I called my grandpa a few weeks ago, the day before I moved all of my belongings from my apartment in Gambier, and he suggested we have a family graduation in Kansas City, Missouri. I have two cousins who are graduating this year as well, one from high school and the other from college. My Papa Carl wants us all to come to his senior living center and walk down the hallway in our caps and gowns while our family cheers. It sounds cute, but that’s not my idea of an ending.
President Decatur has said multiple times that the seniors will have Commencement. However, whether or not I get to go through that ceremony isn’t what’s on my mind right now. Here’s a little bit of what I miss. This blog post will be far from cheery, but I hope it can give you a sense of what the joys of four years at Kenyon are.
I wish I could transplant the gap trail to my home in suburban Missouri so I could keep running and biking on it. If you are unaware, communities in Ohio have adapted unused railroad rights-of-way to create a system of interwoven bike trails. The Kokosing Gap Trail runs right behind the KAC, and is a great place to go for a walk/run/bike ride through nature. I’ll miss it and the rural roads surrounding Kenyon, as some of the best runs of my life happened right there.
One thing you can’t really do via video chat is play music with people. The latency of the video doesn’t allow for it. For that reason, I’ll miss the Knox County Symphony, the Millennial Pinks and Mark Twang, the three music groups I played in on campus. The Symphony has members that have played with the group for almost twice as long as I’ve been alive. It’s a great example of collaboration between Kenyon and the Knox County community to create something beautiful. The Millennial Pinks is a band I play bass in that reinvented itself this year to open up for Dehd at the first Horn Gallery show of the year. I’ll miss how lackadaisical band practices were. We played the same songs all year, and I never fully memorized the chords. Mark Twang will continue on, but we are unsure of how we will finish our LP. We’ve sunk 30 hours of recording time into it this semester at the WKCO studio on campus, but we don’t yet know how to finish it now that we had to leave Gambier. In the meantime, we’ll be releasing the demos we have in full.
I’m going to miss the people the most. I have plenty of friends who I did not get to say goodbye to and don’t know when I’ll get to see them again. It’s weird to think how some of these people have been part of my daily life for years, but now I’m only going to see them a couple times a year, at most. Just as well, I didn’t get to say a final in-person thank you to the professors, religious leaders and community members that had a huge influence on me: Sarah Petersen in neuroscience; Adam Pursel and Rachel Kessler, the pastor and chaplain I spent time with; Skip Trask and Jim Dunham, the guys making things happen at the Bike Barn. Some of these people are professors; some are not associated formally with Kenyon. They’ve had a huge influence on my life.
I’m ready to move on to my next thing, but I’m deeply sad that I won’t get a final goodbye. It’s the people that make a place a home.