A Senior Farewell: A thank you letter from Taylor Gilmore


The University of Massachusetts Amherst has given me the chance to be a million different people: a philanthropist, an intramural athlete, an advisor, a tutor, an explorer, an editor, a photographer, a writer, a member of royalty… and the list goes on. I discovered who I want to be and what I enjoy doing in life, and isn’t that sort of the point?

In an effort to be fully transparent as they say in journalism, I should tell you that I transferred to UMass for my sophomore year from a small private school in Rhode Island. I’ve only had three years here, but they are bursting with enough laughter, knowledge, friends, parties, and opportunities to last a lifetime.

Having another college experience makes me appreciate UMass on a different level. No matter what I do, I’m happy to be doing it here and not somewhere else. I can honestly tell you it was the best decision I ever made.

There were the nights we got piggy backed home, woke up on the floor, sang karaoke atrociously, danced in the kitchen with wooden spoons, threw a party, threw up, and attempted fake IDs. There were the days we played board games, made breakfast, laughed at the GoPro footage and at whoever threw up… saw riots in Southwest, wore all green to Blarney Blowout, and sat at Puffers Pond…when we walked through campus and thought that life could not get any better than this.

College is great. Better than great, actually. There’s really no word to describe it. But thinking that these ARE the best four years of our lives and our peak of existence is behind us is crazy. We are so young! We have big cities to move to, places to travel, people to meet, a world to change.

We all have regrets (see “woke up on floor”), we are all excited, scared and confused (except for those of you with jobs, a grad school acceptance letter and a plan for the future — I hate you a little, but congrats.) Don’t leave here with a list of things you coulda shoulda woulda done; do it now. Eat all the Antonio’s you possibly can and spend time with your roommates because they’ll be replaced with your parents. Make the time count. Celebrate our fleeting, carefree lives in the happy valley with the people you love most.

Leaving UMass behind will be the most challenging thing we do in our college career, but we will do it together. One of the best parts about this place is knowing that you are never alone. Although our individual experiences are different based on our classes, our friends, and how we spent our time, we all have UMass as part of our path.

When we got here, UMass was big and scary and filled with the unknown. Most of us had no direction and over the years began to pick and choose our classes and internships and activities based on the end goal of getting a job after graduation (joke’s on us). Now we know everything there is to know about UMass and the real world is what is scary to us. Graduating is not detrimental — it is filled with unknown possibilities.

I’m grateful for my time at UMass not only because of all the opportunities I’ve had, but also because of all the people I met. You’ve made UMass special. You’ve made these years unforgettable.

You’re what I will miss most.

Thank you to my friends, to my acquaintances, to Amherst Wire. To my inspiring professors, employers, and classmates. You’ve given me an experience that can’t be matched.

Here’s to tall ships and small ships… you know the rest.

Email Taylor Gilmore at [email protected]

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