Nat Hedges-Goettl is F+L’s new Sci-Fi Hall correspondent. He will be blogging regularly about his first year in Oberlin.
I am Nat (Nathaniel) Hedges-Goettl, a planned Bio and Theater Major living on Sci-Fi hall and openly gay. But enough about me, I’m really not all that interesting. What IS interesting is the swarm of freaks, geeks, nerds and dorks that coat the campus.I feel like Oberlin is in a different world. The graffiti in the bathroom takes the form of darkish poetry entitled “Dreams in Wintertime.” The stall next door reads, “Write an imperative.” The response? “Do the Impossible.” Forget impossible; here it’s just unlikely, and that means doable. Someone has drawn a large cat sitting on a throne surrounded by gold and jewels, with the inscription, “It’s great to be a gangster.” So, we’re a bunch of dreaming, scheming, cat-loving gangsters? Probably – and also a set of characters with stories to tell.
A Sci-Fi Haller walks into the lounge with 105 glow sticks and tries to find an excuse to give them to someone- so we make up a holiday and insist that that’s why he has glow sticks and must give them to someone else. Have a very merry Un-Squidmas, everyone, here’s some glow sticks and a smile. When we found a massive box full of packing peanuts, we brought it back to the lounge, proceeded to hide in it and jumped out at people going past. One poor girl got so buried in them that whenever she breathed, they went shooting out; she looked like she was breathing packing peanuts. We almost-seriously discussed the possibility of making a dress out of packing peanuts because, after all, all the boys need something to wear for Drag Ball. We never did figure out what was in it to begin with, but people have suggested a miniature dinosaur, a giant sex toy, or someone’s body.
We spend our evenings watching Jurassic Park and playing three-hour-long games of Magic: The Gathering. Actually, there’s basically always a MTG game going on somewhere, most of them involving expensive, powerful and on occasion bizarre cards. Then, we talk about starting a Pokemon league and wonder if we have enough people to convince Infinite Monkey to carry the cards. As a first-year, I was a little afraid that I wouldn’t be geeky enough, that they’d all be so far ahead. But they’ve welcomed me with open arms and a Steak n’ Shake hat. (Literally. My RA made sure I got one and that I wore it for the first day of orientation.) During a fire drill (or maybe someone just burnt popcorn, we’re not entirely sure) one of the guys managed to bring his instrument out and played random music while we found new ways to be nerds. We go for long nighttime walks, quiz each other on how much Mario music we can whistle or sing and how many funny accents we can do, then proceed to semi-seriously discuss everything while maintaining our accents. Welcome to Oberlin: have a Steak n’ Shake hat, a funny accent, and a hell of a good time.