Letters to Kate - On ZooMass and FOMO

Blog Column: 



I think it’s time that we talked about UMass’ other name…the Zoo. You’d think that in the eight hours we spent alone in a car together this weekend it would have come up but no – so I guess it’s time to talk about it now.


As I’m sure you’ve noticed in your 7 months on campus, UMass is pretty average when it comes to its social life. You’ve visited friends at other schools and I’m sure you, like I was, were surprised to find that if anything, some schools are even wilder. Whoever penned the term “ZooMass” certainly hasn’t been to campus in a while.


Now don’t get me wrong, you can find a party any night of the week here. If you are looking for somewhere to dance the night away and lose your ability to hear for the rest of the weekend, you won’t have to search very long. BUT, if you don’t want that – then there’s plenty else to do too.


When I was first considering coming here I was worried about the party reputation. I like going out – but not every night of the week. I was worried that if I didn’t take part in the party culture fully, I’d never fit in. For the first time in my life I was experiencing FOMO and I hadn’t even gotten here yet.


I learned though, that one of the most beautiful things about UMass is that no one cares how you spend your weekend, or weekday nights. This school is too big for there to be a social hierarchy to climb or one end all be all party. Just do what you want, be who you are – people here will respect you for that.


And, I should remind you that it’s not just parties that make up the night life here at UMass. There’s free comedy shows and UPC events and plenty of things to do in the Valley. You’re not choosing between going out till the crack of dawn or staying in to study – there are so many choices in between.


There are 22,000 undergraduates here. Of course campus will be rambunctious, that’s part of the fun. Just remember you don’t always have to take part in it and when you do, do it responsibly.


Oh and a lesson from abroad: Europeans are insane and don’t go out for a night on the town until 2 or 3 a.m. That was one piece of culture shock I never really got over. Be grateful for America’s early bird ways.


My door is always open.


See you around,



PS - Found that gem of a picture on your Facebook :)

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