Perspectives of a Professor’s Progeny
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 00:11
When I tell people that my father is a professor at Kenyon, I always get mixed reactions. They range from pleasant and enthusiastic: “That’s so cool! You must know, like, everyone!” to sympathetic or consoling: “Is that why you came here?” To make matters worse, if not a little more confusing, I then tell people that I actually grew up in Gambier — even funnier, right across the street from the first-year quad. One not-so-bright acquaintance was so confused by my strange connection to Kenyon that he asked if growing up in a dorm was fun. I didn’t bother responding to that question.
My relationship with Kenyon is a strange and ambivalent one. Although being a professor’s kid is quite nice, the benefits are not all that impressive. Yes, I know the Kenyon campus backwards and forwards (but really, after a week anyone can figure out this mile-long campus), and I do happen to know a lot of the professors. Nearly everyone asks me if I go to this college for free, and I always respond with a curt and annoyed, “no.” Other than those things, there really isn’t any other crazy benefit or disadvantage.
My dad is a philosophy teacher. I do not plan to ever set foot in the philosophy department. This is not because I’m afraid people will make the assumption that I will get an automatic “A” because I’m the professor’s daughter. My dad is an honest man, and he would grade me honestly without hesitation. It’s really just because being raised by a philosophy professor — and never being able to win an argument because of “logical fallacies” — creates an innate aversion to all things philosophical from a young age.
For my next four years at Kenyon, I do not plan on ever living at home during the school year. There is nothing wrong for those who would choose to, but for me, living at home would place me in a sort of limbo, caught between home-life and the pseudo-real college life. As for summers, I’ll go home if I have nothing to do, but ideally I’d love to be taking advantage of my summer to create new experiences.
People always told me that once I actually started going to Kenyon, attending college in the place two feet from my house wouldn’t feel so weird. They couldn’t have been more right. Though they exist in the same physical location, Kenyon feels like this little world within a bubble that appears completely different when viewed from the inside. Even though all the physical buildings are familiar to me, walking into them with the mindset of a college student made them feel completely foreign. It was utterly relieving when I started Orientation. The excitement of being somewhere entirely new was a feeling I was worried I’d miss out on, but that was not the case.
Overall, I’m very excited to be attending Kenyon. It’s a beautiful school that I know I will continue to love even years after I graduate. My experience might be a little bit different in comparison to the rest of my class, but I don’t think being the daughter of a faculty member will change it so much. Of course, I say that after being here only a week, so we’ll see how this goes.
Sophia De Pascuale is a first-year student and the daughter of Juan De Pascuale, an associate professor of philosophy. She plans on taking as many languages as possible and may major in international studies. Her email is email@example.com.