Journalism plays a crucial role in society, a fact we are constantly reminded of these days, as the nation’s political climate is shaped by allegations of President Trump’s extramarital affairs, the latest revelation of the James Comey saga and the upcoming summit between the U.S. and North Korea. Often, however, the importance of journalism, especially student journalism, is contested, fraught and dismissed. Despite this, student journalism is important in establishing community, providing an honest voice and holding powerful institutions and people accountable.

Two weeks ago, I felt lucky to publish an editorial sharing my (primarily negative) experiences at Amherst’s Counseling Center. It gave me and, I hope, other students an outlet to express a deep frustration with the administration’s stubborn refusal to accept the prevalence of mental health problems on campus. This week, following an edifying conversation with Jacqueline Alvarez, director of the Counseling Center, I feel equally lucky to pass on information to students in need of help, as well as clarify a few points from my previous article.

Liberal and conservative institutions alike have always enshrined free thought as a virtue. At Amherst, where diversity of thoughts and opinions is highly prized, imposing institutional restrictions on what could be said, expressed or believed ranks as one of our highest sins. But I’d like to take this “free thought” that we value so much and lay it across the table, bare and questioned. What exactly is “free thought,” how is it different from free speech and what is it good for anyway?

I am not a “film-buff,” as the cool kids say, but I do have a lot of opinions about movies. I do not see all the movies nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, but I do still find a way to be angry about whichever movie wins (at least most of the time). I’m not the kind of guy who will try and impress someone by talking about the “brilliant cinematography” of a movie; I’m the kind of guy who wishes he could try and impress someone like that.

With the grad fair taking place in Keefe, theses being completed and senior photos flooding Facebook timelines, the fact that graduation is just around the corner has become increasingly clear. Many seniors, overwhelmed by emails and impending deadlines, are already feeling the swirl of emotions that graduation brings. Amidst all of these feelings, there likely exists a small feeling of regret: regret about that class they didn’t enroll in or that risk they didn’t take.

Recently, Comedy Central, the network that airs “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” announced two new late-night projects. One called “The President’s Show” stars Anthony Atamanuik, a white male actor and improviser. Atamanuik is an expert Donald Trump impersonator and the show will essentially take the form of a standard late night program, except the host is “Donald Trump.” The other is a yet-to-be-named project that will star Jordan Klepper, another white male who has made a name for himself as a correspondent on “The Daily Show.”

When I was in high school, I resented gay pride and queer activism. To the younger version of myself, pride felt overbearing. I remember sitting in my counselor’s office and telling her I didn’t need to go to the Gay-Straight Alliance meeting. I imagined that going might mean I was defining my identity wholly by my sexuality. Apart from worrying about how I would be perceived by others, I was even more worried about what attending those meetings would mean for my own sense of self.