Senior Spotlight: Michelle Shang

Michelle ShangWhat is one of your favorite memories from UMass?
I joined a CNS RAP my freshman year and we had so much fun together on the 3rd floor of Crabtree Hall. We’d always go to the dining halls together and take up an entire long table in old Worcester. We’d also stay up very late at night and “party” in the basement with Just Dance and procrastinate on chemistry homework. I absolutely loved the experience and will forever cherish those memories. 

How has UMass allowed for your intellectual/academic/creative abilities to flourish?
UMass offers the most diverse clubs and events on campus. While I worked on my studies in the natural sciences, I still had time to join various extracurriculars and take classes in other majors/areas that I also had interests in. I think allowing the freedom to try different things really helped to expand my perspectives on life and my skills beyond science.

How did your experiences in a club, activity, or academic field, shape who you are today?
My experiences in the Marching Band (as a flautist and member of Uniform Staff) and as a TA in multiple courses helped to improve my leadership, time management, and communications skills. I am much better at handling stressful situations in a timely manner, and I can effectively talk about them with my peers. These experiences have better prepared me to work as a future health care provider.

Who is someone who motivated you during your time at UMass? (Shout Out!)
I would like to make a shoutout to my favorite advisor and professor, Lori Astheimer (or Dr. A). I scheduled my first appointment with her in 2019 to ask more about psychology and the Neuroscience track. 30 minutes later, I walked out a double major and have been working with her as a TA for the past two years. Best decisions I’ve made at UMass. 

What advice would you give to incoming UMass students?
My advice: never compare yourself to others, including your close friends. Everyone wants to do something different and have set different goals in life. Don’t pressure yourself to take extra classes just because your friend is, and don’t join clubs just to boost your resume. From my interview experiences, people care more about self-improvements, and they want to see the passion you have for your chosen career.

What is your biggest takeaway from UMass?
A wise alumnus once told me as a freshman: “Every struggle becomes a struggle story.” Nothing is easy, but we must stay optimistic in every expected and unexpected situation. I carried this quote with me throughout my undergraduate studies and have found it incredibly motivational during my stressful exam and application weeks.

What is next for you?
I will be attending New England College of Optometry this upcoming fall and hopefully get my Doctor of Optometry degree in 4 years. It won’t be easy and there will be tears, but I’m prepared for the adventures along the way. Future Dr. Shang coming to a clinic near you!