Rediscovering Childhood Joys at Amherst

Lainey Noga ’26 writes about rediscovering her childhood love for video production in college.

A few nights ago, a friend and I sat in a study room on A level, giddily exclaiming that we’d never had so much fun doing homework. She quit the piano as a child, yet she’s now taking a music class where she’s learning how to play again; I used to love making movies and am now taking a film class where I’m producing videos. As she fiddled with her miniature keyboard and me with my camera and tripod, we reveled in the idea that we were making our childhood selves proud.

In elementary school, I made music videos on my trampoline and stop-motion movies with my American Girl dolls. For every school book report that I wrote, I directed and edited my own adaptation. On weekends, I would plant myself at my family’s desktop Mac, messing around with iMovie and Photo Booth for hours on end.

As I got older, I left behind this hobby, this source of joy. Preoccupied with academic, extracurricular, and social success, I channeled my creative pursuits into avenues that seemed more practical — AP photography classes, design-based editorial positions, carefully crafted Instagram posts. I had little time left in my days for something that felt so frivolous, so disconnected from my immediate goals.

Amherst changed this. During add/drop week this semester, I was frantically searching for a fourth class, something that would fit into my busy schedule and hopefully offset some of the heavy reading and writing I’d signed myself up for. This is how I landed in an introductory video production class.

Now, instead of making silly movies in the office of my childhood home, I’m making them in the editing lab of Fayerweather 215. I am no professional filmmaker — if I’m being honest, most of the time I have no idea what I’m doing. But I’m having fun, and, when I’m working on a project, I get just as excited as I did 10 years ago. I realize now that “productive” pursuits aren’t limited to those that’ll get you into a school or secure you a job, but rather those that simply enrich your life and cultivate your sense of self.

I’m a big believer in the idea that, in an environment as intense and fast-paced as Amherst’s, time spent feeling like a kid again is time well spent. So, if you’re looking for a fourth class, consider giving that childhood hobby another go. Whether little you loved to draw cartoons, play a musical instrument, craft funny stories, perform in plays, build LEGOs, or look up at the stars — there’s something here for you.