Oberlin Blogs

Midterm Recap

March 27, 2022

Tim Martin ’22

I’ve always found that time is a funny concept. Somehow it simultaneously seems to pass slow and fast at the same time. Reflecting on my time at Oberlin, sometimes I feel like I have been here longer than four years, and sometimes I feel like time passed in the blink of an eye. I feel that this happens because for me every day has been a beautiful day at Oberlin College. While this may sound hyperbolic, it is true, as every day I get to wake up and see my best friends, play the sports I love, and get an amazing education. To me that is beautiful. I bring up the concept of time because I feel that I blinked and the semester is already halfway over. On Tuesday I will be finishing off my last midterm and the end of the week will bring on spring break. 

Reflecting on the semester so far, it has been a great experience filled with learning about new things. One of my favorite classes that I have gotten to take this year is a religion class that covers the history of the story of Job. While I have been in many religion classes throughout my time at Oberlin, this class's assignments have been especially unique. One of the first major assignments of the class was to take five translations and commentaries of two verses from the story of Job and determine which words from which translation you would use for each section of the verse and why. Before this assignment, I had never actively compared and contrasted different translations of the bible, and it was an extremely thought-provoking experience to see the differences of the translations. The commentaries also provided amazing clarity in moments of confusion, and I really feel like the assignment pushed me to learn more about the topic as a whole! I’ve always felt that one of the most impressive things about academics at Oberlin was the holistic approach that the professors take when designing the classes. This remains true in my religion class as my professor recently assigned a paper that builds upon our translation assignment. Our next assignment is an exegesis paper where we will analyze a section of the story of Job and write our own scholarly commentary on it. I am very excited to start this paper, especially after working on the translation assignment and seeing how the scholars interpreted the work in the past. 

When thinking about how I’m going to take on the exegesis, I plan on utilizing Oberlin’s Main Reserve which has copies of texts recommended by the professors for student use. This has been a tremendous resource for me throughout my college career as it has allowed me to read the necessary text for classes without necessarily having to purchase the book. I will also lean on my professors' office hours, as they are always willing to help throughout all stages of the academic process and provide guidance and clarity on assignments. A third resource I may lean on when working on this assignment is the Oberlin Writing Center. The Oberlin Writing Center is a free resource provided to the students where you can go and have a writing tutor review and assist you while you work on your assignments. I actually work as a Course Writing Associate and have gone through the writing center training. The rigorous classwork that you go through in order to become a Writing Associate not only prepares you to assist students with their writing, but the program as a whole pushes for writing that follows open-minded approaches and pushes for students to embrace their own writing style. The combination of these things makes the writing center a tremendous resource, as they do not try to fit a square peg in a round hole; instead, they make writing suggestions based upon your style, therefore keeping the integrity of your overall work.

Speaking of working as a Course Writing Associate, that has been one of the major activities that I have participated in that has shaped my semester. After working in the Writing Center in the fall, and gaining experience tutoring students, I was given the opportunity to work as a Course Writing Associate for a class focused on Japanese theater. This has been a learning experience for me in many different ways, as for one I hadn’t taken the course before so the material was new to me. It also has been a great opportunity to gain insight into how professors go about creating a class schedule as well as how they think about the assignments that they assign to the students. Being a Course Writing Associate has also allowed me to grow as a public speaker as I have had to lead the class through workshops that will assist them in their writing process for the assignments throughout the class. Leading these workshops has been one of the most exciting experiences I have had in college, as they allowed me to not only assist the students with learning but also learn from the students, thanks to the interactiveness of the workshops. Oberlin designs its writing associate program to stress peer-to-peer learning and I feel that the college as a whole mirrors this. Every weekend in Oberlin is filled with student-run workshops and organizations; not only that, but you can also take student-led classes for credit about various topics through Oberlin’s ExCo program!

The last piece of the puzzle that has shaped my semester so far has been athletics. Heading into the outdoor track season I have still been recovering from an injury that I sustained in the indoor season. Since this has hindered my ability to do the general team practices, my coach has designed a workout plan specifically for me that has allowed me to continue training near max capacity while also healing from the injury. As my injury has continued to heal, my overall strength level as an athlete has continued to progress, which has built up my confidence heading into the outdoor season. Personally, the indoor season did not end how I wanted it to, in large part due to the injury as I could not triple jump to my full potential at the conference meet. Moving forward, I hope to use this as motivation and come back even stronger to wrap up the final track season of my college career.

As time continues to tick I move closer and closer to graduation. With a little over two months left, I plan to enjoy every day of my college experience and appreciate it to the fullest. My time at Oberlin College has not only benefited me educationally, but also benefited me as a person. I write this while sitting surrounded by my friends in Mudd Library. It is a sunny day outside, and tomorrow I will be at track practice with teammates that have become like family members. I have spent the past four years laughing with friends as I studied. Going on adventures in Cleveland with friends. Taking fall break trips together. Learning new concepts and learning more about each other. Oberlin is a place that fosters a family-like environment. I’m going to enjoy every moment of this environment these last two months!

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