Life After Ripon: Katlyn Lee ’12

Chapter 6: Little Lessons from Ripon

(Editor’s Note: Katlyn Lee ’12 and Jeremy Johnson ’12 are writing monthly entries for the Ripon College Newsletter chronicling their own post-graduation experiences. We hope you enjoy their perspectives on Life After Ripon!)

December 8, 2012
Dear Journal,

Katlyn Lee

Katlyn Lee ’12

Originally I couldn’t think of what I should write about in regard to this past month of my life. Now that I’m set into a routine everything feels very, well, routine. However, after spending the day in Chicago yesterday with good company, enjoying the Christmas lights, laughter, and a nice, hot, salted caramel mocha (yum!), it hit me just how much I grew to appreciate living at Ripon for four years. While some of the things I appreciate are much larger in picture, weighing more heavily on my overall well-being and day-to-day life, others are more miniscule but still worth never taking for granted. In honor of Thanksgiving, albeit it a couple weeks late, I thought I would share with you a few of the things I’m appreciative of having learned or experienced during my time at Ripon.

1. Going to a museum, or in my most recent case, the Shedd Aquarium, and being able to recall nerdy facts and being completely thrilled by it. I think I may have been more excited by the exhibits and the wildlife than some of the children who were there. Thank you Professor Khan and other Biology Department faculty and staff for helping to keep me interested in what I was learning. I must say my brain was constantly jumping to recall facts from the Vertebrate Zoology class I took my first year. Live long and prosper, fellow Bio-geeks.

2. Warm Starbucks coffee on a chilly December day. As I mentioned previously, I indulged myself with a hot salted caramel mocha to keep myself warm while waiting outside to be seated for dinner. Salted caramel hot chocolates were always my favorite during the holiday season at Ripon. Sipping the one I had this weekend was a little nostalgic, and reminded me of the simplicity of enjoying one at my little school. Especially while waiting so long to be seated (an hour and a half, nearly) in the bustling city of Chicago. So thank you Ripon Starbucks for bringing me warmth all those years and reminding me to take a minute to just slow down.

3. The sincere generosity and kindness of people from small towns, and schools. Between the blaring car horns, screaming fights, and lack of please and thank-yous I encountered while roaming the streets of Chicago, I saw an overly abundant lack of kindness directed from one person to another in the city. While no doubt this doesn’t hold true to everyone from Chicago or other larger metropolitan areas, it is something I hardly ever encountered while at Ripon. If you held the door for someone they replied with a genuine “Thank you.” If you were in need of some help, someone was always there to help you. People waited their turn when appropriate, and for the most part, did not expect others to wait on them. Ripon is a community. A family.

4. Last, but not least, I’m appreciative of the beauty of winter captured on campus. Now, I’m the first to admit I had my fair share of moments while at school that I was none-too-pleased to see snow and have to trek to class through drifts and ice. I get sick easily and I can be a klutz; winter isn’t necessarily my best friend. However, there was really no denying how picturesque campus looked after a fresh snowfall, especially in the early hours before student footprints littered the landscape. It looked pure, serene, and overall extremely inviting. Although Chicago looked lovely lit up with Christmas lights, I think there’s a lot to be said about the simplicity of an open landscape capped with wintertime’s first snow.

So there you have it. Although each one of these moments or experiences may not be that impactful in the larger picture of life, standing on the Chicago sidewalks amongst a crowd of eager passersby, I found myself recollecting just how much these little things mean to me, and how I will likely always hold them dear to my heart.

Katlyn M. Lee ’12
[email protected]

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