Tips for Emerging Adults: Navigating Life after Graduation

Written by Hannah Trible

Did you know there is a life stage called Emerging Adulthood? Well, as a UVA student or recent graduate, you’re right in the middle of it! It’s an exciting and uncertain time, full of opportunity and change. Read on for tips on how to enjoy and master this important phase of life.

The Five Defining Characteristics of Emerging Adulthood are:

  • Identity Exploration
  • Instability
  • Self-Focus
  • Feeling in-Between
  • Possibility

TIP: This is a time for exploring who you want to be, in love, work, and worldview. It’s a time when almost nothing is certain, because most of your major life decisions are still ahead of you. Watch this Ted Talk by Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, who coined the term emerging adulthood, and conducts extensive research on the topic. (And guess what – he got his PhD from UVa!)

Self-Focus is not Selfishness You may have heard some bad press about twentysomethings: that they are disinclined to work hard, afraid of commitment, or too idealistic. Try not to let these critiques get into your head! Looking through the lens of emerging adulthood, your twenties are a time when one of your main obligations is to yourself. Of course, you may still have responsibilities to others, but don’t forget that you’re an important part of the equation. This can be a time to begin learning what brings your life meaning, what you are curious about knowing and doing, and who you prefer to spend your time with. You can try things now that might be harder in the future when you have long-term commitments.

Budding Leaders Learn about the Women’s Center

It’s never too early to learn about all of the support services and learning opportunities that are available at the Women’s Center.

As part of a “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” celebration, 17 emerging leaders from the Village School gathered at the Center for Global Health to listen to Director of Engaged Scholarship, Jaronda Miller-Bryant, discuss all of the opportunities and services the Women’s Center offers.

The Village School is a local, all-girl middle school in the heart of downtown Charlottesville. The goal of the Village School is to, “provide each student with the tools for transforming information into personal understanding and communicating it effectively.” The Village School emphasizes women finding their own voices as learners, a theme that resonates greatly with the vision of the Women’s Center.

Jaronda took the students through the basics of the Women’s Center, beginning the conversation with a simple question: What do you think a Women’s Center does?

One student answered that it must do something related to important women in history.
Another student pointed to women’s health services.

By |May 5th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments|

#GivingToHoosDay Success!

Thank you! All of you who joined us in last month’s GivingToHoosDay by donating and sharing our social media posts came together with our matching donor to generate a wonderful infusion of funding for our programs. We were thrilled to receive:

Giving To Hoos Day Gifts

Together, we raised $18,626 through our matching challenge!

This strong showing of the UVA community’s commitment to our work would make us proud any day. But we are especially honored/proud that the very people who have the clearest view into our work are investing in it. In addition to the 26 donations we received demonstrating the broad support for the Women’s Center among UVA alums (class years 2010 and prior) and their spouses, we received GivingToHoosDay gifts from:

By |May 4th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments|

Survivor Support Network Training – Now for Students!

Hard work paid off for our Gender Violence and Social Change team with the very first Survivor Support Network Training – Student Edition.

The Survivor Support Network Training was designed for UVA faculty and staff by Claire Kaplan, Gender Violence and Social Change Program Director, and former Women’s Center intern, Julianne Koch Price (CLAS 2008, NUR 2015). Claire had long conducted training sessions on how to be an effective ally to victims of sexual assault or intimate partner violence prior to their collaboration, but Julianne’s experience with the LGBTQ Center and the Safe Space training that they provide inspired what has been known for years now as the Survivor Support Network Training. Together, Claire and Julianne created the training manual and launched the new program as co-trainers.

SSN logo

Participants receive a sticker with this emblem after completing our training to proudly indicate their commitment to creating a safe and supportive space for survivors on Grounds.

Participants in the Survivor Support Network Training learn about the nature of sexual assault and intimate partner violence and how they can best provide support for students and colleagues affected by violence. Additionally, they gain a better understanding of the University’s current policies and procedures related to sexual assault and intimate partner violence. The current number of faculty and staff on Grounds that have participated in our Survivor Support Network Training includes more than 230 people from over 50 departments, showing a strong commitment to creating a culture of support for survivors. We look forward to seeing our network continue to grow even more as students take advantage of the opportunity to participate in this new version of the training specifically for them.

The Student Edition training was led by Gender Violence and Social Change intern, Carrie Bohmer, and volunteer, Seth Hesser. Using the faculty and staff presentation, they created a presentation that they felt would be engaging and effective for a student audience. Carrie said of the training, “I think that we did a pretty good job of making this applicable to students, being that both of us are students. We had an advantage going in knowing that we were the target audience.”

Women on Grounds: Karen Van Lengen

Renowned artist, architect, and academic leader – Karen Van Lengen amazes with each new project, a legend in our midst. The former School of Architecture Dean and current William Kenan Professor of Architecture took time from her brilliant work to answer our burning questions. Add “saint” to her list of accomplishments, and take a gander at her economical Spotlight responses below.

Please tell us about a defining moment in your research/work at UVA.
Working with IATH (Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities) at the University, I was able to imagine a new way of visually representing sound and then constructing a way of representing these drawings in a web based form. [Check out their collaborative project, Listening to the Lawn]

How do you practice work/life balance?
I do the best I can. Some periods are more challenging than others but having a rich family life helps a lot.

How has being a woman shaped your experience in your field?
Hard to put that into words since I don’t know what it’s like to be a man or anything else.

Whose work (musical, artistic, professional, or personal) inspires you to work harder or think differently?
James Welty, (Sculptor and animation artist), Hedda Sterne, (visual artist (1911-2011), Bill Fontana, (an accomplished sound artist), and my daughter, Kiri Van Lengen-Welty.

Who would you most like to meet (living or dead) for coffee?
My future grandchildren.

By |May 3rd, 2017|Blog|0 Comments|

Tips for Exam Stress: Remember the 5 P’s!

Your heart is racing, you’re losing sleep, your appetite is changing…is it love?

Nope. It’s EXAMS!

Stress is a normal reaction to an event or occasion where we need to do our best. The good news is that there are ways to manage stress so that we can function and be successful.

1. PLAN: It’s no surprise that you have final exams. Make a written plan or commit a plan with a study partner to get ready for exams. You know what study habits work best for you, but no one does well cramming at the last minute. Look at the dates for your exams and create a list or timeline of the things you need to get done. If you need help, like tutoring or accommodations, ask for it!

2. PRIORITIZE: We know exams are important, but they shouldn’t take over your life. In your plan, don’t knock everything to the bottom of your priority list. Include the normal activities you do to help with stress! Make time to exercise, eat healthy, get enough sleep, and yes, even find time to have some fun. Those things may not rank as high on your list as they normally would, but don’t make them your last priority.

3. PRACTICE: Especially if you have test anxiety, consider reaching out to you professor or TA for a practice test. Or ask someone who took the course before you what the test was like, how did they prepare for it, etc. Having as much information as possible about the upcoming stressor, helps to manage stress reactions.

By |May 2nd, 2017|Blog|0 Comments|

PALKO POV: Choice, Take #2

We live in a society that does not value mothering (as measured in economic terms).

The amazing thing isn’t that it is hard to make all of these pieces fit together in a coherent, sane manner – it’s that anyone manages to do so! Simultaneously, our national ethos of bootstrap independence suggests that success is a wholly personal accomplishment that is achieved with no external supports. So it’s little wonder that when a woman who seems to have made the unworkable work is asked how she does it, the default answer often is to choose your partner wisely.

But it is all so much more complicated than the choice of romantic partner.

I wrote last month’s post a few weeks ago. Then I was at a speaking engagement during which I spoke briefly about “choices” I had made to pursue higher education. I put choices in quotes because they were dependent on a number of factors outside of my control: having mentors to suggest it and guide me through the economic aspects, being free of familial responsibilities and therefore free to continue on to graduate school, having had a stellar undergraduate education, being born in a family that valued education, etc. I’d spoken about these factors in the context of discussing changes in gender norms and roles in the US. After I finished, an older black woman who’d been in the audience came up to me. We had a brief exchange that reminded me to think about how I was presenting the issue of partner choice in a wider lens.

It seems to me, she began softly, “that white women and black women have a different perspective on these things.” I rushed to agree, both because I do agree and because I think it’s vital to affirm the impact of these differences. But… Reflecting on my initial thoughts about the marital/professional advice we give women, I was struck by how clearly they reveal my white, middle class upbringing. Our brief conversation culminated in the reminder that white women and black women have different perspectives – as do women of different ages and from different groups, however we configure them.

By |May 1st, 2017|Blog|0 Comments|

Student Spotlight: Talley Snow

Get to know YWLP Big Sister, Talley Snow!

Year: Second year
Major: Undeclared
Hometown: Alexandria, Virginia

1. Why are you passionate about your program at the Women’s Center?
I was very lucky to attend private school my entire life, eventually going to an all-girls private school from sixth grade on. At my all-girls school, I was able to learn in an environment where I was surrounded by only girls and was encouraged to speak up. While in high school we had some co-ed classes, I think that an all-girls school really made a difference during my middle school development, because that was the time in my life when I think that I was the most vulnerable to peer pressure and most self-conscious of being smart stating my opinion. I volunteer with the Young Women Leaders Program through the Women’s Center, and I love it because I love to see middle school girls grow into confident and capable young women. Empowering young girls to pursue their education through the university level and knowing that they are going to be successful and make a difference in their future communities is one of the most rewarding things for me.

2. What made you choose UVA over other schools you applied to?
I actually almost didn’t choose UVA, because it was by far the largest school I applied to and the school closest to my home. In the end, I decided on UVA because I realized that it was the most different from my high school, and I was excited to break out of the small, all-similar-students setting that I was used to. I also really wanted to study in the Batten school, and UVA was the only school I applied to that would let me pursue a public policy-specific school without having applied to it when I originally applied to the school. I also toured UVA in a torrential downpour, and it was still a beautiful campus.

3. What has surprised you about UVA?
Because I was so concerned about the size of the school, I am still amazed that I can rarely walk around grounds without seeing multiple people that I know. The student involvement also never ceases to surprise me: it seems like a majority of the people I know are involved in multiple different meaningful activities, which is even more impressive considering the rigor of the work here.

By |April 25th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments|

Being #BodyPositive on Grounds

There are over 2 million images posted and stories shared on Instagram under “#bodypositive.” You can find articles on BuzzFeed like, “23 Body-Positive Tips That Aren’t Garbage” or “19 of the Most Totally Awesome Body-Shaming Clap Backs of 2015.” Celebrities and models like Ashley Graham or Iskra Lawrence grow more famous every day in popular culture for their celebration of body positivity and demand for greater body diversity in the media. Even Barbie has taken to the body positive movement, releasing versions of the classic toy with a more diverse range of body shapes and sizes.

It seems like we’re in a moment where the media, that for so long has perpetuated unhealthy beauty standards and expectations, is finally changing its tune. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that body positivity has “won.” At least not yet.

At the same time we’re seeing over 2 million images posted under both #bodypositive and #loveyourbody, there are over 11 million posts under #fitspiration, a trend with a complicated relationship to health and body image. And while the impact of seeing a greater diversity in Barbie’s image can be great for young kids, that’s only one step in creating a more body positive culture. There’s no clear marker of when we’ve finally reached a “true” body positive culture. But by continuing to provide safe spaces for dialogue about body image as it relates to gender, race, and sexuality, we can grow closer with each conversation.

“Body positivity is not a static achievement, but a constant evolution of our relationship with ourselves.”
via Huffington Post

Our Body Positive team here at the Women’s Center understands the need for that safe space and works each year to provide it for UVA students. Through annual events, initiatives, and interventions, our Body Positive program continues to facilitate dialogues about what it really means to be #bodypositive.

Check out some of the highlights from the 2016-2017 Body Positive team.


Danielle Kimball


“As part of Celebrate Every Body Week, we partnered with the Coalition on Eating Disorders and Exercise Concerns to screen the film Embrace on grounds. Embrace follows body image activist Taryn Brumfitt’s crusade as she traverses the globe talking to experts, women on the street, and well-known personalities about the alarming rates of body image issues seen in people of all body types. Following the screening, Body Positive program directors and interns led a short discussion on body postivity and answered questions from the audience. Certain professors provided extra credit for students who were in attendance. Embrace is available for purchase online through Itunes and Amazon instant video.”

One of the most popular events of Celebrate Every Body Week, the Jeans Exchange, encouraged students to ditch their  jeans that are too small in exchange for a Celebrate Every Body Week t-shirt. The aim of the event was to help students not only donate jeans, but take a step toward ridding themselves of the unattainable body standard that keeps us holding on to the clothes that no longer fit us. Over 160 people participated, including 34 student volunteers that staffed 58 tabling shifts. All of the jeans and other clothing pieces were donated to the Shelter for Help in Emergency.

The rest of the week was populated with free fitness classes, like Zumba and HIIT training, and an art event which resulted in a paper doll chain of all shapes and sizes in the name of body positivity. (Pictured above)

By |April 18th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments|

Tips for Partners of Survivors

When you are in a relationship with someone who has been harmed, it is difficult to know how to help your partner while also managing your own reactions. Some of the reactions you may have are:

  • Anger
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Guilt or shame
  • Fearfulness
  • Denial
  • Frustration
  • Depression
  • Wanting to take action

Because of these reactions, it is sometimes helpful for you to seek support for yourself, in addition to your partner seeking help to recover from the violence. All of these reactions are normal responses to trauma – even when you did not experience a traumatic event directly yourself. Managing these reactions in a healthy way is key to being able to support your partner.