The time has come! My honors thesis is complete, my requirements are finished, and, in about a week, I will graduate as a member of Oberlin College's class of 2011. I've loved having the ability to blog about my experiences and, before I leave you all for good, I much more I'd like to say.
When I first started blogging back in October (boy, time sure does fly), I wrote four different posts about visiting Oberlin. Ma'ayan, in her infinite blogging wisdom, suggested that I write a four-part series as my farewell to Oberlin's blogosphere. Gotta love parallels.
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
So let's jump right into it, shall we?
Favorite Thing #1: The People
If you've spent time on the blogs, you've probably figured out that Oberlin is full of incredible people who live absolutely fascinating lives. It has been a privilege and an honor to be part of this community. I'd like to take this opportunity to highlight three of my favorite students that I've encountered while at Oberlin. My apologies to friends who aren't on this list - I promise that I love you just as much as the people on this list.
Helena, who I met through our mutual work through admissions. We've had many adventures together, including her visiting me over fall break. We're kindred spirits. We make quite the vocal duo, but I love our rapport and how much we understand each other. We will unintentionally coordinate outfits and we'll often end up saying the exact same thing at the exact same time. I'm going to miss you, dear.
Liz and I immediately bonded as admissions interns, both of us having worked for the office for quite some time. Our nerdy bonding peaked during epic hours-long period of time devoted to playing games on Sporcle. Our combined trivia knowledge proved to be quite a force. We became an inseparable admissions team and we constantly teased each other about how our half of California was the better half (she's from the LA area, I'm from the Bay Area). We will be reunited for commencement in a bit over a week! I can't wait!
No joke, I did not like Brandi when I first met her. Brandi is shamelessly herself and doesn't mold herself to people when she meets them. She eventually grew on me and she has become the most steadfast influence in my life. We meet for lunch every week and rant, rave, and work out any problems we might be having. I adore Brandi and will miss her dearly.
P.S. Jordan, you got your own post which is why I didn't list you here. Also, Anna just wrote an amazing post for Ma'ayan, so I left her off this list, too. And Ellen got a post earlier this semester, so I will send you back to that post.
Favorite Thing #2: The Atmosphere
Until I got to Oberlin, I never imagined that I would find a place that valued learning for the sake of learning. My high school certainly didn't value learning of any kind (unless you count regurgitating information in the form of standardized tests), so it was hard for me to imagine a place where people wanted to learn. Oberlin students are those people. We want to learn. Constantly. I'm pretty sure I've learned just as much from my peers as from my professors, for which I am extremely grateful. I'll miss learning for the sake of learning and being around people who value learning.
Favorite Thing #3: Knowing Someone Everywhere
This is pretty self-explanatory, really. Oberlin has enough students that I don't, by any means, know everyone, but I always know someone no matter where I am. This feeling can be amazing, but it can also be overwhelming for people like myself who like alone time. Nevertheless, knowing that I'll always run into someone I know at an event that I go to has been wonderfully convenient.
Favorite Thing #4: Music
Oberlin IS music. Not just the music that happens because of the conservatory, but other music as well. Oberlin students - myself included - live and breathe music. From opera productions to orchestra concerts to Black River Belles' shows to randomly streaming WOBC late at night, I have loved all of my Oberlin musical experiences. I've had opportunity to continue with my personal musical exploits while simultaneously being exposed to new music all the time. You would be hard pressed to find a spot on campus where you'd never hear music, especially when spring makes its triumphant return to campus. As a self-professed lover of music, I have been able to constantly indulge myself over the last four years.
Favorite Thing #5: Support (institutional and otherwise)
In terms of institutionalized support, I'd like to share this anecdote with you. After an event which I was not required to attend, but most people assumed I would be there, Oberlin's phenomenal Dean of Students, Linda Gates, sent an email to me to check in and make sure that I was okay and that there wasn't anything wrong. Let me repeat that. The Dean of Students of Oberlin College took time out of her day to email me and check in with me (for the record, I was fine, but I was a bit behind on my honors research so I opted to skip the event). I have met so many incredibly supportive faculty, staff, and administrators that I have felt truly blessed. After I resigned from Student Senate, I got several supportive emails that were completely unexpected. I love Oberlin and, over the last four years, it has become clear to me that Oberlin faculty, staff, and administrators love the students here.
Favorite Thing #6: Late-Night Conversations
One of the best things about the atmosphere at Oberlin is that it fosters my enthusiasm for academia. This means that I will have nerdy late-night conversations with my friends all the time. These conversations cover everything from historical events, philosophy, ethics, religion, etc. When my friend Ellen was back in town recently, we had a delightful conversation with our friend Seán in which we crafted a plot for a musical about Julie Taymor entitled "Taymor, Mi Amour." Let's just say that the plot is even more ridiculous than the title.
Favorite Thing #7: Active Minds
I have blogged about Active Minds twice, but it deserves a third mention. This organization has given me a cause that I can wholeheartedly support and an opportunity to change the Oberlin community for the better. It has been an incredible experience to see an organization be built from the ground up. Katie and Brenna are taking over the organization next year and I know that they're going to be incredible. I'm so excited to see all the great change they're going to help bring to Oberlin.
Favorite Thing #8: Office of Admissions
My final three favorite things about Oberlin are admissions-related. I have worked for the admissions office for over three years and the people in that office have come to define my Oberlin experience. Over the last three years, I've had three different positions in the office which have led me to interact with countless prospective students. There have been so many days that giving a tour has brightened my mood and turned my day around for the better, and I have the delightful prospies that I've encountered to thank for that. The admissions office has become my Oberlin family. They've been there for me every step of my way through Oberlin and I largely credit the people in the office for the reason I stayed at Oberlin. I love these people, and I honestly don't know what I'm going to do without them.
Favorite Thing #9: "You were my tour guide/interviewer!"
Though these interactions can sometimes be awkward, I secretly love it when current students stop me on campus to tell me that they took my tour or that I was their interviewer. As someone who is notoriously bad at remembering people, I don't often remember them, but I love knowing that I was able to give people a positive portrayal of Oberlin that influenced their decision to enroll. The best aspect of this experience is getting to know these people and see them blossom on campus. I'm going to miss this experience with 2015.
Favorite Thing #10: Jen
Last, but certainly not least, is Jen. Jen runs the Campus Visit Office and has been my boss for the last three years. She's the one who, despite my nerves, decided to hire me as a tour guide. She's been an incredibly powerful influence in my life for the last three years. I am incredibly grateful for her presence in my life. She puts up with my ranting and listens, but is also totally willing to give me a kick in the butt and doesn't put up with any of my nonsense. She is extraordinarily under-appreciated and I have come to respect her experience and opinions. Of everyone I have worked with professionally at Oberlin, I am going to miss her the most. Jen is incredible. I am lucky to have her in my life.
Honorable Mention: Lunchbox Bunch!
When I began drafting these final posts, Ma'ayan snuck into my drafts and left me sneaky comments and messages. She's the one who added Lunchbox Bunch to my list. It's good she did, since Lunchbox Bunch is worthy of a mention. Beginning in the fall, several friends began conspiring to have a weekly lunch so we could all make sure to see each other at least once a week. The original Lunchbox Bunch was: Ma'ayan, Brandi, Helena, Ali, Colin, and myself. Various individuals have fluctuated in and out of the group, and Lunchbox Bunch has grown in numbers throughout the year. These weekly lunches have helped bring sanity into my rather hectic life and seeing these people, especially when we're all together, never fails to brighten my day. I will miss you all.
"When the dog bites,
When the bee stings,
When I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don't feel so bad." - My Favorite Things