- Class: Junior
- Major: English
- Gender: F
- High School: The Seven Hills School
- Transfer Student: N
Kenyon is a tiny school in a tiny town - it's too small and isolated for me, but that's obviously something of personal taste, though that tends to be the feeling after four years. This lends itself to an excellent academic atmosphere in which students and professors interact outside of the classroom when they bump into each other getting coffee or at performance, etc. Unfortunately, this also creates a very intense social situation in which you live in closes quarters for four years just over 1000 people. The best thing about Kenyon is the small classes and the professors. I would change the Greek system, either by getting rid of it, or adding legitimate, NATIONAL sororities to give girls an option equivalent to the entrenched fraternity system, which controls much of the social life (basically, the school needs to make up its mind, since it is very Greek, but pretends not to be). When I tell people I go to Kenyon, they either have never heard of it (most often), or know someone who went there/have no strong reaction. Well, I spend just about all of my time on campus, like everyone, and on campus, I am outside when it's nice, in the coffee shop, bookstore, or study lounge working and socializing, or in my room trying to snag a bit of time alone. The town of Gambier and Kenyon really aren't separated; in fact, Kenyon's campus exists on either side of the main drag of town, so it's all basically the school. It has a couple of bars and a deli, coffee shop, etc, but nothing else. You NEED a car, even just to go to a movie or to buy toiletries. Kenyon's administration seems to be a bit out of touch with the reality of the school, maybe trying to make it into some "New Ivy" cookie-cutter school. The most recent campus controversy was over the proposed addition of swipe-card entrances to dorms, which was loudly and overwhelmingly opposed by students. The administration wanted to appease parents, and students want to keep Kenyon the small-town kind of community that it is. There is a certain kind of school pride - not in athletics, except for from athletes, but in its quirkiness. I'm not sure if Kenyon is all that different from a lot of small, rural liberal arts schools - they all have their traditions and quirks, but I will say that that experience is very singular and bonding. You could take two kids from the same class who are different and never meet, and in ten years, they would have very different memories.
Academics at Kenyon are close-knit and very important. Everyone at Kenyon has some kind of academic pursuit that they care about, and you do find kids having conversations about classes at dinner tables or even parties - discussing the Civil Rights Movement or the merits of a stream-of-conscience narrative over beers. Professors are laid-back and honestly care about getting to know students, especially in upper-level classes. I've found them all to be very helpful during office hours, even if you're a non-major, if you put work and time into the class. Participation if very common, but the academic atmosphere is friendly. My favorite classes have been in the history department - Roman history and African American history, and also Creative Fiction (short story writing). The education is the part of Kenyon that I value the most (and the reason I haven't transferred) - it's a true, classic liberal arts education that is not pre-professionally geared, but for the sake of learning itself. That said, I would NOT recommend the freshmen IPHS class.
Very white, mostly wealthy (either private schools or high-tax bracket public schools), and mostly moderate-liberal politically. People pretend to be more liberal than they are. Most people would feel accepted by some group or other since it's a diverse set of kids in terms of interests. One nice thing is that it's regionally diverse, though there are large pockets from the coasts. It's impossible to call it a preppy or a hippy school, but it is not a very attractive school, maybe because everyone meshes together and there is no "look". People don't dress up - the best way to stand out at a party is to wear what you would wear to go out at home, i.e. try hard to look like you don't try hard. I wish people just looked nice and didn't wear sweats all the time. Would it kill guys to wear tuxes to "formals"?
The Best Things
The Worst Things
Isolation, social life