Experiential learning encompasses any activity in which a student is actively engaged in their education inside or outside of the classroom. At Trinity, experiential learning includes undergraduate research opportunities inside and outside of the classroom, volunteer experiences, internships, study abroad opportunities, and more.

By Mariah Wahl

Okay, okay, I’ll admit it. I graduated over a week ago. This goodbye post is way, way overdue.

But what can I say? It turns out that saying goodbye is much harder than I’d anticipated. It doesn’t quite feel real, even after the fountain pictures have been posted on Facebook, and the first days at my new, “grown-up” job are underway. I keep thinking that, a few months from now, I’ll be walking into class carrying my new books. I’ll pick up my syllabi and meet new professors. I’ll greet the friends I haven’t seen since spring semester.

I won’t, though. I know that my four years at Trinity are up.

It’s been a whirlwind. While it’s cliché to say that I feel like I was just moving into my first year dorm, meeting my roommate, and climbing the tower for the first time, it’s true. I don’t think I’m ready to give the definitive conclusion about my college experience. I know enough to know that my perspective isn’t fully cooked, but I’ll do my best to tell you the few things I’ve learned.

This is all I can tell you:

1. Learn everything you can.

Every. Single. Thing. Writing the Experiential Learning Blog has been the greatest opportunity to learn about our Trinity Community, and everything we do here on campus. What does research in computational organic chemistry look like? What part does San Antonio play in America’s musical history? How does it feel to be one of the first Americans visiting Cuba in almost fifty years?

I majored in English, but I feel like these conversations helped me understand so much beyond that specific area of study. My conversations with the other students of Trinity have made me a smarter, more curious person. I can’t thank each of you enough for sharing your time and your talents with me, and opening my mind to new ideas and new areas of study.

2. Meet new people and talk to them.

So many Trinity students have wonderful, poignant, and funny things to say. Some of these people I have met in person. Many more were brave enough to offer their honest opinions on the Trinity Perspective. I feel lucky to have heard their thoughts on a variety of topics, from what it’s like to be a lady engineer, to what it’s like to be part of shattering body image stereotypes as part of Trinity research projects.

I am a wiser person, more prepared for the world ahead, because of what you have shared with me. I can only hope that younger students have learned about the college experience from you, as well. Thank you for sharing each of your quirky Trinity experiences with the Trinity Perspective.

3. You will be surprised by what you miss.

I will miss Mabee dining hall, especially early breakfasts and long days studying in a private booth.

I will miss living in a dorm, with my best friend sleeping only ten feet away. I will miss knowing that any Trinity person I might want to see was only a short walk across campus. I even miss being woken up in the middle of the night by all kinds of noise and shenanigans.

I will miss school. I have only recently realized: I may never sit in a class again. I may never stay up late finishing an essay, I may never study chemistry, or calculus, or any other topic I would never have pursued intentionally.

And you know what? That makes me sad. I was so eager to be done with academics, but it’s been one of the first things I've missed.

I can’t believe it’s goodbye, but it is. Thanks for reading, for being interviewed, and for sharing your Trinity experience with the community and me. It’s been a blast, Trinity University.

Mariah out. #goodbyeTU

About Mariah

Mariah Wahl is a Trinity University alumna from the class of 2016, where she completed a degree in English and women's and gender studies. She edited the Trinity Perspective as well as the Trinity Experiential Learning Blog. In her free time, Mariah enjoys running and being outdoors. During her time at Trinity she was a member of Sigma Theta Tau sorority. Mariah now works as a digital strategist at a local advertising and marketing firm.