Kent News

Op-Ed: The Day Student Experience

Jim Forman, Campus News Reporter

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Day students are a minority at Kent, with some students driving forty-five minutes or more to get to school while other students may be a short walk away from campus. While day students may not necessarily have much in common aside from commuting to school, they do share a unique experience at Kent as something of in-between members of the community.

SC Member, Hazel Garrity ’17 has something of a unique experience regarding this, spending her first three years as a day student and then transitioning to a boarding student for her senior year. Although Hazel had always spent the vast majority of her day at campus even as a day student, she didn’t realize “how much easier it can make things,” commenting on the “time-consuming” nature of day student life. From shuffling papers and projects between campus and home, or factoring commutes into your daily schedule, day students can have more on their plate than may seem.

The school luckily works to make the day-student experience as smooth as possible. Andrew Lane ’18 appreciates that “the school is pretty understanding” when home and school obligations overlap, attempting to accommodate the smaller day-student demographic. In past years the school has struggled with on-campus placement of day students, placing the under-former male day students in an apartment in Case in the past. This year, however, the school seems to have managed to find an appropriate balance of space for day students, with Lane commenting that this year’s rooming has had reasonable space for day students.

One issue for day student brought up by Lane that may go unnoticed by most students is the disconnection felt by some day students. It can be hard to feel like a member of the community when the majority of day students are unable to go between home and school easily, creating a sense of missed opportunities by many students. It’s difficult to partake in many of the spontaneous adventures of boarding school and to remain informed in a community where news literally travels via word of mouth down the hall. Although most long-time students are able to integrate well into the community and find a close-knit group of friends, newer day students may have trouble joining a community where the majority of its members are surrounded by each other all day.  

Mrs. Ross, Director of Admissions, gave some unique insight on how the school has worked to change and help integrate students of all varieties. Mrs. Ross echoed similar sentiments as Lane regarding some aspects of the day student experience; she believed students needed a “dorm affiliation” and to be “a part of that dorm community.” With the introduction of Hoerle Hall and the new day student rooms, students are offered the opportunity to bond with students in the local area, but also engage in some of the “late-night” dorm life that is such an integral part of the boarding school experience.

While day-students may have their own unique advantages and disadvantages, as a day student myself I appreciate the school’s effort to improve the quality of life for all types of students. Since Mrs. Ross’s own child went to Kent, she has noticed the distinct change from an alienated minority of students to a slowly, but steadily integrating Kent community.

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Op-Ed: The Day Student Experience