- Class: Freshman
- Major: Other
- Gender: F
- High School: Westfield Central
- Transfer Student: N
Mmm well, I could definitely write a novel in this category, and I am a freshman. But for lack of time, energy, and concentration I will answer the "big picture" question in small parts. The best thing about this school is you can truly be Whoever and Whatever you want to be. Define your life, yourself, your goals, your dreams and you can make it work here. Not only that but you will be both appreciated and encouraged to be that individual here. If I had to change one thing it would be my freshman dorm room. Obviously, this is a given. But it's small and I want the lap of luxury, hey, I dream big and freshman get screwed in the housing lottery. I spend most of my time on campus in one of three places (it's pretty evenly divided). Numero uno - my room. Numero dos - my classes. And numero tres - the gym. The town is such a blessing in disguise. Upon first glance the town of Oberlin, which is basically puzzle pieced right into the school, seems small and unexciting. But it truly has everything I need/want/have time to enjoy. In terms of food there are like, 6 pizza places, 4 Chinese places, and various other culturally diverse and mainstream dining options. There are Great shops to by interesting gifts, books, art supplies, pet kittens, find vintage clothes, get your nails done, hair cut, and find that purple lip gloss you've always wanted. There is the cutest old-fashioned theater which plays a new and popular movie every week (alcohol is easily smuggled in and usually consumed here) where students enjoy a little taste of life outside the bubble. And if you get sick of the small town atmosphere Cleveland is easily accessible and there you're heart will be content. Oberlin also has a few drug marts and a grocery store if you need them. The administration: well, I haven't had my fair share of experience with everyone yet but I have good things to say thus far. Everyone is incredibly intelligent, helpful and willing to help you succeed in life. What more could you ask for. The new president is a great guy who has made a point of becoming Super involved in the short time that we've known him and is also very open to listening to what students want and need. Administrative members are accessible and easy going. They have their days but they seem to love it here and that definitely shows. The biggest recent controversy on campus dealt with the treatment of students, school policy enforcement, by campus security. A few students were apprehended after a party in a manner which was seen by some as harsh, even unethical, and this caused a big stir across the campus. School pride almost goes unspoken here. We know that we're from a well respected school, that we've helped mold that respect and earn a good reputation so we are proud to say we go to Oberlin. There is definitely a wide array of excellent Oberlin parifinelia and not a day goes by without a number of your friends sporting some great Oberlin sweatshirts. As far as unusual things about Oberlin, that list can get pretty extensive. But the unusual things are definitely positive. We have co-op living, tgif (the best way to spend your friday), gender-neutral bathrooms, self-designed majors, no (class specific) 1st year curriculum requirements, really crazy-cool and very nice people who will teach you more than your wildest dreams could reveal, and professors who make legitimate analogies between ferris buellers day off and your subject matter. From my Freshman year I will always remember going to my first organ pump concert at 12am and laying on the stage of Finney chapel with a hundred or so other students in darkness and silence, feeling the vibrations of a gigantic organ through the floor beneath me. It's unreal. As for complaints, I mean, No One wants to write that 10 page midterm or miss dinner to practice Bach for 5 hours.
Professors will or will not know your name based on your desire to have them know or not know your name. I mean, you will always exist on that sheet of paper and they will definitely know you by facial recognition as the kid who either participates enthusiastically or sits in silence at the back of their class. Oberlin classes are very personal and interactive, which is wonderful for student-teacher relations. But you have to want it, you have to get to know your professor for them to get to know you. I know many students who not only talk with all their professors on a first name basis but have meals with them, babysit their children, and share opinions on why Blood Diamond is worth paying 3$ or not to see at Apollo on the weekend. My favorite class is "Language and the Body", a linguistics anthropology/psychology class taught by a young visiting professor who is engaged with us, enthusiastic, brilliant and interesting. I just recently completed a project where I had to find a "master the mysteries of body language" video on you tube and test out the suggestions and record/analyze and hypothesize about my findings. It was a blast and I learned a lot. My least favorite class was Musical Acoustics, not because it was a bad class but because I let myself down by not preparing enough, missing classes, and procrastinating myself to a bad grade. More or less one of those "can I have a redo?" moments. Students study on a regular basis. Academics here is a very self-motivated system. You can have help in class-outside of class, from students, your professor, your friends, other staff but it ultimately comes down to applying yourself at the end of the day. And students know the importance of that here. You get the most back when you put in the most effort. Students and professors love class discussion, and conversation flows easily in class between professor-student student-student student-professor. Being engaged with the material and asking questions, voicing opinions, and listening are all factors that contribute to the class atmosphere. That goes to say also that students who chose to just observe or are shy exist and do very well here too. It's a great environment for beginning to find yourself and open up more than you have in the past. Intellectual conversation is...everywhere. In the shower, on the toilet, at 7am, noon, and midnight, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in line for the vending machine, or on a treadmill you will likely hear someone discussing gender-politics, the theory of relativity, dante's inferno, or the injustice of napkin dispensers? People here like to talk. They like to learn, they like to hear what other people have to say, and they like to know why they think what they think. However, we also like the Office, and if you want to know what I think about Lindsay Lohans nude photo shoot, we can talk about that too. Competitiveness is one thing, dedication and commitment is another. We don't compete against one another as much as we compete against ourselves. We came here to learn to be the best we can be at what we want to do and we will draw off each others resources to get there. We work together to reach our goals, not climb on top of each other to get there. The most unique class I have taken is Archeology. It was grreat. I don't really have a major/department per say because I'm undecided. I want to be a self-designed graphic arts major and therefore I'm working in a lot of different departments at once. Everyone's just dandy though. I don't spend a lot of time with professors outside of class. Partially because this just isn't my style and also partially because I'm a freshman. I spend a lot of time with my Track/XC coaches though. They're my favorite people. Oberlin's academic requirements are definitely one of the best parts of getting an education here. They don't really "require" so much as "encourage" you to explore diverse fields of knowledge. You have to take at least 9 credit hours in the departments of Humanities, Sciences, and Cultural Diversity. You have a Lot of freedom in what you want to do and where you want to go (the sky is the limit) and it's a lot of work but it's definitely manageable and you have an adviser and other great resources to help you out. The education system here is not geared towards getting a job unless you want it to be. They will help you get wherever you want to go, but the percentage of students who go off to grad school is one of the highest in the nation. I know tons of students who have done and will do incredible things in the workforce, the arts, sciences, abroad, for the environment and for humanity because of what they learned and who they met at Oberlin.
Oberlin is a very accepting/diverse campus in terms of race, religion, gender identity, economic status, and other groups. There are program houses if you wish to experience a support group and these living arrangements have campus wide programing, special events, and great resources at your service. People here don't judge you by what you are classified as in terms of religion, economic status, gender, race but they consider your talents, your strengths, your personality, your knowledge, your capacity to share that knowledge, and to make a difference in the lives of others at Oberlin and in the world while becoming a stronger person yourself, whoever that may be. Students will be supported with their needs and their beliefs in many ways and other students always reach out and help. There are many groups and if the one you want doesn't exist, start it and chances are you'll quickly have others joining in with you. A student that is very close-minded, materialistic, and unmotivated would probably not fit in here. But the thing about Oberlin is, everyone fits in...when you add your own strokes to the painting and the overall picture is even more interesting than it was before. Students where what they feel like wearing. In class you could see someone dressed as a clown next to someone wearing a business suit, next to someone who didn't want to get out of their pj's, who's across from someone dressed head to toe in Abercrombie and Fitch. It just doesn't matter what's on your head, it's what is in it that we care about. And not necessarily in class, but nakedness is OK here too. The four tables question. Hmmm. Alright. Table 1 - International students (You're sitting in the next table with your friend from Hong Kong who is translating what they are saying for you so you both can laugh) Table 2 - Conservatory voice majors (Singing between bites. Obviously) Table 3 - The Cross Country team (usually discussing robots or indiana jones, possibly spring break plans or a super awesome dance party in the making) and Table 4 - Freshman Crazies. (Tightly bonded groups of freshman who like to play with their food, make loud animal noises, do spontaneous performance art pieces, and sometimes discuss the implications of spatial awkwardness created by the layout of the mailroom. Again generalization (there are SO many exceptions) But Oberlin students are generally from bigger cities in New York, Chicago, California. Most students come from middle class-upper middle class families whose parents are college graduates and hold good jobs. This campus is one of the most politically aware and active in the country, historically and presently. It's a good reputation to have. Stuents for the most part are quite left-wing but there are also many exceptions to this rule. And it goes without saying that all views are accepted, sometimes questioned, but definitely accepted. I mean, talking about your future job/pay doesn't really dominate conversation here. We're more of a live-in-the-moment type crowd.
The Best Things
People are smart And unique And nice And funny
The Worst Things
Winter forces everyone inside.