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.

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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.

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.

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.

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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:
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.

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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.

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.