Oberlin Blogs

One month, one thousand opportunities

November 18, 2008

Emily Robinson ’12

Winter term was one of the reasons I decided to come to Oberlin. A month at home! Relaxing, right? Wrong. So wrong.

With the insane amount of opportunities available to you here, it's incredibly challenging to fit everything you want to do in to one short semester. Believe me, if it wasn't for the 16-hour credit limit, sleeping and eating would have been removed from my schedule long ago to make room for three more Excos.

That's where Winter Term comes in! You get an entire month to explore something you just can't accomplish when classes are in session. Or, you get to further explore something you discovered this semester that you realized you loved. Or...

In a nutshell: You get to do anything you want to do. The possibilities are endless.

Okay, I guess there are things you might not get credit for. You could sit around watching TV and eating Swedish Fish, but you're supposed to put in 30 hours of work a week on your project. I could eat Swedish Fish for five hours a day (and they will play an important role in my project as an emergency energy source, no doubt), but I couldn't manage that much TV. Re-runs of Pimp My Ride get boring after a while.

The point is, with all the things available to you, there's no reason to sit around doing nothing! There's a ton of awesome projects being offered on campus: classes in architecture, dance, intensive language, loom weaving...the list goes on and on.

I'm doing an independent off-campus project this year. I'll be interning for a behavioral therapist near my hometown- going with him to elementary schools, working with children, sitting in on case meetings, and probably making a few cups of coffee to express my gratitude. This is the field of work I am most interested in, and the fact that I have an opportunity to explore it so early on in my college career is amazing.

Everyone's winter term projects sound fantastic. My roommate, Angela, is interested in journalism, and she's interning for a newspaper in Nashville. She also writes for the Oberlin Review. Once again, we're, what...three months in to college? The amount of experience available to us is incredible. Another friend of mine, Jordan, is going to Costa Rica to lead a conservation project. She'll be working with guides to develop an effective system of counting birds in order to preserve their habitat. Birds are her passion, and by doing this, she's able to make a difference in the world in the way that's most important to her.

While I was applying to Oberlin, I didn't quite get it. I thought I would want to do as little as possible during winter term, so that I could waste my time, as I was accustomed to doing. Little did I know how much being here would make me want to do as much as time would allow, and make me want to squeeze the life out of every single opportunity thrown at me. And thankfully, at Oberlin, those are never ending.

My winter term will be anything but relaxing. Instead, it will be busy, crazy, educational, and AMAZING. I can't wait.

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