I remember when I arrived on campus my freshman year, it was like landing on a different planet—one where I didn’t know the customs or fit in very well. Like some of you may be, I was a first-generation college student. In addition to feeling like I didn’t understand the place very well, I also stumbled a bit, and you may stumble a bit as well.
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed as a college student and experience some psychological distress. You’re managing the multiple stresses of academics, relationships, life transitions, and thoughts about the future.
Like some of you who are first-year or transfer students, I’m still new here, or at least sort of new. But I want you to know that you are living in an incredibly caring community. The faculty, staff, and your fellow students at UVA care about how you do in the classroom, but just as importantly they care about how you do outside of the classroom.
I encourage you to check out the resources page on this website, which outlines some of the many great resources available to you as students here at UVA, especially Counseling and Psychological Services. I also encourage you to learn about and take advantage of the support services, including counseling, available at the Maxine Platzer Lynn Women’s Center and the first-generation student support provided by the Office of the Dean of Students.
I want to end by making something clear: you belong here at UVA. It doesn’t matter where you are from, the color of your hair or the color of your skin, your gender, your sexual orientation, your religion—whoever you are and wherever you are from, you belong, and we’re thrilled that you’re part of this community.
Jim Ryan, President, University of Virginia