• 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Kate, It’s my last day of undergraduate classes and I’m just as terrified as I was on the first one. I guess that while a whole lot of things have changed, not everything has. A little over four years ago I didn't want to go to UMass at all. It was too big and rural and full of concrete. I look back at high school me and shake my head at the girl who thought she knew exactly what she wanted. Coming to UMass and being a part of CHC has been the best decision I’ve made thus far. I truly believe this school has helped me to become a better person. I think UMass has that... Read More
  • Tis the season to be stressed and contemplating a career in flipping burgers or manning coffee shops. Most of us have at least one class that looms over us like the angel of death. It’s that one class that we’re convinced will destroy our GPAs and thus our future. That class stares at us like a hungry lion that wants nothing more than to drag us back to their den from which we will never see the light of day or a decent paycheck. Or at least that’s what the world is telling us to think. The fact of the matter is that, while grades are important, especially if you’re... Read More
  • Kate, I went back to the very first Letters to Kate I wrote. It was exactly two years ago Saturday. You, Christine, Beth and I all look like such babies in the picture I included. The dorky tree I added at the bottom? It's all set up in my apartment again, this time off campus. It’s funny I feel ready to write my last letter to you, but not my second to last one. Like I’ve been saying all semester, the end sort of sneaks up on you. With less than 6 days of classes left in my undergraduate career I think it’s time to dole out my last bit of advice on them. I took over 30... Read More
  • Kate, There are three weeks left in the semester. Do you realize that? Are you hyperventilating too? I swear I sit down to write this letter every week and every week I’m in shock about how few weeks are left and then I get nervous and, well...you’ve been reading these posts for years now, you know the drill. I can get myself quite worked up in under a minute (more like under 30 seconds). But this week it’s going to be different. I’m not going to panic. I’m going to take my stressors and find the positives. There are three weeks left of the semester. That’s great! I’... Read More
  • Kate, Since later today I’ll be attending a networking event, I figure it's an appropriate enough topic for this letter. Let’s be honest here, networking is wildly intimidating and downright hard. You, a lowly undergraduate, are expected to make connections with professionals living out your dream career. Framed that way, yeah, it seems nearly impossible. But it doesn't have to be. In my time at UMass I’ve found that this school does an incredible job of providing ample networking opportunities to its students. Most of them are aimed at particular majors, colleges or... Read More
  • Kate, Now that it really feels like fall out, I can’t help but think back to where I was a year ago. I can’t even begin to describe how much I miss Cork and studying abroad. It was such an amazing experience and I am really excited for you to get a taste of it this summer while studying in Spain. I’m also really excited to go visit you. I heard you ran into Dan at the International Programs Office? That boy knows the ins and outs of studying abroad with UMass (he spent a year in Paris and a summer at Oxford)—take every bit of his advice. Unfortunately, your (our) next... Read More

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