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:
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.
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!
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!
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.