Oberlin Blogs

Functioning as a Freshman: The First Few Weeks on Campus

October 15, 2014

Radia Lahlou ’18

Ohio is green, flat, and reminiscent of home. The first few weeks of classes have come and gone, and I think I'm beginning to get into the swing of things here at Oberlin. Sure, sometimes I get a little homesick, and sure, my roommate and I have already finished our two-gallon container of animal crackers, but overall, I'd say things are going pretty smoothly. Or, you know, as smoothly as things can go for a first-year who has no clue what she's doing with her life and who still can't get her mailbox open on the first try.

A letter addressed to Radia at their Oberlin mailbox.
Today it only took me three tries to open my mailbox. It was a rewarding three tries; I got a letter!

Every day has a rhythm—go to class, eat at Stevie, complain about Stevie, and repeat—yet I'm still not sure I've found my place. Fortunately, I'm not alone. (I feel as though this is the part in a cheesy talk-show or infomercial where I point at the audience and say, "And neither are you," but we've only just met so I won't make bad jokes. Yet.) I've talked to plenty of first-years who are feeling the same way, and I plan to use this blog as a way to document the way I function during our first year on campus, hoping that at least some of you can relate.

Things I've noticed during my first few weeks here:

  • Every other person is wearing Birkenstocks. I have never seen this many Birkenstocks in one place.
  • It is completely possible to ride your bike with no hands. I have not yet accomplished the feat, but I have seen an astounding number of people do so.
  • It is also completely possible to accidentally/on purpose eat soft serve ice cream at every meal.
  • And speaking of food—Stevie is terrifying. Especially when it's lunchtime and you're hungry but all of your friends have already eaten lunch and you have to find somewhere to sit.
  • Sometimes you get weird and unexpected packages in the mail. Like a hot pink and green chair with no return address. (Turns out it was from my aunt... that was definitely a confusing trip back from the mail room.)
  • After saying your name, where you're from, and where you're living a gazillion times, you kind of want to curl up into a ball and/or punch a wall. Or maybe that's just me? *
  • A box fan is potentially the best investment one can make while living on campus. (Unless you live in Kahn... We all bad talk Kahn, but secretly we just long for their air conditioning.)
  • If you curl your legs up into a womb chair the wrong way it will begin to spin until you are awkwardly facing away from the wall. This is especially unfortunate when you are taking a nap and don't realize what has happened until you wake up and wipe the drool off of your face.
  • Everyone is SO NICE. Why is everyone so nice? Is this the real world?

Overall, the biggest conclusion I've made is that Oberlin is a really fantastic, beautiful, and enriching place to be. I wouldn't have chosen any other place to further my academic career, and although I still feel a little lost and confused, I know that with time, I'll figure it out.

A glowing lamp post near campus buildings

A blooming daffodil

Memorial Arch (out of focus)
Today after dinner I went for a walk and was immediately struck by how beautiful our campus is. Here are a few pictures that I took because I like lights and the color yellow.


*I'm willing to introduce myself at least a few more times: Hello, I'm Radia! I'm from Southern Illinois, about 6 hours south of Chicago. I live in Barrows, and really love it. Normally I'd mention that if you stop by I'll give you free animal crackers, but unfortunately, as I previously mentioned, we seem to have run out.

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