Oberlin Blogs

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

On Team Sports and Team Shirts

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.


Getting Lucky in Kentucky

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.


The Long Road to a Graduation Speech

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.


Two Years in Rural China

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.


"Obama-rama" Strikes Oberlin

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.