Test Your Athletic Abilities With Excos – The Oberlin Review
For many Oberlin students, getting involved in athletics can be daunting and time-consuming. ExCos, however, can be a great opportunity for people to get involved and try out the sporting activities that interest them. They can also be a great avenue for those who participate in activities at home, but have not yet made it to Oberlin. These student-led classes are a great way to immerse yourself with like-minded people while creating a safe space for all skill levels to enjoy fantastic sporting opportunities.
One of the ExCos in the spring 2022 catalog is Sk8Co, where students learn the ins and outs of skateboarding. This includes the history and culture of skateboarding over the years and learning different tips and tricks, all of which come together with the goal of getting students comfortable with skateboarding by the end of the course.
Kush Bulmer, a fourth-year college and Sk8Co instructor, says one of the great things about ExCo is that there’s a great mix of experiences and anyone interested in skating can join the class.
“This ExCo is for all skill levels!” Boulmer said. “Learning to skate takes a lot of stamina and struggle, so it helps to have more experienced people giving you advice and pushing you.”
Bulmer is an avid skater and wants to share his knowledge with people looking to grow.
Asked about the most rewarding aspect of teaching this ExCo, Bulmer says he loves helping people push themselves and seeing them get excited about their progress and the success of their peers.
“This combination of support and guidance from peers and instructors is really what makes ExCos unique, and [it’s] a great way to get started quickly and learn something new,” he said.
Second-year college student Sarah Krohn, a member of Sk8Co, said the encouragement from the ExCo community has allowed her to learn and grow.
“I’ve learned some really good tips so far,” Krohn said. “More than anything, I just have the encouragement to try new stuff, which has helped me progress.”
Skating aside, Krohn says Sk8Co is also a great way to meet other people who share his hobbies. She also appreciates that when pushed out of her comfort zone, it helps to be with a group of people in the same boat.
“I met a few new people that I didn’t know before, which is super nice to have with skating but also just going to Oberlin,” Krohn said.
Another ExCo Oberlin this semester offers Aikido, a modern Japanese martial art that focuses on basic movement, balance, coordination, timing, and technique. In the same vein as Sk8Co, this course can be taken by people with no martial arts background who need to focus on the basics or by extremely skilled martial artists. The end goal of the ExCo is to pass the test for the rank of 6th Kyu, which marks the completion of the basic techniques.
This ExCo is led by fourth-year college student Julia Martin, who says she’s loved aikido since she was about 14 years old.
“Aikido has been instrumental in developing my mental and physical self-confidence,” Martin said. “The most important way aikido has benefited my life is that when I go home alone at night, I feel like I could handle myself if something went wrong.”
Martin also adds that in the past, students have loved the course immensely and people love it so much that they take it for multiple semesters. Another big part of the course is the growth students experience over time.
“People are very afraid of rolling or falling – rightly so – but by the end of the course they are able to roll all around the room with no problem,” she said. “Aikido is a time-consuming art to learn, so it’s wonderful to see how well students are able to absorb the material over the course of a semester.”
For those with a penchant for adventure, Introduction to Rock Climbing is another fantastic ExCo.
Climbing instructor, Aidan Cowie, a fourth year at the College, said the goal of the ExCo is for everyone to be comfortable with more challenging outdoor climbing after learning the basics like belaying, knots and movement techniques such as bouldering.
University alum Kira Findley ’19 wrote a blog post in 2019 when she first joined the ExCo that she was really excited to finally try something new during the course. of his last semester of university.
“I’ve only had one class so far, but I’m already in terrible pain from the climbing,” she wrote. “It’s tough! But I’m looking forward to this challenge – it’s going to be a great part of my last semester.
If none of these three seem like your cup of tea, Oberlin has plenty of other ExCos to offer, and there’s something for everyone! Be sure to check the Course Catalog to explore the extensive list of activities.