Kenyon College is a small school in rural Ohio. There is no student union, and our “town” is one block long, the weather is unpredictable at best, and half the dorms are said to be haunted. English, our most popular department, sends out its majors to work at supermarkets. However, you still wouldn’t be able to ask any current student or alum, “Do you like Kenyon,” without setting aside at least 45 minutes for the answer. Kenyon casts a spell on everyone that passes through it—all the things that might initially make it sound unappealing are, in the end, what make the place so special. No one else will ever have a college experience quite like a Kenyon student. Everyone at Kenyon is there for the simple reason that they want to be. They have not come for the glamour of a big city, and they have not come because of an Ivy League name to drop at parties. They have chosen Kenyon in spite of all its deficiencies, or perhaps, because of them. Our isolation simply means that there is nothing to distract us from learning and from each other.
Stuck up on this hill, we really have no choice but to reach out to one another. The reason no one locks their doors is the same reason that most “private” parties are open to the whole campus. As a freshman, you might make a new best friend because you’re both wearing the same Yankee’s cap. As a senior, you might make a new best friend because you’ve sat next to each other in the library for three weeks in a row. This unnaturally close community encourages and expects you to open up to all these non-strangers around you.