Home for the Holidays

First, again sorry for the lateness of this blog. The transition from Transy life back to home life is a very confusing one. Specifically, I forgot what day it was for the past few days; meaning I thought that it was Wednesday when in fact it was Blog Thursday. Definitely my bad on that one. However the transition back home also brings me to the topic of today’s blog.

Being back in Louisville, seeing my pets, and hanging out with my family after a few months away is awesome. Other than catching up on sleep and trying to figure out what to do with my homework free nights I have been running errands with my Mom, going to see The Hobbit with my Dad, watching movies with my sister, and baking with the whole family. While this has all been super fun and I would not change any of it for the world, there is one thing about coming home that many college students, and specifically Transy kids dread about returning home for the holidays.

1. The endless questions. What is your major again? Is puppetry really a class you think you should have taken? What are your plans after graduation (which is in two plus years)? Why did you ask for a Taco Bell gift card, do they not feed you?

2. The awkward references to the Transy Bubble. I referred to the kitchen as the caf earlier this week. I thought an hour was only 50 minutes like a class period on campus. Needless to say that was weird.

3. Suddenly you realize people go to bed at normal times. Do people actually go to bed before Midnight in the real world?

4. There is always that one thing you forgot back in the dorm. Seriously, I forgot my hair brush. How does one even forget something they use everyday? Explain this to me. Also why are hair brushes so expensive?

5. The bubbling longing to be back at campus. Transy is its own little home. The details are too abstract and numerous to list here. Suffice to say, my friends and I text each other almost everyday to keep in touch and during one such text conversation I realized I missed being at school. The few quiet moments in the morning as everyone who just woke up trudges to their 8 AM class; the craziness that is the Raf as class gets out; being able to just walk out your door and find a few people to hang out with. They are the small things that make Transy feel like home and what always have me wanting to come back semester after semester.

While I hope everyone enjoys their holidays, I just wanted to share a few things that make going home and away from Transy for the season a little bittersweet. So as a friendly reminder, let all the students in your life take a break from school and just enjoy their time with family and friends; questions about their 20 year plan can honestly wait. Trying to balance home life and Transy home life is sometimes really difficult, but trying to figure out the transition back to the real world is a great time for students to not only prepare for the next semester but realize what makes campus so great and feel like home. With that said have a great week and see you next Thursday (hopefully on time)!

We love it!

As the semester and calendar year are almost over I have been going through the many posts on this blog and some of my own personal social media pages. I have come to realize that one of the easiest things to do it simply complain about what it is like to be a Transy student. With this past week being finals, more and more I see people posting about the proverbial Hell they are expecting come time for them to sit down and take their tests. Don’t get me wrong, I have definitely sailed on the boat many times during the semester. There are some pretty entertaining posts from my 3 AM self trying to wax-poetic about all of the #TransyProbs I’ve encountered during the semester.

However, that is the easy way out. It’s easy on a campus as small as Transy’s, where everyone is in the same boat, to build a conversation on the laundry list of things we each need to get done before the end of term. What is sometimes harder is to be honest about our lives here. It’s hard, yes. But being a part of Transy does not only mean facing a huge pile of assignments and four finals on one day. Instead, every student has access to all the amazing people, places and organizations that truly give Transy its Pioneer Spirit.

This revelation hit me like a brick the other day, when, as part of her final project for a class, a friend of mine created a video detailing all the amazing facets of Transy life. I was lucky enough to be a part of her awesome project (even if only to showcase my horrible dancing), and in the midst of my tiny scene in the video I realized– Transy is a family; its dysfunctional at times, sure, but within every student, faculty or staff member are the parts of Transy that make it a home for many people. Going into the last day and last final of this semester, I really wanted to share that. Too often I personally don’t take time to have fun or enjoy my time here, but helping with this video and seeing the awesome end product brought me a new sense of belonging in the Bubble.

I hope everyone enjoys their holiday season. I will still be posting here throughout the end of December (don’t you worry). And with that… here is the video my friend made; I hope it brings a smile to your face or gets you dancing for just a few seconds!


Thank you so much to Stephanie Wright for making this video and allowing me to share it on here. This is one truly awesome representation of life on campus!

When Life gets you down… Transy is there

First, I am so sorry for the lateness of this blog, as well as the absence of one last week. Life is going fast here at Transy, and it’s hard to keep up some times. I am not sure how many people read this or actually cared about the absence of a blog, but if there are those out there, sorry, I’m going to get better at this!

Second, thank you to all of the donors who gave on both National Philanthropy Day and this past Giving Tuesday. I’ve been told we received a lot of support from those two days, and I can’t thank you enough. If you haven’t seen the photos from National Philanthropy Day or the posts from Giving Tuesday, you should check out the Development Office’s Facebook page! Third, not to sound super dramatic or corny, but even though Thanksgiving is over and there are more than enough decorations, music, and sales around to prove we have entered the Christmas season, I wanted to quickly tell you a little story that explains how grateful I am to be at Transy.

So, yesterday was a pretty normal day. The stress of the final week of class was ever present, but I was enjoying the last few hours of each of my classes. Luckily in one of my classes we were watching Dr. Strangelove: Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb to analyze the moments of Cold War rhetoric in it. My computer was being used for the first day, but it wasn’t connecting to the projector correctly yesterday so I shut it off. Then I went to work at the Development office and… The White Screen of Death. To those who have no idea what I am talking about, basically my computer died completely. At that moment I was gone. I simply sat there and had no idea what to do. However, my boss Amy Bridges immediately began to see what we could do, allowing me to stay in her office to try to figure out what had happened long after I was supposed to have left. I then called my roommate to see if she would be able to take me to the store to have someone look at it, without a hesitation she said yes. Then I proceeded to go meet her in Back Circle (as it was an amazing day yesterday) and break down. All of my friends were both supportive and understanding. I emailed a few professors to let them know what had happened and why it may take me a little longer to get a few assignments back to them, and they were all completely on my side and willing to work with me on getting back on my technological feet.

I tell you all this to say, I have never found myself so completely surrounded by people so willing to always help and be on my side. From my boss, friends, professors, and even the random people who gave me a smile when I walked by teary-eyed, Transy is a community that is made up of some amazing people and a place that fosters unwavering support. Even though it seemed like my world was crashing down around me, Transy was there to help me begin rebuilding. I don’t know what I would do without the amazing people on this campus. I am so grateful to be able to go to a place where support flows in every direction. It isn’t something I think many people think about often, but Transy is always here, for better or worse. For that I feel so thankful and lucky.

Happy Thanksgiving

It is cliche, and I am sure many of your Facebook feeds, texts, etc. are full of faceless wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving, but I want to extend my sincerest well wishes towards all of you and I hope you have a wonderful Turkey Day.

In the spirit of the day, I would like to say that I am so thankful not only for my family, friends, and awesome life, but I am also thankful for Transy, the people I have met because of this amazing institution, and all the amazing people who have either donated time or money to make our school so great.

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you have a wonderful day and extended weekend!

An Open Letter to Donors

Normally this blog is supposed to be about my life as a Transy student. The ups, the downs, the long hours studying, and the fun with friends. Though I am not sure how many people actually read these weekly ramblings, this week I have decided to write something a bit different, and I hope everyone is okay with that.

For those of you who may not know, this week is National Philanthropy Week and Friday is National Philanthropy Day. They might just sound like events where different organization attempt to solicit donations and so on, but it is not.

No, National Philanthropy Day/Week (or NPD, as we call it in the Development Office) is a special time of the year set aside for organizations, like Transy, to reach out to its donors and thank them. So take from this week’s post what you will, but I have decided to write an open letter to any and every Transy donor, past, present, or even future:


First, thank you. Too often I think many donors to Transylvania are solicited for contributions and rarely get to hear from the people that they help the most. As a student here on financial aid and scholarship, I want to say thank you, before anything else, because your donation has meant the world to me.

You see, the thing is, Transy is my home. I have stayed on campus for over a year now. I work, sleep, study, hang out, and just live on this campus. That is because of you. I have found the place I feel safe in to explore and dream and create that I did not think really existed at the undergraduate level. Even when I had found it, it seemed unattainable. But you made it be within reach. You made it possible for me to meet so many wonderful professors, students and people within our Transy Bubble, and they have helped me realize my full worth and potential.

I know this may seem over the top. You might even have doubts about what I say or even Transy itself. I want to tell you, one to one, everyone here loves this institution. Sometimes we disagree and sometimes changes occur that not everyone is ready for, but like you, we love our home. Every day groups get together to see what can make Transy better for current and future students; what organizations would be a great fit for our diverse population. And while we students, faculty, and staff work every day to make our ideas reality, those dreams do not matter without people like you. Donors are what give life to this campus. Because of donors, Transy can reach out to students, like myself, and welcome them with open arms into our community. We can strive for improvement on campus knowing each fantastic generation down the line will be here in full force to enjoy it. We can show our love for a campus that has given so much to so many over the years.

You are what makes Transy possible. You are the force that hands down the Transy spirit from class to class. Without generous people like you, I don’t think we would have such an amazing school. So, Thank you. Know that every day, but especially this week everyone will know how much you have done to help better the lives of others and your generosity will be recognized.


Alex Schwendau

Transylvania University, Class of 2016

Crunch Time

There are only four weeks until finals and the end of fall semester. For those of you that read this and are out of school, you probably couldn’t care less. For the rest of us who are still in school, or remember those days, I do not mean to panic you or stress you out; it’s simple fact.


Echoing one of my earlier blog posts, sitting down to write this blog has allowed me to get some distance from the crazy, full life a Transy student like myself leads. When this week began and I realized that not only were there mere weeks until the end of the semester, but I also took account of all the projects and papers I still have left (it is a lot), and then I might have had a moment of panic. However, sitting down to write this blog has given me some head space. Yes, there is a never ending list of things I need to get done by December 13th or earlier. Yes, everyone around me is going crazy too. There has to be a reason though, right? I thought I would take this time to share why this time of any semester is crazy on campus.


1) School: Regardless of who you talk to, student, faculty and staff alike, everyone is feeling the start of crunch time. Everyone one on campus is so fully engaged, it becomes a lot to take in. Even though it is crunch time, we all still want to do our best.

2) Not School: I could link you to the daily Transy newsletter that details every event, club meeting, game, gathering, etc. on campus, but I feel it is enough to say that while classes are the number one priority on campus, there are a multitude of things tying for second. Among these are the start of the repertory theater season, sports conferences, debate tournaments, and so on.

3) Break: I will be honest, come this point in the semester students start to total up how many pages they have written, hours on projects they have spent, day in class and it becomes a huge number. We look forward to a small break from campus to get our bearings and dive right back into Transy life for finals week and winter semester. There are only four weeks until finals, but that means that there is only five weeks until winter break. Everyone is highly aware of that, trust me.


Just as the cold weather slowly invades the greater Lexington area, the stress of the end of semester begins to make itself known. While by the numbers, it seems pitiful, it is anything but. Yes, there is a bunch to do, but that is only because everyone is so engaged and wanting to be a part of the Transy community. Yes, everyone seems to be going crazy too, but it’s because life at Transy is a full one, full of so many experiences and opportunities. There is a reason for the end of the semester crunch time. I honestly believe that reason is because everyone on campus wants to be their best and make Transy the best college to be at. There are only four weeks until finals, but I know almost everyone on campus is making those weeks count.


October 31st

I don’t think anyone really can experience the true excitement of Halloween until you come to a university campus, especially one like Transy.

We have a whole, AWESOME week dedicated to Halloween and Prof. Raf. Including ImprompTU shows, movies, ghost tours, and of course Pumpkin Mania. There isn’t anyone on campus that I know who doesn’t get into it. To try to show you what it is like on campus this time of the year I’ve attached a video about Pumpkin Mania 2013 for you to enjoy. It was truly a fantastic night, and even though Trick-or-Treating has been postponed this year for the little ones, nothing can stop all of Transy from enjoying a night of spooks, thrills, and chills.



It’s here! Transy’s new Athletics Complex is finally open for business.

Though it has been quite a journey for all of the Transy community, if the Opening Day festivities for the new complex were anything to go by, nothing can dampen the Transy Spirit. The day started off rather cold and rainy. I woke up in the morning wondering if the events would still be in place; I mean who would want to come out on a day like that. However when I showed up the field I saw the true greatness of the Transy family. Yes, it was cold, and yes, it was rainy, but that did not stop so many current students, Alumni, staff, and even some faculty from coming out and celebrating.

There were so many tents with people representing different offices and organizations on campus; the newly created spirit club, the Crimson Crazies were loud and proud, and a few young alumni came out to encourage support in the Alumni Tent. So many people signed up to name one of the stadium seats, and even more got to see what Transy achieved with the support of its community and an empty lot off of 4th Street. During my few hours at the new complex I was able to not only spend some time taking in the new Transy digs, but also talking with a few people. Some were parents and others were staff and even more were students, but all were extremely excited for the beginning of changes here on campus.

While some students and even some former ones see all the changes and find them a little off-putting, as I said at the beginning of this year, it is an exciting time to be on campus. There are so many changes for the layout and direction of campus. Sometimes it can seem a bit strange and unfamiliar, but I have discovered in the past week it is also a great time to have one’s voice heard. Wednesday morning I was able to speak with Bob Brown, the Associate Dean of Student Affairs, about a project on campus I was interested in. Rather than the normal few minutes of questions and answers, at the end he encouraged me to join in on the discussion and offered to take any thoughts or suggestions I had into consideration.

Yes, campus is changing, and at some point it may be rather different from the campus I knew as a freshman, and many of Transy’s alumni knew throughout their four years on campus. However between the excitement I saw during the Opening Day celebrations and and the ability for students to be apart the improvements on campus I know Transy will continue to be great. Neither rain, nor cold, nor major change can bring down the Pioneer Spirit!

October is HERE!!!!!!

Though it has been a rainy return to campus for students after a nice Fall Break, nothing can bring down the Pioneer Spirit. The second half of the semester looks like it is going to be jam-packed and full of fun and great events on campus!

When I came back to campus Tuesday afternoon I was able to hear from some of the student sports players about their first practices on the new field at the Athletics Complex. They were so excited to have a nice, new track to practice on and a beautiful new turf to play on. Even more exciting is the buzz going throughout campus about the Field Day activities planned for the opening day of the new complex. Almost all departments, teams, students groups, etc. are going to be involved; the enthusiasm is undeniable. If you haven’t already seen the many process videos from the Development Office, you should check them out! I have the privilege of editing them and hearing first hand how amazingly everything is coming together. It is a very exciting time to be involved on campus, and the entirety of the Transy community is invited to join along with us.

Beyond the festivities of Opening Day for the new Athletics Complex, many other events are popping up around campus and within the Lexington community. College Day at Keeneland is Friday, and it is always an exciting day for students to relax, have fun, and break out of the Transy Bubble. Halloween is closing in on campus, and everyone is getting excited for all the activities Raf Weekend and the heart of the Fall season brings. My roommate and friends have already started carving pumpkins to prepare for Pumpkin Mania, and have been decorating like mad-people for Halloween. We have also planned for our second annual Leaf Day, a day we devote to playing in all the leaves the fall in Back Circle and trying to create the largest leaf pile we can. Rocky Horror (always a favorite) is coming back to the Kentucky Theater and almost everyone I know is planning on going.

I sometimes think that Fall is the best season on campus. So many exciting Transy traditions take place (here’s to hoping I can win an overnight stay in Raf’s tomb!), and October is chalk-full over so many exciting events for students and the community. I hope that any of you reading decide to take the opportunity to join us Saturday, for the Opening Day, or come have a visit and see all the leaves changing colors and fun festivities occurring all around Transy.

‘Til next Thursday, Insiders!

And we’re half way there!

It is here! Mid-term is finally here, and not only does that mean crazy amounts of projects, papers, and tests, but also FALL BREAK!

Having had discussions with many alumni about the differences between the current semester and grading plans from previous systems I thought I might just clarify. Transy is currently on a 4-4-1 plan, meaning each student takes on average four courses each semester for two semesters (Fall and Winter) and then one course during May Term. As of tomorrow, October 11, every student will have completed one-half of our first semester this year. Grades set up in the Harvard style (“S” for passing, “U” for failing) will go out. Tomorrow is the last day teachers can attempt to teach and quiz us before we get a glorious four day weekend.

If you are a regular reader of this here blog you know I could barely handle being gone for a few days earlier in the semester, and now I know I sound like someone just wants to get away. Honestly, I love this school. But every once in a while it is nice to get away and relax (and have a few extra days to catch up on major projects). This is also the point in the semester that my friends and I can look at each other and say, “We made it. Just a few more weeks.” It is also a great time to reconnect with our lives outside of the Bubble. I know on a day to day basis I am constantly involved on campus, whether in class, working, studying, going to meetings, etc. and I often forget to call my parents or family members and talk with them. Also, many of us on campus are missing our pets. The closest we get to house-pet interaction are the neighborhood cats that come around sometimes. You don’t know funny until you have seen a bunch of college kids trying to chase after a common house cat.

Even though others can often balance life better than I seem to be doing right now, a break is always welcomed. If anything it gives us students breathing room and sleep time, and makes us more excited for the rest of the semester (even if it is just a countdown to Winter Break). The rest of my semester is going to be crazy so it is nice to take a small step back before the final push. If anything, come Sunday night I know I will be begging to come back to campus already and just be home again.

I hope all students reading this enjoy their break! and everyone else enjoys their weekend and Columbus Day (especially if you also have off)!

As always if you have any questions or just want to hear about something from a student’s perspective you can add a comment on the blog page or message the Transylvania Insider page.