Oberlin Blogs

Starting from Scratch, Part 2

August 10, 2008

Alice Ollstein ’10

After days of editing, layout, haggling with printing places, and crossing our fingers, 125 copies of underLAnd magazine landed on my doorstep. Though we were happy to give away copies gratis to some friends, family, and contributors, we of course wanted to sell the rest in order to make something resembling a profit, and to get our name out there in the underground magazine world.

A fellow editor and I ventured to a local indie coffee shop's Open Mike night, and after reading one of the issue's funniest pieces up on stage (written by the talented Oberlin senior Elise Desiderio), we hustled copies to the indie/hipster/aging hippie types that frequented this particular venue. We plan to repeat this successful formula at several other coffee shops around town.

At the open mike, a grungy-looking teenager came up to me to take a look at the magazine. He asked what college I attend and when I told him Oberlin, he had a giant grin on his face. Turns out he had just graduated high school and was taking a year off before attending Oberlin, where he'd already been accepted. He eagerly asked me about co-ops (I'm pro), classes (it's all about the professor), and if there's enough to do in Ohio (there is!). He was going to spend his year off traveling around the U.S. with his closest friends. I really respect people who admit that they're not ready to start college right away, for one reason or another. It takes a lot of courage to know yourself well enough to know what's best for you when parents, peers, and society pressure you to follow the beaten path of college-right-away. I knew two people my freshman year who just plain were not ready for the rigors (and freedom) of college, and flunked out of Oberlin. One has since come back after taking some time off and is doing great.

But back to the magazine! We wanted to get a second issue out this summer, but we're all leaving for school too soon. There wouldn't be enough time to solicit submissions, find advertisers, edit, layout, and print. Therefore, we're putting all the money we earn from selling the first issue into a special bank account and saving it for our future magazine endeavors. Hopefully next summer underLAnd will ride again.

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