Oberlin Blogs

Little Things

July 12, 2021

Meredith Warden ’23

My first post as a student blogger was about the atmosphere of Oberlin—those tiny, everyday things that make up how I relate to Oberlin as a physical place. I think I’ve always been a somewhat introspective person who notices the ‘little things in life,’ for lack of a better phrase—I remember very sensory-specific and tangible memories from my childhood that to this day remind me of a certain place, like my home or a pool that I went to each summer, for example. So far, my experience at Oberlin has been similar in a sense—I notice these tiny everyday things that help me appreciate the atmosphere of Oberlin. For this summer semester so far, I wanted to share with you a few of these little things—some sensory, some tangible, some intangible experiences—that, to me, make up my idea of ‘Oberlin’ this semester.

1. Browsing old books in the Mary Church Terrell Main Library (which I am so, so happy is finally open again this semester). 

2. Seeing the first fireflies light up the grass as the sun sets and dusk settles in (also an experience that reminds me of home and childhood). 

3. Cheering on my teammates as they score a fantastic goal or finish a final sprint during field hockey practice.

4. Scoring my own really good goal during practice! 

5. Biking past a dorm building and hearing the faint strains of someone playing the piano, being reminded of how much I love music.

6. Walking in the Arb the first few days after arriving at Oberlin and missing the park I’ve grown up near in my hometown.

7. Listening to a class discussion and being reminded of how much I love learning (this sounds really cheesy but it’s true). 

8. Sitting in the grass and hearing the leaves above me rustle in the breeze.

9. Walking in the corridors of King and overhearing in-person classes again.

10. Spotting an albino squirrel in Tappan Square for the first time!

11. Feeling elated at being able to swim in Lake Erie (I’ve only been able to do this once so far this summer, but I hope I can visit the beach again soon). 

12. And, most simply, being at Oberlin once more, with all that entails. 

Oberlin is not perfect, and I certainly don’t intend to romanticize the college or surrounding area with this list—these ‘little things’ also have downsides, like getting lost in the Arb for an hour (I have a...not great sense of direction), having to readjust to the stress of schoolwork, playing field hockey in 90°+ weather, and much more. However, as I wrote in my very first blog post, I think that noticing these tiny, everyday things really helps me appreciate the atmosphere of Oberlin and life in general. I hope that, wherever you are, you can also take a second to notice something tangible or intangible—a sensation, an emotion, an experience—that makes you feel slightly happier. 

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