One of the biggest regrets I have about my time at Oberlin is that I have underutilized the Arb over the years.
For those who do not know, the Arb is Oberlin’s beautiful arboretum. It is filled with trees, creeks, lakes, and more peaceful aspects of nature that are meant to be embraced by those who enter it. It is located on the very far southern part of campus. It may be a bit of a walk to get there, but the experience you will receive once you get there is definitely worth the effort. That place is incredibly gorgeous, and I feel as though I don’t go there as much as I should.
I think I have been to the Arb three times in total since I first arrived at Oberlin nearly three years ago.
Yeah, I know, I know. I have been speaking so fondly about this place, yet I rarely go there. What’s up with that? Well, unfortunately, I always found an excuse to postpone a trip to the Arb. It was always something that was “in the way.” “Oh, I have a big paper deadline coming up, so I should work on that instead.” Or it’s an excuse like, “I have football practice later, so I don’t want to tire my body out on the walk there.” Or my favorite excuse, “I’m too tired to go.” Over the years, I have thought of so many reasons to not go to this beautiful part of Oberlin, and now hindsight is showing me that I have been heavily missing out on it.
I can think of so many fun activities that I could do at the Arb, especially when I think about how many of my friends could be involved.
I doubt that I’ll be the one to try this, but camping out at the Arb could definitely be possible with the right equipment. There’s enough nature around to fulfill many camping activities without being in too much danger. I’m not really the type of person to go camping, but I know that many Obies would be fond of that idea. Another activity that I actually would consider is fishing. See, the cool thing about the Arb is that it has a reservoir there. The reservoir is split into two huge lakes that probably have a ton of fish in them. Unless fishing is prohibited there (which I doubt), I’m sure the experience would be really cool. All you would need to get is some fishing poles and some bait, and boom. You have enough to go fishing. If you want to make the fishing trip even more enjoyable, you could invite some friends and bring a cooler with some food and drinks. You could also bring a speaker and jam to some of your favorite music while you are out there. Honestly, this could be an event that lasts for hours, if not the entire day.
This may seem a bit too crazy for some people (including myself), but you could also go sledding in the Arb during the winter.
I’m not too fond of the freezing weather we have to experience in Ohio during the winter, so you might not see me at the Arb during that time. However, sledding could be a really fun activity to engage with while you are out there. It snows a LOT all the time in Oberlin, and there are some slopes in the arb that would be perfect for sledding, so there will be plenty of opportunities to go out there and have a wonderful time in the winter. As of right now, I don’t think I want to go out there and freeze, but I may experience a change of heart by the time winter comes around. After all, it is going to be my senior year, and I don’t want to leave Oberlin with any regrets, so you might just see me out there this winter!
So, what inspired my sudden realization about the Arb being a place I don’t visit enough?
Well, I have been spending a lot more time with nature this summer, despite the overwhelming heat. I have taken plenty of hikes and visited many beautiful environments, and I would always catch myself comparing many of those environments to the Arb. Whenever I would visit this lake that is right next to my home, I would picture the lakes that are at the Arb. This doesn’t take away from the beauty of either aspect of nature, but there are definitely comparisons that can be made. I have been keeping myself pretty preoccupied with working and hanging out with friends and family over the summer, However, I would make time to spend outside so that I can embrace nature. I realized that I could do the same thing while I am at Oberlin. I just never made the time to do so because once again, I always came up with excuses.
The Arb can be a great environment to clear your mind in. Its peaceful vibe is unlike any other location on Oberlin’s campus.
College is a very stressful place to be in. Trust me; there will be times when you will feel overwhelmed by everything that is going on. (Looking at you, midterms and finals...) Sometimes, you may need a peaceful outlet to get your mind off of all the responsibilities you have to fulfill. The Arb can be the perfect environment for you to do that in. Think about all the peaceful activities you can do while you’re there! You don’t even have to engage in anything that is too physically demanding. You could just walk amongst the trees and relax. You could find a tree stump somewhere and stare at the beautiful lakes. I know one of the activities that I will engage with this fall is listening to some of my favorite music while I walk through the Arb. Could you imagine vibing to some of your favorite peaceful music while you’re watching a beautiful sunset on one of the lakes? That sounds so... exciting! I can’t believe that I have slept on the Arb for all of these years, but that will not happen anymore. When I return to campus this fall, I hope to make the most out of this underutilized environment. Hopefully, I will have many of my friends tag along with me. I could only imagine all the amazing times that are going to be had at the Arb this year. There are many adventures that are meant to be enjoyed at the Arb, and I have been sleeping on them for way too long. With this being my last year as an Oberlin student, I want to make sure that I visit every environment that Oberlin has to offer so that I don’t miss out on anything. The Arb isn’t the only place I look forward to visiting more, but it is definitely one of the top places on my priority list. It is time for me to stop being lazy and start embracing more of Obieland. Don’t wait until it is your senior year to come to this realization like I did. Go ahead and take a visit to the Arb as soon as possible! You will not regret the experience.