It feels like just last week I was packing up all my clothes and heading to Southwest amidst a haze of sweat and nervousness for my first semester at college. I recall being a wound-up ball of anxious energy as I had no clue what my college experience would be like. Now, as I start the last semester of my senior year, I am constantly reflecting on the entirety of my college experience and how this journey has gone. While I consider a vast majority of my time here at UMass an immense success, there are a few things I wish I had known beforehand to make my experience a bit smoother. I have compiled a list of a few things you should keep in mind while navigating your college career to help make your experience even better.
Western Massachusetts is an amazingly beautiful place that you should take time to get to know. Check out what festivals, museums, and experiences it has to offer while simultaneously broadening your horizons. Personally, I set a goal of seeing something new in the area every weekend. Don't have a car? No problem! The PVTA has convenient bus hours and drop-off locations within the area that will help you further explore the opportunities of western Mass.
You can rest when you’re dead!
Everyone tells you that college goes fast. And, although I hate to sound like a 40-year-old nostalgic father, I’m gonna have to agree with dad on this one! This means you have to swiftly seize every opportunity you can before it’s over. Although resting and watching Netflix can be fun, force yourself to push through tiredness and make a memory that won’t just fade into the woodwork. So take that late night trip to Northampton. I promise you will not regret it.
Take a fun class
This one may sound dumb, but taking one or two "fun" classes can make all the difference in your college career. Just last semester I took a video production course as a break from the normality of my major's coursework, and I ended up absolutely loving it! Use the immense catalogue of courses UMass offers. Doing this has led me to some of my best classroom experiences at UMass while also teaching me a lot about myself and my own interests. So whatever it may be, sign up for a unique class that allows you to take a break from the monotony of your other classwork.
Overall, my time at UMass Amherst has been very well-spent. I hope you take these few points into consideration while planning your college journey. Don’t forget to have fun along the way.