Here’s a scenario every Amherst student is familiar with: You’re sitting at your computer late at night, skimming and avoiding writing that response paper or studying for that orgo exam tomorrow. Instead, you’re desperately searching for Facebook statuses, Groupme Messages, texts or even Snapchats with a hint of hope that classes will be canceling the next day. Your Hampshire, UMass, Smith and Mount Holyoke friends (and pretty much any college student in the Northeast) have already had class cancelled for the next day.

Academics are a big deal at Amherst. The school does everything in its power to make sure the academic calendar suits faculty needs so that they can squeeze in every single reading, lecture and essay they see fit to assign. Last semester, a student wrote an opinion article in this very newspaper testifying to how the administration’s high and potentially unhealthy emphasis on schoolwork left other parts of our lives — intellectual, social, emotional — unsatisfied.

Last semester, shortly before the spring finals period, the Amherst College board of trustees made national headlines with an announcement that would drastically affect student life. Reaffirming the “spirit and intention” of their original 1984 decision, the board officially banned students’ membership, either on or off campus, of “any fraternity, sorority or other social club, society or organization” (emphasis added).

Loneliness is a problem at Amherst College. The 2014 National College Health Assessment conducted last semester reported that 76 percent of Amherst students felt “very lonely” within the past year, compared to 56 percent nationally. But this isn’t a new issue for us: the Student Health Educators began their “social cups” initiative in 2013 to combat the stigma associated with going to Val alone.

Last week, no matter where they were on campus, students couldn’t help but encounter the Black Lives Matter campaign. Posters raising awareness about incidents of police brutality confronted students walking out of Merrill, running to Val, heading home for a quick nap. Students who generally didn’t have to think about this issue much less fear for their lives on a daily basis were forced to confront this blatant inequality. Though some of us normally live our daily lives completely blind to this issue, the campaign pushed us out of the personal (and collective) Amherst bubble.

The common wisdom at Amherst is that you learn the most outside of the classroom. When we look back on our past years, what we will remember most are the late night talks in our first year dorms, chats with our professors over coffee and our favorite pieces of art at the Mead. Yet it’s hard to deny that, as much as we hate doing them, our essays, problem sets and exams are important too. They make what we’re learning relevant and important. Our grades hold us to our commitment to learn and push us beyond passive listening in class.

Because of our open curriculum, diversity of extracurricular activities and number of athletic teams, Amherst students sometimes don’t have a lot in common. In many ways, we’re a community of communities. But one thing that is universal among us is Val. Regardless of your opinion of the food, everyone is brought together by the fact that (with the exception of the Zü) we all eat and socialize there. During Jamaican Jerk night or Asian Tuesday, when the pasta line extends out the door, food can spark up a conversation across almost any social divide.