Just Ask Us: Winter Term is Orientation 2.0

Jolie De Feis and Mike Plotz

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Since Oberlin’s inception in 1833, it has oft been discussed what the best time to be at Oberlin is. Here at Just Ask Us and We’ll Tell Ya, we’ve been doing the cutting-edge research so you don’t have to (you’re welcome, reader). We dove headfirst into the extensive (and public) Oberlin Review archives to historically determine what was the best time to be at Oberlin.

While the late 19th-century literature clearly shows that May 19 was the most preferred time to be at Oberlin, there has been a marked shift towards March 12 since the 1950s. Independent filmmaker and College senior Evan Davies remains in line with this school’s original founders. He told us in an exclusive interview that May 20, 1969 was the best time to be at Oberlin. “It’s when it was cool to be weird and weird to be cool, and the weather was probably nice too,” Davies said. History is on Davies’ side, as the temperature was a breezy high of 69 degrees. And of course, one cannot argue about the best time to be at Oberlin without mentioning April 20. But in these writers’ opinions, the time to be at Oberlin is Winter Term.

Everyone’s first reaction to this is the same: “But it’s so cold!” We’re not here to disagree or even pretend that Oberlin ever gets above 10 degrees during the month of January. But the frigid weather and the collective desire for warmth and company are two of the things that make Oberlin a truly great place to start off the year. Besides, the Polar Vortex of 2014 hardly compared to the Blizzard of ’78, which selfproclaimed superstar and pet fashion major Harlee, College senior, describes as “horrible,” though admits she also does not know much about it.

The sub-zero weather forces impromptu giant sleepovers, and the closings of DeCafé and Dascomb drive everyone to join a co-op or risk starvation. Plus, if you’re of age, you can forget how cold you are by taking part in local drinking culture, chugging some Long Islands and pretending you’re in the Bahamas. Winter Term is basically a time to make new friends and get closer to everyone you already know. It is kind of like Orientation, but people have their shit together slightly more, and The Feve is the new Barrows.

The combination of schoolwork and extreme temperatures can be deadly, but you don’t realize how alive you can feel without the burden of problem sets and endless hours in Mudd. Winter Term is not without its problems, however. Many are upset by the Winter Term Youth Tennis Camp that has taken place on Oberlin’s campus every January since 2007. While it is nice to have energetic young life around, some are upset that the kids stay in dorms of people who are away during Winter Term. Resident resident and College senior Alice Fishbein was incredulous about the situation. “They’re not staying in our rooms, are they? Like, with our shit?” Fishbein asked. This writer has taken precautions every Winter Term he has not stayed in Oberlin by telling ResEd that he was. That way, youth from the tennis camp would stay far away from his room.

All in all, even with strangers in your room and the cold weather, Winter Term is the 2015 spot to be. Students just cannot get enough of the friends, the fun and the alcohol involved in this delightfully relaxed time.

Don’t forget to email us all of your questions, comments and concerns at [email protected] gmail.com. And tell your parents, folks: Summer is out, winter is in.

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