Frequently Asked Questions (that I don't love hearing all the time):
"Didn't you graduate, Aries?"
"What are you doing here?"
"How's your job?"
"Does this make you a failure to launch?"
"No, what do you do? Like, all day?"
"What does it feel like to be the man?"
"I really preferred Lillie. Why did you steal her job?"
At this point, I have a few responses:
a. I manage the stories project, the blogs project, and social networking projects at Oberlin, as well as write for the alumni magazine, campus news page, or the website.
b. I try to fix problems and make Oberlin a more cohesive place, both in terms of internet technologies and person-to-person know-how.
c. I attempt to bridge the gap between web communications and print publications, learning how to take photos.
d. I don't know, but it keeps me really busy.
e. I miss Lillie too, you dweeb-face.
Discovery: I can't define my job because it's always changing.
When I worked at Admissions, I could tick off my tasks - interviews, tours, filing, helping - on my fingers. When I didn't have something on my schedule, I could walk into Jill, Kris, Jen, Molly, Joel, Farah, Chuck, Tom, Leslie, or Josh's office and work on a project of some kind.
At Communications, I start counting off tasks with my fingers, but end up on my palm, and then I've got my elbow. I shouldn't take on too much, but as you may I have gathered/assumed, I really love this college. Every little part of it, from the composts on North Field to the vernal pools in the Arboretum - each jubilant freshman and fretting senior wandering between. I love all the things I've seen and done here; I respect the things I can't. And if things aren't working... I want to change that.
The big things are still the Stories Project, Blogs, and social media, but I've also started taking photographs for events, writing for the alumni magazine, organizing an all-campus photo, working with the alumni association...
It's hard to define Oberlin, or point to why the college is a special place. Students are friendly, eager, and passionate; faculty and staff are supportive and open; winters are long, but not too snowy, music, bikes, food, and ideas proliferate each space on campus. Students and alums share incredible ambitions, yet create a relaxed, non-competitive air on campus.
We can talk about it... or we can show it.
We're collecting personal narratives from students, alums, staff and faculty, writing on nearly anything. I love reading them; it's so cool to see what folks do with/after their time here. I got really wrapped up in Matt Rinaldi's story. A lot of Obies are really hesitant to boast, or speak about themselves without the typical veil of modesty and self-aware criticism. It can actually be difficult to convince them to be honest about how awesome they are.
I'm a big fan of using the stories as a means to raise awareness - I wrote about circus because I want people to know how fantastic and empowering circus is. It's weird and wonderful to meet alumni who say, "Oh, you're the circus girl! I loved your story."
When I was a prospie, I remember trolling the Oberlin Livejournal to try to find out what real Oberlin students did and how the college could be as cool as I kept hearing it was. Though seeing photos of campus was cool... a viewbook isn't a person, no matter how interactive it may be. While I found a few folks willing to share their lives, I know that being able to get a better picture would have made me decide on Oberlin much faster.
Easily for me, the blogs run themselves. We don't censor anyone or mess with posts. There are a few typo tweaks (I love you, Professor Walker), but nothing changing the actual content. My work comes into choosing bloggers and promoting the blogs.
Coming soon, we'll be selecting new bloggers. Much as I love the current bloggers (all of you!), it'll be a real treat to have new faces.
On Social Media:
I honestly believe that the best and easiest way to explain Oberlin to prospective students and parents is to share what we do as completely as we can. We don't gussy up photos of the quads, or use staged/photoshopped images. If we could easily share the daily breath of Oberlin, the college would be so much more connected with current, past and future students.
My job is to make it so. And here comes the link-dump:
Facebook (discussion, cool things)
Oberlin Hopefuls (For prospies) [link no longer available]
Tumblr (an epic collection of all things Oberlin.)
Of all of these... this is my baby. Despite its limitations, Tumblr is my favorite way to make a scrapbook. I collect news, projects, media and whatever involves Oberlin, especially stuff happening on campus. The last few entries are reposts about the Ed Helms visit. In the archives, you can find... a Super Mario Brothers medley performed by an Oberlin bassoon quartet, videos describing the ins and outs of Oberlin (with animation and lasers) and what students do over the summer...
...I think that's enough for now.
The Question: what do you want to see? What does and doesn't work for you?
PS: Note on privacy: Oberlin Admissions never searches for prospective students' names on Google. We never check your Facebook profile or otherwise attempt to violate your privacy.
The search for the greatest bathroom at Oberlin led me to the story of a smooth-talking criminal, tens of thousands of dollars of stolen books, and librarians who wouldn't rest until justice was served.
Responses to this Entry
You are awesome.
Posted by: Colin on September 15, 2009 3:37 PM
Seconding the above. I knew about the tumblr and the all campus photo but I didn't know you were the one who organized them both!
Thank you so much for providing good Internet-based avenues for information so prospies don't have to troll LJ as often as in ages prior.
Posted by: Kate on September 15, 2009 4:14 PM
I'm glad to hear you're super overwhelmed, too. Maybe it's built into the position.
THE ROUNDUP OF OBERLIN ON SOCIAL MEDIA SITE IS SO HELPFUL. Maybe it should exist more places than just within your blog entry. Like on the Useful Links or on the Admissions site or written across the sky.
Posted by: Lillie on September 15, 2009 5:28 PM
...somehow deleted the rest of my comment? It was about using Twitter to spread the word of new blog posts. I like the reminders.
Posted by: Lillie on September 15, 2009 5:29 PM
I don't think of you as a Failure To Launch. In fact, I don't think I consider anyone I know to be a FTL, probably because I'm an Oberlin zealot and I never want to leave. Anyway, I love having you around for horribly selfish reasons like the way you help me cultivate my love of Oberlin for the benefit of the general populace/prospie population. All I could ask is that you find a way to allow me to talk to everyone about Oberlin always. Which may not be possible.
Posted by: Brandi on September 15, 2009 6:41 PM
I truly enjoy reading your stories that you post. There's some sort of magical entrancing quality to them on enhanced by the fact that I can hear your voice saying all these things. I wouldn't get to read these stories if you didn't have the job you do now. Although it's selfish, I'd much rather you'd be here documenting the Oberlin experience in a way nobody else can than off somewhere else.
Posted by: John on September 16, 2009 12:57 AM
@ Kate + Colin:
Thank you! LJ stalking was so weird-- you'd get real extremes. It was either "FINALS-DOOM-PAPER-WORK-WTF" or "i love Oberlin! i love everything! today i played frisbee and quiddich in wilder bowl. ate vegan cookies! nom nom!
Thanks! It should be on the admission site soon!
I'll so it more. :)
Thank you! I try to sound like myself.
Posted by: Aries on September 18, 2009 3:42 PM
Hi Aries, (nice name)
You mentioned that you can't define my job because it's always changing? A good starting point is to start an activity tracker. i.e make a note of the time of day and the task together with the length of time you spend on that task over a period of time (lets say one week) ..until you notice that the tasks you are recording start to repeat on the list. then categorize the tasks in main and sub categories. before you realize, you see patterns, areas and responsibilities and all will become obvious which will help in defining your job. a good example is this article which outlines and provides a huge list of categories of jobs and definitions(in this example jobs in the wind power sector) ...sure this will give you a good idea. p.s. am from UK and try to connect with new (educated) peoples around the world..stay gold. kners
Posted by: kners on September 24, 2009 6:58 PM
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