I may not be an expert, but I have survived four years of college.
And it was not easy.
I started at Regis College, a small Catholic liberal arts college outside Boston. I liked that it was only an hour and a half away from my home on Cape Cod, the small size was just larger than my high school and that there was a sense of community in faith. I attended two years, but by the end of my first semester those were the reasons I needed to leave.
For those who have transferred, you know how daunting and annoying the process can be. I was still doing schoolwork, playing field hockey, staying involved in clubs and extra-curricular activities. So here are my first notes on transferring:
1. Know that your happiness is most important. If that’s not where you should be, you can move.
2. Tell your advisor. They are there to help you and they’ll be supportive of your decision.
3. Don’t tell anyone else. Rumors spread, especially at small schools. People will talk behind your back and feel like they are being betrayed. Just tell them when everything is final.
I did appreciate Regis and my professors there; they taught me a lot and helped me discover my passion for journalism. Regis helps a lot of students who would not otherwise be able to go to college get a great education. So I don’t want Regis College to sound like a bad place, it just wasn’t right for me.
So after two years of field hockey and fighting through transferring and schoolwork, I finally decided to transfer into the Journalism Department at UMass. This is one of the best decisions I have ever made. It was not as easy as it may seem, but it was worth it.
I started right into the program and was approached by one of the assistant photo editors of The Daily Collegian, Shannon Broderick. I shared that I was a photographer in one of our classes, so she dragged me down to one of the photo meetings.
This brings up my next few points:
4. Get involved. You’ll meet people and make friends.
5. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone; that’s how you learn. Join the club and take an assignment right away. You won’t regret it.
6. Make mistakes. Your first piece or photo won’t be perfect, but putting in effort is the only way you can learn. Everyone around you is there to teach you and help you grow, so take their criticism and grow with it.
I soon moved up in The Collegian, quickly becoming an assistant photo editor and then copy editor. Still to this day, I learn new things from my peers: how to take a better picture, certain Associated Press style tweaks, etc.
As graduation comes closer (an unbelievable two weeks away), I look back and am thankful for my opportunities. I am fortunate to have gotten a job at Western Mass News as a producer, and all my experiences together have brought me this amazing career doing what I want to do.
So I leave you with these last three points:
7. Do what you love. It may be a cliché but you only live once, so enjoy it.
8. Take risks. Apply for a job out of your reach. You may just get it if you show your ambition.
9. Lastly, have fun. Yes, work your ass off but don’t forget that your happiness is the first priority.
And with that, I thank The Daily Collegian and all my amazing peers. Thank you for these two years of fun and hard work.
Sam Anderson was an assistant photo editor and copy editor and can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @samaanderson10.