I am currently sitting in my dorm room with two fans on and my window open. My room is getting dark as the sunny sky that kissed Oberlin's campus throughout the day fades to a mellow blue. I have the Boston Celtics vs Brooklyn Nets NBA Playoff game on in the background as I write this. The Celtics are clearly overmatched as they face a Brooklyn Nets team who has two former MVP players, as well as an All-Star. The Celtics are losing the game by 30 points and have no chance of winning, but I leave it playing on in the background because sometimes when you have no chance of winning you find a way to win in the future. Sometimes when you have no chance of winning you find out who you really are.
Over the past year and some change, I have published many blogs that focused on the pandemic that surrounded everyone’s life. It certainly felt like we had no chance of winning when we were all sent home. Recently I made a new friend who came up to me in the cafeteria and just started a conversation out of nowhere. I suppose nothing truly comes out of nowhere but within fifteen minutes of talking to him we were discussing situations that didn’t necessarily go our way and he looked at me and said it was all good because “the dice is always rolling.” Reflecting on the last year and a half the dice did indeed continue to roll. While I do not know enough about dice games to continue an elaborate metaphor on how my life reflected the roll of a dice I can say that there were times when things broke in my direction and there were times when they didn’t.
It was tough for me in the fall when Juniors were not able to return to campus. Many days I opened Instagram and saw Oberlin students enjoying their time on this amazing campus and longed to be there. The dice didn’t leave me empty-handed though as thanks to Oberlin’s Junior Practicum Program I was able to work on Bryson Tiller’s marketing campaign. I also spent day in and day out training with a Division 1 Wide Receiver. During these training sessions, it was fairly obvious that I was the superior player, but I had to deal with the reality that despite my talents he would be the one playing this season while I would just be sitting at home. I would describe the fall as bittersweet.
Returning to Oberlin in the spring was a relief but also a new challenge. It was one smile after another seeing all of my friends for the first time in a year. Many of our smiles were tired as we mentally reflected on what had happened to the world we once knew over the past year and a half. The tiredness eventually faded away as we grew accustomed to the world we now know. I spent the spring grinding my way through two Economics classes and also competing athletically in track and field. I poured everything I had into track this year and was rewarded with multiple personal records. In between school and athletics, I often found myself watching movies with my friends, which would lead to us hilariously recreating the most intense scenes of the movie and posting them on Instagram. The world truly felt like it was ours in these moments as Scarface credits played in the background while we laughed.
It seems as if I blinked and the spring transitioned to summer. Oberlin is currently covered in flowers and at night lit up by lightning bugs. It is truly beautiful. As nature blooms, so does the campus itself as we have reached an 80% vaccination rate and been allowed to take off our masks. Now you can see the smiles that you once could only picture. The dice continues to roll as we roll into this new semester. After being down big to the pandemic, it seems Oberlin has found a way to win.