“You know, now that you’re starting college, you’re really an adult. You’ve got to be grown-up now.” How many of us have heard that from those *cough* well-meaning adults in our lives? To some extent, being an adult at Grinnell is necessary; for most of us, it’s our first time out from under parental rule.

Upholding Grinnell’s policy of selfgovernance takes a certain amount of maturity and responsibility from everyone. But just because we Grinnellians are on our own doesn’t mean we need to be adults … at least, not all the time! When I came to this Little College on the Prairie, I made sure to bring along my inner child (along with bed sheets, textbooks, and enough ramen to feed a small army) and boy am I glad I did!

While the main reason I came to Grinnell was definitely the first-class education I am receiving, it’s impossible to be in class all the time — so how do I fill my spare time? Grinnell provides a million and one activities for its students throughout the year, and a lot of them appeal to the little kid inside each of us. From showings of The Lion King and Kung Fu Panda at the Harris Cinema to study breaks featuring sidewalk chalk and finger paints, Grinnell welcomes us to embrace our child-selves. We have a Quidditch club and held a “Relive Your Childhood” themed Harris dance party complete with Goo-Goo Dolls music and Pokemon cutouts on the walls. We have a theatre group called the Neverland Players that performs plays based on stories written by Grinnell elementary school students. There was even an event earlier this semester sponsored by the Active Minds of Grinnell group to encourage everyone to embrace their inner child and let go of the stress of midsems; prominently featured at the event were crayons, macaroni and cheese, and Mulan.

I was worried when I left for college that I would have to leave my childhood behind forever and completely embrace adulthood, and I just wasn’t ready for that. But here at Grinnell, Little Kat is welcome, and that sense of playfulness and childhood is one of my favorite things about the College. While I do make sure to be professional in academic settings, outside of class, I feel no need to be old before my time. It’s a good feeling. Since classes can sometimes be stressful, it’s one less worry to not always have to be a grown-up.

Whether or not it’s a way of life or an occasional stress-reliever, acting your shoe size instead of your age is definitely fine at Grinnell, and what better way to do that than to bring along your inner child? Now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to go eat a “Kid at Heart” panini from The Spencer Grill and go play on the campus swing set.

Kat Atcheson '12 is undeclared and from Overland Park, Kansas.

Kat Atcheson '12...

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