Greeting class of 2017! A short 22 years ago, my father helped me move in to Herndon first. Though it’s been a few days (ahem) since I moved to Trinity for the first time, the the experience still resonates. It is with that perspective I offer some thoughts on how to get the most from your Trinity experience.

One of the great things about being a college student is having the ability to broaden your horizons. Back in high school (oh so long ago!) the days were totally structured. Your day started at the same time as everyone else, everyone’s course load was similar, and you were all from the same place.  Basically, up to this point in your life, your day-to-day choices have been pretty limited and prescriptive.

College life, on the other hand, is filled with choices YOU get to make. You’ll make some good decisions along the way; you’ll make some bad decisions along the way. Either way, those decisions should help you grow to become a more complete person.

One easy choice you can make is to explore your surroundings. Just where is that Java City? The outdoor pool? Wait, there’s a Taco Taco on campus!?! Go to the Bell Center to exercise and catch a volleyball game. Head to McGinlay Field to watch outstanding men’s and women’s soccer. Get off your couch and go support the Tigers on the gridiron. But, don’t limit your exploration to campus confines.

San Antonio is an amazing city! Get out and discover: take in farmer’s market at Pearl Brewery, ride a bike down the Mission River Reach, explore King William, utilize the student discounts at the San Antonio Museum of Art and the McNay. Go see a professional sports team play. Everyone knows about the Spurs, but the AHL’s Rampage, NASL’s Scorpions, WNBA’s Silver Stars, and Texas League’s Missions are all here too. And if you can be here during Winter Break, you’d be CRAZY to miss the Valero Alamo Bowl. The bowl now features top ranked teams from the Big 12 and Pac 12 and has become one of the premier events in the city and one of the best bowl games year in and year out.

San Antonio has one of the biggest Martin Luther King Jr. Day marches in the country and there are plenty of Trinitonians who participate. Find someone who goes and take part in something that’s bigger than any of us. Make time to volunteer. Part of personal growth is recognizing that the entire world doesn’t revolve around you.

Of course there are other decisions you get to make, on a daily basis, that have a significant impact on your Trinity experience. Take full advantage of the common curriculum. As an alumnus of Trinity’s communication and religion departments, I can tell you that the critical thinking and writing skills you can develop at Trinity will serve you well. But like everything else, the choice is yours. You’ll get out of your classes what you put in. Another tip I wish I’d known back in August 1991. Go to office hours. Get to know your professors. We are here because we WANT to interact with students. Help us, help you.

Stop by Career Services. The amazing staff has much to offer and it is never too early to start thinking about that summer internship or job experience. Take that risk and pursue your passion. You never know where it might lead.

I could go on-and-on (I am a college professor after all), but my word limit is drawing near. So, I end with this – get out of your dorm rooms and break free from your comfort zone. College life presents you with tons of opportunities and options. Dip your toes in the water and uncover the greatness of a life well-lived!

Jacob Tingle is an assistant professor in the Business Administration Department and the Director of the Sport Management Minor.