Alan Watts, an English writer and speaker, once said, “the only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” UMass Boston was a dance that I had to move with and get used to. I had a plan to complete my second-year of college at Worcester State University. As a matter of fact, I had planned to spend all four years there, but that plan quickly changed at the drop of a hat. I made the quick and conscious decision to pack everything up and move to Boston for mental health reasons and circumstances that I do not even wish on my worst enemy. It was a challenging and emotional time in my life, especially where I didn’t have this plan to switch schools until about a week and a half before I was accepted.
My experience at WSU as a first-year student was exactly what I had imagined it to be. As an Honors student, I had the opportunities to meet a journalist from Texas and give a tour of our school, take a day trip to Boston to see a play called “English,” and take a two-day trip to New York City where we saw a Broadway show and took a trip to the MET. I had a goal to make friends in college and I found my people almost immediately. This transition from high school to college was more exciting and full of hope than I had ever imagined it to be. As one could assume, I was heartbroken and upset when I filled out the unenrollment survey.
On an airplane, headed for Seattle, Washington, I took a look at two schools near my new home. The location of UMass Boston excited me the most. As an aspiring writer, I was eager to apply to UMass Boston in hopes of also being close to some internship opportunities in the heart of the city. I also looked into its English program and discovered a robust program with courses that made me even more eager to end the summer. Two days after my trip to Seattle, I put in an application to UMass. Classes had started the day I applied, but I received a phone call that same day and was congratulated for my acceptance. Everything was moving so quickly, creating a mixture of different thoughts and feelings. This speedy process did not allow me to feel one at a time in its entirety which made things more overwhelming.
All of this change did take a toll on my mental health and it has since been a lot better. This huge dive into the deep end was something I wasn’t used to. I felt as though my feet were taking me down a wrong path, and I often questioned my identity and second-guessed decisions.
The process after getting accepted was rapid, but it was also smooth. I was able to get a seat in four classes, only starting them a day or two later than everyone else. I was able to catch up on anything missed, and I have since been trying my best to succeed.
The hardest part about the crazy few days it took to get accepted into UMass Boston and get settled into classes wasn’t the time crunch or even making new friends. The hardest part was leaving a school that was familiar to me and people that I had gotten close with. As dramatic as it sounds, I had to grieve a life lost, a life that was once mine.
However, with that grief came opportunity and hope. I eventually learned to adjust and I am still making little adjustments everyday. I now have the chance to meet new people, experience what the English program is like at a new school, apply to internships in Boston, and be a part of Her Campus, which is something WSU didn’t offer. I have learned a lot while being at UMass. I learned a lot about myself, the city, and my passions.
Hitting the water after taking that jump into the deep end was terrifying. I had no idea what I was doing and what I wanted to do at first. But at one point I found the strength to swim to the surface and take a breath. I often think about how far I’ve come and I try to be where my feet are in the present rather than worry about what’s behind me or in front of me. Although socializing with others is still a little difficult, I have enough self-awareness to know that I have grown as a human, as a woman, and as a student. This was just the first of many jumps that I will have to make as an adult and when the time comes for me to do it again, I’ll be stronger and more brave than the last time.