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.