On Spring Break at Kenyon
For many Kenyon students, spring break is a chance to spend two relaxing weeks at home with family; others travel to visit friends and relatives or to explore new places; athletes on sports teams flock to warmer climates in preparation for their upcoming season. For the first time, though, I found myself staying on campus. An equestrian team competition happened to fall during the middle of break, causing me to spend the first half of the two-week break in Gambier.
Although Kenyon always has that idyllic-middle-of-nowhere feel, the campus is usually bustling with the energy of students hurrying to and from classes, chatting on Middle Path with friends, fervently studying or grabbing a quick meal. Kenyon is a relatively small campus, and emotions permeate the environment – often passion and enthusiasm, but occasionally midterm-related stress and frustration. Spending a week at Kenyon without the vibrant energy of students and staff definitely felt a bit strange, but it allowed me the opportunity to enjoy campus without the usual constraints of a daily schedule.
Even though it was spring break, I had quite a bit of work to do, so in a way, having a week on campus to myself was just what I needed. I know many people can’t get work done in their rooms, but for me, that’s always where I’m most productive – I get easily distracted in spaces with lots of other people. Over break, however, the library – usually packed with studying students – was almost completely deserted, and I found myself doing homework there more easily than I’ve been able to in the past. Wiggin Street Coffee – a place usually far too overstimulating for me to concentrate – was peaceful and quiet, a perfect place to enjoy a chai latte and work on a paper.
Blissfully nearly empty!
Being on campus for a week without the distraction of friends, classes and other obligations meant having the time to take long walks around campus, enjoy the warm spring weather (at least, until it started snowing – typical Ohio!) and linger on Middle Path admiring the beauty of Old Kenyon. I know that many Kenyon students (myself included) quickly get wrapped up in all of the many things going on at Kenyon. From schoolwork and clubs to sports and on-campus events, there’s always a lot to think about, and sometimes, it can be all too easy to forget about the beautiful place we get to live for four years. I’ve had such a busy start to the semester that I haven’t had much time to slow down, but spending a week on a nearly empty campus helped me remember how to appreciate Kenyon.
In a few days, campus will again be busy with students telling each other about the exciting things they did during their breaks. We’ll be back in class bright and early on Monday morning, Peirce will resume serving meals, the library will fill up with those seeking a quiet place to do homework, and Kenyon will return to its normal liveliness. It’ll be nice to get back into a routine and catch up with friends, but I’m glad I got to spend a quiet week in Gambier. It left me feeling refreshed and revived for the last few months of the semester.