Reflections on my first year at Trinity

Learning more about the world, and myself, through Greek tragedy

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Illustration by Noelle Barrera, news reporter

This May, my first year of Trinity comes to a close. Papers from long-forgotten classes will be thrown into the trash, friends will be said goodbye to, a scary-looking food particle from behind the fridge that looks like a squid will finally be exorcised of evil. As I write this article, I’m sitting in the library where I’ve ordered upwards of 100 environmentally-friendly hot beverages and wondering where the time has gone (also, where the recyclable bin for paper cups is in the library). So, how has my year been?

As one would hope from a college student — even one like me, who is seriously prone to procrastination — I’ve learned a lot from my first year here. During my first semester, HUMA entered my life like a Trojan horse … or a Trojan course. In the spring, ignoring countless cries of students who took HUMA for their First-Year Experience (FYE) course, “Don’t do it! HUMA is the hardest First-Year Experience course!” I covered my ears like Odysseus covering his ears in the siren-escapade — a side effect of taking HUMA is that I think exclusively in classics analogies now — and decided to register for the course anyway. Over the summer I became intimately acquainted with the exploits of Ajax, Diomedes and Odysseus. By mid-August, they were like beloved but vaguely irksome friends. I would open “The Odyssey” and … Really, Odysseus? You’re cheating on Penelope again? I was deeply glad that dating sites didn’t exist in the Bronze Age.

HUMA was actually an amazing first class. I learned a lot about how to craft arguments, and the advice I got from my professors and peer tutors has definitely improved the quality of my writing. My other Trinity classes have also been excellent. I learned about the nature of the afterlife and how different cultures perceive death in Afterlives of Antiquity, and one of the quotes from “The Epic of Gilgamesh” has stayed with me as a philosophy for how to approach life (and death?). After Gilgamesh experiences the death of his companion Enkidu, he looks at the walls of the city and is awestruck upon viewing what his people have created.

“He looked at the walls / awed at the heights / his people have achieved / and for a moment — just a moment — / all that lay behind him / passed from view.”

This is what the pursuit of education is all about. While the news recently has been filled with horrible events, we continue learning about the world — however cruel it can be — continue informing others and creating art so that we can make something beautiful enough that all of life’s tragic events lay behind us and pass from view. While I’m still indecisive about choosing my major, I want more than anything for what I do in the future to help others and remind them that they’re not alone.

I wasn’t expecting Greek heroes to be such terrible husbands, and I also wasn’t prepared for how deeply I would connect with the people at Trinity. My roommate (Calliope Izquierdo, who I’m gonna name here, much to her chagrin) has seen me at the best and worst of times. She’s seen me at Halloween when I went to Goodwill, bought a sombrero and white paint, and dressed up as a Day of the Dead zombie/mime mashup thing. She has seen me at 3 a.m. doing Symbolic Logic homework on the floor and trying not to cry too much onto my notes. She has seen my ceramic cup with a human face named Annette, and she was there for Annette’s rise to power and subsequent tragic fall when I dropped her while packing my things for spring break. Throughout all of this, she has been my friend and supported me unconditionally. And that’s pretty insane; it’s also pretty wonderful.

I’ve learned that there’s definitely such a thing as overextending yourself, and next year I’m going to learn how to deal with it — perhaps. This year I decided to apply to all of the things it was possible to apply to. I applied like a moth flapping at glass, and against all odds, I became a part of SGA. My year at SGA was amazing — I got to learn a lot about how the university works, as well as witness how a roomful of adults can be brought to their knees by $50 of T-shirts. However, I’m definitely going to dial it back next year so that I can have more time to do mundane things like eat meals and get eight hours of dogmatic liberal slumber (this is a bad joke and I am not sorry).

Overall, my first year at Trinity has gone well. I hope that next year will be even better — more interesting classes to take, more friends to meet and more opportunities to grow as a person. And if not, I hope that the Trinicats are still around.

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