Stefan Timiras, Trinity College, CT
Student highlight as featured in the Undergraduate Newsletter, Winter-Spring 2012 issue. Want to learn more about Trinity College? Read the university highlight available here.
My desire to study at a U.S. university goes back as far as the spring semester of 9th grade, when I first heard about this new and exciting possibility. What attracted me in the first place was the way the system worked – no need to declare a major immediately after enrolling. Instead, you can explore the different courses available for a year or two before choosing the field or fields of study you want to concentrate on.
Right away, I looked at a number of colleges and found out about general admission requirements (tests, extracurricular activities) and financial perspectives. Since, at that point, it was still too early to begin the application process, I focused on making the most out of my time – I did volunteer work, went to the Mathematics Olympiad and focused on the challenging curriculum at my high school, "Saint Sava" National College. That was about the time when I realized I had a real interest for mathematics and physics.
When the time came for me to apply, I started visiting the Fulbright Educational Advising Center in Bucharest in order to study for tests and attend their information sessions, which proved to be highly useful in writing my application. Their advice helped me narrow down the list of schools I wanted to apply to; while looking through their application guides, I found out about Trinity College. The reasons I decided to apply there in the first place were the small size of the school and its small student to faculty ratio (of about 10 to 1), which both suggested I'd be able to build close relationships with my professors.
I applied in the first Early Decision round and was accepted with a financial aid package which covered my tuition, room and board almost completely. After receiving my admission offer, I was also invited to apply to the Interdisciplinary Science Program (ISP), a special first-year course designed to expose students with a strong interest in science to research immediately after starting their academic career.
The small class size helped me better focus on the material presented during courses, because the professors paid more attention to our individual needs. Moreover, since there were not many students in my course sections and, thus, many students who required assistance, my professors' offices were never crowded, so they could better focus on the topics I did not understand when I went to see them during office hours. Also, since hands-on experience is vital to understanding concepts in today's world, the laboratory sections helped me develop a certain lab conduit, vital for future research endeavors.
Towards the end of the semester, my seminar classmates and I went on laboratory tours of faculty members who were willing to do summer research with us. We followed up with one-on-one meetings with the professors whose lab projects we were interested in. Finally, fully informed, we submitted our detailed choices to our seminar professor, who matched us with the labs. So this spring I will be working with a mathematics professor on an exciting project involving many topics, including mapping out symmetries with the aid of computer graphics.
My first semester at Trinity has provided me with a completely different perspective on human interactions at a college level. I share a dorm with many of my classmates. This allowed us to bond faster than usual, by performing daily activities together – going to breakfast, discussing class material or simply taking a walk together around campus in the evening. My seminar also played an important role in helping me form these bonds – our professor (who is also our academic advisor) organized several events to help us get to know each other better, and here I'd like to mention a canoe trip on the Farmington river which is a 40-minute ride away from campus.
As far as extracurriculars go, I participated in the Italian Club and the Society of Physics Students, which have helped me meet new people through interesting activities. For example, along with two fellow Society of Physics Students members, I took part in the University Physics Competition, a weekend-long contest during which teams modeled a real-life situation and wrote a paper detailing the analysis of the problem and their solution to it. Since, of course, university life isn't limited to hard work with no down time, the many events organized on campus provided me with great opportunities to have fun, unwind on weekends, and gain energy for more exciting academic work! Poza
All in all, the supportive professors, their interactive teaching style, my residential community and the events and activities I have been able to take part in have helped ease my transition into the multi-faceted and exciting life at a U.S. university.
My fulbright experience
Students at the advising center