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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Our first #UVA Student Guest Blogger: Abby S

I'm very excited to share the first in a series of guest blog posts by UVA students. Since you won't be able to meet current students at our Days on the Lawn open houses or on tours this year, we thought we'd use social media to provide opportunities for you to connect.    
Abby offered to kick things off! She is going to monitor the comment section, so feel free to post your questions below. If you are reading this on mobile version of this site you might have to hit the "View Web Version" link at the bottom of the page to see the Disqus comment box. 

   My name is Abby, and I’m a current third-year at UVa majoring in Media Studies with a concentration in Media Policy and Ethics and minoring in Religious Studies con. Buddhism. Outside of school I intern with UVa Athletics Strategic Marketing, and I’m involved with the University Guide Service and the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society. I’m popping on the blog today to talk a little bit about my experiences with UVa, why I chose to come here, and why that was the best decision I’ve ever made. 

   The main thing that drew me to UVa were the academics. I truly had no idea what I wanted to study coming to college, and I needed time and help to figure all that out. At UVa, you don’t have to declare your major for two years in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the curriculum promotes exploring multiple fields. That interdisciplinary promotion allowed me to find my passion and pursue all my interests. I’ve been able to take classes in every department you can think of: materials science, finance, German language, and my major department as well. In my first year I even got to take a University Seminar called “How College Works,” where we went in depth into the administrative processes required of a University. Some of my favorite classes are of course in my own major. What I love about the Media Studies courses is that my professors are truly dedicated to what they do. Last semester, I took Media Policy and Law with Professor Christopher Ali. He was a great lecturer and I learned a ton, but he also gave us great opportunities to interact with real media professionals. One day, he brought in two FCC Commissioners and did a Q&A instead of lecture, and I was lucky enough to be able to go to lunch with my professor and the commissioners after class. It was an incomparable experience and I loved it. I also took History of the Internet with Professor Kevin Driscoll, which may be the best class I’ve ever taken. He helped us access the older parts of the web and actually use them so that we could understand what the Internet used to be like. The incredible hands-on learning opportunities I’ve gotten at UVa are far beyond what I could have hoped, and one of the reasons I knew this was the place for me. 

   UVa has great classes, but that’s not the only thing here. I also love that UVa has given me internship and career opportunities that I never could have dreamed of. I have held four internships in my time here, two with Congressional campaigns and two with the University itself. UVa has so many great opportunities for student jobs and internships that really can’t be matched. In addition to my jobs, UVa has allowed me to make great social connections and given me a place I can truly be comfortable. I’ve gone on trips with my friends from here to the Outer Banks, New York, Nashville, and many other places. These are the people who are always there for me, and can help me with anything and everything I’m going through. This semester I joined the University Guide Service as a third-year, making me one of the older new members in the bunch. Still, everyone was always so excited and happy to be talking to me, and checking up on how I am. Even now in quarantine we met over Zoom just to say hi and see how everyone was adjusting to all this crazy news. I’ve also been able to get wonderful opportunities from my organizations and involvements. In the Jefferson Society, new members must pass a presentation in order to become full members. The members there helped me prepare and research and become a much better public speaker. I was able to learn a lot and use that knowledge in both my presentation and in my classes. My friends at UVa have become the greatest friends I’ve ever had, and they challenge me to be a better person and learner every day. 

 UVa is a truly wonderful and unique place. I know you may be worried about not being able to attend Days on the Lawn, but I couldn’t attend either. I was waitlisted from the University and did not find out I was accepted until I got a call during my AP Statistics course on May 2nd. My dad pulled me out of school the next day to drive me down to Charlottesville to see Grounds. It was relatively quiet, as it was finals, but people were still chatting on the Lawn, playing frisbee, walking dogs, literally any picturesque outdoor activity you can think of was happening. This may have been the first time I saw someone using a real life picnic basket. Walking around UVa was wonderful, but what really caused me to commit here were the people. Every single person I talked to was so happy to share UVa with me. Whether it was directions or checking out at the bookstore, everyone was so excited to see a new person enter this wonderful community. UVa is so much more than a college, it’s truly a place you can call home, and that’s why I chose to come here and I hope you do too. 

If you have any questions, please PLEASE feel free to reach out to me! I wish you the best of luck in your college search and I hope to see you at the first home game next year.
Signing off, 
Abby S.