Dan Bamba '11

First Blog Yo!

Not posed at all- totally natural
Hey World, welcome to the blog. This summer, I’ll be working on campus as a summer intern, giving tours, taking part in information sessions, and anything else the admissions deans tell me to do.   I just finished my first week of work, and although slow, it was a good time. I've been a tour guide for the past three semesters, so I'm used to giving tours during the year. The tours have so far been pretty small, perfect for the other interns just learning how to do them, but everyone around the office says it should pick up come July, so I’m enjoying the quiet time while it lasts.

A little bit about myself, I’m a junior from East Meadow, New York.  I’m going to miss going to the beach every week out on Long Island, trading Robert Moses for Puffer’s Pond up here in Amherst this summer. I’m a double major in Economics and Art History, so basically I’m your typical liberal arts student who has no idea what he wants to do with his life.  On campus, I’m involved as a student senator for the class of 2011, and a DJ for our college radio station WAMH. This blog is to let you out there know a little bit more about Amherst College, and the Pioneer Valley in general. Shoot me an email at dbamba11@amherst.edu if you want to know anything about Amherst, and I’ll be more than happy to reply, and I’ll try to put your questions up on this blog.

Dan's Blog Entries (listed chronologically, latest to earliest)


One Last Time

Hey World, welcome back to the blog. After three months here at the Admissions Office, my time here as a Summer Intern is coming to a close. I just wanted to take this time to thank everyone here at the office, the deans, all of the staff, and my fellow Interns. The tours were a great time, and you guys were a pleasure to have on my tours.

With Junior year starting, it's absolutely terrifying to think that my college career is halfway over, and now I have to start thinking about my life after Amherst. It's pretty fun, however to have all of the freshmen moving in this week for their Orientation. It just reminds me of my year here as a freshman, and all of the good times I've had at Amherst.

Thanks again World for reading, it's been fun.

And Happy Birthday Maxfield McKenna.


New Blog Post Yo!

Hey World, today marks a sad day here in the Admissions Office. Today is the last Hawaiian Shirt Friday for two of our interns, Teddy Vickers and Angela Pratt. They'll both be off to bigger and better things, Teddy with RC training and Angela beginning her semester abroad in Italy. Last night, we had a little going away party with some Chinese, and a cake for Becky's birthday. She's 20 now, old, very old.

Superstars of the office, Teddy and Angela will be missed. For the rest of us staying at Admissions, we have 3 more weeks of tours, and it's just in time for a heat wave to hit. Families are still being champs even though with 93 degree temperatures, and you could definitely tell they like the air-conditioned buildings the most at this point of the year.

The school year is just about to start, and I know the freshman class is getting ready for their Orientation at Camp Amherst. I still remember my first week at Amherst, Just spending the whole time meeting new people, and making new friends. Orientation is definitely one of my top memories in my time here at Amherst. I've made some of the best friends of my life here, and can't wait until everyone starts moving back in. Shout outs to the Bro's Nest: Adam, Tommy, and Max (who's in Argentina). Also, to all my friends going abroad this semester, have a great time, and don't forget to bring me a souvenir.

Happy Birthday Tim Tebow, a real American hero.



Tours! Inspired by kittens!

So August is actually here, and this summer just keeps flying by. The weather is finally picking up, and with the sun out, I've been able to run more on the awesome trails we have here around campus. We have some gorgeous cross country trails behind our tennis courts, and a really nice bike path that is lined with trees and come fall, is one of the most amazing places to walk or run through on Amherst's campus. Definitely beats the treadmill or track in my opinion.

This job has been a lot of tours everyday, and more and more families are coming through to check out the school. The other interns and I have become pros, and I know at least for myself, showing all of you prospective students has brought be back a couple of years to when I was touring at different colleges. I remember doing a whole New England tour, going all over the northeast. It was just me and my dad, driving on the MassPike with me navigating using only a map (people driving in the pre-GPS days know what those are). Needless to say, I got us lost only once, so I see that as a victory.

I feel for you juniors and seniors hitting 8 schools in a week, I've been there. There were tour guides who were fun and interesting, there were others who...weren't. You'll get the overly peppy tour guide, and the tour guide who is way too sarcastic about everything to take seriously. But the worst by far, is the tour guide who uses the worst cliche ever, "Not only do we work hard here at College X, we also play hard!" I hate that. If you are ever a tour guide, never say that. Ever. Regardless of what kind of tour guide you have, remember that you're applying to the school, not the guide, so give everyone a chance.

It'll get to the point where every school sounds the same. You'll be thinking "I get it, there's books in the library, I'll get a good education, I'll join a club, I'll sleep in a dorm." And by the time School #8 comes along, you'll be sick of tours. But I always advocate that in order to take the most from a tour, keep an open mind for every school you visit, and try to find out what sets that school from the rest of them. If those unique qualities, whatever they may be, seem like a good fit for you, apply to it. You can't just apply to school based on reputation alone, that's how you end up hating where you go to school your freshman year and transfering.

Look at it this way, tours are the best part of the college search process. Because after tours, come SAT's, after that, filling out applications, and after that, the worst part: waiting. Only in tours do you get to spend some quality time with your parents (for the most part, it's fun, I swear) and you get to check out some of the most gorgeous places in the country (that is, unless you're going through Buffalo in the winter...no offense Buffalo). I really took taking tours for granted, and giving them throughout my time here has made me realize that they really were a fun time, and I want to thank my Dad (f he's reading)for driving me all over the northeast, and dealing with me, the worst navigator ever, those weekends we went on tours.

Two weeks ago was my Dad's birthday, so I want to wish him a belated Happy Birthday, and today, Happy Birthday Martha Stewart

Peace and love,



(the tour)

Hey World, sorry for skipping out on a post the past week, I blame it on taking a 5-day vacation, and just being summer lazy.

July's been great, the sun's finally out, and this past weekend, a bunch of friends and I went to the Wilco concert at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, about an hour and a half drive from Amherst. We took Route 2 most of the way there, and it was a gorgeous ride all the way there. The whole way was tree-lined and with the sunny day, it was perfect for some windows-down driving.

This was the first show I've gone to that was in a baseball stadium, the other outdoor concerts I've seen have been at Central Park or in a concert shell. The stage was right in center field, so the bleachers were a little far from the band, but we stood on the floor so it didn't matter. Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band opened for Wilco, and they put out a pretty good set, but I was there for Wilco.

I heard really good things about Wilco live,  so I was really excited to finally see them. They opened with "Wilco (the song)" off their new album, and the rest of the set was very well done, really tight. The only bad thing about the show was that it was cut early due to rain, but that was still after a set over an hour long, so not too many complaints there. Once the downpour came, the band went offstage and the road crew covered all of their equipment with tarps, but with most of the crowd still waiting in the rain and cheering, they came out and played one last song. I found out that night that there's no better way to end an outdoor concert than with an encore in the rain, even if you can't feel your fingers during it because of the cold.

Scoreboard at Wilco concert that reads id=&quotIf you're a Wilco fan, make some noise!id=&quot

The concert was even better because we had "those people" in the crowd. Right next to us, we had that "Mom who loves the band so much she dances very inappropriately, as if she were at a rave and then (perhaps drunkenly?) falls on the group next to her" and a few people in front of us, we had "Guy who thinks he knows Jeff Tweedy personally so he takes it upon himself to constantly point at Jeff thus ruining all attempts for pictures of the stage by anyone behind him." I love those people. Please be those people when ever you go to any shows.

I had a really good time at the show, and it was one of the many shows you can see in this area. There are always bands coming through Northampton and Amherst throughout the year, not just for spring concerts (but you're also allowed to see any of the other school's spring concerts in the Five College Consortium for a very discounted rate, which is not bad at all). Up in Northampton is Pearl Street and the Iron Horse, two really good venues where a lot of acts will perform, everyone from The Mountain Goats to GZA from the Wu Tang Clan. I like the music scene here in the Valley, especially being a DJ at WAMH (listen to Common Cents next semester!). Also, there are a bunch of student bands in the area, including Amherst's own Tashtego. The past couple of springs, the school has had a battle of the bands, which has been a really fun time.

Keep the emails coming, and don't hate on the Hawaiian shirts, they make us wear them.

Until next week, Happy Birthday Cheech.



One Month Down

Hey World, July's coming up, and with it finally comes some decent weather. This June has been pretty gross, raining most of the month and the average temperature has been well below 80 degrees. During the year, I've given tours in rain, and even a couple of snowstorms, and it's never fun for anyone. It's always fun when the families are actually excited to be at Amherst regardless of rain, so this June was fun with very enthusiastic families throughout the month.

Daniel J. Bamba napping on a beach


It's crazy that the summer's almost a third done, it's really flying by. This weekend, I visited my cousins down in Connecticut, and with the amazing weather, we finally went to the beach for the first time this summer.  We went to Old Lyme, on the Long Island  Sound, a really awesome small beach that wasn't crowded at all. It was much calmer than a beach on the South Shore, so it was really easy to take part in my favorite beach activity - napping. I want to say that we were there for about 6 hours and I was unconscious for 5 of them. It was really relaxing, a nice little vacation.

To get there, I took a Peter Pan bus to Hartford, only a two hour trip from Amherst. Even though having a car is more convenient than taking the bus, I've taken the bus many times to go back home to New York, and visit friends in Boston, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. For the most part, the ride's good, I'd just recommend bringing an iPod or sleeping during the ride.

It's great to hear from all of you guys, keep the emails coming, and thanks for reading World.

Oh, and see Up.

Happy Birthday Iron Mike Tyson, eat a Lewis child.



Food and Books 

I love food. I don't really watch that much TV here in Amherst, the only exceptions to that are Yankee games (when they're on) and the Food Network. That's why out of three blog posts, two of them will revolve around food.

As a college student, there are two things that will get me to attend any event: free T-shirts and free food. College kids love free food, that's why you'll see flyers for club meetings first advertising the club, but then it will always be followed by "FREE PIZZA." Guaranteed to have 50 people there. The next best thing to free food: a lot of discounted food. This weekend was the Taste of Amherst, where which local vendors set up tents, and serve the community a tasting menu of their foods for a discounted price. It was a great chance to get to know the other restaurants around the area that I never really heard about before. There were so many choices that it took me a long time to make a decision. All in all, the food was great and really cheap, I had spent $10 and got salmon from House of Teriyaki, a panini from Andiamo and some pulled pork from The Pub. All of the food was delicious, and I wanted something from every booth. Taste of Amherst is always well attended, with tons of people around the area coming to try the food.

Books next to a windowLike I talked about in last week's post, there are always places in the Valley that you never really get to go to because you never knew about it before. Like Flayvors, the Montague Bookmill is one of those local treasures. It is an old gristmill that was converted into a used bookstore. They have a huge selection of books, all mostly half-priced. The coolest thing about the Bookmill is that it is on the Sawmill River, and when the bookstore has its windows open, all you can hear are the rushing waters. The mood at the Bookmill is so laid back and relaxing, that I was able to sit in a big comfy chair, read The Way Things Work, a book I hadn't read since I was a little kid, and actually fall asleep (not joking on either of those parts). It was a fun way to spend a Saturday, looking at all of the books I wish I could have and almost buying them all because they were so cheap. If you're not into books, there is also a used record store, an antiques shop, two places to eat, and Louise Minks' art studio.

 The weather's been a mess, but summer should be coming soon (it's because of Al Gore and his Global Warming).

Happy Birthday Pistol Pete.




One of the aspects of Amherst that I talk about on my tours that I love so much is the tight-knit community at this school since there are only about 1700 students here. You really get to know the rest of your classmates, whether through classes, extracurricular activities, or just seeing them throughout the semester.  The actual campus of the college helps to foster that community, by being small itself, with nothing more than a 15 minute walk away from anything else (which is bad for our future, because once one leaves Amherst, anything longer than a 5 minute walk is too long). With such a small campus, we as a student body often forget that there’s a whole other world outside of the college, let alone another town. Sure, we’ll walk into Amherst center for a burrito at Bueno or a slice at Antonio’s, but that doesn’t really count. Once you go farther down Route 9 (and that means past the Hampshire Mall), there’s even more to see. Admittedly, I was one of those who thought that the only places of consequence in the Pioneer Valley were the Five Colleges, Northampton and the strip malls, but this past weekend, my friend Cait showed me and my friends Ashely and Kim a part of the valley that we never knew about.

Flayvors of Cook Farm

When you drive west on Route 9, you will pass some strip malls with a Target, Wal-Mart, Trader Joe’s, and other stores. But behind the mall, the landscape changes completely from stores and parking lots to barns and farmland. Even though the day was a bit cloudy, the scenery was gorgeous, with nothing but green everywhere you looked. We then drove to Flayvors of Cook Farm, an ice cream shop that uses milk from the cows raised right on the farm. I wouldn’t call myself a real connoisseur when it comes to ice cream, but Flayvors had some of the best pistachio ice cream that I’ve ever tasted. I guess it may have been the fresh milk, or because it was homemade, but either way, their ice cream was smoother and creamier than any other I’ve had from my freezer or a chain ice cream shop. It was a real treat going to Flayvors, and it just goes to show that Amherst really isn’t just a bubble, you just have to try and find the little treasures around the valley. Wanting something good to eat and a good guide wouldn’t hurt either.

I'll catch you guys later, and Happy Birthday NPH.