Welcome, new students, and welcome back, returners! Despite everything happening in 2020, we are all back at Kent now, in-person or virtually. No matter how different this year is, and will be, we still and will always have one thing in common – being a part of the Kent School community. Separated by oceans and borders, our hearts are joined, supporting each other in every way possible through this difficult time. Everything has its ups and downs, but it’s important to try to be mindful of discovering positive aspects of the current conditions. We are all in this together.
What was Kent like last year? This is probably something new students wonder and returning students miss. The weekend was always a time I looked forward to. To be specific, the second that Saturday classes ended. Having had squash in the fall last year, my Saturdays were quite free. After going to town for lunch with some friends, I would return to my dorm and take a nap, a true relaxation in the busy schedule of Kent. Saturday nights were often a fun time, with movies in the SC, intervis in boys and girls dorms, free skating at the rinks, and hanging out in the common room with friends. Once every few weeks, a dance was held in the SC. I remember rushing back from Robotics in the winter and getting ready for Sadies with my friends. A tip for anyone who wants to wash their hair before formal dance: EVERYONE does, so good luck finding a free shower.
Just like activities, the schedule was also completely different last year. Each class met every day, and the first class started at 8:00 am. The day went from A block to H block, using the same order every day. I had A Block free last year, meaning I got to sleep in. Furthermore, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday had a meeting after B Block. I will never forget running out of biology in Dickinson to go to a form meeting in Mattison on Mondays or taking a mental break in Chapel on Tuesdays. All throughout the week, I looked forward to advisory, the meeting on Thursday and Friday, when I get to talk to my wonderful advisor and have the feeling of home at Kent. Not only were the academic days filled with meetings, weekday nights were packed with commitments. Thursday nights were a busy time for everyone, as we had Chapel and formal dinner, taking up all the time from sports to study hall. Even though there was less homework time on Thursday, I always enjoyed talking to my advisory group and having the feeling of a family meal.
Speaking of meals, remember eating in the dining hall without plastic dividers? One of the first things I realized after coming to Kent was that groups of friends usually sat at the same tables every meal. Maybe it was like claiming a place for themselves in the elegant and huge dining hall, where everyone just seems so small. Maybe each table was a place to call for students who spend months without seeing their families. In the same way that the dining hall setup changed, the ways of getting food also changed. Last year, you could enter the dining hall from any entrance and get food from the pasta/pizza bar, sandwich bar, hot food bar, all of these bars, or make your own stir-fry. There was also a dessert bar opposite the pasta/pizza bar and salad bar near the drinks. I learned from experience to not take too long picking a line, otherwise I’d be in that line for quite some time. The pasta/pizza bar moved relatively quickly, and was my top choice on Wednesdays and Saturdays, when everyone had lunch at the same time.
Taking up a large chunk of time every day was homework. Study hall rules differed last year. All forms were allowed to go to the library, study in the common room, or in a friend’s room until 10:00 pm, the under form check-in time. Available to meet in-person to help, the ARC and peer tutors were in the library from Sunday to Friday nights. When I wanted to study with friends last year, the study rooms in the library were a great option. If I wanted to work alone, the silent area was my first choice. The common room was also great as it was close to my room but was accessible to all my friends.
Changes at Kent are inevitable, and the whole world has changed due to COVID. Although some of the changes have downsides, there are upsides, too. We have to take the good with the bad, and remember that one door invariably opens when another closes.