• Studying abroad has definitely challenged me and pushed me out of my comfort zone. After two and a half years at UMass, I know the important things, like what to expect from classes, how to print at the library, and where to find (almost) everything on our huge campus. Now I'm learning how everything works at the French univeristy, and there have definitely been some ups and downs as I adapt. My history class really intimidated me at first, because I'm one of only two Americans in a class full of French students. The professor talks really fast and without using... Read More
  • For those of you who haven’t quite made it to UMass yet, we just had our Blarney weekend. While the university does not technically recognize the event, the students around here get very … enthusiastic about it. Let’s just say that, because St. Patrick’s day happens during spring break, we have our own (minimum of one) day of debauchery here in lieu of the usual shamrock-filled festivities. It's a campus tradition, I guess. While immensely popular, this sort of event happens during the day, when I tend to get my work done and enjoy some quiet to focus. Therefore, Blarney... Read More
  • Do you want to be that person who is calm in a crisis (like during stressful midterms) and manages to make clearly prioritized decisions (regarding their study plans)? Then you want to be a person who is emotionally intelligent! “Emotional intelligence, more than any other factor, more than IQ or expertise, accounts for 85% to 90% of success at work … IQ is a threshold competence. You need it, but it doesn’t make you a star. Emotional Intelligence can.” (Warren Bennis - American scholar, consultant, and author) While doing some research for one of my classes this... Read More
  • So last semester, I was sitting on the bus, thinking about how glad I was to be coming home. My hometown, Marblehead, is right by the water, and since I love being by the water, I had plans to visit the park with the view of the coast later in the day. There’s something really peaceful about a winter ocean. I like being by the ocean because I like looking out at the horizon. In the summer, when I look out at the water, I see lots of boats zooming back and forth, leaving sea foam and waves behind. I love seeing the boats and seeing the water in the winter when it's not too... Read More
  • This week, I'm back in class again after three whole weeks of time off. (Vive la France!) During the break, I met up with one of my best friends from UMass who's studying abroad in Seville, Spain. After touring Seville together, we visited Rome, then Malta (thanks for the suggestion, Marie!) and then Marseille, France. It was truly the opportunity of a lifetime, filled with plenty of sightseeing and more slices of pizza than I'd like to admit. But then, on our second-to-last day of traveling, something strange happened. As my friend and I sat down for dinner at a couscous... Read More
  • I spent about five hours playing Dungeons and Dragons on Saturday. Normally, when Saturday hits I’m completely wiped after the week and partying on Friday night. I often sleep until 11 A.M., maybe noon, then try to do some reading for Monday, typically fail, and spend the rest of the day and evening recovering, hitting the gym, and pretty much not thinking. The Dungeons and Dragons session, however, dragged me out of bed at 11 A.M., no dawdling or dozing, and compelled me to be awake. That by itself was a victory. Furthermore, when I actually rendezvoused with my friends... Read More
  • Ryan’s Question: What’s the atmosphere like in college? Can you feel certain distinct moods in the air — for instance, if it’s the week before finals, is there a lot of stress around? Amberly’s Answer: With midterms taking place over the course of the next two weeks, I figured now would be an excellent time to answer this particular question! I’m honestly not sure if there’s an overall distinct mood. There might be with smaller colleges on campus, but honestly? UMass is so big that it would be inaccurate to create an overall generalization. I was talking to my friends... Read More
  • Bonjour! This semester, I'm studying abroad in Montpellier, France. I've loved having the chance to practice my French and experience life at a university in another part of the world. It's been a big adjustment moving from UMass, but I'm figuring out how to navigate my new school, how to get by with my French skills, and how to make perfect crepes (the key is letting the batter rest overnight!) There's so much planning, paperwork, and decisions to be made before going abroad. Now that I'm settling into my semester, I thought I'd share three tips for a smooth transition... Read More
  • Last year there was a major scare that drove people away from the humanities in, well, droves. We’re still seeing the aftermath and are recovering from that bit of absurdity. I’m sure you’ve heard the rhetoric that fueled it: “English is an easy major.” “You’ll never get a job with a degree in history.” “The sciences and business are where it’s at if you want three square meals a day.” Yeah, that’s all worth about as much as what you’ll find in a horse pen once the horse has left. Aside from the statistics indicating that, no, humanities don’t earn less than the... Read More
  • Ryan’s Question: Would you say people are more passionate in college rather than high school? Amberly’s Answer: Oh, definitely. I think there’s a noticeable difference, for sure. I think a part of it is that in high school, everyone’s so busy trying to get into college, you know? Especially what their parents and general society think of as a “good college.” Sure, there are people who do sports for the fun of it, or choir or theater or newspaper or whatever they so choose, but at least in our high school, college always seemed to be in mind. Plus, there were all those... Read More

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