I guess I don't really run out of thanks. I'm thankful for that.
So, now that I'm a big kid, I've realized that you trained me well. I know how to make myself delicious food (even if I only know how to make it in quantities akin to feeding myself plus you guys), I know how to wash dishes well and clean a bathroom, I know how to pursue my passions, and I know how to ask for help when I need it.
The real world (if Oberlin after graduation could even be called that... I'm not exactly sure) is different and interesting, in a reassuring yet developing way. I really love my job and my coworkers, both of which allow me to continue bleeding cardinal red and mikado yellow on anyone or anything who sits still for long enough to hear my name. Actually, that is quite unsanitary. Strike that. If someone is near me for even a minute, I want to enshroud them in traditional rustic Yeomen garb. That's slightly better, I think.
Either way, I feel deeply indebted to Oberlin, not just in terms of loans, but for what it has taught me about education being a life-long quest. I use my brain eight hours a day, and I am focused on big huge things that I can get into in more depth now than I ever could have dreamed of as a student. The world of social media, media strategy, and social networking is big and new and I feel like I'm riding the bumpy yet exciting crest of that wave. It's terrifying but you can see so, so much from up here. The world is my oyster. Mmm. Oysters.
College was an absolute delight but I have found that the traditional classroom was my high-dive into continuing to educate myself via a variety of means while not sitting at a single-serve desk with a flip tabletop. I read, I inquire, and I problem-solve daily. And I'm learning every day. I am a student of the world. Now I know how you feel, Abba. Both before and after Oberlin, you can't ever stop learning. Maybe this means I'll be a librarian yet.
And Ben. I can't even articulate how happy I am to see you at concerts, walking to class, or sitting in Wilder Bowl on a Friday afternoon. Your Oberlin experience is already radically different than mine (you're passing biology like a fiend, unlike me) but still, you have been meeting up with some of my favorite Oberlin things on your way. You got your first job (with Campus Dining Services, no less, though not at Decafe, for now) at the exact same time of your first semester as me. I loved that your cell dropped my call yesterday because you were busy spinning a plate with OCircus, and I'm really excited to make Monday dinners (a meal that you're helping cook!) at Old B a permanent part of my schedule.
I do not always expect you to take my advice in regards to all things Oberlin, but I'm glad you're taking it into consideration, including but not limited to your decision to attend Oberlin. Brandi made a startlingly good point at lunch yesterday that the Oberlin poster, that beautiful and glorious thing that encapsulates my entire college experience for all the world to see, was an enormous outpouring of passion and, in essence, my personal love letter to Oberlin, addressed directly to you. I don't know how I didn't realize it until then, but yes, I wanted you to know how much I loved this place, and I think you figured it out. You're a smart kid, and I'm very glad you're here.
I don't think I've ever been in love with anything more than Oberlin in my whole life (and I have loved you since I was very little, Oberlin), but loving something means that sometimes you have to leave it. No, I'm not leaving my job early (that would be the silliest decision in the history of ever; being the Web Fellow at my alma mater is incredible and amazing and there's nothing in the world I could or would trade it for), but I have learned that if I love something, especially through so many life changes, I can also tell when it is time to let go and move on.
I'm never going to stop loving you, Oberlin, but I think you have taught me that I can love other places and things, too. Oberlin will still be here when I'm older. I'm counting on you to remain wonderful, Oberlin. My kids are going to hear so much about you. (I should have probably addressed this letter to you, too, Oberlin. You're my family now, too.)
I am looking forward even while I am still happy in the present. The future awaits me. Bring it on, really big real world. I have been taught well, I have a downright enviable support network, and I still think I can change the world.