We have collected hundreds of personal narratives from students, alumni, faculty, and staff that explain the merits and strengths of Oberlin through the eyes of those who have experienced it firsthand.
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A group poses with papier-mache dragon's head, vintage 1970s

On the Asia House dragon

Bill Heinrich ’81
“It would have been tedious work except that it was ambitious, self-directed, and had nothing to do with classes or credits. What made it something to look forward to was the enjoyment of working...

On becoming a Latin major

Maggie Killman ’13
“I realized how passionate everyone around me was about the exact same things ... they all shared the exact same joy I felt from studying such an obscure but wonderful language and culture.”

On the genesis of a company

George Saines ’08
“[My roommate] had a crazy idea: working for yourself and starting a company is way more creative and fulfilling than working at a preexisting company, and here we are six months after graduation [...

On finding a personal space

Arianna Gil ’16
“Establishing meaningful relationships with supportive professors through hard work and dedication is the most important thing you can do as a new student.”

On an eye-opening class

Sarah Willette ’16
“I’ve found during my time at Oberlin that, when faced with the crossroads between easy ignorance and more strenuously acquired knowledge, most Obies choose the hard but ultimately more rewarding...

On adjusting to Oberlin

Melanie Malinas ’13
“Somebody suggested building a leaf pile in North Quad, because it was one of those crisp, fall days where you simply need to be outside playing with leaves rather than inside working on a paper.”

Contributed by Prof. Laurie McMillin

Jabali Sawicki ’00
“Jabali left Oberlin in 2000 with a degree in Biology and no set plans. But he knew he wanted to teach... At the age of 27, he became the principal of Excellence Charter School in Bedford Stuyvesant...

On language as a gateway

Brendan Nuse ’17
“I am still a little surprised that a job as a translator of standardized test instructions ended up teaching me about Ohio history, but, then again, my experiences with Chinese at Oberlin have...

On Oberlin students singing Sondheim songs... for Sondheim

Steven Roth ’77
“The students sang some of the more difficult songs in the Sondheim canon and nailed each one - fully knowing that he was backstage listening to them.”

On making connections while dancing in Warner Main

Natalia Shevin ’17
“Contact improvisation about learning to work with anything. Through listening and through movement, we learn to be responsive. ”

On her path from Oberlin

Jill Herman ’77
“I began thinking I wanted to be a teacher and a poet and left knowing I wanted to be a lawyer...What I probably didn’t appreciate fully while I was at Oberlin are the intangibles that make it so...

On being an international student at Oberlin

Chetan Poudel ’14
“The international student orientation days always come to mind as serving as the springboard that launched me headfirst into the charms of Oberlin’s diverse and global connections.”

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