As soon as she got to the University of Massachusetts, Jade found a whole group of people who shared her background, her interests, and pride in her culture.
The advice that I would give to a first-year student coming in is to stay true to themselves. And if you don't know who that person is yet, you will find out fairly quickly. Some of the ways that I found my place in such a large area was definitely getting involved in clubs on campus. I got involved in SOCA, which is Students of Caribbean Ancestry, and I've been involved with them for the past four years. I got involved because my mom is from Trinidad and my father is from Barbados, so that whole culture thing just kind of trickled on down to me. Through there, I was able to meet a close-knit group of friends that I was able to grow with. I helped with dance and I helped with building events. We've just been able to continue to get better and better each year at just showcasing all of our culture, all across campus, and helping people understand what true Caribbean culture is. If you're not accustomed to getting involved and immersing yourself in something new, UMass is a great place to start that. Definitely getting involved in clubs, in sports, working anywhere on campus, it could really help you choose a new major that could be what you want to do for the rest your life. Or just meet one of your best friends or meet somebody that's going to employ you for the rest your life. I just enjoyed seeing new faces every day and meeting new people. I love the opportunity to meet someone new every second. My UMass education meant a lot to me because it fostered this sense of community. It fostered a sense of inclusiveness. The fact that you can come and make this school your own and shape your own college experience. It's a chance to learn more about yourself, a chance to make sure that you're set up for the next stage in your life, which is adulthood, and it gets scary. Trust me, I'm there. You're learning who you are, and they give you all of the opportunities to be able to do that. I think just UMass is great. Like, I just think it's great. I'm Jade Foster, Class of 2015. I stand for diversity, and I stand for UMass.