Campus Conversations

Student Voices

Considering Oxy? Check out what our students have to say...

March 27, 2014

Blogger: Daphne Auza

Before applying to study abroad in the Netherlands, I had zero familiarity with the Dutch language. I tried teaching myself some vital phrases before leaving, but when I found myself surrounded by the guttural g’s and other phonetics peculiar to Nederlands, I was in a bit of a culture shock. However, one of my favorite words that I’ve learned so far is “gezellig”. Unfortunately there’s no English translation for it, but “gezellig” connotes a specific kind of atmosphere, one that is cozy, comfortable, and often involves good company. I’ve met so many welcoming people during my time abroad, so in the past couple months I’ve had a good share of “gezellig” evenings.

When I first saw that I had a blog schedule for this week, my initial reaction was...

Read More

March 26, 2014

Blogger: Donovan Dennis

Spring has arrived at Occidental, and boy have the temps been sizzling. After our unbearable winter (a.k.a. three days of downpour earlier this month) I finally get to lie out in the sun for hours on end, improving my jealousy tan. We’ve just come off spring break, and the campus is buzzing as we prep for the last big academic push before summer vacation. For the next few weeks, however, I will be battling the endless stairs and lack of handicap door buttons on my newest ride, a gleaming pair of crutches. Over break, while my friends were busy hiking, swimming, camping, surfing, and Mexicoing, I underwent hip surgery repairing some damage from endless hours of swimming. (But mom came, and we got Sprinkles, so I’m less bitter). It’s certainly been an adjustment...

Read More

March 25, 2014

Blogger: Daniel O'Connor

For nature lovers, Los Angeles has kind of a bad rep – it's definitely more commonly associated with urban sprawl, traffic, and pollution than it is with natural beauty. As an environmental biology major and an avid hiker, I'd like to take my moment on the Oxy Voices blog to set some things straight.

First, a word about smog. Like I mentioned, I'm a science major, but I'll try not to be too technical. While air quality is a persistent problem here, it's not entirely because of the car culture. Los Angeles is located in a valley right next to the ocean – perfect, right? Well, not entirely. As air over the land is heated, it rises, and cool, moist (read: dense, heavy) air moves in from the ocean and settles underneath. Usually this isn't really a problem, but here the cool ocean air...

Read More

March 23, 2014

Blogger: Kyle Beasley 

It honestly doesn't even feel like it has been 3 months, but sure enough, it has. Between the countless amounts of Acai that I’ve consumed, the very frequent beach days, and the days I spend laying in a hammock, I can say that Rio de Janeiro has most definitely been treating me well. It doesn't feel real almost, but then I get emails from Oxy reminding me about selecting courses for the fall and to start thinking about my housing situation for next year. It is then when I realize that this is actually just a six month study abroad program. 

Since the last time I posted, I had the incredible opportunity to experience Carnaval! During the 4 days that Rio celebrates Carnaval, all schools are closed so that young people can all go out and enjoy the street parties, known as blocos, as well as all...

Read More

March 22, 2014

Blogger: Kristen Treat

After a relaxing yet work-filled Spring break, I am back at Oxy and ready to finish up my last semester here! (Cue tears). I spent half of my break hanging out in my hometown of Riverside, CA. where I got to spend time with family, grab frozen yogurt with some high school friends, and do some hefty work on my senior comps presentation that is coming up in April. Shout out Mom for the tasty home-cooked meals! After spending time at home I headed back to Oxy to spend some quality time with my roommates. The first night back we headed to Palos Verdes, a beach about 40 minutes from Oxy, to spend a few days at one of my roommates’ grandparents’ home. Again, shout out to Grandma and Grandpa Naito for the fantastic food! While we were there we visited the Aquarium of the Pacific and spent a day napping/ reading for comps...

Read More

March 22, 2014

Blogger: Julius DiLorenzo

Hey you!

The second semester is well under way, with less than two months until the end of the semester! Having just navigated through midterms flawlessly (well, until the grades come back), it’s time to start planning courses for fall 2014. Fortunately, I am planning on participating in Campaign Semester so I get to circumvent this step, fun as it is. For those that don’t know, Campaign Semester is a program through the politics dept. (though open to all majors) where you spend the fall semester of an election year interning full time on any high-level campaign in the country. You then return to campus after the election for a month-long seminar with the other participants and discuss and write on the experience. The best part: It’s full...

Read More

March 21, 2014

Blogger: John Ugai

So it’s not exactly a secret, but I do feel like I need to get something off my chest—I love food. I would love to be able to say that it’s a cute problem, like the kind of problem that’s not actually a problem, but it isn’t. This is a safe space, so let’s be honest, mixing peanut butter into my Rocky Road at twelve a.m. will never be cute. I know what you’re thinking too, that is definitely weird enough to be completely true. It is true, and I know first hand that those seemingly contradictory ingredients blend into a gooey, peanut buttery, smooth, chocolate, chunky concoction. I also know firsthand how food can help a small town kid from rural Colorado can blend with vibrant life in LA and at Oxy.

Coming from a small town with only two four-lane roads, Los Angeles was a...

Read More

March 21, 2014

Blogger: Martin Pittman

As Spring break quickly came upon us, I began thinking about how I would spend this break. During spring break my first year I went home and relaxed with my family. Last year, I had the pleasure of escaping to a cabin in the woods for a Midspring Night’s Dream with some friends. I realized how much I have typically traveled over spring break, and this year I found myself forced to remain around campus.

Unfortunately, the Sunday before break began our oxy men's rugby team caught it's first loss which meant we would play Sunday the 16th. I was so frustrated that my spring break plans had come crashing down as I knew we would have practice this week. However, this time spent at school gave me time to reflect on the semester so far, and what I realized is...

Read More

March 20, 2014

Blogger: Becca Patch

In less than two weeks, your mailbox will begin overflowing with piles of fat envelopes, the word CONGRATULATIONS scrawled in elegant letters on the front. It’s an incredibly exciting time, because it’s the product of all the work you’ve put in over the last four years, but it can also be very stressful. With that in mind, I wanted to take a break from talking about my experiences at Oxy, and instead share some advice that spans from opening the mailbox to choosing your college! 

(I'm also including a lot of random photos, courtesy of my first week of college-- this first one is of my mother and I sitting in Rush Gym during the very first day of Orientation)

1. It’s a Roller-coaster. One day you’ll open the mailbox and you’ll have a CONGRATS envelop and you...

Read More

March 19, 2014

Blogger: Claire Marsden

Hello world! New blogger here. My name is Claire Marsden, and I’m a senior Politics major and an Admissions Senior Fellow from South Orange, New Jersey.

It’s starting to feel very real that in about two months, I will be graduating from Oxy. It feels like just yesterday that I was schlepping my huge Parent Trap-style yellow duffel bag up the hill to Braun Hall and taking a sweaty ID photo thanks to the 90+ degree heat (perhaps because I am haunted by that photo every time I hand over my ID to buy food at the Marketplace). As a first year, I remember thinking about graduating and feeling like it would never come – that I would be forever hanging out in the Quad, tanning...

Read More