So today, as part of my plan to shamelessly procrastinate, I decided to help support the lovely Amherst College Fencing Club! Partly because of this recommendation and partly because I have a friend on the team who desperately needed to sell tickets, I neglected for an hour and a half today to venture off campus to have lunch at The Harp. The Harp is the Irish pub in North Amherst where the Fencing Club was hosting their fundraising buffet.
The drive to The Harp was a surprisingly foreign experience. It was the first time I’d been in an actual car for a long time (as opposed to a college van or a bus), and I’d forgotten how strangely small and intimate they can be. And then the car actually started moving, and things got even weirder. We took North Pleasant Street north (obviously) through town and the UMass Campus—all familiar sights—but then there reached a point when I could no longer recognize any landmarks. The road becomes smaller and the houses older and less frequent. The color green was the most prominent physical characteristic of the drive, as the newly sprouted leaves and fields were painted with it.
The landscape was beautiful, but at the same time I felt very odd and almost out of place. It’s not that I don’t leave the Amherst bubble often (I was in Worcester, MA just yesterday), but more that Amherst had surprised me. After living in this town for just about eight months now, I thought I knew just about everything there was to know about it. I mean, I’ve been to Emily Dickenson’s house (and grave), all five colleges in the Consortium, and Antonio’s. What else did I need?
It’s embarrassing to realize that you’ve turned into someone you always tried to avoid becoming. For me, this was the stereotypical self-centered college student: never leaving campus, never caring about the outside world or current events. And I still like to think that I resist this stereotype sometimes: I like to walk around town to take pictures for my Photography class, my friends and I “interact” with the community when we get sick of Val and end up at Panda East, and hell, NPR is even my homepage so that counts as following the news, right?
But I have to admit it; I’m trapped in the Amherst bubble. I’m not nearly as politically aware or active as I was even as a senior in high school (and I get to vote this November too!), and I worried more about Room Draw than I did about the unrest in Syria. As much as I’ve learned and grown (which as been a lot) over my first year of college, I think I still have yet to fully realize that I am more than a citizen of Amherst, MA, but a citizen of the world.
I’ve loved my first year at Amherst more than I can put into words. I can’t imagine being this happy anywhere else and with any different people. But this college is an idyllic world, at least for me. While I am incredibly saddened by the fact that I will only be on campus for two more weeks, in some ways, I think it will be a good thing. This summer I will be interning with a non-profit in New York—by myself, but not really alone in one of the biggest cities in the world. My bubble will promptly be shattered, and honestly, I can’t wait.
*Also, the buffet at The Harp was a lot of fun! The pub was extremely Irish and awesome, and the Fencing Club members I met were lovely. I couldn’t think of anywhere I’d rather be while avoiding work on a beautiful spring day.