College is a pivotal time of learning in a student’s life. While you will without a doubt be learning in the classroom, I think a lot of people underestimate how much students grow outside of it as well. Looking back at who I was in high school, I cannot believe how different I am and how much I have grown. My time in college has taught me crucial skills and has given me experiences that I will hold with me for the rest of my life. So, what have I learned outside of the classroom? Let’s take a look at three of the things that I have learned at the University of Massachusetts Amherst outside of the classroom.
Attending a large university like UMass Amherst, independence was one of the first skills I developed, and arguably one of my most cherished attributes I learned in college. While transitioning to college is a big change for any student, I feel like the transition into UMass is a bit different than a traditional university.
UMass is large, home to a diverse population of students and faculty, has many different ways to get involved, and a multitude of different residential halls and dining options to choose from, adding to the depth of UMass culture. Due to this, it can be rather easy to feel lost and overwhelmed here. While UMass has a multitude of amazing resources to aid students, it is really up to the student to determine if they want to utilize these resources or not. Because of this, I found myself having to grow increasingly independent.
Not only was this my first time living away from home, but I also had to make a whole new group of friends, get good grades, build up my experiences, find a job, find myself, and so much more that it almost forced me to become independent. While during my first year in college I undoubtedly struggled with this transition, now as a junior I am so thankful that UMass pushed me to be independent. Independence is such a crucial life skill, especially in college, and I know how different and difficult my life would be without this trait.
Time management is arguably a college student's most beneficial tool. With multiple classes, jobs, exams, homework, and finding time to hang out with friends and relax, students need to have strong time-management skills to get through college stress-free. When I first started college, I was extremely nervous that I would not be able to balance everything that college life was about to throw at me. With a fresh planner in hand, a bunch of sticky note reminders, and more coffee than I am willing to admit, I conquered the stress of managing my time efficiently during my first year. As my time progressed, I found myself developing this skill further, and now find it rather easy to balance everything that college throws at me. While no single class will necessarily teach you how to manage your time efficiently, my experience thus far at UMass has truly pushed me to manage my time to succeed here and beyond.
Here at UMass, I have met people from all walks of life. From various life experiences, different cultural upbringings, living in different states and countries, no two people I have met here have ever been the same. For many students, their college life may be remarkably different than what they experienced in high school. While I did go to a rather large and diverse public high school, nothing could have truly prepared me for what was to come at UMass.
With UMass being so large, you are going to meet many new and interesting people. Many of these students will be different than you. They will have different struggles, different cultures, and different stories. These differences are one of the many reasons I cherish UMass so greatly. These differences taught me the importance of acceptance.
While you will meet students who are unlike yourself, their stories will impact you in greater ways than you may realize. UMass has taught me the importance of acceptance and embracing those around you who may be unlike yourself. I am grateful for all the things I have been exposed to at college, an experience I may have lacked if I was not as fortunate to attend.