Going in Blind – The Roommate Search

When I was coming to K for my first year, I went into the roommate search blind. I was the only one from my high school coming to K, so I couldn’t simply live with a friend from high school. I decided to do what a lot of incoming First Years do– register for housing and hope for the best. Even though I was no stranger to having to share a space with someone, as I had already shared a room with my sister for a majority of my life, I was still nervous. What if my roommate (or roommates) were messy? What if they always wanted to blast music and never respect some quiet time for studying and homework? Or what if we just really didn’t get along? I was pretty anxious about the whole process, especially when all I could do was wait for the email with my roommate’s name and information.

I can’t lie and say that when that email finally came my worrying ceased. I think I actually became more worried. I now had the name and face of who’d I’d be living with for my first year at K, but I didn’t know what living with them would be like. I decided to reach out to my future roommate and get some basic introductions out of the way (this is something I highly recommend doing!). Even if you just talk a few times on social media or text, you can get a better sense of who your roommate might be as a person. Also, if you introduce yourselves and try to strike up a conversation in advance, it won’t be so awkward on move-in day as you two will already know a little bit about each other.

In terms of actually living with another person, it can definitely be a tricky thing. Sometimes people just click with their roommate or can adjust very easily to a new environment with new people. However, it’s definitely okay if you don’t. My roommate turned out to be super nice, very low-maintenance, and not messy at all. However, we still had to get used to each other’s presence and habits. No matter what rate you go in adjusting to living with someone, I think the best way to handle the change is to keep an open-mind. My roommate and I made sure to keep an open line of communication and not jump to conclusions over things we didn’t necessarily like or understand. For example, if your roommate is supposed to take out the trash and you come back and see it’s still there, it’s better to ask or just casually mention it to them without assuming they’re lazy or left it for you to do. You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble if you just talk and give each other the benefit of the doubt, for both the smaller and bigger things.

All in all, my number one advice to you is to trust the roommate process. once you receive your roommate assignment, remember that you both are experiencing a new place and new people together. Be sure to communicate and be understanding with one another, it can go a long way and be the first steps in creating a lasting friendship.

Karina Pantoja ’20

Make Your Way to K

Here’s the thing, at this point in the college process, you are deciding where you’re going to end up for the next four years of your life. The next four years – it sounds scary and almost like a decision too big for an seventeen or eighteen year old, but let me tell you this, you’re going to end up exactly where you need to. However, while you’re calculating the distance from home or trying to figure out what school colors you’d look better in, you should read this list of 10 reasons why you should make your way to K:

1. Our entire campus lies in (barely) a mile-long radius. It will literally, at most, take you five
minutes to walk from one end of the campus to another. Do you know how great that is in the winter?

2. We have free food at every. single. event. I’m serious, we have so much food to offer you!

3. Downtown Kalamazoo is only a short walk away. There’s everything from a movie theater to restaurants to a museum and stores just a few minutes away!

4. We have the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership (also known as the best building on campus). You have the ability to get involved and attend various events with topics that range from Native American representation throughout history to resistance through art.

5. Jorge Gonzalez is the most wonderful, caring, and genuine man you might ever meet and he is also the President of the College (this is a fact). Come for Jorge, he’d love you!

6. We’re on a trimester system (three 10-week terms), which means we start school later (mid-September) and you get a six-week winter break (end of November until the second week of January) – it’s what you need, trust me.

7. The average class size at K is 13. Our small class sizes mean you get to make valuable connections with your professors, which comes in handy for recommendations and networking in the future.

8. STUDY ABROAD. I mean, let’s be real here, what schools allows you to study abroad for a full academic year and still graduate on time? (Hint: Kalamazoo College does.)

9. By the time you’re a sophomore, you have the opportunity to hold various leadership positions within student organizations. Typically, you wouldn’t serve on an executive board of a club or organization at a bigger university until your junior or senior year, but here at K, you can start as early as the end of your first year so you can go into your sophomore year holding certain positions.

10. You will literally get more in your four years here at K – from career development to study abroad to independent research, your work throughout your time here at K will put you on track to obtain more in a lifetime.

Now there you have it, ten reasons (although there are so many more) on why YOU should make your way to K. We hope to see you soon!

Karina Pantoja ’20

“Fall”-ing In Love With Kalamazoo—Part Two!

Well, Hornets, it’s officially October—and while that means sweater weather, candy corn, and quoting every line to Hocus Pocus, it’s also the season for midterms. I know that I personally feel very stressed when preparing for midterms, and need to remind myself to make time for relaxation and fun. Thankfully, there’s always something fun to do in Kalamazoo, especially in the fall.

I couldn’t fit every single activity I wanted to highlight onto the original list I posted, therefore I’ve made a follow-up list and encourage every student to indulge in as many endeavors (from both lists) as he/she/they possibly can throughout the rest of the quarter.

  • If you enjoy listening to jazz music, the Union Cabaret and Grille features live jazz performers every Thursday night (as well as musicians of other styles throughout the rest of the weekend). Performances are free and open to the public, so you can enjoy some of the restaurant’s famous mac ‘n’ cheese while discovering your new favorite band.
  • Are you sad that you missed a certain movie when it was playing in theaters? Don’t worry, there’s a good chance that it will be a Zoo Flick at some point in the quarter! Zoo Flicks take place every Friday night in Dewing Hall, and give students the opportunity to relax and unwind while enjoying free pop and popcorn. (However, if you decide you want to see a movie off campus instead, movie theater options currently include the Goodrich Kalamazoo 10 and Celebration Cinema in Portage.)
  • If, like me, you really miss your pet(s) when you’re away at school, you can play with cute puppies at the annual Dog-O-Ween celebration, which is sponsored by the Oak Ridge Feed pet supplies store (dates to be announced). Events included pet costume contents, scavenger hunts, obstacle course, pet adoption, and even a peanut-butter-licking contest.
  • When you’re craving a study break (and a sugary snack), walk downtown to Olde Peninsula Brewpub, Kalamazoo’s oldest brewpub. While the restaurant is known for its “hand-crafted ales” (brewed in-house), I still prefer to get their non-alcoholic root beer float—it’s the perfect dessert to share, and only $3.99!
  • If you thrive in a space that calls for both personal reflection and social change, go to an event at the Arcus Center for Social Justice and Leadership. They hold numerous events each quarter (discussions, film screenings, etc.) that are not only fun, but informative and influential. Upcoming events include “Beyond the Local Food Movement: Reclaiming Culture and Tradition” (October 4th), “Data Violence: Dignity and Bias in Big Data” (October 26th), and “Shaping Change, Changing Worlds” (November 2nd).
  • To get in touch with your artistic side, go to ArtHop, which takes place on the first Friday of every month. This event is extremely popular amongst K College students, and gives members of the Kalamazoo community a chance to showcase their art in various exhibits around downtown Kalamazoo. It’s fun, interactive, and free—the perfect way to spend a Friday afternoon!
  • For those who love theatre, like I do, an ideal way to spend a Friday night would be to see a show at the Festival Playhouse! This fall, Kalamazoo College will be the first college in the country to perform the musical Fun Home (November 2nd-5th)—student tickets are free, and the book and lyrics for the show were actually written by Lisa Kron, a K College alum! (Other great places to see shows are the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre, Farmers Alley Theatre, and Miller Auditorium.)
  • And, finally, if you feel like staying at home and cooking a delicious dinner, the perfect place to pick up some fresh, local produce is the Kalamazoo Farmers Market, which features over 100 businesses every week. The market is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:00 AM-2:00 PM (until October), as well as Saturdays from 7:00 AM-2:00 PM (until November). There’s no better time to try out that new recipe you’ve been eyeing than on a chilly fall night!
Stetson Chapel in fall
Stetson Chapel in the beginning of fall

-Lauren Landman ‘18

The Best Way To “Fall” In Love With Kalamazoo

School is back in session, and I can’t believe how quickly the first few weeks of school flew by! Because K College is such an academically rigorous institution, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, especially during fall quarter since we’re all readjusting to school after summer break. Now that I’m a senior, I recognize the importance of “fun time”, as well as how easily it is overlooked; therefore, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite things to do in Kalamazoo in the fall. Whether you’re planning an afternoon with your friends, a date with a significant other or some much-needed “me time”, these are all experiences that I think every K College student should have:

  • On the last Thursday of fall quarter, head over to Hicks for Cafsgiving, where the Kalamazoo College Dining Services puts on an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner for the whole campus. It’s the perfect time to let your school friends and professors know how much you appreciate them, and to celebrate before everyone heads home for winter break. (Just make sure you get there early—the line to get in usually stretches throughout the entire building!)
  • If you want a sight to behold, go to the Kalamazoo Balloon Festival at Gull Meadow Farms (October 27th-29th), which is the largest hot air balloon festival in Michigan. Admission to the festival is free, so you can pick apples, get lost in the corn maze, check out the petting zoo, and eat cider and donuts all while watching the balloons take to the sky.
  • The weekend of October 13th-15th is our Mid-Term Break this quarter, meaning that we have that Friday off—so, if you’re able to (and want to), why not surprise your family at home for the weekend? Everyone needs a relaxing weekend at home once in a while—and it could be worth it just to see the priceless looks on your parents’ faces when you walk through the door.
  • For a cheap deal on a good meal, make sure to stop by Chicken Tender Tuesdays at University Roadhouse. From 9:00 PM until midnight, you can get a basket of chicken tenders and fries for only $3, making it the perfect late night snack (and, if you’re still hungry, be sure to get a famous Bombshell for dessert—it’s worth every extra penny!)
  • If you want an opportunity to show off your best dance moves, be sure to participate in the fall Frelon show—and if you’re not in it, definitely go see it! Frelon, the student-run dance company here at K, is open to everyone, regardless of the student’s level of dance experience; they two shows they put on each year (fall and spring) are two of the most widely-attended events on campus.
  • And, of course, we can’t forget about the end-of-quarter a cappella show, which features all four a cappella groups we have here on campus (Premium Orange, The Limelights, The Kalamadudes, and AcaPOC). Performances usually occur on the Friday and Saturday nights of 10th Week, so support your friends as they put a new twist on some of your favorite songs.
  • If you’re craving a late night snack, a great place to get one (or many!) is the Kalamazoo Food Truck Rally, which takes place once a month and hosts a variety of local food trucks. The fall is the best time to go to the food truck rallies because they’re often centered around certain themes (e.g. Homecoming themed, Halloween themed), bringing members of the Kalamazoo community together for a “rally” good time!
  • Last but not least, we can’t forget about this year’s Homecoming (October 20th-22nd)! Cheer on the football team as they play against Adrian College, participate in the annual Homecoming 5K Run/Walk, and meet K College alumni who have come back to show their Hornet Pride!
Hot-air balloons at night during the Kalamazoo Balloon Festival
Kalamazoo Balloon Festival

Lauren Landman ’18

The Kalamazoo College Dictionary

Here at Kalamazoo College, we have a LOT of slang: we abbreviate everything and make up nicknames for what can’t be abbreviated. As upperclassmen, we utilize many of these terms every day—therefore, we’ve compiled a vocabulary list that we think all incoming students (and even some current students who haven’t quite got it down yet) need to know.

Behold! You are about to read the essential guide for understanding what all of the students are talking about on campus: the first edition of the Kalamazoo College Dictionary!

K: This is how we all refer to our beloved school. No one calls it Kzoo, and very rarely do people say Kalamazoo College. When off campus, the word College is usually added to the end to clarify for any non-Hornets.

DOGL: stands for Day of Gracious Living, a beloved tradition at K. It started a few decades ago as a volunteer day after a tornado, but has since developed into an annual, impromptu day off of classes in the last few weeks of spring quarter. To celebrate, the majority of students take a trip to the nearby beach in South Haven.

NOGL: Night of Gracious Living occurs the night before DOGL, commencing when DOGL is announced. Students can often be found swarming Walgreens down the road or a nearby Meijer for beach day provisions, and later many students gather to celebrate with friends. There’s no time for homework on NOGL. In recent years, NOGL has turned into a campus-wide event with variety of outdoor games, prize giveaways, and free food taking place on the Quad.

Lib: refers to Upjohn Library. Very rarely do people say this out loud, but it’s often abbreviated on social media, in text messages, and sometimes even on a class syllabus.

Stacks: The Richardson Room is the technical term for this on-campus sandwich shop; however, you’ll never hear anyone call it that. The school’s former food supplier was a company called Stacks, and the name was quickly adopted for the cafeteria alternative. Though the school switched suppliers in 2013, Stacks stuck with us!

Cavern: The basement of the Stetson Chapel. Student volunteers and the Chaplin work here, spiritual/religious groups meet here, and there is always free tea and cookies available for students. Fun fact: this is also the only study space on campus with no wifi!

Caf: The Cafeteria. Enough said.

Quad: the grassy area in front of Hicks Student Center. On nice warm days, many students can be found here studying, eating lunch, or just hanging out with friends. (And when it starts to snow, you can bet that we go sledding!)

Sev-Crissey Lot:  the parking lot where most students park their cars. Sev is short for Severn, one of the upperclassmen residence halls.

SIP: Senior Individualized Project; it’s a thesis/very large project completed during a student’s senior year that is required to graduate.

Stress Culture: A term dropped very often by both students and faculty, K students will often compete with each other about who is the most stressed. As easy as it can be to join, DO NOT FEED INTO THIS—you will feel much better if you don’t!

Book Club: The on-campus coffee shop located on the first floor of the library. It’s also a very popular study spot, or a good place to meet for group projects.

FAB: The Lights Fine Arts Building, home to the arts and music departments. You will often hear students saying that they “live in the FAB”, meaning they spend the majority of time there.

OU: refers to Olds-Upton, an academic building that houses the Psychology, Math, Physics, Political Science, and Computer Science departments.

K Bubble: (1) the campus; (2) the mindset acquired from spending time on our small liberal arts campus.

Zoo Flicks: Every Friday night, there is a movie shown on campus, complete with free soda and popcorn. Often, the movies are new releases (sometimes they’re even still in theaters!).

Zoo After Dark: Events held every Saturday night that are organized by different student organizations (examples include laser tag, roller skating, karaoke, comedy nights, mini golf, etc.).

Everything suddenly starts with “K”: If a word starts with a hard C sound, when you get to Kalamazoo, you’ll find you start spelling it with a K instead. If it’s an event that has a generic name, odds are there will be a K stuck in the front of it. (Many students even refer to the school as “Kollege” on social media, or when text messaging.)

K-Plan: What you do with your time at K; it’s the College’s individualized approach to the college education.

Frelon: (1) The on campus dance group—anyone can join, no experience necessary. (2) The shows put on by the Frelon organization every Fall and Spring.

Quarters/Weeks: Instead of a semester system, our schedule is comprised of three 10-week quarters. K students will often measure time by referring to the specific week of the quarter rather than the actual date. Example: “I’m going to present my SIP during the 6th week of spring quarter.”

CCPD: The Center for Career and Professional Development; a resource center that helps students with internship and externship placements, resume building, and many other professional services.

CIP: The Center for International Programs, which is the home for all things related to study abroad or study away. (It is spelled out like C-I-P, to avoid confusion with “SIP”).

Study Away: An additional option for students who want the experience of studying away from K’s campus without leaving the country. Programs are located throughout the United States, and usually involve an internship and/or a large academic project near the end.

Living Learning House: The closest thing we have to Greek life on our campus. Each has a certain theme chosen by the students who live there. Members of each house also put on community events related to their specific themes twice a quarter.

Tender Tuesdays: Another awesome food deal! At the edge of K’s campus is a restaurant called the University Roadhouse: all around awesome food, but their chicken tenders are to die for—and on Tuesday nights, you can get a basket of them for $3!

Sweetwaters: the famous 24/7 drive through donut shop in Kalamazoo. A car is needed to get here (its a pretty far walk, about an hour one way) but every once in a while, teachers will bring them to class. Occasionally, the caf will serve them for breakfast on Tuesday and Thursdays, and you can also find them in the Book Club at least once a week.

The Dungeon: The school’s black box theater, located in the basement of the FAB.

The Playhouse: refers to the Nelda K. Balch Playhouse, where most of the productions put on through the Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo occur (located next to Dow Science Center).

Dalton: refers to Dalton Theater, the largest performance space on campus. It holds the capacity of an average-sized incoming first year class (about 390-400 people, located inside the FAB).

Monte Carlo: The biggest event on campus all year: a winter formal. Students dress up (cocktail party style), and student volunteers (along with faculty and staff volunteers) run “gambling” tables all over Hicks. There’s amazing free food, prizes, and a even a dance floor.

Meal swipes/Munch Money: Purchased with your meal plan at the beginning of each quarter, you use these to eat on campus. Meal swipes grant you access to the Caf, as well as meals in Stacks or the Bookclub. Munch Money is also on your student account, and can be used to buy snacks in Stacks, coffee and food in the Bookclub, and sometimes even used to order delivery from neighboring restaurants.

K-Fest: an annual event held on the quad at the beginning of every school year. All student organizations set up tables so students can add your name to email lists, see demonstrations from clubs, and other fun events. There are also a fair number of organizations from around the community who come to give information to students about off-campus opportunities. (And, again, there are lot of free treats!)

Hicks: The student center: a.k.a., the place that has everything you need to survive at K. Home of the bookstore, the mail center, the cafeteria, Stacks, the health center, the counseling center, the intercultural center, the security office, and student housing (there’s even a game room on the second floor!).

StuDev: Student Development, where all things related to student life occur (e.g. housing and support for student organizations).

ACSJL: The Arcus Center for Social Justice and Leadership, also commonly referred to as “Arcus”. This is the newest academic building on campus (it opened in 2014): it is also a community center for all things social justice related. Its location at the top of the hill, surrounded by a wildflower garden, makes it the ideal place to study.

Art Hop: The first Friday of every month, there is an art fair in the Parks Trade Center (located downtown), Local artists open their studios so members of the community can see (and purchase) everything from paintings to sculptures to metal work. There is also a studio owned by Kalamazoo College, where seniors often display their art SIPs.

The Arb: The Lillian Anderson Arboretum is a large area of land owned by K College: it offers a look into wildlife without leaving the city of Kalamazoo. A car is required to get there, but most people are willing to go so they can around the nature preserve. Be careful! The driveway is hidden and a little hard to find the first time you go (or the second…or every time).

Trow: refers to Trowbridge Residence Hall, one of the first-year residence halls. It is the oldest residence hall on campus.

Well, there you have it—all of the terms you would ever need to know, whether you’re spending an overnight on campus or all four years!

-Izzie Kerivan ’17 and Lauren Landman ‘18

My Visit Experience

When I was applying to college, I really just wanted to get away from home and get as far away as possible. When my high school’s college counselor recommended I look at Kalamazoo College, I wanted to laugh—actually I might have. I said sure, told my parents about it, and they looked into the school with me. Suddenly, my parents were attached to the idea of me going to Kalamazoo College and set up a trip to an open house. On a chilly, Sunday morning, I hopped in my parents’ car and we made the two and half hour drive from Royal Oak to Kalamazoo. The brick buildings with the changing leaves of October seemed almost magical. It didn’t look real, it looked like a Photoshopped image of what a college should look like.

We entered the Fine Arts Building (the FAB) to listen to panels of students and faculty talk about what Kalamazoo College was all about. The more they talked about K (as they affectionately referred to the school), the more I felt like maybe I could actually go here. I sat in the auditorium all morning listening to talks about student life alongside academics and it seemed like maybe this wasn’t such a laughable option to me.

During a break in the program for lunch with current students, my parents and I had a wonderful talk with a girl who was a senior that recently returned from study abroad in China. She was double majoring in psychology and business and was very involved on campus. As she talked to me about her life at K, I had to ask, “how is it possible that you’re doing all of this stuff and studying abroad, AND getting a double major?!” She laughed and said, “That’s just how K is, because of the K-Plan, it’s so easy to do whatever you want.”

It was like my mom could read my mind because she asked, “What exactly is the K-Plan?” The student explained how Kalamazoo College doesn’t require you to take classes you don’t want to take. You really only need to complete your major, meet a language requirement, take a few P.E. courses, and complete other small requirements like a seminar and a senior project. “Because it’s so open, you end up getting double majors and minors and things almost by accident. It also makes it really easy to go abroad for two quarters.”

We finished lunch, thanked the girl for talking with us, and headed out on our tour of campus. As we were walking, I was mulling around what the girl had said about the curriculum being so open and really enjoying that. Walking around the small, beautiful campus, I was at peace. I wasn’t overwhelmed or full of anxiety. I felt calm; I felt at home.

Izzie Kerivan in Kalamazoo College sweatshirt

Before we left for the day we stopped in to the bookstore where my dad happily bought me a sweatshirt for what he started referring to that day as “K College, your new school”. On the way home I wore the sweatshirt, took a selfie in it, and posted it on Instagram. Those two hours, and really the whole day, allowed me to realize that what I was looking for in college wasn’t necessarily literally distance from my hometown, my family, and all that I knew. Rather, I was looking for a change. What I was looking for was a place that was not as strict as my Catholic high school and not as mundane as my Metro Detroit suburb. I was looking for a weird place like Kalamazoo, Michigan and a campus that was open and accepting of any and all students. I still sent out applications to other schools, but when it came down to it, I knew where I would be. Closer to home than I ever thought, but it would feel like a different world and that was exactly what I needed.

– Izzie Kerivan ’17