I love the library. It helped me decide to come here. It's funky and AWESOME with crazy nooks and crannies, and possibly ever book ever written. Oberlin is great because it's small. I was worried it would be too small for me- i'm very social and was worried i'd "go through" everyone here quickly and then be like "where are all the people?!" When I narrowed down my school choices, it was between Oberlin, UCLA, and UC Berkeley. Pretty much, two HUGE school + Oberlin. But the fact that it's small just makes socializing all that much better. My friends at large schools only hang out with their nuclear group of friends they made freshman year; I can hang out with pretty much anyone, and it's not weird to make new friends daily, or to make those new friends your new best friends. Also, no matter where you go on campus, you find someone you know. it's really great when you're having a bad day and you run into that cute boy from your econ class, ya know?
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.
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