Meet Kolby Silva, a senior here at the University of Massachusetts Amherst majoring in psychology with a minor in education and a certificate in social work. Here at the UMass Amherst campus, she is a tour guide, a residential assistant, and a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority.
With so many lasting memories made here at the UMass Amherst campus, Kolby’s time here is quickly coming to an end. Senior year, for both high school and college students alike, is a time of change and reflection. To help make this transition a bit more clear and hopefully less stressful, here is Kolby’s advice for high school seniors preparing to embark on their college journeys, from one senior to another.
What made you decide to attend UMass Amherst when you were applying to colleges?
When I was originally a biology major on the premed track I was initially attracted to the fact that it was a research campus, and that it had a really high acceptance rate for medical school. What kept me after I change my major was the abundance of opportunities that have allowed me to professionally and personally develop. I have been able to explore every aspect of my major through research assistantships, internships, and even volunteering, which has helped hone my career path and discover what I want to do post-graduation. In addition, the school spirit here is unmatched. I have met with alumni that are still filled with a sense of school spirit that they had when they first attended UMass Amherst, and are more than excited to speak with a fellow student. This kind of school pride is instilled within every one of our students here, whether it be cheering on our hockey team at the Mullins Center or hearing about fellows students' passions and interests at the activities expo. UMass Amherst is a place that is focused on providing a community for their students and makes it simple to make it your home away from home. Since we are such a big school, everyone here has a big heart to match. And like I always say on my tours, it is easy to make a big school small but it is hard to make a small school big.
How did you decide on your major?
I knew I wanted to do something in healthcare that was very individual-based and realized that becoming a doctor was not the right career path for me. So, I did some research and soul searching and found that I wanted to help people through their problems and found the best way to do that is through a career in psychology. I have loved my experience as a psychology major and have loved learning about the wide range of topics within the field, such as developmental psychology and educational psychology.
What is your favorite UMass memory?
My favorite memory at UMass was my sorority's big/little reveal where I met my lifelong friend Shannon. Shannon just graduated last year with a degree in Food Science and is currently working as a Beer Contact Material Analyst at Anheuser-Busch in St. Louis, Missouri. Even though she has already graduated and we are 1,000 miles apart, we still make sure to have weekly facetime sessions and catch up on each other's lives.
What are your prospective post-UMass plans? How has your time at UMass prepared you for this?
After graduating from UMass Amherst, I plan to work toward a master's in social work and become a child therapist. UMass has provided me with a variety of resources and opportunities that have helped me professionally and personally develop. It has also helped me hone my skills and prepared me for the intensive curriculum that I will face while obtaining my master's and state license.
What advice would you give to a high school senior interested in attending UMass Amherst?
Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. I wasted a big portion of my freshman year In my dorm room thinking people would come to me and I would make friends that way. I learned that in order to make connections I have to be willing to put the work in and get out of my comfort zone. As a result, I have surrounded myself with a group of lifelong friends that I will be able to reminisce with on our UMass Amherst days when we are all old and wrinkly.