Being at Trinity College school is like moving away from home, feeling terrified and lost, then gradually finding your way to realize that you actually like this new found home. I can honestly say that I enjoy myself here, it's packed with challenges that are strengthening as you overcome them. One thing I wish I had known about the school before I arrived was the actual activities they had in store for the new students that were aimed at making them feel comfortable in the new school. In my opinion, it was quite overwhelming as I felt thrust into a new world with hundreds of people I did not know and I had to find a way of socializing with them during all the games (and even mud pit activities) planned. I feel that if I had known what would have been done prior to the actual events I would have been able to mentally prepare myself. On the other hand, other people loved that element of surprise, so it goes either way for people. If there was one other thing I could change about my school, it would be to have more study space as we only have two hours of a work period called "study" in which we must complete a large amount of work given.
I can say that without a doubt I respect all of my school leaders. My headmaster is the definition of approachable, my guidance counsellor is extremely understanding and my teachers are more than helpful. I think all of them do well in terms of checking their student's welfare over the course of the year, I was very surprised to find my teachers asking if I was getting enough sleep and eating well, it really made me feel cared for. I wish they would do more of asking for feedback over the course of the school year and not focused only to the end of the year.
During my first year, especially coming from a different country and a completely different schooling system, it was quite unclear what the teachers expected from me and that made my learning process difficult. However, after talking to my guidance counsellor who advised me to directly talk to the teachers about this issue I had. To my surprise, everyone was very understanding and carefully explained their expectations and from that point, learning became a lot easier for me. I do feel that I know what my teachers expect from me because I regularly ask for feedback. I thought my desired success was the same my teachers desired for me, however I quickly realised they were very different. I thought success in school meant getting excellent grades, performing well in sports and arts as well as service but my teachers made me understand that success was primarily achieved through happiness and good health, they explained that they believed success was when I was able to get at least seven hours of sleep a night, plan my time effectively so I can work at my optimum and to enjoy the whole school experience.
The work has never been too easy neither has it ever been just right! Surprisingly, that has been very beneficial to me academically. This is because the workload is so unpredictable that I can never be comfortable or think "I have everything under control". As a result, I am always kept on my toes and constantly "rebooting" myself. I definitely think what I am learning will be useful to me later in life. Apart from the obvious academic content needed for my future profession, I feel as though the various methods the teachers use to teach me will be very applicable to me in my studying and organizing methods later in life. In addition, the teachers constantly inform us, at the beginning of every topic, how it will be useful for us in the future especially in future professions. I think they even do that so the students who refuse to listen in class will not be able to say "it won't be useful to me later in life" as an excuse to not listen :)
One of my goals for my experience at TCS was to make sure I expand my extracurricular experience as my former school did not have many options. Just as I expected, TCS had a variety of extracurriculars in a variety of fields. For instance, I participated in field hockey, rowing, and service activities like making art with the elderly and even working on a goat farm! They were all very fun and fulfilling. I just wish that the school offered recreational water sports/games because I sometimes feel like just relaxing in the water. Having said that, I can confidently say that everyone has enough to do because at TCS it is compulsory for everyone to participate in a sports activity as well as a service or art over the course of the year, so I think everyone is booked. However, I do not think everyone is able to do all the things they want to do because many of the activities tend to clash with each other in terms of timing. For example, when I was competing in rowing and working with the elderly I also wanted to take part in pottery as I had never done anything like that before, unfortunately, it clashed with my service and I was unable to do that.
If I was asked to describe the students to someone who has never visited the school I would tell them that everyone is truly welcoming upon your arrival into the school, they help you get to your classes on time especially when you are lost. When I think of the boarding and day students I can say that it feels more like a city with different people from different backgrounds, but when I isolate it into the boarding students, it feels more like a small town because you see these people every day and you live closely with them especially since all the students are split up into distinct "houses". As expected, I think the students who do well at the school are the ones who enter the school with a positive attitude and are able to carry that positive attitude over the course of the year because it becomes increasingly important the longer you are in the school, they also need to be hard workers who are not afraid to ask questions and they should also be open in order to socialize well, but they should have the strength to not change themselves or their values in order to "fit in". On the other hand, I find that the students who are always looking for shortcuts in their work and are lazy tend to struggle academically, also, if they close up themselves from everyone they struggle socially. I honestly do not think there is any school where every single person feels included, that is just the fact of life. But I must admit that upon your arrival into the school people do make an effort to welcome you and include you, it then becomes your decision on how you want to reciprocate their welcome in the way you feel will be the best for your student life at TCS.
If I was to give a tour of the school to visitors I would think of the place that I think represents the school the best and that, in my opinion, would be the school chapel called Trinity House. This is because this is one of the few places in school where every single person in the whole school community gathers and shows their connection and role in the school and it is also has a calm atmosphere. In addition to this, it is loaded with so many told and untold stories of the school's history with things like carvings of beautiful and metaphoric symbols of the school on doors, old school paintings and even a list of all the reverends TCS has ever had. It functions as the school's very own museum. I honestly think that if anyone wanted to understand the history of the school and wanted to feel the TCS spirit, the chapel would be the best place to go.
Being an international student who lived in a completely different continent and had never left home I knew that coming to this strange place and calling it my home would prove difficult. As a result, during the first few months, I could not call this place "home". It all started when I first got to TCS, everyone really welcomed me with open arms and tried to reach out to me but I was a bit hesitant and slow to trust. However, as the school year went on and I was no longer considered a "new student" everyone gradually dispersed into their circle of friends and stopped the constant reaching out that was associated with my first few days in school, I did not feel included because everyone had found their close friends and I found myself as more of a wanderer. Then I realized, in the middle of the year, that I could not expect everyone to constantly come to me if I did not go to them, I was not giving what I initially received. From then it became aware to me that I needed to show I was an open person in order to feel included, by doing that I found that many close circles of friends were willing to extend their circles to include me and even appreciate me. Therefore, it gradually started feeling more and more like home to me. As I said earlier, I am sure that not every single person in the school feels included and appreciated, but that tends to be more of their decision and how they choose to reciprocate what people welcome them to the school with.
Trinity College School is located in what I call a quaint little town called Port Hope. Of course students go off campus, especially to the variety of restaurants and stores in the old town, there is even a cool art framing workshop/studio. It may seem like there is not much to do but there is a lot to do if you are patient enough to find the spot that works right for you. Students are allowed to go off campus during the day as long as they do not have any academic or extracurricular commitment during that time, but they must be back before study or sign in (depending on your academic standing in the school).
I can easily say that the admissions process was smooth and organized for me, especially since I had an admissions officer from TCS that was very helpful in directing my family on the necessary steps needed and keeping us updated throughout the application process, it was only quite long because it entailed me applying for a student visa. If someone was planning on applying I would have two pieces of advice for them: they would need to apply early and give themselves enough time, especially if the person would be an international student needing a visa and they would need to make sure their family keeps in touch with the admission officer they are in contact with just so they can feel relaxed that everything is going smoothly. The moment that stood out the most for me in the application process was when i asked the interviewer about the how the students were. It was remarkable how honest he was because he did not paint this picture of a school where everyone is best friends with each other, he told me the students were nice but it would be up to me on how I would receive them and engage with them over the course of the year. I really did not find it stressful, in fact, it was (kind of) fun, especially when I was asked to submit a drawing of what I think I represent as a person, that part really made me look forward to coming despite all my fears. What I know now that I did not know then is that one can apply to enter in the middle of the year, so if you applied late you could choose to come in the middle of the year rather than rushing to make it to September, as I have seen a few students who came mid-year.