10 o’clock list: Five More Things I Wish I’d Known at the Beginning

Last year, when I was but a wee second-semester first year, I wrote a 10 o’clock list about all the very important lessons I’d learned over the course of the preceding seven months. I stand by that list, but now — as a newly minted Kenyon “grown-up” with two full hours of sophomore year behind me — I feel it’s time to add a few words of semi-wisdom that eluded me last spring. But fear not, first years! Pretty much every single upperclassman will likely be making these mistakes right alongside you. Because none of us are real adults.

  1. Don’t get partied out — I know the first few weeks of the year are a beautiful, dizzying whirlwind of house music and highlighter-streaked white T-shirts and warm beer, but save some energy for parties to come. Deb Ball awaits, and way off in the distance lies a magical event called Sendoff — which, if you get too jaded too early, you might mistakenly opt to spend in bed with a 4 p.m. hangover and a Netflix Instant Queue full of ‘90s-era rom-coms because “what am I going to miss, anyway?” Everything.
  2. Don’t fake sick (too often) — Kenyon professors are generally pretty sympathetic to illness-related absence, but don’t take advantage or you’ll back yourself into a “First-Year Who Cried Wolf” corner. Sure, sometimes you might have to cite vague “stomach issues” and spend a glorious class hour eating soft-serve on Ransom Lawn, but don’t overdo it. Otherwise, come finals week, you might find yourself vomiting profusely into your trash can while simultaneously trying to craft a sensitive, nuanced term paper. This is impossible to do.
  3. On that note, try not to actually get sick — The Kenyon Krud may seem inevitable, but there are preventive measures you can take. Emergen-C and cough drops will only get you so far — remember that before downing tequila-and-Nyquil shots, DFMO-ing with 40 people in 40 minutes and then injecting the Ebola virus directly into one another’s veins, or whatever the kids are doing these days.
  4. Call your parents — No matter how busy things get, try to get them on the phone once in a while so they know you’re alive and well and enrolled in courses and haven’t devolved into a Nell-like feral forest creature. It takes roughly three minutes (admittedly, slightly longer if you have to engage in the rite-of-passage “Women’s and Gender Studies is a legitimate major, Dad” debate), it can be really nice to hear their voices, and if you don’t, they have a funny way of bringing it up every time you G-Chat them to ask for money.
  5. Seize the day — No, I’m not talking about driving to Columbus on a whim or skinny-dipping in the Kokosing at midnight or looking around your dinner table and realizing how, practically overnight, your friends have become your family and Time Flies and we’re all so unimaginably lucky to be Sharing This Experience. All of those are great, but what I’m really talking about are the miniature Buckeyes sold at the Market. None of this “Oh, my roommate got a bag so I’ll just have a few” noise — those chocolatey, peanut-buttery little bastards sell out like Beanie Babies in 1994, so be wise and stock up when you can.

3 responses

  1. Pingback: The First Semester Recap: How to Talk to Your Parents | The Thrill

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