When moving to college, you go into a bit of sensory overload. Here are 10 tips and tricks to help you smoothly transition and find success at UMass.
1. Take Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone
College is stressful. You move to a new place, live with new people, and unless one of your high school besties also goes to UMass, you have no friends on move-in day. So take the leap! Introduce yourself to your floor-mates, open your door, and say hi to passers-by. Your first-semester friends might not end up being your life-long friends, but they do make the transition into freshman year a heck of a lot easier. They’ll always give you a warm smile when you see them around campus for the rest of your collegiate career. This is one of the best tips for success at UMass!
2. Make Yourself Stay
If you are lucky enough to have a car on-campus, keep yourself at school until at least Columbus Day Weekend. When the long weekend finally hits after 6 weeks, you will probably be more than ready to head home for a family fix, but there are benefits to sticking it out until then! Staying on the weekends helps you learn about the social scene, especially at the beginning of the year when everyone is focused on meeting new people and making friends. You can have awkward lunch dates with friends from your dorm, classes, and clubs.
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3. Meet People In Class
It can be uncomfortable to sit next to someone you don’t know and introduce yourself. But even if you never speak to that person for more than homework help, they’re a friendly face to sit within a class and may just be your saving grace come finals season.
4. Put Academics First
At a big school like UMass, it’s really easy to put off schoolwork to hang out with friends or go to parties. But remember, you’re not paying to party, you’re paying to learn. So go and have fun, spend nights with friends you’ll always remember (or don’t remember, as the case may be). But when it’s a Friday night and you have a midterm on Monday, sit the party out. There will always be more opportunities at UMass to go out, but messing up your GPA first semester will haunt you until you graduate. This is one of the best ways to find success at UMass!
5. Try New Things
Were you always a jock in high school, but thought being in the theater club would be fun? Then join a club sport, and check out Theater Guild auditions while you’re at it! College is the perfect opportunity to reinvent yourself. Do not limit who you are to who you were.
6. Go Random Roommate Freshman Year
Even if your very best friend is also going to UMass and also wants to live in Southwest, don’t live together. A random roommate is your first step in meeting new people! Plus, if you pick someone you met at New Student Orientation, or on the Class of ____ Facebook page, who you have met maybe twice in person, they might be great, or they might be the worst person you will ever live with. You run the same risk with random roommates, but at least you can’t blame yourself if you dislike a random roommate because you didn’t pick them!
7. Don’t Feel Like You Need to Find All of Your Friends At NSO (New Student Orientation)
Chances are that on a campus of 25,000 you won’t see a lot of these people around. Plus, you’re at orientation with only a fraction of your freshman class, so give yourself the time to find people you really like when you get to school in September. This is one of the best tips to find success at UMass!
8. Give Yourself Time to Settle Into College Life
You might not find your people right away, and that is totally fine! You will eventually join the perfect club, or dorm floor, or Greek organization and feel at home, but it might not be on day one. Don’t beat yourself up because everyone else looks like they’re having the time of their life on their Instagram and Snapchat. It’s all fabricated to look great. Don’t tear yourself down because you need an extra beat to land on your feet.
9. The Freshman 15 is REAL
One of the best things about going to UMass Amherst is that we have the #1 college dining in the country, and the school never lets you forget it. But with that accolade comes the unlimited dining plan most on-campus freshman have, which leads to a bit of indulgence. So remember that the food will still be there tomorrow. You don’t have to have pizza, and a bowl of pasta and an ice cream and hot chocolate, because those things will be there the next time you walk into any of the 4 dining halls. Pace yourself. Your waistline will thank you.
10. Explore the Campus and Surrounding Area
UMass has some really cool places for students to explore right on campus! There is the Gallery in the Fine Arts Center where you can see some really cool art, or Durfee Conservatory by Franklin Dining Commons (where you can get hard-scoop ice cream). The town of Amherst is darling, with some cool secrets. Or use your U-Card for a free ride to Northampton on the B-43 PVTA bus and spend the afternoon in the artsy downtown. UMass Amherst is a city in it’s own right. Don’t let the experiences pass you by. Four years will fly so much quicker than you ever imagined, so if you don’t open your eyes to catch them all, it will be over before you know it.