February was a busy, busy month! I am back with my monthly recap, albeit a little late, but I am excited to share the highlights of my past few weeks. With the first half of the semester almost coming to a close, I thought I would talk a little bit about how my first month of the semester has been.
1. Course registration & Add-Drop
Oberlin has an Add-Drop period that spans the first eight days of the semester, a time in which students have the freedom to add and/or drop (as the name implies) courses as they finalize their schedule for the rest of the semester. Students can use this as an opportunity to get a taste of the classes they are interested in taking but haven’t yet fully committed to. Also, if a student feels that they have enough space in their original schedule to add a course or two, they can do so within this Add-Drop period. Similarly, if a student finds their course load to be too overwhelming, they can opt to drop a course or multiple. I ended up dropping one of my classes, which was a Music History class. With my senior recital being this semester, I wanted to take just enough classes to stay on track to fulfilling my requirements, but not so many that my academic courses would take away from my recital preparation. As a double-degree student, figuring out the balance between my College and Conservatory responsibilities, not to mention extracurriculars, is a process I go through every semester. First, I check what requirements I have left for each of my majors, as well as more general Conservatory and Arts & Sciences requirements; and then I consider a variety of factors (e.g., Will I have a recital or another big music performance that semester? How many credits do I need to take to graduate on time? Who is teaching the courses I am interested in taking? Are there any time conflicts? How much time would I need to invest in each course? Which courses are reading-heavy, and which are not? Which courses emphasize collaborative work, and which expect you to work more independently? Do I have a good balance of different types of courses?). As you can see, there are a whole bunch of questions that whirl around in my head as I try to craft the “perfect” schedule for any given semester.
2. Musicals galore!
My friend Kenji and I watched an Oberlin student-run and student-directed production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, a tragic Sondheim musical about a barber by the name of Sweeney Todd. We also watched a production of Hadestown in Cleveland a few days later. The Oberlin College Program Board had organized a trip for interested Obies to see Hadestown in Cleveland at Playhouse Square. Kenji and I had both wanted to see this musical for a while, so we were thrilled when we heard about this opportunity. The cast and the set of Hadestown were very impressive, and we both thoroughly enjoyed watching it. Kenji and I had also watched (in 2021) a Metropolitan Opera livestream of Matthew Aucoin's Eurydice, an opera based on the same ancient legend of Orpheus and Eurydice as Hadestown, so it was cool to see the parallels as well as the differences between the two. It was great to be able to see both of these musicals within the span of a week!
3. Cultural events
Earlier in the month, I attended a Chinese New Year event hosted by the Chinese Students’ Association in collaboration with Oberlin’s Chinese language department. There were performances (including music, poetry recitations, dancing, and a comedy skit) from both CSA members and Chinese language students, and different activities set up around the venue, including calligraphy and lantern-making.
In February, there was also an Asian student organization board meeting, where officers of a variety of Asian cultural orgs on campus mingled and shared our plans and visions for the semester. It was a great chance to interact with and get to know fellow Asian and Asian American student officers on campus!
The staff at the Allen Memorial Art Museum helped arrange a viewing session for JSA students at the Allen’s Print Study Room. We got the chance to examine and learn about an eclectic selection of artworks by Japanese artist Kenji Nakahashi. The viewing session was guided by AMAM’s Asian Art Curator Dr. Kevin Greenwood, who made the entire experience very engaging and informative! First, we looked through some of Nakahashi’s sketchbooks which displayed a variety of sketches that were not only colorful, quirky, and humorous, but also demonstrated precision and thoughtfulness. Then, we looked at a selection of 10 different pieces by Nakahashi, ranging from photographs to prints and drawings. I found his art to be insightful, thought-provoking, conceptual, geometric, abstract, and playful, all at once.
For the month of March, I am looking forward to watching friends' recitals, watching the Oberlin Opera Theater's production of Candide, and spring break!
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