{ Hello }

Hello prospies! My name is Alice Ollstein and I'm a senior at Oberlin College double-majoring in English and Latin American Studies. I've taken lots of fun, challenging classes in tons of different departments and I hope to continue to do so in my remaining time at this wonderful place.

I'm a proud member of Keep Co-op, where besides cooking and cleaning, I serve as Coordinator of the Nicaragua Sister Partnership Committee, which facilitates our connection with and support of a group of impoverished female farmers in northern Nicaragua. This January, I will lead a school-sponsored delegation of co-op members to live with these farmers in Nicaragua and develop our relationship with them.

I came to Oberlin from a big public high school in Santa Monica, California, so the weather and culture here in Ohio were somewhat of a shock, but in general I've loved every minute of my time here. If you have any questions about journalism, activism, the campus environmental movement, co-ops, making friends or anything else, please feel free to comment on my blog. I hope to hear from you soon!

{ Entries }


I Think We'll Make It After All

Even in the worst economy ever, we ex-Obies find a way. Glimpses of the post-college lives of the Class of 2010.

Real Life Begins

From job hunting to house hunting to cheap cultural activity hunting, I don't think I'm in Kansas (or Oberlin) anymore.

No Regrets

My goal was to graduate without any lingering "I should have done X, Y and Z!" I (almost) succeeded.

Real Life Approacheth

On Senior Week, graduating, and facing my future.

Firsts and Lasts

Not that I dislike Oberlin's small, enclosed environment. It's been an incredible space to figure out who I am, what I like, what I don't like, what matters to me, and what I want to do about it. But it is time to leave.

Key Moments (Part II)

A few more I LOVE OBERLIN moments.

Key Moments (a senior getting sentimental)

Times in recent memory where my brain has screamed I CAN'T BELIEVE HOW LUCKY I AM TO GO HERE

Ms. Ollstein Goes to Washington

See Alice network with alums. See Alice shamelessly beg for a job. See Alice hobnob with reporters from Bloomberg, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and National Geographic.

Going Bananas

Raising awareness on campus about a problematic, popular fruit.

Has Spring Sprung?

A vitamin-D infused blogpost.

4-Down, an ode to crosswords

Free New York Times, talented friends, and Oberlin's love of puzzles.

Snow Falling on Peters

Long, cold winters, unethical fruits, and other Oberlin oddities.


A few personal goals for my last semester at Oberlin


I've transitioned very quickly from seeing suffering and resilience to silliness and pleasure, and it's been difficult to rationalize and connect these two parts of my life.

A meaty discussion

Keeping vegetarian in Oberlin is easy. In rural Nicaragua? Not so much.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Going back through the many pages I scribbled two years ago has been extremely helpful, and alternately depressing and entertaining.

Raising the Roof (and the funds)

How to get money at Oberlin to fund your meaningful ideas

Finals Week Woes

Why is it that the one time of year we're too busy to do anything we are presented with a plethora of incredible performances and events?

Six Ways Oberlin is Like Hogwarts

Possibly my dorkiest post yet.

How I Chose Oberlin

My waking self was indecisive, but my subconscious knew.

Fall Musings

Lessons from a (sometimes) grumpy senior with a touch of senioritis

Quitting ain't easy

Why it's much easier to join organizations than quit them, and why quitting is sometimes the right move.

Geeking Out, or "So you think you're a Harry Potter nerd"

I didn't win. But I was proud to remember both the 3 D's of apparition AND Ron's favorite Quidditch team.


How I accidentally minored in Politics and loved it.

In Sickness and in Health

The drugs, plus several more days of going to bed at grandma hours, eventually cured me.

How a California girl survives winter

I'm always the first on campus to bust out my winter coat, scarf, boots, and hat. Am I ashamed? Not in the least.

Anything for Art

Finally, after almost 20 hours of waiting, I had original paintings by Goya and Toulouse Lautrec in my hands.


A few changes around campus since my freshman year, for better and for worse.

Packing a Punch

A few words of advice mixed with my nostalgic ramblings of yore.

Winding Down, Gearing Up

It suddenly hit me that I have only four days left at my internship at La Opinion, and only two weeks left in LA.

A Happy Medium

Sure, there are a few bloodthirsty, ambitious climbers at Oberlin, and a few deadbeats content to coast on their parents' funds, but the majority have found a healthy middle path.

Diary of an Intern

In the life of an intern, just about anything can happen. Well, almost anything.

How'm I Doin'?

At first I was annoyed at the little assignments Oberlin's making me do to get credit for my summer internship, but now I'm grateful.

"Come on down to Cleveland Town, everyone..."

Upon learning I attend Oberlin, many people ask if I go into Cleveland every weekend. Usually my facial expression is enough of an answer.

The Trappings of Relative Success

My own computer, grammar errors, and what it's like to be the only Anglo at the country's biggest Spanish paper.

A glorious return: Commencement Week shenanigans

There's a flower shop on S. Main that writes a different name on their sign every day, and if you are blessed with that particular name, you get a free flower. I had never seen my own name until this past Commencement.

Decisions, Decisions

You can't do everything at Oberlin, but by god do we all try.

Go West

Dan stood in front of the bulldozers and blocked the construction for hours before they hauled him away. Why weren't there hundreds of people with him? Thousands?

Fantasies of Senior Year

As my time in Arizona draws to a close, my thoughts drift away from the mountains of work I have to do to how excited I am for senior year at Oberlin. Here are some of my top fantasies.

A foot in each world

I can't decide if I'm excited to go back to a traditional academic setting--to actually read novels again and discuss theories in the safe confines of a classroom--or apprehensive that I'll be frustrated not to be learning by doing, not to be out on the frontlines of the issue that moves me the most.

Why my blog is still about Oberlin

Some seem to think I've strayed from the original purpose of the blog--giving prospies an unmediated account of Obie life--yet here are the ways my experiences here in Arizona have a great deal to do with far-off Oberlin.

Intolerance is the new black

"The people who come here illegally across the border are not educated people," Ms. Richardson said. "They don't have any culture or any respect for ours."

Desert Dynamics

A few things I learned on yesterday's patrol with the Samaritans, a group that sends a group out to the desert every day looking for migrants in need of water, food, medicine or simply a friendly face.

Attacking the Chain

Amnesty International just released a pretty horrifying report on immigrant detention in the U.S. calling the system "broken." What can we do about it?

Where do I begin?

After not blogging for my entire trip (thanks to spotty Internet access and barely any free time), I now find myself at a loss for words.

The Power of Euphemism

A handy glossary of border terms. More to come.

Saints and Sinners: Two Days in Altar

To learn the routes of migration, we did in a couple of easy hours what takes most migrants four excruciating days.


Today my program spent the afternoon in court. It's not what it sounds like.

Students and Samaritans

What if good intentions and a strong desire to "make a difference" aren't enough?

A Guest in My Own House

Living with a host family is a difficult adjustment after two and a half years in Oberlin's dorms.

Vulnerability and Culpability

Drugs, thugs and racism: a smidgen of what I've learned so far on the border.

Tucson isn't Oberlin, and other orientation lessons

Tomorrow marks both the end of the Border Studies program orientation and the end of Bush's reign. Now the real work begins.

Crossing Over

I crossed the border for the first time today, and witnessed firsthand the tragedies and ironies of our immigration system.

"Abroad" is Relative

This ain't your momma's study abroad.

Free at Last, Free at Last

It took putting 3 ten-page papers, a five-page paper and two exams behind me to realize that I just might miss this ol' place after all.

The House Hunt

Off-campus status is both a blessing and a curse...but mostly a blessing.

What I'm Thankful For

Dear Obies: Yes We Did.

Tunnel Vision

It's important to look around.

We be illin'

It's a bummer to be sick at school, but not as bad as you might think.

Obies in the Eternal City

I had the distinct pleasure of flying to Rome for fall break to see my S.O., who is studying Classics there, and I got to employ a lot of what I've learned in classrooms and the coops during my stay.

Planning Your Visit

To my delight, a prospie e-mailed me last week and asked if she could spend some time with me during her visit to Oberlin. We had a good time, but here's how to have an even better stay.

Obama-rama in Ohio

The election results may come down to our little state, and the town and college of Oberlin is rising to the challenge.

Old Habits Die Hard

Sustainability meets book buying.

Starting from Scratch, Part 2

With our independent magazine finally published, now we just have to get people to read it.

Starting from Scratch

Why everything is easier at Oberlin and harder out in the real world.

Special Topics in Environmental Frustration

When confronted with wastefulness and hostility, what's an Obie to do? It ain't easy being green...

Obies Obies Everywhere

Thousands of miles from Oberlin, it's still all around me.

Summertime, and the livin' is easy

I'm back home in Santa Monica with a real job at a real newspaper, and I'm realizing that my time at the Oberlin Review has been the perfect preparation for the journalism world.

Happy Endings

The end of sophomore year brought the stress of finals, but also the fun of commencement week and parties at professors' houses.

Sand to Snow: the West Coast to Midwest transition

I received a request to elaborate on my experience going from a big, urban California environment to Oberlin, Ohio...so here goes!

Welcome to My Oberlin!

A bit about how I ever left L.A. sunshine for Ohio and why I'm so glad I did.

Going Green

My packed day of activities this weekend was a perfect example of Oberlin's environmentalism, and I'm glad there were a ton of prospective students (aka prospies) here to see them.

Dress in drag and do the hula

All about Drag Ball, arguably the biggest yearly event at Oberlin.

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