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I have never been crazy about big cities. The slower pace of small towns is more my speed than the hustle and bustle of city life. Still, I recognize the opportunities cities offer. Since moving here for college earlier this year, I’ve found San Antonio strikes the perfect balance.

When I decided Trinity University was the school for me, I wanted to take advantage of the opportunities offered in the seventh-largest city in the country. So I researched San Antonio and curated a list of all the restaurants, food trucks, museums, music venues, parks and farmers markets I wanted to visit.

Trinity is in a convenient location to explore everything the city has to offer, with everything I have seen and done so far no more than 10 minutes away. I have eaten at several dozen restaurants and eateries in the city, from the Pearl to Southtown to the West Side and more, documenting my food adventures on Instagram.

I’ve found some favorite spots already, including Halcyon, a hip coffee shop, bar and lounge all in one. I love studying there and their spicy Southtown chicken sandwich is a personal favorite. The Pearl is great for shopping at Feliz Modern or the holiday farmers’ market, and dining at Ladino or Best Quality Daughter. Other food favorites include The Cove, a family burger joint with live music; Mina and Dimis, a Greek restaurant with delicious food and a festive setting; and PB&J with Tay, an eatery devoted entirely to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

When I first set foot in Central Market, I felt like a little kid in a candy shop — and I have not been able to leave the store yet without buying dark chocolate banana chips from their candy aisle. In October, I even took a cooking class at Central Market, learning how to make paella with one of my friends from school.

And there’s so much to do without even leaving campus.

The first semester of every Trinity freshman’s schedule is filled with a first-year experience course. Students are put into a variety of unique classes they attend every day of the first semester. I was placed into Arts & Ideas, a class that has fostered my love for intuitive writing.

One of Kate’s favorite places to go off campus is to Central Market to explore the chocolate varieties.
One of Klein’s favorite places to go off campus is to Central Market to explore the chocolate varieties. Credit: Bria Woods / San Antonio Report

Looking out a window at the Center for Sciences and Innovation, a state-of-the-art research, classroom, and study facility for faculty and students, I see the city skyline in the distance and notice the harmony between Trinity buildings and their surroundings. The presence of nature feels intentional and makes the atmosphere much more inviting. I also see Coates Library and Dicke Hall, two buildings where I love to study.

Every building on campus has a different aesthetic, whether it be the natural lighting of Dicke Hall or the secluded corner on the second floor of Coates Library that showcases images of strong women like Michelle Obama. For me, it makes studying fun because I love changing the environment I work in daily.

Attending a university with a small student body has plenty of perks. For example, every month, Trinity Diversity Club hosts diversity dialogues where members of the Trinity community come together to discuss and learn about topics pertaining to social justice and inclusion. Last month I attended a banned books talk with librarians from Trinity and local high schools. While there, I sampled donuts from The Art Of Donut and cookies from Cookie Cab. The club also hosted a Friendsgiving. My friends and I got to enjoy each other’s company in a festive environment with great food, music and holiday gifts.

Kate Klein studies in her dorm room at Trinity University decorated with photos and tokens from her home in Philadelphia.
Kate Klein studies in her dorm room at Trinity University decorated with photos and tokens from her home in Philadelphia. Credit: Bria Woods / San Antonio Report

Another on-campus activity I enjoy is Nacho Hour, a Wednesday afternoon ritual at precisely 3:33 p.m. when the Coates Student center hosts a free nacho buffet. Attending humaniTEA, a monthly event for those interested in the humanities, is always a highlight of my month. Students are invited to enjoy a nice cup of tea and a seasonal scone (or two) while meeting new people with similar interests.

My favorite club I take part in is OREC (Outdoor Recreation), which has empowered me to be my most adventurous self. This semester I tubed in New Braunfels, swam in Canyon Lake, picked up trash at Brackenridge Park and backpacked at Big Bend. The backpacking trip was not only physically demanding, but it challenged me to be so far removed from society. I felt deeply connected with the other students on the trip even though I had just met them.

Trinity’s performing arts departments always put on exquisite shows. Last weekend I went to the Christmas concert, showcasing our handbell ensemble, orchestra, choirs, jazz band, and wind ensemble. My favorite part was when the tenors and basses of the Trinity choir performed “Betelehemu,” a Nigerian Christmas song.

The four months since moving here from the Philadelphia area have been some of the best of my life. I feel as though I have begun to find myself as an adult and have a better sense of who I want to be. I still have so much to explore in San Antonio and would love it if you could share some of your favorites in the comments below or in a message on Instagram.