Oberlin Blogs

The Beginning of the End

August 8, 2016

I am still here. Though I entered Oberlin with an expected graduation date of May 2016, my taking a semester off has delayed that until this upcoming semester. This reality took me a long time to accept and I have a lot of feelings about what "not graduating on time" means for me. On the one hand, some of my favorite humans at this institution took paths that deviated from the 4-year norm. On the other, I feel a crushing disappointment in myself from internalized ideas of success and 'making it.' I feel like I've let my family down, no matter how many times they reassure me they are proud that I am graduating. I feel left behind watching my peers go off to Tucson, Miami, Chicago, Boston and hundreds of other places. It's as if they've jumped ship with wings and are off to explore and create in this world--and I am still onboard, sailing through familiar waters.

Another thing on my mind is what a privilege remaining in Oberlin is for another semester. As I watch friends make first loan payments and struggle to find employment and housing, I'm scrolling the Course Catalog deciding what my ideal last college schedule will be. Staying offers me a lot of opportunities. It's extended time to live cheaply as a student with Financial Aid covering (most of) my expenses. I get to have another four months of unlimited access to this institution's resources--educational, financial, and otherwise. I'm spending my last semester pursuing a capstone I am passionate about; being encouraged by multiple advisors and mentors to go after what it is I dream of, and am scared of but feel propelled to get done. Having this 'extra' semester feels like I get to do research not in a frenzy but in an intentional, meaningful manner that will allow both me and my community partners to get the most out of working together. It feels daunting to be conducting research, but it also feels really good. Like this is what I came to college to push myself to do in the first place.

Not having graduated also comes with an intense feeling of being stuck in the in-between. In terms of time, I feel incredibly worried about the future, but also scared and nostalgic about leaving the past I've built here. In regards to place, half the time my heart and visions have already moved to Boston, and the other half is spent savoring Oberlin and my last chances to make memories here. At 21, I feel so blessed to have my life ahead of me, and at the same time I'm overwhelmed with how old I've become--the maturity of the decisions I am making in my life, and watching doors of possibility close behind me as I exit my adolescence. I constantly feel that I am two things at once--a full-time student and an almost graduate; a child who still worries if they're doing their taxes right, and an adult looking for a full-time job with benefits; a resident of Oberlin invested in this place and its people, and a flighty twenty-something with an insatiable itch to move to a coastal city; I am still my parents' child and yet for the first time, the very first time, I must prepare to make my own way in this world. How can I accomplish anything if I have to be all these things at once?

It is very lonely to think that the Class of 2016 has left and started their adult lives while I am still here, preparing for one last intense semester of academia. 2016 folks gave me such a sense of security, of belonging. They were the people who watched me grow, changed with me, radicalized me, and loved me in this strange journey of becoming. Because I am pretty introverted, I haven't put in the time or energy to know that many people in years below me, and now it feels as though I am the sole possessor of a whole legacy of an Oberlin generation that is now entirely gone, and the personality of this campus is being rewritten.

I can only conclude that now is the time to decide what I want my last words here to be.

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Responses to this Entry

Does the Admissions office have a party when decisions go out? Or some kind of tradition (a la running around giggling and screams)? Can we see pictures of this imagined (but hopefully real) event when it happens?

Posted by: Lillie on March 10, 2009 1:10 PM

Well, since this is my first year, I can't share any first-hand knowledge of any celebrations that ensue, but "Wave to the truck" is on our schedule. I'll see what I can do about the pictures..

Posted by: Elizabeth on March 10, 2009 1:35 PM

Hi Ms.Houston. I heard from Mr.Grim that your target notification date was March 17th, and that it was likely to be moved 'back and forth' according to your selection progress. Do you have a sense of the exact date? Possibly this week? Thanks!

Posted by: Yi on March 11, 2009 10:09 AM

Would you like celebratory baked goods? Possibly celebratory Decafe yogurt pretzels?

Posted by: Aries on March 11, 2009 2:58 PM

Yi--If you've been talking to Chuck Grim, then you're probably interested in the decisions for international students, which do mail sooner than the decisions for domestic applicants. I don't think the date has been moved up, so continue to expect your notification around the 17th. For any US students reading this, don't get too excited--your letters will be mailed about a week later.

Aries--Celebratory baked goods are always in order!

Posted by: Elizabeth on March 13, 2009 8:44 AM

A Chinese girl has been notified by email of her admission by Oberlin College of Arts and Science in the morning of Feb. 12. I don't think she's telling any lie. But some guy called AO soon after the girl posted a thread of her acceptance, an AO told him no one has been admitted in the RD round. So.. Could you please tell us what the truth is?

Posted by: Boo on March 13, 2009 9:52 AM

Hi Boo--the person who called the admissions office is correct-no regular decision letters went out in February.

Posted by: Elizabeth on March 13, 2009 11:26 AM

Thank you, E.

I'm so sorry... I mean March... March 12th...

Then...?

Posted by: Boo on March 13, 2009 11:41 AM

I checked with the person in charge in international applications, and a very small number of decisions did go out this week. However, most decisions for international applicants will go out next week, and domestic applicants can expect their decisions to be mailed the week after that.

Posted by: Elizabeth on March 13, 2009 2:40 PM

Thank you!

Posted by: Boo on March 13, 2009 10:24 PM

Do international students receive their decisions via email or "snail mail"?

Posted by: Stephanie on March 16, 2009 9:53 PM

counting on notification being available to internationals today...

Posted by: Jason on March 17, 2009 7:09 AM

Yeah, me too...What time do college decisions usually come out? =P

Posted by: Fajer on March 17, 2009 8:46 AM

Decision letters for international students and others living abroad were mailed out yesterday, and email notifications were sent as well. Domestic decision letters will be mailed via snail mail next week.

Posted by: Elizabeth on March 18, 2009 8:42 AM

I'm an international and I didn't get any email, as of thirty seconds ago. Is there a time lag? Or could it be that there are notifications that have not been sent out yet?

Posted by: Yihui on March 18, 2009 11:45 PM

It is quite nerve-wracking when we are talking about admissions. We are quite familiar with the student perspective and now we know more about the point of view of the other end of the spectrum. They are similar, fancy that.

Posted by: Anonymous on January 18, 2011 1:25 PM

I know exactly what pearls you're talking about! I didn't know those were your lucky pearls!

Posted by: Carter on February 13, 2011 5:03 PM

Haha, yeah - I totally incorporated them into my Little Women costume!

MISS YOU, CARTER! Hope London's treating you well!

Posted by: Helena on February 13, 2011 5:20 PM

Yay superstition! Tell us more about it!!!

Posted by: David on February 13, 2011 9:07 PM

I'll tell you in person over coffee, my dear.

Posted by: Helena on February 14, 2011 12:35 PM

I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS SHOW. Oh snap, I still need to buy my ticket.

Also, I'm just gonna leave this here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDZFf0pm0SE

Posted by: Patrick on February 14, 2011 1:26 PM

Will be there on Thursday! I loved everything I heard at the rehearsal I visited and I can't wait to see the rest!

(Also, carrots are a tradition I approve of. I'm actually a rabbit.)

Posted by: Ma'ayan on February 14, 2011 1:34 PM

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