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 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.