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April 22, 2008

Alice Ollstein ’10

Don't get me wrong, I loved my hometown. But I had to get away and I wanted to find somewhere that was unlike any place I'd ever experienced and far enough from home for a semblance of independence. I only applied to private, out-of-state colleges, mostly on the East Coast, and because of money could only visit the ones that both accepted me and coughed up a big ol' scholarship. Every school I visited had beautiful buildings, interesting classes, and decent food, but what stood out about Oberlin for me was the people. Unlike some of the East Coast institutions where I got a cold, snobbish vibe from the student body, Oberlin literally welcomed me with open arms (I was copiously hugged as a prospie for having a cool Shakespeare t-shirt).

Everyone was extremely friendly, and after being treated to a late snack I sat in the hallway for over an hour with a girl I'd just met talking about Oberlin's journalism scene and our mutual ambitions. I was also privileged enough to visit on a Friday and witness the gloriousness that is "TGIF," a weekly party every Friday afternoon in the center of campus where students play music, DJ, do circus tricks, play frisbee, or just chill. Anyone visiting during this magical time would be instantly convinced by the winning combo of rampant musical talent and pure friendliness. (Sidenote: circus tricks like juggling, unicycling, and stilt-walking are big here, mostly because we have our own circus, OCircus, that performs several times a year. They're incredible! In the last show, they also composed and played all their own music while doing tricks.)

So...long story short, I came here. Best decision of my life. I've had a ton of fun, taken advantage of as many opportunities as I could, learned more than I ever thought possible, and the best part is that I have two years left! I've lived in a noisy, messy freshman-only dorm and a stately "traditional housing" dorm, both times in an open double with a roommate. I've eaten in both a dining hall and a coop. I've roomed with a female and a male. I now live on one of the four "all-gender" halls, where you can request to share a room with someone of the opposite sex.

While it is true that it's common at Oberlin to find a niche and stick with it (I've chosen the newspaper, while friends of mine have gone for a capella groups, research with professors, or environmental activism), I also look forward to trying new things every semester.

I've also become so much more aware of and connected with global issues since coming to Oberlin. This is the kind of place where a casual lunchtime conversation (especially over delicious, organic, locally-grown co-op food) can turn into a fierce debate over the upcoming election or one student teaching another something amazing they learned in class. When I'm having a particularly "Oberlin" moment like that, I congratulate myself again on making the choice to come here.

Responses to this Entry

Hi Alice,

Thanks for this post! I'm a prospective student and I'm finding it extremely difficult trying to figure out which school I'd like to attend next year. I just had a few questions, and I'd love it if you could respond.

So, first of all, do you find living in Ohio to be at all tedious? I live right by Seattle, WA currently, and I'm a little anxious about what I perceive to be small town life.

Second, I'm really interested in joining the newspaper; what's it like and how did you get involved?

And finally, what's your take on freshman housing? Are there any particular dorms that should be avoided or sought after?

Thanks in advance,

Posted by: Alex on April 1, 2009 10:39 PM

Hey Alex,
Glad you're looking at Oberlin! As for your questions,
Living in "Ohio" and living in Oberlin are quite different concepts. I'm in Tuscon, Arizona right now finishing up my semester abroad, and though I thought I'd love being in a big city again, I find myself missing Oberlin so much because the campus has so many easily accessible fun things to do every single night.

You should DEF get involved with the newspaper if you come to Oberlin. I got involved right when I first arrived just by e-mailing the current editor-in-chief, then showing up to their beginning of the year meetings. They love new blood and it's fairly easy to move up the ranks and get a sweet, paid editor job! It's a welcoming organization.

I lived in Dascomb (freshman dorm) my freshman year, and though it was happenin' it was loud and stinky and a little too crazy for me. I kind of wished I had lived in a mixed dorm OR a coop!
Hit me up with any more questions.
Thanks for reading,

Posted by: Alice on April 2, 2009 11:07 AM

Hey Alice!!
I'm a prospective who just eats up your blogs :). No really, this one in particular really helped to confirm that what I hoped to be true about Obies and their school really is true.
We have a lot in common--namely, I'm from Malibu Canyon about twenty minutes from your hometown!! I feel exactly what you expressed..I want to get away and experience something completely different!
Anyway, I'm now an accepted student and I'm visiting on Wednesday April 15 and Thursday April 16, and I'm wondering if you wouldn't mind showing me around or were available for an overnight??
No pressure if you're busy, but I thought I'd ask.
Hope to hear from you!

Posted by: Aubrey on April 5, 2009 4:53 PM

oh, and my email is ASPevsner@aol.com if you'd rather email

Posted by: Anonymous on April 5, 2009 4:55 PM

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