Oberlin Blogs

We all have a "This is how I discovered Oberlin" story...

October 26, 2010

Chinwe Okona ’13

I'm not sure if it's normal for people to have favorite textbooks. I mean, there are classes in which you constantly thank some higher being for the textbook because the professor is impossible in every way. However, favorite textbooks are those that you read because you are legitimately interested in, and must know as quickly as possible, the facts on every page. Like I said, maybe this is only me but I have hope that there is intelligent life out there that can appreciate a good textbook.

Thus far, in all my years of schooling, I have two favorite textbooks. The first is called Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain. I feel like this one is pretty self-explanatory. I love the brain and knowing how things work, and this book just explained it all ever so nicely on every single page.

My other favorite textbook is called The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, specifically the 12th edition. I have to be honest and say up front, I'm not a huge history buff. I guess cool stuff happens, but honestly the repetition of it all kind of bores me. I will admit that I am an avid Dan Brown reader and I saw National Treasure, one and two, on their opening nights, but that's about it.

The Pageant takes me all the way back to the fall of my junior year in high school. I was young, hated everything about high school, and was more than ready to get the collegiate show on the road. In my Advanced Placement American History class, we had just arrived at the most useless chapter in the entire book (Chapter 15, if you happen to stumble across a copy and you're curious). Okay, I shouldn't say useless because subjects like Temperance, educational advancements, and women's roles were discussed, but really, reading about failed Utopian experiments was torture.

Somewhere in that awful, awful chapter I stumbled upon a paragraph about Oberlin College. Before this I had never heard of Oberlin. The text explained that it was located in Ohio, prided itself on being the first college to admit women and African Americans, and that's about it. One paragraph, five or six sentences, but I was intrigued. In the weeks that followed, I found myself continuously visiting the school's website and telling my parents about this "super sweet college" I discovered.

I'm not sure exactly when, but in the next six months I absolutely fell in love with the idea of attending Oberlin. Before the summer prior to my senior year was over, I had completed and submitted my applications to three schools: Oberlin and two Florida state schools I had absolutely no intention of attending. My parents thought I was absolutely nuts and my friends were terrified of my potential breakdown if I didn't get accepted to Oberlin. Now, I look back and wonder what I was thinking. I wouldn't say I'm one to make rash life decisions, but I just knew it was Oberlin or bust.

Clearly, we all know how the story ends. Sometimes I laugh at how much of my life has been determined by those five or so sentences. I guess the moral here is that you should always do your reading for class. Even if you know Chapter 15 is totally not going to be on the AP exam.

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