Oberlin Blogs

Halfway Through Semester Two

March 19, 2016

Kameron Dunbar ’19

As midterms have finally come to a close, I'll take the opportunity to reflect on the semester so far.

Semester two has really been wonderful—extremely busy, but wonderful.


Intro. to African Studies

I was really looking to dive into the Africana Studies department this semester. I'd heard so many great things, and wanted the experience for myself. Luckily, I have not been disappointed. This class takes a very critical look at the African continent; how it is perceived, represented, and experienced, and how its long and complex history contributes to these ideas. Obviously, African history didn't start with the transatlantic slave trade. But why do people often think this way? Questions such as this are thoroughly investigated in a typical class period. Dr. Opoku is fantastic, and, being born and raised in Ghana, offers a unique worldview that can be experienced through his teaching.

Intro. to U.S. Politics

I figured an introductory U.S. politics course would give me a good foundation in the major and American Politics subfield, but a few of my friends advised me to wait until my third year to take it with a particular professor. I thought to myself, "Do I really want to be an upperclassman Politics major taking Intro. to U.S. Politics?" The answer was no, so I went ahead and took it with a professor who's new to Oberlin this year, Dr. Kathryn Miller. I've really enjoyed this course. Prof. Miller has a unique method of taking fundamental, theoretical knowledge and applying it to current events and circumstances, which provides us with a very comprehensive understanding of material.

Elections and the Law 2016

At the beginning of the school year, I was hesitant to take a 200-level course. This semester, I stepped out of my comfort zone and decided to tackle some of the Politics major distribution requirements, and it has been very rewarding. This course is very unique. For starters, it's taught by President Krislov, which adds a unique dynamic to the classroom.

We're in quite the vicious election cycle, which has made a class like this extremely interesting. Not only are we looking at and analyzing current events as they relate to U.S. elections this year, but we're also studying issues, complications, and challenges within the system. Everything from campaign finance law to questioning the validity of the electoral college has come up in our weekly discussion groups.

Writing for Social Justice

This class has truly been amazing. I've always liked to write; I figured a class in Rhetoric and Composition would at least be rewarding. Yet it's been so much more than rewarding. This course has inspired me to connect with the department, and officially declare a minor in Rhetoric and Composition.

In this course I've learned and developed new rhetorical strategies, and have been exposed to a variety of writing generated inside and outside of the academy. Looking at different styles of text has broadened my idea of how to do rhetorical work in the name of justice and peace. Furthermore, we've learned what some of the consequences and backlash of this work can be. Even I, as a student blogger who's often viewed as a descriptive representative of his community, have received hate-filled messages on this blog. It's what we wage when doing this work.

Under certain circumstances, my professor has come under fire, and has even been accused of some sort of plot to indoctrinate students. I am more than happy to refute this accusation. In fact, I find it rather insulting that someone would think so little of college students as to imply we do not have the ability to critically think and make our own personal judgments.

Other things:

A lot has happened this semester, and a lot is in the works. I was elected President to the 2019 Class Council, and will be working alongside two awesome Vice Presidents. I moved into a single room (this may warrant its own blog post one day but—tl;dr—if your rooming situation isn't working out, do what you need to do for yourself). I'm a candidate for some awesome summer internships/opportunities, so I'm looking forward to hearing back about those. Sadly, my grandmother passed away last month (this may also prompt a post). I'm in the (final) process of applying to study abroad, and I was accepted into my program! Interestingly, I'm finishing up this post during some free time on the Bonner First-Year Trip! We're spending a few days exploring Cleveland and doing service work around the area.

Final words:

I just happened to notice how much I use "I" in my posts. Although this is a personal blog, I believe it's important to emphasize just how much of a collective "we" experience Oberlin has been for me. I'm empowered by those around, and we live, learn, and grow together as a community.

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