Fellow first-years, we’ve made it! After suffering through the tortuous and anxiety-ridden college application process, making a decision on where we would attend school, and agonizing over which pairs of shoes we’d have to leave at home, we are now officially moved in and enrolled at Kenyon.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve already cried on the phone to your parents, been overjoyed at the selection of desserts in Peirce, and gotten halfway across campus before realizing that you’re walking in the wrong direction. It’s confusing and stressful being in a new environment full of brand new people, but it’s also exhilarating and wonderful to experience the freedom of really being on your own for the first time.
Getting acclimated to life on the Hill is definitely a process, but everyone, from administration to upperclassmen, is doing their best to help ease us in a little bit at a time and teach us what we need to know. Here are five things I’ve learned during my first two weeks at Kenyon.
1. KAC showers are infinitely better than residence hall showers.
I moved in two days early for cross-country, so my experience with the Athletic Center started before everyone else’s. After having practice in the morning of my first full day here, I took my first KAC shower. Best. Thing. Ever. I live in Mather, and although we have pretty nice facilities, they certainly don’t compare to the KAC. The water temperature doesn’t fluctuate, there’s a place to hang your towel where it won’t get soaked, and there are more than two shower stalls. Never wait around for an available shower again!
2. You should try foods in Peirce that you don’t think you’ll like.
I had a barbecue pulled pork sandwich for dinner today. I don’t particularly like pork or barbecue, but it came with cheesy potatoes and I will do whatever is necessary to incorporate potatoes into my meals when possible. So I decided to try the sandwich. It was actually quite tasty, and I’ve had a few other experiences of the same kind already. My point is that college is a time for adventure and experimentation. If you’re like me, then this means trying new food. You might be surprised.
3. Peirce possibilities are endless.
I’ve heard numerous upperclassmen complain about the food in Peirce, but I really don’t know why they could be upset! Peirce is like a wonderland full of food hacks just waiting to happen. When the stars align, there will be rice, meat, beans, and the ever-present selection of vegetables in the salad bar, and you can combine them into your own Chipotle bowl. I know fellow cross country runners who make milkshakes from ice cream and milk. This morning I even saw a girl putting chocolate syrup and banana slices on her pancakes. Truly magical.
4. You don’t have to go to parties, and you aren’t the only one who doesn’t want to go to them.
Parties and “going out” are a big part of the culture at Kenyon, but there are some nights when you’d rather sit in your dorm in comfy pajamas and read a book or catch up on your current Netflix obsession. I want every other first-year to know that that is perfectly okay! You don’t have to attend every all-campus party in order to get the “real college experience.” Also, you aren’t the only one who doesn’t want to go out. If you still feel like socializing, I guarantee that there’s someone else on campus that would be willing to just watch a movie or go on a walk with you. It’s all just a matter of finding the right people.
5. You will be okay.
I’ve had more emotional episodes in the last two weeks than I ever have in such a short time, but that’s perfectly natural. Being away from home for the first time is a scary thing. You have to make all new friends, build whatever kind of reputation you’re looking to make for yourself, and handle all of your own affairs. It all feels so alien right now, but in no time at all Kenyon will begin to feel just like home. I know we’ve all heard this from countless upperclassmen, but it’s true. Kenyon is already beginning to feel like a home away from home for me; I know that I can be happy whether I’m here or there.
Moving here has been a big change for all of us. Even if it feels like everyone around you is so much more confident and capable, know that we’re all just as nervous and scared as you are. Transitioning to the college lifestyle is difficult, but Kenyon is a wonderful place full of wonderful people. You may not have met them yet, but you will.
Image Credit: Elizabeth Heckler