Oberlin Blogs

Why my blog is still about Oberlin

April 7, 2009

Alice Ollstein ’10

Just because I'm on the other side of the country doesn't mean I've stopped being an Obie. Oberlin is the kind of place that sticks with you long after you've left. One famous alum, RadioLab host Jad Abumrad, described his Oberlin education as a grenade that takes 10 years to explode. Yes, you appreciate it at the time, but years later... BAM! It hits you just how much you've learned. I'm feeling a little of that right now. Certain lectures by certain incredible professors spring to mind. A late night conversation I once had comes flooding back.

I realize now how much Oberlin has shaped me. I didn't really know or care about issues of power or gender, sustainability or politics. Now I'm building my life on these issues! Without Oberlin's influence, I probably would have chosen a typical party-in-Europe study abroad program and would never have had my eyes opened about the border.

Also, even though this is technically an Earlham program, Oberlin students are taking it over. This semester there are more of us Obies than Earlhamites (I think that's what they call themselves) and apparently the applications for next year show this trend continuing. I can only speak for myself, but perhaps the program's focus on independent research in the field, activism and joining a national movement appeal to the Oberlin sensibility. And the wonderful thing about having other Obies here with me is that we're constantly brainstorming how to bring what we've learned back to Oberlin. We're thinking of teaching an ExCo (extra-curricular class in the Experimental College) about border politics and modes of resistance, and are also thinking of events, discussions and volunteering we can do to engage the College and community about this issue.

This is all to say that even when I'm not writing about Oberlin, I'm still writing about Oberlin. Obies are political. Obies are opinionated. Obies tackle big questions and chew on them for semesters at a time. Obies take their studies far beyond the classroom.

So if you have any questions, about the Border Studies Program, Oberlin or anything at all, please do not hesitate to ask.

Responses to this Entry

Jad Abumrad's convocation speech (is "speech" even the right word?) was fantastic. That quote likening an Oberlin education to a grenade that goes off later is one that stuck out above anything else that day for me, as well as a good many of my friends. I mean, I know it's still too early to tell, but I think about that analogy all the time...

Posted by: Yitka on April 13, 2009 9:59 PM

So true, Alice. As another Oberlin Junior abroad, I absolutely agree.

Posted by: Emily B! on April 20, 2009 6:54 PM

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