When you enter college, you’re told how exciting it will be; that it will be one of the best times in your life; and that it will fly by before you know it.
(Blah, blah, blah. Can you please just put money on my UCard, Mom?)
Unfortunately, this is yet another case where your parents were totally right.
This December, I finished my undergraduate career here at UMass. Honestly, it’s still a bit of a shock: like finishing your bucket of Halloween candy or finding out that Kim Kardashian got divorced when you wasted four hours of your young life watching her over-the-top wedding on E.
I majored in marketing at Isenberg School of Management, minored in psychology, and was a part of Commonwealth Honors College. While I was here, I took amazing classes that transformed my interests into career goals; met professors who pushed and inspired me to reach beyond (what I thought were) my capacities; and formed friendships that helped me grow as a person.
Plus, there were the little things.
There was going to the Rt. 9 Diner for the first time at 3 am freshman year and feeling like a wicked cool kid; there was getting an awesome random roommate despite all odds; there was leaving Mahar after a midterm and knowing that I nailed it; there was finding a booth in Berkshire Dining Hall at 7 pm on a weeknight.
Maybe I’m just turning into a sloppy bowl of nostalgic mush, but it really was those little things that made my time here what it was. Little memories transformed my college experience from a track for a diploma into a true journey. Ultimately, those little things made me happiest and are the things that I will remember.
Of course, that isn’t to say that there weren’t the struggles: the writer’s blocks at 2 am the night before the paper was due; the 8 am classes that always seemed to fall on days where it was raining; the finals that were totally unfairly keeping you from going to that awesome party in Pufton that, like, everyone was going to.
But those little struggles that we fight through made the diploma so much more meaningful in the end. I feel proud of what I have accomplished and thankful to the University and to the Honors College for giving me the opportunities that I had.
As I look at seniors in high school and even underclassmen here at UMass, I feel excited on their behalf and maybe just a tiny bit jealous. Despite how much I did here and how fun and fulfilling it was, I wish I could do it again and do more. Sure, if I could go back in time and tell Sophomore Year Maddy to take another class or join another club, she’d have a nervous breakdown, but you only get to have this experience once. So as corny and parent-y as it is, make the most of it and squeeze in every little drop of awesome you can before you can’t and wish you could.
Take it from me. Suddenly, graduating a semester early seems like it was a really rotten idea.