The UMass Tour Group Invasion: A Look Back at My UMass Campus Tour

Along with the taste of summer, freedom, and finales, the spring semester also brings along the gangs of tour groups that seem to pop up about campus when you least suspect it. I have been unfortunate enough to be walking out of a building right when a tour group is surrounding the entrance for a discussion. Talk about awkward.

While it is irritating to suddenly be the campus model for all these tour groups when I’m simply walking to class, I am definitely thrown back to when I was a high school student touring my list of potential colleges. I stared at every college student at every campus, trying to envision myself in their shoes. When walking by the massive numbers of potential future UMass students, I also can’t help but to see the difference in how I felt then compared to how I feel now. I started my college search like any other of these students, unsure of where I wanted to go. Two years later, I find myself feeling at home and comfortably at ease on this campus I had once found incredibly daunting.

Two years ago, I felt unsure of where I wanted to go for college, as many others felt as well. I had my lists of universities that I wanted to look at, but I had picked them due to their prices, their distance, and their reputations. I went to every one of these schools without any clue on what to expect. When I currently look at these tour groups walking around campus with absolute clueless looks on their faces, I realize that there is a 100% chance that I looked like that not too long ago.

UMass Amherst was one of the first colleges I looked into. I remember feeling intimidated by how large the campus was and confused by how so many buildings seemed to look alike (Campus Center and Herter anyone?).  I came during the summer when the campus seemed to be abandoned, with only a small amount of students out and about on campus. Everything seemed even bigger that way and I remember looking at how far I would have to walk from my potential dorm to the Rec Center thinking, “…yeah, there is no way I’m going to do that.”

I continued my college tours, waiting for that feeling of rightness to hit me at any moment. Each college seemed just as confusing and baffling as UMass, as I tried desperately to envision myself at each college. The only way to figure out if I was a good fit for the school was to actually attend the school for a time and the process did not offer that nice of a solution. While I enjoyed the college tours overall as it gave me deeper insight into my choices and more travel time with my family, the fact that no school in particular came as a "no-brainer" choice to me was a real dilemma.

Fortunately, UMass Amherst chose me and I decided to choose UMass. Although there was never a feeling of destiny for me when it came to this college, I easily fell into UMass life with grace. Soon enough, I had a close group of friends, I joined some exciting new clubs, and I easily had the UMass campus mapped out in my head within just a couple of weeks. It seemed as if UMass Amherst had always been the perfect choice for me, even when I had no clue it was.  

It felt baffling to soon watch as new tour groups began to take over the campus. I could not fathom that not too long ago I walked with those tour groups looking just as lost and overwhelmed. A lot has changed since I saw those first tour groups. Two years later, I look at those tour groups and feel like I have seen endless amounts of them. I have seen so many that I get the sense that it has been ages since I was a part of anything like that, as I now fit in so well here on this campus. If anything, the tour groups I see around campus help remind me of my journey to UMass and my stepping stone to the next stage of my career. Each year only makes that reminder more powerful and rewarding.

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