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Why I Left the Hospitality & Tourism Management Program

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Why Hospitality Just Wasn't For Me

As an incoming freshman, I applied only to schools with hospitality as a major. University of Massachusetts, having one of the top hospitality programs in the country, and even the world, was a perfect fit for that and all of the other qualities I wanted in a school as well. 

Somewhat naively, I came in as a freshman with really only a basic understanding of what the hospitality industry is and certainly no personal experience within it, but I knew I liked working with people and making them happy. When applying for schools, I visualized myself using my degree to go into event planning, as I have a love for decoration and organization, and have always enjoyed decorating the house for things like birthday parties or holiday dinners.

My career goals changed, however, after taking the introductory Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) class during my first semester at UMass. I loved this class, but not for the reasons I wanted to. The subject matter was interesting and the professor was lovely, but I didn't feel as connected or passionate about the material as I thought I was going to. Throughout the semester, I realized that I had essentially been romanticizing the idea of getting paid to decorate for a living, and had not thought about the real logistics of what it means to be an event planner. One of the big themes of the course was the idea that hospitality professionals are expected to work while others play. Hours would be long during busy seasons and certainly would not be the traditional 9-5. Upon reflecting on what I see for myself in the future, I realized that I would prefer a career with less unpredictable hours and expectations. 

I left the HTM program following the completion of my freshman year and switched into the marketing program, still within Isenberg. Though I still have a great appreciation for the hospitality industry, and once in a while wonder what it would be like if I had stayed, I believe I am now happier with where my career is heading after making that switch. The whole point of college is to figure out what you're really interested in, so there is nothing wrong with deciding something wasn't the right fit and changing your major to better align to your interests. While it may feel like a lot of pressure to pick a major already while you're applying to schools, the chance you stay with that exact program is probably lower than you might think so be open to the possibility of choosing another path.

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Academics

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Isenberg is Interactive!

Students in a class at the University of Massachusetts face lecturers in a modern brightly-lit space

When you picture what business school classes might be like on a college campus, you might picture a large lecture hall with a professor at the front droning on about corporate finance and maybe scribbling a few numbers on the board. What I love about UMass, and specifically the Isenberg School of Management, is that is certainly not the case! To help show you what I mean, here are some examples of some interactive and interesting assignments that I've had this semester: