Summer at Trinity

Summer at Trinity

It’s officially spring, even if the weather in Hartford is still adjusting to this fact. We’re nearing the final month of classes, and before we know it, summer will have come to Trinity. Many of my friends will be returning to their hometowns to work summer jobs or spend time with their family. During finals week, students begin to trickle out and campus becomes noticeably emptier. However, Trinity is by no means dead during the summers. Trinity and its students are active all year round! Here are just a few options for students who want to spend the summer at Trinity:

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  • Research: Because I’m a humanities student, people are often surprised to hear that I did summer research during my first summer at Trinity. There are lots of different opportunities for research across many different disciplines, with both on- and off-campus summer positions available. I chose to work on my research from home while also working at a part-time internship, but there are always student researchers living at Trinity for part or all of the summer.
  • On Campus Jobs: Because Trinity remains vibrant and active during the summer, there are several campus jobs that need to be filled in order to keep the college running smoothly. I have friends who stay on campus and work in IT, as tour guides, in the library, and as summer RAs.
  • Summer Classes: Need an additional credit to round out your major, or just want to pursue a subject you didn’t have room for in your schedule during the year? You can take a summer class at Trinity and live on campus while you do it!
  • Internships: The Career Development Center maintains an enormous list of internship and job opportunities for Trinity students, and many of these opportunities are based in Hartford. Take advantage of this and enjoy living in the city while you gain experience in your field.
  • Summer Study Abroad: Trinity has summer study abroad opportunities in Rome, Barcelona, Paris, Israel, and China. If that’s not enough, students choose their own study abroad programs and get them approved through the Office of Study Away. Through Trinity, you can spend your summer nearly anywhere in the world!

I hope this helps show just how many different ways students can be involved at Trinity even when regular classes aren’t in session.

Gateway Programs

Gateway Programs

During senior year I quickly got used to receiving up to ten promotional mailings from various colleges and universities every day. Many were generic letters, some including visually striking postcards, and a few schools even sent full-color view books. However, the college mailing that had the greatest impact on my life after graduation was a packet from Trinity with brochures for each of their Gateway programs. Each Gateway program consists of several thematically linked courses taken with a small group of passionate students in the first (and sometimes second) year. I was intrigued by the broad spectrum of these programs at Trinity and the availability of such unique learning communities within the larger liberal arts college lead me to apply to Trinity. Here’s a brief run down of each of Trinity’s Gateway Programs:

  • InterArts Program: This program is perfect for artists of all kinds, and spans two semesters. Each year culminates in a big InterArts showcase where students display their work for the entire campus.
  • Interdisciplinary Science Program (ISP): The ISP allows driven science students to begin research in their first year. The program prepares students for successful careers in the sciences.
  • Cities Program: This program involves four courses over two semesters that take advantage of Trinity’s Urban Studies department and unique location in Hartford.
  • Humanities Gateway Program: European Cultures: This three-semester program invites students to explore European culture through an interdisciplinary study of classics, philosophy, religion, history, and literature.
  • The Community Action Gateway: This two-semester program allows students to get involved in Hartford and learn about mechanisms of social change.

Each Gateway Program appeals to a unique set of students and provides a small learning community. I loved being a part of one, and think that they offer a unique start to the Trinity experience. Learn more about applying to one of them here!

Take a Trip to Trin

Take a Trip to Trin

When I was applying to colleges, I began to feel like every school was the same. I spent countless hours perusing university websites, pulling up different campuses on Google Maps, and creating a detailed spreadsheet with all the information that seemed important to me. There were so many options available to me, and I became so overwhelmed with the college application process. I found that actually visiting the campuses I had spent so much time analyzing on paper remedied this confusion.

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I remember my first visit to Trinity so well—the sun, the Long Walk, and even my first experience with Mather Dining Hall. As I walked around campus, I could see myself playing my clarinet at the Austin Arts Center or attending services in the Chapel. I knew that a liberal arts college in an urban setting was unusual, but it wasn’t until I visited that I felt the vibrant energy of Trinity’s location in Hartford. I was able to sit in on a class within my potential major and talk to Student Admissions Associates about their experiences of Trinity.

Once I visited Trinity, I grew in confidence that I had found the college for me. My campus visit helped me convert my mental knowledge of the school into a practical understanding of the college’s atmosphere and my place within a dynamic student body. If you’re currently in the middle of the college admissions process, now is a great time to plan a visit to Trinity!

 

Trinity Days @ Trinity

Trinity Days @ Trinity

Trinity Days are approaching fast, to the relief of the student body. We all cherish the two-day reading break each semester, and many students use it as an opportunity to get off campus for a mini-vacation. Although this sounds great, sometimes you just need to stay in Hartford and get work done, and if you don’t live in New England it can be difficult to make it home. This is also an excellent way to spend the long weekend! There are lots of perks to staying on campus.

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A view of the main quad, Cinestudio, and Clement Chemistry Building.
  • Actually getting all of your reading and writing done!: I’ve had lots of professors assign deadlines over Trinity Days, and I’m never as productive as I would hope when I’m at home. Trin Days were designed for studying, so take advantage of the quiet campus and get ahead on your work!
  • Enjoying the beautiful urban campus: I tend to lose sight of how stunning Trinity is as I go about my busy day-to-day life. Use Trinity Days to pause and appreciate the school at a slower pace.
  • Getting out into Hartford: I think a lot of Trinity students get so caught up in classes and on-campus life that it can be hard to engage with the city we’re a part of. I want to make it to the Mark Twain House, hit the Wadsworth Atheneum again, and see another show at the Hartford Stage. A few days without classes means that I can take advantage of all that Hartford has to offer.
  • Catching up on sleep: After a few weeks where my 7:30am alarm was going strong, I find myself snoozing for a few minutes longer every day. A long weekend on a quiet campus is the perfect time to catch up on sleep and refresh yourself for the rest of the semester.

Hidden Study Spots

One of the things that I have missed the most about Trinity while abroad for the semester is having access to my personal roster of hidden study spots. Although Trinity has an incredible library with lots of space (something I’ve come to appreciate—the main library at St. Andrews is smaller for a larger student body!), during finals it can get a little tight. Sometimes it’s necessary to camp out in the library for hours, defending your space with your life. However, this aggressive environment can get old really quickly, especially when you add the stress of exams and final projects into the equations. At the risk of giving away some of my secret spots, here’s a list of lesser-known study spots on campus:

  • Departmental libraries and common spaces: This is my go to for longer study sessions where I really need to be productive. These locations feel official and motivating and are often empty. Many academic departments at Trinity have libraries or study rooms. My favorite is the Classics department in Seabury, but I also enjoy the Religion student lounge in McCook and seminar rooms in the English building.
  • Vernon Social: Although Vernon Social and Goldberg’s are always bustling on the weekends, I’ve found that the space is often nearly empty during the day. I like to sit at the chairs by the windows that overlook Vernon Street for the light, or the inner chairs for a more secluded feel.
  • The Cave and the Bistro: These are more locations that are great during off-peak times. Sometimes all I want is a table to work at or a place to study for an hour in between commitments, and the Cave and Bistro fit the bill.
  • Austin Arts Center: I love the central location of the AAC and there’s always background music playing in the lobby, where there are several tables.
  • Early Morning Library: I know I began this post by dissing the library during exam week, but it’s difficult to completely ignore the building when looking for study spaces. If I do go to the library during finals, I make sure to secure a place as soon as possible. I like to go for the study carrels on the top floor because of how private they are, making it easier to ignore how full the library is getting while I work.

Trinity’s campus is full of great study spaces, and these are just a few. Good luck with finals, and find a space that works for you!

Avoiding Paper Panic: Writing Tips

No matter how confident I feel going into a new semester, my first essay never fails to strike fear into my heart. Pending deadlines have a knack for making any task seem impossible and causing me to forget how much I have been prepared for my classes. However, after five semesters I have developed several strategies to help me along in the essay writing process from start to finish.

  • Read and reread the prompt as soon as it is assigned. You can write the next great American novel, but if it doesn’t satisfy the prompt you’ll still be out of luck. If you have questions, ask your professor or TA sooner rather than later.
  • Before you write anything, brainstorm and choose a thesis. There’s nothing worse than seeing a blank page and not knowing what you’re going to say, so get your ideas straight first. There are lots of different ways you can do this—outlining, sketching, free-writing, verbal processing, and more. Once you’ve organized your thoughts, decide what you want to argue and make this your thesis.
  • Break up the drafting process. I enjoy writing, but even I don’t like writing a 10-page paper in a single day. Give yourself enough time to write your rough draft over a few days—it’s much more relaxing this way!
  • Revise your rough draft. This is also connected to giving yourself enough time—even the best writer benefits from going back over her work and checking for grammar, spelling, and clarity.
  • Go to the Writing Center! As a writing associate I may be biased, but I love making use of this amazing resource on our campus. The Writing Center can help you at any point in the writing process, whether you just have the prompt and want to brainstorm or are looking for help going over your final draft. Go here to learn more about the Writing Center, book an appointment, and use our amazing writing resources (pro tip: appointments fill up quickly the closer we get to exam week, so make sure you save your space early!)

The Sound of Trinity

The Trinity campus is strikingly beautiful, and throughout my time here I have come to appreciate the other ways that Trinity delights my senses. The taste of a Goldberg’s breakfast sandwich, the smell of espresso in the Underground, and the feeling of warmth while sitting around the fire pits outside Vernon Social all enhance my sensory experience of my college. In addition to satisfying my sight, touch, taste, and smell, Trinity has provided me with countless beautiful sounds to appreciate. Music is a large part of campus life, and there are many ways to get involved with it!

  • For the singers out there, Trinity has a singing group for everyone! Our campus is lucky to have the crowd-pleasing a capella groups, the prestigious Chapel Singers, the Trinity College Choir, the Trinity College Gospel Choir, and African Choir.
  • If musical theater is more your scene, Trinity puts on multiple musicals each academic year. Auditions are open, so whether you’re a Theater and Dance major or an Engineering student, feel free to try out!
  • The Trinity music department offers several instrumental ensembles for academic credit. Classical chamber music, jazz, samba, and steel pan are all available options, and some of these ensembles require no previous experience. Additionally, if you’d like to work on your music in a more personal setting, the music department offers private lessons which are also for credit. These “classes” are a great way to express yourself and have fun while fulfilling the arts distribution requirement.
  • In addition to the for-credit ensembles offered by the music department, the Trinity College Orchestra is a new student-led group that provides the opportunity to play in a larger setting.
  • Temple of Hip Hop put on concerts throughout the year which culminate in the International Hip Hop Festival, held on Trinity’s campus. If classical music isn’t your thing, try getting involved with hip hop on campus.
  • If you love music but aren’t so into performing, The Mill is our on campus arts collective. Every year The Mill brings in several bands for open concerts in their house on Vernon Street and music appreciators will have a great time there.

This is just a brief run-down of music on campus, and I know there are even more ways to get involved with making Trinity sound beautiful.

Course Registration: A Guide to the Academic Hunger Games

When my first year mentor told my seminar that she was leading an entire class meeting focused on getting through course registration, I knew that the process would be intimidating. I made lots of lists in the following weeks, creating several different possible schedules for the next semester. When my registration slot came, I woke up half an hour early, made some tea, and plugged in my Ethernet cable, ready to take on what had been described to me as a cutthroat frenzy of eager students fighting for their ideal classes. I made it through relatively unscathed, thanks largely to the courses I was guaranteed through my gateway program. However, I observed many of my fellow students throughout that week start from scratch because they hadn’t received any of their preferred courses. Course registration can be scary, but throughout the years I have acquired some tips to help the process go more smoothly.

  1. Start planning before advising week. It takes time to sift through the course schedule, find classes that don’t occur at the same time, and make a back up plan. One of the perks of attending Trinity is that amazing courses are offered each term in every department. I like to scan the offerings of each department as part of my planning process, because you never know what will catch your eye. Maybe you didn’t know you wanted to take a course on American Popular Music or Jewish Mysticism!
  2. Take advantage of your advisor. Advisors exist to help you through this process, and first year advisors are especially tuned in to your needs as a first-timer going through course registration. Use your required meeting with your advisor to clear up any concerns you may have, plan for the future, and whatever else you need to discuss in order to feel prepared.
  3. Have back ups for your back ups. Do you really need to fill your social science requirement this semester? Choose a few good options. Interested in intro classes that fill up quickly? Pick a few different time slots or professors. Being over-prepared feels much better than not having any more options.
  4. Talk to older students. Upper-year students can offer you a wealth of knowledge! From course and professor recommendations to the inside scoop on which courses fill up first, they’ve been around the course registration block a time or two and are likely happy to advise you.
  5. Prioritize your “shopping cart.” I know that my upper level Latin class is likely not going to reach max capacity, so I fill my cart with more competitive courses first. You can always drop a back up course if you get in, but you’ll be sad if your back up fills up while you try to register for it on your second round.
  6. Email professors about the waitlist. A polite email expressing your continued interest in the course never hurts! Calmly explain the reason you want to take a course and what place you are on the waitlist, and the professor might choose to allow you in.

Why I Love My Liberal Arts College

When I was applying to schools during my senior year of high school, I submitted lots of applications to larger research universities. Trinity was one of the smallest schools on my list, but after studying for half a semester at St. Andrews, which has over 10,000 undergrad and postgrad students, I can confidently say that the small liberal arts college life is the one for me.

I love the breadth of interests I can pursue at Trinity because of its structure as a liberal arts college, or LAC. Although the universal distribution requirements can seem like a drag that you have to work your schedule around, I have thoroughly enjoyed my forays into symbolic logic and anthropology, two subjects that I would never have touched if not for Trinity’s requirements. LACs seek to produce well-rounded graduates, and I have been given opportunities for interdisciplinary study that I might not have received at a research university.

I love the small class sizes at Trinity. My largest lecture so far had about 50 students, but I am much more used to classes with eight or ten. At St. Andrews, intro-level lectures can easily hold hundreds of students. The smaller classes available at LACs lend themselves to discussion, and I have gained so much through my small seminars. This also allows professors to really get to know their students and vice versa, whereas my lecturers at St. Andrews do not know my name yet.

Although research universities offer incredible opportunities to their students, I have greatly appreciated the opportunities that Trinity has given me as an undergrad. I was invited to conduct research within the humanities after my first year—if I were at a larger university this position would likely go to a grad student long before it got to me. Because we don’t have many grad students, Trinity undergrads are granted many chances to shine.

I love being at St. Andrews, and I wouldn’t trade this semester abroad for anything, but being here has reminded me how much I love attending a liberal arts college back in the states.

Fall Highlights at Trinity

I am thoroughly enjoying the start of my semester abroad at St. Andrews, but as October rolls in, I am starting to miss what New England does like no other: fall. While I love living just across from the North Sea here in Scotland, it is hard to compete with the vibrant foliage back at home. Last year Trinity was ranked in the top 10 most beautiful college campuses in the fall, and I’d like to share just a few of the fall highlights that contribute to Trinity’s autumnal atmosphere.

  • Hot cider at Peter B’s is a great way to warm up, and I recommend getting it with whipped cream! Pumpkin bread is an appropriate supplement here.
  • The in-between days where the leaves are falling but it’s warm enough to read on the quad and soak up some sunshine.
  • Football games are incredibly fun whether you care for the sport or not! They’re a great chance to don some Trinity gear, see all your friends in one place, and hear the Bantam call over the loudspeakers every time we score.
  • In a similar vein, Homecoming weekend offers the opportunity to chat with Trinity alumni of all class years, from your friends who just graduated to wise graduates who remember what the campus was like a few decades ago. I love connecting and reminiscing with members of the Trinity network!
  • Trinity days always manage to come at just the right time and offer a mix of both productivity and relaxation. Whether you head out for the weekend or stick around campus, you’re sure to enjoy the long weekend.

This list is just a few of my favorite aspects of fall at Trinity, and I can’t wait to enjoy them all again in the fall of 2017.