Three students sit outside on the UMass Amherst campus.

What's it Like to Attend UMass?

Six student tour guides offer a glimpse into a typical day in their lives at UMass Amherst.

At UMass Amherst, students have the freedom to choose their own path by exploring myriad academic opportunities, roaming our 1,450-acre campus to find a hidden gem study nook, having fun and keeping active in intramural sports, or networking through alumni engagement or Registered Student Organizations. No two students carve out the same path, but they all have one thing in common: they make UMass Amherst their own.

Below, six student tour guides—experts on the UMass Amherst campus—share their experiences and offer a glimpse into what a day at UMass is like for them.



Briana Hamilton

Briana Hamilton

A double major in operations & information management and psychology, Briana Hamilton enjoys frequenting two of UMass Amherst's state-of-the-art facilities: the Isenberg Business Innovation Hub and the Integrative Learning Center. As a campus tour guide and member of the Isenberg Women in Business Club, she's gained strong interpersonal skills, established valuable connections, and made lifelong friends.

8:30 a.m. Time for work: after checking in, I give tours of campus. I get the chance to meet many amazing prospective students from all around the country and the world.

11 a.m. I head over to the Isenberg Business Innovation Hub to do some homework and grab a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch at the Carney Café. Delicious!

Isenberg Business Innovation Hub
Isenberg Business Innovation Hub

1 p.m. After lunch, I head to one of my Operations and Information Management classes: Manufacturing and Service Operations.

2:30 p.m. Psychology lab time! I get to take a nice walk by the campus pond on my way to class.

Students enjoy the campus pond.
Students enjoy the campus pond.

3:45 p.m. Depending on the week, I will either participate in a research lab or meet up with my friends in the Isenberg Hub and get some homework done.

5:30 p.m. Last class of the day: Finance.

6:45 p.m. Dinner time. My roommates and I order from DoorDash very often, unless one of us sees a recipe on Instagram that we must try.

7:30 p.m. Finish up any homework or studying I have left to do for the day.

10 p.m. Now I spend time with my friends after a long day before it’s time to go to bed.

My favorite place on campus is the second floor of the Integrative Learning Center. The large windows and beautiful view of the campus pond are very relaxing and I find the environment to be work conducive. Many of my friends also work in this building, so on their breaks, we all meet up in front of the windows and chit-chat while we do homework.

View of the Old Chapel from the Integrative Learning Center
View of the Old Chapel from the Integrative Learning Center.

My proudest academic success would have to be my Accounting 221 class. I did very poorly on the first exam, and I thought there was no way I would be able to pass the course. I began to go to my professor’s office hours every day she offered them so we could go over the material that we learned in class and I could make sure I understood everything. I also sought the help of the student tutors in the Learning Resource Center, where we worked on practice problems before my exams. In the end, I was able to get an A- in the class, and I was extremely proud of myself. My hard work paid off in the end and my grade reflected the amount of effort I put into that course.

I am a part of the Operations and Information Management (OIM) Club, Isenberg Women in Business, and I have an on-campus job as a tour guide. The OIM Club and Isenberg Women in Business have given me many networking opportunities, where I get to talk with employers one-on-one at our club meetings. Being a tour guide has helped me tremendously with my public speaking, interpersonal skills, and professionalism. I have also made some amazing friends through these clubs and my job.

Brian Unger

Brian Unger

Kinesiology major and psychology minor Brian Unger takes advantage of UMass Amherst's bike-friendly campus when traveling to and from class. He enjoys being physically active and has lots of opportunities to do so. As vice president of the Club Gymnastics Team, he's able to combine his passion for training and socializing with friends.

8:10 a.m. Hop on my bike and head to campus! I live off campus but very close by so I usually bike to class. If the weather is bad I’ll take the bus.

UMass Amherst named bike-friendly university by the League of American Bicyclists.

8:30 a.m. First class of the day, Abnormal Psychology (one of my favorite classes). I am a psychology minor, so I take a lot of psychology classes along with my kinesiology classes.

10 a.m. Tour time! I work as a tour guide on campus, so during the day I’ll give tours to prospective students and tell them about the amazing things UMass has to offer!

12:15 p.m. For lunch, I’ll go with my roommate to Earthfoods Co-op, a vegetarian- and vegan-friendly student-run business in the Student Union that has a new menu weekly!

Students enjoy lunch at the Earthfoods Co-op in the UMass Student Union.
Students enjoy lunch at the Earthfoods Co-op in the UMass Student Union.

1 p.m. Second class, Exercise Physiology.  We learn about the physiological response in the body when it begins exercising and how energy is made and how muscles produce power. It’s really interesting (and also a lot of information).

1:50 p.m. Study break. I usually go to the Design Building to study and catch up on notes for my other classes or get ahead on notes for the upcoming class.

2:30 p.m. Third class of the day, Movement Neuroscience. We’re learning about how the brain signals through the body to move and control muscles.

3:20 p.m. Another study break. This time I stop by the Student Union and do a bit more work to stay on top of things.

4 p.m. I have my Exercise Physiology lab. Today we did a bike test to measure oxygen consumption and reuptake in the muscles to determine how the body adapts to intense exercise.

5 p.m. Longest day of the week is done, I bike home to wind down from classes.

8 p.m. Gymnastics practice! I am the vice president of the Club Gymnastics Team and run practice. It’s my favorite club I’m involved in on campus and love getting to work out with my friends.

Students chat in the Design Building rooftop garden.
Students chat in the rooftop garden of the award-winning John W. Olver Design Building.

My favorite place on campus is the rooftop patio of the Design Building. It's a great spot to sit and do work but also just enjoy the views.

My biggest academic achievement is bouncing back from failing a class. I did not pass Calculus by my major standards and had to repeat it the next semester. I spent all my time in office hours and tutoring and was able to bring my grade up three whole letter grades!

I am involved in a few organizations on campus, but the one I spend the most time in is the Club Gymnastics Team. I got involved because I loved the sport and wanted to keep training and met so many amazing people through the club. I got involved my first year and am now the vice president.

Caroline Birney

Caroline Birney

A double major in psychology and BDIC (child healthcare and family studies), Caroline Birney stays involved, networks with alumni, and shows her UMass Amherst pride as a member of the Student Alumni Association. She and her friends relish the world-class dining options on campus.

9 a.m. I eat breakfast at home and finish up a bit of work before heading to campus.

11:15 a.m. In my Evolutionary Medicine anthropology class, I get to discuss recent readings with my professor and other students, followed by a lecture to learn more about that week’s topic. 

12:15 p.m. Time for lunch! I walk to Blue Wall in the campus center to join my friends for a bite to eat between classes. Will I get a wrap? Sushi? Orange chicken? I think today I’ll go with orange chicken, yum!

Students enjoy lunch at the Blue Wall in the Campus Center at UMass Amherst.
Students study and enjoy lunch at the Blue Wall.

12:55 p.m. I'm a teaching assistant and I host office hours. It’s so great when students come in and I can help them with that week’s assignment. If I have time, I work on grading that week’s assignment too.

2:30 p.m. Time for another class. This time it’s Adolescent Psychology, a really interesting topic! We have a quiz later in the week so I make sure to take good notes and ask my professor any questions I may have.

3:45 p.m. Now I can head home for the day!

6 p.m. Around this time I go back to campus with all my housemates to get dinner! Even though we live off campus we all still have a meal plan so we can get the most out of that No. 1 Dining while we can!

A cook serves students a mean in the Berkshire Dining Commons.
The Berkshire Dining Commons are one of UMass Amherst's award-winning dining options, featuring 10 distinct food stations and cuisines.

7 p.m. Time for us to head over to our meeting for the Student Alumni Association. I can’t wait to see some more of my friends!

8 p.m. My day on campus is over! Now I can head home and work on some readings and homework.

The Durfee Conservatory
The Durfee Conservatory

My favorite place on campus is the Durfee Conservatory. It’s a greenhouse on campus with a variety of plants and even a koi fish pond. I love going to Durfee to hang out and decompress between classes; it’s fun to see everything growing there.

One of my favorite classes I ever took at UMass was a public health class called the Epidemic of Loneliness. The class focuses on why people today experience loneliness and how it can be prevented. During the class each student is matched with an older adult who we talk to throughout the semester. The goal is that by the end of the term we will record a story with our match to be able to store in the Library of Congress to be shared for generations and generations. My match’s name was Sharon and it was such a pleasure getting to know her over the course of the semester, and such a privilege to be able to interview here and share her story. The course taught me so much about loneliness and community building, skills that will last a lifetime.

Outside of academics at UMass I’ve been involved in the Student Alumni Association (SAA), UMass Dance Marathon (UMDM), and intramural sports. I got involved with SAA as a freshman and began taking on leadership roles each year, and now as a senior, I’m president of the organization. I joined SAA to connect with other students, learn more about UMass, gain networking and professional skills, and to be able to plan and facilitate fun events for our campus community. SAA is probably my favorite thing I’ve been involved in at UMass.

I’m also on the events committee of UMDM. We fundraise all year long for Baystate Children’s Hospital in Springfield, and then run a 12-hour-long dance marathon at the end of the year as a final fundraiser and a celebration of the work we’ve done for the children at Baystate. It’s been an incredible opportunity to get to meet other students who are passionate about helping kids and want to make a difference.

Lastly, I joined intramural volleyball with my friends so that we could hang out and get to know other students at UMass, it’s low commitment and super fun! 

Jennifer Kovarick

Jennifer Kovarick

As a nursing major and Commonwealth Honors College student, Jennifer Kovarick's classes are rigorous and rewarding. In the Elaine Marieb College of Nursing, students gain hands-on experience in the field. Jennifer works with her clinical group at nearby Baystate Hospital.

6 a.m. I get in my car and carpool with some classmates to the Baystate Hospital campus about 30 minutes away! 

6:50 a.m. I meet with the rest of my six-person clinical group and get our assignments and change of shift reports for the day. 

7 a.m. My shift at the hospital begins! 

1 p.m. I am off the floor and I meet up with my group again to eat lunch and debrief the day.

2:30 p.m. I am back in Amherst and head to the campus Recreation Center. Depending on the day I will lift weights or go to a fitness class. My favorite classes are spin and Zumba! 

4:30 p.m. I grab a smoothie at the Courtside Café. My recent go to has been the strawberry matcha! 

5 p.m. I shower, prepare dinner, and chat with my five roommates. 

6:30 p.m. For the next two hours or so I catch up on homework, emails, and other tasks concerning my job or my clubs. 

8:30 p.m. My roommates and I relax and watch a movie. 

11 p.m. I go to bed. Tomorrow I get to "sleep in" until 7 a.m.!


A student enters Durfee Conservatory.
A student enters Durfee Conservatory.

My favorite place on campus is Durfee Conservatory! It looks like a mini jungle and is a great place to relax, journal, or do some light homework. 

For the past year, I have been studying pregnant women with substance use disorders, their interactions with healthcare workers, and the stigma that surrounds their care. It has been such rewarding work and I have gained so much knowledge that I can continue to carry throughout my career in healthcare. 

I'm a tour guide and an ambassador for the Elaine Marieb College of Nursing, and I'm involved in a few clubs and organizations on campus, such as some intramural sports like the Ski and Board Club. One of my favorites is the Student Nurse Association. This club combines nursing students with community service projects both in the western Massachusetts and Boston areas! Through the Student Nurse Association, I have had the opportunity to volunteer for the Boston Marathon and network with many current nurses in the field. I have also had the ability to grow in my leadership roles and now am the president of the club! This club has given me the opportunity to feel supported, involved, and engaged in my UMass community.

Laura Balinski

Laura Balinski

Laura Balinski keeps busy as a marketing major with a minor in psychology and a certificate in business data analytics. She's also co-president of the Isenberg Women in Business Club, where she is able to learn about the business world and garner career advice from women professionals in the field.

8:35 a.m. Check-in and give a tour of campus to prospective students and their families.

12 p.m. I head over to Blue Wall after the tour to grab lunch. Wasabi is the quickest and I always get the Paradise Roll!

Diners gather in front of Wasabi, a popular sushi spot on the UMass Amherst campus.
Diners gather in front of Wasabi, a popular sushi spot on the UMass Amherst campus.

12:30 p.m. Walk over to the library or South College to eat my lunch and work on any homework and work/club-related emails and texts.

2:30 p.m. Developmental Psychology lecture. My professor always has music playing in the beginning (the music always has the word “baby” in it because the class is mainly about babies and children’s development)

4 p.m. Head home to relax and make dinner.

7 p.m. I attend the Isenberg Women in Business general body meeting. As co-president, I lead meetings and serve as the head of the club.

9 p.m. Complete any more homework and start to get ready for bed.


My favorite place on campus is the Hotel Restaurant on the top floor of the Campus Center. They serve lunch and dinner once a week and it is completely run by students in the Hospitality and Tourism major. The food is outstanding and for a three-course meal it comes to just $13. Along with the five-star food, the views of campus are beautiful. Because it's not well known, it's also a quieter space than many other dining options on campus.

My marketing video for UMass Gives ended up getting the most views during the 2022 campaign. I based it on a social media trend and filmed it with multiple members of Isenberg Women in Business. One of my professors re-posted it and used it as an example of successful content marketing in a class with over 400 students.

I currently serve as co-president for Isenberg Women in Business. I joined the club during my first year because I wanted to learn more about the business world and career advice from women in the field. Since then, I have connected and learned so much from speakers and about Isenberg and UMass resources. It has been a full-circle experience to be able to run and lead the club for incoming students.

Zoe Peritz Greenman

Zoe Peritz Greenman

Zoe Peritz Greenman is a mathematics major with minors in education and political science enrolled in the 4+1 Accelerated Master's Program for secondary math education. She plays saxophone in the UMass Minutemen Marching Band, one of the nation's outstanding band programs.

7  a.m. I start my day early, because I like to lift at the Rec Center before I go to my classes.

8:30 a.m. I am off to my first class of the day, which is usually math. Most of my math classes take place in Lederle Graduate Research tower. This semester I am taking Discrete Structures and History of Math.

10 a.m. I continue my day in Lederle because I work in the precalculus help center. That is where students can come for drop-in hours to ask questions about any of their math classes. 

12 p.m. I break for lunch. Usually, I will go to Worcester Dining Commons because of its convenience near all of my classes. My go-to is their noodle bowls, they have the best ramen and curry.

1 p.m. Either another math class, an education class, giving a campus tour, or being a TA in an introductory math class.

3 p.m. Around this time I start to head over to the Marching Band Building. I am a member of the administrative staff for the band and although band doesn't start until later, I get there early to do some work. I am the manager of the Audio/Visual staff so my work could include uploading pictures from our last performance, creating videos for our social media, or helping out with any other project.

4:40 p.m. Band time, best time! This is my favorite part of the day because I get to make music with 400 other people. I love seeing my friends and of course the beautiful sunsets over the practice field. 

6:30 p.m. I usually get dinner with my friends at Franklin Dining Commons. My go-to here is the stir fry and then moose tracks ice cream for dessert.

8 p.m. I am on my way to a local boarding school to tutor students. I tutor Algebra, Algebra 2, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, and Statistics.

10 p.m. Back at home! I will hang out with my roommates, watch Netflix, water my plants, and then head to bed.

A hockey game in the Mullins Center at UMass Amherst.
A hockey game in the Mullins Center at UMass Amherst. Photo by Thomas Kendall.

My favorite place on campus is the Mullins Center. That may sound like an odd place as a favorite, but I love going to Women's Basketball and Hockey games. I am in the hoop/ice band so I get to play my instrument there as well. I love the energy of the students and it is one of my favorite ways to spend Friday and Saturday nights.

My proudest academic moment was in my junior year I coded a nine-page Exposition with Proofs on Abstract Algebra, specifically group theory. If all of that sounds like gibberish, essentially, I created my own mini textbook section explaining in simple terms how to do complex math. In one section of the paper, I even went into the mathematics of Rubik's Cubes which are largely dependent on group theory. This project took me months of research, trial and error, and coding. Not only is this my proudest academic achievement, but I also got an A on this project and in the class.

My biggest campus involvement is through the Marching Band. The UMass Marching Band is the largest collegiate marching band in the Northeast, it has about 400 members, Being in the Marching Band has given me many opportunities to play at places I normally would not be able to. It has also given me great leadership experiences, amazing friends, and amazing memories. 

The UMass Minutemen Marching Band
The UMass Minutemen Marching Band. Photo by Jon Asgeirsson.

This story was originally published in February 2023.