Quintessential Kenyon: Student Life, Uncut

Reflecting on Four Decembers at Kenyon

Phillip Gray Clark
December 27, 2016

I can still so clearly remember my first fall at Kenyon, and now, three years later, I am so shocked to be halfway through my final year. Everyone says college will fly by faster than you can ever understand. And although overused, the phrase could not hold more truth. The past three years could not have gone by any more quickly, and now, as I sit in Wiggin Street Coffee sipping my vanilla latte, I can’t help but look back at these past three years bittersweet nostalgia. Every day at Kenyon is a blessing — a blessing that we can too often take for granted. Between the stresses of classes, jobs, and those upcoming finals, it is hard to appreciate this place for everything it has to offer. This being my last holiday season at Kenyon, I wanted to reflect on how I’ve grown during each of those Decembers past and present.

First December:

I remember so clearly being the most hated, yet admired, amongst my friends, because I had chosen my courses so well that I had no winter finals. I definitely was the envy of my hall. As my good friend drove me to the airport the weekend before exam week, I reflected on my past few months at Kenyon. I knew how angry my friends back in Atlanta were going to be, as over Thanksgiving I couldn’t stop talking about Kenyon and I knew Christmas was going to be the same. One of my best friends, coincidentally the one driving me to the airport, was coming to visit me, and I was going to bring Kenyon down south. My first holidays at Kenyon proved a time for me to reflect on how incredible Kenyon had been to me and how excited I was for the coming semester.

Sophomore December:

My luck had run out. I had finals this time, but I couldn’t have been happier. As my roommate and I exchanged gifts on “Weird Friday” (what Kenyon calls any Friday before a break) it really hit me how much I had grown in the past year. Not only was I a much stronger student, but my roommate and I had grown so close, I was loving life as a brother of Delta Kappa Epsilon, and I had made the decision to study abroad. It was a great milestone for me in my social and academic life at Kenyon.

Junior December:

This was a hard time for me, because my time in Russia was running out. It was sad to see the Snapchats and Instagrams of my friends back at Kenyon: lining up for Peircegiving, having a ball at Champagne Formal, my senior friends struggling over their comps, and it truly made me miss Kenyon. I wouldn’t trade my time in Russia for anything, even on the worst days, but my time there really helped me reflect and realize just how much I love Kenyon. It made me miss the little things: sitting in the coffee shop with a friend and goofing off, attending Professor Kilic’s office hours and just talking about history, or walking home to Old Kenyon as the snow begins to fall on the iconic building.


Don’t get me wrong though, Christmas in Russia was beautiful.

Senior December:

Wow. Three years later. Still sitting in Wiggin Street Coffee and goofing off. Kenyon has changed me so much in so many different ways. A good friend of mine said to me once, “in college we have our highest highs and our lowest lows.” This phrase holds true to Kenyon, but even the toughest and saddest of times I’ve had here have helped shape and define me into the person I am today. I owe it all to Kenyon.