“Discovering UMB’s Cultural Diversity” Mini-Series: Glad to be Home – Sort of

Caleb Nelson

Hoping to ‘find herself’ by taking a year off of school two years ago like many other young adults do before embarking on a career or family, 20-year-old tattooed comic buff and University of Massachusetts Boston student Alexandra Valli instead found herself-right where she started.

“I took a year off from school to try and find myself like a lot of other people do,” Valli said. “[But] it didn’t really work. I ended up working in a cafe in Allston, where I lived until I started going to UMB.”

After having lived most of her life in Quincy before moving to Allston last year to attend Suffolk University, Valli suddenly found herself back living in Quincy with her parents, this time attending UMB.

Valli said she sees herself as a normal American, living in a normal American family with her parents, an older sister, two cats, and an old lethargic dog. Although Valli said living at home is one of the worse aspects of her life right now, she likes it because it’s cheap; a lack of money was a major reason she moved back to Quincy.

“I left Suffolk University [this summer] because all I got there was a terrible education, apart from one or two classes, and a $27,000 student loan,” Valli said. “UMB is, so far, a lot more affordable, and much more challenging.”

Although the difficult classes are a positive for Villa, she said she didn’t pick up very good study habits at Suffolk and finds herself getting stressed out by the UMB workload. Even so, Valli said she is learning and likes UMB-although it’s not the school she expected.

“I like that it’s [UMB] pretty small and easy to get around,” she said. “There is a surprisingly diverse student body, too. I was expecting a classroom full of people from my high school and that isn’t the case.”

Valli admitted that most of her time is still spent in Allston with her friends and the 10-month-old she babysits for, and that there isn’t much about the people in Quincy that inspires her.

“The best aspects of my life would definitely be my friends,” Valli said. “They are all really sweet and creative and fun to be around. My friends are relatively like-minded people who are really into bringing out all my weird quirks. [They] opened me up a lot.”

Valli said her tattoos are an extension of her personality. She got her first, a flower on her wrist, on her 18th birthday, and has not stopped getting them since. A swallow flies across her pelvis, and Madman, a comic book character with a gun, stands on the right side of her ribcage with ‘pow-pow’ coming out of his gun. On the left side of her ribcage she has a tattoo of the words “just kidding”. There are several more, but she said her most interesting tattoo is of an ice cream cone that has not been colored in yet.

“I haven’t decided what flavor I want,” Valli said.

Find Valli on campus and she’ll give you a list of comic books, authors, and music you should check out. But don’t wait too long-Valli said she can’t wait to graduate and move out again; maybe this time, finally finding a flavor of herself.