Integrated Learning Center at UMass Amherst
Student Voices

From Haverhill to UMass

UMass Amherst student

Emily Grant, a current student at UMass comes from the town of Haverhill, Mass., but attended high school in North Andover. She expressed how much she enjoyed her high school experience, but knew when searching for a college she wanted somewhere even bigger to grow into. When deciding to go to UMass she was nervous that it might still feel like high school, with the majority of her grade also attending. “Probably the most surprising thing when I got here was just how big the school is, and I always say I can see a friendly face and meet someone new everyday,” Emily explained.

Emily came to UMass knowing she wanted to be a teacher and, because of that, the price of college was a really big factor in her decision. She was also really excited at the opportunities that UMass could offer her, and felt as though it would be a place where she could grow and challenge herself. Currently, Emily double majors in early childhood education and Spanish, while also pursuing a TESOL certificate so she can, teaching English to speakers of other languages. 

There were many things that supported her adjustment to a new, big school, one being becoming a tour guide. The tour guide position exposed Emily to all aspects of UMass. “It gave me an automatic 50 kids who I knew and worked with who are all just awesome,” she said.  Emily’s also found support through the College of Education, which really made a point of getting to know all of its students. She easily made friends within the school, with small classes creating a great environment to meet others. “Having the College of Education gave me a ton of friends within my major alone, it's been my favorite part of UMass,” said Emily smiling.

Emily’s time at UMass has taught her a lot. She explained that in high school she was extremely involved and never had a moment to herself. In college, however, there is a lot more free time than you expect, and she had to figure out  how she wanted to fill it. Through this exploration Emily learned the importance of time management skills, but also about her passions. Not only did Emily choose to fill her time by working as a tour guide, but she found time to volunteer within her college and also with disability services. 

In her free time Emily also enjoys going to downtown Amherst. It is one of the aspects of UMass that reminds her of home, giving her a small town feel. Professors also make her feel at home and she has developed close relationships with them, just as she did with her high school teachers. Her professors pushed her towards pursuing her TESOL certificate while also giving her the opportunity to teach in a dual-language classroom next semester. 

Emily’s parting advice for new students is, “Don’t be afraid to take up space.” Emily was passionate, explaining that here at UMass there is so much room for everyone to grow. You need to do what you want to do in order to find yourself.