Choosing a major: Following your passions and figuring out what they are

choosing a major: following your passions and figuring out what they are

This blog post is part of a series that will help you as you apply to colleges. Today, I’ll share my own personal experiences with choosing a major and what I wish I knew when I made my decision. This post is for you if you’re feeling stuck deciding if you should play it safe and choose a major with guaranteed job security or choose a major that you’re passionate about.

Are you late to the party and want to know what’s going on? Start here.

Is it ok to apply undecided?

It’s totally fine if you’re on the fence or undecided about a major—applying undecided is a legitimate option. This doesn’t hurt your chances of getting in, and a large percentage of students attend college this way each year.

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Juniors! Tips to know before applying

tips to know before applying

This blog post is part of a series that will help you as you apply to colleges. Today, we’ll talk about things you, as a junior, might find helpful before you start applying to schools and some helpful things to keep in mind throughout the school year.

Are you late to the party and want to know what’s going on? Start here.

This post is relevant to you if you are a rising junior or currently in your junior year of high school. Or, if you’re a rising senior and are getting up to speed with the college process.

college admissions lingo: rising junior

Important things to remember as a junior

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Helpful advice for applying to college

helpful advice applying to college

With so many moving parts in the college admissions process, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything you need to do as you start applying to college. It’s likely that at some point, you’ll stress about deadlines and feel like the world is on fire.

It usually starts with innocent and well-intentioned questions and ends with you in a panic.

adults: "what are your plans for summer? where will you apply to college? me: panicked honk deer
Stop The Madness I Give Up GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. In terms of dealing with stress, you’ll learn things about yourself that you never knew during the college application process. This is supposed to happen, so don’t worry *too* much.

But try to think of applying to colleges like preparing for a marathon. Marathoners build endurance and participate in a ton of short races before marathons. They don’t just show up to the Boston Marathon start line the third Monday in April and expect to be able to run 26.2 miles without training for months beforehand.

Breaking down the admissions process into easy to manage chunks (working towards a marathon) will keep you focused and organized and help prevent you from getting emotionally drained.

I’ve broken down some things you should know about applying to college (any college, not just UMass Lowell) *and when* you should complete these milestones.

Teacher Question GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I’ll give you some pointers on what should be accomplished from the time you begin your junior year in high school to the time you submit your last application as a senior.

In the next series of posts, you’ll figure out how to work through the marathon that is applying to colleges. You’ll learn how to compile a list of colleges that you’ll thrive at, when you should ask teachers for letters of recommendations and more.

Here are the links to all the blog posts in this series so you can get to them easily:

This is an eight-part series, and I plan to publish new posts on Fridays. I’ll update the links here as they go live. Sign up to get notified when I publish the next post in this series.

Let them eat grass

There were over 100 sheep on the UML campus a few weeks ago.

No lie, for every sheep that was on campus, I *herd* a sheep/goat/lamb pun (which is to be expected working in an office with creative and fun people). But the sheep weren’t here so everyone in my office could make puns, at least, that wasn’t the only reason.

They were here on a working lunch.

UML Facilities hired Goats-To-Go in an effort to find a sustainable, safe and cost-effective way to maintain the green areas of campus that are difficult for humans to get to (think areas overrun with bees, poison ivy and gopher holes).

But what ~we~ thought of as a sustainable solution was, in reality, the biggest all-you-can-eat salad bar on campus to these sheep.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to see them in action, but my coworker, Alfonso, pulled through with this great video.

Like this video? Check out more from Alfonso.

me and the boys about to protect the world from climate change sheep

Doctor’s orders: Pat more dogs

pat more dogs uml stress relief fair

When I was a sweet, summer child—young and carefree and with zero stress—this is how I’d rank my top-five, favorite holidays:

  1. My birthday
  2. The last day of school
  3. 4th of July
  4. Halloween
  5. Christmas

Now, since stress is a big part of my life and I don’t have the last day of school to look forward to, I just live for these holidays:

  1. 4th of July
  2. Thanksgiving1
  3.  Christmas

1Since it’s socially unacceptable for adults to trick-or-treat unless they have a child or something, Thanksgiving has taken the place of Halloween on the list. (Confession: I held on to trick-or-treating for an embarrassingly long time.)

BUT!! As of two weeks ago, I have a new favorite holiday!


At the end of every semester, UML pulls out all the stops to help students decompress and take a step back from the stress of upcoming finals and the stress from college life in general.

Why is it the best holiday? Two reasons…

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Raise the roof! It’s growing food

raise the roof it's growing food

Anyone who knows me knows that I struggle with eating vegetables (and eating healthy in general). Don’t even get me started on organic produce. Until fairly recently, I didn’t understand what made it better, and I didn’t really want to understand… But since society is demanding more locally sourced, organic options, I thought I’d learn more about organic vegetables. Apparently, it’s good for your body to *not* eat things genetically modified and coated in pesticides.

Anyway, it’s a pretty health-focused community here at UML. Not counting all the healthy activities available to students, the people I work with directly do healthy eating challenges, and University Crossing has a stair climbing challenge. This sounds terrible if you know anything about the stairs in UC. But it’s good cardio, so there’s that.

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You don’t have to fake it ‘til you make it

you don't have to fake it 'til you make it

There’s truth (and science!) behind people saying that positive thinking makes you feel better when you’re stressed out or in a slump. But sometimes the advice that “you should be more positive” doesn’t help when you’re already stuck in your head and feeling alone.

These feelings are what graphic design students, Sundilynn, Cathy, Ivanna, Alecia and Emily, tackled this spring semester in an interactive art piece. Their mission? Shining a light on students’ emotional health. They wanted their classmates to know that they didn’t have to fake being happy because they weren’t the only ones with negative feelings, and that they wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) be alone in working through them.

Supportive and positive thinking is the heart of UML’s culture

It all started with an assignment for the class, Form and Content (ARTS.2010) with Prof. Jennifer Houle. The students were tasked with creating a public art piece, and they decided to install the art in the gazebo on South Campus.

They wanted to draw attention to everything college students go through on a daily basis and to help spread positivity around campus.

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Colors of spring

I’ll just leave this here for everyone who feels like this cold and rainy spring was some kind of sick joke. On the plus side, this is what we get in New England when it rains 20 days straight.

Props to my colleague, Alfonso, for making this video and restoring my faith in the world.

Spring has arrived at UML. It’s. About. Time.

I’m in a glass case of emotion


Even though I have no part in reading applications or making decisions about the future of students accepted to UMass Lowell, I write a lot of the content that goes out to UML hopefuls.

A few weeks ago, I looked over the accepted/denied/waitlisted emails, and I had *feelings*.

Checking over those decision emails for grammar mistakes pretty much destroyed me. I got in my head about how important these decisions are and how someone (an actual human with actual human feelings and hopes and dreams) will read their decision email and feel things.

And then I kind of spiraled and forgot how to spell and use words that were more than a single syllable. I can’t help but wonder if my co-workers felt this weird blend of overwhelm and empathy with prospective students the first time they went through this side of the college acceptance process.

Sign up for a behind the scenes look at UML.

The Point.

The college admissions process is stressful for everyone involved. You’re not alone in whatever heavy stuff you’re working through. You may feel like you are, but if you take a minute to look around you, on YouTube or Twitter, you’ll find that there are a lot of other people going through the same thing. I promise, you’re not alone, and you’re awesome for working through this.

Where ever you are today and no matter how many college decision letters you’ve read, you deserve happiness. You are more than the decision that a university makes about you.Click To Tweet

It’s easy to get stressed out about college decisions and caught up in what’s going to happen next year. So, take a minute to breathe and acknowledge your stress. It’s normal to feel stressed about this. And then let it go.

It’s finally spring.

Go outside and enjoy it. It was 54 degrees in Lowell on the first day of spring. Take a walk. Hang out with your friends. Do the things that you love just for the fun of it. It’s your last year of high school, and your biggest goal now should be to enjoy every minute of it.

Two Truths And A Lie: Art Students Edition

art students two truths lie myths

Thinking of becoming an art student? If yes, then you’ve probably had to fend off well-intentioned advice from everyone you’ve ever met about the lackluster success rate of artists.

Today, we’re going to break down the misconceptions and play a game of Two Truths and A Lie for art students.

Here we go:

  1. UML had an art exhibition for high school students.
  2. The perception of the starving artist is a lie.
  3. It’s hard for art students to obtain paid co-ops and internships.

Which one is the lie?



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