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My Journey of How I Ended Up at UMass

If I could travel back in time to my senior year of high school and tell myself that I go to UMass Amherst, I wouldn’t believe it. For the entirety of high school, I had every intention of moving far away for college — preferably to the south. I loved the idea of warm weather year-round, big football games, and Greek life. I went to my cousin’s graduation from Vanderbilt when I was a sophomore, and not only did I love the school, I LOVED Nashville. I mean, come on, everyone who goes there loves it (and I wasn’t even 21 yet). Thus began my obsession with going to college in the south. 

When I was a junior, I traveled to New Orleans with my dad to tour Tulane. As much as I loved Nashville, I loved New Orleans even more. Tulane became my top school before I could even apply. Then I toured the University of Richmond, Elon, and some schools in DC and Pennsylvania. Once it came time to actually apply, I had ten on my list: Tulane, URichmond, Clemson, Wake Forest, American, George Washington, Lehigh, Bucknell, UNH, and UMass. The last two were the only ones in all of New England that I considered. 

Applying to college sucked, but hearing back about decisions was even worse. The day I got rejected from Tulane was a sad one, even though deep down I expected it. I also got rejections from Richmond, Wake Forest, and Bucknell, and I was waitlisted at GW and Lehigh. I got into four, and the only one that was in the South was Clemson. Having never actually toured this school and only really applying for fun, I knew it probably wasn’t the place for me. My dreams of going to college in the south were pretty much dead. 

By April of senior year, I knew I had to make a decision. I went back and forth between American and UMass for weeks, until I finally realized that I didn’t even really like American. The only thing appealing about it was that it wasn’t UMass. After some much-needed soul-searching, I came to terms with how distorted my perception was. For all of high school, I thought I had to be far away from home to have the “real” college experience. I toured and applied to all these fancy, out-of-state schools because of their names and how they looked on paper. I thought being somewhere warm with a huge football stadium would make me the happiest. I didn’t consider the most important factors, such as cost, ability to get home, and academic support, to name a few. In the end, UMass not only made the most sense logistically but had everything I wanted. 

UMass Tailgate Shirt
Audra Garvey

Now that I’m finishing up my junior year, I can confidently say I made the right decision. This school has it all: great academics, so many clubs and organizations, good housing on and off-campus, and not to mention the best food in the country. While I feel academically challenged and supported, I also have so much fun. I cannot imagine anywhere else providing a more ideal college experience.

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Abby Champoux

U Mass Amherst '23

I'm Abby and I'm a junior psychology major at UMass! I'm also a sociology minor working toward social work and criminal justice certificates. I just joined HC this year, and I already love the friendly and inclusive environment of it. In my free time I like to work out, watch Netflix, and write.
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