Living in a Dorm: Your Home Away from Home

 

Lesley Goodaker

 

 

Adapting to life in the dorms is  a roller coaster of a ride for everyone. Whether you’re a seasoned summer camp veteran or someone who has never been away from home for more than a night, dorm life will inevitably throw you for a loop.

So, what are the best and worst things about living in the dorms at Transy?

Best:

  • Community. Transy’s size makes it incredibly easy to get to know your hall mates. For those who choose to take advantage of this, impromptu game and movie nights become weekly routines.
  • Cost. While living in the dorms can seem pricey upfront, in the long run it’s often more cost-effective. Living in the dorms means no bills for utilities or unexpected repairs. Also, residents at Transy get access to free WiFi and cable TV.
  • Convenience. Living in the dorms means that you don’t have to spend time searching through empty cabinets because you haven’t had time to go grocery shopping. At Transy, students can choose from four on-campus dining options throughout the week. For many, time in the “caf” (aka the cafeteria) is the highlight of their day as they unwind and catch up with their friends over a freshly prepared meal.

Worst:

  • Privacy. Dorm life means a significant decrease in privacy. When the fall semester rolls around, chances are you will be sharing your limited living quarters with a virtual stranger. But fear not, Transy offers excellent rooming accommodations—including a personalized roommate survey—which help make your transition smoother.
  • Community Showers. While a vast majority of the horror stories we’ve all heard are mostly myth, community showers are not typically anyone’s favorite part of dorm life. Luckily for Transy students, majority of the residential halls offer suite style or private bathrooms. Thankfully, for those of us who happen to live in a hall with community showers, there are plenty of wonderful staff members who ensure the facilities are maintained and clean.
  • Noise. Community living means that there may be more noise than you’re used to at home. From hair dryers and TVs to the neighbors two doors down listening to the latest screamo version of TSwift’s “Shake it Off,” there are a lot of distractions in the dorms. Because Transy understands the need for quiet,  courtesy hours are set during which time residents must keep noise at a minimum.

Through the good and the bad, dorm life is truly a one-of-a-kind experience that I think everyone should take advantage of. Want to know more about residence life at Transy? Seniors even have the option of scheduling an overnight visit, which I highly recommend that you take advantage of. We have admissions ambassadors who are also overnight hosts and have an extra bed in their dorm room just for you! Schedule your visit today to get an up-close look at a dorm room on campus and see first-hand how great life at Transy is!

Majoring in Communication Isn’t Useless

emilymartin

When I told people that I wanted to study communication in college, usually they tried to talk me out of it. Or encourage me to double-major with something “practical.” I can appreciate their concern. Communication is pretty broad and rarely a prerequisite for graduate or professional school. And I do want to get an advanced degree and have a job, so I get it.

But after four years, I couldn’t be happier with my decision to study communication anyways.

I was originally interested in doing so because I participated in speech and debate in middle school and high school. That experience made me recognize the importance of communicating effectively, and I was eager to learn more about the strategies that would make me a better speaker and writer.

And I’ve learned that and more from our Writing, Rhetoric, and Communication program at Transylvania. As you can tell from the major’s name, I study more than “just” communication. When I started college, I really had no idea what rhetoric was. I thought the same thing you’re probably thinking, that rhetoric is what politicians do when they “just talk,” but don’t actually say anything. In my first rhetoric class, I learned a much better definition. Aristotle defines rhetoric as “an ability, in each particular case, to see the available means of persuasion” — basically, it’s the strategies you use to effectively make your case. I think of rhetoric as the “behind the scenes” work of communication.

When you analyze any “rhetorical artifact” (a speech, movie, advertisement, website, song, anything), you learn why they are effective or why they’re not. Sometimes you get to prove why something you like is awesome. Other times, you think you’re going to do that, and you end up realizing that it’s not so great after all. These kinds of projects make you more observant and more aware of everything we “consume,” like advertisements and social media content.

Plus, I get to write a lot, which I love (surprise, surprise).

But here’s the best part – studying communication and rhetoric, and becoming a much stronger writer, has prepared me for everything the post-Transy world could throw at me. I’ve had so many experiences that I can attribute to my WRC expertise — from working in our campus Writing Center, to landing two awesome internships, to having my senior seminar project accepted to a national conference.

This may all sound terribly boring to you. And I guess that’s okay. But I hope that whatever you’re fascinated by, whatever you’re passionate about, you let yourself study no matter what anyone else tells you — because you never know where it will lead you.

Hitting the Town

Sam Crankshaw

Is one of your biggest fears about leaving for college that you will have trouble leaving your friend groups from home and making new ones away? It’s quite typical, but it’s not something that anyone should be afraid of, especially at such a personal, inclusive, while at the same time; a community-driven school like Transy.

Despite knowing how easy the transition from high school to Transy was, I had the very same aforementioned fear about studying abroad. But fear not, just like Transy, it is virtually impossible to be isolated and without friends. Remember: everyone else is in the same boat as you. Here at Université de Caen, I study in the Carré International, or the building that houses all of the language and culture classes for foreign students. Right off the bat, I was in a building with several hundred other people of the same age studying the same subjects.

Moreover, Caen is an exciting college town much like Lexington. I can’t recall the last time I went out to a café after class or the last time I was out on the weekend and didn’t see someone I that I know. On top of that, there are some really awesome activities for newcomers.

First, there was Aparta’thon, which was hosted by Erasmus Internationals in Caen. 120 French and foreign students apartment hopped one Thursday evening in small groups, trying local foods and drinks. We ended the night at a club in which we got to see our hosts again and meet the other groups. Some of the other organized activities are cheese tours (that alone would’ve sold me on coming to Caen) and trips to regional landmarks, such as Mont Saint-Michel, the D-Day Beaches, etc.

Additionally, the French café and nightlife culture is such that you’ll always be in good company. They don’t go to cafés after school to work, but rather to relax and socialize (take a hint, America). They also love to go out on the weekends to restaurants and other good hangout spots.

As you apply to college, you should seriously consider schools that have strong study abroad programs; look for schools that have relationships and reputations around the globe, that have strong scholarships programs that not only apply to tuition, but programs abroad, and that have study abroad offices that are involved and truly committed to getting students abroad safely and happily. Sifting through all of that information is intimidating, so take my advice and come to Transy, where over 65% of students go abroad without breaking the bank.

Check out Transy’s Office of Study Abroad here: http://www.transy.edu/programs/study_abroad/

Want to see some more pictures? Check below.

My host family and I went to the beach in Ver-sur-mer for tea and a nice walk

My host family and I went to the beach in Ver-sur-mer for tea and a nice walk

I live just in front of Abbaye-aux-Dames, one of the most celebrated abbeys, and I hear its bells ringing from my room every day

I live just in front of Abbaye-aux-Dames, one of the most celebrated abbeys, and I hear its bells ringing from my room every day

Scallops at the Marché aux Lices in Rennes, the largest market in France.

Scallops at the Marché aux Lices in Rennes, the largest market in France.

The Magic of Music: Cabaret

Rachel Morgan

The chills had come.

Oh the chills had come once again.

And the music was here.

Cabaret was here again, and as the lights fade to black, I waited in the audience with baited breath. This year, I again found myself in the audience instead of flitting about on and back stage. My busy class schedule prevented me from taking choir, and so I was not going to miss out on the opportunity to watch from out in the audience as the music flared and the singers danced, patterned and gave their all.

Not that it was any less powerful in the audience. If anything, it was just more powerful, and I got to experience everything from a different viewpoint. I got to see everything the groups do and not have to fly around changing costumes and spend time stressed out over solos and dances.

I have a saying: “Everything is a song cue”. My introductory blog actually wrote on this, and I’ve referenced music multiple times (and probably will continue to, sorry-not-sorry). Well, the other side of this is that music is deeply connected to me. And Cabaret has never failed to disappoint in teasing that joy out of me despite any stress I may be in from school or otherwise.

Every year, the cabaret showcases the many talents of Transylvania’s musical program. The three separate choirs converge, putting on group acts and separate acts to a theme; solo and group talent from around the school comes in as well, putting together a program of music that stretches over all genres and styles. Acapella, country, rock, pop, it’s all demonstrated and shared with the Transy community. There’s always an amazing theme – my freshman year was Outer Space, sophomore Disney. Junior year was “The British Are Coming” and this year, the theme was Time. You’d never believe how many varied, wonderful songs the choirs, individuals and groups can find on a theme. There has never been a lack of variation and skill or style.

This year was moving. The audience was rapt; the songs were powerful and amazing. Cabaret is something I would recommend over and over to any student coming to Transy, or even anyone who gets the chance to come. It’s so powerful, what the human voice can do, and how Transy has worked to bring it out of those passionate about music and share it with the world. This is one of the many ways Transy cultivates the talents and passions of students, presents them to the world, and it is amazing.

Something special to me this year was the song “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” sung by the TU Choir. They sang this in my freshman year, my first participation in Cabaret myself. I can remember listening to the main choir singing this over and over, amazed at how beautiful and upbeat they made it, how much fun they had with it. Hearing this song again as a senior, seeing the joy and the passion of the singers onstage as they danced and sang, was just amazing, and I was nearly moved to tears as shivers wracked me.  Cabaret is amazing, always is and always will be. Cabaret is magical.

A Presidential “First-Year” Experience

J.T Henderson

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with our first-year President, Dr. Seamus Carey, to talk about his “first-year” experience and get to know him a little better. Here’s how part of our conversation went:

Me: What has been your most memorable experience at Transy so far?

President Carey: I don’t know that there’s one specific experience, but I would say that what’s been most satisfying to me is the quality of our students. They’re incredibly bright, engaging, creative, and I genuinely enjoy being with them, so that’s been a really nice experience for me so far.

Me: Could you talk about your first big initiative The 100 Doors to Success Mentor Program?

President Carey: Well the idea came from talking with alumni that I had met early on, and I realized how committed and engaged they were to the school. This told me that the education they got at Transylvania was a good one, and also many of them live right here in Lexington, so I thought what an opportunity it would be to get them together with our students to help students navigate towards an understanding of professional life. It frees students up to focus on their studies and focus on subjects that might be of interest to them but might not necessarily lead directly to a career.

Me: You have held numerous leadership positions throughout your academic career. What prompted you to take your first leadership experience and what was it like?

President Carey: I wasn’t really thinking about it quite honestly. I was at Manhattan College and the Dean came and asked me if I would consider chairing the philosophy department, so I did that for a while. Then after a few years colleagues asked me to apply for the dean’s job. I had no idea that that was something I wanted to do at the time, but people I respected asked me and so I started to think about it. I decided not to take the dean’s job when it was offered because I wanted to achieve the rank of full professor before I would think about it again. I did that and the opening at Sacred Heart came along, so I said I’d give it a shot. I don’t think there’s a big divide between being a college professor and being college administrator. The basic mission is the same. I see myself as a teacher and as a philosopher first. Those roles inform the way I approach administration.

Me: Did you have a professor, teacher, or other role model who encouraged you to get where you are today?

President Carey: I took my first philosophy class with Michael McCarthy at Vassar College as either a sophomore or junior. Then I took another one because he was such outstanding teacher and he was an incredible person. I got into teaching and philosophy was because I wanted to live like him. He was an incredibly inspiring person and so full of life. Transylvania University will meet him in the fall when he speaks at the inauguration.

Me: In a previous interview with the Rambler, you mentioned that you believe the liberal arts are more relevant now than ever. Could you elaborate on that?

President Carey: I think we need to be really cognizant of the needs of families and students to have an affordable education that prepares them in ways that they can go on and have success in their careers. That’s essential. But if you look around at society and the world at large, you don’t have to pay too close attention to see that we really do need educated people. We need people who understand that there are higher goods that come with deeper understanding of the human condition. If we don’t have an educated population, we’re always going to be stuck with people who are concerned only with the lower dimensions of the self. We all have them, we all need help in rising above them and education is the key to breaking cycles of destructive behavior.

Me: If you were a high school student applying to Transy, what would be the biggest influence on your decision?

President Carey: I would want to know quality of the education: “Are the faculty accessible to me?”, “What are the outcomes for graduates?” or in other words “Does this education actually work?”, and also “What would my life be like at Transylvania?” I would also want to consider the cost.

Me: You were a first-generation college graduate. Could you describe your experience? Did you have any struggles, and if so, how did you face them?

President Carey: I went to college with a very pragmatic point of view. Both of my parents were Irish immigrants so they didn’t have very much formal education at all, and so my goal in going to college was to get a better job. I was lucky that I got to go to a very good school, but I was completely out of place. The only thing that saved me was that I played basketball, so I had a built-in group of friends. Other than that I often felt insecure. I felt like everyone on the campus was smarter than me. It was often quite lonely and not always enjoyable except for the educational part. That part changed my life. I was in love with learning for the first time. Philosophy became something that I wanted to pursue, but the social aspect was tough. Being a basketball player, loving the education, having some faculty members that I became close with, and having a core group of friends made it possible to persevere.

Me: As an undergraduate, how did you choose your major? You graduated with a B.A. in Economics, so how did you become interested in Philosophy?

President Carey: To be honest, I didn’t know any better. I thought I would go to Wall Street, so economics was the best way to do that. It turns out I really enjoyed studying economics and loved working on my Senior Thesis, but along the way I became deeply interested in philosophy and that changed me. Even when I was graduating college, I still had a lot of self-doubt and never for a second imagined that I could be a professor of philosophy, but there was something inside me that pushed me to study this. I went to Ireland for a year to make up the undergraduate credits I didn’t have, so that I could think about going to graduate school. But when I came back, I still wasn’t convinced that I had the ability to be a professor, so I thought about going to Law school. I taught high school for a couple years, but philosophy kept calling me back. To this day when I read philosophy texts, it puts me in a different state of being; it just resonates with me.

Me: Do you have a favorite book and/or author?

President Carey: My favorite work of philosophy is “The Ethics” by Baruch Spinoza, but I also have a favorite contemporary philosopher, who has written a trilogy of books, and his name is David Michael Kleinberg-Levin.

Me: Do you have a favorite quote?

President Carey: I don’t carry a lot of quotes around in my head, but Socrates says in The Apology that, “[The person who is worth anything] has only one thing to consider in performing any action–that is, whether he is acting rightly or wrongly, like a good man or a bad one.” Socrates challenges the reader to consider that and that’s pretty important to answer for ourselves.

Me: If you could describe Transy in three words, how would you describe it?

President Carey: Community-driven inquiry. I think the faculty really does an outstanding job at maintaining a high level of inquiry and challenging students to achieve. The idea that communal inquiry drives us further and further towards achievement and a deeper understanding of things, I think, describes Transy well.

In conclusion, it was very enlightening to discuss the future of Transy with the person leading these positive initiatives to ensure that students are truly benefiting from the best Transylvania experience the university can offer. I look forward to President Carey’s inauguration this fall.

I Wanna Go Home

Lesley Goodaker

For countless Kentucky students, the Governor’s Scholars Program (GSP) is an experience that goes unrivaled for most of their lives. It is an experience that, even as a sophomore in college, I struggle to put into words. Stepping onto the campus as a 2012 scholar, I was ensconced by an atmosphere that promoted community and diversity among staff and scholars alike. I found myself immersed in an environment I had never before encountered, yet, strangely felt right at home.

As my GSP session came to a close, I began to look more closely at my future (aka colleges). During my senior year of high school, I yearned to find a place that replicated the environment I so desperately sought. The more I looked, the more disappointed I became. As time passed, and stories from scholars at other campuses began to surface online, I began to realize that no GSP campus (or session) is alike. Each has its own unique qualities that are a direct result of bringing such a diverse group of individuals together for a common purpose: to share in the joy and passion that comes from learning.

With my senior year winding down, I struggled to let go of my hopes of finding the “GSP feel.” Then I realized, the true uniqueness of the GSP community can never be replicated in a classroom, a Greek organization, or even a sports team. That being said, close seconds certainly exist. It wasn’t until I stepped on Transylvania’s campus that Spring, that I truly felt at home.

Transylvania is by far one of the closest feelings to being back at GSP that I could ask for. Even for students who are unable to grasp what GSP is, Transy offers a uniquely stimulating environment like no other. Unlike most universities, Transy classrooms aren’t dictated by the professor. Most courses offered are a combination of lectures, presentations, and most notably, discussions between students and professors. In this way, Transy not only embraces an academic environment, but provides the means necessary to facilitate it.

Beginning with August term, students are pushed to question and analyze everything. They are encouraged to embrace and learn from the diversity of their peers and professors as well as the greater Lexington area. They are taught to strive for success. Most importantly, they are coaxed to test their own limits, beliefs, and opinions in a way that is beneficial to them.

Every student has their reason for choosing Transy and I’m certainly no different. The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a college isn’t about prestige or title, but how you interact with the campus and its students, faculty, and staff. Ultimately, the biggest question you have to ask yourself when you leave from a visit is: “Am I Home?”

Transy Favorites

emilymartin

I know you high school seniors are getting down to the wire — it’s your last semester and the stress of choosing a college is sinking in as you interview for scholarships, visit your top few choices again, and continue panicking about what you want to do with your life.

So for a few minutes, take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy a no-stress list of some of my favorite things at Transy!

Building: This is a hard one. But I love the setup of the Cowgill Center. A variety of classroom styles, faculty offices upstairs, and comfy study spots at every turn.

Study Snack: Get a big mug and fill it with mini pretzels, cheese cubes, and pieces of your favorite fruit (I like the packages of mixed berries at Kroger). The perfect combination of textures and flavors, and it’s not unhealthy. You’re welcome.

On-Campus Eating: Jazzman’s Cafe (in the same building as our admissions office!) has delicious iced blueberry green tea and giant cookies. The perfect celebratory snack after completing a major project, and a just as helpful pick-me-up after a difficult midterm exam. Also, the Rafskeller (located in the basement of the Mitchell Fine Arts Center) makes their own honey mustard and I know I’ll be craving it long after I graduate. And my other absolute favorite is a flatbread pizza from the 1780 Cafe (in the lobby of Thomson Hall, one of our upperclassmen dorm buildings).

Professor: I’m not falling for that one. And also, I really don’t think I could pick just one. So instead of listing every professor I’ve had, just trust me. You’re going to love your professors because they make even seemingly uninteresting topics fun and relatable. And they’ll do everything they can to help you when you’re having trouble on a paper or are nervous about a test.

Study Spot: I recently ventured into the “stacks” of our library (the rooms with all the shelves of books), looking for a book that I wanted to use for my senior seminar paper. And I noticed that tucked away in the corners were individual desks and chairs — the perfect secluded study spot. How did I not know about them before? Thankfully, I have a semester left to hide in those corners, get my homework done without distractions — and when I need a break, I can go right next door to Jazzman’s!

Local Spot: It’s gotta be Third Street Stuff. A local coffee shop at which I always see someone from school. For proof, read a post I wrote about it three years ago! (Time flies…)

Thing About Transy: That one’s easy. I’ve said it before and you know I’ll say it again. I am so so grateful for the community on this campus. Being surrounded by new best friends, supportive faculty, and helpful staff, make everything else about college easier. I know that making a college decision is stressful. And college is going to be challenging. But at Transy, you won’t have to do it all alone.