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Lindon Chen '15
Hi my name is Lindon Chen and I'm a sophomore Asian Languages & Civilizations and Political Science major. I'm originally from sunny Manhattan Beach, CA (Los Angeles), where the weather is quite different than it is here. I live in the Zü, our cooperative house, which means that I cook dinners for the house instead of eating at the dining hall--Amherst pays for our groceries. I am a photographer for the Office of Public Affairs, Mead Art Museum and the Theatre and Dance Department. I am also a student representative on the school's Alcohol and Drug Task Force. I have absolutely loved music all my life, and am both a DJ broadcasting a weekly electronic music show and the Event Promoter at WAMH 89.3, Amherst's radio station. If you have any questions about student life at Amherst, please feel free to email me at email@example.com!
I'm Not Actually Here
I’m afraid I’m going to have to cut this blog post short this week. Last week’s sickness has developed into what may be bronchitis or pneumonia, which has been rumored to be circulating around my house. During this odd time of year, I always fall ill, and it’s been this way ever since high school. In fact, this reminds me of my sophomore year in high school, in which I struggled from both severe physical injury and sickness. Although, no matter how miserable it was at some times, I always pushed through, which my professors are currently helping me achieve. While I have not been able to attend classes very frequently, my professors have all been very accommodating of my absences. That’s one thing about professors here: they are all very understanding and caring, especially during times of crisis and sickness. A doctor’s note from the Health Center is a tacit agreement with professors that gives a student the much-needed leeway to do as best as they can.
Yesterday, I had another Alcohol and Other Drug Task Force meeting with administrators, coaches, deans and other students. It’s quite fascinating seeing the college policy from this perspective. While some students hold negative opinions towards the administration, or the police about how they handle social life, I really believe that the administration wants us to have as much fun as possible. I’m glad that I have the opportunity to interact with those who work at our college outside of the classroom.
Last week, I helped the radio station host an electronic dance concert that was held in Seelye Ballroom, one of the large common spaces in the Triangle. Although the week leading up to the event was pretty stressful, I thoroughly enjoyed managing the concert, getting to know a little about the artist, and seeing my classmates dance to his music and the intricate lights he programed. Blood Diamonds is Michael Tucker, originally from Vancouver, but now lives in LA. He’s been gaining fame recently for his collaborations, and his productions for many pop artists that you hear on the radio today. He claims, that—and K-Mart Commercials—is where the money is. I really hope that I’ll have the opportunity to arrange another concert before the school year ends, granted I’m not already busy enough. I would love to see the school support more events like this. In April, the school really becomes bustling with activities, events and fun things to do; the liveliness is a bit of a contrast from the winter. I’m looking forward to the wonderful things that the Pioneer Valley has to offer this month.
Unfortunately, I think I got Michael’s sickness, and have started to fall ill. The kind people at the Health Center, having noticed my stress, conveniently fit me in to see a doctor in between classes. Regardless of how sick I may be, I still had to cook today, which, believe it or not, I was very excited about. During the spring break, I went to a Shanghainese restaurant (I’m Shanghainese!) in New York and had the most succulent, wonderful Chinese food I’ve had in ages. I decided to cook sweet and sour eggplant, the Chinese translation of the dish being “fish fragrant” eggplant. I made the sweet and sour sauce just like my nanny would use to make it at home, and added it to eggplants that had been fried gold and tender. It was delicious.
Like last year, I stayed on campus for spring break. However, instead of having crew practice twice a day—one at sunrise and one in the afternoon—I had the luxury of lazily loafing around and enjoying Amherst in a relaxed, low-pressure environment. During the long winter, which is spilling into what is supposed to be spring—curse you, winter demi-gods!—I developed this sense of apathy and exhaustion due to the piles of work and endless lists of random responsibilities (i.e. study abroad and internship applications) paired with excessive absences and zero sleep.
The first Friday of break, I still had a midterm in the beginning of the day, but once that was over, I felt this refreshing tingle wash over me that I seldom have the pleasure of enjoying. Spring break was going to be my opportunity to finally catch up with the work I had missed two weeks prior. It was going to be that necessary coffee break in the middle of a very long workday. While my friends were off to the different corners of the country/world, like Miami (those who went to Ultra can go away and never talk to me again), or Paris (I had a friend whose trip was funded by his Special Topics course at Amherst), I spent most of my days hidden in the library or in my room, furiously starting all the applications that need to be finished by the end of this week. I’ve had one central problem that has prevented me from efficiently completing my spring break objectives. I feel like I have taken on too many tasks to reasonably handle, and thus have started too many projects for me to finish before the end of break. Looking on the bright side, I have a plethora of half-completed applications in my computer’s “Documents” folder! The sad rejections I’ve received from companies I applied to for internships have certainly not helped with encouraging me to finish the rest of my cover letters. I have about six of them I should be writing this week… oops. On Thursday, I escaped to New York for a couple days to visit my brother. Despite the geographical separation between the city and Amherst, I didn’t have the ability to magically escape the work I had to do. I don’t think I did a single touristy thing over the course of four days. I ate (amazingly), slept, watched Adventure Time, and did as much work as I possibly could.
Now, I am on the Peter Pan bus, thronged with 5-College students, back to Amherst. Did I mention, I still have so much more work to do? I hope I don't sound negative in this post--I, by no means, am implying that I did not enjoy my spring break on campus. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I cherised the time that I spent with my friends that I otherwise don't have time to spend with during the school year. It helped me rekindle redefine my relationships with people that should be a bigger part of my life.
As serene and pastoral Western Massachusetts can be, it can be a relief to escape the green in exchange for the grey edifices of a metropolis. Although spring break is just around the corner, I was more than happy to have my own little—early—hiatus. I have been planning to staff the National High School Model United Nations (NHSMUN) conference, run by the International Model United Nations Association (IMUNA) for almost a year. I first attended the conference when I was in high school, once as a delegate in the Disarmament and International Security committee, and another, as a delegate in the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime. I loved the conference, as it was different from most of the ones I attended throughout high school. With the conference being in New York City, I enjoyed the opportunity to leave school to spend time in the Big Apple—and also with my brother. Instead of a cutthroat competition, in which delegates would do anything in their will to run everyone else in committee down, this conference focuses on education, collaboration and global service.
Last year I played a completely different role in staffing the conference. There are two staff main components of the conference—administrative and substantive. I worked administrative my freshman year, meaning that I helped support the office and documentation needs of the conference—typing resolutions, copying papers, supporting senior staff members. This year, as a staff member on the substantive side, I chaired the Social, Cultural and Humanitarian committee where the high school delegates debated LGBT Rights in the Developing World, a topic that is very important and special to me. While the level of debate was not quite what I had hoped, it was still a great opportunity to see high schoolers debate outside of their comfort zones. I had two wonderful assistant chairs that helped me run committee, one who attends Dartmouth and another who attends UVA. While they helped me hold down the fort in committee, I went around helping delegates with the content of their resolutions, which was incredibly gratifying, as I saw how I impacted and educated the delegates. We are lucky enough to hold the last day of the conference at the actual United Nations headquarters. I remember sitting in the actual seats of the country I represented in high school, and speaking in the microphone at the seat, while listening to my voice boom throughout the massive General Assembly Hall.
My fellow staffers at the conference are the best part. Coming from diverse backgrounds (for example, from Italy, Colombia, Venezuela, and all over the US), we all come together with the same purpose of working our hardest to put on the most incredible conference we can. Like last year, the conference lifted my spirits and has reenergized me for the rest of the school year. Ironically, I did not get much sleep last week. Granted, this week will be incredibly tough while I attempt to play catch-up, however I am SO glad that next week is spring break, so I’ll have an opportunity to catch up, and perhaps even get ahead with my work.
At the United Nations General Assembly Hall with my organ (fancy name for suborganization).
Hello world! Pardon my tardiness. These past two weeks have been quite a blur; sometimes I don’t know why I take on so many things to do. Nonetheless, it’s been a pretty rewarding two weeks. Next week, I’ll be away from school because I will be working the National High School Model United Nations conference in New York City, so I’ve been pretty busy this week trying to get the things in order before I have to leave. I’m a little scared for my impending doom—of homework—when I get back, which was a struggle last year after I staffed the same conference. However, because I let my professor know at the beginning of the semester, I am confident that they will be understanding and accommodative of my difficult game of catch-up, like the were last spring.
I’ve been running around campus trying to prepare for a concert that WAMH, the college’s radio station, will be having later this month. In fact, I just came back from a meeting with the student government’s budgetary committee, with full funding for the concert—somewhere around $10,000! Thanks Amherst! Shameless plug: Blood Diamonds will be performing on the evening of Friday, March 29th at Seelye Ballroom!
Last week, I cooked dinner (I cook every two weeks at the Zü, the cooperative house on campus), and made enough food to feed an army; we have been having next year’s potentials over for dinner so they can see what it’s like to live at the Zü. My cooking partner and I made a sweet mango and apricot mixed green salad, seitan sloppy joes, rosemary potato wedges, blanched broccoli sautéed with roasted garlic and hoison sauce, and my boyfriend’s mom’s ‘cookie cake’. Here’s a picture of it; it’s basically all butter and sugar, but it was absolutely amazing. The whole cookie sheet of cake was gone within a night! I’ll be sure to update you guys with what I make whenever I make dinner!