Wishing and Hoping . . . and Waiting

The Class of 2011 was buzzing during Senior Week about their classmate's art installation along the front staircase of Peirce Hall. In the exhibit Waiting Time, Ellie Jabbour '11 used yarn to suspend pieces of fabric printed with responses from her fellow seniors to the question, "What are you waiting for?"

Jabbour wanted her final project in senior art seminar to be "big, site-specific, communal and celebratory, and relevant to Kenyon at this exact moment." She drew inspiration from a waiting ritual among the Amazonian Mehinaku tribe she'd learned about in anthropology. When husbands go away on long fishing trips, they leave their wives with a rope in which they've tied one knot for each night they'll be away, and make an identical knotted rope for themselves. Each night, husband and wife untie one knot as a way of counting down the waiting period until they are reunited.

"This idea of waiting as a ritualistic time made me think about the end of senior year, and how all the seniors I talk to are waiting for something, anticipating something, or looking back with nostalgia about our time at Kenyon. It made me want to stop everyone for a moment and make them focus instead on this waiting period we're all in during our final days at Kenyon together."

Jabbour received more than fifty responses from seniors to the question, "What are you waiting for?" Here's a sampling:

  • to hold my father's hand at the kitchen table as we eat cheese sandwiches
  • to be that person he claims I am
  • sun on the outside of my skin and a shovel in between my hands
  • to see whether or not I can actually make it
  • graduation
  • cashing my first real paycheck
  • for my own apartment
  • for scary real world sh*t
  • for happy hours
  • for my own dishware
  • to hopefully leave my mark somewhere
  • to charm the socks off of the middle-aged women at the office
  • blind dates
  • to learn how to cook
  • homesickness mixing with schoolsickness
  • for the landlord to write back and tell me we've got the house
  • for the moment when I look at my life and feel proud of where I've gotten after college
  • nights warm enough for skinny dipping
  • to figure out when and how to move out of my parents' house
  • a place to wear nice shoes without fear of mud
  • buying sheets that aren't twin extra-long
  • for first-day jitters
  • for health insurance
  • word from Africa that they want me to come
  • that moment when everything looks green
  • grocery shopping for more than candy and snacks
  • to learn how to spend time alone
  • for time where I can read whatever I want to read
  • for laundry without quarters
  • to hug my mother

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