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.

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.

Coffee Shops Around Hartford

Coffee Shops Around Hartford

Over the past few years, Hartford has come to garner a reputation of being a tough little city with nothing but insurance companies downtown. I thought this same thing when I first came to Trinity but after venturing out beyond campus, I came to find this was certainly not the case. Hartford is a vibrant, thriving city in which you don’t have to look far for fun things to do and cool places to check out. And one of the best things about living in a city, especially Hartford, is the numerous, wonderful coffee houses.

Blue House Coffee has locations across New England, including in downtown Hartford.
Blue State Coffee has locations across New England, including in downtown Hartford.

Café Sophia, 984 Farmington Ave, West Hartford

Located in the heart of Blue Back Square, this popular coffee shop is right across the street from Bar Taco, Max Burger, the Elbow Room and tons of other places to shop and eat. It’s a small place but always welcoming with great coffee, tea, and crepes and waffles anyway you want. Plus it’s not very expensive, something every college student values.

Blue State Coffee, 777 Main St, Hartford

Not only does this place have a small town vibe, it gives back to the surrounding city and the places they get their products. Right across the street from the Old State House, Blue State lists where in Connecticut it gets its coffee, eggs, dairy, and other produce from. It also gives 2% of all profits to local charities. Plus the coffee is really good! If you go to a different city, but still crave Blue State, they have other locations including three in New Haven, two in Boston, and two in Providence.

Tisane Euro Asian Café, 537 Farmington Ave, Hartford

Just a little up the road from Café Sophia is Tisane, which is a coffee shop and restaurant. In addition to the outdoor seating, with a fire pit, there are tons of beautiful chandeliers above you and art around you. You can get dinner, brunch, lunch, or just a drink here. They specialize in all different types of tea, hot or iced, with a fusion of Asian and European styles mixed in. And every time I’ve been the staff is beyond friendly and the music is great.

Sarah’s Coffee House, 257 Asylum St, Hartford

In the heart of downtown Hartford, next to the XL Center, is Sarah’s, a small time coffee house that occasionally has music and art. With a lot of natural lighting and a Gilmore Girls vibe, it’s very good place to get work done or just chill and drink some good coffee. It often has local musicians come and perform that can add to your Instagram-worthy cappuccino or chai and pastry.

Tea Break, 994 Farmington Ave, West Hartford

Also on Farmington Ave, a stone’s throw away from Café Sophia, Tea Break boasts mainly authentic bubble tea, and are one of the best places in the state. Their coffee bubble tea is to die for. And if you’re going with someone who doesn’t like coffee, they have a variety of different flavors of bubble, range from ‘coco love’ to ‘plum green tea’. Like many of the other places on this list, it’s a great spot to study but it has more room to spread out, unlike the previously mentioned coffee shops.

Saturday Mornings at Trinity

Saturday mornings at Trinity are some of my favorite moments here at Trinity. I sleep right next to the window, and I am able to wake up around 9am by light sun rays coming through the glass. Waking up on a Saturday morning is one of the greatest feelings ever, considering that during the week I usually have 8am classes which force me to get up earlier. Being able to wake up without an alarm feels nice on a Saturday. Also, seeing the views outside as soon as I wake up feels rewarding and soothing, no matter what season it is.


Mather Hall does not open until 10:30 for brunch on weekends, so I have about an hour to kill. Depending on how athletic I feel, I either go work out a bit at Ferris Athletic Center or I just stay in my room. Either way, I always put on comfortable clothes, mostly Trinity sweats and a crew neck. Also, if my roommate has already woken up, sometimes we decide to either play some music on his record player or play some video games. This feels refreshing knowing that I have a whole day ahead of me to get work done.

After brunch and a shower, my real day starts around 11:00am. Depending on how much work I have, I either make plans to do stuff with my friends or to go lock myself in the library or my room. If I have a lot of work to do, I decide to get it done before a certain time. As one learns, college is about prioritizing time. I tend to like getting my work done during the day so I can relax at night before going to bed. If I do not have that much work, or it’s a light reading, I tend to go out into town with my friends. There are so many things to do around Hartford. My friend group tends to like certain diners around Hartford or go to the movies on the Berlin Turnpike, which is just 30 minutes away from campus. The route my Saturday takes is determined by how much homework I have been assigned.

Saturdays are convenient because there is no class. Therefore, no required scheduled to follow at Trinity. This gives me time to advance in my homework or to relax a bit. Therefore, Saturday mornings tend to be great at Trinity. The beautiful campus and convenient facilities allow me to relax or be efficient with my work. For this reason, every time I wake up get to be happy because I know it’s a Saturday morning and Trinity has surprises in store for me.  I recommend coming to Trinity and experiencing a Saturday morning for yourself. Overall, the experience and feeling of excitement is like no other. It is easy to see why Trinity is a great campus and location for these reasons!

How to Decide Where to Sit in the Library

How to Decide Where to Sit in the Library

The library may seem like an overwhelmingly, large, daunting building- but don’t let it scare you because it WILL become your best friend, and probably where you will spend a lot of your time. To be honest, it did take some time to find my ‘seat’ in the library. To me, every room in the library is different and used for different tasks.

Cubicles are my go-to 90% of the time when I am at the library. They allow me to focus on my work without the distractions of people and the environment around me. When you have a short amount of time to do that large reading assignment that is due at 8am or when you just need to focus and really think about your math homework or an essay- cubicles are the way to go. However, they are very popular, so on super busy work days, or during finals and midterms, be sure to secure your cubicle early! My favorite cubicle to sit in is on the third floor of the library, overlooking the Chapel, sports fields, and the main quad. It is very stress-relieving to be able to look up after a long reading and tiresome day and see the most beautiful view on campus!

Reading Tables:
Reading tables are great, but that can sometimes be a little scary. My first week at Trinity, when the workload was pretty light, I found myself at the reading tables on the second floor surrounded by lots of friends. I quickly learned that these long, six person tables are not the place to go when you need to focus by yourself. However, they can be very helpful when trying doing simple homework tasks, watching a movie for a class, or even when doing work with friends.

Work Rooms:
The private work rooms in the library are a really great addition. They are very vibrant, secluded, and private. The rooms typically consist of a large table, with several seats, and a full wall of white boards. These are the perfect place to go for a group project because they are a good size, and you can be loud without distracting those in the rooms next to you. The work rooms are also very easy to book- just one email, and you’re all set!

Peter B’s:
Peter B’s is not only my go-to coffee shop on campus, but it is also one of my favorite places to do work. With the maroon and navy club chairs, or booth desks in the corner, Peter B’s is hands down the comfiest place to sit in the library. You can normally find me there in between classes, or before tests when I grab a cup of coffee and go over my last minute flash cards.

With six floors, and a countless number of rooms, it is not hard to find a good workplace for every student!

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.

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!

Starting Off Strong: 5 Study Tips

I’ve always loved back-to-school season and the new clothes, new notebooks, and new experiences that come with it. By the time September rolls around, I find myself itching to return to my studies and my friends at Trinity. Despite my love of this “season,” one moment never fails to bring me back to reality: sitting down after my first day of school with homework. Summer is a great break from our hard academic work during the school year, but over the summer I tend to lose my scholarly endurance. By the end of each semester, a 50-page reading doesn’t seem so bad, and neither does a 10-page paper, but both seem nearly impossible after a relaxing summer holiday. With this in mind, here are five of my favorite ways to get back into the academic swing of things.

  1. Find a routine:

At the beginning of the year, it is so easy for me to waste an hour here and 45 minutes there simply because I don’t have a plan for my day. No class on Fridays? Choose to spend the morning being productive in the Library or The Underground. Are some days busier than others? A routine will help you balance your workload across each day.

  1. Find your study space(s):

I find that my physical environment dramatically affects my productivity, so I try to find study spaces on campus that put me in a mindset to get work done. For my Latin and Greek translations I like the big tables in the 1823 Room, Peter B’s works for when I am reading for my religion course, and Vernon Social in between meal times is a quiet alternative when I want to change it up.

  1. Read (and re-read) your syllabi:

Many classes don’t have deadlines for big assignments right off the bat, and this slower start to the semester can make it easy for me to put off my work. To combat procrastination I make sure to take time to really learn the syllabus for each class so that no deadline sneaks up on me.

  1. Make it enjoyable:

Listening to music, splurging on pumpkin bread and coffee, and heading to the library with friends make studying infinitely more enjoyable for me. When studying is fun, productivity comes much more easily.

  1. Take breaks:

Make sure to cut yourself some slack—it’s hard to find a rhythm at the beginning of the semester! There’s no use burning yourself out in the first week, so try to balance periods of efficient studying with time to take a walk, grab coffee with friends, and get connected to the Trinity community.