It is my first Spring semester in Oberlin since my first year! (Second year I was on a Personal Leave of Absence and third year I was on the London Program.) I had forgotten how, unlike fall, we hit the ground running when Spring semester starts. I did like fifteen whenisgoods this week, we are out of control. We are 3 weeks in and I am absolutely slammed.
So what it is that I am so busy running around doing? Let me break it down for you:
Add/Drop at Oberlin can be brutal. I'm a fourth-year which means I have a good registration period and I still started this semester thinking I was taking four classes and by the end of week one I was only still enrolled in one of those classes. Also, there is ExCo Fair which is so overwhelming and I always want to do all the classes even though I never have the time. Plus I am taking a private reading again this semester (I have become quite the queen of private readings) which means on top of going to regular classes I have to write a full syllabus during Add/Drop. But now that we're into week three and Add/Drop is finally over, I think I've gotten everything shaken out.
Here are the classes I'm taking this semester!
Professor Charles Peterson is teaching this course and I am so excited to finally have a class with him! He is such a gifted lecturer; I sit in on the edge of my chair totally enrapt in everything he says. Also, the students in this class are bringing their A game. During discussions I feel like my head is bouncing off the walls with various viewpoints and additions. The syllabus is full of things that have been on my to-read list for a long time.
This is the first official GSFS course I've taken in my Oberlin career. (Though, I have taken many cross-listed courses because GSFS is cross-listed with everything.) Professor Vange is incredible. They are really attentive to students' needs and strive to make their classroom an accommodating space. This is also the first small seminar I have been able to take in college so I am excited for that. This week we read McRuer's Crip Theory and I think it set a great tone for this course's further exploration of disability and queerness.
Community Grant Proposal Writing
This is a private reading I'm taking with Jan Cooper and two of my close friends. We're studying, as the name of the course suggests, how to write grants for grassroots community agencies. This is such an important skill that I really want to boast on my resume upon graduation. So far the course feels even-paced and practical and I think I will really enjoy our discussions when we meet.
I got into the Baking ExCo! This is a big deal! The Baking ExCo is the Harvard of excos; they only accept 8% of applicants. I wrote a full-on essay for my application. This semester they are focusing on both sweet desserts and bread and I am so stoked to learn about the science and technique of baking. Our first class is tonight and we are making almond cake and I cannot wait.
Tarot is one of those things that I have always wanted to do but didn't know where to start. So then this exco happened along and I am so excited to learn under the guidance of these wise student co-instructors. They are teaching from a healing-centric self-aware foundation and view tarot as a way to confront truths in your life. I am feeling so intrigued and grateful to study this healing and spiritual practice outside of the medical industrial complex and find meaning in these cards whilst a lot of things in my life and future feel very unknown. Also, everyone is getting their own deck and the teachers are able to subsidize them! I am getting the Welcome to Night Vale tarot deck because I am obsessed with that podcast; you can go look at how gorgeous the art is!
MicroPolitics of Yoga ExCo
This is the ExCo I didn't know I've been waiting all my life for. I first started practicing yoga during high school but I have felt kind of funky about it. I definitely am not about yoga for exercise; yoga is and always has been for me a spiritual breathing practice. But it is also something that was definitely coopted and brought to the West and many of its practitioners today--even very dedicated, well-intentioned ones--practice in some degree (a lot of degrees) of ignorance. So this exco is teaching Ashtanga yoga while also exploring the political, social, and cultural implications of practicing yoga today. One thing I'm hoping it will answer is if white folks practicing yoga is inherently appropriative and therefore never appropriate.
Every semester means new shifts, new staff members, new OSCA trainings, and more staff meetings. Since I work four jobs, it is a lot of new additions to the schedule.
I'm working three to four shifts at the Lanes this semester. Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and some Saturday mornings. I love these shifts as opening the Lanes is a calming way to start my day and on Tuesdays the seniors (65+) bowl and they are just my favorite group. I am tragically not going to be working on the pinsetters this time around, but that won't stop me from coming in late at night to tinker on them.
I am now one of OSCA's Accessibility Committee Coordinators for the second semester. Basically I help folks get accommodations in OSCA, facilitate the Accessibility Committee, and organize dialogue around racial/gender/class/disability justice in OSCA. This job takes anywhere from 6 to 10 hours of my life each week. At the beginning of each semester I go to each of the eight co-ops and introduce myself. I also meet with our Financial Manager and the Officers to brush up on policy and set some goals for the upcoming semester. The past two weeks have been a lot of meetings and kept me a busy bee.
Oberlin Community Services
I work as a volunteer at OCS' front desk and occasionally in the warehouse and the College is able to pay me for this through its work-study program. OCS is one of my favorite places in Oberlin and I love interacting with everyone and doing actually useful things. Plus there are many children and a nice break from only seeing 18-21-year-olds.
That is this thing that you're here reading! This semester I'm really trying to carve out regular blogging time. Too often I lead such a busy life I don't have time to blog about it, but I am determined to change this! So hold me to it!
Outside of classes, excos, and work I am still involved in so many things. In the last two weeks alone I have been involved in/attended meetings for/gone to see Oberlin's radio WOBC, Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), an ENVS lecture on reclaiming democracy, a film screening of Sankofa, a London Program reunion meet-up, an OSLAM Love Slam, and a production of my friend BJ's show Goodnight, Tyler. Even having done all this I'm sure I still missed out on dozens more interesting events.
Things for Pleasure + Self-Care
If the last section doesn't make clear, it can be very easy to be overwhelmed by all that happens here. It is great to do a ton and feel invigorated and inspired. It is less great to feel pressure to show up everywhere and be mad at yourself when you've reached your limit and can't end up doing all the things. We are students, not superheroes. So it is just as crucial for me to take steps back as it is for me to keep running through the start of the semester. Lately this has looked like taking the time to go grocery shopping at Brown Bag Co-op, waking up early to pray and meditate before my first agenda item of the day, and try and visit the gym on a semi-regular basis to work off steam and boost my mental health. This past weekend to celebrate getting through our first week, Sonya and me hosted a dinner party for some of our closest friends. It was a beautiful time to get all our beloveds in one space with excellent food and just eat, drink, and laugh. I don't get too many times like that where I can exhale all the to-do stress and just be present. So it's good to take the seconds that I can to reflect and absorb all the love and passion in my life, and carry those things with me moment to moment.