- Class: Senior
- Major: Physics
- Gender: M
- High School:
- Transfer Student: Y
I am convinced that Oberlin may be the only school in the entire country at which I would be happy. The students are extremely engaged, if not in their classes, in their personal life. Everyone is very humble, modest, unstuck-up, bright, argumentative, politically correct, and loving. Oberlin is like one big happy community, at least within the circle I hang around. Much of my happiness, however, I owe to OSCA, the Oberlin Student Co-operative Association. OSCA is a food and living co-op organization in which students cook their own food and work (or live) together in a commune-like structure. The students in OSCA tend to be a different breed--the liveliest, most interesting, crazy and beautiful people seem to congregate around the bohemian co-ops, and they seem a relic of the Sixties. The amount of community interaction built from the coops is really incredible. The bureaucracy at Oberlin is quite varied, and sometimes can be accessible and other times extremely infuriating. I am guessing this is no different than most other schools; however, it is very frustrating at times the number of hoops they will make you jump through, and a few administrations seem to be very inefficient, in particular ResEd. The campus/town feels small at times, but I think ultimately this is good for the community. You can't go anywhere without running into (and interacting with) people you know, and I think this really adds to the friendly environment. Coming from the West Coast, my biggest complaint is the weather. It's almost unbearable for me half the time, and while I love the school, one of the big lessons I learned was that I'm going to go back to the West when I graduate. If I could change anything about the school, I would do my best to re-cultivate our ability to attracting interesting, "Bohemian" people. The administration rebranded the school recently with an ad campaign trying to shed a school image they thought was "weird." I take weird to mean anything not "normal"; we are not a school of Swarthmore preppies or stuck-up Ivies, we are socially active, Earth-loving environmental crusaders with wildly different and fascinating interests that are embraced here. To shed this image would be tragic, as it is what makes Oberlin such a wonderful, artistic, liberal place in the middle of BF Ohio. Quite frankly, I am here at Oberlin because this is where the "freaks" are--real people who aren't afraid to act like themselves and do whatever they please. Nothing is unusual here, from nudity in the quad to puking contests in the name of "art" to men wearing dresses around campus. We are the social conservative's nightmare. Republicans run in fear from our campus, and I am proud of it.
Academics tend to be very good at Oberlin, yet extremely demanding. Science majors have it the worst in terms of workloads. Obies can be extremely intellectual outside of the classroom, which is one of the reasons I chose this school--the students are actually engaging. The Experimental College offers the best range of unique classes out of the norm--I've taken a juggling class and a Kurt Vonnegut class, and other unique classes on subjects like Shamanism and the X-Files are offered as well. As a liberal arts school, the knowledge we gain is extremely topical and geared very much towards bettering ourselves and the world. I happen to like it that way, but a control freak or job-obsessed maven may think otherwise. Students here are very uncompetitive, which makes for a good atmosphere. Class sizes are very small compared to other institutions, so I've heard, and there are many ways professors interact with their students aside from just class and office hours. The dance club on campus, the 'Sco (short for Dionysus Disco) offers a "Professor Beers" night where students who bring professors get cheap beer for their table. I think since I've been here, every one of my professors has known my name by the end of the semester.
The student body is liberal to the sake of absurdity in every sense of the word--overly politically correct, Marxist economics, communes, hippies, you name it. I don't really think sexuality exists here--I could call myself straight and hook up with thirty guys and no one would blink an eye. Sex is an extremely open discussion on campus. Two huge events, Safer Sex Night and Drag Ball, promote the pro-sexual, anti-gender-norm environment. Geographically, Obies are an extremely diverse bunch. I know someone from almost every state, along with a handful of internationals. There is a bias against greed and materialism, thankfully--the on-campus "Free Store," the co-ops, and frequent crews of anti-capitalist dumpster divers enforce this image.
The Best Things
The Worst Things
The occasional jock or republican.