My recollection of move-in day begins with a TUPD officer setting the waiting line of cars in motion toward the mass of jubilant bodies in maroon shirts. I watched as the seemingly chaotic swarm surrounded the first car. The contents inside were unloaded and brought piece by piece into the unfamiliar building now adjacent to me. They then turned their friendly frenzy on my car and I could only observe as my bedding, boxes and books were swiftly lifted and hastily carried towards the room where I was to spend the next year of my life. The memory of a lightly-darkened sky that covered those morning hours presents a gray and hazy portrait that would mimic my mind as it attempted to simultaneously take in my new surroundings while being bombarded with fantastic imaginings of what may unfold in that year to come. I was a new student.
Now as a third-year student my education continues in the academic fields of political science and English, but the equally important subject of personal exploration continues as well. The lessons taught and work required for success in that field are as exciting, time consuming and difficult as the former. They comprise the education I receive for my individuality.
Itâ€™s fair to assume that almost every undergraduate student here came for a formal education, whether or not they were excited for it. Through a hefty combination of lectures, papers and tests, that education is provided. These academic elements are intended to endow students with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the world they occupy. Still, much of learning happens outside of the classroom.
Beyond the knowledge that is acquired in the academic realm of university life, there is the knowledge acquired through personal experience, deliberation, decision and experience. These lessons are taught through moments with fellow students whoâ€™ve arrived from near and far, by new surroundings you inhabit and from those spontaneous opportunities that tend to arise both when you want them and when you do not.
I believe that exploration is a feat to be undertaken in the years you have here. Sometimes it will be enticing and other times more itâ€™ll appear more frightening. My first year advisor, Peter Balbert professor of English, imparted words that reverberate in my memory, and I paraphrase: â€œIt is here where you will experience the highest highs and lowest lows.â€ In my experience, his words have proven pleasantly and dreadfully true. The only advice Iâ€™ll impart now is for new students to consider approaching all aspects of their experiences at Trinity with openness and objectivity that allows for exploration, learning and growth. After summer months of agonizing anticipation, heartfelt goodbyes and one last look at your now-barren bedroom back home, youâ€™ve arrived at Trinity.
Jeff Sullivan is a junior political science major with a minor in English.