Five Minutes with Trudy

trudy smith College: Temple University
Major: Social Work
Year: Senior

I’d love to hear a bit about your life growing up in Philadelphia.
Of course! Being from Philadelphia, my journey to college was unique, divine, and rare. Many people from my neighborhood do not have the opportunity to attend college. My journey was a blessing that I believe I took for granted for a while. It has been an amazing journey – I never imagined having the opportunity to attend college growing up.

So happy to hear that! Love that line, ‘divine and rare.’ Once you got on campus, how did you adjust to what was expected of you?
My transition to college was challenging and informative. There was no one to remind me of what I needed to do, so with this independence (and the ability to make my own decisions), I struggled initially. I failed to prioritize my academic life before my social life. But by the start of my second year I self-corrected and adjusted and began to manage my time and plan out each day and week.

I’ve found that is a very common struggle among all Scholars. So staying on that point, what organizational techniques did you learn and how do continue to manage everything you have on your plate, from school to working nearly full time?
To stay organized, I write (in pencil, because dates are subjected to change) assignments and exams for the entire semester in a planner. I’ve found that it’s extremely beneficial to purchase one from your school’s bookstore as it will have important dates for the semester already notated – such as add/drop deadlines, finals schedule, etc. From there I create a weekly to do list for each class, as well as personal responsibilities. I also input important events into my Google Calendar, which is linked to my iPhone so I get reminder notifications.

To manage it all I do my best to practice effective time-management. I plan and block out a specific time to complete each task. There is no way I will remember everything I have to do, so I need it written down in multiple places.

Love that! A mix of calendaring plus time blocking. Both are terrific skills which will serve you well after you graduate. Speaking of school, what do you love most about it?
I love having interactions and experiences with people from all over the world that I meet on campus, whether it be via a class, student organization, or extra-curricular activity. Although Temple is a PWI (Predominantly White Institution), it is very diverse. I have met people from different countries and continents and have learned so much culturally about living in ways different from my own.

Inside the classroom what I enjoy most is connecting my real life experiences to the material I am learning. I like discussion based or participatory classroom settings where students have the opportunity to speak and share – I believe it develops a meaningful learning experience.

Now that you’re so close to graduating, is there anything you’d like to share with your fellow Scholars?
During my five years of college I have learned a lot about life and everything else that has to do with living on this earth. But most importantly, I learned about myself. I learned the greatest battle you will ever have to face is with yourself. I learned my strengths and weaknesses. I failed and I have grown, but I proved to myself that I can do anything that I try to do.

As it relates specifically to college, I would urge you all to think career, not major. Network with other students and professionals on campus and establish significant relationships and use those people as resources. Never be afraid to advocate for yourself and to take initiative to ask for help or to say, ‘I’m not okay.’ More broadly, make sure you are taking care of yourself, both mentally and physically – sleep, eat, exercise, do not overload yourself, do something you enjoy each week that is not related to school. Make the most of your experience – it is what you make it!