BackgroundInterview Date:June 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Graduation Year: 2020
Sexual Orientation: Straight
High School Experience: Public magnet art school in Denver, CO. Everybody had a certain major that you had to audition for to get in. There was a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: No
Majors: Double Major in Philosophy and World Literature and Culture Studies
Extracurricular Activities: I’m in an acapella group
What impact has acapella had on your experience?
It’s been really instrumental in finding my place at Trinity. I came from the West with no sort of reference for what Trinity was going to be like and didn’t know anybody before I got there. So, joining the music group was really helpful for me for meeting people and developing my social circle. I met probably 90% of my friends because of it. We meet four times a week, so it gives me structure which is harder to find in college than in high school.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your majors?
It’s mostly just a ton of reading and then papers. Some of them have community outreach projects. For one of my philosophy classes, Music of Thought, we made playlists for older people at a retirement home close to school.
Is there anything that you feel your majors’ departments do especially well or especially poorly?
They give me a lot of freedom to pursue my own intellectual interests and pursuits. Going into my junior year I had to declare what my thesis was going to be, and it is a complicated crossover of both of my majors. All of the faculty is allowing me to do it and they’re helping me along the way. You get a lot of individual attention, and all of my professors have provided me with a lot of guidance in my academic and personal growth.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s really collaborative. I haven’t had any classes where I felt like I was fighting with my classmates. Classmates tend to work together, study together, and share notes. I spend a lot of time talking to people I have classes with about the class.
What has been your favorite class in your major or minor?
Love, Sex, and War in Tolstoy. That showed me what my thesis was going to be and what the path of my intellectual pursuits is going to look like because I didn’t know coming into Trinity. I liked Trinity because I didn’t really have to pick a major. I loved the professor. The class was tiny, there were six of us and we all got close.
What has been your least favorite class in your major or minor?
Either Symbolic Logic or just Intro to Philosophy. Symbolic Logic was hard and I want to say it was my least favorite because it was the one I did the worst in, but I didn’t [completely] dislike the class. For Intro to Philosophy, I loved the professor, but it was my first philosophy class so it was harder for me to get a grip on the reading and I didn’t get as much out of that class as I did in the other ones.
Do you feel multiple schools of thought are welcome in the classroom?
Absolutely. All of my professors that I’ve had are pretty welcoming to new ideas and perspectives. I feel very comfortable voicing my opinion if it’s different from that of my professor and discussing it to see why I’m wrong or point out to them why they’re wrong or to just bring in a new idea. It’s a very open environment for new ideas.
What made you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I picked Philosophy because my freshman year I took a Philosophy course and it was the only course I wasn’t sick of by the end of the semester. I’ve loved the professors that I’ve had and I like the material. It’s challenging, but I can take it on even though it’s hard. It pushes me in a way that I’m interested and can feel myself becoming a smarter person. I love the choice that I made. I love my advisor and the rest of the faculty helping me guide my experience.
For World Literature and Culture Studies, I didn’t know it was a major. I took two classes last semester in the Language and Cultural Studies Department, which houses my major, and the professor of my [favorite class, Love, Sex, and War in Tolstoy,] is the head of it so she told me about it and knew it would align with my interests. I like that I don’t have to be an Italian major or Russian major. Even though I’ve studied a bunch of different things, like Russian literature or studying abroad in Italy, and having it all contribute to one degree.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: I lived in Funston in a quad, but we all had our own rooms.
Sophomore: Single in Hanson, it was fine but I don’t like living alone
Junior: I’m going abroad in fall so I don’t know
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I feel really safe on campus. I have never felt like I was going to be hurt or attacked in any way. Walking around Hartford I don’t really feel unsafe. I live in a city so I’m fine walking around and I’ll walk to CVS, but most people I go to school with would not. We’re right in the slums, so it’s not a safe area and I wouldn’t walk around at night.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
I don’t have a car so I can’t really get away from campus that easily. I don’t that frequently. I mostly just look forward to the weekends that we have off days and I’ll go down to New York.
How was transitioning from Denver to Hartford?
Weird, it was a huge culture shock. Mostly because the people that I go to school with are very different than the people I went to high school with. The East Coast, in general, is much colder than the West, so that was definitely an adjustment. People are also colder than people from the West. I have been able to surround myself with like-minded people so that’s been nice. [67% of the student body is from the Northeast.]
Pros and cons of being located in Hartford, CT?
1) It’s close to New York and Boston. [Hartford is about a 3-hour train ride to Manhattan. It is about a 1.5-hour drive to Boston.]
2) There is stuff to do, I just haven’t done it. I talked to one of my professors about it and he gave me a list of things to do, so I’m excited to do that when I get back.
1) It’s not pretty. It’s not very nice to be there.
2) It’s pretty dangerous.
3) There is not a ton to do. It’s kind of a dying capital. It was really big when the insurance industry was there but it had kind of gone down the drain. It’s not a fun city to be in.
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I pretty consistently go to Greek life parties. I’m not in Greek life, I rushed but didn’t press at the end of the week. I mostly just did it to meet people because I realized I didn’t know most of the people in my grade. I go out most weekends to the fraternities on campus. I’ll usually hang out with a couple of close friends, or I’ll go to random things that I know are happening or I’ve been invited to if I want to socialize more, but then usually just go to a frat.
What have been some of your favorite days or nights at Trinity?
It’s really nice when it’s warm out. Everyone will go out and hang out on the quad all day. I really like being on the quad on weekdays because I can go read or do my homework or just sit there and it’s pretty quiet when classes are happening. On the weekends everybody goes out and are playing sports and hanging out. It’s nice having everybody be in a good mood out in the sunshine.
In terms of night, Thursday is my favorite night of the week. It’s almost always packed. Everything is open, everybody goes out, and it’s really fun. Thursdays and Saturdays are the best nights to go out. I don’t really go out on Tuesdays a lot, some people like it, but I don’t have the stamina.
What’s an alternative to going to a party or bar?
One of Trinity’s weaknesses is that there aren’t a ton of other options because there’s not much to do in Hartford, especially if you don’t have a car. If there are long weekends or people want to leave, a lot of people are from New York, so people will go down and party there. I’ll go see friends of mine who transferred to schools in Boston and I’ll hang out there. There are social houses on campus, like The Mill is the arts house, so if people don’t like to go to the Greek houses they can go hang out there. There’s also The Fred, which is similar in that it’s creative people that have their own events that they host.
How happy were you with the nightlife at Trinity? If you could change anything, what would you change?
I mean it’s fun for sure. I think it would be the best place to be there for a weekend. Being there all the time can be discouraging because it’s a bunch of crazy kids with few to no consequences. I like the nightlife because I like my friends and I usually have fun, but it’s a small circle of people who actually consistently have a great time going out. I know sometimes people get discouraged because fraternities can be exclusive at the door. It can be elitist nightlife, it makes people feel like if you’re not pretty enough or popular enough you won’t get in. Greek life has a much bigger hand on the reins than people would like to admit.
How did you meet your closest friends?
I met my best friend on the first day of our orientation program the day before classes started freshman year. My other best friend I met in my acapella group.
How would you describe the overall social scene at Trinity?
Elitist is the first word that comes to mind. [26% of students that come from the top 1%], so it’s a very high up circle of people. I’d say it’s pretty cliquey. People have their friends and I don’t see a lot of outreach between friend groups. I’m a floater, I don’t have a friend group because I don’t really like groups. Most of the people I know have their people and stick with them. It’s easy enough to find friends, at least that’s been my experience, and it’s plenty social.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientation mix socially?
Very little. We have a lot of diversity and we have a huge international population. Most of our students of color stick together pretty closely and there’s not a ton of mingling. There’s not an outward lack of acceptance but people don’t mix that frequently. [In 2017, the student population was 65% White, 11% international students, 8% Hispanic students, and 6% Black students.]
Do you think people are generally happy with their choice for Trinity by senior year? Do you think people leaving loving Trinity?
I would say yes. Most of the people who are unhappy transfer, so if you stuck it out for four years you probably like it.
Has the alumni network helps you find internships or jobs?
I plan on using the alumni network, but it’s not relevant out [in Denver]. It’s easier for me to use my connections from home when I’m home. Next summer I plan to stay back East so I plan to use it for that.
To what extent have you used the career office? How helpful have they been?
I used the career development center when I was building my resume for [Greek life] rush.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Trinity before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew really how small it is. I didn’t really understand how small it is. I expected it to be fine, but it’s really smaller than I imagined. I also wish I would have known a little bit more about the general personality of the school. I didn’t know it was a party school. So, I would have liked to know that.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The Cinestudio, it’s so cool and nobody uses it enough. It’s this gorgeous movie theater on campus that’s totally student volunteer run. They play a lot of cultural stuff and they play stuff that’s in the theaters.
Reasons to attend Trinity:
1) Academically I’m being pushed and challenged. I’ve received a great education. I love my major and the faculty is amazing.
2) Being in an East Coast town, but being one where I can focus on my schoolwork is a benefit. I’m not distracted by everything in the city.
3) If you’re the kind of person who enjoys going out all the time and wants to have a fun college experience then Trinity is the choice for you.
Reasons to not attend Trinity:
1) If you want the city experience.
2) If you are more into the artsy scene and doing stuff like that. If you like having a low-key nightlife and don’t want to go to Greek life parties and still have an active nightlife, that’s hard to find.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
- In an acapella group.
- Went to a public magnet school in Denver, CO.