The Ritual of Kenyon Mornings
These past two semesters at Kenyon, I’ve developed a morning schedule to which I’ve become rather attached. I wake up at 7:30 or 8, go work out (sometimes) and then head to Peirce. As Kenyon’s meal plan is automatically included in the tuition and fees, I consider it my civic duty to eat three out of three meals each day at Peirce. Breakfast is something that I would normally skip in high school, but now that I no longer have a bus to catch before the sun rises, it’s a habit that I have happily developed. At Peirce, breakfast is open from 7:30 to 10:15 a.m., leaving me a wide range of time in which to eat. Two fried eggs with ketchup, grapefruit and a cup of tea are my usual fare, but occasionally I’ll opt to wait in the omelet line or grab some yogurt and cereal. While Peirce’s menus change from day to day, certain breakfast items are a constant. It’s comforting to know that no matter what kind of day you’re having, there will always be eggs.
The nearly empty "new side" of Peirce on a quiet early morning.
The menu is only one facet of my breakfast routine, however. On my more productive days I’ll get to New Side early enough to see it almost completely empty, with plenty of window seats to choose from. I’ll be the first of my friends to arrive, and I’ll watch them trickle in gradually, shedding coats onto chairs and heading to the servery, bleary-eyed and hungry. On my lazier days, I’ll be the one cramming a chair around an already crowded table, running to get the last hot food before the servery closes. But whatever day I’m having, there are always friends and food and room for one extra chair.
The final cornerstone in my morning routine is the New York Times crossword puzzle. While during my first year of college I often did this alone, last year found me a puzzle buddy in the shape of my friend Andrew. With his prowess at anagrams and my vast knowledge of ’70s sitcoms, we make a good team. The Monday puzzles take us a little under 20 minutes, while the Fridays take us all of breakfast and most of lunch to complete. Over break, we worked together (via text) to complete the “Mega Word” crossword put out by the Times, which spanned two full newspaper pages, and were able to figure out the ending anagram in time to submit our answer to the contest. We weren’t picked in the random drawing for winners, but it was a nice affirmation of how much we’ve grown as puzzlers to even be able to finish it.
My routine has been a solace throughout my time at Kenyon. College is wonderful, but it’s also hectic, and it has always been important to me to have things that I know won’t change, even if it’s for only a semester. With new classes, my routine is changing: with an 8:10 twice a week, I won’t have as much time for breakfasts and crosswords, but other things will stay the same. We’ll do the crossword at lunch instead. I’ll still eat my eggs in the morning. There will still be friends and food and things to look forward to.