The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Must-Take Classes at UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst professor talking to a seminar class. Text: "Must-take classes at UMass - Learn how to scuba dive for credit"

Amidst all the delightfully difficult classes you will take in college, sometimes you will stumble upon an incredibly fun one! Whether you’re trying to check off gen-ed requirements or just want to get credit for having fun, UMass Amherst gives students the opportunity to make some incredible memories. Below are five of my top recommendations for must-take classes that are guaranteed to broaden your horizons.

Spring Break Trips: What Not to Do

As wintery mixes of snow and homework blues swirl around January and February, there is always one thing that college students alike will look forward to…spring break! I have spent two spring breaks at home enjoying extra sleep and relaxation and two breaks traveling around the world. Last year I was abroad in Europe, so I spent my break in Florence, Rome, and Dublin! This past week I was in Iceland for my last spring break. This trip was a lot different than many of my previous travels, but was one of the best adventures I have ever been on!

A Roll of the Dice

Selfie

You’ve heard a million stories, I’m sure, about the roommates who met on the first day of college and went on to be best friends. It’s a classic tale of bonding over TV shows, nights spent doing homework, and joking with the people across the hall. It is one of the best parts of college, a unique friendship that comes entirely from a random, computer generated assignment. At the end of the day though, it is just that: random.

Abroad: A Learning Curve

UMass students in Barcelona

Abroad... it is truly as amazing an experience as everyone says. It's crazy to think that you just get to get up, leave, and live in a new city for four months. However, much like anything new, being abroad presents a huge learning curve. It's all a part of the experience. Here are some tips for future abroad students from someone who is currently abroad and has lived/is still living through the learning curve:

When to Start Planning for Study Abroad

Glen Coe, Scotland

I knew long before I came to college that I wanted to study abroad. It started way back when my older sister, now long graduated (from UMass as well), was going on college visits during her last few years in high school. I tagged along on a lot of these visits and was always blown away by the stories people told about their study abroad experiences. That, coupled with my love of travel, meant that I had made up my mind long before I even had to think about college: I was going to study abroad. So when the time came, and I was finally going off to college, that was something always in the back of my mind.

Keeping the Door Open

Hanging in the Quad with Friends at the University of Massachusetts

As a freshman, you will repeatedly hear people telling you to keep your dorm room door open to make friends. Of course, as a young and totally cool college student you may be tempted to ignore this advice. However, I swear it is not just some tall tale they tell freshmen to convince them that making friends is easy. I have personally found that keeping the door open, both literally and conceptually, has helped me make friends in college.

How to Beat Homesickness at UMass

UMass students and a snowman

My first semester of college was rough, I can't lie. While I made great friends and took intresting classes, I couldn’t shake the constant feeling of loneliness and homesickness. For me, the feeling of homesickness was like having a constant knot in my stomach and feeling perpetually stressed out. I missed the way things were in high school; I missed my close friends, the team pasta parties, the monotonous class schedule, and the comfortable feeling of knowing exactly what to expect. 

 

Science Can be Fun??

Ever since high school I knew that a career in science was for me. As much as I loved every second of learning about chromosomes, organelles and the endosymbiotic theory....there are definitely times when I wished that I had picked a different field of study. These moments may include when you have to go into lab at 10:30 p.m. on a Friday night to check your bacterial plates, or when you spend hours on end working on an experiment just to get a small percent yield and want to cry on the spot. Yes, science has its hardships and its pitfalls, but there is truly nothing better than when you grasp a complex concept or complete an experiment correctly.

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