It’s Practically Summer!

 

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Lindsay Lohan and Lindsay Lohan in the 1998 Masterpiece The Parent Trap, but also a candid shot from any common space at Kenyon

Cries of, “I don’t want to be here!” and “Why?” stir the Olin air; restless, kicking tantrums mark the gravel of Middle Path; hands and jowls are left sticky and unwashed after copious amounts of fruit snacks. “Finals,” we grumble, but I see childish beginnings. We’re filling our noggins with knowledge that will ideally lead us to a successful adulthood, but it’s clear that our social graces and customs can’t keep up, rendering us no more than big, hairy kids in a year-long sleepaway camp.

I, like many others, spend my summers as a counselor waving my arms and shout-singing for the sake of the children. And though I am far from the first to draw comparisons between Kenyon and summer camp, it feels especially fitting in this time of desperation to look back on some sun-soaked memories and realize that perhaps we are not so far from happiness as we imagine! There are elements of that childhood escape all around us, let’s check ’em out:

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Kenyon’s Empathy Exam

This post was guest authored by Amy Bergen ’04 in response to this article. 

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The open letter’s a strange form; the audience named, the rest of us on the periphery, eagerly eavesdropping. I read Annaliese Milano’s “An Open Letter to Kenyon: On Being an Inadequate ‘Performer’ of Mental Illness” via my Facebook feed, where 40% of us get our news nowadays. I graduated from Kenyon eleven years ago, in an era where we communicated mostly via the “all-stu”, an e-mail address that allowed you to send missives to the entire student body. We used and abused this function, debated and consoled, commiserated via in-group signaling in a way that only an insular community can. Passion, pain and reason vied for space, Facebook-style. The only filter was the one you gave yourself before you hit Send. All-stus were our Internet, our open marketplace. Continue reading

10 o’clock list: Similarities Between Kamp Kenyon and Summer Camp

As we once again return to the Hill for another year filled with life, love, learning and lorp, one of the most common struggles a student faces is re-acclimatizing to both the community and schedule that is in place here at Kenyon. For many, it is a rude awakening: for those who did not have summer jobs or internships, the prospect of having to be mentally and physically present anywhere before 11:00 AM other than your family home’s rec room where you passed out last night on the couch after eating three plates of nachos while watching Nick @ Nite until it was light out is a cruel absurdity.

Luckily for me, I spent my summer working at an sleepaway, coed, ages 8-15 summer camp for 10 weeks, and therefore have made an oddly seamless transition into life back at Kenyon, for what I learned over the summer is that is that being a counselor at camp and being a student at Kenyon are actually eerily related experiences. So for those of you who never had the pleasure of experiencing it, I have boiled down the essential highlights of camp life to show you how similar to college it really is. Enjoy, and don’t forget your movement clothes.

1. Communal living – If you think privacy is a luxury in dorm life, imagine having to share a 10 x 10 wooden hut with a literal horde of children, whose only true pleasure in life seems to be that of sitting on your bed and rubbing their sandy feet into your pillow. Now living in a New Apt single, I find myself almost missing the feeling of ten pairs of eleven-year-old eyes, staring at me and asking me endless questions as I gracefully try to peel myself out of a wet one-piece bathing suit. At least I still get to share a bathroom! Continue reading

10 o’clock list: Reasons Not to Look Ahead, Re: Finals

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We are done with school in three weeks. Have you puked yet? Out of stress, I mean? Where are you going to live? What’s the plan? Here are some reason not to look ahead re: finals.

1Your days of unabashed inebriation are probably coming to a close, either for the summer, or for adult times. “Blah blah blah be an adult, blah blah blah, Maureen, Gramma doesn’t like when you’re blackout.” OKAY, I GET IT.

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10 o’clock list: Cars Kenyon Students Drive

This is a car from the car show that happened this past weekend, not an actual vehicle driven by a Kenyon student.

This is a car from the car show that happened this past weekend, not an actual vehicle driven by a Kenyon student.

Sometimes I think I am attending college and sometimes I think I am attending academic camp for rich kids. But I’m graduating with a degree either way, right? The next time you would also like to be confused about the purpose of Kenyon College, take a look around one of the parking lots. And as Miracle Mahle, the Campus Safety Administrative Assistant, has told us, while 192 seniors,  101 juniors and 72 sophomores have a car at school, it must be kept in mind that having a motor vehicle at Kenyon , is a PRIVILEGE, not a right. Maybe that’s why there’s currently a Jaguar in the South 1 lot.

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Morning Weather Check: First Day of Class

Hello Kenyon Kampers, it is going to be warm and sunny for our first day of class. Though Kamp is technically coming to an end, you can still milk that late August sun for all it’s worth!  I predict the continuation of Karefree activites through at least Reading Days. Let’s hope for a nice Indian summer.

As a special first day of class present, here is a helpful modified song lyric that you can use during introductory meetings with either professors or first-year students:

Hey, I just met you

And you are crazy

See you all on Ransom lawn!

Morning Weather Check: Kamp Kenyon

Good morning, Kamp Kenyon! It’s another beautiful day in central Ohio. Yesterday afternoon, I swam in the Kokosing, walked to dinner in cutoffs, got sunburned and contemplated making some friendship bracelets.  Happy spring! Hope you’re appreciating Kenyon’s transition to summer kamp.

Did anyone notice that kamp(us) smelled like a bonfire last night? Maybe the Delts held a secret Wednesday night kampfire singalong! I hope they invited P.F. Kluge, because Kluge has some feelings about kamp. You should probably read this Kluge-penned Kamp Kenyon thought piece in its entirety.

Kluge, on kamp kounselors/professors: “Some call you by your first name, some by your last, with a mister or ms. in front. Some put chairs in a circle, campfire style, and others stand in front of the class behind a podium.” Some know how to shortsheet beds, and some know only how to TP a kabin.

Somebody needs to give Kluge a talk about kamp spirit. See you at recreational swim!