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Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Meet Taylor, a #UVA Architecture Student from Texas!

We have another student guest author on the blog today! Taylor is going to talk about getting involved at UVA. If you want to check out the CIOs (Contracted Independent Organizations...UVA lingo for student-run clubs and orgs) available to our community, use the "Categories" box on this page to make the list a little more manageable.
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Taylor Thompson is a Third Year in the School of Architecture from Austin, Texas.

College is the most incredible opportunity to not only learn but to explore. As I come to the end of my Third Year, I’ve learned both about myself, as well as about navigating the endless number of opportunities with which to engage as a student on Grounds. I share my reflections not as a prescription but as a set of insights, so that you might find your path and your piece of happiness more quickly.

As I left Charlottesville on the Amtrak following my Orientation session, I was under the impression that the only way I could make friends, feel comfortable, and be “successful” at the University was by participating in a variety of activities and extracurriculars. When I moved into Echols 1L and Basement, that perception hadn’t changed, so I ran for Class Council, signed-up for the School of Architecture’s Student Council, and interviewed for a research position. Needless to say, I was busy, but, at the same time, I loved what I was doing. I was meeting people from every corner of the University, impacting the lives of members of my Class, and feeling like I was making a difference. I had started from the outside… in.

During the summer between by First and Second Years, I had the privilege of serving as an Orientation Leader. It didn’t just let me guide incoming students around Grounds for the first time, but it also allowed me to look at the University and myself differently. I started to think about what made me, well me, and how by starting from the inside… and looking out, I could rethink my time on Grounds.

In high school at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, TX, I became incredibly passionate about affordable housing and Habitat for Humanity. Because of my busy schedule First Year, I was pulled away from this passion. Following my summer as an Orientation Leader and a conversation with trusted friend, I stepped away from Class Council, resigned from the School Architecture’s Student Council, and quit my research position. Instead, I was going to double-down on what I was passionate about and what made me happy.

I dont say all of this as a plea to join the Habitat for Humanity Club or to impress upon you that affordable housing in Charlottesville should be your number one priority. I say this because you have to do what makes you happy first. If you start from the inside, then there are an incredible number of opportunities here at UVa that will make you happy. We have more than 650 different Clubs, ranging from cultural organizations, club sports, performance groups, and Greek Life to community service opportunities and religious societies. There truly is a place for everyone to find their piece of happiness. I have, and I hope you will be on-Grounds soon to experience this truly special place.