Friday, November 9, 2012

Trolling Down Amherst

Having to be ready at the lobby by a quarter to seven this morning didn’t really make me “bright eyed and bushy tailed”. Instead, I was more like a sleep deprived grumpy troll trying to make sense of what was going on when my alarm clock rang. When I finally realized the girls and I were going to visit Amherst today, I jumped out of the king sized bed I shared with Aby and got dressed. Now you may think I’m lying about the bed size, but nope! I was assigned to a single room and it just so happened I got lucky. This troll had a comfy night!

Hello Autumn, Goodbye Summer!
We arrived at Amherst College roughly around 9:30 AM; thirty minutes before our information session. Our speaker, Tyler spoke about five key points: small, diversity, selective, liberal arts, and open curriculum. Amherst has about 1,800 students and has a student to teacher ratio of 8:1. Of those students, 6% are multi-racial, 11% are Asian American and Hispanic, 12% are African American, 40% are Caucasian, and 11% chose not to identify. For the school year of 12/13, they received 8,000 applications and had a 12-13% acceptance rate. The thing that stood out to me about Amherst is its open curriculum and its five-college consortium. Amherst is associated with the University of Massachusetts, Smith College, Hampshire College, and Mt. Holyoke College. These schools are within ten miles from each other and all have free transportation available for students to travel to each school. Amherst doesn’t offer pre-professional programs so if one was ever interested in one, this system allows you to travel to the sibling school to take the course you have in mind. When the session was over, we were led by Tito for our tour and later was able to spend some time with an admissions officer. 

Since we had a chunk of time left before checking into the symposium, we drove down the block to visit Emily Dickinson's house. Before the tour started, my first impression of Emily was that she was very reclusive and lived a lonely life, well with the exception of her boyfriend who supposedly promised her he would leave his wife for her. After the tour, our speaker was able to make me focus more on Emily's creative writing style instead of her solitary life. Most of the original furniture in the house are at Harvard University, but the copies still made the story of Ms. Dickinson come alive. The house included a white dress that the poet was known to have worn. From the details, our group concluded that she was a rather short woman. When we came to a close, we walked back to the car and headed to our hotel where the symposium was soon to begin. No more anticipation!

After receiving our information packet for the weekend, I headed upstairs to my room and prepared for tonight's dinner. Mayor Angel Tavares was there and presented a speech on vision, teamwork, and persistence. He was referring to our Action Plans and stated that once we have an idea, our next step is to form a team and work together for our ideas to bloom into motion. Finally, all it takes is some tender, love, and care and hopefully we will become successful. When Mayor Tavares ended, a group called Youth In Action (YIA) spoke. This organization is about empowering the youth in Rhode Island and letting them be heard in a neighborhood of adults. This inspired me to continue on with my Action Plan goals and to not give up once I get back home. Both the mayor and YIA speeches were beautifully intertwined and made me more excited for tomorrow's added enthusiasm. Tomorrow is a mystery but I can already tell it's going to be amazing! Including the weather! 

1 comment:

  1. Bright eyed and bushy tailed? I wish someone would have taken a photo of that.

    When you first wrote about getting a king sized bed I had visions of your petite body swimming in such a large bed. Then you tell us about sharing it with Abby and I still had the same visions. Between the two of you, I’m still bigger (and heavier) than the two of you combined. When I get into my own king sized bed there isn’t nearly as much space left for me as you described.

    I’m glad that you had a chance to visit Amherst and the Dickinson house.

    I have no idea how petite Emily Dickinson might have been but if you ever go to a museum of history and look at the military uniforms, suits of armor and other clothing worn by people a hundred years ago or 800 years ago, you’ll notice that we’re all getting bigger as the years progress. I’m not referring to how fat we’re getting, just height and body types. For all we know she may have been about average for her time.