After what seemed to be a three week grace period, complete with sunny weather, manageable workloads and the lingering air of excitement about a new year, it feels like the semester has been sent into overdrive. Temperatures have fallen, making it that much harder to get out of bed in the morning, and the due date for that first round of papers is coming up soon. In this time of peak stress and anxiety, it’s easy for students to enter survival mode. It’s crucial for our campus to overcome this tendency and maintain the excitement and curiosity we started the semester with.

At Amherst and other similar elite institutions, there’s no question that money is a driving force. Wealthy alums have buildings named after them, the College spends thousands on coveted speakers and the AAS consistently touts its million dollar budget. The question of our endowment, and more importantly, its strong associations with powerful alumni have been brought to attention in a recent New York Times piece. The article features interviews with Amherst alums who have since retracted or reduced their gifts to the college in the wake of events such as Amherst Uprising.

The tension surrounding engaging difficult subjects in higher education has recently become the topic of much discussion, with commentary on the subject being delivered ad nauseam. Opinions range from belittling liberal institutions for supposedly casting out conservative ideas to intensely supporting students’ right to seek safe spaces. The discussion is a noble one, and one that will undoubtedly continue to be addressed. However, amidst the passionately charged discussion, there rests a frightening lack of comprehensive solutions.

Orientation week brings a sense of excitement and anticipation to the Amherst campus. First-years descend upon the quad and face a flurry of programming designed to prepare them for the next four years. In the spirit of orientation week, the Editorial board hopes to supplement a week dedicated to advice by offering the candid advice we wish we had received as first-years. Here are seven tips from people who have been in your shoes and only want to see you succeed as you begin to navigate life at Amherst.

The past two semesters saw a huge resurgence of student activism and much encouraging work to make the college a better place. The most notable example of student activism was Amherst Uprising, which sparked conversation typically rare to our campus. The movement brought crucial issues to the forefront, yet on a campus marked by the stress of academics and extracurriculars, it’s hard for overburdened students to sustain the same level of high energy activism.

On a campus fraught with loneliness and stress, the decision of where to live on campus is of the utmost important for Amherst students. The current room draw process, revamped with the new online system, aimed to alleviate some of the anxiety, but students still found themselves battling with unnecessary extra pressure associated with the perils of the process on top of the unavoidable stress involved in the procedure.

The widespread lack of awareness or enthusiasm across the student body regarding the Association of Amherst Students executive board election is alarming, but not new to our campus. There is a growing distance between AAS and the student body, with the latter seeing its student government as a failed bureaucracy primarily designed to create committees and to allocate money to different groups on campus. AAS is a flawed institution, inefficient in their governing process and still struggling to be inclusive of all student voices.