When I was a senior in High School, the Jump! program for incoming UMass undergraduates didn't exist, so I had to wait until after my Freshman year to experience my first summer in The Valley. Now that the Jump! program is established and growing, there's a chance for UMass students to spend a summer in the area before even starting their freshman year. I have to say, I definitely didn't feel completely comfortable and at home here until I spent the summer. There’s something about being in The Valley when you don’t have classes that really makes you realize: this is my home, this is where I live. I’m so excited for the incoming class of 2020 to be able to feel at home by the time they begin their freshman year! If you’re thinking of spending your summer with us in the Jump! program, here is a list of things you absolutely have to do this summer!
For me, summer is always a time of creativity. You're out of classes and don't have to worry about grades or deadlines, so your brain is free to explore and create. Summer is the time when we love to read big novels, travel to beautiful places, grow colorful flowers, and maybe try our hand at a type of art we haven't tried before.
One of my favorite courses that I have taken at UMass, and the one that actually led to my job with UMass Summer, is Honors 201: Ideas That Change The World. Honors 201 is an introductory honors requirement that challenges students to think critically about our world and the profound ideas that shaped it. A close connection is maintained in the course between the concept of the historical innovator and the concept of the student as potential creator. All students in the Jump! program for incoming undergraduates will take this course over the summer, so I wanted to articulate my experience in the course, the ways it shaped my personal growth and development, and shed a light on the professors who will actually be teaching the Jump! sections of Honors 201 this summer.
Today, I walked to class without a winter jacket on and it was magical. The past couple of months have been chilly at the University of Massachusetts. Getting to class has meant gathering your will power, covering every inch of bare skin, and braving the cold wind. That's winter in Massachusetts and we all know what we signed up for. But we also know that the year keeps turning and that summer is never too far away. Walking to class today wearing just a sweater and enjoying the mild breeze got me thinking about the warm and beautiful walks and hikes that lie in store for us this summer. One of my favorites is the highest peak in the pioneer valley, Mt. Holyoke.
I met with Naaz Sheikh and Maddie Stump, two wonderful students from Jump! 2015, to check in, catch up, and reflect on the days when it wasn't -10 degrees and we were hanging out on mountains and cavorting around the warm and empty UMass campus over the summer. I met these two while working as the Student Activities Coordinator for Jump!, which is a four-week transitional program for incoming UMass students that gives them a head start on everything from credits to campus life.
Last week, I left work and walked to Hampshire Dining Commons, my absolute favorite dining hall on campus, to meet up with two former Jump! students who I got to know last summer while working as a Student Activities Coordinator for UMass Summer Programs. Jump! is a 4-week summer program for incoming undergrads at UMass Amherst that gives students a head start on everything from college credits to campus life. Jason Zhuo and Nick Pontes are both friendly, outgoing students whose presence in the Jump! program was nothing but positive, so I was excited to see them again!