10 great things about trimesters

Apr 11 by

 my favorite things

The college selection process can be extremely overwhelming and especially confusing. A lot of the schools end up looking and sounding the same (“Great profs!” “Good food!” “Excellent research opportunities!” “If you can’t find a club you like, you can make a new one!”), but it is very important to understand the key differences between colleges. One of Union’s major differences that sets it apart from other schools is its unique trimester system. Union isn’t alone in its trimester schedule (Caltech, where my twin sister happens to study, is also on a trimester system and UChicago is on a trimester system, although they call it quarters because they count the summer term as well), but Union is the only school that gets it right :D

I transferred from Boston College after my freshman year, so I have first-hand experience with both a semester schedule and a trimester schedule. Let me be genuine: a trimester schedule is so much better. And in honor of our 3-term 10-week academic calendar, here are the 10 top things I love about Union’s trimester schedule:

 

1. By week 10 of a 15-week semester, you are BURNT OUT. And you still have a third of the semester and finals to go? No thank you.

2. Semesters breed dead time. And not the good kind of dead time. The why-am-I-not-just-at-home? kind of dead time.

3. We start in September! Union lets you enjoy every last drop of August sunshine before sending you back to school.

4. Nothing hangs over your head during Thanksgiving. Most college students fret  about midterms and finals through the turkey carving and cranberry sauce squishing, but Union students are completely done with their Fall Term by Thanksgiving and can truly enjoy the family fun.

5. That absolutely glorious 6-week winter break. Many students take this time to go on a mini term abroad, look for internships for the summer, or jut plain VEG!

6. Winter doesn’t feel so long. There are countless awesome events at Union during the Winter Term that make it a little bit warmer, but it is so wonderful to come back in March and know that spring has officially sprung.

7. You only have 3 classes per term! At BC I had to take 5 classes each semester. It was hard for me to wrap my head around 5 classes at any given time; I always felt like I was forgetting something. But 3 classes? My mental to-do list is perfectly manageable and tidy!

8. Everyone’s on the same schedule. At Union, you constantly hear people saying, “Oh my goodness, it’s Week 5!” or “I can’t believe it’s already Week 8!” At semester schools, you’d never hear something like that.

9. Come June, everyone wants to come visit you! Don’t be fooled by the kids who get out of school in May — after two days at home, they are bored to tears. Union becomes the place to be and the energy is insanely awesome.

10. Lobsterfest, Run Ribs and Reggae, Alumni Weekend, Steinmetz Symposium, SPRINGFEST — the list goes on! The trimester system makes Union Unique and there is no better example of this than the amazing events we are able to hold during the Spring Term because we are still on campus when the weather gets truly beautiful. Am I a little biased because it’s Spring Term and I seriously cannot wait for these events? Probably. But you would be too if you were a trimester student!!

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My name is Catherine Elizabeth Ziac (Cat, for short) and I am a senior at Union College in Schenectady, NY. When I'm not studying for my major in economics or my minor in Russian, you can find me skimming through catalogs, playing the flute, fishing, online window shopping, chatting with my sisters (my twin, Julia, studying physics at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA, or my little sister Maddy, currently a senior in high school), or out and about in good old Schenectady with my wonderful Union friends! I love pink nails, long showers, office supplies, and going to the public library. I spend too much time looking at blogs and skimming the WSJ online, but I still believe in the merits of a hand-written letter. I am always in the mood for yogurt and granola and am never without a piece of gum. I usually answer "blue" when asked my favorite color, but I know in my heart that it's always been and always will be garnet!

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