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 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. 

John Pederson '15
Acapella  Singer & Engineer

As Told By An Engineer

By John Pederson '15

After attending Trinity University for four years, I've had some time to think about things I wish I would have known entering classes my freshmen year. As an engineer, I expected to sit in large classes, crunch numbers, and follow my regimented curriculum--outlined for me from the outset of my first year. I doubted I would find much variety in engineering programs between large and small schools; however, I soon learned the benefits of a liberal arts curriculum and small campus extended beyond traditional humanities majors.
  1.  Everyone knows who you are. Everyone. At a school like Trinity, small classes, low student-to-teacher ratios, and tight-knit communities are hallmarks of the liberal arts philosophy. Fewer students can mean more opportunities per capita and individualized attention that is not possible at larger universities. Knowing a little bit about everyone in your class can help you find internships and jobs with your buddies’ parents as well as a place to crash when you find yourself expectedly stuck in strange cities.

  2. 2. While close interactions with peers and professors and individualized academic attention are probably the “good” things you were expecting to find in a liberal arts college, there can be downsides to having an identity and a reputation on campus. If you miss class, professors and classmates notice. You can use this knowledge to your advantage by sitting in the front row, engaging professors personally and intellectually before and after class, and participating enthusiastically. If you are planning on apathetically sitting through a semester of The African Experience or even worse, not attending at all, there are less personal and less expensive universities where that may be a better use of your time.

  3. 3. You are expected to have an opinion both in and out of class. Trinity attracts professors and student alike who are here to grow as people and as academics. Some of the most intellectual conversations of your life will happen within the borders of a college campus and the answer, “I don’t know” or, “I don’t care” won’t get you very far. Take advantage of the intellectual hotbed that is higher education to learn a thing or two from people who are here to teach. 

  4. Who knows? The day you participate may be the day Trinity University President Dennis Ahlburg sits in on the lecture.

    4. Unless you go to a school that has the privilege of being a brand-name school, you will learn to give a ten second marketing pitch for your school to use when people ask were you go to school. Liberal arts schools truly offer the best individualized education in higher education. The breadth of a liberal arts curriculum makes science majors more creative and theater students better scientists and mathematicians. Once you come to this realization, you get over having to tell your friends at state schools that, yes you have a football team, no not everyone who goes to your school owns a yacht, and that you are actually going to the president’s house for scones and tea.

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

Today I took a giant leap towards the realm of adulthood—my first career fair. For the past three years I have seen the career fair signs all over campus and wistfully ignored them while replaying the famous mantra: “You have plenty of time.” Yet, here I stand in my pencil skirt and blazer faced with the harsh reality that “plenty of time” is up and it is now time to follow my mother’s famous advice (applicable to both break ups and the job search) to “get in the driver’s seat.”

Yesterday, in preparation, I visited one of my favorite places on campus—career services. I readily admit that I frequent the career services office. Perhaps I need regular validation or pep-talks when my parents are sick of pro-conning career plans (laugh if you want), but my resume is immaculate and I was well prepared for my first foray into the job hunt.

For you seniors and juniors out there who are tentatively dipping your toes into the job hunt, here are some of the best tips Trinity career counselor, Katie Ramirez, gave me going into my first career fair:

1. How to Prepare—Look over the list of employers on your university’s career services page. Doing your research not only ensures you meet every employer who interests you, but it also means you can impress the recruiters with advance knowledge of their company. If you are particularly interested in the company, apply online before the career fair. Many recruiters will tell you to apply online anyway so, if you’re ahead of the game, your conversation can sometimes act as an informal interview.

Here is an example of what men and women typically wear at
the job fair. (Check out my new awesome T-Shirt!)
2.  What to Bring—Make LOTS of copies of your resume. I brought about ten, which seemed sufficient. If you have a LinkedIn profile, but sure to add a custom link to the top of your resume. Also, consider making your own business cards to hand out along with your resume.

3. What to Wear- Career fairs are not business casual events. Katie suggests wearing a suit.

4. What to Say—When you arrive at a table, hand the recruiter your resume as you introduce yourself. Allow the recruiter to briefly review your resume and ask any follow up questions regarding your experience. If the recruiter does not iniate conversation, ask questions like: “What opportunities are available at your company?” “What qualifications and qualities are you looking for in an ideal candidate?” “What does a typical day look like for an employee in your company?” Don’t feel obligated to continue a conversation if you run out of questions. Simply thank the recruiter for their time and move on to the next table.

5. How to Follow Up—Send a follow up email. The follow up email can be the deciding factor in who an employer hires. In your message, thank the recruiter for his or her time, mention specific things your learned about the company that are of particular interest to you, and alert the recruiters attention to the specific positions you applied for online.

Finally, don’t be shy. A career fair is you chance to demonstrate the intangible aspects of your personality that don’t come across on paper. Make the most of it and have fun shopping for your future career!

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 Molly Hogsett '17
Molly Hogsett
Molly Hogsett '17
Chemistry Researcher  & Orientation Team Member

As a student from New Hampshire, my friends back home thought I was crazy for leaving New England to go to college. I wish I were joking when I told that most of my friends had no idea where I was going to college. They knew where Texas was but even my college counselor didn’t know where San Antonio was on a map. I had applied to schools in every part of the country from the Midwest to the south to up north in New England. To me this seemed rather logical because I was covering all of the bases; but, when I was accepted into schools all across the nation, the decision to leave home suddenly became very real. 

The choice to attend Trinity came literally the night before decision day because I just didn’t know if I’d be able to survive Texas heat. Yes, the reason I almost chose to attend a different school was due to the weather. Now you may be wondering how I heard about Trinity at a school where no one even knows where San Antonio is, and the answer is so cliché I barely want to type it out: my parents met here. 

My parents met during their freshman year at Trinity and have been together ever since. My mother was the college newspaper aficionado and knew everyone, and my dad was a full-ride engineering student—both were out of state students themselves when they enrolled. I was very hesitant to attend their Alma mater. I didn’t want to let them down. I didn’t want to be the one with bad grades and no friends proving that I just couldn’t handle college life like they did. 

Why Trinity?

Well my first year at Trinity is now over, and I survived organic chemistry and socializing. I’m not one of the girls who raises her hand to answer every question or the girl who knows everyone’s name, but I don’t want to be either of those people. I have come to realize that trying to be that over the top amazing college student is not that important. 

So, my advice to y’all is this: just calm down. Do not worry about how you will change during college; you just will. It comes organically. You have no idea of your full potential. I promise all you need to do is just go through each day. Through my time at college I have learned that I can write a ten page paper in one week, ask for help at office hours, and bake a cake for my roommate without her knowing. All life skills that I don’t need to model after my parents or anyone else because they are skills that I needed to learn in order to get through each day. Now I am proud to point out where San Antonio is on a map and show my New England friends where I am facing my challenges and seeing success. I am now a Texan Yankee (and the heat isn’t so bad). 

Molly Hogsett
Molly is a sophomore biology major at Trinity University. Molly enjoys researching in Dr. Nancy Mill's organic chemistry lab, singing in the women's choir,  and helping freshmen transition to Trinity on the Orientation team. This New England native has come to love all that Texas has to offer (including the heat)! When not studying or synthesizing a new molecule, you can often find Molly going for a jog in colorful San Antonio.

Paige Roth '15
Biology Researcher & Playwright
By Paige Roth

The dorm room marks, for many of us, our first foray into independent living. For some, the dorm room symbolizes freedom from an oppressive regime of making beds or folding clothes. For others, the separate address means proving you are a functional, hygienic adult who is capable of living alone. But, as is the recurring theme in most college-transition advice, your dorm room is not all about you. And I’m not talking about the looming roommate conflict. I’m talking about your parents.
Trinity University Dorm Room

Most parents, mothers specifically, see the dorm room as their last opportunity to invoke control and order in their child’s collegiate life. I speak from experience. You see, my mother is a nationally syndicated home design columnist who had waited years to coordinate bedspreads with my poor unassuming first-year roommate. Don’t believe me? Check out her article about decorating my freshman dorm room.

Despite our careful planning and color coordination, we got it completely wrong. Check out her follow up article two years later on what NOT to pack for your college dorm room.  The moral of the story is this:

" No matter how much you plan your dorm room or plan to throw domestic order and hygiene to the wind, neither you (nor your parents) can control your four year college experience from a 200 square foot room."

 Take a tour of my dorm room! 

However, you (the student) can control your standard of living. Whether you are a neat freak or a slob, living alone for the first time means the first time you have control over your own environment. Living in squalor may seem like hard earned freedom, but after a while that slovenliness will creep into your academic performance and, dare I say, into your love life? Likewise, obsessing over folded towels in the bathroom or making your roommate’s bed (guilty) are also not conducive to low stress levels or social life. Here are my tips, for neat-freaks and slobs alike, for maintaining a standard of living (and maintaining your sanity) throughout your time in college.

1    It starts with the college search. In all likelihood, you will be spending a lot of time in the dorms during your freshman year. Pay attention to how much a university invests on campus housing. Do students share a suite-style bathroom or a communal bathroom? Do the dorms look well cared for and do students seem proud of their accommodations? Consider your standard of living and what environment you need to thrive.

2   Fold the Laundry Pile. Take the extra 15 minutes in the laundry room to avoid the mound of clothes that will inevitably live in the middle of your floor for the next two weeks.

     Decorate with Things You Love. I don’t mean bring your grandmother’s precious antiques, but a favorite blanket, tchotchke, or poster can make all the difference. Investing a personal touch in your dorm room makes it feel like a safe place to land after a rough day.

4    Open the blinds. There is nothing more depressing than a dark cavernous dorm room den in the middle of the day. Natural light will improve your mood and make your room feel more homey and inviting.

5    Make Your Bed. and not just for parents weekend. I promise, coming home to a made bed offers some semblance of order and control during the chaos of college. And, when friends come over, it signals: Here is someone who has his/ her life together.

6   But Don't Obsess. Don't spend more time trying to control your habitat than you spend enjoying your college experience. Dorm room are meant to be lived in, a place for memories to happen. But memories look just a bit better with a folded stack of clothes and a made bed.

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 Briauna Barrera '17
Briauna Barrera
Briauna Barrera '17
Environmental Studies Student &
Slam Poet
I’m a native Texan and I’m not going to lie to you, but I wasn’t particularly proud to be a Texan before coming to Trinity. It’s a bit ironic, I know, becoming prideful of Texas, a typically conservative and Republican-dominated state, at a liberal arts university, but it happened. And the main reason it happened was because of Outdoor Recreation.

Before I started attending Trinity, I did what any anxious and overly-excited student would do and tenaciously combed through Trinity’s website, where I found the list of the campus’ official organizations. A few caught my eye, such as the environmental club on campus, SOS (which I ended up joining), but one organization in particular made me jump-up-and-down-in-my-chair-excited and that was Trinity’s Outdoor Recreation Organization (OREC for short). OREC did all the things I’d always wanted to do, but never really had the opportunities for, like canoeing, backpacking, and traveling to national and state parks. There were a slew of things I wanted to get involved with when started attending Trinity, but OREC definitely took top priority. 

OREC  Trinity University

My first semester I took three trips: Austin Day Paddle, REI service trip, and Enchanted Rock. I had a blast on every one of them. The trip leaders were friendly and helpful, although still somewhat intimidating because they appeared so involved and accomplished and well, to my first year sensibilities, them just seem so cool. Each trip I participated in involved completely different activities that I had never done before. I canoed on Town Lake in Austin, I did trail maintenance at the Cibolo Nature Center in the creek beds, and I went bouldering and hiking at Enchanted Rock. I loved being in these natural settings surrounded by people whose company I enjoyed. Then, at the end of my first semester, I received an email that contained a job application for OREC. I was pumped. I had a job briefly at the library, but I had to quit because of health issues. However, I was healthy again and in need of a job and I absolutely wanted this one.

OREC  Trinity University, Big Bend
Outdoor Recreation students pause for a photo op in beautiful Big Bend.
Long story short, I got the job and to this day I remain so grateful. I’ve had jobs that I’ve tolerated and jobs that I outright hated, but I never really had a job that I loved until working for OREC. After the hiring process was over, the OREC employees took a training trip to Big Bend. It was a four day trip and during one of the days we hiked up to Emory Peak, the second largest point in Texas. By the time the group reached the peak, we had been hiking for hours and I was worn out, but once I saw the world around me, I was speechless. As far as the eye could see stretched out beautiful Texas landscape. Texas has a harsh beauty about it, but it’s a beauty nonetheless. It was in that moment that I fell in love with my home state and I’ve been learning to love it more ever since.

Briauna Barrera, OREC Guadalupe Mountains
Briauna during a trip to the Guadalupe Mountains

About Briauna Barrera
Briauna is currently a sophomore, who is planning on double majoring in Environmental Studies and Urban Studies when she gets around to declaring. During the day, she is an overly-stressed student, but by night, she is an overly-stressed slam poet. In her free time, Briauna enjoys reading books and comics, petting any animal that will let her, gardening, and staring at people without realizing it. This is her second semester working for OREC and is pleasantly surprised at the concept of actually liking her job.