Co-authored by Jessica Gindelsky and Matthew Hlady. If you read last year's post, you might remember some of the spookiest phrases students can hear. This year, we thought of 10 more, to really get us into the Halloween spirit.  1. "Eduroam is down." (This one was so spooky we had to include it again.)  2. "Applications for this job are no longer being accepted."  3. "Your Netflix account is currently unavailable."  4. "Your bank account is overdrawn. Credit card declined."   5. While in line at Blue... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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... 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.... 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.... Read More

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