BackgroundInterview Date:June 2018
Gender Identity: Male
Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual
Graduation Year: 2019
High School Experience: Private school in Southern California with a graduating class of about 110 students. There was absolutely a culture of going to college.
First Generation College Student: Yes
Minor: Models and Data
Extracurricular Activities: I’m a student-athlete and I’m in a fraternity.
Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
It’s a lot of reading, I have to read maybe two to three hours per week per class. Then I have to use the readings to prepare for discussions in class. For the 300 level classes, it’s one final research paper and then maybe one essay throughout the semester. For the lower level classes, most of the time they have around three essays per semester, and, depending on the professor, there will be a midterm.
Is there anything you feel your major’s department does especially well or especially poorly?
I think they do a good job of providing resources to the students. They have a lot of lectures you can go to that add on to the class. Another thing I like about the history department is a lot of the classes they offer in the fall semester tie into a class in the spring semester, so they try to create a larger [focus on an era].
One negative is this past semester I had some issues with classes. They weren’t offering that many courses and during the fall semester I had to take classes I didn’t necessarily want to. That is because the seniors take some of the lower level classes to fill space in their schedule. They don’t prioritize the History majors and I wish they did.
Can you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
They’re collaborative more than anything else. The students are competitive with themselves, but they don’t turn each other down [when another student asks for help].
What has been your favorite class in your major?
An African history class that went from 1850 on, [it focused on stuff I hadn’t ever learned about]. It was taught by a really good professor and he was really well organized.
What has been your least favorite class in your major?
Latinos and Latinas in the United States. I like the idea of the course, but the professor was not the most organized and that frustrated me. The class did not live up to my expectations.
What made you choose your major? Are you happy with your choice?
I’m happy with my choice. I wish I may have [started] it a little earlier. For my first two years, I was pursuing a Math major. I wish I didn’t pursue that and I pursued Computer Science courses earlier. I took a Computer Science class recently and I really enjoyed it and could see myself majoring in it, but if I switched I wouldn’t graduate in 4 years so I’m not going to pursue it.
In what ways has being a first-generation student influenced your time at Trinity?
I offer a different perspective than most students. It’s influenced points and perspective I have in class discussions and my social circles. Also, not knowing what to major in and being the first one, I thought Math would be my thing. I was stubborn with sticking to math just because of my pride and thinking I had to finish it. I eventually switched to History.
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on campus?
Freshman: I lived in North on the north side of campus in a forced double, so it was a pretty small room
Sophomore: High Rise, which is also on the north side of campus. I lived with three other guys. We all had our own rooms and then a little common room.
Junior: Jarvis in the tower, which is an eight-man suite. It’s one of the biggest common rooms on campus. It’s right in the center of campus, I really, really enjoyed it.
Senior: In a Crescent Street Townhouse. That’s going to be a 9-man townhouse.
What has been your favorite living situation so far?
I enjoyed North, even though it wasn’t the cleanest at times. I liked it because of the people I met and the experiences I had. In terms of living conditions, I really enjoyed Jarvis. It was right in the center of campus and I had a view of the chapel from my room. It also had more space.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I really haven’t experienced any dangerous situations.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
I don’t really go off campus. If I go off campus it’s to get food. I don’t have a car, but my friends do so when they go off I’ll go with them. I don’t have a specific spot where I would go.
How was transitioning from California to Connecticut?
It was tough because the culture is completely different. I was thrown into this New England world and vibe. It’s more of a prep school vibe, I never really knew what a prep school was. It has a boarding school atmosphere to it and a lot of kids come from prep schools around the area so they operate in the same manner and kids get the hang of that. I did not get the hang of that right off the bat. [67% of the student body is from the Northeast.]
I also experienced some homesickness freshman and sophomore year. I was able to settle in with friends on my resident hall and opened up a little more, and I wish I did that a little sooner. Again, I was a first-generation student so I felt a lot of weight on my shoulders and eventually got the hang of things junior year.
Pros and Cons of being in Hartford, CT?
Pros: (1) You get a city vibe, but it’s also not a big city where you can easily get lost.
(2) It’s kind of nice being in a bubble.
(3) The fall and springtime are beautiful. I also like experiencing the four seasons. Also, the campus is beautiful in the seasons. The quad is amazing in the spring, and all the trees change in the fall.
Cons: (1) Hartford is not the safest city. You’re relatively safe on campus.
(2) There are not many places to go right off campus. I wish Trinity was more similar to other college towns where you can walk right off campus.
(3) It’s a very poor city, which you hate to see. [There is about a 32% poverty rate.]
What kind of weekend activities or nightlife do you like to participate in?
I go out on the weekends, so Friday, and Saturday. I don’t go out much on Tuesday and Thursday because I have class in the morning so it’s not even worth it. When I go out, I go to frat parties. Tuesdays and Thursdays are big bar nights, but I mostly just go to frats.
Can you describe a typical night going out freshman year?
I lived in a dorm called North on the north side of campus, and it was notorious for being a [more social] freshman dorm. Freshman year was a little wild, I went out more than I do now. I’d start off the night around 9 o’clock and hang out with other freshman guys. Around 11 or 12 I’d head over to the frats. You’d have a tough time getting in because you’re a freshman guy, but as you get older that changes. You still have fun and bond with the people in your dorm. I’d come back around 2 in the morning and it’s fun because your friends are there hanging out.
What have been some of your favorite times at Trinity?
There’s a tropical party in the fall that I look forward to. A fraternity hosts it on their porch and it’s one of the first times where most of the campus is present at an event.
How happy were you with the nightlife at Trinity? If you could change anything, what would you change?
No, [I had an idea of what the nightlife was like] going in. I didn’t expect nights to start so late, but you get used to it. I knew Trinity had a good nightlife, and that was something I was looking for in a school. I wanted a school where I could be an athlete, be a student, and also have fun with the social scene.
How did you meet your closest friends?
My freshman year roommate is my closest friend. After moving across the country, he was there for me. He is also on my team. Other close friends, I’ve met on my team and through my fraternity. For me, my closest friends are the people who are around me the most, and those are the people in my fraternity and on my team.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
Not in my situation. It’s [partially] because not many of them are on the West Coast. My situation is if I were to try to go to New York or San Francisco, I wouldn’t be able to supply myself with housing financially, so I have to go back home. In my area, there are not many people that are Trinity alums. [The only alumni club on the West Coast is the Trinity Club of Los Angeles.]
To what extent have you used the career office? How helpful were they? Yeah, they’ve helped me get internships in the Hartford area. They’re very helpful and they want you to come in as many times as possible. You can edit your resume, go through a mock interview, or help you look for internships. They’re really willing to help you out.
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about Trinity before entering as a freshman?
I wish I knew to pursue Computer Science as a major, especially because I really enjoy the Computer Science department at Trinity. I just think it would have changed my experience a lot.
What is something a prospective student may have missed on a visit that is worth checking out?
If a student would come during finals season, I think they would enjoy the environment. It’s a time where everyone is [focused], which I think is great to see on a college campus. You hear that Trinity has a big social scene and nightlife, but you come during final season and the library is packed. Trinity is a work hard play hard school, and you can see the kids work hard at that time.
Reasons to attend Trinity:
1) The nightlife
2) The academics. The classes are great. I’ve taken a range of classes from Economics to Math to History and they will all help you in some form.
3) The fact that you can do sports, academics, and have a social life.
Reasons to not attend Trinity:
1) You can easily get distracted.
2) Hartford’s not the best area.