The majority of current and future college students have probably heard the phrase “college is nothing like high school” countless times, and of course those words of advice are correct!!!

For some of us, college is our first chance to act as independent adults and establish ourselves in the real world beyond the confines of our high school campuses. Some people’s method of attaining a fulfilling experience at college is different from others, but all in all, we find a way to make the college experience work for our individual tastes and interests.

As a first semester student here at UVA, I was slightly overwhelmed by the number of new choices I felt as though I had to make for my future and by the vast variety of opportunities offered to me at UVA. I had to learn (rather quickly) that yes, UVA is a difficult institution academically speaking, and there will be times – unlike in high school – where I would not achieve the same level of academic success as I once did. And it is not because I am not smart or any less deserving to be here than others, but simply because that is the level of rigor UVA holds itself to in order to challenge students to become better academically, better learners, and overall better people.

UVA has its fair share of difficulties and shortcomings (as does any other college institution), but I can say that UVA has one of the most tightly-knit communities made from people of various backgrounds that I have ever seen. I have made friends simply from striking up random conversations on topics a lot of UVA residents are openly willing to discuss and talk about in a safe environment. I am now able to openly support many groups and speak up against injustices that I was hesitant to talk about before out of fear of backlash. In all, I try to not let a few bad apples ruin my experience of  UVA’s progressive culture and amazing support system.

It has taken a couple of weeks to come to this conclusion, but I finally feel as though UVA is genuinely where I belong and I would not trade such a feeling for anything in the world (with a few exceptions like world peace and an end to world hunger among other global changes…. but you get the point)!

Good Luck Hoos!!

Mya Singleton, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2020, Pre-Medicine,