We know, we know. Orientation week is long and filled with more information than you’ll ever need to know.
But as the independent student newspaper of the college (since 1868), we are obligated to provide you, class of 2018 — and transfer students, who get way less love than they deserve — with some tricks to the Amherst trade. For both our sanity and yours, we’ve tried to keep these modules of wisdom as practical and far from banal Buzzfeed-esque listicles about College, Trying New Things and Following Your Dreams as possible.
Without further ado, here are 10 pieces of advice that will make you fare better at the Fairest College.
1. Office Hours: This is crucial and really easy. Check in with your professors, ask them questions about upcoming work, run ideas by them, or just get to know them better. Not only will that scary-intimidating professor become more human, she’ll also make you a better student.
2. Bring Your ID to Grab & Go: For whatever reason, you can’t just give your ID number to the person working at Grab & Go, and there are few things as infuriating as waiting in line practically from the mailroom only to be denied without your ID as swiftly as you will be using your fake ID at SpiritHaus (see what we did there? Two tips in one).
3. Mix It Up Socially: If you haven’t already, you’ll quickly settle into a routine that involves always sitting in the same room at Val, always going to the same places to party and always hanging out with the same people. It’s important to establish a routine, but equally important to not let it define you. Go to Coffee Haus as much as you go to Pond.
4. Read Campus Publications: Don’t just open The Student to see if you made the crime log. And, for that matter, don’t just read The Student. Read AC Voice, The Indicator, Circus and the Muck-Rake. People at Amherst really do talk about what’s being written, and it’s important to stay updated about campus issues. You’ll be glad you did.
5. Exercise & Eat Well: It’s easy to wake up, go to class, go to Val, go to Frost, go to sleep. Maybe you’ll order wings before you go to bed. But for your own sanity, try to carve out some time for exercise, whether it’s in the gym or on the bike path or on the intramural soccer field. And eat well. You’ll feel better, work more efficiently, and not have to worry about running the beer pong table all weekend long.
6. Use The Research Librarians: They’re among the most underappreciated members of the Amherst community and also some of the most helpful. They hone in on sources in JStor like first-years hone in on free beer during orientation.
7. Print At The Q-Center (It’s Free!): It’s the easiest way to be frugal at Amherst. Obviously it’s easy to just print your assignment on A-Level of Frost if you’re working there, but think about how much money you’ll save over the course of the year if you never once spend money on printing.
8. If Something Annoys You, Do Something About It: If you’re genuinely upset or disagree with something, be it a campus policy, an article you read, or a bad AAS decision, don’t just be sarcastic and complain about it to your friends. Write an article about it, go to President Martin’s office hours, sit down with the AAS or a campus administrator. It’s the only way Amherst will change, and change for the better.
9. Support Your Peers: You’ll be amazed at what someone in your seminar can do on stage, or with a paintbrush, or a racquet. Go to as many thesis performances as sporting events, as many music concerts as Gad’s shows. School spirit is more than painting your face at the Williams football game (but you better do that, too).
10. Remember, Nothing At Amherst Is A Life Or Death Situation: We’re all striving for that 4.0, that undefeated season, that killer dance performance. And so, inevitably, we’ll all feel insanely stressed, frustrated, or unhappy at one point or another during the semester. But remember: we’re also insanely lucky to be at a school like Amherst, even if the food sucks.