Thalia Sirathanapornpat '22 - Introduction

UMass Head Shot! Hello there!

My name is Thalia, and this blog is (or will be) the home of my adventures as an Amherst mammoth. A little bit about me: I'm from sunny Bangkok, Thailand, and the United States is the 5th country I've lived in! I am a rising sophomore, and I currently work as a summer intern at the Admissions Office. I'm planning on double majoring in Chemistry and Economics. I am a Gregory S. Call economics research assistant to Professor Sims, and I help collect and analyze data on how national parks and reserves help affect the economic development of local commmunities in Thailand. I have also worked as an office assistant at the Loeb Career Center for Career Exploration and Planning, and as a note taker for the Office of Student Affairs in the past. I'm interning at the Office of Admissions for the summer! In the previous spring semester, I was a member of DASAC which is the dance group right here on our campus (Check us out here!). If I pass audition one more time, I will become an official member, so keep your fingers crossed for me!

I love running the trail here on campus on fall mornings, taking photos during golden hour on Memorial Hill or Johnson Chapel with my friends, or going on cooking/baking adventures in the Greenway kitchens, where I am admittedly more of an observer (and taste tester) than an active participant. I also spend a ridiculous amount of time working on my bullet journals and hoard more stationery than is healthy.

As a summer intern, I help out around the office and work on certain projects that the admissions teams are interested in. I also lead tours and man the front desk every day. If you're visiting campus in the summer of 2019, I'd love it if you stopped by to chat or ask questions!

If you're not planning to visit campus this summer, then you can also feel free to email me at nsirathanapornpat22@amherst.edu (I know, it's a real mouthful). I'm happy to chat about anything from my experience as an international student adjusting to the freezing snow in New England, to bullet journaling, to my research work with my professor!

Amherst Cooking Adventures!

Hello hello ! On today's new blog I'm going to be talking about my (or more accurately -- my friends') cooking adventures while on campus during the past year. Being from Thailand (The street food capital of the world!) it was inevitable that I was going to sorely miss Asian food when I moved to the United States. Luckily, my kitchen-capable friends came to my rescue, and amid the stress of finals and midterms and deadlines, we got together to cook various Asian dishes and bake pies and cakes!

Tteokbokki Before we could even begin to cook anything, we had to find ourselves a kitchen. Luckily, the new Greenway dorms have fully furnished kitchens in the connecting bridges that we had access to, so we hopped on the PVTA to Hampshire mall, weaving in and out of Target, Whole Foods, and Walmart hunting for the ingredients that we needed. We aimed small for our first cooking project: a spicy Korean rice-cake dish called 떡볶이 (Tteokbokki), scallion pancakes, and a cranberry pecan pie. Being really clumsy and whatnot, no one really trusted me around pots, pans, or knives, so I mainly hung around helping with random menial tasks and washing any dirty dishes that came my way. After a few mishaps where Pie the dough wasn't chilled enough, we succeeded! 

 

In the end we couldn't even really finish all of it by ourselves, so we went around knocking on different friends' doors delivering pie. Although the tteokbokki was a joint effort, the pie was all Jae Yun (who you might remember from my previous posts!)

 

Cake

 

 

We leveled up after that. After finals ended and we were just hanging around doing nothing waiting to go home for winter break, we decided to make crepe cake. We spent an hour making individual crepes, stacking them. I mostly stirred the frosting after other people mixed the ingredients together for me. It turned out so great that since then I've been hoping we would make it again. We topped it off with some berries and icing, and I ate so many slices of cake that night I thought I was genuinely going to pass out from sugar excess.

 

As you can tell from these accounts, so far I haven't really been much of an active participant in cooking nights. Stay tuned for more updates, and maybe one of these days I'll prove myself in the kitchen and have a dish of my own to show off on here!

So ... What do you guys do for fun at Amherst? Pt. 2

Hello! Welcome back to my blog!

I'm writing this just fresh off Independence Weekend (My first one ever!) and a trip to Boston. As that very first line implies, there is so much fun to be had outside of campus if you're an adventurous person! (Which I can be sometimes, in the right mood.)

Junoflo at UMass! Let's start off a little closer to home. Amherst College is a part of the Five College Consortium, and what this basically means for us is that we have a larger social calendar than that of a typical small liberal arts college since all the social events across the five campuses are open to us. UMass Amherst, by virtue of being a larger school, usually has larger events that can be so much fun to go to with your friends (Via the free PVTA B43 line, of course.) An example of one of those events I went to was the Asian Cultural Night, where my favorite rapper from Show Me The Money (Junoflo, if anyone is curious) was performing. I saw the event on my Facebook, and I knew I had to go. It was a super last minute decision too; we decided to go around two hours before the event started, which again just shows how easy it is to get around the area even when you don't have a car. Here I am up top with my friend at the UMass concert. It was a lot of fun, and they even served free Chinese after the event with some fantastic soft serve ice cream, so definitely take advantage of the social events the other campuses offer you.

4th of July! I also saw the 4th of July fireworks (for the first time again!) at UMass. I rented bikes from the free Amherst Bike Share programs and biked on the trail to take some photos, before biking to UMass to see the fireworks. We took some goofy photos before heading towards the field where the fireworks took place, which was also a carnival with food stands and rides. 

 

As you could probably tell, we had a lot of fun. That's me on the left with my fellow intern Tim (Make sure to check out his blog over here!) As we were both internationals, this 4th of July was extra fun and special for us!

Smith Botanical Gardens Moving a little further from our backyard in Amherst now to Northampton, the home of Smith College! Northampton is such a cute little town with a lively main street, and it is also a bus ride away (On the same B43 line actually) from home! Smith College also has a botanical garden that is fantastic for taking photos in ... so if you love to fool around and maybe capture a few plan-dids in the process then Northampton is definitely worth a day trip! This photo to the right, unfortunately, is not a candid but I think it turned out pretty well.

Now we move all the way out to the city: Boston. Some of the interns got together and planned a trip to Boston for Independence Weekend, and as you can suspect there was a lot of eating involved. We didn't take too many photos (because we were too busy walking around looking for places to eat at), but of course we had to take our obligatory photo at Boston Commons. If anyone reading this is from New England, I guess you don't really need a refresher on things to do in Boston, but these little tips below is for someone like me who's not from around here (Whether that be halfway across the country, or halfway across the world.) So here's Thalia's Top Tips for Things to do in Boston!

Interns Hit Boston Commons! 1. Boston Commons for some great pictures!

2. Chinatown is a great place to grab good Asian food (and bubble tea)

3. Boston Public Library is also pretty and a good place to bask in air conditioning after you've spent hours walking around in the blinding sunshine.

4. Just walking around the city is a fun time in and of itself! We ran into a lot of interesting things while walking around aimlessly in a food coma, and Boston is a very pretty city.

(Psst .... Go read my co-interns Arianna and Shikha's blogs if you haven't already!)






Whew ... This one was a long one. Stay tuned for more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So ... What do you guys do for fun at Amherst? Pt. 1

Hello there! Welcome back to my blog! Today we're going to be answering the question that I get most commonly asked on tours: What do you guys do for fun when you're not in class at Amherst.

This answer is really going to be for two populations: the people who like to stay in and do things on campus, and the people who like to find their fun off campus. Depending on which side of the bed I wake up on, I can really belong to either population on any given day. Sometimes, moving just doesn't seem like a good idea and venturing off campus can feel like such a chore. Other days, I can't wait to take the PVTA off campus and explore. So luckily for you readers, you can get the best of both worlds right here on this blog.

First off, this one is for my fellow lazy people.

Fall Fest! Amherst College itself holds lots of fun events on campus (with free food!) where you can go to take pictures or just hang around with your friends. An example of this was Fall Fest, which was held right on the Val Quad. Clam chowder, cider donuts, and plenty of other fall-themed foods were served, and students carved pumpkins in attempts to win the pumpkin carving contest. As you can see from the picture, some attempts were more successful than others, but ultimately what matters to me in the end is that I ate a lot of clam chowder and went home happy. Fall Fest is not the only event, and throughout the school year (and seasons) there are many more!

 

Fall photos! Beyond events that the college puts on, you can find plenty of your own fun on campus as well. Amherst College is full of pretty, photogenic spots that you can always count on getting a good picture whenever you want. You can even stage your own photoshoot if you want to, and here's an insider tip: the back of Johnson Chapel and Memorial Hill at sunset has spectacular lighting. If you don't believe me, you can look for yourself! The top photo is from the steps of Johnson Chapel, or as we affectionately call it 'JChap', and the bottom one is from our very own Memorial Hill. (The best view on campus!)

Winter photos!

 

A fun thing that I have going on with my friends is that we'll try to get photos in the same spot with the same poses for every season/year we're at Amherst. So far, it's turning out well! Check back over the year if you want to see more seasonal photos!

 

Amherst College also has a great trail (super scenic!) that connects us to Hadley and Northampton. When the leaves are just starting to turn red in the fall and a cool breeze is in the air, running down the trail is really fun. Running never really used to be my idea of fun, but with the scenic trail here I've actually grown to appreciate running here at Amherst, and now I go pretty regularly. When people said college changes you, I never really thought that this would be one of the ways I would be changed.

 

Before I sign off for this week, let me just say one thing: don't be scared of coming to college. It's not all serious and academics and stress all the time. There's also plenty of fun too if you know where to look!

My First Year in Reflection (And Photos!)

Hey there! 

As I'm writing this, Amherst is barely a month into summer holidays. Being so fresh off my first year of college, I thought I would dedicate my first blog post to a reflection of all my ups and downs, my highs and lows, my Ws and my Ls. One thing that I can definitely say is that I've ended up in a place I never expected to be in at all in my journey of personal growth, and the wonderful Amherst community had a lot to do with that.

But first, let's rewind all the way back to Pre-Orientation in August of 2018, which Amherst hosts every year for international students to get a lay of the land and adjust before everyone else comes back to college.

 

First Day at Amherst! I remember coming here with my parents, driving on campus for the first time ever. The lush green trees, the rustic red brick buildings and dorms, even the rolling hills that I've come to dread after a heavy meal... All of it was just as beautiful as the mental image of Amherst I'd built up in my head. Coming from Thailand, a country quite literally half a world away, I never had a chance to do my college tours. My college tours consisted more of obsessively looking up pictures on websites, holed up under my comforter in the safety and familiarity of my bedroom at home. For any other students who might be in the same boat as me, I'd be happy to share all my pictures (and the stories that come with them) of Amherst with you. Just shoot me an email!

Back on topic now. Pre-Orientation is where I met one of my best friends here on campus. We went through various intro meetings to the various offices of the college together: from the Loeb Center of Career Exploration and Planning to the Title IX office. We got to pick through some of the things that the international seniors who had graduated in May 2018 had left behind for us younglings. From the huge pile, I managed to hunt down a kettle, a lamp, and a fan. Our ISL (International Student Leader) brought us cookies from Insomnia and took us to town to get Bart's ice cream (If you visit Amherst, you have to try it. I recommend Mass Mocha or Local Blueberry.) Pre-Orientation, and later Orientation itself, passed by in a huge blur of excitement and the giddy rush of making new friends. One of my favorite moments from Orientation was from my LEAP trip, which is a program designed to help incoming freshman form closer bonds and truly become a community with their fellow classmates. I chose to go on the FOOT (First-year Outdoor Orientation Trip) hiking program, and one of my best memories is standing on top of Mt. Monadnock with my new friends, the strong wind blowing my hair in my eyes and my mouth, following a grueling hike up where we had to climb a 10 ft face of rock. 

Fall semester went by in a rush too. For maybe the first time, I genuinely enjoyed all of my classes. My favorite class of fall was Multivariable Calculus, taught by Professor Zhang. Don't get me wrong: Multivariable Calculus was never going to be an easy class. I still vividly remember how I felt in class as Professor Zhang started solving triple integrals on the board with his multitude of colored chalks, but his dry humor and how much he cared about his students (enough to hold office hours nearly every day of the week, and night office hours on the day before midterms and finals, even though this wasn't his only class) really cemented this class -- and his --- place in my heart. Math was always hard for me, but Professor Zhang made it easier, and a lot more fun. It's hard to not have fun when you're munching on a donut as you calculate its surface area with triple integrals.

DASAC!

I auditioned for DASAC, which is the dance group here on campus, in the spring. I remember the night I found out that I had actually made it. We were in my room, watching the Super Bowl on my roommate's TV, when that email came. Over the course of multiple rehearsals, aches, and pains, I think I had become a better dancer. On the very last day of our showcase in the Powerhouse -- which is our multipurpose event venue on campus -- for the first time, I really felt like I could call myself a dancer. Of course, there is always room for improvement, so keep your fingers crossed for me in the upcoming fall audition too! 

I also elected to take 5 classes, which is beyond the usual number of 4, in the spring. With the benefit of wisdom and hindsight, I can say now that maybe it was not the wisest decision. The workload was definitely manageable with the right time management and task prioritization, but the added stress of an extra class was what really got to me in the end. From this too, I learned a valuable lesson: always push your limits even as you know where your limits are. I think I might try to take 5 classes again, just not any time soon!

College, I guess, is like that. You make mistakes sometimes, but ultimately what matters, in the end, is the lesson that you take away from it. Adjusting to the new culture, being independent without my parents hovering over me, ready to help correct my mistakes, has helped me learn a lot about what being an adult with real responsibility feels like. But if that sounds scary to you, don't fret. Amherst has a lot of resources for you to take advantage of. The community here is so warm and supportive that you are never going to feel like you're alone. Who knows, maybe one day you'll be a part of this community too!

Shoot me an email at nsirathanapornpat22@amherst.edu if you want to talk about anything! If you need tips on the kind of clothes to pack for cold weather as someone coming from a tropical area, I'm your girl.

Until next time!