Today I was listening to a Kenny Chesney song with lyrics that sang: “don’t blink, ‘cause just that you’re six years old and you take a nap, and you wake up and you’re twenty-five…” This concept reminded me of the way this past semester felt. It seemed like I moved back to campus after winter break, blinked, and ended up in the last week of classes. That being said, I wanted to take the time to reflect on some of the highlights from the spring semester of my junior year.
Would it really be a highlight reel for a UMass spring semester if Blarney isn’t included? For anyone who isn’t familiar with Blarney, it is when college students have giant parties to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day; this is easily the most spirited day of the year at UMass. My favorite aspect of Blarney is the fact that everyone involved recognizes how crazy it is to wake up at 6 a.m., party in the middle of a snowstorm, and be done with everything by the afternoon. When I was in high school, homecoming was when students went all-out for spirit days, and having a day at college with that same enthusiasm brings me the same type of excitement.
Celebrating my twenty-first birthday
This year my birthday fell on the Friday before Easter, so everyone was leaving campus to go home. Initially, I was bummed about this, but I ended up having the best birthday ever. I spent my day at campus, and then drove to my hometown and got dinner with a couple of friends and my parents. Of course, I also ordered my first legal drink that night: a mai tai. I spent that whole weekend at home, and one of my friends from school stayed with me. That Saturday, we went for a run on my high school track and then got drinks at a bar in my town at night. We ended up talking to a lot of people from my high school, and I even ended up at a party with some of them. Definitely an unexpected situation!
Who doesn’t love an excuse to get dressed up? The first formal I attended was for Her Campus! I got a red, silky dress over winter break, and I was counting down the days until I could wear it. It was also cool to experience Monkey Bar in Amherst because I had never been there before. The second formal I attended was for another club called CHAARG. An interesting story about the dress that I wore for this event is that it was going to be my prom dress for senior year, but COVID stopped us from having that event. Since I had never worn the dress, I asked my dad if he could cut off the bottom half and sew it to the length of a formal dress. He completed the task and did a beautiful job! The formal itself was a great experience because I knew a lot of people in that club.
Nightly Dinner with Friends
Not every highlight of my semester was a big event; some of the best memories I have come from my daily rituals. Two of my friends and I had schedules that worked out so that we were all available to go to the dining hall for dinner at the same time. In the thick of the winter, we often drove to Frank, but as the weather got warmer, we started walking to Hamp, which is our favorite dining hall. Whether we had just seen each other that morning or we had a lot to debrief about, I always looked forward to ending my day with my two closest friends.
Exploring New Nature Spots
There is so much to see in Western Massachusetts, but there are also hidden spots around campus that are worth exploring! One spot that I really enjoyed was the pathway that goes from Sylvan to Orchard Hill. More specifically, there are woods that surround this path. One day when I was walking in those woods with my friend, we actually saw a baby black bear! Initially, we thought it was a dog, but then we both realized what we actually saw. The second really intriguing spot that I found was a field that is behind Sylvan with a tree swing. The first time I went there, the sun was setting, and it looked magical. I went back to that field a few times, including one day for a picnic. It’s amazing how there can be hidden gems in an area you’ve lived for so long!
While this past semester flew by, and I cannot comprehend that I will soon be a senior, I find gratitude in reflecting on how many things went well. Here are to many more moments worth savoring!