If you’re from Massachusetts and your high school experience was anything like mine, the majority of your graduating class applied to UMass. Even for the kids that wanted to attend a small college across the country, UMass was still on their list of places they were sending an application. I applied not really knowing if it was a serious option for me, but when May of my senior year came around, it was clear that UMass was the best choice. It had the best program for what I wanted to do (architecture) and wasn’t too far from home.
When I decided to go to UMass, two of my good friends had already put down their deposit, and a few other people in our grade had committed to attending, too. This was hard for me because my entire high school career I had planned on going off to college not knowing a single person and creating a whole new life for myself. When I got to school, I put in a lot of effort to create a friend group filled with new people to ensure maximum change between high school and college. I made a lot of new great friends that I loved, but that didn’t keep me from feeling homesick from time to time.
I realized that what was lucky about my college experience, compared to others, was that when I was homesick I could just text my friends from home to get food or hangout. We could sit around for hours laughing about all the silly things that happened in high school and teachers we used to love or hate. It always made me feel better and as if home wasn’t very far away. They’re also great people to lean on because they know what you’ve been through without needing anything explained, and it’s easier to trust people you’ve known your whole life compared to the people you met a few months ago.
The more I would reach out to my home friends, the more I realized I wanted them around all the time. Now I have meshed my home friends and college friends here at school more than ever and I couldn’t be happier.
I think that knowing that there are unforeseen positives of going to college with hometown friends is very important, especially at UMass since a lot of students that go here live nearby. A lot of people ask me, “Doesn’t it feel like you’re still in high school?" I have never felt that way in the slightest. There are a million differences between high school and college, and a few friends from your hometown won’t change that.