On behalf of the Association of Amherst Students (AAS), I would like to welcome the Class of 2021 and incoming transfer students. I write to introduce new students to the AAS in terms of what student government at Amherst looks like and what we do.

As another year at Amherst gets underway, the differences from the previous school year become more and more apparent. We notice the new haircut of a classmate or the worldly experiences the study abroad students have gained. The routine of asking what you did over the summer or about class schedules floods back. Our relationships are forced to adjust to the change as well. What seemed so second nature last semester seems to differ from that, reality this semester.

When I fell on hard times over the summer, I turned to writing. I wrote down my thoughts and feelings. I poured my heart out. Then, when I was finished, I shared the story with my friends online. I confided, and in doing so, relinquished ownership of my story. My history — my life — was no longer just mine. It was now also the readers’. Through surrender, I had achieved catharsis. I felt as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and I could finally breathe.

In “Between the World and Me,” Ta-Nehisi Coates claims that America was “built on looting and violence.” If this is indeed the case, then the nation has returned to its roots.

When we watch videos from Charlottesville and see white supremacists in militant formations, a few questions come to mind: Do they know who Hitler was, and what he did? Have they always lived their lives with a sense of immunity?

When arriving at any new place, unfamiliarity and disorientation are expected. These feelings are both imagined and physical. Here you are, with unfamiliar thoughts, hallways and buildings. There’s a nervousness that comes with the mystery, but also a thrill. There’s an implicit promise that the corners will unfold themselves and that this place will lose its mystique and become a home.

My sister is a junior in high school, which means that this spring, she has begun the “College Process.” She’s been visiting many schools around the country and beginning to think about which ones she wants to apply to next fall. This process should be one of excitement, and to a degree, it is. Seeing a variety of college campuses is very fun, and fantasizing about where one will have their mind molded for four years is exhilarating. However, these days it seems that the College Process is a far more stressful experience than it is a positive one.

As we approach the end of the year, the campus seems to be brimming with nostalgia. Suddenly, the weather is nice again and we remember what it’s like to be here on the really good days. Commencement approaches and the “end” calls us to turn around and look backward. What do we see when we reflect on our experience? What constitutes the Amherst experience, and further, is there even such a thing? With our diverse student body, it is quite difficult to imagine a single Amherst experience.

Pages