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 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 embracing independence

Dagmawi Gebreselasse ’14
“Since coming to Oberlin, I have been fully responsible for my life and making important life decisions...I have started listening to myself and following my own path.”

On getting to Oberlin and returning

Jim Sunshine ’46
“Once here, I never looked back. I went off to war, came back after three years, graduated in 1949, married a classmate in Fairchild Chapel, took up that career in journalism, and returned 56 years...

On meeting neighbors

Noah Morris ’12
“I heard several shouts of “Come in!” and someone opened the door slightly. I’d braced myself for a lot of possibilities, but what I found still surprised me. As I entered, I found myself in a full-...

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 friendship

David Fegley ’13
“Rather than watch Melanie’s cold slowly progress, we, her loyal third-floor Barrows friends, decided to take action. We needed a holiday, a new holiday, to celebrate all things Melanie.”

On birthday celebrations

Jocie Sobieraj ’15
“Had my roommate known that I had secretly always wanted to do a scavenger hunt for my birthday ever since my older sister had one when I was 8? Probably not.”

On watching his son attend Oberlin

Peter Rathjens ’81
“As much as Jake’s experience is distinct from mine, I’m glad that Oberlin is in no rush to move past the values and culture that provided me with so much 25 years ago, and that are serving Jake so...

On the community of Sci-Fi Hall

Vicky Costikyan ’14
“I felt at home with the people around me, and I developed a confidence in myself that I had never experienced before.”

On getting married at the Big Parade

David Weasley ’06
“I love the combinations of people at the Big Parade, the way someone will walk up to you and say, “Excuse me, sir, will you wear this giant carrot costume?””

On Oberlin family history

Julia Maier ’12
“If I stare carefully at the ceiling of the turret and employ my imagination, I can see the mural mosaic that was painted while my father lived in the room.”

On unexpected birthday surprises

Phoebe Hammer ’14
“In that chord, I felt the warmth of belonging—my voice lost in the blend of others around me.”

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