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70 and Sunny Friday, 20 and a Blizzard Saturday

November 26, 2016

Sarah Dalgleish ’20

To say that the last few weeks have been insane would be an understatement. It wasn't until now, sitting on a plane on the way to meet my family for a much needed Thanksgiving Break, that I've truly reflected on everything that has happened recently and realized just how much has gone on since I got back to school from Fall Break. Honestly, it has been a roller coaster of emotions and events. There has been a lot of good, mixed in with some bad, and I want to take this post to reflect on both together.

The Bad
Over Parents Weekend, my roommate moved out. Basically we just weren't a good match for each other. The whole process was pretty stressful-- it was a lot of change all at once, I wasn't sure who my new roommate would be, and it happened over what ended up being the busiest weekend of the year. At first, I was really upset that she was moving out, because it made me feel like I had failed in one of my goals for the year. I believed, and still do, that one of the most important lessons I would learn freshman year would be how to get along and live with someone very different from myself. I felt like my roommate moving out was the equivalent of running away from my problems when I was ready to face them head on and try to work something out. I still think there's some truth to that, but my perspective has shifted now that I've had time to think about the whole situation.

Now, I would say that if you aren't happy with your living arrangement, don't be afraid to make a change. Trying to work things out and come up with compromises with your roommate is the best course of action if a solution can be reached, but if you are really butting heads, getting space from each other and starting fresh can be the best choice. I know in my case, both of us are way happier now.

The Good
On one hand, having my roommate leave over Parents Weekend was less than ideal because of how busy it already was, but on the other hand, it actually was good timing. My parents made sure that I had a packed, fun weekend, helped me rearrange and readjust to the room after she left, and continued to be their amazingly supportive selves in every way they could. The day after she moved out was my birthday (like I said, it was a hectic weekend), so my friends and I made a huge feast of mac and cheese, spaghetti, meatballs, and chicken nuggets to celebrate and de-stress. Going through this roommate breakup made me realize how lucky I am to have so many people in my life to turn to for support and love.

My delicious birthday feast

The Bad
At 2 AM on November 9th, two of my friends and I went on a walk through Tappan Square. We had just finished watching the election results with 20 other crying, shocked, heartbroken people and decided we needed a breath of fresh air. As we marched through the drizzle, kicking wet leaves, we alternated between throwing statistics at each other and complete, stunned silence, trying to process. Almost three weeks later, I'm still trying to process. And to be honest, I don't know what to say that hasn't been said before or that would add to the conversation.

The election results were painful and surprising and threw Oberlin into a state of saddened disappointment. Campus the day after the election felt like a funeral. Trump stands in direct opposition to so many things Oberlin prides itself on being-- diverse, accepting of all identities, liberal, progressive-- so the results of the election felt like a personal attack on us in many ways. In fact, I was surprised by how personally devastating Trump's election felt. My view of this country and where I stand in it shifted dramatically and unexpectedly, which was not something I was expecting to grapple with, and still haven't fully come to terms with enough to articulate.

The Good
This was my first election voting, and Tuesday started out as such a bright, hopeful day. I headed to the polls early in the morning after swim practice, and it didn't hit me until I was casting my ballot how much it meant to me to be voting for a woman in my first presidential election. It felt like I was part of something strong and important and much bigger than me. One of my teammates and I had a full blown photoshoot with our Ohio voting stickers because we were so excited. I proudly wore mine on my shirt all day and watched results of the election as soon as they started coming in.

All of this is not to say that the outcome wasn't still crushing, because it was. The longer the night went on, the more I felt that hope from the morning slipping away into fear and anger. However, there is no other place I would rather be in to fare a president like Trump. Oberlin's history shows that Obies are not afraid to stand up for what they believe is right, or to be the first to do so. On campus following Tuesday, I saw a period of grieving before a willingness to fight for what we believe is moral and right prevailed. While Trump may be our next president, we do not have to be his country, the one we fear we are in the wake of this election. We will always have the choice to love each other, protect those who need protecting, and speak out for what is right.

Devyn and I after voting. In her words, "from the pool to the polls." Thank you Matthew Berry for the picture.

The Bad
Last Monday, I had course registration for spring semester and an interview for a Winter Term project on the same day. It was crazy stressful; at one point during registration I was literally jumping up and down yelling at my computer when it didn't refresh fast enough. Later, I had a very long, nervous walk to Oberlin Community Services for my interview. Not exactly an easy start to the week.

The Good
I was able to get into all the classes I wanted and I got the Winter Term fellowship I interviewed for! Next semester, I will be taking Asian American Literature, Writing for Social Justice, Advanced Spanish Grammar and Composition, and Organismal Biology. I'm excited about the mix of classes I have and about taking courses in my potential major fields (English and Rhetoric). My Winter Term project is working as a Food Justice Fellow at Oberlin Community Services. I'll get to work in the administrative side of the organization to learn how a nonprofit truly runs, help in the food distribution center, work in groups with other Fellows on projects to better the Oberlin community, and participate in discussions about readings relevant to the work I'm doing. I'm sure I'll be writing more about my experience with all this in the future. For now, I can't wait to find out what next year holds!

And Some Crazy Weather
Last Friday, I broke out my Birkenstocks-- I didn't even need socks-- and hammock for what was probably the last time until Spring. It was a beautiful, sunny day in the 70s and it seemed like everyone was outside enjoying the weather after a couple weeks of cold, gray days. It was almost impossible to believe the weather forecasts that were predicting snow for the next day. But sure enough, driving back from our swim meet Saturday evening, fat snowflakes started pounding the windows of the bus. By the time we got back on campus, it was really coming down, and an immediate celebratory snowball fight broke out as some of my teammates hadn't seen snow in years. We spent the whole night outside in the freezing cold, playing in the snow and building a snowman. It was hilarious to see the varying degrees of snow preparedness based on where people were from, and to hear the arguments break out about regional differences in opinions on the best snowman building techniques.

Friday and Saturday had completely opposite weather, yet both brought the same attitude of relief and excitement about something simple to campus. And the extreme swings in weather were a perfect way to wrap up a few weeks that swung in a similar way, packed with every emotion and numerous highs and lows. What's funny is that I don't regret that things aren't going perfectly smoothly. Before I first moved to Oberlin, I was utterly terrified; it was so scary picking up and charging into what was completely unknown, even though I knew that's what I wanted. Now, when I think about going back to Oberlin in a few days at the end of break, I think about all I have to go back to-- all of these messy, loose ends and highs and lows that mean I've managed to build a real life for myself out of what was a bunch of strangers and questions just a few months ago. Through everything, I am beyond grateful for this new life I'm muddling my way through creating and for the people who are helping me do so.

Enjoying the winter wonderland that was Tappan Square

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