Oberlin Blogs

Why, oh, why, oh, why, oh did I ever (go to) Ohio?

March 29, 2024

Marcus Jensen '27

I got the whole rigamarole with college searching — looked through catalogs of schools, visited those that I could, and then began the application process. The page number on the document with my essay and short answer drafts I believe numbered in the high teens by the time I was done with it (though to be fair, there was a lot of repetition between drafts and what may or may not have been my edit-related ramblings…). I wrote, deleted, and rewrote everything time and time again before submitting what I thought represented me best. There were several (read: five… at least the ones that I can remember!) schools that I applied to, but the two at the top of the list were Yale and Oberlin — you know, real safe schools that I was sure to get into. Obviously, if you’re reading this now on the Oberlin blog page you know how it turned out, but that isn’t the point of this blog. I thought I was going to have a choice between the two.

Surprise surprise, I didn’t get into Yale. I would love to say that it didn’t affect me at all, and while that is true in the end, there was a span of time that I really let it get to me. The whole reason that I fell in love with the idea of Yale was thanks to Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House series (which I would still highly recommend to any and everyone who’s looking for a new read) and the wonderfully dark, magical world that she created. I wanted to follow in Alex’s footsteps and see the Gutenberg Bible at the Beinecke, eat in the Jonathan Edwards dining hall, and witness the portal to hell in Sterling (kidding…I think). Once that was not an option any longer for me, I had to sit with a) my disappointment and b) the fact that my mind had gone way too fast, creating an imagined world based off of a novel and the entirely small probability that I would get into a school with a famously low acceptance rate.

And thank goodness I didn’t get in because somehow I doubt that would have gone as well as Oberlin is going!

To be fair, I lucked out with my dorm — between my roommate, the fact that my friends are literally directly across the hall from me, and the central location, I couldn’t have asked for a better home base, which really affects the entire experience. Beyond that, though, I feel like I fit in here in a way that would have been distinctly different elsewhere. I’m not in the Conservatory, but the fact that I can take whatever classes I want both there and in the College itself has been absolutely amazing. Mostly, though, when I was deciding where to go, I remembered the gut feeling that I had when first arriving in town and walking through Tappan Square — it was a rainy, cold evening and what few flowers had braved the onset of the first false spring (a Midwestern staple) were having serious second thoughts, but I still instinctively felt a settling of sorts. I even ended up calling one of my friends and mentioning that exact feeling, something that she would bring up much later when I was agonizing about whether to commit or not. I know now that going to Oberlin was the right decision for me, but I encourage anyone who is wavering to trust their gut — there is only so much overthinking one can do, and in the end your feelings will get you where you need to go.

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