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It’s OK To Grieve: How I’ve Been Dealing With My Approaching Graduation

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

I never thought I’d be the kind of person to get sad over leaving college. Sure I knew I would miss my friends but looking back at my mindset freshman year, I didn’t really have an investment in UMass and I felt pretty indifferent about graduating and leaving. But now with two weeks left, I couldn’t feel farther from that. 

UMass was never my top choice. I actually wanted to go to UConn but when it came down to it Amherst was the smarter option… And significantly cheaper, so UMass it was. My freshman year was nothing crazy. I enjoyed the independence, the great food, and studying on the 23rd floor of the library at a desk looking out across the campus pond. However, Covid-19 hit in March and I never got to finish my freshman year. And the following year I spent sitting at a desk in my bedroom on the North Shore taking classes over Zoom. 

UMass Amherst
Original photo by Anumeha Rajvanshi

Because of this little (VERY BIG) hiccup I felt that my connections with the school weren’t as deep as those before me and those who would come after me. By the time my junior year rolled around and we were allowed to come back, with masks on, of course, I was determined more than ever to live life as carefree as possible, always hovering between the fine line of trying to have a fun college experience and abiding by Covid-19 restrictions. 

My third year at the school but only my second year living on campus was a game changer. I met so many new people, joined a new club (Her Campus of course), and started a new job. I began to feel like I was recreating all the time I had lost. My junior year was by no means easy but it made me realize just how lucky I was in choosing UMass. 

I know people like to make fun of the “Zoo” but it has truly made me feel so grateful for coming here. The foliage in the fall and the blooming trees in the spring make up for the short gloomy winter days, and the bustling downtown and the plethora of mountains to hike always provides excitement. As a senior, with a not-so-normal college career, I can truly say now that I will miss this place. 

Not just for the social life and the classes but for its pure essence. Never again will I find myself in such a diverse group of people. Never again will I be able to walk downtown and get a slice of delicious Antonio’s pizza (artichoke spinach of course). Never again will I witness one of those absolutely breathtaking sunsets that you’ll never see anywhere else. Sure, Western Massachusetts is no Miami or LA, but I like to think of it as a small little oasis that the 25,000 students and many more alumni hold dear in their hearts. 

UMass Amherst
Original photo by Anumeha Rajvanshi

The more I think about finally getting out of this place and never having to write another paper or take another exam (until grad school of course) I find that there’s still a small part of me that doesn’t want to go. It’s a very bittersweet moment. It’s crazy to think that just four years ago I was sitting in my tiny dorm room in Gorman doing more class readings than I’ve done in the past two years combined. Now I’m getting ready to pack up and leave and never come back. There are no more first day of classes or move-in days. It’s all over. One of my friends who graduated last year told me that the end doesn’t really hit until about halfway through October when the 9-5 has really settled in and Halloweekend becomes just another part of history. 

This article may be a little misleading because if I’m being honest I don’t think the grieving process has begun for me. I’m in that weird in-between phase where I recognize everything going on around me but I haven’t sat down to fully let it sink in. To just sit with my emotions. In a way, writing this now is helping me begin to confront what lies ahead. Which for me, is completely unknown. 

I’ve just been trying to have fun. Hang out with my friends, put homework on the back burner (not really though, I’m way too paranoid for that), and just embrace every moment out here in my own little oasis. No matter how big or small. I was going to try and end this with a positive outlook. Some sort of “I know I will always miss UMass but there are better things to come” speech but if I’m being honest, right now I’m heartbroken. There is no part of me that is truly ready to leave this place for good. I never thought I would have such a deep connection to this little section of farmland in “the middle of nowhere.” I never saw myself as someone who would like college. But I guess that’s the beauty in it, everyone can find their own little special piece of UMass. 

I’ll be grieving the loss for quite some time. I’ll surely miss it here. 

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Abigail Hartman

U Mass Amherst '23

Abby's a Senior with a psychology major and a Spanish and PoliSci minor, and she loves anything true crime related!