Krista Goebel '18 - Introduction


Krista Goebel '18

Hi, All! 

I am thrilled to be back for a third year of blogging! For those who don't know me, my name is Krista, and I'm a junior Psychology & English double major here at Amherst from just outside Philadelphia, PA, where I enjoy soft pretzels and cheesesteaks that simply aren’t made the same anywhere else. I am very involved in music at Amherst; I sing for The Sabrinas (one of two all-female a cappella groups on page here!), take harp lessons, and have played flute for the orchestra, the pit orchestra, for woodwind chamber groups, and for music thesis performances. I have many jobs on campus that I love--reading mentor through Reader to Reader, babysitter, tour guide, research assistant in the Peer Relationships Psychology lab, and (last but not least!) blogger for Admissions. Though I am not a varsity or club athlete, I find lots of ways to stay physically active on campus, including getting involved with intramural volleyball, yoga club, and the table tennis club.  

I'm going to say right off the bat that I love Amherst, and I cannot wait to show you why that is through these blog posts. Amherst has given me the tools and freedom to grow, both by broadening my horizons to new experiences and by deepening and sometimes transforming my understanding of old ones. I love that as I grow and change in ways I never could have anticipated, Amherst has every resource necessary to support and facilitate my growth. If you have any questions, please feel welcome to email me any time at If you come onto campus for a tour or visit, please let me know because I'd love to meet you if our schedules allow it! I'll be the girl with the little blue backpack running around trying to pack as many things into the day as possible. Happy reading!

What does a potential class schedule look like?

When I am leading my tours, sometimes it is hard to answer visitors' questions about what typical students' class schedules look like, how many hours they are in class each week, how much work they'll have, and so on, because truly, any two given students can have totally opposite schedules. What I will say is that many humanities classes and social sciences classes meet either twice a week for 80 minutes, once a week for 2.5 hours, or three times a week for 50 minutes. Most language classes and math classes meet four times a week for 50 minutes, and most natural science classes (physics, chemistry, biology, geology, etc.) meet more often, typically 2 times a week for 50 minutes for lecture and then discussion, and then once a week for 3 hours for lab. As you can see, humanities majors and social sciences majors are typically in class fewer hours than language, math, and natural sciences majors, but work-wise, all of the majors tend to balance out, since humanities and social sciences majors tend to have a heavier reading and writing load.

Now that I have discussed class scheduling more broadly, I will describe for you my personal schedule this semester (which is a pretty sweet second semester senior schedule, if I do say so myself!). 

To complete my English Major, I needed to take two more English classes this semester, a 300-level class, and any other one of my choice. For my 300-level class, I chose Intimate Film Cultures, a film class that explores intimacy's role in film over the past century. I chose this class because it is cross-listed as an English class and a Film and Media Studies (FAMS) class, and I figured taking it would be a good way to explore a new department (I've never taken a FAMS before!) and also complete my major requirement. It meets once a week for a discussion-based seminar that is 2.5 hours long on Wednesdays, as well as once a week on Monday nights for our film screenings, which take anywhere between 1-3 hours. We get to watch the films all together in the basement level of our student campus center, which has a really nice movie theater. It's such a fun class and such a great experience watching the films with a theater full of invested film students. I will also say, though, that I selected this class as a challenge. The reading is dense and difficult, and I spend probably about 8-10 hours outside of class each week preparing for discussion. My second English class that I chose is a creative writing class called Fiction Writing I. This is a workshop class that meets twice a week for 80 minutes. Each week, we workshop one another's writing in a constructive, collaborative way, and our Professor is Judith Frank, author of Crybaby Butch and All I Love and Know. The amount of time I spend preparing for class each week varies on whether we are workshopping my writing or not; a good guess would be that I spend about 4 hours on average a week outside of class in preparation. This has been one of my favorite classes I have taken so far, and please, if you have any questions shoot me an email. I could talk about it all day! 

To complete my Psychology Major, I needed to take one last upper level Psychology seminar. I chose Psychological Assessment, which examines the psychology of personality. Right now, we are learning how psychologists use individuals' early memories to assess their personalities, which has been really interesting. It meets once a week for 2.5 hours. I probably spend between 3-4 hours outside of class preparing. My fourth class is my honors thesis class, which I am using to finish up the last details of my honors thesis in Psychology (see my first post of the year!). 

Finally, I am taking harp lessons for a half credit--meaning I am taking 4.5 classes total. Harp lessons meet once a week for an hour, and I try to practice every day for at least 30 minutes. 

That's my complete class schedule!

In other exciting news, my friend Emily is having her senior clarinet recital coming up!

Emily and her clarinet

Also, I have rejoined the orchestra for the upcoming Leonard Bernstein concert! Check it out!


Remembering Richard Wilbur '42


Richard Wilbur

                                 (photo courtesy of Google Images)

Though I am by no means an expert on the poetry and life of recently deceased Richard Wilbur, I felt compelled to write a post honoring Wilbur's memory. 

Richard Wilbur, the American poet near and dear to the hearts of many Amherst faculty and students (past and present), was born on March 1, 1921 in New York City, and passed away October 14, 2017 at the age of 96 in Belmont, MA. During his life, he was appointed Poet Laureate 1987-1988 and was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. He graduated from Amherst College in 1942, after which he served in the U.S. Army during World War II until 1945. He taught at Amherst on-and-off until 2009. After 2009, he still made guest appearances in poetry classes here at Amherst to teach his own poetry. 

On November 1, 2017, Amherst held an event in Frost Library to honor Wilbur's memory. The event was filmed, and you can watch snippets (or the whole thing, if you are so inclined!) right here

Personally, I feel a special connection to Richard Wilbur that began in high school. In my AP Literature class, I was assigned to present on Richard Wilbur's biography and any one of his poems in front of my class. I chose to present the following poem, "Mayflies" (2000).


In somber forest, when the sun was low,

I saw from unseen pools a mist of flies,

In their quadrillions rise,

And animate a ragged patch of glow,

With sudden glittering - as when a crowd,

Of stars appear,

Through a brief gap in black and driven cloud,

One arc of their great round-dance showing clear.


It was no muddled swarm I witnessed, for

In entrechats each fluttering insect there

Rose two steep yards in air,

Then slowly floated down to climb once more,

so that they all composed a manifold

And figured scene,

And seemed the weavers of some cloth of gold,

Or the fine pistons of some bright machine.


Watching those lifelong dancers of a day

As night closed in, I felt myself alone

In a life too much my own,

More mortal in my separateness than they - 

Unless, I thought, I had been called to be

Not fly or star

But one whose task is joyfully to see

How fair the fiats of the caller are. 


Presenting this poem in high school sticks out to me so vividly. I remember commenting on the poem's beautiful imagery and how Wilbur uses this beauty to give order to nature. One of Wilbur's famous quotes is, "One does not use poetry for its major purposes, as a means to organize oneself and the world, until one's world somehow gets out of hand." I love this quote, because I believe it is true both for readers and writers of poetry. 

At the memorial in November, one of the final poems that was recited was this very poem. I teared up hearing it presented to me, as an Amherst senior--the same poem I recited as a bright-eyed prospective Amherst student in high school. I owe a lot of my decisions at Amherst in part to Richard Wilbur, unbeknownst to him. In high school, I was not the hugest fan of poetry because I don't think I had the cognitive capacity yet to appreciate it. When I arrived at Amherst, I wanted to be a part in some way of the amazing poetry legacy at Amherst (i.e., Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Richard Wilbur), so I took a poetry class... and I fell in love with the craft. I am now an English major, with a concentration in poetry--thank you, Richard!

I remember, when I took my first poetry class at Amherst and we reached the Richard Wilbur unit, Richard Wilbur had agreed to fly into Amherst to teach my class his own work. I was ecstatic. But on the day he was supposed to come in, he was feeling ill and could not make it. So, no, I never met him. Nevertheless, he was quite influential on my academic career. 

Now, I think it is only fitting to end this post, as snow piles up in Amherst this winter, with the same poem that we ended with during the memorial in Frost Library.

Out Here

Strangers might wonder why

That big snow-shovel’s leaning

Against the house in July.

Has it some cryptic meaning?

It means at least to say

That, here, we needn’t be neat

About putting things away,

As on some suburban street.

What’s more, by leaning there

The shovel seems to express,

With its rough and ready air,

A boast of ruggedness

If a stranger said in sport

“I see you’re prepared for snow,”

Our shovel might retort

“Out here, you never know.”


Collaborative Amherst Community and Pea Milk

Hi Everyone!

Something you may or may not know about me (depends on how closely you read my bio!) is that I am a campus tour guide, and on my tours, one of the most frequently asked questions I receive is "What's your favorite thing about Amherst?" I love getting this question, and I love answering it. In short, it's the people! On my tours, I never have the time to elaborate nearly as much as I would like as to why that is. Good thing my blog gives me just the platform I need to do so!

Firstly, we have the most impeccable staff at Amherst. For example, I cannot tell you how many mornings I have walked into Val (our dining hall) in a grumpy, sleepy sort of mood and then left so happy after being greeted by the dining staff, asked how I'm doing, and encouraged to keep up my hard work. We also have the most attentive faculty members. Amherst Professors go above and beyond to give us individualized attention and to make sure we are getting the most out of our studies. The best example I can think of right now, while I am in the middle of the thesis grind, is the patient care with which my advisor has been helping me work through my thesis this year. She meets with me weekly and checks in constantly, spending so many hours each week devoted to my work. She welcomes and takes seriously every question that I have, and, when I look back at my writing from when we first began the project, I cannot believe how much it has matured as a result of her ongoing advice and feedback. Also, I have to mention our passionate alumni network. During my sophomore year at Amherst, I was matched up with a mentor through our Pathways program, which matches current students with alumni who share common interests or who have chosen a career path that students are interested in pursuing. My Pathways mentor has been the most helpful, encouraging mentor I ever could have asked for. Just this past Thanksgiving break, she met with me for coffee and devoted over three hours to discussing job related things as well as life, more generally. Lastly, I want to focus the rest of this post on the vibrant student body. Amherst is wonderful in so many ways, but what has truly made my Amherst experience what it is are all of the friends I have made along the way who have been here for me. 

Along my tours, I always tell visitors that Amherst's student body can be characterized by collaboration over competition. I have never felt so comfortable sharing my work and discussing my ideas than I do with Amherst students, because in my experience, every time I have shared ideas, students have always not only been kind and encouraging, but also think so critically about what feedback they can give to make me think about my work in a new or slightly more nuanced way. One of my favorite collaborative experiences this year was writing a piece for my friend's website called Thank You for the Tragedy. During the experience, I had 8 or so Amherst students edit my work, and much like my thesis, that essay transformed during the editing process. I think that piece, as a result of everyone's meaningful effort, was my favorite creative piece I have ever worked on. I cannot emphasize enough how incredibly kind, passionate, intelligent, and (I think most importantly) thoughtful the Amherst student body is. 

I want to give you one last example to take with you about our student body, by talking specifically about some of my closest friends and one of the silly things we like to do together. Like myself, most of my friends are writing a thesis, and so it has been more challenging this year than most years to find time all together to relax and enjoy each other's company. Which shouldn't be the case during our final year!! So this year, my friend Zack took it upon himself to begin a tradition that brings us all together at the very least once a week. We call this tradition Pea Milk. 

Pea Milk began when my friends Adele and Tefiro spotted some pea milk in the local Whole Foods. They were intrigued, bought it, and invited all of our friends to have a taste of it all together. Afterwards, my friend Zack took it upon himself to have a different milk tasting every single week at 11:15 PM on Mondays. We all cram into my suite's cozy common room, and we enjoy our weekly milk (or milk substitute. Or sometimes something completely unrelated to milk). I think our most memorable pea milk night was the one in which Zack brought 5 different types of milk--whole, 2%, 1%, skim, and buttermilk--and we all had a taste of each and had to guess which was which. Shout out to Madeline, who correctly and confidently labeled each milk. It may seem like a silly tradition, but what is most important is that we've all found the time to come together, laugh, and make each other a priority. Amherst friends are so so so wonderful.

Sorry for no photos this week--I was just looking through my phone to add a pea milk photo, but I don't think I've taken any. I think that's a good thing--we always have so much fun that we forget to stop and take photos :) 


Update! My friend Fawzi heard I was writing this blog post and provided me with a comprehensive list of what we have consumed during Pea Milk over the past semester. Here goes:

1. Pea Milk

2. Chocolate Pea Milk

3. Amasake

4. Cider

5. Kefir

6. The Taste Test (described above)

7. Coconut and Flax Milk "Mixer"

8. Sheneenah (salty yogurt milk)

9. Chocolate Peppermint Milk

10. Raspberry Yoghurt Milk

Colder Weather and Pie!

I believe what's weighing on a lot of Amherst students' minds right now is the changing season. We had a pretty warm, mild fall, but the last week or so has taken us all off guard because it's been so cold and windy. Also, folks, the sun goes down before 4:30pm nowadays! How, might you ask, do students cope with the cold? I can't speak for all students, but here are some of my strategies for staying warm:

1) Drink hot beverages while Val sitting. You mustn't underestimate the warmth and comfort that accompanies sipping some of Val's hot chocolate, tea, or coffee with friends while watching the wind blow the leaves around outside. Val is open all day, so that you can spend as long as you want in there, accumulating as many mugs of hot beverages as your heart desires.

2) Bake! There's nothing better than eating some nice warm cookies or pie on a cold day. Not all the dorms have kitchens, but many do! You can invite a bunch of friends to pitch in to buy ingredients. Baking is currently on my mind because yesterday I had the amazing opportunity to learn to bake an apple pie the proper way with one of Amherst's very own chefs. Here are some pictures from the afternoon, which truly warmed my heart!

  Apple pie!!

                   Apple crumble! Note the beautiful, ridged edges. 

Krista in Val hat

                                Me ft. Val Dining Services hat!

Pie Lesson

      "Don't be afraid to use a lot of flour"

Pies Baking

So many pies!!! (I don't pick up the finished product until later today, but I'm sure it will be beautiful)

3) Remind yourself of warmer times. This might not work for everyone, but as a Psychology major, I truly believe in the power of positive thinking! Surrounding myself with summer-like things makes me feel warm and happy. As a treat to myself, I've gone to Amherst Nails a couple times semester, and I've gotten bright-colored nail polish with flower designs. I also took the PVTA bus over to Smith College a couple weeks ago with my family during Amherst's family weekend for Smith's annual chrysanthemum show. They created a tiny, breathtaking piece of summer there! 

Happy nails

               My friend Olivia and I got our nails done, and the fourth finger has a beautiful flower design. 

Family at the chrysanthemum show

   My family (minus my brother Eddie!) at the Smith College chrysanthemum show

4) Hang out by the fire pit. Over the summer, we built a new fire pit right outside of our student center, and on many nights, there's a fire going. You can stop by to warm up and even make a s'more if you want to! It's really easy to sign up to use the fire pit with your friends or with a club/team that you're involved with.  

5) Check out the Sabrinas' youtube page. Okay, so this one isn't so much about staying warm. But here's the link to my a cappella group singing "Colder Weather", which inspired the title for this post! You can also check out some of our other songs... there are definitely some about warmer weather, such as "Summertime" :)

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!


What's a senior thesis?

Hi, everybody! I’m back and ready to share with you about my first month as a senior! 

Senior year started on a very sentimental note. I spent the summer here, doing Psychology research, so the summer really rolled right into the new school year. The summer began with Commencement in May, where I said goodbye to so many of my graduating friends, and then ended with Orientation in late August, where I welcomed the new incoming first-year students to Amherst and helped lead their Orientation activities. Seeing my friends whom I’d known since the beginning of my Amherst experience graduate made me realize how quickly my own graduation was approaching, and leading Orientation made me realize how long ago my own Orientation was and how far I’ve come. If you come to Amherst, I would recommend both going to Commencement and leading Orientation before you graduate—It gave me new insight into how short my time at Amherst is and how impactful it’s been.

So now, when I mentioned my summer research, I already alluded to the big event of my fall semester (also alluded to in this post’s title…): my senior thesis! Senior theses all look very different, depending on which department you are writing one for, but they all involve working on a long-term project closely with a thesis advisor. For instance, music theses can take the form of an original composition, a long research paper, or a performance. Science theses generally involve completing first-hand research with a professor and writing up a literature review, methodology, results, and a discussion of the results in the form of a long paper. This happens to be the setup of my thesis. I am working with Dr. Carolyn M. Palmquist in the Child Learning and Development Lab. I am studying how invoking overconfidence in 8-10 year-old children affects their help-seeking behavior during a searching game, and whether any individual differences in children predict their behavior during the game. I finished my data collection over the summer, and now I have finished writing up my methodology and results sections. Next up: my Discussion! Most departments do not require students to write a thesis; rather, successfully completing a thesis earns students an honors degree. If you have any general questions about writing a thesis or would like to know more about my thesis, please shoot me an email! :) (Or, if you are interested in hearing me ramble a little bit more about my experience writing a thesis, you can read my responses to an interview on the topic here)

One of the most exciting parts so far about writing my thesis was that I was able to present my research at the Cognitive Development Society Conference in Portland, Oregon. During the conference, I met so many other researchers and learned about all of the most recent research in cognitive development. When I presented my poster, I received lots of helpful feedback. Also, amazing--Amherst funded the whole trip! Triply amazing, when the conference was over, I still had a little bit of time to explore Portland :) 

me presenting my research at the CDS conference

                                Presenting my thesis research at the CDS conference in Portland, OR

Danielle and I on our way to Portland

             My friend Danielle and I on our way to Portland!

Japanese Garden of Portland, Oregon

  Japanese Garden of Portland, OR


My main goal for this semester (besides completing a huge bulk of my thesis!) is to give myself ample time to enjoy all the things I love most about Amherst: my amazing friends, long conversations in Valentine dining hall, going to random lectures, events, and activities that peak my interest, and taking advantage of all the different opportunities here to try new things. I am very determined to stay on track and really have my thesis in good shape by the end of the semester so that I can truly relax and enjoy my last semester here at Amherst.

Here are some of the fun things I've enjoyed so far this year at Amherst:

Roller Skating

                                             Roller skating with my friend Keziah at Hampshire Mall!

Apple picking

                                                              Apple picking with some friends!

Homecoming Bonfire Performance

                                 Performing with my a cappella group at the annual homecoming bonfire!