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Thoughts from a UMass Parent

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Selfie of a Umass student with her mother. Text: "Thoughts from a UMass Parent"

When applying to college, my mom encouraged me to attend a school where I thought I’d be happiest. Of course, she wanted me to choose a major that would supply me with job security, but she wanted me to enjoy my four years wherever I decided to go to. Due to my own lack of career direction, she guided me to consider what I knew I liked. For example, when thinking of what I wanted to major in, she encouraged that I do something that entailed working with people, because she knows the sociable side of me. Ultimately, I am now a communication and journalism student, and I attribute the success of my college journey to my mother. 

As I dove in head first to my application process, she never failed to assuage my worries and keep me on track in terms of prioritizing what I should look for in a college. A Boston College graduate herself, she knew exactly what to look for in a college, and provided me with insightful tips during application process that validated my decisions. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have been given the amazing resources and advantages offered at UMass Amherst.

Although points of my college decision making process were discouraging — I got my fair share of rejection letters, waitlists, and deferrals — my mother was always there to remind me that “colleges are businesses.” She helped me position my application to look the best, but constantly reminded me not to be fussed about a deferral letter or a rejection. “It just wasn’t meant to be,” she’d say. Having such a positive outlook over my shoulder to help me during a pretty emotional time in my life made the process in its entirety less stressful, and so much more exciting.

As a parent, of course she had her worries too. She hoped I’d chose a university that was “forward thinking” in its curriculum, one where its degree would speak volumes on my resume. I applied exclusively to schools with good reputations, ones that would catapult my future career and provide me with state-of-the-art resources. Lucky for me, UMass does all of the above.

My mom also wanted me to be exposed to so much more than my bubble of a southeastern Connecticut town had offered me. She pushed that I go to a school that valued inclusive culture and social justice — I was raised in a household where we were encouraged to fight for what we stand for, and she wanted me to choose a school that did exactly the same.

As I said, above anything, she wanted me to be happy. I with no doubt can vouch that my three years here have been the three happiest of my life.

Upon my choosing UMass, my mom was happy to see that I’d be going to a reputable, big-name school that would provide me with an amazing education and outstanding alumni connections. She hoped that whatever program I chose, it would be relevant to today’s job market — which is definitely the case with the extensive resources at UMass.

My attending UMass was guaranteed after our visit to the accepted students tour. It was informative, and ensured my mom that I could have both the advantage and discipline of a small school along with the scope and scale provided by a large school. Seeing how much the students giving our tour loved being at UMass made my mom and I both fall in love with the campus. And when seeing the state-of-the-art classrooms, she knew I’d be given the best opportunities at UMass. The opportunities to study abroad, intern, get certifications, and so much more are very impressive to her.

As I continue my third year at UMass, my mom has never been more proud of me. We have daily phone calls where I give her details about my academic and social life, and she’s in awe of what great opportunities I’ve received through faculty and on-campus resources. When she comes to visit, we spend our time mostly in Amherst Center, at restaurants like Judies, High Horse, and Johnny’s Tavern. Amherst is also perfect for road trips, with my proximity to nearby towns in New Hampshire and Vermont.

I didn’t know quite what to expect upon deciding where to go to college. If it wasn’t for my mother, I don’t know that I would have been as successful in my application as I turned out to be. Her knowledge and willingness to help me provided me with all the information I needed to make the right decision on where I should spend my four years at college, and for that I am eternally grateful. I have no doubt that her encouragement to say yes to UMass was the best advice I’ve taken in my life.

 

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What I eat in a day

Picture of yogurt, an apple, and an iced coffee with caption “What I eat in a day at UMass"

Here at UMass, the variety of foods offered across campus are endless. Through different flavors and choices, you are guaranteed to find something you like, while maintaining healthy options, too. It’s no wonder UMass has been ranked #1 campus dining four years in a row! Here are my usual daily go-tos on campus.