--anthropology, pre-med stuff, advising, dorms, name it. I’ll be sure to keep an eye on the comment section, but also feel free to email me at

Best of luck with your college search. I know it can be stressful, but I promise that you’ll end up where you’re meant to be :)

Good Times, Go Hoos,
Christy A.