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Daniel Tam-Claiborne ’09

You guys seem nice, so I'm going to be real honest with you. Here goes:

My name's Daniel. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and am a proud and outspoken half-Asian. I turned 21 in August and can assure you that, no, your life doesn't change, but yes, your liver does begin to loathe you. My goals in the next five years are to go skydiving, become fluent in four languages, and to graduate.

Transitioning to Oberlin wasn't as hard as I had imagined, and that's saying a lot for a person who, prior to enrolling, had scarcely been outside the city. There's a lot to love about living in small-town Oberlin - stars are actually quite pretty now that I can see them, grassy fields are lovely things to lie on, and a hill-less landscape makes biking a breeze. But I must say that at heart, I will always be a consummate New Yorker - jaywalking, subway-riding, wise-talking, Gray's Papaya-eating, and all.

I'm a senior, Creative Writing and East Asian Studies double major. My hope is to use my liberal arts degree to become a travel writer (slash) foreign broadcast correspondent in Asia. I've taken Japanese for five years and spent the fall of my junior year studying abroad in Osaka, Japan. I lived with a host family that barely spoke any English and made food that was criminally delicious.

At Oberlin, what it is that I do is hard to narrow down. It's amazing how effectively friends can convince you to "get involved" over the course of three years. I have taught local elementary school kids about the wonders of manatees, edited and laid-out a literary magazine, washed dishes for a year at one of the campus dining halls, co-hosted a weekly jazz radio show on Oberlin's own WOBC, helped to plan two biennial Asian American student conferences, and was the captain of an 0-10 intramural basketball team (who said Oberlin students weren't sporty?). I was an RA for two years, worked in the Multicultural Resource Center, and practically live in the classroom at Mudd library.

I have an unnatural obsession with white rice, and if I could, I would eat everything with chopsticks. My interests include parentheses, '90s one-hit wonders, marzipan, endorphins, juggling, love letters, and pontificating on my life (read: this bio).

I may simultaneously be the most interesting and most boring person you'll ever meet.

Entries from this blogger

May 20, 2009
Thankfully, there were senior members who talked me through the best ways to peel garlic, fry potatoes, and make an omelet. Never would I have imagined that a group of students could be efficient and capable enough to orchestrate what functioned like a self-contained dining hall.
May 10, 2009
In high school, due surely to a lack of adequate allowance, I sold cans of soda that I bought in bulk from Costco and kept stored in a portable cooler to students just coming out of gym class. It would follow that a lifetime's worth of amateur experience culminated in my participation in the Entrepreneurship Scholars program.
April 19, 2009
Incredibly disillusioned by my middle school experience--finishing my season on the second string basketball team with a total of two rebounds and a steal--I was hopeful that college could renew my muddled notions about playing basketball for something bigger than myself.
April 4, 2009
If someone told me six months ago that for spring break of my senior year I would be living on a farm in rural Kentucky for nine days with scarcely any internet or phone and sharing a room with eleven people I had never met before, I would have laughed in their face. All I can say is what a difference a week makes.
January 31, 2009
Not impressed? Well, I bet you won't believe what arrived in my mailbox this morning.
January 29, 2009
I learned that there is a certain art to pie-making, kneading from the center out, making sure that the middle isn't too thin, and being careful to leave a slightly raised border along the outside so there's some semblance of crust after it bakes.
December 30, 2008
I don't know what it is about giving a speech that makes it so affecting, its ability to connect with and instill hope and pride in the hearts of listeners. All I knew at the time was that it was something I had to experience doing.
December 22, 2008
It is fitting that even in my last semester here at Oberlin, I am fortunate enough to be taking advantage of one more opportunity that this school has offered--one that is wholly unique to graduates of Oberlin. For two years, I will be teaching English in the northern Chinese province of Taigu through the Oberlin Shansi two-year fellowship program.
November 18, 2008
Over this past weekend, I decided to make a trip out to Tufts University in Medford, MA to see a group of friends perform in a Burlesque Troupe that they helped to found on campus. Little did I know that I would get the added bonus of recreating the lore of my junior year college trips.
November 6, 2008
It is hard for me to describe the atmosphere I witnessed that night, but it was certainly nothing like I had ever experienced before. Surrounded by friends and strangers, new faces and old, it hardly mattered whether you knew the person standing next to you or not--but you were inevitably going to give them a hug.

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