I'm not much of a waver, even now. But the thing that solidified my decision was feeling like I was actually welcome as a visitor. I could go as far as to say I didn't feel like a visitor at all. Students waving, smiling, excited to share the beauty of Kenyon with anybody willing to listen. There was a certain glow about them that I just had to embody. I decided to apply Early Decision, but the anxiety surrounding that decision isn't something to be ignored. For me, the anxiety lingered much longer than I could have imagined.
Remember how I said I endured Common App twice? Well…I almost transferred. Not exactly the love story usually plastered on school websites. But life isn't a movie with a streamlined storyline, and neither is my love for Kenyon. They say you don't realize how much you love something until you have to fight for it. That's exactly how I made my decision to stay.
I grew up commuting to New York City for high school, surrounded by millions of strangers. I consider myself a bit of an introvert, and thrive off blending into a crowd. I wasn't used to having eyes on me, having people wave at me while walking down the street, or even general hospitality. Even though this was something that initially drew me to Kenyon, having anything new swarm you can get overwhelming, even kindness. I loved the cold nature of the city: no expectations, just my own judging eyes to appeal to.
Going into college I knew I wanted a change, and Kenyon was just that. Here, you can't exactly choose to blend in. While at Kenyon, you're only 0.0005% of the population and everything is much more magnified. Honestly, my first semester was rough. Having to adjust to being known is a big change. You can no longer just sit in public and sink into the crowd. Your peers, classmates, and professors are the crowd — you know the crowd. Where I went wrong was trying to reject the crowd.
The beauty of a place like Kenyon is that everyone chooses to be here. People don't choose Kenyon for Mount Vernon the way someone may choose another school for its surrounding city. You chose Kenyon for the community, and by rejecting that community I was rejecting the school. I, however, misplaced this rejection and thought that the perceived incompatibility was being thrown at me, not the other way around. So, when I chose to endure the dreaded common app again I gunned straight for the big cities…and I got in.
I found out that I had options halfway through my second semester, and I was struck with a conglomeration of emotions. I still couldn't exactly describe to you how I felt those last few months on campus not knowing if I would choose to make them my last. But knowing I could make them my last, I chose the “f it” attitude. That was when things shifted.