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Senior Reflection: Trysten Smith

Trysten Smith Apr 23, 2024

College can be a trying and confusing time for many individuals, but that especially resonates with my fellow classmates in Waynesburg University's Class of 2024, as we began our college journey in one of the most uncertain times to date. The COVID-19 pandemic that abruptly ended our high school careers also strongly affected the beginning of this next stage of our lives. As I am sure my fellow classmates experienced similar feelings, I can clearly recall moving into my freshman dormitory in August of the year 2020 and being consumed with anxiety stemming from the unknown that lied ahead in my collegiate career. In that moment, little did I know how much Waynesburg University and the people it holds would positively impact my future. 

Trysten Smith at the Athletic Banquet
Trysten with fellow athletes at the Athletic Banquet on campus.

When I think of one word to describe Waynesburg University, the first word that comes to mind is "community." The entire campus is filled with both students and faculty that have a love for Christ, a passion for service, and genuine kindness that wishes to be spread. It took me but only a moment to feel a sense of belonging in the family-like atmosphere that is prevalent here. My involvement as a member of the Waynesburg University women's volleyball team, Waynesburg University's Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), and the Waynesburg University admissions team quickly surrounded me with like-minded people that I will forever be blessed to call friends, mentors, and supporters.

In addition to my involvement throughout the campus, I am also proud to be graduating with a degree in Secondary Math Education through Waynesburg University's Education Department. This specific department is unlike any other in surrounding areas, as all of the professors bring excitement, encouragement, and experience to the classroom and kindly push each and every individual to become the best educator that they can be. Students housed in this particular department gain various classroom experiences throughout the duration of their four years, beginning as early as the second semester of your freshman year!  Without this hands-on experience, I would not feel as confident as I currently do going forward in my teaching career. 

Trysten Smith

As I cap off my collegiate career at Waynesburg University here in two short weeks, I wish to leave current underclassmen and future Yellow Jackets with one main piece of advice: do not be afraid to be your true self. College is very much an experimental time, where all individuals, through trial and error, work to discover their identity. You will encounter individuals of all kinds throughout your four years and will be tested in more ways than one, and through those times, I encourage you to stick to your core values that were instilled in you long ago. Get involved in the events and activities that YOU enjoy, put yourself and your education first, and do whatever makes YOU happy, because the last thing you want is to leave in four years with any kind of regret. 

Thanks to so many wonderful individuals that have led me to where I currently stand, I have enthusiastically accepted an eighth-grade mathematics teaching position at West Muskingum Middle School in Zanesville, Ohio and have also been named the Varsity volleyball coach in the same school district. The memories, relationships, and experiences that I have gained from Waynesburg University are truly unmatched and have shaped me into the individual that I am today, and for that, I am forever grateful. 

Department of Education

Learn more about the Department of Education at Waynesburg University and how you can grow your passion for teaching into a career.