Embracing Discomfort

BaseballA few weeks ago, I had a chat with a Trinity colleague who works with students. She mentioned that incoming students seem to have an increasing lack of coping skills when they arrive at college. In those critical first few days of college, the discomfort of The New and The Unknown seemed to throw some students into isolation and/or panic. Although we offer a fun, informative, and supportive orientation program, walking into change will never be without some discomfort. She saw students retreating because of that discomfort, without a sense that it was temporary and would soon subside. That tendency can be very costly.

Our conversation resonated with me for many days, and I began to look at my own behaviors and choices around discomfort. I remember my own college application process. I switched high schools in the middle of my junior year when my family moved across the country. I had been overwhelmed by the changes in my life, and the college search and application process had me utterly paralyzed. This was especially challenging for my college professor/administrator father. College was his comfort zone. For me, it was a big UNKNOWN horizon and I didn’t know how to move forward. Ironic, considering my future profession, isn’t it?

I hope my history of discomfort in this process has made me a more empathetic admissions professional. So, consider that Embracing Discomfort Advantage Number One: you can draw on previous experience to have a better perspective of others’ struggles. In other words: “I’ve been there, and let me help you know what’s on the other side of that discomfort.” I wouldn’t be very good at my job if I wasn’t willing to do that. Have you ever tried to learn something from a genius? People who have not struggled with something are not always good guides. If something came naturally to them, they may not know how to teach someone else to navigate the path.

Embracing Discomfort Advantage Number Two may be this: it is the only way to a fulfilling life. Playing it safe will never bring you long-term fulfillment. Think of all the clichés around this: “Life begins beyond your comfort zone,” and, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”  They are clichés for a reason. Playing it safe will keep you stagnate, and there is no guarantee that because you feel safe, you actually are. Life will happen around you, and Life is not responsible for your safety.

Life at college and the learning process itself is not comfortable. It can be fun, engaging, exciting, challenging, rewarding, frustrating, exhausting, inspiring, but I have never heard a student describe his or her college experience as “comfortable.” So when The New is in front of you keep plodding forward deliberately and carefully. Stay empathetic to others and kind to yourself, but keep moving toward The Unknown. Now is not the time to turn back. Time is not kind to those who let discomfort rule their actions. If you are uncomfortable those first few days of college, if you aren’t sure your roommate is the best match for you, if your classes feel intimidating, keep showing up, keep being present, let yourself reside in the discomfort for a while. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t even need to be impressive. Just stay present. Stay receptive. Embrace discomfort and hang on until you see what’s on the other side.

 

Building character along with intellect: how we honor Dr. King’s legacy

MLKI write today as the Office of Admissions is closed (officially) in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I specify “officially” because in this season of college application review, every day is critical, and I know all of my colleagues are actually hard at work reading and processing applications regardless of the fact that our office is closed. As much as I’d like to take the day and participate in the myriad of events to honor Dr. King’s legacy, I realize that my most important role in the broader picture is to keep my focus on these college applications and ensure that a Trinity education is accessible to as many students as possible.

I earnestly believe a Trinity education is a continuation of Dr. King’s legacy. As a prestigious institution of learning that is set in an urban environment, we have a unique opportunity and therefore a unique responsibility to learn from the complexity and richness of our environment and also to learn how to be of service. We cannot stay in the classroom, comfortable with our theories and philosophies; we must reach beyond passively absorbing information and seek experiential wisdom.

Click on the Martin Luther King, Jr. quotes below to see how Trinity programs support his philosophy:

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education.”

“Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.”

“If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.”

”An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”

I wish you a thoughtful, meaningful Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and hope you can see his legacy in your life’s work as well.

Best,
Kalia

It merits a second appearance

ab_367Back in December of 2013, I posted information and perspective about our Early Decision (option 1) results. Because this Monday, December 15th, is the posting date for our ED1 decisions, I thought it might be good to revisit that blog entry (with some necessary updates).

Here it is:

Let’s talk basic information
Here is a starting link for those of you who want to check your decisions. If you have trouble accessing the information, here is a help link.

What you might see
There are three possible decisions posted for our completed ED1 candidates. They are: Admitted, Denied, or Deferred.

What’s next

If you are admitted, congratulations! Be sure to withdraw all applications from other institutions as our ED is a binding agreement. (Remember that affidavit you signed with your application?) That step is critical. Usually, it is sufficient to email the other colleges’ admissions offices indicating that you have been admitted to Trinity College as an Early Decision candidate and are withdrawing your application. And every office appreciates a simple, “Thank you for considering my application.” Just an FYI, if you want to keep the good karma flowing while you are basking in the ED Admit glow. Welcome to #TrinColl2019!

If you are denied, seeing that decision can be a tough hit. So let’s talk perspective: there is a strange release in receiving this information. You are not in limbo; you can fully commit to setting your sights elsewhere. Is it what you wanted to hear? No. If you are denied as an ED1 candidate it is likely that Trinity would not have been the right fit for you. It may feel like a value judgment, but we hope that disappointment can ebb enough to make room for that glimmer of hope that, perhaps, this decision will help guide you to your best college fit.

If you are deferred, you are entering what might feel like a murky gray area. You have now been added to the Regular Decision applicant pool. You are no longer held to the binding agreement of Early Decision. Your first order of business will be to finalize any outstanding applications elsewhere. It’s time to press that “submit” button to be sure other colleges and universities have your applications in place before their Regular Decision deadline. If Trinity remains your top choice, then stay hopeful and don’t hesitate to reach back to us! There are many reasons we defer an application: We may want to see one more set of grades to be sure your performance in the classroom continues to improve or shows consistency; we may feel the need to see what the Regular Decision candidates bring to the table before we commit too many class spaces and financial aid resources to too large a group; or there may be an unanswered question lingering in your application. Regardless of the reason, your best course of action is to let us know of your continued interest and to keep us updated with your academic performance, new honors, and leadership activities. It isn’t the answer you may have wished for, but there absolutely is hope for your application.

This process is not easy. It takes grit and determination. We are honored that you chose Trinity as your Early Decision choice and want to assure you that no decision was made without great thought, review, and respect for your application.

Good advice

53f8938b997fbI am minutes away from checking out of my hotel and heading to my final college fair of the fall travel season. I have met wonderful students and had many discussions about the application process. All of us who work in this profession know this process is difficult. Frankly, it shouldn’t be easy. You are making big decisions about the next four years of your lives. Investment in this process and these decisions is key.

But, back to my hotel room …

I turn on my television, and this is playing: http://www.today.com/klgandhoda/heres-what-include-your-college-application-1D80274342. Needless to say, it immediately had my full focus. Although all colleges/universities have their own approaches to the process and varying priorities, I will say that these fellow admissions professionals give good advice; what they said truly resonates.

So, take a moment, check it out, then breathe deeply and return to your essays or your application, and remember that it is worth your investment of time and energy. It is not worth a sense of dread or panic. There are thousands of wonderful colleges that serve students. We hope you find the one that matches your needs and hopes for your education.

Now, off to my last college fair!

Best,
Kalia

Up, Up and Away …

blog_picI had the absolute delight of seeing a bit of Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta this past week after a wonderful week of visiting schools around New Mexico. Although as an admissions officer my schedule is full of high school visits, college fairs, and interviews, I also like to take a little time, if possible, to connect with the culture and “vibe” (if you will) of the various places I have the pleasure to visit. I like to be able to share with students what kinds of differences and commonalities they might find if they choose to come to New England and attend our college in a city.

I was excited to hear that students saw college as an opportunity to change their scenery — literally and figuratively — to experience a different perspective, culture, and region of the country. At Trinity, we hope that is just a first step. More than 50% of our students opt to have a semester abroad or, as we call it, Study Away. Why do we call our Study Abroad program “Study Away?” Good question; and we have a good answer. Trinity’s Study Away program includes domestic programs like Trinity/La MaMa Urban Arts Semester in New York City; research in Washington, D.C.; maritime studies at Mystic Seaport; the 12-College Exchange; and theater courses at the National Theater Institute.

Our international programs include:

Trinity-in-Barcelona
Trinity-in-Buenos Aires
Trinity-in-Cape Town
Trinity-in-Paris
Trinity College Rome Campus
Trinity-in-Shanghai
Trinity-in-Trinidad
Trinity-in-Vienna

And those are simply the Trinity-sponsored programs.

Taking advantage of our Study Away program is one of the most defining and exciting things you can do as a Trinity student. You have the support of the College, yet get to experience a different culture, language, perspective, area of the world. I know students who have worked with the House of Lords in London during a Student Away semester; have studied artists in Pompeii one semester, then participated in an archeological dig in Israel the following summer. One of our talented musicians was an apprentice to a cathedral musical director in Paris, while another student studied community health efforts for women in South America.

So, take the time, take that leap, and let the opportunities take you up, up and study away.

Off to the desert

As a Connecticut transplant from Arizona (with a graduate school stop in the Midwest), I’m excited to head back to the desert and connect with students from the West!

opportunity-signIt’s time to spread the word that Trinity is a great school for any student who wants to experience a classic New England, collegiate liberal arts education with a twist — a city setting. So while I head to meet students in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tucson, and other warm locations, my colleagues are visiting students in the Midwest, the Eastern Seaboard, and as far away as India.

It’s that time of year when sending out emails and lovely brochures just doesn’t suffice. We want to meet you, visit your schools, and let you know why we are proud traveling Bantams.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page at the beginning of each week to see which schools we are headed to for the following days.

We’re excited to meet you! Thanks for hosting us near and far.

(Now, where did I put my rolling carry-on luggage … )

And so it begins …

Move In Day for our new class is a multifaceted experience. They check-in, move-in, meet their roommates, and eventually bid farewell to their families. The day is full of activity and certainly exhausting, but in the middle of the day we stop for Convocation. Students process in, followed by faculty, and with families surrounding them on all sides, the new class settles in for a few of their first minutes ‘Neath the Elms of Trinity.

Here are a few pictures from Convocation:

image

 

imageimageimage

Teens Talk

imageDuring a large conference on college recruitment practices, I attended the session entitled, “TeensTALK Live!” It was a panel of 16 recent high school graduates who were all college bound this fall. There is nothing quite so validating or challenging as listening to 16 students tell us about their college search and application experiences. All the efforts, ideas, and initiatives that we strive to bring to fruition are put into new light when a panel of high school graduates either shrug away or light up in response to them.

Here are some take-aways from their feedback:

  • The information flow to high school juniors and seniors is overwhelming. Unique messages and current student perspectives rise to the top of the stack.
  • Personal connection to an individual recruiter is still the most powerful influencer once students have decided to apply.
  • Quick access to basic information is appreciated in emails and Web sites.
  • Phone calls and texting can become intrusive very quickly.
  • The importance of the campus visit cannot be overstated.

Do you find those things to be true for you? Feel free to respond on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/trincoll

 

Sweet Home Chicago

imageWhat do admissions staff members do in the summer? Well, more and more it seems.

Because our fall semester is spent on the road, attempting to meet and get to know our prospective applicants face-to-face, and our spring semester is spent reading applications and building our incoming class, summer has become the time to review our internal systems, refine our process, and educate ourselves. Sounds super exciting, right?

When we get to travel, meet others in college admissions that we have only “met” online, and learn about what YOU, the high school student and college seeker, is actually interested in, it actually is quite interesting.

So here I am in Chicago, a town I used to call home, attending a conference and absorbing as much as I can about this increasingly competitive and complex world we call “College Admissions.” In truth, you might be looking at your college choices and feeling somewhat assessed during the process. But let me assure you: college professionals are listening to your voice, hoping to reach out to you where you are, and feeling assessed as well (as we should be). As you visit campuses this summer and learn about various college choices, we are learning how to serve you better in this process.

I always emphasize to students how powerful they are in this process. Here, at this conference center in Chicago, I am reminded that we are all working to find the best college fit for you.

I’ll report more after I absorb more information and perhaps a few slices of deep dish pizza …

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions …

Today is the BIG DAY for our Early Decision, Option 1, (ED1) candidates! Yes, that’s correct — Friday the 13th will be either a “lucky” day or an “unlucky” day for many.

Let’s talk basic information
Here is a starting link for those of you who want to check your decisions: http://www.trincoll.edu/Admissions/apply/Pages/Status.aspx. If you have trouble accessing the information, here is a help link: http://www.trincoll.edu/Admissions/apply/loginhelp/Pages/default.aspx. Decisions will be posted by this evening at 7:00pm.

What you might see
There are three possible decisions posted for our completed ED1 candidates. They are: Admitted, Denied, or Deferred.

What’s next

If you are admitted, congratulations! We will follow up with an enrollment confirmation card and letter in the mail soon. Be sure to withdraw all applications from other institutions as our ED is a binding agreement. (Remember that affidavit you signed with your application?) That step is critical. Usually, it is sufficient to email the other colleges’ admissions offices indicating that you have been admitted to Trinity College as an Early Decision candidate and are withdrawing your application. And every office appreciates a simple, “Thank you for considering my application.” Just FYI, if you want to keep the good karma flowing while you are basking in the ED Admit glow. Welcome to #TrinColl2018!

If you are denied, seeing that decision can be a tough hit. So let’s talk perspective: there is a strange release in receiving this information. You are not in limbo; you can fully commit to setting your sights elsewhere. Is it what you wanted to hear? No. If you are denied as an ED1 candidate it is likely that Trinity would not have been the right fit for you. It may feel like a value judgement, but we hope that disappointment can ebb enough to make room for that glimmer of hope that, perhaps, this decision will help guide you to your best college fit.

If you are deferred, you are entering what might feel like a murky gray area. You have now been added to the Regular Decision applicant pool. You are no longer held to the binding agreement of Early Decision. Your first order of business will be to finalize any outstanding applications elsewhere. It’s time to press that “submit” button to be sure other colleges and universities have your applications in place before their Regular Decision deadline. If Trinity remains your top choice, then stay hopeful and don’t hesitate to reach back to us! There are many reasons we defer an application: We may want to see one more set of grades to be sure your performance in the classroom continues to improve or shows consistency; we may feel the need to see what the Regular Decision candidates bring to the table before we commit too many class spaces and financial aid resources to too large a group; or there may be an unanswered question lingering in your application. Regardless of the reason, your best course of action is to let us know of your continued interest and to keep us updated with your academic performance, new honors, or leadership activities. It isn’t the answer you may have wished for, but there absolutely is hope for your application.

This process is not easy. It takes grit and determination. We are honored that you chose Trinity as your Early Decision choice and want to assure you that no decision was made without great thought, review, and respect for your application.