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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Meet Kelley, a Spanish and Anthropology Double Major from Virginia!

If you're a Virginia student, this blog post might be of interest! Even though Kelley didn't travel too far to go to college, she's made a new home at UVA.
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Hi guys! My name is Kelley and I’m from Fredericksburg, Virginia. I’m a second year studying Spanish and Anthropology with a concentration in culture and communication. I’m planning to graduate a year early to pursue an accelerated Master’s in Anthropology here at UVA! Outside of the classroom, I’m really involved in research, the University Guide Service, and Madison House (which is our volunteer center here on Grounds). I love UVA and am so excited to share a little of the place I call home with you all.

UVA is a big school, but it starts to feel much smaller once you arrive. I quickly met friends on my hall and in my dorm, and began to join clubs and other activities that gave me my own community within the larger UVA bubble. One of these communities has been the University Guide Service, which I joined second semester of my first year, and which gave me some of the best mentors and friends I could have ever asked for. The other organization that I joined was the Latinx and Migrant Aid (LAMA) program through Madison House. We travel to different places around the Charlottesville community and work with Spanish speakers and students to help with English language practice and other tutoring. LAMA is one of my favorite things to do at UVA because it has allowed me to grow a community and build relationships with people in the Charlottesville area, not just inside the UVA bubble.

I have loved my experience at UVA so much, but what’s crazy is that when I was a senior in high school, I really didn’t think I wanted to come here at all. As an in-state student, I knew a lot of people who came here every year and I wanted to be the one who did something different. I toured a bunch of different schools, waiting to have that “a-ha” moment that everyone talked about, the moment when I was supposed to magically know that a school was for me. But it never really came, and I think that for a lot of people, it never really does.

It wasn’t until I began to attend events for admitted students, watch silly Instagram takeovers, and talk to current students that I began to really see myself at UVA. I began to realize that what I was looking for in a school was not that “a-ha” moment standing on some campus, but people who made me excited to get up and learn something every day. These are the people that I’ve found here in Charlottesville: people who are passionate about the things they study and the place they get to call home. I have met people who 3D print toys for fun, who organize climate strikes, and who take on passion projects to keep making this University a better place. Whether I’m watching my best friend nerd out over Russian history or listening to my roommate tell me about his 20 mile run, it is thanks to them that I get that “a-ha” feeling every day.