What kept me going through the month of May (besides kettle corn and Netflix) was the promise of my vacation to France at the end of the month. It did not disappoint. I feel like I made some improvements over my French language skills and I was excited to test them out. I had at least 2 French people tell me my French was good, and one was the waiter at a fancy-schmancy Michelin-starred restaurant so he could've been a snob about it and he WASN'T. We started off with a week in Avignon where we rented a house and did some day trips - Marseille, Nice, Aix-en-Provence, Monaco. All were lovely. All had good food. Monaco was the fanciest place I've ever been to. I overheard a conversation of a guy who claimed to have invented cloud computing. Practically the only cars I saw were Ferraris and Mercedes. Avignon was nice, with an old charm about it. I saw where the Pope used to live and ate a restaurant whose name literally translates to The Hen's Ass****. Some really good food there.
We spent a week in Paris. We saw many museums, my favorite of which was the Centre Pompidou, which is also where I happened to have my favorite meal of the trip (the gazpacho there will make you feel things). Paris might just be my favorite city in the world, and I was extremely excited to be back. I ate the best cheese I've ever had in my life. I enjoyed getting to walk outside in the summertime without feeling like I had to pass out from the extreme heat (Houston summers are brutal, y'all). I was sad to go, but happy to return home, as my time there is more precious than ever.
I spent a month working at a summer theater camp. I've been a camper there since 2001 and have worked there since 2011, so I can't imagine a summer without it. My job there is as a teacher's assistant, which means that I'm with a group of kiddos all day, and I help them learn about theater and dance, as well as perform the occasional improv demonstration or man the glue gun in stagecraft class. I love my job. It can be SUPER stressful sometimes (I mean, I'm working with 13 or so children at a time so how could it not be?), but it's really rewarding. Most of the kids are really sweet and funny, and I get to play a lot of games and act like a kid again.
I just started my internship at Planned Parenthood a couple days ago. So far, my job has been to stuff bags with condoms and watch game shows. Well, the game show part isn't a required duty, but there's a TV in the bag-stuffing room that only gets one channel, the GSN, so there's been a lot of Deal or No Deal thus far. I'm excited for the other projects I have lined up and am really excited just to be there. I'll be there pretty much the rest of the summer.
Part 2 - A Message for the Community
A while ago, Oberlin YikYak let met know that the Class of 2019 Facebook page was...really hopping, to say the least. Partially out of curiosity, partially out of my desire to potentially impart sage advice to the new Obies, I requested to join. Recently, I was let into the the group, and boy, oh boy, the feelings it has stirred up in me. I saw that many new Obies were doubting their choice to come here, which killed me because OBERLIN IS SUCH AN INCREDIBLE PLACE! Without my Obie friends to talk to in person, I felt like I had no outlet to share these complex musings. Then it hit me - I'm an Oberlin blogger. While my typed-out thoughts might not be as clear as I what I could say in real life, I don't have the pleasure of chatting with each and every new Obie out there (and as an introvert, that would totally exhaust me). So this will have to do.
Incoming freshmen - Oberlin is a challenging place. Academically, emotionally, but also, in terms of questioning what you know. You will be asked to rethink preconceived notions. New, different ideas will be brought up. My advice is to listen. Listen and learn. Step back and do some research. Google is your friend. Being an ally means educating yourself because it is no one's job to do that for you. You might feel uncomfortable. That's fine. This is hard work. Your comfort at a time when marginalized groups are being massacred and otherwise dehumanized is not a priority.
THAT BEING SAID
Current students - Before I came to Oberlin, I thought I had a pretty good understanding of social justice issues. And I did - sort of. Now that I've had a year here, I know SO MUCH MORE. I reevaluated my line of thinking in some areas. I grew. I changed. Remember that an Oberlin education is a privilege that these first-years have yet to obtain. There is a learning curve. A little kindness never killed anybody. One of the best things I learned here is that ignorance does not always equal aggression. Keep that in mind.
This is truly an amazing place to be. I can't wait for the class of 2019 to experience it.