Oberlin Blogs

Thankful for Oberlin

December 2, 2019

Hannah Schoepe ’20

As I’m sitting in my living room (yes, I’m a senior so I have a living room) reflecting on this Thanksgiving, I decided to play the age-old game “what are you thankful for?” just about Oberlin. This was my last Thanksgiving as an Oberlin student, so I’m fighting the nostalgia. At the beginning of the year, I seriously thought of establishing a cash jar for every time I begin going down the “last time” thought pattern. But, instead, I’m trying my hardest to stay present, and gratefulness is a powerful tool that gives the present another dimension of value. So, here we go! 

I’m thankful for the Oberlin community. When I first visited Oberlin, I was worried that being in such a small town would feel confining, or restricting. Instead, it evolved into a warm, close knit community that has made my undergraduate experience special in many ways. This is a really unique feature, I don’t think I could walk into the UPS store in New York, and be greeted cheerfully by my name, or smile at my friends as I’m ordering coffee during their shift at The Local, or resolve to practice after running into our conductor at IGA. 

Of course, I’m tremendously thankful for the wonderful friends I have made, and continue to make. Oberlin students tend to be critical, creative, quirky, and supportive. Since I’m from Seattle, I have spent the past three Thanksgivings with a friend’s family, who almost make me feel like an adopted Thanksgiving daughter. It’s a great daughter variation, and comes with the best food! Then, I get to come home and give my housemate a hug, and we catch up on all the latest news, mostly about food. I recently discovered bacon-wrapped dates, that was the topic of our first conversation when I came in with my suitcase. I wonder what they would taste like stuffed with cheese? Either cream cheese, chevre, or Blue cheese? If you feel strongly about this, please comment and let me know what cheese variation sounds best to you, and then come to my senior recital in the spring to try it at the reception:)

Anyways, dates aside, my studio also deserves a paragraph of thankfulness. They are such a fun, supportive, amazingly talented group of people. I’m already looking forward to our Christmas party in a few weeks. In all seriousness, though, there’s so much inspiration that goes around, every studio class motivates me to practice. And our facebook chat can be hilarious. Last week we contemplated Paganini Violin Concerto, and how the best strategy of getting through letter M, might be to simply stop playing, and dedicate a moment of silence to those bars, reverently holding up a sign that says “M,” and then playing the end of the movement. I have heard a Shakespeare monolog during studio class, written a Star-Trek children’s book for my teacher’s birthday, and recently made a coconut milk rice torte for this year’s birthday party. By the way, there’s more info coming on my teacher’s birthday parties; I have a whole blog planned for that, with photos, book summaries, and videos! So stay tuned. I hope you all won’t think we’re too crazy, but it would make me very happy knowing that his prospective future students may have read my blog, be excited birthday people, and ensure that his birthday is celebrated in the years to come.

This brings me to my teacher, David Bowlin. So much thankfulness, I don’t know if I can find words. But I’m going to try anyway. Not only is he pretty much the best violinist I know (not exaggerating, truly), he’s also thoughtful, dedicated, and always constructive. He’s direct in his communication, and doesn’t sugarcoat things, but is always growth-oriented and positive. Even though I’ve had many lessons where I didn’t feel like I played well, and studio performances that made me want to cry, he always shows how strongly he believes in my ability to improve. I have to admit, sometimes I feel like he’s better at believing in me than I am. And I can’t imagine why it took me this long to mention it, but he has the cutest dog in the history of the world. You may think your dog is cute, but let me say it, ya ain’t seen nothin yet until you’ve met Morrie, as we like to say in the south of Seattle. 

I could go on for a long time, I’m thankful for so many things now that I’m thinking about all these things. The bagels at The Local, their iced chai, the Wellington burger at the Feve, walks in the Arb, the fact I can reserve a performance space whenever I need it, my orchestral repertoire class, the large ensemble program, the music journalism class that got me started writing in Oberlin, the fact that co-ops introduced me to tofu, nutritional yeast, veganaise, and Earth Balance, but it’s late and I think I have to call it a night. I hope all of you have productive and fruitful post-Thanksgiving weeks, and I’ll be back with a new blog soon.

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