What I Wish I Knew: Your #TrinColl & Hartford Head Start

What I Wish I Knew: Your #TrinColl & Hartford Head Start

My first year at college was crazy, stressful, and fun. Trinity became my new home in just a matter of months. As a senior in high school, I remember the endless slew of advice from relatives, teachers, and anyone else who knew I was going to college. Sometimes, I would gladly listen. I wanted to know everything! Other times, it felt as if I was hearing the same “helpful tip” for the thousandth time. So, even if you’ve heard this before, I have some advice I’d like to share. These are things I wish I knew before coming to Trin: 

Put Yourself Out There
Students in ponchos out on a trail for Quest training
Quest leaders during a May 2019 training to prep for pre-orientation kicking off this week at Trin

Looking back, I wish I’d done some of the pre-orientation programs like rock climbing with Quest or biking around Hartford for Bantam Beginnings. Take advantage of them! These programs are a great way to meet people before everyone arrives on campus and they would’ve helped me get my footing a bit better during my first couple weeks. Orientation may seem long, but you get the opportunity to meet so many people. I wish I’d realized EVERYONE is trying to make friends. My recommendation would be to talk to AS MANY people as possible. The first few weeks are just as new and as intimidating for everyone else, so get out there!

Especially in your Dorm… 

Living in a residence hall is honestly amazing. I wish I got to know more people in my building. Although I had my wonderful roommate, I didn’t get to meet many other people besides saying a friendly “hello” at the bathroom sinks. So, go out and meet your hall buddies the first couple days because they’re the ones with whom you’ll want to have your late night study sessions, your movie nights in the common room, your spontaneous trips ice skating, and your Chick-fil-A runs.

Appreciate the Food
Bants eating dinner in Mather Hall at Trinity College
A bunch of Bants enjoying our last dinner in Mather Dining Hall before our recent break

If only I had appreciated from the beginning the luxury of having someone else cook for you. Yes, of course, everyone reaches a point when they just refuse to step into Mather Dining Hall. Luckily, there are plenty of other dining options on and off campus. Try a new restaurant! I love the empanadas from Aquí Me Quedo on Park Street. When you don’t even feel like popping off campus, we have Vernon Street food trucks that often come in on the weekends thanks to Trinity S.A.I.L. During finals, we’ll have an ice cream truck stationed by Mather that gives out FREE ice cream! I am a big fan of free food. Various Trin clubs will host food-centric events like a “Mochi Social” with the Hawaii club and “Crêpe Night” with the French club. Common hour talks usually have lunch, too, where you feed your stomach and your brain.

Make Hartford Home, But No, For Real

I wish I listened when I was told to venture off campus my first year. Go on the Downtown Friday trips with the Bantam Network because who doesn’t like free things? These trips often involve activities like celebrating Halloween at the Six Flags Fright Fest, enjoying the latest show at the Bushnell, reclining back for the newest movie at Spotlight Theater, and meeting up for a tasty dinner at some of the many nearby restaurants. On one adventure, my friends and I ended up with a big box of cannoli from Mozzicato Bakery, which was the best decision ever. They were delicious. So, use your bus pass to wander the city: tour The Mark Twain House & Museum, admire the art in the Wadsworth Atheneum (free to Trinity students, btw!), and find your favorite restaurant. Make Hartford yours!

Time Management

Budget your time! This sounds simple, but I wish I knew it would be so hard. It is certainly more difficult than it seems. Keep trying out new things until you find a balance that works for you. Here’s something to keep in mind:
Procrastination does not work in college. Believe me, studying at 4 a.m. is just not worth it. Sometimes people consider late-night studying a bragging right. When you do this EVERY time, you WILL be overwhelmed by stress. From someone who wished they realized this sooner, I recommend you carve out time in your schedule for studying and homework.

Do Something

Get involved! College is not ALL about your classes. Go out and try new things! You’ll make some of your best memories, I promise. Some of my favorites to highlight include eating pastries at high tea with the ballroom dance team and i-House, making mini gingerbread homes at the decoration party for “Lessons and Carols” in the Chapel, and exploring Montreal with the Trin French club.

Self-Care is Key
The gym in Ferris Athletic Center
The gym in Ferris Athletic Center

Most importantly, factor in some “me time” so you don’t get stressed. Whether it’s a 30-minute trip to the gym, a quiet meditation in your room, an episode on Netflix (no binge watching though), or a relaxing face mask. I found rock climbing. I finally made the time to try it out after getting TrinRec emails for the last year. The extra hour or two I took on Thursdays to rock climb turned out to be one of my favorite activities.

Experiment & Explore
Growing an algae culture in Bio class at Trin
Growing an algae culture in Bio class at Trin

It is seriously SO okay to not know what you want to study. I’d heard this advice so many times before and I thought “yeah, okay, I get it”. I didn’t. I kept pressuring myself to make a decision and have a plan. When I changed my mind for the third or fourth time, I actually ended up in a class I loved: Marine and Freshwater Botany. I had always liked biology, but only tolerated the labs. Since lab work reflects what biologists actually do, I was a little concerned that biology wasn’t for me. With this class, I finally found a lab I enjoyed. I waded in the ocean in my jeans to get a good temperature reading, walked across a bog as it started to snow, and grew a culture of bright green algae that I then identified. My advice is to take the class that sounds cool or interesting. You may end up finding what you love.

And above all else, HAVE FUN, and remember you aren’t in this alone! If you get lost or have questions, just ask a fellow Bant, we’re here to help make your transition to Trin a smooth one.

Trin’s Ultimate Safe Hangout Space: A Renovated Queer Resource Center

Trin’s Ultimate Safe Hangout Space: A Renovated Queer Resource Center

Trin’s Queer Resource Center (QRC), located at 114 Crescent Street, is a safe space for the LBTQI and ally community. Operating under Multicultural Affairs, the QRC provides resources on sexual orientation and gender identity in addition to spaces for students and their organizations to be social and have meetings and conferences.

Before spring break, I had the opportunity to speak with Carrie Robinson, Director of LGBTQ+ Life about QRC’s newly renovated spaces and explored the digs myself. Let’s take a tour, shall we?  ?️‍?

Immediately when I walked in, brand new furniture greeted me in the conference and event space. All of the furniture is on wheels, allowing the space to be transformed and molded to the needs of someone presenting, hosting a discussion, or holding an event.

Next, I visited the updated kitchen space. There is a brand new sink and refrigerator as well as new counters and cabinets. This space is great for students looking to make a cup of coffee or tea before their 9:25 a.m. class, reheat their Trinity Restaurant leftovers for lunch or bake some cookies when someone else is using their common room kitchen.

My final stop on the first floor? The library, with its brand new couch and bean bag chairs. Of course, I made sure to test out these pieces which shot me into a deep state of comfy bliss—something we can all use this time of the academic year. The QRC also updated its resources adding new books, films, magazines, informational brochures and resource guides to their already abundant collection. So, if you’re looking for a new read or to finally show your friends, “Love, Simon,” you know where to go.

What did I find upstairs in the living room, you ask? Brand new furniture and even a gaming system for students looking to hang out and pass the time between classes.

After stopping in the living room, I went to explore the rest of the second floor. Here, you’ll be excited to know, are two new student computer desktop stations with printing capabilities—great for students looking for an alternative study space to their usual corner tucked away in Raether.

Since taking a peek at the newly updated QRC, I’ve concluded that the space is an ultimate hangout destination for Bants! Don’t believe me? Or are you having a hard time just visualizing the changes?

Come out to QRC’s reopening celebration on Wednesday, April 3 at 6 p.m. I’m telling you, you’ll likely want to park it for a while, but I claim one of the bean bag chairs!
Have other questions about QRC’s programming or spaces? Contact Carrie Robinson at her office in 114 Crescent Street or by email at carrie.robinson@trincoll.edu

Let’s Be Social: @trincollqrc 

 

And curious to read more about how we’ve created a more inclusive space for students here at Trin?

Building a More Inclusive Campus Community

Studying Abroad in Ireland

Studying Abroad in Ireland

Like many of my fellow juniors at Trinity, I have decided to study abroad this semester, so hello from Ireland! Since I’ve been in this new country for almost three months, I thought I’d reflect a bit on my time here so far. I’ve learned a lot about navigating a new country, a university environment, and how to make the most of my travel budget.*

* This piece was written back in April 2018

Life While Studying Abroad in Ireland

The School

The university I’m currently studying at is University College Dublin, or UCD. UCD is about 15 times the size of Trinity in terms of student population. So that’s something I have definitely been having to get used to. There’s people everywhere all the time! At Trinity I really only feel crowded on campus when classes end and people make their way to their next class or the library or Mather or wherever. Here, there’s 30,000 people who study here so there’s always a crowd of people around. UCD also isn’t directly in the city center like Trinity College Dublin (no affiliation) is, which is nice because it doesn’t feel like a tourist destination. We get a lot of the benefits of living in a city without a lot of the downsides.

The Classes

Irish classes are different than American, or at least Trinity, classes. First off we have to take 6 classes per semester. The normal class load at Trin is 4-5 classes. And there are different amounts of class time in each class (which are called modules) here. Usually most classes will have 1 lecture and 1 seminar/tutorial per week. Lectures can be huge, with up to 200 people. Seminars (also known as tutorials) are much smaller, usually around 15-25 people. But not all classes follow these rules. I have classes that have 2 lectures and 1 seminar, 3 seminars and no lectures, or just 1 seminar and no lectures per week. At Trinity, there are either seminars or lectures, and they meet 2-3 times a week, at the same time. The 3 seminars a week class meets at different times on different days; the two lectures and a seminar class has different meeting times and places for the lectures. This might sound really complicated, but trust me, you do get used to it. Nearly all classes here are 50 minutes and almost no one has class on Fridays, which leaves lots of time for weekend travel to different parts of Europe.

The City

Exploring Dublin
Exploring Dublin

I feel like Hartford has prepared me pretty well for living in Dublin and UCD is kind of like Trinity because it’s not located quite downtown but is still close enough to go into the city very easily. Dublin is obvious much larger than Hartford but it’s not as big as other cities like London or Paris. It’s very easy to get around with the bus and tram system (called the LUAS but pronounced like Lewis) and suburbs like the coastal town of Howth and Blackrock are just a short ride away. I didn’t know much about Irish history before coming here but taking classes on this subject and just living in Dublin has taught me a ton about medieval Ireland, colonized Ireland, and modern Ireland.

How to Study Abroad on a Budget: Travelling

Like many students studying abroad, I want to get the most of my time here and travel all over the country and across Europe. However, even on this continent, those things cost money (Euros specifically). I quickly realized this and, three months in, thought I’d share some things I find useful to get the most of your time here without spending the most.

Save save save!

I cannot emphasis enough how important it is to save up, even just for a semester abroad. I’d recommend saving as soon as you know you want to study away. For me, I have had quite a few jobs on campus and a paid internship this past semester, so I was able to save up a sizeable amount. I also cut a few things out while I was still on campus in the fall that would I know I would be grateful for in the long run. For example, I often told myself I could either get a coffee from Goldbergs in Vernon Social now or a coffee from a local vendor in Paris in a few months.

Make a list of your top places to visit

This semester is a once in a lifetime opportunity to go tons of places I probably won’t be able to see again, at least not for a long time. My friends and I wanted to go everywhere in Europe but quickly realized we only have a certain number of weekends. So we made a list of everyone’s top place to visit and narrowed in down to a few, plausible cities and started planning from there. It’s not possible to go everywhere you want to but make a point of going to your most dreamed about

Shop around

It’s good to have a general idea of when you want to go to certain cities but be open to change. Some weekends are much cheaper than others (for example, the last Sunday of each month, the Vatican Museum in Rome is free) so start planning early to get the cheapest flights possible. Also be aware than the more popular the season, the more expensive—and crowded—a city is going to be. Look on sites that compare multiple vendors, like Kayak or Sky Scanner for flights and Hostelworld for hostels.

Get creative

Maybe late Thursday evening is the cheapest flight you can find but also be aware the extra night you’d have to spend on a hostel. Sometimes the cheapest options turn out to cost you more money. You don’t have to fly home with the same airline you initially flew with. Different airlines have different prices! Also don’t rely on hostel to be the cheapest places to stay. Generally, they will be but you’d be surprised at the prices of some Airbnb rentals and even some hotels (although do your homework if you want to stay at an Airbnb!).

Postcards!

Postcards are a super, super cheap souvenir that are easy to carry and show where you’ve been. Most postcards are less than 80 cent and much smaller than a t-shirt or snowglobe and can be mailed home easily.

Travel within the country

Yeah, Amsterdam and London are cool but have you seen the Peace Wall in Belfast? Or the Cliffs of Moher and Galway? One of the first things my program here stressed was the beauty of Ireland and suggested we not spend every weekend on the continent. We haven’t and I’m glad we did. The Irish countryside is stunning and Dublin is a bustling city full of a vibrant culture. I love learning about Irish history through experience and it’s much cheaper to spend a day in Cork and kiss the Blarney Stone than flying for three days to Prague and spend money on a hostels and nice meals. There must be a reason you chose to study in a certain country so go explore it!

Of course, I’m writing from the point of view of a European study abroad experience. Different countries have different exchange rates and different prices, so I’d highly recommend researching as much as possible ways to save money in the country you’d like to study in but I hope these few tips have helped at least a bit.

Housing at TrinColl

Housing at TrinColl

One of the wonderful things about Trinity is that students are able to live right on campus all four years. Living on campus allows students to be involved in many different groups and activities without having to go very far. It also creates a fun, intimate and engaging environment right here on campus that makes Trinity a great place to be.

Because Trinity’s dorms are all unique, we asked a few students to talk about their rooms on campus and highlight some of the perks of on-campus housing. Here’s what they said!

Brendan Clark – Class of 2021

What do you like about living on campus?

Living on campus means that you are connected with your peers in a more personal way. Rather than having to coordinate times to come to campus to study or catch up, you can simply walk to their room. Further, living communally prepares you for those essential tasks of life which will become a feature of adulthood: cleaning and laundry. 

What is your favorite part about living in your dorm?

Having a single. You get privacy and the ability to sequester yourself from society when you must get something done, while also having the benefit of still hosting friends and inviting them over for evening discourses. In addition, being able to have space (especially for my wardrobe of suits) makes it all the better. 

Where is your favorite place to live on campus?

As a first-year, I have not had much experience yet with other housing options. I have enjoyed living in Funston because I like being close to Summit Street and it is quieter on this part of campus. As for the future, I have applied to live in the Fred, as the atmosphere with an emphasis on community is something that I find attractive. 

What makes your room unique?

My room reflects my love of antiquities and times gone by. Oil paintings, including a rendition of Renoir’s The Apple Seller and smaller vignettes in the manner of Fragonard, convey my love of Romantic and impressionist works. Further, a small sampling of my collection of tomes on history and law reflect my academic passions. 

Is there anything else you would like incoming students to know about housing?

My experience as a first-year has been great! I had a fabulous experience with my pre-orientation group (Hartford Highlights), which exposed me to many of the fun activities and opportunities available to me. I have also learned to use the Bantam Network as a resource for many events with other organizations I am involved with. As an SGA Senator, I and my fellow class officers worked extensively with the Trinsition Fellows to plan a First-Year Ball. Also, in my work with Admissions as an Overnight Coordinator I have consulted with the Trinsition Fellows to identify potential student hosts.

Brooke LePage – Class of 2019

What do you like about living on campus?

I like not having to find parking everyday, the ease with which I can walk to class, the gym, the library, meetings, etc, the ability to attend all campus events 

What is your favorite part about living in your dorm?

My own room, huge rooms, proximity to Goldbergs, proximity to the going out scene/ trivia, AC, proximity to two parking lots 

Where is your favorite place to live on campus?

Cook- the location is incredible also they have really cute fireplaces, arched doorways, and views. 

What makes your room unique?

The size. Vernon singles are some of the biggest on campus. It’s also one of two dorms that has air conditioning. 

Francisco Chang – Class of 2019

What do you like about living on campus?

I really like that I can see my friends wherever and whenever. It is nice that I can hang out with them really late into the night and then my bed is nothing but a short walk away from their rooms. Living on campus really provides a strong sense of independence and freedom. You also never have to worry about parking or being late anywhere because you live close to everything.

What is your favorite part about living in your dorm?

The best part about Goodwin is the location. As the most central location on campus, everything is super close. The library is right next to the dorm so you can stay in the library until 2 AM and your bed will be waiting there. In addition you are never late to class because all of the classes are located close to it and you never have to walk too far when it is snowing or raining. In addition, the views are priceless since the Long Walk is right next to it.

Where is your favorite place to live on campus?

Goodwin and Cook are my favorite because of their location. Again, nothing really beats those views. During the Spring, its nice to stay with your windows open and yell at friends to come into your room to hang out. Its the best location.

What makes your room unique?

My room is unique because its decorated with various movie posters. My favorite one has to be the biggest one right above my bed which is a poster of my favorite movie Drive (2011). I like that the window is big and allows so much light to come in.

Hadjj Mare – Class of 2018

What do you like about living on campus?

I really love how close all of my friends are. We are all in a small space and can really interact with each other with a quick walk to the dorms.

What is your favorite part about living in your dorm?

That I have a kitchen! I can finally buy groceries and stay in and have dinner if I feel like it.

Where is your favorite place to live on campus?

Crescent without question

What makes your room unique?

My room is a little odd because I designed it without having a lot on the walls but just a mirror with stickers on it. I feel like that’s enough of a decoration without having to do much.

Is there anything else you would like incoming students to know about housing?

Just enjoy it and take advantage of the close quarters with friends because this only lasts for 4 years haha!

College Interview Do’s and Don’ts

College Interview Do’s and Don’ts

Interviews at Trinity are a fantastic way to tell [our TrinColl Admissions team] more about yourself, show your personality and passions, and clarify any aspects of your application. Although they are not required, they are strongly recommended for those reasons. Below are some interview Do’s and Don’ts to help you prepare!

IMG_1606-1
Prospective students will most likely interview with one of our trained Student Admissions Associates on campus.

 

DO send your interviewer a thank you note! It can be a short email or personalized via snail mail. Either way this shows that you paid attention to what we talked about and are a thoughtful person. It’s another way to show your interest in Trinity and communicate with the Admissions staff. Trust me, it makes my day when I receive a thank you note…bonus points if it is handwritten!

DO ask questions and show that you’ve done your homework! It could be something as simple as “where’s your favorite place to eat on campus?” or “why did you pick Trinity?” Any way to thoughtfully engage with your interviewer will help you to stand out in their mind!

DO be able to point to a few things unique to Trinity that you would like to participate in. Whether it be a specific department/major, a couple of extra curricular clubs, or taking advantage of Hartford, interviewers like to see that you are genuinely interested in Trinity and would make the most of your time here!

DO talk about your passions, hobbies, and anything else to help you stand out! Interviewers meet with hundreds of kids every year so having a few special details to make you memorable during reading season will definitely help!

 

DON’T wear gym shorts…but also don’t feel pressure to wear a three-piece suit. It’s important that you make a good impression and are putting your best foot forward. Of course your outfit will not make or break the interview, but it does reflect how much you care!

DON’T contact the office every two weeks telling us how much you want to come to Trinity. Of course we love your enthusiasm, but make your contact with us meaningful and pertinent!

DON’T forget to call us if you’re going to be late or need to reschedule your interview. We understand that traffic, bad weather, or things at home can happen unexpectedly and be out of your control! Please just be considerate enough to let the office know!

DON’T be nervous! This is your time to shine! The best interviews are often the ones where the prospective students are confident, comfortable, and personable. Of course your interviewer understands there is a ton of pressure in this moment and it’s okay to make mistakes or not have the perfect answer. But try your best to let your nerves not get in the way of your ability to talk about yourself. If you would feel more comfortable interviewing via Skype or with an alumni outside of the office, contact the Admissions Office!

If you’re looking for more information about the Admissions process, check out our handy Admissions FAQs page. We’re here to help. And you can always reach out with any questions via social media. 

Greek Life at Trinity College

Greek Life is present on Trinity’s campus. According to College Board – my nearly “end all be all” when I was looking for quick facts about schools in high school – 20% of men join fraternities and 16% of women join sororities. Some schools allow first year students to enter “recruitment” or “rush” during their first semester. At Trinity, students cannot do so until their second year. I think this is beneficial, as it allows students time to get to know other details of the school before committing to this process.

?: John Atashian

While I do think that Greek Life is a big aspect of Trinity’s social culture, I do not think that it is the only option. During my freshman year I was indifferent to the idea of joining Greek Life. This past fall I made my decision to register to recruit. Recruitment — a scheduled, monitored and dry process — began with a meeting on a Sunday afternoon with all potential new members, Rho Gammas, and Rush Chairs from each of the fraternities and sororities. There were two nights of “formal recruitment” that followed. On these nights, potential new members were toured around all of the houses in small groups. Women at Trinity have the option between five societies: Kappa Kappa Gamma, Ivy Society, Cleo of AX, St. Anthony’s Hall, and Zeta Omega Eta. Kappa Kappa Gamma and Ivy Society are all women. Cleo and St. Anthony’s Hall are made up of both men and women. Zeta Omega Eta is a non-traditional feminist sorority. Because it is non-traditional it was not included on formal recruitment night tours. On the fourth evening, all potential new members have informal recruitment. At our group’s discretion, we revisited the sororities that we felt most interested in or connected to. The fifth evening is “preference night.” On preference night, the sororities and fraternities host events at different times for potential new members to return where they are ultimately hoping to get a “bid.” The sixth day, Friday, is bid day.

I received my bid from Kappa Kappa Gamma. Since then I have completed the ten-day initiation process for new members that Trinity has required for the past two years. At other schools, this process can be spread out over six to ten weeks. During initiation we carried out the same rituals and traditions that have been occurring since Kappa’s founding in 1870. I am so happy with my decision to join a sorority at Trinity. I think that this opportunity will allow me to continue to meet other students and get in involved in more service options in the Hartford area.

Let’s be social: @trincollgreeks

Want to know more about Greek life and social houses at TrinColl? Check out our recent story about Kathryn Wojcik, Trinity’s director of campus life initiatives and social houses.

Paying It Forward