By Allyson Mackender –

Throughout my life, my identity has been rooted in two entirely different worlds.

While Denver, Colorado (population: 2,814,220) was technically where I was raised, Cozad, Nebraska (population: 3,934) felt just as much like home. My loyalty was fractured between the big city and the small farm town where my family lived.

When my college search began I was adamant that I would not go to school in a city. I wanted the small town feel to match my small campus ideal. I dreamed of the midwestern liberal arts college tucked away in a corn field. So when my dad suggested I apply to Trinity in the seventh largest city in the nation, San Antonio, I was very hesitant.

As I toured school after school, my perspective began to change. I fell in love with Chicago, craved the energy of Minneapolis, and ultimately found my home right here in San Antonio. I, much to my own surprise, was going to college in a city and I could not be happier with my decision. Urban San Antonio has provided me with the best college experience possible and here are ten reasons why: 

1. It is diverse. 

One of the reasons you go to college, especially at a liberal arts school, is to become more open-minded and aware of cultures unlike your own. Going to school in San Antonio has allowed me the opportunity to surround myself with people from all over the nation and world. I recently heard San Antonio referred to as the "original melting pot" and from my experience this certainly holds true. Over the last four years, I have met people from different backgrounds; we speak different languages, we participate in different traditions, and our cultures are not alike but the vibrancy of San Antonio is our commonality. 

2. There are plenty of opportunities for internships. 

Source: Texas Monthly
No matter what you are studying, a city the size of San Antonio can accommodate your internship request. With thousands of corporations and non-profits, you are bound to find the perfect internship opportunity to buff up your resumé and to get some much-needed job experience. 

3. You will never be bored on the weekend. 

If you search San Antonio on Google it will likely tell you to visit the Riverwalk and the Alamo. Honestly, Trinity students avoid both of these places like the plague. Instead, Trinity students will frequent The Pearl for it's weekly farmer's market or visit one of the city's awesome museums. There are always fun concerts to attend and the city seems to be having a festival every weekend. If that's not your thing, go to a Spurs game; Trinity even offers discounted tickets twice a year to students. Want to know where to visit in SA? Check out this article.  

4. If you are an out-of-state student, it is easy to get home for holidays. 

This was not something I even considered when applying to college. However, now that I have spent four years at Trinity I am forever thankful that we are just five minutes from an airport that has daily flights to anywhere in the US. The accessibility of the airport and the availability of flights has been life-saving; going home for the holidays is a breeze. 

5. San Antonio is proud of its heritage. 

Perhaps more than any other city I've visited, San Antonio is oozing with pride. During Fiesta, there are parades every day and fun cultural events to attend. And these aren't small town, homecoming queen parades. San Antonio's parades are a celebration of history and culture with river floats, cascarones, live music, and a three day party called NIOSA. San Antonio's tricentennial is coming up in 2018 so now is the perfect time to move here! 

6. It's easy to get around.

You really do not need a car if you go to school in the city. Not only are there Zipcars on campus and shuttle options, the San Antonio bus stops right up the street and can take you anywhere in the city. Also, Ubers are cheaper and you can guarantee there will be one within 5 minutes of campus at any time. 

7. Need an escape? Take a trip out of town. 

Surely every once in awhile the hustle and bustle of city life becomes overwhelming. Fortunately, it is less than an hour to those small towns you might be considering for college. The Texas Hill Country is a day trip away and you can be back to campus by dusk. If you want to hike, float the river, peruse antique shops, or enjoy some Fredericksburg peaches, San Antonio can give you the best of both worlds. 

8. The best food you can imagine. 

I'm not sure if this is true of all cities but it certainly is true in San Antonio. If you somehow get sick of on-campus options, San Antonio has every kind of food you could possibly crave and it's all delicious. Whether you're looking for a Tex-Mex restaurant like Tomatillos or a hip Asian Fusion restaurant like Hot Joy, you will never run out of new places to try. Also, living in a city means you have access to food trucks, the greatest concept every created. Try out the taco truck on North Saint Mary's. It's only open at night but it's worth staying up past your bed time for some authentic Mexican cuisine. 

9. Even though it's urban, Trinity still feels like a tight knit community.

Source: The Princeton Review
One of my biggest fears going to school in a city was that the campus would not be its own entity. I was worried that campus would be spread out and there would be no sense of student unity. This is not the case at all. With not a single street running through the already small campus, Trinity feels like a haven in the middle of the city. If you never want to get out and explore San Antonio, it would be very easy to do that, although I wouldn't recommend it. Trinity students often joke about the "Trinity bubble" because being on campus is like being in a world of your own. You truly get the best of both worlds – a close and active campus community and all the opportunities a city has to offer.

10. It eventually won't feel so big. 

Honestly, for the first semester I was scared to death every time I left campus. It seemed like I was always lost and turnarounds were a brand new idea for me. But after a while the streets look familiar, the surroundings become comfortable, and San Antonio will quickly become your home. Unlike other cities I've visited, San Antonio feels very family oriented. Even though you are in the middle of a metropolis, there are families everywhere you look, which gives it a small town feel.

As my senior year draws to a close, I find myself saying, "I love San Antonio," pretty much everyday. I officially have to add a third "home" to my list: Denver, Cozad, San Antonio. San Antonio has given me the chance to see the two pieces of my identity merge into one unified whole. My love for the city and for the cow town I called home have transformed into a love for the vibrant cultural destination that Trinity calls home. After four short years, it feels like I've lived here all my life and I can't imagine having spent my college years anywhere else. 

About Allyson

Allyson Mackender is a senior English major from Denver, Colorado. She is the author of Trinity's Experiential Learning Blog and the editor of the Trinity Perspective.  Allyson is a member of Sigma Theta Tau and Phi Sigma Pi
By Allyson Mackender – 

As a sophomore, it feels as though choosing a major is the most important decision you'll ever make. After all, it will effect almost every academic and career choice that follows, right? At this pivotal moment in every college student's life, Trinity University's Sophomore College provides an excellent resource for students: the Major Meal Series.

The Major Meal series is an opportunity for sophomore students to sit down with current students, faculty, and alumni from the major in which they are interested. Whether you're an aspiring artist, a budding business owner, or an up and coming chemistt, Major Meals is a great opportunity from students in all disciplines to discuss just what it means to major in that field.

English Professor Claudia Stokes said Major Meals are not only a casual setting for "students to meet peers who share their interests and to ask questions of professors about their programs and classes," they are also great for professors. "As a professor, I really value the rare opportunity to get to know students outside the formal environment of the classroom and even to ask them questions about their own interests," she added.

However, the benefits for the professors is just one of the amazing facets of the program.

Bennett Soriano '19 had gleaming remarks about his experience at the Economics Major Meal:

"My Major Meal helped solidify my interested in economics... so much so that I declared my major the following week. I was able to introduce myself to, and converse with two professors and an alum. The professors told me about some of the classes they teach, and asked about the classes I've taken. The alum gave a non-academic perspective on economics, and told us about how he achieved the success he has after receiving a Trinity degree and working some very interesting and lucrative jobs. One of the professors became my advisor when I declared my major, so Major Meals helped me to go into advising with rapport already built with my advisor. The Trinity alum at my table gave out business cards to those interested, one of the biggest takeaways of the night, because I've already emailed him with questions."

Isa Medina '19 had a similarly rewarding experience, claiming she "gained many new connections in the... community at Trinity." Medina added, "I especially valued the time spent with [Professor] Huston... [Our] conversation helped me decide to take the theoretical economics route along with my mathematical finance major because I excel in those fields of study. I feel that from this dinner I gained experience that may help me succeed in my future occupation."

Bringing a unique perspective to the program, many Trinity alumni attend the event to provide insight into what can be done with a Trinity degree. 

Eric Weiss '68 attended one of the dinners and was enthused by the program. 

"Being able to talk about students' future plans enabled me to get an idea of how so very many career choices can be a confusing and frustrating time in a young person's life. My own generation was faced with similar circumstances, and we also were forced to make career decisions which most definitely affected our business lives. However, the sheer volume of choices in a much more complicated world today can be almost numbing. Those decisions of course, must be made."

College is certainly an exciting time in every young life, but it can be frightening at times with your future looming near. Getting to meet with Trinity alumni, like Weiss, provides a great opportunity to see the results of a Trinity degree. 

The opportunity to network as early as your sophomore year is an absolutely crucial step to success at Trinity. By attending the Major Meal series, students, faculty, and alumni alike were all able to gain valuable insight into their fields. Sophomore College provides a multitude of programming aimed at the diverse needs of sophomore students. For more information on these opportunities, visit their webpage

By Allyson Mackender – 

I've always considered myself well-mannered. I chew with my mouth closed, have a firm handshake, keep my elbows off the table, and was taught by a rather snooty best friend which fork you use for salad. I say "please" and "thank you," every stranger is Ma'am or Sir until I'm told otherwise, and I know you never, under any circumstances, slurp the bottom of a soup bowl. However, in the presence of Diane Gottsman, modern manners and etiquette expert, and the founder of The Protocol School of Texas, I felt like this:

Each year, Trinity is lucky enough to host Gottsman for a Professional Dining Etiquette event in the Skyline Dining Room. Unlike your typical manners class, Gottsman's workshop is focused on dining etiquette in professional situations, like an interview over a meal or a workplace dinner, which is perfect for a graduating senior, like myself.

I won't lie. When I first walked in I was intimidated by Gottsman's perfectly manicured appearance and elegant poise. However, after two hours with Gottsman I left feeling confident, excited, and ready to take on anything the professional world throws my way. So, in case you missed it, here are the top 10 takeaways from a night with Diane Gottsman:

1. If you get a name tag, wear it on the right side of your chest. 


This way when you shake hands, the person's line of sight will be to your name tag. Also, always introduce yourself with your first AND last name (unless you're Oprah or Madonna). Three shakes and release.

2.  Eat before you go.

You do not want to look starving. Eating beforehand will help you pace yourself and will assure that you don't appear famished. And on the off chance you don't like your food – maybe your steak is cooked wrong? – you won't have to sit there starving because you DEFINITELY can't send your food back.

3. Men: Jacket on & tie down; Women: Purse on the floor between your feet.

You want to look professional throughout the interview, so keep that jacket on. Also, NEVER wear a bowtie. If your purse is on the back of your chair, the server could bump into it or it could fall off into the walkway. If it's small enough you can put it on your lap with the napkin over it.

4. Follow the lead of the host. 

Wait to put your napkin on your lap or touch your place setting until the host does. If the host decides to change tables and your napkin is in your lap, fork and knife in hand, you're going to feel pretty silly. Same goes for reaching for a bread basket or sugar. Let the host initiate.

5. Order smart. 

Don't order something too small, you'll look nervous, and don't order something too large, you'll look glutinous. Do not order spaghetti, salad or anything likely to get stuck in your teeth. Stick to meat and vegetable dishes.

6. Know your table place setting.

Start from the outside and work your way in. Don't touch your napkin before the host touches theirs and if you forget where the drink and bread go remember the "D – B" rule! Make a D & B with your hand and the letter corresponds with the side.

7. Always eat Continental Style.

This means you have to keep your fork in your left hand, knife in your right hand, and cut each bite as you eat it. The tines of your fork should always be facing down. Practice, practice, practice! It feels a little awkward at first.

8. Don't ask for ketchup or other sauces. 

It suggests the food wasn't seasoned well... and if it wasn't, too bad. The last thing you want to do is look high maintenance. If you are at a dinner party where the host cooked the food personally don't even ask for the salt and pepper. Fortunately, since you ate before it won't matter if you don't like the food.

9. Do not ask for a doggie bag or to-go box.

If the host pays for your meal, it looks like your taking advantage of them. So even if you have an entire meal left on your plate, painfully skip the to-go container.

10. Actions really do speak louder than words. 

It seems a little counterintuitive. After all, if it's a business interview you want to impress them with manicured answers about why you're the best candidate for the job. But it you do that with your mouth full it is going to fall short. 

Stay classy, Trinity. 

Look out for Gottsman's future Trinity workshops. In the meantime, for more information on Gottsman's etiquette expertise, visit her social media accounts or check out her blog for some great tips.

By Allyson Mackender – 

Trinity, we've almost made it. Just 48 hours from now we will be free to do whatever we want for an entire month. No more papers, no more tests, no more homework. (Sorry to all the seniors applying for jobs. I feel your pain.) The past two weeks have been nothing short of torturous; finals come every year yet they are always unexpectedly exhausting. As we finish our schoolwork and say our goodbyes, let's take some time to reflect on 15 thoughts you definitely had during finals week.

1. Finals are so far away!

Reading days have arrived, which means it's time to blow off all responsibilities because finals aren't for two whole days.

2. I guess I should start studying... Maybe I'll finally go to the library. 

The library is without a doubt the best place to study. You find your most productive spot and get in a groove. Finals are going to be a breeze. 

3. When did we learn this?!

There is nothing more frustrating than going through your notes and textbooks and not being able to find the material. Maybe you forgot to jot it down while you were "taking notes" on your computer in class. 

4. Forget it, I'm dropping out. 

Let's face it, we've all considered this more than once. But we know our Trinity degrees are invaluable and the suffering will be worth it. 

5. Time for my daily emotional breakdown. 

So inevitable you might as well schedule it. 

6. Did my professors plan for everything to be due on the same day? 

I legitimately had six essays due on the same day. There's no way that is a coincidence. 

7. Maybe I'll be more productive working in my room. 

You will NEVER be more productive in your room. Chances are you'll end up taking a short 10 hour nap. 

8. I bet a small snack would help. 

Your famous last words before you drain all of your Bonus Bucks on junk food from the POD.

9. I'm just going to take a short nap.

Followed by: "HOW DID I SLEEP FOR 10 HOURS!"

10. When was the last time I showered?

There is no time for hygiene, obviously. 

11. I inconveniently forgot how to read and write. 

You have two pages of your ten-page paper left and then you remember that OOPS you can't write anymore. How sad. 

12. Wait, my test is TOMORROW?

The never-ending week actually flew by and finals are almost over. But chances are you're still not ready for your test. Keep studying! 

13. Hallelujah, I'm done!

There is no better feeling than walking out of your last final. No matter how your grades turn out, at least you never have to look at that test/paper again. 

14. I'm actually going to miss Trinity.

Saying goodbye to Trinity is hard, even if it is only for a couple weeks. But, on the bright side, you can tell all your friends, "See you next year," which is never not funny. 

15. Goodnight! See you next year, world. 

Nothing compares to the post-finals hibernation. Two days of uninterrupted sleep without having to think about school at all. Sleep soundly, my friends. 

About Allyson

Allyson Mackender is a senior English major from Denver, Colorado. She is the author of Trinity's Experiential Learning Blog and the editor of the Trinity Perspective.  Allyson is a member of Sigma Theta Tau and Phi Sigma Pi. In her free time, Allyson enjoys reading, volunteering, and searching for the best coffee in San Antonio.
By Allyson Mackender – 

On February 9, 2014, Michael Sam, a defensive lineman at the University of Missouri, spoke confidently about his sexual orientation in an interview with the New York Times. After being drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Sam became the first openly gay NFL player, setting a precedent for generations of athletes to come. "I'm coming out because I want to own my truth," Sam said in the historic interview. Two years later, Sam once again told his story but this time to a captivated audience at Trinity University.

Students, faculty, staff, and members of the community joined Sam in Laurie Auditorium on Monday, October 24 for an inspirational and moving presentation. Beginning with a story of his turbulent childhood, Sam explained his triumphant journey to the University of Missouri and eventually to the NFL. Despite numerous setbacks and challenges, Sam remained resilient and true to himself, which he demonstrated during his amazing speech.

The event, hosted by four Trinity groups, PRIDE, Student Government Association, Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and Trinity Diversity Connection, was a huge success. Representatives from some of these groups provided insight into why Michael Sam's lecture was so impactful:

Callum Squires '17, Student Athlete Advisory Committee President 

"Michael Sam was impactful due to his personal and honest story. His assessment of America and the problems contained within its borders was simple, but brutally honest and highlighted how hypocritical some aspects of society can be. Our organisation is determined to promote greater equality and respect, which comes from our TIGE&R campaign we did a couple years back (Tiger Initiating Greater Equality & Respect). This was coupled with a passion for supporting all student athletes on this campus, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race or religion. This was an obvious progression following the talk we helped organise two years ago when Hudson Taylor, leader of Athlete Ally, spoke here and taught us about allyship.

Sam was chatty and friendly, and managed to display both a sense of humour and how seriously he takes his message. To me, it seemed he was definitely bitter and disappointed that the NFL didn't take to him as he thought they should, which is understandable given his level of talent in college. He interacted nicely with most people and students and it was clear, considering some of the emotional conversations I witnessed, that his visit meant a lot to many on our campus, both LGBTQ students and others alike."

Lena Dennington '18, Student Government Association Junior Senator

"Michael Sam's talk was an important discussion to open to the campus of Trinity. I believe his impact forwarded the opportunity to continue open discussion and related to many of our students at Trinity. He maintained a very conversational style of speaking, which I appreciated a lot. In terms of our organizational mission, Michael Sam represented a very important initiative we try to cultivate here at Trinity, which is: his conversation pressed forward the fostering of community and diversity, specifically as he represented the gay community. Overall, Michael Sam was engaging, and I believe his talk left a very positive impact on our community as we continue to grow in diversity and understanding."

For more information on Lectures and Visiting Scholars please visit Trinity's webpage.