Section: Opinion

On leaving the nest (again)

By Brianna Levesque

One moment I’m dreaming of a year in England, the next I’m crying into my eggplant parmesan at the sobering realization that there is no other location on this planet where Peirce exists.  How could I part with my Buffalo chicken bowtie pasta, Midnight Breakfast, or — I can’t even fathom it — Peircegiving?  This flake of a discovery soon snowballs into an avalanche of premature nostalgia; I feel a lot of that here. My mind moves beyond the doors of the dining hall to the beloved upside-down tree, the atmosphere of enlightenment lodged in Philomathesian Hall, the familiar tolling of the bells, the crisp outline of Old Kenyon’s spires against the clearest of blues … the people, the people, the people! You know you’ve got it bad when you even feel a certain sentimentality toward Gund Commons.
Fellow sophomores, kindred spirits of foolish wisdom, we’re all in the same proverbial boat. Now is the time — for those of us who choose to do so — to plan our potential leave of the Hill for a time. Next year we, as a class, will be unavoidably jumbled.  Juniors, seniors: whatever your decision regarding studying abroad was, has been made, yet I’m sure you remember well the back-and-forth period of contemplation which led you to it. And although it may appear even  further away than a New Apartment appears from the vantage point of Old Kenyon, one day you too, dearest freshman, will need to decide if and how you will partake in off-campus study.
Kenyon is a place to which I feel more connected than any I have known before. Sure, the honeymoon-glow and “Freshman Fervor” diminished after the whirl of Orientation, but a sincerer, sweeter, stronger love has grown to take its place. I see that a worry of the finite nature of my stay in Gambier is not one of much relative consequence amidst the achingly incomprehensible tragedies of the world, but I still cannot help but dread the day I return to the steps of Rosse and sing the “Kokosing Farewell” for the last time. In actuality, that will most likely not be the last time I sing that song — but it will certainly be the last time those particular people will be gathered together, with a shared sense of the ephemeral, at that specific transitory moment.
The truth is, even if Kenyon feels like the clichéd “perfect fit”, to close myself off from the innumerable other places and people of the world whom I could also come to cherish would be unforgivable.  This isn’t to say that those who choose not to study abroad are missing out, but for many of us, studying abroad is our opportunity to earn our explorer badges, lessen our ignorance and deepen our empathy.

No matter how inexpressibly special Kenyon is to me, it’s necessary to capitalize on the chance to find other places which feel like home and other people who feel like family.  We often think we only have one of each, but this isn’t the case. Whether the nest we are leaving is our hometown or college or the country, we must remember what we gain from our flight is invaluable.  And on our return to our nest of a Hill for our senior year, we will reunite, reminisce and rejoice together as we prepare, to the tune of “Kokosing Farewell” to fly away once more.
Brianna Levesque ’17 is a prospective English major from Medford, Ore. She can be reached at  


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