First of all, when the girl wrote to me saying she liked my blog, my first reaction was, "People read my blog?" The lesson here for all you out there is LEAVE COMMENTS. Otherwise I feel like I'm just writing for my own amusement. The second lesson is, if you'd like to meet up with me when you come to campus, just let me know. I love showing people my favorite Oberlin sights.
Now, my first and most controversial piece of advice for campus visits is come alone, sans parents. That way you can do what you want to do, see what you want to see, immerse yourself in the campus culture, and ask those embarrassing questions you could never ask in front of Mom and Pop. I used to give campus tours, and it was one sullen teenager after another skulking behind their boisterous parent. I came to visit Oberlin alone during my senior year of high school and I had an incredible time. In fact, Oberlin was pretty low on my list before said visit. I flew into Cleveland, took the cheap and efficient LCT bus that goes straight to campus, met up with my host, and spent the night on her floor.
I strongly encourage visiting hopefuls to get a taste of dorm life. Don't stay in a hotel with your parents! The most fun I had during my visit was sitting in the hallway, chatting for over an hour with friendly strangers about Oberlin life.
Though the visiting prospie last week did have a parent in tow, she stole away to spend some time wandering around with me. We had lunch at my glorious co-op, Old Barrows:
There she got to sample not our our fresh, delicious, home-cooked food, but also how we run the show. She happened to visit while we were having our food policy discussion, and because every decision has to be made by consensus (i.e. if one person isn't comfortable with a proposal, it doesn't pass), it can get lengthy. On the other hand, voting to only buy local, seasonal, organic produce is awesome.
After that, we spent some quality time chilling in Wilder Bowl, the gorgeous central grassy campus spot. Some of my friends strolled by, and I waved them over to tell the prospie about Oberlin, which they enthusiastically did. We must have sounded corny, saying things like "At Oberlin, you always feel comfortable being yourself" and "I could never imagine myself anywhere else," but even for us three jaded juniors, it was 100% sincere.
The girl unfortunately had to leave just before TGIF, the weekly Friday afternoon party, got into gear. The last lesson to all prospies should be, for goodness sakes stay all Friday afternoon and evening if you can. That way you can hit up TGIF, co-op pizza night (enough delicious homemade pizza to stuff you silly), and all the various concerts, plays, improv shows, and parties that inevitably pepper a Friday night at Oberlin. Thus, when you ask, "Can I see myself being happy here?" you'll have an easier time coming up with an answer.