Quintessential Kenyon: Student Life, Uncut

Packing for First-Years: Expectations and Realities

Phillip Gray Clark
August 20, 2015

The Class of 2019 will be up in just a few days, so it’s getting down to the wire. As an extreme overpacker (literally ask anyone who has ever traveled with me), I can give some good advice on what is necessary for your first year up on the Hill. 


  • A winter coat. Guys, I can’t say this enough. Gambier is cold. Especially coming from a place where average winter temperatures were about 40/50 degrees, for me, a winter coat was a must. Or bring two. Make sure that they are warm, and if you want to break it out when it gets beneath 40 degrees, no shame there. That’s how I got through my first winter. Bring two if you want, a little excessive, but a little variety is always fun!
  • BOOTS. A must. Timberlands, Polo, Sorel ... every Kenyon student has their favorite brand, but do get a pair to navigate the winter terrain.
  • Something formal. Now, I’m not saying you need to go all out and bring your tuxedo or your prom dress, but major props if you do. But for sure do bring something that you can wear to convening dinner and the whole slew of formals that come around the week before finals. 


Maybe bring:

  • A flag. I’m a big fan of this. A flag is an easy way to decorate those boring dorm walls and a great way to remember your home, a friend or an incredible trip. I have my state flag, the flag of Morocco (where my sister lives) and a few others all in my room. They are an easy way to fill up wall space, and a great keepsake. 


  • One fun costume. This is hard for me, because Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, but you could bring a costume. It is something you can wear on Halloween, and I have had professors who do dress up for class. 

You could bring, but probably don’t need to:

  • Summer wear. Guys, Ohio is cold. You will have max two weeks of shorts and tee-shirt weather, and then it will become flannels and North Face. Don’t overload on the summer gear.
  • A yachting hat. This is just a personal one, but I really love my captain's hat.  

Don’t bring:

  • Lanyards. Have you ever wanted to broadcast to the entire school that you just moved into the freshman quad and still are trying to find out which building is Ascension? If the answer is no, don’t wear the lanyard.