So, it’s mid summer. You’ve spent much of your time since infancy researching all of the most prestigious universities on the Eastern Seaboard, and at long last, you have settled on Trinity College University, within the University of Toronto. Congrats.
You, in anticipation of Frosh Week, that solemn and time-honoured hebdomad of serious festivities, have:
- stocked up on dat business casual attire #PantsuitRainbow
- started trying to engage your country club’s sommelier on all topics wine and fine cheese related in preparation of high tables and Trin Review parties.
- you have looked up the word hebdomad
- you have googled, “Trinity college IT8, meaning ?”
- you have combed through each and every Trinity related wikipedia article known to man. Check out the flashcards.
In short, you know everything there is to know about our esteemed College. You are:
And discuss the finer points of the Ukrainian crisis over a tannic Burgundy in a ‘robe.’ (It’s a gown). Great job. One problem. You don’t live here. Now what?
I get it. You’re super nervous. It’s exactly how I felt last year in anticipation of non-res life. You want to be just another Trinity College student, you’re just trying to enjoy the finer things of college life. And the Toronto Transit Commission is out to thwart you at every turn. To you right now, it’s just another potential problem lurking beneath the dewy glow of university life, as ominous and loomingly large as POL101. Don’t worry. Commuter anxiety is very common for incoming students anywhere. Good for you though, that you happen to have chosen the best possible academic institution for commuter students just about anywhere. In my opinion, but you can trust it. Troubled, you ask, ‘but aren’t the vast majority of the 47000 U of T students not housed in university residence? Where do they all go after frosh week? Deep dark holes in the ground?’ Maybe. But they don’t go to Trinity.
Alright, I’m mostly kidding. Naturally, I can’t speak for all commuters. Some may indeed live in deep dark holes in the ground (have you seen Bathurst and Harbord?). I can’t even speak for all the ones at Trin. But I can definitely tell you a bit about my experience as a first year non-resident student. Here are the problems I stressed over last summer, and how they worked themselves out.
Problem #1: How do I hang out in residence common rooms before events, or for unofficial parties?
Solution: Befriend resident students in your year. If you (like I did, and like you should) participate in the non-residence hosting program during frosh week, where you’re partnered up with another first year to sleep on their floor for the week, this will be very easy. They are friendly and obliging, and will let you in whenever you ask them. Failing this, befriend a student head (see the 1T8 facebook page for more details on who they are). Their numbers are common knowledge, and are always happy to help a brotha/sista out. One text, and a door, both figuratively and literally, is opened for you.
Problem #2: Wait, there are parties at this place? How am I supposed to know when they’re happening?
Solution: If you pay attention to my first point, usually this isn’t so hard to figure out. Failing this, we have this nifty thing called ‘Trin This Week,” a convenient weekly email courtesy of your Heads of Arts, which details all the events, meetings, parties, etc etc that are happening during any given week. You can sign up for this on the trin life website. Also, stay connected through social media. The 1T8 group will be the hub for most information during the year.
Problem #3: I want to be around Trinity during the day, but where am I supposed to go other than the library?
Solution: There are so many social hotspots, and good places to study around Trin that don’t require a residence key. Have a lunch break between classes? Head over to Strachan Hall, you have fifteen free meals, or the ability to flaunt your lovely packed lunch before all your poor jealous resident friends. Want a place to pretend to do your Trin One readings? The Junior Common Room (JCR) is your spot. Don’t be intimidated by the occasional puppy pen (two couches pushed together with blankets and usually a smuggled load of Strachan cookies) of hysterical upper years working on their grad school applications and crying. They’re really nice, I promise. Need crypt-like silence? Steadman Library in St. Hilda’s will do nicely. Not to mention Melinda Seaman Hall, the Buttery where you can get to the singularly excellent Non-Residence Common Room, or the plain old Quad. The possibilities are endless.
Problem #4: The subway closes at 1:30, the parties don’t really start until 11, and I’m commuting from Iqaluit.
Solution: Rent a locker on campus (talk to the bursar’s office, you pay $30 for it there), keep a sleeping bag in it, refer to my first solution, and you’ll never have to worry. This is where the hosting program comes in handy after Frosh Week. Usually, the frosh exec pairs you well personality-wise based on a survey we have you take (which will become available later in the summer). I’m still very close with the girl I roomed with at the beginning of last September, and chances are, they’ll always be willing to offer their floor to a friend in need.
Problem #5: What if I make no friends and never end up participating in the Trin community?
Solution: I know this worry is on your mind. Sounds harsh, but I know it was there for me this time last year. First, it’s not going to happen. The best thing about this place is that it brings together so many people of different backgrounds, programs, interests, and aspirations all in one place. And it is so small that everyone ends up getting to know everyone else, no matter what their year, program, or residence. You all deserve to be here, and there is something for absolutely everyone. Not to even begin mentioning the amazing opportunity that is Frosh Week, we have clubs, student societies, sports teams, outings, events, other miscellaneous traditions… Basically if we don’t have it, you can make it. Go to a Trinity College Meeting, which happen frequently on Monday nights, tell them you want a preliminary budget, and why (it’s slightly more complicated than that, be sure to check trinlife.net). Feeling lonely in the absolutely gigantic space of the greater U of T? Come to a high table on Wednesdays. Stay for the Lit debate. Pick what you’re interested in from Trin This Week. The people are there, and they are nice, and they are just waiting to meet and like you.
So with all of these challenges to non-residence life, there must be some good parts, no? Indeed there are. First, home cooked food. You my friends will not only forgo the freshmen fifteen, but you can watch your classmates pick apart their questionable-looking ‘beef’ tacos, while you munch cheerfully on a healthy and delicious packed lunch. Satisfying in more ways than one. Second, your bed will always be more comfortable and spacious than theirs. Third, it’s a little appreciated luxury to close your door and put a little bit of distance between you and the sometimes potent, and exuberant Trinity community. It’s ok to want to take a break sometimes. You have a shut-off button if it ever gets to be too much for one week. The perks are great and you’ll find many of your own, so enjoy them. You’re getting the best of both worlds.
So, all in all, these are the opportunities. They’re pretty awesome, but there’s one small catch. They’re just opportunities. And they mean nothing until you take the next step. So put yourself out there, nervous non-res frosh. Don’t worry so much. Everyone is rooting for you to succeed. And you will. Be persistent, be friendly, be you. At the end of the day, we all go to Trinity. On a final note though, I can’t stress enough how much you should come to Frosh Week. Apart from being more fun than just about anything else you’ve ever done, it is informative, it’s an opportunity to make new friends, to start over, or keep on going, it’s your moment to realize, with what will be an overwhelming and ineffable sense of relieved excitement, that you’re about to start some of the best years of your life. You’ve got a bright future ahead of you, trust me. Don’t let a daily trip on the subway stop you.
By: Emily Brade