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.

Labor isn’t pretty. Amherst College is pretty — especially as it prepares to host the families of its graduating seniors, who will undoubtedly remember the beauty of the commencement ceremony, the speeches and campus aesthetics for a long time.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been researching the meal plans offered at Amherst College. For me, it works — but for others, it doesn’t. Before I continue, I want to make this clear: I bring up these flaws because I love Amherst. I believe that critique strengthens institutions that pay attention and implement change. I want Amherst to flourish, but it can’t be done without addressing the problems that stunt its growth.

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