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 her first-year dorm

Anna Ernst ’10
“I hope that incoming Obies who decide to live in Barrows or Dascomb will experience the same feeling I felt often my first year... It was simple, but I felt like I was home. I think that’s good...

On her semester in Ghana

Sarah Frank ’09
“Sankofa means “return to your roots.” Sankofa is an important concept, because in order to grow, you cannot always move forward. You must go backwards, and go home, in order to make the distance...

On spending a winter term in France

Megan MacDonald ’13
“There was certainly a lot I didn’t know when I got off that plane in the Paris airport. If my time in France taught me anything, though, it’s that there’s a certain beauty in not knowing.”

On things working out

Hyacinth Parker ’17
“School has had its ups and downs, but going into my senior year, I can finally understand why people say that college is such a good time in your life; when people said that to me freshman year, I...

On organizing a winter term project about coal’s life-cycle effects in central Appalachia

Benjamin Jakubowski ’11
“thanks to the strength of the Oberlin community and the support that is so close at hand, the road between imagination and realization isn’t as far as it might seem.”

On the Big Swap

Stacia Thompson ’11
“We are sustainability royalty for the week. Who else would skate home wrapped in a down comforter and carrying green alligator pillows under their arms all in the name of re-use and resource...

On living the double-degree life

Nancy Chapple ’83
“There was no holding me back, and I plunged into both areas of study. My weekday schedule was intense ... the discipline to practice and study, the drive to learn came from inside.”

On studying abroad

Jessica DePaz ’14
“I embraced that experience because it helped me learn a lot more about myself. I found my voice, my interest in learning different languages, and my interest in teaching.”

On making new friends on a service trip

Charlotte Landes ’13
“Everyone was open to each experience we encountered, greeting each inevitable trial with a smile, a shrug, and a “we’ll figure it out.””

On acceptance at Oberlin

Tim Russell ’92
“Oberlin opened a world to me that I never knew existed ... It represented the diversity that the world has to offer, not just race and ethnicity, but religion and sexual orientation, in a safe and...

On her semester abroad

Nora Frederickson ’10
“What does dancing on the bar of a rural Austrian disco have to do with an Oberlin education? (Answer inside!)”

On the way we treat writing at Oberlin

Judy Karasik ’75
“I was so deeply engaged and tangled up in writing as a living, morphing entity, that when I got to graduate school I couldn’t tolerate the aridness of what passed there at the time for intellectual...

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