Introduction to InterArts

During my college application process, I often thought about a school that placed importance on the arts. For me art is the best form of expression because I often do not even have to open my mouth to say one thousand words. So, I kept this in mind as I toured Trinity College as a prospective student.

Once was accepted into Trinity, I applied and became a part of the InterArts Program. In this First Year Seminar, the student focuses on the theory of art. The program explores the reasons as to why people take part in art. A reason for art can range from a simple “I need entertainment” to “I need to make a political statement about American foreign policy in the 1950s and how such actions have impacted the millennial generation”. Such reasons and theories are explored through readings and class discussions.

Many times after leaving class, I often found talking to my friends about the lecture since we all lived in the same dorm. Yes, I forgot to mention, you would meet people who share your interest and passion for art since most of the program participants live in the same dorm. I was able to connect with people that had the similar interests, such as listening to In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel or watching Richard Linklater’s Slacker on a weekend. In my opinion, this program helped me ease my transition into college.

The program is not only readings and discussions since you must also put the theories into practice. As a participant, I was assigned prompts that would be turned into art pieces after I interpreted them. For a group project, I ended up ballroom dancing while painting my dance partner as she painted my white shirt. The final of the class required the whole class to put on an art performance piece, in which my group decided that we would stage a dinner scene but instead of eating we would be disassembling turkey sandwiches to make a statement about reality and perception. So once all the lecturing was done, I was able to put the teachings into practice and go absolutely bonkers with my pieces and statements.

So if you are interested in partaking in art, then I would suggest looking into this program. You will be able to read and discuss many aspects art, you will also be able to meet interesting people that you will call friends, and you will have fun. As a former participant I cannot stress how much of a benefit this program has had in my college experience and for such reasons I recommend it.

 

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.

 

How a Small School Degree Takes a Large City

I walked into my summer internship on the first day of orientation and sat down assuredly at large meeting table, excited to meet a variety of individuals who I didn’t know would soon become some of my closest friends. As all of us interns made small talk and waited for a supervisor to begin our orientation presentations, I immediately felt at ease due to way that we all automatically meshed as a cause of our mutual love of social media. As we went around the room and played an icebreaker, everyone announced their year and where they were attending college. A chorus of large universities such as “U Michigan, Boston University, Sacramento State,” filled the air as I followed them up with “Trinity College… In Hartford, Connecticut…”

I’ve never felt insecure about going to Trinity, and within that moment, I certainly didn’t feel apprehensive about my decision to attend a small liberal arts school. But what I didn’t yet know was how my Trinity College experience and the holistic approach that a liberal arts school provides would come to my aid in “the real world.”

I had known from a Career Trek with Trinity’s Career Development office that HR departments placed a particular value upon students graduating with a liberal arts education, but I had no idea as to why. Was it because these students got to experience smaller class sizes? Or because they had a greater opportunity to meet with their professors and advisors one-on-one? Or did it have to do with the myriad of distribution requirements that most liberal art schools require? The answer was all of the above.

I started off my summer internship journey in one department, and then ended up bouncing from that area of the industry to two different departments. When meeting with the head of HR to switch from my original department, I became aware of how the range of diverse academic experiences that I had undergone throughout my Trinity timeline thus far could assist me in a variety of facets within this company. My involvement as a tour guide helped me on the Communications department for tasks that required outreach, my “Mafia” seminar that observed human reactions and decision making in regards to vice markets supported me with understanding how the Analytics and Insights department operates, and the writing skills that I have attained through Trinity’s various writing requirements helped me to prepare client briefs and decks for Account Strategy and Client Relations as I spent the majority of my summer interning with this department.

The malleability of a liberal arts education is incredibly valuable, and the working-world may help you come to appreciate general distribution requirements in a manner that you never would have originally believed.

A Brew-tiful Campus Job

Two concepts that you’ll probably hear around the admissions office a lot are, 1) Trinity is a tight knit community and 2) Trinity students are extremely busy. You may wonder what this actually means for a Bantam’s day to day life. During my first year, my way of adjusting to the late nights and heavier work loads was lots and lots of triple soy cappuccinos. At about $5 per drink, this added up super quickly. As a way to both fill my free time and my wallet, I applied for a job at Peter B’s Espresso, my favorite on-campus coffee shop, during the second semester of my first year. This year will mark three years on the job for me and it has been my most meaningful activity throughout my time at Trinity. I have made close friends with so many people who I may not have met otherwise- athletes, members of Greek organizations, and Chemistry majors! These are not people who I only see on my shifts or when grabbing an iced coffee before class. Two of my roommates are also Peter B’s baristas (shout out to Elly and Maggie) and some of my other closest friends are people who always sat at the counter in Peter B’s doing their homework (I’m talking about you, Sedona and Duncan).

Working behind the counter has allowed me to stay in touch with professors who come in for their daily croissants or house coffees, and once merely friendly faces are now my friends. Although the free coffee seems like the best perk of the job, the friendships I have formed over the course of my three years here are without a doubt the most special part of this job.

Peter B’s holds a special place in all Bantams’ hearts for, obviously, the coffee and pastries, catered by local Hartford bakery, First and Last. If you come to campus for a tour or end up matriculating next fall, you’ll definitely be requesting a weekly refill of Bantam Bucks to pay for our famous pumpkin bread or seasonal green tea lemonades. Check out what some of our baristas’ say are their favorite drinks here (my personal go-to is a large vanilla iced coffee with coconut milk):

Lexi ’19- Iced mocha with soy milk

Lauren ’18- Large house coffee with a pump of vanilla (or a cappuccino in the afternoon)

Sarah ’17- Iced green tea with mango

Julia ’19- Iced coffee with coconut milk

Tom ’17- Doppio Ristretto

Carlen ’18- Small iced coffee, black

Bri ’19- Large iced hazelnut coffee with a double shot of espresso

Zac ’17- Large black coffee (if I’m feeling extra frisky, I’ll get a cappuccino)

Rene (manager)- Large iced water

Winston ’18- Medium almond milk cappuccino with some kind of sugar free syrup

Elly ’17- Almond milk vanilla iced latte, occasionally with caramel drizzle

Kaelie ’18- Iced mocha latte

Amber ’18- Chamomile Citrus Tea

Lara ’17- Iced Chai Charger

Eli ’17- Large iced coconut hazelnut mocha

Read more about the history of Peter B’s here.

5 Reasons You Should Consider Studying Abroad

Hola! Ciao! Bonjour!

In case you haven’t heard, studying abroad during one’s time at Trinity is something encouraged by the entire community! The Study Away Office (located on Vernon Street) is like a porthole to a whole other world outside of our little Hartford oasis. There are so many places and opportunities Trinity offers within the Study Abroad system, that there is practically something for everyone. Trinity has a number of sister campuses in many places around the world, these include: Cape Town, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Shanghai, Trinidad, Buenos Aires and Barcelona. If none of these options spark your interest, you also have the ability to enroll in satellite programs with other schools! With the Study Away Office, you can pretty much go anywhere your heart desires.

After my first two weeks at Trinity’s Barcelona program, I’ve come up with five reasons why everyone underclassmen should consider studying abroad as part of your college experience. So, if you on the fence about this one, just hear me out…

1. Your taste buds will thank you.

If you think your Grandma’s cooking is out of this world, wait until you eat in Italy – one word: PASTA. To be quite honest, when you study abroad not only will your horizons expand, but your palette will too. Food and drink is so important in every culture and when you are surrounded by new smells and flavors, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture in ways you never had expected. Also, if you’re a self-proclaimed foodie, what’s better than enjoying a fresh baked croissant while taking a stroll under the Eiffel Tower? I’ll tell you…nothing.

2. New friendships await you.

When you make the decision to take a semester away from Trinity and spend it elsewhere, you are going to be placed in a program with a bunch of other people that made that same decision. The great thing about the Study Away programs is that they become super-inclusive; you may have seen that girl on the long walk freshman year, but now you’re her roommate at a home-stay in a foreign country. However, not only will you make new unexpected Trinity friends, but you will also have the opportunity to meet other local and international students within your classes. Some Trinity programs have you directly enroll in local university classes, which means you may be flying solo depending on what your interested in. This is the PERFECT time to step out of your comfort zone and make some new friends. Who knows, maybe your long lost BFF has been growing up South Africa this entire time!

3. You’ll learn what you like, but more importantly, what you don’t like.

Studying Abroad is a big step for many college students because it means leaving everything they know and stepping into something completely, well…foreign! Do ever go about your daily routine at home simply out of habit, and not even think about what your actually doing? Well when you go abroad, chances are you’ll realize that there are many things you do in life that are not really your style at all. I know – weird to think about right? Honestly, we all can get caught in a rut at home because it’s whats comfortable or expected of us, but abroad, you have the opportunity to figure out exactly who you want to be. And that’s pretty awesome.

4. You get a break from your phone.

If you consider yourself a “normal college student” then you probably make checking your Instagram and Facebook notifications a daily priority. I hate to break it to you, but unless you want to pay a semester’s worth of tuition in phone bills…you’re going to have to disconnect for a while. In many places abroad, not only can you not use cell data, but WiFi hotspots are few and far between. This is great, believe me. When you finally accept the fact that your daily Instagram crawl will just have to wait, you will feel a weight lifted off your shoulders. By disconnecting you can give yourself permission to experience your time abroad first-hand, instead of through Snapchat stories. Turning away from the phone screen will force you to explore your surroundings and be present in your daily life. I promise, leave your phone at home and go get lost on the metro…you won’t regret it.

5. Well-roundedness is almost inevitable.

Let’s face it, if you decide to go abroad, you’re bound to become (at least) a slightly different person than when you left…that’s AWESOME. If you’re lucky enough to live in a home-stay during your program, you get to see what and how a typical family in a certain culture eats, converses, works, and values. Taking classes at local universities exposes you to different styles of teaching and learning, and may be helpful when you return to Trinity. Depending on where you chose to study abroad, being surrounded by other languages may be overwhelming at first, but will ultimately make you stronger in the long run. Learning how to navigate yourself and your life in a new place can be a very humbling but growing experience. The chances of you returning home with a greater sense of perspective is possibly the best thing to be gained from your time abroad.

These are obviously just a handful of the millions of reasons you should consider taking some time to Study Away during your Trinity career. Be sure to stop by the Study Away office or the online info here, if you want to learn more about the amazing opportunities that await you! But for now, enjoy the beginnings of another wonderful Fall Semester in Hartford…nothing beats a Chapel picture in October!

 

 

 

Resources On Campus Most First-Year Students Don’t Take Advantage Of (but should!)

Your first year is arguably one of the most overwhelming times of your college career, as you will be inundated with enthusiastic upperclassmen and way too many brochures and email which you’ll never read. To make your semester a little easier and a lot more rewarding, here are five things that all freshman should take advantage of!

Office Hours

One thing that all Trinity students can agree on is that the faculty truly make the academic experience so much more rewarding. I think we are spoiled in having the ability to have and maintain such close relationships with our professors, including those who teach lectures. However, a lot of students (especially freshman) only form a relationship with their advisor and only meet with professors when they need help on an assignment…if that. I highly recommend stopping by your professor’s office hours at least once a month (total of 4 times a semester…that’s pretty manageable) just to check in on your progress and pick out one thing from class that you’d like to discuss further. Especially if you tend not to participate as much in class, this is a great way for you and your professor to get to know one another better and show them that you care.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Writing Center

Setting up an appointment with a student writing associate can be a great way to enhance the quality of your paper, clarify your thesis, or work on the structure and organization of your ideas. It’s always beneficial to have someone read over your paper for things that you may have missed after staring at your computer for hours on end. As much as our own friends are supportive and willing to help us, writing associates are trained (and paid!) to read drafts and help with any and all issues in your paper. You can set up an appointment here:  (https://trincoll.mywconline.com/)

Attending one event/club meeting for something you don’t think you have any interest in

Your first year is the best time to get involved in anything and everything- you will get to see everything that Trinity offers and make some great friendships, especially with upperclassmen. No one expects you to stay involved with every club whose meeting you intend- that would be impossible! However, you should pick two or three organizations that you are actually excited about with members who you get along with. Clubs are the best way to pursue your non-academic interests and make friends with people you might not otherwise have the chance to meet.

Meeting with a Research Librarian

Although this is somewhat based on a relative need for an assignment, you will most likely have to write a research paper during your four years at Trinity. And you will most likely have to use some sources that weren’t given to you in class. And you most likely will have no idea where to get started. Research librarians are great individuals to meet with, since it is their job to help your find primary and secondary sources online and in Raether. You can set up an appointment and tell them your assignment ahead of time so by the time you arrive, they will have already pulled some sources for you to use. You then can talk to them about your ideas and they will absolutely help you to come up with an interesting angle for your thesis inspired by the unique sources you find.

Lectures

Tons of academic departments and student organizations host lectures throughout the year with scholars from their respective field from a different university that have completed independent work to share. This is a great way to meet other students interested in the same subjects as you and further your knowledge outside of the classroom. I’ve attended some lectures as a requirement for a class that I thought would be incredibly boring and they actually ended up being interesting and relevant for the work I did in class throughout the semester. It’s also a bonus if your professor happens to offer extra credit for attending a lecture!

A Home Away from Home

Coming to Trinity in the fall of 2014, I didn’t know what to expect when it came to my living situation. I had received my housing assignment via email, I had been in contact with my randomized roommate (who ended up turning out to be one of my best friends), and I had scoped out my room dimensions online. Aside from those various aspects, I was completely unaware of what the interior of my dorm room would look like.

When I first stepped in through the doorway of my freshman year dorm room, reality began to set in and I started to panic: this was my first time living away from home. How would I manage having a roommate? A dorm with a communal bathroom? The two-hour distance from home?

In order to force these fears to dissipate, I spent a lot of time focusing on decorating the physical space of my room in order to make it feel more like home. I decked it out with curtains and a shag rug (which, I totally suggest you do, because these two items automatically create comfort in a space). What I eventually discovered was that regardless of how many throw pillows I added, how many pictures I hung up, or how many decorations flooded my walls, it was extremely more important to me to find spaces of comfort on campus that existed outside of my dorm room’s walls, especially during my freshman year.

I had remembered from my tour of Trinity that there was a coffee shop located beneath the main dining hall, and so within the first month of school, I decided to go on a mini adventure and see what it was like. Little did I know that I was about to find a cozy haven away from my dorm room.

Walking into The Underground is a tunneled, old hallway that at most times appears dark and desolate, but behind its large wooden door lies a gem of a space. The venue incudes every type of seating from barstools to comfy couches. The dimly-lit ambiance gives just the right amount of lighting to get reading and studying done, but is also fantastic for relaxation, making art pieces with friends, or even taking a quick nap prior to class. As much as the environment is aesthetically pleasing with student art hung on the walls, the coffee is even more fantastic, as much was the fact that I immediately felt at home within a randomized space on campus.

Although it may be easy to spend your freshman year camped out within your dorm room, it is incredibly important to explore your campus and find nooks within public venues where you can feel a sense of comfort, but can also enjoy running into new people while within this space to enhance your freshman experience.