Oberlin Blogs

An Interview with a Residential Assistant

May 22, 2023

Natalie Frank ’26

Kahn Hall at sunset
Kahn Hall at sunset.

If you read my next blog, you’ll know I loved living at Kahn Hall, one of the FYRE (First Year Residential Experience) dorms. I made many friends, ate lots of ice cream, and created some of the best memories of my life. But the cherry on top had to be my Residential Assistant, Vision (also known as Theophilus). Vision is from Zimbabwe and studies Economics. On nights when I debated choosing Oberlin or missed home, he shared wisdom on why he came here–and why he stayed. From game nights to discussing the potential of youth, I shared many interesting conversations with Vision. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. The overarching question was, why Oberlin?

Natalie: Where did your college process start?

Vision: It’s a complex question. My college journey started in 2018, and I attended Global Scholars Programs. [He lists programs in Ghana and at Yale University.] By attending those events and great opportunities, I had very good options.

Natalie: Did you encounter challenges?

Vision: I remember facing challenges, but I always try to make sure that I’m not defined by my situations or where I’m coming from. In order to make it in this world, it’s not about the giant steps we take but about the small steps we take. 

Natalie: How did you find out about Oberlin?

Vision: I found out about Oberlin by researching. We had students from Zimbabwe that were here as well. 

Natalie: What do you like about Oberlin?

Vision: I just love the community. It’s a small community, but it’s a powerful community. There’s a sense of belonging at Oberlin College. I can say that I’m a better person than I used to be before I came to Oberlin College. I believe I’m getting much better. What else can I want than becoming better? 

To me, it’s the best college in the United States. It’s not about who pays the highest tuition or who’s ranked number one. It’s about the community and how you can grow in a community. When you leave, it’s about your personality or who you became, not about your school. People don’t interact with College1 or College2 or College3; they interact with Theophilus. 

Natalie: Talk about your experience.

Vision: My Oberlin College experience has been great. It’s helped me become who I am today, with a supportive environment and great resources from the professors and faculty. It’s easy to form great relationships with professors in a small school. Above all, above all, above all what I’ve said, I’m not here by mistake. God chose this place for me. It may not be something for everyone, but that’s my journey. It might not be the case for everyone. I’m not here by mistake. He personally chose that place for me. This is a great place. I love my life, and I value it. 

Natalie: What’s your future from here?

Vision: I’m looking forward to more and more and more of developing my personality. I need to leave a positive mark at Oberlin. One day when people see me, they should be able to realize the great potential that is at Oberlin College because of me. They should be able to see the great light of Oberlin College because I am there. It is a community that has inspired me and supported me and push me to new levels. This is a wonderful school. This opportunity, you won’t get it again. You don’t always get opportunities. 

Natalie: Do you have any last advice?

Vision: When you develop yourself as an asset, it’s something you can use for the rest of your life.

Julia and I smiling outside of a red door
Unfortunately, I have no pictures of Vision, so you will have to settle for this blurry picture of Julia and me outside his door.

Some fun facts about Vision include his favorite artist being Davido. He works at Stevenson Dining Hall, and (bonus tip!) if you’re one of his residents, he’ll sneak you ice cream from the kitchens. If you see him around campus, strike up a conversation. He’s among the many people I’m thankful to have met at Oberlin and one of our best RAs. 

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