An Interview On
Kenyon College

Background

Interview Date:December 2018

Gender Identity: Female
Race/Ethnicity: White
Graduation Year: 2021
Sexual Orientation: Straight
High School Experience: Public school in Falmouth, Maine with a graduating class of 170 students. There was a strong culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Major: Biology
Minor: None
Extracurricular Activities: Greek life, Greek Council Executive Board, executive member for a NAMI service club, and a program mentor for REACH.

Have any of your extracurricular activities had a particularly big impact on your experience?
I never anticipated Greek life to be part of my college experience, but it just happened. You make the experience what you want it to be, which I have enjoyed. As for my service and executive experiences, they come from either Greek life or my scholarships, which have overlapped in a cool way.

Academic Experience

Can you describe your weekly coursework for Biology?
It mostly comes down to textbook readings. Kenyon is a big writing school, which I see emphasized in the Biology classes. We often have lab write-ups, or [individual writing projects] for yourself if you hope to get published in the future. We occasionally have online quizzes or exams, but rarely have problem sets.

How does Kenyon’s focus on writing impact your coursework for Biology?
It’s more than I expected. I didn’t understand how comprehensive it would be on the Biology track, but it’s one of the reasons I chose the school. The professors have offered writing seminars to help, and it’s very much a collaborative environment.

Is there anything that you feel the Biology department does especially well or especially poorly?
It’s a very opening and welcoming department. Every faculty member I have met I’ve enjoyed talking to. They are also conducive if you want research experience early. They help make it happen to get that hands-on experience. Sometimes, certain professors can forget to send out the department newsletter, but people get busy.

Why did you choose your major? And are you happy with your choice?
I’ve always been interested in biology. I came in as pre-medical but switched to a pre-physical therapy focus. I realized as my career focus was shifting, I wanted to diversity across different types of biology while expanding my research.

On and Around Campus

Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Lewis Hall with one roommate
Sophomore: Hanna Hall with two roommates

How was transitioning from your hometown in Falmouth to Gambier, Ohio?
I come from a suburban community, but Kenyon is more isolated than I anticipated. That being said, I find myself busy around campus. Columbus is the nearest big city at about an hour away. Culturally, Kenyon has somewhat familiar East Coast vibes, but you get reminded you are in the Mid-West every once in a while, which is nice.

Pros and cons of being located in Gambier, Ohio?
Pros:
1) Everything is in walking distance.
2) There is a unique sense of community being on a small campus. You will always run into people you know.

Cons:
1) It can be a little isolating, especially if you don’t have a car.

Social Opportunities

What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I go out on either Friday or Saturday night, to any house or dorm party hosted by a Greek organization, or an athletic team. It can also become a gathering amongst friends that grows. People do party on Wednesdays, which a lot of athletes do if they can’t go out Friday before a Saturday game. As you get older, people tend to go to smaller parties they are invited to, although kids can still do both. If you want to be part of a party scene you can, but there is no pressure to do so.

How happy are you with the nightlife at Kenyon? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I am very happy with it. I came into college not knowing if it’d be part of my social life, but sophomore year I became more comfortable going out when I knew a lot more people. It’s very much an optional culture.

Campus Culture

How did you meet your closest friends?
I was taking summer classes before college through a scholarship program. I also met friends through my past club sports, and my sorority. My living situation also allows me to get super close with a lot of the girls.

How would you describe the overall social scene at Kenyon?
Others have told me it can get cliquey. Being involved in lots of activities, I move laterally to associate with different groups of people. There is a healthy amount of social flexibility and lateral movement. It’s definitely a quirky, nerdy vibe, where kids can get intense. Overall, it’s a welcoming and positive environment.

How would you describe the student body?
It’s nerdy and quirky. I like this and would say it’s also welcoming and kind. Everyone is very ambitious and competitive with themselves on their path. People want to help each other get to where they are going, which goes into how people support each other socially.

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
In my experience, it’s typical, but it’s more common for people of different orientations to mix with one another. Kenyon is working on it, but it could be a more diverse campus. My friends of color said that coming onto campus was a large adjustment, not expecting the number of people that would be White. [22% of the Class of 2019 are domestic students of color.]

How has the size of your school influenced your social experience?
I like the size. You get to know so many different types of people. With that being said, it’s not too small that you can’t meet new people. Sometimes it’s overwhelming when you see the same people every day. Gossip and drama can circulate really fast, which you can feel heavily here compared to a larger state school. [Kenyon had 460 students enter the class of 2021].

Careers

What have you used the career office for? How helpful have they been?
They are wonderful. I’ve gone to them for resume reviews, and for pre-health advice. They also offer mock interviews. I’ve never had anything but a positive and helpful experience.

Have you learned any computer programs or computer languages that have been or will be especially helpful professionally?
I’ve used RStudio in my Biology and Statistic classes. We use it to run analyses or help with our research and papers.

Financial Aid

Have you used financial aid? If so, accommodating was the office to your needs? Were they responsive to your questions?
I have used financial aid, and they have been great in my experience. Anytime I go there personally, or my parents have questions, they have been very helpful and attentive.

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

What is something you wish you knew about your school before you entered as a freshman?
I didn’t understand how you could get into a bubble mentality, being at a small school in the middle of nowhere. The community service activities I’ve done helped me get rid of this bubble. I also didn’t expect there to really be much of a party scene. There are lots of outdoors activities to do as well, which is nice to get a different experience.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
They take you through one dorm, but I didn’t get a good sense of the living environment. I would recommend doing an overnight visit, if you can, to get a sense of the day to day life of any particular group you are interested in.

Reason to attend Kenyon:
1) The academics are rigorous.
2) It’s a writing intensive school.
3) The faculty in general are very personable and want to help you succeed.

Reason to not attend Kenyon:
1) Being in rural Ohio can be isolating for some.
2) With the intensity, sometimes people can get too high strung or anxious.

Notice: Kenyon College is a trademark. Induck uses it for descriptive purposes, not to imply affiliation with, endorsement from, or sponsorship by Kenyon College.

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