The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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David James

Bio: 

My name is David James and I'm a junior Communication major here at UMass. I'm from North Attleborough Massachusetts, which is about two hours away from UMass, the perfect distance for feeling the freedom of leaving the nest for the first time, while also being able to bring laundry when I miss my dog too much and need to make a quick trip home. My favorite part about UMass is that there's always something going on to keep me busy. With watching division one athletic games, working out in our state of the art Campus Rec Center, enjoying a screening of a movie, making friends in intramural sports, attending lectures or events to boost my professional career, and literally hundreds of other options available to me (all for free) every week, I've found that I've bettered myself, while enjoying myself, more than I ever have before during my time at UMass. Or as I now call it, home.

My Content

Construction never stops at UMass, and that's a good thing

UMass students walking by the Student Uniond, which is under construction

Everyone’s been on a college tour that’s been affected by campus construction. Here at UMass, construction seems nonstop, as the university continually working to improve its resources and image. Currently, the Student Union building is undergoing a major renovation, and the university is also in the process of building a brand new 87,000 square-foot dining hall, both set to open in the fall of 2020. And when they’re done, the new buildings will definitely be worth the wait and detours.

Utilizing Your Career Centers

Isenberg Chase Career Center

Along with the general Career Center at UMass, many academic colleges have a “career center,” such as the Chase Career Center (pictured above) that represents the Isenberg School of ManagementAs stated on their website, the mission of the Chase Career Center is “to help Isenberg students discover and build a well-thought-out career plan that will allow them to develop the essential skills and insights to launching their optimal career path.” Regular events hosted or set up by career centers include career fairs, networking events with alumni, employer presentations, and a full year of on campus recruiting activity. They also serve to help students with internships, résumés, cover letters and interview skills.

Alumni Networking

UMass alumni networking event

My father has always told me, “It’s all about who you know, and who knows you.” When choosing the right university for me, I weighed that into my decision heavily. I cared a lot about having a big alumni network, and one that’s strong. There are a lot of qualified graduates competing for entry-level jobs just out of college, and sometimes the difference can be having a connection with the employers. Going to a school with a strong alumni network sets you up to make more connections with adults in hiring positions that could be the difference in that competition.

Opportunities in Sports at the McCormack Department of Sport Management Career Fair

UMass McCormack Sports & Management job fair

In my first blog on this site I wrote about the perks of going to the university with the top public business school in New England. I was amazed by some of the companies in attendance at Isenberg’s career fair. Dell, IBM, Toyota, PepsiCo, Liberty Mutual, Raytheon, TJX, Bose, and some of “The Big Four” accounting firms — just to name a few — came looking to hire UMass students back in September.

Mock Interviews

UMass student doing a mock interview

It’s fairly common now to see high school students with a job. Retail, food, maintenance — whatever that first job was, you probably had to interview for it. In my case, it was working for a local dollar store. I figured that would be simple enough and that I wouldn’t need to treat the interview as anything more than signing my work papers. But when asked questions like why I wanted to work there and what skills I brought to the table, I was completely caught off-guard. In fact, I responded, “Just to have some money for gas, and I’m good at math … so, being a cashier should be easy.”

Halloween Surf 'N Turf: A Tradition Like No Other

Halloween surf n turf

Every school has some sort of tradition unique to it. From singing a fight song in a specific place to rubbing a statue for good luck, there’s some quirky thing every college student appreciates about their school. Here at UMass, my favorite tradition is the “All Treats, No Tricks” steak and lobster dinner. For the 17th year in a row, this continued on Halloween night.

Major Fair

UMass major fair

Are you unsure of career you want to go into? Or what you want to major in? That’s not a problem at UMass. There are so many people on this campus that are here to help you. Whether it be peer mentors in your dorm, advisors in a specific school, advisors within a specific major, peer advisors in either category, and others, many people are always eager to talk and ready to help you.

Making Friends Through Intramural Sports

UMass club flag football

When I chose to come to a big school like UMass, a major source of anxiety for me was thinking about how I was going to branch out and make new friends. I come from a small town, I'm an introvert, my three best friends live in my neighborhood, and we’ve been in the same school since we were in first grade. Being away from them and everyone else I was close to from home was a legitimate concern.

Movie Night in Mullins

Movie night at the Mullins Center

Through the college search process, I remember a few different schools promoting how they had “Free Movie Night” in a lounge in the Student Union Building where they showed films that just got to Blu-ray. I never really thought much of it. Sitting in a folding chair watching a movie that had come out four months ago didn’t really seem all that intriguing to me. If I really had that much of a desire to watch the movie I probably would have paid the $7-10 ticket to watch it when it came out. I like movies and I like free stuff but it never really seemed like a unique experience that stood out at any school.

A Blog About Dogs

Service dogs at UMass

Midterm and final exams are stressful. Nobody can deny that. In most classes, tests matter much more significantly to your overall grade than they did in high school, and if you’re unlucky, you may have two back-to-back on a Monday and a paper due at midnight.

Reasons I Love UMass: The People

UMass pond and library

Yesterday, I lost my wallet. I didn’t notice until a few hours after my last class of the day ended, but as soon as I realized I didn’t have it I began retracing my steps. I searched the dining halls, the classrooms I was in, and my residence hall, and I couldn’t find it anywhere. But what surprised me was how genuinely helpful everyone I came across was. Both dining hall managers and two professors in the classrooms I went to could not have been nicer.

Getting an On-Campus Job

Dining Commons job posting for UMass students

The single smartest thing I’ve done in my time at UMass is getting an on-campus job. In fact, I'm fortunate enough to have two of them. Aside from serving as a student blogger, I’m also a student assistant in the athletic communications department. Both jobs are within walking distance from my dorm, I get to choose my hours, my pay isn't taxed (an added bonus), and I get real-world experience by applying my major in the workforce.

Avoiding the "Freshman 15"

Collage of four images from the UMass Dining Commons, Recreation Center, and Farmers Market. Text: "Avoiding the Freshman 15"

When bragging about how my school is number one for Best Campus Dining — for the third year in a row — I’m often hit with one of two reactions: “Man I need to transfer there now,” or “I’d be so fat if I went to UMass." The latter of the two is a common misconception that deserves to be corrected. In my experience, I actually lost weight during my first semester and hit the "Freshman 15" over winter break when I went back home. I was so bored sitting around all day that I resorted to snacking every fifteen minutes.

Reason Number One I Love UMass: The Opportunities

Networking at a UMass job fair

When trying to decide whether I wanted to attend a big school or a small school back in high school, the answer was easy. I was drawn to large campuses for many reasons. The sheer number of alumni larger schools produced for networking, the environment at athletic events, resources some small schools don’t have the budget for, etc. But one thing I never considered — and haven’t appreciated enough until this year — are all the opportunities UMass offers to better yourself professionally.