The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Michaela Jampierre

Michaela Jampierre's picture

Bio: 

Hi! My name is Michaela Jampierre,  I'm a junior at UMass and I'm from Connecticut. I study communication and journalism, and am a member of the Chi Omega sorority on campus.This semester, I'm most excited to learn about digital communication on a broader scale. This job allows me to pair my love for writing with digital media, and I can't wait to learn more from it!

Where is your hometown, and how does it compare to Amherst?

Westport, Connecticut, is a small town bordering the Long Island Sound in southwestern Connecticut. Like Amherst, Westport is quaint, community-oriented, and has a cute downtown center perfect for a day out with friends or family. Amherst is a bit bigger in population, but you immediately get the same hominess-feel as you enter both towns. I find myself missing things about both places when I’m not there!

Where do you live on campus?

I currently live in an apartment in the Honors College, and I absolutely adore its proximity to everything on campus. I’m within a five minute walk to my daily go-to spots: the ILC, Blue Wall, and the Rec Center. I also love being so close to my other friends on campus, who mostly live with me in Honors or next to me in Southwest. 

Why did you choose UMass Amherst?

I chose UMass mostly for its closeness to my home. I wanted to be at a school far enough for me to feel like I was really away for college, but close enough so that getting home for a weekend isn’t too difficult (Westport is about two hours away). I also felt as though of the schools I applied for, UMass was by far the most advanced in their communication field in terms of the resources offered and its faculty, which I knew would have a tremendous impact on how much I like my major (and I really love my major).

Why did you chose your major?

I entered college as a communication major, and added journalism as my secondary during the middle of my freshman year. I did so because I knew I liked writing, and degrees in the social sciences have very writing-heavy curriculums. I also enjoy staying up to date with what goes on in our day-to-day world, and being in touch with current events is essential with my majors (especially journalism). 

What's something that most people don't know or wrongly assume about your major?

People often refer to communication as a “second undecided,” wrongfully assuming that the field has no solid curriculum or path of interest. Although it is definitely broad/not as "traditional" as other majors, communication is a quintessential aspect of our daily lives that is often overlooked. Comm is by no means “easy,” and for me personally, I love being able to apply one single major to pretty much any aspect of any field — employers will always need someone with the ability to communicate well! Also, journalism is not a “dying field.” It’s simply transformed to be more digitally-based, taking into account the importance visual communication (just like everything else in this generation). 

What do you want to do after you graduate?

Post graduation, I always thought I wanted to be on TV as a commentator on E! News or something of the sort. It was only until I took a TV and Film concept class where I realized I would hate being on TV! With my change of heart, I’ve recently been interested in PR, whether that be writing for a company or anything to help a business on the corporate level. Ideally, I’d live in a city like Boston or New York.

What activities and organizations are you part of? How have they contributed to your experience at UMass?

Along with creating content for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, I am a member of Chi Omega and work as an assistant for the Residential Life Office. Some of my most rewarding moments on campus have been spent with my sorority sisters, whether it be through philanthropy events or showing support for other Greek organizations on campus. I was definitely intimidated by the size of UMass as an incoming freshman, which is why getting involved on campus is important — you meet so many amazing people in college. On a campus that offers so much, it feels so good to give back!

My Content

What I eat in a day

Picture of yogurt, an apple, and an iced coffee with caption “What I eat in a day at UMass"

Here at UMass, the variety of foods offered across campus are endless. Through different flavors and choices, you are guaranteed to find something you like, while maintaining healthy options, too. It’s no wonder UMass has been ranked #1 campus dining four years in a row! Here are my usual daily go-tos on campus.

Campus Safety at UMass

UMass blue light system. Text: "Campus Safety at UMass"

UMass recognizes the importance of campus security, and does the absolute most they can to make sure each and every student feels safe while they’re here. Whether that be walking to your dorm late at night, or opening your building door for someone — the university stresses the importance of feeling comfortable and secure here on campus.

Thoughts from a UMass Parent

Selfie of a Umass student with her mother. Text: "Thoughts from a UMass Parent"

When applying to college, my mom encouraged me to attend a school where I thought I’d be happiest. Of course, she wanted me to choose a major that would supply me with job security, but she wanted me to enjoy my four years wherever I decided to go to. Due to my own lack of career direction, she guided me to consider what I knew I liked. For example, when thinking of what I wanted to major in, she encouraged that I do something that entailed working with people, because she knows the sociable side of me. Ultimately, I am now a communication and journalism student, and I attribute the success of my college journey to my mother. 

My College Journey

W.E.B. DuBois Library with text: My College Journey

Westport, Connecticut, where I grew up, is a quaint and affluent town on the New York border, facing the Long Island Sound. There, going to college wasn’t a privilege but rather an expectation. Competition across the student body was fierce, and the pool of schools that we were encouraged to apply to was minimal.

How I Wrote my College Essay

Blurred image of spiral notebook with header saying How to: Write a college essay

I come from a long family line of people who are educated. My grandmother, an NYU graduate, was among the first in her family to go to college. My mother graduated from Boston College, and my sister just recently earned her master's at Brandeis University. I had high expectations to be met, and — to be 100 percent transparent — going to college was part of my life plan as something I always looked forward to, rather than an aspiration. As schools were beginning to use a more holistically based grading system, I knew that my essay would impact the decision of my acceptance. So, whatever topic I chose to write about, I knew it had to be a good one.

Meet the Major: Fashion Marketing & Merchandising

Fashion Marketing student sitting on steps outside of UMass Campus Center on sunny September day.

Anneliese Vogt, a third year student here on campus, knew she always had an affinity for all things fashion. Never did she think, however, she’d be able to attend school for essentially every aspect of the field. To her surprise through UMass’s Bachelors Degree with Individual Concentration (BDIC) she has been able to do exactly that.

Spring Speaker 2019

Camille Kostek speaks at UMass

On Monday night the UMass Campus Center Auditorium was graced with the presence of Camille Kostek, the Sports Illustrated 2019 Rookie of the Year and girlfriend to the newly retired Pats player Rob Gronkowski. She visited campus as the designated annual Spring Speaker to share her story in the modeling industry.

UMass Financial Aid 101

Let’s face it. College is expensive. However, there are several ways to cut down on expenses, whether it be via scholarships, loans, or working. Luckily, UMass understands the challenges families sometimes face and provides plenty of resources on campus to help students cover these costs.

6! Weeks! Left!

Integrated Learning Center at UMass on a gray day, seen across the Campus Pond

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: time really does fly. In only a mere six weeks, I will be packing up my Central dorm room and heading back to my Connecticut hometown. This summer, I will most likely be a Guest Services Associate at a local country club again, the same as last year. My family has planned a small trip to Martha’s Vineyard and Canada, and I look forward most to relaxing and (hopefully) being able to sleep in. While I cannot wait to have four months to not worry about schoolwork, I also know how much I will miss being at UMass.

The Importance of Volunteer Work

UMass students painting a fence. Text: The Importance of Volunteer Work

This past Wednesday I spent my evening selling chicken wings at “Wings for Wishes,” a philanthropic event sponsored by the Chi Omega sorority. All the proceeds we make at any event go to the Make a Wish Foundation. Although I wasn’t there for that long, it was a rewarding feeling to be a part of something that raises money for a good cause, and I look forward to doing more philanthropy work in the future.

Vegan? Vegetarian? UMass Dining has you covered

UMass chef displaying a plate of sushi. Text: Vegan? Vegetarian? Glten Free? UMass Dining has you covered

Don’t let the title of this blog post fool you. I’m not vegan or vegetarian, nor do I have any dietary restrictions (cheese is probably my favorite food ever). My roommate, however, is dairy free and is in the process of becoming gluten free. Luckily at UMass, she never goes hungry due to the many dietary-accommodating options offered not only in every dining hall but throughout campus.

Roommate Ups & Downs

Aerial photo of UMass dorms. Text: "Roommate Ups & Downs"

In my two years at UMass Amherst, I was fortunate enough to live with two girls who I absolutely adore and who have become some of my closest friends on campus. One I chose, and the other I was randomly assigned to. UMass excels in pairing roommates based upon your Housing Profile on Spire, where you list, in order of importance, how messy you are, how possessive you are of your belongings, etc. Regardless how much you like your roommate, however, having a roommate in general can have its ups and downs.

Applying All of Your Job Experiences

Intern's desk

My areas of employment since I began working as a 16 year old have ranged from retail, to food-making, to office assistance, to blog-writing… the list goes on and on. Some jobs I’ve liked more than others, and some I’ve found more beneficial (in terms of supplying me work experience) than others. However, I’ve been able to use basic values from each joband apply them to other jobs. No job experience I’ve made has truly gone to waste.

Spring Break is Coming Up!

Ocean at sunset

Tomorrow will be my last weekend before my spring break, and I couldn't be more excited to go home. Unlike high schools, most colleges host their spring breaks in March as opposed to April. This is probably because most colleges also release their students in May, instead of June. As the weather is still pretty cold in March, a lot of people visit warm locations to spend their week. This break I’ll be staying local, which is fine because I just want some well-deserved R&R.

Concert Addicts Beware

Concert at UMass Mullins Center

Every year, UMass pays to have top artists perform at Mullins Center, the school’s giant sports and entertainment complex. In my freshman year, we had performances by singers like 21 Savage, Big Sean, Khalid, Lil Yachty, and Cardi B. This weekend, the school has hired Future, Ty Dolla Sign, and Gunna for Saturday afternoon. To any big concert goers reading this, you’ll definitely have your concert fix satisfied if you go here.

UMass #FTK

Penn State FTK event

Every year more than 400 college and high school campuses nationwide host dance marathons to raise money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a non-profit organization that benefits local children’s hospitals. It is the only non-profit that sends 100% of proceeds to more than 170 underfunded pediatric hospitals across the country in order to achieve its mission “to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible.”

Avoiding the Freshman 15

Student worker in Roots cafe at UMass

It may sound superficial, but one of my biggest fears going to college was gaining the Freshman 15. Given our reputation for good food, I thought it was inevitable that I’d come back home for Thanksgiving break as unrecognizably bigger. To my surprise, I actually lost weight my freshman year. Luckily, while UMass has some of the best comfort food I’ve ever tasted, UMass Dining also promotes fresh farm-to-table options with every meal. I used this to make sure that no matter what I ate, I always balanced it with something healthy on the side.

Feeling Overbooked?

Empty bench by the Connecticut River. Gray cloudy sky.

As the spring 2019 semester began, I decided my time at UMass would be wasted if I was not advantageous of the plethora of opportunities offered on campus. So, I decided to do what I do best and make a big mess. My schedule quickly went from chill and somewhat boring to requiring me to get up at 6:30 a.m. and not return to my room until 9 p.m. pretty much every day. I joined the Honors College, rushed a sorority, and picked up a second on-campus job, all on top of my five classes and other job that I was already responsible for. Because I love each individual thing I’m involved with on campus, I was excited for the non-stop hassle of each day as my days would be filled with me doing things I look forward to. Or so I thought.

What to do When You're Waitlisted

As you begin to hear back from colleges, it’s inevitable to worry about your potential admissions options. You may fear being rejected, or your heart might skip a beat at the thought of your acceptance. However, there are other scenarios that could happen. Your application may be deferred to a later acceptance time, or you may be put on a waitlist. Or, if you experience my luck, you may experience both.

Why Gen-Ed Requirements are Important

UMass students in class, professor writing on the white board. Text: Why Gen-Ed Requirements are Important

Any school you go to will have General Education (“gen-ed”) requirements necessary for graduation, no matter what your major is. Schools do this to create the “well-rounded” student, giving us a glimpse of every main focus of study as we work toward a specific degree. Gen-eds also allow us to explore all disciplines as we decide what area of study we wish to pursue. They could help shape what we find interesting. No one ever wants to take extra classes that don’t seem interesting at first, but gen-eds are actually a good way to broaden your knowledge. Though what I learned in my biology class freshman year may not have had the most long lasting impact on my collegiate career thus far, I still learned valuable information that could make for some fun facts now.

Essential Apps to Download in College

Phone screen with apps

In college, you use your phone a lot. It’s a simple fact. I find that, in college, hours spent with my screen increased shockingly, compared to when I’m home. Between staying close with my home friends via Snapchat and Instagram, or listening to music as I walk around campus, I inevitably turn to my phone more when I’m here. There are a lot of apps, however, that I would recommend any college student download, no matter how little you may use your phone.

Greek Life: Spring Rush

roses

Greek life has been a tradition on college campuses nationwide for more than 200 years now. While it’s a known fact that you meet people in sororities and fraternities (this being probably the main reason people are inclined to join), Greek life opens several doors to amazing opportunities that will follow you throughout your life:

Big Sports School

University of Massachusetts sports fans

As I’m sure all of you know by now, the New England Patriots just claimed their sixth championship this past annual Super Bowl. Having been raised on the New York border of Connecticut, the majority of my friends are Jets/Giants fans — therefore, the New England Patriots winning six times wouldn’t matter as much back home as it does here. However, having celebrated the Super Bowl in western Massachusetts for the second year now, I can vouch at least one thing: The New England Patriots winning for their sixth time means a lot here. 

My 2019 State of the Union

View of the Grand Canyon from an airplane window

When every New Year rings, I promise myself that I will change one (drastic) aspect of my life. For example, last year I said I was going to be healthier. Three days into the New Year I was back on my strict iced-latte-and-chocolate-only diet. Clearly, it’s safe to stay that I have a hard time sticking to my New Year’s resolutions. So, for 2019, I instead decided to make myself a State of the Union.

How I Decided My Majors

View of the ocean and sky through a car's windshield

When you tell people you’re a college student, I guarantee the first thing they’ll ask you is what your major is. They may ask about your future career path or what led you to decide your area of study. This can honestly be intimidating if you’re anything like me and have no idea what you want to do with your life. Luckily at UMass, there are 90 areas of study for you to choose from!

Mid-Year Thoughts

Black and white - ankle rain boots and iced coffee

As I begin my fourth semester at UMass, I’ve finally come to terms with the scary truth. College really does go by SO quickly. It’s something your parents will tell you time and time again as you begin your collegiate career. You’ll hear a lot of “take advantage of every moment, it goes by so fast” or “don’t get caught up in the trivial things; you’re only there for four years.” To me, four years seems like a long time. How can almost 1,500 days of our lives go by too soon?

UMass Fun Facts!

UMass in winter. Text: UMass Fun Facts!

College tours tend to seem redundant after a while, especially if you go on a lot of them. The tour guide will routinely share a generic fact about the school paired with some “secret” the campus has. These tours are meant to make the school seem unique, but as cheesy as it sounds, every campus truly is unique. Here are some fun facts unique to the University of Massachusetts that give us all the bragging rights we want.

International Movie Nights!

International movie night at UMass Amherst

A benefit of going to such a large school like UMass is that there are countless disciplines. If you’re at all unsure of what you want to study, I’m sure you will find something you like out of the 90 majors offered here. If not, you can always build your own with BDIC! Each academic college has specific requirements that must be met in order to get your degree. For example, I’m a member of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS), which entails that we receive a “Global Education.” This includes your choice of either 15 credits of a language, or six credits of the language and nine of its accompanied area study. I chose French as my place of study and am currently finishing my second language class before I move to to my area studies.

Student Co-Ops

Earthfoods Cafe at UMass. Text: "We're in Business! Successful student run co-ops right here at UMass

At UMass, students are encouraged to explore their interests and passions. Part of this means students can create their own businesses (as long as they follow certain criteria). There are several student run co-ops, such as restaurants and shops, that get a ton of customers and provide valuable work experience to their employees.

It's Schedule-Making Season!

UMass Old Chapel and library at sunset

Right before Thanksgiving break, students choose classes for next semester. On Spire, you are given a time slot when you are available to enroll. This time is randomized, but varies depending on what year you are in and how many credits you have taken. Prior to actually enrolling in the classes, you are able to add them to your “shopping cart.” People do this to organize what classes they want to take so that, in the event they are unable to take a class they wanted, they have an back-up at hand to sign up for instead. It can be stressful figuring out what to take, especially if you’re an underclassman or if you have too many classes that you want to take in your "shopping cart."

My Experience with Intramural Sports

Basketball courts at the UMass Rec Center

Yesterday was my first time ever competing in an intramural basketball game at UMass. Actually, it was my first time competing in any basketball game since I was 8 years old. I joined solely because my friends were in need of another girl to fulfill the mandatory 3:2 girl-to-guy ratio necessary to play in their co-ed league. They thought it was a good idea to make me captain of this team, which I still don’t understand because I lack any ability to play sports. However, being the good friend that I am, I gave basketball a chance (of course by prefracing that I would be no asset to their team).

Maneuvering Around Amherst Without a Car

UMass Amherst bus app screenshot

I don’t own a car. No matter how many times I’ve asked my parents for one, the answer is always no. All my friends have cars, and I can use my parents' cars when they’re not, so driving has technically never been a problem for me. Yet, I still don’t have the convenience or satisfaction of calling a car my own. Currently, I’m waiting until I save enough money for one.

How to Make the Most of NSO

UMass library courtyard and old chapel

Let’s face the facts — New Student Orientation (NSO) is intimidating for almost everyone. It can be really hard for some people (*cough* me) to be introduced to a new setting and be expected to succeed immediately. However, it’s also such an exciting experience! You meet new people, make your first collegiate-level course schedule, and familiarize yourself with the beautiful campus that is your home for the next four years. Of course, as an incoming freshman, there were definitely mistakes I made that, in retrospect, avoiding would have helped me considerably at my NSO.

My Experience in a RAP

UMass library at dusk

Freshman year is an exciting time to meet new people on all parts of campus. An easy way to do this specifically at UMass is by joining a Residential Academic Program (a RAP). A RAP is an exclusively first-year student privilege that allows you to take small classes — held in your residence hall with your floormates — in a discussion-based environment. You have to sign up to be in one through Spire, but the residential life staff will ensure your entire floor will all live and take the class together.

Time Management Tips

Gettibg ready to study

College can be a very demanding time for us. You must get good grades, have a fun social life, maintain prime physical and mental health, and join multiple resume-building extracurriculars — all while getting nine hours of sleep a night. Speaking for myself — and probably many others — this can be extremely hard to do. Here are some tips on how to stay on top of it all!

My Weekend Away from UMass

UMass Amhers W.E.B. DuBois Library

Following a recent family celebration, I went home these past two weekends (in a row). I honestly didn’t think much of not being on campus. I was excited to see my family and friends who would also be in town. However, having returned to UMass this week, I can genuinely say I’ve had serious FOMO from not being here.

Why I've Lived in Central for Two Years

Central residence halls at UMass Amherst

If you ask people around campus where they live, a majority of them will probably tell you Southwest. Being the home of several 20+ floor towers, along with low-rise halls, it makes sense that a majority of people would reside there. Southwest accounts for 5,500 students on campus, making it by far the largest residential area at UMass. However, it is often misconstrued that being the biggest living area on campus makes it more social, and therefore the best. The “best” residential area, though it may sound cliché, is really wherever you best fit.

Be in CHAARG at UMass

CHAARG at UMass

If you’re a girl looking to exercise in a unique way while meeting new friends and familiarizing yourself with campus, join CHAARG! CHAARG (Changing Health, Attitudes + Actions to Recreate Girls) is a nationwide organization that aims to encourage fitness and healthy lifestyles in fun, new ways.

Choosing a Random Roommate at UMass

Drom room at UMass Amherst

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post of mine, coming to UMass was a completely new start for me. Having not known a single person here, I was unsure of how to go about choosing my roommate. I knew a lot of incoming students who were in a similar position found their roommates through the UMass Facebook page, where people post about themselves in order to find someone to live with or just meet people to befriend. This is a super easy way to meet new people and find a potential roommate, but I was intimidated by the idea using Facebook to find the person who I’d live with. In the end, I decided to “go in random" for my roommate.

5 Places to Study That Aren't the Library

John Olver Design Building rooftop garden

Although UMass is fortunate to be home to the tallest research library on any college campus, if you’re anything like me, you can only study in a library for a minimal amount of time before getting distracted. Luckily, I've scoped out five underrated places on campus that are equally as great for studying... or just relaxing and spending time with your friends!