I've lived in a lot of different places over the last four years. If we're counting anywhere I've lived for at least a month or more, the total count since I graduated high school is...TEN. Talk about a diffused sense of home! So, moving itself is a bit of a hassle - but there's something cool about occupying spaces that have so much history in them, so many Obies who've lived there in the past...this message was left over from a past resident of Baldwin, where I lived my sophomore year:
Though not all of those places have been in Oberlin, a good many have, and for what it's worth, here's my review of the different dorms, apartments, and houses I've occupied during the school year.
Freshman Year: Dascomb!
D-comb, as we affectionately referred to it at the time (is that still okay? Anyone, anyone?), is one of two all-first-year dorms on campus. It's not only centrally located (1.5 minutes flat from my bed to King, where pretty much all my humanities classes ever were held), it's also housed in the same building as one of the three (four if you count Decafe?) dining halls on campus. That meant that when I intentionally avoided taking any morning classes my first semester at college, I could roll out of bed at noon, pad downstairs in my PJs and slippers for "lunch" with my friends, and get on with my day from there.
Though most all dorms at Oberlin are entirely co-ed, I lived at the end of an all girls' wing in Dascomb - which caused my hall to be fairly peaceful in comparison with the rest of the dorm. Though I'm all for having quiet spaces, I've always recommended all-first-year dorms highly on my tours, because in them, everybody is in the same boat, hungry for friends. Many of my closest friends today all lived within a twenty-foot radius of each other in Dascomb three years ago.
Sophomore Year: Baldwin Cottage!
Baldwin is one of Oberlin's program houses - the women's collective (and, unofficially, a safe space for both women and transgendered people). At the end of freshman year, in an effort to decide where to live the following year, Seyeon and I marched all over campus and knocked on doors in every residence hall we could find, asking to see the insides of people's rooms and about how they liked living there. Our four-hour jaunt around campus both made us new friends and also convinced us that Baldwin is, hands down, one of the most beautiful places to live in Oberlin - an old house with huge, interestingly shaped rooms, tons of windows, a tower, and fantastic, homey lounges. Plus, its mission statement of supporting feminist issues and open dialogue appealed to both of us a lot. Our house hosted a performance of the Vagina Monologues that year, as well as many discussions, programming, knitting parties, baking extravaganzas, and so forth. + STUNNING sunsets visible from our window. Good times...
Junior Year: Union Street
After I came back from my semester abroad in the Netherlands, ResEd threw me into village housing with random people I'd never met before. Village housing becomes an option your junior year - basically, houses and apartments owned by the college but leased out to students. Dorms are fantastic for fostering social community, but it was a relief for me to migrate to a place where I had my own bedroom, as well as a non-communal bathroom and kitchen and all that jazz. The strangers I got thrown in with my junior year turned out to be some of my best friends I've had at Oberlin. I have a lot of great memories staying in to hang out with each other, cook great meals, play Scrabble, watch movies, host pancake brunches on weekend mornings, etc. This goofy shot is of Seyeon and me; I'm clearly really excited about those pancakes.
My housemates also hosted Oberlin Christian Fellowship's bible study at our place - which, though I don't really identify with any particular organized religion, was cool by me. I got to meet a lot of new people through them (not to mention great food and leftovers in our fridge on Sunday nights!), feed off much of their positive energy, and see firsthand how much OCF does for the local community. Religious life on campus doesn't always get a lot of attention here, and Buddhism and Judaism may well be the bigger constituencies within that realm - but there is definitely community to be found if you're looking for it!
Senior Year: Firelands
Also considered Village Housing, this "high-rise" building (seven stories - but in Oberlin, that's practically a skyscraper) sometimes gets a bad rap...somewhat sketchy elevators with unexplained telephone-like ringing, very little sense of community, located off the campus entirely...but Seyeon and I both found it to be a fantastic place to live. The apartments themselves are fairly spacious, good for hosting friends; the downstairs lounge just got repainted and renovated this year, and its "downtown" location means getting into the habit of maximizing breakfasts at Black River and visiting the kittens at the Gingko Gallery - which is always a good thing.
(See what I meant about those stunning sunsets?)
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