Oberlin Blogs


April 1, 2024

Natalie Frank ’26

I am home in Wisconsin for spring break. I will begin the long journey home tomorrow via my trusty 11-year-old car. I already know it will be hard to say goodbye to my queen-sized bed, Mom, Dad, little brother, and food access 24/7, not to mention my bathroom. 

That being said, I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes Oberlin home. Why do I want to go back? Forget about my degree; what makes me want to return to Ohio from the comfort of my home? Because no matter how far I go, how tempting the weather is, or the bedroom, I always want to return to Oberlin.

Here are my top five things that make Oberlin home: co-ops, work, Computer Science, Circus & Pole, and everything in between (i.e. campus events, music).


Cooperatives are people working towards a common goal that they can achieve faster through mutual assistance. That is a long-winded way of explaining co-ops at Oberlin. I am a part of two of them: Pyle Inn Co-Op, a dining co-op where 40 other Obies and I cook and clean for each other, and Pottery Co-Op, a building with a ton of clay and pottery materials, free in exchange for volunteer hours. 

I love my co-ops. Co-ops may sound hippie and vegan and granola or whatever, but they are a fantastic way to meet new friends. I love eating meals with seasoning and spices, and I love seeing my friends take risks when they cook, and it pays off. Last week, Hanna Three ceramic spoonsand I made steamed red bean buns for the co-op. Pyle Inn Co-Op, my dining co-op, serves 40-50 people per meal. Every meal, I have the privilege of eating with 40-50 friends, or less if I’m feeling antisocial. I cannot emphasize the importance of having a healthy eating schedule and food I feel good eating.

Pottery Co-Op is fantastic for rainy days and mornings before class when the two-story building is quiet, and I can listen to 1950s music and sculpt spoons. I love that I can use my hands to make something wonderful.

Red bean buns
Red bean buns.

This may be a hot take, but I love having campus jobs at Oberlin. Over the past two years, I have had seven student jobs, from Admissions to Hillel to Communications. Right now, I’ve settled in the Career Exploration and Development department. I work as a Peer Career Advisor, organizing events, leading workshops, and reviewing students’ cover letters and resumes. I also work as a Communications Assistant; I write emails, market via Instagram and Facebook, and help run the department. In each of these jobs, I have learned so much. 

For me, jobs are a great learning opportunity, almost as significant as classes. Real-world application is vital when using the skills I have learned. I enjoy working with my bosses, who are real adults willing to help me with my college student problems.

I also love money.

Computer Science

Oberlin has a fantastic Computer Science program. One day, I’ll write about how I found it. Until then, I’ll give you a long story short. I entered as an intended Creative Writing Major. In year two, I took Computer Science to get my Quantitative and Formal Reasoning credits out of the way. Between day one and the end of the semester, I found that I liked Computer Science. I declared my major last week.

Computer Science is a very supportive department, especially for a girl like me. I am not great at math or the sciences. Fortunately, group tutoring, peer tutoring, and open office hours have me set. My professors are always supplying support, reiterating their confidence in my skills, and checking in with me. I am so grateful for all the love they have poured into an Obie terrified of getting it all wrong. 

Plus, the pizza lunches don’t hurt. (;

Circus & Pole

I could talk for ages about why I love OCircus and Oberlin Pole Dance. I’ve already talked about them in the blog posts linked. 

Circus and Pole are ways to destress after a long day of work and school. When all I want to do is collapse into my bed or lie face-down on my rug, I haul my butt to Hales Gymnasium and train for a show. As a girl with a lot of energy, there’s nothing I love more to do than play music via my speaker in a loud gym and dance. Circus and Pole make me stronger. By the end of the year, I plan to beat my boyfriend in an arm-wrestling contest.

Hales Gymnasium in mid-afternoon
Hales Gymnasium.
Everything in Between

Well, if you’re bored after reading all that, I guarantee you won’t be here. We have jazz parties; we have career panels; we have a capella concerts; we have albino squirrels; we have people who get really excited about albino squirrels and take pictures with you when they appear; we have yoga and spinning classes; we have OBurlesque and sexy shows; we have the Free Store; we have TGIF in Wilder Bowl with bouncy houses and zip-lining; we have Late Nighters in Hales Gymnasium; we have guest artists, like, every Friday night; we had Kendrick Lamar; we have Slow Train, our local coffee shop; we have cookies from the Cat, our other local cafe / performance venue; we have a bazillion cute towns in between here and Cleveland and Lake Erie and Columbus; we have a Classical Guitar Major and performances to match. 

Still bored? Wait until you go to the observatory on top of Peters Hall, a Hogwarts-looking gothic building in the middle of campus. Can’t see the stars because it’s cloudy? We have a planetarium. 

Have you fallen asleep in a womb chair yet? Do that. How about the farmers market and sticks of fresh honey? Nada? Try Drag Ball, and remember to bring cash. Or maybe go to the Coverband Showcase, an elite performance of Obie bands playing their hearts out to Bjork, Fiona Apple, the Strokes, and more. 

Until you’ve done all that, you can’t tell me that Oberlin isn’t home. 


Mudd Center at twilight
Mudd Center and Wilder Hall.

Sure, I love scholarships as much as the next girl. Yes, I cannot wait until I hold my diploma in my hands. And fine, I would do anything to shake hands with Yeobie, just once.

But these are not what makes Oberlin home.

Oberlin is home because of the co-ops, my major, my jobs, and my student organizations. I love Oberlin for its Jewish life, for its concerts, and for my boyfriend playing jazz and smiling at me from the stage. I love Oberlin for all the little moments I enjoy along the way, like the koi fish pond and the awesome, caring alums. Ask me tomorrow what I love most, and it will change. All I know is that Oberlin being home will never change.

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