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My Final Semester: What I’ve Learned From Four Years at UMass

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

It is extremely hard to say goodbye to a place that you’ve called home for four years. The memories that have been made, meeting good friends that will become your bridesmaids one day, and most importantly, finding out who you truly are as a person.

Something that was extremely hard to overcome was being away from my parents. Every time I was sick my mom would be there to take care of me, and going to college, I had to learn to live without that. It might sound silly, but it was something that was hard to adjust to. Whenever I had anything wrong, whether that be stress, a cold, anything, it was easy to have that guidance. Going to college helped me get that independence. While it was difficult to overcome, it is amazing to have that independence where you can count on yourself and be confident that it is enough. You gain that feeling of confidence, respect, and power in yourself that you can achieve anything. The way that I fell in love with my independence, loving waking up every morning and cooking myself breakfast with my cup of coffee, cleaning the house, doing my school work, going out for a walk or to the gym before my classes, and overall doing things for myself.

While I loved the dorms, I was very excited when junior year came around and I got to live in an apartment, and now a house. Having the feeling of being somewhere that is yours and you can call home is truly amazing. I love my little house now that I get to live in with my best friends, a kitchen where I can learn to cook new meals, and a backyard that my friends and I can use to chat and lay when it’s nice out. As I am writing this article right now, I am outside in a lounge chair surrounded by my girl group listening to music, soaking in the sun, and taking a break from painting and chatting to do some school work. Later on, we are going to grill and just be in each other’s company while making some more memories. Small moments like these are the ones that I cherish the most, because these are the girls that I love to be in company with. It is like one of those scenes in a movie where the four college roomies are outside touching some grass after a night out, telling all the stories of what had happened. There is so much joy in these stories with so much laughter because of how eventful the night was. Moments like these are the ones I will be missing the most after I graduate.

The biggest thing I’ve learned from being at UMass is what I’m capable of achieving. Never would I have imagined that I would be doing so well academically while taking challenging courses. Being a legal studies major requires a lot of verbal and written skills. I used to hate reading and was a horrible writer however, now I will read a 1,000 page book and will write well over the word limit on an assignment to the point where I have to cut out pages of writing. The saying “if you put your mind to it you can do it” is extremely accurate, and if you keep saying that, you could surprise yourself. Something else that I never thought I would do is break out of my shell and be as social and outgoing as I am now. Before college, I had my small circle and I was terrified of breaking out of it. Going to school forced me to break out of it and I am eternally grateful for it. While it is extremely scary as a freshman to go up to random groups and introduce yourself, something that helped me overcome that is telling myself that everyone is in the same position as you. Everybody is terrified, alone, and vulnerable being away from what they have grown up with and want to meet new people. It truly isn’t as scary as it seems at first and you will end up meeting lifelong friends in the process.

the cousins beach house in the summer i turned pretty season 2
Erika Doss/Prime Video

My advice to freshmen going into college is to not limit yourself to what you are comfortable with and to break out of your comfort zone. While it is intimidating at first, you learn so much about yourself in the process and come out the other side a more independent, confident, powerful version of yourself. You will be so proud of yourself at all the things you have achieved in the past four years. Instead of sitting on your bed and watching a movie all day, go out with you friends, make memories together, and cherish the time you have with them because time really flies and with the blink of an eye, you will be a senior in your last semester of college reminiscing about all the memories you have made over the past four years.

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Sofia Giannakopoulos

U Mass Amherst '24

I'm a senior, legal studies major and political science minor at UMass Amherst. In my free time I enjoy writing, hanging out with friends, and reading a good book.