The Thrill is proud to feature personal narratives courtesy of Project Open Voices, a coalition of students providing a platform for open dialogue on campus. Today’s essay is titled “I went to a rural public high school” and was authored anonymously. POV is always accepting new submissions, so if you want to share your story, email email@example.com. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can submit by signing into a second email account: firstname.lastname@example.org (password: kenyoncollege). POV meets Saturdays at 4pm in the Bemis music room in Peirce; new faces are always welcome.
I went to a rural public high school. We went on field trips to farms, participated in marching band competitions, had classmates with tractors. I did not have a college counselor, 100% of my graduating class did not go on to a four-year institution, and those that did stayed in the state. I had not heard of Choate, Groton, or Friends until I came to Kenyon, nor do I have friends at Princeton, Tufts, or Vassar as many people at Kenyon do. We accuse Kenyon of being stuck in a bubble, but that bubble is bigger than we think; it contains all other elite colleges. We guess the seventeen other schools that people applied to, we try to connect all our mutual friends, we know the reputations of all the similarly-tiered schools. As a first-year, I was embarrassed because I couldn’t participate in these conversations, but now as a senior I am well versed in elite college culture. People are startled to discover that I went to public school and have had such different experiences. I don’t know the exact number of students from private versus public schools, but we need to be careful not to conform to the liberal elite bubble so quickly that our unique backgrounds are left neglected.