Oberlin Blogs

A Day in the Life

May 14, 2017

Teague Harvey ’19

May 3rd, 2017.

I woke up with a groan. I had been up late the night before; one of my friends had stopped by out of the blue, and we had ended up chatting for about an hour. It meant that I didn't get to sleep until about 2am.

I turn off my alarm. It's a Wednesday, my busiest day - but it's also the last Wednesday of my semester, as next week is Finals.


I share my breakfast with Marcus - a Geo major who just so happened to always have his breakfast in the East (my dorm) lounge next to the kitchen at the same time every morning that I did. So, we've struck up the unspoken tradition of sharing our first meal of the day together. We end up chatting for too long, and I know that I'm going to be late to Capoeira. As usual.


I finally leave East, only taking my water bottle, wearing my 'uniform' (black pants, covered shoes, and an Oberlin Capoeira shirt). I'll be back at my dorm for my backpack later; but there's not enough time to pack it right now.


For your own imagery, it should be noted that I travel across campus by walking, with headphones in, flipping my begleri around my fingertips.

Recently, I've been having an intense love affair with this song.
I've been inspired by a lot of dance performances in the past few days; and for some reason I've been imagining a dance piece that uses this song for a total tonal dissonance. It would start off as a 'serious' piece with one or two characters with 'modern dancy type' music, and then some section of this piece would play, and there would be dozens of fast moving dancers doing something very specific, with one main character in the centre stage just totally not in it. That character wouldn't have any idea what's going on, and the piece would shift to total absurdity. It's just a half-baked idea.


It's our last Workout Wednesday of the semester. In Capoeira, Justin (our Professor and Mestre) has a system of focusing on different elements of Capoeira each day, which we've very roughly stuck to: Music Mondays, Workout Wednesdays, and Philosophy Fridays.

As soon as I enter, everyone's already jogging around the beautiful Warner Main space to warm up. My body complains, but I do the same.

Not much time later, my eyebrows have stopped serving their evolutionary purpose and I'm working up a good sweat.

The rest of the class passes, roughly the same as usual - working movements of Capoeira, and then having several small rodas (circles in which the game of Capoeira is played) in which we focus on playing low.


The class is just about over, but not quite - Justin calls us all into a circle. It's philosophizing time. He asks us to reflect on all the Workout Wednesdays, and we talk about how wrong we were in the first class saying 'I can't do that!' We reflect on the idea of maintaining sustainability, in difficult 2-hour Capoeira classes, but also in life.

Towards the end, Aliya asks something along the lines of: "This is addressed to everyone, but especially seniors; how do you not let time pass you by? I feel like my sophomore year has slipped by; I've done a lot, but it also feels like I've done nothing at all." The question immediately grabbed me, as I related to that feeling.

A lot of answers were given, and interesting thoughts, which I'm not quite sure I can do justice to.

Justin said that we need to experience time as all past, present, and future - i.e., we're aware of our own past, we are mindful of the present moment, and we have some sort of hope and plan for our future. It sounds too simplistic, but something in the way he said it really resonated with me. I realized that I had been struggling with both being present and structuring my plans for the future.

Other seniors chipped in. Making sure that you're doing things for yourself, and not giving all your time away to others. Being intentional with everything that you do.

Most concretely, someone suggested taking more snapshots of our memories - even if it's just a picture of someone smiling. I recognized the wisdom in that, and decided that I needed to write this blog.


After some quick hip-flexor stretches, I put in the headphones, pull out the Begleri, and head to Hales.

This Wednesday is a little different. I'm presenting an 'ad hoc' proposal to the Club Sports Financial Council to request a bunch of money to buy a new Tumbling Club crash mat. Our current one is really old, and the last admins of Tumbling Club told me that I need to replace it.

Luckily, my proposal was accepted - unluckily, it meant I still have a bunch of bureaucratic stuff I need to do. What address is the mat going to be shipped to, and how is it going to be stored over summer?


I head to lunch late, having gotten a 'save plate' at my co-op, KHC. Technically, my lunch crew (where a few co-op members clean all the pots and dishes) has already started, but I need to eat. I wolf down my plate so that I can get to crewing.


As usual, I'm on pot sinks, so I'm scrubbing the big pots and pans, trays, and cutting board - it's the least liked station, but I don't mind it too much, so I do it every time.

Anabel and I talk about our summer plans over crew. She'll be doing research, and I'll be in NYC and then at ADF, a summer dance program.


I finish crew, and head back to East.

I decide to start taking some pictures for this blog - it's a beautiful day.... for once. It's been raining a lot, and we haven't gotten many good spring days this semester.

That's East to the right (yes, it's shaped like an E, and it's on the East side of North Quad... real creative).

I crawl into my bed, and with headphones in listen to my napping song.
Still, it takes me a bit of time to fall asleep.


I woke up with a groan. I had been up late the night before; my friend... wait a second. It takes me a second to reorient myself, and my muscles feel like they're full of acid.


I head to my CS Architecture class late. I think there's a pattern here...

In class, we continued our unit on cache memory. Basically, CPUs have really small but fast memory, and RAM, where program memory is loaded from, is (comparatively) really slow. To solve this problem, hardware engineers figured out that they could put a small but fast bit of memory in between RAM and the CPU to act as a 'buffer' of sorts.

It turns out, this only works because programs don't read data at random - if they did, this cache memory wouldn't help at all. However, because programs tend to reuse the same data/read from nearby blocks, you save a lot of time by using a cache.

Usefully for this blog, this idea represents something at the core of Computer Science, and something that's really drawn me to it - taking advantage of patterns.


Before my next class, I decide I need to take a chocolate milk break, so I head to Decafe (the go to food place/convenience store on campus) with a friend, Matt, from Architecture. We have a conversation about this ad. Seriously, he's just advertising the concept of chocolate milk. It's hilarious. Matt's always good company; it's too bad that he's graduating this year.

However, I can never think about chocolate milk without thinking of the NZ Lewis Road Creamery Chocolate Milk Shortage of '14. Troubled times indeed.


I head back to the same room in King to continue my education with algorithms. We talked about the solutions to our second take-home exam, and went through Local Search in the context of the classic Travelling Salesman Problem.


On my way back to East, I pick up a protein bar from Decafe to accommodate eating a late dinner.

One of the many times I've passed through Wilder Bowl (the central location on campus) today.


In my room, I decided to listen to the rest of We Need Medicine by The Fratellis, considering how much I liked that one song from this album. I normally listen to just songs, and not albums. It was a good choice.

I responded to emails.

  • I had a reminder from Nusha (a dance professor) that the dancers in DANC 211 (a production project class I'm in) were going to meet up with the Special Topics in Choreography (DANC 395) class tomorrow for a debrief of the pieces we'd been making together and finally performed last night.
  • KHC had delayed elections of the iDLECs for next year (interim DLECs, the people who run the co-op during the first two weeks of the school year) because not enough people were at lunch.
  • OSWING was looking for Blues DJs for the upcoming Blues Prom this weekend.
  • OST (the Office of the Student Treasurer) was closing on Friday, so I needed to get in that form for OCircus! to pay for the tickets to a circus show in Cleveland that we were subsidizing for the student body.
  • The dance department was promoting some random summer dance program.
  • Someone in OCircus was trying to organise paying for dinner for an Oberlin alum in town.
  • I had an email about the tax-exempt form I needed to send the seller of that mat from my Ad Hoc.
  • ResEd had sent me an info packet about Closing (when everyone moves out).
  • I had my first info letter from AIT-Budapest (my study away program), which was just waaaay too much information for me to read right then and there.
  • A couple emails from my family about organising travel to my brother's graduation this summer from Stanford.
  • An email from Koreo (a hip-hop dance group I'm in) talking about our upcoming performance at Solarity (a once a semester rave/music/party/big event/thing).
  • Another email about seeing if anyone was interested in Marquise's 'Day of Dance' senior project.


I sat down and finally starting writing this blog from some notes I had taken throughout the day.


Ok. I'm gonna leave in 20 minutes to go to Tumbling. It's time for the pre-hype hype.

I revisit my notes from the series of workshops we had last week with a professional gymnast; I made significant progress on my Round off-Back handspring, and I'm wondering if tonight I'll add the back tuck onto that to finally finish the classic gymnast RO-BHS-Back tuck combo. This is only a RO-BHS x3, but it looks nice and it's been one of my study videos for a while.

Or, maybe, I'll finally come back to working on my B twist. It's been a few months since I've focused on it, so maybe it's time.

Or, maybe I'll work on my side tuck. I have trouble getting it to not be like my front tuck, the axis isn't quite all the way over the side. It's something I've been focusing on the last month.

Or, maybe I'll work on my Webster. I tried this out on Sunday; My front tuck is super solid, and the Webster is just a tuck with a different set, so I thought it would be easy... but it's not.

Or, maybe I'll work on my full off the mini-tramp. I thought a full was just a layout with a 360 rotation, but I learned in the workshops that a full is actually a half/barani (180 rotation), and then you ROTATE THE OTHER WAY OUT OF IT. Siick.

It's likely that I'll work on a couple of these skills. You never know until you warm up, and who's there. Letting my sessions be more fluid rather than have more strict goals has allowed myself to just have more fun with it.

I watch videos.

But that's my problem with training; I tend to overanalyse and overthink. I need to get out of that sometimes, and just throw stuff over and over and over and over and over until I land it. Like this very dedicated skater dude.

But the time has finally come.


I head to Tumble, listening to my classic pre-hype Tumbling song.


I tumble. And I have a great time, with great people. Even though I really love my Capoeira and Algorithms classes (and Architecture is interesting sometimes), for the first time all day, I feel truly grounded, and at peace.

I also did some cool stuff, like some RO-BHSs. I'm finally over the plateau; I feel comfortable enough to just throw these over and over and over again until I'm too tired to continue. Now I just need to get the reps in.

I also land the barani, much to my own surprise.


After my session, I head to Talcott and eat my save plate from dinner. No one is in the co-op, so I eat in solitude.


On my way back to East, I stop at Decafe for another protein bar. Writing this blog, I've realized that maybe I have a problem..


I continue writing this blog.


I've been productive enough for today; I stop writing, and read this book I've been unable to put down - Babylon's Ashes, Book 6 of the Expanse by James S. A. Corey. It's exactly the kind of big epic 'realistic' sci-fi space opera that is perfectly my jam.


Finally, I go to sleep; or rather, lie in bed and wait for sleep to take me. I didn't do any homework today, but that's all right. I've got time tomorrow.

Just another Wednesday from Spring 2017.

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