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Have Fun This Weekend, With or Without Family!

2 Oct

Family weekend is upon us, and the University of Arizona truly does not take this weekend lightly! There are so many activities, from the Bear Down BBQ to carnival-level festivities. For many of you, this can mean finally being able to show off the university that you have gotten to know and love. However, a lot of you might not have family coming up this weekend. I’m here to tell you, there are still a million ways to have a great time this weekend!


As an out-of-state student, I really dreaded family weekend last year because I knew that it was not very feasible for my parents and siblings to come up all the way from Texas just for one weekend. I thought I might as well stay in because seeing everyone having a hoot with their own families might have proven to be a bit depressing. However, I was so wrong!

Here are some fun options:

Get some friends together, and go to the movies! Sounds simple enough, right? Basically, this is just another weekend, and the great thing about going to a school this big is that there are always going to be people in the same boat as you! So try to find out who doesn’t have family coming down either, and make some plans. One of my biggest tips is to go out, and make sure to have some fun!


Okay, I know some of you will refuse to go out-that’s okay, I love a nice relaxing night in as much as the next person. I think we are all on the same page when I say, there is one clear thing to do if you’re staying in: Netflix! If you’re not sure what to watch I would recommend Parks and Recreation, Friends, or Stranger Things (try to force someone to watch this one with you, it can get a little jumpy)!


If you’ve grown close to someone on campus -like your roommate or any friends really- and they offer for you to go out with their families, be open to it! Going out and having fun might get your mind off the fact that your family wasn’t able to make it, and trust me, good food and good company will make for an enjoyable time!


And lastly, why not just go down to the mall and partake in the activities the U of A is putting on? Maybe your family isn’t here, but you still have to eat! And I don’t know about you, but carnival rides, U of A football, and ice cream sounds like the makings of a perfect weekend to me!

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So  if your family is not able to come down this weekend, I hope that you will not feel lonely! There truly are so many ways to keep preoccupied. Just try to have fun, whether that means a relaxing night of Netflix or a night out with friends! Hope you all have a great weekend, and Bear Down!



My Experience as a Preceptor

20 Apr

Preceptor-ing for one of your classes is a great idea for a multitude of reasons. It gives excellent experience to put on your resume, it can help you forge a closer connection to your professors, and of course, it’s a great way to take some extra units. I spent a semester being a preceptor for my BCOM 214 class — which for those of you who aren’t pre-business majors, is essentially a business writing course. I have to say, I learned a lot from my experience, and here are some tidbits:

  1. This is going to sound strange since I wasn’t working in a team, but I felt a sense of leadership in my role. Even though I had just taken the class a semester before, I felt as though being a student that just went through the course made me acutely more able to provide guidance. If a student came to me with a question about an assignment, I was able to recall doing it myself, but I also knew more clearly how the professor would want them to approach that same assignment now.
  2. I gained incredible experience. Because I am in Eller and this class was a pre-requisite for my major, going through it was already a great learning experience. However, guiding others through it and grading student drafts proved to be invaluable. I genuinely cannot even look at something as simple as an email at this point without editing it in my mind. (So that’s kind of a positive lol).
  3. I learned so much. This goes hand-in-hand with my last bullet point, but I guess having an ‘instructor-esque’ role gave me a new found appreciation for instructors in general. Knowing that I was actually helping a student — especially when they came in for one-on-one help — was so gratifying. Also, I had to learn how to give hands-on instruction without taking over completely and writing the paper for them (this was actually a lot harder to learn than you might think lol)

All in all, I loved being a preceptor. A cool thing about my preceptor-ship was that following the semester, the BCOM instructors threw us an appreciation party! However, even without the party, I’d say having that experience was invaluable. I hope you all consider becoming a preceptor at least at some point in your college career! 🙂

-Amna 🙂

Why You Should Attend Spring Fling

1 Apr

You have almost made it through your first year, Wildcats! Yes, you might have some midterms to take and of course there’s finals, but still this is a huge accomplishment. Treat yourself a little bit and celebrate. And by celebrate, I mean: go to Spring Fling! Personally, I am a huge fan of rides and that adrenaline rush, but there are so many more reasons for you to attend Spring Fling this year. Here are just a few:

  1. It’s the largest student-run carnival in the nation. So maybe you’re thinking that’s not exactly an incentive for you to attend it, but if you think about it – students arranged this event in a manner that they would enjoy personally. That’s how you know you will also enjoy this event. (As you might be able to tell, I’m a huge proponent of this carnival lol).
  2. There is SO MUCH FOOD. According to the event site, there’s 20 original food booths. So if you’re in the mood for carnival foods – meaning funnel cakes, cotton candy, turkey legs — then you are in for a delicious time; OR, even if you’re looking for some authentic Mexican food, you should absolutely attend.
  3. There are also tons of fun activities. While the rides are my favorite – and for those of you that love rides too — from personal experience, these rides are actually really good. Obviously, there’s not exactly room for a full-on roller coaster, but the rides are definitely intense enough to give you that stomach-drop feeling. However, for those of you who aren’t the biggest fan of rides, there are tons of carnival-type games!

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  1. It’s a really way to have fun and get out of your apartment, house, or dorm. Tickets aren’t that expensive for rides, and also entrance is free with your CatCard, so take advantage of this. It’s right on the mall, so there’s no need to arrange for transportation! Grab a couple friends or maybe even ask someone that you want to get to know a little better, and have fun! Hope to see you all there. 🙂

-Amna 🙂

#MiddlingMarch: Don’t Let March Meddle with You

15 Mar

Getting homesick is almost inevitable in March. Unless you went home for Spring Break, you are most likely in the same boat as me. Spring Break was fantastic, and I hope all of you had a wonderful time; however, one small qualm that I have with Spring Break is that it’s always so busy. Since there’s only a week of it, I feel this pressure to take advantage of the time, and then I end up planning out some type of event for every single moment. I don’t want to say I have any regrets about this, but I will say that Monday right after break was not exactly the best day in the world for me.

But back to homesickness!! Since I did spend my break with friends rather than family, I have to admit I’m really beginning to miss my crew back home. I don’t know what all of you do to combat homesickness but for me there are three pivotal steps:

  1. First, I let myself be sad. Now, don’t let this get out of control, but if I miss my family, I like to watch videos that I have taken with my little brother and flip through pictures of all of us on Facebook or on my phone. Don’t be afraid of that nostalgia!
  2. Next, I make sure to allot time to talk to different family members. My sister graduated a couple years ago, and she is working as a consultant now, so sometimes it can be hard to find time when we are both free, but it’s just a matter of scheduling it out. On the other hand, my brother who just recently became a teenager, is not always keen on long talks on the phone. So sometimes I try to FaceTime my mom during times when I know he will be home, just so I can catch a glimpse of him. All of this applies to friends back home too!! One really hard thing about branching off from your friends in high school is that you all get so busy. There’s nothing wrong with that; these are busy times. But if you genuinely miss someone, make sure to reach out — I’m sure they would be so happy to hear from you.
  3. Lastly, I go out and do something fun. Being homesick is completely normal and all, but there’s no point in dwelling in something you can’t change. SO RECENTLY I WENT AND SAW BLACK PANTHER. I am a big movie person, and I feel like going to see a movie is the perfect way to treat yourself during the week because you can allocate that specific amount of time out without getting too wild. It was such a good movie, so I highly recommend taking a break and checking it out. Go get some ice cream with a friend or catch up with someone you haven’t seen in a while over lunch — just take a break and have fun. We are in college, so we deserve to have fun!

That’s all I have for now; I hope you all make it through this March and the rest of the year smoothly!

-Amna 🙂

Tips for Traveling Safe

2 Mar

Spring Break is finally here. I’m sure you all have some great plans lined up — whether that be returning home for the week, staying here and relaxing, or taking a trip with your friends. Hopefully, wherever you end up and whatever you end up doing is both fun and allows you to destress from the semester. One awesome thing about Spring Break is that it allows you to recuperate your energy so that when you return, you’re ready to tackle the rest of the semester. But also, it’s time to have fun!

If you are taking a trip with friends, please do your best to stay safe. There are so many ways you can prepare before heading off on your adventures and taking these precautions is the best way to ensure your break runs as smoothly as possible. Below are some tips on how I personally like travelling with friends.

  1. First off, how are you getting there?
    • If you’re flying, who is picking you up? Do you have your passport or other form of ID? Check and check again before leaving. Print your boarding pass or at least double check to make sure your airline emailed it to you, and you can access it from your phone.
    • If you’re driving, are you taking a reliable car? Consider having your car or your friend’s car checked out especially if you know you will be driving a long ways. Also, are you and your friends splitting the cost of gas? Pro tip: If you don’t have Venmo… Get Venmo.
  2. Make sure you’re travelling with trustworthy friends. At this point, you probably can’t exactly change the group you are travelling with, but my hope is that you are with a group of trustworthy individuals! Be a good friend is what I mean here. Don’t leave anyone behind if you’re going to a club or something along those lines. Use the buddy system at the very least. Establish some kind of protocol for ensuring everyone is safe — it doesn’t have to be complicated, maybe it’s just a quick text check in! Also, consider adding your friends on Find My Friends!
  3. Don’t way until the last minute to pack! If you’re going to be out at the beach or in the sun, pack sunscreen. Try to think about what you all are planning for each of the days you will be on vacation, and pack according to the needs of your activities per day. If you’re feeling especially organized, make a check list!
  4. Be cautious of your surroundings. This may sound a little obvious, but if you’re in a new place, and you seem lost — you become a target of sorts. Try to do your research on where you’re going, and plan out your day to day activities to the best of your ability. Keep your head up and look out for one another!

All right, that’s all I have for now. Have a great Spring Break, Wildcats!

-Amna 🙂


Midterms, Goals, and Spring Break

26 Feb

This can be a stressful time of year for students. In my experience, the middle of spring semester of Freshman year is when you have the realization that you’re no longer “new” at this. At this point, you have a grasp of what the expectations are so far as your classes and how you will examined. Along with that, you probably have a good idea of campus and how things work around here.

However, Spring semester can be challenging in many ways. To start, it’s longer. Additionally, there aren’t as many breaks to cushion the stress of midterms. For me, March of spring semester is when homesickness really hit. I didn’t even realize what was going on — I was taking midterms and of course, there was some drama going on with friends and such, but one day I realized that I really missed having family around. I missed having that constant and unquestioning support system. The important thing parents can do when students are stressed out with midterms and college life in general is just be supportive.

There are tons of resources around campus that students can utilize during these stressful times, and it can be nice to have a reminder of what they are. For example, if your student is very stressed, they can visit the CAPS center. Professionals there are equipped to find solutions specific to the needs of students in college. Personally, I think college can be isolating at times, especially for freshmen, so sometimes all your student may need is a third party that is willing to listen.

Along with coping with stress, students are coping with tricky classes. ThinkTank is a great resource during midterms especially. They have helpful tools and study groups allocated for specific courses and open, walk-in hours for subjects like English and Math. This is a resource that is often overlooked, but it shouldn’t be because there are ThinkTank offices all over campus. Additionally, the Campus Recreation center has more to offer than its giant gym. The Rec often offers free group fitness classes for students to try out and relieve stress (especially around midterm and finals periods), and additionally, they have an entire spa dedicated to caring for students.

March is a very busy and stressful time in college. I guess a good way to describe it is like college has formed this little bubble around you over the months, and March is when you realize you need to come up for air, but it’s really hard to manage it. If your student made goals at the beginning of the semester year, this is a point in time that they might be getting a little off track. Often times, we get so wrapped up in what is going on in the present that it’s hard to actually reflect on how we are handling and managing our goals. For me, I like writing them down – just to have them firmly on paper — and then, take some time to actually think about why I am making these goals for myself. Even if your student feels off track, let them know that it’s perfectly okay — there’s always time to get back into it, especially when they’re only freshman in college.

This year, Spring Break is coming a lot earlier than most of us are used to! I remember when I was a freshman I had some grand ideas about what a “college Spring Break” might entail, but honestly it just depends on your student! Maybe they’ve been really stressed out and homesick and they are just looking to return home for the week. They could even be getting some Rest & Relaxation right here in Tucson! Or, perhaps they are heading over to Rocky Point or California with their friends. All of these are viable options — as parents, you can support your students by doing your best to ensure they are vacationing responsibly. Are they taking a reliable and safe car if they are going for a long drive? Are they going with trustworthy friends that will be looking out for them?

I remember my parents were (understandably) a little concerned about the prospect of Spring Break. I just tried to be open and honest with them, and I think that having that trust established is what allowed them to relax. However, do remind your students that the semester isn’t over after the break. They should of course take the time to destress and all, but there will still be plenty of midterms and finals and essays waiting for them when they return! 😉



#FearlessFebruary: Boxing!

21 Feb

This month I wanted to try something that I have been inclined to try for a while, but haven’t had that last push of motivation to actually do. So… I tried boxing! I have always wanted to give this a try for the purpose of it being a great and intense workout, but also because I think I could learn cool self defense skills from it. However, I did always think it might be a little intimidating walking into a “boxing club” with literally zero experience.

I knew I had to try it though when I learned that Boxing Inc. gives out one free class to newcomers!

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There are three locations in Tucson for Boxing Inc., but I went to the one on the East side. For those of you that might want to stay closer to campus, the University gym is right on Campbell. Anyway, I just called them and asked to sign up for a free class, and from there, it was just a matter of attending one!

I’ll start by saying, they definitely didn’t just let me into the ring from the start. That would have gone over terribly (lol). There was a lot of partner work and sparring, and one thing I really loved is that they made sure I warmed up my muscles before letting me throw out some wild jabs (which was of course tempting to do).

Something I was really surprised to learn was that there’s almost a zen philosophy to boxing. I naively figured it was mostly about anger and letting out all your aggression, but it’s really not. There was a quote that read, “The past is useful only if it is used to prepare for the future.” Now, I guess this correlates to losing a fight in the ring, but then taking that loss, and working hard to get a win in the future. Basically, it’s about being resilient and learning from your mistakes, and of course this applies to life as well. I feel like it’s so easy to get bogged down by one “loss,” and everyone tells you to “learn from it,” but that’s always easier said then done. Boxing forces you to take your future into your own hands — everything is up to you, the harder you train, the better your outcome. It’s all about you putting in the time.

Obviously, (perhaps not obvious to all of you, but obvious to anyone who might know me), I am not preparing to become an MMA fighter or anything along those lines. But, I definitely learned from this experience. ALSO, a huge takeaway — there is A LOT of cardio. So before you get in there, make sure you have a good amount of stamina in you. 🙂

– Amna 🙂


Ready, Set, Go(al)

18 Feb

Goal setting can sound intimidating and tedious, but it doesn’t have to be either of those things. Whether your goal is personal or academic, it can be nice to put it down paper. One thing that helps me is telling my close friends and coworkers about my goals so that I feel motivated (and let’s face it: pressured) to complete them. Obviously, everyone has their own method when it comes to setting goals, but just in case you need a little inspiration here is my method:

  1. Write it down. It can be hard to remember what your long-term goals are when you are caught up in daily life. If it’s in writing, it feels more real (at least that’s the case for me). You can write down the necessary steps that will lead to accomplishing your goal, and then place that gratifying check mark when you complete a step.
  2. Try to specify exactly what you want as far as an outcome. This is really important. For example, if your goal is to workout more, how exactly do you measure when you achieve that? Maybe you tell yourself to work out three times a week or maybe you give yourself a “goal weight.” Regardless, having a finish line can make your goal a lot more actionable.
  3. Give yourself some kind of timeline. Depending on the goal – long term, short term, academic, or personal – the timeline is subject to debate. But set something loosely so that you can hold yourself accountable for meeting your “quotas.”
  4. What’s motivating your goal? So this is a little weird, but I do like thinking about this a lot. If I want something very badly (enough to write it down in my planner of all things!! (lol)), I better have a good reason for it. Make sure you have a healthy and smart reason for pursuing that goal so that you can go for it without anything holding you back.
  5. Schedule a little time in to reflect on where you’re at with your goals. Just think back on it. Are you making progress? If not, that’s totally okay. If this is something that you are passionate about, start taking steps towards progress. Even if they are just baby steps! 🙂
  6. Don’t go overboard! I can’t stress this enough. We are still so young, and there’s no need to have it all figured out right this instant. I have a tendency to overextend myself, and I have realized in my three years here — college is supposed to be fun too. So chill out sometimes!

-Amna 🙂

Time to Transition

28 Jan

Even at the age of 21, I still feel like a kid most days. However, a lot about my life has changed (necessarily) since I have become a college student. There were so many things that I took for granted when I lived at home with my parents. For example, delicious and healthy meals, laundry, and even a clean house to come home to. It’s so important to have a handle on these seemingly small aspects of life when you’re living on your own or even with roommates. To be truthful, they aren’t all that hard to do, but it takes time to adjust to having these responsibilities. Here are some examples of how I have noticed a change in my own lifestyle since becoming a college student.

  1. I actually think about what’s for dinner. Eating out is expensive, and if you plan to make dinner you have to allocate time for preparation! Also, you have to make sure you have sufficient groceries at home. Luckily, my roommates and I have a system where we trade off on dinner prep based on class schedules. But still, eating healthy on a budget can be tricky. Do your best to score deals! Surprisingly, Sprouts has pretty inexpensive produce, but I never would have known that had I not done some exploration over my past couple years here.
  2. Being responsible with money. This is something that we have to deal with for the whole of our lives. Depending on your living situation, allocating money for rent, groceries, and having fun is a big responsibility. Budgeting really makes thing easier in the long run, but taking the time to actually sit down and figure out how much money you spend and where that money goes, makes (me at least) feel pretty old!
  3. Surrounding yourself with kind and driven people. Obviously, we have friends before we start college, but during that high school period I feel we all change somewhat. You learn over time, maybe throughout your life, what kind of people push you to be better and compliment your personality well. However, I do feel that college serves as a trial period (especially freshman year). It’s very easy to start hanging out with a group of people and then just stick with that same group, but my advice would be to take some time and explore who and what else is out there. Even if you are a Tucson native with an established friend group coming into your freshman year, it never hurts to meet new people. There are more than 40,000 of us here!
  4. The importance of evaluating your own mental state. I hadn’t really thought about this too much before college. But sometimes when school is at its worst and my stress levels are sky rocketing, I feel like I don’t even have time to think. Taking time for yourself is so important because when you don’t, it absolutely catches up with you. Just try to remember that your mental health is number one. Even if it’s a walk by yourself to gather your thoughts or a full on massage, treat yourself.
  5. Embracing change. This is an important part of being a young adult. A lot will change over the coming years, and that’s a good thing! Sometimes when aspects of my life are changing, I start feeling like I’m losing control. But one thing you can have control over is making the best out of any situation that you are in. Things will work out the way they are supposed to in the end (or that is what I tell myself lol)!

-Amna 🙂

Get Your Head (Back) in the Game

12 Dec

We are finally back! I know that for some of us (most of us) the idea of coming back for the second semester is a little daunting. Now’s the time to get back on the study, class, work, and life grind. So yes, it is time to put your head back in the game, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. There’s a lot to look forward to with the start of a new semester!

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  1. A chance to have a fresh start! Honestly, this refers to a fresh start when it comes to school and life. Maybe last year you weren’t as involved as you wanted to be. Join a club this semester! Or maybe, last semester didn’t go as well as you wanted it to go in the grades department. This is your chance to start the semester off strong.high school musical GIF
  2. Now you know what works best for you. I know for me; first semester freshman year was essentially one giant learning curve. I didn’t know exactly how to approach all my classes because each class requires a different approach in college. That might sound confusing, but to clarify: Nobody studies the same for a gender studies class and a calculus class. One is primarily essay based and the other consists of nightly homework assignments. Now, you know how to divide your time appropriately and how to best avoid cramming. Use it to your advantage.high school musical GIF
  3. New Years Resolution. Follow through with your resolution, whatever it be! If you want to start eating healthier, go for it. If you want to start going to the gym more, hit the rec (warning: Campus Rec might be a little more packed at the start of the new year – that’s a good thing though right? More potential friends…?)sexy zac efron GIF(Alright you caught me, not from the movie) 😛
  4. Hang out with the right people. This is kind of a strange one, but based on my own experiences and most of my friends’ experiences, the first group of friends you hang out with in college aren’t like to be the ones you end your college experience with. There are honestly so many people at this school, and even if you’re friends right now are amazing people, it doesn’t hurt to get out there and meet some others. It can be a little scary at first, but I’ll add that I met my best friend in the world my second semester of freshman year.
  5. My personal favorite: you get to buy new school supplies!!!!! This speaks for itself people.

sassy zac efron GIF

That’s all for now; good luck with the new semester! (Really trying hard not to make a “Bet On It” reference right now….)

-Amna 😊