Oberlin Leisure

The worldwide culture of pleasure and leisure has not always existed. People have always done things for fun, but up until the mid-19th century, most people spent the vast majority of their time working. British industrialization began the five day work week, extending Sunday’s day of rest to include Saturday, creating the weekend. The weekend not only allowed people to spend time the way the wanted, but allowed many new industries to spring up. People often spent their free time at the theatre, purchasing pleasurable items, or flocking to stadiums for sporting events.Thus, the lifestyle of millions around the world drastically changed in a relatively short time period. With this change came a whole new soundscape. From the sounds of ping pong to Gilmore Girls, the ways in which we take pleasure are often an integral part of who we are. Particularly at Oberlin College, while the academic work that people do is very important, everyone is multifaceted and is interested in many things outside their school work.

Oberlin has long been known as a progressive institution, and that progressive spirit still exists today. The student body is often looked upon as ‘quirky’ ‘artsy’ or ‘hipster’ from an outsider’s perspective, that insight is not entirely wrong. Obies like to march to the beat of their own drum and like to do things outside of the norm. Therefore, their leisurely activities are not always the usual college activities. For example, students often have very strong, liberal opinions when it comes to politics, and these views often are often rendered into action, such as campaigning and protesting. A big part of Oberlin College is the campus music scene. Although the conservatory is known for an intense, world-class experience, even non-conservatory kids get into the act of creating, with countless bands and groups to join. However, at the end of the day, one can find the same kinds of fun activities that one would find at any other college. They like to unwind by hanging out with friends, watching TV, and playing video games.

Leisure activities on the Oberlin campus can include almost anything.  With an active student body the students find many ways to engage themselves in their free time–sports, music, art, etc. While each activity may seem drastically different, that is what makes leisure activities unique, they can be anything as long as it is done for fun or to unwind.  The batting cage shows the athletic nature of the student body, while the potter’s wheel demonstrates the artistic side.  The conversations over videogames, friends singing, laughter, laptop noises, and the ping pong sounds show the hobbies that take place in the dorms.  The bike co-op and the dance club (the ‘Sco) display the activeside of the students, showing leisure life outside of a typical setting.  While each has its own setting associated with it, the sounds collected come together under the term leisure, depicting how Oberlin students unwind.