Finding “Your People”
Tigers form friendships through common interests
Thursday, November 19, 2020
the text "finding your people" with an illustrated group of people with their arms around each other

College is often described as the best four years of your life. But there isn’t a single, unequivocal formula for creating the best college experience possible—it’s built from the camaraderie of the in-between. It’s the early morning athletic practices or the late night Trinitonian work sessions. It’s shrieking with glee with your sisters on Bid Day, or knocking on the door of your neighbor in the residence halls.

For generations, Trinity students have found that the heart of their Trinity experience lies not in the things they did or the grades they received, but in the people they knew and the friendships they formed. 

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“Twenty-seven years later and I am still close to my tribe of resident assistants. From retreats to trips to the River Walk with eight of us crammed in a Buick to late night runs to Taco Cabana to collaborating on how to handle the shaving creamed streakers, we were such a diverse group who came together for a common cause. I love my fellow RAs!” - D’Ann Nichols Drennan ’93 

 

“Winn First Floor was the equivalent of traveling the world without leaving your dorm. Flag football in the halls, parasailing at the quarry, midnight runs to the bakery for fresh bread, jumping off the third floor into mattresses—life in a freshman dorm was a great start! It even helped me find my future wife!” - Chris Warren ’78

 

“I was part of the move to Trinity’s new campus. The community really didn’t change after the move—it just got better. We just loved the new campus. The environment that we were living in was, and still is, beautiful. Those of us in the dormitories became very close, but we also had friends who were town students—those who lived at home. Freshmen wore beanies, and it was sort of like hazing, but really it was a way for us to get to know one another. We did get into some trouble. One school we were playing in football had a stuffed bobcat they brought to the games (and we had a tiger that was actually kept in the zoo!). We went over there to see if we could steal the bobcat—and we did. I was gone all night, and I came back and had a chemistry exam in the morning. It was very, very foolish on my part, but then again I was younger. College days are some of the best days of your life.” - Larry Adamson ’54  

 

“I never intended on joining a sorority, but the most confident, intelligent, outgoing woman in my political science class invited me to a rush event. The rest, as they say, is history!” - Karla Hagen Phillips ’92 

 

 

 

“Those super late nights down in the newsroom certainly let themselves to community building for the Trinitonian staff!” - Kenneth Caruthers ’15 

 

 

 

“I worked and lived in the theater department for four years. It was magical even though I wasn’t a major. 30 years later, I am still talking to those theater friends almost every day!” - Dina K. Toland ’92  

 

 

 

“Trinity had a robust Army ROTC program. I found a particularly dedicated group in Perishing Rifles, a military fraternity. We formed a common bond and still feel a kinship that grew from our camaraderie and commitment to service.” - Gerald Reamey ’70 

 

 

“Swim team. I had two teammates in our wedding and still talk to and visit them on a regular basis 14 years later!” - Jessica Unruh '06

 

 

 


The following story is an abridged version of a story originally written in 2019. Read the full version.

Danyal Tahseen '19 at the Hijab Fashion Show, hosted by the Muslim Student Association.

"Being involved in Trinity’s Muslim Student Association (MSA) defined much of my undergraduate journey. When I first arrived at Trinity, I have to admit how surprised I had been at the lack of a Muslim community at the University. I wasn’t sure if I was unique or just defining “community” based on a limiting identity.

This isolation really hit me my freshman year during Ramadan, given that I spent the first 18 years of my life in Pakistan, where entire families and even neighborhoods would come together at sunset to break their fast, share food, and celebrate each other’s company. My first Ramadan at Trinity, though? Having no Muslim friends or family here, I waited for the Ramadan app on my iPhone to tell me when it was time to eat. I spent my first Ramadan microwaving Hot Pockets in my residence hall rather than celebrating it with people who understood.

After an experience with discrimination, I was inspired to revive the MSA, which marked a big turning point for me. I flipped the way I processed my negative experiences. I shed my guilt and ceased complaining how no one gets me, and I used those as opportunities to pinpoint what misconceptions people hold about my “niche” community. I held conversations with classmates about their perceptions of Muslim people, revived cultural events like our successful Henna Night, and spoke on panels about my experiences. 

The tail end of my undergraduate journey saw many promising changes thanks to the establishment of the Diversity and Inclusion Office (DIO). Due to my role as president of MSA, I was invited to be a member of the DIO advisory board and sat down for monthly meetings alongside the leaders of every other cultural, racial, and identity-oriented organization on campus. To my left sat the president of PRIDE. To my right sat the president of the Black Student Union. Being around incredibly talented people from various walks of life who had grown stronger from pain, helped enrich my own perspective as an advocate. I was different, but I wasn’t alone. 

As I prepared to graduate, my very last days at Trinity fell during the holy month of Ramadan. During my senior year, MSA received invitations from the chaplain and professors Sajida Jalalzai, Tahir Naqvi, and Habiba Noor to their homes for a collective dinner. A group of us got together right before the break of dawn to share a last bite in preparation for a full day of fasting. I now had a semblance of the community I enjoyed in Pakistan, while also celebrating differences within community. Thinking back to the freshman version of myself eating microwaved food alone in my room after 14 hours of fasting, I finally rediscovered the childish joy of sharing a well-deserved Hot Pocket…with Medjool dates that smelt of home." - Danyal Tahseen ’19

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