The difficulty and quality of classes kind of depends on the subject. I'm not really good at math so I found the econ classes challenging, but most of them are very interesting/useful (most of the econ professors are nice and helpful). I was really into english literature when I came here, but the classes in that department are a real letdown. They're also pretty easy (many people here say this) which can make it very unsatisfying when you work hard in them. This college doesn't offer linguistics, which can be a bummer if you're into that kind of thing (you can take it at umass, but it's usually caused me some inconvenience when setting up my schedule). The philosophy department can be really inaccessible and arrogant. I found this college really isolating. I really don't like being here. It's difficult to make friends, especially if you're not that into partying. I wish I had gone somewhere else.
I'm taking a course at Amherst (I go to another one of the five-college schools) and WOW. What with the 18% acceptance rate, I expected more out of the class... my school accepts about half of its applicants and doesn't have Amherst's reputation, but I have to work SO much harder and so much more is expected of me. Also, everyone here looks the same: preppy. I feel like people look down on my when I'm just in jeans and a simple fitted shirt. The professors here seem very condescending too, especially when they hear which school I'm from. I think they're uninformed about my school, because if they knew, they wouldn't have made certain comments. Another note about the students, I'd have expected them to be more serious, but so far, every time I step foot in my classroom I hear about so-and-so passing out at you-know-who's party last night. It's ridiculous. I can never wait to get back to my school after class! The library isn't bad though.
I have to be frank and tell anyone who thinks Amherst is a "gem of enlightenment" as they like to think of themselves to please reconsider. They, meaning the administration and trustees/alumni in particular and faculty to a lesser degree, are interested first and foremost in promoting and preserving an image to the outside world of a school that deeply cares about their students and the pursuit of the "life of the mind" as they put it - sort of like keeping up appearances. Recent revelations and the richly deserved bad publicity they have received of late, and which they will do virtually everything to prevent it from going public, only confirms what I suspected. I truly regret coming here and am strongly considering transferring. I could have gone to Bowdoin or Williams and now kick myself for not going to one of those two truly wonderful colleges. Are they perfect? Of course not, but I have a good number of friends at both and believe me, it's vastly better than here at the self-described "Fairest College." The institutional arrogance, elitist environment and culture of sweeping problems under the rug is a bit too much for my blood. Also, do not be persuaded by the pronouncements and superficial actions of the new president, Ms. Martin. It will take years for any real change to occur - the elitist mindset is in the bones of this place and only lots of time and work will make things better.
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