Kayla White '14
My name is Kayla White and I’m from Silver Spring, MD but being from the DC Area, I always claim I’m from DC. I’m a sophomore French and Psychology double major here at Amherst and I absolutely love both of the departments.
I love that I can take whatever courses interest me and since I have the freedom to do so, I take courses in...well, everything. On campus I’m a Diversity Intern, vice-chair of the Social Council, and a member of Amherst Dance. I recently got involved with the theatre and dance department to work as the assistant stage manager for a senior's thesis musical and joined Habitat for Humanity, both of which have been great projects and have been a lot of fun to be a part of.
In Spring 2013 I plan to study abroad in France, which I am beyond excited for. As you can probably tell by now, I have a very wide range of interests, and I'm basically exploring them all!
I absolutely love it here; I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else!
Feel free to shoot me an email anytime, about anything! You can contact me at email@example.com.
Talk to you all later!
Kayla's Blog Entries
So Many Bones!!
I have a confession to make:
I, Kayla White, have not explored all of the nifty places on campus that I rave about during my tours. Well, a couple of corrections: I had not, and I'd been to them all, I just hadn’t explored all the nooks and crannies. But, friends, I am proud to say that I have and they are WAY cooler than I ever thought (I already knew, if only through the grapevine, that they were pretty neat spaces).
So that I would no longer be a hypocrite, I spent Sunday (and a bit of Saturday) going around to different places on campus and off to find out what I was missing.
I went to Jones Library on Saturday. Jones is the public library just in the town of Amherst, about two minutes walking distance from my room, which clearly means that I have just been being lazy since this was the first time I’d gone. As with all libraries, there is so much stuff there! Of course there are books galore, but beyond that they have a section for learning languages, ESL, a career center, and a lovely little art exhibit upstairs in the building.
I browsed around for a while looking for some of the books on my personal summer reading list and stumbled upon some of the aforementioned areas. In the foreign language section I picked up a Rosetta Stone-like learning kit for Farsi. I’ve never heard Farsi spoken before and know little about it, but since it was there, I decided to give it a try.
Jones is definitely a lovely space to relax where everything inside is free! A beautiful combination.
Now to the awesome stuff on campus. I’ve been to the Mead Art Museum before, so this area wasn’t really new to me, but I thought I might as well see what was on display. Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to take photos inside, so feel free to check out some of works here.
The Mighty Stearns Steeple
Though these places are cool, I really wrote this blog post to gush about the dinosaur museum, more officially called The Beneski Museum of Natural History. This place is so cool. The building itself is not gigantic, but there is so much inside! Once again, pictures can say so much more than I can, so enjoy!
FAVE DINO PHOTOS
Who wouldn't want to walk into a museum and be greeted by this guy?!
This is such a great display.
Look at these guys!
(Left) Bivalves, or as the caption says, "important reef-forming organisms." (Right) This is a fantastic fossil of a Baltoeurpterus Tetragonophthalmus; I definitely looked at the name plate for this one.
So many dinosaur tracks!!
Well, now that I’ve gotten all that off my chest, I bid you all farewell.
Scoping out the Competition
I got up bright and early on Saturday morning for a summer intern field trip… to Williams. Yep that’s right, we were gearing up for a 2-hour drive to Williamstown, the home of our rival. A plan that we have this summer is to visit all of the schools in the 5-College Consortium to see how they do info sessions and tours and we thought “Why not throw Williams into the mix? Let’s see how they do it out there in cow country” (just kidding, kind of…). So far we’ve visited Smith and this weekend was dedicated to our expedition to Williams College. I sure you can imagine how love and chipper we looked at 8AM on a Saturday. Thankfully we all had coffee in hand and were slowly beginning to liven up, but it was pretty slow going until we actually got to Williams.
We decided to see just how long we could keep our cover. First test: during the info session the dean went around the room and asked all the students to introduce themselves. So of course we followed suit with the rest of the actually high school students in the room. The dean was startled at the geographic diversity in our section of the room, too funny. Even our Green Deans played along, despite being well out of high school.
We went on their tour next, which was fine except for the fact that Julie and I were starving. You know that moment in cartoon where everything the character sees looks like food, well were in that stage of hunger. The buildings were nice… and looked delicious. Tip for going on long info sessions and tours, eat beforehand otherwise that happens.
When lunchtime finally rolled around, we had to go to Pappa Charlie’s because one of our lovely Admissions deans who is a Williams alum has a sandwich named after him (back in the day when he was a superstar football player).
Lunch has never tasted so good.
On the road again, so long Williams. Until we meet again, which will undoubtedly be on the sports field, watch out.
SoCo So Cool, baby!
I'm totally having a lazy Sunday and loving it. I’m currently sitting in Rao’s Coffee Shop working on a projectfor a Student Activities event.
We are working on putting together Fall Formal, which will be
Great Gatsby-themed- I am so excited! Sure, Great Gatsby/ Roaring 20s-themed parties are nothing new, but I feel at this point they’ve grown to become a classic. To me, they never get old.
I’m working on some DJ and band research right now. What is a Gatsby party without the perfect musical accompaniment? Well, what’s any party without the perfect musical accompaniment, for that matter? With that said, the music is really important and really makes this event.
I love doing this sort of stuff. I’m one of the vice-chairs for the Social Council (SoCo for short) for next year, which means I basically get to do this stuff all semester! I love it! Our main job is planning TAPs: The Amherst Party. I know, kind of cheesy, but with that tidbit aside, they’re awesome. We basically put on a giant theme party for the entire campus once a month!
Some of the classic themes are Luau at the beginning of every year, Homecoming (of course), and Whiteout, a rave-style party in a huge white tent with a million glowsticks and blacklights galore.
Crossett Christmas is definitely one of the most popular TAPs though. The party that SoCo hosts in the dorm is great, but what makes this event so awesome is that the people who live in Crossett usually open up their suites to everyone, so there are mini-parties going on all over the building! It’s so much fun.
Though that’s a large part of what we do, it’s certainly not all we do. Look for us tabling with pumpkin carving and cookie decorating around the holidays! Not to mention our oh-so-popular t-shirt giveaways! The SoCo reps handing them out really should wear some sort of protective gear, things can get crazy! They are a hot commodity to say the least.
Well more on the plethora of shenanigans to get into at Amherst later; it is time I get some shut-eye. Work bright and early tomorrow!
I will talk to you later friends,
Just thought I'd show off part of my SoCo poster collection :)
This is only half of them!
We're in Noho, yo!
I love that every place in Northhampton feels like a hole-in-the-wall find. All of the shops, no matter the type, clothing stores, bookstores, restaurants, all seem like they are one-of-a-kind and have an air of authenticity and originality to them. They are the types of places you would think only the locals know about.
Broadside Bookshop Words to live by
We dined at Sam's Pizzeria and Cafe and not only was the food wonderful, but the staff as well. Chef Extraordinaire below!
And what is a meal without dessert, right?!
This delicious monstrosity is the 'Death by Chocolate' cake- their name, not mine!
Two very well known places in Northampton: Herrell's Ice Cream shop and Newbury Comics!
Trust me, we were by no means in the mood for ice cream after that honkin' piece of cake, but I definitely thought Herrell's was worth getting a picture of.
Pretty self-explanatory I'd say.
As our lovely trip came to a close, I got this shot of the main street of Northampton.
We had so much fun perusing the streets of Northampton, despite the heat. T'was a great day and it was so nice having Alda back on campus with me, if only for the weekend!
Any suggestions for future exploration? Let me know!
As always, feel free to email if you guys want to know more about anything!
Talk to you all later!
Fear is only kind of a factor for me...
Ok, so as I look back at my last two blog posts, I haven’t much told you about myself. So far you’ve probably gathered that I love food and gallivanting around in the sun, both very accurate. But I promise I do other stuff too.
One thing I love to do is travel, and I often don’t care where. My sister has accused me numerous times for looking like a tourist when I whip out my camera and take pictures… when I’m at home. Did I mention I’m a pro photographer? Totally kidding, but I do really like photography as well. I’ve actually made getting back into photography a summer project of mine. Don’t expect any super fantastic photos just yet, I’m literally just getting back into it, but we’ll see how I’m progressing throughout the summer. So back to the tourist comment, I was just sitting on the Freshman Quad today reading and also taking pictures of my own campus; I think this also falls under that “tourist in my own city” umbrella. But I’ll include a few of my photos for those of you who do not already know the beauty that is our campus.
Freshman Quad- gorgeous day out
Adding to my secret life as an adrenaline junkie, I also did Fear Factor Live while I was there. I know, right?! I’ve always loved watching Fear Factor on TV and I used to think, “Psshh! I can totally do that! Except for eating the weird food and sitting in bug tanks, probably not those. But the other stuff, for sure!” Well friends, they gave me the chance to put my money where my mouth is because they picked me as one of the six competitors for the live show that they have at the park.
The prep was intense. In my head I thought it was going to be the equivalent of a “Fear Factor Jr.”, but I was completely wrong. They had us sign waivers for the competition and then had us change into these horribly uncomfortable waterproof outfits, complete with water shoes, helmets, and earplugs. They went through the logistics for each of the 3 challenges (none of which involved having bugs poured my head or downing a cup of mystery sludge from a blender, thank goodness)—they were all athletic challenges, which I was so psyched for. I was getting pumped!
I was one of two women in the competition; the other was Debbie, a 55-year old woman who was in the competition to prove that she could beat her 20-year-old son, who was also competing.
This competition was not easy. The first challenge had us holding on to a bar about 15 feet in the air for as long as possible. When they dropped the platform out from under me, I felt like I was going to fall right then and there. That would have been a sad way to start, and end for that matter. I would show you a clip of it but it really isn't very interesting to watch me holding on for dear life.
I came in second on that one, which was exciting but not monumental because the last four standing automatically moved on to the next round.
The second challenge was probably my favorite of the three though. It had two parts; take a look!
I had a blast doing all of the stunts and challenges and ended up coming in second overall! T’was a great experience and hopefully all of my travels from here on out will be half this eventful!
Just thinking about this and travel in general makes me so excited to study abroad next spring—Paris, here I come! I'll save that for another time...
A bientôt, mes amis! --> Translation: Later, guys!
The Flip Side of Amherst
Soooo, not to be super cheesy guys, but I’m learning really cool stuff about Amherst all the time. I love hanging out at and in Amherst during the year because there’s always so much going on, either on our campus, on one of the Five College campuses, or in town.
School year Amherst and Summer Amherst are totally different places though, which is actually really fun since I can now experience both. This is my first time spending a summer in Amherst and to be completely honest, I was kind of expecting it to be a ghost town without all of the college students around, considering we make up a good amount of the population with there being around 30,000 of us and all. But I’m glad to report that so far, my theory is definitely being proved wrong.
Like this past weekend there was an event called Taste of Amherst, which is basically a large food festival on the Amherst Commons featuring all of the places I gushed over in my blog last week. As you can probably tell, I’m a little obsessed with the food in Amherst and at Taste of Amherst, the restaurants bring out some of their most popular dishes and sell them for only $2-4! This is basically a broke college student’s dream: a break from the cafeteria without it breaking the bank. I mean, what more could I ask for? Here’s a little glimpse of what the weekend had in store: https://www.facebook.com/TasteOfAmherst
Whereas the town is buzzing during the school year, it’s really laid back and chill over the summer, which is definitely a nice change. It’s a completely different energy and a new set of people, well I guess not new since they live here, but you get what I mean. I feel like the truest view of the actual town of Amherst is visible during the summer because during the year, the students really give the place a different feel. Also, I really have the chance to explore what’s in the area more over the summer because there is no homework to attend to.
Like today, after finally unpacking my room (it’s pretty sad that I just finished because I’ve already been here for two weeks), I just decided to go out and walk around town. They had really great live music at Taste of Amherst, which I bopped around town to. I had absolutely no idea where I was going, I just brought a book and my bag and let my feet take me where they would. I ended up stopping by Amherst Cinema to see what is playing at the moment (Amherst Cinema is our independent theatre in town). I then went to Jones Public Library, but unfortunately it was closed today. I needed to grab a few things from CVS so I made a pit stop there next. On my way back to Hitchcock (my dorm for the summer), I ran into a friend I haven’t seen gotten to see in years just walking around town, which was awesome!
It was so beautiful out today so I just kept walking around looking for a good place to settle into with my book and eventually found this place in Amherst Coffee, one of our coffee shops in town (I’m currently sitting in another one writing this post right now!). For some reason I was really craving a bowl of cereal despite it being 3 o’clock in the afternoon, so I ordered a bowl of Shirl’s granola and sat down to read for a bit. Amherst has a kind of hippie, organic vibe to it, which I actually really like. I’m currently reading Paper Towns by John Green. If the words “Vlogbrothers” and “Nerdfighter” don’t ring any bells, you should definitely check out John’s youtube channel that he does with his brother Hank. I’m a total Shakespeare nerd, so I loved this video when I saw it, not to mention it’s the video on my birthday :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xy1M5VHF3no
Don’t think that the coffee shop was my last adventure of the day! After getting back to the dorm, I headed out with a few friends to Flayvor’s, which is a wonderful, wonderful place. It is a dairy farm that produces and sells its own products, the mostly popular of course being their extensive selection of fresh ice cream. YUMMM.
And to make it even better, you can eat your ice cream and pet the cows at the same time! Check ‘em out: http://www.flayvors.com/home
So peeps, as you can see, Amherst is not a totally snooze after all the students leave. I love having the chance to actually see what’s around, especially since the weather is fantastic right now. I’ve got another 11 weeks of Summer Amherst, so I’m no where near finished exploring the Pioneer Valley’s hidden gems, I’m just taking my sweet time getting around!
Feel free to ask me anything, Summer Amherst-related or not!
TTYL :) lol, remember that from 6th grade?! But really guys, I’m headin’ out. Later!
The Great Amherst Food Tour
Oh my goodness, guys.
I had such an amazing breakfast on Saturday. I went a small townie breakfast place called Roadhouse with a few friends and the food was so good! It’s not too far from campus and it’s super cute because it’s not just a place that is overpopulated by college students, but draws mostly people who actually live in the town.
I’d heard people talking about it a bunch of times but I did not see what all the hype was about. I’ve changed my ways. Haha, but seriously, definitely some good eats. Not to mention it’s such a great deal; I got a breakfast sandwich and a “kids pancake” for just 9 bucks- definitely a steal.
The reason I say a “kids pancake” is because their kids size is larger than most places’ regular size! I can’t even imagine what the normal is like; I guess I’ll just have to try it the next time I go. There will most certainly be a next time!
I. Love. Amherst. Food.
If I had a limitless budget, I can guarantee you that a good portion would be spent on food in town (with the exception of the occasional shopping trip with friends!).
After my first few visits to town my freshman year, I have made a pact with myself that I will go to every restaurant in town before I graduate, and not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’m not doing to shabby *brushes shoulder off*, but it is unfortunately taking a bit of a toll on my wallet.
So far in my food travels around the few blocks of downtown Amherst, I’ve really enjoyed every place that I’ve gone. If you ever get the chance to visit, here are some of my personal favorites:
Breakfast (my favorite meal of the day):
Rao’s Coffee Shop
Pasta e Basta
Antonio’s- greatest novelty pizza of all time/ Hot Cheese can’t be beat!
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I guess you’ll just have to choose for yourself!
I do often fall prey to hyperbole, but still… this food is awesome. I’m not going to make any sweeping statement like that this is the best food I’ve ever had, because frankly I don’t remember all of the good food I’ve had, but I will say this: If a home-cooked meal isn’t an option, the Amherst restaurants are definitely my #2… at least at the moment. I’m not going to lie, I’m a pretty fickle person sometimes, but I can say for sure that the food in Amherst will always be in my top 5.
I’ll be sure to keep you posted on my new food adventures :)
Until next time, friends, happy eating wherever you may be!
Always feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions or comments, even suggestions for what you guys want to know more about!
Xoxo, Gossip Girl- totally kidding, talk to you all later!