The first time I ever set foot on to the University of Massachusetts campus was in the spring of my junior year of high school. Amidst an array of college tours, SAT practice tests, and AP exam studying, I can’t honestly say I took the time to appreciate the little beauties UMass Amherst had to offer-- rather, I worried that my application would not be up to par. Questions ran through my head the entire time I was there, as they would any stressed out high school junior: “What if my extracurriculars aren’t good enough?” “Have I taken enough AP classes?” “What if I’m not accepted?”
The December of my senior year, seconds before going on stage to perform my last winter choir concert in my entire high school career, I got an email. “Congratulations!” it read. “You have been accepted to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Class of 2021.” I was ecstatic. Safe to say, my constant worrying of whether or not I’d be accepted to schools brought me nothing.
Life tip: don’t underestimate yourself.
When I visited UMass Amherst in the spring of my senior year, I came with an entirely new perspective. With the weight of college acceptance lifted from my shoulders, I was ready to see where the next four years of my life could take me. So, rather than worrying about the overall gist of the school -- the programs, the buildings, the population, the class size, and so much more, I noticed the little things. “What were the students wearing?” “Did they look happy?” “How would my little legs (I’m only 5’3”) maneuver such long walks to class?”
A friend of mine told me to inspect my potential college campuses to see if the people there held doors for you. Naturally, I put this to test during my first visit to UMass. I remember being happy to announce that every single person held the door for me -- which, in my opinion, speaks volumes to the character of the student body.
I remember being astounded by how good the food was. #1 campus dining is by no means an understatement -- and that’s coming from a tough critic. Perhaps the biggest thing that stuck out to me when I visited, however, was how happy everyone at the campus seemed. The school spirit was tangible. The dozens of students gathered across the bright green lawns in UMass hoodies with smiling faces made me realize how much I valued having a feeling of community at wherever I ended up. Visiting UMass made me realize how much I wanted to go to a big school -- one where I could, in all my four years, continue to find little hidden treasures throughout campus and around Amherst. One where I wouldn’t get bored.
UMass, in my three years so far, has brought me all of this and so much more.