Quintessential Kenyon: Student Life, Uncut

Tackling the Future (with a capital F) and other stressful Big Life Moments

Frances Sutton
March 28, 2013

Yesterday I experienced my last Harry Potter Day at Kenyon (most likely). Harry Potter Day is this amazing tradition in which Residential Life and various organizations on campus (the Bookstore, Peirce Dining Hall, the Village Inn) create a beautiful day dedicated to Harry Potter and how nerdy Kenyon is. All day I saw Hogwarts House colors being worn by Kenyon kids as well as little witches and wizards scurrying around campus doing a Harry Potter scavenger hunt. For dinner we had a Harry Potter themed meal complete with “floating candles” hanging in the Great Hall of Peirce. Later I went to the VI, tried butterbeer and danced like a wild Muppet with all my friends to our friends’ band, French Club (Check out their music here: http://frenchclub.bandcamp.com/), and the awesome band they opened for, the Rice Cultivation Society. After the show, I walked home with my friends, made myself some Easy Mac, and watched the latest episode of New Girl. It was, in my humble opinion, a near perfect Kenyon day, filled with unapologetic nerdiness, fun, and friends (NOT TO MENTION SMALL GAMBIER CHILDREN CASTING SPELLS ON EACH OTHER IN PUBLIC- HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ANYTHING CUTER IN YOUR LIFE? NO. YOU HAVEN’T.). Harry Potter Day is one of my favorite Kenyon things and I missed out on it last spring so it was nice to experience its awesomeness one last time before I leave Gambiyay for good.

Yesterday got me thinking about how different my life is now from how it was last spring. This time last year I was studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. On this day last year, in fact, I blogged about finishing a 40 oz jar of JIF peanut butter in 40 days (we all have our special talents I suppose). This time last year, I was getting ready for my two-week spring break in Italy, Spain, and Portugal. This time last year, spring was trying to sneak into Copenhagen and I thought I was helping it by wearing sundresses without tights (This elicited scoffs from many a Dane and a few Americans on my study abroad program).  Last March 28th, I had no idea how many growth experiences I had ahead of me.

Now here I am one year later and I am in the same boat. Of course, I have lived and learned a hefty amount in a year, but if my experiences have taught me anything it is that the future, be it the next step or ten steps from now, is largely uncertain. And yes, that uncertainty comes with a ton of anxiety and stress (You should see my back/posture: knots on knots on knots. If a Boy Scout attempted and then successfully tied knots like the ones in my back, he would immediately get his Eagle Scout award, no question. It’s OUT OF CONTROL) but it also comes with a lot of excitement. Uncertainty is largely something we fear and dislike, but there’s something really liberating about having a blank canvas in front of you and getting to choose what’s going to go on it.

I’m sorry for getting all corny and Chicken Soup for the Soul on you, dear readers, (you know that’s totally not my style)….but many of you are in the same position I’m in right now so I’m writing this post because I want to let you know that I feel you. In two months, I'm graduating, I have the smallest semblance of an idea of what I'm going to do with my life, and I'm pretty sure most of my friends are feeling the same way. So I don’t have any sage wisdom or a list of ways to distract yourself from freaking out about the future (I mean, Friday Night Lights helps) or ways to keep yourself motivated as the weather gets warmer and classes seem to get glibber (weird how that works, huh?). But I can tell you that I think we’re going to be okay. Better than okay, even! I don’t have any basis for this thought, except for that I am surrounded by excellent and loving people here at Kenyon (and around the country/world- Hi parents!) who challenge me to work really hard and make choices that will lead to happiness and success and I hope that wherever you are reading this from you can say the same.

 So if you’ve been asking yourself big, scary questions lately like…

  • Where am I going to go to college? (Kenyon, obviously)
  • What am I going to major in?
  • Who am I going to live with next year?
  • What am I going to do this summer?
  • Where am I going to study abroad?
  • What is life after love?
  • What should I do with this working time machine I’ve invented and how long do I have until the government totally catches on to me?  
  • What am I gonna do next year?
  • What am I going to do with my life?

 ….just know that some random goofy girl in Ohio thinks everything is going to work out. Don’t let fear of change or hard work keep you from making choices. You are the master of your own destiny. If I have any wisdom for you, it is this: print out this brilliant meme I found on the internets and make it your screensaver and/or tape it to your wall, notebooks, and daily planner- basically anywhere that you’re going to see it. Works for me every time.