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Learning and Labor: A Busy Oberlin Semester

November 18, 2017

Hello, lovely readers! Long time no see! I’m sorry I haven’t written many blogs this semester. I’ve been very busy – but there are many blog posts to come detailing my adventures!

Sometimes I look around at all the activities and people and places and art in my life and smile. I’m getting to explore so many of my interests. In addition to my classes, I work for the Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity; Preventing and Responding to Sexual Misconduct (PRSM); and the new PAL program. I’m a majors representative for Comparative American Studies, sing with the Oberlin Acapelicans, volunteer with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Lorain County, and work for Wilder Voice, Oberlin’s literary magazine. And I still find time to see my friends! Whew! Though I’m busy, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love all the incredible opportunities at Oberlin and want to take advantage of them for my last two years here.  

I feel so proud of myself this semester. For the first time ever at Oberlin, I’m not feeling very homesick. As much as I miss my family, I’m able to have a life apart from them and still be happy. And that’s so profound and important and exciting!

In keeping with my tradition each semester, here’s a quick rundown of the classes I am taking:

Comparative American Studies Private Reading – Families in the US with Gina Perez

Taking a private reading has always been on my Oberlin bucket list! A private reading is an opportunity to work one-on-one with a professor to study a topic of interest. It’s required that the topic isn’t the focus of any other class offered. I picked to study families in the United States, since I’ve been fascinated by studying queer families throughout my time at Oberlin. With the awesome Professor Perez, I’ve read books about family relating to immigration, race, religion, queerness, indigenous rights, and more! This private reading has been super helpful in narrowing my interests before I propose an Honors thesis next semester.

History 304 – Abolition and Abolitionists with Tamika Nunley

This class has immersed me in abolitionist history, which is the perfect topic to study while at Oberlin. One of the books we read was about the history of abolition in Oberlin, and we got to go on a tour through the Oberlin Heritage Center to accompany our learning! I’m writing my final paper about Lucy Stanton Day, the first black woman to graduate from Oberlin College. She’s not very well-known because she graduated at a time when Oberlin didn’t grant Bachelor’s degrees to women, so she only got a certificate. I’ve loved working with Professor Nunley and developing my research project!

Athletics 138 – High Intensity Interval Training with Dan Palmer

I took this first-module class on a whim because I wanted to get more exercise, and I’m SO glad I did! Coach Dan was excellent at meeting everyone where they’re at. Most of the class involved bursts of intense exercise followed by rest, which I’ve decided is a good way for me to work out. I miss this class, since it ended at fall break! I feel more confident and equipped to take Athletics classes in the future.

Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies 017 – Contemporary Midwifery with Ilana Kresch

This second-module class is a unique look at midwifery and birth in the US! Ilana is a midwife at the Cleveland Clinic and brings years of experience to her teaching. I’m not learning how to be a midwife, but rather what midwives do and why they’re important. I’m engaged and excited by this class every week… and I think I might want to train to be a doula!

Cinema Studies 298 – Video Production Workshop with Rian Brown-Orso

I love this class so much!! I had always wanted to learn about making films. Last Winter Term, I had tried to shoot some footage and make a little documentary project, but I just didn’t have enough technical skills to do that. This class has improved my abilities a thousand times over! There have definitely been times that I’ve felt overwhelmed by the amount of new information in this class, but I always end up inspired and proud of myself when I go into the studio to work. Rian has been an incredible professor, and I’ve loved getting to work in the Apollo editing lab and animation studio. Keep an eye out for my finished film, which I’ll post on my blog at the end of the semester!

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