Hey, it’s me, grandmagrandpa. I’ve cried twice over the past couple days, but now, my tears are dry and I’m ready to talk. You might be struggling, too. It’s February, for Gund’s sake. Whenever I talk to any of my friends, I say, “how are you?” and they say, “tired” or “IT’S FINE” or “aaaaAAAAHHhhhh,” which makes me think we’re all in need of a little pep talk. There, there, my sweet. Grandmagrandpa’s here. I promise that you’re going to be okay.
At Kenyon, we still like to pretend that we’re okay with being told the average student reads around 200 pages a week. Even though we know that’s bullshit and that no healthy person can sustain such crazy levels of academic stress without freaking out sometimes, we still like to tell ourselves and each other that it’s fine. We’ll make it through. But sometimes it’s not fine. Sometimes you’re sitting in the middle of your room, crying because the K-card reader wouldn’t take your K-card and now all your laundry is dirty because you don’t have any quarters and the bank is closed and you can hear your socks whispering, “help uuusss… Cat… We are such filthy boys…”
It can be really distressing when things don’t go your way. Having a paper due tomorrow that you haven’t started can feel a lot scarier in the moment than it does a couple years later. But that’s the thing– it’s just for a moment. It’s just for that one class, maybe even two classes. And even if it isn’t for a moment– even if you end up dropping all your second-semester classes like I did freshman year– it’s okay. You’re okay. You are going to be okay. I’m okay. I’ve cried twice this week and it’s only Tuesday. I’m eating, breathing, sleeping (sometimes), talking to my guinea pigs, and smiling at my friends.
Speaking of your friends, if you’re feeling significantly not-okay, you should tell them. They want to know how you’re doing. They actively care about your well-being. Maybe they’re not feeling okay, either, and you can talk about it together. We put so much pressure on ourselves at this bat-filled PWI that sometimes we forget to lean on other people. I promise you that you’re not alone. Even if you just can’t book that Health Center slot you wanted, or your professor isn’t understanding when you say, “I have a Big PTSD and I need you to chill out a little bit,” you are still a valuable, complete, incredible, and kind individual.
If you are not actively a complete and utter asshole, you’re doing fine. Grandmagrandpa loves you. Kenyon is insane, but you can do this. If you need a little outside help, there are SRPAs, the clergy, the Counseling Center, and your friends. Grandmagrandpa wants you to look after yourself. Skip the reading if you need to and drink a lot of water. Your health is more important than anything, period.