On The Trinity Perspective, you will find those answers—or at least someone who asked the same questions. We have been in your shoes. The Trinity Perspective collects advice and stories from current students, parents, faculty, and alumni to share with you—prospective students, families, and the Trinity community.

By Paige Roth '15
Paige Roth '15
Biology Researcher & Playwright

As the fall semester comes to a close, students once again face the dreaded holiday tradition -- finals. As a high school student, you have likely experienced some version of finals or heard horror stories of college finals. You've heard tales of sleep deprivation, five hour long exams, marked decline of personal hygiene, or the fate of a semester's work hanging in the balance. 

You've heard the advice: get enough sleep, make time for exercise, don't forget to shower, break up your study sessions, don't cram, etc. These tidbits are all valuable pieces of advice that I try to implement in the sprint to the end of the semester. However, given the holiday spirit, I thought it would be much more useful to look at the bright side of finals. 

What? There's something positive about finals, you say?

1. You've seen all the material before (for the most part). I used to panic that I suddenly had to relearn all the material I'd encountered all semester. Wrong. You now know exactly what types of questions the professor asks or what they look for in papers. Though you can expect a few curve balls on the final exam, take comfort in knowing you've seen the material before. Chances are, if the professor found it important enough to include on the first exam, he or she will include it on the final. The odds are ever in your favor.

2. Everyone is in the same boat. Suddenly the library is the most happening place on campus. It is even sometimes referred to as "Club Lib." There's something satisfying to the nerd in every Trinity student to see all their peers working in one hyper-productive frenzy. This sudden influx of study buddies will keep you motivated as you power through your fourth paper.

Trinity's awesome new library reading room! There is nothing more beautiful to a student in the midst of finals than a giant table with plenty of outlets. It's the little things.

3. Crossing the finish line in each class. Count each exam down and each paper turned in as an individual victory. The feeling of closing the door on that class you've been struggling with every week or the class you never imagined you would take is now over. Celebrate the small victories in between events of finals weeks and remember those formidable accomplishments when you are grabbing your third espresso of the night.

4. The Holidays. Fall finals coincide with many university's holiday traditions. At Trinity, finals week is interspersed with my favorite traditions. Take advantage of these festive events as cheerful breaks in between study sessions. If nothing else, play a little Christmas music or light some cinnamon scented candles while you're writing that twenty page paper to ease the pain. 

5. That feeling when you're done. That feeling gets me through finals year after year. The moment when you finish you're last final is one of the most satisfying moments of the year. Revel in all of your accomplishments as you sprint towards the end and be sure to celebrate extravagantly when you're done.

About Paige Roth
Paige Roth is a senior biology & English double major at Trinity and acts as editor of The Trinity Perspective. Throughout high school and the beginning of her time at Trinity, she identified herself as a strong humanities student. However, after a serendipitous meeting with her introductory biology professor, Dr. Jim Shinkle, she took her first tentative steps into the world of research where she’s studied cucumber sunburns ever since. Merging her loves of science and humanities in a true liberal arts fashion, Paige is now the author of Trinity’s Undergraduate Research blog. Paige enjoys all types of writing, from non-fiction to playwriting. In fact, she’s produced two plays off Broadway in New York and off Sunset in Hollywood. In her spare time Paige loves spin class, singing, running with the Dean of Students, and spending time with her residents as a resident mentor for first-year student.

By Paige Roth '15

At this point in your college search process, you are probably experiencing lingering doubts about the number of schools on your list. Too many? Too few? Do I actually have a shot at getting in? Will I ever finish all the supplement questions? You are in good company. Even that 5.0 GPA, perfect ACT score, spent every summer as a medical volunteer in Haiti, chess club environmental chair, and class president sitting next to you is worried. I promise. 

As a college senior who just registered for her last semester of classes (yikes), you may be thinking, "Oh yeah, 'relax,' easy for you to say." But how wrong you are! I'm not going to tell you to relax, because, frankly, it's not going to work. I found my anxiety quite productive, and slightly invigorating--in moderation. That anxiety is the same impulsive streak the inspires you to apply to that reach school, write the quirky college essay instead of the "Day at the Food Bank that Changed My Life Forever" essay, and makes the college search exciting. And, to be honest, I remember being in your shoes like it was yesterday.

But before I wax nostalgic, let's get down to brass tacks (I see you math minded people sighing with relief--Finally!). I applied to ten schools. That's not a magic number. I applied to 3 safety schools, 3 match schools, 3 reach schools and Trinity. Ten applications became a very manageable number. Several of the schools did not have supplement questions (Hallelujuah), some had nine (I'm looking at you, Wake Forest). I doubt any college counselor would tell you this, but if you are feeling last minute nerves about not having enough safety schools, fire off some extra applications to those schools that don't require any extra work. If it gives you and your parents some peace of mind, it's worth it.

My last, and possibly most important piece of advice, is this: apply to that one school your college counselor keeps putting on your list, even if you can't imagine yourself attending that university in a million years. 

You may decide you were right all along, but that last minute capitulation might just determine the next four years of your life. Do you feel a story coming on? There are those careful reading skills kicking in!

Here is my abridged "Why Trinity?" story, in case it helps ease your anxieties:

I had no interest in coming to Texas. I pictured Trinity University with pueblo buildings and dirt and tumbleweeds obstructing the paths of cowboy boot clad students. (I have since learned to do my research). My college counselor, a wise person and Trinity alumnus, added Trinity to my very first college list on Naviance. Though I stealthily removed Trinity before each meeting, he would passively add it back and so the cycle continued. I wanted to go back East. I wanted small liberal arts or maybe a big sports school. I wanted to be a vet and a lawyer and a scientist and a poet and maybe an opera singer (I still want all those things, by the way). 

Needless to say, I hadn't the slightest idea what I wanted. And finally my college counselor, Mark Moody, told me, "Just apply. They don't have any supplement questions."

"Fine." I responded petulantly. 

And that was the best decision I almost didn't make. Thank you Mark Moody (in case I never said it).
So here are my takeaways:

  • Listen to your college counselors. They're right.
  • Don't go overboard on your applications, but if you're feeling nervous, send off a few extra applications that require minimal effort. (Can you tell I'm a graduating senior?)
  • Err on the side of quirky in your essay and supplement questions. The Trinity admissions staff still remembers my college essay on sea anemones stinger cells.
  • Enjoy shopping. Your anxiety (in moderation) is a reminder that something awesome is just about to happen in your world.

About Paige Roth
Paige Roth is a senior biology & English double major at Trinity and acts as editor of The Trinity Perspective. Throughout high school and the beginning of her time at Trinity, she identified herself as a strong humanities student. However, after a serendipitous meeting with her introductory biology professor, Dr. Jim Shinkle, she took her first tentative steps into the world of research where she’s studied cucumber sunburns ever since. Merging her loves of science and humanities in a true liberal arts fashion, Paige is now the author of Trinity’s Undergraduate Research blog. Paige enjoys all types of writing, from non-fiction to playwriting. In fact, she’s produced two plays off Broadway in New York and off Sunset in Hollywood. In her spare time Paige loves spin class, singing, running with the Dean of Students, and spending time with her residents as a resident mentor for first-year student
By Elizabeth Gilbert '14
Elizabeth Gilbert, The Trinity Perspective
Elizabeth Gilbert '14
Anthropology Researcher &
Christian Fellowship Leader

I have always been involved in the church. In high school, it was one of those things on my list of extracurricular activities; involved in church youth group, youth choir, the whole bit. I grew up in the church and my faith is incredibly important to me. Somehow, however, it never occurred to me to look at opportunities to pursue that faith in a college. Between the academic status, the dorms, and the campus food, religion got lost. I ended up at Trinity without considering how that might affect my Christian pursuits.

Upon deciding to attend Trinity I discovered “The Plunge,” a pre-orientation program for first years that focuses on service and faith. It is a week-long event which takes first years and upperclassman mentors downtown for a week to volunteer in San Antonio. Although the main focus of the event is service, there is also a significant focus on Christian fellowship and worship. 

Attending The Plunge was the best decision I made at Trinity. It allowed me to meet, before anyone else even got to campus, some of my best friends at Trinity. 

It introduced me to people who both shared and challenged my values, helped me to plug into San Antonio as a city, and feel welcome in a new place right from the start.

One of the most useful things The Plunge did for me was introduce me to people involved in Christian fellowships on campus. In fact, my small group leaders were each involved in a different group: Intervarsity, RUF, and Catholic Student GroupThis gave me the connections to try each group with the assurance that I would know someone there.

Continuing Your Spiritual Life In College, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship

For a while I participated in more than one fellowship, but when the time commitment became too much I narrowed my commitment down to one group. I now serve in multiple leadership positions with RUF and spend a good deal of my time with the organization. As a first-year, RUF gave me the opportunity to sing and play piano with the worship team, create meaningful relationships, and pursue my faith. Many of my friends in RUF, and in the other groups, are also involved in many other organizations, making up the well-rounded community I have come to love. They provided me the Christian home I had never even thought to look for.

Continuing Your Spiritual Life In College, Parker Chapel

Whether looking for a Christian community, or just for a place to come with questions, Trinity has many spaces open for you. I am so grateful to have spent my college years with friends I met even before orientation began and ones I am still meeting. There are opportunities for many faiths and different styles, and I know that I have enjoyed college more because of it.

About Elizabeth Gilbert:
Elizabeth Gilbert is a senior Anthropology major from Alvin, Texas. Her plans after graduation include graduate school and continuing to work with non-profits. Currently she works with the San Antonio Food Bank, is a member of Sigma Theta Tau social sorority, and Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) on campus. 

By Dayton King '15

As a tour guide, I have the privilege of meeting hundreds of prospective students and their families every year. I am always amazed by the diversity of our guests on campus. Despite the vast difference in the backgrounds of guests, may they be socio-economic, religious, or merely geographical; I have noticed that almost every prospective student and their family share a common trait. They responded with either confounded amusement or abject horror when I share that I am double majoring in Mathematics and Classical Studies. My academic advisors, Dr. Erwin Cook and Dr. Ryan Daileda are also quite different, which ought to be the case when speaking of an expert in Homeric Epic and a skilled Number Theorist.

However, much how the various families I have met share a common reaction, my advisors and majors share at least one great point of commonality: they teach me to think analytically and approach a problem in as many ways as possible. In both majors, I am taught how to take a seemingly inconsequential statement and interrogate as much information as possible out of it. I question the validity of the statement, I ask what this validity implies on a larger scale, and then I justify each of these assertions in a logical manner. The only difference I see between these statements in each major is that in one field I refer to them as “Theorems” and “Postulates” and in the other field I cite them as “Line Numbers”.

I believe it is this mode of thought that is the primary benefit of the Liberal Arts education that Trinity provides its students. 

To modify a quotation from Isaac Asimov: there is but one light of knowledge, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere. As I learn to read into the depth of cultural complexities in passages of the Odyssey, I also learn to consider the extents of Euclid’s Fifth Postulate. 

Conversely, refining my ability to present ideas in a cohesive, clear, and concise manner as is demanded in a mathematical proof has vastly improved my ability to speak and write in a similar fashion.

Should you too wish to visit campus one day, quite possibly the only thing you will hear more than “Welcome to Trinity” from various members of our Admissions team and students is that we are a university of “&”. I am the head math tutor for a school’s college-prep program & a supervisor for the Games Department at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. I am the President of the Math Society & a Captain for an organization called the Swashbucklers (Why pirates as the symbol of a substance-free hall you ask? The best answer I have is irony). I am a Mathematics & Classical Studies major. In your college search, ask how you would describe yourself in a series of “&” s which, at first, seem contradictory. Then look for what roots these interests, jobs, and skills share that you would like to develop in your college experience.

If you look through your list of prospective colleges with this root in mind and ask how each college will help you develop it, then the single most terrifying questions you can be asked at this age, what are your majors and what do you want to do with them, will become significantly less daunting.

About Dayton King:

I am a Senior Mathematics and Classics major with a minor in History and hope to attend Graduate School after Trinity to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematics. On campus I am the President of the Mathematics Society, a Captain of the Swashbuckler Upperclassmen Community Hall, and a tour guide for the University. When not working on presentations, studying with friends, or tutoring calculus students, I enjoy sleeping.

By Paige Roth '15
Paige Roth '15
Biology Researcher & Playwright

As a Biology and English double major, I often get the question, "Why English?" These skeptics seem to understand the value of a science major, but why invest so much time in a humanities major? Though I proudly admit to common English major stereotypes --I am never without a book, love coffee shops, vigorously debate Shakespeare or James Joyce, and can't imagine a career without some form of writing--these are not the reasons my English major may just be the most valuable skill in my academic tool kit. 

From my English major I have learned:

1. The value of evidence
Though you may not immediately associate research with English, research is the most important component of any paper. You would be amazed how many people (real world adults) still don't understand how to support their claims with clear and convincing evidence. This skill alone sets apart not only my writing, but also my interview skills. I.e. a future employer asks, "Can you tell me about a time you had to persuade someone who didn't agree with you?" Why, yes! Would you like to read my most recent English paper?

2. To always listen, but never undervalue my own opinion.
An English major is about unpacking someone else's argument to strengthen your own. (Sound useful, future lawyers and politicians?). As a first-year student I felt daunted by assignments that asked me to argue persuasively on canonical texts (The Iliad, Paradise Lost, anything by Chaucer or Shakespeare etc.), and I wondered, "What could I possibly have to say that some renowned scholar hasn't already written ten times over?" As a senior now writing a thesis on The Function of Dreams in Shakespeare (and after some validating pep talks with my faculty advisor) I can confidently tell you that there is always something new to say even on the best studied topics if you only have the gumption to raise your hand.

3. To craft a long form argument
I remember how daunting 4-6 page papers felt in high school and my first year of college. Can you imagine being assigned a 20-25 page paper (and that's just the rough draft)? Before you run the other direction, think about the number of times you may be asked to craft a lengthy presentation, proposal, or argument of any kind in the workplace. Though the task seemed insurmountable at first, I can now confidently tackle these lengthy arguments that still terrify many graduates.

4. How to communicate the technical complexities of my Biology major.
The name of the game in English is synthesizing complicated information into understandable prose. My ability to translate some of the science I've learned in the classroom to non-scientists led to opportunities like writing Trinity's Undergraduate Research Blog.

5. A lot about myself
When you spend hours a day discussing classic and modern texts you get a peek into some of the world's most brilliant minds and how they grapple with the human condition. At this pivotal time in your life, who better to guide you than Jane Austen, J.D. Salinger, or Ernest Hemingway?

About Paige Roth
Paige Roth is a senior biology & English double major at Trinity and acts as editor of The Trinity Perspective. Throughout high school and the beginning of her time at Trinity, she identified herself as a strong humanities student. However, after a serendipitous meeting with her introductory biology professor, Dr. Jim Shinkle, she took her first tentative steps into the world of research where she’s studied cucumber sunburns ever since. Merging her loves of science and humanities in a true liberal arts fashion, Paige is now the author of Trinity’s Undergraduate Research blog. Paige enjoys all types of writing, from non-fiction to playwriting. In fact, she’s produced two plays off Broadway in New York and off Sunset in Hollywood. In her spare time Paige loves spin class, singing, running with the Dean of Students, and spending time with her residents as a resident mentor for first-year student

By John Pederson '15
John Pederson '15
Engineer & Acapella Singer
I began singing in choir when I was 6 years old. At the time, I’m not sure that anyone listening would have considered the squawking monotonic sounds coming out of my mouth remotely musical, but I stuck with it. Fast forward to my senior year of high school – I’ll skip over that unfortunate time in every choirboy’s life when signing soprano is no longer possible and your voice is more likely to crack than to work – I was singing in five different choirs. Outside of the classroom and the swimming pool, I was (am?) a choir nerd. When the time came to start looking at colleges, I was concerned that I would have to major in music to be able to participate in choir or that I would be in the minority as a non-music major.

            After visiting Trinity’s campus, I met with Dr. Gary Seighman, Director of Choral Activities at Trinity University, and my fears were put to rest. Schools like Trinity have phenomenal music departments that welcome all majors and college acapella has never been bigger (thank you Pitch Perfect); I was going to be just fine.

Dr. Gary Seighman during the Fall choir concert
Director of Choral Activities, Dr. Gary Seighman, explains the musical selections to the audience during the fall choral concert.

As a non-music major intending to join a university music ensemble, take private lessons, join the stand band, or sing in an acapella group, here are a couple of questions to ask at your next college visit:

  • Are there opportunities for non-music majors to participate in choir/orchestra/band/private studios?
  • Can you sit in on a rehearsal? There is no better way to get a feel for a conductor and a group than by sitting in on a rehearsal.
2014-2015 Chamber Singers ensemble poses around Miller Fountain
  • Are there any scholarships available for participating in music? Who is eligible to receive them? Plan ahead on auditioning for ensembles as you can usually audition during a college visit. Some scholarships allow for auditions to be sent by CD. Plan ahead for recording these.
  • What sort of time commitment does each group entail? Ensembles will usually count for course credit and will be scheduled during the day like any other class. Lessons may or may not count for credit and will have more flexible hours. Student groups will not generally count for credit and may have odd meeting hours.
  • What sorts of financial commitments are involved in participation? Will you have to buy a tuxedo, choir dress, music binder, or rent your instrument? It’s always better to know what you’ll be paying for. There’s nothing worse than a expensive surprise.
  •  Does the choir or orchestra ever tour? These will generally be free or heavily subsidized by the university and are a great way to fit some travel into busy college schedules.

Trinity University Chamber Singers, Fall Choir Concert 2014

Armed with these questions, you can start to narrow down which schools will be able to offer you the kind of continued musical experience that you are looking for in a college. Request more information.

Check out our all women's acapella group, 
The Acabellas, performing during Happy Friday!

About John Pederson
John Pederson is a senior Engineering Science major from Castle Rock, Colorado. John is involved with Chamber Singers choir, Trinitones (the all-male acapella group on campus), Trinity Distinguished Representatives, Residential Life Student Staff, and is the Greek Council Men's Co-Chair. In his free time, John enjoys running, listening to music, and watching 30 Rock.

by Isaiah Mora '18

It might seem like an overstatement at first, but being a first generation student puts you at a disadvantage. When conducting my college search I began by looking for schools close to my area, and more importantly the financial aid I could receive. 

When the acceptance letters in the mail arrive from prestigious colleges, you are assured that, yes, it is possible to make it this far. In my case, further than most people in my family.  After being accepted into college, the next challenge begins. College completion rates are a real thing. As a first generation student I discovered not only on paper, but in real life the odds of me graduating in 4 years weren't that great. 

As the weeks drew closer to move-in day I began to feel a overwhelming sense of anxiety. This feeling continued to grow because there was no one I could really talk to who had experienced college life on campus. In my family, few members had attended higher education and of those who attended none had actually ever lived on campus, and experienced the "traditional" campus life. As the summer drew to a close, I concluded that no one truly knew what to expect the first few days on campus. 

Thankfully, I received a email mid-summer from Trinity University about the summer bridge program for first generation and underrepresented students. In a heartbeat I replied to the email and was signed up for the program. As part of the program I was able to move-in early 2 weeks earlier than the rest of my freshman class, while taking a required seminar course.

The early move-in was great. It quickly put into perspective what college was like. With a very limited number of students on campus the group was able to get lost on campus and explore the different facilities the campus had to offer. There was a welcoming atmosphere the first weeks as we transitioned back into school mode, which made such a difference. 

Despite the program perks of being on campus early and getting acclimated, my first night at Trinity I did not sleep. The anxiety of attending my first college class overwhelmed my thoughts. Yet, I was reassured I made the right decision coming to Trinity University when my seminar professor welcomed our class. He instructed us that the class was going to build our discipline and change our mindset. As a professor who had worked with first generation and underrepresent students for a few years now, he said he sees a cycle in which student believe they are under qualified when compared to their peers. As part of the course we were assured there was no mistake. I had been accepted to Trinity because I was Trinity material, and the school saw something in me and believed in me. There was no difference between me and my peers in the class of 2018. 

While I may not have a family predecessor to turn to for advice, there were other resources on campus like faculty, and other first generation students who had taken this class. We shared the same sentiments and they became a great resource. I always thought going to ask your professor for help was a sign of weakness or a lack of effort on the students part, but I soon learned it wasn't a weakness at all. Asking for help is a sign of interest and a characteristic of a true learner. I no longer fear asking my professors questions because I know here at Trinity they are approachable and welcoming. 

First Year Experience, Andrew Kania

Office hours are the best, and highly esteemed here at Trinity, there has not been one teacher who I've found to be rude or unapproachable. To be frank, at times they seem more like friends than professors. In the words of my professor, "Trinity is a forgiving forest, it may seem daunting and scary at first, but as you explore, you are allowed to make mistakes because there are plenty of people always around to help you."

This goes to show my worries and anxieties as a first generation student are not relevant here at Trinity, because there is such a strong network and atmosphere for support and success.

About Isaiah Mora
Isaiah is a first-year student from San Antonio, Texas who hopes to major in communication, and to complete the Masters of Education program (M.A.T.) here at Trinity. He hopes to one day be able to inspire first generation students to attend higher education.

By Matt Mitts '15
Matt Mitts '15
Biology Researcher &
Fraternity President

In college, one will discover that costumes are not limited to the month of October. They are an integral part of the social scene and mastery of them is a delicate and sometimes bumpy ride. Instead of a yearly or bi-yearly event, costumes may become a weekly endeavor depending on how much you college (keep in mind I am a nerd who has experienced some of these events first hand, but most of this data is observational). Here are some variables you will need to be aware of:

College Halloween, The Trinity Perspective

Cost: Costumes can add up fast. You want something that is cheap, looks great and gets the job done (don't wanna have a Janet Jackson slip up on the dance floor).  An experienced costume enthusiast may even draw items from previous costumes to keep the costs down. This takes skill and can be fatal if someone remembers what you previously wore.

Creativity:  There is a fine line between ingenious costume and having to explain who you are to everyone the entire time. The latter being exhausting and you will hopefully never make that mistake again. You want to stand out and be the cool kid at the party who interprets the theme differently than everyone else. It establishes social dominance and when well done, integrity. This takes a lot of practice, but you will get there.
College Halloween, The Trinity Perspective

Simplicity: Everyone loves the person who comes with a ridiculously complicated and outlandish outfit. However, if you do this too many times people just expect it out of you. Keep things simple. If you nail a simple and creative outfit, you have maximized costs and benefits. Pro-tip: one of the best ways to sport a simple outfit is in numbers. Coordinate with as many people as possible and together you are better. It screams I'm popular and cool and, for me, it is more of a I'm dorky and here are my equally dorky friends. Whatever way you do it, its more fun if all your friends are doing it, too.
Matthew Mitts, Paige Roth, College Halloween, The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby party

Overall, have fun, be safe, and just know that learning how to "college" takes time. But remember the two fundamental lessons from "Mean Girls." 1. Don't be too scary: 
Don't Be Too Scary! The Trinity Perspective, Halloween

2. Make sure the photos from the night won't haunt you or your kids in the future.

Nuff said, go crazy. Be safe. Have fun. 

About Matt Mitts
Matthew Mitts is a senior Biology major from The Woodlands, Texas who hopes to attend medical school after graduation. Over the past three years, Matt has researched in Biology professor Troy Murphy's lab where he currently studies the effects of testosterone on female goldfinches. On campus, Matt works as a university tour guide and serves as president of Omega Phi social fraternity. In his free time, Matt loves exploring the wonderful world of San Antonio and sharing all it has to offer with you.