Oberlin Blogs

GUEST POST: Amanda's Getaway Spots

June 30, 2015

Tanya Aydelott

Summer intern Amanda sometimes needs her time away from the hustle and bustle of college life. With a full schedule of classes, ExCos, theater and dance productions to stage manage, clubs and organizations, and more (!!), she truly values the time she can carve out of that schedule just for herself. Here she shares her favorite town and campus getaway spots.

College can be the most social 4 years of your life, and Oberlin is no exception! I love all of the social opportunities that we have on campus: between concerts and student activities and theater performances and hanging out with friends, I am generally choosing between 5-7 awesome events on Friday and Saturday nights. During the week, I am usually so busy that I don't get back to my dorm until 9 or 10pm.

But sometimes you need some time alone for a bit. Since my roommate and I have become best friends and are nearly always talking, that means finding solitary space outside of my room.

So here's a list of my personal favorite places to be alone on campus, along with some tips on when is best to go there. Hopefully you can add to this list with some prime real estate of your own!


1. Our first location is actually the furthest from campus, for all of those times that you really need to get away! This little gem of a path runs along a stretch of Plum Creek. It's a quiet, 5 minute walk on a packed dirt path. On one side, you have the bubbling creek. On the other, a plant-covered hillside rises up, so you're surrounded by nature and the noise from downtown Oberlin is quieted.

map section showing Oberlin streets and Plum Creek

How to get there:
South Entrance: If you happen to be down by the Arb, head to the corner of Morgan St. and S. Professor. At the northeast corner, there is a metal guardrail. Right next to it, you'll find a path that will lead you down through the trees.
North Entrance: Walk through downtown Oberlin. On the corner of S. Main St. and W. Vine St., where you find the municipal courthouse and a Midas dealership, walk along the south side of W. Vine until a small paved path splits off from the main sidewalk. Follow this path down across a small bridge and into the woods.

Best times to go:
- A crisp autumn afternoon as the leaves are changing colors
- On a calm winter evening when you've been studying inside the library for far too long


2. The next spot is closer to campus, but still an outdoor sanctuary. The rooftop garden of the Bertram and Judith Kohl Building was a very deliberate part of the construction of this jazz studies building. It acts as an acoustic insulator that is much appreciated by students inside, as well as a performance and reception space. The gardens are planted with perennial grasses, and there is an enclosed garden which contains species of witch hazel that bloom in January when everything else in Oberlin is hidden under the snow.

Garden on a roof

How to get there:
Walk between the bookstore and Bibbins (the Conservatory building that looks like King) towards the Kohl Building's main door. Instead of going inside, walk up the large outdoor staircase until you reach the open patio lined with benches. Bonus: you get to walk by the piano crosswalk!

Best times to go:
- A sunny winter day when you need more sunshine (beware of ice on the stairs!)
- Late at night to lie down on the benches and look up at the stars and the moon


3. Now we've headed inside Rice Hall, which actually used to be part of the old conservatory building before Bibbins and King were built. We're going down into the basement, where nearly 100 years ago the first ever co-ed social dance at Oberlin was held! Down in the lounge at the end of the hall where there are a lot of faculty offices, you may not be completely alone all the time, but so long as you keep your head down over a laptop or a book, no one will bother you. In my opinion, the couch down there is one of the most comfortable on campus!

Lounge area with couch and comfy chairs

How to get there:
Enter Rice either from King or from W. College St. Once inside, take the stairs all the way down. Then, walk south down the hallway until you reach the open lounge.

Best times to go:
- That awkward hour between two classes in King
- Rainy afternoons when you've finished class but don't want to walk back to your dorm


4. The science center has lots of different study nooks and spaces. I like to study in the atrium in the mornings with a bagel or a yogurt, because it's easier for me to focus when I hear the noises of people around me and I can pretend that everyone will notice if I procrastinate. But when I want a quieter space just for me, I head to this cozy chair and study undisturbed.

Three comfortable chairs in a secluded corner

How to get there:
Walk up the stairs by the atrium to the second floor and head towards the Love Lounge that overlooks the atrium. Instead of turning in there, head right down the hallway past the classrooms until you reach this cozy corner.

Best times to go:
- Afternoons when all the atrium tables are full of people
- Early weekend mornings so you can start your productivity streak on the right note


5. The final place I will mention doesn't have a particular location, but it's one of my favorite and most frequently-inhabited spots. Never underestimate the potential of an empty classroom!

classroom with a large empty table

These spaces are perfect for focused studying or powering through all of the emails and busywork you need to finish. For me, because I'm in a classroom, I am mentally prepared to be working and focused. I've been known to show up as early as an hour before class starts! I'll bring my breakfast or lunch with me on very busy days and work as I eat. It's quiet, and usually nobody shows up until 10-15 minutes before the class, so I can play music as I work. There's also the extra bonus of never being late to that class, because you're already there.

How to get there:
This works best if you have a class that is the first one to use that room on a given morning or afternoon. Once your schedule is settled after add/drop, start heading to the room a little bit earlier each day to make sure there isn't a class in there before you.

Best times to go:
- Early in the mornings before the first class of the day (be it 8:30, 9:00, or 9:30am)
- During lunch before a 1:30pm class — but be aware that sometimes special presentations or lectures will happen during lunch. Just find a comfortable lounge nearby and try again the next day!


It might seem a little bit silly to be sharing my favorite spaces to be alone with all of you, because then I wouldn't be alone there anymore! But I don't mind if you come and join me, as long as we can be respectful of each other's need for quiet and space. But the great thing about Oberlin is that there are so many little nooks and great hang-out places, so within the first couple of weeks I'm sure you'll find the spots that work perfectly for you.

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