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What I Learned When My Sister Visited Kenyon

This past weekend my older sister Emily came to visit me at Kenyon (and slept under my bed). Since Emily lives in San Francisco, she wasn’t able to help move me into my dorm in August, so this was the first time she had a chance to see our beautiful campus.

Emily is my best friend, and in many ways we are incredibly similar. We both love cookie dough, quoting movies, and belting out musical theatre songs, and anyone who talked with us last weekend knows that we have the exact same voice. However, after Emily visited, she said that she never could have gone to school here.

She had absolutely nothing against Kenyon; in fact, she kept remarking on how gorgeous the campus is, especially with fall approaching. Somehow, although Emily and I grew up in the same house in the same city in the same circumstances, we made drastically different choices on where we went to college.

Emily goes to San Francisco State University, right in the heart of a big city where anything one could ever want is on the other side of a bus ride. It’s an overwhelming change from our tiny, but lovely, campus which is difficult to leave unless you have a car or catch the shuttle.

Because my sister and I are so similar, I think what compelled me to choose Kenyon and Emily to choose San Francisco State stems from the same place. In Yorba Linda, the relatively small suburban town in which my sister and I grew up, there is not much to do. The neighborhoods, restaurants, parks, and schools not only were few in number, but also were all so spread out that close to nothing was within walking distance. Originally, when I began my college search, I thought I wanted to move to a big city like Emily did. I thought the reason I wanted so badly to leave Yorba Linda was that there was nothing to do. But when I visited Kenyon last April, I realized that I wasn’t looking for a bigger sized city, I was looking for proximity and a community that I could call my own.

So perhaps Emily and I both felt the need to leave Yorba Linda for the same reasons, but we each were pulled more strongly in opposite directions. I’ve noticed in the past that Emily and my personalities contain basically the same aspects, but we utilize them differently. We both have great senses of humor, but mine is much more pun-based while she is just straight-up hilarious. We both are incredibly into immersing ourselves in the culture of the media, but Emily is a television connoisseur while I am a complete bibliophile. We both love the home we grew up in, but for her, our town was lacking in size and availability of options, while I felt the absence of a close community of people who I could relate to and with whom I could grow into the person I want to be at the end of these next four years.

I was so incredibly happy to have my sister here. Although it’s only been a week, I already miss her like crazy. Something she said in the short time she visited Kenyon will always stick with me: “I really feel like you belong here.” Emily knows me better than anyone and hearing her say that really confirmed my love for Kenyon and the fact that I am so excited to spend my college years in this tiny village in Ohio.


Image Credit: Annmarie Morrison, Mark Nagel

Jenny Nagel

Kenyon '20

Jenny is a writer and Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Kenyon. She is currently a senior English and Psychology double major at Kenyon College, and in her free time she loves to sing, cuddle cats, and fangirl over musicals.
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