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April 26, 2010

Every year around this time the same sort of thing happens. I get very involved in fall, and then in winter, and then when spring comes I become a Martian, walking around and looking at buds and being like, what is this little green thing? What is this heat radiating from the sky? It's sort of nice really, knowing in theory what's supposed to be coming, and then being shocked by it anyway.

(Actually - pause. This being my first Oberlin blog entry and all, perhaps some introductions are in order. My name is Abby, and I am a first-year from Ann Arbor, Michigan. I'm terribly excited about this school, and am not just saying that because this whole blogging entity is kind of admissions related - I really am just excited about it. Some things I'm involved in are OSCA, creative writing-y stuff, LGTBQA/general sexuality stuff, working with/in the greater Oberlin community, and other things that I cannot think of at the moment. If you have any questions, any at all, please feel free to ask.)

Anyhow, on with this actual blog entry. Today in my linguistic anthropology class there were prospies visiting, which was kind of exciting but also really weird, because I visited some kind of linguistics-y class too last year when I was a prospie. I remember it very clearly - it was full of beautiful smart people talking about really smart things that flew 100% over my head. It was terrifying and I felt lost and overwhelmed, which really is a good way of describing all of my Oberlin experiences before move-in. This is not to say that Oberlin is terrifying, overwhelming, and will lose you, or even that it is full of beautiful smart people. It's just strange to be in a place you know you do not completely belong just yet but that you will soon, but not exactly trusting how. Even though I had visited, Oberlin wasn't much more than a name until orientation week - it's like when you're a little kid and hear a grown-up say Macedonia, or rutabaga, or some other word you don't understand but like the sound of, so you go around saying things like "I'm a Macedonia!" or "I will rutabaga you!" because it could mean anything. It's kind of wonderful, though, having a skeletal understanding of something, and knowing it will be filled in. I don't think I could ever have come up with all the things that now mean Oberlin for me - like storytelling and performance art and gender neutrality and Ovid and consensus and spontaneous banjo music and how to chop carrots for 70 people. You, dear anonymous reader, if you are a high school senior (or something of the equivalent), you are in for a very exciting year, wherever you choose to go. There is no way around it.

Today I met officially for the first time with my new advisor, and it was fantastic. He is in the creative writing department and is wonderful wonderful wonderful - so supportive and helpful and really just great... I called my mom afterwards freaking out about how exciting the whole thing was. It was one of those quintessential first-year moments, where you have a shocking sensation of fitting in and belonging, as if by declaring a major you join some little family. It was the same feeling as when my friends got in kind of a fight a little while ago - it was oddly affirmative of the fact that we liked each other. It's like the whole spring thing, everyone tells you going in to college that these things are going to happen, you'll make friends, you'll take good classes, blah, etc., and you kind of believe them and kind of don't until you're shocked to realize suddenly that it did actually happen, and you are actually going to make it through freshman year, and things are actually going to be all right.

So, on that note, if you are visiting Oberlin in the upcoming weeks, and are also intimidated by anything that moves or speaks, know that the tap water in college is full of magic that makes you more fascinating, sexy, interesting, cool, smart, and in all ways attractive than nearly all film stars, superheroes, and United States senators. Really really. And if you visit a class in linguistics, do not worry. It's mostly just lots of strange words, such as Macedonia, rutabaga, complementary schismogenesis, and borscht.

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Responses to this Entry

Yay! It's good to see a fresh face on the blogging team. Look forward to reading your future entries!
-Prospie Glenn

Posted by: Glenn on April 26, 2010 4:12 PM

Hi, I'm also from the Michigan and considering some schools in-state, like UofM. Did you ever consider other schools in the state, and what made you decide that Oberlin was the best place for you?

Posted by: C. on April 28, 2010 8:44 PM

Hello, fellow Michigan person! Thanks for your question. I did consider in-state schools, but none of them had what I was looking for. U of M is very big, which is one thing to consider, and from what I could tell, Greek life is a very prominent part of the culture. I'm from Ann Arbor and took several classes there in high school, and while they were good classes, a lot of the people (at least in more introductory classes) were really into their sororities/fraternities, and seemed kind of homogenous. That said, all kinds of people must go there...I just didn't really feel like I could see myself there as well as I could see myself at Oberlin. Same with State and Eastern and Grand Valley...

I also considered Kalamazoo College, which is private, but it didn't have a lot of the programs I was really interested in.

The thing is, all of these schools are wonderful for the people they are wonderful for. It can be helpful to try to narrow down the things you value most, like what you want to see in your community, how strong certain departments are, what the culture is both socially and academically, etc. And also just going with your gut. Too much thinking can complicate things sometimes- when a place clicks with you, it clicks.

I'm sorry this is such a long response! I hope it helps answer your questions- if you want to talk about it some more, feel free to email me too. Good luck!

Posted by: Abby Ryder-Huth on April 29, 2010 5:21 PM

Thanks Glenn! I'm excited to be here. Good luck with your decision, and if you have any questions, I'm glad to answer them.

Posted by: Abby Ryder-Huth on April 29, 2010 5:23 PM

I got so excited when I saw you came from A2! I live there too and I really hope I get accepted to Oberlin! What's your e-mail address? I would really like to talk to you and see what a fellow A2 Michigander's college app experience was like.

Posted by: Marian D on March 8, 2011 9:21 PM

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