Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Spur of the moment turns into the time of my life

Photo courtesy of Patrick Stroehecker
Photo courtesy of Patrick Strohecker

It’s weird to look back at the four years I spent at the University of Massachusetts.

Everything came together so spur of the moment and now that it’s coming to an end, it’s hard to even find a place to begin when describing those great moments.

It was never my intention to come here. It was a last-minute decision to visit and apply, but from the second I stepped on the campus I knew that I would love it.

This place has so much to offer that I can’t even fathom the idea of spending the last four years of my life at anywhere else. The friends I’ve made, the activities I did and the memories I gained can never be replaced.

So it’s weird to look back at it all now that it’s coming to a close and think about how all of it was so close to never even happening. But in a way, the last-ditch decision to apply to UMass and then the rapid choice to enroll is the story of my time in Amherst.

A lot of things happened at this school that were a result of spur-of-the-moment decisions, but perhaps the biggest choice I made in my four years was to walk down to the Massachusetts Daily Collegian one Sunday evening in January during my sophomore year and decide to start writing for the paper.

Writing for the paper was a plan that was always in the back of my mind and something that my mom always pestered me about. But there was still something nerve-wracking about just strolling down there and introducing myself to a bunch of strangers and telling them that I wanted to write for them.

Turns out, that one leap of faith made on a blustery January evening led me to making the best decision of my life in college.

The Collegian gave me the opportunity to not only hone my skills as a writer, but it will be a major reason why I’ll find a job in the journalism industry. The ability to work my way up from a measly beginner stuck writing notebooks, to eventually becoming assistant sports editor is what I’m most grateful for.

I’ve had the opportunity to travel to various different schools along the east coast, taste some of the best chicken parmesan at Boston College and even attend the NCAA Tournament this past year while covering some of the sports teams at UMass.

And those strangers? They became some of my best friends who I plan on staying in touch with long after I graduate on May 9.

Much like my initial decision to come to UMass, the spontaneous result of stepping into the Collegian offices and deciding that I wanted to write for the paper was the best decision I could have made in my four years here.

College is all about those unexpected pleasures; there’s a reason why everyone always says it was the best years of their lives. And they’re not lying, either.

When I look back at my time here, there were so many great moments that I wish I had another four years. I sometimes stop and envy the innocent freshmen who navigate Berkshire dining commons, not because of their innocence, but because they still have so much to look forward to.

So, as my lasting words and as the final thing that I ever write for this proud newspaper, I want to leave anyone reading this with this final piece of information: Some of the best decisions you could ever make in life are the one’s that you least expected to make. Don’t be afraid to take that leap of faith because it could wind up turning into the time of your life.

Patrick Strohecker can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @P_Strohecker.

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