Oberlin Blogs

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

January 14, 2023

Ariel Roberts ’25

A snowy Burton Hall
A snowy Burton Hall. Photo credit: Ariel Roberts

There’s nothing quite like Winter Term on campus. With much of the student body off-campus, at first it can feel rather deserted, but you soon find out it's just as lively in its own way. Winter Term gives you lots of unwinding time, time to just spend with yourself doing hobbies and working on your personal or group projects of interest. There’s also lots of fun unique events going on, such as bus trips into the Cleveland area, crafting and knitting circles, and my favorite, free movies every Monday at the Apollo. While I’m only here for about two of the four weeks, I’m greatly enjoying my time and savoring the Winter Term atmosphere.

With much more free time than during the semesters, you really get to dive into your hobbies, catch up on things you’ve been meaning to do or on some well-needed rest. I’ve been doing lots of reading, writing, and gaming, three of my favorite things. The vibe of WT is perfect for the new year when you’ve just come up with resolutions and now have plenty of time to get them started. For me, I’m attempting the 52 Book Club Challenge, even though last year I just barely fulfilled my goal of reading 40 books. With the third floor of Mudd practically all to myself, I’ve been curling up in a womb chair and spending a good couple of hours reading, getting a head start on my goal. When I’m not reading, I’m writing short stories, poetry, and scripts I hope to publish in literary magazines around campus, develop further in Creative Writing and Cinema Studies classes, or enter in contests throughout the year. I’m also aiming to be more active this year, as most of my hobbies are sedentary, so I decided to go way out of my comfort zone by joining a spinning class at the YeoFit and Rec Health and Wellness Center. I’m not very athletic, so I was a bit nervous to try it out, but the atmosphere was super welcoming and encouraging. I did struggle to keep the rhythm and my legs felt like jelly afterward, but it left my body humming with energy. I really hope I can go to some more classes during spring semester.

Reading in a womb chair
Curling up with a good book in a womb chair.
Photo credit: Ariel Roberts

As for my project, I’m practicing with the Musical Union as we prepare for our performance with the College Choir, Gospel Choir, and Oberlin Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in NYC! Last year I also spent my Winter Term at the Conservatory learning to play the viola da gamba, and I’m so excited that I get to be here again. As an Arts and Sciences student, it’s really great to dive deep into my love of singing and music when most of the year I only practice with MU once a week. Those of us doing the tour for WT credit are also studying about Nathaniel Dett, the first Black double-degree graduate of the Conservatory and composer of the piece we are performing, The Ordering of Moses. We’ve had some truly fascinating lectures from various scholars who are experts on Dett and the history of the African American spiritual. One thing I love about this project is how proud it's made me feel to be an Obie. Nathaniel Dett was an incredible composer, pianist, and writer who used his art to express his struggles as a Black person with incredible eloquence, and hearing about how Oberlin impacted his musical style, along with its abolitionist history and connections to the Underground Railroad, fills me such a gratitude to go to this school. I’m so excited to get to represent Oberlin at Carnegie in about a week and share a piece of music that deserves much more recognition. Stay tuned for my post all about this incredible experience!

Conservatory Stull Hall Winter Term
A snowy day at the Conservatory.
Photo credit: Ariel Roberts

So far I’ve only done on-campus group projects, i.e. ones developed by the College and Con, so next year I hope to try out designing my own, especially since the possibilities are endless. I truly love the exploration and growth you experience during Winter Term, and how it helps you find the perfect balance of rigorous and relaxing. My first week has already flown by, and so even though it’s ending rather quickly for me, I’m going savor my last few days on campus before heading off to New York!

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