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College Chronicles: The Inaugural Week Unveiled (Part 1)

For my final first week of classes at Oberlin this semester, I made the decision to document each day in detail, consolidating them into a series of blog posts (the one you are currently perusing!).

Just a heads-up—these blog entries might be a bit meandering, so buckle up. I have a plethora of thoughts, observations, and epiphanies to share about my initial week. Let’s kick things off with day 1, Monday.


11 am: Commenced with Piano Pedagogy, marking the start of the semester!

  • While gauging the course’s trajectory, I pondered, “I wish I had enrolled in this class earlier to amass more teaching practice.” Teaching piano has always intrigued me, but it wasn’t until this semester that I delved into it. Nonetheless, I am pleased to have the opportunity to hone my skills before bidding adieu to Oberlin!
  • Amidst the class session, the realization dawned on me that my thoughts had been consumed by grad school and post-Oberlin life, overshadowing the fact that I still have a full semester left as a college student. Conversely, it’s surreal to fathom that only a semester remains?! I aspire to make the most of my final months here before embarking on the “real” world, devoid of any regrets.

12 pm: Returned to my abode and savored a bowl of noodle soup for lunch.

1:15 pm: Siesta time

  • Power naps serve as my fuel during the semester.
  • Having transitioned to off-campus housing, at times, I yearn for closer proximity to campus as it takes me a good 8–10 minutes to walk to most places (perhaps 7 minutes if I’m brisk and the traffic lights are in my favor…!). Maybe it’s time to consider getting a bike…

2 pm: Engaged in a private piano lesson

  • A sense of impending loss washes over me: I’ll genuinely miss my regular private lessons. Maintaining my piano proficiency post-Conservatory environment might pose a challenge, hence I’ve been seizing every opportunity here and envisioning how piano will integrate into my post-Oberlin life.

5 pm: Attended the inaugural Brown Bag Co-op meeting!

  • Upon arriving at Oberlin, I harbored the intention of joining a dining co-op at least once during my tenure here. Though it took a while to materialize, I’ve finally taken the plunge. Opting for the Brown Bag Co-op (BBC) this semester, an “on-campus co-op grocery store” catering to off-campus students, village dwellers, or those with kitchen access aiming to cook their meals. BBC likely differs from other dining co-ops where communal cooking and dining are the norm, but I’m eager to unravel this experience.
  • The absence of meal swipes midday today, sandwiched between my class and lesson, nudged me to return to my apartment for lunch. However, being part of BBC will undoubtedly nudge me towards diversifying my diet, fostering culinary creativity.
  • During the BBC rendezvous, I noticed students employing various hand signals to signify proposals, agreement, disagreement, or queries. Though novel to me, this system fosters idea exchange, decision-making, and diverse perspectives.

6:15 pm: Hastily dined before my final class of the day.

7 pm: Senior Portfolio session

  • The Psychology department mandates senior majors to partake in Senior Portfolio, a preparatory class for post-college endeavors.
  • Stepping into the classroom, I encountered several familiar faces. It’s heartening to traverse this class alongside my fellow senior Psych comrades, reminiscing about our academic journey since freshman year and contemplating our respective post-degree trajectories.


11 am: Enrolled in 20th-Century Art Music

  • Currently exploring music history classes during the Add/Drop Period, I’m required to select one more upper-level music history course to fulfill graduation requisites.
  • Following my experience in Racial Politics of Classical Music last semester, where disillusionment with the predominantly white, Eurocentric world of Western classical music burgeoned, today’s delve into 20th-Century Art Music—a cornerstone of this canon—elicited a cognitive dissonance. While studying and appreciating Western classical music isn’t inherently problematic, it’s imperative to engage with it mindfully, cognizant of its context and complexities. Amidst these swirling sentiments, I anchored myself in this perspective.

12:20 pm: Productive stint at the Conservatory Library

  • Realizing the time crunch between classes, lunch breaks, and library visits, I acknowledge the need for better planning. The absence of meal swipes proves more inconvenient than anticipated.
  • Opting to utilize the interim between classes, I head to the Con Library to delve into work.

1 pm: Engaged in Introduction to African American Music II

  • Further exploration of music history classes. I found solace in this session, leaning towards enrolling in this course over 20th-Century Art Music. Cross-listed with Africana Studies and Jazz Studies departments, I anticipate a multifaceted exploration of African American music.

2:30 pm: Indulged in a post-class treat at Blue Rooster

  • Post-lecture, I treated myself to Blue Rooster Bakehouse, a downtown Oberlin bakery. Their croissants never fail to delight me—they are my fail-safe pick-me-up.

3 pm: Participated in a BBC training session

  • Attended a mandatory training session as a BBC newcomer, delving into the co-op’s operations, vernacular, community ethos, and values. The student-run nature of Oberlin’s dining co-ops is commendable, reflecting meticulous coordination in food procurement, facility upkeep, and collective decision-making.

4 pm: Unwound at my apartment, followed by dinner (I finally assembled the ingredients for the baguette sandwich I’d been craving after baking mini baguettes earlier!).

7:30 pm: Rehearsed with chamber trio at the Con.

9 pm: Procured produce at BBC—grape tomatoes, basil, mushrooms, and cucumber!

9:20 pm: Retreated to my apartment for the night

  • Phew, a long day indeed! A slew of pending tasks has been weighing on me, prompting me to tackle some while catching up with a college friend from a different state. Our joint work/practice sessions via FaceTime, dubbed “body doubling,” serve as a motivational anchor. Engaging in our individual pursuits simultaneously fosters a sense of shared productivity.

1 am: Bedtime

  • Wrapping up the day after a flurry of activities, fatigue sets in. The first two days of classes have been eventful, leaving me drained.

Stay tuned for the forthcoming installment of this “Week in the Life” series…