Op-Ed, Opinion

OP-ED: Nobody really knows what Kilachand is, and it’s killing the people in it

Op-Eds do not reflect the editorial opinion of The Daily Free Press. They are solely the opinion of the author.

I was scared when I first got to Boston University last August. I’d spent the days leading up to May 1 wracking my brain for an answer to one question: “What am I doing after graduation?” I’m sure everyone remembers those awful months of March and April, when everyone was constantly bombarded with the question of what your plans were. For months, I had one answer: “I don’t know.”

People took prom pictures showing what school they were going to and wore their college shirts to our senior road trip. I just said, “I don’t know” and stepped out of the picture. I had ideas — UCLA, work, Boston University, Military, UIUC, community college — but no decisions. By Apr. 30, the group of people still saying, “I don’t know” was by far a minority. So by 20 percent gut, 20 percent reputation and 60 percent luck, I ended up at BU.

So I think that being a little nervous on your first day at a last-minute choice is kind of fair. But I was still optimistic, and things started out okay. I then made the incredibly freshman mistake of falling into a relationship too soon that quickly became manipulative and controlling. The only thing that kept me from ending it earlier was the fact that he was close friends with all of my friends. I was afraid if I left him, they would all leave me.

A point always comes when you just can’t stick it out another day, and I didn’t. And I didn’t lose all of those friends, but I did lose a lot of what those friendships used to be.

Given that Warren Towers is where practically all the freshmen live, they all lived there. I, on the other hand, lived in Kilachand Hall — a more expensive and less practical option mandated by Kilachand Honors College. I’ll skip over the details because you probably don’t care, but we went from dating to not speaking to kind of friends to enemies in the second half of last semester. And given the beautiful virtues of distance, they all took his side and never gave me a chance to speak. I’ve spent a lot of time in my room since then.

Now I’m not saying that if I hadn’t lived in Kilachand Hall, this wouldn’t have happened. But it certainly didn’t help. I’ve been realizing more and more that KHC was less and less of what I thought it would be. After all, the vague description on their website simply says:

As a student in Kilachand Honors College, you’ll have the best of two worlds: intimate class size, close interaction with faculty, individual attention and the communal atmosphere of a small liberal arts college together with easy access to the intellectual range and resources of a major urban research university.

None of that sounds bad. And none of that would be bad if it were true. To be fair, I’ll give them communal class size: There are 13 students in my current KHC class. Close interaction and individual attention haven’t come much to me, but that might just be my own social anxiety talking.

The real thing that made me want to join KHC was its emphasis on community. I didn’t want to feel lost in a big school like BU. KHC has chosen the word “communal,” but I would change it to “cliquey” in a heartbeat. When you bring a lot of people with pretty similar backgrounds and interests together into one place, of course cliques are going to form. That’s great if you’re a part of them, and really, really sucks when you’re not.

Regardless of whether or not KHC encourages these cliques, the college makes it almost impossible to escape them. We are isolated from the rest of the freshmen by living in a different dorm. We are isolated from the rest of the campus by being located on the tail end of Bay State Road. We are isolated from meeting new people by being forced to go to frivolous co-curricular lectures and eight-hour talks about race almost entirely led by white people instead of being allowed to pursue our interests.

I thought that I hated BU. I applied to transfer. I still might. Not that I would get any credit for my KHC courses. I don’t think I hate BU. I hate the environment that KHC forces you to live in and forces you to devote your entire life to. I have missed so many meetings, clubs, events and opportunities because KHC decided it matters more.

Some people really like KHC, and that’s fine. But I want to leave you with this. About 100 freshmen are admitted each year. In 2014, only 39 remained in the program at graduation. I believe that speaks for itself.

Olivia Dorencz, [email protected]

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