The Oberlin Stories Project

On bonding with professors

Patrick Doherty ’11

“On bowling night, anyone interested in the History department can come to the College’s bowling alley and bowl for free! Why is this fun? Because most of us can’t bowl to save our lives.”

Patrick holds up a bowling ball under colorful lights.

As a tour guide, I often talk about how awesome and accessible Oberlin’s faculty is. Not only can you meet them and seek help during their regular office hours, but they often coordinate fun activities for students. Every spring, I look forward to the History department’s annual Bowling Night.

On History Department Bowling Night, History majors, faculty, families, and any other students interested in History can come to the College’s bowling alley and bowl for free! But why is this fun? Because most of us can’t bowl to save our lives.

When I went to bowling night my freshman year, there weren’t many students there and while it was fun, I knew that it could be better. This past year, I convinced several of my fellow history nerds to attend and we all had a blast. Four of the five students from my seminar showed up, and we all bowled with our seminar professor, Diana Shull, a visiting instructor for the school year and one of my favorite professors. I joked with Professor Shull that we should all get A’s in our seminar should one of us manage to beat her. She smiled politely and shrugged off the statement.

Now, most students and faculty in the history department — myself included — have abysmal bowling skills. I thought Professor Shull wouldn’t be able to beat us.

She crushed us. None of us managed to score above 70 (I told you we were bad), yet Professor Shull broke 170 on both games that we played with her. It took my score combined with those of two of my fellow seminar peers to beat her score. Needless to say, Professor Shull put us to shame.

History Department Bowling Night is one of my favorite bonding activities at Oberlin. I’ve met faculty that I haven’t had the opportunity to take classes with, joked around with professors who bowl better than I do, been teased by my wonderful academic adviser (Professor Emer O’Dywer), and had a blast with my fellow history nerds. History Department Bowling Night has helped me to fall in love with Oberlin’s History department, its faculty, and, most importantly, the study of history itself. Who knew that being a history nerd could be so much fun?