Even an ordinary day at Denison is exciting because of the variety that Denison has to offer. Classes are special, but my days don’t end there. After classes, it's a great feeling to see so many people continue to stay on Academic Quad for rehearsals, events, practices, meetings, etc. We are more than students. Much of my ordinary day at Denison is spent giving tours to prospective students, taking an hour to sing as a member of DUwop a cappella, developing my improv skills as a member of the Burpee’s Seedy Theatrical Company, setting up sound equipment as a member of RedTech, and more. These daily opportunities give me the chance to use a variety of skills and make me a more well-rounded person.
Your “every days” add up to a life.
Woke up, went to class, saw deer on the Quad, spilled paint on my shoes, went to practice, laughed so hard at dinner that I almost choked on a French fry, hunkered down in the library, went to bed. What did you do today?
Because I live at the Homestead, a communal and sustainable living option at Denison, my standard day is not like a typical Denisonian’s. It usually includes feeding our chickens and gathering their eggs, loading the wood boiler (our source of heating), splitting copious amounts of wood (for the wood boiler), raking our composting toilet (it’s as fun as it sounds), dealing with the occasional loose cow from the cattle farm next door, and (once a week) cooking dinner for the other Homestead residents with a partner.
I think it's really important to be invested in the community around us. Daily, I work at a mortgage lender off campus (an alum helped me get this job!), go to class, research with a professor, and mentor high school girls at Newark High School. Being involved on campus and off has made me love Denison and the surrounding community so deeply.
I rolled out of bed, rushed outside to enjoy the sunrise from my porch, and cooked breakfast with my roommate before class. She fell out of her chair, spilling coffee everywhere, and we laughed so hard our cheeks grew sore and tear stained. I spent the afternoon collecting data, consumed way too much coffee, went out to dinner with a family in Granville, and finally joined some friends on the Academic Quad to study for the rest of the night, taking hourly dance breaks, of course!
My days at Denison usually consist of waking up at 5:30 a.m. to head down to the pool for the swimming team’s first practice of the day. I am surrounded by women who choose to push themselves physically and mentally at practice—whether it’s 6 a.m. in the weight room or 4 p.m. in the pool. They want to be there as much as I do and train at a level that can push them past their limits. One could say that I am surrounded by my water-loving family the majority of my “normal” day. After practice I head to class where I get the opportunity to interact with my non-swimming family. I am able to stay grounded with the help of these non-swimmer friends of mine. They remind me that, although I take a great amount of time out of my day to be at the pool, academics come first.
Not only do I throw myself into working out and getting in shape for my swim season, but I also throw myself into my studies, in and out of the classroom. My days are not so normal because of how many great opportunities are given to me to interact with so many driven people. Whether it is another athlete, student, professor, or coach, they give me many new opportunities from the very beginning of my day at 5:30 a.m.
Just like in life outside of college, there are seasons of commitments and habits up on the hill. In that sense, normalcy is something that changes by the month. Right now, I get an early start to my morning with three classes in a row starting at 8:30 a.m. (still later than most high schools start!). I’m done with my academic day by 11:30 a.m. This is followed by lunch with friends. I love that Denison has dining halls and a student union where I get a chance to meet up with friends and talk about our days.
After lunch, I head over to the Office of University Communications, where I am the editorial intern for Denison Magazine. This job is awesome for so many reasons! First of all, some of my responsibilities include taking pictures for Denison’s Instagram page (DenisonU—follow it!) and pinning for the Denison Pinterest page (check out the stress release board … it's my favorite).
After work I go to Granville High School where I volunteer as an assistant track coach for their team. This is one of my favorite things to do because it allows me to stay involved with the sport I love when I no longer feel like competing myself. And it makes me feel like a member of the Granville community. I love seeing the high school students I know in town or at the grocery store.
After practice I usually go for a run around the adorable town of Granville, on the local bike path that goes from Newark to Columbus, or in the Denison BioReserve (350 acres of nature trails and wildlife).
Next comes dinner and then homework! Granted, homework isn't always “fun,” but it's not so bad when you do it with friends. That's why my friends and I usually go to the academic quad and claim a room in one of the buildings for the evening. Some nights more shenanigans than homework gets done, but either way it is an awesome way to enjoy friends and do what you need to do. Also, this is something that could only happen on a campus where all the students live within a 10-minute walk of one another.
My schedule may be fuller than others on campus, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
I've always loved beautiful places, but when I was beginning my college search I didn't think how a campus looks should be a deciding factor; I focused more on the values of the school. I'm glad I did because I've come to find meaning in what Denison stands for and what it strives to be. But I'm also glad that the thought of campus beauty crossed my mind when I visited Denison for the first time.
I feel grateful every day when I walk to class, to a study session, to a student group meeting or even to take an exam, because I get to be a student on this beautiful campus. I get to see beautiful skies over the college on the hill at sunset, and look out a classroom window at the changing leaves of autumn. I have gotten to watch the seasons change as my first year of college has changed me. I've learned to appreciate the world around me, whether it's casually passing by a dozen deer grazing on the way down to town, or taking a moment on my walk to class to just enjoy a beautiful day.
Sure, how pretty a campus is doesn't make or break a college experience, and there are so many other amazing aspects of life at Denison. This has just been one of the little things that helps keep me grounded in my work and in my life at college. Being reminded of natural beauty helps me to appreciate the other parts of Denison that mean so much to me. Over the past year, Denison has come to feel like a second home. I wasn't sure what that would feel like until recently. I couldn't have asked for a more beautiful place to be while I explore, live, and learn.
My favorite days of the week last semester were Wednesdays. I would wake up at 5 a.m. to study before my 8:30 a.m. Cultural Studies Dance class. I had an hour in between to grab breakfast and then head to the political science department for my American Politics and Immigration class.
As soon as that was done, I would head down to the Open House (Denison’s Center for Religious and Spiritual Life) to start setting up for Chai Time, an opportunity for students to get together, drink Chai, eat snacks, and talk. (We all need a break during the week, and Wednesday during Chai Time was my break.)
After Chai Time, a few of my friends and I would start making dinner for our weekly Bible discussion group, Ecclesia. We usually would have dinner, talk about the Bible, clean up together, and call it a night. By that time it would be 7:30 p.m. when I would head back to my room and do some more studying.
Wednesday's kept me energized and excited to finish off the school week.
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