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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On singing with Collegium Musicum

Martha Cargo ’07
“Monday and Wednesday afternoons, beginning promptly at 4:30 in Fairchild Chapel, were brief windows of respite from our otherwise whirlwind college lives.”

On road trips with lacrosse teammates

Hank Willems ’76
“As we were passing the Firestone tire factory, I remarked, “All I can smell is burning rubber.” A minute later a car passed, the driver gesturing frantically. Glancing around, we realized that our...

On answering the “What’s your major?” question

Ashwin Kambhampati ’14
“I am an economics and mathematics major. I feel, though, that I am an Oberlin major; the liberal arts approach helping me discover the subjectivities involved with looking at the world though...

On the Oberlin Catholic community

Shane MacDonald ’08
“I discovered that it was exactly the type of diverse community I was looking for. People of all religious stripes were there: converts, lifelong devotees, Anglicans, and even spiritual hobos such as...

On skills learned in the Conservatory

Michael Vito ’04
“In [performance], we must take all of the experience and ability we have attained through our own development and integrate it with that of others... an exercise in fluid, nonhierarchical leadership...

On becoming a scientist

Jake Grossman ’08
“Oberlin taught me to view the natural world with wonder and curiosity, and gave me the tools to pursue that curiosity in a systematic way. This isn’t to say that Oberlin turned me into a data-loving...

On attending the Tank pig roast

Brook Luers ’12
“Events like this, where wildly different people end up hanging out together, are common at Oberlin.”

On learning to teach literacy

Susan Cowan Knebel ’60
“I had answered a call for volunteer tutors in a night school created by a gentleman who was born a slave. Literate, he wanted to help folks from the South who had come north for jobs in Ohio and...

On running and surviving senior year

Nicky Ouellet ’09
“I outlined my thesis on thirteen-mile long runs. I wrote my application essays on bus rides to races. My experiences as a student-athlete influenced my proposal to study high-school athletics during...

On training

John Shaw ’07
“With the curtain obscuring most of the fieldhouse from view, the track became a tunnel that my distance mates and I would fly around countless times at every imaginable speed and level of (dis)...

On the lifelong connection to Oberlin’s values

Christopher Sanders ’08
“Oberlin instills in each student a dedication to improving the lives of others... I continue to incorporate my four years of experiences into my everyday life while working in the U.S. House of...

On writing Nicaraguan women’s history

Victoria González-Rivera ’90
“I became a feminist and started to focus on an overarching question that would absorb much of my time over the next two decades: why assume that only white women fought back against sexism before...

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