My Experience Studying Abroad in Ireland

My Experience Studying Abroad in Ireland

Like many of my fellow juniors at Trinity, I have decided to study abroad this semester, so hello from Ireland! Since I’ve been in this new country for almost three months, I thought I’d reflect a bit on my time here so far. I’ve learned a lot about navigating a new country, a university environment, and how to make the most of my travel budget.

Life While Studying Abroad in Ireland

The School

The university I’m currently studying at is University College Dublin, or UCD. UCD is about 15 times the size of Trinity in terms of student population. So that’s something I have definitely been having to get used to. There’s people everywhere all the time! At Trinity I really only feel crowded on campus when classes end and people make their way to their next class or the library or Mather or wherever. Here, there’s 30,000 people who study here so there’s always a crowd of people around. UCD also isn’t directly in the city center like Trinity College Dublin (no affiliation) is, which is nice because it doesn’t feel like a tourist destination. We get a lot of the benefits of living in a city without a lot of the downsides.

The Classes

Irish classes are different than American, or at least Trinity, classes. First off we have to take 6 classes per semester. The normal class load at Trin is 4-5 classes. And there are different amounts of class time in each class (which are called modules) here. Usually most classes will have 1 lecture and 1 seminar/tutorial per week. Lectures can be huge, with up to 200 people. Seminars (also known as tutorials) are much smaller, usually around 15-25 people. But not all classes follow these rules. I have classes that have 2 lectures and 1 seminar, 3 seminars and no lectures, or just 1 seminar and no lectures per week. At Trinity, there are either seminars or lectures, and they meet 2-3 times a week, at the same time. The 3 seminars a week class meets at different times on different days; the two lectures and a seminar class has different meeting times and places for the lectures. This might sound really complicated, but trust me, you do get used to it. Nearly all classes here are 50 minutes and almost no one has class on Fridays, which leaves lots of time for weekend travel to different parts of Europe.

The City

Exploring Dublin
Exploring Dublin

I feel like Hartford has prepared me pretty well for living in Dublin and UCD is kind of like Trinity because it’s not located quite downtown but is still close enough to go into the city very easily. Dublin is obvious much larger than Hartford but it’s not as big as other cities like London or Paris. It’s very easy to get around with the bus and tram system (called the LUAS but pronounced like Lewis) and suburbs like the coastal town of Howth and Blackrock are just a short ride away. I didn’t know much about Irish history before coming here but taking classes on this subject and just living in Dublin has taught me a ton about medieval Ireland, colonized Ireland, and modern Ireland.

How to Study Abroad on a Budget: Travelling

Like many students studying abroad, I want to get the most of my time here and travel all over the country and across Europe. However, even on this continent, those things cost money (Euros specifically). I quickly realized this and, three months in, thought I’d share some things I find useful to get the most of your time here without spending the most.

Save save save!

I cannot emphasis enough how important it is to save up, even just for a semester abroad. I’d recommend saving as soon as you know you want to study away. For me, I have had quite a few jobs on campus and a paid internship this past semester, so I was able to save up a sizeable amount. I also cut a few things out while I was still on campus in the fall that would I know I would be grateful for in the long run. For example, I often told myself I could either get a coffee from Goldbergs in Vernon Social now or a coffee from a local vendor in Paris in a few months.

Make a list of your top places to visit

This semester is a once in a lifetime opportunity to go tons of places I probably won’t be able to see again, at least not for a long time. My friends and I wanted to go everywhere in Europe but quickly realized we only have a certain number of weekends. So we made a list of everyone’s top place to visit and narrowed in down to a few, plausible cities and started planning from there. It’s not possible to go everywhere you want to but make a point of going to your most dreamed about

Shop around

It’s good to have a general idea of when you want to go to certain cities but be open to change. Some weekends are much cheaper than others (for example, the last Sunday of each month, the Vatican Museum in Rome is free) so start planning early to get the cheapest flights possible. Also be aware than the more popular the season, the more expensive—and crowded—a city is going to be. Look on sites that compare multiple vendors, like Kayak or Sky Scanner for flights and Hostelworld for hostels.

Get creative

Maybe late Thursday evening is the cheapest flight you can find but also be aware the extra night you’d have to spend on a hostel. Sometimes the cheapest options turn out to cost you more money. You don’t have to fly home with the same airline you initially flew with. Different airlines have different prices! Also don’t rely on hostel to be the cheapest places to stay. Generally, they will be but you’d be surprised at the prices of some Airbnb rentals and even some hotels (although do your homework if you want to stay at an Airbnb!).

Postcards!

Postcards are a super, super cheap souvenir that are easy to carry and show where you’ve been. Most postcards are less than 80 cent and much smaller than a t-shirt or snowglobe and can be mailed home easily.

Travel within the country

Yeah, Amsterdam and London are cool but have you seen the Peace Wall in Belfast? Or the Cliffs of Moher and Galway? One of the first things my program here stressed was the beauty of Ireland and suggested we not spend every weekend on the continent. We haven’t and I’m glad we did. The Irish countryside is stunning and Dublin is a bustling city full of a vibrant culture. I love learning about Irish history through experience and it’s much cheaper to spend a day in Cork and kiss the Blarney Stone than flying for three days to Prague and spend money on a hostels and nice meals. There must be a reason you chose to study in a certain country so go explore it!

Of course, I’m writing from the point of view of a European study abroad experience. Different countries have different exchange rates and different prices, so I’d highly recommend researching as much as possible ways to save money in the country you’d like to study in but I hope these few tips have helped at least a bit.

Housing at Trinity College

Housing at Trinity College

One of the wonderful things about Trinity is that students are able to live right on campus all four years. Living on campus allows students to be involved in many different groups and activities without having to go very far. It also creates a fun, intimate and engaging environment right here on campus that makes Trinity a great place to be.

Because Trinity’s dorms are all unique, we asked a few students to talk about their rooms on campus and highlight some of the perks of on-campus housing. Here’s what they said!

Brendan Clark – Class of 2021

What do you like about living on campus?

Living on campus means that you are connected with your peers in a more personal way. Rather than having to coordinate times to come to campus to study or catch up, you can simply walk to their room. Further, living communally prepares you for those essential tasks of life which will become a feature of adulthood: cleaning and laundry. 

What is your favorite part about living in your dorm?

Having a single. You get privacy and the ability to sequester yourself from society when you must get something done, while also having the benefit of still hosting friends and inviting them over for evening discourses. In addition, being able to have space (especially for my wardrobe of suits) makes it all the better. 

Where is your favorite place to live on campus?

As a first-year, I have not had much experience yet with other housing options. I have enjoyed living in Funston because I like being close to Summit Street and it is quieter on this part of campus. As for the future, I have applied to live in the Fred, as the atmosphere with an emphasis on community is something that I find attractive. 

What makes your room unique?

My room reflects my love of antiquities and times gone by. Oil paintings, including a rendition of Renoir’s The Apple Seller and smaller vignettes in the manner of Fragonard, convey my love of Romantic and impressionist works. Further, a small sampling of my collection of tomes on history and law reflect my academic passions. 

Is there anything else you would like incoming students to know about housing?

My experience as a first-year has been great! I had a fabulous experience with my pre-orientation group (Hartford Highlights), which exposed me to many of the fun activities and opportunities available to me. I have also learned to use the Bantam Network as a resource for many events with other organizations I am involved with. As an SGA Senator, I and my fellow class officers worked extensively with the Trinsition Fellows to plan a First-Year Ball. Also, in my work with Admissions as an Overnight Coordinator I have consulted with the Trinsition Fellows to identify potential student hosts.

Brooke LePage – Class of 2019

What do you like about living on campus?

I like not having to find parking everyday, the ease with which I can walk to class, the gym, the library, meetings, etc, the ability to attend all campus events 

What is your favorite part about living in your dorm?

My own room, huge rooms, proximity to Goldbergs, proximity to the going out scene/ trivia, AC, proximity to two parking lots 

Where is your favorite place to live on campus?

Cook- the location is incredible also they have really cute fireplaces, arched doorways, and views. 

What makes your room unique?

The size. Vernon singles are some of the biggest on campus. It’s also one of two dorms that has air conditioning. 

Francisco Chang – Class of 2019

What do you like about living on campus?

I really like that I can see my friends wherever and whenever. It is nice that I can hang out with them really late into the night and then my bed is nothing but a short walk away from their rooms. Living on campus really provides a strong sense of independence and freedom. You also never have to worry about parking or being late anywhere because you live close to everything.

What is your favorite part about living in your dorm?

The best part about Goodwin is the location. As the most central location on campus, everything is super close. The library is right next to the dorm so you can stay in the library until 2 AM and your bed will be waiting there. In addition you are never late to class because all of the classes are located close to it and you never have to walk too far when it is snowing or raining. In addition, the views are priceless since the Long Walk is right next to it.

Where is your favorite place to live on campus?

Goodwin and Cook are my favorite because of their location. Again, nothing really beats those views. During the Spring, its nice to stay with your windows open and yell at friends to come into your room to hang out. Its the best location.

What makes your room unique?

My room is unique because its decorated with various movie posters. My favorite one has to be the biggest one right above my bed which is a poster of my favorite movie Drive (2011). I like that the window is big and allows so much light to come in.

Hadjj Mare – Class of 2018

What do you like about living on campus?

I really love how close all of my friends are. We are all in a small space and can really interact with each other with a quick walk to the dorms.

What is your favorite part about living in your dorm?

That I have a kitchen! I can finally buy groceries and stay in and have dinner if I feel like it.

Where is your favorite place to live on campus?

Crescent without question

What makes your room unique?

My room is a little odd because I designed it without having a lot on the walls but just a mirror with stickers on it. I feel like that’s enough of a decoration without having to do much.

Is there anything else you would like incoming students to know about housing?

Just enjoy it and take advantage of the close quarters with friends because this only lasts for 4 years haha!

Tips for Finals

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!!

How to Deal with Homesickness in College

How to Deal with Homesickness in College

Every college freshmen, whether they liked to admit it or not, has dealt with some type of homesickness when making the transition into college. Of course it is all relative, for some incoming students had experience living away from home because of boarding school, so therefore the move into college wasn’t that big of a deal for them. For me personally, I was the type of person who had been going to a school with the same people from preschool until senior year of high school. I had always been a homebody and I loved everything about my small hometown, which you can imagine made it harder when it was time to enter this new chapter in my life. The thought of leaving friends, family and the safeness of home made me uneasy and nervous. Back in the fall, I knew that I was going to struggle in adjusting to the new dramatic change of independence and that homesickness was inevitable, but these strategies helped me change my perspective and grow to love the fun and freedom of college life.

First off, its really important to understand that what you are feeling and going through is totally normal, but it will get better and you will be able to overcome it. Moving to a new place can be overwhelming because you are suddenly engulfed in a completely new environment. Give yourself time to grow comfortable and accustumed to this new space by making your room a special safe haven. Being able to decorate and manage your own dorm can be really fun, so make it a warm environment that both excites and comforts you to call “home”. Another way to get over this homesick bump is to distract, distract, distract. Distracting yourself through activities, classes and time with friends is one of the best cures for homesickness. If you surround yourself with fun, positive people and involve yourself around campus, you’ll be so busy you won’t have time to be homesick. If you find yourself getting more homesick at night when you are falling asleep, try watching one of your favorite shows or movies to help get your mind off things. If you find yourself getting homesick when you are alone, then make an active effort to seek out your friends or meet new people during these times. If none of these strategies work for you and you still can’t seem to get out of your slump, consider talking with one of the many helpful resources that Trinity has around campus, like the Residential Advisors (RA’s), TRINsition Fellows or counseling center.

In the end, its important to remember that your home will always be your home but this new time and place in your life can be just as exciting too! It will take time but be patient with yourself, for it won’t take much time for you to fall in love with Trinity.

Things I Learned After My First Semester

Things I Learned After My First Semester

Even though this is only my second semester here at Trinity, I can confidently say that I have learned a lot, in and out of class. For most, going to college for the first time is a major transition, so there is a lot to learn.

Lesson #1- Learn how to manage your time wisely:

My first couple weeks at school, I was amazed at all of the free time I had. I wasn’t really used to having only a couple hours of class everyday and was overwhelmed by my free time. That being said, if you feel that you have a lot of ‘free time’, realize that it is never ‘free’- take advantage of that time and get ahead on work before everything starts piling up.

Lesson #2- Befriend your professors 

One of the major perks about this school is the size. Some of my classes consisted of only ten people which may seem intimidating, but you will soon realize and appreciate how close you can get with your professors. Every professor has office hours which you should really take advantage of. Even if you don’t have a question about the class, go in and have a conversation with them about anything! They will appreciate your efforts to reach out and it will benefit you in the long run. It is also nice to know a little background about your teachers, know where they came from, why they started teaching, and they will always have tips and suggestions for you!

Lesson #3- Try new things

It is really easy to continue your old ways because that is what makes many people feel comfortable, especially when in a new environment. It is important that you branch out, do something you would never have done. Join a club, try out for a sports team (even if its just at the club level), try foods you have never tried, take a class you never thought you would take before, and most importantly- meet new people. It is important to expand your horizons and  be open-minded because you will find out a lot about yourself that you had not previously known.

Lesson #4- Find your place of relaxation

I am not going to lie, college can be very stressful and it is important to learn how to cope with that stress and anxiety. Find that little niche at the Underground Cafe where you can listen to music, find a bench on the quad where you can sit outside and enjoy the environment around you, or find that cozy spot in your room where you can take a nice nap, and relax.

Lesson #5- Have fun!

For many, college will be the best four years of their life. It is a time to explore yourself, have fun, experience new things, and of course, learn. Be social, go out, and enjoy yourself from time to time. Make the most of your four years.

Mather Dining Hall Hacks, Pt. 1

Mather Dining Hall Hacks, Pt. 1

When I first came to college back in September, I was anxious about a lot of things, many of which circulating around on how I was going to survive on dining hall food for the next eight months. With the help of my creative friends, I have learned how to make the most out of my Mather experience and actually (surprisingly) enjoy college food.

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When you walk into the dining hall on the first day of school, you will be overwhelmed by the plethora of choices available to you. Although it is hard to decide what to get, it’s also incredibly hard to decide what not to get and you may find yourself realizing that you have seemingly picked a food item from every station. No need to fear, this simple guide will help you steer your way around Mather while simultaneously channeling your inner Guy Fieri.

If you are going for Breakfast and you want something to last you throughout the day, Mather has got you covered. You can choose from the Bakery section where they have all different types of muffins and scones or from the My Pantry where you can find almost every type of cereal, bread, or bagel imaginable. Coming from a seasoned Mather-goer such as myself, I have learned a few tricks of the trade when it comes to breakfast. One thing that I have learned is how to make your own breakfast sandwich from the omelette station. You go up and order your omelette, where you can choose from a variety of toppings, and then go over to the pantry section and toast a bagel while you are waiting. Once your omelette and bagel are done, you put the omelette in between the two slices of toasted bagel and you have yourself your own beautiful bacon egg and cheese!

If you don’t want something that heavy in the morning, you can always choose from the available yogurt, fruit, and cereal combinations to create your own type of yogurt and granola. If you are running late for class and just want something quick and on the go, the smoothie station is the place for you. Although there are many different combinations of fruit, vegetables, and bases to choose from, my personal favorite is peanut butter, banana and soy milk. I find that it keeps me full throughout the morning while tasting like a delicious milkshake. If you are someone who likes coffee in the morning but is ballin’ on a budget and can’t afford Peter B’s everyday, you can make your own type of Peter B’s coffee just at the Mather coffee station! One hack that I have learned is how to make your own spinoff of the Dunkin’ Donuts Dunkaccino. All you have to do is fill your cup half way up with hot chocolate and then the rest of the way with coffee and mix.

Once the later afternoon approaches and your stomach begins to rumble, Mather beacons once again. During lunch time, my favorite place to go is the sandwich station. They have a series of delicious sandwich combinations, as well as some bomb homemade chips. You can also stop by the Mexican station for a delicious burrito bowl, or maybe grab some Asian stir-fry. I also find myself liking to sample from all of the various stations and putting it together into a type of salad. Not only is it delicious, but it is also the perfect solution if you are indecisive like me. If you find yourself still hungry when its time to leave, grab yourself a to-go cup of Mather’s very own Mather Mix! Mather Mix was an invention that I pioneered earlier in the year and I have sworn by it ever since. All you have to do is grab an extra coffee cup from the coffee area and fill it up with a mixture of the sunflower seeds and dried cranberries from the salad station. Mixed together, the fruit and nut mixture makes the perfect afternoon snack. Seriously, don’t knock it until you try it.

And there you have it, the first edition of Mather Hacks brought to you by your very own, Trinity College Mather Dining Hall. Stay tuned for next time, where we will explore the numerous dinner options and how to pick and choose like a pro. Stay hungry.

To Write or Not to Write: Senior Thesis

To Write or Not to Write: Senior Thesis

Some of you reading this may be sophomores or juniors who are considering writing a thesis for your major, but are unsure as to whether or not you are ready to take on the time commitment and dedication to a single topic that will occupy your lives for an entire year. Others reading this are probably first years or prospective students who have no idea what to declare a major in, let alone what you would write about for 50-100 pages. There are a number of reasons why someone might write a thesis: it is required of their major, it is required to receive honors in the major, there is a topic they have studied at some point during their first three years in college and want to go further in depth with that topic, or they want to study something entirely new!

Senior thesis writers can reserve their own carrels on the 3rd floor of the library.
Senior thesis writers can reserve their own carrels on the 3rd floor of the library.

I knew I wanted to write a thesis in American Studies since my sophomore year. Even though I am a double major in English as well, I was so interested in the vast array of topics American Studies offered. I loved studying the 20th century (especially the 1950s), gender roles, and representations of women in the mass media. However, those were still extremely broad themes and I didn’t know how I would find a unique topic that hadn’t really been studied before.

I made a list of topics I was interested in writing my thesis on: family based television shows from the 1950s to the present day (think Leave It to Beaver, Full House, and Modern Family), commercialized female cultural icons (Rosie the Riveter, Betty Crocker), comparing Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and the shaping of gender roles among youth, and American Girl dolls as symbols of girlhood and companionship (this is the topic I ultimately ended up deciding on)!

My four pieces of advice for whether or not to write a thesis would be:

  • Find a topic you are really passionate about. I mean, really REALLY passionate about. Something that you could work on all day, everyday and not get sick of. (I wish I could only research and write my thesis and not have to take any other classes).
  • Choose an advisor who not only will be able to help with your research and outlining your chapters, but will also be your personal cheerleader. (I am so lucky to have the MOST positive thesis advisor I could possibly imagine!)
  • Listen to your gut. It seems stupid but you will absolutely know if a thesis is the right thing for you. If you have any doubt that you’re not up to the task, think about a one semester thesis or independent study!

Once you find a passion or an interest that you can’t let go of, committing to write a thesis will be an easy decision!

P.S.: If you decide to write a thesis, do as much research as possible over the summer. This was a huge time saver when the fall semester started and I was able to start writing my chapters right away!

Overnight Visit at Trinity

Overnight Visit at Trinity

While I was applying to colleges, I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted my school to look like. I already knew that I wanted to attend a small liberal arts college in an urban area. Therefore, my search was narrowed to many schools in the northeast. For this reason, I decided to schedule overnight visits to some of my favorites. Amongst these schools, Trinity College in Hartford, CT had a program specifically tailored for prospective students, and I decided to apply.

While visiting Trinity, I immediately fell in love with the campus. Despite being in the middle of a city, Trinity contains many green areas and having a quad full of elms did not harm the image. Trinity also boasts beautiful architecture around every corner. The Long Walk has old brick buildings with artistic engravings on it. I cannot forget to mention the beautiful chapel located in the middle of campus, which many people enjoy taking photos of during winter or summer.

Unlike other overnight visits, Trinity actually made me feel welcomed. The people I met during my overnight stay were very friendly. They actually made me feel part of the community, even if they knew that I might not be coming here. Everyone I met that day made a good impression on me, and I still say hello to them when I see them going to their classes. The people made me realize that Trinity is made up of a vibrant and friendly community. In addition, the small campus size allows more interactions with people. You will meet many people in your classes, and you will be able to say hi to them around campus or at the dining hall. I knew that I wanted my college experience to be filled with people I knew, not random strangers every day.

In addition to a friendly community, I enjoyed visiting a class during my overnight stay. I could choose which classes I wanted to walk into. I decided to enter a psychology class out of curiosity, and saw that students were engaged and eloquently contributing to the discussion. The professor was friendly and willing to help. Now, as a current student I can say that by far the professors at Trinity are the best part of coming here. They are always approachable. The professors at Trinity made my experience far better compared to other schools.

Consider coming to Trinity and visiting. This is the only way that you can experience how it feels to come here. After my visit, I loved the experience so much that I decided that I wanted to experience it far more than just one day. The people are friendly. The location inside and outside of campus can only be described as perfect. Furthermore, the professors are among some of the best people you will ever meet on campus. I suggest considering Trinity as a serious option for your next four years of your academic career.

Schedule an overnight visit to Trinity herehttps://connect.trincoll.edu/portal/overnight-visit

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!

 

Double Major, Double Trouble?

Double Major, Double Trouble?

Like most sophomores at Trinity, I am in the midst of deciding on a major to declare. Or in my case, majors. Many people are a little shocked when I tell them I’m planning on double majoring in both English and Psychology. The top responses I get are “I guess you aren’t going abroad,” “Don’t you want to leave room for other classes?,” and the classic “WHY?”.

From the moment I left high school I knew I was interested in English and psych. Many schools I looked at had minors in both but I just couldn’t see myself devoting less time to one of my passions. Psychology fascinates me, especially developmental and social psych, particularly the psychology of schools. English is a subject I’ve thrived in, passionately loved, and can’t imagine not focusing my life around it. I couldn’t choose just one. So I decided, when entering Trinity as a first year, to double major.

At Trinity, students cannot declare their major until sophomore year. This gives them time to explore their options of majors by taking a variety of classes. Of course if students know exactly what they want as a major, or majors, like me, they can get started on their major classes right away. This is especially essential for double majors, because they will end up with twice the required classes. And if students kind of know they might want to double major but aren’t entirely sure, taking foundation classes is always a smart move.

When students are considering double majoring, many are deterred from the thought because they think they might not have time to go abroad, due to the influx of requirements. But as I said, getting started as early as possible is one of the best things a potential double major can do. This allows for some wiggle room to go abroad. Plus, depending on the department and where you want to go, you might be able to fulfill requirements while away.

You don’t just have to take classes focused around your majors. I’ve taken an Arabic class every semester in addition others like music and film while still taking psych and English classes. Chances are not every required class will fit into your schedule so there’s always opportunities to take classes that just sounds interesting. And who knows? Maybe that class will end up counting towards your major. I took a class my first semester in college just because it sounded really cool, and it ended up fulfilling a major requirement. And the class was really fun!

So if there’s anything to take away from this is if you really, truly want to major in more than one area, start planning right away. If down the line, you decide you want to focus on just one major, that’s totally fine. But above all find a major you’re happy with and want to study and stick with it. You never know where it’s going to take you.