Oberlin Blogs

Who I am, and what I'm doing here

October 15, 2009

Eli Goldberg ’12

Amidst the dark fog of midterm week, a sleepy, masochistic archaeology student sits in a tiny room in a tiny co-op in a tiny town in Ohio, pounding away at a keyboard. The clock's fierce ticking is the only sound; the night presses ever onward; his tea has long since grown cold. But the Oberlin blogs wait for no one.

So without further ado: hey there! I'm Eli; I'm a sophomore from Vermont studying classics and archaeology; and this is my contribution to the flood of intro posts.

As the spawn of an alum, I grew up listening to my dad's memories of Oberlin. I decided at the tender age of eight that I wanted to study at the Conservatory and become a world-famous concert pianist. (While I didn't end up following that particular path, I've taken lessons here with a fantastic student teacher, and banging away on a Steinway in one of the practice rooms is my one of favorite ways to unwind.) When I started considering colleges in earnest, it was pretty clear that Oberlin was where I wanted to be. I applied early decision, and tore open my acceptance letter on a miserable afternoon in mid-December. From that point on (don't tell my teachers), my senior year was a waste. Physically, I was taking notes in an 8 a.m. AP class. But mentally, I was frolicking through viewbook-esque scenes of collegiate rapture: the museum! the laboratories! the stately quads! the barefoot co-opers wandering through Wilder Bowl, eating raw tofu and discussing the ways that capitalism reinforces the gender binary! It was true love.

My relationship with Oberlin could have stayed in long-distance limbo for a while - sending each other paperwork and tuition checks, dreaming of an idealized future together. But the day came when we had to meet face-to-face. Moving to Ohio was the scariest thing I'd ever done, but within weeks (to my parents' chagrin), I'd started calling this place home. Since then, I've moved into the craziest of co-ops and jumped into the worlds of pizza-making and co-operative theory. I've declared an archaeology major and spent the summer at field school in Italy. I've co-DJ'd a radio show, played Javanese percussion in the gamelan ExCo, organized campus activism with the Trans Advocacy Group, learned to fix my own bike at the Bike Co-op, cooked vegan meals for 100 people on the fly... and met the most bizarre and inspiring people I've ever seen. I hope this blog will give you a sense of some of that.

Finally, I love talking to new prospies and I love answering questions ... so don't be shy! And maybe I'll see you around Oberlin sometime.

Responses to this Entry

Eli, your intro to Oberlin story and mine are very similar...

I regaled in many Oberlin tales from both my dad and all his alum friends who moved to the boondocks of Kentucky and decided I wanted to go here starting at age 8, and when I was 12, I wanted to attend the conservatory to study flute. That didn't happen, but I'm still here and I love it!

Posted by: Ma'ayan on October 15, 2009 12:31 PM

welcome! welcome! welcome!


1. what co-op do you live in? i wouldn't want to make any assumptions about which one you consider the craziest...

2. where was your picture taken? i'm having a hard time placing it.

ps: glad your long-distance relationship with Oberlin has come to an end; the other long-distance relationship with Oberlin after you graduate is fun, too, although perhaps with a little less anticipation. actually. this is a genius way to conceptualize your relationship with the school pre-matriculation and post-graduation. somebody tell the alumni office. BEN!

Posted by: lillie chilen '08 on October 16, 2009 4:01 PM

@Ma'ayan: whoa, cool! I had no idea you play the flute - there are so many stealth musicians here...

@Lillie: I live in Harkness, and the picture was taken outside the museum. (It was going to be taken inside, but the security guards didn't seem to think that was a good idea :) College admissions has a lot of similarities to dating, for serious. I'm surprised no one's turned it into a reality TV show yet.

Posted by: Eli on October 19, 2009 9:29 PM

Eli, you are my favorite.

Posted by: Helena on October 21, 2009 2:00 PM


Two questions:

-Are you an anomaly for having declared a major so early? If you had to guess, what percentage of students would you say declare before second semester sophomore year?

-Do you cook non-vegan foods at Hark as well, or do you relegate that duty to vegetarians / omnivores?

Posted by: Kate on October 22, 2009 6:59 PM


I think my friends are split 50-50 between people who came to Oberlin knowing exactly what they wanted to do (or at least, having narrowed down their options pretty far) and declared relatively early, and people who have no idea and are agonizing over the choice. It's more the norm in some programs than others. For example, most of the neuroscience majors I know declared pretty early - probably because it's rare to find such a strong undergraduate neuro program, especially at a liberal arts college, so many people are drawn to Oberlin with that major in mind.

My meals are always vegan, because I want to be able to eat everything that I make :) But there are plenty of other cooks who make non-vegan food. Most commonly, people will make vegan and vegetarian versions of the same entree (like a lasagna), or have a vegan dish that people can corrupt with dairy if they really want (like chili with optional cheese on top).

Posted by: Eli on October 24, 2009 1:26 AM

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