Opportunity is the name of the game at Oberlin College. Students learn ceaselessly through multitude of people and resources- world-class faculty, intensely amiable peers, a gamut of student organizations, and often-bouncy life experiences. As we involve ourselves in the community we wear many different hats, whether it be a thinking cap, a beret, a baseball cap, a headscarf, a hood, a bowler, a buccaneer’s hat, a laurel wreath, a hardhat or a sorting hat. There are enough great organizations, activities, festivals, events and concerts here that it is impossible for one student to do everything or even half of everything. The hardest decision that many students face daily is the choice between commitments. I believe having that decision is a blessing.
One of the many highlights of my Oberlin experience happened through the Outing Club. Sometime in September 2008 I saw a flier in the College mailroom advertising the upcoming OCOC trip to the Red River Gorge Geological Area of Daniel Boone National Forest. Over the next few weeks I attended a brief trip planning meeting, continued conversing emails, paid a small fee, bought some groceries, packed my backpack and exchanged introductions with the other members of my car group. By the closure of classes for fall break we were set.
We drove out from Oberlin on a glowing October morning. We had a cheerful drive through Ohio and northern Kentucky and followed it with a campfire dinner and a stargazing hour.
The next day Andy, Josh, Shauna and I arrived at the entrance to the park: a 300-meter tunnel that had been blasted through the rock of a ridge by dynamite a century past. We drove cautiously through the paved tunnel where a logging railway had been the avenue for transporting lumber out of the gorge to a sawmill in Clay City. The forest we entered had no visible evidence of lumbering; much of it was burnt down by a recent wildfire. After a couple hours of hiking we ate lunch on a rocky cliff overlooking Chimney Top Creek. That evening we walked to a beautiful campsite on the Tunnel Ridge. We watched the red Kentucky sunset as we set our tent and prepared a delicious main course of chicken Parmesan with pasta.
Our adventures over the next two days took us to beautiful, isolated landmarks including Courthouse Rock and Daniel Boone’s impressive hut that he built during one of his residences in Kentucky. By our return to the campus we were refreshed and ready to return to city life.
Every week is unique in Oberlin.