This week started off pretty dismally. It was rainy and cold most days, and it has been getting so dark so early. It's crunch time right now at Amherst-- lots of deadlines for papers and projects are understandably set right before Thanksgiving break. It is also a popular time for midterms, and with an environment of 1800 students all feeling these similar stresses, things were getting pretty intense.
In the beginning of the week when I was feeling down, to stay postive I looked for the good in the bad. It was dark and rainy, but people were wearing bright, happy raincoats with matching boots and/or umbrellas. The reflections on the roads were beautiful, and the bright red berry bushes looked all the more beatuiful next to the stripped trees and bare surroundings.
Bright bushes I always pass walking toward the Admissions Office
When I found myself upset that it was getting dark around 4:30 PM, I tried to really look at the darkness and at how beautiful all of the lights look in the dark. On clear nights, you can see a good number of stars from campus.
My view when I walk home to Plimpton House every night
In the beginning of the week, it was not too hard to keep myself feeling optimistic, despite the stressful working atmosphere and gloomy weather. But it is important to know that there are many resources for students when different pressures become too much. Students can always make appointments at our counseling center, https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/health-safety-wellness/counseling. Every dorm has at least one Resident Counselor (RC) who is always there to listen and offer guidance and support. Student Health Educators educate students about mental health issues, body image/eating disorders, etc. as well as general health. Spiritual advisors, coaches, and professors also act as support systems and guidance figures. Students are certainly cared for and supported on this campus.
Toward the end of the week, on Thursday, November 12th, #AmherstUprising began. It started as a 1-hour, sit-in starting at 1 PM involving about 30 students who wanted to sit in solidarity with the students of color at Missouri University and Yale University. Then, the number of students participating grew, and 2 PM came and the students never left. Students of different races offered their stories concerning their experiences of racial injustice on and off campus for everyone to listen to and to learn from. Ashley Montgomery, another student blogger, has already written a wonderful blog post on the subject, so I will try my best not to repeat too much of the information she has already provided. Here is her post for reference: https://www.amherst.edu/admission/mttg/student_blogs/am16
By Thursday night, 2/3 of the student body sat, united, in Frost Library, all hoping that this radical act of compassion would effect change on our campus, allowing everyone to feel the same inclusivity, love, and acceptance.
A photo I took Thursday night at Frost Library
Campus has been extremely emotional these past few days. Heartwrenching stories have been shared and so many tears have been shed, but the huge amount of participation in the sit-in and all of the active listening by students has been truly encouraging. It is important to keep in mind that at Amherst, students have safe spaces to speak their minds and to have what they are saying heard by administrators, faculty, and the rest of the studeny body. It is also important to know that students here are active supporters of social justice and active supporters of one another.
Two sentences I heard over and over again in the past few days were, "Come to Frost to speak and to listen to what your peers have to say," and "Don't forget to practice self care." The whole campus feels the pain that has been expressed, and everyone has truly been looking out for one another.