During orientation week, amidst scheduled panels, picnics, informative fairs, lots of hand shaking, and a Social Justice Institute that deserves its own post, I tried to collect as many as I could.
I find it fascinating the reasons why, and from where, people gather here in Oberlin. It's certainly not for the setting. Or maybe it is. If cornfields are your thing. I've found though, that people come here for the community. We come to engage with fascinating, passionate, and active people. We come to hear their stories. So here is mine.
As a bright eyed and bushy tailed freshwomyn in high school, my World History teacher gave me a book titled Let Me Stand Alone by Rachel Corrie. It was her writings spanning from early childhood to young adulthood. She grew up in the Olympic belt and ended up being killed while protesting in Palestine. I deeply admired her writing and her passion and wanted to pursue a life where I too could be passionate about things and work to change them. That same teacher also really encouraged me to go after what I wanted.
He recommended I start looking at colleges early and steered me towards The College Board's website. (If there are any prospies reading, it's such a good tool, I highly recommend it!) Ten minutes on the site and one quiz later, Oberlin was on a list of many schools that met my interests. It was small, liberal arts, with strong sciences and humanities, and just quirky enough that I could envision myself being there. So I clicked on the school's website and found a page called the Oberlin blogs.
I scoured them. I loved them. I read them all the time. I found them to be so insightful and the more I read about Oberlin students' lives, the more I was reminded of Corrie's and of what I wanted my life to be like. So I spent the next four years frequently reading my favorite bloggers' new posts. By junior year I knew that Oberlin really was a contender. That summer I went on the Ohio Six with mom. The Ohio Six is a three-day tour throughout the state of six small liberal arts colleges (if you're in the Midwest and able to make it, I highly recommend going). Oberlin was the last school I visited. I immediately fell in love with campus. I had a cool tour guide who talked a lot about the Politics department. We walked through the AJLC, and I was amazed by the possibility of having an energy positive building I could take classes in. One last stop downtown at The Feve, a super good restaurant with delicious tator tots, and I was sold.
November of my senior year of high school I applied Early Decision. I got in. I did a little dance. I made a little love (by kissing the Oberlin poster in my room). I called my mom and she still has the voicemail of me shouting "I got in to Oberlin!" Then, three months later, I packed up and moved in to Harkness 107. Home sweet home. I had an amazing orientation week. I started incredible classes that are engaging, focused, and one of them is even in the AJLC. I started collecting stories. I realize not everyone's story is like my own. Some people applied to twenty colleges, had no idea where they wanted to go or didn't get in to their top school, and still ended up here loving it. I think it's good to have a variety, after all, we would not be as interesting as we are without our differences. Our difference are what make our campus so vibrant, our community so great, and our stories so inspiring. So now I want to hear yours.
Post a comment below sharing your Oberlin story, asking questions about mine, or suggesting ideas for future blog posts! I want my blog to be as helpful as the ones I read when I was researching colleges. So let me know what I can do for you!