Oberlin Blogs

A September in Oberlin

October 2, 2022

Yuhki Ueda ’24

I’m a fourth-year this year, which as a double-degree student means I am in my penultimate year at Oberlin. And the class I came to Oberlin in 2019 with is graduating approximately 8 and a half months from now. Eek! With this knowledge comes a newfound sense of urgency to make it through my Oberlin/college bucket list while I still can and to reach out to people I’ve been meaning to connect (or connect more) with, especially those who will be graduating at the end of this school year — it’s a reminder that time is fleeting, and that my experience at Oberlin can only be what I make of it. With all of this said, I am hoping this will be the inaugural blog post of a monthly series where I document my Oberlin highlights and memories so that I can not only have something to look back on ten years from now, but also share my experiences with any and all interested readers, so I hope you’ll follow along!

As September has just come to a close, I have found myself reflecting on the past several weeks. I have been super busy with classes, so that has often made me feel quite overwhelmed. This semester, I am taking three and a half (the “and a half” refers to Supervised Research in the Psychology department, which I’m taking for two credits) College classes, making for quite a different experience than last year when most, if not all, of my classes were Conservatory ones. Other than Research, I am enrolled in Arthurian Fictions (the first English-department course I’ve taken at Oberlin!), Advanced Chinese, and a seminar in Asian-American psychology. Arthurian Fictions and the seminar are both reading-heavy courses, so this means I have to devote lots of time outside of class to complete the reading assignments and make sure I really understand the content. My Chinese class, on the other hand, requires me to study grammatical concepts and learn new vocabulary while practicing applying this knowledge through reading, writing, and speaking. I know that learning languages takes a lot of time and dedication, and I have already been learning so much in that class, so I am excited to see how my Chinese language skills will improve throughout the rest of the semester! The psychology seminar is my favorite class currently, as it explores a side of psychology that I haven’t really had the chance to learn about in the past, and it’s great to be able to resonate so closely with the content of a course — that’s something I haven’t experienced as much in other classes I’ve taken. On the Conservatory side of things, I am taking Piano Literature and private lessons for my piano major.

Here is a photo of the dango, which we made from scratch. They are covered in a sweet soy sauce glaze — delicious!
Mitarashi dango (a sweet
and savory type of dango)

As for extracurricular activities, I am a part of the Japanese Student Association here on campus (this is my second year in JSA, and you can learn a little bit about my experience with JSA last year in a previous blog post!). Several weeks ago, JSA hosted its first general meeting of the year. It acted as both an interest meeting and a tsukimi (which is Japanese for “moon viewing”) social event, and old and new JSA members alike gathered, mingled, and enjoyed dango (Japanese dumplings made with rice flour which can be served plain, or with fillings or a sauce) and hot tea. 

Last year, I was a secretary for JSA, but this year, I was elected co-chair. I don’t have much leadership experience, so being co-chair for the first time feels a little daunting, but I think this role will be a good opportunity for me to learn and develop new skills, and to step out of my comfort zone. 

Here is a photo I took while taking a walk on the Oberlin bike path.
The Oberlin bike path

Despite the busyness of school and extracurriculars, there have also been moments where I’ve gotten the chance to catch my breath and enjoy what the rest of Oberlin life has to offer. I have been having hot oat milk chai lattes most mornings, and I think they’re the perfect drink to ease the transition from late summer to early fall — they’re spicy, subtly sweet, warming, and comforting. Sometimes I’ll get a chai latte at the Slow Train Cafe or I’ll make it myself in the comfort of my home, which in Oberlin is the village housing unit I live in — shoutout to my housemate Allison :). I have also been taking walks and outdoor runs, either by myself or with friends. The Arb has finally reopened, so I recently visited it with a friend, and I have also been exploring the Oberlin bike path. The sunsets have been so gorgeous lately (I’m a sucker for pretty sunsets), so that’s something else I’ve been enjoying. 

Here is a photo of a stunning sunset from a couple of days ago.
A beautiful Oberlin sunset

Being a lover of music and always eager to expand my musical repertoire, I recently started teaching myself electric guitar (exciting!) — nothing too intense, though, since I’m currently just familiarizing myself with the instrument. I also recently visited the TIMARA department for the first time in the basement of the Conservatory. My friend invited me to a listening session in one of the studios and we listened to a whole album of music on some big speakers. It was such a cool, immersive sonic experience, and it was also a great way for us to bond and get to know each other better — it was definitely a big highlight of this month.

In the month of October, I am hoping to attend more music performances and explore more of Oberlin, especially during fall break when I have more time on my hands. I will keep you updated. Until next time!

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