Section: Opinion

The Good, the Bad and the Unsolicited: Upperclass Students Reflect on First-Year Advice

First years receive plenty of advice — perhaps even too much advice — on how to adjust to life on the Hill. Many of these suggestions might help ease the transition from high school to college, but some of the advice might be, to put it bluntly, bad. To help sort the good from the not-so-good, several upperclass students shared the best and worst advice they received in their first year at Kenyon. Some have been lightly edited for length and clarity.


Delaney Barker ’20:

Best: “My advisor, [Professor of English] Ted Mason, told me to only do two things and not get over-involved. He said that I didn’t have to do as many activities at Kenyon as I needed to get in to Kenyon.”

Worst: “Someone told me that I could take the cups out of Peirce.”




Jon Hammond ’20:

Best: “Get out there, even if it’s uncomfortable attending a lot of social events.”

Worst: “To wait for friends to find you.”




Paige Ballard ’18:

Best: “You will find a group of friends no matter what your interests.”

Worst: “I was told to always join the longest line in Peirce, as it usually has the best food.”





Eva Warren ’19:

Best: “My dad reminded me to pause, take care of myself and appreciate my surroundings.”

Worst: “So many people told me to go out for a lot of things first semester, but it turned out to be too much.”




Kate Garrigan ’20:

Best: “Go to the MSSC [Math and Science Skills Center]. It saved my life so many times.”

Worst: “Multiple people told me to study in the library, but that environment doesn’t work for everyone. I think everyone should explore other study spaces.”





Chloe Hannah-Drullard ’20:

Best: “I was told to take Doing the Work with Professor Ted Mason. It was easy and taught me productivity skills.”

Worst: “Someone told me to audition for every a capella group.”






Michael Fisher ’20:

Best: “My CA taught me that you shouldn’t feel like you need to be with people all the time.”

Worst: “Sign up for every organization at the activities fair.”






Preston Pennington ’20:

Best: “It’s okay not to do any activities your first semester.”

Worst: “Nobody ever told me it was a bad idea to take three math classes my first semester. I wish someone had.”






Ben Gross ’19:

Best: “Don’t cut your fingers off. I was told that at the set shop.”

Worst: “Go to Old K parties.”






Christian Solorio ’18:

Best: “To take the introductory physics course, as I am now a physics major.”

Worst: “To sign up for everything that interested me at the activities fair.”






Ben Douglas ’18:

Best: “To take a class that interests me, regardless of whether or not it helps me with my major or career. It was not until my junior year that I actually took this advice.”

Worst: “A lot of people say to take this professor or not take that professor. I didn’t really agree with other people’s judgments of my professors.”




Jenny Hu ’20:

Best: “A senior who just graduated told me to be with the people who make you happy; you don’t have to and can never please everyone you meet.”

Worst: “I can’t really recall any bad advice, possibly because I always dismiss it the minute I hear it…”


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