I can't tell whether this is exciting or terrifying, but I have finished my finals and am now officially a junior! Slogging through two fifteen-page papers, a final project, and an exam were all worth it, because now I get to hang out on campus for Commencement Week--also known as Senior Week if you're a senior. It's the week between the end of finals and graduation, and they offer lots of on-campus jobs and free food and housing for anyone who wants to spend extra time with friends and make some good money. While lots of people work cleaning the dorms or serving food in the cafeteria, I'm lucky enough to keep my job at the newspaper, working on the big commencement edition that we'll print just in time for the thousands of alums and parents flocking to campus. It's a big, beautiful issue with all the most exciting stories from the year reprinted as well as some breaking news. So I'm sitting down here in the Oberlin Review office editing article after article and trying to make sure no typos sneak through.
I really recommend staying for Commencement at least once before you actually commence, because it's so nice to be on campus with no exams to worry about, and it makes for a smoother transition into summer. I stayed last year too to work on the paper, and I couldn't imagine going straight from finals to a summer job.
Another great thing about the end of this year has been the invitations to no less than FOUR professor-hosted parties, all with delicious food and stimulating conversation. On one day I even had to choose between the Latin American Studies party and the Environmental Studies party (it was a close call, but I picked Latin American Studies because I figured it would have better food). One I technically invited myself to as my friend's date, but I was welcomed nonetheless. I've been lucky to develop great relationships with a lot of my professors, especially the two advisors for my two majors, and I know this is common at Oberlin. Most professors are really accessible and love to chat or give advice. I've had fun going out to dinner with students and professors, inviting one professor as a guest to a co-op meal (which he loved) and when I'm 21 I look forward to going to Professor Beers--a program every Thursday afternoon where of-age students and their professors can chat over free beer and snacks at the student dance club.
I'm really excited for this weekend, as I will be done with the newspaper and there will be a million great activities leading up to graduation, including jazz, a capella, and classical concerts, a volunteer day at a local farm, shmoozing with successful alums, and a famous journalist--Newsweek International editor Fareed Zakaria--giving the commencement speech. They also have a beautiful tradition called Illumination where they hang lanterns in the trees of Tappan Square and have an outdoor orchestra concert in the bandstand.