My Experience in a Commerce-Affiliated CIO

Kai found support, encouragement, and community through an independent student-run organization.

When I reminisce about my time at UVA, one organization in particular stands out to me. My membership in the Black Commerce Student Network (BCSN) has helped to set me up for success at McIntire.

As a first-year, like many other students, I rapidly declared myself “pre-Comm,” with little to no understanding of what this truly meant. My perception was that there would be some classes I would have to take, but I had no real knowledge of McIntire, its admission process, or the Integrated Core Experience. That began to change when I went to my first BCSN meeting. In the general body meeting, it was wonderful to see the older then-McIntire students who looked like me and felt personally invested in my success.

They taught me all about McIntire, from scheduling classes to where to find extra resources when I was struggling in a class. Whenever I had questions on what classes at McIntire were like, they would walk me through their days and talk to me about the differences between the concentrations. It was always refreshing to hear student perspectives. I know I will never be able to repay all of the kindness those students showed me, so instead, I attempt to pay it forward to a new generation of pre-Comm students, both in BCSN and as an Ambassador.

But what if you want to build this community elsewhere? While I treasure the impact this club had on my life, membership in a Commerce-affiliated organization is by no means a prerequisite, nor a specific advantage to McIntire, from an admissions perspective. In fact, 48% of current students had no McIntire-affiliated organizations on their resumes at the time of application. As long as you are in clubs that interest you, that’s what is most important. If you are interested in the topics covered by any organization, you should investigate and see what they have to offer. You just never know where you will find your community on Grounds!

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