The Beat on the Hill

Like a symphony, my classes have themes that talk to each other.

Date

As the alarm on my iPhone beeps for what must be the tenth time, I get up, check my phone. I look at my calendar, and realize that the semester is coming to a close. With Thanksgiving Break a few days away, campus is experiencing its last hooray before everyone departs the Hill. This semester has featured many different rhythms. There has been a lot going on on campus, from finding clubs and activities to working on papers. 

Over the summer, I was on campus working in the Office of Admissions, with most of my friends also here doing research. Every weekend, I was out on the golf course. Knox County is a great place for the excursion as there are an ample number of golf courses. As we drove around, my friends and I, all coming from cities, were in awe of the luscious green trees. 

On the golf course, it was nice to take a step back from working in the admissions team and I’m sure my friends enjoyed a day outside after working meticulously in a lab all week. For exercise and to save money, we walked the course rather than renting a cart. As we walked, we talked about life at Kenyon, our families, and golf. After a busy sophomore year of finally finding my footing, it was nice to be able to slow down and relax.

Summer admissions work blended right into the admissions work for the academic year. Being in Lowell House has provided me with a familiar beat amidst the chaotic semester. I have learned so much about how to lead, even as I continue to give tours. 

As people started to come back to campus in late August, I was already moved into my residence hall. When not helping lead training for the tour guides, I watched as the eager eyed first-years moved around anxiously trying to find their place. They bring their excitement and inspire the rest of the student body to be active and engaged. I smile and envy them, knowing that they are about to make lifelong friendships and join clubs that will inexplicably become a part of their college experience. I can’t wait to get to know them, even as I yearn for more of my friends to come back onto the Hill. 

September rolled around. The heat subsided, and so too did my encounters with my friends from the summer. They were busy with their academics and their sports teams. I too was busy hearing about catching up with my other friends. We caught up over lunch, which soon turned into a regular schedule of eating in Peirce together. At lunch, we talked about our days. Most of us had class or the same major as one other person in the group, so eating time also functioned as a study hall/advice circle. We of course gossiped about the latest news on the Hill, going back and forth debating certain issues on campus, our discussions often broken up by pauses for laughter.

Everyone at the table was also busy with their clubs. One of us was starting a new club with her friends. We often gave advice on what to do, although the conversation usually quickly shifted to other topics on campus. As for myself, I usually was touting the Collegian, and we usually talked about different articles. Almost every lunch, we have to put a pin in our conversations to run to class, work, or another event. We all went our separate ways deliberately and urgently as we did not want to be late. 

The Collegian has taken on a new meaning. The staff has certainly gotten closer. Dinner times on Monday and Wednesday are a hoot (pun intended). Some of us have hung out together outside of working on the paper. It is nice to find more friends as the Kenyon community never fails to bring people closer together. 

First paper and midterms came by quickly just like the changing of the leaves. October also had numerous special weekends. Fall Break went by almost as quickly as it came. During the reading days, I took some time to catch up on schoolwork and relax. Like summer, I went back out onto the golf course for the last time in the season. 

As we golfed, there was a different backdrop than the summer. The leaves had changed from a lush green to a more diverse color palette. The trees revealed how the beat has changed. Instead of walking, my friend and I got a cart. We talked, but rather than talking about all the minuscule moments going on at Kenyon, we talked more generally. 

When my parents came up for Family Weekend, it was nice to give them another tour of campus. We watched the football game, before going out to eat that night. It was nice to be able to slow down and show my parents campus and Knox County. 

In October, papers started to pile up. I rushed across campus, sometimes after a busy lunch, to meet with professors to discuss my ideas. There were late nights fueled by Peirce coffee and bottled coffee from the bookstore to finish up a paper. Thoughts raced around in my head at all times, my hands working quickly to produce something onto a Word doc. 

This semester is the first semester that I have been able to take classes exclusively within my majors. Having finished my diversification requirements, I am able to dig into what I am interested in learning. Like a symphony, my classes have themes that talk to each other. This semester both political science and a sociology course discuss the State and democracy—topics pertinent this election season.

And now as the leaves have fallen off the trees like the pages of a calendar, the beat changes yet again. An intentional pace follows. The first-years are no longer looking to join clubs, but I am still learning how to be a mentor. Lunch is still the same steady fast paced beat as in September; the only difference is it has become a known constant. 

As I read my morning emails, I see the panel on the US election on my phone. I get out of bed and pick up one of my shirts not in the laundry bin. It’s getting too cold outside to go golfing, so I text my friends to see if they want to have lunch. I walk out of my residential hall and onto Middle Path to go to Peirce. The cool November air seems to mock me, but I don’t mind as the cooler air makes my steps more deliberate. I see my friends walking to their clubs and meetings; I smile as I see a tour past by on Middle Path; I wave high to my friends as they head to practice; I text my Collegian friends to see if they want to hang out this weekend; I think about what I am going to write for my next academic paper when the church bells chime. My footsteps begin to match the intentional beat on the Hill.