Oberlin Weekends - Arts and Sciences; Learning and Labour
So, I know this is a question some of you might be burning to ask. What do Obies do for fun? How do we procrastinate our work on weekends? I wondered this myself before I came here.
The following is an analysis of the last two weekends (I guess they could be considered 'special weekends') - Halloween and Parents Weekend - which can hopefully begin to answer that question. Bear with me... a lot of stuff happened.
11:30 - Usually the weekend doesn't begin til classes are over, but this needs to be mentioned.
For this Friday, from 11:30 to 1:30, it was Lab Crawl. What is Lab Crawl, you ask? Well, imagine a Pub Crawl. Replace the pints at each pub with science and free pizza! We ran around the Science Centre, the Physics Building, King, checking out all the labs that students can get involved in.
There are student labs in Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, Classics, Computer Science, Geology, Maths & Computer Science, Neuroscience, Psychology, Physics and Astronomy, 3D Printing, TIMARA...
One lab was investigating 'Gravitational-wave detection via radio pulsar timing'. Another was looking at the relationship between hormone levels in the brain and memory. Yet another was trying to find a better way to store hydrogen through these organic sponge-like structures (I forgot what they're called, but they work out to be way more efficient and less dangerous than the metal tanks we currently use).
I even followed up on a lab and signed up to be a participant (which happened during the next week):
13:30 - More classes, more homework...
16:30 - Just for fun, I went to a Philosophy talk about 'The Conscious Mind as a Marionette', where the guest speaker basically said that we aren't in as much control of our consciousness as we like to think. The talk included a surprising amount of Neuroscience, and naturally blew my mind and changed the entire way I think of how I think. I'm still digesting it.
Oberlin has talks like this all the time. I plan on going to as many as I can. A big part of why I'm here to be academically and intellectually challenged, after all.
And we're not even to the weekend proper, yet...
18:00 - I just did an hour of homework... Always do homework when you have a moment.
19:00 - Shabbot dinner! I'm not Jewish, but some of my friends are, and Hillel is just super awesome and welcoming, so I try to go every week. There was even some soft background jazz in addition to great food this time.
20:00 - I saw Christian Tetzlaff, a world famous violinist, live in Finney Chapel. And the ticket only cost me $7 because I bought the entire guest artist recital series as a package during orientation.
Wow. I'm not the biggest fan of classical music, but this was special. This was downright incredible. There's just something special about live music, you know? Especially when it's this damn good. I was left speechless.
Since coming to Oberlin, I've honestly seen the best art and music I've ever seen in my life, either for free or for a couple bucks.
21:30 - I headed to the Swing and Blues social dance, in costume:
I might be perpetuating New Zealand stereotypes a fair bit...
I danced the night away. I had never danced before coming to Oberlin, but I've found that I'm quite taken with it, and surprisingly, I'm not horribly awful at it.
24:00 - At midnight was the special Halloween Organ Pump.
What is Organ Pump? I'm still not entirely sure I know, and I've been to two of them... Basically, it's put on by the Organ Majors, and it's a half sketch comedy, half organ performance. All Oberlin.
The highlights of the performance were when they performed Tocatta and Fugue with a twist - they were all fighting to play the organ, and kept pushing each other off the stool. In full costume.
Later on, they did a choral version of the latest Safety and Security reports, which was hilarious:
Just... don't ask.
All you need to know is that it's awesome, it's hilarious, and it's very Oberlin. At the end you get to lie on stage close to the Organ when they play... you feel those vibrations in your soul.
It was a great way to wrap up a great Friday.
11:00 - Breakfast or Brunch? When is it officially brunch and no longer breakfast? I'm asking the important questions here at Oberlin.
12:00 - I came back to Barrows to watch the Rugby World Cup Final. All Blacks (New Zealand, my home country), vs the Wallabies (Australia). It was an epic game, with the All Blacks making history winning 34-17, becoming the first team ever to win the title back to back.
I was a little homesick to not be back in NZ appreciating it and celebrating with my mates - I watched with some friends here, but it just wasn't a big deal to them. Back home, the whole country is still celebrating, and the All Blacks paraded in every major city.
What's kind of weird is that I can remember really specifically where I was in 2011 when the All Blacks beat France in the last RWC final, and it just got me to thinking where I might be in 2019, watching and cheering on the best Rugby Team in the world. I'll be out of Oberlin by then... best not think about it.
14:00 - I had an Alto Sax lesson and actually did some homework! Go me!
18:00 - Around this time, I just crashed. I got back to my room after dinner and just needed an hour or so to unwind. It's hard to describe even now, because right now, I feel awesome. But I remember needing that hour to myself to listen to some music. Maybe it was delayed homesickness from watching the RWC Final, maybe it was feeling like Oberlin wasn't quite my home yet, or maybe I just to chill after doing so much on Friday. This weekend was even busier than usual, as you can see.
20:00 - Anyway, I tried to go see my Circus Exco teacher's senior Dance recital, but it was full! You've got to get to those things early, people love going to senior recitals. I ended up going to the Haunted House (which was very well put together) and having a very relaxed night with some mates.
Side note: I'm surprised at how close I feel to some people here already. I thought it would take more time.
10:00 - My Circus Exco was cancelled, and yet my body clock still woke me up in time for it. Yesh. Breakfast time - I think I've decided 10 is too early for it to be considered Brunch.
11:00 - More homework! Yay!
14:00 - I went to the Oswing Board meeting, and the International Student Organisation general interest meeting. I'm slowly being sucked into things without realising it.
16:00 - Even more homework! This is what I got for not doing much work on Saturday.
18:30 - Stevie Dinner, then a lazy night of homework and just hanging out.
It sounds like my Halloween was pretty great, but even still, I initially regretting missing some events, like the Villain Showcase (People singing Disney Villain songs), and the Barnard Mystery House - but I think this is just a symptom being an Obie: We think we can literally do everything. Side effects include rushing meals, over-planning everything to the minute, and sometimes not just living in the moment. Can you believe I really thought I could have done more things Friday and Saturday night? It's honestly crazy to see it all written down.
16:30 - Most of the events this evening were intended for students and their parents. Since my parents are in NZ, they couldn't come up, so I did work instead.
18:30 - On the way to Shabbot, we saw this horn being played in the science library:
19:00 - Shabbot dinner!
20:00 - We saw the Comedy Improv Showcase for Parents Weekend, which was hilarious. People here are talented in so many things.
22:00 - Of course, that wasn't enough, so my mates and I tried to run and catch the tail end of the Conservatory Orchestra Concert. Naturally, we got there in time to stand outside the doors and hear the end of their final piece. Afterwards, we just chilled out the rest of the night.
11:00 - Brunch. I reckon 11:00 is definitely brunch and not breakfast.
12:00 - I did some homework, and wait... I started writing this blog post! That's meta!
15:00 - I headed off to Hales to film my SANCA Circus School Application for winter term. Turns out, it was also Tumbling Club, so I stayed and learned some flips. This right here was honestly the highlight of my weekend. Being so removed from work and playing around was really stress relieving. I've discovered there are a few activities so far that I do here that help me de-stress - for example, circus and climbing.
17:30 - Stevie Dinner...
18:30 - The first of two Acapella Concerts. This was in Fairchild, so the acoustics were just awesome.
19:30 - The second Acapella Concert. Yup, there's enough vocal groups at Oberlin that we needed two concerts. This was in Finney. Honestly, the quality of the vocalists at this school is just ridiculous. I'm so spoiled for awesome live music and art at this school.
22:00 - The Parents Weekend Swing Dance! I DJed the first set! I have no idea how that happened... like I said, I'm somehow getting more involved in things without noticing. It's strange.
24:00 - Late Night Blues!
Honestly, not much happened differently from the Halloween Sunday. If anything, it was even lazier, and mostly involved doing homework.
Parents Weekend, once again, I still didn't get to do everything I wanted. I missed two incredible plays (or so I've heard). And yet? I didn't mind as much. I realised that I can't actually do everything. Sometimes, I think, I just need to take a little break and do things like Circus or Climbing to just remove myself from the craziness of Oberlin for a bit.
As a result of doing Circus and taking a break, I felt more well-rested and ready for the week ahead after Parents Weekend than I did after Halloween, even though on paper my Halloween sounds like it was more fun.
I think from this analysis we can see that Oberlin Weekends are pretty awesome, but can also be really hectic and sometimes overwhelming. There's always something new and exciting to do - whether it be arts or sciences; learning or labour. I'm honestly amazed at how I'm still discovering new things here, three months in.
And yet, it's important to remember to take your own time too. It's a lesson that took me a little bit too long to learn - and a balance I'm still trying to achieve - but I'm glad that I've realised I'll never be able to do it all.