Mom with hat on move in day at Trinity University
by Susie P. Gonzalez

Welcome to the 2017-18 academic year at Trinity University. As curator of the Parent Perspective, I invited parents of returning Tigers to share some tips for new parents.

Here are some ideas:
- Bring a toolbox. It doesn't have to be big but should have basic screw drivers, wrenches, etc. for assembling items you don't realize you have until you are moving in.
- Invest in a mattress topper. A memory foam version is worth the money to make sure your student gets a good night's sleep. One mom went a step farther and said to add a bed bug protector as well.
- Assemble a First Aid kit of over-the-counter medications. This will help when the first wave of colds sweeps through residence halls. Include Tylenol, Advil, Zicam, Pepto-Bismol, cough syrup, allergy medications, and other items you know that your student will need. (Editor's note: While you are at it, toss in some Band-Aids, topical anti-bacterial cream, and possibly mosquito repellent.) And of course, don't forget any prescription medications!
- Think about liquid hand soap and a pump dispenser for the bathroom. Also, Clorox wipes and facial tissues are good things for the room.
- A small bucket with other cleaning supplies for those times when housekeeping isn't scheduled but the room needs a touch up.
- Consider a locking box or lockable file cabinet to store items of value that your student absolutely wants to bring to campus but would be heartbroken if they went missing.

Trinity mom on move in day
Trinity University mom on move-in day.
Speaking of items of value, mom Cindy Cooke of Sacramento, California, recommends keeping a balance of about $100 on your student's TigerBucks account. She says her student uses debit cards and Venmo to share off-campus expenses. And in the event of an emergency, Cooke suggests trusting your student with a credit card.

Jean Whewell of Georgetown, Texas, says the upside of taking her third child to college was to purchase in advance a small, free-standing wire shelving rack for the bathroom. It was the perfect place near the sink for toothpaste, combs, soap, etc. that might not fit on the counter top when multiplied by four student occupants.

Although move-in day is a breeze because of the help of Team Trinity, moving out at the end of the year requires some assistance, says mom Loretta Pizzini Mendoza of Houston. She recommends purchasing a dolly that coverts from a two-wheel vertical truck to a four-wheel platform card. "Sure comes in handy when you are moving them home at year end," she writes.

Thanks to Cindy, Jean, and Loretta for sending such great advice.

Best of all, make a checklist and use it when packing from home. Speaking from experience, I purchased some items but forgot to put them in my husband's truck so they didn't make it to campus on the first run. Fortunately, I live close to campus and could circle back to collect the forgotten items. If you don't live nearby, make that checklist! Need more tips? Check out the Parent Guide. 

About Susie
Susie P. Gonzalez, senior manager of public relations at Trinity, can be reached at susie.gonzalez@trinity.edu or @susiegonz.


Trinity U students with frame at Spring Family Showcase

by Cat Schlueter—

Trinity University had never even been on our radar because in the North Texas burg of Azle where we reside, there is not a lot of marketing or promoting of schools other than state schools, TCU, and other colleges around the Dallas Fort Worth MetroPlex. My plan to become an ambassador for Trinity will hopefully change that.

Our very first college visit was based upon a recommendation of my daughter’s former babysitter, but after touring that school, my daughter Hayley decided to look at other similar schools and BOOM/GOOGLE here came Trinity University and Southwestern University in Georgetown. The backdrop of all this was her dad, who holds a doctorate in chemistry (which is what Hayley plans to pursue her degree in) LOUDLY cheering her on to go to A&M or the best, in his opinion, UT Austin.

Fast forward to January of 2016 when Hayley and I attended our first Trinity in Focus visit and I had to bite my tongue because I liked it so much, I wanted to switch bodies with her like Lindsay Lohan did with Jamie Lee Curtis in “Freaky Friday” so that I could be the one on this college search journey. Hayley is an introvert and is very hard to read...so when we left the campus to go back to the hotel, I was just waiting to hear her opinion...in her own words. She got in the car and said, "I really, really enjoyed that visit and I can totally see myself fitting in here - thank you for bringing me here." I cannot express strongly enough how ecstatic I was that she felt this way about Trinity after that visit because it became the foundation and comparison for everything else she looked at afterwards.

She visited A&M shortly thereafter but it was just not her style (and she couldn't care less about the Aggie ring) so next up was UT Austin. We visited there and her dad/my husband was obviously VERY interested in this University. After all, it has one of the strongest chemistry programs in the country. And hey, let's not overlook or forget that it costs a LOT less than any private university. Our visit to UT was during summer, so we could not get a true feel for what the campus would be like when 20-30,000 bodies would be hustling and bustling about. Still, Hayley liked it and decided she would definitely apply there. Our next visit was to UT Dallas and it was a set-up much like Trinity in Focus but this particular day was designated for auto-admit students, and yup, Hayley was an auto admit. She didn't get the warm and fuzzy feeling there so decided that if she got accepted to UT or Trinity, those would be the two she would decide between for her college selection.

In the meantime, dad had actually done some RESEARCH (imagine that, a scientist doing research) about Trinity and learned about its tremendous reputation AND the new Center for the Sciences and Innovation. So we went to yet another Trinity in Focus day with the whole family and he walked away saying it was just as great as I had told him it was. His objection and the issue at hand was still PRICE TAG. Long story short, Hayley applied early action to Trinity University and did the regular state application for UT Austin.

As the mom who wants to know everything about my daughters and knows them like I do, I couldn't stop thinking that if Hayley were to go to UT, she would "disappear" in the crowd. And she would sit in the middle or back of a big lecture hall, and if she did not understand something, she would probably just decide to skip class instead of asking the TA's or taking advantage of office hours.

Still, I kept my mouth shut while continuing to send Trinity blurbs and highlights that I would find from all over the web. I would send these links to both Hayley and her dad.

Trinity U student with LeeRoy the Tiger
Incoming first year student Hayley Schlueter with LeeRoy the Trinity tiger mascot.
Now came the waiting game. And, WOW, was that wait excruciatingly frustrating! More for me than for Hayley because she was just in the "whatever happens happens" mode at this time. THEN December rolled around. EARLY Merry Christmas from Trinity University with the "You're in" packet AND a surprise scholarship to boot! Hayley was sooooooo excited. I still think I was more excited than she was. And her dad? Being the fiscally skeptic dude that he is, he remarked that it was wonderful but "let's see what happens with UT." So more waiting and more waiting still. Finally, during the last week of decisions coming out from UT, Hayley said to me, "Don't tell dad but I have really been thinking about this and Trinity is my top choice so even if I get into UT, Trinity is where I want to go." Heck no I wasn't going to tell her dad she said that. I was jumping up and down inside though for sure. UT offered her admissions through CAP and it was at that point she told her dad she would be a Trinity Tiger.

Relief is an understatement...I could finally decompress because I knew and know that Trinity will not only perfect for her, but she will be good for Trinity. My daughter ended her high school career in the top 10% of her class at Azle High School and she is going to Trinity University in San Antonio with the intention of being a chemistry major and ultimately going to graduate school for pharmaceutical research.

But she will be encouraged to be engaged in so many things from day one. And she will meet so many people who will influence her in so many positive ways. Heck, she may even change her major. Who knows? The opportunities at Trinity, the potential to study abroad, and all of the new things to which she will be exposed shall be the foundation for how she impacts this world. And she loves basketball so I am pretty sure she will become a Spurs fan. She hasn't experienced the Riverwalk like it needs to be experienced. And during our last visit for admitted Tigers, I finally got to take them to the Tower of the Americas which I think is pretty darned neat.

I think I have bought her at least $250 worth of Trinity shirts and gear...she has been driving around with the Trinity University decal on the back window of her car, and her keys are on a Trinity University key ring, and her name is prominently displayed on what is referred to as "The Student Wall of Fame" which is a huge framed white board by the counseling office which has printed and laminated senior student names under which is listed the college they are planning to attend (or Trade School or Armed Forces branch, etc.). She is excited and proud to be able to call Trinity University the college she will be attending.

Four years from right now, she will have had experiences at Trinity University that many of her current classmates will not have the good fortune of experiencing because they may have not had parents or guidance of people who could tell them about the benefits of a university like this and about the availability of financial aid.

Trinity U student and mom
Hayley and Cat Schlueter
I am a mom that will not "hover" when she gets to San Antonio...I am confident she will find her way. But I will be supportive and sing praises about Trinity with all who I meet. And I will be engaged as much as I can with all of the other responsibilities I juggle.

And I will read every TU blog that pops up in my FB and Instagram feed with genuine interest and pride. Pride that my daughter, Hayley Julia Schlueter, chose Trinity University for the next step of her educational journey.

#TigerPride!

About Cat

Cat Schlueter is a human resources manager and is pretty excited, if you weren’t sure from her blog post, that her daughter will be an incoming first-year in August.
Family of Trinity U student Mason Meredith

by John Meredith—

As the parent of a Trinity University student who just finished his freshman year, the summer provides an opportunity to reflect on his decision to attend Trinity and first year of college. Our son, Mason, attended a Houston high school with more students than Trinity, so my wife, Shirley, and I wondered if he would want to attend a small college. When Mason narrowed his decision to Trinity and the Big 12 colleges that we attended, the main two factors that helped him choose Trinity were Trinity’s stellar academic reputation and the high-quality Trinity baseball program.

Orientation

The first time that we understood why Trinity was the right choice was in August when we pulled up to unload Mason’s bags and boxes at the start of school. There were so many smiling volunteers that we were amazed as everything was moved from the car to his dorm room. The orientation process was designed for students to learn what it means to be a Trinity student and helped us, as parents, begin the process of having our child make more of his own decisions.

Trinity Alumni

Being on campus confirmed what we had heard from Trinity alumni about what a special place Trinity is for students. There are few questions where 100% of the responses are positive, but I have yet to find any Trinity alums who are not pleased with their decisions to attend Trinity. Seeing the campus and the caring environment in person provided us with a glimpse of what students and faculty experience throughout the school year.
Trinity U baseball player Mason Meredith
Baseball has helped Trinity student Mason Meredith adjust to college life.
Lessons Learned

While I wish that I could say the first year was a breeze and that Mason liked every minute of it, there were challenges he had to overcome. First, he learned how to study better and participate in class, as professors would not let him just be a nameless student since there are fewer students in class than typical freshman classes in larger schools. When Mason came home for winter break, we were amazed with how much he had learned in one semester and we even had several thought-provoking discussions about important world issues. Second, Mason learned to make new friends with students from all over the country and world. Mason only knew two or three Trinity students when he arrived, so he had to get outside his comfort zone to develop friendships. Fortunately, being on the baseball team helped as he interacted daily with his teammates. Finally, he expanded his food choices; and it was nice to hear him compliment home-cooked meals after experiencing school food.

Tips for Parents
One tip for parents is to get a subscription to “The Trinitonian.” The student newspaper helps parents keep up with the activities and issues that are being discussed and experienced on campus. Getting the Trinity students’ perspectives on local, national, and international issues helped us understand what Mason was learning and experiencing.

Another tip is to join the Trinity Parent Council. The information received and the connections among other parents and the Trinity staff provide a better understanding of the Trinity “college experience.”

Shirley and I are pleased that Mason is looking forward to being at Trinity for his sophomore year. He is living with fellow sophomores that he did not know a year ago. Even better, he seems to be on the same trajectory that Trinity alumni end up reaching as they enthusiastically and fondly recall their time on campus.




About John

John Meredith is the Chief Operating Officer for Chamberlain Hrdlicka law firm.

Parents at Trinity University

by David Tuttle—

Every summer the Trinity University residential life staff fields questions from parents before their sons or daughters move to campus, receiving many queries about room dimensions and configurations, the length of the clothes bars in the closet, and more. Planning and setting up a room is fun. Helping one’s offspring prepare is an important ritual in sending a child off to college. Nevertheless, there is some other preparation that is even more pressing.

I remember asking one mom why she insisted in setting up her son's room. She told me it was because if she didn't, nothing would happen beyond move-in day. Indeed, it doesn’t take long before most students’ rooms are in disarray. (At check-out in May, parents often ask, “What is all of this stuff?”) Plans for clean rooms and organizational systems are quickly forgotten amid papers, pizza boxes, and piles of laundry.

In the meantime, students will struggle with homesickness, poor time management, freedom and the consequences that come with it, opportunities for alcohol consumption and other substance use, and poor grades. While many of you have addressed things as life lessons for the past 18 years, you may want to reinforce some of these messages or address new ones specific to the college years prior to August.

So send your child to Trinity, not only with stackable bins from the Container Store and little sewing and tool kits (that they will probably never use) but also with anticipation of how they will manage real and important issues and experiences.

The answers to many of these questions are obvious as to what they should or should not do:

Safety

Will they lock their room doors when they aren’t there? Will they sleep with their doors locked? Will they drink and drive? Will they get in a car with a drunk driver? Will they leave parties alone or with friends? Do they know they can call the Trinity University Police Department for on-campus escorts?

Health issues

Can they survive on pizza and soda alone? Will they be able to develop a regular sleep pattern? Will they budget their meal points? Will they take advantage of excellent recreational facilities and the intramural program on campus? Will they take their medications?

Alcohol

Will they drink alcohol? What will they do to take care of themselves or a friend? Will they ride with a designated sober driver or just the person who is least drunk? Do they know the consequences of alcohol violations on campus? Do they know the alcohol policy?

Sex
Do they know that Trinity has a sexual misconduct policy? Do they know how to protect themselves? What do they think about “hooking up”?

Roommate issues

Will they be assertive? Will they be respectful of a roommate’s reasonable habits and requests? How will they ask for that respect in return? Will they stand up to a roommate who brings in a guest and tries to kick them out of the room? Will they ever treat their roommate this way?

Parent-child relationship
How often will you communicate and by what means? How often will you visit one another? For the first visit home: What will the house rules be applied on visits and holiday breaks?

Finances

Which bills will they be responsible for paying? How often will you send money or add funds to their Tiger Bucks account? What is your philosophy on credit cards? Should they look for a part-time job to offset costs?

Trinity University students at the Writing Center
Students can get help with essays at the Writing Center. 
Academics

What are their academic strengths? How will they get to know professors? What questions will they ask the faculty adviser? In terms of study habits, what will they do differently than in high school? What are the important dates on the academic calendar? What kind of support do they like to receive from you?

Campus involvement


What clubs or organizations are they interested in joining? How will they make new friends?

Game systems, video games, instant messaging

Will they take their game systems with them? How much will they play each day in relation to doing homework? Will they use the systems to break the ice and have fun with others? Will they play so much that they don’t get involved on campus? Will they text during class? Will they live on social media and neglect studies?

Responsible citizenship


Will they work to make the campus a better place? Will they take time to understand campus rules? Will they treat campus neighbors respectfully? Will they pre-judge people because they are different? Will they embrace diversity and learn from others? Will they care for the University facilities they are using?

Career exploration

Will they meet with staff from Career Services and their professors to relate their interests to different majors and careers? Will they investigate job shadowing, internships, volunteering, research, or other career-building endeavors, beginning as early as their first year?

That is a lot to cover. Maybe there are some topics that are more pressing than others. Even our New Student Orientation uses a triage approach to the most critical messages being shared first, usually issues related to safety. You have lots to talk about this summer. Help them get ready for college, not just ready for setting up their first room.

About David

David M. Tuttle is an associate vice president and Dean of Students at Trinity University. You can read his blog, The Dean's List, here.

Trinity University Chamber choir

(Editor's note: Although the 2016-17 academic year has ended, we want to share one more story from a proud parent of a student who sang at the Tobin Center during the spring semester.)

by Lee Carter —

On Feb. 22, 2017 our son, Zachary “Zack” Carter, sang in the Mozart “Great” Mass in C minor at the Tobin Center. Zachary is a bass in the Trinity University Choir. His father and I traveled from Atlanta, Georgia and invited another couple who reside in San Antonio to join us. We all thoroughly enjoyed the concert. The quality of the performance was outstanding. It was amazing to witness the collaboration between the San Antonio Choral Society, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church Choir, and Trinity University Choir, along with the four soloists and orchestra. It was also very nice to see our son dressed in his tux.

Zachary is a physics major at Trinity University. However, music has always played a huge part in his life. He has been in chorus since the 4th grade, and was in the Chamber Choir and two musicals during high school. At Trinity, all students are eligible to participate in the choir. That allows for a diverse and substantial volume of talent

The Mozart Mass was like hearing the angels singing; prayer put to music. It makes one feel closer to God. It was wonderful seeing Zack singing again. We look forward to future concerts with the Trinity University Choir. In addition, we love San Antonio!

I totally agree that “At Trinity, each and every person matters—every student, every alumnus, every member of the staff and faculty…Trinity respects and nurtures each person’s unique talents, spiritual growth, skills, passions, leadership, and potential...(While) preparing our students to make a tangible, positive difference wherever they go.”

Trinity student Zack Carter
First-year student Zack Carter at a HUMA presentation.


College is a time for challenging oneself and discovering God’s plan. During Zack’s college search we discovered Trinity University offered excellent academics, a broad range of opportunities, small class sizes, and close connections with faculty and fellow students. During his first semester at Trinity, one of Zack’s professors hosted a dinner at her home for her entire class. Wow!!

I have been a nurse for 34 years. I can attest to the health benefits of music: It eases pain, relieves depression, improves sleep, enhances recovery after surgery or illness, strengthens learning and memory in both the young and old, boosts immunity, and decreases stress. This is significant since “Seventy-five percent to 90 percent of all doctor’s visits are for stress-related illnesses and complaints.”

How many times have you been in your car, when a song comes on the radio and it can change your whole mood. It can make you relaxed, sentimental, joyous, energized, and even inspired. Besides the shower, and church, my the car is the only other place where I sing! Zack got that talent.

In closing, I want to quote from the late musician John Denver: “ Music does bring people together. It allow us to experience the same emotions. People everywhere are the same in heart and spirit. No matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics, or the expression of our love and our faith, music proves: We are the same.”

About Lee


Lee Carter is a registered nurse who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. She is grateful to be able to express appreciation for such a great concert.


by Aliza Holzman-Cantu—

Today it finally hit me. Like a ton of bricks - that too-often used phrase that describes perfectly the weight of emotions that pummeled me on my drive to work.

It began with innocently looking at my Timehop app while drinking my coffee. This morning my memory of six years ago was, “With as many graduation special events Sophie has this month, one would think she was graduating from high school, not elementary school!” But now that memory is really about today. High school graduation is less than one month away. I am not ready.

As I smiled about the memory, I looked up to see Sophie (my high school senior) sitting in the living room playing with the puppy. She was dressed in her typical “uniform” (oversized T-shirt and Nike shorts) with no makeup on. She looked just like she did seven years ago as a fifth grader ready to take on middle school. How can college be just a few short months away?

It is not that I don’t think she is ready. She is. She had the benefit of wonderful educators to prepare her for university life. It is that I am still in disbelief that my first baby is truly a young adult, not a child.

All those vacations spent visiting campuses and U.S. regions to see where she would like to go to college have culminated in her finding the school that felt just right to her. The truth is, it is not a university that I would have chosen for myself, but it is a terrific place with so much to offer a young scholar and of course, I am not the one going. She has chosen to attend an SEC (Southeastern Conference) school, known for its school spirit, gorgeous campus, and friendly atmosphere. It is a school where she has found the majors and minors that she dreams of pursuing. AND, above all, it is a university that understands what the ton of bricks feels like to parents and makes my husband and me feel secure that my daughter’s best interests are theirs.

You, as Trinity parents, have probably felt these same emotions. And you, with college graduates, have certainly felt them more than once. Being a parent is certainly an emotional roller coaster, with hopefully more highs than lows. Trusting others to educate your “child” is not an easy decision. Working at Trinity has helped me to understand what I did not comprehend as an undergraduate here. It takes a community to provide an education. I am privileged to work with dedicated professionals throughout campus who ensure the full Trinity experience is accessible to all our students. It is this team of people, and the parents that I get to meet through my job, that are getting me ready for this next phase of life. Thank you. I am almost ready.

About Aliza

Aliza Holzman-Cantu ’92 ’94 is director of Parent Giving and Engagement and truly loves getting to know Trinity parents. She received both her BA in Communication and MA in Teaching from Trinity and is grateful for the opportunities both of those degrees have afforded her. She lives in San Antonio with her husband Willie (a TexasEx) and her two daughters, Sophie (12th grade) and Iliana (9th grade).


(Editor’s note: This Trinity mom reflects on her new grad’s college years.)

by Jennifer Mackender—

It seems like yesterday, my daughter, Ally, and her dad were sitting on the floor in our Colorado home looking up at the office walls admiring the bubble letter, colored marker, college hunt spreadsheets she had made. Each piece of typing paper, taped side by side in a perfect horizontal line, listed the name of the college and had bullet points showing the well-researched strengths and weaknesses of each school.

I remember on the weekends, as these lists would be created, edited, and sometimes torn from the wall and tossed in the trash, I would listen from another room as Ally and her dad would chat, laugh, and argue while discussing her college search. I was not necessarily drawn into their conversations, sometimes feeling left out and jealous of their commitment to the process. It wasn’t that they weren’t willing to include me – believe me they were! However, instead of joining the conversation, I tried to quietly walk past or find an errand to run so that I could remove myself from the activity.

I was at peace and I didn’t know why.

Why, at a time when I should have been hovering, talking more than listening, and giving my advice, had I become absent? After all, I am a stay-at-home mom. And like all stay-at-home moms, I was committed, I was sometimes annoying, and I was certainly the stereotypical helicopter parent. So why wasn’t I doing my job?

I had always been there to help Ally make those important life decisions. Which Build-a-Bear should I buy? Should I spend all my money on a Justin Bieber concert T-shirt? Am I a vegetarian or should I eat the burger? So why wasn’t I there now? How had I become quiet, peaceful, and confident at a time like this? Why was I confident in her ability to make this HUGE decision without me bothering her every step of the way?

As my daughter graduates from Trinity University, I now realize that the years of hovering, teaching, guiding, inspiring, modeling, and loving paid off. It led Ally to make the huge decision to attend Trinity, a school that has the same values that we instilled in her and our son, Ethan. It just felt right; she had found a university that mirrored everything we had been working so hard to impart on our children.

Trinity, like our home, provides love and support, but encourages her to take risks and face challenges.

Trinity, like our home, provides friends and professors that become family and provides her with connections to never feel alone.

Trinity, like our home, provides her with enrichment and the opportunity to nourish her talents.

Trinity University mom Jennifer Mackender and Allyson
Trinity mom Jennifer Mackender with daughter Allyson '17
Trinity, like our home, emphasizes the importance of embracing and accepting diversity and helping others.

So, prospective parents, as you watch your son or daughter make their huge college decision, be quiet as they process, be thoughtful as they share, and be confident as they waver. Most importantly, though, know that if they choose Trinity University, the students, faculty, and community will be there to pick up from where you left off. You’ve done well, mom and dad.

About Jennifer

Jennifer Mackender resides in Denver, Colorado. Her daughter, Allyson, graduated Saturday, May 13 with a bachelor’s degree in English. Her son, Ethan, is finishing his first year as a business student at Carthage College in Wisconsin. She is most proud of raising her two college-aged kids to be happy, healthy, and independent. She is a public health educator and enjoys spending time with her family, watching ’Husker football and breathing in the fresh air of the Rocky Mountains.