Project Open Voices: What I Learned In School Today

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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 “What I Learned In School Today” and was authored anonymously. POV is accepting submissions for their newest publication until December 1st, so if you want to share your story, email openvoicessubmissions@gmail.com. If you would like to remain anonymous, you can submit by signing into a second email account: projectopenvoices@gmail.com (password: kenyoncollege).  Continue reading

Project for Open Voices: New Publication Teaser

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Over the past year, the Thrill has been spotlighting personal narratives from the Project for Open Voices’ first publication: now, we’re proud to present the Kenyon community with an exclusive excerpt from POV’s new publication, due out tomorrow, April 10th.

When I got to Kenyon, I had no expectations. To be honest, as soon as I got there I was only awaiting  junior year so I could leave and study-abroad elsewhere. Continue reading

Project for Open Voices: “My Mom Sent Money via Snail Mail…Cash, Often Rolled Into a Sock”

The Thrill is proud to feature personal narratives courtesy of the Project for Open Voices. Today’s essay was authored by an anonymous member of the class of 2011 for POV’s first publication.

The day I arrived at Kenyon the sky was a brilliant azure color; not one cloud hung in sight. The campus wasn’t full yet because I was one of the Pre-O service kids and we arrived a week before freshman Orientation. My roommate had already settled into the dorm room – she arrived a week earlier than I did for the Writing and Thinking program. She wasn’t in the room when I first opened the door. Looking back I wish that she was there, so I didn’t have to face the stark, empty side of the room, my side, by myself. I had two suitcases filled with stuff; it didn’t take me long to unpack. Once I put everything away, my side remained stark. I only brought the essentials, nothing that made the room look like home. I remember after everything was there looking out of my large Norton bedroom at the perfect green lawn, and the beautiful blue sky, and crying. No, it was more like wailing. Continue reading

Project for Open Voices: “Racist Story”

The Thrill is proud to feature personal narratives courtesy of the Project for Open Voices. Today’s essay was authored by Jacqueline Neri ’13 for POV’s first publication.

During my first year at Kenyon, I had a very uncomfortable experience that made me doubt whether I was at the right school or not because of how different I was from everyone else culturally. I had never really experienced blatant acts of racism, but I had always been a supporter of anti-discrimination groups because I have always been aware that discrimination exists. One day I was sitting in the library doing homework in one of the cubicles by the entrance door and two white females were sitting across from me. They couldn’t see me, so I assume that they didn’t know I was there because I was studying very quietly by myself. They were having a normal conversation until one of them said something that made me really angry and sad at the same time.

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Project for Open Voices: “Exotic”

The Thrill is proud to feature personal narratives courtesy of the Project for Open Voices. Today’s essay was published anonymously in POV’s first publication.

There is a lack of dialogue about diversity issues on this campus. As a student of color from a working-class family background, there are times when I feel like an Other because of instances of discrimination, racism, classism, or sheer ignorance that go unnoticed and are not discussed, as if this silence was a form of tacit acceptance. The fact that I notice how problematic such remarks are sets me apart; unless, that is, I’m with friends who recognize what’s wrong with things we often see and hear. Here are a few examples.

In a class, for a project, someone compiled her friend’s bucket lists and added illustrations and names. On the list of a male friend was “hook up with a black girl.” The quote reminded me of Joseph Conrad’s description of a native woman in the Belgian Congo in Heart of Darkness: “And from right to left along the lighted shore moved a wild and gorgeous apparition of a woman…She was savage and superb, wild-eyed and magnificent; there was something ominous and stately in her deliberate progress.” Like Conrad, this individual depicted black girls as sexual objects he was keen to explore. Even if the list hadn’t been taken seriously, the attempt to present such a comment as humorous reveals the author’s ignorance of its racist, imperialist, sexist and oppressive connotations. Continue reading

Project for Open Voices: “Must Be the Recession”

The Thrill is proud to feature personal narratives courtesy of the Project for Open Voices. Today’s essay was authored by Jenny Colmenero ’13.

This essay comes from the first issue of the Project for Open Voices’ publication of student narratives. P.O.V. began as a student-led coalition that grew out of a desire to address issues of diversity, identity and inclusion on Kenyon’s campus.

“Must be the Recession,” by Jenny Colmenero:

One of the reasons I’m so thankful for being able to attend Kenyon is that it has allowed me to develop a consciousness of diversity and difference in a way that I couldn’t have at any other school. I believe that this is because of the brilliant education I’ve received from my classes, professors, and friends. However, I also believe that this is because Kenyon has a lot of ignorant people. Developing consciousness can occur through a careful and slow process of self-reflection and illumination – or you can be smacked in the face with ignorance so many times that you can’t help but wake up. Continue reading