By Sophie Dwyer '20

It's the most wonderful time of the year: but you're not free until exams are over! Here's how you can keep your GPA rising, even as the temperatures plummet.

1. Keep track of all your final tests, projects, and papers on one comprehensive calendar.
Know your enemy.

2. Join at least three different study groups for each class.
Many heads are better than one!

3. Scavenge for free food and coffee around campus.
i.e. Find a friend with extra Meal Swipes or Bonus Bucks!

4. Give your professors gifts.
Do it, even though you weren’t present all year.

5. Actually Sleep
We know, it’s scary to risk having nightmares about your finals going badly, but you will function better.

6. Breathe
Discover yoga, or another relaxing way to exercise!

7. Back up all your documents often.
True story, I once lost all my files the day after everything was due. #freshmanyear

8. Go for the Magic Stones (or another good luck tradition.)
Trinity legend says that if you touch the stones before a test, you’ll get an A!

9. Cheer yourself up with memes.

10. If all else fails, just think about the four weeks where your only obligations will be fun ones you choose!

About Sophie
Sophie Dwyer is a junior at Trinity studying communication and English.
students in the contemporary

As a Latinx woman in the field of journalism, my experience at The Contemporary has brought to light the array of stories by collegiate journalists waiting to be heard and the urgency of news platforms to take notice. Hence, we are excited about hosting an event next week discussing how different perspectives shape the newsroom. 

By Zabdi Salazar ’19

Journalism is a vehicle for connecting community voices to the broader public. Looking to the future, as America becomes more diverse, the voices of minority communities will continue to grow. However, will our news and the mainstream media continue to lag behind?

According to The Atlantic, only 13 percent of newspaper reporters are minorities, despite the fact that minorities make up more than 37 percent of the United States population. Although there have been many efforts by news organizations to promote diversity and inclusion, there are still many disparities with the makeup of newsrooms and the angle of stories in the media. The lack of newsrooms covering issues affecting minority communities has dramatic consequences on the public’s trust in the news.

As a Latinx woman myself and a co-founder of a digital startup publication at Trinity, The Contemporary, my experience in the field of journalism has shown how many stories are still waiting to be told, especially by minority journalists. For that reason, our organization seeks to empower collegiate journalists nationwide to report on critical issues in their communities. So far, we have collaborated with more than 25 colleges and universities to present unique, long-form reports on critical issues in a variety of communities.

the contemporary logo

On behalf of the organization, I am excited about moderating our upcoming event that will be addressing the importance of diversity in journalism: News Diversified, How Different Perspectives Shape the Newsroom. Our team is hosting three experienced journalists for the event on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Fiesta Room at Trinity University. You can join us by reserving a free ticket on eventbrite and Facebook. The speakers will share their own experiences working in the industry as minority journalists. Hearing such stories is critical to concretely identify the challenges of minorities in journalism. The panelists will also discuss how the newsroom has changed over time and responded to the country’s rapid demographic changes.

We have selected panel speakers who exemplify the values of diversity. Elaine Ayala, as a minority affairs reporter for the San Antonio Express-News, has delved into the city’s Latino culture. In the field for more than 33 years and part of six metropolitan dailies, Elaine’s impact in newsrooms is extensive. She has also dedicated herself to increasing the representation of minorities and women in the field of journalism.

Francisco Vara-Orta has consistently focused on covering education issues in-depth. He is currently a national correspondent and data specialist for Chalkbeat, a nonprofit national education news network. He has worked for five years with the San Antonio Express-News as an education reporter, addressing topics such as bilingual education, budget cuts, teachers, literacy, and special needs. He has been recognized and granted many awards for such reporting.

Graham Watson-Ringo, the new managing editor for the Rivard Report, a nonprofit urban affairs digital publication, has had extensive experience in digital journalism. As the former executive editor of the, the digital branch of the San Antonio Express-News, she is credited with increasing page views and launching a successful social media strategy. She has also gained a wide range of experience by reporting on college football at, being a sports blog editor at Yahoo!, and curating digital content at Associated Content.

The topic of this event resonates loudly with The Contemporary’s own purpose. In my own experience, our platform has inspired me to have confidence in my own voice. After the 2016 presidential elections, I published my first article. I reflected on my story as part of the Latinx community and how we’re depicted as the “Sleeping Giant” even though we should also strive to ensure that our voices heard. While my story is unique, I feel that our inclusive mission is one that appeals to students from all backgrounds and perspectives.

students in the contemporary working

Our team and platform are diverse, and this has been the cornerstone of our accomplishments. Since the founding of the organization, our team has been composed of a majority of women with different skills sets and expertise. In recruiting correspondents, we have sought out strong writers from many universities with unique experiences that will appeal to different communities. This past summer, we’ve selected a broad range of students to provide us with continuous diverse content for the year. We have recently published long-form pieces ranging from food insecurity of students in Maine to the paradox of sinophobia and economic ties in Vietnam. Our editorial team continuously reevaluates our content through frequent deliberation with our writers via conference calls to ensure the highest quality and thought-provoking stories.

Concerning political diversity, The Contemporary is committed to reaching beyond partisan politics and respecting diverse political views. We are a non-partisan organization that prioritizes creating a space for fact-based public discourse and civic engagement. At every meeting, our goal is to foster an open and inclusive newsroom where all ideas and thoughts can freely be discussed. When free speech is truly embraced, creative and innovative ideas can arise. In the past, we have partnered with political organizations on campus for events and hosted public debates with the Trinity University Forensics Society.

With the same passion put forward in our past events, our team is excited about our upcoming event and looking forward to having an engaging audience that will contribute to the discussion. We are also grateful to the Trinity Diversity Connection for sponsoring our event and Tiger Network for livestream services at

Interested to learn more about us and our future events? Subscribe to our newsletter for weekly content from amazing journalists. Reach us at and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Zabdi Salazar is a senior political science and business administration major, as well as the director of business operations of The Contemporary. As part of her role in The Contemporary, Salazar is always looking to build connections with the San Antonio community. She believes in collaboration among news networks as a key way to strengthen the industry of journalism and is interested in similar events and collaborations in the future. For more information, contact Salazar at

By Danielle Treviño '19

It is everyone’s favorite time of year - New Student Orientation (NSO)! College is an exciting time, and NSO is probably one of the most exciting parts. Here are some useful tips to help you survive this week.


As an Orientation Team (O-Team) veteran (this is my third and final year) and San Antonio local, these are tips I would highly recommend every new student remember throughout NSO week and the rest of their time at Trinity.


On behalf of Trinity University, please make your health a priority during NSO week. Our ancient O-Team proverb is Hydrate or Die-Drate.

Hydration is key! San Antonio is very hot, sometimes uncomfortably hot, and we want you all to be safe. We have filtered water stations all over campus, so make sure to carry your reusable water bottle with you throughout the week. In addition to drinking water, make sure to wear comfortable and heat appropriate clothes for move-in day. Although you may not be carrying all the boxes, breathable clothing is still important.


We all know that it is tempting to stay up late talking to your new friends, especially during NSO, but please remember to get a decent amount of sleep. The NSO schedule can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming, and that feeling will probably be amplified if you are pulling all-nighters.

Pushing yourself too hard or hiding in your room are not great NSO strategies. Don’t be afraid to sit with random people, and make sure to take a breather once in a while if you feel tired. As a new student, you only get one NSO experience – don’t waste it going through it as a zombie!


Get out of your comfort zone, while also being aware of your limits. Push yourself to engage in things at orientation that might make you a little uncomfortable at first, but remember to always put your own mental and physical health first.

That being said, don’t be afraid to come out of your shell – everyone is new! Everyone’s feeling a little awkward, and odds are they’ll be relieved that you made the first move to talk to them. NSO is the best time to make new friends and establish friendships that will last throughout your time at Trinity. We all know it’s hard, but pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone can give you memories and friends for a lifetime! Also, don’t feel embarrassed about feeling homesick; there is a good chance everyone else is feeling the same way. 

ASK.FM (Asking Questions)

Don't be afraid to ask any questions! O-Team, ResLife, faculty, and administration are all here to help you, and they want to help make your transition into college as smooth as possible. O-Team and Res Life both go through training before NSO starts to ensure we can assist new students with any issues that may arise.


You applied and now you have arrived. It’s finally August 17, 2018! We know that is going to be a big day for you and your family, and we want to make your transition as easy as possible. These are some tips and things to expect on move-in day:


As you arrive on campus, you’ll notice a bunch of random people in white t-shirts carrying totes and boxes from cars and taking them into various buildings. Eventually, as your vehicle moves forward, they will approach you and carry your stuff away – do not be alarmed! It’s Team Trinity and they are here to help make the moving process as easy as possible for you and your family.

Team Trinity is a group comprised of current students, faculty, staff, and alumni who volunteer to help move in incoming students. This tradition stems from the students, faculty, and community volunteers who transferred University property from the Woodlawn campus to our current Skyline campus on May 13, 1952. In order to make sure all your belongings go to the correct place, please make sure to label your things with your name and room number!

COOL UPPERCLASSMEN (Meeting your RA and O-Teamer)

Throughout move-in day you are going to meet some really well-informed and energetic upperclassmen who will successfully guide you through New Student Orientation (NSO) week. These students will be your residence hall’s resident assistant (RA) and O-Teamer — we will all be dressed in labeled maroon t-shirts in order to be easily identified.

Utilize your RA and O-Teamer as much as you need to. Please reach out to us; our job is to help you navigate all aspects of NSO week. You’ll also receive your NSO fold-out schedules from us. I would 10/10 recommend NOT losing those!

ALL MY FRIENDS (Ice-breakers)

One of my favorite parts of NSO was doing ice-breakers with my hall and O-Teamer (long live the Class of 2019’s Beze 2nd Even). I remember being understandably nervous to meet my hallmates at first, but once our O-Teamer did various ice-breakers with us we all became friends. O-Teamers are super friendly and will engage you in different activities throughout NSO that will allow for your hall and incoming class to get to know each other better.

Establishing early bonds with my hallmates made me less alone during the rest of NSO. You might feel uncomfortable doing the hall ice-breakers at first, but you’ll be grateful that you did them when you find yourself not wanting to eat in Mabee alone during the first few weeks.


Go to as many events as you can possibly stand; NSO is a great chance to meet new friends, ask questions, and get to know about your new school. These events aren’t “stupid." They have been carefully chosen and refined throughout years of experience. I would highly encourage going to all the orientation events! You get what you give out of orientation.

ON MY HONOR (Convocation)

The convocation is a formal academic ceremony that mirrors graduation four years later; proper decorum and attire are required for students and families in attendance. Although that description isn’t the most exciting, it’s actually a vivid memory from my own NSO experience. Convocation is one of the few NSO events that requires you to dress more formally. In my apartment, I actually have a group picture of my entire first-year hall and RA dressed really nicely for convocation.

If you decide to wear a skirt or dress for convocation, please make sure they are long enough. The reason that’s important is because during convocation you lean over a table to sign the honor code in front of faculty members. We don’t want any embarrassing moments to happen during this ceremony. 

HIGH-FIVE (Playfair)

Endless high-fives. Countless conversations with strangers. The most intense game of rock-paper-scissors in existence. It’s time for Playfair! It’s hard to think of an NSO event more memorable than Playfair. It’s a staple tradition and experience that is unique to Trinity. It is an opportunity to get outside of your comfort zone, meet new people, and engage in fun group activities that are led by O-Team.

Playfair is a high-energy event that can be a bit overwhelming but is fun once you allow yourself to get out of your shell. It’s also a great way to meet a ton of people in a short amount of time. After meeting so many people at Playfair, you’ll probably recognize some of your classmates walking around campus.

SIGN ME UP (Student Involvement Fair)

You've moved in, signed up for classes, and now you're looking for ways to get involved on campus!
Come to our Student Involvement Fair (SIF), which runs at the start of every semester at Trinity. During NSO, it will be held on August 21st at 6 pm. SIF is a great way to meet other students that share the same interests as you!

This is where you find out about academic student groups, Greek life, etc. If you find a group you are interested in, make sure to give them your contact information so you find out about their upcoming meetings or events. If you notice that Trinity doesn’t have a club for something (which I would honestly be shocked by because we literally have a club for everything), you can always start a new club, and you only need ten members!

Pumped for NSO? Learn more!

With this guide in hand, you've got all the tools you need to survive and thrive NSO week. Welcome to Trinity!

About Danielle

Danielle Treviño is a senior communication and studio art major from San Antonio, Texas, and is a co-captain of this year's O-Team. She is passionate about bringing people together through a shared appreciation for art and hopes to bridge the relationship between art and the general community. 
Henry Seward '18 stopped digging a deeper hole, and started digging in.

When I was a kid, the emphasis was always when I would attend and graduate from college, not if. Both of my parents had attended universities, and they expected nothing less of their three children. I got through high school with relative ease, and, despite my abhorrent attitude towards any school activity during my senior year, I had a selection of universities to choose from.

I also had the confidence of someone who had never suffered harsh consequences for their actions. Even when I had messed up, my mistakes seemed to not affect me the way people warned they would. The rules of their lives did not seem to apply to me. I had a confidence based not on my personal achievements, but on my perceived lack of failures. It was a confidence based on nothing.

When I actually got to Trinity, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to have fun. It was honestly as simple as that. Before I joined a fraternity during my freshman year, I was already applying my high school mixture of ignoring homework, cramming for tests, and general degeneracy that I thought would provide the optimum amount of enjoyment.

The intellectual curiosities that my classes cultivated were all too often subdued by concerns over how best to delight in my weekend. At the end of my freshman year, I convinced myself that this strategy was working. My grades were not great but, “Everyone has a tough freshman year,” I would remind myself. I just assumed that I could do better without doing things differently.

I was wrong.

Sometime during my sophomore year the enjoyment I reaped from my hedonistic actions began to fade. I declared a major that I thought would make me money instead of a major that I was interested in. My whole life, my parents told me to work for the things that would make me happy. Only now, I did not know what would make me happy. I couldn’t envision working and being happy at the same time. I figured, “If I can’t be happy, I can at least make money.”

Classes that had previously piqued my curiosity turned into hour-long discussions on the contents of a balance sheet. In retaliation (against who, I am still not sure), I began not paying attention in or not attending classes altogether. “Their monotony is crushing my spirit,” I told myself. My grades continued to fall, and the confidence I thought I had was quickly dispelled with thoughts of seemingly inevitable failure.

I did my best to ignore the problems around me. The problems that I was causing. I got really good at it, too. I awoke every morning to don my armor of dishonesty. A thick weave of internal lies that shielded me from the real issues that I was too afraid to face. It allowed me put on a smile when necessary. It helped me sleep through the anxiety that wracked my brain. It was the tool I needed to dig a hole deep enough to throw my body in.

As I dug, I made sure to ignore the people yelling from the top of the hole. Family and friends would reach their hands down, offering a lift out, but their offers were never accepted. “Why are you digging?” they’d ask, “We will help you do anything but dig that hole!”

My eyes unable to meet theirs, I shuddered at the thought of being exposed as a fraud.  “I am not digging, I’m building a staircase up to the top,” I would respond as I tried to hide the shovel down in the dirt. The walls of the pit groaned under the weight of the world, threatening to give away to an avalanche of earth. I put on headphones and kept burrowing.

Whatever ambition that propelled my peers was absent in me. I had no direction.

I was lost.

That summer between my sophomore and junior years, I received a letter from Trinity saying that they would be taking away my scholarship due to an unacceptable GPA. The problems that I had been digging away from were all of a sudden in the hole with me, teeth gnashing, eyes starving. I wrote back, begging for a second chance to show that I was deserving. Trinity responded that I would have a probationary period during which I could restore my scholastic status, and for the first time in years, instead of digging deeper, I began to fill the hole.

I was more than halfway through my junior year before I built up the courage to switch my major to history, a subject that had interested me since middle school. I will never forget emailing my adviser, Amy Holmes, the day after Christmas with my plan to change. Even though it was the middle of winter break, right in between two major holidays, she responded within the next two days with a detailed plan and helped me get in contact with the counseling and advisers that I needed. My interest in class rose exponentially, but my work ethic was still undependable. Despite this, that semester I posted my best grade point average at Trinity to that point. Through my senior year, my grades continued their upward trend. I did things that I had previously thought were out of reach for me. I earned an A on a 25+ page paper, I presented the paper at a humanities symposium, and I was finally excited for my future.

I was developing a real sense of confidence in myself. I decided to re-enter the business world by adding business administration as a second major. My re-introduction into business classes was much better than before. The material hadn’t changed, but I had.

I was found.

This summer I started my first internship. Working in the Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing at Trinity has allowed me to better understand the way an office operates. In addition, they have provided me with many opportunities to develop my writing and organizational skills that will prove invaluable as I move forward. Most importantly, their  supportive environment has helped me develop both personally and professionally.

This is the first time I’ve written about myself for an audience bigger than a university admissions department. My problems always seem either overly dramatic or inconsequential, so writing about them felt trivial. I am writing this now because it’s important to me. Not only because it is an exercise in self-honesty, but also because I know other people have similar experiences. Other people have wandered with no direction or felt obligated to fill an anticipated societal role without passion.
Fortunately for me, I attend Trinity University. They gave me the guidance, the opportunity, and, most importantly, the time I needed to find myself. They provided a wake-up call and made me supply the effort. I am now poised to graduate this fall with a double major in history and business administration and plan on applying to law school this upcoming spring. I have goals and desires that extend far beyond the upcoming weekend. I am still working on being honest with myself and achieving personal growth, but now I am ready and excited to do it. I am finally engaged in becoming someone that I would be proud of.

While too many people to name individually have helped me along my journey, I want to specifically thank my history professors David Lesch, Lauren Turek, and Todd Barnett for helping to reignite my desire for learning and revamp my work ethic. I want to thank my fraternity brothers of Phi Sigma Chi for their friendship that held me together during the toughest moments. Finally, I want to thank my parents for their unshakable love and support. It seems about every week now, I realize I should have been doing something that they had been telling me to do for years.

Henry Seward is a senior at Trinity University from Bellaire, Texas. He is graduating in the fall with a double major in history and business administration and is a member of the Trinity club lacrosse team. Henry can be reached at

By McKenna D. Parr '18 -

It was the end of the Spring 2017 semester, and I was literally losing it. As I struggled to finish four papers and learn exam material which was supposedly “review,” I couldn’t help but think about all the shopping and packing I needed to do. After all, I had exactly three days between when I would be released from Residential Life duties on campus and when I was supposed to be packed for an unfamiliar environment and seated on a flight to Europe. I was well aware that the extra fees from all the bags I planned to check would exceed the cost of my actual plane ticket, but my excitement vastly overpowered the wardrobe and financial crises I was experiencing. Soon, I would be roaming the streets of Madrid, Spain.

I would be participating in the 2017 Madrid Summer Internship Program, a six-week immersion experience in which students participate in classes, excursions, and conduct real business... all in Spanish. The majority of the program’s participants are non-native Spanish-speakers, students of commerce, or both. During the day, students work part-time at internships assigned to them based on previously-indicated interests. In the afternoons and evenings, students are required to attend events such as movies, performances, and classes taught by Trinity faculty. These classes cover modern culture, economy, history, art, current events, politics, business, and more. On the weekends, the group of Trinity students travels to other historically and culturally significant cities in the country. Individuals and pairs of students do homestays, allowing them an opportunity to live in an authentic Spanish household with a host family.

Madrid by morning, up from San Antone
mckenna at winery in spain
I am from Pasadena, Texas, a small town on the southeast side of Houston where the 1980 Western drama Urban Cowboy was filmed… if that tells you anything. Before I had the experience of hosting an exchange student in my residence hall room as a sophomore at Trinity, I never had the slightest interest in going abroad. “Texas Forever,” right? However, after having the pleasure of befriending the German exchange student I hosted, my heart and mind opened up and a strong desire to get outside the States was born. I always excelled in my Spanish classes and had plans to continue my education in the language throughout college. I had recently switched my major from music to marketing, so I knew that if I studied abroad, it would have to be over the summer so I wouldn't fall behind. This was not only a financial issue, but an availability issue as well. When I learned about Trinity's Madrid program, I knew it was the perfect solution to my dilemma... until I was discouraged by the cost. Both my parents had been unemployed for a few years, and eventually I gave up on trying. However, a Trinity professor very dear to my heart, Dr. Bladimir Ruiz, strongly believed I could contribute to the program and insisted that I apply despite the cost. I ended up receiving the Alvarez Grant that allowed me to participate.

After a flight that felts days long, I arrived in Spain on May 15, 2017 (I mean, I think... the time change still gets me). Although I had already begun developing new friendships with some of the other students on the plane, I was still completely overwhelmed. While I felt lucky to be part of a group of students that had bonded prior to our departure from the States, the part that had my stomach in knots was the thought of being separated from my Trinity friends on the trip to stay with my host family. This was probably because my Spanish was very weak at the time, and I feared I might embarrass myself trying to communicate with her. Luckily, I had been assigned a roommate… whom I barely knew and whose Spanish was just as limited as mine. Awesome. Oh and if you’re not aware, all the electrical outlets are different in Europe. Of course, I didn’t have an adapter.

mckenna with host mother
La Casa de Amelia
My host mother, Amelia, picked us up from the hotel and greeted us warmly. The first thing I noticed was how perfectly coiffed she was, as was almost every other Spaniard. In other words, locals seemed to look at us like we were literal trash in our Nike sweats, Birkenstocks, and baggy college t-shirts. When my roommate Jess and I arrived at “La Casa de Amelia,” we agreed that it reminded us of Mamma Mia!, specifically the scene where the girls are all poking their heads out the windows singing and there are clothes lines everywhere with sheets and underwear drying. Yeah, it was like that. I wish I had overcome my fear of talking to Amelia earlier, because I would soon realize that she was the wackiest, most impatient, kindest, most invasive, loveliest woman in all of Spain. It just took some time for me to warm up to her waltzing into the bathroom during my afternoon soak in the tub to ask about my day.

Save a Horse, Ride the Metro 
Simply walking through the streets of the city was nothing short of magical. Although I struggled to fully adjust to “city life” in general (I’m what some would call “country”, for lack of a better term), there were definitely tradeoffs. For instance, I adored the street musicians that could be found entertaining at almost every corner and even at the metro stations. As I’m sure many of you know, the majority of people in that region use public transportation as opposed to personal vehicles. There were pros and cons to this… While there were definitely many occasions where it was awesome to have an Uber substitute available, I couldn’t “gun it” if I was running late (which I usually was). On the other hand, there were several frustrations that came along with the public transportation. There were many different “huelgas” or strikes, where the metro drivers would just decide to run slowly on any given day. The taxi drivers also participated in these strikes. Another thing that was notably different was that being up close and personal with strangers is a big part of Spanish culture. During rush hour, everyone on the metro is completely sardined in there, laughing loudly with their friends, and striking up friendly conversation with complete strangers. In the U.S., we tend to be more territorial, respecting personal space and boundaries (I won’t even go into how bad the unapologetic and brazen display of the PDA was), but as someone on the huggier and bubblier side, I kept thinking, “This is great! I have totally been living in the wrong country!” That being said, every city has its imperfections. I witnessed my first pickpocket crime on the metro one afternoon, and my host-mother later explained that it’s not uncommon. Strangely, I found comfort in having to hold on a little tighter to my bag from time to time than to fear for my physical safety, as we sometimes do in the states. While it wasn't exactly picture-perfect, I always felt so safe walking alone or in small numbers, since Madrid tends to feel like one big family.

What is this, the Lord’s Supper?
Bread and wine with literally everything. I honestly grew sick of it. I think I genuinely thought that, because they speak Spanish, I would be having tamales and quesadillas… boy was I wrong. It’s surprising though, because I could probably count on one hand the amount of overweight people I saw in two months. The dining culture is certainly different as well. I’ll never forget when I got in trouble for pulling out my laptop at the bar. Apparently the Spanish differentiate between food time and work time, and I didn’t get the memo. When I set my laptop up on the table, the manager at a tapas bar asked me to stop working. Naturally, I asked him why, and explained that I had a presentation due that afternoon. He ever so sternly informed me that people were trying to unwind and I was being rude by working. Good to know. Additionally, the Spanish operate on much later hours. The Starbucks by my home growing up opened at 4:30am, while the one by my host mother’s house opened around 7:30 am. If you know me at all, you know exactly why this was a problem. If you don’t, let’s just say pre-coffee McKenna has been compared, on several occasions, to both Godzilla and Regina George.

mckenna with friend in spain
Debate Builds Bridges 
My internship was the part of the program where I experienced the most cultural differences in one place. I worked as a market research assistant, which involved working to bridge the gap between Spain and the States in America, where the company planned to begin operating. I was most surprised at how laid back the work environment was. It followed that they seemed intrigued by my “intense” work ethic as well (if only they had witnessed me studying for my finals… ha). My office almost felt like a big family. We often left as a group for coffee breaks, messaged smiley faces back and forth, and shared personal stories about each others' families and upbringings. They have no problem talking about religion and politics in the workplace. They would get into these loud debates of which I could only comprehend a little. Often, I found that the winner of any given debate was the most respected that day. In the U.S., it is typically considered unprofessional to partake in such debates, so needless to say I experienced extreme anxiety when asked by my coworkers to answer questions about President Trump on behalf of all America.

As part of our class grade, we were required to attend excursions to various Spanish cities. We often had a bilingual tour guide that helped us to fully understand a given city’s historical and cultural significance. There is just something about standing in a building older than your own country that is purely mesmerizing, and I would venture to say that these excursions had the greatest impact on me. We were also required to give weekly, memorized presentations over Spanish geography, current and historical events, economy, art, culture, and business. It was through these presentations that my Spanish speaking took off. At the end of the program, my peers made so many comments to me, saying that if they didn't hear me with their own ears, they wouldn't have believed it was the same person speaking. I now feel confident enough to engage with Spanish speakers here in San Antonio, and I certainly couldn't have said that before.

historical site in spain

The Road Ahead
Overall, the program enhanced my life in unimaginable ways. I still hear from Amelia regularly, and she was extremely proud to see me complete my education last May, especially after hearing of certain hardships in my personal life which might have otherwise affected my graduation. Additionally, having to be so cautious in an unfamiliar environment for so many weeks actually had a lasting impact on my independence. I am significantly more prompt and resourceful after not being able to use my GPS in a city on the other side of the world and using modes of transportation which often impose unexpected delays. It is also so rewarding to engage with an entirely different demographic, thanks to the improvement in my language skills. I love that many of the 2017 participants still post in the group messages to stay connected, too. Most importantly, I now possess a higher level of cultural and social awareness. There were so many times I clearly frustrated the locals by not being perfectly fluent in Spanish. I couldn’t help but recall hundreds of times growing up where people around me would become angry with customers or service providers that were trying to accomplish something, but didn’t speak perfect English. I developed the sincerest empathy for these individuals while I was abroad, as the tables had turned and I was suddenly the one who didn’t understand. I realized that no one ENJOYS not understanding. I also learned that there is not just one "right" way to do things, just because it is the American way.

McKenna D. Parr graduated from Trinity in May 2018 with a degree in business administration concentrating in marketing. She is an intern in Trinity’s Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing. She can be reached at

By Chiara Pride '20 -

Tigers holding up their parade banner at the San Antonio PRIDE Parade

The Stonewall Inn was owned and converted into a bar by the Genovese crime family, widely known as the most prominent mafia syndicate among the “Five Families” of New York City and New Jersey. To ensure Stonewall’s continued operation without a liquor license, the police collected weekly payoffs. In 1966 the family designated Stonewall a gay bar, solidifying its position at the intersection of extortion, force, and marginalization. During its tenure as a gay bar, the Inn was regularly raided by police. It is speculated that the raid on June 28, 1969, occurred because the police were receiving fewer kickbacks—meaning mafia owners had begun making most of their profit by blackmailing Stonewall’s wealthier patrons.

In a standard police raid, female police officers took individuals whom they identified as women into the bathroom to verify their sex as female. Persons whose genitalia did not align with their assumed gender presentation would be arrested. On the night of June 28, some of Stonewall’s customers refused to go into the bathroom or give their identification to police. As arrests were made and police waited on patrol wagons to carry away seized alcohol, a crowd of released patrons gathered outside of the bar. An instance of police brutality sparked what we know today to be the Stonewall Riots, as a woman was beaten over the head with a baton for complaining that her handcuffs were too tight. The riots that ensued that night and into the next were a response to continued oppression and an expression of community frustration.

Seizing the spirit of activism that had awoken the gay community of New York City, activists from the Gay Liberation Front, the Gay Activists Alliance, and others organized the Christopher Street Liberation Day March. The march was the first of what we now refer to as “pride” marches and parades. It took place on June 28, 1970, on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

Thirteen years later, in 1982, the San Antonio Gay Alliance organized the city’s first large-scale pride parade. San Antonio’s pride parades have always been a bit of a hot mess (in 1997 there were actually two competing pride picnics) but as with a lot of things in San Antonio, the imperfections add to the charm.

I was not thinking of this national and local history while covering my classmates in glitter and frantically trying to take Snapchats of the crowd for our Trinity University account before my phone died. In fact, I was not thinking about much at all. My friends and I stood around chatting about everything and nothing in the heat for two hours before we finally stormed into the street and began our halting march down the strip. We had the freedom and privilege to march without concern, to shout #TigerPride at adoring crowds of people, and to look into the eyes of our loved ones knowing that we were safe and happy.

Chiara Pride with friends at the San Antonio PRIDE Parade

I will be the president of PRIDE for the next year at Trinity. Those of you reading this who know me know that I have taken on a lot of leadership roles during my short time at the University. Frankly, too many. I have struggled, as many Trinity students do, to find a balance between school, extracurriculars, and my personal life. I have never been able to pin down why this problem is so acute for me, why I tend to throw myself into everything I do. Writing this piece has helped me realize one source of my passion.

My existence is political. I owe my present condition of freedom to organizers like Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson, the black gender-nonconforming drag queen and sex worker who famously shouted, “I got my civil rights,” igniting the Stonewall Riots. Johnson, along with Sylvia Rae Rivera (a Latina gender-nonconforming drag queen and activist), helped found the Gay Liberation Front and Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries activist groups. In documentaries like “Pay it No Mind: The Life and Times of Marsha P. Johnson,” Johnson is depicted as a saint, as someone who would gladly give her last dollar to a kid on the streets. This is the legacy of the gay community in the United States—the radical kindness and activism of people of color, homeless drag queens and sex workers, who attended a gay bar owned by the mafia. These women, from marginalized communities, demanded to be free from harassment and in doing so opened the door for us all to march proudly.

A rainbow flag flying at the San Antonio PRIDE Parade

My identity as a cisgender, pansexual, white young woman at a private four-year institution cannot embody the legacy of activists like Marsha P. Johnson. I can, however, work to honor the legacies of those who fought for the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. I want queer students at Trinity, whether they be part of PRIDE or not, to be aware of the history they are carrying on with each step of their bold and happy existence. I hope queer students take comfort knowing that they are in the company of saints and freedom fighters.

View more photos from the San Antonio Pride Parade.

Headshot of author Chiara Pride

About Chiara

Chiara Pride is a rising junior and a double major in anthropology and political science. She is a McNair Scholar and the new president of PRIDE at Trinity University. In her free time, Chiara enjoys telling everyone she knows how amazing Janelle Monae is as an artist, activist, and queer icon.

By Inka Boehm –

It’s time. The Registrar has confirmed you somehow got your life together in the 4 or so years you’ve been here in order to walk across a stage and take a photo gripping onto your newly received diploma, smile on your face and fear in your eyes. You have to face the music and answer the question on everyone’s mind: what’s next?

I’m here to help you both answer and avoid that question using these handy steps:

1. Take a moment to realize how things will never be the same again. You’re probably 21 so you can sit dramatically at a bar forlornly staring into your glass contemplating life.

2. Use said moment as motivation to enjoy the remaining time you have with friends, faculty, and staff of your institution. You might not be in the same place as all your closest friends in the next few years, so make them so sick of you they’ll be okay with your leaving (I’m only mostly kidding). Also, check those things off the bucket list you should probably make.

3. Make a bucket list. Cheesy, but fun. Plus, a good way of procrastinating.

4. Don’t let senioritis hit too hard. Realistically, you might have grad school in your sights, and the collegiate experience is ultimately an academic one. You won’t get to have access to the same variety of classes a liberal arts institution offers, so might as well make the most of it. Plus, you might pick up some sweet, sweet skills that will be useful for making money in the meantime.

5. Visit your handy dandy Center for Experiential Learning and Career Success (CELCS). They’ll whip you and your resume into shape. I never knew what a cover letter was until I logged onto Hire-A-Tiger and learned how bad what I was calling my cover letter truly was. (No, I’m not sponsored).

6. Realize it’s okay to not have a set plan. Some people will go directly into the workforce, some will go directly to grad school, some will take a year or two to figure their life out, and some will move to a far away country and only be remembered vaguely as “that one kid who went to Greenland to become a sheepherder and has a dope Instagram.” Your next year or two might be a combination of all these things, and that is 100% okay.

7. Soak it all in. Take advantage of the opportunities, the facilities, the people, the weather, everything. See how much free ‘swag’ you can get away with by attending all the school sponsored events. Some even include alcohol. But more importantly, some include free food and advice on how to do taxes.

8. Get ready to be the one your younger friends will turn to as they themselves begin the daunting path that is senior year. Even if you don’t have the answers, you can always pretend. Fake it ‘till you make it, as somebody once told me.

9. So even if you’re not the sharpest tool in the shed, and you’re looking kind of dumb, with your finger and your thumb in the shape of an L on your forehead, remember: you’re still an all-star with a diploma.

10. Trinity has given me four years of memories that I might forget, friends that I might lose touch with, and knowledge that went up in smoke after a particularly rough series of final exams, but for each of those, there are thousands of moments that have made my time here worth it. I’ve truly found a family here.With that in mind, every family has that one relative you might not be in constant contact with with, but always sends fruitcake in the winter to show they care. I aspire to be that fruitcake giver to all my fellow Trinity students, past, present, and future. I encourage you to do the same.

About Inka

Inka Sklodowska Boehm is a senior from St. Louis, Missouri majoring in Political Science. She is a member of Alpha Phi Omega, Trinity University Players, Trinity Distinguished Representatives and works as the tour guide intern in Admissions and an orientation team leader. She studied abroad in Strasbourg, France, where she studied French and interned at the Council of Europe. In her free time she enjoys kayaking, reading true crime novels, and finding her next slice of pizza.