Oberlin College: Engaged Liberal Arts – Connected Learning

An Oberlin education is extraordinary
and each person experiences it a little differently. What you learn in the
classroom is only the beginning your adventure will include many
experiences and many places but they’re all connected. We call it Engaged Liberal
Arts and your journey will begin on the very first day. At Oberlin every
first-year student has PAL. PALs are Peer Advising Leaders — older
students who help volunteer to assist Oberlin first years navigated Oberlin’s
advising systems. In addition to your PAL you’ll also be able to receive a lot of
faculty mentorship and support in the very beginning especially through your
first year seminar. Your first year seminar will introduce you to creative
and critical thinking writing and discussion skills and acquaint you with
resources available during your time here at Oberlin. My first-year seminar was “Materials at Museum” a class that focused on the
chemistry behind art and art conservation and museum field.
This helped pave my way to the my internship at the Brooklyn Museum in New
York City. Internships are a fun and exciting way for students to turn their liberal arts education into action. students can learn about opportunities
careers and interests in a real-world setting. After working on a statewide
political campaign through Oberlin now I’m working on a Senior Honors project
about gendering the governorship and how to write more effective speeches for
female candidates. My first year seminar was “Dangerous allies Latin America” which
is the first class I’ve ever taken on Latino/Latinx people and that
eventually set up the blueprint for what I would eventually research here at
Oberlin which is Latinx students in higher education. Lots of students do research here at Oberlin there aren’t any graduate students so undergraduates here are able to connect one-on-one with faculty and staff to ask questions, set
up their own research, and do cutting-edge exploration. During my
second year I participated in SOAR: Sophmore Opportunities and Academic
Resources. SOAR helped me decide to be a history major. SOAR also introduced me to
Career Communities. Career Communities is the way to connect with students, parents,
faculty, and alumni who share interests or expertise in a particular employment sector. Participants gain skills and experience relevant to their career interests as well as gaining course credit and a summer internship. I participated in a Career Community in which I got to intern at the Rachel Carson Council. At the RCC I contributed to their research on renewable energy and I also got to do some of my own research on climate
migration which was published on their website this year. Winter Term is an
immersive four-week experience in January that allows students to pursue
interests they wouldn’t otherwise get to during their regular semester offerings. Winter Term projects can be group projects or individual projects and can
take place on campus or anywhere in the world . During one of my winter terms I
travel to Tokyo where I studied taiko drumming and developed a virtual taiko
drum using Wii remotes. This led me to further delve into the
relationship between gesture and sound which was at the core of my junior
recital. Lots of Obies study away — for a semester, over the summer, or even during Winter Term. You can choose from Oberlin sponsored programs or 90 affiliated programs. Oberlin will help you coordinate everything. During my study away experience in Spain I recognized many patterns of anti-immigrant sentiment and
other political issues that I’d studied at Oberlin beforehand. Once I returned
back to the US I got an internship in San Francisco, California in my hometown
where I worked on related issues. Community-Based Learning happens when
faculty and community leaders work together to identify goals and needs of
the community and faculty work to incorporate those through research
projects and other course curriculum. It’s great for the students and for the
community leaders. My community-based learning experience through the Africa
Town community collaboration project where I was conducting interviews
surrounding environmental injustice led me to pursue an unorthodox study away
experience in New Zealand pursuing oceanography research and learning how
to sail. During my time here at Oberlin I’ve researched in multiple languages
and countries, I have interned on multiple political campaigns, and I have
studied away, which together allowed me to pursue my Truman scholarship. So with
all these options which path will you choose? What will you do and what connections will you make along the way? It’s okay if you don’t know right now.
Why? Because along the way your advising network support system is with you every
step and they’ll make sure that you get the best personal experience for you at
the end of all of this. Ranging from your advisors to your fellow peers, career development support and even research staff you always finds
what works best for you through every step of the journey. These four years at Oberlin will be an incredible gift because your only responsibility is to
simply explore, learn, and grow. I can’t predict your path but I guarantee it
will be as limitless as you are.

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