Victoria Foley '23 - Introduction

Welcome! My name is Victoria, and I am a first-year student here at Amherst College. Originally, I am from Northern Virginia and attended high school in Washington, D.C. I am beyond excited to share my experiences with you all on this blog! Currently, my major is undeclared, but I am considering possibly majoring in Spanish, American Studies, or Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought (LJST). Victoria Foley `23 at Welcome Orientation Day 2019 for Freshman

On campus, I'm part of the...

  • Amherst Symphony Orchestra (I play the viola!)
  • Amherst Christian Fellowship
  • La Causa (Amherst's Latinx heritage group)
  • 3D: Difference for the Developmentally Disabled, a club that meets weekly to spend time with individuals who have developmental disabilities.

Additionally, I love writing and journaling! You'll find tons of books, journals, and quotes scatted all over my dorm room.

If you ever have any questions, feel free to reach out! I would LOVE to tell you about my time here at Amherst! Email: vfoley23@amherst.edu.

She/Her/Hers pronouns.

Note: To enlarge the photos in my posts, click on the image! I also attach all the photo captions at the bottom of each post. Enjoy!

Professor + Class = Bubble Tea Celebration: The Distinctiveness of Amherst Academics

Congratulations to the Amherst Class of 2024! You have made the best decision, and I cannot wait for you all to experience this incredible school. I am only a freshman, and even through quarantine at home, I have loved my first year as an Amherst Mammoth! Feel free to reach out to me at vfoley23@amherst.edu. I am also happy to Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, etc. to answer any questions; this goes for everyone, too!

Before becoming an official woolly mammoth, I chose Amherst in part because the current students told me about their eager to learn from their professors, who are also considered their mentors. This year, I was able to go to each of my professor’s office hours, which was beyond helpful, and I advise all incoming freshman to definitely do so, especially if me in San Diego only a few weeks before freshman year you need any help with work.

For those unfamiliar, “Office Hours” refers to the times when the professor is in their office available to discuss, help, or talk. Some professors have specific days and hours of the week when any student can just stop by their office, while others just ask the student to email them whenever the student wants an appointment. 

The eight professors that I have had have all been wonderful! Each one of them made it easy and accessible to stop by their office hours. Most of our conversations involved the course material, while some were also about possible majors that I might pursue in the future, or even advice about how to do research on campus. Though I am here at home, I have met with three out of my four professors on Zoom. I just email them or book an appointment through their Google Calendar, and then we are set to meet! Speaking with professors, on campus or not, is totally accessible and definitely always an opportunity to pursue.

At Amherst, our average class size is 19 students, and our student-to-faculty ratio is 7:1. What’s really cool is that each of my professors from this year knows my name and something about me besides just my work or grades. When my professors and I see each other around campus, we say happily say hello, and recently, one of my first semester professors even sent me an email asking how I was doing and also making sure I was okay at home.  Me in my dorm room after moving in

As I state in the title of this blog post, one of my professors did indeed take our class of 7 people to go out for bubble tea as a celebration of our last class! Apparently, Amherst gives each professor some money to be able to treat their students like so throughout the year. We walked over to Lime Red, a bubble tea place that’s less than five minutes from campus, and we sat and chatted about cats, our favorite flavors of tea, and other things that we wouldn’t typically talk about in class. 

The dedicated professors and academic resources on campus have helped my student career grow. Some of our academic resources include the Writing Center, which is place where students can stop by and ask a professional to read their essays or any work that involves writing to revise and help them improve. Each student has the opportunity to book an appointment online and up to three weeks in advance. There are also stop-in hours, as well.

I feel incredibly blessed to have had these amazing professors. Amherst facilitates these intimate class spaces so that students can easily speak and build rapports with their professors, and I think it’s one of my favorite aspects of the school. 

Once again, feel free to reach out, and have a wonderful week!

Photo Captions: me in San Diego only a few weeks before freshman year; me in my dorm room after moving in

May 5th, 2020

 

Leadership as a Freshman: How is easy it to jump in?

Greetings, everyone! Today, I am speaking about how easy it is for freshman to get involved with clubs, leadership, and activities on campus. This is one of the best parts about Amherst! 

Clubs: When can freshman sign up and must they apply?

The first week of school, Amherst hosts a club fair where every organization on campus advertises their club and tries to recruit people to join! This is the place where I signed up for all of my extracurriculars with the exception of orchestra; for that, I had to audition during my orientation week. Every single student at Amherst has the ability to sign up for any club, no application needed. For all music and A Capella groups, anyone can sign up to audition, as well. 

Furthermore, every single student has access to The Hub, an online platform where all club information is listed so that everyone can keep up to date with the clubs on campus. Amherst does a wonderful job with letting students advertise their clubs events, from paying for their posters to even hanging it up for them around campus. There’s also a lot of awareness that happens on social media, too. 

Starting a Club: Can freshman do it?

Anyone can start a club on campus, even as a freshman! At the beginning of each semester, a certain window opens up for people to register their new organization. It goes through an application process to ensure that the campus does not have two of one club and also that leadership is established to move forward.

Some freshman in my grade have started school clubs and publications, such as the Amherst STEM network magazine that profiles science-related articles. Additionally, two of my upperclassmen peers and I are starting a club called La Fe, which is an interdenominational Christian organization built to support Latinx students in exploring the intersection between their faith and cultural background. We are kicking off our first meeting this Monday, April 27th, on Zoom! 

My friend and I at a La Fe conference Furthermore, I am the Co-President of a club called 3D: Difference for the Developmentally Disabled. It’s a club that builds community with adults with developmental disabilities in the Amherst area. Read my blog posts below to learn more about it! In fact, we had our first successful Zoom meeting last Sunday!

What’s unique about Amherst’s clubs?

Even during this current period, clubs are still meeting online, which I believe demonstrates how much the students love them! Of course, as these are difficult times, not everyone can attend the meetings or participate online; however, I have spoken with many friends who although cannot currently meet online for their clubs, they certainly wish that everyone could be back on campus so that they can all resume normally. Clubs, groups, and organizations are an amazing part of the Amherst community, and I have met almost all my closest friends through them!

Additionally, it’s wonderful that I did not have to fill out a single application for any of the clubs that I am a part of! Even for orchestra, I did a casual ten minute audition where I only had to perform a few parts of my own selected piece. Even when I have shown up to a brand new club in the middle of the semester, the people are always welcoming and eager to add me to their GroupMe or email list.

 

To see all of Amherst’s clubs and organizations, click here. Consider taking a virtual tour of Amherst to see our lovely campus. Also, feel free to reach out with any questions or comments at vfoley23@amherst.edu. I am happy to FaceTime, Skype, or Zoom anyone that would prefer to answer questions in person!

Have a wonderful week!

April 21st, 2020

Photo Caption: My friend and I at a La Fe conference!


 

Freshman Housing on Campus: Answering FAQs

Hello, everyone! How are you all doing? I hope you all are staying safe. Perhaps you all may be Zooming or FaceTiming away! To learn about my transition from in-person to online classes, see my blog posts below! My professors have been very understanding during these different times, and I feel grateful for Amherst’s supportive community. 

As a second-semester freshman currently living at home, I miss the Amherst campus terribly! Even if I had to return to the chilly temperatures and snowy sidewalks that followed Amherst a few months ago, I would totally do it. Stearns Hall was my home during freshman year on campus. I lived in a two-room double; to understand what that is, picture this: a huge room with a wall that runs down the middle that creates two mini rooms. It’s kind of like a single, but you still share a room. I had walk through my roommate’s room in order to get to the hallway. To learn more about it and see my former dorm room, check out my blog posts further down the page that goes into depth about it.  me eating a muffin at val

Each freshman lives on the main quadrangle, known as the first-year quad. In my opinion, I think the first year quad has the best location on campus. Not only is it gorgeous and has a great view of Memorial Hill, but it’s very central and makes walking to class a quick experience. Read below for a Q&A about freshman dorming! 

Note: With the coming semester, some of the information below may change; however, I would have loved to read FAQs as a rising freshman, so I will share it with you all!

Q: How do freshman pick their dorms?

Freshman neither choose their dorms nor even pick their roommates! As I stated before, every freshman will live in one of the buildings in the first year quad. In my answer to the next question, I give more information about roommates. 

Q: Do freshman pick their roommates?

No one is allowed to choose a roommate. Every rising freshman is required to let the residential office pick one for you. My dorm During the beginning months of the summer, you will fill out a form that helps the residential office pick a roommate for you. This questionnaire is super simple! In fact, I only remember answering somewhere around five basic questions, such as the time I go to bed and when I wake up.  

Q: About how many freshman dorm buildings are there?

There are 7: Stearns, James, Charles Pratt, Williston, Appleton, North, and South. All can be seen on the freshman quad. 

Q: How do I see a picture of a dorm?

Scroll down to the bottom of my blog post page, and you will see some pictures of mine!

Q: Are some dorm floors assigned to a particular gender? 

A few dorm halls will be specific to all-girls or all-boys; however, every floor has a gender neutral bathroom, meaning that any individual, regardless of their gender, can use that restroom.

Q: How do I do laundry?

Each dorm building has its own place to do laundry. This year, our laundry was completely free! memorial hillll

Q: Is everyone required to live on campus?

Every freshman is required to live on campus. Almost every single student lives on campus, even the upperclassmen. I have never met someone that didn’t live on campus. 

Q: If I visit Amherst, can I see a dorm room?

If you take a tour, your guide might be able to lead you into one of the freshman dormitories to see a room. All the dorms require a student I.D. to get in, so if you visit on your own, you will most likely not be able to see one. 

Q: To learn more about housing, where can I go?

Click on this link here that will direct you to the Office of Residential Life. 

 

Feel free to send me an email at vfoley23@amherst.edu if you have any questions! Congratulations to all the accepted students of the Class of 2024! Take a virtual tour of the campus and reach out to the Admission bloggers and teams with any questions. Say YES to Amherst!

Stay well, and have a great week!

Photo captions, top to bottom: me eating a muffin at val; my dorm room; snowy look of Memorial Hill

April 15th, 2020


 

Zoom Zoom: Life on Online Through My Classes

Hey, friends! I hope that you all are staying safe and doing well. Our current global climate has forced Amherst to move to remote learning. If you would like to learn more about the Amherst response to COVID-19, click this link here

You may be wondering how classes are being conducted and how I’m able to keep up with my friends and professors during this time. Fear not, we have the internet, and thanks to the Internet, we have Zoom, which has been used for all of my live classes.

I’m going to share with you all my classes for this semester and how they are successfully continuing. If you have not already, check out Amherst’s Open Curriculum, which allows students to take any class they want without having to fulfill any general requirements. This is AMAZING and part of the reason why I choose Amherst! For each class, I have also included a link to their official course description. Let’s dive in! Me studying outside on my deck!

  1. Feminist Theory

This class is in the Sexuality, Women, and Gender Studies (SWAGS) department. Our classes are regularly being conducted over Zoom. We have discussions surrounding the works and films that we have read in class. Some of the authors we have studied include Audrey Lorde and Simone de Beauvoir, among many others. If some reason a student cannot make the class meeting, the professor records our talks so that they can review it later.

I have also made appointments with this professor to discuss the material from class more in depth. I feel like I am able to continue visiting her office hours and still get to have an enriching conversation around these works. What’s really amazing is that this professor always begins and ends her classes by asking us how we are doing and if there is anything she can do to help us out. In general, the professors have been super understanding and accommodating for students. 

By the way! You should read my blog post below to find out how this class bonds together over Zumba!

  1. Incarcerating Blackness

The books that we have read in this class have been PHENOMENAL. Even though I must read these books at home and not in my favorite spot on the the Frost Library, I still feel that I am able to absorb the content all the same. I am so happy that I took this class, as it has truly been an incredible learning experience. Some of the books we have read include Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow and Beth E. Richie’s Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation, among others. 

Our professor has decided to post his lectures to Moodle, which is our Amherst student portal, and the class responds to the questions and prompts he poses in his talks through posts and forums. 

  1. Human Rights and National Security

This class falls within the History major, and so when we began analyzing the topics of rights and national security, we started in the 18th century. As someone who never thought history would be a possible major for myself, I have definitely considered taking more history classes with thanks to this intriguing class. Some of the books we have read include War and Liberty, the Alien and Seditions Acts of 1789, and Line in the Sand.  

Me putting a letter in the mail for my friends! This class is currently being conducted online through Zoom; we have our live lectures as a class and then we have small discussion groups on Zoom, as well. The professor also records our lectures to make sure that students who cannot make it to the live lecture can review it later. 

  1. Latinx and Puerto Rican Diasporic Cultures in Holyoke

Holyoke is town in Massachusetts, about a 30 minute car ride from Amherst. We study the immigration of this town and how its history has shaped the current political realm of the town. In this class that took place only once a week (and still does), we would often go to Holyoke and collaborate with the students at Holyoke Community College. Now, we are still doing our classes through Zoom, and we plan to continue interviewing members of the Holyoke community through Zoom, as well. 

Little cool fact: this professor took us out to bubble tea on our last class before we all moved into remote learning. It was awesome, and I feel like I bonded with all my classmates a lot more!

As you can tell, Amherst currently thrives on Zoom. My professors have all been very accommodating and reaching out to us. In fact, one of my professors from last semester sent an email to their class asking how we all were doing! Although I dearly miss my friends, I know that I will treasure their presence even more when we all reunite. 

Feel free to reach out to me at vfoley23@amherst.edu if you have any questions, thoughts, etc. I am happy to FaceTime or Zoom anyone. For all the accepted students of the class of 2024— congratulations! The Admissions Office is holding a few online events and other informational sessions, so definitely keep in touch. And, of course, say YES to Amherst! 

Looking forward to talking with you all soon!

Photo captions (top to bottom): me working outside on my deck, me sending a letter to my friends through the mail!


April 6th, 2020

Athletics At Amherst from a Non-Athlete: A No-More-than-20-Minutes-at-the-Gym Student

You may wonder: Wow, Victoria. Haha. You are very funny. Only twenty minutes at the gym? You probably are there at least for thirty minutes or something. You’re just trying to get clickbait. 

If you don’t believe me, you should consult my Hulu account, which if you are unfamiliar with, is a T.V. streaming
platform. By the way, I should mention that you get Hulu, Spotify, and Showtime all together at a a discounted monthly price if you are a college student! Also, Amherst gives all of its students Xfinity free on campus TVs. Back to the story! Me giving a thumbs up to athletics at Amherst Typically, I show up to the gym, and I go to the elliptical first. I put on my headphones if I haven’t done so already, and then I hop onto to the machine. The first thing I do is start the latest episode of The Bachelor on Hulu. If I have already watched The Bachelor, as per usual, then I watch an episode of some reality T.V. show. I normally would either watch something that lasts about 20 minutes long. For example, House Hunters, a reality show where people hunt for houses, is often about 20 to 25 minutes long. So, I stay on the elliptical until at least the 20 minute mark on the show, and then I click pause and hop off the machine and stretch. Thus, I technically workout for twenty minutes. If I want to hype myself up, I’ll say that I’m at the gym for thirty minutes, because my stretching routine is about ten minutes, and according to the laws of mathematics, ten plus twenty equals thirty.

About 1/3 of our school plays a varsity sport. Another 1/3 plays some type of sport, whether that be recreational or club. Then the other 1/3 includes people like me, who go to the gym and prefer to exercise on our own, or sometimes like me, just simply not at all. Overall, this campus has a lot of very talented sportive and active students, so there is never a lack of ways to work out! From hiking locations to the nature trails, there are also a lot of ways to move about outside all year long in the Amherst area.

Fitness Classes: Zumba + Yoga + More

Me taking a selfie for my mom on the elliptical This semester, my friends, and even a professor, convinced me to start going to Zumba classes. This was one of the best decisions of my life, and now that I am at home in Northern Virginia, I would honestly hop on a Zoom or FaceTime call to do an online Zumba class with all of them. In fact, the Yoga classes at Amherst are having their classes on Zoom now! At Amherst, all fitness classes are free and open to the students. The professors can also come, as well.

Funny enough, the way that I got into Zumba was through one of my Sexuality, Women, and Gender Studies classes (SWAGS). Two of the students in that eight person class started talking about how they loved seeing our professor at the Zumba classes. Then, with encouragement from my classmates who swore this was the best decision of their life, I started going! It’s a ton of fun seeing my friends and even professors there. Yes, I do like a fool dancing, but it’s something that I laugh about with my friends in class. Over our last SWAGS class on Zoom, the professor actually shared a link to her favorite Zumba instructor online! Feel free to reach out if you’re looking for any Zumba classes you can do at home. 

The Gym: For Clubs, too! Me and a 3D at the winter fest!


Perhaps you should consult an actual athlete to understand the gym in its full completion; however, aside from the athletic part of it, I would like to mention that clubs hold meetings in the fitness center, too. For example, 3D: Difference for the Developmentally Disabled, is a club that I regularly attend and manage every Sunday night. The club builds community with adults with developmental disabilities from the greater Amherst area. It’s my absolute favorite club ever, and I would love to talk more about it, so feel free to reach out! We have our meetings in the small gymnasium that appears as soon as you walk in. We host our club meetings in the gym because sometimes the adults will want to play basketball or another indoor sport. If you are ever around campus on a Sunday night and want to stop in to say hi, please do so!

The Bike Trail & Nature

Behind Amherst’s tennis courts, there is a long bike path where people often run, jog, walk, and bike. On one of those beautiful 60 degree weather days this past month, I walked along the bike path listening to an Ashley Graham podcast called “Pretty Big Deal,” which is a podcast where Graham interviews celebrities, entrepreneurs, and other individuals who have done ground-breaking things. The bike path is open to the public and extends far beyond Amherst’s campus. It’s a lovely trail to check out, especially in the fall when leaves are changing! bike path 1

To learn more about the sports, clubs, and the fitness center on campus, visit their webpage, which I have attached on each of the keywords. Additionally, I should mention that Amherst does have a swimming pool and an ice rink, and although I have never been either of them, my friends have, and they love it! During our annual Winter Fest, the ice rink was opened up, but I forwent that part of the festival so that I could hang out with the adults from 3D in the main gym where that was so. much. food. Even a donut wall! 

… And that’s a glimpse of fitness on campus! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at vfoley23@amherst.edu. I'm happy to talk about my classes and expereince here at Amherst!

Have a wonderful week, and stay safe!

Photo captions, top to bottom: Me giving a thumbs up to athletics at Amherst; Me taking a selfie for my mom on the elliptical (photographic evidence of me at the gym); Me and a 3D at the winter fest!; The bike path during the fall; 

March 31st, 2020

 

Lightning Round: All About Amherst Speed Edition

Hello, everyone! I hope you all are doing well. Classes have officially resumed after our spring break last week. The professors are being extremely accommodating and making sure that we put our well-being before our studies during this very difficult time. Today, I am answering quick questions about Amherst. Since I tried to keep these response short, feel free to send me an email if you would like more information.

Also, I would like to say congratulations to all of the Admitted Students of the Class of 2024! PLEASE SEND ME AN EMAIL IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, COMMENTS, ETC. ABOUT AMHERST! This goes for everyone reading this post! Due to COVID-19, our Admitted Students Day had to be cancelled, but the Admissions Office is hosting a ton of online panels, Q&As, etc. I love Amherst and would love to tell you all about this place, so please do not hesitate to reach out!

Let’s dive right in to this lightning round of questions! All photo captions are at the bottom. Summer view of First Year Quad from 4th Floor Stearns Dorm.

Name: Victoria Foley

Class Year: 2023

Email: vfoley23@amherst.edu

Prospective Major(s): All are currently undeclared and undecided, but I think maybe Spanish and/or American Studies and/or Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought (LJST)

Freshman Dorm: Stearns Hall

First Year Seminar: Keywords in American Culture

Favorite Spot to Study: Hard question. Probably the third floor of Frost Library.

Favorite Club: Impossible to pick! I’m active in the Amherst Christian Fellowship, 3D: Difference for the Developmentally Disabled— a club that builds community with adults with developmental disabilities— and the Latinx club on campus called La Causa. I was also in the orchestra my first semester. 3D adult and I

If I’m touring campus, what should I not miss?

The Science Center. I don’t even take science but I think that it’s just so incredibly modern. It’s also a great place to study!

What made you say yes to Amherst?

The Open Curriculum and the small classes that let you get to know your professors. I have loved my professors here and they have helped me improve my writing and further academic abilities tremendously. 

Be honest. What’s a possible downside of Amherst?

As someone who does not favor the cold, I would say the near chilling weather. It already starts snowing in November.

Would you choose Amherst again if you had the chance?  Snowy Memorial Hill!

Yes! Without a doubt.

Do you feel like there is a supportive community on campus? 

Yes! In terms of mental health, there is a free counseling center that lets you go as many times as you would like. There are also multiple resource centers in our Keefe Campus Center. In terms of friends, I have met some of the most wonderful, amazing, and encouraging people here who I know will be life-long friends even after our time at Amherst. Now that I'm at home, I've already FaceTimed many of them!

When you are not in class, you are...

Aside from studying, I'll be in club meetings, checking out the latest speakers coming to campus, grabbing a meal with my friends, and spending no more than 20 minutes at the gym. Sometimes, I go to Zumba class, too. Bubble Tea

What’s it like having only one dining hall?

You will definitely get to see all your friends in the cafeteria, sometimes at once if you go to dinner between 6 and 6:30 on week nights. You will also become good friends with the workers there, too. Every now and then, I also see my professors getting their food, and every once and while, I’ll sit with them with a few of my other classmates. 

What’s an overlooked aspect of Amherst?

The Loeb Center, our career and job advising building. It’s amazing, and they have helped me with my resume, cover letters, interviews, internships, and so much more!

How are classes going online?

Good! Some of my mine are done through Zoom. 

Any funny Zoom or video chat moments?

This week, one of my professors kept having their cat interrupt the video! It wanted to be pet and then it jumped onto the window and it fell! Pretty funny to watch the cat’s tail appear randomly in the video, too.

What would you say to a rising freshman who said yes to Amherst?

Nice job making a great decision. In the coming months leading up to your arrival on campus, Amherst will send you a lot of emails preparing you to sign up for your first year seminar, packing, filling out your residential form, etc. Stay on top of it! Make sure to set some reminders on your phone about when you turn in your medical forms and other stuff like that. On the day of my graduation party, I didn’t realize that I had to fill out my residential life form for a roommate, and I scrambled to do it right before I had to host my own party. Luckily, the form was short, but it was stressful. Moral of the story: read your emails!

Thank you all so much for reading! I hope this gave you a quick glimpse into life at Amherst. Like I said above, feel free to reach out!

Have a wonderful week, and best of luck with online classes!

Photo captions, top to bottom: Snowy Memorial Hill; the view outside of my window of my freshman dorm; a 3D adult and I at a club meeting; me grabbing bubble tea with my Spanish class!


March 24th, 2020

Tell Me about Amherst: Not Just the College—The Town

Hi everyone! I hope you all are doing well. The weather at Amherst has been crazy! Some days we have 30 degree weather and then we’ll have nearly 70 degree days! But now, with thanks to the Coronavirus, I am at home in Northern Virginia. All of our classes are being conducted online. This week, we are on our spring break, so no classes yet! Watch this video to see the President of our school, Biddy Martin, talk about the measures and conduct the school is taking amid this time. My friend Jeanyna and I!

Today, instead of merely talking about boring, old Amherst College, I am going to switch it up and talk about Amherst, Massachusetts! At the beginning of my college search, I thought I wanted a college in the city— not just any city, but a place like New York or Boston or even in Washington, D.C. where I went to high school. Small college towns did not quite vibe with me. I wanted to hold on to the fast-pace of a city, mostly because I was used to it. Although traffic was terrible in D.C., actually classified as one of the worst in the country, I loved that I was constantly around people (this is funny because I consider myself an introvert). While cities have a lot of commercialization, I had stacked up so many points on my rewards cards to places like Starbucks, Peet’s Coffee, etc. I could only redeem my Premium Member points in a city. Even in the suburban Northern Virginia area, everything was big, lively, and modern. I believe that anything smaller than my own hometown would make me feel suffocated and disconnected from the world. Evidently, I was very mistaken.

From a Trepid Heart to a Happy One

When I wound up at Amherst College for my first tour, I did not believe that the town of Amherst, Massachusetts was complete. Well, honestly, I did not think that Amherst College was a good fit for me either, but look at me now: I am a PROUD Admissions Blogger who believes EVERYONE should give Amherst a shot. I even have an Amherst banner hanging in my room at home! But anyways, continuing with my story, I look down South Pleasant street road, where the town essentially is, and I wondered where the rest of the town was. At first, I felt as though I would closed off from the rest of the world out here. It wasn’t even like Amherst was close to a big city— Boston was two hours and a half away. Where even was I?

My friends and I at Share, a coffee place! Let us skip to the first semester of my freshman year. My first week of classes, I realize soon that I need snacks other than those at the cafeteria. I need basic toiletries and coffee. CVS then became my best friend. I walked into town all the time to go to CVS, picking up what I needed, often making it an excursion with my friends. CVS is about a ten to fifteen minute walk away. It could even be a five minute distance if you run, but since I don’t ever run voluntarily, it will never be that way for me. But, I would argue that it might be faster for someone to walk to CVS than to take an Uber. I soon find myself conveniently running to the town whenever I need supplies.

Later on, I started trying out the restaurants in town. From typical American grub to Thai to Sushi to Subway to local coffee shops, the small town of Amherst has a diverse range of food. Antonio’s Pizza is a must try, and it’s also super convenient if you want to grab a quick bite (that’s what I did after my first tour!). There are several restaurants, so much so that I cannot list them all in this post. During my first semester, I studied a lot at Amherst Coffee, a coffee place that was only about a 10 minute walk, at most, from campus. I’m on their email list and they give me FREE COFFEE for doing so!

There are also three bubble tea places! In addition, Insomnia cookies opened up a storefront basically right next to one of Amherst’s residential dorms next to the Inn on Boltwood. In fact, so many club meetings cater Insomnia Cookies that I already have chosen a favorite flavor (it’s the Birthday cake one or the Mint Chocolate Chip)! I have a huge sweet tooth, so having places where I can grab a dessert is essential. 

The bus system in Amherst is completely free for all students! This means that you can board the bus and head down to Hadley, a neighboring town, and visit all your favorite chains, such as Target, Big Y, Whole Foods, Walmart, etc. Taking the bus to Hadley becomes a field trip for me and my friends; we often decide on a time to go all together and then we go crazy and perhaps a bit overboard buying the snacks and face masks that CVS doesn’t have. My bubble tea from town!

In conclusion, Amherst is not isolated from the world. At all. This was a great fear of mine upon visiting this campus, but rest assured that I have come to treasure this small town. Plus, just down the street, there exists all of the typical American stores that I would often see back at home. When you come to Amherst, do not be startled by its distance from a major city. The things and people that come at Amherst College are what’s seriously major. You can’t really experience Amherst College without expereincing the unique town of Amherst, Massachusetts. Check out my blog posts below for more information about my experiences volunteering in the town of Amherst! 

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! As always, feel free to reach out to me at vfoley23@amherst.eduI love hearing from you all and answering your questions! Stay safe, and visit Amherst when you can!

March 16th, 2020

Photo Captions, top to bottom: my friends and I at Share coffee, a place in Amherst; bubble tea from a place downtown!; My friend Jeanyna and I downtown getting more bubble tea!


 

5 Overlooked Perks of Amherst: All of These Open & Free!

Hello everyone! I hope you all have been doing well! Today, I am jumping right in to talk to you about some of the awesome efforts Amherst makes for its students to have an easier, less costly time while on campus. All these five things are free and open to all students. Let’s dive right in! 

Laundry

This past year, my laundry has been completely free! It’s awesome because the only thing you have to pay for is your own washing detergent and dry cleaner sheets. Free laundry makes a huge difference, and honestly, I don’t even really understand how to appreciate it. 

Career Center

Before I officially started as a student here at Amherst, I went to a freshman send-off reception in Washington, D.C. Me getting ready to go to the Career Center Amherst alumni came, and one of them who recently graduated told me that I should immediately schedule an appointment with the Loeb Center, our career advising center, once I got to campus. I thought this was crazy, but in my fourth week on campus, I met with a lady who worked specifically on internships, and she advised how I should organize my school year to make sure that I did not miss the opportunity for an internship this summer. These meetings can be scheduled so easily! You can come in as often as you would like, and they are completely free. So far, the career center has been an extremely awesome part of my time here on campus. They have taught me how to write cover letters, host a ton of informational events with alumni, and they are always so friendly and eager to help you out. In case you want to see it, check out this link to locate it on the map and walk in yourselves.

Counseling Center

This helpful resource is free to all students, and you can even book same-day appointments. As I have mentioned in blog posts below, the Counseling Center building is nice and cozy inside. They have their own mini library and also a wall of free toiletries where they let students take what they need. It's located right across from the Alumni gym. 

Speakers + Events

Every speaker and event that I have been to on campus has been completely free. Completely. I have never had to worry about paying for a seat. Plus, a lot of these events cater food and offer you free meals. I have never felt as though there is a shortage of events on campus. In fact, I always feel as though it’s my time that feels limited.  Jesmyn Ward talk at LitFest

Public Transportation

The PVTA bus system is free for all Amherst students. If you simply show your school ID, you can go wherever you would like. This is also super convenient if you are taking another class at one of the other colleges in the area. During my first semester, I only took the bus once to Northampton. This semester, I have taken it a few more times to run to Target. It’s easy and convenient, especially with the PVTA bus app because it will let you know if your bus is late, and very honestly, the buses are always typically late. 

… And those are the fast five things you need to know! As always, reach out to me at vfoley23@amherst.edu. Have a great week!

Photo captions (top to bottom): me getting ready to go to a meeting at the career center; the Jesmyn Ward talk during LitFest


March 8th, 2020

The Ironies of a Lost College-Searching Student: From “No Way” to a Whole-Hearted “Yes!”

 Good day, everyone! I hope you all have been doing well. How has this time of year been for you all? Over here at Amherst, the weather has surprisingly warmed up to about 40 degrees this week, which is basically summer. I rejoice when I check my weather app on my iPhone every morning to see that no snow is expected. As a lover of warm weather, I long for my duck boot wearing days to be over.

Nonetheless, this weather does not affect my feelings towards the school. Amherst College cannot help that it lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, and even if it had the ability to move to a much warmer location, I would object to it. If you have visited Amherst, you know that the college sits in a mountain-y area with a ton of ginormous trees and a whole bunch of nature. This place might be a hiker’s dream, but as a non-hiker, prefer-to-be-indoors type of a person, I originally did not think that Amherst would be my ideal type of college environment.  Me and my mammoth!

The academics, opportunities, abundance of research, life-changing professors, and all around school spirit convinced me of Amherst’s specialness. I never doubted that any student here would not get a world-class education. Yet, even as I sat in Johnson Chapel, listening to the information session, I did not think I would attend Amherst. For one, it felt impossible to get in, and no offense to myself, but I didn’t feel that my application had anything out of the ordinary that would convince the admission officers to let me go here. Secondly, I had never heard of Amherst College, and no one from my school had even been to Amherst—maybe ever. It felt remote and separated from the world. This, most seriously, is the biggest myth ever; read my blog posts below to see the celebrities that come to campus and much more!

If I had felt convinced about these two factors that showed Amherst might not be my fit, then why did I apply? In fact, I did not even know that Amherst had an open curriculum until I was accepted— one of the big reasons why I said “Yes!” to Amherst. I ultimately applied because I wanted a small school with small class sizes. Furthermore, I wanted a place that placed great emphasis and value on diversity; Amherst has a strong commitment to this. 

Amherst felt like a humongous stretch. How could this school even pick me? What I thought was never going to happen did happen! I felt such great shock as I opened my online decision letter back in March of 2019. As a current second semester first-year, I can promise you that Amherst has been one of the best decisions of my life, and I am so happy that I took the chance to apply. Amherst’s atmosphere is not only amazing but it’s a place that I find myself missing during my breaks.

A Picture of Amherst From Memorial Hill Moral of the story: do not limit yourself by not trying. Even if you do not think that you even have a chance at achieving what you want, you never know unless you give it a try. I urge you today to apply to Amherst— whether you are unsure about whether you can get in or not! Start your Amherst College application. Have confidence in your application, too! You’re working so hard! Also, just to get a better feel of the school, you may want to come and tour, or if that’s not possible, take a virtual tour of Amherst!

I wished I had read a blog post like this during my senior year. I want you all to know that you should apply where you wish to go— even if it feels that the odds are stacked against you. Thank you so much for reading! Feel free to reach out with any questions: vfoley23@amherst.edu! An interesting fun fact of mine is that I love writing e-mails, so don’t hesitate to send me one if you have a question.

Have a great week!

February 28th, 2020

Photo captions (top to bottom): me and my plush mammoth!; the view of memorial hill from the top


 

Make Yourself Smile Today: The Dogs of Amherst College

Hi there, friends! How was your Valentine’s Day? Over at Amherst, Valentine’s Day lasted an entire week where the students got to enjoy free candy, free t-shirts, free petting-puppies-time, and even a free build-your-own-plush-mammoth event. That’s excluding our cafeteria’s assortment of Valentine desserts, quirky meals, and a late night sundae bar. Alumni week coincided with Valentine’s Day week— or perhaps that was intentional on the part of Amherst College. Regardless, last week was amazing! 1

Fun fact: Our dining hall is named Valentine Hall!

Even more funner fact: Students can live on the top floor of Val, right above the cafeteria!

Now that Valentine’s Day chocolates are 50% off, you might think to yourself: how could it possibly get even better? My answer: Dogs. Here at Amherst, we have a bunch of greenery. This 200 year old New-England site has trees, hills, more trees, more hills, squirrels, fat squirrels, funny squirrels, fighting squirrels, more mountains, more big trees, and even a mammoth. It’s lovely if you love nature, and even if you don’t like nature, it’s still pretty lovely. Now, with all of this greenery, now greenery hidden under the snow, I’m sure you get that Amherst is not only an ideal place to sharpen your intellect but it is also a place for the outdoors, which takes me to my point: Dogs. Dogs need the outdoors, and here at Amherst, we have a lot of that stuff. 

According to VictoriaFoley23atamherst.com, dogs not only increase your happiness but they make your brain go from zero to a hundred in the classroom. The sight of dogs rejuvenates your mind so that you can actually function with more 3 alertness during your everyday life. Such examples of this alertness are being able to respond to the professor when they call on you in class, being able to strategically balance all your food on your plate in the cafeteria as you reach for the fork and knives. Furthermore, it has been proven by researchers in The Mammoth Times that dogs not only release stress but that they also make you more confident in awkward situations, like waving back to people that weren’t waving to you, or, accidentally misspelling your professor's name in an email, or forgetting the name of the person who you’ve sat next to everyday for the past semester. Dogs solve all these problems, and at Amherst College, the promise of education does start with education, but it ends with dogs.

To brighten your week, enjoy these pictures of me with all the different types of dogs on campus! I’m sure that you will appreciate them. The captions to each of the pictures are listed below. I once read on Instagram that looking at pictures of dogs will make you even more happy, so definitely do that stat. 6

If you don’t like dogs, no worries. There are a bunch of squirrels on campus. Like, I’ve mentioned they are all diverse squirrels, too. Even so, I heard that if you do not clean your room, you might even attract mice, so there’s that, too. If you’re an insect person, leave your window open at night, and I guarantee you’ll wake up with some pretty interesting,
5 not-yet-classified fly-looking insects. 

In conclusion, there are many reasons to come to Amherst College. It’s great, it’s beautiful, we have great professors, the most good-looking mammoth, world-class academics, small classes, RBG came to campus, blah blah blah. But what really matters is your happiness, and I guarantee that between the dogs, resource centers, and encouraging people here, Amherst will not only become your home but your favorite home away from home.

You'll find dogs walking all around campus. Sometimes, professors bring in their dogs to their office hours or they just walk them around campus. If you visit campus, I guarantee you will run into a lot of dogs. If you cannot visit, take a virtual tour!

2

Thank you for reading! Definitely email me at vfoley23@amherst.edu with questions! I’m happy to talk more about student life, dogs, the squirrels, and everything else. Taking pictures with dogs was the best decision of my life besides Amherst. Have a great week and Go Mammoths!


Photo Captions (top to bottom): A dog of a staff on campus in the Women and Gender Resource Center; me with an alumni's dog at our homecoming football game; a picture with a staff's dog, named Pippin; the same exact picture of me with the staff's dog, Pippin (I included both because in one, the dog was blury, and then I was); me with Bertha the bulldog from our homecoming football game

February 20, 2020

Celebrities Come to Amherst: The Ridiculously Amazing Talks From All Your Favorite People

Bonjour, everyone! I hope you all are doing well. Amherst has experience a mix between rain and snow, and temperatures varying in the thirty degree weather range; however, Amherst with snow looks incredible. With its abundance of trees and hilly terrain, the school resembles a winter wonderland, or rather, a place that a ski resort wishes it could appear like. If you wish to Amherst during this time of year, definitely do so! I toured Amherst for my first time during the spring break of my junior year, and despite the rain that day, I loved it. 

For this blog post, I will speak about my favorite talks that I have attended here at Amherst College. As Amherst is part of the five college consortium, each of the five colleges (Amherst, UMass Amherst, Smith College, Holyoke College and Hampshire College) have their own range of speakers, as well; however, for today, I am focusing just on the ones at Amherst. If the following talks have been featured on the Amherst website, I will link them so you can check them you. They are all incredible! 

Note: I'll update this post very soon with some more talks! Also, photo captions are at the bottom!

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

October 2019

How could I not mention this talk?! Back in July 2019, before I became an official freshman at Amherst College, I read online that the Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be speaking at the Georgetown Law School in D.C. It was close by to my home in Northern Virginia, and although I wanted to go, my parents hired me that day to pick up my brother at the airport. I was extremely mad and couldn’t believe that my brother would have the audacity do this to me, but then Amherst College surprised me one afternoon after I woke up from a nap. I decided to check my emails and RBG 1 BOOM— RBG was coming to campus!

Everyone in the school got the chance to go. I did not obtain any good photos of her in person because instead of trying to get the perfect photo op, I focused my attention right on RBG herself. I had a seat that was fairly in the back, so in order to see her head, I had to find the cracks between the heads of people in front of me. 

How can I even summarize what she said? Since Amherst has her talk online, I’ll speak about the parts of her speech that touched me the most. Towards the end of RBG’s talk, students and staff had the chance to ask her questions. A student asked RBG what the greatest piece of advice she has for everyone here at Amherst. She responds that everyone should listen more, suggesting that everyone should ponder and process information before speaking. This comment forced me to reconsider my place in class discussions. As classes here are small— my Spanish class was only 8 people with an incredibly passionate professor— I realized that instead of jumping in the conversation immediately (I am often eager to begin these conversations), I should really take a step back and let my classmates share their thoughts first.

I could elaborate on about a million more insights from this talk! If you would like to learn more, check out her talk online or email me at vfoley23@amherst.edu to hear more from a student perspective!

TEDx at Amherst College

November 2019

Most likely, you have seen a TED Talk at some point in your life. In case you are unfamiliar with these types of presentations, click here to visit their website. Back in November, Amherst College hosted a TEDx event, and I was chosen to go after putting my name in for a raffle! What’s amazing is that all of the speakers were from Amherst; they I got to go a TedX Talk on campus! were either students or professors. Even one of my classmates gave a talk about the power of poetry! Being able to see a TED Talk in person feels surreal after watching a lot of them online. Ever wondered what it’s like to be part of that audience? I won’t spoil it for you.

You should totally check out these TED talks! I linked Ted Talk's YouTube channel, where you can easily access them. They were beyond amazing. I came back to my dorm that night in awe of the talks that I saw. They were incredibly eye-opening and the one about poetry actually pushed me to write one, and only one, poem over winter break. I ended up telling my friend who gave that talk about my one-time poem.  

Tara Westover and Tony Jack

February 2020

What an amazing talk! Imagine two of the best, hilariously funny, and most knowledgable authors come together. Tara Westover is the author of “Educated,” and Tony Jack `08 (an Amherst alum!) is author of “The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges are Failing Low-Income Students.” Over winter break, I decided to read Educated, and I devoured it in three days! Read the synopsis of the book here. Jack and Westover together were hilarious! I am eager to read Jack’s book next. The idea of inviting these authors together was genius! It feels so crazy that I was able to see these two authors in person in Amherst’s very own Johnson Chapel. If you decide to tour Amherst, the Johnson Chapel is where the
information sessions takes place. 


Me reading The Amherst Student I would absolutely love to tell you more about the millions of talks that happen on campus! Email me your questions about talks in specific subjects, talks you've seen mentioned on the Amherst website, or, as always, just about life here as an Amherst College student! 

I have yet to mention the Amherst LitFest! This will take place later this month here on campus; Amherst will invite even more amazing authors to talk about their books, etc. As a big book-lover and avid writer, LitFest weekend will be a wild ride!

Always feel free to reach out with questions. Consider visting Amherst sometime before you apply! There is a virtual tour option, too!

Have an incredible week!

Photo captions (top to bottom): picture of RBG from my seat; a picture of the TED Talk stage before it began; a picture of me holding up the Amherst Student, which is the student newspaper here. The Amherst Student always has amazing articles, and they often have a schedule of talks that are taking place on campus.

February 13th, 2020

 

Back in the Swing of Things: An Eventful Weekend After Break

Hello, everyone! How are you all? I hope that you all have been having a great start to February and feel ready to tackle on this month. The second semester started on the 27th of January, and I am super excited for my classes! I will keep you all updated on how they continue throughout these next few months. For now, I have decided to share with you all what a weekend here at Amherst looks like for me; take note, this weekend was exceptionally busy. Between volunteering and hanging out with friends to, of course, studying, I had a whirlwind on Saturday and Sunday.

Friday Night: The start of barbecue chip binging

Does your weekend start on Friday night? Last semester, I had no classes on Fridays, so my weekends actually started on Thursday night, to some respect, but this semester, my weekends begin on Friday night; truly, I must not complain because that's the reality for almost everyone in the United States.

My friend and I headed over to Target in the late afternoon, about a twenty minute bus ride from Amherst, located in Hampshire Mall. The bus system is free for all Amherst students, which is amazing because you not only can travel to all the colleges in the area, but you can also visit some local malls and towns nearby, like Northampton, where Smith hey
College is located.

During my Target shopping spree, I loaded up on snacks and face masks, both things very essential to my everyday routine. It felt great to get out of the Amherst bubble just for a little and laugh a ton while my friend and I strategically chose which snacks we should buy. Which snack should we forgo buying because we will eat it up in a day? What essential snacks do we actually need that are somewhat nutritious? I love barbecue chips, and so I bought two whole family size packs for only $5! Target for the win.

Later that night, I grabbed dinner with a friend from my dorm floor at Val, a nickname for the Valentine Cafeteria. In case you were unaware, Valentine is the only cafeteria we have on campus. The college also has a place in Keefe campus center called Grab-N-Go, open only between 11-2 PM during the weekdays, essentially lunch-on-the-go and also included in the meal plan. Furthermore, Keefe also has a place called Schwemm's where students can order food during the night. 

For the rest of that Friday evening, I watched some awesome reality T.V. shows and basically did a huge self-care session while using my face masks and eating my barbecue chips. In only three days, the family size bag of barbecue chips has officially vanished; however, I still have one more bag to go.

Saturday: Out-n-About

Bright and early on Saturday morning, I went with two friends over to a local soup kitchen called Not Bread Alone. It's located right down the street from Val, only a five minute walk away. From ten to twelve, I chopped potatos, stirred some hello soups, and created a menu board for the guests. I worked incredibly hard on the menu board (check out the picture to the right). It's basically the best menu you've ever seen. 

Fun fact! Did you know that Martin Luther King actually visited that soup kitchen? There's a plaque in the dinning area that commerates MLK and the speech that he gave while he visited. I passed by that plaque all the time either setting up tables or lugging huge boxes of fruits and vegetables into the main kitchen, and never once did I read that plaque! 

hi Saturday afternoon was spent doing some work and, of course, taking study breaks to watch T.V. That night, I went with my friends to Disney Bingo Night in the Keefe Center. The prizes included free, one-year subscriptions to Disney+! I was close to winning twice and never did. That Bingo Night was sponsored by AC After Dark, a program that hosts events like those on the weekend. That was my first time going, and I laughed a ton! They also catered Chipotle.

Sunday: Still eating more barbecue chips

I hopped out of bed and cracked down on studying over in the Science Center. After a few hours of intense writing for a paper, I headed over to my room where I ate so many barbecue chips that I actually skipped dinner. The rest of the night involved me going to Catholic mass and watching the Superbowl halftime show with a friend. I didn't really watch the football part-- just the half time show. 


There we have my past weekend! On Sunday nights, I usually have a club called 3D: Difference for the Developmentally Disabled. We hang out with adults with developmental disabilities in the Alumni gym. I look forward to it every weekend, and I can't wait for next weekend because that's when we start back up again!

Thank you for reading this post, and if you have any questions, feel free to reach out: vfoley23@amherst.edu. I'm always happy to answer any questions and tell you about my time here at Amherst College as a first-year. I wish you an incredible week! 

Photo captions (top to bottom): me volunteering at the soup kitchen; my incredible menu for the kitchen; the MLK plaque

February 3rd, 2020

Support Resources on Campus: Their Accessibility & Effectiveness

Hello, everyone! I hope the new year has treated you well. Amherst officially started its Spring 2020 semester on the 27th of January. I had a luxurious five week break at home while some of my friends at Amherst returned earlier in the month; some took creative, non-credit classes or completed a special course called ACEMS (Amherst College Emergency Medical Services). Some of my varsity-athletic friends returned a few weeks prior to the spring semester as well for practice and meets, depending on the sport season. Now, Amherst has all its students back and the campus resumes its liveliness.  Me in the Women and Gender Center

As I contemplated whether or not to attend Amherst during the spring of my senior year, I had no idea Amherst gave a large, five-week break between our two semesters. Perhaps that may have been a factor that would have led me to saying yes to this college; however, I found myself confidently submitting my form of attendance to Amherst that one evening in April because I had witnessed a supportive community on campus during my time at the Accepted Students Day. 

Soon, if you forgo Early Decision to Amherst, you may experience a rather stressful moment when you must officially decide on a college. Maybe you feel stuck between picking one of two colleges. Maybe you feel nervous about whether or not you will move forward with Early Decision on a particular school. Maybe you never experienced that “Aha!” moment that everyone speaks about. To assure you, I never experienced an “Aha!” moment wherever I went. Between Amherst and the other schools that I pondered, I constantly second-guessed myself. Joyfully and obviously, I ended up at Amherst. 

How did I decide on Amherst? Two factors sold me: 1. The Open Curriculum. Amherst has no distribution requirements, meaning that if you wish to never take math, you will never have to take it again! That applies to all the other disciplines (To see my blog post about my past semester classes, a sample schedule, more about the open curriculum and more, click here or scroll below). 2. The support systems available. These resources blew me away, and I realized how much Amherst treasured the well-being of its student and its commitment to not only having a diverse community but making sure all its members feel comfortable and safe on campus.

View from Top of Keefe looking down First, Amherst has a Counseling Center that allows students to make an appointment with a counselor at any time. There is no charge to making an appointment and no limit to how many appointments you can make. Furthermore, the center has an on-site psychiatrist. If you visit Amherst, the counseling center lies directly across from the Alumni gym and the Admission Office. Plus, from the inside, the main building— there’s two, but both on the same street— looks really modern on the inside and has some shelves with free toiletries for students to take. Amazing!

Secondly, Amherst has a student center called Keefe. Located right behind the Mead Art Museum and in front of the Science Center, Keefe hosts a variety of resource centers for students. There lives the Women and Gender Center, the Queer Resource Center, the Multicultural Resource Center, and the Center for Student Diversity and Leadership. In addition, Keefe hosts a variety of other rooms, eateries, etc. Check it out if you ever come to campus!

I spent some time in the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) and the Women and Gender Center (WGC), often doing some work or chatting with friends. These resources are not only supremely decorated but they also have student employees and a director who works there, ensuring that you have some to talk to, ask questions, or just chat with. Each resource center hosts its own events, has great snacks, and more free things every college student needs— all for free!

There exist so many more resources on campus for student health and well-being, but the ones I mentioned here feel unique to Amherst. As always, a health center exists and students can call on-campus hotlines for other reasons related to well-being. Definitely consider visiting Amherst to see the campus and stop by these resource centers. I have no doubt that each one will happily welcome you.

As always, feel free to email me any questions at vfoley23@amherst.edu. Have an amazing day, and I wish you all the best of luck completing any New Year Resolutions!

Photo captions, top to bottom: Me in the Women and Gender Center (WGC) in Keefe, a view of the lobby of Keefe from the top floor


January 28th, 2020

 

 

The Real Deal: A Freshman Dorm Tour!

I hope you all are having a great week! Here at Amherst, the weather has officially moved into winter temperatures. Well, at least according to me, haha! I walked out of a piano concert last Friday night here at Amherst in 28 degree weather! Wow! While I do lament that the sunset now takes place around 4 P.M. and the darkness comes so early into the night, I must say that this season does bring me a ton of enjoy; the fall decorations, the orange and red leaves, and the pumpkin-spiced coffee and desserts at Valentine Hall, our one and only cafeteria, keep me happy and content.

My dorm 2019!

Speaking of the chilly climate, my dorm room has been through a large change in its decorations and miscellaneous winter items, such as my puffy winter coat now hung next to my door and all the blankets, pillows, and warm boots that lie around my closet. Despite the changing atmosphere of my room, a few decorations have obsviously remained, particularly one of my favorites: my banana plant! I bought it at a farmer's market here in the town of Amherst, only a five minute walk away from campus. Every Saturday, there's an amazing selection of homeade goods, food, plants, and accessories of the like at this market. If you ever tour Amherst on the weekend, check it out!

Now, let's move on to the dorm tour! This post provides more of a dorm assessment and a feel for what it's like to live here as a first-year. I live in Stearns, one of the residence halls on the first-year quad. In fact, the college has all first-year residence halls on the main quad, so this means that all first-years will live right next to each other. The first-year quad is the perfect location for getting to all the main buildings on campus. I love how I'm only a two-minute walk away from Frost Library, where I often study and print out my papers.

Currently, I reside in a two-room double. This means that technically my roomate and I each have our own mini dorms, except there's only one door to the outside hall. I'm on the inside room, meaning that I walk through my roomate's room to get outside of our dorm. Not all dorms are like this. Most are one room doubles. 

Personally, I believe that I have one of the best views from my dorm! It overlooks the entire first-year quad. I can see the sunrise, sunset, the trees and their leaves, even the library, and sometimes, I can even see the events that happen right inside of the quad. Also noteworthy: each dorm comes with a bed, a desk, a drawer, a closet space, and a full-length mirror right behind the door; however, the dorms of upperclassmen may come with different furniture depending on the building and its location. My dorm 2019!

From the pictures of my room, you can see the style of my room with its decorations, books, journals, and a few white boards—I love a good board where I can write out my activities, clubs, and events for the week. The accessories and decor of my room have developed overtime. For example, for Family Weekend, my mother and father came up and they brought me a ton of printed photos; hence, I now have several family vacation photos lining the walls of my room. When you begin packing up for your future dorm, do not stress about not having enough decorations. You'll be surprised how quickly you might decorate your room with posters, paintings, and free merchandise that your college may give you.

A view outside of my dorm! Amherst definitely spoiled me this year with my incredible room. My dorm room has so much great space and an awesome view of the quad that brings in a lot of natural light into my space. Oh! Did I forget to mention that Amherst provides a heater in all the dorm rooms? Now, with the start of winter, I can cozy up in my room with just the perfect warm temperature. As you can tell, I much prefer the heat to the cold, but even though Amherst has a brutally frigid winter, I know I made the right choice to come here.

 

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at vfoley23@amherst.edu. Have an amazing day!

November 14th, 2019

P.S. The photos from top to bottom: My dorm, my desk, another view of my dorm, and my view from right outside my window! Cool, right?!