Lidia Gutu '20 - Introduction

Picture of Lidia Gutu

I am absolutely positively surely excited to introduce myself AGAIN to all you lovely readers checking out our blog: My name is Lidia Gutu, and I am a member of the class of 2020, majoring in Economics and Psychology.  I come from Chisinau, Moldova, though I've spent the past three years at a boarding school in New England. For those of you who are curious, my favorite ice-cream flavors are coffee, mint and pistachio.

This year I am a Residential Counselor in an upperclassmen hall, Greenway C. I also teach Romanian at the Five College Language Center, and work with the Admission Office. I still play badminton occasionally, and enjoy spending the evenings with my friends and catching up with their busy lives. My goals for the year are to stay grounded and balanced in the hurricane of things I’m involved in, and to maintain the ties I have with the people I love.  

Some of my personal interests include music, writing, questions about the meaning of life and obviously, languages! (if you speak Romanian, Russian, German, Spanish or French, I would love to talk to you! Just kidding, English speakers are welcome, too) On campus you can see me sprinting everywhere in my running shoes, working out at the gym every Saturday, attending Val lunches and dinners almost "religiously" and taking pictures of trees, chipmunks and the sky.

If you need a person to ask questions about Amherst, follow these 3 easy steps:

1) Copy lgutu20@amherst.edu and paste it into your "To:" bar from your mailbox.

2)Ask me anything!

3)Hit "Send".

Yaaaay you've send me an email and I will get back to you soon!

Till future adventures!

Your Student Blogger,

 Lidia

About languages at Amherst

I really enjoy languages! I think it's so cool how people developed and changed their ways to communicate throughout time, and I wonder whether it would be possible to keep track of all the languages spoken around the globe.

Some people that I've meet have the stereotype that "all the people from Europe speak multiple languages, and enjoy learning more of them". Sorry to spoil that for you, but that is not the case! I guess I'm not disproving this idea, but I know enough people who easily do. Whether a new language is a badge of honor, a school requirement or a survival need, people learn them for different reasons, and sometimes learning isn't even the hardest part!

For me, knowing many languages means mantaining them to the best of my ability, because skills can be easily lost.

Amherst College offers 9 languages, as far as I know, and I have been personally involved with 4 of them. Maybe 5... actually? 

These are 4 ways to get involved with languages on (and off) campus (Spoiler: there are many other ways than that, but just bear with me): 

 

1) Take a class!

Do you want to learn more about Modernism and its Discontents in German? Have you thought about learning French or Arabic? Did you want to know what are the opportunities to learn Japanese on campus? Then be bold and pick a language class for your next semester! From my personal experience, language classes at Amherst tend to be fairly small, and rather intensive, but they definitely bring a lot of joy. My German seminar from my first spring here was a very good pair to my quantititative classes, to the point of me wanting to take "Modernism and its Discontents" for this upcoming semester. Also, if you start taking a language, chances are you might even consider studying abroad in one of the countries it is spoken ;) 

2) Get to know the LAs

For select languages, Amherst College hires Language Assistants, who are native speakers, students or recent students themselves, who come on campus for a year (or more). They will live in the Theme Houses correspondent to the language, and often help professors in teaching courses, by having their own conversation hours or tutoring students. Moreover, the LAs take classes alongside students, and participate in campus events. Similarely, if you want to study abroad, and there happen to be LAs from the country you're planning to go, they are a great resource for Q&As.

CISE Poster 2

The Center for International Student Engagement puts on language-related activities as well, open to all students!

3) FOOD

Yes, food and languages are closely tied. Language tables, Evening Language Tea Time in Theme Houses, Cultural Events, End of the Semester Parties: I will leave the food to speak for itself. And the best part of these gatherings is meeting people like yourself, who enjoy the language and the culture of the country or countries represented.

4)Teach a class!

If you (like me) are a native speaker of a foreign language, the Five-College Language Center may want to hire you, in order to pair you up with a conversation partner for a semester or more. I am currently teaching Romanian to a Five-College student, and it is a very rewarding activity, as I miss speaking the language to people geographically close to me (not just through Skype or Messenger). 

CISE Poster

Movies are also a great resource! (Spoiler alert 2: There is food and subtitles)

Additionally, you can take a class in the Five-College Consortium, study abroad for a semester or the summer, and many more.

Languages are great, and I am happy that Amherst helps me to keep speaking them.

 

Till later!

 

Your Student Blogger,

Lidia

 

About Taking Time for Yourself

This week has been a busy one for me. Even if Fall break happened, I was able to load myself with work in very little time. Being a sophomore makes you more aware of the rest time you get, and the ways you chose to spend it. That being said, I am grateful that even after a busy day at Amherst filled with assignments and Linear Algebra problem sets, I find the time to take care of myself. Self-care is definitely a privilege, as one of my friends was pointing out this week; it depends on background and personality. But enough with the serious musings about the individualistic self, and let’s dive into ways to discover the care you need!

Get a getaway

For me, the getaway was Boston, where I went with five of my friends, hoping to see a concert. As the band took a prolonged hiatus to keep writing their music and the concert was cancelled, our plans became more cluttered. For the first day, we “hunted” for food for 3 whole hours!

Who said getaways are always relaxing? However, the second day put a smile on hour faces with a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts, and eating delicious food from Cambridge and Chinatown. Obviously, not everyone can just leave all the work behind and go to Boston, but even taking a stroll through vibrant places like Northampton can make a difference in your mood. We tasted some delicious cream puffs in Boston, so now we’ll definitely check Northampton’s pastry shops for a similar experience.

  Me and my friends in Chinatown, Boston

Me and my friends in Chinatown, Boston

 Go to “the woods”

This Saturday, instead of doing my regular, longer run, I ran for 10 minutes, and then took a stroll through the Bird Sanctuary and the Bike trail. Especially with the fall colors, the leaves look like little droplets of wonder, falling on the ground slowly. I took one of the smaller paths through the woods, and aimlessly wandered around, up to the point where I realized that I’m taking a very dark path, and it was already dusk. One of the reasons why I considered Amherst in my college process was its rural beauty, and every time I walk around at night I’m so grateful that I am here. I hope I continue to find time for walks like these, where I totally unplug from the world and the wifi, and take the time to look around, and even spot a cottontail or two. This campus has many bunnies, it’s just that they are very shy and blend well with the surroundings, especially in the fall at dusk.

Beautiful Sunset near Greenway Residence Halls

Beautiful Sunset near Greenway Residence Halls

Fall FEST

Fall FEST is one of the most expected holidays on campus for the fall semester, as it offers students a chance to take a break and enjoy great company, delicious food and meeting new people. This is also a DIVOH Weekend (Diversity Open House, along with a Native American Program), when prospective students come visit campus and stay overnight. For first-years, this is a good chance to feel a sense of ownership of the place, as they’ve been here for almost a month and a half now, and now it’s their turn to give advice to the visiting high-schoolers. For us sophomores and above, we look back and realize how fast the time has gone. Many thanks for the hard-working staff that made Fall Fest happen, from popcorn to the carriage rides!

Fall Festival: Pumpkins, Scarecrows and Caramels Apples

As this picture shows, apples were in high demand!

 

Until future adventures,

Your Student Blogger,

Lidia