“The most important incoming class”

First-years explain why they decided to come in spite of it all

Ben Horlacher, First-Year, FL

I still remember my fingers trembling as I opened the envelope, I remember scanning the letter head to understand the gist of the words on the page. I remember screaming when I finally figured out the message the letter conveyed, I was necessarily excited about the next four years to be spent at Antioch.

I remember hearing the news from someone else, I remember thinking, “there is no way.” I remember reading every word on the web page, hoping that something somewhere would indicate that it wasn’t happening. I remember not wanting to talk about it.

When I first heard about Antioch, I felt myself drifting into its ephemeral attraction; I knew that somewhere out there was a place for me. I had spent a short lifetime searching for some place to embrace my weirdness in the way that Antioch already has. Having spent my high school years in the South, I was one of three openly gay men at my high school. So when I first visited Antioch I found something I had never known before, a place where I could speak my mind and people would respond not with jeers or cheers but equally informed, and passionately discussed ideas and opinions.

I was not looking for a liberal, or homosexual bastion, what I was looking for was a bastion for diversity. Where I felt my differences added to the community, not separated me from it. So when I heard it was closing, I was crestfallen. I knew that there may be other great schools, but nothing like Antioch. I felt like Adam leaving Eden, my sanctuary had been ripped out from under me like I was the glass of water on the table that had just had its table cloth ripped out so quickly it didn’t have time to fall.

Then the inevitable questions from friends and family: “Do you really want to go to a college that is closing?”, “Does it make any sense just to go there for one year?” In my mind there were no doubt; one year at Antioch was worth one-hundred years anywhere else. So it was odd when people asked me “Why Antioch?” To me Antioch was not the end of a question, but the answer to a question, “Why? Antioch.” The reason I would attend a college that was supposed to close was because it was Antioch.

Alex Borowicz, 1st Year, WI

On possibly the most beautiful day of  spring, I first stepped onto the Antioch campus. I was immediately struck by the old and wizened trees shading the campus grounds.

As I waited among the other prospective students collected within Weston Hall I tried to imagine the school covered with a fresh layer of winter snow.  The green trees overpowered the idea and I was brought back to the real world as Brad began his pep talk on the school.

Leaving the campus that evening after a dance concert, I remember talking excitedly to my sister about my day.  I told her of my time with the Order and Chaos class, the people I’d met, the campus and buildings.  The rough state of the buildings seemed nothing to me; I’d lived in places much worse in South America.  How could something like that hold me back from an education like this?

As the summer began, I first heard of the new fate of Antioch College.  I am not much of a sensationalist, and I took the hit stoically, but so many of the things I had come to Antioch to experience were slipping from my grasp!  I would never be able to go on a co-op, or participate in AEA… but I was sure there would still be something for me at Antioch.  I soon saw the outpouring of support for the college and I felt a surge of pride at the thought of attending an institution that was so loved, for it is only love that can drive students to follow a school to its death.
It is that sentiment that steadied my hand and signed the check for the tuition deposit.  How can one possibly know what this last year of Antioch will bring?  Whenever asked about my decision, all I can do is assure my friends that “it will be an interesting year.”  I have no doubt of this, and I can only hope that I take advantage of everything it offers me during the next 9 months.