Alumnus professor: How to succeed at Trinity and beyond

As someone who attended Trinity as a student and now teaches here, I have a few insights on how to survive and thrive on this campus. I don’t want to divulge all of my secrets, but I am willing to share a few thoughts on finding success as a student at Trinity and beyond.

Open your heart & mind

As a student I grew more than I ever had before. In fact, I learned so much here that even my definition of “learning” changed. Before college, my idea of learning was limited to collecting knowledge in the classroom. But from my very first day at Trinity, I quickly realized that one can learn as much outside the classroom as inside the classroom and that every moment can be an opportunity to learn and grow.

Opening your heart and mind can make you feel vulnerable, but it’s worth the discomfort. That’s where the real growth and transformation happens.

Suck up to your professors

As a student, I never really sucked up to my professors. Now that I am one, I deeply regret that. I don’t regret it because I think it would have improved my grades. It’s just that now that I’m a professor I realize how out of touch I am and how badly I wish I could be as cool as my students. So you can only imagine how much it means to me when I receive compliments from my super cool students.

And do you know what the best compliment is? Completing all your assigned readings and engaging in classroom discussion.

Also, cupcakes.

Enjoy the journey

One of the ways I describe Trinity students (and one of the main reasons I came back to teach here) is by saying that we are serious students who don’t take ourselves too seriously. I just spent a decade at Ivy League institutions, and one of the things I found is that some students can be so focused on achieving their academic and professional goals that they forget to have fun along the way.  

Trinity helps you become your best self by encouraging healthy, balanced lives. You can be high-achieving and still have fun. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, so do yourself a favor and allow yourself to grow in all kinds of ways.

Invest in the people around you

This year marks 10 years since I graduated from Trinity; I’m happy to say that I’m still really close with a lot of my college friends. We still hang out, go on road trips and meet up for whatever it is that old people like us do.

It’s a real gift to be surrounded by like-minded people and to live and grow together as a collective. 10 years from now, what you’ll remember most fondly are the things you and your friends did together. Don’t become so focused on your studies and growth that you forget to have fun and enjoy all the amazing people around you.

College is an incredible experience and Trinity University is a great place to grow, learn and have fun with a great group of people. If you keep your head up, your heart open and maintain the values that your families have instilled in you the past several years, I have no doubt that you will enjoy this year at Trinity and those to come.

Also, cupcakes.