• One of the big advantages of living in the dorms is that you are surrounded by potentially interesting people and perhaps new friends. Thing is, a lot of people are too shy to take advantage of this. They’re too worried that going to a stranger’s door, even if it’s standing open, and saying “Hi” will make them sound desperate for socialization, or too peppy, or that the encounter will be awkward for lack of common interests, or any number of other things. Well, I hate to say it, but that’s all possible. However, you’re not going to discover all the wonderful people around... Read More
  • You know those classes that seem like they’ll be easy? I’m sure you’ve heard of them. In my own studies, I’ve taken a few that people have responded to with envy. They say “That sounds so cool!” or “Why do you get all these fun classes?” or “Dang, that sounds easy. Do you actually do anything?” I’ll tell you right now that, while those first two responses are justified, the third one is NOT. “Robinson Crusoe and Zombies” sounds easy until you’re a week in and have to write a paper relating John Locke’s and Thomas Hobbes’s political theories to Night of the Living Dead,... Read More
  • Ryan’s Question: How’s the initial adjustment to college? Would you say you are still adjusting? Amberly’s Answer: You sent me this question last year, little brother, because I had just gotten to college and it’s so different from our high school back in Sherborn. Now, I have one year of college under my belt. I not only survived that year, but managed to thrive as well. I joined a slew of extracurricular activities, threw myself into my classes, and landed this job with the Commonwealth Honors College. I did pretty well, and for all intents and purposes, adjusted by the... Read More
  • There are all sorts of ways for you to exorcise your demons. I know it’s early in the semester, but many of us are feeling those classes closing around us, suffocating and crushing, like we’re sinking into a tarry, black pit. Some people manage pressure well. I happen to work optimally when a little stressed. Too much, though, and I’m as liable to break as anyone else. I’ve seen enough of my friends walk around with hollow eyes or those little twitches you can get from sleep deprivation, and I’ve seen one of those people looking out at me from the mirror. Luckily, that... Read More
  • Every now and then my father emails me with huge information dumps that he calls “brain droppings.” He calls them such because, to him, they’re worth just about as much as the road apples you see trailing our horse-riding campus police. He really doesn’t give himself enough credit, though. In his last email, he told me about his work on the house, how the community choir’s concert went, mused on politics, etc. Perhaps he’s being modest when he says that such tidbits of information are useless, but I wonder if he realizes how valuable they actually are. If you think about... Read More
  • School and society as a whole want us to believe that, in order to succeed or get what you want, you must assiduously attend to whatever work is put in front of you and otherwise submit to someone else’s course. That means always doing your homework, putting everything into your job, getting involved in your community however you can . . . the list goes on. This is a mindset that’s pounded into our heads from the moment we start preschool. You want to go play in the sandbox? Well, Jimmy, you have to learn your ABCs first! It makes sense too. It’s a productive mentality... Read More
  • As a busy college student, it can be quite the challenge to get the proper amount of nourishment one needs throughout the day. We’re always racing from class to class, meeting to meeting, and by the time we get home, we realize we’re hangry (very hungry, and angry at how hungry one is). It’s important to stay healthy and take care of your body, especially with all the stress that college life can bring. Here are some tips to get some food in your belly during your busy day!   1. Go to the Dining Halls There are four amazing dining halls here at UMass that offer so many... Read More
  • Ryan’s Question: Would you want college to be shorter than four years, or longer than four years? Amberly’s Answer: This question has been on my mind a lot as of late, with registration having just begun. I can’t actually register for anything until April 10, but I’ve been given an ample amount of time to look over the possible courses I could take, at the possible paths my future could take. And as I do, I’m reminded of what Sylvia Plath wrote in her novel, The Bell Jar: “I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every... Read More
  • Ryan’s Question: How many people do you meet that say that college was the best four years of their life? Amberly’s Answer: If I’ll be one hundred percent honest, not a lot — in terms of people closer to my age, at least. A lot of the time, whenever I hear the words “college was the best four years of my life,” it’s from people our parents’ age. Those are the people who tend to talk to me the most about college. I’m not sure a whole lot of my fellow students see it as the “best four years of their life.” This is for a variety of reasons. There are many people I know who... Read More
  • Ryan’s Question: Would you change anything about how you prepared for college, anything from the college application process to orientation to expectations you had in your head? Amberly’s Answer: A lot of tours have been passing through South College lately, as high school juniors (like you, of course…) start to consider colleges and high school seniors start to narrow down to their final college decision, so I figured now was a more appropriate time than ever to answer this question. The short answer to this question is yes, I would. I would change a lot of the things I... Read More

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