PURF students share ideas about maximizing UMass experience

Recently, I got together with a group of students and faculty who are participating in the “Provost’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship” (PURF) program. New PURF students met with faculty mentors and returning PURF fellows to check in about their research projects and share ideas about how to get the most out of their time at UMass Amherst.

image of PURF student meeting I think their comments could be really useful for all CNS students, so I’d like to share them with you!

What are some things you like to do to relax?

  • Play computer games—because it’s a change of pace.
  • Work Out—swim, weight lift, use the punching bag.
  • Listen to Music—“Top 50 Cello Picks” on Spotify is particularly good for relaxing!
  • Go to the Rec Center—play basketball, do Zumba with Bobbie and Yoga.
  • Watch Netflix—because it’s mindless and you can stretch out on your bed with a cup of hot cocoa and relax.
  • Read for fun—some favorites: Frankenstein, To Kill a Mocking Bird, The Da Vinci Code, The Joy Luck Club, The Kite Runner, East of Eden, The Count of Monte Cristo.
  • Talk about Game of Thrones with friends.
  • Take a nap.

Are there benefits to taking a Gap Year?

  • It’s a good thing to do because it provides a break from just having spent 90% of our lives in school!
  • It’s a great way to get lots of internships and get a variety of experiences.
  • It provides an opportunity to teach, do volunteer work, get involved in programs like Teach for America.
  • It gives you a chance to do hospital work.
  • It allows you to pursue something you feel passionate about.
  • You can travel, or relax before ramping up again with the next round of higher education.
  • It’s a good idea for some, but not for me because I know exactly what I want to do next and I want to get right down to it!

Why do you think being open and trying new things might be helpful?

  • I’m in Pre-Med, but I also want to go to art school, so I’m keeping both options open so I have a plan B.
  • After being a Psych major for 3 ½ years, a friend of mine switched her major to Animal Science and wants to go to Vet School.She will be a lot older than most students by the time she graduates, but she loves what she is doing.
  • All through high school I really wanted to be a lawyer.When I got to college, I realized that I cry when people yell at me so that might not be the best fit for me.You really should do what you enjoy doing.
  • When you find your passion, you really should follow it!
  • It is important to keep an open mind and be flexible.In high school, I really wanted to be a concert pianist, but now I want to be a doctor.I’m planning to keep both options open, because not everyone gets accepted into med school.