Raether Library and its Benefits

Raether Library and Information Technology Center is one of the best academic places on campus. Students often come here to get their work done. Aside from being a place that holds books, the library actually provides many great services to help students get their work done.

One of the services offered is the ability to reserve rooms within the library to hold group study sessions. On their website, a student can find the schedule to reserve the space. This allows for a secure way on getting a quiet space to get work done. In addition, many of the rooms include computers, projectors, televisions, or any technological devices that can help with research. These rooms are useful when it comes to viewing movies for film classes. Reserving spaces works for getting work done.

Within the library exists another library. Watkinson Library and College Archives is a section of the library that specializes in documents and archives. Sometimes, professors will ask for primary source documents for an assignment. The staff at Watkinson Library is ready to help you and guide you in the right direction. As a student, you have access to documents from the American Civil War! All of these archives are held in quiet level C, which also acts as great place to study and read when you absolutely must get work done.

The staff at the library is also a great resource. When writing research papers, looking for sources can be a daunting task. However, students at Trinity are able to schedule appointments with librarians. They are a helpful source of information. They will not do your work for you, but they will definitely point you in the right direction. They will either recommend a book that can contain helpful information or they can show you a specific database that deals with a very specific topic. They are a great help.

In addition, level B of the Library holds the technology center. Students can come here to get their technological questions answered. Student workers who know about computers can instruct you on how to set up your laptop to print from the colleges printer. In addition, they can also show you more about your own devices. Students can even come here if they want to set up an Xbox One or Apple TV to the wi-fi network. These guys know what they are talking about when it comes to technology.

Finally, the library is a great place to relax. Sure, you might not believe me after I discussed how much students use this building as a resource to get their work done. However, its true, the library is a aesthetically pleasing location to go and read a novel. You can pick one out from the many leisure reading books from the library’s collection, which also contains graphic novels and manga. Also, throughout the building there are many puzzles that can be used to take stress away. Finally, how can I not mention Peter B’s which is the coffee shop with pastries and great drinks inside the library. Why not come and enjoy a cup?

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Where To Get That Caffeine Fix?

With finals season, comes the all nighters, the long essays and group study sessions. And here at Trinity College, we like to pair that with great coffee. We love our coffee, so much in fact, that Trinity is home to two very well established coffee shops, The Underground and Peter B’s. As a coffee aficionado myself (and borderline caffeine addict), I always need my fix of joe. Both coffee shops compete for ratings and popularity among students. However, they are very different from each other right down to the roasters of their coffee. The difference between them is what makes them both great coffee experiences depending on what you’re looking for. And having both on campus is a huge plus! Based on the opinions and descriptions of each coffee shop, you, dear reader, can decide your favorite on your own.

The Underground

The Underground, the UG, the UGG, or da Uggie is a lounge known by many names. The main feature that distinguishes this coffee shop is the fact that it contains great comfortable seating and a really cool, laid back ambiance. The lights are usually dimmed, and produce a soft yellow glow that give the coffee drinker a warm feeling even if they are drinking an iced coffee with a hazelnut flavor shot. In addition the Underground has board games, coloring books and chess tables to help pass the time and maybe relaxfor a bit. Alex Rusbarsky ’18 states that an additional benefit of the Underground is that its located right next to the Cave, one of our dining halls, which allows students to obtain food along with their coffee. The Underground also holds events, such as movie screenings and open mic events. Conversely, at the UG, the low-lighting can cause students to fall asleep, which might interfere with work and other activities if you need crunch time. But there are plenty of very comfy couches where you can always find someone napping. The UG does not sell snacks, however they have their share of seasonal flavor shots and special drinks for every occasion. Overall the UG is pretty well liked amongst students.

Peter B’s

Peter B’s is located right in the library. This gives an academic advantage to Peter B’s. During finals, many students choose to take a coffee break and come here to get reenergized in order to keep pounding away at those essays. Peter B’s also has the advantage that it serves its own pastries along with their coffees and teas, as Jason McLeod ’19 points out. The pastries are brought in fresh every day from First and Last Bakery in Hartford. Peter B’s also allows for easy access to library files and books since its located within the library. This means that students can order a coffee, bring it back to their desk, or go do research about the topics they are studying. Brii Kuz ’18 points out that the only downside is not being able to use meal plan dollars at the coffee shops to buy coffee, tea or pastries. In addition, the ambiance of Peter B’s tends to be a bit distracting since many students do choose to come here as a social space, therefore causing more background noise. Professors or TAs will also hold meetings, interviews or office hours here. Despite this, students still do enjoy the pastries and coffee from Peter B’s and spend a lot of time there.

My preferences might be biased since I tend to enjoy drinking coffee at the Underground, but in all honesty it really all comes down to what sort of ambiance the coffee drinker prefers and the taste of the coffee. So just go out to either coffee shop, try them by yourself, and come to a decision on your own. The most important thing is that you are able to get your caffeine fix!

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Tips for Finals

As we leave Thanksgiving behind, Finals season creeps in. We are now at the end of the semester and finals are about to start on December 14th! As work starts to pile up, students wind up spending an unfortunate amount of time in the library. Here are a few tips that will hopefully help students get through finals with some ease.

First, find your niche in the library. We are lucky to have a big library with many study spaces. Some students study well sitting at the big tables in the middle of the library. Others find it easier to focus at the cubbies. The library gets progressively quieter the higher up you go. Level 3 is a silent level, while people on levels A and B are free to talk. However, the quietest place in the library is level C, which many people don’t know about. Even further underground than level B, level C is a silent level where students can go to do their work in complete silence. Another feature of the library that should be explored is the study rooms. If there is a group project that requires input by multiple people, or a topic that is easier to understand if it is talked about out loud, students can book the study rooms. These are rooms on each level of the library that have white board walls, where students can collaborate, study and learn together.

Another feature to take advantage of is the office hours and student TA sessions. Professors are always willing to help students with material that they didn’t understand, whether by answering questions, or reiterating part of a lecture. They are also often willing to tell students the format of their exams so that students know how to prepare for their particular test. TAs, or Teacher’s Assistants, are a huge resource for students. The TA for each class has already taken the course, so they know exactly what the exam is going to look like. While they are always willing to help students with homework and with concepts from class, they are especially helpful when exams roll around. They will usually help students by advising them on how to study for the exam, telling them what kind of questions (the format and concepts) they are likely to see on the test. They also often have old exams from their class, or they prepare mock exams for the students to take to gage their preparedness.

Some students, especially English majors, face many more papers during the finals period then written exams. Trinity has a writing center, where students can have their work peer-reviewed. Professors nominate students who have outstanding writing ability to work at the center. Students can make appointments and have a fellow student help them with their papers. The reason this is such an awesome resource is because a student can walk in with as much of the paper as they want – an entire draft, or even just a prompt – and ask for help with whatever they need. Some students have their grammar checked, while others need help starting the paper and organizing their ideas. Whatever the request, the writing associates will help.

My last tip would be to take full advantage of the student run cafes on campus. The Underground Cafe is located right next to the post office, in the basement of Mather. It has a nice, usually quiet, space, with tables where students can grab a coffee or a milkshake and do their work. The other cafe is called Peter B’s and is located on the ground floor of the library. In the morning, Peter B’s serves pastries from First and Last, an outstanding bakery near campus. Their house blend is also extra caffeinated, which provides that extra push to get through finals. Both places are great spaces to study on your own, with friends, or meet with a TA or Professor.

Finals season is never pleasant but these few tips will hopefully make it a little more bearable as we count down to Winter break!!

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Being a First-Year Seminar Mentor at Trinity

I believe a very strong piece of Trinity is our First-Year Seminars and First-Year Programs. I remember mine well. I interviewed my roommate, Chandler Solimine ’19, on what it is like being a First-Year Seminar Mentor.

What is a First-Year Seminar Mentor?

-A mentor is an upperclassmen who assists a professor in running their first-year seminar. My role is to help the students with their work for the seminar as well as their work for other classes, but more importantly, to guide them through their first semester at Trinity and answer any questions they have about all aspects of life on campus.

What is your seminar about? Who teaches it?

-My seminar is titled “Mind, Body, and the Concept of Mindfulness,” taught by Dr. Randy Lee. Over the semester we have and will continue to look at a number of different aspects of the relationship between mind and body, and understanding the difference (or lack thereof) between them. We look at some interesting questions and issues about mind and body and their interrelationship such as: exactly where in the “body” does the “mind” reside? What are hallucinations? Is depression physical or psychological? What really happens in hypnosis? Is meditation an effective way to stay physically healthy? How does stress affect us? Can the brain really rewire itself throughout our lives? Can stress cause cancer and other health issues? We also examine different practices of mindfulness and experiment with them ourselves to learn how we as individuals can be more mindful in our everyday lives.

How did you get this position?

– I was in this exact seminar with Professor Lee when I was a freshman, and I continued to have a great relationship with him after the class was over and into my sophomore year. Last winter he reached out to me and asked if I was interested in the mentor position and I didn’t hesitate for a second to accept.

What kind of responsibilities does it entail?

-My main responsibilities are to take part and facilitate class discussions, meet with students outside the class to help them prepare their classwork, talk to them about how they are assimilating onto a campus and Trinity’s culture, etc.

What is your favorite part about being a First-Year Seminar Mentor?

-My favorite part is being about to meet so many new students and build relationships with freshmen that I probably never would’ve met otherwise. I enjoy being in a mentor sort of role and taking what I struggled with as a freshmen and turning it into advice for them.

What is most challenging about being a First-Year Seminar Mentor?

-Sometimes it is challenging to help the students find answers to questions I am unsure of because it is out of my realm of knowledge.

How is your seminar unique from the others?

-I would consider my seminar to have a very relaxed and friendly environment because the topic we are studying itself as well as the open environment that Professor Lee creates. There is a never a lecture, but always a group discussion where everyone chimes in with whatever is on their mind. While I am sure most first-year seminars foster this sort of environment, I feel that the lack of “black and whiteness” of the topic we are focused on allows for even more back and forth discussions to flow.

 

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ACES Thanksgiving Drive

Right before thanksgiving break every year, ACES, the community service club on campus, holds their annual thanksgiving drive. They ask for any donations people are willing to make, whether that be money, or food. They also ask students to donate their meal swipes at the end of the week (the swipes that are left over, and won’t be used).

Once they have collected all the donations and the money, the presidents, Alex Donald ’19 and Lexie Axon ’19, and a few other members of the club go to Stop & Shop and buy food to donate. Since the goal is to make 100 full Thanksgiving meals for people who cannot afford them this season, they buy whatever is still needed after people donate food. The goal is to have 100 of each item -turkey, juice, mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, beans, peas, cranberry sauce, gravy, dinner rolls, pie crust and pie filling. The workers at Stop & Shop are extremely helpful in this process, since there is so much food to buy. This season, we wound up filling 9 carts full of food, and the workers helped us take it all to the front, check it all out and were even willing to store some of it in the back, so we could come back the next day.

Once all the food has been brought to the community service office, the presidents ask the members to spend just 30 minutes to an hour at the community service office on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The more members that come the more efficient the process, because the office is set up so that the members can make a chain and pack each of the bags efficiently and with all the ingredients. Trader Joe’s donates 200 bags so that each family can get a double bagged meal, since it is very heavy. Once all the bags are packed, the presidents, and their advisor, Joe Barber, take the bags to Hands on Hartford so that they can be donated to families without the means of providing their own Thanksgiving dinner this Thursday.

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Homecoming Weekend 2017

Trinity just welcomed back Alumni with their family and friends to Homecoming Weekend 2017. This past weekend, the campus was alive with an a cappella concert Saturday morning, a tailgate tent, and of course the football game main event.

Starting early Saturday morning, cars rolled into campus. Hatchbacks opened up and tables laid out with hot chocolate, “Box O’ Joes”, donuts and other snacks popped up around the Hansen parking lot. Current students and alumni mingled and chatted despite the briskness of the morning, their gloved hands wrapped around warm coffee cups. Homecoming is a great time of year for all generations of Trinity students and their families to come together. Even though it tends to get colder around this time of year, Homecoming is always an exciting and warm time on campus. Saturday was certainly no exception!

Trinity’s five a cappella groups all put on a concert in Vernon Social. The Dischords started, followed by the Accidentals, The Trinitones, The Trinity Pipes and The Quirks. Alumni from each group were also able to attend the concert and they each got up on stage with their groups to sing their traditional Homecoming songs. It was a wonderfully musical way to open up the weekend.

Outside of Vernon Social, there was a tent set up with a complimentary lunch buffet, tables with face-painting and other fun games and activities. After the tailgating reception, families and students went over to their tables in the Hansen parking lot and waited for the flag ceremony and the kick off of the game.

Around fifteen minutes before kick off, an impressive 30x50ft American flag was carried out onto the field in honor of all the veterans and their families in the Trinity Community. Veterans attending Homecoming were also able to sign up to be flag bearers.

Finally, after the morning’s festivities, the football game against Wesleyan started and proved to be quite an exciting game. Trinity maintained a 4pt lead through halftime. After the Trinity Men’s Squash team was presented their national championship rings, the game continued and Trinity came out on top, beating rival Wesleyan 28-3.

Overall, Homecoming 2017 was a beautiful weekend. And it was amazing to have campus so lively and full of the excitement of the Trinity Family across generations.

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Washington Semester Program Guest Speakers

A key part of American University’s Washington Semester Program is the guest speakers. Sometimes my class travels downtown to the office of the speaker while other times they travel to American’s campus to speak to us in the classroom. Our speakers range from a partner of the media firm that produced all of Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign advertisements, to Republican and Democratic Congressmen, to people from lobbying and advocacy groups in various areas of policy.

The speaker’s organization is usually related to what we are learning about in class. They typically talk about their career and their organization and its mission. Usually the speaker will end by providing their contact information. People in Washington are always looking for the next generation that will be replacing them so they can ensure their goals and messages will persist. Students walk out of these class sessions with a new knowledge about the way Washington works, new career paths not previously known, and specific organizations they can contact to get involved.

I myself have gotten numerous business cards from speakers in organizations I found inspiring. I have also explored new parts of Washington. Such as the bookstore Politics & Prose owned by the class speaker and former speech writer for Hillary Clinton. I have also learned about different ways to get involved and influence policy.

The Washington Semester Program does an excellent job combining experiential learning through internships, traditional learning through seminars and lectures, and career development through guest speakers. I believe I will be leaving this program with growth in so many different areas that I may not have expected, which I am very grateful for!

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How I’m Breaking Barriers with My Hockey Internship

I don’t think there’s ever been a better example of how Trinity gets internships for students than my experience. I currently have an internship with the minor league hockey team downtown called the Wolf Pack. I’m doing PR and Media Relations with them, and though I’ve only been on the job for a few weeks, I’m loving it. But let me start from the beginning and walk you through how I got this amazing opportunity.

I’ve been writing for years and knew I wanted to major in English when coming to college. I loved that Trinity had a creative writing concentration within the English major so I knew I could really pursue what I wanted to do. I’ve also been going to hockey games since I was about seven, starting with the Lowell Lock Monsters, a minor league affiliate of various NHL teams over the years. So it was only natural that I would start writing for Trinity’s newspaper The Tripod my first semester here.

I loved covering for the hockey team and getting my stories in the paper, even if it was just a college newspaper.

Fast forward a year and a half to my sophomore year. I had been writing for the Tripod for almost four semesters and looking for internships.

I wanted to do something in the PR,  Communications, or Marketing field so I looked on the Trinity College Career Development Center website and found internship and job postings. Alums and local businesses, who have hired Trinity students in the past, tend to advertise there. One of the internships listed was with the Wolf Pack, who has different interns each semester, all of them from Trinity (and, unbeknownst to me, all of them male, but we’ll get back to that point in a minute). So I applied for the PR and Media Relations internship. I sent over my writing samples, and I went downtown to the XL Center for an interview. I aced the interview and during this time, my future boss told me that I was the first female to apply (and eventually be hired) for this job. At this point, I was feeling pretty good about myself. It’s a good feeling to achieve something you’ve really wanted, but it feels even better to be the first female to do so and to start breaking down that barrier.

So now, I have this amazing internship this semester where I’m writing game stories, interviewing players, and learning about what it takes to make it in this industry. Not only is my work getting regularly published, it’s an incredible experience and I’m so thankful I am the first woman to do so.

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Family Weekend: A Welcome Relief in the Fall Semester

Family Weekend typically falls on the second or third weekend in October. It is nicely timed between the two busy midterm weeks, which offers stressed students the relief of spending time with their families. Usually, parents come up to campus to spend time with their children. Some lucky students even get visits from grandparents and other extended family and friends.

Though many students spend time on or around campus, there is a wide range of activities that families choose to participate in. Some parents bring homemade food and picnic with their families on the quad. Others choose to spend the day hiking at sites near campus. But there are also many activities on campus that families may participate in. Many of the houses on Vernon street are open to parents and have fall activities, or serve food for parents to enjoy and socialize. There is also an a cappella concert on Saturday, in which all the a cappella groups on campus perform with their new members.

Trinity athletics also does its best to make sure that the most teams have on campus games on Family Weekend so that the players’ parents can get a chance to watch them play. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to plan this for every team, however, for the teams who cannot have a home game every year, they have one at least every other year. This year, field hockey played against Wellesley and football faced Bowdoin, and both games were on campus. Also, the equestrian team, men’s tennis, club rugby, and women’s volleyball competed near campus.

This year, the football game was packed with students and their families cheering on the Bantams. Right outside, in the Hansen parking lot, students tailgated with their friends and family. Some students also take the chance to involved their clubs in campus. Relay for life, for instance, held a bake sale to fundraise for the American Cancer Society.

Many professors come to the sports games, and it gives some students the chance to introduce their parents to their professors. It is also the perfect time for students (freshman especially) to show their parents around campus now that they have gotten accustomed to daily life at Trinity. Parents weekend is a lively and carefree weekend, and is a nice breath of fresh air in the middle of a tough part of the school year. It almost always is the perfect fall weather, and gives a chance for students to catch up with their families.

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Trin Alums are Everywhere!

Last Wednesday, I was attending an education policy event at the National Press Club. After taking the elevator up to the 13th floor, the doors opened up to a magnificent lobby. After checking in, grabbing my name tag, and picking up the event literature, I found my seat. I mingled with my table mates for a few minutes until the warm, inviting aroma of coffee wafted to my nose. I looked at the breakfast table and saw an array of coffee and pastries. Exhausted and hungry at 8 in the morning, I made my way over to the refreshments table. To my surprise, another woman at the refreshment table turned to me and asked, “Did I hear you say you attend Trinity College?”

After confirming that I do attend Trinity, the woman remarked that she was an alumna of Trinity. Turns out the alumna was Catherine Millett, Senior Research Scientist at Policy Evaluation & Research Center, and she was organizing the whole event. I was incredibly surprised to meet an alumna at such a random event. But, as I turned back to the room from the refreshment table I realized that I now knew one person and felt much more confident and comfortable. Catherine and I were able to connect over our love for both Trinity and education policy. After the event, I got a picture with Catherine and sent her an email congratulating her on such a wonderful event, and thanking her for mentioning that she also went to Trinity.

After my last blog was posted on the Trinity College Admissions Instagram, an alum in D.C. commented on the post. Kristin Duquette ’13 works at FEMA right behind the U.S. Department of Education building that I work in. She was interested in connecting and I followed her up on her offer. The next week, Kristin and I met for lunch at the cafeteria of the American Indian Museum near both of our offices. Kristin and I connected over our Trinity experiences and affinity for all things D.C. She emphasized how important it is to speak up for yourself, find things you are passionate about and know that it is okay to not have a plan. Kristin has an extensive resume, and I was honored to get words of wisdom from such an amazing woman.

It is no surprise to anyone that Trinity has such an incredible alumni network. This week, I got to experience it firsthand and meet two wonderful alumni that took time out of their day to speak to me. Trinity alums show up in the most random places and are always willing to create a connection with students and help them in any way they can. At the least, students and alums have the opportunity to bond over their great experiences ‘neath the elms.

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