This semester has been tumultuous so far, to say the least. Coming back to Oberlin after living at home for six weeks was a shock to my system - eating dining hall food again, having homework, socializing at all hours of the day (and night). I've had to remind myself of the routines I set in place last semester, like going to sleep early-ish on school nights and making sure I have some alone time in between events. Adjusting to college again has led to me letting go of some commitments and taking on others that I hadn't expected. Plus, it's finally snowing!! Welcome to the rollercoaster of freshman year.
Oberlin covered in snow outside my window last week.
Lately I've been thinking a lot about the quote, "When one door closes, another opens." It's a favorite in my family and has always kept me going through rejection and disappointment. More than ever, it's proved apropos for my time here. Last semester, I auditioned for acapella and poetry groups and was really devastated when I didn't make it into either of them. I had always pictured myself doing those things right away in college and didn't know how to picture my experience without them. But because those groups didn't work out, I started spending time with SURF and was able to attend lots of lectures and events. And this semester, despite my nerves, I auditioned for another acapella group and got in! I'm now a member of the Oberlin Acapelicans, a fabulous group of women singing a variety of genres and generally just laughing a lot. In a way, I'm glad I didn't get what I wanted right away last semester. I ended up getting to see more of Oberlin outside of my "expected" path.
Another recent door-closing-and-another-opening moment concerned writing. Since applying to Oberlin, I have been dead-set on being a Creative Writing major. I took the Introduction to Writing Fiction class last semester, after which I felt much more confident about constructing plot-lines and characters. It was one of my favorite classes, and I was hopeful that taking the next class, Creative Writing 201, would be the natural progression of things. CRWR 201 requires an application, so I spent over a week painstakingly compiling a portfolio. When the notification emails came out, I found out that I didn't get in. What would I do if I couldn't take Creative Writing, my passion? But somehow, another door opened: I found a class called Literary Journalism, from the Rhetoric and Composition Department, and managed to get in off the waitlist. I can't explain how much I LOVE this class! I get so excited to go in for discussions, love all the readings, and am looking forward to all the pieces I'll get to write for my awesome professor. I keep thinking about how I wouldn't have taken this class if I had gotten into Creative Writing. Sometimes rejection works out for the best, though it's hard in the moment.
What I'm learning is that college is about doing what makes me happy. These are four short years, and I want to make the most of them!! I'm surrounded by smart and passionate people here - without a doubt, that can be intimidating, but it can also be inspiring. What can I create with this community? What can we do together? I'm learning how to combine my strengths with those of others to make art, to be activists, to learn as much as we can. And yeah, there will be bumps along the way. There always are. But I have to remember that no matter how many times I am told "no," there is always a "yes" out there, waiting to be found.