Livin’ Large: Amherst Style
By Rick Morgan '11
I can hear the petty complaining already. Although I write this article from the quiet confines of my room at home, the whiny voices of a mob of students fuels a sickness in my head that borders somewhere in between creativity and schizophrenia. “These lines in Val are brutal. I can’t believe we let this nonsense happen every year.” “I hate when the mailroom gets this crowded.” “Wow there’s a lot of people in here, it’s so hot. I’m sweating way too much to even come within three feet of any females tonight…”

In case you haven’t heard, the freshmen class is overenrolled. I personally am proud of this as an Amherst student, but I’m sure a lot of people out there hate it. It’s this anticipation of general disapproval that has me hearing bitter voices before the school year even starts. If there is one thing that liberal arts students know how to do quite well, it’s pointing out the problems with everything. It’s what makes us feel intelligent and elevates us above the Muggles. I know because I do it all the time.

But when I hear complaints about a freshmen class being too big, it makes me want to slap the Nalgene bottle out of someone’s hand. It ruins my Amherst College vibe so bad that I’m tempted to turn my backwards hat around and wear it the way it’s supposed to be worn. Luckily I pull myself together before these sick fantasies become a reality. An overenrolled freshmen class should make us all want to high-five or casually toss a Frisbee around the quad for three hours. Or, if you’re feeling very Amherst, you can even grab your books and head outside to do some unconventional reading in the sun. Society tells you to read your books indoors, but we’d all rather be caught dead than caught conforming to social norms. The Man’s whole day will be utterly ruined.

Think back to a few weeks ago. I remember signing on to Facebook to do some stuff that was totally not creepy, but instead of finding the usual picture albums, my newsfeed was flooded with the Forbes best colleges list. We were ranked the third best higher learning institution in the country, and I couldn’t have been prouder. Amherst students had no problem bragging over the cyber universe to all their ex-girlfriends and middle school bullies. Yet, for some reason, we all get upset about a bunch of exceptional high school seniors deciding Amherst is so awesome that they want to spend the next four years here. The fact that the freshman class is a little on the big side is, much like the Forbes list, a testament to the incredible atmosphere of Amherst College. You’re actually upset that a lot of people want to come here? Sorry we’re legit as hell.

What do we seriously have to complain about? The lines at Val? As a savvy dining hall veteran, I’ve seen my fair share of “long” lines at Val. I can honestly say that the longest I’ve ever actually waited was about 10 minutes. I play anywhere from 25-30 minutes of solitaire before I even think about starting a two-page paper. I took a study break once that consisted of me reading Wikipedia articles about velociraptors for two hours. I’ve spent whole afternoons trying to memorize all of Daniel Day-Lewis’ lines from “There Will Be Blood.” Needless to say, I think I can afford to kill a few minutes in Val every day. Granted, most people probably have goals in life and spend their time more wisely than I do, but everyone wastes some time. So relax and grab a tray.

Even if you think that this article is hard to take seriously and that I’m completely full of it, I don’t think anyone can argue with the fact that a place like Amherst provides a very special opportunity. We live in a magical fantasyland with an overwhelming number of things to take advantage of. The rules of the real world give us a four-year breather while we pursue our passions and enjoy our youth. What kind of horrible person would hope that less people could enjoy that? Anyone who wishes that the freshman class was smaller is essentially wishing that a certain amount of eager students would be robbed of the Amherst gift. Obviously this argument only works within reason. If Amherst were to let in 5,000 kids every year, it wouldn’t be the same place. But that isn’t the case, and I hope that our student body is selfless enough to be proud of a few extra students choosing Amherst over all the rest.

To the Class of 2014, welcome to the greatest place on Earth. I’m sure you’re all excited to be here, so grab a free t-shirt from the Campus Center and enjoy the ride.

Issue 01, Submitted 2010-09-20 20:12:09