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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kenyon chapter.

Life at Kenyon may fall into predictable patterns, but we freshmen are still marveling over Kenyon’s little eccentricities. Here are some of the little things that I find surprising as I settle into life at Kenyon.

  1. Ascension’s Labyrinth

A little known fact is that the maze of hallways in the Winchester Mystery House were inspired by Ascension Hall. Just kidding. Still, there is a definite strategy that goes into locating a classroom in Ascension. If you enter from one side of the building intent on getting to the other, you’re going to be impeded by the closed door to the classroom that divides Ascension in two. The other option is darting across the classroom before class begins like some backpack-wearing meteorite arcing across the projector screen. Sorry. I’m just- You know- Sorry. In addition to this, it seems that the two side hallways have yet to discover that there is a basement in Ascension. So, unless you’re a gopher, I suggest you enter through the middle door on the Middle Path side. My advice? Just stick to the door that lets you get to class with least resistance and hope it doesn’t move as Ascension tries to figure out its floor-plan.

  1. The Norton Locks are Stuck in Opposite Day

While it is an exhilarating feeling to be presented with the key to your very own (or, half your very own) dorm, it proves puzzling figuring out how to use it. Don’t get me wrong, I have been introduced to the concept of putting the key into the lock and turning it. It’s the direction we have to turn it that’s messing me up. In Norton Residence Hall, you have to turn the key to the left to unlock the door. Thus, my first few weeks of entering my dorm were spent trying to figure out why my key wasn’t turning the “right” way, figuring it out, realizing I’d locked the door, and finally opening it to my roommate staring at me saying “it was already unlocked.” Perhaps this still has the chance of being played off coolly, save for the fact that the key sticks in the lock and I spend the next five minutes of my day trying to extract it.

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/ Unsplash
  1. The Battle of the Showers

While our janitorial staff do a wonderful job keeping the dormitory bathrooms clean, I question the designers of the showers. The cubicles give off the distinct feeling that the constructors ran out of shower curtain half-way through. Pull the shower curtain closed on one side and it opens on the other. When that side is closed, the other is again open, leaving you to enact a game of shower curtain whack-a-mole until that precariously balanced privacy is achieved. Then you just have to hope that the person in the shower next to you doesn’t sneeze and send the curtain flying open again.

  1. Middle Path is Made of Rocks

Beautiful Middle Path — strolling through historic buildings, dancing angels, and trees beginning their fall wardrobe change does not disappoint. The downside? I’ve discovered that half of the soles of my shoes are too thin as I feel like I’m walking across a jagged plane of rocks. There is ample proof that Middle Path extends through all of campus as it is repeatedly following me into my classes in the form of my pebble-ladden shoes. I constantly find myself shaking out the assortment of rocks that have gathered in my trainers.

fallen leaves on suburban road
Original photo by Shea Humphries
  1. The Division Between the Seal Steppers and Seal Dodgers

Everyone who has taken a tour at Kenyon knows that you don’t step on the seal in the entrance of Peirce Hall. The reasons for avoiding the seal vary from respect to the threat of not graduating. Nonetheless the seal functions as a roundabout as you enter the dining hall to get your food. What’s interesting is the drastically different levels of seriousness with which students take the lore of the seal. Most walk around it, but the most fun to watch are those who forget it’s there and make a last minute dive for safety — I’ve been one of them. However, the most atrocious Peirce-goers strut across it without a second thought. I have never experienced such a shared moment of horror as when the whole room intakes a breath when watching those select few students (you know who you are) tarnish the glow of the seal with their footsteps.

  1. Gambier is a…Village

Having a college in the middle-of-nowhere, on-top-of-a-hill, rural Ohio is crazy, but calling it all a town? That’s pushing it. And yet, Gambier is a place of miracles. Beyond college students speed-walking to class, the village is bustling with residents walking their dogs and talking about how they need more restaurants for when the local haunt, the Village Inn, is closed. The college may have swallowed the town, but it’s great to still see residents walking down Middle Path and shopping at Village Market. In case the title of our stores didn’t notify you, Gambier is a Village. Not a city. Not a town. A village.

  1. We Need a Squirrel Crossing Sign

I have seen squirrels in other places. They are skittish, try to get you to crash your car, and will only stare you down from a safe distance. This is not so in Gambier. I lost count of the number of times a squirrel has strolled across Middle Path, forcing me to stop and wait for them to finish their leisurely saunter. They don’t dart or scamper, they just hold on to what looks like a miniature apple and stare you down as they cut you off. Don’t pull anything funny, they’ve got places to go.

  1. People are…Nice.

On campus tours it often comes up how nice, supportive, and friendly people are at Kenyon, yada yada yada. Turns out, it’s true. While we freshmen are not exempt from being made fun of for our eager nerdiness to finally be in college, upperclassmen will actually talk to us like we might be interesting human beings. Professors voluntarily tell you to come to their office hours if you just feel like talking about the article you read. The janitorial staff smile at you and wish you a good day as you walk across their freshly mopped floor (sorry about that). The Peirce staff thank you as you take another pasta dish on your way towards eating your weight in their delicious breadsticks. And those walking down Middle Path patiently allow the line of twenty students to pet their dog–a thank you from all of the animal-deprived college students.

The things I love most about Kenyon aren’t done justice in the college brochures. It’s those overlooked little joys and frustrations that make me smile as my pebble-filled shoes screech to a halt at a squirrel crossing as I sprint to class late because my key got stuck in the lock.

I look forward to discovering more of Kenyon’s quirks as it becomes home over the next four years.

Delaney is part of the Kenyon class of 2026. She is an avid reader and travel-lover who aims to incorporate the different cultures and worlds she experiences into her writing.