- There is nothing quite as satisfying as printing out a finished paper.
- Justin Bieber's holiday album is beautiful. I'm not ashamed to be a Belieber, but I like to get to know people for a while before I come out. So now that we're five blogs in and officially best friends, I thought I'd tell you guys.
In other news, yesterday I was roaming campus like the gypsy I am, and I saw RC Spence giving a tour guide. The scene brought a smile to my face because, just a little over a year ago, I was that nervous high schooler gazing up at the buildings around her, trying to soak up everything and make her decision about one of the most pivotal chapters of her life. Also, I stalked RC Spence's blog relentlessly in the summer before my senior year, so it felt very Lion-King-Circle-of-Life-ish. Almost a year ago, I submitted my early decision application to Amherst. And as this year's November 15th deadline draws closer, I'm reminded of the apprehension and confusion that I felt back then. And some of you may be wondering Why Amherst? Well here's why for me.
Why I chose Amherst
1) Huge research universities are not the ideal learning environment for undergraduate education. I didn’t want to sit in a 500 student lecture hall with a professor who cared more about publishing his research than figuring out how he could best help me grasp the material. I also didn’t want to be taught by a graduate student or have resources only available to graduate students or upperclassmen. There are no graduate students at Amherst. All of the attention is on the undergraduates, freshmen and seniors alike. We get equal access to the resources and unprecedented attention from our professors. After all, college is for the education so I knew that at liberal arts college, I’d be getting the best.
2) “But aren’t liberal arts colleges sooooo small?” Amherst’s campus stretches over 1000 acres, so more than one acre for every 2 students. Memorial Hill is my designated acre, but I’m just nice enough to let people hang out there anyway. Yes, I see a lot of the same faces around campus, but that just makes it home-y. I can’t walk out of my dorm without running into dozens of friends, teammates, classmates, or professors that are eager to talk to me. Amherst fosters the kind of community and support system amongst students and faculty that simply cannot be found at larger institutions. And if you’re ever feeling suffocated, just walk off campus. There are four other colleges within a ten mile radius creating a college town of around 30,000 students eager to meet you. Still think it’s small?
3) So I knew I wanted a Liberal Arts college. I also knew I wanted diversity. In my high school, I was one of three students of color in any of the AP classes. Yet America is the most diverse country on earth. How could I be prepared to face our nations challenges by continuing to educate myself in an environment that ignored our nation’s diversity? Amherst is the most diverse college in America. As I type this, I’m sitting in a common room with friends of every hue, religion, socioeconomic background, and sexual orientation. Every day I become smarter, not just from my studies, but simply by talking to the people around me and getting to know their stories. I would’ve felt robbed if I'd attended a school with a homogenous population. Also, Amherst’s gender ratio is 50/50 so no one gender dominates the campus.
4) Amherst is part of a consortium (5 college consortium) with the four other colleges in the area, which allows students at each college to take courses at any of the others. This increases our colleges resources tenfold and makes our education and social life that much richer. In classes, at the dining hall, and at social events you will constantly be meeting people from outside of the Amherst Community. Two of my closest friends attend UMass and I love seeing them on a steady basis.
5) The two major things that I wanted were diversity and a small, liberal arts education. However, hundreds of other intangibles made me fall in love with the ‘Herst. Like it’s location only 2.5 hours from my house, 1 hour from Boston, and 3 hours from NYC. Also, the campus has quintessential New England beauty.
"But it can't be perfect, right?" Ah! Very perceptive, young grasshopper. The two most common complaints about Amherst are...
1) Val closes at 7:30. Growing up, I never ate dinner before 8:00. It’s been an adjustment eating as early as 6:00pm some nights. Do I ever get hungry past 7:30? Um yeah, I'm a growing child. But that's why mankind has evolved into a sophisticated species with tupperware. Just stuff some fruit into your backpack and hoard a box with cookies. It's all about a balanced diet ya know? Some people will complain about the quality of Val’s food, but clearly they haven’t been a camp counselor before. Val’s food is quality, if not delicious. The kitchen people go out of their way to bring in eclectic cuisine like Mexican night or German night. And the only way it gets redundant is if you’re unwilling to try new things. There are endless options for such a small dining hall and they are always open for suggestions. Check out our menu here!
2) The Campus has hills. I’m not kidding. I hear complaints about this on the daily. Not gonna lie, Amherst has approximately 8923749234 hills. We’re in the Pioneer VALLEY, not the Pioneer Prairie. You’ll get used to it by the first week and when you go home for breaks, instead of pinching your cheeks, your aunts will pinch your toned calves. Get pumped!
Other complaints I have are mere trifles. Like having to pay for the printer in the library. It’s only $.50 a page, but I’m stingy so I gripe. Honestly that’s about it. Of course, I’m a dreamy eyed freshman enchanted by the world around her, but I’m being 2015% honest when I say that I love this school. I meant it when I hit submit on my early decision application at 11:43pm the night before it was due. And I mean it every time I print out a paper ten minutes before it’s due. My patronus is Lord Jeff and it will always guide me home.
Stay irradienting the terras!