Spring break is supposed to be a fun and relaxing week, where students can unwind and rest before the final weeks of the academic year. For the first few days of my spring break, this was the case. However, on Wednesday, my phone decided that it did not want to work anymore. This fact on its own would not normally cause stress; like most people, my phone has broken in the past. But this time was different. My phone wasn’t just cracked, it wasn’t just unable to connect to a cellular network, it wasn’t just randomly quitting out of apps — all things I have encountered in the past.

I’ve always been keenly aware of my gender and the consequences it carries: I know that white women earn 80 percent of what men in the same position make (with women of color earning even less) and need to work harder and longer to receive promotions, and I know that one in three women experience physical abuse. However, coexisting comfortably alongside this understanding of global women’s issues is the awareness that I myself exist in a privileged bubble away from these things.

One fine afternoon at Amherst (seldom found nowadays), I took a walk in the wildlife sanctuary. I was just heading out from lunch, and the idea of strolling around for a while suddenly struck me. I went through with this moment of inspiration, and I eventually ended up relaxing at a damp, wooden bench in the bird sanctuary, looking out into the frozen creek with long, calm breaths. Let me tell you about how I got there.

At this year’s LitFest, Junot Díaz started his talk with a reading from his nonfiction essay “Money,” which discusses remittances, a part of the immigrant experience that isn’t discussed often. We must continue to do what Díaz is doing: bring to light stories about immigrants and other underrepresented groups and give more varied insight into how others live.

The most recent mass shooting, and it’s tragic that I even need to say “most recent,” was close to home — literally. Stoneman Douglas is 20 minutes away from my high school; we competed against them in sports. My best friend went to camp with a teacher who was murdered.When I first heard about the shooting in my high school friend group chat, I was shocked, but my day continued. I told the people at Amherst who I was with at the time and looked up articles about it, but felt numb. 17 people were murdered, though the number was not finalized at the time, and I felt desensitized.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that college students consume illegal substances. I do not know what percentage of our student body smoke marijuana (or eat, for those who prefer edibles) but I know that it’s more than zero percent. I would even wager that it’s more than 40 percent. To this end, we truly inhabit an ivory tower.

The term “genetically modified organism” (GMO) often inspires visceral reactions. To some, GMOs are cancer-causing, environment-destroying monsters created by evil biotechnology corporations. To others, they nourish a patronizing belief that American technological innovation is the only way to feed a growing global population with the onset of climate change. Misinformation abounds between these two schools of thought, and neither seems to have a firm grasp on the scientific realities and social implications of genetically modified crops.