Dear Hannah Lee,
This past weekend was great and all, but now that the haze of Sendoff and carpe diem has lifted, I’m facing my first case of the post-Sendoff Scaries. I realize that I may have acted recklessly at times. Kenyon often feels like such a safe bubble, but what happens when I want to hide from people within that bubble? Is this place too small for such shenanigans?
Ah, the post-Sendoff Scaries. Not that I’ve ever called them that, but I know exactly what you mean. This past weekend was a blur of music, friends, randos and maybe one or two decisions that seemed fairly innocuous until after you followed through with them.
On Monday morning, we awoke to reality and the realization that Kenyon is much more fishbowl-y than it seemed over the weekend. Suddenly it seems like everywhere you turn, you’re surrounded by people who either witnessed or participated in your rather shame-worthy moments. My limited time in adulthood has taught me that avoidance is the best way to address regretful decisions. Try out a few of these maneuvers and techniques to avoid running into that rebound hookup or stranger who fell asleep on your couch.
On Middle Path:
If you’re strolling along, enjoying the blue skies and flowers in bloom, nothing ruffles your cool like catching sight of a kid you’d rather avoid. Thankfully, Middle Path is strategically lined with buildings (read: hiding places) every few meters. If said person is approaching in the opposite direction, make a beeline toward Ascension or duck into the Church of the Holy Spirit. Wait it out a few minutes, giving them enough time to journey past you. Emerge tentatively. If the coast is clear, continue on your merry way.
The best part of Peirce is that you have multiple seating options. Someone you want to avoid sits on Old Side? Bask in the bright sunshine on New Side. Are they more unpredictable? Play it safe by venturing all the way downstairs into the Alumni Dining Room or Peirce Pub. Better yet, completely cloister yourself away in some dusty corner on the third floor.
If you have a class with the person you’d rather not relive past moments with, avoiding them ranges from extremely easy to rather difficult depending on the nature of the class. If you share a science course together in one of the spacious science buildings’ lecture halls, sit behind them and across the room. If they’re studious, they’ll keep their eyes on the professor instead of searching for you.
If you have a class built around small, seminar-style discussions, the challenge increases. Your best option is to vary your seating choice. Sit on the same side of the table as the person of interest (or disinterest, rather), but not between them and the professor, to play it safe. Keeping a couple of students in between you and them offers a solid buffer, too.
In Your Dorm:
Completely adjust your schedule so that it’s the opposite of whomever you’re trying to avoid. Do they always leave the building at 8:45 a.m. to go to breakfast? Head to Peirce at 8 a.m. so that you can enjoy a nice, relaxing meal and then bolt well before they arrive. Make an effort not to hang out in their hallway, too, unless you want to be certain of an awkward run-in. If you live on the same hall, heaven forbid, start using your window as an entrance/exit.
Okay, okay. So maybe these suggestions are a little unsustainable and may only make your life harder. After all, Kenyon proves that it’s impossible to hide from someone forever.
It’s not the best situation in the world, but you’ll need to decide if you want to own up to your weekend misadventures and offer apologies if necessary. An alternative is to do what most students do: sheepishly laugh and shake it off. Never underestimate a light-hearted joke’s ability to clear the air. At the end of the day, being able to laugh at your own awkward situation makes you feel a little more in charge of it.
Hannah Lee Leidy ’18 is an English major with an emphasis in creative writing. She loved her semester of running Kenyon Q’s, as she found it much easier to give advice to anyone else aside from herself.