Oberlin Blogs

Winter Term Nights

January 26, 2024

Natalie Frank ’26

Sunset over science centerWinter Term is a month-long opportunity to pursue a passion, project, or job with support from Oberlin. Last year, I completed a remote film micro-internship at home in Wisconsin.

This year, I am finishing writing the novel I started in mid-October. I am spending most of Winter Term at Oberlin. With half of the student population away, I was worried that I would spend most of it alone or bored.

As the title might suggest, I was wrong. Here is how I spent eight nights of my Winter Term.

Night 1: Wednesday
Walk with my Mom

On Wednesday night, I ate dinner at Italian Co-Op in Keep Cottage. Afterward, I played ping pong with Travis in the French House lounge. Everyone in French House has been playing it obsessively, and I must admit, I am improving. (I am not improving.) After ping pong, I went for a 30-minute walk and called my Mom to discuss her day. At my dorm, empty without my roommate, I stretched, watched a show, and ate a melatonin gummy, a melly as I like to call it, going to sleep early.

Night 2: Thursday
Italian Co-Op Party
Chocolate chip cookies
Chocolate chip cookies at the co-op.

On Thursday, I went to dinner with Ruby at Stevenson Fine Dining. It was pretty good tonight, and I walked out of the dining hall with four grapefruits stuffed in my Strand tote bag. There was an Italian Co-Op party tonight, Jersey Shore themed, so Ruby and I watched Jersey Shore on my bed. Then, we went through my wardrobe, searching for Y2K trash outfits. I had very little but settled on a v-neck shirt with OCircus booty shorts and a horrifically 2000s hairstyle. Hanna and I met up after Ruby left and walked to Keep Cottage together, only a 10-minute walk. At the party, they were playing all of the throwbacks, like TiK ToK and other songs you’ll hear at almost every party. After this, I returned to my dorm and spent the rest of the night with my friend, watching a movie and decompressing.

Night 3: Friday

Friday came at last! I say this, having completed minimal work on my Winter Term and watched a movie in the afternoon. Ruby and I met at Talcott and hung out briefly before walking to Chabad for Shabbat dinner. At Chabad, most of the eight children were gone, which made it quieter. I missed the kids, but I had the opportunity to meet Ruby’s best friend, Max, and we talked for three hours. At 10:30, I walked back to my dorm with Alec, showered, played ping pong again (sense a theme?), and wrote 1,000 words before bed. It was a busy night.

Night 4: Saturday
Arrested Development

My friend came over late afternoon and watched Arrested Development with me. He skipped the first three episodes because he said they weren’t as funny as the rest of the season and drew a diagram to help me understand the Bluth family. His handwriting was so messy that I couldn’t read it, but I assured him it was helpful. At around 7:30, he left my dorm, and I ate the dinner that Italian Co-Op had saved for me. Layla had just finished with crew (cleaning Keep kitchen, washing dishes, mopping, etc.), so she returned to Frouse with me. Hanna, Layla, and I met in my dorm to crochet mittens together. Hanna talks more about her mittens. We listened to my Spotify daylist, talked about the Hunger Games, and taught Layla how to crochet. I love female friendship.

Night 5: Sunday
Movie Night

Family callI drove Travis and Rafa to Walmart and Wing Stop but didn’t feel like eating from either. I returned, ate dinner at Italian Co-Op, and completed crew after, which was surprisingly short. I showered and called my family, painted watercolors, wrote 1,000 words, and wrote cards for my family. After that, my friend and I walked to Ruby’s dorm to watch Promising Young Woman with Max and Matilda, most of us huddled on her Twin XL bed. It was a terrifying, very real movie, and after, I watched College Humor to feel better. Tonight was busy, but I enjoyed meeting new friends, like different guest stars.


Night 6: Monday
Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix

I have been dying to watch Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix after I saw this Instagram Reel about the color coding of the movie and its cinematography. I watched it with my friend, and it did not disappoint. As tired as I was from a week of inconsistent sleep schedules and working/writing/co-op-ing, I stayed awake long enough to watch Umbridge get carried off by centaurs. Thank God.

Night 7: Tuesday
Pole Dance
Ruby and Natalie posing
Ruby and I in our LA fits

I called Julia, my roommate, and my Dad before dinner. Dinner at Italian Co-Op was squash soup, latkes, hummus, and Moroccan flatbread, which is not very Italian but is still very good. After eating at Italian Co-Op with Ruby, we walked to Hales Gymnasium to pole dance. I taught Ruby some moves, and we took many videos of her spinning and giggling over failed attempts and sexy poses. After that, she had to humble me, so we did her ten-minute ab workout. Tired and sore, we walked to Talcott for a fashion show with her expansive wardrobe with themes such as Instagram baddie, art show, try-hard, and not-like-the-other-girls. I conceded my loss after trying on a blue bandeau, low-rise jeans, a pink button-down, and a long fur coat for the LA theme. Ruby is really good at styling clothes.

I walked back to Frouse, showered, and fell asleep.

Mirror picture of Natalie
Broken mirror pic at pole.
Night 8: Wednesday
Graveyard Walk

I spent the afternoon listening to music and doing chores around the room, which set up perfectly for a busy night. I ate dinner, which was veggie mac n’ cheese and so delicious that I could not stop talking to Hanna about it. I walked to Hales Gymnasium for 90 minutes of pole, and Ian kept me company in the empty gym. I was happy because I made real progress tonight!

Cemetery in mist
Cemetery in mist.

Ruby was going away for a trip to New York City, so I walked to her dorm and hung out with her for 20 minutes before I didn’t see her for a while. After that, I went on a long walk with Alec to the cemetery and back. It was very eerie because of the thick mist that descended over Oberlin, and we scared a few deer wandering among the gravestones at the cemetery. The obelisks stood tall in the dark, and while it was creepy, we had a great conversation. When I returned, I showered and watched Fantastic Mr. Fox with my friend. What a Wes Anderson movie.


This was my week(ish) of Winter Term nights. I love Winter Term at Oberlin. It is like a typical college week without classes, crowds, or lines. People are more receptive to making new friends because everyone has a friend or two who isn’t here during Winter Term. I have become much closer with Hanna and Layla, and Ruby and I would never have had the chance to sing Anastasia to each other if I had a 9:30am lecture.

Okay, fine; I probably would have stayed up late anyway.

Snowmen melting
Snowmen melting.

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