Tristan Reynolds follows in brother’s footsteps to Stritch and carves his own path to success
Tristan Reynolds admits that his initial interest in Cardinal Stritch University was piqued because his older brother, Arlyn, was already a student. As he completed the application process and participated in orientation activities in the spring and summer of 2019, he realized he was excited about joining the Stritch family not only because of his brother, but now for himself, too.
“All of the Stritch employees and the students I encountered before the start of my freshman year were friendly and caring and made it feel like I had known them since high school,” said the Milwaukee native and Marshall High School graduate. “Everyone made sure I was comfortable and I knew Stritch was for me.”
Tristan’s Stritch experience has been enhanced by living on campus and becoming involved in a variety of activities.
“Living in Clare Hall was fun,” said Tristan. “I am able to engage with my friends and peers and I can easily attend any campus events. Plus I have immediate access to my professors and services to students, like tutoring.”
“I can 100% say that every professor I had cared about their instruction and making sure students do well. I know I can bloom academically and will be able to prepare myself with future internships and jobs that help me reach my career goals.”
In his first year at Stritch Tristan fully immersed himself in campus life. He served as vice president of the Eco Club and was a member of the Pre-Professional Club, which connects students who plan to continue their studies in graduate or medical school and pursue health care careers. He also is a Franciscan Servant Scholar and works in the biology lab and as a Peer Health Educator (PHE). When not involved in these activities, Tristan spends time with friends and relaxing in Stritch’s Meditation Garden.
Tristan’s role as a PHE calls for him to work with counselors in the Stritch Wellness Center to plan events and opportunities that are focused around mental health for students. Many of the events promote campus and community resources and information and Stritch staff availability related to mental well-being, which are essential for students’ personal and academic success.
“Though Tristan was only a PHE for a short time, which was mostly during our time sheltering at home, he brought a sense of creativity and passion for the position.” said Heidi Aringer, a counselor in the Stritch Wellness Center. “Tristan seems to genuinely care about his peers getting timely and applicable information and he does a great job of implementing creative ideas to get them that information. He was a wonderful addition to our team and assisted in transitioning our way of programming from in person to online via Instagram. Tristan’s innovation and enthusiasm have been impactful for our Health and Wellness team, as well as the whole Stritch community.”
When the COVID-19 global pandemic resulted in Stritch moving all of its courses to an online format, students, faculty and staff faced a new way of learning and working. According to Tristan, his professors’ compassion had a significant impact on his experience.
“The biggest factor for me that helped when switching to online learning was that most professors would ask for personal updates whenever they assigned more work,” he said. “This made me feel more comfortable because they wanted to see if personal issues were interrupting my work and they wanted to help and work around them if necessary. They also shared many informational tips on different websites, free Wi-Fi locations and computer lessons, and other resources that made the challenge of working online simpler and allowed me to focus and learn the material.”
Tristan said he appreciated that Stritch’s abundant resources that support student success also were accessible online during the latter part of the spring semester.
“I learned there are so many resources like tutoring, résumé workshops, internships and jobs information and financial counseling available to students and we could still benefit from them even when we weren’t on campus. I would encourage all students to take advantage of these resources even if they think they don’t need them because they are set up to help us.”
Wrapping up his freshman year fully immersed in Stritch activities, fully aware of the resources available to him, and fully connected to the people who can support his journey, Tristan Reynolds is well on his way to success. As a student leader and educator, he already is finding his own voice and potential while opening doors for future students to follow in his footsteps.