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Oberlin's Break Mistakes: An Interview with Makayla Riggins

by Reggie Goudeau

Staff Writer

art by Ila Astin

[originally published April 22, 2022]


I’ve already given my two cents on what it's like to stay in Oberlin during a break in the Review. Sadly, not much has changed since then, and I’m back to reveal more of the College’s numerous failures. I was at home in Warren, OH during this break, but I’ve interviewed my partner Makayla Riggins who remained here.

At first, I asked them if Oberlin had any policies or changes that helped students like them during Spring Break? Their response was not positive, to say the least. They said, “No. There was a lot that was the opposite. ‘Cause none of the food was open, and there just wasn’t a lot of options to do stuff. It kinda just felt like they forgot about us. We couldn’t even get into Wilder until 9:00 am, even though they said it would be open at 7:00 am. It really just felt like they forgot about us.” Makayla and I had issues getting food while incubated here with COVID, so it's disappointing that this hasn’t improved many months later.

When I mentioned my next question, Makayla did not have much better to say. I asked if Oberlin communicated effectively with students about available services and changes to existing ones. They claimed, “Absolutely not. I had no idea what was open and when it was open for the dining halls.” Makayla mentioned, “For some places, they didn’t put up anything until they started serving food.” They added,“The mailroom was closed on the Thursday of break, and you had to go there to find out.” This pattern was similar when Makayla attempted to access most buildings during their time here.

I went on to ask them what the best and worst parts of their stay were. That conversation was as follows: “The best parts were I didn’t have work, like schoolwork, which is cool. The worst part was I felt like my break was wasted because there wasn’t any activities, and there was nothing to do. You’d go get your food and then go home.” Amid all of this, Makayla was also alone in their house for the most part.

I then questioned if they came out of break rested at all, but their words here speak for themselves. “No. Not having work was cool, but being alone while not having work kinda defeats the purpose. It’s like, instead of being overwhelmed with school and everything else in your life, you have to be isolated and figure stuff out that way, which is so much better.”

When asked what Oberlin could have done differently, Makayla simply said, “Plan activities for the week for the people that are here, and have more facilities like just the food, have more options, or just be open longer.”

I ended the interview by asking for their general closing thoughts, and they were similar to what’s already been said. Makayla stated, “I’m just kinda disappointed overall. I feel like Oberlin should do more to help students who are stuck on campus during the breaks. It's not fair, especially for people who want to go home but end up stuck being alone still.”

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