Quintessential Kenyon: Student Life, Uncut

Taking Advantage of Fall Break

Wilson Alexander
October 14, 2015

When I came to Kenyon, I was mystified by the concept of fall break. In high school, we definitely didn’t get any sort of break before Thanksgiving. Of course, then I realized that Kenyon students don’t get any service days or one-day holidays off either, and that sort of put a damper on my excitement, but y’know, you take what you can get.

A lot of students wind up going home over the break, which is something I didn’t expect, but I stayed at Kenyon last year and this year, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Fall break is a great way to experience Kenyon without its students; the campus is virtually empty, but almost all the facilities are still running smoothly. It can feel lonely at first (and don’t even get me started on the people who stay on campus over Thanksgiving break — that must be an almost post-apocalyptic experience), but if you think about it, it’s a great opportunity to do things you might not have done before.

I know this break has come and gone, but I thought I might share some suggestions for things to do to take advantage of fall break for next year, just in case you’re the type to plan way in advance. Or you can read over what I did and seethe with self-loathing that you didn’t accomplish any of the items on my brilliantly crafted list.

1. Go to the deli. There will be no lines, and it will blow your mind. Order the French toast or pancakes if you’re a breakfast person, because they are phenomenal. Drink some spiced apple cider, sit inside or out, and enjoy the solitude.

2. Go to the observatory. You do know we have one, right? Have you ever been up there? Well, you should go up there! The Miller Observatory is on a hill to the northwest of Gambier, and while it’s a bit of a hike, it’s absolutely worth it just to be able to see the stars. This also is one of your last chances, as come November, the sky will most likely be a uniform gray and cloud cover will make seeing stars much more difficult. Bring a coat, though! The nights can get pretty chilly in October.

3. Go to Peirce for breakfast. There will be nobody there. Nobody. It is a haunting experience to walk into the servery, normally bustling and overflowing with confused first-years and prospective students (you’ll get the hang of it), only to find it devoid of student life. I got a bagel at around 7:30 a.m. in a silent, empty Peirce, and it was spookier than anything Halloween might have in store for me.

4. Just look at the trees! Look at them! In all the Kenyon pamphlets, the admissions packets, the information folders, what color are the trees? They’re yellow, orange, red, all the lurid autumn-y colors that Ohio trees famously flaunt this time of year. Those packets tend to make it seem like the trees are like that most of the time, but they actually are only colored for a week or two in early autumn, and they are almost always at their best during fall break. I’m from Oregon, and most of the trees there are coniferous, so the sight of all this yellow and orange is still amazing to me, since the trees where I’m from tend to stay green or an ugly brownish color all year.

All in all, enjoy the solitude fall break gives you. We don’t often get to take the time to sit back and appreciate the positive aspects of our isolated campus, what with classes and social demands constantly nagging at us. That ability to be alone while being part of the community is an important part of the Kenyon atmosphere that we sometimes take for granted.