If there is one thing that everyone on the Knox campus can agree on, it is the fact that the Knox bubble is very small and the students within it are extremely busy.
Despite the usual gripes about living in a small community, there is a considerable chunk of the Knox populace that regularly ventures outside the Knox bubble, or at least lives or works on its outskirts.
For sophomore Randi Cecil, Galesburg is much more than the town she studies in; in fact, it is the town that she calls home. According to her, being a Knox student and a Galesburg citizen are two entirely different things.
The task of integrating oneself into the Knox community has proven to be very difficult since she cannot relate to typical dorm-life experiences. But whatever she misses out on by not living in a dorm, she gains by having a unique dual perspective on the Knox and Galesburg communities.
Cecil perceives that there is a portion of the Galesburg community that finds Knox’s presence a bit off-putting.
“This is gonna sound harsh, but most of [Galesburg citizens] consider Knox [students] to be druggies, hippies — the weirdos. Which, I’ll admit, we are a group of weirdos, but coming from the inside, we’re a cool group of weirdos, and I love it,” Cecil said. “But off-campus, the citizens, they’ll either look at us as the weirdos or look at us as, ‘Hey, they’re Knox people. They know what they’re doing. They’re a great group of students.’ It’s almost as if there’s no in-between.”
When she is not in class, Cecil spends her time working at the Galesburg Public Library. She also tutors high school students in the TRIO Upward Bound Program at Carl Sandburg College.
Another student with strong relations outside of campus is sophomore Levi Woodbury. He is one of two Knox students working at the newly-opened pizza parlor called Baked on Seminary Street. He says the Galesburg community treats him like any other kid, which he prefers.
Woodbury is also the brains behind the restaurant’s new pizza delivery system, which will specifically cater to Knox students. Delivery will begin on Friday, Sept. 28.
Like many students, Woodbury holds a second job, working as a printer manager. The stress that comes with managing academics and work obligations do not seem to hinder his general enthusiasm for working at the pizza parlor.
“There’s a party on Seminary Street,” Woodbury said.
Knox alum Brandon Paraharm ‘12, who currently student teaches in his hometown of South Holland, Ill., also had strong relations with the Galesburg community during his time at Knox. Like Cecil, he found that the best way to apply his Knox education was to venture outside its parameters in the community. For him, the support from the community was palpable.
“We student ed majors did our observation hours at these schools in [Galesburg School] District 205. [The Galesburg community] helped us because they care about us,” Paraharm said. “They have Knox graduates at their school. They want us to be successful, and the entire community feels that.”