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.

Mather Dining Hall Hacks, Pt. 1

Mather Dining Hall Hacks, Pt. 1

When I first came to college back in September, I was anxious about a lot of things, many of which circulating around on how I was going to survive on dining hall food for the next eight months. With the help of my creative friends, I have learned how to make the most out of my Mather experience and actually (surprisingly) enjoy college food.

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When you walk into the dining hall on the first day of school, you will be overwhelmed by the plethora of choices available to you. Although it is hard to decide what to get, it’s also incredibly hard to decide what not to get and you may find yourself realizing that you have seemingly picked a food item from every station. No need to fear, this simple guide will help you steer your way around Mather while simultaneously channeling your inner Guy Fieri.

If you are going for Breakfast and you want something to last you throughout the day, Mather has got you covered. You can choose from the Bakery section where they have all different types of muffins and scones or from the My Pantry where you can find almost every type of cereal, bread, or bagel imaginable. Coming from a seasoned Mather-goer such as myself, I have learned a few tricks of the trade when it comes to breakfast. One thing that I have learned is how to make your own breakfast sandwich from the omelette station. You go up and order your omelette, where you can choose from a variety of toppings, and then go over to the pantry section and toast a bagel while you are waiting. Once your omelette and bagel are done, you put the omelette in between the two slices of toasted bagel and you have yourself your own beautiful bacon egg and cheese!

If you don’t want something that heavy in the morning, you can always choose from the available yogurt, fruit, and cereal combinations to create your own type of yogurt and granola. If you are running late for class and just want something quick and on the go, the smoothie station is the place for you. Although there are many different combinations of fruit, vegetables, and bases to choose from, my personal favorite is peanut butter, banana and soy milk. I find that it keeps me full throughout the morning while tasting like a delicious milkshake. If you are someone who likes coffee in the morning but is ballin’ on a budget and can’t afford Peter B’s everyday, you can make your own type of Peter B’s coffee just at the Mather coffee station! One hack that I have learned is how to make your own spinoff of the Dunkin’ Donuts Dunkaccino. All you have to do is fill your cup half way up with hot chocolate and then the rest of the way with coffee and mix.

Once the later afternoon approaches and your stomach begins to rumble, Mather beacons once again. During lunch time, my favorite place to go is the sandwich station. They have a series of delicious sandwich combinations, as well as some bomb homemade chips. You can also stop by the Mexican station for a delicious burrito bowl, or maybe grab some Asian stir-fry. I also find myself liking to sample from all of the various stations and putting it together into a type of salad. Not only is it delicious, but it is also the perfect solution if you are indecisive like me. If you find yourself still hungry when its time to leave, grab yourself a to-go cup of Mather’s very own Mather Mix! Mather Mix was an invention that I pioneered earlier in the year and I have sworn by it ever since. All you have to do is grab an extra coffee cup from the coffee area and fill it up with a mixture of the sunflower seeds and dried cranberries from the salad station. Mixed together, the fruit and nut mixture makes the perfect afternoon snack. Seriously, don’t knock it until you try it.

And there you have it, the first edition of Mather Hacks brought to you by your very own, Trinity College Mather Dining Hall. Stay tuned for next time, where we will explore the numerous dinner options and how to pick and choose like a pro. Stay hungry.

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!

Gateway Programs

Gateway Programs

During senior year I quickly got used to receiving up to ten promotional mailings from various colleges and universities every day. Many were generic letters, some including visually striking postcards, and a few schools even sent full-color view books. However, the college mailing that had the greatest impact on my life after graduation was a packet from Trinity with brochures for each of their Gateway programs. Each Gateway program consists of several thematically linked courses taken with a small group of passionate students in the first (and sometimes second) year. I was intrigued by the broad spectrum of these programs at Trinity and the availability of such unique learning communities within the larger liberal arts college lead me to apply to Trinity. Here’s a brief run down of each of Trinity’s Gateway Programs:

  • InterArts Program: This program is perfect for artists of all kinds, and spans two semesters. Each year culminates in a big InterArts showcase where students display their work for the entire campus.
  • Interdisciplinary Science Program (ISP): The ISP allows driven science students to begin research in their first year. The program prepares students for successful careers in the sciences.
  • Cities Program: This program involves four courses over two semesters that take advantage of Trinity’s Urban Studies department and unique location in Hartford.
  • Humanities Gateway Program: European Cultures: This three-semester program invites students to explore European culture through an interdisciplinary study of classics, philosophy, religion, history, and literature.
  • The Community Action Gateway: This two-semester program allows students to get involved in Hartford and learn about mechanisms of social change.

Each Gateway Program appeals to a unique set of students and provides a small learning community. I loved being a part of one, and think that they offer a unique start to the Trinity experience. Learn more about applying to one of them here!

On Moving to a City

On Moving to a City

For 18 years of my life I lived in a town with a population of about 10,000. My high school had about 200 kids per grade, kids that I had gone to kindergarten with and graduated high school with. It is a “quaint New England town”. And the one thing I knew I wanted when looking at college was to be in a city. I wanted to experience city living for a while and see what I was missing.

Riverfront Recapture connects Hartford business and organizations to the community.
Riverfront Recapture connects Hartford business and organizations to the community.

Hartford is about twelve times the size of my town, in terms of population. There’s a public transportation system, there’s more than just two restaurant, and the city has so much stuff to do. Connecticut has a rich history dating back beyond the Revolutionary War with many historical sites dedicated to different parts of history. Bushnell Park, the center of the city, is beautiful, especially the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial arch, which I got to go up in my first week on campus. Being from Massachusetts my only real experience with city halls was the Boston City Hall, which isn’t the prettiest. Hartford’s on the other hand is magnificent. When I round the bend on the highway coming back to school and see the stunning golden dome rising above everything else, I know I’m home.

One thing that I didn’t expect was the noise level. I knew it wouldn’t silent living in a city. It took a little while to get used to cars driving around all the time but I grew accustom to it and it doesn’t bother me now anymore. It’s almost like white noise. But when I went home for the first time after living in the city for a few months, it seemed like it was deafeningly quiet. At night the only sounds were the cicadas and the occasional call of a bird. I found myself missing my noisy city.

Another aspect of city life that I really love is not having a car. Don’t get me wrong, I love driving probably more than the average person, but living a city, you don’t need a car. In my town if you didn’t have a car, you didn’t have a life because the closest anything was always a 10 minute car ride away. In Hartford I can walk really anywhere I want to go. First-years aren’t allowed to have cars on campus but even as a sophomore, I don’t feel the need to bring a car down. Getting off campus is easy without a car and like most cities, it’s difficult to find parking.

Sometimes I do miss home and the simpler “country” living but I wouldn’t trade my city school for anything and I can’t wait to keep living here for at least a few more years.

Take a Trip to Trin

Take a Trip to Trin

When I was applying to colleges, I began to feel like every school was the same. I spent countless hours perusing university websites, pulling up different campuses on Google Maps, and creating a detailed spreadsheet with all the information that seemed important to me. There were so many options available to me, and I became so overwhelmed with the college application process. I found that actually visiting the campuses I had spent so much time analyzing on paper remedied this confusion.

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I remember my first visit to Trinity so well—the sun, the Long Walk, and even my first experience with Mather Dining Hall. As I walked around campus, I could see myself playing my clarinet at the Austin Arts Center or attending services in the Chapel. I knew that a liberal arts college in an urban setting was unusual, but it wasn’t until I visited that I felt the vibrant energy of Trinity’s location in Hartford. I was able to sit in on a class within my potential major and talk to Student Admissions Associates about their experiences of Trinity.

Once I visited Trinity, I grew in confidence that I had found the college for me. My campus visit helped me convert my mental knowledge of the school into a practical understanding of the college’s atmosphere and my place within a dynamic student body. If you’re currently in the middle of the college admissions process, now is a great time to plan a visit to Trinity!

 

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.

Six Activities to Do Around Hartford

Six Activities to Do Around Hartford

Living in a small city can have its advantages, especially around holidays. Hanging out around Harwith friends is so convenient considering that there are not that many miles to walk through. Hartford is a vibrant place with many activities to do. Here is a list of great things to do around Hartford county:

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1) Movie Night

The city of Hartford contains several movie theaters. Trinity College has the privilege to be home to Cinestudio, our on-campus movie theater. However, if you want to leave campus, transportation is always available to take you into West Hartford where you will find Cinepolis, a standard six-screen movie theater showcasing the latest hits. Personally, when I want to catch a movie outside of campus, I try to go to Bow Tie Cinemas in Hartford since they have sales every Tuesday and your wallet will surely thank you.

2) Art Exhibition

Hartford has a thriving art community. Why not experience it with your friends.? Downtown Hartford is home to Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. The Museum holds several pieces ranging from Samuel Colt’s guns to surrealist paintings from Salvador Dali. (Trinity students also receive free admission!) Hartford is also home to Real Art Ways, an independent art gallery and movie theater. This gallery holds pieces from up and coming artist from around the area. The gallery also holds several events such as Creative Cocktail Hour, where people from all ages are invited to come and talk about art over Mocktails (or real cocktails if you’re 21+). Finally, you can always hang out around the city and take the public art tour and experience all the public art that Hartford holds.

3) Good Food

Hartford holds several great restaurants that provide great food. Since there are too many to name, I will name my personal favorites and make suggestions of food that I have enjoyed in the company of friends. If you are in the mood for southern cooking, Black Eyed Sally’s is the place to go. If you go, I recommend the Chicken and Waffles or the Macaroni and Cheese. Another great restaurant is Ted’s Montana Grill, which has great burgers made from buffalo meat. Right next to it, you will find Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ, where the flavors will overwhelm you (in a good way!). Finally, if you are in the mood for Mexican food, I recommend either El Sarape or Coyote Flaco (a debate that can never be settled in my room as to which restaurant is better).

4) Physical Activity

Maybe you are in the mood for some physical activity. A fun place to go with friends is Hartford’s trampoline park, Launch. You can bonce and do flips and overall just have fun as if you were a child. You can also share a couple of slices of pizza with your friends while you’re there. Finally, if you are up for more of challenge, you can go hiking around Hartford’s surroundings towns. The town of Newington holds Cedar Mountain, a good place to hike, read poetry, or just talk once at the top.

5) Stay In

Just stay in and do some homework  with friends or by yourself. More work will probably get done if you are by yourself.

6) Park Day

A good place to visit is Elizabeth Park in West Hartford. During the spring semester, you can visit several of the beautiful gardens around the park. Spend some time taking in the rock garden with a couple of friends and move to the rose garden with that special someone. Try to enjoy an ice cream cone from the local restaurant or eat a hot dog. Meet new people in the park, go look at the dogs, or even take some photography. Overall, this should provide a relaxing experience with friends and will allow you to unwind from the week.

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.