During Fall Break, there is nothing going on on campus. No concerts. No dining halls open. The libraries close at 5:00 PM, not 2:00 AM. Most people go home, take road trips, do service projects, practice...
Me? I love Oberlin when it's quiet. It's relaxed, and the sleep debt of midterms boils away into a well-rested calm. There are still a few scattered students around-- reading at Java Zone, doing research in the Science Center, putting books in the shelves, sipping cocoa at Oberlin Market, petting kittens at the Ginko Gallery... but mostly, it's a small town. And when it's so quiet, I enjoy my hard-won free time. I take up my whims.
After my tour yesterday, I had lunch with an air traffic controller and an airplane pilot at Agave. The controller lived in Medina and his daughter was interested in Music Education; the pilot had flown over Oberlin thousands of times and had always wanted to stop by. They were an interesting pair-- real friends, who went on adventures, taking trains across the country and seeing little slices of the world. When I "grow up," I want to still have voyages.
After finishing my coffee, I wrote a little bit for my Novella then walked to Baldwin. Sadly, not all dorms on campus have bathtubs. Baldwin has a nice tub. And though I had neither towel, nor soap, I decided to soak as long as I could. It was so quiet, just me in the big bathroom.
In the break periods, I work out until I'm exhausted and my arms are numb. I can chat with Elizabeth as long as I like, not having to worry about the paper, the meeting, or the class. Elizabeth is pretty amazing, one of the people who I would not have met but for blessed chance that her work hours in the weight room were in line with my work out times. I like being able to talk while I lift-- I like it when exercise isn't a chore, but a thing to be enjoyed.
I ran in the Arb the other day and took a break to dunk my feet in the chill water in the reservoir. I couldn't feel my toes for the rest of the run, but it was worthwhile.
I've worked every day this week for Admissions, from about 8:30 until 1:30. All of my interviews were wonderful-- the prospies were awake, interested and really awesome. It was a pleasure to talk to them. Saki was working at the same time as me, so in between answering emails, we chatted. I shot the breeze with Jen, my tour guiding boss.
Conversations happen, without worry for schedules. About 5 minutes ago, I ran into Michael and Sam, who were sharing rhymes. Michael is part of Citizens of Sleep, an Oberlin-based hip-hop group, who are now touring Germany, and soon California, spreading social conscious dialogue. Amazing performers, and Michael just showed me an amazing new rap about his stage persona, Dunce. It's imaginative, really visual hip hop; it told a story, it forced feelings.
I got a bit tired of the daily tour question--
Prospie: Where is everyone?
Aries: It's Fall Break. Most people go home or have adventures.
Prospie: So there's no one here except except for boring people?
Aries: ... I'm going to talk about the architecture of Mudd Library now.
But overall, it's my place. I've been able to have long, long talks with my friends, decompressing from the semester's half. I've been able to sit in bed and dream. I've read plenty: Stoppard's Arcadia, a book of Bukowski, the new "Flight" graphic novel. I feel so comfortable here. I'm excited for classes to restart again, but sometimes, there's nothing better than a break like this.
The other question that I only get sometimes:
Prospie: Why didn't you go home?
Aries: This is my home.
Responses to this Entry
My first comment as an official blogger!
This entire is fantastic. I've spent many breaks on campus (2 fall breaks and 3 spring breaks, in fact), and there are plenty of things to do. Also: shameless plug for sleep week! Perhaps I should blog about that!
Miss you! See you soon!
Posted by: Patrick on October 26, 2010 9:12 PM
I meant to say this entire POST is fantastic. Whoopsie!
Posted by: Patrick on October 26, 2010 9:13 PM
This is my second fall break staying on campus. Last year a week of quiet was what I needed, but this year I'm here more or less out of necessity: I have a ton of schoolwork to do, I took the GRE today, I have a recital in a month, et cetera. Consequently, it hasn't been so relaxing, and I'm missing the company of a lot of my friends, which usually alleviates the stress.
So thanks for posting something that looks on the bright side :-) I needed to read it.
Posted by: Will on October 26, 2010 9:50 PM
Addendum: the photo of the couple holding hands while walking through Tappan is particularly wonderful.
Posted by: Will on October 27, 2010 12:28 AM
What a beautiful post! I stayed in Oberlin for Thanksgiving last year, which was great fun, and very nearly decided to spend this fall break at Oberlin, which I knew would be a relaxing option. Instead, I ended up in Boston, seeing family and lots of past and present Oberlin folks. I'm trying find that magical balance between doing a bunch of things and relaxing. Sometime I should stay for a whole vacation week and not worry so much about making plans. Thanks for the inspiration.
Posted by: Nora on October 27, 2010 10:49 AM
Ah! These pictures are so wonderful. And I'm here for fall break as well! It's awesome and refreshing.
Posted by: Karl on October 27, 2010 11:16 AM
This is Patrick's sister! Your pictures are AMAZING!!!
Posted by: Sara on October 31, 2010 5:35 PM
Four years in Oberlin and I still never went to Ratsy's. I do remember fun vintage times at Bead Paradise, though.
The only break I spent in Oberlin was spring break senior year, and it was a pleasurable and relaxing experience.
Posted by: Chris on November 2, 2010 11:00 AM
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