How to Deal with Homesickness in College

How to Deal with Homesickness in College

Every college freshmen, whether they liked to admit it or not, has dealt with some type of homesickness when making the transition into college. Of course it is all relative, for some incoming students had experience living away from home because of boarding school, so therefore the move into college wasn’t that big of a deal for them. For me personally, I was the type of person who had been going to a school with the same people from preschool until senior year of high school. I had always been a homebody and I loved everything about my small hometown, which you can imagine made it harder when it was time to enter this new chapter in my life. The thought of leaving friends, family and the safeness of home made me uneasy and nervous. Back in the fall, I knew that I was going to struggle in adjusting to the new dramatic change of independence and that homesickness was inevitable, but these strategies helped me change my perspective and grow to love the fun and freedom of college life.

First off, its really important to understand that what you are feeling and going through is totally normal, but it will get better and you will be able to overcome it. Moving to a new place can be overwhelming because you are suddenly engulfed in a completely new environment. Give yourself time to grow comfortable and accustumed to this new space by making your room a special safe haven. Being able to decorate and manage your own dorm can be really fun, so make it a warm environment that both excites and comforts you to call “home”. Another way to get over this homesick bump is to distract, distract, distract. Distracting yourself through activities, classes and time with friends is one of the best cures for homesickness. If you surround yourself with fun, positive people and involve yourself around campus, you’ll be so busy you won’t have time to be homesick. If you find yourself getting more homesick at night when you are falling asleep, try watching one of your favorite shows or movies to help get your mind off things. If you find yourself getting homesick when you are alone, then make an active effort to seek out your friends or meet new people during these times. If none of these strategies work for you and you still can’t seem to get out of your slump, consider talking with one of the many helpful resources that Trinity has around campus, like the Residential Advisors (RA’s), TRINsition Fellows or counseling center.

In the end, its important to remember that your home will always be your home but this new time and place in your life can be just as exciting too! It will take time but be patient with yourself, for it won’t take much time for you to fall in love with Trinity.

Meet My Roommates, Pt. 1

Meet My Roommates, Pt. 1

I am still amazed by the fact that even after three years (and counting!) here at Trinity, I am able to meet someone new almost everyday, or become closer with someone who was just a friendly face. Even though 2,300 students may seem a bit small at times, I am always impressed by how friendly, accessible, and hard working the student body is. Senior year has been a great time to really solidify the friendships I made previously.

I am living in a Crescent Street townhouse with eight other girls, half of whom I really didn’t know all that well before we decided to live together! Even after just a month of living together, it has been so much fun to get to know each other, make fun of each other’s quirks, and motivate each other during the particularly stressful weeks. While there are times when nine people in one townhouse can be overwhelming, it is really great to know that I can walk back at any point in the day or night and know that there will be someone there to talk to and catch up with. Even though I am still getting to know some of them myself, I wanted to share a bit more about them…without further ado, meet Anna, Maggie, and Nicole!

Anna Tyler

Anna - Roommates BlogHometown: Essex, MA
Major: Biology
Involvement on Campus: TA, Central Services employee, Biology Club, HPAP member
What activity has been the most meaningful to you?
Being a TA allowed me to understand Trinity’s teaching methods from a new prospective while also allowing me to meet a range of new students.
What are you most excited for about senior year?
I am most excited about living with my closest friends in Trinity’s new townhouses.
What are you most sad about leaving behind when you graduate?
I am going to miss seeing my friends everyday, and of course Goldberg’s bagels.
Best memory at Trinity? My best memory at Trinity is meeting my freshmen year roommate who turned into my best friend and four-year roommate.
Favorite spot on campus? My favorite spot on campus is sitting on the quad by the chapel.
Favorite thing to do in Hartford? Go to Bar Taco for dinner followed by Ben and Jerry’s for dessert
Trinity bucket list item? To have a class in the old, converted chapel in Seabury Hall
Favorite Class/Professor? Favorite Class: Biology of Infectious Diseases, Favorite Teacher: Dr. Archer
Favorite thing to get at the dining hall? Sushi
After getting accepted to Trinity, why did you choose Trinity? I choose Trinity because of its strong science department and small class sizes. My older brother also attended Trinity and encouraged me to go.
Favorite residence hall? High Rise
One thing that every Trinity student has to do at some point during their four years? Go to Thursday night trivia in Vernon Social
Anything you would change about the school? I think Trinity should place more focus on present environmental concerns and further promote “going green.”

 

Maggie Elias

Maggie - Roommates Blog

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Major: Public Policy and Law (Hispanic Studies and Writing, Rhetoric, & Media Arts minors)
Involvement on Campus: Writing Associate, Peter B’s barista, Global Ambassador, Club Lax, Pre-Law Society, Senior Editor for The Trinity Tripod
What activity has been the most meaningful to you?
I love being a Writing Center associate. It allows me to meet new people and learn about a wealth of academic pursuits.
What are you most excited for about senior year?
Living with some of my closest friends on crescent
What are you most sad about leaving behind when you graduate?
This incredible community – constantly going somewhere and seeing someone I know and care about.
Best memory at Trinity? I have way too many to just pick one.
Favorite spot on campus? Peter B’s duh
Favorite thing to do in Hartford? Eat – seriously the food in this city is underestimated
Trinity bucket list item? Climb to the top of the chapel – it’s the most incredible view
Favorite Class/Professor? Professor Cabot
Favorite thing to get at the dining hall?: Bistro’s Bacon, Egg, and Cheese minus the egg
After getting accepted to Trinity, why did you choose Trinity?
I applied to Trinity on a whim and I finally visited after I was accepted. I fell in love with the beautiful campus and how welcoming every single person was.
Favorite residence hall? Wheaton 212 forever, Crescent is a close second
One thing that every Trinity student has to do at some point during their four years? Pull an all-nighter in the lib – you meet some really fun people at those hours
Anything you would change about the school? More bathrooms in the library 100%

 

Nicole DesrosierNicole - Roommates Blog

Hometown: Ridgefield, CT
Major: Psychology
Involvement on Campus: President of the Psychology Club; work the Austin Arts Center Box Office; Psi Chi member
What activity has been the most meaningful to you?
The activity that has been most meaningful to me was being a teaching assistant because I got to re-experience a class I really enjoyed and act as a resource for other students, so that they could also excel in it.
What are you most excited for about senior year? The part of senior year I’m most excited about it is the change in mentality. Everyone wants to make the most of their last year, and not take anything for granted.
What are you most sad about leaving behind when you graduate?
I’m most sad to leave behind the friends. Even though we’ll still be my friends, seeing each other won’t be as simple as walking across the hallway.
Best memory at Trinity? There’s too many to just pick one.
Favorite spot on campus? My favorite spot on campus is the front porch of my crescent house.
Favorite thing to do in Hartford? My favorite thing to do in Hartford is go to a concert at the Xfinity Center.
Trinity bucket list item? Climb to the top of the bell tower.
Favorite Class/Professor? My favorite class/professor was either Psychology 101 with Professor Holt, or Religions of Africa with Professor Landry.
Favorite thing to get at the dining hall? My favorite thing to get at the dining hall is a strawberry, banana, and peanut butter smoothie from the Bistro.
After getting accepted to Trinity, why did you choose Trinity? I chose Trinity because of all the schools I looked at it was the only place I could picture myself being.
Favorite residence hall? My favorite residence hall has definitely been Crescent. You get to live with your closest friends, while still having your own space, and access to basic household amenities.
One thing that every Trinity student has to do at some point during their four years? One thing that every Trinity student has to do at some point during their four years is spend the afternoon on the quad with their friends.
Anything you would change about the school?
If I could change one thing about the school, it would be that the genre for Spring Weekend is finally Country.

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!

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.