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Frequently Asked Questions: What is an Average Day?

April 5, 2009

Aries Indenbaum ’09

Note-- Dear Readers: Write Comments. No matter how inane, they make me feel better.

Congratulations, Class of 2013!

You've worked hard, you've studied lots, you've kicked ass and taken names, and now you're in college! And now comes the hard part: you need to choose where you're going.

As one of the Admissions Interns, I'm spending the next few weeks answering questions, clarifying problems, and trying to help you choose. Here follow some of the good questions...

Who doesn't fit at Oberlin?

You're right--Oberlin isn't for everyone. We don't have frats or sororities. Sports games are on the same playing field as violin recitals and dance shows. If you live in a first-year dorm, a program house, or a co-op, you will know everyone in the house by the year's end. You will feel guilty if you don't do your homework; people in your seminar know if you don't read for class. We aren't a party school, but we aren't a bookworm school--people don't spend all of their waking hours in the library.

If you dislike music, you will like Oberlin less. If you are unfriendly or boring, you will like Oberlin less. If you don't care about the environment, or social justice issues... you will like Oberlin less. If you don't take chances, you will like Oberlin less.

How far away is Oberlin?

Carpooling is your friend.

Does weird stuff happen at Oberlin?

What kind of weird stuff?
I've got a pretty high weird-o-meter, so I'm probably not your best bet.

You're very unhelpful. Then what's average?
One of the questions I get on tours is "What's an average day like, for an Oberlin student?" This is, of course, one of the most difficult questions ever. Most Oberlin students are crazy overbooked, in whole new ways. My friends tell me I do too much, but I think they are far worse.

I don't remember average things. I remember humans and events. But nothing "average." So here's non-average average:

-- I'm in the women's locker room, changing from pants to shorts. As my jeans are clean off one leg but still grasping to the other, I hear the women's lacrosse team getting ready. They've got a game, so they're psyched to wallop the stuffing out of their rivals. As I'm sliding my shorts on, I hear a weird burst of sound, like an elephant howling for a lady-elephant. Of course, it's not an elephant, but a bagpipe. Of course. The lacrosse player with the bagpipe, goggles rested on her head, led the team in a parade out to the field.

-- Do you know the Mountain Goats? They're an amazing band, started by John Darnielle, who sing about all the saddest things in life. Meth addiction, lost love, the first time in years that you made coffee for only one person... sad stuff.

Sample lyrics from No Children:

And I'd hope that if I found the strength to walk out
You'd stay the hell out of my way
And I hope you die
I hope we both die

or "This Year," which sums up my thoughts on getting a job in this economy if you ignore the alcoholic aspects of the rest of the song:

I am going to make it through this year if it kills me.
I am going to make it through this year if it kills me.

Darnielle played a show here the Monday after break. It's was Monday night and the Sco was full, each person reaching towards the front. Most people sang or mouthed the words to the songs; many shouted requests for songs despite the set list at John's feet. He was an amazing singer and storyteller who rendered an amazing stillness and raptness from the crowd. He blew me away.

Also, he gave Kate the best autograph ever:

"7:00 a.m: curse the patriarchy
7:30 a.m: fight for pay equity
8:00 a.m: bemoan the suppression of women's history
8:30 a.m: breakfast

Kate is the raddest prospie ever. I am sorry, Other Prospies. I can still love you, just in a different way.

-- I was on the radio today! WOBC, Oberlin's college and community radio, hosts a zillion different kinds of shows. For my first two years, I was way into The Dead Hear Footsteps, a radio noir show, before other things started eating my time. Last semester, I did some Sisters Grim shows with Amanda, telling stories about werewolves. I've sat in on world music shows, I've listened to alternative hours... djs play everything. Today, I did Saturated Facts, WOBC's only quiz show game!

It was an Admissions Challenge, so I browbeat Kris into playing with me. She, of course, trounced me. The Jeopardy-style categories were... Faberge; (You Shouldn't Have!); Weird Animals; Henry the VIII; Banned Books; World's Fair. I demolished Henry the VIII, as a Quiz Bowl veteran is wont to do. Kris creamed me in Weird Animals, as she used to work in a pet store.

Barring my ruined pride, it was an awesome way to spend an hour.

-- Immediately after, I walked into a Korean Drumming performance--totally cool, totally unexpected.

So, pretty average. All this stuff, plus job-searching, writing, and working.

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