The transition to college can seem overwhelming for a multitude of reasons: new living situations, new people, academics, freedom, and responsibilities to name a few! It would seem the statement “Get involved” would be the last advice we would give our students, but that is exactly what we have told our college age children, and that suggestion has served them well. Each of our children’s involvement in their college/university was unique, but it allowed them to find a comfortable balance, forge new friendships, and expand their horizon beyond their academic major and dorm room.
Getting involved allows students to experience all different types of people! It helps broaden their knowledge, find their passion, pick up a new hobby, or have a social outlet in college! UMass Amherst is the perfect place for this, with over 200 registered student organizations and a very active residential life program. They include, but are not limited to academic, service, artistic, religious, and athletic groups; students can be sure to find something they enjoy. If students do not find their exact passion, they can even create their own as long as they follow the Student Government Association (SGA)’s guidelines and procedures!
Our student at UMass is involved in registered student organizations, takes electives outside of his major, and attends social events! As a future engineer, he is also a part of the student chapter of his major’s professional society. His involvement with his major led to his volunteering (and paid work) at UMass Open Houses, New Students Orientation, and Engineering Visit Days for future students. He enjoys singing and is a proud member of the UMass University Chorale; he has sung in local concerts in the Amherst area and in Springfield Symphony Hall! His love for singing has even led him to the entertaining Open Mic night, where he shares a late evening snack of “#1 college dining in the nation” at one of the many dining halls while singing karaoke.
During the week, our student loves to attend events within his residence hall and residential area! Organizations like House Council allow students to put on events for their halls. This can be anything from a game night to a paint night. During the last weeks of the semester in his freshman year, our student helped organize a stress reducer night for students in his hall cluster. Additionally, the House Council our son was a part of organized a movie night and bought several tickets for students wanting to attend the Avengers: Infinity War premiere.
After a long week of classes and homework, he loves to unwind at a UMass Hockey game. He is a member of The Militia, an avid follower of the team, and he loves the excitement of cheering them on in the student section with his fellow Minutemen at the Mullins Center. We love joining him on occasion. From attending a few of the games with him, we understand how he loves the electricity and excitement of the games, listening to the UMass Ice Band, enjoying the pizza delivery of the game and making an appearance on the jumbo-tron!
It doesn’t mean that becoming involved doesn’t come with a little bit of apprehension during the first semester, but he has found his way to his UMass experience and your student will too. So, whether getting involved is something as small as a cocoa and paint in your resident hall or as large as a concert or sporting event, our suggestion to your student is to grab a friend or two and see all that awaits them when they get involved at UMass Amherst.
Maureen and Kris Provost are parents of a junior, and Maureen is a current UMass Amherst Parents Advisory Council member and co-chair of the Special Events committee.