Aside from working on my Winter Term project, my January consisted of a mix of different activities and social events. During Winter Term, the College offers a variety of resources and activities to students staying on campus, one example being free movie nights on Mondays at the Apollo Theater, the movie theater in downtown Oberlin. I and a few friends went there to watch Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, and we were pleasantly surprised by the movie. It was funny, action packed, and there was never a dull moment. Another activity the College offers is the Winter Term Ball, which took place during the last weekend. It was a fun opportunity to dress up a little, take silly photos at a photo booth, and just let loose with friends. The music they played at the Ball was a funky mix of 1920s big band music and 2000s/2010s pop.
A couple of weeks ago, one of my friends hosted a “Pidgin Pasta Night” for multilingual Obies, where we had pasta for dinner and were not allowed to speak any English. It was a unique and eye-opening experience, trying to communicate with each other using whatever other languages we could speak and/or understand (which included Japanese, French, German, and Spanish). I felt a little out of my comfort zone at first, since I am not fluent in my other languages (such as Japanese), but it forced me to practice speaking different languages without worrying so much about making mistakes, and try my best to express myself using the knowledge I already had. I realized that I knew and could understand more than I thought I did!
Earlier this month, I also celebrated my birthday (a friend and I had birthdays that were pretty close together, so we decided to throw a joint birthday gathering). It was great to spend the day with everyone, and a kind friend of mine even baked a chocolate cake for the occasion. :)
Several friends and I also formed a temporary (i.e., just for the duration of Winter Term, when we all had more free time on our hands), just-for-fun music ensemble, and we met and rehearsed several times throughout the month. We played an arrangement I made of Joe Hisaishi’s “Merry-Go-Round of Life” from the Ghibli film Howl’s Moving Castle, and the instrumentation looked something like this: two violins, one cello, one saxophone, and one piano. It was a nice opportunity to play music with friends in a more casual setting. After rehearsals, we would often get dinner at Stevie (short for Stevenson Dining Hall, for those who didn’t know!) together, so overall it was a good bonding experience!
On the more serious side of things, I also spent some time this past month looking for and applying to summer internships and research opportunities (specifically, in the field of psychology). As I inch closer to graduation (which, luckily, is still over a year away), I know that having these experiences in your undergraduate years can have a big influence on your future, particularly if you want to pursue a career in academia. I am still not exactly sure what I will be doing after I graduate from Oberlin, but I am considering going to graduate school at some point, and I want to keep my options open. I will work on some more applications throughout the next few weeks or so for programs that have later deadlines, and I will also probably drop by the Center for Engaged Liberal Arts (or CELA for short) at some point to receive some feedback on my applications before I submit them. CELA is an example of the different resources the College provides for Obies who are interested in applying for internships, fellowships, or other such experiences. CELA has a Career Development and Exploration department, which I think can be super helpful if you are applying to such programs! You can schedule appointments with staff or peer advisors to look over your application materials and they can provide you with feedback and suggestions, and point you in the right direction depending on what you are interested in pursuing.
For the month of February, I am looking forward to having a more structured routine again now that classes have just started. I am both excited and nervous about the new semester, because there is so much to do, from classes to senior recital preparation, extracurriculars, and more (eek!). It is also going to be the final semester before many of my friends here graduate, so I am hoping to make the most of the several months I have left with them (being together in Oberlin, at least)!
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