Blog Column: 

Hello and welcome back to UMass, folks! Some of you might have returned after reluctant and teary partings with family, some may have sprinted out of their homes to get here. Whatever the circumstances, I hope that you feel relieved and excited to be back.

A lot of you will already have found your niches and are eager to return to your friends and activities that make UMass a part of your extended family. For those of you who are taking a bit longer, as I did, never fear! Each semester is like starting all over again.

Yeah, you’ve got the same people in your dorm, but you’ve got a whole mess of new classmates and we have the Student Activities Expo coming up! It will be coming this Wednesday (1/25/17) in the Student Union, running from 4pm to 7pm!

You should never forget that while, yes, school does come first, you should pursue whatever interests you, especially if you feel a spark of passion for it. Chances are, your parents will be glad that you’re getting out there! If not, well, they don’t need to know about your clubs if you don’t want them to.

So here’s some last minute advice before you go and investigate what your fellow students have to offer:

If you have a specific interest, for the love of God or Vishnu or whatever, GO AFTER IT!!! I mean, even if the 598 official school clubs and organizations don’t match your needs, you can always grab a few people to make your own group, maybe even form another club.

Greek life facilitates a broad range of interests.

  • Being in a fraternity or a sorority often means you have access to business networking, yeah, but also means having a ton of people with wildly different interests to hang out and socialize with. Greek life can be your every-club-in-one sort of deal. You can go party with your brothers or sisters one night, then go hiking later, then play in a soccer tournament. Whatever!
  • Just be aware that it can be costly and will be a big time commitment even after you are initiated.
  • If Greek life interests you, make SURE to attend rush events and get to know the members of whatever organizations. No point in joining if they don’t fit your needs.

If you are looking for more portfolio or career oriented work, there are plenty of organizations on campus which focus on that, from business clubs to art groups to volunteer services. All of them are worth investigating. Might be you find something you like that you’d never considered!

Last, the activities clubs like the ski and outing clubs can be expensive, considering membership fees and the cost of each trip, but they also create tight groups of friends on par with Greek life, just more focused on a single type of activity and cheaper than the Greek route as a whole.

  • If you’re not sure whether you want to pay for membership, though, most clubs will let you do a trial run with them so you can get a feel for if you want to commit.

I hope that this helps you and I hope to see a lot of faces at the expo!

Take care, and welcome home.


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