Friday, October 19, 2018

“Trinity”: School, Community, Negative Adjective

It is undeniable that “Trinity” functions as a noun and an adjective. “Trinity,” as an adjective, can describe a person, a style of clothes, or an event. It can be difficult to dissect the meaning of the word. It hosts a variety of meanings: preppy, entitled, close-knit, or cut-off. It can be a compliment, but often serves as a tongue-in-cheek insult. It is interesting to speculate if other school names have become adjectives in the daily conversation of students. With the negative connotation of “Trinity” as an adjective, we, the student body, should act to overcome this connotation.

Many would argue that it is a challenge to define oneself in Trinity’s environment. Several would argue that the culture here is binary: there are the non-conformist types, who skip weekend parties and avoid Vineyard Vines, and the conformists, who embrace a preppy lifestyle and go out four or more times a week. The binary stereotype is applicable to all aspects of life. Students often complain about being trapped in one of these two options.

It is true that the administration does not do enough to accommodate or cultivate a diverse student body. There are plenty of opportunities for those on the complete opposite ends of the spectrum, but there are also many members of the community that would like to consider themselves as somewhere in between the two extremes.

Students who come to Trinity freshman year with an array of Patagonia fleeces and prep school diplomas are already “Trinity.” Choosing to embrace this identity or doing everything possible to stray from it is up to each individual student. That’s what college is for. It is an opportunity for each student to discover themselves, to de-stress when they need it, and to figure out their passions in life.

For all of the in-depth analyses and complaints of Trinity’s culture, nothing seems to be able to change it. It is up to the administration to reach out to broader, more diverse group of students, but it is also important for students not to feel forced to conform to either side of Trinity’s spectrum. At such a small school where outside entertainment is predominantly only accessible by car or bus, Trinity clearly feels isolated, boring, and, for many students, lonely.

The administration has taken some necessary steps to diversify the community and attempt to provide alternative entertainments for students, which leads many to wonder if the culture actually needs a complete overhaul. To put it simply, is there anything wrong with being “Trinity?”

Trinity’s culture can strangely benefit its students. It presents two very different ways of life upon a first weekend on-campus, giving students the opportunity to decide where they would like to be and challenges students to create their own way. Trinity is extremely binary, and Trinity is nothing less than a way of life. But, is this really a bad thing?

Perhaps there is nothing wrong with being “Trinity” for people that are part of the Trinity community. Perhaps this emphasis on the extremes is over-exaggerated and the opportunity to stray from the common two paths is out there. Complaining about Trinity’s culture is not conducive to changing it. There are social issues and a duality of life at Trinity, but that can be argued of any place where 2,000 young adults are placed in a small, closed environment.

Life at Trinity can be monotonous. Life at Trinity can sometimes only offer a few options. However, at the same time, Trinity cannot be blamed for general unhappiness. Students can love their school, while at the same time want to better it. From The Tripod and elsewhere, Trinity’s problems have been addressed.

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