Oberlin Blogs

Senior Year Bucket List!!!

June 24, 2016

Brendan Nuse ’17 and Frances Casey ’17


My dad has a bucket list for my Oberlin career. Not for me, but for himself. So far he has gone to a Lake Erie Crushers game and seen an Oberlin sporting event, but he still hasn't gotten to go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or see a Cleveland Indians game. Going into my final year at Oberlin, he's running out of time to complete his list-- there's only so many times you can drive to northeast Ohio.

Now that we're going into our last year of college, we've decided that we need our own bucket lists. I've put together a list of some classic Oberlin traditions and various other goals I want to complete this year. It's crunch time now, so hopefully this list will help me prioritize all of the exciting things to do at Oberlin. With no further ado, here's the list:

1. Go to Splitchers

Splitchers is an event that takes place every Wednesday at the 'Sco (the short and affectionate name for the "Dionysus Disco" here at Oberlin). I think that the premise is that there is half-priced pitchers of beer on Wednesdays, but since I am STILL not 21, that aspect has never really been relevant for me. My impression is that the half-priced pitchers aren't even the draw for most people, though. There's just something uniquely Oberlin about going out and partying on a Wednesday night (but no other week night ever).

Much to some people's surprise, I've never been to Splitchers. That's right-- in my three years at Oberlin, I have not participated in this iconic weekly activity a single time! While I'm not really a huge fan of parties or crowded places, I feel that I have to go to Splitchers at least once before I graduate.

2. Iron Chef

Background information: Despite being in OSCA since spring 2015, I've never been in OSCA for a fall semester. I joined OSCA in the spring of my sophomore year. Then I went abroad in the fall. Unfortunately, this means that I have never gotten an opportunity to go to OSCA's Iron Chef competition.

As far as I can tell, Iron Chef is a super fun event. When I asked my friend Leah (who has attended Iron Chef) for a description of the event, this is what she provided:

"There's a secret ingredient and all the co-ops make dishes which all have to include the ingredient and then people eat the food in the Root Room and then judges pick the winning co-op."

There's a lot going on here that I like: Co-ops. Secrets. And, most importantly, competition. I'm always down to win, and I look forward to either doing so or watching someone else win this fall. Bring it on, OSCA.

3. Babysit a professor's children

This is another contribution from my friend Leah. At first, I thought the suggestion was a little ridiculous. Then I thought about it some more, and realized that Oberlin has cultivated such a good relationship between me and my professors that I feel like this is actually sort of possible. I've already taught swim lessons to my geology professor's son, so you never know! It probably won't happen, but it would be really cool if it did-- a story for the ages.

4. Learn how to live well in a house

Not such an exciting bucket list item, but important nonetheless. This year, I'll be living in an off-campus house with a few of my friends. This means a lot more responsibilities, such as paying rent on time, doing household chores, and sharing 1 bathroom among 4 people.

In my family, I am notoriously bad at doing practical day-to-day tasks. While I am pretty relentless in pursuit of my goals, I often let "smaller" things like laundry, cleaning, and filling out forms slip through the cracks, since I get too focused on the bigger picture. However, I recognize that these are important tasks that are necessary for daily life. I think that living in a house with my friends is a good opportunity to develop these skills. After all, if I mess up too much, I'll put my friendships at risk. Hopefully that will be a good enough motivator to care about the details.

5. Find the basement of Mudd

I love free books. If there is an opportunity to get free books, I will take it. I recently had to get a new bookshelf in order to accommodate all of the free books that I've acquired over the past few years. My favorite part of the semester is when a bunch of the departments put out old books that they're getting rid of in a box in King that is labeled "free, please take." You get the picture.

It is not a secret that Mudd is my favorite building on campus. I have waxed poetic about Mudd in several other blog posts, so I'll keep it short here: I love Mudd.

Now what happens when we put these two things together? What do you think would happen if I was told that there was a basement of Mudd in which the Mudd staff put old books that are going to be discarded (and therefore they are free to take)? That's right: I would go to any length to get there. In fact, I've heard this very rumor. Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to get there yet. I'm not going to let that stop me, though. Make no mistake: I'm getting those books.

6. Art Rental

Art rental is a major draw to Oberlin. If you're interested in Oberlin, I'm sure you've already heard that you can hang famous art in your room for $5 a semester. In other words, every Oberlin student comes into Oberlin wanting to do art rental. For whatever reason, though, it hasn't panned out for me yet. I haven't been committed enough to stake out all night. This is my senior year-- it's time to make some crazy memories. I'm going to stay up all night for some $5 art. Let's go.

7. Mudd Study Carrel

I've already talked about how much I love Mudd. This year, since I'm doing an honors project, I was very excited about the prospect of having a scholar study room in Mudd to use for that project. However, when making this post, I decided to actually look up the procedure to get one, and it turns out that the application had to be turned in last month! So things aren't looking good on that front.

With this defeat, I decided to set my sights on a different aspect of Mudd: study carrels. My friend Caroline (a fellow Mudd fan) and I have been saying since our first semester at Oberlin that we want to have adjacent study carrels (on the fourth floor, of course) and work at Mudd ALL THE TIME. We've never actually gotten around to doing it, so this year is our last chance! We're going to make it happen. I'm going to turn this study room failure into a study carrel success.

8. Eat in every co-op

This is one I've come pretty close to already, actually. I still have one co-op to go, though-- Old Barrows, I'm coming for you!

9. Participate in a protest

I'm not entirely sure that I haven't done this one yet, just because I find it so shocking that I might have actually gotten through three years at Oberlin without attending a protest. However, to the best of my knowledge, this is truly the case. I'm passionate about a lot of issues, and there are many protests held at Oberlin every semester. So what have I been doing this whole time? I'm not so sure, but what I do know is that I can't graduate from Oberlin without participating in a protest. That would just be spitting on the Obie ethos.

10. Successfully finish an honors thesis

Maybe this is a strange item for a bucket list, but I've wanted to do an honors project since my first year at Oberlin, and now the opportunity is finally here. I've already been approved to do honors, but the process is a fairly long and arduous one. While writing this post, I've been taking periodic breaks to read past honors theses on OBIS (the Oberlin library website). They're pretty intimidating-- some are nearly 100 pages long, and many involve extremely in-depth original research. As someone who hopes to have a career in academia, I have to get to the point where writing something like this doesn't seem intimidating-- I'm going to have to do similar or even more extensive research in the future, so I have to start practicing now!

I'm sure that I will end up mentioning the honors process a lot more throughout the year, but for now I am just making it my short-term goal to get through this first big hurdle towards achieving my longer-term goals.

In case you couldn't tell, I am super excited for the upcoming school year. This bucket list doesn't even address the standard excitements: classes, interpersonal relationships, co-op life, being my awesome self. However, with this bucket list, I'm going to make this the most iconic year yet. I hope you're as excited to read about it as I am to live it.


After coming home from my semester abroad, the reality of my junior year coming to a close has set in. I have one year left in Oberlin. I have one more year to do all the Oberlin-y things I've wanted to do, but haven't gotten around to doing yet. Some of these bucket list items are prolific Oberlin experiences (Art Rental) that I would be remiss for not completing during my final year. Others are simply experiences that I feel I should savor before I depart Northeast Ohio.

1. Float on a raft in the Arb on a hot day.

So, technically it's illegal to swim in the Arb. That doesn't really stop anybody on the hottest days of the year, when the Arb is the closest body of water in which to cleanse oneself of the oppressive humidity. I love how Oberlin looks in the summer, but I'm a humidity baby. Coming from the west coast, I'm not used to it, and it makes me lose my appetite (gasp), feel irritable, and generally awful to be around. On Labor Day last year, most of the air-conditioned academic buildings were closed on campus, my tiny third-floor single was a nightmare, and I despondently wandered around campus in the heat until I settled in Kahn, an air-conditioned first-year dorm where I did not live, nor did I know anybody who lived there. On days like that, I've always thought it would be lovely to float around in the reservoir on an inflatable raft. I'll make it happen this year.

2. Utilize the Career Center.

Oberlin's Career Center is a resource that I need to make better use of. According to the Career Center website, the center aims to help students evaluate their skills, get experiences through internships, and explore possible career paths. I have already used several of the Career Center's online resources, but as graduation looms on the horizon, I think I should speak to one of the human beings who works there. I could use some help figuring out what sort of employment I should be looking out for after I graduate.

3. Visit the Allen Art Museum, but not for a class or an assignment.

I really love the Allen, but I don't think I've ever gone there just to look around and take it all in. Unless you count the visit I made with my dad when we were touring Oberlin several years ago. (It was an awkward, awkward time...) I want to have the opportunity to see the pieces that are never highlighted in my class tours, and obviously I want to talk to the very nice security guards who work there. I also want to work in the Art Library more. There is a window from the second floor of the library that looks down on one of the galleries in the museum, and the library has cool art magazines and people who are hipper than me. Someday I'll make the trek across Tappan and write a paper there.

4. Participate in Art Rental.

On the subject of the Allen...did you know students could rent art from the museum for the semester? Did you hear about that? Is this brand-new information? (Oberlin oversells this in its promotional materials.) Yes, it's true. I've never rented art from the Allen. Camping out overnight to score a Picasso that I'll probably spill juice on has never been very appealing to me. Perhaps I will saunter into the museum at a reasonable hour and score some reject art for my apartment this year.

5. Savor my last Midwestern winter.

I have experienced 2.5 Ohio winters thus far, and I'm pretty sure this one will be my last. I plan to enjoy it as much as possible, or at least until March arrives and I start praying for a swift death as I plod to class through snowdrifts. I didn't have a ton of experience with snow before coming to Oberlin, and I think I've decided it's not for me, but I do love waking up after the first major snow and seeing campus cloaked in sparkly beauty. I think the town of Oberlin looks best when it's covered in twinkly holiday lights and little flurries that swirl around in the dark. I'm going to remind myself to savor these moments while I can, and I'll try to preserve that positivity when I inevitably face-plant on some black ice.

6. On that note...roll down Mt. Oberlin in the snow.

Just because I feel that I should.

7. Cook for myself more.

I like cooking, but it wasn't until my semester abroad that I was really forced to make decent meals for myself every day. So far, I have eaten in both CDS (dining halls) and OSCA (co-ops) during my time at Oberlin, and this upcoming year, I'll be doing most of my cooking for myself in an apartment. I'm excited to have a little more control over what I eat, after being at the mercy of OSCA head cooks for a while, and grocery shopping is one of my favorite things to do (seriously), so I'm excited about this transition! At the same time, I'm worried that I'll be too tired/lazy/stressed to make meals that don't consist only of pasta or rice. I'm hoping that I'll get into a rhythm of being ~healthy~ and ~responsible~ with my meals, but if all else fails, I'll be living really close to Kim's Grocery.

8. Work on the fourth floor of Mudd.

Unlike Brendan, who lives for his silent study sanctuary, the fourth floor of Mudd freaks me out. It's so quiet that I feel like I can't breathe without disturbing somebody who is reading VERY intensely. I do think I should commit to giving it a chance, however. If you can't find me on the second floor, I'll up there, sitting stiffly in a womb chair, trying not to turn the pages of my book too loudly.

9. Explore Cleveland more.

I've been to Cleveland a pitiful number of times. It's ridiculous how little I've seen of the closest big city to the town I reside in 9 months of the year. I've been to the Cavs stadium (Go Warriors) to see a concert, I've been to the West Side Market a couple of times because it's A+ in every way, and I've been to Lakeview Cemetery, but I think that anyone from Cleveland could tell me a bunch of things I've missed. I don't know when the next time I'll be in the area after graduation will be, so I feel like I need to take advantage of Cleveland now!

Is there anything else I HAVE to make sure I do before I graduate?? Please enlighten me!!

Leave a Comment

Similar Blog Entries

One Day in the Life

April 30, 2023

Phoebe McChesney

"Do you really want to know where I was April [28th]?"-- Courtesy of Ms. Taylor Swift. (It's really April 29th in the song. Just go with it!)
Phoebe McChesney.