If you had told a wee 16-year-old Ruth that she would be moving to a small town surrounded by a LOT of corn in just two short years, I would not have believed you, not even for a hot second. As a sophomore and junior in high school, I had a very specific vision of what my college experience was going to look like: I would attend a small, prestigious liberal arts college (maybe even an Ivy League) in some idyllic New England college town with foliage, where I would receive a full ride scholarship and get a degree in psychology. Before accepting that my “ideal” college vision was not really realistic in various ways, my wonderful mother told me about Oberlin College. She said, “Ruth, I discovered this small liberal arts school in Ohio called Oberlin that seems like it would be a great fit for you!” I was quick to dismiss this suggestion: “Ok Mom, whatever, like, I’m not gonna go to Ohio…” That, and the word “fit” in the context of college admissions made me want to slam my head into the nearest flat surface. The college process is no picnic and deciding where to apply and enroll is spooky™. I began to consider Oberlin more seriously only after my exposure to the Oberlin Student Blogs. My mom sent me a link to a post by now-Oberlin-graduate Ida Hoequist. Her voice was quirky and articulate, and I wanted desperately to be her friend. She told hilarious and illuminating stories. With each blog post I realized I wanted to be part of Oberlin more and more. I read all 53 of her posts and fell in love with the school.
Ida’s posts were the gateway drug to the rest of the blogs. Whenever I finished my work early in class, I read the blogs. My mom read the blogs. We sent each other links to the blogs. I became obsessed with the blogs. I began to alarm my family with my weirdly specific knowledge about Oberlin College (learned from—you guessed it—the student blogs). The more I read, the more I wanted to be part of the world the blogs captured. Oberlin quickly became my top choice school. Even though I didn’t apply Early Decision, Oberlin’s application was the first one I submitted, in early October. I even referenced the blogs in my application supplement. I was so invested in coming here that at one point in the waiting game (aka the seemingly interminable months when the admissions gods read applications all day) I got mad at myself for falling in love with this school. What if I didn’t get in? What if my family couldn’t afford it? What if Oberlin wasn’t the best choice? How could I have let myself become so attached to one school? Luckily for me, I was able to come here, and I am so happy things turned out this way.
I want to conclude this post by telling my readers why I want to be a student blogger. Because the blogs were so instrumental in teaching me about this school and showing me that this was the best place for me, I want to give back. I felt that the blog posts I read reached me from 1500 miles away and grabbed me by the collar and pulled me all the way here. I read so much about the life here that the first time I stepped on campus on July 20th, 2016, I felt like I was home. It is not often that you come to a place for the first time and feel like you already know it. In the words of my journal entry from that day, “Oberlin. I feel like maybe I’m just supposed to be here. It feels right.” Without the blogs showing me this “right” place, I wouldn’t be here. I want to show what a special and unique place this school is in the hope that it will continue to attract amazing students who value social justice and diversity and equity and learning for learning’s sake and all other amazing things. Welcome to my blog (come to Oberlin).