Yay! You’re finally at college. No more parents nagging you. Total freedom to do whatever you want. You are learning the ins and outs of UMass. Trust us, it gets easier as the school year progresses. While you may want to try everything and anything we want to give you some solid advice. We wouldn’t be doing you a service if we didn’t give you a few pointers about navigating college, especially UMass. Below we have 6 pieces of advice for UMass freshmen that we strongly suggest you take before doing anything.
1. Be open to talking to people completely different than yourself
One of the coolest things about UMass or any college is being around people who come from all walks of life. Yes, college is for getting your education and preparing you for the real world but it’s a great time to engage with people who aren’t like you. This is your chance to step out of your comfort zone and embrace difference. You’ll be surprised at how much you learn and how open minded you start becoming.
2. Be close to at least one professor or faculty member
Your professors and faculty members are more important than you think. They are the ones that can help you succeed at UMass. Make it a goal of yours to be close to at least one professor or faculty member throughout your time at UMass. They can really come in handy especially for future things like a letter of recommendation. Having a professor or faculty member who can advocate for you will give you a better chance.
3. If you can, stay single
It’s tempting to want to be in a relationship. It seems like particularly everyone and their moms are in some sort of relationship. Trust us it’s probably better to stay single. Erica Elbers does a great job at explaining why. Essentially everyone is going through some sort of journey. College is a great time to focus on yourself. Focus on school, your friends, having fun, and making memories.
4. Talk to your RA and PM
I will admit that I am completely and 100% biased when I talk about this piece of advice but hear me out. When I was a freshman and struggling to make friends I connected with the RAs and PMs in my building. They were super supportive and pretty chill people. They were there to guide the residents through their time at UMass by giving advice, being present, and talking about their experience at the school. After all, they are students who’ve been at UMass for at least one year. They just want to make your freshman year experience great. It’s like have an older sibling who isn’t annoying. Also, they’ll probably have candy.
5. Get off campus as much as possible
UMass is so big that it feels like it’s own city. Due to its size and the many different events happening it’s easy to stay on campus. While the campus offers an abundance of activities, it’s good to step out of the UMass borders. Go explore other colleges and cities. Northampton is a favorite among the students because of all the shops and the artsy vibe. Downtown Amherst is a great place to go walk around and kill time. Even going to the other schools like Amherst College is another way to get off campus.
6. Treat the maintenance workers with respect
The residential halls at UMass have maintenance staff. They clean the bathrooms, hallways, take out the trash and more. If we didn’t have maintainers the whole school would crumble. They are very hardworking and deserve our respect. Sadly, a lot of people don’t understand how hard maintainers work. All they ask is for us to abide by their very simple rules to make their jobs easier. For example, they ask for people to not throw their room trash in the bathroom trash. Seriously don’t do that! Please I beg you treat the maintenance workers nicely. Be nice to them and realize they do so much for you.