Some poignant reflections from Anna Traill (TC 2011).
There is much to reflect on as I finish up in my role as Senior Student. This year has been a huge learning curve and I’ve certainly gained insight into people, the College, strategy and management.
I’m often either asked about how it feels to be only the fifth female Senior Student or told about how great it is to have a female for the 40th anniversary of co-residency at the College. While five female Senior Students in 40 years of co-residency isn’t a great track record, I think that these comments reflect some ingrained expectations around leadership. Trinity is progressive in the many opportunities that it affords both men and women, but there is still a long way to go.
Perhaps questioning the stereotypes begins with terminology. Let’s start by referring to students by their ability to listen, take action and challenge norms with a goal of enhancing the experience of those around them, rather than foremost or solely as the nth male or female.
We are a community marked by excellence, and this excellence is not skewed to a particular gender. I’m constantly inspired and encouraged by the talented bunch of people who live here, and by the depth of the incredible achievements that we witness all the time. This year has been no exception, and the fresher intake have proved great contributors to victories in softball, soccer, hockey and rugby, a stellar musical, and some great results for the Candystripes and Tiger Tones.
The even greater hallmark of the excellence of the community is not in quantifiable victories. The essence of the Trinity experience can be observed in the sense of community itself and in the pride with which we call ourselves Trinitarians. ‘Ubuntu’ – a South African term referring to human kindness, and a sense of a bond that connects humanity – is strong here. This powerful sense of ‘ubuntu’ cannot be measured, but is observed, and palpable in the atmosphere as you walk into the College grounds.
It has been a privilege to be the Senior Student of such a vibrant community, and I owe a lot to the members of the TCAC, as well as to the students and staff who have supported me along the way. To respond to the gender questions I mentioned at the start, I can say that it’s been amazing being the fifth female Senior Student.
There were certainly challenges to face, not necessarily because of my gender, but rather due to the personal skills and qualities that I’ve needed to develop. And, yes, it is great to have a female in the role for the 40th anniversary of co-residency. I hope that there will be many more female Senior Students in the coming years.
More importantly, I hope that we continue to have students here
who embrace that sense of ‘ubuntu’.