Coming to Amherst as a first-year, I expected the awkwardness. I remembered those initial glances and weird handshakes well from my experience at a residential boarding school. The first few hellos and name exchanges are destined to be encounters that make both parties cringe, at least a little. Even with this level of discomfort in mind, I noticed a subtle difference between those beginning moments at my high school and the ones at Amherst.

Last year, upon my arrival to Amherst, I learned about a place called “The Socials.” Four upperclassmen dormitories Coolidge, Crossett, Stone and Pond were the centers of weekend social life for Amherst students. Sure, many Fridays and Saturdays would be occupied by formals taking place in common rooms, but after those parties teetered, one could always retreat to the Socials to find a party.

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.

The Amherst men’s soccer team started off its 2016 campaign this past Wednesday with a commanding 4-1 win at Rhode Island College. Weller Hlinomaz ’18 scored the purple and white’s first goal of the season less than four minutes into the game with a beautiful volley into the upper corner of the net. Just before the 30-minute mark, Bryce Ciambella ’17 rounded the keeper to double the Amherst lead.

Amherst men’s golf teed off its 2016 fall season this past weekend, finishing sixth in the team competition at the Bill Detrick Invitational tournament hosted by Trinity at the Indian Hill Country Club in Newington, Connecticut.

The Amherst volleyball team opened its season this past weekend in Providence, Rhode Island at the Wildcat Invitational hosted by Johnson and Wales University. In the three-game tournament, the purple and white finished 2-1. After dropping a disappointing first match to Johnson and Wales 3-0 (25-11, 25-18, 25-22), the Amherst women rallied and went on to sweep both Bridgewater State and Gordon.

This past Sunday, Amherst kicked off their season at the University of Massachusetts Invitational, finishing seventh in the field. The 25th ranked Amherst women’s cross country team proudly returned this year after a strong 2015 campaign. Last fall, they competed in seven local and regional meets, including the University of Massachusetts Invitational, Little Threes and the Purple Valley Invitational.