i am crazy  

Welcome to my blog!

My name is Jonathan Yau, a rising sophomore here at Amherst College, but you can call me Jonny. I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. I plan on majoring in Psychology with a second major of either Environmental Science, Anthropology, Sociology, or Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought. I haven’t really decided/declared yet!

On campus, I am a clarinetist for the orchestra, a coxswain for the crew team, a tutor for Amherst Regional Middle School, a Music Tutor for Crocker Farms Elementary School, a 2013 Orientation Coordinator, a member of the Student Support Network, and the TAP (The Amherst Party) chair for the Social Council. (Why do I always accumulate so many responsibilities for myself???) In my spare time, I LOVE having meaningful conversation with my peers, photographing nature, regardless of my actual artistic ability, and watching a plethora of TV shows (Community, Modern Family, Game of Thrones…but I shall stop myself before I get carried away….)

 If you have any questions about anything Amherst related or life in general, I’d be happy to answer to the best of my knowledge. Please email me at jyau16@amherst.edu


Happy Readings!

Walking Along Route 9

It’s funny how a simple decision, like going strawberry picking, can turn into such an unexpected journey (10 points for anyone who got that reference!). This week was 96°F and HUMID—I felt as though I was wearing an oversized winter coat every time I left air conditioning. There was a point where anything felt cooler than being in my room, even running on the bike path!


So finally, a couple of my friends and I decided to relieve our boredom by going strawberry picking. Even though we knew the sun would be blazing hot, at least, in the end, there would be strawberries to eat. Miu thought she saw a sign for the strawberry farm right on Route 9 a little past Hampshire Mall, which would have been a 45-minute walk from our dorm along the bike path towards Northampton.

As we reached Hampshire Mall, I was already physically exhausted and hungry. To avoid direct sunlight, we started our trek around 6:30 on a Saturday morning – so you can imagine my pain…

Along the bike path, there was a quaint restaurant called Seven Sisters http://www.sevensistersmarketbistro.com/menu.html. Not only was their breakfast amazing – I had a Sausage Omelet (ONE OF THE BEST OMELETS I’VE EVER HAD!) – god food!  it was actually attached to a bison farm. I actually got to touch a real live bison.  soo cool


Well, I guess not “live” at the moment, but it was alive at some point!

 So after the gratifying meal, I started to have kanak attack. For those who don’t know what “Kanak Attack” is, it’s basically what local Hawaiians say instead of “food coma”. It turns out that the strawberry farm was about a 2-hour walk down an deviating road from Route 9. At that point, we realized that it was less arduous to walk on the bike path towards Northampton instead.

Along Route 9, we passed by Esselon Café (http://www.esselon.com/esselon_menus.html) and boy was it refreshing to drink a cup of Iced Tea. Looking back, it actually felt like we ate more than we actually walked. As we gradually inched further towards Northampton, we crossed a bridge over the Connecticut River. Walking over the bridge, on one side,I made out the dock that our crew boats launch out of and on the other, I found an abandoned dock that was for residents to use recreationally.

  bridge It was so hot that we decided to rest on the docks and put our feet in the river. The cool water felt so great on my aching feet and, I’m telling you, never have I been so content with a decision I’ve made.



Anyways, I’ve been rambling too long. The moral of this post should be something philosophical, like “Always be flexible and open to change your path; you never know what great things you discover along the way”, but I just like to think that maybe the real lesson is “Sometimes the road less traveled is more rewarding”. (Ten more points to anyone who knows whom I am referring)


As usual, please feel free to email me at mailto:jyau16@amherst.edu with any questions you have. I’m more than happy to respond to anything I receive.


Until next time,


Amherst the Beautiful

It’s been quite a while since I posted but I promise that I’ll make it up to you guys but posting A TON of posts this week (by a ton, I just mean maximum three… my life isn’t interesting enough to warrant more than three posts per week -_- ) But I am digressing. 

My fourth post shall be named “Amherst the Beautiful” – in case you don’t get the reference, it’s a play on the song title “America the Beautiful”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA2Bcl_V_VY                                (let the song play in the background as you read the post)

 Why so patriotic you ask? Last week was the 4th of July. Not only was this past Independence Day the first July 4th I spent on the mainland, but it was also the first I spent away from my family. I am definitely missing my parents and sister right now (Mom, I know you read my blog so I hope you know that even though I don’t call you every day, I still miss you a bunch!). But I know that being at Amherst College was the right decision for me.

In any case, while I thought that my four-day weekend was going to be filled with boredom and monotony, I was bombarded with events and fairs to attend, friends to visit, and sites to explore.

 First of all, on the actual Independence Day, the town of Amherst held a county fair at UMass. This fair was no ordinary fair I’ve ever been too; there were food vendors (including Hawaiian Shave Ice!!!),

hot air balloon rides,  whoa!!

sack racing,

sack racing

 game booths, hay stacks, a community band, and to top it off, a 30 MINUTE LONG FIREWORKS DISPLAY. I have never felt so patriotic in my life!



So that’s all I have to say for now; 


To end with something, here's a song that I feel its representative of my life 


(I’m trying to not write long posts so that I have more material to do more short, frequent posts).  But anyways, please stay tuned for more and more adventures. 

we are cool


As usual, if you have any questions about Amherst or just want to tell me how awesome I am, please email me about jyau16@amherst.edu. I’m always happy to receive emails from students wanting to hear more about my time here at Amherst.


Until next time,

#diversityatAmherst #greatfriends                                                                       Jonny 



Open, Not Closed

 July 1st, 2013

RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY, COME AGAIN ANOTHER DAY (or actually just don’t come at all…) This was literally my mantra for the past couple of days. Aside from the multiple flash flood warnings my phone has sent me, there has been some heavy duty showers and thunderstorms. But before I get into a depressive mood about the climate, here’s a picture of a rainbow I saw above one of the first-year dorms!


Anyways, dear LF’s, I hope you guys are doing well no matter what the weather is wherever you’re reading this blog from. Things have started to pick up here in the Admission office, 


but more importantly we’ve had a change of personnel. Our beloved bosses, the Green Deans or Admission Fellows, Julie ’12 and Tyler ’11, a.k.a. some of the coolest people ever, had their last day on Friday. Us interns organized a surprise party Friday afternoon with pies to the face and a mini-pastry platter from Black Sheep Deli.

Look at this deliciousness!


So today, we had two new Admission Fellows start their first day. What are Admission Fellows you ask? They are recent graduates who stay at Amherst for one more year to help do dean-like duties (i.e. read applications, do information sessions, etc). When first coming to Amherst, I thought I wanted to have a career as an admissions officer; so the first step was to become a green dean.  However, after a year in college, I realize that there were other career opportunities and options that I could explore. Basically this is just a nice way of saying “I’m a complete mess and I don’t have an inch of a clue as to what I want to do with my life”.

 This is a common phrase uttered amongst first year students, BUT luckily, with the help of the Career center (link: https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/careers) and my academic advisor, I was able to plan out my class schedule and potential career moves that I could pursue. I had been always pressured by my parents into the math/science track with the intent of going to medical school for Neuroscience after Amherst. However, after taking a math and chemistry class in the first semester, I instantaneously discovered that this path was not for me.

This is where the open curriculum comes into play. At Amherst, there are no required classes/core courses that students must take. And because I was not worried about fulfilling requirements, I was able to delve into other departments/fields that I might not have necessarily looked at. So second semester, I did a complete 180. 

My First Year Course Load:

Fall Semester:                                             Spring Semester:

Friendship (first year seminar)                     Elementary French

Multivariable Calculus                                  Novels in Pre-modern China

Intro to Psychology                                      Pop Culture in Western Europe

Intro to Chemistry                                        Intro to Bio


See what I’m talking about? I really enjoy having no distribution requirements that I had to fulfill because the open curriculum puts the responsibility of my education back into my own hands; I was able to mold my first year education into such explorational (I don’t think that’s an actual word but I’m using it nonetheless!) experience.

sunshine! Anyways, because this post was more academic based, I shall leave you guys with a picture from an outing adventure to a nearby pond called Puffer’s Pond.

As usual, if you guys have any questions or book suggestions or for fun outdoor New England adventures/activities, feel free to email me at jyau16@amherst.edu. I look forward to hearing from you guys!









 Until next time,





P.S. I'm on page 259 of Naked by David Sedaris so I'm almost done with the book!

Getting the Ball Rolling

Hello again, internet! It’s been exactly a week since my last blog post. It’s been quite the eventful week and I’m excited to share it with my loyal fans!  (Side note: I’m gonna refer to you guys as LF, "loyal fans", from now on)

First of all, I’ve finally started my summer reading list!! YAY!! after three weeks of vegetating and doing nothing, I’m trying to be productive…we’ll see how that goes… So I went to the Barnes & Noble about a mile away and bought Naked by David Sedaris. The plan is to read whenever I can. Mostly that just means when I’m biking in the gym. As of now, I am on page 27. (I shall keep you guys updated on my progress in the next posts)

How Miu Responded When I Told her That I'm Reading:


How I Responded Back:

im cool

Speaking of reading, Miu took me to Rao’s Coffee to do some work and get some reading done. It was my first time and I’m so amazed by the atmosphere; they even have couches for me to lounge on! I never want to leave Rao’s…. In fact, right now I’m actually sitting in Rao’s drinking my Iced Green Tea and eating a Vanilla Oreo from a nearby donut shop called Glazed Donut Shop. This is actually the third Vanilla Oreo I’ve eaten in the past week…. (I think I need help).

Secret: I’ve also got a Mint Chocolate Oreo donut stashed in my bag that I’m saving for later. And by later, I mean as soon as I finish this blog post. Here is their website: http://www.glazedamherst.com


Enough about food…I need to start being healthy. Which reminds me, I also went to the pool yesterday for the first time this summer! I miss the water so much and yesterday was about 90 degrees… So Julia and I decided we need a pool day. As we got there, you’d never guess who I saw. MY FIRST SEMESTER CHEMISTRY PROFESSOR! She was swimming laps and playing Monkey in the Middle with her kids. At Amherst, it’s definitely not uncommon to see professors working out in the gym. As I approached her, she greeted me with an exuberant hello, which spiraled into a 20 minute long conversation about her summer research. After our workout sess, she even invited me to dinner sometime! This is why I love Amherst professors! They are so friendly and really take time to get to know their students. I can give you statistics about our class size and what not, but I think this story definitely speaks about the student-teacher interaction here.

 Last thing (I promise! sorry this blog post is so long) that happened to me this week is my growing stardom. After my tour today, a prospective student came up to me and thanked me for my tour and told me that she read my blog. (MY FIRST FANNN!!) It literally made my day. If you visit Amherst and I happen to be your tour guide, please don't hesistate to tell me that you read my blog.

So I’ve decided to start something new. I’m gonna give special shoutouts in my next posts to anyone who emails me during the week telling me how great I am (just kidding…but not really…). Also please email me suggestions for books to read next!

As usual, if you also have any questions about Amherst or anything, please email me at jyau16@amherst.edu.

Until next time,


Life Outside of College

So this is my first blog post (YAY?!!?). I am both excited and nervous right now. Excited because I’ve never really been in the public eye before--I pray to God that I don’t make a fool out of myself--and nervous because I am hoping that you will find my post entertaining and will want to read more.

After a marathon of Game of Thrones Season 1 (I am trying to get Julia, the other blogger, to get into GoT, so please pester her about watching!!! Just kidding. But not really though……), I have finally mustered up the motivation to write my first blog post. Here goes nothing…..!


Today is June 18, 2013: Day 14 of my Amherst summer. First of all, I’d like to give a shout out to my sister Naomi, who just graduated from high school! I love her to death and wish her all the best even from Amherst, Massachusetts.

congrats Naomi

Looking back at these past 14 days here at Amherst, I can honestly say that I am in LOVE with our campus. I wasn’t able to fully appreciate the natural elegance of the College and the town of Amherst before—perhaps something about the campus during the winter and the stress of school just didn’t resonate with me?

 -look at this picture and try telling me that you don’t think it’s gorgeous (courtesy of Wikipedia) 

Aside from the natural beauty, I’ve also noticed the change in demographics. During the school year, the town of Amherst is inundated with 30,000 eighteen to twenty-four year olds. Now that the majority has left, every time I walk into town, I don’t only see my peers, but rather the townspeople. I see families with newborns, flocks of middle school students, married elderly couples, amongst others. It’s really refreshing to recognize that the Amherst doesn’t revolve around us students.


Moral of the story: There is life outside of Amherst College!

REAL moral of the story: If you visit Amherst this summer, explore the town as much as you can, whether that be the restaurants, museums, or just the great outdoors. I PROMISE YOU THAT IT’S WORTH IT. (it’s also less crowded)

Anyways, that is all for now. I shall leave you with this photo of me and another student blogger, Miu. Just cause she said not too post it :P 

  this one's for you, miu

Stay tuned for more posts and adventures.


Until then,