Reflective Change Essay
Early in the fall of my senior year, people always approached me to ask what college I was planning on attending. When I would tell them Trinity, the first response I would always get was, “In Hartford? That’s a pretty dodgy area” or “That’s the school full of preppy kids and cocaine.” People would say this even if they had never been to Hartford or the campus itself. Before even coming to Trinity, I was exposed to multiple stereotypes about Hartford and Trinity in general. Upon choosing classes for the fall, I decided to try and enroll in the “Color and Money” first year seminar to learn more about the effect of race and class on the admissions process, and by doing so have learned more than I ever thought I would.
The seminar as a whole has made me much more aware of race and social class both at Trinity College and in society. It is upsetting to me that one’s race still plays such a large role in the people he or she spend time with and in how people treat and stereotype each other. All of the readings we analyzed in class made me realize the advantages that still exist for certain races and social classes and it was very troubling to realize how much inequality is present in our society. From high school life, the college process, college life and life in general, inequality and stereotypes exist in each stage of life, and had I not taken this seminar, I probably would still be unaware of the prevalence of inequality in society, and especially on the Trinity College campus. After many classes I left feeling distressed because of the content of our discussions. It is hard to hear about, on our very own campus, that “Campo” pull kids over asking them if they go here and that any criminal act is automatically blamed on the individuals living around the campus. This class has been an eye-opener, and I have begun to pick up on many instances of inequality and hurtful stereotypes being expressed. Listening to student’s accounts of assumptions made has both upset me and, as cliché as it sounds, has given me a drive to seek a positive change and make a conscious effort to treat everyone equally. Overall, I have become much more aware.
Throughout the class, I continued to follow “Trinity Confidential” on Facebook. The more and more discussions we had in class pertaining to race and the inequality that exists on this campus, the more angry I became from some of the posts online. Many of them stereotyped all different races and social classes on campus and it was infuriating to see how judgmental some of the students could be and the assumptions some people make about people based on their social class or race. It was alarming to see that at this stage of one’s life, he or she makes vicious stereotypes against different groups of people, especially at a campus that I thought was much different. These sentiments are clearly reflected in Abreu’s letter discussing racism at Trinity.
All around campus and online, I hear and see the word “locals” used and I see people making assumptions about the rich, the poor, the black, the white and everything in between. Abreu’s letter has made me realize the grievances of the people stereotyped against and it brings to light how many people feel the same way. Not only that, I have also begun to notice some of the trends discussed in Abreu’s letter, such as how white students tend to congregate in Mather, and students of different ethnicities stick together. I agree that if all groups made a conscious effort to get out of his or her comfort zone, then the campus could take a step closer to being a more accepting student body. By being a part of the “Color and Money” seminar, I have a completely new perspective of how people interact on and off campus.
Upon finishing this class, I realize even more so than ever before that I personally have lived a sheltered life, and it is truly shocking to find out how much inequality exists on the Trinity College campus and in society in general. I am much more conscious of the benefits I systematically receive because of the present societal norms and I am also very thankful for the life I have lived thus far and am far more aware of how other races and social classes are treated and stereotyped against. I now make a conscious effort to smile at everyone and to avoid stereotyping anyone. I think I am the type of person who is open to all types of people, so I have always made a point of being friendly to everyone I see around Hartford and on campus. I think that if the whole campus makes an effort to not stereotype each other and to be friendly to one another, the campus would be a much more pleasant place to be on.
Provost, Kerri. “Trinity Student Offers Suggestions for Bridging Town-Gown Chasm.” Web log post. Real Hartford. WordPress, Nov.-Dec. 2013. Web. 8 Dec. 2013.