Two years and four days ago today I submitted my ED1 application to Oberlin. Two years and four days ago, as a nervous high school senior in California, I clicked "Submit," sat back, and waited. And waited. And waited. Thirty-five days later, I got a text from my dad that an envelope (a large one!) from Oberlin had arrived, and that he would leave it for me to open. Thumbs furious against my phone screen, I insisted he open it immediately, too anxious to wait two hours to get home. Once he (finally) responded letting me know I'd gotten in, the rest of the day, the school year, and the summer floated by in a light-headed blur as I went over packing lists, orientation schedules, and flight itineraries.
Two years later, in a blogger meeting, Ma'ayan mentioned how quickly the ED1 and ED2 deadlines were approaching. Oberlin being a tiny liberal arts school in Ohio, people are always curious how students end up here of all places, and I would have been too.
When I was applying to college, I pictured myself going to school in a big city, drinking coffee with friends on stone steps outside of beautiful collegiate buildings and laughing in admissions-poster-worthy poses. When I was building my college list, Oberlin was included almost as an afterthought, when my mom mentioned it would be worth exploring. It was the college that stood apart from the rest, that had initially intrigued me with postcards that seemed to revolve largely around white squirrels, fall leaves, and the breadth of the curriculum (after a year and a half here, this is a fair summary). While Oberlin hung out on my list for a while as the curious little school, it wasn't what I thought I wanted for myself.
When the pamphlet for the fly-in program came, I was fortunate enough to be able to go. I don't think that Oberlin has a fly-in from San Francisco anymore, but if you are able to visit campus I highly recommend it. As soon as I stepped foot on campus I fell in love. It's hard to explain why in a blog post, but something about campus felt so right. It was the first school I visited where I could immediately picture myself, and the first school I visited where the tour guides, interviewers, and overnight hosts seemed genuinely happy.
After two nights, I was sold. I didn't see any white squirrels, the fall leaves hadn't started falling, and I only sat in on one class, but I didn't care. I knew Oberlin was the place for me, and after tossing my original college list, I started writing my application essay. I wrote most of it on the flight back to San Francisco, and two months and many drafts later, submitted my application.
A year and a half in, I'm still happy to be here. There are no skyscrapers here, but stone steps and coffee shops abound. Every day I'm learning about things that I could be doing here, and every day I have to learn what I'm capable of doing. Even with stress from classes, co-op equipment breaking down at 1am, work, and shows, I can't imagine being anywhere else.
If you're applying (or have just applied!) to Oberlin, good luck! If you end up here, I hope that your experience is as fun, crazy, and hectic as mine. If you don't end up here for whatever reason, don't worry. I was lucky enough to find the things about Oberlin that made it feel like home quickly, but no matter where you end up you'll find your niche, your people, and your happiness.
To help relieve stress while you work on your application or wait for your decision letters, here are some photos of my pugs and goats:
Magnus (left) relaxing against Saul (right) during a nice drive.
Magnus licking his lips after a tasty treat.
Magnus finds out I'm using his pictures on my blog.
Dainty June (the goat) confused why I keep saying "cheese."
Violet perched on the chicken coop.
Magnus is jealous because the goats get milk out of a bottle.
Magnus begging for milk.
Turns out, pugs (or at least this pug) love goat milk!
The goats get nippy in the morning.
Magnus was thrilled about Halloween.
Saul is confused why I keep sticking a camera in his face.