Oscar Jemison-Blais '26 – Introduction

Hey, I’m Oscar. I’m from Ann Arbor, Michigan, but I’ve lived in Boston, Massachusetts as well. I’m an Amherst College student, class of 2026, which means that I just finished my first year here. I’m a summer intern in the admissions office at the moment, and I’m one of eight admissions office interns and one of a couple hundred students on campus for the summer. In my free time I love to exercise. I like to run, lift and play ultimate frisbee. When I can get friends together for it, I like to play volleyball and basketball behind the Greenway dorms. When I can’t get friends together, I like to cook, listen to hip-hop and sci-fi audiobooks, and watch reality TV. A lot of my time during the school year is dedicated to my work as a Psychology Major, and my interest in learning Spanish. Next year I’ll also be starting the Pre-Med track, and probably becoming a bit of a recluse so I can get all my work done.

During the school year, you can catch me at Frisbee practice, Black Student Union, 3D Club (Making a Difference for the Developmentally Disabled) or giving tours to prospective students. I’m generally a very social person too, so you’ll see me at all kinds of seemingly random social events, sports practices, or weekend commitments. I’m excited to start up my summer blog soon, and for those of you who have dug far enough into the Amherst College website to find this, I hope I can give you a window into student life. Amherst is rigorous, it’s diverse, it’s prestigious, but most importantly, it’s a lot of fun. People applying to schools seem to forget that college is supposed to be fun, so I’ll try and show all the random activities I get up to this summer and make student life seem a little less daunting.

Mount Monadnock, Barbie, and BBQ

Mount Monadnock, Barbie, and BBQ


Okay this might be my best week of blog content yet, because I’ve been super busy. On Sunday, me and a few other people who were around for the summer made the drive up into New Hampshire for a hike. My friend Liam is from Massachusetts and has hiked Monadnock before, so he told us it would be about two hours up and two down. Seemed reasonable, and I’d be able to make it back for an Oppenheimer showing at 6. So we drove up there, through some very pretty Massachusetts countryside, and arrived around noon. The hike was difficult enough to be engaging. There were some parts steep enough to get our hands involved, and we had to take a longer route than we intended, so it was actually closer to three hours, but we did reach the top at around 2:00. I was nervous that I’d miss my movie, so I tried to hustle everyone back down the mountain quickly. We ended up making it back to campus at 8:45 after stopping at an Indian restaurant for dinner. I missed my movie by a lot, but I enjoyed the hike and the views were stunning.

Monadnock View

I did not get to see Oppenheimer, but on Tuesday night, the movie theater is half-off, so me and some of my friends on the Ultimate team came out for Barbie. Honestly, I give it an 8/10. (Spoilers ahead) I liked that they spend most of the movie in Barbieland instead of the real world, because watching Barbie and Ken interact with real people made me want to die inside a little bit. I loved Ryan Gosling as Ken, he completely stole the show. Him and the rest of the Kens became the antagonists of the movie when they discovered patriarchy and brought it back to Barbieland. I appreciated that rather than having men be overly serious, they instead made the Kens really goofy and fun-loving. I think they tried to do a little too much towards the end of the movie, but I still enjoyed it, and I went with a big group so I had fun with them too. 

Last night, I went to a barbeque at a house off campus. It was put on by the Track coach, and the on-campus track people, plus their friends (me) got to go. It was very low-key. We had some burgers and bratwurst, played spikeball, and sat around a fire making s’mores. I’m glad I’ve gotten to know this group of people better over the summer. Especially as I’ve been running more and getting kinda serious about it, it’s been good having people to suggest routes, workouts, and give encouragement. That’s about everything interesting I’ve done this week.

What do we do for fun?

One of the biggest differences I’ve found between working here over the summer and working here as a student are the aspects of work-life balance. At the end of a day in admissions, I don’t take my work home with me to do on my own time. I come in, work for about six hours, and then go back to my dorm, where my time is my own to control. It’s very satisfying, and it gives me a lot of time to fill with activities. So what have I been doing? 

One thing I’ve been able to invest my time into is basketball. Amherst doesn’t have a ‘Club Basketball’ team, the way that there are club soccer and volleyball teams, so for people who want to play, it comes down to grassroots communities. We have a group chat during the school year called ‘Hoop Therapy’, but I always found myself too busy with homework and Ultimate to go more than once every few weeks. But because we have so much more time in the summer, our ‘summer hoop therapy’ chat has been really active. I’ve played basketball probably three days a week for the last month, and it’s really put me in touch with a fantastic community. The players are inclusive and funny, they have great aux, and they’re good at giving everyone a chance to shoot. 

Amherst Students playing basketball

I’ve also gotten a chance to see some new corners of town with my coworkers. The admissions staff are actually very close, which is good because for the last few weeks of our internship, we’ll be the only ones on campus. They’ve also been in town longer than me and have been introducing me to new spots. My favorites are Goberry, the local frozen yogurt spot, and ViVi’s and Moge, two competing boba tea places that are across the street from one another. Turns out if you want a fruit tea, you go to ViVi’s and for a milk tea, you go to Moge. We also went bowling in Northampton at Spare Time a few weeks ago. I made a little side bet with one of my friends on which of us would do better. Proud to say he got destroyed—easiest five dollars of my life. Two nights ago, me and a couple friends also drove into Northampton for Salsa Night at a local park. I met a lot of great people, but I still have some room to improve on the dancing.

Two Amherst students at an outing in town

So despite being here for the summer without a ton of social events to attend, I still feel like I’m able to have a lot of fun here. Summer programs at Amherst are pretty accessible, even to people like me who just finished their first years, and it’s a great place to pass the time. 

Tags:  Oscar  blog  basketball  food  amherst town 

Exploring Amherst On Foot

For the last few weeks, I’ve started a pretty ambitious workout plan. My dad is running a half-marathon in Detroit this fall, and invited me to do it with him. I’ve done runs that long before, but never in an official race, so I figured that I should train for this. The last few weeks I’ve been running around Amherst, and I’ve found some cool corners of town that I didn’t know existed. 


The first area I explored was the Rail Trail. On the edge of campus, there’s a bike/running path that goes through the woods and into the Amherst Suburbs. When I go south on the rail trail, I go past Book & Plow, a farm on campus that supplies both our salad bar and local food pantries. I just visited Book & Plow last Friday for a bonfire—put on by some other students who were here for the summer—-and had a really good time. We made s’mores, tossed a frisbee around, and simply talked while we looked out at the view. It sounds corny, but it ended up being really fun. There’s just barely enough students on campus for the summer to feel like we’re not isolated up here. I also ran past a few hiking paths and found a beaver dam, but the trail was blocked by construction so I wasn’t able to go further. The Rail Trail extends in the opposite direction all the way into Northampton, which I managed to visit using the college’s Bike Share system. This trail goes for about seven miles west, all the way through Northampton and into Hadley. 

Foggy Rail Trail
Mile Marker, reading "Mile 0"
Photo of Amherst Student with Bike on Trail

I also found myself running around UMass Amherst, the large state school next door. I saw the field where we had a local Ultimate Frisbee tournament, and ran past the UMass Hospital, the local water treatment plant, and a lot of their dormitories. It was probably because I was there at 6:30 in the morning, but the campus felt empty and serene. It reminded me a lot of the University of Michigan, which I’m familiar with because I lived in Ann Arbor before I became a student here. It wasn’t as sprawling of a campus, but it had a similar feel, and reminded me of home. I’m taking some of my vacation days next week and heading home. Feeling excited to see my family again.

Stretch of Road running through UMass Campus

Part of why I like running is that it lets me explore, and find interesting trails, shortcuts, and views that I wouldn’t see normally. I found a neat area a few miles from campus called Puffer’s Pond on one of my runs. Well, actually I tried finding it without a map just to see if I could, and I missed the turn. But then I went back a second time, by car, with some friends, and we had a little beach day. It was a really fun way to get off campus, and I’ll probably be going back. There’s also supposedly a waterfall hidden on one of the trails, so I’ll look for it on my next run. 

Puffer's Pond

That’s it for my first blog post. Not sure how many of these I’ll have, but I plan to talk about downtown Amherst and the mall next.