Project for Open Voices: “An Open Note to Kenyon”

The Thrill is proud to feature personal narratives courtesy of the Project for Open Voices. Today’s essay is titled “An Open Note to Kenyon,” and was authored anonymously. POV is always accepting new submissions, so if you want to share your story, email If you would like to remain anonymous you can send us your response by signing into a second email (password: kenyoncollege).


We are not all white, elite, and wealthy.

We are the daughters of public school teachers and the sons of local line cooks.

We can fill out the FAFSA and CSS Profile in our sleep.

We are Pell Grant recipients.

We agonize over our accumulating student debt, but are thankful to attend Kenyon.

Our grandparents were farmers in the West and migrant workers in the South.

We shop at Goodwill and the Salvation Army.

Our friends pay for our dinner out.

You see us working in the library, student activities office, KAC, etc.

We save up money in the hope of traveling home for school breaks.

We proudly work minimum wage.

We are black, white, brown, and every color in between.

Our bank accounts barely have enough for next semester’s textbooks.

We speak out for social causes and perform community service, but are silent about ourselves.

For the last few years at Kenyon I have passed as the typical Kenyon student: (White, wealthy, privileged).

I am tired.

I need to be heard.

We need to be heard.

11 responses

  1. Correction: ALL Kenyon students shop at Goodwill. Some because they have to. Most because they want to look like the some who have to

    • That really isn’t the point, I hope you know that. Privilege doesn’t make a person evil, but it does need to be recognized. To exist as a cohesive community, we really need to be able to talk about class, race, and gender inequality as they exist at Kenyon. Look around you. Be mindful.

      • And we have to remember the more often than not, this inequality is not visible and more insidious for that very reason.

  2. What about underprivileged white students? I am one. And privileged black students? I know them. Is being white a privilege, even if you don’t pay tuition?

  3. “Our friends pay for our dinners out”

    It’s great that you have generous and understanding friends. Please try to pay them back in a timely fashion, because you never know their true financial situation. I find myself paying for my friends’ meals, drinks, etc. on occasion because my friends seem to think that I have unlimited funds due to the fact that my father has a prestigious job. I’m too embarrassed to tell them that he was fired and that I’m paying for everything with what little money I have left over from my summer job.

    I’m not saying you’re doing anything wrong, and if your friends never ask you to pay them back, then of course you shouldn’t feel like you have to, but just be aware that their situations might also be complicated!

Share your thoughts on this post.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: