Oberlin Blogs

Everything I Thought I Wouldn't Do

April 9, 2017

Jules Greene ’19

As it is revisitation season, I thought I would try to place myself within the shoes of my high school senior self and try to imagine what I thought I would do in college. At this point my memory is a little fuzzy about specific details about my high school self, so this is largely a list of things that I remember being surprised about when they happened.

I never thought I would:

Act in a play that was a re-telling of the New Testament (Corpus Christi by Terrence McNally): I played the disciple Bartholomew, and it was a very emotional show but I loved every minute of it.

Act in a play that has neither contexts nor characters (Love and Information by Caryl Churchill): My jaw dropped when the cast list came out and I saw how many scenes I was in, and how many lines I had to memorize. It was a challenge I was ready to meet, and I'm proud to have been in such a brilliantly written show (I highly recommend reading it if you're interested in analyzing how people communicate to each other nowadays!).

Restart a zine/creative publication for the APID community on campus (As I Am): My experience with zines extends to a pile of 8 x 11.5 folded hamburger-style on my nightstand that has been sitting there since summer of 2014 when I tried to make my own, but after reading through old issues of As I Am from all the way back to the '90s, the opportunity to restart such a wonderful publication for the Asian Pacific Islander Diaspora community at Oberlin erased any feelings of insecurity. Plus, I'm also working with a bunch of my friends on it too, which has been a lot of fun.

Make a documentary all by myself during Winter Term, and find that documentary film is a great place to explore things I'm interested in learning about: I know some documentary filmmakers like to know nothing about the subjects of their movies ahead of time, so that they can be learning as much as possible about it when they're working on it, and I now understand that sentiment. Documentary can be a place where I can merge my general love of learning with filmmaking!

Understand that my identity in the Asian/Pacific Islander Diaspora and generational status forms the foundation of who I am. Like, really: I never really thought that critically about how I fit into a broader APID community, and having since thought about it extensively over the past two years, I've been able to contextualize my individual experiences.

NOT major in History: I love history, but I've found that I don't necessarily love it for the aspects that define it as an individual course of study (i.e. analysis of primary documents), which leads into the next point on this list.

Declare an English major: I thought I wasn't that great at literary analysis for some reason, but now it's something that I get psychic fulfillment from because I can do it really well. But it's not necessarily the fact that I'm good at analyzing texts that makes studying literature so engrossing for me. I think it is more along the lines of how I can apply my knowledge of history and interest in other social sciences to the text, as well as how I can learn more about history through literature. Also related to this is the realization that the eight years I spent going to Catholic Catechism would be incredibly useful in analyzing James Joyce and Graham Greene (no relation).

Discover that I am really passionate about archaeology and so many other social sciences that I never got to study before I came to Oberlin: When I saw that I could take an archaeology course, I freaked out a little inside, because deep down inside, I am still a six-year-old that loves going to the Museum of Natural History to see the artifacts.

Discover how much I love audio engineering: I straight up thought I hated audio engineering, but thanks to being part of WOBC's Studio B (our recording studio!) workgroup, and having hands-on experience with microphones and inputs all over again, a passion has awakened that I never knew was even there.

Find animation to be a strong area where I can express my voice as an artist, especially stop-motion: My first movies as a kid were all stop-motion, and for years they were fixated entirely on Venus fly traps for some reason (I got really good at drawing them). The work I am producing now in my Video Production I class is a considerable departure from my Venus flytraps, as I am now using physical objects for my animations, as opposed to drawings--though I have no intention of ruling out drawings completely!

Become a runner that has to run, ideally, four times a week (three is only ok): Luckily I live very close to Philips Gym.

Become really interested in movement and dance, in regards to my own filmmaking and acting: Before this semester, I regarded dance as the one art form that I have little-to-no capacity for outside of musical theatre, probably because my knowledge of it was, honestly, just limited to observing people do ballet and hip hop in high school. I tend to get really frustrated when I'm not good at something (which is why I don't ever do bowling, because I'm HORRIBLE and I hate knowing that I'm bad at it for some reason), and I just figured dance was just one of those things that I shouldn't ever do. But in learning about its different forms on my own, and going to dance shows at Oberlin, my sense of what dance can be has expanded, allowing it to influence the visual language of the films I am working on now. Also, I've gotten to a point now where I am comfortable enough in my own skin/with my own body to be able to dance and have fun without feeling like I look dumb or whatever--which is always great!

Become a film composer, and score my own movies: I mostly stayed away from composing music in high school, because I thought I didn't have the "brain" for composing music. Not anymore.

Be told by community members that they love listening to my radio show, which is on film scores and soundtracks: The great thing about doing a radio show is that people listen to the radio, and it's been really lovely to have callers tell me that they're enjoying my show.

Be encouraged by professors to pursue my fascination with Bruce Lee films by doing research into his specific impact on the action film genre: I had the sense that Cinema Studies was going to be all about analyzing Films (with a capital "f") instead of movies, so it's been a pleasant surprise to find out that popular films are fair game in terms of analyzing them for their content.

Realize that I can make an impact on the futures of the organizations that I involve myself in (WOBC, Studio B, Asian American Alliance, Oberlin Student Theater Association): It's just amazing to have the sense that I can make things happen, and that my actions will have a tangible effect on the things I care a lot about.

Re-read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, and actually find it exciting: I was really disappointed when I read it in the 10th grade that it wasn't nearly as suspenseful as Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation, Apocalypse Now.

Re-experience a sense of wonder towards learning that I had when I was in elementary school : This has been one of the best things about my time in Oberlin, because I had totally forgotten what this feeling was like in high school.

There's probably many more things I could put on this list, but this is a brief snapshot of how my time at Oberlin has surprised me. Overall, college has been a pretty transformative experience, as it's said to be, and I feel that I trust in Oberlin enough to no longer be afraid of the change that may lie ahead for me.

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