Oberlin Blogs

Insights on Oberlin

March 15, 2019

Emma McIlhagga ’22

I really love posting on this blog, and I especially love seeing all of your responses to my posts; it means a lot that people even read my writing! But I realized, too, that everything that I’m posting is entirely my insight on Oberlin, and while there are lots of other bloggers, I want to share as many opinions and views of Oberlin as I can.

So I decided to ask some of my first-year friends some questions about Oberlin and feature them here! Check them out. If you have any questions for them, leave them below and I can be sure to ask them and get back to you!

One of the questions I decided to ask my friends was not only what they love about Oberlin, but also something they wish they’d known before coming here. It’s hard to provide a critique to a school that I love so much, but there are things that I think are important to know that might not always be included in all admissions experiences.

Oberlin isn’t perfect. In reality, no school is perfect, and it’s hard to recognize that at any point in your life—whether going through the admissions process, at the school, working here, or as an alumnus, it’s hard to look at a place we love and point out the problems. But congruent with the beliefs of Oberlin, things aren’t going to get better if we shy away from them. Addressing these problems is the first step in doing our best to fix them.

As a blogger, I have a platform that I feel I can use to help promote the shared love of Oberlin, but also the critique and work to fix the problems that the school has. This isn’t meant to discourage you from coming to Oberlin.

I hope that this post provides an insight into Oberlin that doesn’t serve to push you away, but shows you that as a school, Oberlin is capable of recognizing these problems, thinking critically about them, and questioning what we can do to fix it.

Oberlin really is a wonderful school in so many aspects, and I think that the acknowledgement by the student body of these problems doesn’t negate the issues, but shows the power of a collective understanding of issues and ways we can fix them.

Thanks for checking out my post, and if you have any questions, you can send me an email at emcilhag@oberlin.edu.

Miranda Uma

miranda with short black hair and a red-orange cable knit sweater


Major: Prospective Neuroscience and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies

Hometown: Lewisburg, PA

What’s one thing you love about Oberlin?

My favorite thing about Oberlin is definitely the community here; everyone is so kind and supportive and genuinely wants to see each other succeed.

What’s something you wish you’d known about Oberlin before coming here?

I kinda wish I had known the race breakdown of people at the school before coming here and seeing it for myself. It isn’t really something they advertise but as a POC (person of color) it’s so important to know that Oberlin is still nearly 70 percent white.

Carolyn Crenshaw


Hometown: Nashville, TN

Major: Prospective Creative Writing Program

What’s one thing you love about Oberlin?

My favorite thing about Oberlin is that pretty much everyone is really nice and the school as a whole is really understanding and accepting of mental health issues.

What’s something you wish you’d known about Oberlin before coming here?

I wish before coming here that I knew how heavy the reading and writing load for humanities classes was. I was expecting a lot, but this is even more than I thought it’d be!

Aidan Kirchgraber


Hometown: Baltimore, MD

What’s one thing you love about Oberlin?

I love that anyone can find or create a community of welcoming, intelligent people who share their interests.

What’s something you wish you’d known about Oberlin before coming here?

I think admissions overemphasizes the accessibility of Cleveland and under-emphasizes how diverse the activities available in the Oberlin community are, and how that mostly makes up for it. Also this is an exceedingly welcoming community ... if you're the Oberlin kind of person.

Raklanna (Ramie) Puangkam

ramie sitting with a grey hat surrounded by yellow and orange knees. her hands are tucked around her knees and she is smiling.


Hometown: Thailand

What’s one thing you love about Oberlin?

I think I love the many opportunities that Oberlin has for students.

What’s something you wish you’d known about Oberlin before coming here?

One thing I wish I knew was the town is pretty small and isolated.

Emily Fiorentino

emily with black tortoiseshell glasses, medium-length red-brown hair, and a black turtleneck.


What’s one thing you love about Oberlin?

I think my favorite thing about Oberlin is just how interesting and passionate everyone is and how everyone loves learning and talking about their interests and things like that.

What’s something you wish you’d known about Oberlin before coming here?

I think my honest answer is just how divided and like segregated the campus is both by race and like athletes or conservatory students. I do think that people are aware of it and starting to try to work on it. I’m learning a lot about being an activist and what it means to be an ally as a white person from a lot of difficult dynamics and conversations on campus that I’m grateful for.

Imani Badillo

Imani smiling with an ice cream in her hand, a pink crop top, and black pants, standing against a light yellow brick wall.

she/her/hers or they/them/theirs

Hometown: Cleveland, OH

Majors: Environmental Studies and Art

What’s one thing you love about Oberlin?

I have really enjoyed getting to know all the people at Oberlin. Everyone is so unique and interesting with experiences and perspectives that I have never considered before.

What’s something you wish you’d know about Oberlin before coming here?

Though I have gotten very involved with identity- and culture-based groups, I wish I had known how diverse the student body is. Though this was a point that I struggled with (and still do), so many students have shared this view and have been open to giving me support and space to express myself in the ways that are most important to me.

Thanks for tuning in to this blog post! I hope that you found this to be constructive and helpful to looking at the ups and downs of Oberlin.

Again, if you have questions, send me an email. Comment with questions if you have them! 

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