I wake up on a Sunday morning with excitement. A month away from graduation, today is the Oberlin Senior Day trip to Cedar Point! Somehow I managed to go four years without going to one of the most famous amusement parks in the country that happens to be right down the road from Oberlin, but that is all gonna change today. We were allowed to bring one non-senior friend on the trip, so I invited one of my friends who is a junior to come with me. Riding up to the amusement park it was great to see the surrounding area in the beautiful glow of the spring weather while joking around with my friend. We had a good laugh because she couldn’t figure out whether to have the windows open or closed as she forgot to bring a hoodie on the trip. My friend and I had actually originally met while collaborating in the Oberlin Finance and Investment Club and bonded during the club’s trip to New York in the winter. Oberlin is always putting students in situations to make new friends and grow established friendships, and today’s trip to Cedar Point is just another example of that. After about forty minutes of looking out the window and laughing we had arrived at our destination. Seeing the rollercoasters in person brought adrenaline to my body. As we stood in line to enter the park I stared at the rides trying to gauge just how thrilling they would be. After a few moments of gauging, I determined that the rides would definitely be exciting to go on and a few looked very intense. I was a bit nervous but ready to take on the park as we got to the front of the line. After making it through security the lady who scanned my ticket told me to “have fun” and I have to say reflecting on the trip I definitely did!
Whenever I go to an amusement park I always look for a warm-up ride. Something that will get my adrenaline to kick in a little but not scare me too much. I thought I found just what I was looking for in the middle of the park as I saw a swinging pendulum ride that in my head looked “doable” for a first ride. Well, I have to say after getting on the ride I indeed did it, but I would not describe it as doable. Instead of being the warmup I was looking for, the ride was like getting checked into a basketball game in the fourth quarter with a tie score and you’re losing by one after not playing the whole game. I say this because the ride went a lot higher in the air than I ever anticipated, and at one point I felt like I was parallel with the sky. I have to say though the views I saw through my screams were amazing and the ride definitely brought the amusement park fun to the present. By the time we got off the ride my friend and I were pumped up and ready to take on the park even if we didn’t get an actual warmup.
The next ride is when I realized exactly who I went to the amusement park with. As they strapped me into the ride and my legs dangled, fear went through my body. I started to question why I decided to come to the amusement park and was thinking about what work I would be doing if I wasn’t attached to this fear-inducing ride and was instead in Mudd library hanging with friends while we worked on academics. To the left of me I heard giggling excitement coming from my friend as she shook her head up and down in anticipation, I saw no fear. Personally, this made me even more afraid. I asked her why she had no fear of the ride and she looked at me and said, “I’ve been skydiving, my only fear at this amusement park is that nothing will make me scared today.” That was the moment when I realized that I would be screaming alone today. The picture taken during the roller coaster confirmed that, because as I screamed for my life my friend to the left of me had a big bright smile on her face.
While my friend's lack of fear did induce more fear in me and also create hilarious moments, it may have been for the better as she pushed me to go on the most exciting rollercoasters in the park. This is actually the second time this friend has pushed me to face my fears as they also went up the tallest building in New York with me on the Investment Club trip. One of the funniest moments that occurred may have been as I was screaming on a rollercoaster that had many loops in it, and as I was screaming, in a calm voice, my friend said to me, “wow, you have a really funny scream.” Shocked but not surprised at her calmness in the situation, I continued to scream my head off until the ride brought us to a stop. Developing friendships that help you grow as an individual and push you out of your comfort zone has been one of my favorite things about attending Oberlin. While I am still scared of heights my friends have always pushed and encouraged me through every situation, which has led to me experiencing once-in-a-lifetime opportunities with them through the years.
Ironically, what may have scared me more than all of the rides was the cable transportation that took you around the park. While I had been facing the thrill of rollercoasters all day, the height of them hadn’t really bothered me as the speed of the rollercoasters kept my body from processing that I was so high up in the air. However, my fear of heights certainly kicked in on the slow-moving cable car that was almost as high up as the rollercoasters that existed throughout the park. My friend laughed as I asked her to stop moving when the cable car swayed the slightest amount. Battling through my fear of heights though I looked out and saw how beautiful Cedar Point was. From the water that surrounded the park to the friends and families laughing together to the screams of excitement that filled the air, Cedar Point is an amazing place to spend a Sunday.
After going on four thrill-inducing (for me at least) rides we decided to go grab some food. While sitting at a diner theme restaurant eating chicken tenders we discussed our experiences growing up and at Oberlin. I’ve always felt that one of the best things about Oberlin was the diverse thoughts that exist throughout the campus. This rang true as my friend and I detailed the differences and similarities we experienced growing up in different parts of the world and how that contributed to shaping who we are today. Oberlin is a place that brings people together and encourages diverse thought within the community, which leads to amazing conversations.
After getting lunch we went on a few warm-up rides again (this time I made sure they were warmups) and also did some of the carnival game activities at the park. I was happy because at one of the carnival games I was able to win my partner, who is studying abroad right now, a toy snake which is her favorite reptile. I was able to win the toy snake through a game where the lady in charge of the game had to guess how much I weighed. She guessed 15 pounds less than I actually weigh, which led to me joking with my friend and asking if I really look that skinny. The next activity that I tried was to hang on an oversized pull-up bar for one minute and forty seconds. After battling it out I ended up coming up eight seconds short but excitement filled the air as Oberlin students in the area cheered me on to hold onto the bar as long as possible. Even when I failed to reach the one minute and forty second threshold I was met with high fives and classmates hyping me up for holding on for so long. This is a microcosm of Oberlin: through the good moments, the exciting moments, and the stressful moments your Oberlin family will always be there to cheer you on.
After going on a few more rides it was time to call it a day. We all got back on the bus and recapped our experiences at the park. Oberlin's activities always lead to new bonding, new friendships, and the building of a closer community throughout the student population. After not going to Cedar Point once over a four-year span, my friend and I are already talking about when the next time we can go is! There is truly nothing like experiencing new activities with your Oberlin family at your side!
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November 11, 2023