Hey pals welcome to Brock and Lily's first blog post!
We are both rising sophomores at UMass Amherst and are working this summer as Student Activities Coordinators for UMass Amherst Summer Programs.
Don’t worry if you aren’t sure what a “Student Activities Coordinator” is, we’re still not entirely certain either, but we’re figuring it out. We were hired by UMass Summer Programs a couple of months before summer started to design and then serve as live-in staff for a brand new program called Jump! (the exclamation point is part of the program name BUT we’re also just psyched). Jump! (still psyched) is a transitional program for incoming students that allows them to spend four to six weeks on the UMass campus during the summer before their freshman year of college. Students take classes and earn academic credit while living in UMass dorms. Additionally, we’ve designed a full slate of co-curricular programming for them, aimed at making the transition from high school to college a little easier, because we know it can be tough. The program isn’t all about serious stuff like academics, as it is loaded with exciting events ranging from intimate discussions with faculty doing cutting-edge work (seriously, some cool shit) to hiking through the mountains of the Valley to daytrips into New York City. We’ve spent the past several months designing this program not only to help students feel comfortable transitioning into University life, but also simply to give them a great summer in a great place. Our jobs are genuinely really cool because we are kickstarting this program and have been given the creative freedom to make it completely wonderful.
We have two groups of incoming students from the Class of 2019 coming to hang out with us this summer. The first is a group of Chinese international students in the MAIA program — the Massachusetts International Academy — and the second is a mixture of domestic and international students who decided to join the program after enrolling in the University. We are beyond excited to meet all these students and help them get started on a freshman year that we hope will be as fun, thought provoking, and formative as ours were; however, that’s not the only reason why we love our jobs.
We love our jobs because we have fallen in love with Amherst and the Pioneer Valley. During our freshman year of college, and without us even realizing, Amherst became our home. We discovered great places to eat on and off campus, quiet places to read and hang out in the sun, places to swim, places to study, places to hike, places to buy used books and see concerts and get cute little plants for your dorm room. Our job is perfect for us because it gives us a chance to take all those little things about Amherst that we love and share them with new UMass students.
This blog will be a documentation of the places we go, the people we meet, and the experiences we have during our first summer in Amherst. It will be a blog about what it’s like to go to school in the Valley but, more broadly, what it’s like to go to college. That sounds simple, but after our first year as students, we’ve realized that college is so much more than just “college”. The experience you have during your time here transcends your academic schedule and room assignment. College serves as the birthplace of an identity, the start of a new life pioneered by you as an adult. In high school, your parents, teachers, and coaches made decisions for you. In college, you have and get to make these decisions yourself. From deciding to get up and go to your 8 am to whether or not you eat dinner to what time you come home on Saturday night, there is nobody guiding your decision-making. Frankly, it’s all on you. And yes, this is a scary thought but ultimately, we think it is an overwhelmingly positive one. College is a point in your life when you decide who you are: what issues you care about; what you’re willing to work hard at; who you want in your life; what impact you want to — and can — make on the world around you.
Yes, this is a blog about UMass Amherst, and more specifically about UMass Summer Programs, but it’s also a blog about being young, discovering what you love, and letting the University you choose mold your path towards the type of life you want to have. We’re going to cover everything from the best pizza in Amherst (and maybe the world, but we’re biased) to cute places to take a dip on a hot summer’s day, to how to find a major that’s absolutely perfect for you. We can’t wait to share our love of UMass Amherst and all of the information we’ve gathered over the past year with all of you, so thanks for reading!
Moving forward, we will be updating this blog regularly with a smorgasbord of posts from reflections on our first year at UMass, to highlighting cool things happening on campus and in the local community, to the daily happenings of the Jump! program and our lives. We are looking forward to sharing our summer with you!
To check out our blog in its entirety, head to umassummer.tumblr.com! All of our posts will be featured on this page, but our tumblr page will also have an askbox, a directory of our posts sorted by topic, and a more familiar setting for some with the ability to follow us to have our posts right on your dashboard!