As a first-year at Amherst my list of potential majors went something like: History, Sociology, Political Science, English, LJST, cultural elitism, turf & golf course management (available at the University of Maryland), entrepreneurship, constructed relativity, puppetry (University of Connecticut), mastodons in literature and society (personal favorite) and, of course, Film and Media Studies. I’d always been passionate about film, but had never found an outlet for serious film discussion in high school.

In the midst of daily crises over impending finals, I always try to find time at the end of the year to reflect on the media releases that did the most to keep me sane in the previous months, as well as to discover anything I may have missed. Thinking back, 2013 wasn’t a bad year when it comes to film, and I originally thought I’d use this space to remind everyone why that is the case. But then I realized that, despite all the great films I’d seen so far this year, so many of the films I’d been looking forward to have yet to come out.

As a history major at Amherst, I’ve taken numerous classes specializing in slavery in the US. I thought I could understand something of the history, the pain, the suffering, the anguish. I thought, to whatever extent it was possible for a white kid in the early 21st century to know, I knew. I was wrong. Sitting in the theater watching “12 Years a Slave,” I felt the inescapable grasp of history around my neck and I couldn’t do anything about it. Never before have I felt so clearly and achingly the tragedies upon which America is built. I felt helpless, my face contorting in anguish.

I’ve never seen a film quite like “Gravity”. It’s a thrill ride to end all thrill rides, never letting up in subjecting its characters to situations from bad to worse during its 90-minute running length. “Gravity” is, for those who want a no-frills blockbuster, nerve-wracking in a way that few films are. This is a true edge-of-your-seat motion picture. In fact, it’s much more than that.

Amherst College in the 2012-2013 school year was a place and time filled with pain and discomfort in more ways than one. A number of important and contentious debates sprung up on campus. Words were spewed from many different angles. On the surface this was perhaps abnormal, replacing the usually somewhat tepid and quiet Amherst awkward and filling the space with radical action and concern over laudable, progressive causes. Everyone at Amherst, faces new and old, should be aware of this.

The summer. When not forced to brave the heat and midday traffic to fetch coffee for your seasonal employer or trying too hard to avoid listening to your coworkers’ embarrassing and way-too-personal stories, students can hopefully make enough time in their schedule to see many of the year’s most anticipated blockbuster films. Designed to provide mass-entertainment (although not at cheap prices these days) and provide further respite from the heat, summer blockbusters are a staple of any young person’s summer away from school.

Last week Professor Thomas L. Dumm wrote an article for The Amherst Student entitled “The Elephant in the Room,” concerning the Special Oversight Committee on Sexual Misconduct at Amherst and their questionable exclusion of the intersection between athletics and sexual respect issues on campus in their official report on sexual respect released recently. As per usual, the comment board on The Student website quickly overflowed with spewed vitriol and poorly thought out, overly simplistic criticisms.