Oberlin Blogs

Why I’m Proud To Be An Obie

April 14, 2021

Cora K. Hasegawa ’19

It’s no secret that the alumni who work in admissions love Oberlin. And there’s lots to love! But today I want to highlight just a few of the things that make me proud to be an Obie.

Oberlin History

Oberlin is perhaps most famous for our history (you might be able to find us in your APUSH textbook). Obies are proud to be a part of a college that has always strived to do what is best before the world is ready. I know there was no time in Oberlin’s history when I would have been denied from attending, not just as a woman but as a Japanese woman. Oberlin was the first college to accept students of all races and genders in 1835 and 1837, decades before most other colleges. Even during World War II, when much of the country gave into a fear of Japanese-Americans, Oberlin remained one of the few schools in the midwest to admit students from the camps

However, we are not satisfied to rest on the laurels of our history. Obies look to the college’s past to learn and grow. Yes, we admitted women, but how could we have done better? And more importantly, what can we do better now? Obies from all eras have fought to make the school better and more inclusive, and I’m grateful to have been educated at a school that instilled these values in me. 

Obies Helping Obies

In a game of Oberlin Bingo I once played there was a square labeled “Had a heart-to-heart talk with someone you didn’t know in the library basement at 2 a.m.” While the exact situation might not have happened to me, the sentiment of the experience is one that just about every Obie has experienced. The phrase “Obies helping Obies” is used frequently to describe the ways that students look out for each other. Help can come in the form of a deep talk with a stranger to a school-wide project to help students left most vulnerable by the pandemic. In March 2020, Oberlin (like many other colleges) shut down unexpectedly due to COVID. But even as we dealt with the threat of the disease, our students did what they do best, rallying together to protect our community. Within hours a large Google sheet was assembled offering anonymous assistance with everything from snacks and de-stressing walks to free storage and a ride home to another city. I was moved, but not surprised, when I saw all the effort that students were going to to help each other. It reaffirmed that I made the correct decision back in high school to go to a school that cares so much about each other. Obies look out for one another in the best and worst of times.

As I said before, there are many reasons why I love Oberlin but there are always a few moments that stand out in my mind, times where I felt that Oberlin was at its very best. Going to college is like a long term relationship; no one is perfect, but you have to find the place that fills you with pride and joy.

Similar Blog Entries