BackgroundInterview Date:April 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Graduation Year: 2020
High School Experience: I went to a secondary school in inner-city London. It was mostly Black students. It was a pretty good school where it was. There were seven grades in our school, so for years 7 to 11 there were about 125 people, then in year twelve there were about 100 people and then in year 13, there were about 60. I graduated with like 60 people in my class. It’s not that there is a drop-off, it’s that people go to different schools for the last two years. There are more options for secondary school the last two years.
Minor: Hispanic Studies and possibly History
Extracurricular Activities: I’m a part of the Charleston House of Interfaith Cooperation which is all about getting people of different religions and nonfaith to get together to speak about things going on in the U.S. or in the world. I’m also part of Model UN, so I’ve been to a couple of conferences with them.
Have any of your extracurricular activities had a particularly big impact on your experience?
Yeah, Charleston was probably my favorite one to go to. I haven’t been able to go this semester because I have a class when they meet. It had a big impact because it really made me think about other peoples’ perspectives and religions. They did something really cool for me. Over the summer this a conference called Interfaith Youth Core and it’s for people who are part of interfaith groups at colleges from all over the US. Trinity flew me out from London to Chicago which was pretty cool. It was for two days in August and I got to speak to people from all over the US, so that was really impactful.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
That really depends on which semester and how many classes I’m taking. I only took one class per semester in my first year, and then I took two last semester and one this semester. They get harder as you progress on. I’m in one of the core 300 level courses this semester, Macroeconomic Theory, and that’s a lot even though it’s just one class. We meet for 50 minutes Monday, Wednesday and Friday and she gives us homework every class. It can range from a long problem set, a couple of questions, or reading the textbook. I took Stats for Economics last semester and I had loads of problem sets. Econ’s been hard, it’s been a lot of work.
Is there anything the Economics department does well or poorly?
At Trinity, they weed people out in the first semester because Economics is the most popular major here. There aren’t enough advisors, so they make it harder so you struggle through. I hope it gets easier. That’s what annoyed me, they make it inconsequentially hard. [Economics was the most popular major for students in the classes of 2017 and 2018.]
How would you describe the learning environment? Is it collaborative or competitive?
The professors I’ve had haven’t used curves in any courses, so it’s really good for working with other students. I feel comfortable asking people for help and studying in groups. Often, they let you hand in homework with multiple people on one sheet. There’s also a lot of support in terms of TA’s and going to office hours.
Why did you choose Economics?
I always knew I wanted to do Economics because in the UK system you have to apply with a major to universities. However, it’s been really, really difficult so I wish I came in with more of an open mind because I could have done other studies which might have been less nasty. I would say that people, especially people from the UK, should come with an open mind about what they’re going to major in because we have to choose really early in the UK.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: Freshman year I lived in Elton, which was one of the 6 freshman dorms at Trinity. I think it’s one of the best. I lived in a two-room double, so the way that worked is you’d enter through one of the bedrooms and then there was another door that you could go in and that’d be her room. We’d just open the door up to talk to each other and close the door when we were going to bed. I think that was one of the best room setups you can have as a freshman. There were about 20 other freshmen on my floor and we had a communal bathroom.
Sophomore: My lottery number was bad because I had a good room freshman year, so I combined numbers with 3 different people and we ended up in a four-person suite in Summit South. Everybody had their own bedroom and then there’s a bathroom and a living room.
My housing has been really good.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
It’s fine, I haven’t had any experiences myself. We get emails whenever there is something has happened, but nothing crazy has happened that has made me feel unsafe. In terms of sexual harassment and sexual assault, I haven’t really experienced anything.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant?
I don’t go off campus a lot to eat. I think often at Trinity there is a bubble and people will stay on campus. Sophomore year I have gone out more, but I don’t know if I’ve established a favorite restaurant.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
Maybe Wal Mart? [laughs]. We have a shuttle that goes to different places, like Wal Mart and a mall and some other places, but I like Wal Mart a lot.
Pros and cons of being in Hartford, CT?
Pros: (1) The Greyhound and Peter Pan can take you to Boston or New York pretty easily. It’s like two hours to both.
(2) Broadway shows come through Hartford a lot, so I’ve seen The Color Purple, Jersey Boys, and The Book of Mormon at the Bushnell.
Cons: It can get boring sometimes. Being from London, this isn’t a city to me. There are [about 124,000] people. There aren’t a lot of things to do if you don’t have a car.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you participate in at Trinity?
I’m not a big fan of the nightlife honestly. Coming from the UK, you can start drinking when you’re 18, so, back home I can go to clubs and it’s fun, there are big spaces, there’s good music and different rooms so it doesn’t get old. Whereas at Trinity, the fraternities are pretty small and they can be a bit gross, but I guess that’s fraternities everywhere. I just don’t really like it that much, and I don’t like the music they play personally. There is a lot of nightlife here. People go out Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Freshman year I went out a lot and even last semester I went out a lot, but this semester I haven’t really been interested.
What alternatives to going to a party do you like to do?
There is the Bushnell Theatre and they have shows there. I don’t really go to any concerts or try to go clubbing because I’m not 21 yet. Maybe senior year that will change, the age thing is annoying.
Can you describe a typical night freshman year?
I’d go to a hangout in a friend’s room, then we’d go walk to Vernon Street where all the nightlife is, and go into a frat. It depends where you go, some were really packed, some were empty, so we’d probably go to a few. Things would start dying down around 1AM. Things end pretty early, I think that’s an American thing.
How was blending into the social scene as an international student?
I think I had it better because I was from the UK and I speak English as my first language and people are obsessed with British accents, so that can make people want to talk to me. It can be hard because people are different here, definitely different than they are in England. They’re a different type of person. People can be kind of rude here, so that has taken some adjusting. Also realizing that somebody isn’t necessarily being rude, that’s just how they are. Like they say, “Hey! How are you,” but just walk away like they don’t want to hear your answer. It’s been fine so far. I have a lot of friends and having jobs and being involved in plays has helped me find friends.
I think a lot of students who don’t speak English as their first language can be more isolated sometimes, but it depends on how they put themselves out there. Some international students stick with students from the same place and some try to blend in and be friends with Americans. It depends on what you want.
Were there any parts of Trinity or American college overall that surprised you?
Yeah, I didn’t realize how badly Americans can handle their drinks [laughs]. I feel like when Americans go to college it’s the first time they can drink away from their parents so they go crazy. So that was surprising and took some getting used to, but also entertaining [laughs].
I was also surprised by the workload freshman year. I had to work really hard, whereas my friends in the UK were chilling because in their first and second year their grades don’t count towards their GPA, which is ridiculous. Here, I had homework every night. It was very hard, it was a massive jump, while for my friends at home it was a massive jump. I would see their Snapchats of them going out all the time but I would be studying every night.
How did you meet your closest friends?
They all kind of happened randomly. I’m not really close friends with the people I met through orientation. I met them through doing plays, being in class, international orientation. I kind of stumbled across people. I wasn’t actively looking for friends when I met my friends, I just kind of clicked with them.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Trinity before entering as a freshman?
I think I did a lot of investigative work before I came here because Trinity was not my top choice and was actually the only school I got into in the US. I was in a program in the UK for people that wanted to go to US universities and they connected us with people already here. I sent a lot of questions to people here so I kind of knew most things. It wasn’t a massive shock, I was just surprised how mean people could be here. In terms of meeting somebody one day and then the next day them pretending that they don’t know who you are, or being in a class with somebody one semester and then the next semester it’s like you never knew each other. And then I wish I knew how bad the nightlife would be for someone like me from where I’m from. I just like can’t engage. I’m going abroad next semester so maybe when I get back I can go somewhere that isn’t a frat.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Maybe they can look at the frats more and know what they look like because they’re quite small here. If they could go to the south part of campus and see the suites that would be nice. If they could see a dorm that might change their mind a lot because there are some really, really nice dorms on that side, or seeing a townhouse which you can get through the housing lottery. Going to a class might be good for you as well, especially if you’re an international student and already know what you want to major in.
What is something that we haven’t touched on that would be important for a prospective international student to know?
It’s not really like the movies. I’ve watched a lot of American television and I don’t think Trinity is like the movies. I think a lot of the movies are based in California and have pool parties every weekend and Trinity is not like that. The school’s also going to be harder than they expect. It’s been a hard journey but hopefully will be rewarding at the end.
Reasons to attend Trinity:
1) It’s a good school academically. There is good support academically, if you are having trouble there is help there. A lot of [Economics majors] end up working on Wall Street.
2) The career department is really, really good for helping people get internships.
3) It depends on what you like, some people really like the nightlife here and going to frats and stuff. And even if you’re not into that there are lots of things on the weekends. I personally really love going to bingo, and they do a lot of stuff like karaoke. There are a lot of ways to win money, like last week there was a lip sync battle and the first prize won $500 and the second prize won $250 so that was really cool. So, there are lots of ways to have fun even if you don’t like the nightlife.
Reasons to not attend Trinity:
1) As a freshman, you’re not allowed to have a car, but I think it’s like that at a lot of places. It does make you feel like you’re in a bubble. That was hard for me freshman year not leaving campus much, but sophomore year I could go off campus more. Having friends with cars is really nice.
2) It’s not the most diverse school, but that is changing. They just came up with a new strategic plan to help change that.
3) It’s not the most fun place if you come from a massive city. It’s not really urban, it’s a town city. If you want a city life it isn’t for you.