“Untraditional” students add to the display of diversity

Students and faculty that differ from the “normal” college student are able to enroll in courses

The classrooms at Trinity are full of surprises, like faculty members attending classes that aren’t part of their department or students who appear much older than their class year indicates.

The education and experiences at Trinity entice many different types of students and faculty to take classes and partake in student life, regardless of age. Some students at Trinity apply to the university when they are older than the general first-year applicant. Trinity allows professors to audit and take classes as a part of their employment contracts. Many faculty take these classes due to their interests, as well as wanting to develop more of their language, reading and writing skills.

In addition, the Office of Admissions welcomes students who are “non-degree seeking” to apply and enroll in Trinity for course credits.

These students can be international exchange students, Trinity employees and their dependents or spouses. This opportunity extends to students from other four-year universities, non-Trinity students who wish to join faculty-led programs, San Antonio community residents who wish to take courses and college graduates who may need to take additional prerequisite courses.

One student, Mary Tish Phillips, a 22-year-old in the class of 2025, shared her life story and why she applied to Trinity. Phillips grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, and worked as a model at 13 years old as a way to make money to pursue her passion for horseback riding.

When Phillips was 15, she moved to New York and started her international modeling pursuit even though she was still in high school at the time. She began spending many months alone in different cities and countries and later decided it would be best to graduate high school early to focus on modeling.

After traveling and living in cities like London, Milan, Paris and Seoul at such a young age, she realized she still had a strong love for academics and said she “wanted to put her brain to use again.” Phillips’ older brother graduated from Trinity and encouraged her to apply.

“After being away from school for so long I wanted to go back and do more of what I loved instead of modeling. I also always loved math growing up, and my brother was a computer science major so he encouraged me to also study it since it taught him so much,” Phillips said.

Phillips later moved back to Texas to be close to her family and friends. While Phillips traveled, she would make friends in different countries but only see them once every year. This led her to want a more stable environment with consistent people. Fortunately, Trinity checked all of those boxes for her, and since coming to Trinity, Phillips is thriving in every way possible.

“Modeling is about how you look all the time and is so opinion-based. Computer science teaches me that things can be so simple and right with no opinions or judgments. I went on an OREC trip last year which would have never been an opportunity as a model. Even a single scratch or bruise would’ve been unacceptable … I want more for myself,” Phillips said.

Phillips’ classes this semester consist of Data Abstraction, Functional Languages, Theoretical Computer Science, Calculus III, Medieval Christianity and Computer Science Colloquium. She is also the alumni chair for Spurs Sorority and an American Computer Machinery (ACM) tutor for computer science.

Phillips also stated that Trinity keeps her on her feet and has given her abundant rewards such as an amazing education, supportive friends, great resources, and, most importantly, so much fun.

“I’ve learned to lean into challenging things and not to run away from anything. I’ve realized that putting my heart into what I do really does reap so many positive attributes in return,” Phillips said.