I tweeted recently:
"My plans for 2018? 1) Soak up the sun 2) Tell everyone to lighten up"
This is both a reference to Sheryl Crow’s 2002 classic “Soak Up the Sun” (which I listened to on a loop over Spring Break) but also the fact that I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING WITH MY LIFE AFTER MAY 28TH OF THIS YEAR.
BECAUSE I AM GRADUATING!
LISTENING TO “SOAK UP THE SUN” ON A LOOP IS JUST ABOUT "ALL I WANNA DO" IN 2018 (those are the only two Sheryl Crow songs I know, don’t try to engage me further with this topic)
I guess what I’m learning about myself is that my 2018 plan is basically to be Sheryl Crow. I just want “to have a little fun before I die” and also catch up on my vitamin D.
Please don’t ask me about job plans. I have none at the moment. I will make an announcement to the world when I get a job. Check it out on my various social media accounts and possibly carrier pigeon, if the mood strikes me.
But let’s get to the main reason you’re here! Admissions decisions have recently been announced! I’m not a technology expert, but I’m expecting that there’s an uptick in the amount of people checking out these blogs between March and May 1st, that looming deadline where high school seniors need to decide where they’re going to college. I’ve had almost four years to think about what my Oberlin experience has been like. As a senior with some knowledge to impart, I thought I would try my best to explain all the things that make Oberlin great, and some of the things that make it not so great. I would say the good things about Oberlin definitely outweigh the bad things, but in the interest of honesty, I want to be very open about what it’s like to go to school here.
Things I like/love about Oberlin
Academics - That sounds very nerdy of me, but honestly, the main reason I came to Oberlin was because I wanted to go to a place where I was excited about learning. Oberlin does not have a ton of requirements to fulfill, and the ones we do have are relatively easy to take care of. When looking at colleges, I didn’t want to go anywhere that had required core classes. I wanted to explore all the things that interested me, which I’ve definitely been able to do. I’ve taken classes in all sorts of departments, from religion to cinema studies to French. I highly enjoy having small class sizes because it makes it really easy to engage with the professors and the other students around you. The professors are there because they like to teach, and for the most part, they like to interact with students!
Student culture - Oberlin is a notoriously lefty school. I’m not even going to say “left-leaning” because we have leaned so far that we have toppled over. That being said, I think Oberlin gets a bad rap about being an insular bubble where no other opinion can be tolerated. I think, generally, Obies are pretty much all on the same side of most major social issues. However, there are plenty of different ideas about how to go about solving these issues. After coming from a conservative, religious high school, I was especially appreciative of Oberlin's history of activism when I first arrived on campus. I love that students are really passionate about effecting change and upholding Oberlin's legacy of social justice.
Extracurriculars - I used to be really involved in Students United for Reproductive Freedom, though I'm not so much anymore. But it was a really rewarding experience for the time I spent in it. Now, the only thing I really do aside from schoolwork is my WOBC show, every Monday at 2 PM! And from there, the punk workgroup. I highly recommend applying for a WOBC show if you're interested in music. Aside from the numerous student groups we have on campus, we do get some really cool speakers and bands to come to campus, especially before these bands achieve more mainstream prominence. Frankie Cosmos played our orientation show in 2014, and now look at her! This is the place where Sleater-Kinney and the White Stripes got turned away from a house party in 2000! Legend has it that the Pixies once played a show at Hales, with David Bowie in the audience. It's an indie rock paradise!
Things I dislike/hate about Oberlin
It’s tough! This is a good and bad thing. I’m glad that I’m always academically engaged but geez louise, the concept of a light workload? I know not such a thing! I wouldn’t call Oberlin a slacker school. I naturally have a good work ethic and I don’t like to have a ton of free time, because then I don’t do anything constructive with it. But sometimes it would be nice to have a chill day! I don’t actually have that many large assignments, so if you’re someone who chooses not to do the readings for a class, then I guess you could finagle an easier workload. But that’s not me! I don’t skip readings unless I am really pushed for time, and even then, I try to at least skim it.
The weather is bad! Not all the time, but from November to late March, it’s cold and miserable. Even right now, April 6th, I'm still wearing my winter coat! The upside of this is that we actually experience seasons, unlike the year round monotony of Houston (where I’m from)! Fall here can be truly beautiful, and even if the presence of snow is the bane of my existence at this point, snow is definitely pretty. The first time it happens. Once it gets all brown and slushy, the thrill is gone.
I don’t like the location. The town of Oberlin is cute. There are some good restaurants and stores. But it lost its appeal to me after my first semester of my freshman year. To me, it’s worth it to live here because there are other things I like about the college that make it ultimately worth it for me. But to be perfectly honest, living here is kind of boring. I have been informed by various adults that Oberlin the college will start to emphasize its proximity to Cleveland. That’s a really good thing. We’re not far from Cleveland at all. I would love a shuttle to take us into town. Cleveland is actually a pretty cool city that I wish I could have explored more. Another thing that I think is important to note is that I applied to a lot of smaller liberal arts schools, and they all have the same issue. Most of Oberlin’s colleagues like Wesleyan, Vassar, and Bennington are also in smaller towns. Actually, Bennington is in the middle of nowhere. I have been to Bennington, Vermont, and let me tell you, Oberlin is like Vegas compared to that. As I said, Oberlin is a cute town. But if you’re a city slicker like me and you assume that all small town life is Stars Hollow, think again!
Overall, even though I live in a cornfield with crappy weather, I have zero regrets about coming to Oberlin. This school is not for everyone, but once you carve out your niche here, it's super rewarding.
If you’re a potential student and you’d like to get even more of a lowdown on what it’s like to go to school here, feel free to reach out and shoot me an email! I need something to distract me from the looming sense of dread I have about graduation!