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July 19, 2004
Planning ahead, I sent a warning to all the eMo readers that I was probably moving into territory where finding a way to send the eMo might be a challenge: a college dormitory room in the middle of the summer. Not many students here at Kenyon, only a few showing prospective students around, while their parents follow them at a discreet distance. Not sure when the library's open, or where I'll be able to find a telephone to use the easy sending setup Matt the Web Dude has set up for me.

Indeed, our dorm room is as you remember dorm rooms: cinder block walls, two beds, two chipped desks, two cupboards, two chests. One desk chair -- the other one's gone missing. I steal one from an unoccupied neighboring room. Some things haven't changed.

But I needn't have worried about Internet capability: there are a couple of new things you don't remember, things that show me just how out of touch I've become. It's not at all difficult to send email from my laptop here in my dorm room: we have our own telephone right in the room, and I can hook up right away. We also have a cable television hookup, although we didn't think to bring our television set along on the plane. There's not a single phone at the end of the hall, as you remember. There's not a lounge with one television set for everyone to watch, so people have to come to an agreement about what program to see. These kids all bring their own electronics, and no residential college can afford not to accommodate them. A student probably could spend the entire semester in his room, emerging only for classes and for meals.

Other things are the same, though. The kids at the conference bunch together like schools of fish; a newcomer lingers on the fringe, unsure of her welcome. Are my clothes wrong? Will they like me? Do I know what they know? I long to help her enter, to facilitate introduction, but I know that it would be the kiss of death for me to do so. Finally we notice another girl who also doesn't know everybody, and together they enter the little city of adolescents. In five minutes everyone is an old friend.

The little parties of prospects walk along the path, each led by a knowledgeable sophomore. Is this where I'll spend the next four years? Will they accept me? Is this the right one for me? Will I like it? These questions seem like life and death at the time, but they are not life and death. If Kenyon doesn't accept you, another school will. If you don't like it here, you can transfer somewhere else next year. If you don't go to college right away, you can always go later, when you're a little older.

There is a solution to everything. All setbacks are temporary, even big ones, and deviations from the path you had all plotted out for yourself -- or that someone else plotted out for you -- may be the imaginative hand of God at work in your life, forming you into a much more interesting person than you would have been if everything had gone according to plan.
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