Oberlin Blogs

The OC Bucket List: My College Round-Up!

May 22, 2019

Kira Findling ’19

Graduation is mere days away. I’m overwhelmed with many different emotions and have been reflecting on the past four years non-stop. To end my Oberlin Bucket List series, in which I’ve written about my experiences with acapella, ExCos, delicious custard, and journalism on campus, I thought I’d put together a big round-up post!

Below you’ll find many of the remaining items on my list, written semi-chronologically and divided into categories by whether I completed them. Writing this has been such a wonderful and emotional journey through my years at Oberlin College.

I Did It!

1. Eat the tater tots at the Feve.

Everyone told me about these tater tots when I got to Oberlin, so—naturally—I got them on my first trip to the Feve during freshman year. They were as delicious as expected, and I’ve had them many times since!

2. Have a snowball fight and make snow angels.

Since I’m from California, snow was (and is) hugely exciting for me. The first time it snowed during freshman year was a very memorable day! On a different day that spring, Hanne and I went to Tappan Square, where we laughed and threw snowballs at each other. Then we lay down on the ground and made snow angels. We looked up at the sky and felt so lucky to have found one another as friends!

Hanne and Kira lie in the snow
Baby Hanne and Kira

3. Perform at the Cat in the Cream Coffeehouse.

The Cat in the Cream Coffeehouse is one of my favorite spaces on campus. A cute coffeehouse performance venue, the Cat brings an incredible variety of artists. I’ve gotten to perform there a few times over the years, but the first time I did so was with the Acapelicans, the acapella group I was part of for much of my time at Oberlin!

4. Write for The Grape!

The Grape is one of Oberlin’s student-run newspapers. It’s consistently silly and fun to read. I’m happy that I wrote an article for it—a piece about how Planned Parenthood is a crucial resource for communities.

5. Go away for a weekend.

In the spring of my freshman year, I went to the Civil Liberties and Public Policy conference at Hampshire College in Massachusetts, with members of Students United for Reproductive Freedom. It was an incredible weekend. I even ended up writing a blog about it!

6. Eat a meal in a co-op.

I was never a member of OSCA, Oberlin’s co-op system, but I ate many delicious meals in it. The first one I ever went to was at Old B, a co-op that has since shut down, sadly. Friday night is Pizza Night at co-ops, so I got to eat some really great potato pizza with friends!

7. Eat a bagel at the Local.

This one is funny to me, because I go to the Local all the time now, but I remember hearing about their famous bagels when I first got here and adding it to my bucket list. I went there for the first time freshman year with an upper-classman friend. I’ve probably eaten like a hundred of their everything bagels with cream cheese since then…

8. Ride a bike somewhere!

I didn’t ride a bike at all during my first year Oberlin, since I took a bad tumble off my bike the summer before. But during the first semester of sophomore year, my partner Joey and I went on a bike ride for our anniversary. I borrowed a bike from one friend and a helmet from another. We went on the bike path to Kipton, a tiny town next to Oberlin with a cute playground to sit at. As we rode, we talked and sang Les Mis songs to each other (typical). When we got to Kipton, we had a picnic from food we’d taken from the dining hall: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, goldfish crackers, chips, cookies, and watermelon. It was an awesome day that gave me the confidence to start biking again. I got a bike in junior year and haven’t looked back!

Joey with our picnic
Joey showing off our picnic

9. Get involved with the community

During the first semester of my sophomore year, I volunteered at El Centro in Lorain teaching citizenship classes. Though I only did that for one semester, I got involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters the following semester. I was matched with an elementary school student in Oberlin and have seen her weekly for the past few years. It’s been an awesome and fulfilling part of my time here.

10. Go bowling!

Joey and I went to Oberlin College Lanes for the first time as an outing for Valentine’s Day during our sophomore year. It was a Tuesday afternoon, and we were shocked when we found out that every Tuesday, bowling was free! For the rest of that semester, we went every week. I definitely improved as a bowler, and Joey created a spreadsheet to track our scores. Though we don’t go as often anymore, I have a soft spot for the Lanes and will really miss going there.

Kira holding a bowling ball
Ready to bowl!

11. Get a cupcake from “Red Rooster.”

This bucket list item is hilarious to me, because the bakery is called Blue Rooster, but I wrote it very early on when I didn’t know that. To be honest, I never ended up eating a Blue Rooster cupcake, but I’ve gone there a million times for brownies and slices of cake, so I think I’ve checked this one off the list! It’s one of my favorite establishments in Oberlin! It’s so cozy there and all the employees are very kind.

12. Do a yoga class!

I took one for credit during sophomore year, three days a week! Very relaxing, yet surprisingly difficult.

13. Take a private reading.

I wrote about this in a blog before. My private reading, Families in the United States, with Professor Gina Pérez, was one of my favorite classes I took at Oberlin!

14. Skinny-dip in the Arb.

This is an Oberlin tradition that I finally did with some friends during my junior year! It was so awesome, spontaneous, and refreshing!

15. Film something!

Though I didn’t declare a cinema studies major until the middle of my junior year, clearly I knew I was destined to be behind the camera. I took the Intro to Video Production course, made a short film, and became totally hooked.

16. See a movie at the Apollo.

At this point, I’ve seen many movies at the Apollo, but the first one was Battle of the Sexes at the beginning of junior year with Hanne! Seeing the movie was part of our “yes” night, where we said yes to every fun idea we had on a Friday night. That involved spontaneous cake from Aladdin’s (so yummy!) and dancing on the pretty balcony of the jazz building.

17. Go to a football game. Or a Frisbee game. Or a rugby game. Basically any game.

This one is a little embarrassing to admit, but I only went to one game while in college! It was a volleyball game; super fun, super loud. This is one that I regret not doing more, especially as I made friends with more athletes toward the end of my time at Oberlin.

18. Climb onto a roof (safely).

During junior year, my friend’s apartment had a roof that was perfect for sitting on. We sat there all the time, snacking and watching the sunset.

19. Go to Slow Train trivia.

My favorite Oberlin coffee shop, Slow Train, does a trivia night every Tuesday. It’s been an important part of my senior year. My team won once!!

20. Live off-campus.

I got to live off-campus this year with four housemates in a beautiful house on North Main Street. There are three sweet groundhogs that live in our backyard and make me so happy.

Kira in front of her house
Me and my house

21. Go to the roller rink.

There’s a roller-skating place on the outskirts of Oberlin called Country Skateland. Somehow, I didn’t go until this year, but I’m glad I did. It’s such a good time, even though I’m not great at it. Going there is really fun because it’s totally a mix of college students and community members. Sometimes they do free nights or themed skates!

22. See an albino squirrel!

Obviously, Oberlin is famous for its albino squirrels. I wanted to see one so badly and was worried that I wouldn’t before graduating. But last semester, I saw one while filming a documentary in my friend Yasmine’s yard! It was so cute as it scampered up a tree.

23. Go to Westside Market in Cleveland.

Westside Market is an amazing market with tons of artisan food and homemade treats. I finally went with one of my moms when she visited last semester. We had a wonderful time walking around and looking at everything. We got delicious goat brie, spelt bread, and ice cream! I went back with my sister when she visited last month.

24. Host a party.

I’m not a huge partygoer, but I wanted to host something before college ended. We held Hanne’s 22nd birthday party at our house in March. It was a sweet night full of kind people, lots of pink decorations, and a big cake. It made me feel so thankful for all the wonderful friends I’ve met here.

25. Paint a rock in Tappan Square.

There are rocks in Tappan Square that students and community members keep painted all the time! It’s a great Oberlin tradition. I painted two rocks with PRSM just last month for our Consent Month!! We painted them in an awesome teal color with our logo and motto, “Let’s Make Consent a Conversation.”

Students in front of a painted rock
With my friend Wenling in front of our masterpiece

26. Go to Cedar Point and Kalahari.

If you know me, you probably know that I LOVE amusement parks. So it was crucial that I check out the two big ones near campus in Sandusky, Ohio. I managed to see both in the past month! In April, for Joey’s birthday, we went to Kalahari, a huge water park. Then, a few days ago, we had the senior trip to Cedar Point! I went wild on the rollercoasters and sat in the front row of rides that looked terrifying from the ground. It was an awesome way to start Commencement Week!

Just Didn’t Happen!

1. Teach an ExCo.

This ended up not being something that I really wanted to do. Being an ExCo teacher takes a TON of time, which I didn’t realize at the beginning of college. Also, I was never hit with a strong idea for an ExCo. But I’m happy that I got to take two of them: 80s Aerobics and Rock Climbing! And I still got to be a teacher in my roles as a Peer Advising Leader (PAL) and a PRSM trainer.

2. Be in a musical.

Like many items in this category, this just didn’t happen! I would’ve loved to do a musical at Oberlin, since theater was a huge part of my life before college, but the timing never worked out. I definitely plan to act more after graduation!

3.  Study abroad.

Studying abroad had always been part of my college plan. I even applied for a program in Nicaragua. I was excited to travel and get better at Spanish, but felt pretty anxious about it too. When I got accepted, I was surprised to find that I didn’t feel very excited. My family helped me talk through my feelings, and I ended up deciding to stay in Oberlin instead. Though I think that study abroad would have helped me in grow in different ways, I feel positive about my decision. I became more comfortable at Oberlin that semester and had lots of awesome experiences, including directing a short film!

4. Get a buzzcut.

I cut my hair really short, but that was as far as I wanted to go with that!

5. Learn how to do a cartwheel.

This bucket list entry was more about life in general than about my Oberlin experience… It’ll happen someday…

6. Go abroad for winter term.

Unfortunately, this never happened because it wasn’t financially possible for me! But I still had a range of exciting winter terms. My freshman year, I worked at an anti-bullying non-profit in the Bay Area. My sophomore year, I worked on plans and did some initial interviews for a documentary (that I will make someday!) about people with LGBTQ parents. During junior year, I explored new baking techniques and took care of my dog, who was sick. This year, for my best winter term ever, I interned at a production company in Los Angeles.

33. Eat in OSCA (co-op system) instead of CDS (dining halls) for a time.

Surprisingly, I never ended up wanting to be in a co-op. I liked the regularity of CDS and the flexibility of being able to eat whenever I wanted instead of at certain meal times. I think that eating in a co-op could’ve been an Oberlin experience that I really enjoyed. In an alternate-universe version of my time here, I was in OSCA and I loved it. But I truly feel okay about my decision to stay in CDS.

34. Play in the WOBC Cover Band showcase.

Ugh, this is the big regret!! I really wish I had been able to be in this awesome event. I applied with some friends as a Fleetwood Mac cover band but wasn’t accepted. Being an audience member was still a fun time. Though I wish I had done this, I will definitely find opportunities to perform post-college! It’s never too late!

So there you go. Some plans changed, some stayed the same. I grew, I learned, I felt a million different emotions and tried out almost everything I had ever thought to do in college. Thanks for coming along the bucket list ride with me!

Song of the week: “Eyes on You,” by Sara Bareilles. I’m a lifelong fan and SO excited that her new album is out.

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