Quintessential Kenyon: Student Life, Uncut

This Thanksgiving, I’m Thankful for my Kenyon Home

Benjamin Jagolinzer
November 30, 2016

On his way home from Gambier for his sophomore Thanksgiving break, Ben Jagolinzer '19 reflected on how much of Kenyon he has come to be thankful for over the past year.

As I left for the Columbus airport this morning at 5:30 a.m., it was difficult to be thankful for anything, especially my unfortunate travel schedule. But, as my day progressed, aided by the consumption of enough coffee to supply a small town, I was able to get into the Thanksgiving spirit. Sitting in my cramped seat, on a full plane, cruising at 35,000 feet, I could barely contain my excitement at going back home. After a few months of not being back in Maine, it’s not surprising to start to miss family, friends, my own bed, and my pets. But something was radically different between this homecoming and the trip last November: I was thankful for so much at Kenyon, too.

As many first years are currently experiencing, and some upperclassmen will recall, the first few transitionary months into college can be a bumpy ride. Put into perspective, this is not surprising at all. In a blink of an eye, all the aforementioned aspects that make home into a safe haven are gone. I never knew how much I would miss the simple comforts of home, like knowing I could get up in the middle of the night and toast an everything bagel from Maple’s, or just going on a drive aimlessly through town. With these seemingly trivial perks of home-life gone, I struggled with getting accustomed to a new life, with new friends, and a new town. In addition, due to some more unfortunate travel scheduling (noticing a theme here?), I did not return back to Maine for over three-and-a-half months, from the beginning of outdoors pre-Orientation until Thanksgiving break. For all of these reasons, I could not wait to get back to my house and to Maine.

My excitement in returning back to Maine this year revolves around a completely different set of circumstances. My new life with new friends and a new town are no longer strangers to me. I know Gambier, Ohio, almost as well as I know Cumberland, Maine. I don’t hesitate to say “home” in referring to my luxurious double in Old Kenyon. This change has meant the world to me. I can confidently say that I now have two homes: Gambier and Cumberland. Each is special and unique in its own way, but in each I can find comfort in the little things and the qualities that make them such integral parts of my life.

So this year, I’m thankful for Kenyon and what it means to me. I’m thankful to Wiggin Street Coffee for adequately sustaining my caffeine addiction. I’m thankful for all my professors who make Kenyon academics intriguing and such high-caliber. I’m thankful for my friends who have been so important in making Kenyon feel like home. I’m thankful for hash brown triangles during Sunday brunch. Most of all, I’m thankful that Kenyon can provide all of these little things that are so special. This tiny campus on the Hill houses just over 1,600 students — and now it’s home to one more.