New Year, New Beginnings, New Class!
To all you new '15ers, CONGRATULATIONS! To all you hoping to to join them, you've still got a few days to spit-shine your application and get it e-shipped to Oberlin. Go go go! I promise it's worth it.
I haven't felt this connected to a class since my own dear class of 2010. We were the first incoming Oberlin freshie class with this sort of organized presence on social network. When I say organized, though, there were very few people in the group who weren't class of 2010. If we firsties had questions, we bounced around misinformation for a while until we came to some sort of consensus. How were we planning to keep ourselves warm in the winter? Wrap our bodies in down blankets! Didn't get our housing assignments by the day listed on the website? No worries, we'll start a tent village in Tappan Square!
This wasn't the greatest way to get things done, but gosh was it entertaining, and it got the job done. By the time we '10ers got on campus, we were raring to go. OB-ER-LIN! OB-ER-LIN!
Since then, I've joined class of 20xx groups for Oberlin to impart knowledge and enthusiasm upon our new students. I was and am not the only person to do so; students, faculty, and alumni join these groups to answer questions and talk about the things that they love, too. It's the collaborative entertaining experience to get the incoming class completely and totally psyched. Ah, social networking, how do I love thee.
My connections to this new class started during commencement, actually, during Illumination. I was doing what I do best, spinning glowing objects around my head much to the delight of onlookers. Ben was part of the mass of onlookers, as were alumni, family, friends, and pretty much anyone drawn like moths to the faux flames of our glowing circus toys.
Somewhere in the mix was a delightful small girl on crutches. Her name was Zoe, in Oberlin for her mom's reunion (and to visit the college to prepare for her application that fall), and out of nowhere, she shed her sticks and started rocking out on my blue-light zebra-striped sock poi. At some point, her mom told her she was heading home, but Zoe stuck with us for the next few hours, through the rest of the ice cream social, OSteel's performance in front of Finney, and something that may or may not have included fire-spinning. Ben lent her his jacket, and eventually, Zoe was ushered home under a haze of Oberlin etheria.
The next morning, I graduated, still to this day a complete blur to me. Either way, a few weeks later, Zoe began talking with me about Oberlin again, via email and instant messenger, asking questions about things that weren't happening when she visited over commencement: details on co-ops, classes, and winter terms.
Sometime in September, I got an excited message from Zoe saying she was going to visit, that she wanted to visit co-ops! Classes! Also, a sleeping bag! Also, that she wanted personally thank Ben for use of his coat! I connected her with friends in co-ops for meals, meeting up with my sleeping bag at Keep to see the ever-enthusiastic Zoe. She was there, sans crutches, wearing an apron, covered in flour with a camera around her neck (my kind of girl!), and stumbling over her words with excitement. I handed off my sleeping bag and made arrangements to meet up with her the next day to pick it up.
On Monday, I met Zoe outside King to pick up my sleeping bag and walk her back to north campus to say goodbye to her host. We talked about cameras, international travel, and the meals she had eaten thus far. She had no plans for lunch, so I told her to head to Pyle Inn Co-op for lunch. On a whim, I emailed my friend Greg, telling him to look out for a small girl with a camera and amazing blue skirt to say hi to during lunch. It worked out, and Zoe left campus full of food and even more Oberlove than before.
She emailed me a few weeks later to say that her ED application was sent in and that all she had to do was nervously wait. There is really nothing to do in that span of time except wait. And stalk Oberlin on the internet, of course.
Flash forward to last week. I knew that early decision letters were being sent out very soon, so I started to prepare. I created the Oberlin 2015 Facebook group and seeded it with some photos and websites to get things started. (I'm going to watch this group grow up! I'm such a proud parent.)
I wasn't exactly sure when the letters would start arriving, but I figured I could track progress through this group. For a few days, there were only two members, Brandi and Patrick (they're the class of 2015's doting aunt and uncle :D). Then, on Saturday, when Brandi, Ali, and I were driving Patrick to the airport, I got a phone call from Zoe.
I didn't let her say anything because I answered the phone with a boisterous "DID YOU GET IN?!" much to the horror of my carmates. Zoe was as noisy as me, shouting over her cheering parents that she was going to be coming to Oberlin the following fall. I don't even remember the rest of the conversation except that Zoe had to hang up with me to call her grandparents to share the good news. I ended up bouncing in my seat for the rest of the ride. Hurray! The students are coming, the students are coming!
Zoe chatted with me later in the evening, sentences full of exclamation points. She also sent me her common application essay, a beautiful piece that resonated with me oh so much. She, too, was the girl with the camera, her baby firmly attached to her side through camp, band, and travels beyond. When it broke, she was lost. Now that she is older, she's embracing photography as a part of her life, but it is not her sole purpose. Absolutely beautiful. I almost cried.
That evening, the Facebook group started to grow. An introductions thread popped up on the discussion board, as did a favorite music and books thread. I'm starting to see how incredibly awesome this class is, and I am very very excited for you guys to get here. Already. It's only December!
Again, to those of you hoping to join the class of 2015, I assure you, if you're questioning your decision in applying, these kids would be great classmates. If that sways your decision at all :P
The ball is already rolling. Go go go! Finish those apps! Send 'em in!
(I just realized another reason you guys are so close to me... you guys all received my poster! I'm grinning just thinking about it!)
(Edit: To Zoe, who I know has already found this post thanks to her delightful mother, I adore you and am extremely proud of you. Love, your Obie sis.)