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Life as a UMass Parent

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UMass student and her mother. Text: Life as a UMass Parent

My parents were pretty hands-off when it came to my college decision journey. Ultimately, they trusted my judgment and wanted me to commit to a school on my own accord, while keeping in mind our family budget, of course.

My mother, having emigrated to the United States from Portugal when she was a preteen and having never attended university, had trouble letting me leave home and venture to UMass Amherst. Being the youngest of three siblings, she was very sad to see me leave home. To her, UMass was too far away, two and a half hours too far that is.

For many, sending your child off to college can be scary, but it does not have to be. Ultimately, it is important to have faith in what your child believes is the best fit for them, and remember to be supportive of your child’s dreams and aspirations. Your children will look to you for guidance and support throughout their college journey, and it is very important that you are there for them every step of the way.

While my mother was nervous about me attending UMass at first, she now understands what a great fit this university is for me, and even enjoys visiting herself. Here is her experience as a UMass parent over these past three years. 

What kind of college did you want me to go to?

For me, I wanted you to be close to home. In my ideal world, you would have gone to college close to home so that you could come to visit easier and more often. You are my child and I love having you around, so of course, I would have loved for you to be closer to home.

I also thought that it would be cheaper to have you go to a school in the area, but I quickly learned that this was not the case. Since UMass is a state institution, it turned out to be far less expensive than some of the colleges in our area.

Ultimately, I wanted you to go to a college that you would thrive in and grow at, which at the end of the day is the most important thing when it comes to choosing a college. 

What were you most nervous about for me going to UMass?

I was definitely very nervous about the rumors regarding UMass being a big party school. Obviously, I want the best for you and did not want you to get mixed up with the wrong crowd.

As a parent, it is very easy to get absorbed in the rumors about your child’s college, but it is important to remember that rumors are not facts, and that you should have faith in your child’s ability to do the right thing. I knew you had a good head on your shoulders and that you would put your studies first and not do anything to jeopardize that, which helped put my mind at ease. 

I was also nervous about how large UMass is. I was afraid that you might have trouble adjusting to such a big campus, and that you would feel lost in such a big new environment. You overcame my expectations and adjusted very well to life at UMass. Watching you quickly grow comfortable at school helped calm my nerves about you spending four years there.

What were you happiest about with me going to UMass?

I was the happiest about the price, and the great reputation UMass has. It was a great feeling to know that I was sending you off to a school that was not breaking the bank and that you could excel in.

On top of that, it was comforting to know that you were not going into UMass alone. A few people from your old high school were also going to UMass, so It was great knowing that you were going into such a big school with some familiar faces — who you are still very close with three years later. You also established a very tight friend group early on at UMass, which made letting you go a lot easier since I knew you had such a great support system at school.

Lastly, the food on campus is great and the campus itself is very nice, both of which make coming up to UMass to visit that much sweeter. 

What do you like to do when you visit Amherst?

I like to see you and talk to you! When your father and I head up to Amherst, we go to spend time with you. Of course, your father goes out of his way to insist that we go to the dining hall. Franklin is his favorite, so we always grab food when we visit you. When the weather is nice, I enjoy heading downtown with you and the family to get a bite to eat, especially at Judie’s Restaurant. There are a lot of great places in downtown Amherst that are perfect for families and friends alike, so I enjoy spending time there with you especially, since it is so different from back home in Fall River.

If you could go to UMass for a semester, what classes would you take?

I always wanted to explore the field of psychology, so I would definitely take some psychology classes. I would also be interested in taking classes in sociology, with a focus on social work. Since I have been out of work for some time now, due to being sick, It would be great to take up a career in which I could help those in need. Ultimately, psychology and sociology have always interested me, so I am sure it would be a fun experience to take these classes at UMass.

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UMass nursing students. Text: "Meet the Major: Nursing"

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