Meet a PC: Gina Rickert ’14


Every week, The Thrill features a member of a student-support organization to bring awareness about the various resources available to the student body on campus. Stay safe this weekend, and know that there is always someone you can talk to if you need help.

This week, we are featuring a Peer Counselor, Gina Rickert ’14, from Downers Grove, Illinois.

Cookie pie or giant cookie? Giant cookie. I always feel a little sick on giant cookie day, but it’s always worth it.
 What’s the best meal you’ve ever had (excluding cookie pie and/or giant cookie)? I generally like all the foods, so this is exceptionally difficult to answer…. but if I had to choose, I’d probably say this year’s thanksgiving dinner. My dad and uncle made sukiyaki (it’s a Japanese dish. Because they’re Japanese…) and my mom made the traditional american thanksgiving turkey, sweet potato casserole, etc (because she’s American? I guess?).  I ate so much I thought I was going to explode and/or throw up, but in a good way. I also think I may marry that sweet potato casserole. We will be very happy together.
What’s the last good book you read?  For my psychology class–Drugs and Behavior with Professor Paula Millin, who is coincidentally my favorite ever–we just read Memoirs of an Addicted Brain: A Neuroscientist Examines his Former Life on Drugs by Marc Lewis. It kind of made me feel like I have to try all the drugs to be a quality neuroscientist, you know?  He really gets it in a way I never will.  
Why do you love your hometown? Besides the fact that my best friends, family, and cat all are there. Downers Grove, Illinois…Well, I’ll answer this in terms of a sort of metaphor. There’s a house down the street from mine that had a giant tree-carving of a woman in the front yard for as long as I can remember. I always felt that she captured everything about Downers Grove fairly accurately.  She was about 10 feet tall, pretty ugly, and he would re-paint her for every season. She was a Downers Grove landmark. For Grammy season she was Lady Gaga, at Christmas she was a weird elf with a lot of cleavage, at Halloween she was a witch. Her boobs also got progressively pointier which was confusing. We took a lot of selfies with her back in the day. When my brother asked the man’s son what was up with the carving he said “uhh I don’t know, my dad likes to carve.” Unfortunately, when the man moved not too long ago (at that point she was obviously painted as a real estate agent) he had to cut her down. I was devastated. I still am. Take that as you will. Also, that’s not a metaphor anymore–it was in my head though.  
What is your favorite place to nap on campus? Everywhere. I can sleep anywhere and regularly do so. I don’t want anyone to steal my favorite spot, so I’m going to keep that one to myself. But my most recent nap happened on the Peirce couches yesterday – that’s a pretty solid place, except the cushions start falling off after a bit. I was a professional public place napper freshman year when I had mono. Once I took a really quality nap in the alumni dining room just sitting at a table with my face in a chemistry book for seven hours (no one woke me up/checked if I was alive). Another time I fell asleep in the downstairs bathroom in Peirce while I was peeing and napped there for an unknown amount of time.
What movie have you watched most frequently and why? I watched the Phantom of the Opera at least 55 times as a wee one because I was strangely obsessed with the musical.  That was before I started singing, so it makes even less sense–but maybe it was a foreshadowing deal.
Why did you become a PC? When Patrick Gilligan asked me if I would like to be a part of starting the Peer Counselors, I was the most excited ever about the idea.  My freshman year I didn’t have many friends, and I was sort of miserable in terms of non-academic life; I needed someone to talk to and didn’t really have anyone–a PC is exactly what I needed!  In addition to that, I am also very passionate about mental health awareness.  When I was young my favorite TV show was Dr. Phil (don’t judge) because I was super interested in all the mental health issues discussed and I couldn’t understand why people’s families weren’t accepting of them with whatever illness they had, even in like 3rd and 4th grade. I’ve also been living with depression and anxiety for a long time so I feel like I have a lot to offer in terms of helping other students going through similar things. Not to get all Christian on you, but I really believe I am here–on earth, at Kenyon, wherever I happen to be–to serve others in the best way I can, and the Peer Counselors has given me the opportunity to do that in a way I would never be able to otherwise.  Leading support groups, one-on-one PCing, and helping plan de-stigmatization events has filled a huge hole that I didn’t even know I had in my life.

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