Freezing temperatures, gray skies, snowflakes falling. On this December day, the start of the academic year in late August seems like a light year ago.
So as classes end, finals loom, and everyone is rushing to finish the semester strong and prepare for the holidays, I offer my annual end-of-the calendar-year reminder to one and all: please take care of yourselves.
This has been an even more stressful semester than usual because of the national elections. All of us have to make a conscious effort to cope with stress. Students, I urge you to take advantage of the pop-up study breaks organized by the Dean of Students office and other campus offices and organizations. “Koffee with Krislov” is on Monday, December 12 at Azariah’s Café at 8:30 p.m. I hope to see you there. Eat right, sleep when you can, and exercise. Even small amounts of exercise have been shown to reduce stress.
If you have some free time, I encourage you to get out and hear some music. The end of the semester and the year is always a time when there are so many wonderful concerts here. Check out the Organ Pump on Friday at midnight in Finney Chapel. Access to incredible performances are one of the great benefits of having our world class conservatory. If you’re looking for a quieter, more contemplative aesthetic and intellectual study break, I suggest a visit to our amazing Allen Memorial Art Museum. We are so fortunate to have such treasures on our campus.
Speaking of our beautiful campus, this past Tuesday marked the 153rd birthday of an Oberlin graduate who changed the face of our campus and town for the better: Charles Martin Hall. Hall was a great scientist, a great lover of art and music, and Oberlin’s first great environmentalist. His bequest cleared Tappan Square of buildings and transformed it into the lovely park we enjoy today, and he gave us the Arboretum and so much more. He remains Oberlin’s single greatest benefactor.
As the semester comes to a close, I want to thank all our benefactors—our faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, and our fellow residents of this town—for all they do for Oberlin. I wish our students good luck with their exams, papers and projects. And I wish everyone safe travels, happy holidays, and all the best in 2017!