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 Mariah Wahl
Mariah Wahl '16
Editor & English Major

My favorite Trinity University tradition, hands down, is Christmas on Oakmont. Every year, Oakmont street is lit with luminarias and the faculty who live there open their homes and provide holiday treats. Students line the sidewalks after our Vespers service to go into each home. Trinity's choirs, including our handbell choir, serenade students while they wait. In short, Christmas on Oakmont has everything a student could ask for: entertainment, free food, and holiday cheer. 

Winter in Texas isn't especially cold, but it's still chilly to wait outside. It feels a little bit warmer, though, just to see houses decorated and luminarias lining the sidewalk. For those not in the know, a luminaria is a small paper lantern, traditionally lit on Christmas Eve in southwestern parts of the United States. When they're all lit, they cast a warm glow all up and down the street. I think even if there were no free food, I'd show up just for that view. It doesn't truly feel like Christmas until I see those luminarias lining Oakmont. 

One of my favorite Trinity scenes. 
Every year, I try to be the very first student in line for Oakmont. If you show up late, all the horchata and churros will be gone before you get there! There is an unspoken competition every year to see which house will offer up the best holiday fare. Most people love the tamales, another favorite San Antonio holiday tradition. Once I've gotten the food, I like to wander through the house, looking at their decorations and maybe being serenaded by a Trinity choir. Then, it's on to the next house and more eating!

Our talented Trinity handbell choir. 
Usually, there is a wait between houses, but nobody minds too much. It's an opportunity to visit with friends and whoever else you might run into. More than anything, it's an opportunity to be serenadedby Trinity's handbell choir. Their rendition of various Christmas carols is haunting and beautiful. Also, the largest of those bells looks fairly heavy. It seems to take a surprising amount of concentration (and physical strength!) to coordinate those separate bell tones into the notes and melodies of familiar Christmas tunes. 

Last but not least, no Christmas on Oakmont is complete without silly photobooth pictures. Trinity provides an ecelectic collection of props, and some years you can even have your photo taken with Santa. I didn't realize it at the time, but looking back on these photos is like a snapshot of that year of college. I remember who my friends were, what final was particularly stressful that semester, and what I learned in the year ahead. Christmas on Oakmont is my favorite Trinity tradition because it encompasses so much of the Trinity experience. 

About Mariah 
Mariah Wahl is a senior at Trinity University, studying English and women's and gender studies. She is the editor of the Trinity Perspective as well as the Trinity Experiential Learning Blog. In her free time, Mariah enjoys running and being outdoors. Earlier this month she completed her second half-marathon and she will attempt a full marathon in June unless she can get out of it. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau sorority
Fran Wahl
Trinity Parent & Part-Time Teacher
By Fran Wahl

David Tuttle, Dean of Students at Trinity University would probably be shocked to learn that I keep him in my back pocket at all times. And that's not the only place I keep him secreted away. Sometimes he's in my handbag or in the cup holder of my car. Yes, you guessed it, he is accessible to me anywhere I keep my smart phone. Anytime, day or night. I can access his blog online (optimistically entitled "The Dean's List") as well as a myriad of other electronic communications that keep me in tuned with what is going down on Trinity's campus.

Trinity University casts a broad electronic net to corral a wide and varied parent population. Dean Tuttle's blog is most easily found by subscribing to the TrinitE parent Newsletter. There you will read the latest email alerts sent to your students, career counseling information, and one of my favorites, Student Health 101. Access this web based magazine for tips on diet and exercise, study skills, anything that affects your student's physical and mental well being. Try this conversation starter: "Did you see that last article on myths about condom usage in the Health 101 web magazine? Fascinating read!" Maybe that's pushing it, but you get the idea.

Dean Tuttle is an excellent parent resource, both in person and online. 
On the serious side, this is the same place you will find the latest safety information, should there be an on-campus incident of any kind. It's nice the know that an email will show up quickly and frequently to keep parents in tuned with all the campus goings on.

Have a question about getting your student a ride to or from campus? Like the Facebook page TU Parents and find yourself tied into the most honest, caring and informative group of folks on the planet! Car repairs, doctor referrals, you name it. This is virtually the Angie's List of student friendly products and services. As an added bonus, you could make a friend to meet up with at the next Parent's Weekend. Angie's List can't touch that. 

Horrify your child by already knowing the other parents when you arrive for Parent's Weekend.
Though they are not parent specific, Instagram and Twitter provide the most instant gratification, allowing quick snapshots of campus life, highlighting sports, the arts and community events that affect TU students. When searching these two social media platforms, Trinity related titles are literally endless.

Whatever your communication style, Trinity has something for you. You can be as informed or as distant as you would like! Dean Tuttle can take comfort in knowing that his most aggressive stalker (now not so anonymous) lives a good thousand miles away from campus. I take comfort in the fact that I am never more than a click or two away. 

Stay in the know with Trinity's 24/7 online resources. 

About Fran
Having turned the term "domestic engineer" into a full time profession, Fran Wahl has experienced sending two of three children off to Universities. She frequently lobbies to have one of them choose real engineering as a major. In her spare time she volunteers in the local schools, and works as a substitute teacher. She also enjoys surfing the internet. 
By Mariah Wahl
Mariah Wahl '16
Editor & English major

December is a difficult time for students. If you're like me, the first thing on your mind is finishing finals and making it home to crash for three weeks of holiday break. But before you do, take the time to appreciate the different San Antonio traditions near Trinity University's campus! You have to take a study break at some point-- why not spend some time celebrating the holiday season? Here are three San Antonio highlights:

1. Menorah Lighting at the Pearl

Starting Sunday, December 6th, and ending Monday December 14th, the Pearl will host a Menorah lighting every evening in celebration of Hannukah. On December 6th, join Young & Jewish in San Antonio from 6 p.m. to 9:30. Green Vegetarian Cuisine will provide kosher dishes and local music acts Tera Ferna and Brent Michael Wood will perform.

If you can't make it to official event, stop by the Pearl to see the nine foot tall menorah lit up every evening for the holiday.  

The Pearl is beautiful all year round, but it's especially worth a visit during the holidays.

2. Fiesta de las Luminarias on the Riverwalk

The Riverwalk is a highlight of San Antonio, but it's really at it's peak during Christmas. If you can, take a river boat tour down the river to see all of the buildings lit up. If your student budget is too tight for that, just wander around the river and take in the view. 

This is a San Antonio tradition you have to see before your time at Trinity is over!

A visit to the Riverwalk is worthwhile in any season. 

3. Weihnachtsfeier (German Christmas Service) at Trinity University

At Trinity's own Parker Chapel, we host an ecumenical service entirely in German on December 13th at 5:30 pm. The candlelit service tells the Christmas story through Scripture, prayers, German Christmas poetry, congregational and choral singing and instrumental music.

San Antonio has a long history of German traditions. Come to Die Deutsche Weihnachtsfeier to learn more about this culture and celebrate the holiday! Admission is free and open to the public.

This beautiful holiday celebration happens right on Trinity's campus!
About Mariah 
Mariah Wahl is a senior at Trinity University, studying English and women's and gender studies. She is the editor of the Trinity Perspective as well as the Trinity Experiential Learning Blog. In her free time, Mariah enjoys running and being outdoors and just completed her second half-marathon. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau sorority.  
By Jeff Sullivan
Jeffrey Sullivan '17
Political Science and English

Congratulations on finishing up another semester. I bet those two weeks of anxious anticipation over final tests and papers was rough. But it’s all over now! You’ve got a break for a little while and you should be enjoying it. Anyway, what I really want to ask is, what exactly is it you’re doing again?

For two consecutive winter holidays that’s been a staple conversation. Regardless of whether the questioner was an extended family member, a friend of my parents or even a friend of mine home for the holiday, I disliked answering it. I was one of those “what’s he majoring in now” kind of students, which made the talk a point of particular dread. It wasn’t because of the person asking, normally it was because the feelings of uncertainty that followed made me feel anxious during times that were ostensibly set aside for relief and recovery.

Winter break comes with holiday excitement-- and questioning relatives. 
“Have you figured out what you’re studying?” That’s the first form of the general question “what are you going to do with you life?” As an undeclared undergrad, I typically disliked being asked the question because of the connotations it carried. It always sounded as if it were coming from a place of judgment. A question that helped reassure the questioner how secure they ought to feel compared to my state of uncertainty.

I have a major now, but that only answers the first question. The second, after a brief pat on the back for having a major, is “so what’re you going to do with that out of school?” This is the one I’ll be asked most this year. It won’t be my first time fielding the question, so I’ll have some answers prepared.

But it’s still an unpleasant conversation to have. It still feels as if the questions come from places of judgment. If not for personal reassurance then as a way to sum me up. A way to create assumptions about how happy, successful or worthwhile I may be. 

Questions around the holidays make students consider school at a time when they'd rather forget it. 
I’ve heard that this is just a part of my American culture. I’d agree because I’ve asked the same sorts of questions. They feel like the right sort of questions to ask someone I rarely see or am meeting for the first time. Maybe my beliefs about the questions’ judgmental nature come from my own experiences asking them, and not just answering them.

Whether you’re near graduation, in the middle of your education, or nearing the beginning, you’re going to be asked these sorts of questions. Maybe you’ll be like me and they’ll make you feel anxious, or maybe they won’t. If not, good for you. You’ve learned that the answers to this question aren’t the end all be all.

Whatever you study or do for work is only one part of yourself, perhaps the smallest. It’s all good if it’s the biggest too! I’ve learned that for myself, and for others, it’s just a portion. There’s no need to feel anxious or incomplete if you either don’t have the answers to the questions or are unsure about the answers you give. I have a feeling everyone is in a similar looking boat.

The holiday questionnaire is a well-meaning family tradition. Don't worry if you don't have the answers yet. 
This holiday season, I think you should do two things. The first is to be prepared for the questions, and answer them confidently. If they can’t be answered with absolute assurance then try answering them with the belief that they’re all part of the explorative process of your life. The second is to be attentive. Be attentive for those people who are genuinely curious about the windings of your path. They may end up adding one or two of their own.

Searching for the answer to those holiday questions? Check out our student success resources. Explore options for your course of study with our academic resources

About Jeff
 Jeff Sullivan is a rising junior undergraduate student at Trinity University.  He hails from Dallas, TX and has spent the majority of his life in the state. His academic interests are primarily focused in Political Science and English. In his free time he listens to music, searches the internet for anything of value, and reads.
By Mariah Wahl
Mariah Wahl '16
Editor & English Major

Finals are tough part of every semester. Whether this is your first finals season or your eighth, it's easy to fall into the trap of anxiety and stress that pervades the end of the term. Roommate relationships are often a casualty of this time of year, as living in close quarters with another person can be grinding when you're stuck inside studying. If it's your first year living together, or you've been living together for years, it's sometimes difficult to get along during finals. Here are some tips to encourage healthy roommate relationships as the semester ends:

1. Organize your space now, for your sanity and your roommate's
When finals week rolls around, you won't have time to organize your desk, clean your room, or do your laundry. Not only is a messy room frustrating for your roommate, it's distracting and stressful for you during an already stressful time. Nobody wants to lose their one and only bluebook in a sea of disorganized papers one hour before the exam! Do yourself and your roommate a favor, and get organized before the extra anxiety sets in.

A clean room is a happy room-- with happy roommates. 

2. Exchange finals schedules
Let your roommate now when your big exams and essays are and keep track of their assignments as well. This lets you know when to be especially mindful of their time. Especially if either of you likes to study in the room, knowing when a roommate might be extra-stressed can help you be supportive. You might even leave a note or send them a message to wish them luck before a big exam.

3. Be extra conscientious and respectful of each other
Sometimes, the pressure of finals makes it easier to snap at the people closest to you. The extra stress can also make it easier to ignore important roommate boundaries ("I'm late to my exam, so I'll just take my roommate's last banana for breakfast" -- me in an inconsiderate roommate moment). Understand that your roommate has a tough finals schedule too. Be forgiving with them as well as hyper-conscious of their stuff and their space.

Be especially kind to one another during finals! 
4. Especially each other's sleep!
This is the most important part of a happy roommate relationship during finals. If you're up late studying and your roommate is resting before or after a big assignment, it's best to hit up the library or another study spot on campus. If you finish your finals before they do, don't celebrate loudly or late at night in the room. Trying to sleep before a big test while the people around you party the night away is frustrating and exhausting. If you and your roommate are respectful of one another's sleep, I guarantee there will be less disagreement and anxiety for you both.

5. Find ways to enjoy each other's company
Study breaks are important. Not only do they help you absorb material in small chunks, they keep you refreshed and ready to learn. Consider taking these breaks with your roommate to make some positive memories during finals. Pay attention to different finals week opportunities on campus-- visiting with animals, eating nachos, or just grabbing lunch together. Taking the time to remember that you like your roommate (or can at least tolerate them) will help you survive finals.

Reducing stress is good for you and good for the roommate relationship.
About Mariah 
Mariah Wahl is a senior at Trinity University, studying English and women's and gender studies. She is the editor of the Trinity Perspective as well as the Trinity Experiential Learning Blog. In her free time, Mariah enjoys running and being outdoors. Currently, she is training for her second half-marathon. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau sorority.  
Isaiah Mora '18
Double Major & Future Educator
By Isaiah Mora

A visitor to Trinity University on a Friday might be surprised to see the student, faculty, and staff in one mass of maroon, gathered in the Coates University Center, listening to our acapella groups. This Trinity tradition of Maroon Fridays is more than just coincidental matching shirts.

What are Maroon Fridays?

Maroon Fridays are best described as Fridays when students, faculty, and staff at Trinity altogether wear maroon as a physical display of #TigerPride. This sounds cool and stuff but it begs the question, why? Here are three reasons that best sum up why we wear maroon on Fridays:

1. #TigerPride
The first and most logical reason is that wearing maroon on Fridays is a great way to show pride in our school. If you are a part of the Trinity community you understand that there is a lot to be proud of. We are a school that excels in the many different areas, over the years Trinity has been recognized as a leader in the field of education and recognized for it quality education, but there’s so much more to be proud of. We’re proud of our talented athletes, the world class on campus lectures, (Jane Goodall!) our student performers, and the opportunities we have to make a difference in the San Antonio area.

The acabellas sing at our weekly Happy Friday performance

2. It’s a display of a much larger community 

We wear maroon because it is symbolic of something we all have in common: Trinity. Students, staff, and faculty here are diverse and come from different backgrounds, disciplines, and traditions but Trinity has impacted us all in a positive way. One of my favorite things about Trinity is the opportunity to grow and to explore. The professors and other students here create this welcoming atmosphere that allows us to make mistakes, and ask questions, because that’s how we learn. 

Students goof around and show their #tigerpride at our annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day march. 

3. Something a bit more significant

Lastly, Maroon Fridays are subject to the individual's experience at Trinity. This may not be the case for everyone, but one of the first articles of clothing I owned from Trinity was a shirt that I received at a Trinity In Focus event. It’s a maroon shirt that says, “Class of 2018” on the front, and “I’m in” on the back. I like to wear this on Fridays because as a first generation student it is symbol of the opportunity I have to study at Trinity. As a first generation, attending college is a privilege that no one in my family has had before, and my maroon clothing represents that. 

Trinity moves in new students, welcoming them with our signature maroon. 

So there you go! Maroon Fridays are more than just a wearing your school colors on the last day of the week. It’s a display of #TigerPride that is a bit subjective to our personal experience here at Trinity.

About Isaiah Mora
Isaiah is a sophomore student from San Antonio, Texas majoring in communication and sociology. He intends 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 attain a higher education.

By Mariah Wahl

Mariah Wahl '16
English Major & Perspective Editor

On Monday night, Trinity University students were invited to the CSI cube to watch the finals of the Entrepreneurial Stumberg Competition. I was blown away by their incredible entrepreneurial ideas-- adhesive pockets, a health IT app, and an on-campus laundry service. I'd heard about many of these start ups around campus, but now I had the opportunity to put faces to business names. 

Each team's presentation was polished and impressive. Their process of turning an idea into a product, and then a business plan, demonstrated passion and determination. Two of the finalists had begun their projects in their first year at Trinity, something that put my senior year accomplishments into perspective. 

The winners were Plova Chewing Gum, whose “on-the go” complement to regular oral hygiene landed them Stumberg’s $25,000 grand prize. The circular blue gum contains Cetylpyridium chloride, the active ingredient found in most mouthwashes. This patented use of CPC is what sets Plova apart from other gums that claim to whiten teeth. According to their sales pitch, chewing Plova can whiten your smile as well as reduce plaque and bacteria in between daily tooth brushing.

Eric Stumberg, major contributor to the Stumberg Competition, speaks to other judges during a break
Cole Evans ’18, Thayer Selleck ’18 and Vikram Patel ’18, members of the winning team, marketed their product to the hospitality industry. Currently, Plova have several presale agreements in place with hotels that plan to make their chewing gum available to busy travelers. They are planning talks with Southwest airlines to expand their reach.

The judges listen to final presentations
Next, Plova has set their sights on San Antonio’s military community. With money from the Stumberg competition, the team plans to run clinical trials with Plova and approach dentists about putting the gum in their offices.

“It feels indescribable to win. It’s rewarding to have our team effort recognized,” says Evans, “Next, I guess we’ll stop by the bank to cash this check! Then we’ll place a new order of gum and focus on future goals as a team.”

Plova Chewing Gum celebrates winning the Stumberg Finals
To learn more about Plova's preparation for the Stumberg finals, read their post on Trinity's Experiential Learning Blog. Find out more about Trinity's Entrepreneurship program at Trinity here. Visit our Office for Experiential Learning here

About Mariah 
Mariah Wahl is a senior at Trinity University, studying English and women's and gender studies. She is the editor of the Trinity Perspective as well as the Trinity Experiential Learning Blog. In her free time, Mariah enjoys running and being outdoors. Currently, she is training for her second half-marathon. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau sorority.  
By Andrea Acevedo
Andrea Acevedo '18
Art Intern & Musician

One of the best and brightest festivals in India (according to my Hindu friend, Shivali), Diwali celebrates the triumph of good versus evil and light over dark. Marking the new year of the Hindu calendar, friends and family get together to eat amazing Indian food, exchange gifts, and set off fireworks.

Every year when the holiday comes around the Indian Student Association (ISA) works hard to plan a dance performance of epic fun for the Trinity community. All are welcome to participate in this time-honored Trinity tradition! Consisting of about 10-12 dances the ISA writes a script that follows a specific theme. This year's theme was Bollywood through the ages. Starting early in the year, dancers practice every week and work with student choreographers. It’s really just about letting go, feeling the music, and having fun.

Trinity celebrates Diwali with our annual dance competition. 
The day before the live performance all the dancers got together and ran through a dress rehearsal. Seeing all the costumes, music, lights, and dancers working together in harmony had me so excited for everyone else to see the show. At first, I was nervous, but ultimately it didn't matter-- we were there to have a good time.

The Indian Student organization is a wonderful community that hosts a variety of events including Diwali, Holi the festival of color, and occasional Indian food tastings.

Seeing weeks of practice and preparation come together is rewarding at the Diwali dress rehearsal. 
Interested? Trinity is home to a wide variety of different student organizations. The best way to get involved is to stay updated on what is going on around campus and join in on events that are of interest to you. I met two of my best friends (and now suitemates) when I signed up to do Diwali during my first year at Trinity and discovered a love for Indian culture and, of course, Indian food.

Diwali is about celebrating a holiday, learning from a different culture, and most of all, having fun. 
About Andrea
Andrea Acevedo is a sophomore at Trinity University who is considering a double major in Art History and Communications. She enjoys short walks on the beach, playing saxophone in the Trinity jazz band, and creating interesting food concoctions in the dining hall.
By Nina Tao
Nina Tao '17
Accounting Major & Resident Assistant

As college students, we're involved in many different things, ranging from classes to student organizations.  Often we have the tendency to overload and this can lead to feeling burned out.  A burnout is a state of mental and physical exhaustion caused by a long period stress.  It happens when you feel overwhelmed with the amount of work you have on your plate and don't feel like you can finish it in a timely manner.  Burnouts can reduce your productivity and decrease your energy level, but they don't have to be inevitable! Here are some simple ways to avoid burnouts during college.

1. It is okay to say “No”
It’s easy to overload yourself by taking on too many commitments.  Don’t say yes to something if you know you are not going to have enough time to complete the job to the best of your ability.  The world definitely won’t end if you say “no” to a few things!

Student Success Center is a great resource for learning how to better manage your time and prioritize your schedule. Stop by or attend one of their academic success workshops if you find yourself feeling over-committed and overwhelmed.

The Student Success Center can work with you on time management and stress reduction skills. 

2. Allow Free Time
You do not need to fill your calendar with something every hour of the day.  If your class ends at 3pm, don’t schedule a meeting at 3pm.  Unless you can teleport, account for travel time.  If you have a long day, make time for a nap.  A power nap can do wonders.  Make sure to find time for your friends, too. A trip to Chipotle or Whataburger is always a great decision!

3. Take a Break from Technology
Technology dominates a major part of our lives.  We communicate using technology, we do work utilizing technology, and we entertain ourselves with technology.  It is impossible to go one day without checking your email, but sometimes we just need to put down our cell phones, tablets, and laptops.  UNICEF’s tap project can be a great motivator, challenging you to put down your phone and help save children’s lives by supplying them with clean water. The longer you go without touching your phone, the more water you supply! Visit uniceftapproject.org for more information.

Putting down the phone and going outside can make you feel a whole lot less stressed!

4. Healthy Eating, Exercising, & Sleeping
It is important to have a healthy lifestyle, although it can be hard with the busy schedule of college.  Try to find time for to eat at least two meals a day so that you have the energy to carry on to your full capability. Experts suggest that people should exercise about 30 minutes every day, as it has proven to help with lowering stress levels.  We know that the ideal amount of sleep is eight hours per night, but most of the time that is extremely hard to do. Remember, a little sleep is better than no sleep.

Trinity University’s
club sports can be a great opportunity to make time for some exercise, as can adventures with our O-Rec team. If those are too time-consuming, just make twenty minutes of time to stop by the Bell Center.  

5. Find a Hobby
A hobby is a good way to channel your stress.  When you are working on something you enjoy, you are secluded from the outside world of worries and tension built up over time. Hobbies are a get-away from your school-work and a hobby that uses a whole other set of skills gives your mind a break from your usual work. Don’t see it as procrastination, but as an outlet to set you on a path for increased productivity.

If you’re looking for a way to spend your free time, check out a
list of Trinity’s clubs and organizations to find something that might interest you.

First and second semester student involvement fair are a great way to learn about student organizations. 

About Nina
Nina Tao is a junior from Las Vegas, NV, majoring in accounting. She works as a Resident Assistant and serves as the accountant for SPB. In addition, Nina is a member of Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity, serving as the VP of Alumni Relations. She also volunteers with TUVAC.  In her free time Nina enjoys volunteering, spending time with her friends, crafting, and watching Netflix.