With graduation just around the corner, the senior class is preparing to leave the Hill and join the real world. We’re saying goodbye to our professors and friends in younger class years. In just a few short weeks, I’ll be returning home with a Bachelor of Arts and eight semesters’ worth of cherished memories.
Why Kenyon? I want to try to answer this question honestly and candidly because I think it will bring me closure and help me say goodbye.
It’s a strange and odd feeling to describe what Kenyon College is to a person unfamiliar with Gambier, Ohio. We’ve all been asked, Where do you go to school? But being from Canada, where many people haven’t heard of a liberal arts education, I get the dreaded follow-up question more often than not: Why did you decide to go to Kenyon? Suddenly I’m face-to-face with the impossible task of describing this quirky but lovable school in the middle of nowhere. I may scramble together a few sentences if I’m lucky. Something about a tight-knit community, small class sizes and the value of a liberal arts education. In my head I laugh because no 30-second description can possibly do this place justice.
Marina Keegan, a Yale University graduate who passed away shortly after her commencement in 2012, put it best in her piece, “The Opposite of Loneliness,” which was published in the Yale Daily News.
Reflecting on her upcoming graduation, Keegan wrote: “It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team.”
The feeling of togetherness is exactly what the Kenyon community has given me. I found togetherness in my first-year hall in McBride, with friends I’m still close with today. It’s the camaraderie between two students studying in the library past midnight. It’s waving to each other on Middle Path. It’s eating at Peirce as a collective for three meals a day. I found this feeling at Summer Sendoff, with the sun setting behind Rosse and all of us together for one last time.
And we’re not perfect. As a student body we could be more inclusive, more tolerant of each other and less entitled to stealing Peirce dishes. But I believe we have a culture of tenacity and unity. We voice our opinions against the administration’s policy changes and 2020 Plan. We band together to protect the independence of the Peer Counselor and Sexual Misconduct Advisor programs. We care about each other’s well being and the future of this school.
Before the Friday bells play for the last time, I want to say thank you to our advisors, professors, classmates, parents and friends who have helped the senior class along the way. To future graduating classes, take advantage of everything this school has to offer before it’s too late. It goes by faster than you think.
Maya Lowenstein ’18 is a sociology and film major from Toronto, Ont. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.