Oberlin Blogs

Housekeeping, or The Secret Life of oBEErlin-ites

September 6, 2009

Ma'ayan Plaut ’10

I mentioned before that the first few weeks of college equals '50s housewife meets college student: shopping for classes, ironing out schedules, cleaning and unpacking all belongings, and if the weather doesn't take the temperature dip it did a few days ago, flowery dresses and sunglasses.

On shopping:

I have finally grown tired of shopping. I went to my classes, even though they were a departure from my usual class schedule, and I liked them right off the bat. No shopping for me! I think this semester is going to be good, and I even have a theme: Exploration and Inspiration: Making the Best of a Final Full Oberlin Semester.

On scheduling and listmaking:

I love making schedules and lists. I have my Google calendar down to an art form (or an art piece, if you look at all the colors), and Aries recommended this great itemized list program called Taskpaper that allows me to organize and cross things off of a huge list. And with my crazy life, I need a detailed schedule to make sure everything works out and a long list to remind me of everything I need to do.

This semester is as follows...

§ Senior Project in Cinema Studies - Rian Brown-Orso and Jeff Pence. This is the first of a two-semester senior class for Cinema majors. It appears to be a very free-form class, since all the students are working on their own personal projects but will be getting input from both their peers and the instructors throughout the course of the year. Since the major is still budding, this requirement is new, and my senior class is the first one they are trying it on. Even from the first class, it is proving to be very passionate, as most people came in with ideas that reflect something that helps fuel their life and their understanding. I'm extremely excited, both for the class and my project, which I will share more about later.

§ Homer's Odyssey and the Myths of Comedy - Thomas Van Nortwick. I walked into the class on the first day, saw two of my best friends, a fair number of dynamic acquaintances, and an overflowing group of students. The overflowing group is to be expected on the first day, but those other qualifiers are rare, and a reason to seriously consider keeping a class (since you know you'll end up with some great in and out of class discussions). And then, the professor came in and started talking, and I was swept up in the most complete and engaging lecture I've been involved in a very long time. I learned a fair amount in that first day, too; something that's rare during the shopping period. That's it. I'm keeping this class. And so did 57 other people, which surprisingly enough still works in a discussion-based class. If you have the opportunity, take it.

§ Oberlin History as American History - Carol Lasser. On the first day of classes, I started perusing the course catalog, much like the advice I had given my first-year friends during orientation registration, and ran across this history class. I haven't taken any history classes here, mainly because I have a hard time memorizing dates, but this class seemed like a departure from the average history class. I mentioned it on Twitter, and got a bunch of positive responses from past students in the class, and then from former roommate Harris and current housemate Melissa that we would be in class together. And going to the class on the first day solidified it. We looked at photos from Oberlin archives and talked about how times changed. There is an epic amount of reading, but all of it has been good so far. I'm learning a lot about the town I love.

§ Practicum in Journalism - Jan Cooper. Same as last year, taking photos and editing them for class credit. This semester, my editing job has become even more of a blast, because we have no less than 13 (!!!) photographers on staff, not including the photo editors. We are actually having a hard time making sure everyone has assignments this year... a problem that I am happy we have.

§ Picture Books: Theory and Practice - Hannah Lindner-Finlay & Ardea Thurston-Shaine. My semesterly ExCo, to fulfill my visual quota my semester is surprisingly lacking in this year. Basically, we'll be reading and analyzing picture books and, eventually, making our own picture book. Not only am I the biggest fan of picture books, my senior project involved a self-written children's story, and this ExCo can only help me in my mission.

Not my normal class schedule by far, but it seems like a good fit for this semester. I'm rather excited. I'll give you a rundown of my work schedule later (but as a teaser, my Decafe hours are Mondays and Fridays, 12-4pm, starting after Labor Day!).

On the state of my life, in more literal housekeeping terms:

My room has no more boxes in it, everything is hung up, folded, organized, on the bookshelves, and out of the way. I haven't started decorating yet, except for a windchime. Anyone have any recommendations on how to put up posters and art without nails or stickytack? Especially if I don't want to mar a positively glorious poster or print?

My house is wonderful. My housemates and I have a colorful rotating job wheel to break up the cleaning jobs round the house, we have a house fund to buy practical shared things and more fun shared things, and we found some awesome random things at the city-wide yardsale this Saturday (another whole post on this later, because it's so amazing), including but not limited to big floor cushions, a panini press, and a sewing machine.

Because Monday is Labor Day (read: no classes, no work, makes Sunday feel like Saturday) I spent a few hours at home bustling about in the kitchen to learn the ins and outs of my new cooking space. I washed all the dishes I accumulated from the yard sales, and made some delightful lemonade popsicles (the popsicle mold another yardsale find, and since I don't have any popsicle sticks, I decided I would try plastic knives instead; I'll share the results later), a tomato-basil salad my parents would be proud of, and some bread for sandwiches for a day-off-picnic-in-the-Arb tomorrow. And then I promptly fell asleep on the couch while reading some Oberlin history. I feel so homey.


I'm using my clever literary post this time, I read Housekeeping in Pat Day's first-year seminar way back when I was a wee frosh. It's still sitting on my bookshelf if anyone wants to borrow it.

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