Family Weekend: A Welcome Relief in the Fall Semester

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.

Trin Alums are Everywhere!

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.

Trinity Days

Trinity Days

Trinity Days, or Trin days as they are better known to students, is the first break students get after the commencement of the first semester back at school. Usually taking place in the fall around the beginning or middle of October, it is the equivalent to ‘fall break’ at other schools. Trinity Days take place in the spring semester as well. Though there is an additional week in March for spring break, students get to enjoy Trinity Days in February. In essence, Trinity Days is when classes for Monday and Tuesday are canceled, so students take the entire weekend to go home and spend time with family or take a break from classes. Many students leave as soon as weekly classes are over, Thursday, Friday or Saturday, to take advantage of the time they spend away from school.

Though many students (especially from the New England area) take the opportunity to go home, many others do not have the luxury. This is why campus is still completely functional during the break. Cinestudio continues to play movies, the dining halls remain open, the shuttle service (which takes students off campus) continues to operate and Vernon Social stays open. There are also rock climbing activities that take place, and every once in a while a faculty member chaperones a Trinity trip to a pumpkin patch or apple picking. In addition, many sporting events take place during this weekend, and these are particularly enjoyable to attend in the blossoming fall weather.

Athletes make up a large portion of the students who stay on campus for Trinity Days. Though some get to go home a little bit later (on Sunday, or Monday), many spend the entire break at school. Many sports teams have games on Saturday or Sunday. This year, for instance, men and women’s soccer had games, the cross-country team had an invitational, and the football team had a game. Even some teams that don’t have competitions, such as the rowing team, stay on campus for practice.

Some students take this short break as an opportunity to visit somewhere new. Many students who live far from campus go home with friends for the break. It gives those students a chance to visit others’ hometowns and spend time with friends in a relaxed setting. Some are lucky enough to take the time to explore big cities, and they spend the weekend discovering DC, NYC, Boston, or even Montreal and Quebec. Others take the chance, at home or elsewhere, to catch up on homework, and focus on upcoming assignments. With midterms looming just around the corner from Trinity Days, work tends to pick up around this time. Regardless of how each student spends their Trinity Days, everyone can agree that it is a much needed and relaxing breath as work will soon begin to pile up.


Designing Your Own Major or Minor

Designing Your Own Major or Minor

One of the best things about Trinity College is the wide variety of majors and minors that students can choose from. Trinity offers 41 pre-existing majors from Engineering to Women, Gender, and Sexuality. There are also almost as many minors in 11 different departments.

Students have until their second semester sophomore year to declare a major (and a minor, if they so desire). When a student begins this process, they choose an advisor in that particular department, and that professor becomes their academic guide for the next two or three years. They will help the student navigate through course selections and completing all the requirements that constitute the major.

However, Trinity’s academic opportunities are not limited to the 41 department majors, nor are they limited to the minors listed within those departments. Trinity offers an opportunity for students that is relatively unique to the liberal arts education. Among the majors and minors available, there is also the option of designing your own Interdisciplinary Major or declaring one of the Interdisciplinary Minors, separate from a specific department.

The process of designing your own major, especially as a sophomore, might appear daunting. But in reality, though the process is involved and requires a fair amount of research, it is not too difficult to accomplish. In addition, the benefits of this interdisciplinary opportunity are worth it.

When designing your own Interdisciplinary Major, you must have an idea that combines multiple areas of study into one cohesive educational objective. The difficult or tedious part of this process is deliberately choosing the 12-14 courses that constitute the major. You must be able to argue why these courses in combination allow you to fulfill the academic objective of your major. Though it is time-consuming to go through the entirety of the college’s academic catalog, it does offer students the benefit of learning about courses that Trinity offers that they might have never known about otherwise.

In addition to Interdisciplinary Majors, students can also choose from over 20 Interdisciplinary Minors. These minors have a little bit more of a structure to them, however, the ultimate objective is controlled by the student. For these minors, students can choose up to 5-6 courses from a list of department courses offered at Trinity. This way, the student can build the perfect combination of courses that enable them to fulfill their educational aspirations.

Ultimately, these opportunities that Trinity offers allow for fully interdisciplinary areas of study. They allow students to take full control of their academic and educational objectives and graduate from Trinity having accomplished exactly what they desired during their undergraduate years. The interdisciplinary areas of study inspire students to be motivated, to be creative, and to push themselves to their full potential. They are just another example of how Trinity fosters an environment where students can Engage, Connect and Transform.

Safety in Hartford

Safety in Hartford

Recently, I was helping a prospective student find his way around campus. He commented on how beautiful campus was and his mother was asking questions. One of the questions she asked, and one that is a source of worry for many parents is, “How safe is campus?” and “Do you feel safe on campus?” My immediate response was that I always feel safe on campus, and Trinity does everything in their power to make this the safest campus for its students. However, her question made me think about what makes this campus feel so safe?

Our campus and our direct community have gone above and beyond in creating a safe campus within an urban environment. Every student on campus is extremely protected by the trained campus police (Campo) specifically hired to look after Trinity’s campus and Trinity students. They understand the Trinity scene and the culture of the school, and they are there not to get anyone in trouble, but instead to make sure that every student on our campus is taken care of when needed, and protected at all times.

In a recent email to the student body, the school informed us that even more precautions were going to be taken to protect us from any potential harm, even (and especially) unforeseen harms. They have hired more Hartford Police officers to be stationed on campus on the weekend when the most students are out on the outskirts of campus. They have increased the training of the current Campo officers, and they have developed a new and improved staffing matrix for incoming recommendations. They are conducting building audits to make sure that each building on campus is a safe as possible for students, and they have required certain events to hire outside (and professional) staff at the door to make sure every event is entirely Trinity students only. They have increased awareness about activities happening around campus, and they are in the process of preparing electronic alert devices for campus that will immediately alert campo when a student is in need of assistance. With each passing year, campus becomes safer, and Trinity takes continuous precautions to keep it that way.

“Washington is a city of southern efficiency and northern charm.” – John F. Kennedy

“Washington is a city of southern efficiency and northern charm.” – John F. Kennedy

Prior to starting my internship in D.C., I had to fill out a questionnaire about myself so the office could get to know me. One of the questions asked what was the coolest place I had traveled to. My answer was Washington D.C. I figured this would seem like I was somehow trying to suck up, but it was entirely the truth. For me, Washington has always been the hub of leadership, dreams, and inspiration, and there is no other place I would rather be.

While many of my friends are either abroad in Europe or at Trinity enjoying the perks of being upperclassmen, I am just down the coast in Washington D.C. For my ‘study abroad,’ I chose to do a Washington Semester Program through American University. When considering different study away options, I came to the conclusion that there was nowhere else I would rather spend a semester away from Trinity than Washington.

Through my program, I take classes two days a week (an American Politics seminar and Political Communication elective) and intern three days a week. When looking for an internship, I knew that I wanted to do something distinctly “D.C.” in order to make the most of my opportunity. I ended up deciding to intern in the Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs (OLCA) at the United States Department of Education.There are four interns in my office, and each of us has an area of education policy that is our specialty. I have the pleasure of focusing on higher education policy.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I get to take the metro into the heart of D.C. Because my office is right behind the Air and Space Museum alongside The Mall, I always get a quick peek at the Capitol as I walk there. There is no view that could be more inspiring as I walk into my office.

So far during my internship, I have been able to attend an event at The Brookings Institute, both House and Senate hearings, a briefing, the Department’s Constitution Day celebration event that Secretary DeVos gave the opening remarks at, and met some pretty incredible people.

During my classes, I have gone to a live taping of Meet the Press and met Chuck Todd, walked past Joe Biden just close enough to get a smile, gone to the Newseum, and had guest speakers that range from Hillary Clinton’s speechwriter at one point to a partner at the media firm that created all of Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign advertisements.

I have only been in Washington for nearly four and a half weeks, and I’ve already gotten to do so many incredible things, and have the time to do much more. Washington is all about making connections, and I am thrilled to see who I will meet next.