Campus is rather empty right now and it seems like someone picked up Oberlin by the tail and shook and a few good people stayed latched on for the ride. There are tiny pockets of people outside Dascomb, in Wilder Bowl, Tappan Square and North Quad, but on the whole, campus is sparsely populated.
I like Oberlin when there are less folks around (not that I don't love all 2700 students here, but it's a nice break to walk through campus and not pass dozens of people). I've spent a break and two Winter Terms here; I've been here for two orientations (my third will be this fall; look for me and other academic ambassadors if you're an incoming freshman needing questions answered or advice given) and I am currently here for my second commencement. The beginning of the year is full of starry-eyed freshmen running all over campus and the end of the year is the tired, somewhat intimidated seniors relaxing outside, both demographics flanked with proud parents.
Commencement is a beautiful time. It's legitimately spring now, the last few days have been in the upper 70s and it should continue like this until next week. Last night's after dinner activity was playing with circus friends in the grass and taking photos in the waning light, followed by the senior talent show at the Cat and a triple CD release party for The Birthday Kids, Andrew Gombas, and Dos Mil Dias Del Fuego (for you less familiar with Spanish, 2000 Days of Fire).
Now, if commencement is so amazing, you may ask, why doesn't everyone stay? Well, campus officially shuts down the Monday following epic finals week, and anyone who wishes to stay for graduation and alumni reunion festivities must be hired by the college to fill a variety of commencement positions (cleaning the now-empty dormitories, working for campus dining services either serving food to fellow workers or helping with catering for events, guarding the massive tents and hundreds of chairs set up for alumni and student activities) or be working a certain number of hours for a student organization or in one of any various commencement entertainment possibilities.
This year, I'm staying and working with the Oberlin Review, putting out a 48-page monster issue featuring our top stories of the year as well as some alumni weekend coverage, as well helping OCircus! revamp our spring show, Will Work for Circus!, photographing some senior athletic events, and then photographing many alumni activities this weekend. It's like I'm as busy as the rest of the school year, but I also don't have to worry about school work. Or at least not anymore; I had to turn in a DVD of my movie, complete my artist statement, and write a peer review for my cinema class by 5pm this afternoon.
Right now, I'm sitting between copy and production editors reading pages for the commencement issues, resting on proverbial laurels before the pace picks up for the hundreds of alumni coming in for 5th, 15th, 25th, and 50th reunions, and parents start flooding in for Monday's graduation exercises. That means non-stop photos for the next five days. That is, except for Sunday. It's my birthday!