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Real-World Experiences: What is all the Hype About?

By Bria Woods

What do you mean by Experiential Learning?

Bria Woods
Bria Woods ('16)
Film Producer & Christian Leader
I’m going to let you in on a little saying that has helped me so much since I’ve been in college: “Experience is the best teacher.”  After 12 years in school it’s easy to forget that there are some things that are best learned without the aid of a textbook and beyond the four walls of a classroom.  Life itself and the opportunities that you chase or create or that are afforded to you can be the most telling and informative.  

You’re also far more likely to remember what you experienced first hand versus something you’ve only seen in pictures or read about.  Since adopting this philosophy I’ve become more open to other possibilities and perspectives and ways of learning. And, yes, this does require stepping out of your comfort zone, but on the same token there is no need to do this in an extreme fashion. I think of experience as a gradient. Ease your way into trying new things and you’ll slowly notice yourself becoming more of an opportunist and seizing opportunities to experience things first hand.  

Since I’ve been at Trinity I’ve watched my stories evolve from “One time I read…”,  to “One time I did…” Trinity encourages this lifestyle - it is indeed a lifestyle - and there are a wealth of opportunities for the taking here. All that’s missing is you!

Now I'm sure you're all thinking: "That all sounds too good to be true. What do you actually do?"

Here are the Three Examples of Experiential Learning I enjoyed during my first two years at Trinity.


If you asked me in my senior year of high school what I thought my first internship would be in, I most definitely wouldn’t have said radio. Working at KRTU 91.7 FM, San Antonio’s non-commercial jazz and indie rock radio station, started off totally unexpected and evolved into one of my top five best experiences at Trinity.  

I was hired in January as the new Jazz Assistant Manager. My job entailed working with the Jazz Manager on audio production projects and uploading spots, bumps and jazz calendars into the Wide Orbit system. I also wrote PSAs for local businesses that support the station. Since we don’t have commercials, the PSAs are the closest thing we have in the way of advertising or promoting another business.  

This summer I was hired as the Development and Outreach Intern. This time I worked more closely with our members.  I helped put on events for our members and process new memberships throughout the summer. Perhaps the most exciting aspect was being invited to write testimonials to further develop our Find You’re  Jazz campaign. The goal of this campaign is to encourage listener participation at events and emphasize the variety of jazz on 91.7FM - there’s something for everyone. 

Even though I’ve finished my internship, this project will carry into the fall and we are hoping to launch the testimonials I’ve written in the next month or so and get them circulating on the air. Working with KRTU has allowed me to experience not only the creative aspect of making radio, but also, and perhaps most importantly, the business aspects of managing a top-notch radio station.

krtu jazz trinity university

Tiger TV

Working with Tiger TV was also a happy accident--starting to see a pattern here? A friend of mine encouraged me to audition for a spot on “The Not So Late Show” 10 minutes before auditions were over. Of course, me being the opportunist that I am, I ran into the studio and caught the last audition of the afternoon. I got a call back and landed a position as on air talent- lest we forget I had only been at Trinity for 2 weeks.  

Much like KRTU, it turned out to be a great decision! While I stayed on as on air talent my first year, sophomore year I explored the control room and started learning all that goes into directing and producing a live 30 minute show.  Good news: I love it! I still have to pinch myself sometimes; I can’t believe we get to have student-lead Trinity-relevant television shows in a brand new, state of the art studio. 

Meeting Kelly Reichardt and PJRaval

Perhaps one of the quirkiest and totally rad opportunities I’ve had in the Communication department, was getting to meet filmmakers last fall. As you know Trinity is not an arts school and sometimes it’s very easy to feel under-represented as an arts and humanities major. When I found out that real life filmmakers were coming to Trinity I jumped for joy!  

Kelly Reichardt is a screenwriter and film director working in the Indie scene.  We watched her 2008 film Wendy and Lucy in Dr. Keating’s Intro to Film course.  Dr. Keating also selected me and two other film students to have lunch with her in the Skyline.  It was all I could do to keep from interrogating her about what it’s like to be a filmmaker and how to get from the classroom to a movie set.  

Later that day there was panel featuring Byran Poyser and cinematographer and filmmaker PJ Raval.  I’ll never forget this advice that PJ gave me regarding my reluctance to start making films until I felt I was “ready.” He told me that “you will always read stuff that inspires you and you’re constantly learning, but there is no golden moment when you are “ready” to start making films. You just need to grab a camera and go.” I have kept that in my back pocket ever since and refer to it when I start doubting whether I am “ready” to begin realizing my dreams.

About Bria Woods
Bria Woods is a junior a Trinity University Studying Communications & Film Studies. When not studying or working at her internship at Trinity’s KRTU 91.7 FM radio station, she works as a Resident assistant—mentoring sophomore students—and as a small group leader in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. This San Antonio native also loves dancing in Trinity’s Swing Bums club, acting in mainstage theatre productions, and practicing photography. Bria is a recent winner of The Trinity Tower Award for her short film KRTU On Air.


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