Hey everyone!

My name is Christian Aviles and I am currently a junior here at Amherst College. I'm originally from Los Angeles, CA (West Coast, Best Coast) but I made the awesome decision to come study in the East Coast. It's been a great experience so far and even though I sometimes miss the California weather, it's great to be able to experience the concept of seasons here in the East Coast (in CA we just have summer all year long; that means no awesome fall colors, snowball fights, or cool spring weather).

I'm currently majoring in Sociology and English, but I like to believe I'm majoring in a little bit of everything (thanks to our awesome open curriculum!). Within my sociology major, I am concentrating on financial catastrophes and hope to write a thesis about the recent global recession (how exciting!).

What do I do on campus you ask? Let's see. I'm a tour guide for the admissions office, work as a mentor for high school seniors applying to college, represent students in faculty committees (currently the Orientation Committee and the Committee on Financial Aid) and I am involved in a few performing ensembles over at Umass Amherst (one of the neighboring colleges). Every once in a while I take a recreational Physical Education course to try out a new sport (squash and tennis are awesome, by the way) and to take a break from classes.

Chillin' at Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles.

Did I also mention that I'm a transfer student? Yup! After graduating from Roosevelt High School, I attended a community college near my home and then transferred to Amherst in the Fall of 2011 (shout out to any potential transfer students!). 

I like naps, cats, and funny Professors. I also love reading a great book only after it has become a major motion picture (I refused to read either The Hunger Games or Silver Linings Playbook until I saw the movies). 

If you have any question about my experience at Amherst or anything in general, email me at caviles14@amherst.edu and I would be more than happy to start a conversation.

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Christian's Blog Posts

Embrace Your Potential, Not Your Past

The end is here. It's finally the end of the 2012-2013 academic year. My junior year has come to an end. End. What a peculiar word. It's only three letters long, but it carries so much weight: it's a compilation of our victories, our defeats, our struggles, our adventures, and our stories. This "end" simply means that we've finished one more chapter in our lives. Time to turn the page and start the next one.

This has been a particularly challenging year for Amherst College. We had an account of sexual assault published in our student newspaper, which went viral and sparked a discussion about ending sexual assault on college campuses throughout the United States. This discussion encouraged the faculty, administration, staff, and student body to work together to try and fix any problem related to sexual assault on this campus. I also experienced the loss of a close professor who left the college after she was accused of plagiarism. We've also had long conversations about whether there is a connection between athletes and sexual misconduct. Students have also discussed the role of race in admissions and what it means to be a student of color at Amherst College. These were all divisive topics, but we came together to talk through them. We really became the "close-knit community" I talk about so much in my tours.

Amherst isn't perfect. But neither is any other college in the world. I will always love Amherst and appreciate every opportunity it has given me. And after this year, I can say that I am still immensely proud of being a member of this community. Everything we've been through this year has only brought us closer together and I am confident that we will use the knowledge we gained through dialogue to make our campus a better place for all students.

I'm excited to see where we will go from here. I think this College just needs a fresh start. Come this Fall, let's begin the academic year on a happy note. Still, we should not forget all the lessons we learned this past year. What I suggest is simply embracing our potential to move forward and improving the well-being of the Amherst College community. 

Readers, it has been a fantastic semester. This summer I will embark on a new adventure: interning in NYC for 5 weeks, and teaching at the Phillips Exeter Academy for 6 weeks. On top of that, I have thesis research to get done, grad school applications to start, and GRE studying to continue. I can't wait for all the learning experiences that await me. 

Stay safe. Read a lot. Go out with your friends. Hug your parents. Fall in love. Grow. Heal. Try. Create. Study. Prepare. Help someone. But above all else, stay true to that which exists within yourself.

Always here,

Christian Aviles '14


Careful Where You Stand (On That Bus)

I'm a man of the city. I THRIVE on the energy of people rushing to get to work, jaywalking on every corner just to be on time, shoving against each other just to get a seat on a bus, and eating as they go. My body runs on the polluted air in Los Angeles. When I first came here, I had to adjust to the clean, natural air. It was so different. Sometimes, I miss all that. I miss the crowded streets. I miss the crowded buses.

This is why I love taking classes at Umass Amherst. 

Don't get me wrong. I love Amherst College and the small knit community and everything. But...well, you can take the boy out of the city but you can never take the city out of the boy. Taking a class at Umass has allowed me to get that "city" feeling. I have two ways of getting to Umass. I can take the B43 which stops right in front of the college and drops me off right in front of the building of my class. OR I can take the 31 which is a 10 minute walk from my dorm and a 10 minute walk to my class from the stop at Umass. In Los Angeles, I'm lucky if the bus stop is within 20 minutes from my house.

I choose to take the 31 because it reminds me of home. If you ride the bus in LA, you know it's a struggle to find a seat. The B43 always has open seats. The 31? I'm basically pressed against the glass door because it's SO PACKED. And I like that. It makes me happy. It reminds me that back home, there's a crowded, tagged up with graffiti, smelly, overpriced bus waiting for me. 

 [Title reference: Coldplay's song, "Careful Where You Stand"]

Press Play, Don't Press Pause

This isn't my last blog post, but given that the year is coming to an end, I thought I'd narrate my life with pictures from various events. Let's get started.

Last month, we had something called the "Seelye Olympics" in my dorm. We competed in several events like a sack race, complicated math problems (who does that?!), and trying to finish first place in Mario Kart. My team was dubbed "Team Ratchet." It was a lot of fun.

We had a prom-themed party a couple of weeks ago. I love these parties because it gives me a reason to wear a tuxedo and take "selfies" with my amazing friends like Shazi, pictured above. 

We had a fantastic "White Out" party under a tent in the quad. We got our faces painted with glow in the dark paint (although mine started to fade). It was a lot of fun and the music was great! Pictured above is my best friend in the entire world: Abbeh. A lot of laughs that night.

Remember how I told you cgrobe took our Shakespeare class to see an adaption of Macbeth? Well, we had to wear these masks during the entire performance. They were great for this White Out party because they glowed in the dark! It was such a great night.

One of the perks of the Five-College consortium is that you get to go to parties at other schools! Umass Amherst recently hosted an event called Electric Flurry. It was an EPIC foam party. Yes, FOAM PARTY. That night was so much fun. I had an incredible time with Abbeh and Shyloe (pictured above). At some point during the night, the foam got the best of us. It was over our heads and it actually felt like we were underwater. Nevertheless, it was a lot of fun. Maybe I'll do this next year.

OH MY GOD. Last week we had our spring concert FEATURING MACKLEMORE AND RYAN LEWIS!!!!! This was absolutely one of the greatest nights of my life. He was SUCH AN ENERGETIC PERFORMER. He had me singing, jumping, dancing, laughing...everything. The best part was when he made us quiet down. We were all waiting to hear what he was going to say. Then...in the tranquility of that sweaty, enclosed environment, he screamed, "WE. BEAT. WILLIAMS!!!" Oh my god. The crowd went wild. It was absolutely the best thing in the world.

Amazing performer. I can't wait to see him in concert sometime in the future.

And here's where the story takes an interesting twist. I ALSO MET RYAN LEWIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Look at this photo. LOOK HOW HAPPY WE ARE. LOOK HOW WE BECAME BEST FRIENDS. Hahaha. It was so epic. He was such a fantastic individual. We helped him carry his stuff back to the tour bus and he asked if there were any bars in the area. I immediately said HIGH HORSE, which is the best bar in town. Not one to miss out on the fun, I tagged along. I HAD DRINKS WITH RYAN LEWIS!!!!!!!! You have no idea how much fun I had that night. Definitely defines my college (social) experience. OH. I almost forgot. Before I asked to take a picture, I said, "OH MY GOD. Ryan Lewis, can I take a picture with you....I'm basically going to melt because I'm talking to you RIGHT NOW." And in the sweetest voice you can imagine anyone ever saying, "Awwwww, Christian! No, don't melt! :)" I basically died. Those were the best words to ever come out of anyone's mouth.

But now....back to reality. It's time to get ready for finals and 20 page research papers. Should be fun, right? NOPE. I went to study at the library with my friend and I immediately knocked out. I'm going to ride that struggle bus all the way home.

I gotta say, this has been a fantastic semester. I've had so much fun with my friends, professors, and people who come on my tours. I've met so many wonderful people along the way. As I gear up to embark on my senior year, I don't want this experience to end. I hope that next year is even better. Remember, life is what you make it, so make it rock!!!!


Until next time, friendly readers.

[Title Reference: Lyrics from Macklemore's great song, "Same Love."]

Campaigns We Can Believe In

Hi Novel Readers,

Now, I know this isn't a novel, but that's how my English professor starts out all of her emails and it makes me feel really special. Also, my life is just absolutely ridiculous that it may as well be a novel. :)

This week, I hit the campaign trial. I ran for a position as senator for the Class of 2014. I knew from the start that this campaign was going to be an epic fail and after my humiliating experience at the Lip Sync competition, I knew I had to end this campaign with a bang. I'm all about going big or going home. If I'm going to participate in an election, I will MAKE SURE people remember my campaign.

My campaign started at Speech Night this past Monday. To assure my constituents of just how serious I would be taking this campaign, I wore a tuxedo. Yes, I WORE A TUXEDO. Just picture. Every candidate is going up there and giving passionate speeches about how they'll help the student body...and here comes Christian with a tuxedo. As if that wasn't enough, I made sure my speech left an impression. Here it is:

"Wow. Even when I’m wearing a tuxedo, Ian Hatch is still the best-dressed person in the room. Hi everyone, my name is Christian Aviles and I’m a member of the Class of 2014. I guess I should start by saying that I’m wearing this tuxedo to show you just how serious I’m going to be taking this campaign. 

During the most recent campaign for the President of the Association of Amherst Students, we all witnessed moments where all gloves came off. Me? I’m above all that. My gloves came off the moment the campaign started. My opponents may have ethical boundaries; I have none. 

I want to be the very best, like no senator ever was. To represent Amherst is my test, to fight for you is my cause. Amherst, it's you and me. I know being a senator is my destiny. Let's fight for Amherst. Our courage will pull us through. Vote for me and I'll fight for you. It'll be a challenge. It's never easy when there's so much on the line. But you and I can make a difference. One day at a time.

Happy Election Games, and may the odds be ever in my favor."

Yes. Not only did I quote Hunger Games, I also quoted the Pokemon song. THE POKEMON SONG. Who am I as a human being??!!!

But my campaign was just getting started. I had my lovely friends translate my campaign posters into like 10 different foreign languages: German, French, Russian, Arabic, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. And at the bottom of each poster, I wrote, "Inclusivity is great, isn't it?" Can you imagine all the confused faces as they saw my face on giant posters written in foreign languages?! Of course, I also printed some in English, but so did every other candidate. I wanted to make sure my potential constituents understood that I was going to represent them no matter what language they speak. I know, I think I'm awesome too.

Oh, then I had this really awesome "Athlete" poster:

Of course, the odds are not in my favor. Although campaign results will not come out until Saturday at midnight (you know, that time we think it's STILL Friday but it's actually not?). There are eight senators in each class year. The eight senators in my class are fantastic people. I've been to the Association of Amherst Student meetings and they have done a fantastic job at improving student life. But you know...having the exact same people represent us again? They'll all definitely get re-elected, but hey, we gotta make sure they have competition now and then...just to make sure they keep doing their job (I wouldn't exactly call myself "competition" but you catch my drift). 

I'll let y'all know the results but....if there are only 5 votes next to my name, I think I'll transfer. Just kidding. :)

In other pressing matters: I worked the score board at a lacrosse game last week! Y'all KNOWWWWWWW how big of a LAX fan I've become, and it was the greatest honor to be part of the team that made the event happened. And I didn't ruin the game! I was worried that I was going to accidentally add too many points to one team, or stop the time from running, or somehow give the wrong player the penalty on the board. So many things could have gone wrong...but they didn't.

In other news: my thesis proposal is due May 2nd. YAYYYYYYYYY........awkward....because I haven't even thought about what I'm writing. I better go ahead and buy a ticket for the struggle bus because I'm going to be riding that thing for the next year and a half. 

Until next time, mis amigos.

[Title Reference: A play on Obama's campaign slogan, haha]

Guess Who's Going to Dinner

Over the past several weeks, the President’s Office and the Office for Conferences and Special Events have organized a series of dinners intended to encourage students to engage outside their comfort zones and standard social groups. Conceived by a member of the Class of 2013, these gatherings are a unique opportunity to attend a small, elegant dinner dressed in your finest clothes. The evening consists of fancy meals (you know they are fancy when you can’t pronounce the name) and professionally selected wines. The other students at your table are a mix of many academic disciplines, which certainly makes for interesting conversations.

Normally, I would scoff at the thought of these dinners, for several reasons: the ridiculously small amount of food served on a giant plate; the pretentiousness of people who talk about high-class culture; the fear that I’ll spill something on someone’s $5,000 shoes; the fact that I still don’t know which fork is the salad fork.

The night started out like any other night at Amherst: having awkward small talk with people when all you could think about is, “Do these people even go here?” We had about 30 minutes to walk about the room and mingle with other students but naturally, we all stood in a giant circle as if we were about to play a game with a giant beach ball. I believe the organizers of this event must have anticipated the presence of “The Amherst Awkward,” because servers started to hand us glasses of champagne. I’m pretty sure it was bottomless champagne, because everyone in my small group had about six glasses (we would have kept going, but it was time to take our seats at assigned tables).

“Oh no!” I thought, “I’m being separated from my friends and now I won’t have anyone to talk to at my table.” I think the point was to separate me from my friends. I only recognized one other person at the table, and that’s only because he sits across from me in my English class. We sat in silence for about three minutes and someone finally had the courage to introduce himself. That’s always the easy part, isn’t? Major. Class Year. Hometown. It’s like we’re trained to say that the first moment we meet someone at Amherst.

After these introductions the only thought in my head was, “Oh dear God, there are three forks, three spoons and three knives. Come on, Christian, just pick one and start eating the salad that is in front of you!” I looked around my table and noticed that no one else had the slightest idea of which fork to use. I was starting to think that everyone at the table probably had the same reservations about coming to this dinner. I actually had to ask one of my friends (who was a server) which fork I should use. I was starting to see that this dinner was a learning experience. It’s better to have asked your friend about the fork thing now than when you are at a dinner with the CEO of Bain Capital.

I should mention that every course of the meal was paired with a fantastic wine. The young asparagus and wild arugula (aru-what?!) came with a Castello Banfi pinot grigio, San Angelo 2011. My table poked fun at the fact that people are extremely picky about wine. We were saying things like, “Oh, this wine really has a sour hop that is reminiscent of [insert fancy wine here].” The next course, fava beans and potato dumplings, was paired with a Sonoma Coast chardonnay (2010). This wine was also really good, and we actually had the chef come and describe some of the wines to us. The last course, a delicious chocolate shortcake, was paired with Vietti’s Moscato d’Asti (2011). What is it with these names that I can’t pronounce? Nevertheless, this wine was my favorite and everyone at the dinner seemed to agree. It had a really sweet taste (look at me, I’m already becoming a wine critic!).

This was a fantastic experience, and I got to know a lot of students to whom I wouldn’t normally talk (mission accomplished). Chris Friend ’14, the student introducing the dinner and the faculty, said that this dinner was also a way for students to safely drink in a more sophisticated manner. To that I say, “Why the endless bottles of champagne and wine?”

In all seriousness, this dinner was a great cultural experience. Not only did I make new friends, but I also changed my previously held assumptions about these types of dinners. I learned proper table etiquette and that bottomless champagne isn’t a license to get wasted. Growing up means being able to go to a social event and sip — not chug — on classy wines. And I know a lot of people might criticize this event as a form of “Amherst elitism,” but it’s actually a great experience. Even if you will never go to another elegant, sophisticated, high-class dinner, it’s always interesting to hear other people’s stories: what makes them sad, what makes them happy and what they are passionate about. And hey, now I know the salad fork is the smallest one on the end.

[Title Reference: the critically acclaimed film, "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner]

To Sing or Not To Sing

Dear Readers,

This week has been hectic and I bring you lots of news. First order of business, I sang to cgrobe, my professor, during office hours. It was epic. I think he liked it but I wasn't sure if his enthusiasm and laughter was AT my performance, or laughing because he thinks I'm funny. We'll never know. Let me explain how I managed to get myself involved in such a situation. So LAST FRIDAY (March 29th) cgrobe took our Shakespeare class to NYC to see a performance called Sleep No More, which is an adaptation of Macbeth. Let me rephrase that: a VERY, VERY LOOOOOOOOOOOOSE adaptation of Macbeth. The things we saw in that performance.....I wish I could write about the experience here but 1) you really do have to see this for yourself and 2) I'd definitely get fired. Just imagine Macbeth in a six story hotel where you follow different plots by chasing the cast throughout the six floors. And you're wearing a mask throughout the entire performance. And there's a lot of sex in the performance. (Am I allowed to use the word "sex" in this blog? I guess only time will tell). 

One thing to take from me telling you about this class outing is that many Amherst professors take learning outside of the classroom. There's a lot to be learned from Sleep No More but I won't bore you with my analysis. I'm glad cgrobe took us because it made me see Macbeth in a whole new light. And that's always a good thing.

Anyways, so the reason I was singing to my professor is because we have to "do something with Macbeth." That is literally what it says on the class syllabus. It ACTUALLY just says, "Do something with Macbeth." He explained what he meant, but I took this assignment very openly. While I will do a formal assignment, I decided to have fun with this and do something ridiculous. So I took the words from Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night" and replaced them with the events that literally happened "Last Friday Night" during our NYC trip. I showed up to my professor's office, put on the background music, and started performing. I think it's safe to say that I've definitely left my mark as the most outrageous, eccentric student at Amherst. You don't think that's enough to take the title? Okay, just wait for the other part of this blog.

THIS WEEK WAS THE LIP SYNC COMPETITION. So every year, we have to go through the room draw process to select our housing for next year (except Seniors, they get kicked out). If you get a bad number in the room draw list, you can enter the lip sync competition and if you win, you are automatically placed at the top of your class list. Since I'm a rising senior (Class of 2014) I was only competing against other rising seniors. This year, it was just me and another group competing for supreme ruler of room draw. Wait, have I mentioned that I DID THIS PERFORMANCE SOLO?! That's right. I was crazy enough to do this lip sync competition by myself. NO ONE DOES THIS BY THEMSELVES BECAUSE NO ONE IS CRAZY LIKE ME. But hey, I had a 50-50 chance of winning. 

I performed Lady Gaga's Bad Romance and oh man, what a blast. I had so much fun. But as always, my performances are epic fails. I did this move where I leaped off stage and me being the smart person that I am, failed to land correctly. I ended up scraping my leg and there was just blood everywhere. But I had to keep going. I told myself, "C'mon Christian. Your professors, friends, and THE INTERNET are watching you. Finish this dance." And I did. And it was awesome. I had the crowd going for the entire 5 minute routine. Unfortunately, winning the crowd wasn't a category for scoring points. The other rising juniors, members of the House of Improv on campus, took home the trophy. But let me explain. 1) Someone in the Residential Office told me that solo performances never win because "one performer doesn't have nearly enough energy as a group." Judges apparently like the high energy of multiple people. Like I said, my crowd engagement was clearly overlooked. and 2) I went against legit performers! Those other students perform and dance and sing and improvise and ARE OUTRAGEOUS on a regular basis because they run the Improv Group. I could never compete against that. But guess what? Jokes on you guys, because I actually had a really, really, really good number in Room Draw. ;-) This means that even though I lost, I STILL get to be one of the first people to pick a room. Nice try, Res Life. No one can keep me down.

Yeah, that's me. Don't I look fantastic? I'm telling you, I should have won. 

What a great week to be a performer. Singing for real in front of your professor.....and then pretending to sing in front of the entire Amherst community (and the Internet). It's all worth it. 

Other things on the agenda: cgrobe invited our class to attend a lecture given by Charlotte Canning '86. She's an expert in US Theater History, Arthur Miller, American society, feminist theater...just to name a few. She came to talk about Hamlet and it's role in American Cold War Diplomacy. Wait. WHAT? You're probably wondering how Hamlet could ever be related to foreign policy. Well, she argued that during the post-World War II era, America was trying to assert its role in the world arena. That included spreading American ideals and culture. What better way to do that then have the US Air Force sponsor Hamlet and have it shown throughout Europe? This is a simplistic version of her argument, but I really enjoyed this talk. Again, Amherst Professors do their best to take learning take place outside the classroom by bringing in these speakers and relating them to what we learn in class. Way to go, cgrobe! [Don't worry, I'm sure y'all will meet cgrobe soon enough. I know he's been mentioned in this blog like 10000 times already]

Next year housing: I can't wait. I know I'll get a room in the dorm I want and if I'm lucky, I'll even be neighbors with the Resident Counselor, Matt '14 (I've mentioned him in a previous blog) and all the noise complaints against me will be coming from him. Wait. If HE'S the RC....and normally noise complaints go to the RCs....does that mean Matt will be complaining to himself?

Final Remarks: Congrats to the Lacrosse team for their victory over Hamilton last weekend! Can't wait to see them play this weekend. Also, thanks to Professors cgrobe, Frank, Holleman, and Himmelstein, for supporting me during Lip Sync. Also shoutout to my dear friend Blaine who attends the Lacrosse games with me and talks about his high school experience. He's a lot of fun!

Until next time!

[Title Reference: Hamlet's famous monologue]

Eternal Sunshine of the Amherst Mind


Ah, it's been such a long time since I've put up a blog. It's not that I don't love you anymore. It's just that I've been really busy and last week was Spring Break so my brain kind of shut down and did nothing for a week. [Wait, did I just do that classic "It's not you, it's me" line?]

So a lot has happened since I last blogged. Like I said, last week (March 18-22) was Spring Break. LA is too far for me to fly back to for just a week, so I stuck around campus. The Dean of Students Office actually sponsors a lot of events for students who choose to remain on campus. We still got our meals in the dining hall, which was nice. We had a NYC day trip, bowling night, trivia night, and basically every event on campus had a chocolate fountain. I attended some of these events, but I actually slept through a large part of the break. You'd be surprised for how long I can sleep. When I had a roommate last year (shout-out to Andy!) he'd like try to wake me up to make sure I was still alive. When I let out a groan telling him to leave me alone, he knew I was okay. During the break, I also had to read Pride and Prejudice for my "Reading the Novel" class. I LOVED IT. I might do another blog JUST to analyze P&P...

Let's see, what else happened? OH, I turned 22. I'm so old :( My friends and I ordered Mexican Food from this really delicious restaurant nearby AND we had cupcakes from Magnolia's Bakery that my parents ordered. Earlier that day though, I told my best friend that I was craving tofu (which totally doesn't taste like cardboard! It's so good). Because it was my birthday, the universe was on my side. Some club on campus had an event with lots of leftover food and they dropped it off in the common room where I was having my party. IT WAS GREAT. 

I locked in an internship for the summer in NYC working with the Odyssey Initiative. Today (March 27) my internship director came to give a talk to the Education group on campus, so a few students were invited to dinner with him at the Lord Jeff Inn, a REALLY FANCY hotel/restaurant/bar in town. I was really excited! Free food is always great. So the internship director, Todd, had us go around the table and say a little bit about ourselves. When the other students finished, I was really excited that I'd finally get to talk. But then...oh no...but then...TODD started talking and completely forgot about my introduction! Hahaha. We have been in touch for the past month, so maybe he felt like he didn't need to know me because he already does? I don't know, but I was just there at the corner of the table like, "I'm right here, guys. RIGHT HERE." 

On being a NARP: A few weeks ago a friend introduced me to a new term. "NARP" basically stands for "Non-Athlete Regular Person." What a GREAT name for me. I try to go to the gym every now and then. I say "try" because it never actually happens. So part of my role in being a NARP on this campus is to go and support my friends at their athletic events. I've really, really, really "gotten into" Lacrosse. What a fantastic sport! I've been going to all the home games to support the team, but especially my friend Connor. He's great. Unfortunately they lost a game today against Wesleyan and I was so sad because I knew my friend would be too. I think tomorrow I'll go up to him and congratulate him on the game because guess what? I didn't go see the game JUST to see them win (of course, that's always a plus). I went to see the game to support them and cheer them on for taking on such a great sport and taking time out of their busy academic lives to pursue something they're passionate about. I think sometimes we focus too much about winning or losing that we forget to just celebrate our friends and the great things they've accomplished as athletes. Some people would probably disagree, but that's just me. Classic, NARP, me. 

One last thing: Our dining services started a new program this year called "Grab and Go." This new dining option is meant for students who don't have time to go to the dining hall because of a class, or a sport, or maybe they would rather eat in their room. Students grab the food they want and head off into the world. Amherst ALSO has a program called TYPO (Take Your Professor Out) in which you take your professor to dinner in town, and the Dean of Students office pays for it! I want to go on a TYPO with the great Prof. Grobe (or cgrobe, how I call him) and I am also a fan of Grab and Go. I could obviously take both options. But...what if I just ask my professor out to Grab and Go with me......and we call it...GRAB N GROBE. 

[I know, what a lame joke. It seemed like a good idea in my head]

'Til we meet again, my readers.

[This week's shout-outs: LAX team, Karl, and Prof. Frank because she put Pride and Prejudice on the reading list for the class]

[Title reference: you know, that one movie, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." I say eternal sunshine because the great, warm sunshine is finally coming back to Amherst!!!!]

I got 2 anecdotes in my pocket

Two random notes:

1. My professor likes to play random music before class and today he decided to play 'Thrift Shop.' Immediately, I said, "OH GOD." Did not realize that I said that out loud until half the people in my class were staring at me.

2. My friend on the swim team says they eat like 7,000 calories per day. I think I decided to become an athlete. Eating 7,000 calories a day?! NO PROBLEM. I'll get right on that.

[Title Reference: A play on Macklemore's lyrics as heard in Thrift Shop]

The One with the 2014


If you choose to come to Amherst, take a campus tour, or talk to students about how amazing this place is, you'll always hear the classic line, "Amherst is SUCH a close-knit community." As a tour, that's always something I say but no one has really asked me WHY Amherst is a close-knit community, or what students do that makes it one. Well, I finally thought of something so if you ever come on a tour or ask me why we're a close-knit community, I got an answer. 

As I mentioned in the "About Me" section, I transferred to Amherst my sophomore year after having studied at a community college in Los Angeles. Because my orientation was the same as the orientation for the Class of 2015, most of the friends I made were freshmen at the time. So now, as a junior, I have a lot of sophomore friends. As part of my process to get to know more people in my class (and to not be the guy at the 25th reunion who everyone looks at and asks, "You went to school with us?") I've been reaching out to other members of the class of 2014. This includes anything from email, asking 2014 friends to introduce me to other juniors, etc. 

I'm going to be honest: even I thought this was crazy. At this point in our careers, everyone at Amherst has their close friend group. To try to infiltrate those groups would be social suicide. I imagined going up to people and trying to get to know them, and this is what I thought would happen:

[embarrassing GIF]

[another embarrassing GIF]

Which would result in me reacting like this:

[yet another GIF]

Needless to say, I should probably stop letting my imagination run wild. Here's the reaction I ACTUALLY got from people:


People are so friendly! I guess I always knew this, but I only knew it because my friends were friendly. I never thought people who didn't know me would be so excited to meet a new person! So yes, Amherst IS a close-knit community. Students here are more than willing to get to know you. Now you know that the close-knot community thing is not just something our supervisors make us say; it's a reality. We experience this small community feeling every single day. 


Best Friends

Shout-out to my great friend, Matt '14, who was the one who encouraged me to reach out to people and reassured me that they would be really friendly. Matt, you are simply the best. Here's a GIF for you:

[really excited hug for next time I see you]

[Title Reference: This post was about making friends, so I thought I'd pay homage to the great show. Each of its episode title is The One _____. In this case, "The One with the 2014." Pretty clever, huh?]

No Fear Sha-ka-spear**

Last week, my English Professor asked my friend and me to perform a scene from Henry IV. My friend was playing the part of Hal, a young prince, and I...well, I was assigned the part of a fat, low-life, alcoholic. At first I was terrified that I would get boo’d off stage and I told my Professor that if that happened, to please excuse my absences for the rest of the semester, as I would never be able to show my face in his class again.  

When it came time to perform, I had hundreds of concerns about this performance. As I walked up to the stage with my friend, all I could think about was how I would mispronounce every word (because let’s be honest, no one speaks Shakespeare’s English anymore), come off as culturally insensitive for faking an English accent, or worse, fail to live up to my Professor’s vision of Shakespeare. I think I just needed to get all these crazy thoughts out of my head so when I was on stage, right before my Professor said action, I instantly said, “By the way, I gained like 50 pounds for this role and you know, had a couple of beers before the performance, so I hope you appreciate my commitment to the performance.” The funny thing is that I didn’t even think about what I was saying, it kind of just came out. Everyone laughed and I think it gave me like 30 seconds to pull myself together and start the performance. I think the most painful part was when we finished the scene and we had to walk back to our seats in silence. NO ONE CLAPPED. Actually, my supportive friend in the audience did that slow clapping thing that usually gets other people clapping, but no. In a way, I wish she hadn’t slow clapped because it just made the walk back to my seat a lot more awkward. But people really liked the performance! They told me after class that they wanted to clap but they weren’t sure if it was okay. 

Funny Shakespeare


There are two lessons you should take from my humiliating (yet rewarding) experience: Amherst classes offer a variety of ways to learn! Rather than write a response paper to Henry IV for that week, my friend and I acted out a scene that became a theatrical representation of our analysis of that scene and its characters. Furthermore, the students in the audience got to direct the scene. They told us how to react emotionally, what tones to use, and what they thought Shakespeare was trying to do through the interaction between these characters. We had the opportunity to analyze a scene as a class. It was just great to be able to act out a scene and see the many ways people interpreted it. 

The second lesson is that at Amherst, you can always be yourself. One of my English Professors once told us that students try so hard to say something smart and meaningful just to impress a Professor that you forget to just be yourself. That absurd remark I made right before the performance is a reflection of all the other ridiculous things I say on a daily basis. And I said it to help me relax. It helped that I was being myself right before the performance. Even though I’m at Amherst, I like to tell myself that I’m still the same old goofball, getting through life one day at a time.

**[Title Reference: I’ll try to tell you what my title means on all of my blogs. This is a play on the Shakespeare version, “No Fear Shakespeare” that makes it easier to read and understand those play by translating it to modern English. But I kept telling my friends that even with that version, I would somehow manage to mispronounce everything, even the author’s name!]