Oberlin Blogs

Start of the Second Semester

February 24, 2016

Emma Davey ’18

At the time of this writing, It's February 20th and it's a gorgeous day outside. I'm no scientist, but that seems like an anomaly in Ohio and a clear sign of global warming. I am currently sitting outside wearing jeans, A CROP TOP, AND BIRKENSTOCKS. I have a cardigan with me, but I'm not wearing it. The only downside is that it is aggressively windy, so I guess you can't win them all, and y'all should note that this blog was written as strands of highlighted blonde hair consistently blocked my view. Don't worry though, the hair is mine. Taking full advantage of the weather and the lack of immediate due dates, I decided to come out here and write a blog to catch all you lovely people up on what I've been doing the past couple of weeks. Classes started (obviously) and again I have been thrust back into the world of academia. What am I taking this semester?

FRENCH 309 - Plaisir de lire: I took French both semesters of my first year, and then stopped to make room for other things. My winter term project was me practicing my French skills, which was a good refresher for a college-level course. So far, I really like this class. While grammar and vocabulary is obviously important, I'm glad to be at another level. Plasir de lire means pleasure of reading, and eventually we're gonna read some novels in French, but currently we're talking about the French language and the culture behind it. The professor is really enthusiastic and makes me want to learn more. One day I'd like to be fluent in French, and next year I'd like to study abroad in France, so I see these college-level classes as useful preparation.

SOCI 254 - Political Sociology: A class about politics, but not from a political science perspective. Instead, it's a sociology class, and it asks the questions of what makes protest and revolution possible, how do certain groups achieve rights while others don't, and essentially what are the human factors behind politics. So far it's relatively interesting, and I'm glad that it's focused on places outside of the US of A because I am woefully uninformed about certain areas of the world.

PHYS 068 - Energy Science and Technology: I'll be honest, y'all, I was really dreading this course because I HATE NUMBERS, but it's actually not that bad (so far). The workload is manageable and weekly graded homework means that I get plenty of chances to keep my grade afloat. While I never will be interested in math, there's enough emphasis on environmental degradation and how technology can fix it to keep this bleeding-heart liberal intrigued.

POLT 230 - Feminist Theory: Buckle up, folks, because I've got a lot to say about this class. It's not bad or unenjoyable per se, but after my fabulous Women and Politics class of last semester, expectations for a similar course have been dashed. I've come to realize this - I don't mind most academic writing, but I'm not vibing with theory. Recently, I've started to notice the dichotomy between academic feminism and activist feminism. Maybe I'm just mad at myself for not being able to understand what some of these authors are saying, but I can't help but feeling like some of what these authors are saying is a bit elitist. Maybe not what they're saying, but how they're saying it. I get that "professional" language tends to skew on the hoity-toity side of things, and I get that feminism is an incredibly complex subject matter. But sometimes when I read these authors, I wonder who they're writing to and who they're writing for. The idea of white "professional" feminists only writing to other white "professional" feminists turns me off. The idea of their writing only being part of the academic side and not the activist side seems pointless to me. Flowery language probably has its place, but it is perhaps best saved for other disciplines. I don't want to insinuate that other fields of study don't have the ability to affect people on a personal level. However, when feminism is both a study and a fight, the bridge between the two sometimes gets lost. People like bell hooks and Audre Lorde have done a great job at bridging that gap. They don't shy away from the complexities and nuances of the subject, but they never forget the larger purpose of it all. As bell hooks herself said, feminism is for everybody. Anyways, the good thing about taking a class that you might not be gelling with is that at least it exposes you to new ideas and can potentially strengthen your beliefs. So I got that going for me, and I'm not totally writing the class off just yet. Just a shout-out to Judith Butler et al, cool it with the excessive mentions of "ontological" and "essentialist."

I'm also taking a Practicum in Tutoring to make up for missing credits last semester, and so far so...memorable. I'll leave it at that.

Other than that, the adjustment back has been pretty good, although I was surprised that homesickness has been harder to shake than usual. I tell ya, and I'm sorry for the vulgar language, but that shit's the worst. BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN IT WILL ATTACK AND SOMETIMES IT'S IN THE MIDDLE OF CLASS AND YOU'RE LIKE "OH MY GOD NOT NOW, I'M TRYING TO LEARN ABOUT HOW TO USE FRENCH SLANG!" College is a lot of learning to parent yourself, making sure you're eating healthy and showering and doing your homework, and sometimes it's really exhausting and you want your own parent to parent you, but then when you come back home and THEY DO, you feel like "Geez, no need to nag, I'm basically a #grownwoman, and I can do whatever I want!"

Young adulthood is weird.

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Phoebe McChesney.