Welcome, Class of 2027

As AAS Vice President, Staff Writer Shane Dillon ’26 shares some advice with the freshly-minted first-year students.

Class of 2027, welcome! While I have yet to get to know many of you, I want to welcome everyone via The Amherst Student! I hope everyone is settling in, excited for classes, and had a great time during Orientation week. Amherst is such a vibrant place, and we often take the beauty of our location in the world for granted. I feel lucky to be here daily, but I want you all to know how lucky Amherst College is to have YOU.

Starting in a new place can feel scary, intimidating, and isolating, but most of the time, ‘new’ can be ‘necessary.’ When my class arrived on campus last year and began to settle in, I can say that many of us did not know it all. One of the most intimidating aspects of college life is believing that the students already on campus have it all together, know everything, and are thriving here. That is only partially true — yes, some have a few years on you, but don’t let that  discourage you from finding your place here. Every one of you is here for a reason, and it is okay not to know what that is right away. Many upperclassmen can tell you they still don’t know.

As everyone begins classes and starts branching out, I want you all to hear one piece of advice: Do not be afraid to say yes to something new. Many feel the comfort of their dorm room and don’t always branch out in their first year here, myself included. Self-care and independent time are crucial while you are here, but don’t forget the other opportunities you can take advantage of. Do not be afraid to attend that club meeting you want to know more about. Do not be afraid to introduce yourself to someone you want to meet or befriend. Do not be afraid to raise your hand in class and speak your truth. Do not be afraid to be you, and do not be afraid to ‘be here.’ We are all so different, but the one thing we have in common here is that we coexist on this campus with many resources to utilize. Whether it be the gym, the resource centers, the library, the science center, or one professor’s collection of books, take advantage of them! And please sit on Memorial Hill at sunset — it’s so beautiful!

Every resource on this campus is meant to be used in a way that positively supports everyone, so make your Amherst story yours. Walking through the First-Year Quad feels weird now. It is hard to imagine that my class was beginning our journey here just a year ago, but this is your time: every new name ushers in a new story and a new contribution to our world. Good luck, have fun, be bold, and reach out for anything!