I never thought I’d be writing a love letter to a building (even a temporary one) on Kenyon’s campus. I’m not much of a romantic. But here we are, so here we go.
My dearest Mod B,
To be honest, I was not excited to meet you when I first arrived back on campus. Actually, I was kind of scared of you. I usually avoid buildings that are not rooted at least 10 feet into the ground. I’ve heard many things about you, mixed things. But I’m not the type that lets others’ opinions sway me.
Before the first week of school, I decided to give myself an updated Kenyon tour, not only to better prepare for my upcoming role as a senior Admissions fellow and tour guide, but also to re-familiarize myself with the ins and outs of my home on the Hill. I found myself making a sharp left as I made my way south on Middle Path, seized with the desire even to make eye contact with you because you just seemed so out of the ordinary. I was used to Ascension, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture, or the corner room on the second floor of Tomsich, the one with the couches, of course. That particular day, I had my backpack and a stack of work waiting for my embrace because, you know, senior year. I couldn't resist my urge, so after taking a good look at your exterior — essentially several mobile trailers glued side-by-side situated in the middle of Peirce Lawn, serving as a replacement library during the construction — I decided to give you a try. And I am so, so glad I did.
So I guess that’s the first time we met! I ended up spending four hours with you, and it was the most productive I had been in a very long time! I mean, you gotta agree that we clicked immediately. You may look a little too similar to our old library, Olin and Chalmers, from the furniture to the shade of lighting, but that is precisely why you are so special. From then on, I can’t think of a day where I didn’t visit you (In fact, I’m with you right now, as I write this!). Sometimes I’d stay till 1 a.m., many times as the only person left in your space. You just provide me with such comfort and access — two printers, couches, lockers, big study desks, public computers, private study and conference rooms. I can walk outside and take a reading break on Peirce Lawn, turn left and I’d be in the dining hall within a minute. Sometimes I take a work break and go to Rosse to play the trombone for an hour or two.
A well-deserved break in a long study session.
Sure, the walk home to the NCAs is a bit of a trek, but they say Kenyon is designed to be a walking campus, and I do believe that. I find myself reflecting on my day during these walks — there’s something special about being atop a hill in rural Ohio during my early twenties that affords me the opportunity to reflect, think deep, and be so in touch with my sense of self and my aspirations in this world. From Kenyon, from the doors of Mod B, sometimes you feel like you can go anywhere (yuck, cliché, I know).
For me, different places on campus have their own little quirks: early morning on the new side of Peirce eating a bowl of oatmeal and watching the sunrise is great for planning the day; Wiggin Street Coffee gives me the perfect balance of noise and peace for writing and reading; Peirce lawn inevitably is the best location to soak in the sunshine and read leisurely, or to do nothing….
Sure, at the end of the day, many would prefer a permanent library. I’d be lying if I said I’m not jealous that the underclassmen will have the opportunity to enjoy the new and upcoming facility. But without you, Mod B, I’d feel a little lost on this campus, especially during my senior year, a year of uncertainty, of challenges, of the constant desire for comfort through adapting to and growing from feelings of apprehension and exhilaration of life ahead and beyond the Hill.
There are only 202 more days I get to spend with you. So as the sun shines, the wind blows, the snow falls and the flowers bloom, I hope to spend many more hours inside Mod B, looking onto Middle Path through the window, to spend many more nights trekking home and reflecting on myself, my Kenyon education and the world upon which I prepare my embarkation.