NATY BUSH ’19
Many students here at Trinity college and on other campuses around the world are experiencing one of the greatest transitions of their lives. There are no longer parents to wake us up in the morning, no bell to tell us when our classes are over, no one to call us down when dinner is ready, and even something like class attendance is not as mandatory as it was in high school. We determine our entire schedules.
Some of the first-year students might find maintaining a productive schedule the most difficult part of getting through their first semester. Every weekend, students are bombarded with fun activities, and every week they attend various club meetings. All of this must be considered when preparing a balanced schedule.
“[College] is not very structured, so you get to control your own schedule, which is nice but also difficult,” explained Alaine Coffey ‘19. “I try to work during the day so my evenings are free.”
Sometimes,however, the challenges are not as expected.
“A challenge that I felt unprepared for was having to pick out an outfit every day,” Taylor Kirchgessner ‘19, admitted. “I’ve worn a uniform to school every day since I was six.”
Students who came from public schools would not consider something as simple as picking an outfit to be difficult, but Kirchgessner came from a boarding school where students only wore the school uniform. The flexible atmosphere of college is an even more significant change from high school for students like Kirchgessner.
Some students are struggling to find ways to afford the ever-increasing cost of a college education. The challenge is less involved with the social atmosphere and more with the affordability.
Christopher Carter ‘19 experienced his most difficult challenge during his senior of high school. “I didn’t come across any challenges because I have been independent for a while. I started working last year to start saving for college,” Carter explained. “I overcame my challenges last year when I knew that I had to start saving for college.”
The social scene at Trinity can also be stressful for some first-year students. The partying atmosphere is slowly becoming a less primary aspect of the campus life, but the pressure to attend social gatherings on the weekends sometimes exceeds the pressure to complete academic assignments.
“I found that trying to be myself rather than doing what seemed cool, or what would help me fit in, was difficult,” Mike Zarra ‘19 said. “At home, you have a support system of people who love you unconditionally, and when living independently on campus, you’re challenged with being your own support system.”
The most important part of dealing with these new challenges is to find ways to solve the problems as soon as possible.
Kirchgessner made her situation less challenging by “picking out my outfits the night before so I’m not scrambling [the next morning].”
Zarra learned “that it’s okay to look in the mirror and say ‘good job.’ And I rose to the opportunity for improvement by making new supports and fostering the ones that still remained. Roommates are a great new resource for second opinions.”
Whenever an individual struggles with a new challenge, it is necessary to be proactive and to find ways to make new life on campus less daunting. And, if you cannot find the solution yourself, never be afraid to reach out for advice from a peer or mentor.
A final piece of motivational advice from Zarra: “No matter how scary leaving the comfort of home is, I hope everyone finds the courage within themselves to be who they truly are. A diverse world is much more interesting.”