Oberlin Blogs

Mail Call!

January 8, 2009

Jesse Hernandez

To piggyback on Leslie's entry, I'd just like to reiterate how insane the amount of mail is that we have received in the past couple of weeks. Suddenly, I have gone from computer nerd to mail processor, and even though I have about 8 of my colleagues next to me helping out, it seems like the bundles of mail never end.

Yet, despite the fact that we (the admissions staff) make jokes about how opening mail is about as entertaining as watching grass grow, I gotta admit that sometimes it's really not that bad. In fact, it's even....fun?

Yes fun. It can be fun. There. I said it, and I'm sticking by my story. It actually can be kind of fun to pack ten people into a room made for twelve, bring in 2.3 tons of envelopes of various sizes, supply us with nothing more than our wits, bare hands, and one small bottle of water, and let us loose. (Ok, I'm exaggerating a bit. We don't get a bottle of water.) As the stacks of sorted application parts grow and your feet become buried in a pile of haphazardly strewn-about opened envelopes, you may just realize that a few hours have passed, and you know what? You've had a pretty good time.

Maybe it's the witty banter that inevitably emerges when people are forced to sit in a confined space performing remedial tasks that makes it entertaining? I have to admit, if it weren't for the "mail week" in the office, I would have never been able to learn so much about time shares, the South African to U.S. dollar exchange rate, that Joel's future job prospects are to sell used plastic sheet covers and binders, or that (as I suspected was the case) The Band is in fact singing, "take a load of FANNY." See? With these types of intellectual discussions, how can you NOT have a good time?

Then again, it could be having the opportunity to see so many different stamps from around the world. Our liberty bell stamps have nothing on some of the ones coming through our office. Even the envelopes can be interesting at times. Hmm...as I'm writing this, I don't quite think this is responsible for the jovial atmosphere...

I've got it! The various supplemental material! That's what makes things interesting. I mean, how can getting a statement from Benazir Bhutto saying that one of our applicants swam at the Athens Olympics not be cool? We get all different kinds of material that helps break up the monotony of mail opening. In fact, most of the time the only background noise we have is when we put on some of the music supplements we just received. This week I have heard a gaggle of fiddlers sawing away to some country tunes, pianists of all types, some New Orleans style jazz, a metal band, a pop band, folk singers, clarinetists, cellists, vocalists, and even a snare drum. Who needs satellite radio when you have all of this at your fingertips? True, not all of it was to my liking (to say the least), but some really impressed. Especially the art sent in! Those of you who may have been fortunate enough to have received anything from me in the mail hand-written may have caught on to the fact that my hands can barely write legibly, let alone produce respectable works of art (or any art a step up from appalling for that matter). But some of the students applying to Oberlin are amazingly talented. I might need to hire some of them to come decorate my horribly drab office. Anyways, all of these supplemental materials not only helped me through the ludicrous amounts of mail, but also make me feel very excited about next year's freshman class.

Oh, and just for your amusement, here is some visual evidence of the craziness we've been working in lately:

What more do you expect from a man who thinks he's going to create oil out of plastic paper covers?

And this was all from just one afternoon of mail.

Responses to this Entry

This makes me want to work in admissions. (Mostly just that picture of Joel, with the...staplers?)

Honestly though, what a great entry to read - much enjoyed!

Posted by: Yitka on January 9, 2009 2:37 AM

Great entry, Jesse! And, as someone who was there, I can say it's totally accurate. Although, we may have to give Joel his own blog so he can defend himself and his future job prospects!

Posted by: Elizabeth on January 9, 2009 11:03 AM

Has the admissions world considered what a paperless process might entail? I know it's far-fetched, but those Kindle readers are now so popular, maybe someone could invent a similar device for this work.

Any thoughts?

Posted by: 87 Grad on January 9, 2009 9:36 PM

Thanks for the comments everyone! There's no need to get Joel involved in this...

As for the possibility of paperless, it would definitely be a nice idea but I think it may be very far off. In fact, we actually encourage students to fill out their applications and submit them online, and a majority of them do. However, there are still a few forms that need to be distributed to various teachers, guidance counselors, etc., and therefore it is hard to incorporate those forms into any type of paperless system. Also, a good portion of the mail comes from international students, who have a few more documents required for their applications, and some of them are unable to do anything but submit by mail. Finally, as we only accept and use the Common Application, we have to work within their system and its limitations. Unfortunately, the technology is not in place yet with the Common App to truly go paperless.

Posted by: Jesse on January 10, 2009 5:08 PM

I'm so excited to work with you folks.

Posted by: Aries on January 10, 2009 5:36 PM

I miss the Admissions Office already! I want to hear all about Joel's oil-out-of-plastic dreams when I get back from Budapest! I also totally approve of the picture of him raising the two staplers.

I may actually believe you when you say it's fun.

Posted by: Sneha on January 11, 2009 1:57 PM

Leave a Comment

Similar Blog Entries