The University of Massachusetts Boston has a vastly diverse student body. Many students are native to Massachusetts, some from Boston itself, others from different regions of New England. I moved around a lot before deciding on UMass Boston—I was born and raised in Chicago, then moved to upstate New York. I attended my first year of college in Pittsburgh, Pa., and ended up here after transferring at the start of my sophomore year. As I navigate through my second year at UMass Boston, and my first somewhat “normal” school year here since the COVID-19 pandemic, I am able to explore Boston a bit more.

My roommates fall in the category of being from Massachusetts, and they have introduced me to a lot of places, events and language which are native to Boston. I find myself using “wicked” as an adjective, I solely refer to any liquor store as a “packie,” and I have purchased more Dunkin' Donuts products in the past two years than ever before in my life.

The one Boston thing my roommates are passionate about above all is the Boston Marathon. I didn’t really understand why we got a random Monday off from school in April last year, but I couldn’t complain—after all it was a long weekend. I admittedly expressed my confusion for this Massachusetts holiday, and I was promptly forced to watch “Patriot’s Day.” After two hours of watching Mark Wahlburg’s character complain about his swollen knee and car chase after car chase, I still didn’t really understand what Patriot’s Day was all about.

This year has been more lively in Boston in the sense that COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted, so in October I took to the streets with my roommates and cheered my voice away on Boylston Street as we watched the Boston Marathon participants finally get their chance to run after having the marathon rescheduled due to the pandemic. The restaurants were booming with business, the streets were bustling with eager viewers, and I felt totally out of place; but nonetheless, I loved it.

As the 2022 Boston Marathon approaches, resuming its original date of Patriot’s Day, I am excited to attend and hopefully solidify my place as a Bostonian. While Chicago also has a marathon, it’s nothing compared to the anomaly that is the Boston Marathon; I’ve never before experienced an event that brings out such enthusiasm and unity from an entire city.

Patriot’s Day is a day where school is cancelled, people take off work if they can, and it is a glorious foreshadowing of summer. I look forward to being outside surrounded by the noise of cheers and New Balance clad footsteps as these athletes approach the finish line on Monday afternoon.

I strongly encourage those of you who may be in the same boat as me—from a different state or even a different country—to attend next year's Boston Marathon and intake Patriot’s Day for all of its excitement and chaos. And if that’s not enough to make you want to go, just know you will probably be one of very few people who are not on the sidewalks of Boylston Street, and that’s kind of lame.

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