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!

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!

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.