Skyler Simpkins ’23
As my time at Trinity draws to a close, I begin to reminisce about my time in college and what experiences I will cherish for the long road ahead. We have all had our experience in college or high school marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the implications the pandemic had on our college experience—for those who were in college—will definitely be one of those lasting impressions we share with everyone when they ask about our time in college. I found that, as I sit planning out how to get all of my assignments in before I graduate, I think about my experience as a Bantam and whether I will look back on this time with pleasure, or with regret. Will I want to be a college student again, or will I wish that I went somewhere else for school?
I think my reminiscence will be a mixture of both good and bad. I will be happy that I left home, explored my independence, and came to this small school; but, I will regret not experiencing more in college. I think this missing experience is due mostly to the prominence of the Covid-19 pandemic, but it is also due to my feelings of isolation on campus. Sure, Trinity had numerous community outreach programs, but it felt like we were all coddled in our little chicken coop juxtaposed by the surrounding chicken processing plant. We college students are protected by our insulated chicken coop, laying eggs of tuition that keeps us residents of our beautiful coop, all while most of us chickens are shielded from the surrounding poultry plant. Our world’s existence is one of immense privilege, and our life at Trinity College shields us from the realities of existence. When I look back on my college experience, I will think of our little coop and how it could have easily shielded me from the world around me, the world I would soon enter.
Trinity College is an interesting social experiment. It is populated with a relatively diverse campus yet the white, wealthy students still stand as the symbols of the school. Additionally, our social interactions are littered with “rich kid lingo” whether we are the ones speaking it or hearing it and, subsequently, joking about it. This becomes normalized to us, because this is our community—but our little community is not the real world. To be fair, I don’t think many of us believe that the experiences between New Britain and Allen are representative of the real world, but it is something that I, as I have been preparing to embark on my post-college journey, have been thinking about a lot recently. How did Trinity prepare me for my life? Do I know more of the world now than I did before? Like my reminiscence, my answers to these questions are mixed. I do feel like I know more of the world than I did before thanks mostly to my classes, but I don’t credit Trinity College for giving me this information and preparing me for my life. I credit my professors, my friends, and my classes, but not the college all these things are united under. I am thankful for my time here, but these thoughts make me question what other students’ answers would be to these questions. Specifically, I think about those students raised in wealthy circumstances, surrounded by a wealthy collegiate community, and especially those who don’t spend too much time going to class or engaging with the material. Maybe it won’t matter much to them as they will likely continue on this path of extravagant life cushioned by generational wealth, but their perceptions matter to the people they know, our government, and, even, the world.
Your perceptions, how you understand societal relationships, and how you understand the inequities in the world matter. If you only experience life on a silver platter, you will not understand these segments of the world. You will seem ignorant of the world, whether you mean to be or not, and, most importantly, you cannot make the proper moves to correct these global inequities when in a state of blissful ignorance.
While Trinity has great outreach programs through CHER and some departments, not all students are immersed in this way, keeping them from acknowledging the “outside” world. Great moves have been made by Trinity to increase this interaction by instating gen. ed requirements, but true immersion requires the student to want to be immersed in their community, and many of the most privileged students at our school have no desire to leave their silver platters.
So, returning to what I will think of when I leave Trinity, I will think of this dichotomy of students that I have described. How some will go on to make a genuine difference in the world while some others do nothing but perpetuate the inequalities systemic in our world. There must be a way for all students to be humbled at Trinity and understand the real-world experiences of an average person, but that answer will probably take another 200 years to discover.
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