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.

Beyond Four Years: Making Your College Choice

Beyond Four Years: Making Your College Choice

Where to spend the next four years? It’s an important question, and an enormous decision that colleges around the country ask students to make during the month of April.
Hartford provides Trinity College students with the urban setting and career development resources to prepare them for life after college.

While I’d love to make that decision easier—and, of course, all of us in the Admissions Office are happy to help however we can—that’s not the purpose of this blog post. Instead, I want to encourage you to think about this decision as one that extends far beyond your four years on campus. Your college choice is really about charting a course through graduation into your career and the rest of your life.

So now that I’ve only raised the stakes of this already huge decision, allow me to share a bit about how we think Trinity serves students with an eye on life after college. Continue reading

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.

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!

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.