Seniors 2014: The Final Countdown

Seniors, the time has come – our final stretch of fake life before that dreaded day. While tasks such as finding the perfect dress or figuring out how to do my hair with that stupid cap can wait, there are some things that I want to make sure I do to make the most of these last few weeks in the land of cow manure and hot cheese up front.

1. Make time for the right people.

These last few weeks are about cherishing the ones that have been there through thick and thin. Those are the ones that are going to be there in the long run even if distance might separate you.  I’ve always believed that saying, “it’s better to have 4 quarters than 100 pennies”, or something like that…? The point is I’m going to make an effort to not have to make an effort. My homies are my homies.

2. FOOD

There are so many amazing food places here that I have yet to try. That’s gunna have to change. No need to elaborate on that one.

3. Appreciate the schedule

The next time you’ll be able to sleep in on a Wednesday is…never. Unless Christmas is on a Wednesday. And no one sleeps in on Christmas anyway. SLEEEEEP. Same goes for going out for a couple drinks on a Sunday, little things like this we will never get back. Don’t complain about going to class. I don’t know about you, but I know that a year from now I’ll be wishing I could sit on Facebook for 50 minutes while half-listening to a professor.

4. Represent

Once May 10th comes and goes, it is no longer acceptable to wear UMass sweat-sedos.  Do it now. Do it proud. Actually, do that after graduation too.

5. Don’t stress

All that real world stuff will work itself out eventually. Stressing about it now only takes away from the precious moments we have left. 

6. Take pictures

Mems. Gotta have ’em. 

7. Keep the tears in check.

To the best of my very minimal ability. 

Above all, I’m going to try to focus on the happiness of these last few weeks and not go into panic mode. We may be leaving UMass, but UMass will never leave us.   

 

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If I were a UMass Administrator…

Well, I don’t know exactly what I’d do. I have never been in those shoes and I never will be. However, there are a few things I certainly would do differently. Call me naive, but this could have all been avoided. It’s a matter of understanding the people you’re dealing with.  Clearly the administration has never taken any of the 85 offered Communication classes that all teach this exact concept (and not much else).

I’ll start by saying that I was not involved in the now nationally known Blarney Blowout that took place on Saturday. I was in town, but I could have been in China and this would still be affecting me. As a senior, my job search just got a whole lot harder. Are UMass students to blame for this? Yes. Are Amherst College students to blame for this? Yes. Are thousands of visiting young people who have no association with this town to blame for this? Absolutely. Could the UMass Administration have handled it better? 110%.

But who’s taking the fall here? Aside from the ones who were arrested, all of those visitors get to go about their lives without their university’s (if they attend one) name being dragged through the mud. The poor administrators who are so “sad and disappointed” will still get their bonus checks as the applications will undoubtedly continue to roll in and the standard of admission increases. So that leaves us – the UMass students – innocent or not, to be the victims of the administration, the police, and the media.

If I were a UMass administrator I would never have sent that initial threatening email. This goes back to what I said about understanding who you’re working with. 9 times out of 10, if you tell an 18-22 year old not to do something “or else”, they’re going to do it anyway. If only the administration could see how many people were immediately mocking their threat with a “challenge accepted” attitude.

If I were a UMass administrator I would have compromised. How many students gather for UMass tailgates without any trouble? I would take the same approach as the one taken for tailgates: have your fun until ____ o’clock, and then you’re done. After that time, consequences may be implemented. Do it in this area so the town can be aware and police can be there in case of emergency or injury. The purpose of the police is to protect, not to instigate, which is exactly what they did on Saturday.

If I were a UMass administrator I would discourage the media rather than providing statements to sources as far and wide as Time Magazine and the LA Times. I would bring in students to speak with the media to provide a defense for the University, rather than vilifying them. I would make sure both sides of the story were heard. By turning themselves against the students, our administration made it worse for everyone.

These kinds of parties happen all across the country at countless universities. The difference has everything to do with the week leading up to the event: the alerting of the SWAT team, the threatening email, and the articles that hit the media before the event even happened. Were UMass students in the wrong in some instances? Yes. 

But there are two sides to every story. So I’m sad and disappointed, too, Chancellor.

Lent 2014: Goodbye Negativity!

Every year when Lent rolls around we are faced with a decision – which fattening or time consuming addiction are we going to give up this year? For me it has always been sweets or soda and needless to say it’s never lasted more than a couple of weeks. This year, however, I saw an article that inspired me to go a bit further. Sure, it’s great to give something up in order to help yourself lose a couple of unwanted pounds but I decided instead to do something to improve myself from within. With the support of my boyfriend and best friend, we chose to give up gossip & negativity. It may seem silly at first, and it did to me too, but even after just a couple of days I can see the difference. I had no idea how much negative energy was involved in a normal day until I decided to make this change.

Gossip:

As 20-somethings you would like to think that we don’t do this anymore. However, once you try to knock it out you realize just how bad of a habit it really is. Gossip isn’t what it used to be when we were in high school – “oh my God can you believe she’s wearing Aeropostale?” but it is certainly still toxic. This Lent, we are making an effort to see the good in people and to only open our mouths about another person if something positive is about to come out of them. Gossip isn’t always malicious or hurtful, but 9 out of 10 times it is something that doesn’t need to be said. As a result, I am finding that life can be much more positive if you look for the positive in others, which brings me to our next sacrifice.

Negativity:

Okay, this one was mostly directed at me. Especially at such a stressful time in my life with finding a job, worrying about money etc., I often get caught up in negativity. It is very easy to get into the habit of being negative about some things and sort of always seeing the glass as half-empty. I definitely don’t see myself as a constantly negative person, but there are definitely days or even weeks that I have a negative stress cloud hanging over my head. I can’t wait to get rid of this because I REALLY could use some sunshine! Just because it’s an easy habit to get into, however, doesn’t mean it’s an easy habit to break. This will definitely be a challenge but I’m excited to see how it will positively affect other areas of my life. Nearly everything…scratch that, everything I complain about is a serious first world problem and I need to cut that out. For real.

So I’m hoping that this season of Lent will have lasting effects. I don’t plan on going back to either of these habits as soon as Lent is over, which is just another perk. I won’t lie though, the biggest perk will probably be eating all of the sweets I want 🙂