Oberlin Blogs

INs and OUTs 2024

January 16, 2024

Hanna Alwine ’26



As luck would have it, I have entered the month of January mittenless. There is not a glove to be found in my dorm room. I am armed with only my bare, naked hands. 

The first few days I was here, I convinced my hands that they could take the cold. I’m from the Northeast after all. Snow and ice flows in my veins. Unlike the Obies hailing from sunny California, I don’t have an excuse to be cold. 

Unfortunately, this attitude did little to alter the actual temperatures of the Ohio weather. After a few days of subjecting my hands to the worst of the wind and ice, I decided to stop the cruelty and crochet myself a pair of mittens using my excess time and excess yarn left over from attempting to storm to the Oberlin crochet scene of Fall 2022.

I have found myself hooked on mitten making. (Pun very much intended — though not very well executed.) My latest count is eight mittens (individuals, not pairs — I’m finding it difficult to make the same mitten twice) but it, like this list, is ever-evolving. 

Short Runs! (to the Reservoir?)

My last semester was largely defined by training for my first (and only) marathon. My week was taken up by shorter runs, my weekends reserved for long stretches along the Oberlin bike path. Now that I’ve completed my first (and last) marathon (slowly, painfully, in the rain and cold), I have decided that my runs this year will be short and sweet. I will run when I want, where I want. 

During finals week, I tagged along to the Naturalist Club’s Christmas Bird Count event. I am not a birder. I can identify a cardinal and not much else. But on the Saturday before finals week, I woke up at 7am to go see some birds. We drove out to the Reservoir on a beautifully still morning. The sun was just coming up over the water as we emerged from the trail head. Since then, I have been using my short runs to attempt to locate the Reservoir. So far I have been unsuccessful, but I have hope that soon, I will find this still body of water, the birds, and the early morning peace I remember from December. 

Seinfeld! (the show, not the guy)

I hate Jerry Seinfeld on principle, but since last year I have found myself enamored with his Show About Nothing. George. Jerry. Kramer. Elaine. Each the worst person you’ve ever met. Each absolutely unqualified to run their own lives. Through the show, I am learning exactly who I don’t want to be. It makes great mitten-making white noise. (This is not explicitly Oberlin-coded, but considering I am spending much of my time hiding away from the frigid Ohio weather watching Seinfeld with my mittens and a cup of hot chocolate, I, as officiator of this “IN” and “OUT” list decided that it deserves a slot.) 


This winter term I am in Italian co-op. During the school year there are six co-ops (Pyle, Harkness, Keep, Tank, TWC, TWSJC). During Winter Term with less students on campus there are less co-ops. This Winter Term Harkness (affectionately, Hark) is staying open. The Kosher-Halal Co-op (KHC) is operating out of Pyle’s kitchen and dining area, and the lovely, Italian Co-op (we don’t have a fun name quite yet) is operating out of Keep’s kitchen and dining area. 

Last night, I tried my hand at Head Cooking for the very first time. Head Cooks run cook shifts and are responsible for planning out the meals we are going to make based on the co-op’s (sometimes limited) selection of ingredients. My co-op specific resolution has been to become a Soup Chef (not an official position, but one I will tackle with the seriousness and responsibility it requires). My first soup? Carrot and Lentil. (Don’t knock it until you try it.) It was good, a perfect antidote to the Ohio chill that has settled into my bones. Soup is IN! 



Clutter :(

I speak this into existence: This semester my room will be warm, it will be inviting, it will be free of clutter. My books are shelved neatly. I have a row of buckeyes I collected lined up in an orderly fashion on my shelf. New pictures are hung on the walls. I have a hook for my tote bags. I have just enough hangers in my closet. I finally bit the bullet and bought a dustpan (a stiff piece of paper was no longer cutting it). My shoes are lined up in a little neat row in front of my closet. I have a shelf for clean mugs, a drawer for my pens and pencils. I have faith. I have hope. There is nothing more I can do. 

Overscheduled, Overworked :(

Oberlin students have a problem with overscheduling themselves. Students rush from thing to thing to thing, involved in theater and biology labs and student dance showcases and sketch comedy and the pottery co-op all while overloading on their classes and writing for any of the many campus publications. Last semester, I made myself a promise that I would not be as busy. Instead, I accidentally (totally on purpose) added more to my plate. This semester, I am keeping my latent promise. I am saying no to the activities that no longer serve me. I am making time for what I am truly passionate about. (Blog writing! duh!) 

Mudd Library :(

Mudd was never IN. If possible, it is even less IN in 2024. I have never expressed my hatred for Mudd in these blogs (that I remember). Now, as we enter a new year, I am breaking my silence on the eyesore that muddies (no pun intended!) the face of Wilder Bowl. Though a controversial construction, I find that I am on the right side of history in my disapproval. A huge block of concrete with little other defining features, the library is a prime example of brutalist architecture. (Gross.) If you like brutalist architecture, if you are a fan of the way prisons look, if you hate joy and love and beauty, Mudd is the building for you. It is not IN. It will never be IN. If I never have to set foot in that building again, I will count myself lucky. 


From a snowy, snowy Oberlin,

(Blog sign offs are definitively IN in 2024) 


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