At the annual Emmy Awards this past Sunday night, host Stephen Colbert began a joke by saying, “Is there anyone who could say how big the audience is?” He then turned away and delivered part one of the two-part punchline: “Sean, do you know?”

Note: The following is a letter sent by an alumnus to The Student as well as several other publications. It has been edited for style and clarity.

To the Amherst Community,

With an open curriculum, it can sometimes be jarring to look back on your transcript and attempt to trace a line of continuity through your coursework. Though some majors may have stringent trajectories, many are quite open-ended, and it is possible to end up with all kinds of patterns in levels and sub-topics even within one discipline.

President Donald Trump’s recent decision to end DACA seems to show, above anything else, that he and those around him struggle to understand the perspective of those whose lives they are drastically changing. Empathy can be difficult, especially if the other person’s life seems too far away and separated from one’s own. Some feel as if immigrants are “other:” different people who share nothing in common with ordinary Americans. Today’s political situation does not help either: immigrants are depicted as terrorists and criminals rather than as people.

The state of men’s tennis today is, in a word, bizarre. For most of the season, the No. 1 player in the world was Andy Murray. This year, Murray won just one tournament (the Dubai Open in February). In the four Grand Slam tournaments, he failed to make it to a single final and lost before the quarterfinals in all but the French Open. He didn’t even play in the U.S. Open, the year’s final Grand Slam. This made for an interesting dynamic, since the top player in the world was rarely considered a favorite in any of the biggest tournaments. Now, rightfully so, Murray is no longer the No.

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.

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