Caleb Russell: The succulent guy

Caleb Russell’s windowsill is a greenhouse. Mason jars, clay pots and ceramic vases purchased from thrift shops and craft stores cover every available surface, each one filled with tiny green plants. Caleb is a freshman theatre and arts management co-major. He lives in Collins Hall as a member of the Celebrate the Arts LLC. Sheets of music paper the walls of his room, and bass thumps from the adjacent dorm as he details the care and feeding of succulents. “I wouldn’t consider myself an expert,” he says. “But I know what I’m doing.” Caleb is known to some as...

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First years’ first days: The freshman ‘shock’ experience

The first semester away at college is tough. Whether your parents washed your dirty laundry your whole life or you were the most self-sufficient, I-know-my-social-security-number-and-how-to-use-jumper-cables kid in your high school class, there’s some adjusting to do after arriving in Oxford. Among the things our first-year writers found out: A box full of bright-pink tools isn’t the worst way to make friends. It can hurt to watch your parents drive away. No, Brick is not a movie theater. Store-bought tortillas do not taste as good as your grandmother’s. It’s easy to feel lonely on campus — but there are always...

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The tools to friendship

Before I left for college, my dad bought me a toolbox. Every tool contained within it was bright pink, including a hammer, a screwdriver, and a tape measure. I laughed, doubting that I would ever use it, but I appreciated the gesture. And, as my dad wisely pointed out, one never knew when one might need a toolbox. About a week later, I was alone in my dorm room, FaceTiming my little sister, when a girl paused in my open doorway and asked: “Hey, do you have a tape measure?” We were both delighted and surprised at the fact that I did. I handed it over to her, happy to have helped, and settled back on my bed as she disappeared down the hall. My sister, still on FaceTime, asked the questions I had forgotten to pose: who was that girl, and why did she need my tape measure? After a time with those questions brewing in my mind, my curiosity came to a peak and I decided to go track her- and my tape measure- down. The problem was, of course, that I didn’t know her name or where she lived. I began knocking on doors at random, introducing myself and explaining my plight. The girls I met- although not the ones I was looking for- were eager to help. After interrogating hall-mates and RA’s alike, my small...

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