Joseph Bouchard

Joseph Bouchard

Major: Operations Management

Minor: Management Information Systems

Hometown: Fall River, MA

"I decided to go back to school and strengthen my resume by getting an education that fits my career path."
Tell us about returning to UMass Dartmouth after being away for several years.

I left college when I was 20 because I was unsure of which direction to take my life in. After a couple of years, I settled into an analyst job. Eight years later, I decided to go back to school and strengthen my resume by getting an education that fits my career path. I was fortunate to have such an opportunity.

I've learned that there's no problem being ten years older than most of the students around you. They'll still work just as hard and treat you like any other student. I really thought I would be an outcast as an older student, but it's been great. I'm 30 years old and am never treated differently by 18-year-old students.

Having worked in an operations management industry for many years, I'm familiar with some of the subject matter covered in my courses. However, the curriculum is proving to be helpful and a wonderful addition to my knowledge.

After graduation, I intend on locating to a larger city—somewhere like Boston or New York—and advancing my career in logistics. I may also look into graduate school in a few years.

Tell us about your experience with 20 Cent Fiction.

When I was first a student at UMass Dartmouth, I got heavily involved with 20 Cent Fiction, an alternative theatre company on campus and first to be student run. I had the opportunity to act, direct, manage, build... nearly every aspect of theatre I wanted to be involved in.

During my hiatus from being a student, I stayed involved with the organization. Now after all this time, I've been able to see how the organization has evolved and once again have the chance to offer my services to the group.

20 Cent Fiction has given me the opportunity to be the director of a stage production multiple times, and I will forever be grateful for that. Nothing beats the experience of spending three months working with actors, designers, builders, and crewmen and watch everything unfold into a successful stage production over one weekend.

What makes UMass Dartmouth special?

Definitely the atmosphere and the blend of residents and commuters. Day and night on campus are so much different, and this variety create an entirely unique college experience.

I'll always have a soft spot for the Dell. The friendships and memories made there in 1998 are just as important to me as the ones I make today.

Also, I have yet to run into a professor I didn't like. This is especially true with professors within my major and minor. They've all been extra helpful with course work and are a pleasure to learn from.

Tell us about commuting and living close to campus.

UMass Dartmouth is close to where I live and work, and offers me flexibility in my schedule. I'm manging a full-time job, full-time classes, and a work study job and never feel burnt out from it. Balancing all of it has been a challenge, but the flexibility of my courses  has been a great benefit.

I find that commuters can feel a bit disconnected from the university life and experience, especially the night life. But I'm fortunate to live close enough to campus and have enough resident friends that I can still have some of those experiences.

What has surprised you about UMass Dartmouth?
The abundance of financial aid that is available to me really did shock me. I haven't accumulated nearly as much student debt as I anticipated due to the many scholarships and grants made available by the university.

What should students do to have fun at UMass Dartmouth?

See the Rocky Horror Picture Show on Halloween weekend, especially if you've never seen it live. If you've only seen the movie, you're missing out. It's such a great time to have such a visceral, outgoing enviroment with all these college kids, and you get to heckle a sub-par B movie while you're at it!

Also, immerse yourself in your surroundings. Join organizations, attend events, meet other residents on your floor; do whatever it takes to get involved in campus life.  If you don't think there's a student organization that fits your interests, you're not looking hard enough. There's so much to do at UMass Dartmouth, you're practically guaranteed to have a great time!