Arianna Herrera ’22 - Introduction

pic of me  Hey everyone, and thank you
for stopping by my little corner of the internet where I will chronicle all that has/will/might happen to me in my time at Amherst! Whew. A little winded after that. Now, for the 411.

I'm from Moorpark, CA which is about an hour northwest of Los Angeles (because of traffic, honestly) and I've lived there my whole life, so deciding to come to Amherst was a big step for me that you'll get to hear all about in my upcoming posts. I just finished my first year here and am a prospective English or Political Science major (or Geology, can't say it hasn't rocked my socks off). I'm part of La Causa, the Hispanic/Latinx affinnity group on campus, and some activities I love to do in my spare time are re-read novels I finished in middle school that require minimal brain power and take walks along the many trails or sidewalks found around Amherst.

Some Fun Facts That You Definitely Didn't Care To Know:

1) I have a fish named Dog who is turning 3 years old

2) I am extremely good at making Orangutang noises (at this point I consider it an official language), and have in fact held a deep converation with some at a zoo.

3) If people had theme songs, I'd want mine to be Bad Girls by M.I.A.

Welp, I think that's about it for now. I look forward to keeping ya'll satisfied with content I come up with this summer detailing everything from my intern days in the Admission Office, to my shenanigans during off hours.

If you ever have any questions, comments, or other about literally anything at all feel free to get in contact with me through my email: aherrera22@amherst.edu.

'Till next time!

 

Summertime Flayvors ft. The Interns

It's humid. It's getting hot. Summer is just around the corner and you're staying on campus for an internship at the Admission Office. What should you do with your spare time?

Ideally, explore around all the places you couldn't make it to during the school year! (Though I do know how important lazy days indoors are to the soul. Have a balance of both.) This is, at least, what I'm trying to accomplish. Luckily, I have also had the pleasure of going about these spontaneous adventures with more than just my eagerness. In addition to some friends I met during the academic school year who are also staying on campus, The Summer InternsTM, have gotten along so well to the point where we also like seeing each other outside of regular work hours! Hopefully, you've had the chance to browse at least their intro blogs. 

We had all been talking at the end of the day, probably Friday, about our plans for the week. Not much had been happening on campus, especially since us Admission Interns were probably the first cohort of students to arrive on campus to begin our summer positions. Needless to say, we were all planning on having fairly lazy weekends consisting of lots of sleep and bingewatching the latest shows. But hey, it's summer, Western Massachusetts is beautiful, and most of us still hadn't visited some places around the area that we wanted to go to during the school year. There really was no better time than now to go and explore. 

Caleb, Shikha, Thalia, and I decided we would go on a day trip to different areas around Amherst on a Saturday. Luckily, Caleb had a car so getting from place to place wouldn't be an issue. The first stop was the Montague Book Mill. While the place itself is wonderful, I thought one of the most memorable parts about it was the actual drive to the book mill itself. Southern California has been dry for a very long time now, so I couldn't get enough of the acres upon acres of lush greenery. The mill itself not only had every nook and cranny filled with books, but also food and a beautiful river gurgling right beside it. I've attached two pictures of that stop down below.

We stayed for about an hour, and then headed towards the Yankee Village (a very appropriate name, this place is massive). I had actually already "visited" the Yankee Village during my first semester with none other than...my geology class! Though, visiting wouldn't necessarily be the correct term. We had a day long field trip in the pioneer valley to do geology stuff and ate lunch in the parking lot of the Village. I had only entered the place to use the restroom, but even that small glimpse exposed me to stands upon stands filled to the brim with all the different smells you didn't know could exist. It's a wonderland. We spent at least two hours there, and I feel as if I didn't spend more than 10 minutes in any one section. We all ended up buying at least one thing from there, be it a car freshener or the traditional scented candle.

By the time we finished these two places, we were hungry and made a quick stop at McDonald's (by the way, did y'all know that there, in fact, is an age limit to who can use the play area? Ridiculous). When we got back to campus I was very content with the nice areas we got to explore...and very drowsy with the effort of doing something so early on a Saturday. I took a very nice nap and dreamed of candles reading books by a river.

 

 

Book Mill Buddies                     yankee candle village

 

                Book Mill River

The Pff...the Pvv...the PVTA!!!

PVTA Bus

"I can't remember the last time I rode in public transportation before college. Kind of forgot that was a thing."

A chorus of gasps and dropped jaws ensued. Of course, that would have been my reaction too if I lived in NYC, or really any metropolitan area in the east coast (as was the case with the group of friends I was traveling with). But I don't. That's not to say I didn't want to experience the glory, wonder, and environmentally-conscious wonderland that the coveted Pioneer Valley Transit Authority offered. I was totally stoked! 

Luckily, I had been in Amherst for a few months at this point and had ridden the bus a small number of times to Northampton and Hadley (the B43 route is a godsend, learn to appreciate it kiddos). However, that was literally the only route I knew the hours to, as it met in front of Converse Hall on a regular 30min interval and was a quick 3min walk from South (4th floor represent!). On this particular day, however, we were on a mission. A very time sensitive, fashion-induced emergency. BSU (Black Student Union) was hosting a formal soon and my friends were in desperate need of some last minute dresses. Unfortunately, the only large scale mall was in Holyoke, and while only 15 miles away, we had no car. But never fear, because the PVTA is here (and free during the school year for any 5-college student)!

We had all the things we needed: ourselves, our spirits, credit cards, eco-friendly reusable water flasks, and most importantly, an online version of the bus schedule (courtesy of the myStopMobile app for the PVTA). The only problem was, none of us really knew how to read it. Oops.

I, strangely enough, was usually the go-to person for info on the bus schedules. Maybe because I was accustomed to the B43 route hours, also because I might have been the only one in the group that had downloaded the online version of all the bus routes in the area. However, I only really knew how to read the B43 route, one that wouldn't be able to get us to our desired location. Half an hour and many questions later, we found our target: the R24, a slightly inconvenient hour long trip that would lead us to its last stop, the doorway to the Holyoke Mall. (Sidenote: "Hey, there was a small group of people. Arianna, why didn't you just uberPool or something?" Because, my dudes, when you get to college you realize how much you DON'T have money to spend around like that when there's a perfectly good bus system driving around. You'll understand soon enough, young apprentice.)

So, we knew where we needed to go, we knew what bus we had to take, and we knew where to be and at what time to be there so it could take us away. Wrong. We did not know where it would pick us up, and were only slightly confident of the time it would be picking up people near the college. The problem was that in the town commons, there were technically 3 spots buses could drop off and pick up. The first was a dilapidated bus pick up in front of Pasta E Basta that I have never seen anyone use, so probably not that one. The other two were right across from each other on South Pleasant Street. We didn't know which one it was. This was a very anxiety inducing situation. 

On a whim, we chose to stop at the bus stop nearest to Hitchcock Dorm and waited. And waited. And waited. Each time a PVTA bus passed by, our eyes sought out the neon sign flashing along the front of the bus...until finally, it came. Except for the fact that it was headed to the stop on the other side of the road. So, we did the only logical thing there is to do. We ran after it. As in, full-on sprinted behind this huge, moving vehicle, yelling like crazy. The bus, thankfully, rolled on in a lazy stroll as we jogged next to it. The driver opened the door as it moved along, "The bus'll be back. Wait on the other side". The driver closed the door and left. Dazed and confused, but too tired to argue, we did just that and despondently sat at the little stop we had come from anyway. What we hadn't realized at the time was that the R24's last stop was at UMass before looping back around and heading to Holyoke, so we only had to wait 5-10min before it (FINALLY) picked us up. Sitting in the bus seat felt like sitting on a golden throne. It was all smooth sailing from here. I put on my headphones and relaxed.

We spent the next few hours, probably until 7 in the evening shopping, eating in the food court, and just enjoying each others company. Overall, I'd classify it as a successful outing. When we were all finished, we headed out to the area where the bus had dropped us off. I opened the bus tracker app and clicked on the schedule for the R24.

The last one for the day had left at 5pm. It was currently 7pm. I definitely needed to get better at this whole public transportation thing.

Good thing I knew how to use Uber.

FFF: Fall Farm Fest

Farm Fest

One of the things I was most excited to experience at Amherst is Autumn, since Southern California isn't necessarily known for its "drastic" seasonal changes (we like to maintain perfect weather year-round, oops). Luckily, the school year starts right when the leaves are getting ready to dawn their red, yellow, and orange coloring, so I only had to wait a few hot and humid weeks before the air started to cool and the view slowly started to change. Once this happened, I took one of my first trips down by the paved trail (Norwottuck Rail Trail) near the tennis courts and just across the fence from Memorial Field. Needless to say, the walks along this trail and the many other ones branching off from it were incredibly beautiful. I was amazed by how different the feel of a town (in this case, Amherst) could change with cooler weather. Everything was as beautiful as I'd imagined it to be, and the view from Memorial Hill was so nice that during the fall semester I would spend a small portion of my time sitting on the first-year quad to admire the view.

Such a nice atmosphere definitely shouldn't be wasted! So, of course, the college has to plan some sort of event/s during this wonderful period, and they do just that. Farm Fest takes place in the fall off the main campus and over by our Book and Plow Farm on Tuttle Hill. I believe the students and staff on hand plant a variety of flowers of all different smells, colors, shapes, and sizes during the summer months so that by the time autumn rolls around, students (and really anyone interested in participating) have a perfect place to spend an afternoon, take Insta-worthy pictures, and pick some flowers. If you were to head down to the parking lot by the tennis courts and make a left, you'll follow a wide dirt path that places you at our location of the farm. It's a good 7-15 minute walk depending on whether or not you're taking some time to enjoy the view. The wide, dirt path leading to this place also happens to branch off to a few meandering hiking trails that can lead you further into nature.

Book and Plow 2

My friends and I took a nice stroll to the farm, and the first thing I noticed as we were rounding up the slight upward slope of the path wasn't the view, but rather the sweet crooning of a singer accompanied by a band. Evening up on that hill was as beautiful a sight as I imagined it would be. The sun was on the brink of setting, the band played great music, and the food stands had incredible options including sandwiches, burgers, ice cream, salads, and more  (vegetables and fruits courtesy of the farm itself!). Unfortunately, by the time my friends and I got there, the wooden picnic tables were full so we had to sit on the grass. We weren't alone though, as there were probably more people sitting on the grass than on the actual tables, and overlooking the pleasant view that the Pioneer Valley had to offer. Once we had our fill, we headed out from the main gathering spot of the food and towards the flourishing flower garden. Luckily, on our way there we managed to snag some of the last mason jars they were giving out for free and were able to use them to hold the flowers we picked. Flower picking is an art. I think I spent a solid 30min (probably more) scoping out the best flowers that would make for a pretty display, and my end result definitely didn't dissapoint. I went back to my dorm room that day very content with the little trip, and am extremely excited to enjoy Farm Fest in a couple months again.

flowers and friends                                   flowers