Video Blog: “My Transy Story”

This weekend, I had the exciting, humbling opportunity to share my Transylvania experience with a campus center gym full of potential new Pioneers at our Scholarship Recognition Day for high school seniors.

Check out the video of my speech below, to see why there are some aspects of your college decision that you’ll just have to feel for yourself.

100 Little Things in 1 Big Trip

Sam Crankshaw

Studying abroad is a rather big picture concept. First off, it usually happens after crossing a big ocean. It takes up several months, sometimes a year, to prepare itself. It’s something that everyone says will change your life forever. It’s big. That’s not really in question. 

So what isn’t big about study abroad? The little things (you’re probably thinking “obviouslySam”). Leaving everyone and everything that you know behind is a huge deal and a concept that is often hard to grasp and that is often hard to deal with, so the little things often get lost in the shuffle. 

However, amongst all of these overwhelming ideas, concepts, distances, and lengths of time, I have found that the little things are what make me feel like I am at home, while over 4,000 miles away. Entering a café and ordering a coffee without confusion on either end of the conversation is one of the easiest (and most typical…Third Street Stuff, anyone?) things that I can do in America, but that isn’t the case here.

I’m in France to learn a language, a culture, a continent, and so much more. The little things, though, like ordering a drink without confusion, taking the right tram, or finding the bookstore  I am looking for, are the little instances  that’s truly integrating me into this crazy new place and making it a new home for me. Sometimes we have to take a step back and acknowledge our place in the big picture, while appreciating the small, unassuming, but often numerous victories that we have every day.

Now that I am into my fourth full week in Caen, it’s feeling like home. I’ve settled into my classes, made friends from all over the world (i.e. Sweden, Mexico, Morocco, France (of course), Armenia, and more). I’ve already eaten more than my fair share of cheese, and also getting to learn all about the daily habits of a typical French family.

Since my last blog I’ve seen and learned a lot more about Caen. I also took a weekend trip to Rennes with some friends. Below are some pictures from my trip, that I believe you all will enjoy.

If you want to see pictures from my trip, follow me on Instagram (@scranky) or check out my pictures below!

Here is half of my Aparta'thon group attempting to take a selfie

Here is half of my Aparta’thon group attempting to take a selfie!

We visited Parc du Thabor, one of the largest and most loved parks in Rennes, on a rare warm and sunny day.

We visited Parc du Thabor, one of the largest and most loved parks in Rennes, on a rare warm and sunny day.

Hannah J. '16 and I went to Rennes with a friend and enjoyed the street art

Hannah J. ’16 and I went to Rennes with a friend and enjoyed the street art

Today is (Making) History – Do What You Love

Rachel Morgan



“Cause this? Is just a crack in the glass ceiling.”

What a line, and one I was happy to deliver as the spotlight faded from me. We had done something special with this play – it was entirely student-written, produced, directed, and acted, something that I hadn’t ever heard of. I was in the class that both wrote the monologues and acted them out; I performed one of my own monologues and one that my friend and classmate wrote. We decided our costumes, designed sets and painted floors, set lights and sounds and practiced the exact cues to change them or trigger a sound. We collected props and often used our own items – I personally broke two of my old cell phones in the process of one monologue that involved throwing a phone at a wall – and we practiced for hours and hours on our own, and put this entire play together in a semester.

And now we’re published! Today is History is now being sold on Amazon, which is amazing in and of itself. I can honestly say I’ve been published!

See, this is something I’ve always loved about Transy – it encourages its students to be creative in the arts, to produce wonderful things that haven’t been seen before. Students compose music write programs, weave stories and even write plays in beautiful expressions of creativity and passion. I’ve seen student’s art exhibits, had music I wrote and recorded played for an audience in student concerts. My friend is a music technology major and I’ve been to many concerts where her work is shared with the entire school. Cabaret, what I wrote about previously, is a huge conglomeration of many talents from all around campus. There are art displays, music shows, talent competitions, speech and debate competitions, athletic teams, and many other ways for students to pursue their passions.

Transy is always encouraging us to find what we love to do and DO IT – something you don’t always see in universities and schools. I can’t believe how lucky I’ve been to attend this school and get to explore different experiences. I never would have thought I could write monologues, and yet I’m published. Transy is teaching me about myself just as much books or my major are, and that’s an experience I wouldn’t change for the world.

Pioneering Your Future

J.T Henderson



Thinking about how you can get involved on campus as a student at Transylvania? Whatever your interests are, there are so many different opportunities!

We have 70+ student organizations including Greek life, intramural sports, and many other student organizations. There is something for everyone, but if you think there is something missing from the Transy community that students would like to be a part of, then you can start a new club or organization. Starting a new club may seem like a daunting task to take on, but it’s not too difficult with all of the support Transy has to offer.

As a freshman at Transy, I collaborated with a few of my friends, August Fox and Sarah Ashley, to found the Transy Habitat for Humanity Club. Our hope was to get students more involved in our Lexington community by working directly with Habitat for Humanity to help them accomplish their goals. We asked Dr. Kathleen Jagger, a Habitat for Humanity member of the board of Directors and Professor of Biology, to be our faculty sponsor, and after a little bit of paperwork, we were approved! Getting involved in an organization or forming your own can be a great way to improve your leadership skills too.

This year Transy started the Pioneer Leadership Certificate Program for students to learn about and make positive change through leadership during their time here. Dr. Shane McKee, Director of Student Involvement and Leadership, is leading the program to help students become better leaders as they progress through the various levels of certification. I’m a part of the pilot group and it has been a very rewarding experience to gain a deeper sense of my personal leadership skills and learn how I can more effectively apply those skills.

Last but not the least, when talking about pioneering your future, I simply have to include our up-and-coming program created by our new president, Dr. Seamus Carey; the 100 Doors to Success Program. This mentoring program hopes to provide current students with a network of mentors on and off campus to help students be successful after graduation, in whatever career they want to pursue. Although this program is still in its early stages of implementation, we can proudly say that we have a stronger than planned start to the program.

I have highlighted only a couple of reasons I think makes Transy a great choice for anyone, but there are so many other reasons why you should choose to be a Pioneer. One thing I can say for sure is that Transy will prepare you for your future and mold you into a future leader of our society.

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?


  • 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.


  • 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


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:

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.