I can't believe I'm halfway through college. Overall, I'd say I had a pretty solid first two years. I learned a lot, met some cool people, and got a taste of what adult life is like. I'm still a politics major, which is a really fun thing to be during the election season (and by really fun, I mean really annoying, and I was sick of this election a year ago). I'm living in French house which is SO NICE. Looking forward to all of the movie nights and baking. I would argue that Barrows and East are two of the jankiest dorms on campus, so living in a place that's clean is a much welcomed change of pace for me. I finally have a single, and I am loving it. Finally, a place on campus where I can do the "Wuthering Heights" dance to my heart's content!
I didn't blog at all this summer, which was a shame because I had a blast. I started off with a trip to China and Japan with my dad. We went to Hong Kong, Chengdu, Beijing, Kyoto, Hakone, and Tokyo. I saw a lot of temples, the Great Wall of China, Mount Fuji, the Harajuku district of Tokyo, went on a few boat rides, went to the bar where "Lost in Translation" is set, and I saw PANDAS. I ate a ton of tasty food (pork buns, shabu shabu, and hot pot were my faves), and I pretty much exclusively drank tea and sake.
I worked for a good chunk of time. I've had the same summer job since I was 15, which is working as a teacher's assistant at a theater camp. There's a reason I've never looked for another summer job, and that reason is because I really loved my job. Now that I'm moving on up in terms of a career, I decided that this would be my last summer there, in order to do something related to politics next summer. I have been at the camp since I was five, so it was really hard to leave. Basically, I am assigned to a group of kids for a couple of weeks, and I work with the teacher to instruct them in theater, dance, improv, and stagecraft. I like working with kids. I liked all the people I've gotten to work with over the summers. I like getting to be a big kid and play games and listen to the strange things that children have to say. It can be stressful to have to discipline screaming youths, but for the most part, the kids I had were usually pretty well-behaved.
Last year was really challenging, but I made it through. Because my QFR of spring 2016 was so challenging for me, I gave myself a break from doing another one until senior year. I am really looking forward to all the classes I'm taking this semester, which are: Introduction to Contemporary American Studies, American Democracy: Election Law and Policy, Immigration, Refugee, and Asylum Policy, and Government and Politics of Africa. That's three politics classes, which wasn't something I planned on, but all of them are so different that I don't think I'll get bored. What I love about a liberal arts education, and especially at Oberlin in particular, is how interdisciplinary everything is. I can already see how the French colonialism that I learned about last semester in Plaisir de Lire will come into play in my African politics class, how discussions of who is the "ideal American citizen" from my CAST class will shape what I learn in Immigration Policy. Hopefully, I will be studying abroad in Paris in the spring, which would actually be a dream come true for me.
I'm really happy to be back. I'm in a vastly different place than I was in a year ago, which was a place of a lot of self-doubt and fear. Now I am far more settled and self-assured, and I have a clearer idea of what I want to get out of Oberlin. My dad always calls every summer "The Summer of Emma," which is a testament to how #blessed I've been with my ability to travel and have a fun summer job. But this time, he's more convinced than ever that 2016-2017 will be "The Year of Emma." That's a pretty bold claim, but I've got a feeling that there'll be some truth to it.