The Sophomore Flex: Reflecting on a Year of Being Extra

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It started with a tweet.

“Good morning girls and gays,” wrote @ehjovan at 11:38 a.m. on 8/18/18. I was at least one of those things. I kept reading.

“today we do whatever we want… let’s risk it all for attention… god might not remember us but men will never forget.”

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It Was Just October

You'll never walk alone. (Via:

You’ll never walk alone. (Via:

October once was my favorite month. Carving pumpkins, drinking hot cider with my siblings on Saturday afternoons, and weekend softball tournaments with my dad cheering me on. Summer was a time for spreading out and escaping, but October always signified a time when I could squeeze my family in. But then there were the dark underbellies of October. Panic attacks before homecoming dances because I was worried I wouldn’t look perfect and hadn’t eaten in days because I needed something to control. Staying up late after my parents went to bed so I could sneak outside to check every pumpkin because I was anxious and thought our house would burn down from a stray candle. But those were past Octobers.

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It’s Okay Not to Be Okay

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I faced the same struggles that everyone faces in their first few weeks of college. I missed my friends and family back home, I was overwhelmed by classes and activities, and I had a bit of trouble making friends at first. Of course I realized this was all normal, but there was one slight difference in my situation.

The thing about being diagnosed with Major Chronic Depression, is even years after you’ve been treated and given medication, whenever you feel sad or upset sometimes you wonder if it means you’re “bad” again. Sometimes, it’s impossible to tell the difference and it’s confusing as all hell.

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I Came Back Early From Abroad — And That’s OK.

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I remember touring colleges as a senior in high school. Every tour guide and admissions counselor touted their colleges’ excellent study abroad programs. The statistics were off the charts–50% of juniors go abroad or nearly 80% of this year’s junior class studied off-campus. Great, I thought, Obviously I’ll do the same. Three years later, when it was finally time to make a decision as a sophomore at Kenyon, my thoughts were more or less the same. Everybody goes abroad. The people that don’t? Lame. Afraid. After all, I am a French literature, Anthropology double major. We are globally minded. We are supposed to do these types of things.

With these notions blindly leading the way, I set about choosing my program. Going to France as a French major? Psh. Typical. Europe was decidedly not for me. Having previously studied various parts and aspects of Africa with great interest (and keeping my language requirement in mind), I looked to the vast continent with a population of over a billion people for answers. I narrowed my options down to a program in Senegal and a program in Madagascar–two nations with French as an official language. I eventually dismissed the Senegal program after a friend referred to it as a “white kids in Africa kind of deal” due to its vague focus. Madagascar it was. Continue reading

Project for Open Voices: “Closed Doors”

The Thrill is proud to feature personal narratives courtesy of the Project for Open Voices. Today’s essay is titled “Closed Doors,” 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).



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