by Fionna Farrell
[originally published June 3, 2022]
Whether you’re reading this as you drive past the Oberlin sign on your way to or from Brooklyn, here is a comprehensive list of things I feel Obies should do before they die. I mean—leave Oberlin. Keep in mind that I am only a third-year so there are still many Obie phenomena that I remain (blissfully) ignorant to. I’m sorry. I will be fully corrupted in due time.
1. Eat at a co-op
Note: First you have to make friends so they’ll invite you.
2. Get prenatal in a womb chair
3. Have a staring contest with the albino squirrel as you coolly drink your large iced albino squirrel, licking the blood from your mouth after you bit your tongue to resist asking “what’s in an albino squirrel?” to the dead-eyed barista from your poetry class.
4. Pet kittens at Ginkos wondering if your parents still love you.
5. Acquire the most phallic or vaginal-looking thing at art rental—wouldn't this look good here?
6. Visit the koi pond
7. Contract Mono
8. Contract Hand Foot Mouth disease
9. Contract Covid even though you only know, like, two people and they do not go outside.
10. Look at the planets through the observatory telescope and try to forget what the ENVS major told you earlier today about how much time we have left.
11. a.) shave your head b.) get a Victorian little boy haircut c.) become a shameful mullet apologist. Choose wisely. Which best complements your facial structure?
12. Go to Jellyfish parade
13. Go to Big Parade
14. Go to Shit Pit and wish you had gone to Emerson for their bachelors in Comedic Arts because the big city needs to hear you.
15. Go to Splitchers and experience the ecstasy and pangs of forbidden love
16. “Barely pass” a P/NP course for basically toddler-level physics, although the professor is way too nice to ever come out and say that.
17. Go to a TIMARA show and get confused over whether that was the show or if they are having technical issues.
18. Get into Intro to Fiction as a freshman and think that makes you Ernest freaking Hemingway.
19. Go to the free store.
20. Have your quirky bike made up of rusty junkyard metal stolen.
21. Go to a jazz party.
22. Go to Coverband.
23. Host a radio show at 4 am on a Monday and play all the black noise your little heart desires.
24. Adopt the word “liminal” into your everyday vocabulary even though you have no idea what it means.
25. Chai with oat (yes I’m using that as a verb)
26. Attend Solarity
27. Take and/or teach an ExCo because if there’s anyone who’s an expert on vintage lunch boxes or the mating habits of pink reptiles it’s you.
28. Do whatever you have to do to get onto the stage at Organ Pump (for the last time, stop asking me about that scar—it’s a birthmark).
29. Live in Kahn or Barrows (read: be a virgin)
30. Move out of Kahn or Barrows (read: lose your virginity)
31. Incessantly, boisterously, vehemently complain about how much you hate New York/LA Obies.
32. Be from New York.
33. Be from LA.
34. Make some sort of film or art whose homoerotic undertones will be completely lost on your stockbrocker parents (but maybe that’s because no one could hear what the people in the movie were saying).
35. !!SENIORS ONLY!! Attend Long Island Night, reminisce to when you were a freshman and it wasn’t corrupted by freshmen.
36. Be that guy who drinks scotch at LIN.
37. Have a receding hairline.
38. Realize your roommate is TikTok famous.
39. Have a severe case of imposter syndrome because you haven’t heard of that band that guy is talking about or read that book that no one really likes.
40. Unironically watched Girls and not exactly regretted it
41. Write for The Grape or Oberlin’s alternative newspaper The Review.
42. Go to Rocky Horror.
43. Have IBS
44. Have your fight or flight triggered by muddy barefoot sightings in Mudd (seriously, if you’re going to bring the boys out at least keep them clean)
45. (Not) flirted with a professor during a private reading
46. “Borrow” something from Decafe
47. Dress like you just graduated magna cum laude from Clown School
48. Be strange, just generally highly weird.
49. Be the most passionate person you know about something that most people don’t know exists.
50. Realize, despite the chagrin of your stockbroker parents and the rest of this icy, desensitized world, that that is perfectly ok.