Photo provided by Connie Laing
This is a part of our 2020 Graduation Issue. Click here to flip through the whole thing.
As a depressed college student who obsessively overthinks, I often think about why I am at Trinity. I grew up in Australia, which I loved, but my family moved to Texas when I was ten. I never really felt at home, but I decided college was going to be the time I figured out my life. This plan did not include staying in Texas, yet here I am. I have made friends who say they would come and get me if I was dying in a ditch and I have cried in my advisor’s office more times than I can count.
My mum is happy I ended up at Trinity though she is slightly disappointed I did not go to the University of Oregon. She is disappointed her daughter did not go where the film Animal House was shot. To contextualize, my mum grew up in Scotland and did not attend Uni, and she thinks Animal House is top-tier representation of American culture and that I am too uptight, therefore I should maybe have considered party schools more seriously.
When I think about my first year at Trinity I immediately get uncomfortable. I cried my whole first week as I had no idea what I was doing. I felt like I was stuck, but everything around me was moving as fast as it could. I did not do well academically, though I did manage to make friends. This made me decide to at least halt the decision on transferring.
I applied to Trinity saying I was going to be a Communication major. I had no idea what a Communication major was. I always thought it was flaky to put “undecided” when applying, so I selected Communication without any further research. And I now graduate a Communication major. I was unable to take any classes in the department my first year, but when people asked I still said it was my major. I seriously considered switching to Physics or English. Instead, I decided I would actually apply myself my second year to see what happened.
I remember my first day sitting in Media Law and Policy very clearly thinking, “Oh shit, what have I gotten myself into”; this was spring of my second year. In the fall semester before that class, I started actually trying and I made the decision that I was going to stick with the major, as I finally now knew what it was. That spring, I declared my major. Media Law terrified me and changed everything. As I started to care about my grades and trying to get into grad school, I found purpose which I had never really had.
My third and fourth years at Trinity were filled with highs and lows. Academically, I did well, though I often felt the effects of Imposter Syndrome, which was amplified by the fact I had never truly applied myself before. I felt weighed down by mistakes I made my first year both academically and personally. Anxiety and depression, something I have struggled with since moving from Australia, started to increasingly affect me inside and outside the classroom. One day I got an email from a professor asking if something was wrong, I was unaware up to this point that I could actually go talk to her about this stuff. This is what helped me get through my last two years.
I am very thankful for the friends I made while at Trinity. I am very grateful to the professors who not only helped these last few months, but over the course of the last four years. I can say nothing with certainty and I often hate hearing advice, but my advice would be this: you should not be afraid to tell someone if you are struggling or unsure or just sad. I wish I was not scared for so long. It took an exceptionally caring professor to reach out. But you can reach out. It truly is just about trying to get through it, together.