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

Choosing K

The story of how I ended up at Kalamazoo College is not incredibly inspiring, I’m afraid. Unlike most of my friends, I didn’t apply to a plethora of universities in my senior year of high school; in fact, I only ended up seriously considering a grand total of three, including K. I thought that limiting my options would make deciding which college to attend that much simpler, but the process, which included multiple admissions deferments and careful consideration of scholarships and financial aid, was a lot more complicated than I first anticipated. I agonized about making the right choice for weeks.

My parents, however, seemed to know that K was the right place for me even before I did. They eagerly signed the entire family up for one of the many “Visit the Zoo” programs and intended to get the most out of the experience. We went on a thorough tour of campus, visiting nearly every major building as well as a few of the first-year dormitories. We sat in on a number of alumni panels and informational events to learn all that we could about life at K. We ate at a faculty lunch and talked with professors in fields I was interested in, who, despite their impressive and intimidating titles and qualifications, were more than happy to answer any of my questions about academics and at K. Throughout all of this, my parents were growing more and more certain that I was destined to be a Hornet. But I still wasn’t sure.

Ultimately, it was seeing the K community “in action,” however, that finally convinced me to seal the deal. I sat in on a Women, Gender, and Sexuality course and was blown away by the subject matter within the first five minutes; the concepts discussed by the class were complex, important, and fascinating, not at all diminished by censorship or lack of student interest, as had been my experience in high school. Though I didn’t speak much, I didn’t really have to – nearly every student in the room not only eagerly engaged with the professor and with one another, but with me. Though I had worried a group of college kids wouldn’t want anything to do with a high schooler like me, they made a point to approach me and ask questions or offer advice and guidance – total strangers wanted to tell me how much they loved the school they went to and help me to succeed, should I choose to go there, too.

I left that classroom convinced not to wait any longer; I knew I wanted to choose K. I told my parents and together we filled out the forms, and I received a little button that let the world how “I deposited at K.”

Each and every day since then, even despite some ups and downs, I have been happy that I did.

– Addie Dancer ’20


Why K?

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone asked me, “Why did you choose K?” If that were the case, my tuition would be paid in full. However, since it’s not, let me share this story with you all free of charge. Like most Michigan high school students, my eyes were set, and almost always had been, on the University of Michigan. It wasn’t until the summer going into senior year a classmate of mine told me that she thought K would be a good fit for me. I didn’t know much about the school except for the famous tennis winning streak and that I played on the tennis courts my freshman year of high school for the state tennis tournament. Since I didn’t know much about the college, I waited until one of the admissions’ officers visited my school and presented some basic information about the college. After the visit, I was surprised that there was a pretty prestigious and well-known school so close to the town I grew up in and decided to look into more. A few weeks later, I came to campus for a tour and instantly could picture myself on campus. I can’t quite put into words the feeling and to this day, all I can say is that being on K’s campus just felt right. It wasn’t how I felt when I visited U of M’s campus and thought I could make it work. I could genuinely picture myself walking down the brick road to class. After the visit it was only a matter of applying and being accepted, which is exactly what happened!

Actually deciding on K was pretty easy for me. Even though it seemed so close to home (because we all want to get as far away from home as possible when we’re going off to college), it felt like a world away. I felt like I would have space to be independent and try new experiences while meeting new people but still am able to run home if I needed anything. However, a big deciding factor for me was the size of K. Coming from a smaller high school of about 600 students, I was used to smaller class sizes and having strong connections with my teachers throughout high school and I knew that I would have a similar experience at K. An important thing about the class sizes at K is that because they’re smaller than most colleges and universities, you have nowhere to hide. You have to show up to class and be prepared to contribute to every discussion or else your absence and silence will be noticed and will definitely impact your grade. There’s no “Maybe I’ll go to class next week,” but instead there’s, “If you miss six classes, you’ll fail.”

Kalamazoo College is the place to push yourself. Nothing here is a breeze and I think that’s one of the things I enjoy most about it. You have to put in the work and make an effort to learn. So if you’re looking for a college or are stuck deciding between K and another bigger university, remember that you there’s nothing to do here but grow, learn, and get more in your four years.

-Karina Pantoja ’20

My SIP Experience: Transforming an Idea into Reality

I have always loved stories, and I have wanted to write a novel since I was in the first grade. There was a period of time where when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I answered, “J.K. Rowling”. It’s been a dream that has continued throughout my years of creative writing classes and workshops at K. Sharing work with fellow writers and amazing professors in those classes gave me the confidence and motivation necessary to realize that becoming an author is my aspiration in life. That’s why I thought the Senior Individualized Project (SIP) was the perfect opportunity to finally write my novel. Getting up the motivation to write a whole book isn’t easy, but with SIP deadlines, a helpful advisor, and a love of writing, I thought I’d be able to accomplish this seemingly impossible task.

I started working on the novel in Advanced Fiction Workshop in the spring of my junior year. I planned out the story I wanted to write, created character profiles, and decided on a format for the novel. With the help of my workshop group, I began to craft what would become a 250-page project. Throughout the summer, I continued to plan the novel. By the time fall rolled around, I was writing like the wind. Meeting deadlines was, of course, difficult at times. But I was doing something I am very passionate about. When inspiration eluded me, I powered through, with the help of espresso and movie soundtracks. It was exciting to see a story that had existed in my mind becoming a reality on the page. With my advisor’s feedback and constant encouragement, I was able to finish 250 pages by the deadline.

Turning in my SIP was a bittersweet experience. Even though I enjoyed the process of writing, I was disappointed because I didn’t complete the novel as I had planned. The project turned out to be a little bigger than I had planned, and in the end I didn’t have enough time to finish it. I am very happy with what I have accomplished, though. I have never written 250 pages in so little time. My advisor was proud of my project as well, and ended up awarding me Honors. I had never thought that a small story in my head could become such a huge part of life. And the narrative of my novel has become very close to my heart. This will probably make me sound like a crazy person, but I know the characters in the story so well now that they feel like real people to me.

I set some lofty goals for my SIP. Even though I didn’t fully reach the goals as I had planned, I produced the best piece of writing of my life. I think it’s worth it to send out to do something extraordinary and seemingly impossible when you have an opportunity such as the SIP. Even if you don’t get all the way there, you might get closer than you ever thought you could.

Natalie Martell – K’16