Oberlin Blogs

My Semester Recap

January 30, 2022

Tim Martin ’22

A blue sky, white snow painting the ground, a calm day. It seems like I have nothing but time today. The semester has come to an end. It was a semester filled with adventures, a semester filled with laughs, a semester filled with new opportunities. It was my second to last semester of college. I find it amazing how even so close to the end new friends and new experiences can be made. Oberlin is picturesque as a snow globe is but, unlike a snow globe, in Oberlin there are always new experiences to be made. Oberlin is a place that encourages constant growth from the students, and for me, this semester has certainly reflected that.

This semester has allowed me to grow as an individual. Working in the writing center spearheaded this growth. Learning bits and pieces of what is being taught in other classes expanded my interests academically. Seeing how different students approach writing and learning from their approaches expanded myself as a writer. Taking the course required to be a writing associate expanded my views of how I approach academic work. The class had a contract grading system, which means that as long as your assignment is turned in at a certain deadline you are guaranteed a certain grade. This allowed for us students to write creatively without fear of receiving a low mark. This, therefore, encouraged me to take creative approaches to my assignments and turn in poetry for assignments that I typically would write essays for. After taking this route in my tutoring class I then began to expand the way I look at essays in all my classes and proceeded to write poetry for all of my essay assignments. This alone made this one of the most fun semesters academically that I have had at Oberlin. I also enjoyed the feedback I received from the professors from other classes who encouraged me to continue approaching the assignments in a creative manner and provided helpful information on how I could improve the work further!

While writing is a big part of my life, Economics is my major. I had great excitement heading into this semester, as this was the semester I would take my economics senior seminar. The class was scheduled from 7 to 9 at night so I knew it would be a bit of a grind as that isn’t a usual class time at Oberlin, but undoubtedly it was worth it! The class afforded me the opportunity to study previous research done in different areas of environmental economics while working on my own individual research project. My research project was another point of growth as it not only expanded my knowledge in the world of Economics but it also expanded my skills when it comes to coding in the program Stata. One of the things I’m happiest about when it comes to this semester is the growth that I had in Stata as I have wanted to get more involved in coding throughout my college career. A big reason I was able to improve my coding skills so much was thanks to my professor’s attention to detail and flexibility with his office hours. He was always ready to meet and help students with their projects throughout the semester which truly made the class a great experience. Moving forward I hope to learn more about more advanced programs such as Java and Python.

As the semester comes to a close, athletically we are about to be in the middle of the indoor track season. To be completely candid this track season really hasn’t gone how I wanted or expected it to go so far. I haven’t put up the times that I know I am capable of. With that being said, there is still time and I am working every day to improve more and more. Being a Senior Division 3 athlete is an interesting experience. There is most likely no professional sports career to look towards after graduation. Time seems to be ticking towards the end of your athletic career. The track team as a collective has spoken a lot about finding your individual reason why. I feel it is doubly important to know your reasons why as a graduating senior. I say this because it is easy to pack it in and call it a career, knowing in a few months you will be an alum. Knowing that where you are at right now may be close to as good as it gets athletically for you. Personally, I want to see just how good I can be at track before the season ends. I also want to contribute to the future of Oberlin by passing on what knowledge I may have to the underclassmen, as well as continue to encourage them every day. Nothing in life always goes up. In order to get to the good, you may have to deal with some bad. That is one of the biggest lessons I have learned from track over the years, but throughout the good and the bad, my teammates have always had my back.

As time shifts so do the day-to-day activities. It is now winter term, meaning we get to focus on individual projects. Once again an opportunity for self-growth. I’m spending this time working on learning French. I met with a group this morning and surprised myself with how much I understood. This only makes me want to learn even more. It was truly a fun experience working on learning a new language as a group. The professor in charge of the winter term project brought in French dishes as well as French coffee and the energy the entire time was amazing and supportive. From eating quiche together to playing Kahoot it was a truly great way to begin learning a new language. Later in the day, I will be getting a workout in with the track team. It will be a light day as yesterday was an intense training day where we focused on pushing our individual limits. We did full approach long jump reps as well as a competitive game we play called “move the shoe” where we see who can jump the furthest from a half approach. My teammate and I found ourselves locked in a close competition and ended up tying at the end. After moving the shoe as far as we could we moved our attention to testing how fast we could sprint, before finishing up our workout in the weight room with a tough leg day. After the intensity of yesterday’s workout, I’m looking forward to a light day today at track. It’s always good to rest after pushing your limits, whether in the classroom or in athletics.

Three weeks from now I will be starting my last semester at Oberlin. Four years go by faster than you would think. I hope to continue growing as my time at Oberlin comes to a close, and I know Oberlin has prepared me to continue to grow once I officially become an alum. A couple of ways I hope to continue growing this upcoming semester is through starting a role where I will write for the Oberlin Review. For a long time, I have considered writing for the Oberlin Review, but with one semester left in my college career, it was now or never. I also will be taking on a job as a Course Writing Associate where I will have the opportunity to be the writing tutor for an individual class. This will provide me the opportunity to work with a professor and learn how they would like the papers to be written which will allow me to see the perspective of writing from the eyes of a professor. It will also provide me the opportunity to work continuously with the same students through the course of a semester and I am so excited to see how they develop as writers! I feel that the combination of these things will also allow me to continue growing as a writer in my last semester at Oberlin. Make sure you comment below and let me know an area you hope to continue growing in this spring!

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