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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Life starts after UMass Boston

Life after UMass Boston is like that moment during an epic fight between two severely injured rivals. One Says “Get Serious,” the other replies “I’m Just Getting Started.”

Life after UMass Boston has consisted mainly of full-time work. There are high moments, such as visiting relatives, having friends over on Friday nights, having a pint of chocolate peanut-butter coconut ice cream all to myself, dance rehearsals on Saturdays, evenings with my fiancee, boxing in the mornings, staying up late reading manga, but my weekdays are work days. There’s no other way to manage close to $400 per month in loan repayments on top of meal planning, bills, mild levels of entertainment and saving every other penny for my upcoming summer wedding.

I’ve come to terms with having to put in a few years of repaying my debts. I would love a nation-wide student loan forgiveness program, but it also wouldn’t stop me working – it would just help me save thousands every year. I’m not upset that I have to give back for my education – I knew what I was getting into — although my friends who went to college in Europe for next to nothing are always shocked to hear that we Americans have to “pay so much.”

My diploma is, strangely, a source of legitimacy. I now feel like a certified human being. Students don’t seem to get much credit, and I feel like the attitude towards students from the “working world” is like that towards family freeloaders: hurry up and get a job. Now that I have a job, and a diploma, the amount of judgement I receive from the social consciousness at large is much less. I have something to say to strangers which isn’t a mark against my completeness. I have something to offer to employers (me and everyone else on Craigslist.)

Post-college income provides me with real means to pursue my dreams. Some of this is based on actually having a college degree. It’s also the ability, the resolve to see something through to the end after four years, which gives me a particularly employable determination. I’m certainly not rolling in dough, but I’m a step up from where I once was.

When people ask me where I went to school, I tell them “UMass Boston” as if I was saying “Harvard.” I’ve found that it doesn’t actually matter where I went to school, but what “relevant skills” I have in relation to a particular job I want. Harvard is good on a résumé, but it’s not a free pass into any department. Ability matters, and your skill in accurately representing yourself matters just as much.

I miss UMass Boston for its community and social life. Although I’m technically an introvert, being surrounded by so many people on campus is invigorating, especially when there are large groups of people (classes) around for all of my interests. If my editing friends weren’t around, I could go find my arts friends, or my history friends, or yoga friends. Social life after college is not as accessible or cohesive, but on the plus side, the number of people in an activity (dance class, writer’s group) who are there just to “fill a requirement” is much, much lower.

Life after UMass Boston has a different kind of motivation. Everything is an elective. The only curriculum I have is the one I construct for myself. I’ll be back, just after I pay off my student loans, get married, buy out all the coconut ice cream from Whole Foods, write a book, learn some foreign languages, meet my long-lost relatives, pick up kendo, play professional sports, reconcile the past with my birth father, and have something to teach.

Shouldn’t take too long.