As a freshman coming in from far away, I was homesick when I first got to Oberlin. I wanted to leave so badly; I kept begging my parents to buy me a ticket home. But they didn't, telling me it would get better as time went on. And I am so grateful they didn't buy me that ticket because now I have a new home at Oberlin. If you told me on the first day of orientation, when I cried myself to sleep, that I would be sitting in San Francisco with my girlfriend missing the halls of Barrows, I would probably have laughed at you and asked if you could lend me some money for a plane ticket home.
But now, sitting here, all I can think about were those first days on campus, how alone I felt, but how much I would give to go back to those days. Because the days that followed were arguably the best of my life. I found myself as a person at Oberlin, and I am so grateful for the friends that I have made along the way.
On that train of thought, I thought I would write a list of things that I am really missing about Oberlin at the moment. Hopefully, should you choose to venture to Oberlin, you’ll get to experience some of the amazing moments I have first hand, and make your own memories as well.
First off: The thing I am missing the most. Barrows. Oh, how I hated that place on my first day. My room was so close to the lobby that I struggled to sleep for the first few days and even ventured down to CVS to purchase some earplugs to block everyone out. But I soon came to love that place and the people in it. My roommate, Shayla, and I got along splendidly and I can honestly say that I am so sad to have lost the rest of the semester living with Shay. She increased my orange juice consumption tenfold, and I loved our little chats and her Korean dramas that always seemed to be playing. Thank you, Shay, for putting up with my 6 am alarms and being the best roommate I could possibly hope for.
To the rest of Barrows, the ones who hung out in the common room until 1 am, joking and having fun, thank you for brightening my days and making me smile. I don't want to name names, because that would be an awfully long list, but you all know who you are.
To my artist Benji, I will forever keep the painting you gave me in a place of pride on my wall. Thank you all, I will forever miss the Barrows family, and I hope I see some of you around next year.
The next thing worth mentioning I feel is Stevie. Now, many people at Oberlin reading this will go 'what are you talking about? How can you miss Stevie? That’s physically impossible.’ But I don't miss the food or the giant rooms that echoed like crazy. I miss my friends. And our lunches and dinners together every day. We would talk about the most stupid of things, sitting around one of the tables up the top of the third room, but I would give up anything to have that time back. I spent so much time in Stevie just talking, time that maybe should have been spent studying, but I am so glad I chose to sit and talk rather than bury my nose in a book.
If there is one piece of advice I can give to you, incoming freshman, it’s don't spend every minute studying. Go outside, make friends and spend time smelling the roses. Go and sit in Wilder and enjoy the sun, because it’ll start snowing and you won't want to go outside.
One final group I want to mention is my team. I miss the camaraderie that I had with the swim team. They were my family during those first few days on campus when I had no one else, and they brought me in no questions asked. I love them all so much and I am so sad that I do not get to practice with them anymore. I love the dive team, teaching me new skills in the offseason. I cannot wait for fall to join my teammates back on campus and smile remembering those days where they made me feel like I belonged.
However, I will miss our seniors, that I got to spend so much less time with than I would have liked. Sarah Dalgleish, one of my fellow bloggers, was the captain of the women's team, and I will forever be grateful for her leadership and guidance. Matthew Berry, Kristoph Naggart, and Zachary Bergman are also leaving the team this year, and I will miss each and every one of them. Thank you to all our seniors for their ongoing guidance and inspiration to me and all the other freshmen. You made us feel welcome in a time when we were all a little uncertain and scared.
One last friend that I feel deserves a goodbye is Isaac. From the first day we met, where you refused to choose between Edward or Isaac and ended up being called Isward, I knew we were going to be good friends. When you moved to the dive team, I enjoyed getting to watch you succeed and learn new dives. I will forever miss your smiling face on campus, and I hope that we stay in touch.
Also worth a mention are my professors. My professors from last semester I did not get to say a proper goodbye to, thank you for everything you did to make college just a little less scary. And to my current professors, I will see you all via Zoom but I am sad we will not get to conclude our semester in person.
As goes that old adage, the people make the place, and I cannot think of any other way to describe Oberlin.
The grounds of Oberlin are beautiful, and I am so sad I do not get to experience Tappan Square in the springtime. The photos of the flowers I have seen are amazing, and I am so sad I do not get to experience that in person. Although I am excited to explore San Francisco, I am not looking forward to my 6 am Discrete Math class (that is 9 am Ohio time). I am hoping I am able to find the motivation to work hard despite not being on campus surrounded by the people I love.
I miss Oberlin and all the things that it brings, but I am grateful for the joys of technology that at least lets me communicate with my friends.