Hello readers! It’s been a long time. Can you believe I’m a senior? I barely can. But I’m having a blast! This semester has been a wonderful swirl of good choices and lucky breaks so far, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I’m living in an adorable and cozy off-campus house and cooking a ridiculous number of stir-fries. Having my own kitchen is a total game-changer, and making dinner with my housemates (including new blogger Hanne – congrats!) is a huge joy for me. I love my room with its QUEEN bed and houseplants. And for the first time, I have a car on campus, so I’ve been ferrying people to the airport and going on adventures around Northeast Ohio. Needless to say, I feel more like an adult than I ever have at Oberlin… and I’m loving it!
In addition to having an awesome housing situation, I’ve made some sweet new friends so far this semester. It really amazes me that there are still people that I'm meeting for the first time and instantly clicking with! That’s the beauty of a school this size: it feels homey in that I recognize most faces, but it’s big enough to surprise me with new people and friendships all the time. In my first few years, I felt a lot of (internalized) pressure to be social constantly. I worried that I wasn’t doing college “right” if I wasn’t out with people all the time. But recently I’ve been able to let that go. I feel so much better taking time for myself when I need it and saving my energy for social situations I feel excited about! Finding the right balance of alone time and social time has made all the difference in my Oberlin experience, and I’ve found my friends to be incredibly understanding of my need to recharge. I'm lucky to be surrounded by people who want me to do what works for me. Everyone deserves a community like that, and I really think you can find it at Oberlin!
Anyway, what blog life update would be complete without a list of my classes? Without further ado…
CINE 322 – Experiments in Moving Image and Sound with Professor Rian Brown-Orso
I LOVE this class! We’re exploring experimental film by making it. We began with shooting rolls of black-and-white film on 16mm Bolex cameras. I had never worked with film before, having only shot on digital, so the experience has been very rewarding! The time it takes for the film to process only makes it sweeter when you see it. After 16mm film, we tried out direct cinema techniques, from scratching and painting on film to manipulating found footage. I’m experiencing film in an entirely new way! It’s so exciting how this class is pushing me to be creative outside of my comfort zone. Plus, Rian really couldn’t be a better teacher to experience this with. She is endlessly supportive and inspires me to take artistic risks!
CINE 320 – Documentary Production with Professor Geoff Pingree
I decided to become a Cinema Studies major in order to take this class!! It’s been on my Oberlin bucket list for as long as I can remember, so I’m thrilled that I’m taking it this semester. We’re doing a deep dive into all things documentary filmmaking – watching, reading, and making! I find myself wanting to watch the films for this class before doing anything else. Documentary filmmaking is totally fascinating; the class is full of discussions about ethics, storytelling, and truth. I’m working in a four-person group to produce a short documentary film by the end of the semester, so keep your eyes peeled for that! I care about this class so much and am thankful that it’s guided by as thoughtful and intelligent a professor as Geoff. Taking two film production classes this semester was a really good decision.
ANTH 254 – Animal Biocapital with Professor Les Beldo
Let me say, it’s super new for me to take only one non-film class. I’ve only written one essay this semester – what?? But this is honestly my ideal schedule. Professor Beldo is a really wonderful professor, and I love the readings that have been assigned. We’re talking a lot about how to conceptualize animal contributions to human profit and capital, specifically regarding the use of animals for meat. Should we discuss animals as laborers or machines or something else entirely? We often consider this question through the lens of the factory farm. It’s heartbreaking but crucial to discuss animal suffering, especially in the context of climate change and our society’s exploitation of natural resources. This class has been the push I needed to return to vegetarianism. I’ve been encouraging the meat eaters in my life to have at least one vegetarian day per week! You can do it!
Though most Oberlin students in the Arts & Sciences take four full classes, I'm taking a full courseload with these three classes and a variety of other activities. I get credit for taking an '80s aerobics ExCo called Spicy Steppers (yes, it’s as fun as it sounds), writing a longform piece on elder care for Wilder Voice through Rhetoric and Composition's journalism practicum, and working as a Peer Advising Leader (PAL) for a group of sixteen first-year students. College is all about finding balance, and I think I’m doing a good job with that this semester. Here’s to more moviemaking, fulfilling friendships, and yummy dinners with my housemates!