book lying open on the grass

2020 Questions

What was your most memorable Amherst course? 

Atikah Adzhar Atikah Adzhar ’20  

2020 reminds me of the Malaysian saying, “First you fall down, then the ladder crashes onto you.” There was already uncertainty and fear in graduating, but now there’s also a pandemic. In Assistant Professor Lei Ying’s “Lu Xun and Modern China” class, we learned about modern Chinese revolutionary writer Lu Xun, who was torn between hope and despair for the future of China. I greatly sympathized with his constant doubt about the future, and when I mentioned this to Professor Ying, her response was simple and resonant: “If you have never doubted, then how can you truly believe?”

Kristin Ratliff Kristin Ratliff ’20 

My favorite Amherst class was “Differential Equations” with Assistant Professor Karamatou Yacoubou Djima, a mathematics course I took this past semester. I enjoyed learning how to solve ordinary differential equations using analytical and numerical methods, as well as exploring the behavior of solutions. The best part of the class was getting to see how differential equations could be used to solve current problems in physics, engineering and biology. This course was a great way to finish my study of math at Amherst!

Emilie FlammeEmilie Flamme ’20 

I have two most memorable classes. The first was “Istanbul” and the second was “Law’s History,” where I not only met some of my closest friends but was also introduced to literature that changed the way I think and approach my education.

Emma Swislow Emma Swislow ’20 

During my first semester at Amherst, I took “Principles of Geology,” an introductory course that ended up being one of the most memorable classes I took in college. In our lab periods, we went on field trips around the Valley, a fantastic way to get to know the area I would be spending the next four years in. This course got me interested in a subject I ended up majoring in, introduced me to some of my closest friends in college and changed the way I see the world.

What was your senior thesis about? 

Mark Nathin Mark Nathin ’20 

My senior thesis in psychology explored the open curriculum at Amherst College and its implications for student satisfaction. It also investigated the expectations and strategies that students use to choose courses and select a major. My study found that a student’s curriculum satisfaction largely depends on their decision-making approach, with those who have an easier time making decisions experiencing greater satisfaction. Completing this project was extremely interesting, because nobody had ever examined the psychological consequences of an open curriculum (as opposed to a core curriculum or distributional requirements)—which is unique to only a select few colleges and universities. 

Emma Swislow Emma Swislow ’20 

My senior thesis in English explored Emily Dickinson’s relationship with food and desire in her letters and poetry. By taking a more all-encompassing look at Dickinson, I was able to read her writing in a new and more expansive way. From researching to writing to discussing it with professors and friends, the entire thesis process was enjoyable and rewarding. Although submitting my thesis by email wasn’t too exciting, I was still able to celebrate the accomplishment at home. My mom even baked a cake for the occasion, something that would not have happened if I was still at school!