At Amherst — where exceptional students are met with exceptionally high expectations — the work we do is often endless and the pressures we face can become overwhelming. Stress becomes a neutral state of being as sleep slips away at the hands of problem sets, papers and club meetings. The times when we can be alone and free of preoccupation, when we can be still, become a rarity. Moments of introspection and reflection can be few and far between.

To the Amherst Community:

I am writing in response to flyers recently posted on campus and student concern expressed in a recent issue of The Student asserting that the Office of Financial Aid (OFA) has inequitably served low-income students. For both current and future Amherst students, these actions, which included disrespectful comments about the OFA staff, have created the very real possibility of actually limiting important access to financial resources. I believe that that outcome is not what anyone connected to Amherst desires.

Correction: The original version of this article contained several inaccuracies. Amherst is not directly invested in private prisons, though it does invest in companies with holdings in private prisons. Additionally, the original article stated that 14% of the College's endowment is invested in fossil fuels. This was based on a misreading of the 2016 Sustainability Report. Amherst invests about 7% of its endowment in natural resources, which includes significant investments besides nonrenewable energy. Both these mistakes have been corrected. The author regrets these inaccuracies.

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.