In three short months, Trent Browett has, among other things, settled into a new university, joined a several clubs and groups, and partnered with a local municipality on a research project.
He has also changed his perspective on post-secondary education.
"My former view of education was that there was a giver, and a receiver of information. Having arrived at Trent, I now see it as the empowerer and the empowered," he said.
Mr. Browett is a 21-year-old International Development Studies (IDS) and Economics major at Trent. He joined Trent this fall as a transfer student, having spent two years studying IDS at another university. While he says he learned a lot, he felt there was "something" missing from the educational experience.
Now, in conversation, he puts his finger on it, and describes it eloquently.
"Trent offers a lot of intangibles that just aren't captured by the phrase 'small class sizes'."
- "To have consistent personal interaction with professors lends itself very well to learning."
- "There's a sense of community, so it's easy and it's comfortable to just pop in (to classes) and to participate."
- "The fact that you can have a casual conversation in which both (professor and student) are equal participants was so eye-opening."
- "At Trent, there's an interest among the faculty members in empowerment and in seeing their students succeed."
On getting involved:
- "The professors reach out to you. They take a personal interest in the students, but they emphasize that what's going on in the classroom is only half of it."
- "Faculty members plant the seed inside the classroom by taking an interest in you, challenging you to think critically, and encouraging you to get involved. But I've learned that the seed really grows outside the classroom"
On the Trent experience:
- "You are encouraged to challenge yourself and to delve into the material; and you want to..."
On what this means for the future:
- "For me, it's going to have a tremendous impact on my critical thinking skills, but most importantly, on my confidence."