The weekend after Halloween was Parents Weekend! There were many events scheduled for parents, guardians, and family members Friday through Sunday, including campus tours, student musical performances, lectures and presentations by faculty and staff, snacks, and socializing opportunities. I was super excited to see my parents and show them around campus. I only visited once in high school and only one of my parents had come with me, so neither of them were very familiar with the campus. Last year, of course, I couldn’t really show them around or get a lot of help moving in and the drop-off was no more than a tearful good-bye in a parking lot.
It is definitely convenient to have parents who only live a few hours away, but I have friends from as far away as Texas, Oregon, and Alaska whose parents were able to come. While our campus is still beautiful under gray skies, the weather luckily cooperated, and the November sun definitely brightened the visit. My parents were able to drive over on Friday to meet me for lunch, and they had booked a hotel in a nearby town to stay the night. We got lunch at Bingo Chinese Restaurant in Oberlin, which was fun since it was my first time there. After walking around, we parted since I had an afternoon class while my parents attended some information sessions about student research and fellowship opportunities. In the evening on Friday, we met back up again at the Knowlton Athletic Complex to grab snacks, mingle with other families, and watch the Oberlin College Taiko group perform Taiko drumming, a traditional Japanese art form. Afterwards, we headed over to Finney Chapel to listen to the Oberlin Orchestra perform. The next day, my parents checked out a couple more events and then we got brunch at Aladdin's, which was packed with students and their families! My parents thoroughly enjoyed the visit and are already looking forward to coming back to campus for more musical performances and for next year’s Parents Weekend, of course!
#2: Lab Crawl
Lab Crawl is held annually at Oberlin and is a chance for student researchers to share their lab and research experiences with other students, especially students who are interested in learning more about the different labs on campus! My roommate and I are both interested in research, so we went together. This year, Lab Crawl was held over lunch on a Friday, so we met up in the Science Center after our morning classes, picked up a sheet of paper which we could later submit in a raffle, and followed the arrows pointing down different hallways. There were many departments where students conduct research, including geology, chemistry, and anthropology, but unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to visit every single lab. I’m interested in biology research, so we first stayed on the first floor and toured several interesting labs doing research on everything from botany and local tree species to disease ecology and identifying vectors of disease, such as mosquitos and mites.
My roommate is interested in neuroscience research, so we climbed a few flights of stairs to the Neuroscience department. There, the students presented their work with rodent and human test subjects. It looked very interesting and I’m looking forward to getting some more science coursework under my belt so that I can try research at some point in the future. If you are also interested in research, look out for Lab Crawl next fall!
#3: Midterm Week
Ah, the dreaded midterm week! Since I started having midterms in mid-October and have, since then, had about a midterm a week, the last week wasn’t as tough for me as for other people, some of whom had a midterm in every class before the Thanksgiving break. My roommate, on the other hand, only had a routine Japanese oral exam. I had a schedule somewhere in the middle since I had a rat lab and practical test in biology on Tuesday, a chemistry exam on Wednesday, a lab report due Thursday, and a lab notebook to finish for Friday.
The rat lab and practical exam was what I was most nervous for. Essentially, we had spent the last three weeks learning about rat anatomy and then comparing it to grasshopper anatomy. (For those students who had ethical objections to dissection, alternative opportunities were offered.) For the exams, we were expected to be able to identify organs and their functions, compare the anatomy between invertebrates and vertebrates, and recognize and label slides of various tissues by sight. The studying process was kind of fun, not just because the material was interesting, but because everyone in the class had the same anxieties about the upcoming tests and everyone was very supportive. In the end, it wasn’t as bad as I had been expecting and, regardless of the result, I was proud of myself for working so hard and for doing my best; I was just excited to take a short break from academics and start my Thanksgiving break.