I am not going to lie: my first day at Trinity, I was a mess. I got locked out of my room. I cried in Mabee when my parents left. While playing icebreaker games on the lawn by Miller Fountain, I almost got heat stroke and had to leave the group and go lay down. New Student Orientation was the frustrating preface to what would become the most difficult year of my life. I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up, I lost my Tigercard countless times, almost never left campus and only joined one student organization — all the while heavily considering transferring schools. When school ended, I was convinced that I was packing up and leaving for good. I could fill out my transfer paperwork over the summer.
I honestly don’t know what happened to that plan. It turned from a definite to a possibility to something left behind me. I hated Trinity, but I hated even more the idea that if I left, I would lose. I’d lose the opportunity to grow here. I’d lose my place to plant new roots. I’d lose the chance to know what would happen had I stayed. So I did.
Today, it’s hard to imagine that I came so close to declaring myself a failure in those initial moments of weakness. Now with only a few days left at Trinity, the time where the journey seemed lost to me is a distant memory. Instead, I wish I could reclaim that time and do more with it. I’ve found myself thinking increasingly about the things that I wanted to do but never got around to: I wish I’d gotten into volunteering earlier; I wish I’d taken trips with O-Rec, gone to local museums more than just a handful of times, used the video recording equipment at the Center for Learning and Technology more often. What the heck was I doing with all my time?
Persevering, that’s what. I’m ending my college career at Trinity with a degree in communication, experience with real television production and media writing under my belt, and an entirely new group of friends and set of experiences that I couldn’t have dreamed of if I hadn’t stuck around to find out. My mistakes showed me what I was doing wrong, so that my next year I could do more things right.
So here’s my parting wisdom: I encourage you all to not focus on the things you didn’t do as you reflect upon your time at the school, but instead revel in the things that you did. I couldn’t go volunteer because I was already volunteering at the TigerTV studio, which later became my on-campus job. I couldn’t go to museums because I was attending concerts with friends. I wasn’t filming videos on the weekends because I was taking trips to Austin, or writing for the Trinitonian. I couldn’t jump right into my first year because I wasn’t ready yet.
Even if you feel like you’re wasting time, I promise you that you’re not. You, too, are doing things and going places, even if you don’t know it yet.
Keep going. Persevere. It will lead you somewhere.