The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Jessie Harrington

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Hello everyone! My name is Jessie Harrington and I'm a sophomore here at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I'm majoring in Hospitality and Tourism (HTM) and am specifically interested in hotel management. I'm super excited to be a student blogger and share my experiences with everyone as I navigate my way through my second year here at UMass Amherst! 

Where I'm From:

I'm from Ipswich MA, a small coastal town an hour north of Boston, MA. Our town is known for its clams, beaches, and marshes. My downtown area is much like Amherst's: not very big but filled with a decent amount of restaurants and small shops. 

Where I am Currently:

Like many others, I am currently learning remotely this semester from the comfort my small hometown! I hope to be back on campus once it's safe to do so, but for now I'll be enjoying my time here at home with my family. 

Why UMass Amherst?

I chose UMass Amherst for a number of reasons. First off, it has my major. Hospitality and tourism isn't a major offered by all schools and the Isenberg School of Management has a very good reputation. Next comes the food. You can't forget about the dining around here and let me just say, it has been absolutely phenomenal so far. It's also only a two-hour drive from where I grew up, so convenience was another factor that came into play. Financially it was also one of my smarter options. Overall UMass Amherst has so much to offer through clubs, academics, internships, etc. 

Why my major?

I chose HTM because I always knew I wanted to go into the business field. I worked at a restaurant all through high school, which introduced me to the world of customer service. I realized that I could combine my love of the service industry with my passion for travel through HTM. 

Community Involvement

I'm currently very active in two major-related clubs here at UMass Amherst: Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) and American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). I'm the PR chair for CMAA and I'm also an HTM Ambassador. 

Random Facts About Me

  • I have a dog named Bruce! He's named after the shark in Finding Nemo.
  • I was adopted from China as a baby.
  • I'm not very musical... I played the cello for 5 years but was never good at it
  • I'm really into photography and photo editing. My favorite editing software is Adobe Lightroom.
  • I hope to study abroad for at least a semester in college if not more, traveling has always interested me.
  • Along those lines, I've been to Peru and France. Both very different, but super cool!
  • I ran Track and XC all through HS but will not be continuing in college. 
  • I still like to stay active and enjoy being outside hiking, kayaking, or just exploring.

My Content

Letter to my Past Self

Photo of Jessie wearing a University of Massachusetts tshirt and text reading: Dear High School Self, Don't Stress too much ultimately you'll end up loving where you go, and it'll work out in the end. I know change can be really scary but it'll be a lot easier than you think!

Right now you’re busy with preparing for the next step in your life: filling out scholarship applications, revisiting your top schools, watching videos on how to prepare for college, and deciding on where to spend your next four years. Take a deep breath, try not to stress too much, because I’m here to assure you everything is going to work out. 

You’re probably really stressed right now about the college decision process, as you don’t want to make the “wrong” choice. Ultimately you’ll end up loving where you go, and it’ll work out in the end. I know change can be really scary but it’ll be a lot easier than you think! 

Organization Spotlight: University Programming Council

Collage of members of the UPC at the University of Massachusetts, with text reading Organization Spotlight: Umass Programming Council (UPC)

Executive Director Rutvik Shah describes the council as “a diverse group of students working together to better the campus life at UMass Amherst”. The council plans and organize many different events featuring guest speakers, the performing arts, concerts, late night programming, and other special events. In addition to planning events, the UPC promotes and markets their events from the ground up. All events and programs are planned for students, by students.

Break Blog: Five of my Favorite Ways to Unwind

Jessie's dog stands on a beach wearing a red hat and bow

The college decision process can be super stressful, and just two years ago I was feeling the same mix of emotions you’re probably feeling right now. Especially when combined with the excitement of the holiday season, it can be hard to find times to take a break, but it’s even more important now to do so! I’m going to share some of my five favorite ways to unwind, and hope to inspire you with these ideas. 

Things I'll Do When I Return To Campus

Jessie and two friends sit in the stands at the Mullins Center at the University of Massachusetts

This fall, the University of Massachusetts campus looked very different from it’s normal busy and bustling state. The campus, often thought of as it’s own mini city, hosted approximately 1,000 students on campus this fall. While life on campus may have been much quieter than normal this semester, we all look forward to a day soon when we can return to campus. Here are just a few of the things that I look forward to experiencing when I'm back at UMass! 

Meet the Major: Hospitality and Tourism Management

The facade of the Business Innovation Hub at the Isenberg School of Management reflects the morning light at the University of Massachusetts

Want to know more about the world of hospitality but don’t know where to begin? Well then, you’ve come across the right blog! Here at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, our Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) prepares students to become leaders in the hospitality industry — one of the world’s largest industries, with endless possibilities for a meaningful and dynamic career. 

Summer Weekend Getaway: 2020 Edition

Image of a large lake, with a boulder and tree in the foreground, and text reading Fourth of July Weekend Getaway

During these unusual times, I’ve been looking for ways to get out of the house while following social distancing guidelines and adjusting to the “new normal” we’ve been creating these last few months. I’ve been longing for a new, and safe, excursion. Lucky for me, I was able to satisfy my travel itch over the fourth of July weekend when I headed up north with my boyfriend and his family to Maine for a relaxing weekend getaway.

My experience at UMass Amherst with a Disability

Jessie smiles while sitting on the campus of the University of Massachusetts

Growing up with a bilateral hearing loss, I struggled to feel like I fit in with my peers while still making sure I was receiving the academic accommodations I needed. Over the yearsI have used a number of different resources, such as FMs (a type of assistive hearing device) and assigned seating, and found out which accommodations do, and do not, work well for me.

Club Spotlight:UMass Dynamics

The University of Massachusetts Dynamics at Wachusett Mountain for a gig
Here at the University of Massachusetts we have lots of opportunities to shine for those with musical talent. For students who love to sing, one of the many ways you can get involved here on campus is through joining one of our nine a cappella groups. UMass Dynamics is one of the oldest co-ed a cappella groups here on campus, founded back in 2005. The group tries to keep a fairly diverse setlist, however their current songs have a strong emphasis on R&B music.

Meet the Major: Exploratory Track in Natural Sciences

University of Massachusetts student Matthew on a beach with text reading: Meet the Major: Exploratory Track in Natural Sciences

Like many other first-year students, Matthew Bird wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life when he came to college. He knew he had a strong passion for science, and that he wanted to be able to explore the options within the field, making the exploratory track in natural sciences a perfect match. The exploratory tracks are designed for students coming into UMass Amherst who are exploring options before choosing a major.

Exploring the City that Never Sleeps with UMass Amhersts’ AHLA Club

University of Massachusetts student Jessie in on 43rd Street in NYC

This past Veteran’s Day weekend I went to New York City with the American Hospitality and Lodging Association (AHLA). The AHLA here at the University of Massachusetts Amherst focuses on giving members insight into the hotel industry, and provides students with lots of networking opportunities. While in NYC I got to experience seeing the hotel industry firsthand and was immersed in the real-world experience of the hotel and hospitality industry.

My First Homecoming at the University of Massachusetts!

Campus Instagram celebrity at the University of Massachusetts, @goodboyoncampus

All weekend, UMass Amherst alumni proudly strolled around campus sporting UMass Amherst gear, and attended the various events hosted by the university. When passing a group of older alumni, I jokingly mentioned to my friend how that’d be us one day. It was amazing to see the large turnout of alumni that came back for homecoming weekend, ranging from the class of 1969 to 2018. It just goes to show just how connected and loyal UMass Amherst alumni still are to the school!

Seven Things I Learned in my First Month at the University of Massachusetts

Students walking in front of the minuteman statue at the University of Massachusetts

Reflecting on my first month as a student at the University of Massachusetts, I realize it has been a time of adjustment and growth. My best preparations weren’t always enough for every possibility, but I also found myself challenged, trying new things, and making connections that will help me get accustomed to life away from home and family. All that being said let’s talk about key things I learned!

Why I Chose UMass Amherst

A University of Massachusetts tour guide walks on campus with a group on a beautiful, sunny, fall day.

If you’d asked me a year ago where I would end up for college, I probably would’ve shrugged my shoulders and told you I was “still figuring it out.” I have a habit of putting off things I don’t want to deal with till the last minute. This includes large life-changing decisions like choosing a college.