Oberlin Blogs

The living is ridiculously easy--

June 15, 2011

Chinwe Okona ’13

After a long and hard spring semester, the time I've been so eagerly awaiting is finally here. People, it's summertime. I wish I could describe to you all how much I love summer, but there are literally no words. Just believe me when I say I am such a stereotypical Florida girl; I thrive on beach, bikinis, and banana-flavored ice cream.

Upon arriving in Florida, I didn't have a single plan as far as my summer was concerned. In fact, I was so excited about my new lack of academic responsibility that I went straight from my plane to the car and took off on a completely spontaneous road trip to Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Gainesville with two friends from high school.

Hilarious photo of us in St. Augustine. We literally had too much fun.

When I finally stopped traveling, I did exactly what I had been waiting to do for weeks--sleep and watch Netflix (my beautiful and wonderful roommate has been so nice as to share her Netflix account with me and I THOROUGHLY use/abuse it). I think the first two weeks of my vacation were solidly dedicated to bad television and lots of naps. And it was glorious.

Something to know about Oberlin students: sometimes we're way too proactive for our own good. Think one person can change the world? We do. Which is why we don't know when to stop. So naturally, after two weeks of being absolutely useless, the little Obie in me started to get restless. And all of a sudden I went from having no plans to having a schedule that rivals the national agenda. I don't know if you're ready for it all.

As a fall-sport varsity athlete, summer is an extremely important part of preparing for the upcoming season. For me, in addition to being a slave to our summer workout, this is a great opportunity to get in as much playing time as possible. Therefore, I cannot express how lucky/excited I am to be playing in a Brazilian volleyball league. One of my mother's very good friends and racquetball buddies is a phenomenal volleyball player and has invited to me to play in his co-ed volleyball league. We play twice a week and it's intense, in the best sense of the word. I'm the only one who doesn't speak Portuguese, which is actually really fun. It's so amazing to me that activities like music and sports transcend language; plus, I've wanted to learn Portuguese forever, so this is pretty much an absolutely perfect opportunity. ALSO, I've finally met someone that I mesh so well with on the court that we've decided to be beach partners. My first beach tournament of the summer is this Sunday, and I'm completely stoked (beach and bikinis, check!).

The little Obie in me is also working on some Oberlin projects this summer. Towards the end of this past semester, two friends and I founded the Oberlin Queer Wellness Coalition (OQWC, pronounced 'o-quick' hahaha). Our mission is to "increase communication and awareness at Oberlin about the full scope of wellness issues facing LGBTQ identified people." We're talking workshops, panels, speakers, all kinds of resources--the whole shabang. Little known fact about me, I'm a little bit of a web nerd (I mean, I do blog for Oberlin College and clearly love it). My biggest contribution to OQWC, as of late, is the designing of our super trendy website. Lots of hours and patience and creativity have gone into this site, and hopefully, with a little help from Oberlin CIT, we will go live by the beginning of August. I'm so excited.

In addition to being a co-founder of OQWC, I'm also a co-chair of Zami, the student organization for LGBTQ identified people of color. Zami (named after Audre Lorde's Zami: A New Spelling of My Name) was founded a few years back, but kind of fell off the map. With the help of two more friends and Asher (the brilliant LGBTQ community coordinator at the Multicultural Resource Center), we're making huge strides to bring it back bigger than ever. Actually, today I found out we are all systems go for Oberlin's very own QPOCA (queer people of color alliance) week in the fall. In order to do some research, as well as prepare for QPOCA week, I've been in contact with a non-profit organization called Pridelines Youth Services. Pridelines is based out of Miami and provides a safe space for the community's LGBTQ youth. Currently, they do not have a program that specifically speaks to QPOCs (whom make up 90-98% of Miami's queer youth). So guess who's been asked to lead a special program during the month of July? That's right, this girl. Did I mention that I'm ridiculously excited?

On top of ALL of that, I'm taking a biology class at Florida Atlantic University in July and have traveled to/will be traveling to the University of Florida in Gainesville, the Dominican Republic, and New York City. So in other words, I'm completely nuts. But of course I'm totally living it up.

I think that's about all from me. Although I'm absolutely having the time of my life, I can't help but count down the days until I'm back at Oberlin. I miss my friends so much and I'm looking forward to hearing about all of their summer adventures. Summer is so, so good, but fall semester is going to be great.

Postscript - In case you couldn't tell, I'm completely, out-of-controllably excited about EVERYTHING.

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