Oberlin Blogs

Tess Yanisch ’13

Hi! I'm a senior from western Washington (graduating in January). I love books, long walks, and meandering conversations. I am proud to declare myself a huge geek, especially about social science, interesting people, and great writing. An unabashed genre fiction fan — as you can see, I own a cloak and Lord of the Rings leaf pin — I am currently living on Sci-Fi Hall with similarly insane people. I'm also friends with people I've met through other groups and activities I'm involved with, such as OCircus!, Oberlin's entirely-student-run circus organization.

While I love books, my interest in understanding people's personalities, priorities, and decision-making in various social contexts has led me to declare a psychology major. I'm a "stats geek" — data-crunching research assistant — for one of my psych professors. I also work as a lifeguard, volunteer at Oberlin Community Services, and clean litterboxes/socialize foundling kittens at the Ginko Gallery!

I'd love to answer any questions you have about any of the above, so feel free to leave a comment on any blog post.

Entries from this blogger

Interfaith Service: Success!

November 19, 2012

Pretty much the whole student body cares about community service, and we got good stuff done. We still need a deeper discussion about "interfaith," but that's next on the list . . . Many Oberlin students have a tendency to be dismissive of religion or openly religious classmates. I think they're responding more to the political end of religion (as we know it) than to any actual beliefs.


Stop Hunger Now

November 13, 2012

The Interfaith Day of Service is this Friday, 3:30 - 5:30. "Interfaith," in this case, means both among people of different religions and between people who are religious and those who aren't--an important factor to consider when dealing with Oberlin students.


Election 2012

November 9, 2012

I think I was happier this time than when Obama won in 2008; this year, I was more involved, I knew more, I canvassed, I voted --I was able to be a part of it. This win was my win, in a tiny, tiny way, and I had seen more of the other people whose win it was too.


Comment on this Post

October 14, 2012

This is a chance for you to talk to me, whether you are a prospie, prospie's parent, current student, or alum. Feel free to ask questions about Oberlin, tell me what you want to read about, or just say hi.


Oberlin Accounting

August 24, 2012

I have made an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of what I spend my money on. 81% goes to Oberlin and other necessities (airfare, textbooks, snowboots) and 11% to personal indulgences (goofy t-shirts, eating out). Is this a decent balance? I welcome your thoughts!


Chalk Walk

August 16, 2012

Every summer, Oberlin has a citywide "Chalk Walk," a civic day of doodling on the sidewalk. Though most of the art is done by average citizens--including plenty of enthusiastic kids--the event also attracts stunningly good artists. Among this year's coolest pieces were a giant cupcake, the Beatles, and George Washington riding a walrus into space carrying broccoli.


Oberlin Etiquette

July 14, 2012

Remember, the cardinal rule of politeness is to make the other person comfortable. In some situations, this calls for dressing up and shaking hands. In others, it consists of yelling and backslapping. Among Klingons, you say whatever's on your mind and be prepared to back up your words in battle if necessary. And so on.


Paying for College: Idealistic Alternatives

April 26, 2012

The point of all this idealistic, semi-ideological rambling is to say that there's something a little bit broken about the way that paying for college works right now. My would-never-work-but-what-if solutions to the problem include direct loans from colleges to students and a tithe system.


Winter Wrap-Up

April 1, 2012

The time has come to welcome Spring! Oberlin's recent good weather has made the campus even more beautiful than usual. Green is on my mind in another way, too, as my ecopsychology research intersects with Ecolympics, Oberlin's resource-use reduction competition.


Semester in Review, II: Something Romantic

February 24, 2012

After much dithering, I settled on a course on Romantic literature. By the end of the semester, I'd learned a about the general political and social climate of the time, become acquainted with quirky intellectuals, read the works of the man my brother is named after, developed sympathy for Felicia Hemans, rolled my eyes at Byron and Shelley, and fallen a little bit in love with Keats.


Ashtabula Adventures

February 10, 2012

My friend Connor went home for a few days and invited me along. The result was five days of pleasant exploring, astonishing pictures of ice, and an intensive course in set-building.


Winter Term Routine

January 26, 2012

My winter term project this year is reading Les Miserables , Moby Dick , and Bleak House . I didn't think I was being ambitious, I swear.


On Study Breaks

December 19, 2011

The last few weeks of the semester are always incredibly full with people working on final projects, last ExCo or club performances, studying their brains out, and attending study breaks to cram their brains back into their skulls.


Ethics and E-readers

November 18, 2011

The dilemma I am attempting to resolve is whether or not I should buy an e-reader, and, if I get one, what kind I should get. This might seem like an oddly personal and peripheral topic, but it is not. I tell you now, without any exaggeration whatsoever, that my dithering represents the struggles of our society's collective conscience.


Chalkboard Blogging

October 7, 2011

Explanation: I showed up at a bloggers' meeting without my computer, but with my camera. I was going to chat for a bit and then go, but Ma'ayan pointed out that there was a chalkboard in the room and challenged me to tell a story in nothing but photos. This is the result.


Summer Hobbies

August 7, 2011

Last week, I wrote about the work I'm doing this summer. However, summer is also about fun, and I've been having lots of that. PLUS: My brother is a genius.


Summer Jobs

July 31, 2011

As my mom recently pointed out to me, I've barely blogged at all this summer. It's not that I haven't been busy; rather, I have been too busy. For starters, I have my first-ever full-time job.


Is College Hard?

June 6, 2011

What is "hard"? The pace is faster in college than in high school, but it's mostly notable in comparison. For example, in the first three weeks of Research Methods, we covered at least half of the material in my year-long A.P. Statistics course.


Gloria Steinem, Activism, and Oberlin

March 7, 2011

Oberlin's second convocation of the semester took place last Wednesday. The speaker was Gloria Steinem. It wasn't the first time the famous feminist has been at Oberlin--she was here in 1972--and, listening to her talk, I wondered how the political and activist atmosphere here has changed since then.


Applications and Organization

February 27, 2011

Colleges are working very hard to recruit you and several thousand of your closest friends, and they will spare no detail in providing you all the information you may need to make your choice. Your challenge is to deal with all this information: to somehow assimilate it and keep it organized.


Sci-Fi Hall!

September 26, 2010

Most colleges give their students a choice between traditional housing and fraternities or sororities. Oberlin, being Oberlin, has a different--and much wider--array of choices. Case in point: Sci-Fi Hall, where I now live.


Add/Dropping into a good situation

September 19, 2010

By Tuesday, I came to the realization that the combined course load was, to use a technical Oberlinian term, a shit-ton of work. A shit-ton, by the way, is a highly accurate and precise unit measuring the overwhelmingness of a given task (roughly equivalent to 17.5 shitloads, or 0.86 metric shit-tonnes).


Welcome Back: A Comedy of Errors

September 8, 2010

In which our spunky heroine returns to Oberlin, catches a shuttle bus, forgets to retrieve her blankets, gets locked out of her room, and doesn't have any contact lens solution--but everything works out fine.


Final Words of Advice

August 26, 2010

During Orientation and the first few days of class, remember: relax. Awkwardness is diffused when neither person is more savvy than the other--and you will all be equally clueless, I assure you. (And you MUST bring some kind of academic planner!)


Friends, Cleaning, and Memories

June 23, 2010

I could not spell to save my life until about fourth grade. This didn't stop me from trying to get across fairly complex ideas--but vowels, apparently, were optional. (Funny photos at the bottom!)


A Whirlwind Wrap-Up

May 28, 2010

The last week of my first year at college--sniff!--went by far too quickly in a blur of studying and packing. There were last hurrahs with friends and final exams. And then, quite suddenly, everything was over.


Semester Review, Part II

May 15, 2010

I love having conversations in which half-completed (because it is not necessary to repeat the entire line) allusions are made to Firefly and Narnia and Lord of the Rings and jokes about The Wheel of Time and Star Trek are tossed around as freely as . . . actually, I don't know any other group that references so many things so frequently and with such great delight. Maybe indie music fans.


Oberlin Anecdotes

April 16, 2010

Often, I will see or participate in something and think that I should work it into a blog post. Sometimes I succeed, but, more often, I just can't think of a way to work whatever it is in. So I decided to write a post composed of almost nothing but these interesting, amusing, or just plain fun insights into life at Oberlin.


All Roads Go Ever On and On

April 9, 2010

One choice--to visit a college--can be the first step on that much-talked-of journey of a thousand miles. No, I'm not referring to the famous Confucius quote, actually--I'm thinking of The Lord of the Rings . Although Oberlin is a lot more fun than Mount Doom.


Campus Visits: How to be a Prospie

March 12, 2010

This blog gives you a few pointers for getting the most out of your campus visit. I don't usually go in for grandiose, sweeping statements, but I think I can say without (much of) a doubt that this blog could be the most important thing you read during your college search. I can say this because I have learned from experience.


Interdisciplinary Extracurriculars

March 5, 2010

Oberlin is more than living up to my expectations about both interdisciplinary material and extracurricular opportunities. However, I must say that I never expected the two to combine as they have in my life. That is to say, I'm finding that skills I've learned working on improv are helping me with my genre fiction writing.


Showtime: Improv Saga, Part Two

February 26, 2010

Featuring the actual College Improv Tournament national competition, various hopefully-useful definitions, and the thrills and pitfalls of live webcasting. FREE BONUS ANALYSIS of what makes the Sunshine Scouts unique (hint: we're artsy liberal arts students).


American Graffiti

January 28, 2010

More about latrinalia, Winter Term, statistical analysis (and not doing it), and a whimsical, completely unrelated movie review for variety. Pictures included, of course.


Winter Term: The Saga Begins

January 5, 2010

My (many) little projects are intended to turn me into a well-rounded dilettante--while maintaining my priorities, of course. Unrelated but pretty pictures included.


Application time!

November 18, 2009

"You haven't written your application essays yet? Well get crackin'!" --A Pamphlet on applying to (not too many!) Colleges; Plus, a few modest Examples are included for the perusal of the curious Reader.


Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2009

Greetings, children of the night! Today's entry is a series of snapshots of my triumphant return to Oberlin, including lectures, geeky joy, and local apple cider.


Fall Break: Social Justice Institute

October 18, 2009

I first heard about the SJI in the admissions packet I got at the beginning of the summer. It wasn't terribly clear about what exactly the SJI was going to be, but I filled out the application anyway and sent it in, figuring it would be interesting if I got in. I did, and I attended the first session of it today. I still wasn't very clear about what it was until it started. . .


Hello again, world!

October 12, 2009

I love the idea of ExCos--it's part of the reason I came here. I signed up for a bunch of them but only one really worked out with my schedule. (One of my sophomore friends told me that it's funny how first-years try to do everything, but the truth is, there's so much interesting stuff going on, it's impossible not to at least try it.)