Since getting back to Oberlin, it's been weirding me out that I'm a third year. I guess that should be "junior," but for some reason the fact that Oberlin calls its freshmen "first years" stuck with some people (i.e. me). Thus, I became a second year instead of a sophomore, now I'm a third year, and just now I realized I'm over halfway done with college. What? I can detect the murky outline of real life through the collegiate fog... What?
As an upperclassman, I seem to be endowed with magical powers and abilities. And by that, I mean I have an awesome registration time. After two years of waitlists and bottom-of-the-pile shuffling, this time around I felt invincible during add/drop week. Case study: Due to personal problems and logistical misunderstandings, I arrived at campus this semester registered for ZERO classes (not a good idea) - but with my amazing registration time and with minimal frustration, I got into all of my preferred classes, no problem. Unthinkable! What?
When I started meeting juniors and seniors at my co-op in my first year, they seemed much older than me, way cooler than me, way smarter than me. So hold up, Oberlin. I am still nineteen and I don't feel smart enough or cool enough to be a third year yet. In some ways, I feel like I may as well still be a first year. In general, I spend my life feeling naïve and out of my element, so has anything really changed? With the benefit of hindsight, I think that there are some striking differences in the way I approach Oberlin life these days:
Oberlin has always felt comfortable to me, but now it really is another kind of home. I'm still exploring it and finding new places, but it is a good place to be. It doesn't hurt that I've lived in the same dorm since my first semester. I have a strong attachment to J-House, and really - once you live in a huge room with high ceilings, lots of windows, and a homey feel... how could you leave?
I'm also feeling a lot better and more comfortable with my major and what I'm actually doing here. After multiple crises of confidence in the wisdom of studying music - WHAT WILL I DO? HOW WILL I EARN ANY MONEY? WHAT IS THE POINT? THIS IS THE MOST IMPRACTICAL THING I COULD BE DOING WITH MY LIFE - I feel like this is the right thing to do, despite any potential impracticality and uselessness. Though I didn't realize it until now, all those theory classes, that aural skills practice, those lessons, coachings, work with different ensembles... they've been changing the way I think about music and life. Things are coming together and making sense. I like this.
Other peculiarities of entering my third year include increased confidence and willingness to jump into new situations, knowing my limits, knowing a lot more professors on a more personal basis and feeling okay about going to talk to them, finding other schools' general attitudes and single-gender bathrooms sometimes strange and stifling, and a surplus of flannel plaid shirts from the free box.
Anyway, I think it'll be a good year.
Blog entries to come include: More on my excellent schedule of classes, why I am still a performance major, adventures in co-op head cooking, and why this is my fifth semester living in J-House.