I know the school year isn’t over yet, but participating in the live-action game of musical chairs better known as “Trying to find a seat in Thomas on admitted-student vist day” last week made me nostalgic for my pre-frosh days. During my visit, my thought process was more along the lines of “Oh my God everyone’s so adult and cool and they smoke and eat ramen and debate the gender binary and I’m going to throw up all over everything and can they tell my mom is waiting for me at the Kenyon Inn?”
As I watched the prospies huddle in groups, clutching their orientation packets, I started to think about the things I wish I’d known when I was in their shoes.
- You don’t have to do everything. — I know the dominant college narrative makes it sound like there’s something deeply, darkly wrong with you if you’re not base-jumping and winning debates and attending intramural volleyball games all on the same day, but sometimes it really is okay to just sit in your room, watch Netflix and eat Cheez-Its.
- You should probably do some things. — Not everything will be your exact cup of tea, but you owe it to yourself to give it a shot. If the very concept of frats makes you want to dry-heave, force yourself south to Old Kenyon. If hipster culture is your personal hell, stroll north to the Horn for some good old-fashioned awkward head-bobbing. It probably won’t suck as much as you think it will, and if it does, odds are someone else there will hate it too and you will instantly bond for life because everyone knows the most important relationships in life are based on mutual hatred of the same thing.
- It’s okay not to know everything. — Yes, Bexley is different from Bexleys, Weaver is indeed that weird little stone building you already passed 15 times tonight and there is a blatant surplus of Gunds, but you really had no way of knowing any of that, so just stumble around and embrace your cluelessness while it’s still charming. Nobody likes the freshman who “totally knew that the whole time, guys.”
- Do everything in moderation. — This applies to absolutely everything, from the Tequila Sunrises at Hanna to the amount of work you try to get done in a single sitting. You won’t be happy if you’re two shots away from a liver transplant by October break, nor, funnily enough, will you be happy if you hole up staring cross-eyed at your Quest for Justice reading night after night until you finally snap and begin plotting an elaborate scheme to find, reanimate and violently murder Aristotle.
- That super-cool new cartilage piercing is probably not a good idea. — I know it’s a college rite of passage or whatever, and you haven’t lived until you’ve stared hepatitis in the face at the place in Mount Vernon with the Kenyon student discount, but that brief moment of rebellion means you’ll be stuck sleeping on the non-pierced side of your face for three months because the sensation of pillow against your poor, sore, possibly infected ear is literally more than you can stand.
This post goes out to any prospective Kenyon students out there who might be reading this HEY GUYS COME TO KENYON I KNOW YOU’RE “BETWEEN HERE AND DENISON” BUT YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY COME HERE BECAUSE WE’RE BETTER AND WE’RE IN A MOVIE AND WE HAVE A PUPPY AND OTHER GOOD STUFF.