Oberlin-in-London Blogs

Hello, World!
››› August 20, 2011 | Posted By Whit Schorn '13

Hello, World!1

I'm new to this whole writing for the internet thing, but you seem like a nice blog so you can call me Whit (full name Whitman2 Schorn). I'm a soon-to-be-junior majoring in creative writing and computer science3 and I'm at Oberlin by way of Lockhart, Texas.4 Now comes the question of what are my things5 at Oberlin. Aside from being completely obsessed with two (seemingly) disparate majors, I make mashup music and do theater. The English portion of the program fills out my textual requirements for creative writing, as well as the last of my humanities credits for graduation. The Modernism portion of the program is a chance to fill an admittedly gaping hole in my textual education, and the drama part is a dream come true for my inner theater geek. I also think of it as an education in the broader, Obie-er sense of soaking up a place and experiences far beyond my background.

But how did I end up doing OiL,6 and now writing you this rather distracted post? The answer is rather simple. Way back during my first Winter Term,7 I was reading one of my friend's posts on the Oberlin blogs. I happened to wander over to David Walker's page,8 where one of his posts mentioned OiL. I'd had the vague idea I wanted to go abroad, but in that wonderful freshman year way the particulars of my plans hadn't occurred to me yet. A few pages later, however, I was completely charmed. The OiL website9 described exactly the sort of experience I wanted--a small focused group, a chance to explore an amazing city, and no study-abroad bureaucracy to navigate. I was reading the previous year's accepted student handbook that same night.

Fast forward to a little over a year later, walking into a packed conference room in Wilder for the first OiL 2012 interest meeting. The information about the upcoming year's program had already been posted online, and I'd thoroughly e-stalked, and I was a few classes into a course taught by none other than David Walker.10 But this had only whetted my appetite. At the first meeting, we went into detail about the experience--housing, location, classes, London's general atmosphere--and I furthermore got to scout out my competition.11 The feeling of the meeting was excited and curious, as Marc and David took questions and mentioned glowing testimonials from previous years. I sent in my application, and was asked back for a casual interview. As to why I was picked, you can ask David about that. All I knew was I was in--and near the end of the semester we had our first gathering, where it turned out the English class was an exciting mix of people, including some of my English major friends, some people I vaguely knew from around campus, and some totally new faces. What we all had in common was enthusiasm, the giddy 'wait we're actually doing this!!!' look you see on children on their way to the toy store. We had a long way to go, though, so we tried to keep the excitement down as we made introductions and speculations. As someone who's never traveled outside of North America before, I was impressed by the jet-setting experience some of my classmates had. The chance to live and study in (not just visit) London was something new to us all.12

Now, if you've already read this far I figure it's only fair I give you a succinct ending, tying up all the threads of this post. Why am I doing OiL? In short, the program has everything I want--amazing teacher, location, group, and subject. It offers the exploratory and academic rigor I'd been hoping for, so how could I not want to go?


  1. This is a very nerdy joke. Sorry, I'm not terribly good at introductions so I thought I'd open with a fallback--the first thing you learn when studying a new programming language is how to print these words out on the screen. A sort of proof of concept that you, the squishy and confused human, can make the mysterious box of technology in front of you do something. Look at me, rambling already. I'll try to be less distracted, but I'm reading Infinite Jest right now, and the hundreds of footnotes have been wearing off on me.

  2. After the poet, one of those things you get excited about Obies catching when most of your life people have asked if it's because of the chocolates. Not that those aren't delicious.

  3. A full explanation of this is another blog post in itself, but to put it simply there's a lot more in common between the two than you might think, and Oberlin has been the perfect place to explore that.

  4. Pop. 12,000, Barbeque Capital of Texas, and probably also deserving of its own blog post, especially in relation to spending a semester in London, and 7 more in Ohio.

  5. To any prospies reading this, most people at Oberlin have at least one or two 'things'; examples include acrobatics, blues dancing, silkscreening, political organizing, a radio show, blues dancing, a column in The Grape... The list goes on.

  6. Oberlin-in-London. I know I could also call it DOiL, (the D for Danenberg) but then I'd be tempted to call members of our group 'doilies' ... What do you guys think?

  7. It snows roughly twice a decade in my part of Texas, a light dusting that clears up so you're too warm in your jacket by the afternoon. Ohio was a bit of an adjustment, but wow I can amaze my relatives with tales of braving cross-campus walks, and the construction of towering (see: over a foot tall) snowmen.

  8. Not a bad read.

  9. Info for spring 2013's already posted.

  10. CRWR330--Playwriting, which may merit another blog post re: Teaching Style and re: theater. Needless to say, the class was fantastic and made me confident I'd enjoy spending most of a semester's class time under the same professor.

  11. The room crammed full of students confirmed that there would be many more applications than spots--there were many students, and Marc Blecher, sitting intently on the floor.

  12. Except Marc and David, who had done the program three and five times before, respectively. They were nonetheless brimming with excitement.

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