Hi everyone, my name is Zsófi Veér and I’m going to update you from Trinity for the next two semesters. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Sociology at ELTE this summer right after I was offered the opportunity of becoming a Kellner Scholar. The day I found out I received the scholarship seems like only days ago and now I find myself sitting in my dorm room at Trinity and I can’t believe I’ve been in the US for almost four weeks now.
These first weeks were so busy, I don’t even know where to start. I guess I didn’t know what culture shock is until I got off the plane at JFK. Life in the States and at Trinity’s campus definitely requires some time to get used to, and I’m not entirely over this period. I still can’t say “how are you?” as a greeting, I still can’t believe we can have fresh-made smoothies at the dining hall and I’m still getting used to the fact that everyone is always so eager to talk and engage in classes and I think I’ll never get used to the chaos that Walmart is on a busy Labor Day. Having lived in Budapest my entire life, it’s really weird that I can get to my classes and the library in five minutes from my door. Although the campus feels quite small sometimes, it can still surprise me every day with its beauty and with just the whole fact how amazing everything is here, from the squirrels and the hawks and Trinity sweaters to the sandwiches in the Cave and the Friday discussions at WGRAC (Trinity’s Women & Gender Resource Action Center).
As I’m constantly taking pictures of the campus, here are some of my favorite spots and things on the Trinity grounds:
As for classes, I decided to enroll in four and I’m so excited about all of them. Because I still haven’t made up my mind about what Master’s to apply to, I seized the opportunity of Trinity being an amazing liberal arts college and I’m taking courses from different fields that I’d like to immerse in. In Feminist Political Theory, we are reading texts from bell hooks, Simone de Beauvoir, Sojourner Truth and Mary Wollstonecraft – I’m already trying to figure out how to take home the incredibly heavy course reader without going over the weight limits with Delta. In Mapping American Masculinities, we discuss how the American ideal of man was influenced by the economy, politics and others, but especially popular media: we are watching movies of the cowboy, the gangster and the hard-boiled detective. In Introduction to Political Ecology, we analyze how ecology and the environment is shaped by larger political, economic and social factors. This is something I’ve never studied about and it’s really fascinating, although sometimes it’s hard to concentrate in the lecture given that our room in Seabury Hall looks like this:
Although I love all my classes, the one I’m most excited about is Analyzing Schools – during this course, I’m going to spend three hours every week in a nearby elementary school to be a participant observer in a classroom. We just had our orientation this Friday and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to engaging with these kids and to get to know the American public school system.
Obviously, Trinity has much more to offer than just fantastic seminars and lectures: there are clubs, Greek Life and so many programs that it’s sometimes hard to choose among them. I’ve joined the Green Campus Club and I’m planning to get more involved in WGRAC that I mentioned above. I also want to go on hikes with the Outdoors Club and to help in some way with next year’s Trinity Film Festival. For now, I’m trying to explore everything that is going on at Trinity, and somehow we always end up going to the Cinestudio, the college’s very own, beautiful movie theatre (picture above).
I can’t close this post without writing about the best experience I had in the US so far: QUEST. After the international orientation programs, we could choose from different orientation programs to go to, and I decided to sign up for Quest. This meant hiking for four days on the Appalachian Trail with four other participants and two leaders I haven’t met before. For me, this was the first time hiking for a longer period with a heavy, full-loaded backpack on my back and sleeping literally under the stars. I’ve heard so much about the United States’ famous trails before so I was really excited about the signs that said “Appalachian Trail, Connecticut, Maine to Georgia” but it was also so much fun to spend time with my Quest-mates without showers and smartphones, although I probably won’t miss those oatmeals in the morning. I’d recommend it for any future Kellner Scholar to go on Quest and try the amazing peanut butter tortillas and play as many games of President as you can. Here are some of my pictures of these few good days:
Next weekend, I’m going to New York City to cross a few things off my bucket list and to catch up with the Kellner Scholars spending their semester at BGIA, so keep an eye on my next post where I’ll probably won’t shut up about Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup Cans at MoMA.