I believe a very strong piece of Trinity is our First-Year Seminars and First-Year Programs. I remember mine well. I interviewed my roommate, Chandler Solimine ’19, on what it is like being a First-Year Seminar Mentor.
What is a First-Year Seminar Mentor?
-A mentor is an upperclassmen who assists a professor in running their first-year seminar. My role is to help the students with their work for the seminar as well as their work for other classes, but more importantly, to guide them through their first semester at Trinity and answer any questions they have about all aspects of life on campus.
What is your seminar about? Who teaches it?
-My seminar is titled “Mind, Body, and the Concept of Mindfulness,” taught by Dr. Randy Lee. Over the semester we have and will continue to look at a number of different aspects of the relationship between mind and body, and understanding the difference (or lack thereof) between them. We look at some interesting questions and issues about mind and body and their interrelationship such as: exactly where in the “body” does the “mind” reside? What are hallucinations? Is depression physical or psychological? What really happens in hypnosis? Is meditation an effective way to stay physically healthy? How does stress affect us? Can the brain really rewire itself throughout our lives? Can stress cause cancer and other health issues? We also examine different practices of mindfulness and experiment with them ourselves to learn how we as individuals can be more mindful in our everyday lives.
How did you get this position?
– I was in this exact seminar with Professor Lee when I was a freshman, and I continued to have a great relationship with him after the class was over and into my sophomore year. Last winter he reached out to me and asked if I was interested in the mentor position and I didn’t hesitate for a second to accept.
What kind of responsibilities does it entail?
-My main responsibilities are to take part and facilitate class discussions, meet with students outside the class to help them prepare their classwork, talk to them about how they are assimilating onto a campus and Trinity’s culture, etc.
What is your favorite part about being a First-Year Seminar Mentor?
-My favorite part is being about to meet so many new students and build relationships with freshmen that I probably never would’ve met otherwise. I enjoy being in a mentor sort of role and taking what I struggled with as a freshmen and turning it into advice for them.
What is most challenging about being a First-Year Seminar Mentor?
-Sometimes it is challenging to help the students find answers to questions I am unsure of because it is out of my realm of knowledge.
How is your seminar unique from the others?
-I would consider my seminar to have a very relaxed and friendly environment because the topic we are studying itself as well as the open environment that Professor Lee creates. There is a never a lecture, but always a group discussion where everyone chimes in with whatever is on their mind. While I am sure most first-year seminars foster this sort of environment, I feel that the lack of “black and whiteness” of the topic we are focused on allows for even more back and forth discussions to flow.