Scrolling Headlines:

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass woman’s basketball ends FIU Holiday Classic with 65-47 loss to Drexel -

December 29, 2016

Don’t cry for me, Argentina

Maybe it was when I was interacting with penguins south of the most southern city in the world, marveling at massive pieces of ice shattering off of one of the world’s biggest glaciers, or maybe when my brother and I were sharing drinks with a cop/pimp in a backwater city on the edge of the Patagonian wilderness, but a stunning realization struck me.

I had a little over one week left in Argentina.

I came to the University of Massachusetts two years ago with the goal of making up for any shortcomings or flaws in high school, both academically and socially, and I’d say that so far I’ve done pretty damn well.

Except this past spring, I started to lose the magic that I had found. Grades started slipping, laziness worked its way in, I made social choices I shouldn’t have and I didn’t make the ones that I should have. The passion and excitement that characterized my attitude when I first arrived in Amherst had disappeared and was replaced with merely going through the motions.

Enter Argentina.

A time for reflection and a challenge that would help me correct my direction. To conquer my 8-year-old albatross of the Spanish language. To begin fulfilling my life-long dream of seeing exotic and far corners of the Earth. To test myself and see if I could thrive on scratch.

I came to the country with the same combination of enthusiasm, shock and abandonment of concerns as when  I came to Amherst as a freshman. But, perhaps due to the shorter time table, the more challenging emotional situation, or simply the excitement of living in a foreign city, I found myself progressing to a level and sense of belonging beyond any that I had developed at UMass.

Over the past five months, I have lived and felt more pure events and emotions than at any other time in my life. With the ever-present threat of my return flight, I’ve lived with the lack of concern for consequences and refusal to hold back that seem befitting to anyone confronted with the fact that the world that they have come to know will be snatched away.

I have seen the pure majesty of nature in the greatest waterfalls in the world. I labored on a hike through an endless mountain desert at 10,000 feet. I suffered through 125 degree heat and winds fresh off of Antarctica.

I was threatened by knife wielding children only to volunteer with other children from identical circumstances and backgrounds the next day. I’ve enjoyed the equivalent of bottle service at a club for $25, and a five-star steak dinner for $20. But I’ve also walked home from these pleasures to see the poor finding refuge on stoops on my street.

I’ve worked with equally idealistic and wonderful people to bring a tiny sliver of hope to those who others have deemed as hopeless. I’ve learned to love a city despite uncountable cultural differences that could be confused for a bundle of serious neuroses. I’ve left one girl’s apartment in the rain at 5 a.m. on moral grounds, and had a heart-to-heart with another on a busy street corner at 6 a.m. in the previous day’s clothes because of an inability to find a way to make things work beyond my quickly approaching return.

With five days left, I know that I have time to end this trip on my own terms, to plan every moment so as to leave no regrets.

When I left UMass, I told myself that if I’m leaving such an incredible place and putting so much of my normal life on hold, I would have to make my experience in Buenos Aires worth the sacrifice. Now, I’m telling myself, if I’m leaving Buenos Aires, it has to be to return to an even better UMass experience than before.

Buenos Aires and Argentina as a whole has been a chaotic challenge that I have enjoyed thriving off of. I wish that I could stay, but it would only be running further away from a life that I left to learn how to fix and perfect. But I will carry these past five months, the events, emotions and people into the rest of my life to make sure that this experience wasn’t just a fleeting dream.

If you can’t find the opportunity to study abroad, promise me this. Search out your own escape from the ordinary and into excitement, even if it’s only for a moment. It can shape you forever.

Michael Fox is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at mgfox@student.umass.edu.

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