Oberlin Blogs

An Open Letter to My First-Year Self

July 31, 2016

Kameron Dunbar ’19

As the new Academic year approaches, I find it most prudent to reflect upon the fortunes and failings of the last year. Last year was great in a lot of ways. I spent Winter Term in a city I love, made some awesome new friends, connected with old ones, and challenged myself academically. However, there are a few moments where in hindsight I wish had an elder steer me in the right direction. So, old self, if I had to give you some advice upon your first year, here's what I would say:

  1. Get a single. You're a people person, but sometimes you need your own space. You like the flexibility of being as neat or as messy as you wish. You work well at night, sometimes in the wee hours of the morning. It's hard to write with the lights off as to not disturb your roommate. Sometimes situations just don't work out. You won't connect with everyone and that's ok--move on. That second semester switch to a new room, all by yourself, will really make a difference.
  2. Keep your room clean. I know I told you that one of the freedoms of living on your own is the ability to be messy at your own discretion, but don't do it. A tidy room gives you more space to have an organized mind. Your room is often a reflection of what's happening in life. If you can keep that together, you can at least convince yourself that everything is OK. That eight page paper due in 3 hours couldn't be that bad anyway, right?
  3. Don't pull all nighters. This means a lot of things, but all of it comes back to staying organized and on top of your workload. Falling asleep in class because you stayed up all night to finish a paper you knew about for months isn't a good look, and it will jack your sleep schedule up for a few days. Definitely not worth it.
  4. Be prepared to get sick. It happens. There will be a few times where you get sick and you won't quite know why or how, and it'll be awful. Luckily, you'll have great friends who are more than willing to aid you through the pain (especially Meg squared and Sadie).
  5. Go to Student Health! It's worth the inconvenient walk from south campus. You will feel better after they look at you--even if it's just a little peace of mind you get from being seen.
  6. Visit the writing center; a second set of eyes never hurts.
  7. Don't abuse the semicolon: treat it well and it will serve you well.
  8. Don't overcommit yourself. There are SO many awesome opportunities available to you, and even though it may go against the Obie ethos, the truth is that you can't do them ALL. Pick, choose, and prioritize what is important to you. Be strategic but have fun.
  9. Appreciate the daily victories you have. Often times we look at thing over the long term or on a semesterly basis, but it's important to continue to reflect on the now and appreciate all the day-to-day joy that exists in Lorain County.
  10. Visit the Career Center early on. They're helpful and filled with resources.
  11. Stay positive. There will be some bad days, but even rainfall can bring a rainbow.

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