Thursday night: Time to cram some French vocabulary or scribble down a chemistry problem set, right? Not for everyone, as it turns out. While your study playlist pulses through your headphones, Kenyon’s late-night workers keep the pulse of this campus alive. Here are just a few of their stories:
Jennifer Anderson has been working at Kenyon for three years. In the course of her eight-and-a-half hour shift — from 11 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. — she cleans the Bookstore, the Church of the Holy Spirit, the Wright Center and R-32. Of all the places she cleans, the spookiest is the church. She recalled finding students sleeping in the basement on various occasions, either scaring them with her presence or being scared by them. Another time, a black cat snuck into the chapel after her, keeping her company throughout the night.
“It can be difficult at times,” Anderson said. She frequently watches her grandchildren in the afternoon, so she does not get to sleep until 3 p.m.. “I don’t know if you ever really adjust to it.”
Jessica Maglott, like Anderson, also works third shift. Her responsibilities include cleaning the sometimes-eerie Peirce Hall. She has heard music playing with seemingly no one around and doors slamming unexpectedly, as well as seeing shadows moving out of the corner of her eye. “You know, it’s a haunted building, Peirce,” Maglott said.
Its late-night hours might go unnoticed most days, but the Village Inn’s bar remains open until midnight or later. On one sleepy Thursday night, bartender Jason Speece said of late-night business, “It will get busier, a little bit further into the year, but I think everyone’s still figuring out how their schedules are, when their friends’ schedules are, so they can come out together.”
Speece hopes that, this year, the Village Inn becomes a place for late-night socializing — and that it becomes as lively at night as it does during the day. “It’s definitely busier during the day, like when there are locals coming in to get food or sports teams coming in to get food,” Speece said. For the time being, the Village Inn is looking for ways to attract more student clientele by keeping the bar open late after trivia on Wednesday nights, which is hosted by students. That is, so long as they get business — and the tips are good.
Staff members are not the only ones at Kenyon working odd hours. Since his first year, Spencer Beck ’22 has worked the late shift at Library B’s circulation desk, which often lasts until 2 a.m. The late hours have sometimes impacted his sleep schedule — Beck had an early morning class the second semester of his first year, right after working the night shift until 2 a.m. — but Beck sees both upsides and downsides to the hours. “[The night shift] is more relaxing, but I can’t say I prefer it though,” Beck said. “I know some people can thrive studying at night, but I really can’t. I end up just on my phone — ‘cause we’re allowed to do that, thank God.”
The hushed late-night atmosphere of the library provides ample opportunity for contemplation, at the very least. “Otherwise, I just sort of stare off … It is very nice, for times of introspection or otherwise,” Beck observed.
Our tour of Kenyon “nightlife” ends at Campus Safety. The office never closes, and there are always officers up and about. Kathleen Mickle, who worked part-time at Campus Safety for two years as a dispatcher and now works full-time as an officer, rotates between the “afternoon” shift and the night shift — the former from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., the latter from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. “I have to set a schedule. I go straight home and go to bed. I try to get up at the same time every day, and it’s usually 1 to 2 p.m.,” Mickle said of her sleep pattern. “I feel like, health-wise, I do the best if I do that.”
Campus Safety dispatcher Joseph Petrie pulls even longer all-nighters. In addition to working at Kenyon full-time, he also works full-time at CenturyLink. “I used to work here part-time, but I loved it so much that I also picked up full-time here as well,” Petrie said. “I hardly ever sleep.”
If there’s a moral to be learned here, it’s that if you can go to bed early, take it as a gift. Sleep well tonight, Kenyon.