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

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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.

 

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Meet Sylvia, a #UVA Foreign Affairs and Commerce Student from China!

Today's blog post has some great information about the student experience in the McIntire School of Commerce, which is quite popular among prospective students. Thank you, Sylvia, for sharing your experience! Her photos was taken on the patio outside Newcomb Hall, a great spot to read or meet with friends to eat on a nice day. I can't wait to see it full of students again.
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Hey everyone! My name is Sylvia, and I’m currently a second-year student double-majoring in Foreign Affairs and Commerce (will be joining the Comm School next semester). I’m an international student from Harbin, China, and before coming to UVA, I attended a boarding school in Connecticut. I like to sing, play the piano, and spend time with my friends in my free time. I knew UVA was the place for me the moment I stepped on grounds two years ago, and I hope reading about my experience will help you form a more holistic picture of what it’s like to be a student here!

Academics

It’s safe to say that almost everyone at UVA was very successful academically in high school. When all these high-achieving students became my classmates, I felt a lot of pressure. For the longest time, I thought I was the only one feeling that way, but it was simply not true. Everyone is at UVA for a reason, and a wonderful thing about UVA students is that they love helping each other succeed. I found myself in various study groups with my classmates from different classes. We constantly made sure that no one was behind and we made an effort to spend time explaining materials to each other. On weekdays, I usually spend at least an hour in Clemons (my favorite library on grounds) by myself. I take a lot of classes that assign a good amount of readings, so studying alone allows me to truly focus on the text without being interrupted.

Extracurricular Activities

I joined the Caviler Daily, a student-operated news organization at UVA, as a first-year student and became a section editor last semester. To be honest, one of my least favorite things was talking to strangers over the phone, but it was a crucial component of my journalism career because not every source I needed was conveniently in town. Working with the Cavalier Daily forced me to step out of my comfort zone, but the experience was so rewarding as I was able to make connections with students who later became my friends and even mentors. 

I’m also a sister of alpha Kappa Delta Phi, an Asian-Interest Sorority on grounds. I served as Rush Chair last semester and I’m currently the Vice President of Service. My job involves a lot of communication with the House, CIOs on grounds, and organizations in the greater Charlottesville area. Not too surprisingly, my communication and event planning skills improved so much over the course of one year. My sisters also became my closest friends who I do (literally) everything with. 

I got into Virginia Case Club (VCC), a case competition organization at UVA, at the beginning of my second year. My mentor is the president of VCC, and he talked a lot about his experience as a student in the Comm School, which impacted my decision to apply. UVA almost has too many clubs to choose from, and even in the unlikely scenario that there isn’t a single organization that interests you, you always have the freedom to establish a new one.

Why UVA?

 The short answer is “the people”. The first time I came to UVA was for a revisit day. I saw students walking by, smiling at the tour groups and offering help to anyone who got lost on the huge campus. The students also looked oddly cheerful on a Monday morning, walking and laughing with their friends towards the direction of Newcomb Hall (one of the dining halls on grounds). I ran into Jack, Dean J’s famous CavPup by the end of my tour. It would be a slight exaggeration to say that Jack was the reason why I came to UVA, but he really had the power to brighten up my entire day. UVA professors also truly care about their students. I would get email replies that take up my entire computer screen to a question I asked about the lecture or their field of study. It is obvious that they are passionate about teaching and supporting their students. These are stories that constitute my experience at UVA, and I’m beyond thankful that I get to be a part of this community!