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

What I’ve learned from UMass and what UMass can learn from me

Jessica Picard/Daily Collegian)

I have 17 days until my college experience is over. It’s exciting, but mostly sad; I’ve loved my time here and it’s going to be tough to no longer spend my days doing hood rat stuff with my friends. Thank you to those who have indulged me by reading the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, I hope you’ll indulge me one last time by reading, and maybe heeding my advice.

College is something you’re best at when you’re almost finished with it; you’ve learned the tricks, your wants and needs. You’re more mature, grown, experienced and wise. In that spirit I’d like to offer some advice to my soon to be ex-fellow classmates and the great institution that I attended.

To the students of UMass, my first tip is to not neglect your mental health. We’re lucky, both as an institution and a society, that we live an era where mental health is viewed with an importance never before seen. We have access to counselors to help us through difficult times and programs to address specific difficulties. I was lucky enough to have a friend push me to toward counseling when I needed it. Be that friend for someone else. All of us need someone to talk to. Don’t be miserable, be proactive—don’t let negativity define you.

Second, remember why you’re here. Traditionally, college was an institution to create a more informed society, to provide individuals with the skills and knowledge to be productive citizens, to culture and teach young adults. Nowadays, the focus seems to be more on finding a job than learning, but we can combat this.

In no other time until our retirements will we have as much free time as we do now or as many idle individuals to converse with—use it; read, watch and listen. Idle time is our time to learn the things that college doesn’t teach us, to study current events, read great works of literature, delve into cultural criticism. We have time to watch “Stranger Things” or “Game of Thrones,” to listen to Kendrick’s “DAMN.” or Beyonce’s “Lemonade,” to experience works of culture simultaneously with millions of other people, to discuss, criticize, learn and bask in our society’s ability to produce beauty. Use your free time to better yourself.

Third, find a friend you can skip the gym with. Now, not all the time of course, but college, if you can remember the times before it, frees us from the shackles of high school—the hierarchies, drama, insecurities and painful memories. One of the reasons people are excited to go to school is to reinvent themselves, but seldom do we do so in the ways we imagined. Just remember you don’t need to go to the gym all the time to look good, or wear the newest clothes or drink the most or show off for anyone. Be you, be comfortable and find yourself a friend that believes the same.

To UMass, as a proud soon-to-be graduate of the Isenberg School of Business: Can we please start teaching some ethics? Our sociology department, the people you pay to study society, inundate us with message after message of the evils of big business, what our economy could do to be more responsible to the environment and to workers. And our business school barely considers any of it. Yes, some professors go out of their way to teach social, economic and environmental responsibility, but I’ve seen no indication they are required or encouraged to do so. We must raise our future business people, managers and entrepreneurs to consider more than their own pocketbook when they go into the world.

Second, can we please admit that moving from the Football Championship Subdivision to Football Bowl Subdivision was a massive mistake and complete failure? We keep pumping money into a program that will never be sustainably successful. Football is slowly falling out of vogue as the danger is studied and younger athletes increasingly do not participate. College football in the Northeast is dead and it isn’t coming back (the student section was empty for our homecoming game). And the program is losing millions a year with no signs of a turnaround coming. Sometimes you have to admit when you’re wrong.

Lastly, my parting thought for this publication: Can we please, please stop ticketing so much? This school’s parking system is a racket; let’s ask students to pay hundreds a semester for the right to park their cars where they live. If they don’t pay? Hit them with ticket after ticket, constantly sending swarms of meter maids out to catch any car at the wrong place at the wrong time. I paid tens of thousands of dollars to go here. You don’t need to steal a few hundred from me.

 Evan Gaudette was an Opinion and Editorial columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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