Faculty Relations

By Lauryn Washington

At the University of Virginia, the faculty especially the minority faculty are very welcoming and willing to help you in various ways. Building rapport with faculty members is a positive network to have. Faculty can open many doors for you and help you explore your mind further intellectually.

The faculty here at UVA are very engaged with students by attending discussion panels surrounding issues on Grounds and guide students on post graduate career paths. Personally, faculty have helped me work through academic concerns and possible post graduate plans, the faculty at UVA really care about the students’ well-being. The great part about our professors is that you do not have to be in a class with them to drop by their office and discuss anything you want. The faculty challenge you, suggest great classes to take, and support you greatly.

A concern some people may have in the sciences or classes with big lectures is how do I foster a relationship with my professor when there are so many people in the class? Well I would say one of the keys to building a relationship with a professor in that situation is to make sure you stop by office hours every other week, e-mail if you have questions, and make your face known so that the professor will remember you and be more than helpful when you have any issues. I would also be sure to build relationships with more than one faculty member because you can never have too many relationships with faculty. Professors that know you on a personal and academic level will be able to write you letters of recommendation, help you find possible internships, or refer you to someone they know who are in the same field that you want to work in. The faculty here at UVA can offer you many things and you can also offer them one with new perspectives on student life or in academia.

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On Leaving Home

By Kayla Vincent

Leaving home and starting anew at college can leave people with mixed emotions.  Some students might ask themselves, “Will I fit in and find new friends? Will I really miss home like people say that I will?  How will I do laundry without my mom’s guidance? Will college really feel like…”home”?  

These and other questions were among those I asked myself before starting my First Year at U. Va.  Luckily, I have been able to answer those questions in my few months here at the University.  Most of college worries center around the theme of home.  Home is much more than a geographic location, – it’s a feeling.  Making the adjustment of leaving your hometown for college can feel like total displacement, but that feeling is resolved much sooner than you would think.  The key is finding your niche at college, which can take time, but it always happens.  You can also cultivate the feeling of home with the friends you create!  I personally, have found my home with my friends at the University.  We gather together and study, go to social events, and even cook family dinners together on the weekends.

Your cultural home can also be cultivated through different organizations here on Grounds.  There are hundreds of organizations at U. Va, that add to the cultural fiber of community here.  Many students question if they will be at home here, simply because they miss a familiar cultural community at home.  Organizations such as B.E.A.T.S. (Black Expression Awareness and Thought Society) engage the community through artistic expression of the minority perspective.  Other organizations include, but are not limited to: Fashion For a Cause, HooRaas at U. Va, Black Voices Gospel Choir, Student Organization of Caribbean Awareness (SOCA), and Latino Student Alliance (LSA).

Home is not always transferrable but it can be found in college, and most importantly, your home is waiting for you at Virginia.  To answer those opening questions, you will find your niche and find friends that support and challenge you. You will most likely miss home and home-cooked meals especially, but the phone can be a great tool of adjustment.  Laundry will be a fun experience of learning that will be catalyzed by the eventual need for clean clothes.  Lastly, college will feel like the home you always wanted, because after all, home is where the heart is.

Finding Research Opportunities

By Bianca Decatur

Have you ever had a guest speaker in class? You know the drill – someone comes in, talks about something or other, and you’re grateful that they took up some class time. We had tons of guest speakers in high school, but I never expected it in college. However, plenty of professors invite people in to speak about programs and topics that extend beyond what you’ll learn in a lecture hall.

At the beginning of the semester, my psychology professor had someone come in and talk about working in a lab and doing research. The woman gave a brief overview of what the work was like, and told the class to email her if anyone was interested. During the time, I didn’t really think much of it. She later sent a follow up email to the entire class, and in that moment, I decided to email her back. I knew that with the new semester, I wanted to get involved in some more things. Even though I responded on a whim, I got an email back, and I soon sent in my resume. My resume was stripped of all of my high school accomplishments, but I still managed to pull something together. A few days later, I had an interview.

Now I’m working six hours a week in a lab with other undergraduates and graduate students. I’m learning how to run participants in experiments and code data. It’s a cool thing to be a part of, and I’m enjoying it so far. My friends and family think it’s great that I’m getting research experience as a first year. For me, this is just another reminder of the tons of opportunities that are available at UVA. Amidst all the craziness that comes with a new semester, sometimes getting involved is as simple as being curious enough to send an email.