Opening the Letter

December 15. The sun was setting as I walked the streets of Albuquerque. It was the first day of winter break, and my friends and I had decided to go for tortillas before heading home. It was a cold — but sunny — day that had been flooded with deadlines and anxiety for my future.

The Kenyon website appeared on my phone’s screen every time I unlocked it. I had been waiting for the Early Decision results to come out for days. Would I be spending the next four years on the Hill, or would I be revisiting dozens of partially finished applications for other schools? I had been dreaming of living in Gambier for the past year and, in the next few minutes, I would know whether it would become reality or remain out of reach.

6:18 p.m. A ring. A prayer. “The Admissions Committee has decided to defer final action on your application until the spring.” If I had been deferred from Kenyon during Early Decision, I would never be accepted in the regular round, I thought. All those dreams were over. There was no Kenyon for me.

A few months passed. I focused on other schools and started thinking about how life would be there. I had not heard back from any of the places where I applied. The wait was taking longer than I ever thought. Hearing from Kenyon by mid-March was not clear enough for me. I would spend all day refreshing my admission portal as if it were a Twitter feed.

March 19. An all-nighter preceded the news. I spent day and night working on a research paper for my environmental systems class. We were leaving for a school trip. I packed my things as quickly as any human being who had downed two energy drinks and spent 18 hours staring at a screen reasonably could. A long journey to Mexico awaited. It was late in the day when we were finally across the border.

In the middle of the desert, I asked my Mexican friend to lend me his phone. I wanted to check my email and he was the only one with service. “The Office of Admissions has released decision notifications.” Deep breath. Everyone in the car was waiting for the decision. They all remained silent while the website loaded. Suddenly, the webpage turned festive; Kenyon said yes. A dream had come true.

Looking back on it, after spending a year on the Hill, coming to Kenyon was the best decision I could have made. In this place, I have found passionate people, dedicated professors, diverse friends, a unique environment and a universe of opportunities. Church bells that dance with melodies every Friday. The beauty of Ascension and Old Kenyon every morning. Friendly Peirce workers who are eager to know how your day is going. Here, I have begun to make life-long memories and have found myself immersed in the unlikely on an almost daily basis, something I never expected, but for which I am grateful.