Friday, August 17, 2018

Trinity Days, in Context

Trinity Days as we know them today serve as a lull in the academic tempest of Trinity life. It is a time to relieve stress, sleep, and regroup. Students from New England or other surrounding areas may go home to see family. Some use the time to stay on campus and catch up or get ahead on school work. Others stay on campus to live freely and audaciously during this extended weekend. In short, Trinity Days are a time to let go. Or are they?

Relaxation may be what they are used for. However, the original intent of this brief hiatus was not to escape from academia, but enter it in a more interactive way, without so much the pressures of assignment deadlines, tests, or essays. Indeed, Trinity Days were a time to experience real academic curiosity. However, the present Trinity Days shows that stress about banal assignments has replaced an emphasis on serious intellectual engagement.

One reason is the daily stress felt by students. Too often, students worry about word count, getting their paper in exactly at 12:00am, and making sure they don’t forget to put their name on the top of their quiz. Generally, students are not up for serious intellectual discussion or work. It is indeed perceived as dangerous to be curious about a specific topic, lest this takes time away from other work which one must get in by a certain time. There is a constant pressure to always be looking forward to the next due date, taking away from possible interest in the present subject. Eventually, the stress builds up to the point where no one wants to open a book during Trinity Days. Thus, Trinity Days is not essentially a vacation. Students will always choose to take time off instead of cultivating their academic interests.

Trinity Days as a concept has a long and interesting history at the College. Initially, Trinity ceased classes for exam reading days during midterms. Trinity Days evolved to become a week long. Professors hosted interactive field trips across the disciplines. Many students took the week to travel internationally. For a long time, Trinity Days facilitated academic engagement and exploration.Various options were offered, and professors that have been with the college for a long time have reminisced about the opportunities that Trinity Days used to provide. It is fascinating to consider that today, Trinity Days have no academic association at all. Although we can only speculate what might have caused the change, it is undoubtedly a reflection of Trinity’s disengagement with academic culture. Trinity is often criticized for its lack of intellectual engagement.

Everyone on the editorial staff would agree that we- along with most of the community- love having Trinity Days. The opportunity to go home, or at least catch up on sleep, in the middle of the semester is an incredible opportunity. However, it is also interesting to speculate what might be occurring on-campus if Trinity Days had retained its original purpose.

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