Oberlin Blogs

Departing the Blogs (2): 10 Things I've Missed

May 29, 2011

Patrick Doherty ’11

Part two of my farewell to the blogs! The theme of this post is that the transition from high school to college can be difficult and there will be things that you miss about your pre-college life. I think that you can gather from my other posts how much I love this place, so I'm not worried about anyone getting the impression that I would rather be elsewhere. As I told Brandi one day, my agenda for life is and always will be "I love Oberlin and I want other people to love it, too."

The four parts in this series are:

  • Part One: Ten Things I Love

  • Part Two: Ten Things I've Missed

  • Part Three: Ten Things I Could Have Done Without

  • Part Four: Ten Things I Learned

Ten Things I've Missed While At Oberlin

Missed thing #1: Family
This one shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. Leaving California to go to college in Ohio meant that I put a 2500 mile barrier between myself and my family. I have come to both love and detest this barrier, depending on my mood any given day. The beautiful thing about the last two years, though, is that my wonderful younger sister, Christina, has been attending the College of Wooster, which is just an hour away from Oberlin! Being in Ohio has meant that I have seen much less of my family over the last four years and I have greatly missed their physical presence in my life.

Missed thing #2: Watching my youngest sister grow up
When I left for college, my youngest sister (Hi, Sara!) was eight years old. Now she's the ripe old age of twelve and I've feel as though I've missed out on the opportunity to watch her grow up. Not being around is difficult for me and I know that it has been very difficult for her as well. I've missed countless concerts, recitals, performances, and other events in her life that I wish I could have been at in order to offer her my support. She's an amazing kid and I know that she's going to grow up to be an amazing young adult and I can't wait to see it happen. I've missed you, Sara, and I hope you won't hold the fact that I went to college so far away against me.

Missed thing #3: California
California and Ohio are completely different places, but that probably goes without saying. As much as I have come to appreciate Ohio and the Midwest, I am a California boy at heart. And, to be quite honest, I have missed having actual topographical diversity. Northeast Ohio is very...flat. More on this in my next post.

Missed thing #4: Reading for fun
Being a history major, I read a lot. And while I usually enjoy my reading or at least find it interesting, I have missed having the time and desire to pick up a book and read for fun. When you're reading a gazillion (rough estimate) pages per week, the last thing you want to do when you're done is read more. My solution to this problem has been to invest in audio books. Sure, they take longer to get through than a book would if I were reading it, but this way I can still delve into my beloved fictional worlds without having to strain my eyes any more than is necessary.

Missed thing #5: Mandatory course subjects
Zoë mentioned this in one of her blog posts, but I think it bears repeating. In high school I managed to be a fairly well-rounded student. I continued to push myself in most course areas beyond my comfort level. Now that I'm at Oberlin, I have the freedom to basically take whatever classes I want. This is both a blessing and a curse. I have taken a rather ridiculous number of history courses over the last four years but have been seriously lacking math and science. Also, there are random gaps in my courses that you might not expect. Take, for example, the fact that I haven't taken an English class since high school. I love that I've been able to indulge myself in my areas of interest, but, in some ways, mandatory course subjects would be nice to have again. I obviously lack the willpower to make it happen on my own, so having it forced upon me in high school was something that I took for granted.

Missed Thing #6: Smoke-free environments
Growing up in California, my exposure to smoking was extraordinarily limited (yay!). Now, it's not like Oberlin students smoke excessively or anything, but I've definitely missed not having to walk through a haze of cigarette smoke on the way to class. Oh well. What can you do?

Missed Thing #7: Not having to justify my beliefs
Hear me out for a minute on this one. As an Obie, I like to ask people why. This is a favorite question of mine, and I am definitely not alone in this matter. After a while, however, having people constantly questioning why you believe what you believe gets tiring. I'm happy to discuss my beliefs, but sometimes it's nice to not feel like I have to justify my beliefs constantly. Again, a nit-picky complaint, but one that has definitely been in the back of my head for the last four years.

Missed Thing #8: My life revolving around music
As I have written previously, I initially applied to Oberlin as a double degree applicant. I've had wonderful musical opportunities as a college student, but in high school my life was music. To be honest, I've sometimes felt as though it would be nice to return to that mentality. Now that music has become more of a hobby than anything else, it has become increasingly easy to prioritize other aspects of my life over music. Honors took precedence over everything else this semester, which means that I haven't actually played piano or trumpet in a couple months now. I'm going to try to remedy this over the summer.

Missed Thing #9: A sense of home
Having left home, Walnut Creek doesn't really feel like home. Oberlin, while wonderful, lacks a key component of home - my family. I've been stuck in limbo for the last four years without a true sense of belonging. This sense of limbo has been amplified by the fact that I graduate on Monday and enter the real world by returning to the Bay Area. It will be nice to be back in the Bay, but I know that it won't be the same as when I left.

Missed Thing #10: Alone time
Oberlin students everywhere all the time! This is fun fun fun fun! Having roommates for three of the past four years has meant that I get very little time to myself. Though I have what appears to be a bubbly outgoing personality, I am an introvert at heart and have struggled for the past four years to set aside time for myself every day. This is important. Find a space on campus where you can be alone for an hour. I won't reveal my place on campus, but it has worked well while I have used it. Shutting myself off from technology has also been helpful. I have struggled with the fact that I want to do everything all the time but I also get tired of being social rather quickly.

Despite these 10 things, I still love Oberlin with all my heart and I'm going to miss Oberlin dearly when I leave on Tuesday.

Quote time!

"Oh, but anyway, Toto, we're home. Home! And this is my room, and you're all here. And I'm not gonna leave here ever, ever again, because I love you all, and - oh, Auntie Em - there's no place like home!" - The Wizard of Oz

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