Student Life

The Value of Extra Work: Life as a graduate Assistant at McIntire

A number of students in the M.S. in Commerce program spend time working for professors. We checked in with Diego, Sarah, Alex, and Kelsey to see what their experiences have been like so far.

A number of students in the M.S. in Commerce program spend time working for professors. We checked in with Diego, Sarah, Alex, and Kelsey to see what their experiences have been like so far.

1. What is your official title and what are your responsibilities?

“I’m a Graduate Assistant for Professor Kemp’s introductory business course— Commerce 1800: Making Business Work (link). As one of eight GAs for Prof. Kemp, I’m responsible for about 80 young, bright, and eager 1st years… I answer all of their email questions, grade their assignments, and hold review sessions throughout the week.” –Diego

“Graduate Assistant. Main Responsibilities: grading, doing review sessions, proctoring exams.” –Sarah

“Officially I’m a Graduate Assistant. I work with Professor Jennifer Winchel, one of the accounting professors. I primarily help her with her research.” –Alex

“My official title is Head GA (Graduate Assistant) for Commerce 1800: Making Business Work. I supervise 7 other GAs for the course, handle the administrative work (submitting official grades, communicating between IT, payroll, UVA support staff, and faculty, etc.), I have my own section of 80 students whose work I grade, and I oversee our group ‘review sessions’ twice a week (these are basically group office hours where students can come in and talk to their GAs about anything or get extra help).” –Kelsey

2. Why did you decide to take on the additional work associated with being a Graduate Assistant?

“I took the course as an undergrad and enjoyed it. Prof. Kemp is awesome! Plus, my food fund always needs a little extra money.” –Diego

“I decided to take on the additional work of being a GA because I thought it would be a great opportunity to work closely with a professor on something not related to my classes. It was also a new opportunity as I had never done anything like this as an undergrad.” –Alex

“I always wanted to be a History or Sociology Graduate Assistant because I loved my majors and had great experiences with the few GAs that I did have here at UVA as an undergrad. So, when Commerce Career Services reached out to me and said there was an opportunity for this specific course— which I took as an undergrad— I jumped at it.” –Kelsey

3. Is there time to fully commit to both schoolwork and your position?

“Definitely! The great thing about being a GA for Prof. Kemp is that there are 8 total Graduate Assistants all willing to help each other out. If some of us have a hectic week, the rest are always willing to step up.” –Diego

“There is time to commit fully to schoolwork and my GA assignments. While we had an incredibly busy fall schedule, my work as a Graduate Assistant only took a few hours a week, which made everything manageable.” –Alex

“Yes, I am pretty good at time management and scheduling school vs. work time.” –Sarah

4. What are the advantages to being a Graduate Assistant at McIntire?

“Meeting some of the best professors at UVa! I didn’t have a chance to know Prof. Kemp as an undergrad (he teaches 400+ kids a semester!) but being one of his GA’s this year has given me the opportunity to get to know him better.” –Diego

“Advantages: extra spending money, experience in teaching/working with students, learning more (the Comm 1800 book is actually really useful even for our own course of study), being a mentor/advisor for students is rewarding.” –Sarah

“There are some perks. I knew all the IT staff and some faculty before school started and I have access to really cool study spaces. The biggest perk is that you get to know the other GA’s you work with well and you become a little family.” –Kelsey

5. How will being a GA add to your graduate experience?

“Being a GA adds to my graduate experience because it really forces me to learn business material. It forces a lot of necessary memorization and makes advances my business knowledge in doing so. I really enjoy helping others learn, because it almost always helps me learn. Being a GA also really sharpens your people skills, because you have to deal with ALL kinds of students and their accompanying problems. It is also really fun working with the other 7 GA’s in COMM 1800. We spend a lot of time together and have gotten to know each other really well.” –Sarah

“Being a GA will add to my graduate experience because it provides an opportunity to learn outside of the classroom. It also gives me the chance to learn about research currently being conducted in the accounting field.” –Alex

“Being a GA has highlighted some of my limits. It has also taught me how manage my time effectively (and that I can fail at it), but it has given me some great friends and some great learning experiences, even if it is a bit stressful at times.” –Kelsey

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