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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Advice from a UMass Boston senior

My first piece of advice: UMass Boston was where I was introduced to Dunkin’s Strawberry Dragonfruit refresher. For this reason alone, I must strongly advise avoiding the Campus Center Dunkin at all costs. It will save you a lot of money in the years to come—trust me on this one.

This fruit-flavored discovery was made by myself in November 2021, just two months after I transferred in from Bunker Hill as an environmental science major. This was my second and final transfer in as many years; so yes, I have been at this undergrad thing since 2019.

This five-year journey ends for me in just two weeks. In that time, I’ve learned more than which drinks I’m willing to hand over unthinkable sums of money for. I feel it’s only right to pass these lessons on to the next generation of UMass Boston students.

One of the first things I learned was that nobody can know you like yourself—you must operate within your own boundaries. This is a nonnegotiable key to your wellbeing while in college and beyond.

That said, these limits are not automatically clear. Sometimes your bad experiences are learning curves for your boundaries.

The computer science degree I was enrolled in during my freshman year is the perfect example of this. My research told me this would be the best chance at a post-grad job, especially from a school as prestigious as Wentworth. But my heart refused to accept it, and this was my lesson that I couldn’t spend the next four years being miserable.

The stigma around many degrees, specifically liberal arts, dissuades many students from pursuing them—but it doesn’t have to. If your heart settles on a degree, you can make it work, no matter how “impractical” you are told it is.

Knowing yourself is only half of the battle. Getting through college requires support. Family, old friends, new friends, faculty and community; knowing you have your folk in your corner makes a world of difference! Work to set aside time for your people because they love watching your progress and would do whatever is necessary to help you on your way. Plus, spending time with the people you love makes the world just a bit better.

As you make time for your loved ones, try to remember the things that you love as well. Turn your hobbies, be they past, present or future, into motivators. You can implement them into your schedule or set them as your proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve taken up everything from reading to video games to research; the key is to make sure they don’t absorb all of your time!

Years in college will also expose you to the tricks of the trade. Maybe the biggest one is that professors are not monsters. A lot of the time, you can simply ask your professor for more time on assignments. They are human and understand that things happen. Don’t be afraid to approach them for help.

And speaking of making your major work for you, don’t wait until your senior year to look for job prospects in your field! You’ve got four years before entering the real world—use them! Apply for internships, reach out to people and research your field’s job market. Find out what skills you can acquire to best equip yourself in your job search.

A smaller game-changer is taking notes on your computer, especially for slow writers such as myself. You can edit your notes at any point, you can keyword search for specific concepts, and you acquaint yourself with resources such as Google Docs or Microsoft Word.

And finally, to address my fellow STEM majors; review your notes after you get out of your lectures! Interacting with the information you’ve just been given makes it much easier to break down and understand before your next class. Trust me, calculus is a lot harder when you forget Monday’s lesson by Friday.

If there is anything to take from this article, it is that college is not the insurmountable monster everyone claims it to be. You can, and will, make it out of here, and out of whatever situation you find yourself in.

And finally, I want to thank UMass Boston for all that it’s given me in my three years here. Have a fantastic summer, Beacons!

About the Contributor
Adam Shah, Contributing Writer