Kindness at Kenyon

“Why did you choose Kenyon” is the question asked on repeat.

I thought once I chose a college, and certainly, after I went off to college, the questions would end. Let me tell you, I thought wrong. Once I got here, I was asked almost daily for the first half of the semester, “Why Kenyon?” My answer became a memorized monologue in my mind: “When I interviewed, I really connected with the upperclassman who interviewed me; she was so kind. Then, when I sat in on classes, I was immediately welcomed with open arms. I fell in love.” The answer would change slightly, but the heart of it always remained the same, I chose Kenyon because of the people.

 

Kindness is a special attribute. You have to work at it. You have to be consciously aware of what you are doing and how that affects other people. I truly believe one of the best compliments you can pay a person is telling them they are kind.

 

With my job on Kenyon’s campus, I have been lucky enough to get to talk to a lot of students with varying experiences of life at Kenyon. And luckier even, hardly any of the testimonies I hear are negative. Instead, the common thread is nothing but positive. I hear the phrase, “I love Kenyon” all of the time. Suddenly then, I become the one asking the question, “Why?” There are many reasons to love this school, and I am sure there are many reasons other students love it here too. I mean, there is certainly not only one reason I love it here. But when you have to explain the “why,” when you have to put into words what lies in your heart, you attempt to put into discourse exactly how you feel. Time after time people answer the “why” with “the people.”

Kenyon has a sense of community that can only reside in the small village that is Gambier. There is a relationship which is present in Gambier and Kenyon where Kenyon is Gambier and Gambier is Kenyon. The tight-knit community makes the kindness suddenly a tangible thing. How inspiring is that, to believe a community could create such an ideal place?

Students and professors alike here talk about the Kenyon Bubble. Where else are you going to be in your life where the majority of the people you meet are generally kind? The wave on middle path, or the offer of a seat at a lunch table in a busy Pierce—we take those little things for granted. The kindness that makes Kenyon Kenyon is an incredible anomaly, and you’re part of that incredible anomaly.

How do we keep this going? How do we maintain a palpable kindness that exists in our world? If we are to make this amazing little bubble the kind of place people fall in love with, we must pass it on. Be the one to wave or smile to that person you sit next to in English.

 

Image Credit: Gracie Orwick