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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

11/27/23 pdf
November 27, 2023

Glass half full: UMass Boston isn’t as bad as we make it

Students head from the plaza toward the Campus Center. Photo by Saichand Chowdary / Mass Media Staff.

Another semester has begun here at UMass Boston, and with it, the waves of complaints from both returning and new students alike. It can be understandable, seeing as we have two major academic buildings that are crumbling apart at the seams, seemingly endless construction and a large population filled with commuters doomed to the woes of Boston traffic or the MBTA—but there is a lot to UMass Boston that is enjoyable. It may not be a perfect campus, but it can become a school full of great memories.

Throughout my four years, I have seen UMass Boston develop from a cold, harsh university filled with concrete and commuters into something like that of a “real” university. While we don’t have sprawling green lawns or ivy-covered buildings with the names of world-famous alumni that donate millions to the school each year plastered on their sides, we have slowly begun to build a university that is worth being proud of. This isn’t, of course, without some bumps in the road.

I will be one of the first to discuss UMass Boston and all of its flaws. As I said, Wheatley and McCormack are crumbling apart at the seams as I write this. Parking is a disaster. Access to necessary resources like period products or mental health care can feel nonexistent. Programs—especially liberal arts ones like Africana Studies—seem to be teetering on a never-ending tightrope of budget cuts. Some of our efforts for inclusivity can feel downright performative at times. And, of course, the campus construction.

While it can be easy to get wrapped up in the doom and gloom of the never-ending construction pit in the center of campus, the construction has made a lot of progress. Even over this last summer, I’ve watched the quad develop from a mound of dirt to an idea of what the promised green space will look like, complete with stairs, paths and trees. The slow but steady progress on the quad often leads me to take a moment and think about my surroundings, specifically the harbor.

Though UMass Boston may smell like rotting fish and seaweed on particularly unpleasant days, the ocean views cannot be beat. Walking along the Harbor Walk in October with the autumn leaves changing to rich colors of gold, copper and maroon can feel almost picturesque, straight out of a postcard.

There have been times—especially in my first two years at UMass Boston—that I came close to transferring. I was miserable, alone and unhappy with my current situation, but I stuck around. This was due to the resources, staff and opportunities I had, especially in my own college’s department. When I enrolled as a freshman, I was offered the chance to join CLA First!, a program designed to help incoming students in the College of Liberal Arts thrive and find their footing. My advisors, as well as many other staff members, truly made me feel like they wanted to help me succeed, and it made me want to stick around.

It wasn’t just the university staff, either. As cheesy as it sounds, once I found my place at the university and settled into my clubs and extracurriculars, I found UMass Boston to be far more enjoyable. While this doesn’t have to be The Mass Media—though we would love to have anyone who would be interested—it can be as simple as looking on UMBeInvolved or at posters around campus for something of interest and checking out their meetings.

UMass Boston isn’t some highly regarded, top-tier university with Wikipedia pages full of notable alumni, but it is truly what you make of it. Dwelling on the worst parts of campus will make the years spent on campus drag on like long Boston winters, but taking the time to settle in and find something enjoyable will make the years fly by—speaking from experience. Plant some roots, explore some options and find something worth loving.

About the Contributor
Katrina Sanville, Editor-In-Chief