By Jane Lyons
If I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you yet, and you’re reading this, my name is Jane Lyons. I am currently completing concentrations in Management and IT, with a track in Real Estate, within the Comm School, and a double major in Global Development Studies in the College.
I am originally from Wilmington, DE, where I love to play sports, spend time with my family, and go to the beach. Charlottesville feels like a “home away from home” for me, as I have four siblings, two of whom attended UVA for undergrad and one for graduate school.
I love that UVA has provided opportunities for me to involve myself in a wide range of organizations. I joined the Alternative Investment Fund as a first-year and cultivated a passion for unique avenues for investing, along with finding some of my closest friends. I am also on the Honor Committee, which I joined during my first year, and I perform consulting services for local and international businesses through 180 Degrees Consulting and SEED. In addition, I’m involved in my sorority, Catholic Hoos, and a variety of other fun endeavors around Grounds!
McIntire is full of opportunity, whether that be through alumni mentorship, learning from professors and faculty, or taking the time to get to know peers in student activities and in the classroom. The emphasis on teamwork in McIntire encourages each of us to bond within our groups, blocks, and class, which is why the following two tips will help to guide you toward finding your own paths and opportunities on your way to McIntire.
First, it is important to allow yourself to wander and talk to anyone who will listen. Networking is such an important skill in the business world, and the faster you can get accustomed to it, the faster you will succeed. I have found some of my most beneficial involvements through having conversations with friendly faces I met on the Corner or walking out of a class. People at UVA, in general, are always willing to lend an ear or piece of advice, so take advantage of that. During this wandering and talking, find a mentor. Having someone a few years older than you to bounce ideas off, go to coffee to chat with, read your admissions essays, or just be there for you when you need it is vital to survival in McIntire – and the world. If you don’t know the answer to a question, just ask! They went through everything you’re going through only a year or two before, so odds are they will have the best insight (if you need one, always feel free to find me!).
Second, and most importantly, throw your name in the hat, and be yourself. Everything these days is becoming insanely competitive, but you don’t lose anything by trying. Admissions rates to universities, majors, and even clubs are declining because people understand that to succeed you need to be involved. However, THE most important part about any application journey is to be authentic; therefore, you should get involved in activities that give you energy and add value to your life. You want to be accepted to McIntire, or a different major/minor of your choosing, because you demonstrated YOUR best self, not because you pretended to be someone else. So throw your name into the hat. The worst thing that can happen is rejection. However, if you throw your name into enough hats, the chances of that “no” being a “yes” dramatically increase. It may seem daunting, but don’t let one rejection discourage you. If a university, major program, or club, does not accept you, then you must remember that there is an organization out there for you that is a perfect fit for YOU and you are just one “no” closer to finding it. You may surprise yourself at the habits you build from facing the unknown head on and the skills you gain from inserting yourself into uncomfortable situations.
The journey to admissions at McIntire can be a stressful time! Your family, peers, admissions faculty, and professors all recognize that reality and want to help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a role model in a desired career field for advice or information. I remind myself daily that “what is meant to be, will be,” and it gives me comfort. With that being said, I am happy to get coffee or be a shoulder to lean on during this exciting time! Come visit the Admissions Ambassadors during Walk-in Advising or during our office hours.