Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Should students assimilate into Trinity Culture or adapt to it?




My name is not Lily, nor Katie. I am not from New Hampshire or outside of Boston. I did not attend a prep school nor am I part of a sports team. I do not get drunk every weekend and hookup with random people. Too many students do, but I am part of the marginal few on campus who don’t. There is nothing wrong with all the things I listed above, but it is simply not my cup of tea. When I first came to Trinity, I fell in love with its sprawling campus and academic flexibility in its course offerings. But I struggled to socially fit into the Trinity culture. Growing up in New York City, I became accustomed to trains, overcrowding and endless nightlife options. The transition from being a New York City gal to a Trinity student was difficult to handle. I wanted to transfer and attend a school that did not emphasize the party culture as much as it did here. But the point of this opinion piece is not to downgrade Trinity’s reputation or criticize my follow peers. After almost a year and a half of being part of this campus, I learned the difference between adapting and assimilating. I also learned to love Trinity unconditionally. There are a lot of great opportunities to grow and resources to take advantage of during my four years here. When I see some acquaintances I occasionally bump into since freshman year, I notice their change of style. Instead of wearing sneakers, they are sporting Beanie Boots and they have upgraded their North Face to a Patagonia fleece and a Trinity cap. I then ask myself, why haven’t I assimilated to the culture? Wouldn’t I be more popular if I wore the same Tory Burch shoes or Polo cardigan? Wouldn’t I be perceived as socially acceptable if I made those changes in my own wardrobe? These questions always filled my mind when I saw a bunch of homogenous looking girls giggling and walking to class together on the Long Walk. But I brushed these questions to the back of my mind and continued to reflect on who I wanted to be on this campus. This year, I have come to the realization that there is a significant difference between assimilating and adapting to a new surrounding. Assimilating is for the weak-minded who do not have confidence in their individuality to stand out. I don’t want to become another typical Trinity student that this college has a reputation for. I also do not want to judge those students who chose to participate in the party life because it is their prerogative, but I am against changing one’s identity in order to be socially accepted. The goal is to add a new spunk and innovation to this campus community rather than continuing the segregation patterns. As a tour guide, I brag about the beauty, athletic achievements and academic flexibilities. However, like any other college, there are some aspects I do wish to change, but it cannot happen if we, as individuals, do not embody the changes we want to see reflected on this campus. Thus, I’ve decided to focus on the progressive changes that this institution has made in the previous years. Many students I talk to often complain about Trinity. Although I do share similar feelings, what makes my situation different is my attitude. If we simply pay attention to the bad things, then that tells us something about our own character. My only advice to new and struggling students is to discover your own passions, which will lead you to clubs and activities and thus, inevitably, the creation of beautiful friendships. We are young only once and four years is a great deal amount of time to waste complaining and assimilating to a culture that you are not proud of. If Trinity has taught me anything, it is to believe in my own individuality and get lost in my passions and love for learning. Trinity can be a bubble if you make it one. It has socially conditioned me to navigate and survive in a challenging and superficial climate. That is a priceless lesson to learn at one of the most expensive institutions in the country.

One Response to Should students assimilate into Trinity Culture or adapt to it?

  1. Go girl! You hit the nail on the head — glad that I am not alone in my feelings toward Trin. It is just sad that we who are marginalized for not participating in the culture cannot be understood as we understand or “adapt” to their choices.

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