Finding a college with both the right program and a good location can be hard to come by, but the University of Massachusetts was a perfect fit for KC Ruiz. A Springfield, Mass., native, she wanted a school close enough to home where she could see her family, but far enough to maintain her independence. She also wanted a school that would allow her to explore her interest in art history. UMass Amherst was just the place!
KC entered college originally as an art history major, as she fell in love with its themes and ideas following a class she took in high school. However, she quickly realized the job opportunities with only an art history degree were limited. So, she added psychology as her primary major and kept art history as a minor. She chose psychology because she’s always had a passion for helping others, and hopes to work with people when she graduates.
The combination of art history and psychology allow her classes to vary in size, which she says is beneficial in different ways. KC prefers her smaller, more hands-on classes, but said she learns more in her big classes because lectures are much more information-heavy. This will help her come time to consider job options or graduate school, because she will have both necessary hands-on experience from her discussion-based classes, as well as a variety of needed information from her studies.
Her favorite class so far has been Art History 314: Sexuality Drama and Invention: the Baroque Artist in Italy. Here she learns about specific artists and architects who defined Rome in the Baroque period, studying their work closely as it relates to the themes of sexuality, drama, and invention. She added that her professor is “really nice,” which is always a plus.
Overall, KC has liked her professors in both psychology and art history. It’s obvious her teachers really care about their students and this has helped tremendously to facilitate a more beneficial learning environment.
The job options in psychology and art history individually differ largely, but together can make for a really interesting career path. Alone, art history students mostly go into museum curating or teaching. Psychology is more broad, as the options include (but are not limited to) consulting for a company, psychiatry (with the right postgraduate education), working in hospitals, social working, public relations, etc. KC plans to use her degree to work in a hospital, specifically with foster children. She’d be able to do this working closely with social workers. She also discussed the potential of art therapy, but said she would need a certain artistic background to do so. Eventually, she wants to get her master's degree in psychology.
Outside of her classes and studying, KC works two jobs -- one on campus at Franklin Dining Commons and one off campus at Bart's Ice Cream in Amherst Center. She said these help take her mind off her heavy course load. Besides juggling school work and two jobs, she also manages to spend time with her friends and distracts herself by getting away from campus to explore all of what Amherst has to offer-- whether it's lunch downtown or a trip to the movies!