Oberlin Blogs


April 20, 2009

Joe Dawson ’12

Just came back from winning the bi-weekly trivia night competition at the 'Sco and celebrating with some Pirate's Booty from Decafe. Victory is sweet. My team, T-Spain feat. Young Portugueezy, formerly Urethra Franklin, formerly Hurricane Kathleena and the Mansoon, really turned up the heat. The questions were almost all general knowledge, unlike the past when we have done theme trivia (Disney: How many animators did Walt Disney kill and eat as head of Disney?). A kind of theme was marijuana (guess why). There were a number of questions about which states have decriminalized it, what its full kingdom-phylum-class-order-family-genus-species classification is, what THC stands for, that kind of stuff. That twenty dollar prize tastes very sweet, even split between five people. I know because I just ate my four dollars.

My senior friend is applying for grad school, and hasn't heard back from his number one choice. He says he's going to apply for Americorps next year, then reapply for grad school next year. It's crazy, because he is the guy everyone asks for help from when they can't understand a problem. He is also doing really cool research on proteins that work as simple machines, changing chemically and changing their shape to move things (like muscle fibers) around. It amazes me that he could be turned down for anything, because he's an amazing guy, in addition to being the most proficient biochemistry student I've seen here. On paper, though, I'm sure it's hard to tell the difference between him and some other overachieving student. I don't envy the admissions office employee who had to choose between him and anyone who was probably equally qualified (again, on paper). Now I have a bias, because I've known this guy for something like 6 months now, and I've seen him every day being incredibly kind and funny and especially smart. To me there's no reason he should be waiting for a reply right now.

Personally, I was turned down for admission to Oberlin the first time I applied. I was accepted to Carleton, Grinnell, Kenyon, and waitlisted at Pomona. I took a year off and reapplied to basically the same places, with new ACT scores and a new essay, and got completely different results. Grinnell accepted me; Kenyon, Pomona, and Carleton waitlisted me; and most importantly, Oberlin accepted me. I felt so accepted. I don't have a major point to make here, just to say that the acceptance/rejection process is such a stressful one, and it's a bit of a crap shoot as to where you do or don't get in. The admissions officers work sooooo hard to find people who will fit, but I think being able to shrug rejections off is an important skill when applying to selective places, like here.

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