Hannah Fuson '11

On exploring new things: "I saw an outing club poster on a bulletin board. Though skeptical, I signed up for the trip, and spent a day hiking around the Appalachian foothills... [and] I never looked back."


I came to Oberlin with big dreams; I wanted to become a scientist and continue my studies as a musician. For my first year, I spent hours pouring over my problem sets, studying in the library, and working on a faculty research project. Though I am a student in the college, I auditioned for cello lessons with a faculty member, studied alongside the conservatory students in her studio, and played chamber music. However, something was missing. I could spend all day in the Science Center and practice room, but somehow I hadn't quite found my community at Oberlin.

The winter term of my sophomore year, I decided to take a month-long course with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). I spent the month kayaking, hiking, and diving in Baja, Mexico, and rediscovered my childhood love for the outdoors. Coming back to Oberlin afterward was daunting: where was I going to find the mountains, waves, and wilderness with which I had spent the last month reacquainting myself?

Not long after winter term, I saw an outing club poster on a bulletin board. "What on earth are they going to do in Ohio?" I wondered. Though skeptical, I signed up for the trip, and spent a day hiking around the Appalachian foothills. After meeting other Oberlin students that were excited about the outdoors, I never looked back.

Now I lead and go on numerous trips a year, spending each break climbing, hiking, and paddling in conjunction with the outing club and climbing corps. I took the rock climbing ExCo and am now a supervisor at the climbing wall. I led a trip to Hocking Hills State Park in southern Ohio, where I was able to share a place I used to go as a child with other Obies. Last semester, I took SCUBA classes in Carr Pool to become a certified diver.

My advice? Find what you're passionate about, both in and out of the classroom. I still love my academics, and my chemistry studies are the reason I'm at Oberlin. I am a researcher, tutor, and TA in the department, and I enjoy working on these demanding endeavors, and I love talking about all of these activities. However, at the end of the day, you'll find me teaching at the rock wall, rolling a kayak in the pool, or planning my next adventure. While these may not necessarily further my academic résumé, they have been an essential part of my Oberlin experience.


Submitted by Hannah Fuson '11

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