Quintessential Kenyon: Student Life, Uncut

Common Applications. Or: Origin Story. Alternatively: Yes, I Have Always Been This Cool.

Frances Sutton
December 5, 2012

Hello there!

My name is Frances Sutton.  I am a senior at Kenyon College. I guess we should start at the very beginning...I was born in California and raised in Western Massachusetts (relevant: http://youtu.be/QWxsYqCAS-k). I am the product of two nerdy sports and music enthusiasts, which means I am a nerd who gets really intense about New England sports (…not the Revolution though-I’m usually too busy griping about the Red Sox to pay attention to soccer) and how amazing the Beatles were. At Kenyon, I am an Anthropology major (hence the dorky picture of me hanging out with a human mandible). I am a DJ for the school radio station, WKCO 91.9 (my shows are Tuesday nights from 11 p.m. - 1 a.m. and Friday afternoons from 3-4 p.m. - stream the show here!)  I am a member of the Horn Gallery, which brings music/art acts to campus, and Archons, which is a Greek community service organization. I also work at the Kenyon Bookstore (so I’m really skilled at scooping ice cream and making coffee).  Sometimes I write for the Kenyon Collegian (http://www.kenyoncollegian.com/opinion/notes-from-a-broad-pats-lose-patriotism-wins-1.2783729#.ULLS5Y5ZY0M) but most of the time, I can be found in Peirce Dining Hall, drinking coffee and procrastinating going to the library. 

When I was a senior in high school, I wrote my Common Application essay about the time I worked at the front desk of the Holyoke YMCA and almost got myself fired. I was a fresh, brace-faced sixteen year old and my coworkers had left me in charge because it was a slow, Sunday afternoon. Out of nowhere, a grungy, twenty-year-old man came into the Y and asked me if his band could use the locker room. He explained that they were on tour from New Jersey, hadn’t showered in six days, and couldn’t afford a motel room so they were living in their van. He promised me a free CD and their eternal love and gratitude in exchange for turning a blind eye to the rules of the YMCA. Conflicted, I stalled by asking, “Is your band any good?” He replied, “No.”

I knew that if I was caught letting scruffy strangers into the YMCA, I would probably be fired, BUT I also knew that the 1970s hit song by the Village People about the YMCA clearly stated, “You can get yourself clean.” I looked at the desperate, dirty, non-rock star in front of me and said, “Okay, but you guys need to be quick!” He smiled and ran outside to van to tell the rest of the band. Within minutes, the original grungy guy and four equally grungy, shirtless guys walked through the front door, each pulling a tiny, wheelie, carry-on suitcase behind him. It was a scene that was as precious as it was weird. I felt like even if I got in trouble, it would be worth it just for this bizarre wheelie-suitcase moment. They gave me their CD and I asked them to autograph it, just in case they ever got famous. (Spoiler alert: they did not).

I didn’t get fired for my YMCA shenanigans and I didn’t write that story for the Common App because I thought it would make me look like a modern day Mother Theresa. I mean, don't get me wrong, I am a big believer in helping people out (there’s no denying the indescribable satisfaction that comes from taking a hot shower after days upon days of hanging out in your own filth, amiright?) but I mainly like that story because it’s funny, weird, and adorable. A lot of things in life are like that (the survival of wombats as a species) and a ton of things at Kenyon are like that. I would like to use this blog to share those things with you. Small, liberal arts colleges have many similarities, but it’s their unique stories and quirks that help people determine where they belong. I definitely belong at Kenyon (and not just because there are a lot of grungy, musicians here) and hopefully, you will follow this blog and feel like you do too.