Being a First-Year Seminar Mentor at Trinity

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.


My Summer Before Junior Year

My Summer Before Junior Year

College students are notorious for being balancing acts: school, friends, family, work, downtime, and extracurricular activities. While college summers offer a little more flexibility to the tracks that students often see placed in front of them, a lot of pressure can be placed on how college students spend their time off. I have many friends that spent the summer going into their junior year working 40 hours a week at an internship, or making great amounts of cash babysitting in luxury homes, or some other type of hustle and bustle job in their hometown, or simply relaxing with family. I wanted to push myself to do something a little bit different, and this past summer, I worked on a guest ranch in Frank Church Wilderness of Idaho.

I visited the Diamond D Ranch first in 2008 as a guest with twenty-one of my paternal family members. The remote location and exquisite beauty were unlike any other place I’d been. The Diamond D is an all-inclusive ranch that offers a wide range of activities from hiking, to horseback riding, to guided fly-fishing, and more. After being there for a week as a guest, I knew I wanted to return when I was older as an employee.

I’m proud to say I made that goal happen this past summer. I moved to Idaho for just under three months and spent my summer in the mountains without cell phone service. I had many different responsibilities on the ranch, which always kept me very busy. I worked primarily with three other girls my age in the kitchen: prepping meals, setting tables, serving the food and cleaning dishes. We also cleaned the guests’ rooms and cabins, along with other daily chores like cleaning the pool and managing the upkeep of the lodge building. We led guest activities like arts and crafts, gold panning, and kickball games as well. This job was absolutely the hardest thing I have ever challenged myself to do, and it was extremely rewarding.

Selecting a School That’s Right For You

Selecting a School That’s Right For You

I applied to nine schools either Regular Decision or Early Action. I did not do Early Decision anywhere. I applied to public and private schools ranging from Wisconsin to New Hampshire. I told my family from the very beginning of the application process that I was not going to apply to any schools in my home state of Maine. I was incredibly indecisive in choosing which school to go to. It was the middle of April when I finally narrowed my decision down to two schools.

I visited Trinity three times during my senior year. I realized during these visits how community centered Trinity is. I found that students have a large presence on campus, and Hartford has so much to offer. I was impressed by the alumni network, small classrooms, beautiful campus, elite reputation, and challenging academics. During my visits I sat in on a class, toured the campus, interviewed, ate in Mather Dining Hall, and visited a friend. I think that for me, spending time observing how a Trinity student spends their time was integral in helping making my decision. After my visits, I was able to imagine myself as one of the students I was walking among. I truly believe that there is more than just one “right school” for everyone. However, I think it is necessary to spend time with or observing the student body to find the school that will make you most happy.

Although I don’t think I — or anyone — could have gone terribly wrong, I do think that Trinity is absolutely the best school for me. I am so happy to be a Bantam!

The Housing Selection Process

Trinity is a residential campus. The vast majority of the student body lives on campus for all four years. I love being a part of a community-centered living environment. There are twenty-six residence halls at Trinity. Some are older than others, but each hall has it’s own character and reputation.

All freshmen reside in residence halls in the “concrete jungle,” on south campus, with the exception of one hall on north campus. Upperclassmen can choose where they live through a housing lottery held every spring. Students are assigned a lottery number based on the determined rating of their building. I found this lottery system to be a rather convoluted process. For example, if you were unable to come, you were required to have a proxy complete the housing process for you.

This year, the housing selection process will be done entirely online. Susan Salisbury, the Director of Residential Life, held multiple housing selection informational meetings to outline the new process. She explained that the housing portal will open on April 6th, and students will have time between April 6th and 12th to add housing to their wish list. Groups can do so under the name of a “group leader,” who will select their wishes. After the 12th, Susan Salisbury said that lottery numbers would begin to process in batches. Once numbers have been assigned housing, you can no longer change your wish list, and the housing selection process is complete.

I think that this new housing selection process will be great for students and allow for much more flexibility in selecting. With all of the great residential housing at Trinity, I look forward to living on campus all four years.

Spring Break is here!

Spring Break is here!

A college Spring Break is a break like no other. Spring Break seems to come with impeccable timing. Some students choose to spend it on a tropical beach with their friends. Others head home with dirty laundry and a full grocery list for their parents. Still, others hibernate in the library, hoping to catch up on their work. Spring Break fosters a time for relaxation for those who leave campus, but for those who chose not to, Trinity is still bustling.

Residential Halls will remain open. However, Dining Services like Mather Dining Hall, Bistro, and the Cave will be closed. The meal plan will be suspended following the evening meal on Friday, March 10th. The Bistro will close after lunch on Friday, March 10th and will reopen Monday, March 20th. The CAVE will be closed Friday, March 10th and will reopen on Monday, March 20th. The meal plan resumes with the evening meal on Sunday, March 19th.

Ferris Athletic Center will be open Saturday, March 11th, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday –Thursday, 7:00 am to 9:00 pm, Saturday, March 18th, 7:00 am to midnight, and Sunday, March 19th 7:00 am to midnight.

The Trinity College Health Center will be open Monday – Friday, March 13th – 17th 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, and both the on and off campus shuttles will run on their normal hours.

Some spring sport teams that would otherwise be on campus use spring break as a time to practice off campus. For example, the Men’s Baseball team will be traveling to Florida and the Women’s Crew team will be traveling to Virginia for training.

A community service oriented club on campus, JELLO, will still have their weekly food pantry trips on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.

As well deserved as our needed Spring Break might feel, students are always happy to return back ‘Neath The Elms when the time comes.

How to Recover from Class Registration

Class registration at any school is a stressful process. Priority goes to upper-year students and then — you guessed it — first-years. I’ve come to find that it is normal to be unable to get into a class you could have sworn had twenty open seats before you registered. It’s also normal to be stressed from this process. I have a few suggestions on how to recover from class registration:

  1. Email the professor: If you did not get into a class you need or really want, then email the professor. Introduce yourself and explain why you want to be in the class. It wouldn’t hurt to list any other classes you’ve been in that you think have prepared you to take this course. By expressing interest you will be more likely to get off the waitlist than a student who isn’t doing so.
  2. Waitlist: When you add classes to your enrollment shopping cart before you register, be sure to check the box that says, “waitlist if full.” This way you won’t be automatically locked out of a class. During class registration, you want to be as efficient as possible.
  3. Check other sections: Other sections of the class you want may still be open! Maybe the 8am section wasn’t as appealing to you as the 9:25am section, but beggars can’t be choosers. Earlier classes tend to go later than the others. If you want to be in a class badly, then maybe it is worth reconsidering which section you enroll in.
  4. Enrollment shopping cart: For future class registrations be sure to fill your enrollment shopping cart with many options. You can fill your cart with as many classes as you want, but can only enroll in 5 course credits at one time. It is smart to have back ups already waiting in your cart in case something goes wrong.
  5. Sit in on the first class: If the next semester comes and you still want to be in a certain class and have been unable to get on the attendance list thus far, go sit in on the first class. Introduce yourself to the professor after class so they can put a face to the name. If the professor decides to admit more students, you will have a good shot because they will see you are interested. It’s all about putting in effort!

Greek Life at Trinity College

Greek Life is present on Trinity’s campus. According to College Board – my nearly “end all be all” when I was looking for quick facts about schools in high school – 20% of men join fraternities and 16% of women join sororities. Some schools allow first year students to enter “recruitment” or “rush” during their first semester. At Trinity, students cannot do so until their second year. I think this is beneficial, as it allows students time to get to know other details of the school before committing to this process.

While I do think that Greek Life is a big aspect of Trinity’s social culture, I do not think that it is the only option. During my freshman year I was indifferent to the idea of joining Greek Life. This past fall I made my decision to register to recruit. Recruitment — a scheduled, monitored and dry process — began with a meeting on a Sunday afternoon with all potential new members, Rho Gammas, and Rush Chairs from each of the fraternities and sororities. There were two nights of “formal recruitment” that followed. On these nights, potential new members were toured around all of the houses in small groups. Women at Trinity have the option between five societies: Kappa Kappa Gamma, Ivy Society, Cleo of AX, St. Anthony’s Hall, and Zeta Omega Eta. Kappa Kappa Gamma and Ivy Society are all women. Cleo and St. Anthony’s Hall are made up of both men and women. Zeta Omega Eta is a non-traditional feminist sorority. Because it is non-traditional it was not included on formal recruitment night tours. On the fourth evening, all potential new members have informal recruitment. At our group’s discretion, we revisited the sororities that we felt most interested in or connected to. The fifth evening is “preference night.” On preference night, the sororities and fraternities host events at different times for potential new members to return where they are ultimately hoping to get a “bid.” The sixth day, Friday, is bid day.

I received my bid from Kappa Kappa Gamma. Since then I have completed the ten-day initiation process for new members that Trinity has required for the past two years. At other schools, this process can be spread out over six to ten weeks. During initiation we carried out the same rituals and traditions that have been occurring since Kappa’s founding in 1870. I am so happy with my decision to join a sorority at Trinity. I think that this opportunity will allow me to continue to meet other students and get in involved in more service options in the Hartford area.

Best Buddies at Trinity College

In the fall of my first year I joined six clubs. I quickly realized that it wasn’t possible to “do college” the way I had high school in the way of trying to be involved in everything imaginable. While I may have been spread a bit thin, being involved in so much really helped me to meet new people and figure out what I like. Returning for sophomore year, I had a much clearer idea of what I wanted to put my time into.

One club that I have continued with is Best Buddies. Best Buddies is an international nonprofit that allows students and volunteers to create opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Anthony K. Shriver founded Best Buddies in the late ‘80s. Currently, Trinity College is one of almost 1,900 worldwide chapters. We host monthly events where Buddies from multiple academies come to campus. We try to theme our events with the month. For example our next party in late October will be Halloween themed. We usually have pizza and make crafts or play bingo.

Every November Quinnipiac University hosts a Best Buddies 5k walk. It’s a great opportunity for so many different Best Buddies chapters to get together. This is where I met my current Buddy. This special opportunity to be matched with a Buddy is one step further than just being a member of the club. My Buddy and I get together on our own once a month in addition to the events on campus, and have weekly phone calls. A couple of our most memorable times spent together last year were having dinner at First and Last in Hartford and going to the movies.

Joining Best Buddies at Trinity College has been an awesome choice for me. It’s fun to return this year and see new members in the club get the opportunity to build relationships with the Buddies. I’m excited for what this year will bring!