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Kent School portrait of Hudson '23

Last spring, the day before fateful exam week, my friend Will texted me with an ominous message. "Do you want to go on a nature walk", my phone read.

Without a second I replied yes.

Sure, I had no idea what he was talking about, but I was in. You know, growing up in a city, each tree here seems like another foreign country, and an opportunity for a hike study break was definitely my language. He led me to this trail of seemingly untouched beauty. I felt like Magellan, Marco Polo, or Nathan Drake, for finding something that had never been seen in hundreds of years. Yes, the cross-country team sees it every day, but to me, it was brand new. Beautiful flowing streams, the familiar whistle of the birds—I felt like I had found my happy place. For the rest of the week, during each test, when I felt overwhelmed or anxious, I thought back to those moments of calm. That just like a good hike, the only way to succeed was one step at a time.

I have been at Kent for three years and it still continues to surprise me. There are so many hidden things here that we fail to take advantage of. It seems so easy to get stuck in the routine of Kent School that we are sometimes afraid to leave that box; however big that box may feel.

For this example, I needed a breath of fresh air, but whatever that escape is from your daily routine, you just have to keep an eye out and look for it. Just like love, it will find you when you least expect it. When I met with Mama K just a few days ago, she said this line I’ve been thinking about ever since, “we all need to schedule some time in our day for some unexpected. Something unexpectedly exciting”. I love the term unexpected because for just one word, it brings so much into our lives.

People miss so many opportunities by passing on the unexpected. We miss those opportunities that we have to look for, so many of the reasons that all of us chose to come here. Whether it be that club that meets on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. (Improv Club: yes, and), or the Russian kid down the hall that eats all of your snacks. It is easy to forget the reasons we fell in love with this place. It's popular to forget, even. But every time I see that happy look on the new third formers face, or even the PG who looks like they are 35, I get excited about the stories that that person will tell about this place. Stories that will last when all of us are far away doing many great things. 

We are the people that make Kent, Kent. We have the power to help Kent reach its full potential, just by doing something unexpected. It is nothing like the place we call home without us.

In closing, I challenge you to do something different this week. Go to breakfast, talk to that dorm parent for five more minutes, and get out of your comfort zone. Our ability to take risks is the best way to make change. When your nature walk is right in front of you, I challenge you to surprise yourself.

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