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.

12 First Year Trinity Hacks From A Rising Senior

By Alexsandra Rojas –

Decked out dorm rooms, roommates, frat parties, the occasional all nighter. You’ve been dreaming of college, and all the amazing experiences that come along with it, for years and now it’s finally here. You’ve officially joined the Trinity family – congrats! – a family that, while certainly quirky, will definitely keep you entertained for the next four years. Still, there’s a few things you should know before stepping into the wide world of adulthood (or at least one step closer, no need to panic quite yet), some fun and some that will make your next few months go a whole lot smoother. Take it from a senior, these hacks will come in handy more than you think!

1. Be open with your roommate.

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Roommates can be awesome. One of the most amazing things about my freshman year was getting a roommate that I just clicked with, so much so that three years later, we’re still living together. Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky. While Trinity tries its best to pair you with people that you match well with, that doesn’t always happen, a problem that can only be alleviated, or at least helped, by being open with each other. Too often, freshman, and even upperclassmen sometimes, are too worried about making a bad impression or angering their roommate by voicing their concerns, whether that be anything as simple as not leaving drawers open or as important as whether or not you are okay with other people spending the night. No matter the concern, it is imperative that you bring them up early in a respectful and polite way. You will probably need to make compromises, that’s a given, and if you can’t do so on your own, ask your RM or even a friend to help mediate. Otherwise, people have a habit of squirreling away frustration and resentment until they boil up in one big explosion of passive aggression. So talk to your roommate, even if it feels awkward at first, and take your first step in creating a happy living relationship year round.

2. Talk to your hall mates!

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While not true of everyone, I made some of my very best friends at Trinity on my freshman hall. While you may all be very different or, in some cases, very very alike, these are the people you’re going to see in passing all the time, every day even. You might as well get to know them! More importantly, many of the people on your hall will not be the same major, or even discipline as you. While this may come as a shock to some, making friends outside of your own major is one of the best things you can do on campus, if only to meet new and interesting people that think a little differently from you. Take it from an English major whose best friends include anything from Biochemistry majors to Music Ed majors to Economic majors. So, while it may feel awkward at first, study in your hall study rooms, open your door and invite people in or, if you live in Herndon or Beze (as I did so long ago), study on those rickety-looking benches outside your room so you can greet people as they make their way to their rooms. Widen your horizons people! You’ll be glad you did.

3. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT take all 8:30 classes.

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Trust me, I know what you’re thinking: “But I woke up early everyday in high school.” While that may be true, here’s a little secret, college is a lot different from high school. With late nights talking to roommates, projects you put off to the last minute, and those infamous all-nighters I mentioned before, 8:30 is going to feel a lot more like 4:30 some mornings. Unless you’re a crazy morning person (which, let’s be honest, is anyone really?), you are going to hate yourself by the second week, third if you’re lucky. So go for those later classes at least a couple days a week, 9:30 if you still want to seize the morning, but give yourself at least a day or two of leeway to sleep in.

4. Hoard those bonus bucks.


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Let’s be honest here, everyone gets a little tired of Mabee after a few weeks. It just comes with the territory, especially when you’ve just started missing mom (or dad’s) home cooking. The thing is, while it may be tempting to start blowing those precious bonus bucks as soon as you get tired of the pasta line, you’re really going to want to use some self control. Finals come around fast and, when it does, there’s going to be a whole lot of those midnight pod runs and emergency coffee breaks, all of which require the bonus bucks you were so hasty to spend during the first month of classes. So, unless you like begging hapless upperclassmen for their bonus buck leftovers during the chill of December finals – never a flattering, or economical, practice – learn to maintain some bonus buck finances.

5. Learn when to go to Mabee.

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Speaking of Mabee, one of the things you learn as an upperclassmen, right when those Mabee swipes are ripped from your grasping fingers, is that you really should have appreciated the all you can eat dining hall when you had it. The trick to it is finding the right times to go. Breakfast, thanks to the great and wonderful omelette line, is always a winner if you’re willing to get up a little earlier before your first class (see why all 8:30’s are a no-no?). Beyond that, certain days and times offer the best selection. Try not to grab dinner too early (like before five) because you’ll find yourself in that confusing no-man’s land between lunch and dinner, when the only options are cold pizza and a leftover biscuit from lunch. More importantly, be sure to make it to Mabee on Trinity in Focus and 360 days to get the best food, though you’ll want to get there early, before the prospective students begin scuttling in, to beat the crowds.

6. Don’t be afraid to put your name down for lots of clubs at involvement fair.


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Involvement fair, where dozens upon dozens of different clubs, groups and even sororities or fraternities vie for your attention, is often a wonderful, if overwhelming, experience. However, one of the mistakes people often make is either a) not going or b) only signing up for the couple of things they know for sure they want to join. While that might work for some people, starting college is all about trying new things, even things that you never would have thought you’d be a part of it, so sign up for that equestrian team or chemistry club. The worst that can happen is that you’ll get a couple of emails that you can choose whether or not to join in on later. Either way, you’ve opened yourself up to a whole new set of options and people you might not have had otherwise.

7. Go through Greek life recruitment!

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Now I know for a fact that at least half of you read this one and did little more than scoff. Trust me, we all know the movie cliches of Greek life but, what everyone doesn’t know, is that whether or not you think you’re “Greek material” (a definition that is arbitrary at best, and downright false at worst), recruitment is actually a really great way to meet a whole lot of people in a short amount of time, a must for your freshman year. Thanks to Trinity’s longer recruitment system, which takes months rather than just one week, potential new members (PNMs) have the chance to get to know not only their fellow PNMs but also people from each sorority or fraternity personally. Whether you decide to join or not, a decision that might actually surprise you in the end, you still spent the last few months making connections and friends across all kinds of social spheres and even grade levels.

8. Dreading the freshman 15? Run the Rock and Roll Half Marathon!

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Everyone has heard the horror story of the freshman fifteen and, if you’re anything like me, you’re planning on doing everything you possibly can to make sure you don’t follow the trend. Here’s the perfect solution: the Rock and Roll Half marathon! While a half marathon may sound like anything but fun to some of you, it truly is a great way to not only stay in shape, but check a thing or two off your bucket list early. Thanks to Dean Tuttle, the half marathon has become a staple of healthy Trinity life, with a Trinity team (matching running shirts and all), scheduled runs every weekend to get you on track all trained up for the big day, and even ways to coordinate any other weekday runs with your running peers. The run is for runners and former couch potatoes (*cough* me *cough*) alike. Best of all, the event will help to support the San Antonio food bank while simultaneously helping you kick those freshman 15.

9. Don’t buy too many Trinity shirts (unless you really want to).

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This one is a surprisingly important one. While everyone wants to show off some school pride, you might want to hold off shelling out the cash for a brand new Trinity t-shirt at the store. It seems every day, not to mention every event, at Trinity offers a brand new maroon t-shirt, most of the time for free. By the time you get through your first year, you will be up to your neck in Trinity t-shirts, a good problem to have, but certainly not a collection you really need to be adding to anytime soon.

10. Feeling those holiday blues? Go to Christmas on Oakmont.

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Christmas on Oakmont is truly one of the gems of the Trinity world. Taking place right after Vespers (another Trinity experience for those of you that can’t get enough Christmas music) where you can and do just walk into President Anderson's house and eat his food. Dress up, walk up and down the street a couple times, visiting anything from the President’s house to that one house that always has the eggnog and mini pumpkin pies. If you like food, hot chocolate, christmas music or any kind of merriment at all, head to Oakmont!

11. Be ready (and excited) for the fountain.

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Getting thrown in the fountain on your birthday is basically a right of passage around here. In fact, whether or not you pretend to be excited or not, you should just expect to find your friends or your hallmates barging their way into your room at midnight on your birthday. Fighting is basically futile so, unless you are from OZ and melt under water, I would suggest cooperation. It’s all more fun in the end, especially when you get to be the one on the throwing end. Though, disclaimer, when I say throw, I don’t actually mean to *throw* your friends into the fountain. The fountain is not as deep as you may think so, unless you want one bruised behind, I’d recommend a gentle drop.

12. Try the new things, even (or especially) if that means popping the Trinity bubble.

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While the Trinity bubble – that mystical, invisible barrier that keeps unsuspecting Trinity kids wandering, and socializing, no farther than its tiger striped walls – is more real than any of us would like to admit, one of the best things about Trinity is its location. Fifteen minutes from downtown, and even less from the Pearl Brewery, the world outside the Trinity campus is a magical place of interesting opportunities and, more importantly, delicious food. Whether you’re interested in buying some fresh fruit at the Pearl farmers market, devouring a three pound cinnamon roll at Lulu’s Cafe (with friends or on your own, no judgements here), or grabbing a late night snack at El Regio taco truck (my personal favorite), the food possibilities are endless and the attractions, like the 13th floor during Halloween or the colorful light show at the San Fernando Cathedral year round, are not only fun but uniquely San Antonio. Enjoy the moment!


About Alexsandra

Alex Rojas was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas and hasn’t managed to leave since. She is a senior English major at Trinity University with plans to go on to Medical school. When she’s not doing homework, she spends her free time reading, writing, and watching random YouTube videos.

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