First Years React: Deb Ball 2019


Deb Ball is most certainly a unique Kenyon rite of passage. We’ve all seen too much, we’ve all done too much, none of which we can unsee or undo. We asked our new (first-year) writers to reflect and share their first times.

“Here is a list of the things I saw on Middle Path at 2 a.m.: a sleeping girl covered in marinara sauce, someone throwing up into a sombrero, a heated argument between my friend and her (former) yoga instructor, a man tying balloon animals, two broken ankles, one scared prospie, my CA, and a freshman boy wearing nothing but an American flag. Successful night, I think!” – Zoë Appelbaum

“I was at Deb Ball for all of 15 minutes before I was able to sum it all up in one sentence: I have glitter in my eyeball and I am tired. I was overcome not with the feeling of having fun, but with the feeling that I should be. With wide eyes, my close buddy turned to me and said: “Did you know people come from Oberlin to go to this?” I looked around the room. I had a deep admiration for the facepaint, live music, and highly experimental dancing. But I was also sweating off a copious amount of black eyeliner and feeling the push of sparkly gold against my retina. Dehd and the Millenial Pinks launched into Just Like Heaven and the exclamation “I LOVE THE CURE!!!!rolled off my tongue without permission from my brain. My exhaustion and the foreign object in my eye were both placed on the back burner. For three magical minutes, I loved everything about the basement and everything about Kenyon itself. And then all at once, I started craving the pizza rolls in my micro-fridge. I told my friends I loved them as they continued to dance, and retreated back to Lewis to watch True Crime Youtube videos in my bed. ” – Sydney Schulman

“I had a fun night at Deb Ball! As I arrived with one more button undone on my shirt than I can really say I was comfortable with, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Deb Ball was deeply committed to enforcing fire codes. The orderly single-file line stretching around the back of Old K was a testament to our dedication to fire safety. It’s like I always say, you can’t be having fun if you’re not being safe.” – Keiran Lorentzen

“This was certainly the sweatiest all campus I have attended at Kenyon. My experience at Deb Ball is debilitatingly clear in my mind. All too clear. When my friends were lost in the crowd, they were gone to me for the night, lost in the thrashing smorgasbord of flesh in front of me. I left as soon as I realized someone had shaken glitter into my mouth in the mosh pit. In short, I saw a frog on my walk, and it was the best part of my night.” – Sydney Fallon

“Deb Ball, Deb Ball, Deb Ball…truly, I waited in line longer than I stayed. I came up with my look walking to Old K by putting my friend’s button-down over my denim jacket– subversive–and we were in. Not quite in, because the party was at maximum capacity. Through my perspective from outside the orange construction mesh, Deb Ball quickly got a lot less glamorous. I spent a lot of that time sympathizing with Campo, who I saw patrolling the patio of Old K and berating students for vaping. I wouldn’t want to be on duty that night. It is their job to look and was nothing there that I would like to deeply see. Though I didn’t stay long, I left with a distinct sense of admiration for my fellow students who were able to let loose and hope that someday, maybe I’ll be that person that first-years will try to unsee.” – Theresa Carr

“Yeah. My excuse was that all my clothes are gray and the shiniest thing I brought to Kenyon with me is an enormous pair of peacock earrings my dad’s coworker brought back from India. Anyway, my night went like this: I watched Incredibles II with a friend, it ended at 11, I quietly returned to my room where my flu-ridden roommate was sleeping, and I watched It’s Always Sunny until I fell asleep with my glasses on, only to be awakened soon thereafter by the absurd volume of my neighbors who, despite the party having started an hour prior, had not yet left their room. After they left, though–best Saturday night sleep since I got here. Mather’s first floor was a ghost town. No hollers, shouts, clatters, or door slams for hours on end. Norton-esque tranquility.” – Molly McLaughlin


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