Things I Wish I’d Known: advice from SBS juniors, seniors, and new grads

Figuring out college and life can be challenging!  But some things can be made a little easier, and here, some of our favorite students offer words of wisdom.

“Don’t worry about having it all figured out right away. It can seem overwhelming at first- it may look like other people around you are figuring it out quickly, falling into friend groups, having a set major and career goals, and just “getting” college quicker than you. The truth is, no one really knows what they are doing! Good things take time. Take classes in different fields and follow what excites you, take time building a group of friends that inspires and supports you, go to a bunch of club intro meetings to find your place on campus. College is a time to work on yourself and learn about who you are- enjoy it!” Chloe B.’23, Communication

“Mind. Body. Soul. UMass is such a big school full of so many opportunities whether it be jobs, clubs, and classes. When you’re thinking about getting involved, make sure that what you’re doing is serving your mind, body, or soul. It is easy to overbook yourself and get burnt out so it is important to take care of yourself and keep your schedule balanced in a healthy way.” Dan S.’23 – BCT, Sustainable Community Development

“First of all, I wish I had known that everybody else was sharing the same experience with me of being in my first year of college, and that everyone was trying to figure it out. I also wish I had known how to ask for help! It was so intimidating just thinking about approaching a professor, and I wasn’t really sure where else to go. Building a relationship with my advisor really changed my college experience, and it was really reassuring to know I always had someone in my corner. And finally, I wish I had known that it was okay to say yes to new things and be uncomfortable, that’s what college is all about!” Charlotte S.’24, Journalism

“Your first year on campus is going to be overwhelming. Even though you may feel as if you’re the only one having those feelings, know that you are not! You’re not alone! Everyone is trying to figure out campus, friendships, classes, clubs, campus jobs, and more. You don’t need to have all the answers in your first few weeks on campus. Explore all that UMass has to offer and lean on your peers and faculty to do so but don’t rush. Take classes outside of your major, meet with an advisor to explore the course catalog, join a new club with peers from your dorm, take a walk around campus, meet with a faculty member to get to know them, and have fun! Good luck!”  Makayla F.’22 – Psych and Legal Studies

“My biggest piece of advice for incoming students is to make sure you take the time to visit with people who live on the same floor as you in your residence hall! Those are some of the very first people you meet on campus, and forming a bond with those people can really help you start feeling like a part of the campus! Try to go out and do things together, explore the campus, grab dinner together, take the bus to the Hampshire Mall and go shopping! Taking steps like those to meet new people is so beneficial and helps your transition to being on your own living at school easier. I would also suggest trying to find clubs, groups, and organizations on campus that are interesting to you so you can meet people with similar interests that way. Included with these groups is the SBS Pathways Center, where I strongly recommend you visit a few times to meet with peers who can help you along your college journey. I wish I took more time to meet more people who lived in my residence hall, because some of those people I met became my best friends. Ultimately, study hard, go to class, and enjoy yourself with your friends on the weekend and I’m confident you’ll get the most out of your college experience. Best of luck!” Mary H.’22, Managerial Economics

To echo Mary’s advice, we encourage you to come visit us in the SBS Pathways Center, 128 Thompson Hall, to get your questions answered, or just to connect with your peers and see some friendly faces.  We’re here for you, and, as Makayla said – you are not alone.  We’re all in this together!

By Carol Sharick
Carol Sharick Director of Career and Professional Development for Undergraduates, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences