Hewan Worku '25 - Introduction

Hello everyone! My name is Hewan Worku, and I am from College Park, Maryland. Although it’s not cold enough in Maryland, I enjoy skiing and skating, which I found Amherst’s hilly landscape best fit. I am currently a rising sophomore studying computer science and psychology. Outside classes, I am involved in Black Student Union, Women in Computer Science, Active Minds, The Outing Club, and WHAM 89.3.

I am grateful my first year has been supported by many caring and kind faculty. The open curriculum helps students explore outside of their primary major, and I found my love for computer science while exploring introduction classes. I feel fortunate and lucky to be a part of a welcoming and collaborative student body as it connects me to students from walks of life with diverse interests and experiences. Join me as I explore and reflect on my four years in Amherst! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me through hworku25@amherst.edu.

Favorite activities on campus

Amherst is full of events, celebrations, and commemorations throughout the year. This list is not on the most extravagant events but ones that have helped me build a community and make Amherst a home.

Festivals: Throughout the year, the college holds many festivals and activities. This is not only a bonding event for friends and classmates but also a chance to interact with new people. The Winter Fest, The Fall Fest, and many other festivals held by the four colleges nearby have helped me make connections across the colleges. The festivals are often crowded with townspeople, Amherst students, and the five college consortium students ( UMASS Amherst, Mt Holyoke, Smith, and Hampshire). I enjoy how collaborative the colleges are in events and activities. The Jack Harlow concert (held by UMASS), Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour (held by Hampshire), and the Annual Elizabeth Miller Lecture Series (held by Smith) were the highlight of my first-year experience with the other colleges.

Town Food: As I spend my four years here, I have come to love town cuisines. The bubble tea places ( Moge Tea being the best) have made Saturday homework sessions and cramming for exams endurable. The town's Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Vietnamese and more cuisines are also an alternative to Valentine hall. Usually, my friends and I stop at Formosa during lunch hours and study together afterward. Whether you are exploring the town with friends or trying to find an alternative to Valentine hall, Formosa and Anotonio's or any of the restaurants in town is a trusty stop!

Winter Activities: Massachusetts has cold winters, opening many headways to new activities and adventures. Winter activities and experiences were the most fun and memorable of my first year at Amherst. Sledding down Memorial Hill, going winter coat shopping, and huddling tight with friends when a cold breeze drifts have helped me make intimate connections with my friends and come to love the treacherous winters at Amherst.

Planning Events: Planning an event is just as exciting as attending one. As a board member of clubs and organizations on campus, I have witnessed the behind-the-scenes of organizing events and activities. At Amherst, club funding is very flexible and accommodating; thus, organizing events and collaborating with other clubs on campus has been facilitated by faculty and often well funded by the college. I am grateful I had the opportunity to assess the needs of the student body and work together to create an event to address and vocalize that.

The daily life of an Amherst Student

Before attending college, I thought my high school schedule would mimic my college schedule. However, after attending college and picking my classes, I learned that my college time management and schedule would be much different from any institution I had attended before. In college, I witnessed that there was no set structure to your days like in high school, and students are expected to manage their freedom in the manner that is the best fit for themselves.

In my first year, I took a diverse array of classes: Introduction to Economics, Introduction to Computer Science, Progress? (a first-year humanities seminar) and Drawing1. To better explain my daily life, I will share my favorite day of the week and my least favorite day.

My favorite day was Tuesday. I have a really light load of classes: one progress? class and the rest of the day open to my own scheduling. On this day, I often woke up at 10:00 am, which was past breakfast time, so I would do some dorm cleaning and showering and head to class by 11:20 am. After class, around 1:20 pm, I would go back to my dorm and start doing homework, compiling and editing essays, coding, and reading for my economics class. I had econ office hours from 4:00 - 5:00 pm, and after that, I would get dinner with my friends at 6:00 pm. I enjoyed how flexible this day was. If I recently finished large projects or an overwhelming assignment, I would sometimes attend progress? class and take the rest of this day off to rest. It really helped me balance my mental and physical wellness with school work.

My least favorite day was Wednesday. I had a heavy load of classes: starting with an Introduction to Economics at 8:30 am, an Introduction to Computer Science at 10:30 am, and Drawing1 from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm. My Monday and Wednesday classes have an identical class schedule. On this date, I often don’t get to my dorm until after 8:30 pm since I have to do homework and designate time for meals, meetings, and friends. I am grateful to have a Thursday nearby, with only one progress? class at 11:30 am and another 50-minute computer science lab at 1:00 pm which gives me free time after and in between.

I hoped this gave an insight into my daily life at Amherst. Because of the open curriculum, students get a lot of freedom to select the classes they want to take. Your academic adviser — a faculty or professor assigned to guide you through the Amherst College and five college curricula — is very accessible and supports your interest in classes. However, no matter what your schedule looks like, professors, students, and faculty are always supportive and will make it manageable.

Message to my First Year

Be Meaningful with rest
Coming to a campus filled with multifaceted students from all walks of life, I felt intimidated by the competition for jobs, research opportunities, and internships. Not having efficient time management skills only fueled my stress. I wish I had learned to be meaningful with my rest, and sectioned off time dedicated to resting specifically. Time management is essential to having a balanced life in college. If I had created a schedule that best fit my classes and activities, I could have avoided many stressful all-nighters. Sleep, social life, extracurriculars, and school are all important, and planning out your day accordingly will give you the best of each.

Massachusetts necessities
Massachusetts has much colder winters than Maryland. I wish I had been more cognizant of the weather changes and what that would mean to my wardrobe. Winter boots and coats are essential, especially during the transition between winter to spring when rain freezes into the ground, and tennis shoes lose their ability to grip the surface. I am grateful that my friends from cold hometowns ensured I got the coats and shoes I needed to survive the winter here. In the summer, Amherst gets very humid, and living in a dorm with no air conditioning was difficult without a fan. The box fans from Amazon are necessities for summer living at Amherst.

Exploring the town and neighboring areas
I learned a valuable lesson at the beginning of the year. Amherst will feel claustrophobic. Being in an intimate space with familiar faces on campus has helped me feel at home and grounded, but I still wanted to meet new people and have new experiences. The town is just as accessible as the campus, and making friends across the other four institutions (UMass, Smith, Holyoke, and Hampshire ) is as important as making friends at Amherst. I wish I had often explored the town and neighboring cities and states. In March of my first year, my friends and I took a trip to NYC, which was a highlight of my year. Going to Boston and the Cape is going to be my next stop!