When Arthur called for submissions for this letters issue, I spent time wondering whether or not I should lament the administration, Aramark, or perhaps even lamentation itself. No, I think I just wanted to write this letter as a reminder to you all, and maybe to the university itself, that maybe Trent has a little bit of Hogwartsian magic, and maybe we all forget it too quickly and too easily when something goes wrong.
I think I wrote this letter to remind myself of that, too. Let’s remember together.
Do you remember the first time you saw Trent? I do. It was actually after I’d accepted my offer of admission, and I was nervous that perhaps I’d made the wrong call. I pulled up to campus alongside the river and Ron Thom made me forget it all. You know those Trent days we only get a few times during the school year, where everything is so sunny, it’s on fire? It was one of those days. It was beautiful. I was home.
Do you remember the first time you were recognized on campus by someone? A friend from rez, a professor, TA, cafeteria staff member, maybe. And you realized that among so many thousands of faces were so many familiar ones. That when they say you’re more than just your seven-digit student number, it was true and not just a talking point on a glossy brochure. I do.
As an upper-year student, it’s so rare to bus alone now because I just run into so many faces, each with stories behind them. I love it. I hope you do, too.
Do you remember the first time you were blown away by a piece of material you learned in class? That time you felt so thunderstruck by the fact that “oh my God, this is a university course, and here we are talking about ________.” The kind of feeling you only get at Trent, where we still do things so differently than everyone else. It’s the kind of magic you only get at a school that’s this small. I do. I get that all the time. It astounds me.
How soon—among rising tuition prices, food contract negotiations, strategic mandate agreement discussions, and student government issues—we find ourselves forgetting what it is we love about this place.
Trent is so inherently Trent. What we love about the university, from the students to the faculty to the administration, it’s all the same thing. It’s that unique Trent identity. That isn’t going to change anytime soon, I hope. I think if you take anyone from this school or community, you’ll find that, beneath it all, we bleed green.
When we look back on our education, I hope we all remember the friends and times we had, the poor (but, in hindsight, hilarious) decisions we made, and the feelings we got when we learned something that shook our beliefs to their core. I hope that for you Trent was a place within whose walls you found pieces of yourself you didn’t even know were there.
I know the discussions that’ll be found in this issue are important. They are vital to talk about. However, I just hope you can take a step back and appreciate the bigger picture. We are perfectionists talking about a mistaken stroke on a van Gogh, and there’s something beautiful that’ll be missed if we scrutinize too carefully.
As alumni I know we’ll remember these things. Let’s try not to forget them as students.
The luckiest student in the world