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#AdventurousApril: Driving Me To Tears

18 Apr

Ever since I became comfortable with driving an automatic, I figured it would be smart of me to try to master stick as well. I witnessed my brother attempt it when he was 16 and quickly fail at it (my mom had to take over while we were still in the middle of the road). He never touched it from there on out, so I figured the learning experience was going to be not only frustrating, but also terrifying for me.

My boyfriend and I have been living together for almost 2 years now, so we commute together to and from campus. And it’s not necessarily because we want to save gas, but because I do not currently own a car. A couple years ago I had multiple seizures which prevented me from even getting behind the wheel for a very long period of time, so long that I didn’t feel confident driving anymore. But even if I wanted to drive, I couldn’t. Because the one car we have is, of course, a stick.

But recently, after much convincing from my boyfriend, I decided to test the waters.

First I tried backing out of the driveway which happened to be a lot more difficult than it looks. I couldn’t quite get then hang of maneuvering the clutch and the gas peddle in perfect harmony. Plus, both the recycling and trash can were out at the end of the driveway so I was inches away from hitting them before my boyfriend got out and moved them.

Once I made it down the street I called it a day because I didn’t want to push my luck.

Then came Saturday night, when I decided to try again considering that there were probably a fair amount of empty parking lots at this time of day. My boyfriend drove us to a parking lot behind an Ace Hardware, hidden away from the main roads.

Of course I was nervous, but once I got back in I felt determined. I wanted to master driving stick as fast as I possibly could. But I got no where near that. I couldn’t get far without stalling, never mind even letting off the clutch as I pressed on the gas correctly the first time. Again, it’s a lot harder than it looks. I suppose it was more nerve racking than frustrating, but sometimes I felt so anxious that I could tear up at any moment (but I never did).

All in all, I think I made some progress, but I’m figuring it’s going to be months before I feel safe driving to campus.

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Really Ready For Registration

15 Apr

For the most part my registration days have been successful; I woke up on time, got all the classes I wanted, and not one single tear has been shed. Perhaps that’s a bit over-exaggerating, but it really is a bummer when that one class you’ve been looking forward to has filled up at the very last minute. I think we can all relate to that one.anigif_enhanced-buzz-12437-1405559057-4

However I would like to think that my experience registering for the very first time is quite unique, which is why I wasn’t prepared for it in the slightest!

As a junior in high school I had the opportunity to participate in an early college program that allowed me to take college classes while I was still attending high school. So by the time I graduated I had accumulated 37 college credits. And when I came to the University of Arizona, I was not fully aware of how the categorization of classes (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior) operated. I figured, like high school, first year equals freshman.

Well, I was wrong.

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My roommate and I covered the basics the night before; set our alarms to 5:55, double-checked our carts on UAccess, and made sure our laptops were charged and close by. These tips proved to be extremely helpful when 6 o’clock finally rolled around. She and I logged into UAccess as fast as we possible could. We groggy yet very determined. But it felt like the UAccess page was taking ages to upload, which of course is due to thousands of other freshman attempting to access said page all at the same time.

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Once we finally could hit the ‘enroll’ button, we waited…and waited…and waited…for at least 10 minutes! Suddenly my roommate says, “Yes! I got all the classes I wanted!” which made me worry since the wheel in the upper left corner was still frantically turning for me. Eventually I was taken to a different page, however I didn’t get a message that said I was successfully enrolled, I got one telling me that I was unable to enroll at this time!

So of course I immediately thought the worse; “I’m being kicked out of college” or “my financial aid didn’t pull through” or “I’m in trouble for something”. So I emailed admissions and an hour or so later I got a response informing me that I was at a sophomore standing and that my opportunity to register was the previous week.

What?!

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Though I was pretty bummed knowing that the classes I wanted would probably be filled by the end of the week, it felt pretty cool knowing that I was considered a sophomore in the university’s eyes.

All in all, the moral of the story is, if you have any questions at all concerning registration (or just anything in general) please don’t hesitate to ask! I certainly wish I did!

-Casey

To Change Or Not To Change

7 Mar

When I was in New Start, one of the most memorable words of wisdom they gave us were “the majority of people here will change their major at least once during college, and that’s completely okay.” And they were right, it is absolutely okay and also totally doable! Though I already had a major picked out when I applied for the U of A, there was always a hint of doubt about whether this major was truly for me. Hermione-thinking.gif

However, since I did have my heart pretty set on psychology and knew that it was a major that could be applied to many other fields, I stuck with it. But sometime during my spring semester as a sophomore, I felt the need to finally explore all my options. I was originally shooting for a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, which required minimal math and science based classes. It was safe because I knew reading and writing is more my forte, but I wanted to see if math and science could be too.

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I popped over the psychology building to meet with my advisor and she switched me to a Bachelor of Science within minutes. It was that easy and she completely understood why I wanted to make the change. Then later on that year, I also declared a minor in music for the purpose of adding creativity back in my life. Plus, I was a hardcore band geek all the way through high school and I missed being around music every day.

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I signed up for a math class along with biology and the lab that went with it. And at this point I can confidently say that those two subjects are definitely not for me. I had every intention of becoming genuinely invested in these classes, but it just never happened. I missed my old classes; social psychology, personal morality, neurological development, you name it!

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So I wandered back over the the psychology and met with my advisor yet again to have me switched back to pursuing a Bachelor of Arts. And again, like most academic adviors, she completely understood. Though I may have to stay at the U of A for an extra semester, I know it will be worth it in the long run. I wouldn’t want to invest so much time into something I’m not passionate about, and neither should you!

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#FearlessFebruary: Dinner for One

18 Feb

My friend Trevor has always felt completely comfortable doing public activities on his own. And by public activities I mean shopping at the mall, seeing a movie, and even eating in a restaurant. Last February I challenged myself to go to the cinema completely by myself and though I still felt slightly awkward and insecure, it wasn’t as bad as I made it out to be in my head. So this year I decided to wander over the Applebee’s to enjoy a nice hot meal with just me, myself, and I. giphy.gif

Upon entering the restaurant, the hostess asked, “How many?” and I’ll admit, like being at the cinema, I felt insecure saying “Just one please”. With that she asked if I’d rather sit at the bar, which I’m assuming is because they want to keep the actual tables open for groups of people. Ouch right? But I told her as politely as I could that “A table is fine”. After she handed my menu and left, I was of course completely by myself which caused the nerves to rattle a bit. But I distracted myself with the menu and tried to appear very invested in their selection of fish.

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Once the waitress popped up she asked if I was waiting for anyone else to join, which I answered ‘no’ but in a slightly more confident demeanor. But I couldn’t help but wonder if she and the other people in the restaurant were assuming that I got stood up, or that I didn’t have any friends that wanted to have dinner with a loser like me. And even ordering was a struggle since I usually order the ‘2 for $20’ meal since I’m almost always with my boyfriend when I come here. But I settled on a classic burger, medium well, with fries instead of a salad as my side.

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After my food finally arrived, I wasted no time and gobbled it down as fast as I could without getting a stomach ache. I wanted this experience to be over. I wanted to go home and be with people again. But in the end it wasn’t so much as the fear of what people thought of me (because quite frankly people probably could care less) but more of my own need to be around people that was making me feel uncomfortable. Which is strange since I’ve always considered myself to be a introvert. All in all, like the cinema, the experience wasn’t a scary as I thought it would be.

But I’m probably never going to do it again.

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#JumpStartJanuary: Becoming a Morning Person

30 Jan

This is my 8th semester at the University of Arizona and quite possibly my most difficult. Fortunately academics has nothing to do with it whatsoever. That’s right, it’s not my GPA that will suffer, but rather my sleeping patterns. Which I know doesn’t sound all that detrimental, but when you’re not a morning person, it certainly feels like it is.

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The sleeping patterns I adopted over winter break probably weren’t much help either. My boyfriend and I became way too comfortable staying up until 4 or 5am then sleeping in until 2 in the afternoon. Of course we lied to ourselves when agreeing to go to bed earlier before the spring semester started. It just couldn’t happen even if we wanted it to.

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So long story short, I’m either waking up at 6 or 7am throughout the entire school week and I’m struggling to stay awake while writing this very blog. So seeing that I can’t do anything about my schedule, I’ve decided to focus on my body and what I can do to help it bounce back this January. These are some of the tips I’ve come up with so far:

  1. Spend any extra time you may have while on campus completing coursework. Check out a study room in the Main Library or the Electrical Engineering Library and get as much done as you can so there’s less do to once you get back home.
  2. I know fast food is tempting, being that it’s usually cheaper, requires little preparation and is all over campus. But try to stop by the U-Mart or the Highland Market; fruits, salads, and granola bars are easily accessible in those two locations.
  3. Don’t skip breakfast!!!
  4. Lay off the soda (or any other caffeinated beverages) in the evening. I know it’s tasty, but good luck falling asleep at a decent time.
  5. If you want to avoid visiting the rec, trying walking around campus or your neighborhood park. It’s quick, it’s easy, and usually causes a lot less sweating. Just 20 minutes of exercise a day will make you sleep better at night.
  6. Avoid staring at your phone or a TV screen too long right before you go to bed. I’m not exactly sure why, but my mom drilled this into my head when I was a kid, so it seems like sound advice to me.

I’m sure as the semester continues, I will think of more “groundbreaking ideas” to improve my lifestyle and start this semester on the right foot.

Wish me luck!

A Home Away From Home: Native American Student Affairs

22 Jan

I’m not from Tucson, nor had I visited it more than once or twice. Plus the majority of my friends from high school did not end up coming to the U of A. But luckily I took part in a transitional summer program that the university offers called New Start. Though I did do a great deal of bonding with fellow freshmen, I lost contact with almost every friend I made there within less than two years. Our free time between classes rarely synced up and we eventually became devoted to our own lives that we were creating in college.

By the end of my Sophomore fall semester, I became very very lonely.

After class, I would grab food from the Union then I went straight back to my dorm with minimal human interaction. I was a very shy person, so it was just easier that way. Rather than putting myself out there by attending any type of social gathering, I chose to lay in bed doing homework or watching Netflix. It was relaxing at first but then it started to get  very old. But just when I was at my lowest, I decided to visit one of the cultural centers here on campus.

I met a friend in New Start named Shawn, we were both a part of the same Native tribe and connected quickly because of it. He told me about Native American Student Affairs, a cultural center located on the second floor in the Nugent building. It wasn’t until that point in my life when I finally decided to visit NASA and I can say with complete and utter honesty, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. The Native American Student Affairs changed my life.

NASA has a bit of a lounge area, where students can do homework, eat their food, relax, and attend social events held by the Indigicat Student Association. And within my very first 5 minutes at a table, another student asked me what my name was then introduced himself to me. It may sound a bit strange but that in itself was actually quite amazing to me. I never felt so genuinely welcomed so quick! This was more than enough to make me want to visit NASA on a regular basis. And each time I did, people were introducing themselves to me left and right. I fell in love with making friends again.

Meeting fellow Native students was very comforting to me. I lost my connection to the Navajo Nation when my father passed away 6 years ago, and struggled to get it back ever since. But the Native American Student Affairs did just that for me; helped me find my way back to that other half of me.

I made some incredible friends along the way who make me consider myself very blessed. My friend Trevor was one of the first people who ‘took me in’ and told me about the ins and outs of NASA while also introducing me to many other people. One in fact, named Soukey, later became my first off-campus roommate. And then there’s my friend Kyle, who like the majority of the people at NASA, is very kind and caring. Steven Martin, the director of NASA, is an awesome mentor and even helped me find a job! This is exactly what this cultural center has to offer; a family and a home away from home.

And if you look well enough, you’ll find your home away from home too 🙂

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(Photo credit: Indigicat Student Association)

#DreadedDecember: The Layover That Will Never End

23 Dec

It’s times like these when I really hate the fact that I do not live a car ride away from my immediate family. Flying has never really been a huge problem in the past, but for some reason just thinking about it feeds my anxiety. My mom and her boyfriend live in Corvallis, Oregon and my brother Cole is serving in the Air Force in Texas.

Now the plane ride to Oregon can’t be too long right? Right, it’s a little over 2 hours away from Phoenix. However this time, for the sake of not being too much of an inconvenience to my boyfriend, I am leaving from the Tucson airport. And because I am a college student and my mother now expects me to pay for my own plane tickets, I of course looked for the cheapest plane ticket from Tucson, Arizona to Portland, Oregon (I’m going to take a shuttle from there to Corvallis).

Long story short, I’m now stuck with a 7 hour layover in the LAX airport. Fantastic right? I’ve haven’t dreaded something this much in a very long time. So of course I’ve told many people about this dilemma since I bought my ticket and I’ve gotten some bits of advice from each person on how to stay relaxed and kill time.

  1. Watch 14 episodes of Friends – I can thank my boyfriend for this one, he knows of my eternal love for Friends and the fact that something so familiar will keep my calm. giphy 3.03.24 PM.gif
  2. Read a book – I’ve actually purchased the first installment of the Twilight series recently (don’t laugh). I haven’t looked at it since my freshman year in high school, which was just before it was made into a film and tainted by Robert Pattinson’s and Kristen Stewart’s acting. giphy.gif
  3. Take a nap – Well obviously this one I can’t do! I can’t keep an eye on my luggage if I’m sleeping! What if I get robbed?! I already struggle enough as it is fitting my luggage into my bathroom stall. tumblr_mmsqi4Aq9N1sp9fcho1_500.gif
  4. Call family or a friend – Now this I will definitely want to do. However I recently found out that my boyfriend will be taking his finals and my mother will be working during the day I’m traveling. I may just have to settle for some periodic texts from either of them.selena-gomez-texting.gif
  5. Explore the airport – I’ve never been to the LAX airport so this will probably happen whether I want it to or not. I’ve been informed that it is quite large and full of many shops and food places. This I am perfectly fine with. firsttrip00000.gif

Most of this advice is very helpful and I plan on following it when next Wednesday comes, which is also happens to be the day of my 22nd birthday. Awesome birthday gift right? Wish me luck!

Best,

Casey

#NovembertoRemember: Thankful for Thanksgiving

9 Nov

November has never been my favorite month. Many unfortunate things have happened to my family and me each year within the same month. It’s a shame because I quite like Thanksgiving – I love the food, and I love the atmosphere. But this holiday just so happens to be when the “bad thing” happened last year. I suppose it may be considered more funny than unfortunate but it was incredibly embarrassing nonetheless. Let’s just say I was meeting my boyfriend’s parents for the first time and I made quite the impression.

This year, we are once again spending Thanksgiving at his parent’s house. But my goal is to make sure nothing bad happens again, I want to make this second impression a good one! This way, I can remember November for a positive reason rather than a negative one. Now I will list the little goals that I wish to achieve during this upcoming Thanksgiving break:

1) I will pack everything that I will need! Even though Bisbee is only a little over an hour away, I don’t want to regret not grabbing an extra sweater or packing more than one pair of socks. Last year I wasn’t all that prepared for the colder climate so enjoying the sights in the evening was a bit painful.

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2) I will complete any homework assignments I may have before Thanksgiving break. I did not do this last year so I spend half of the break worrying about finishing my work rather than getting to fully immerse myself in the holiday festivities.

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3) I will get enough sleep and follow a healthy diet. Last year I barely slept and I skipped a lot of meals. And when I didn’t skip meals, I ate poorly. So the day after Thanksgiving I suddenly started to feel sick and ended up staying in bed for the entire day. I was miserable and afraid to get anyone else sick so I stayed and missed out on some fun.

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4) I will take my medication consistently and on time. I’m epileptic and I have to take pills to prevent me from having seizures. And last year, I actually missed one of my pills and ended up having a seizure on their bathroom floor. My boyfriend’s dad is a doctor, so he even came home from work to check on me. This was both sweet, but very embarrassing for me.

tumblr_mxye8rVLPG1r6obhzo1_2505) I will not try to stress too much about how I act around his family. And I don’t mean I’m planning on being rude and a terrible guest. I just don’t want to be terrified to ask simple questions; “Is it okay if I pour myself a cup of juice?” “Is it okay if I take a shower?” I won’t be scared to ask this time because I know his parents a lot better so I should be comfortable in their home right?

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Some of these may sound silly, but I truly believe that the little things will make the biggest difference in how we experience something. So, wish me luck! I would really like to break this bad luck streak so I can remember this November in a good way.

10 Things That Make Me Happy

30 Oct

1) Rain/Thunder: Rain alone creates a comforting environment for me. It almost turns the building or house I’m in into a safe haven, if that makes any sense. But when it’s accompanied by thunder, I’m pretty much on cloud nine. Hearing it almost creates an adrenaline rush in me. The subtle air of mystery cheers me right up!

2) Overcast weather: This may stem from the fact that I spent a large portion of my life in Alaska. There’s just something about the lack of sunlight and a light chill in the air that makes getting out of bed totally worth it. As soon as I peek out my window and see gray skies, my mood instantly lifts.

3) Playing my saxophone: I rarely play it anymore, but when I do, all those feelings of being in the school band and the marching band come rushing back to me. Those are some of the happiest memories of my life, so it’s an instant mood booster.  I may have lost my edge by not consistently practicing, but I’m probably going to keep that saxophone for the rest of my life.

4) Exploring airports: Going through security is my least favorite part, but once I get past it, the real fun starts. I love stumbling upon all of the random stores and food places. This is why I especially enjoy the Seattle airport. But once I get it out of my system, I grab a magazine and a chai tea from Starbucks and find the perfect seat to chill.

5) Watching interviews with Amy Schumer: I discovered the hilarious Amy Schumer from her movie Trainwreck, and decided to research her further. So of course I went to YouTube and searched “Amy Schumer” and couple of interviews came up. An interview she had with Ellen especially caught my eye. I laughed, I cried, and I was happy.   

6) Korean Pop: I actually did not enjoy it right off the bat when a good friend of mine showed me a music video for ‘Spy’ by a boy band called Super Junior. But once I had the chance to do a little researching on my own, I slowly but surely got seriously hooked! To this day I’m still trying to get my friends to enjoy it as much as I do. But for now, it’s just my boyfriend and me happily struggling to sing the lyrics to EXO’s ‘Love Me Right’ in our car.

 7) Making my boyfriend laugh: Speaking of boyfriends, whenever I manage to make mine laugh, I consider it a major success. The reason why is because it’s him who’s making me laugh 97% of the time, which, of course, is absolutely nothing to complain about. But being the type of person who enjoys making others laugh, it’s a definite priority to turn the tables. When I do, it’s usually because I’m being clumsy or awkward, which is completely fine with me, as long I can make him laugh.

 8) Cleaning/organizing: Now I definitely get this from my mother. She keeps her house so clean and proper that it could easily be mistaken as a bed and breakfast in Connecticut. Though I’m not that extreme when it comes to keeping my room tidy, it helps me mentally when I have some sort of organization in my life. Usually before I do homework I make sure the environment I’m doing it in (which usually my room) is neat and visually pleasing. So once I make my bed, put all my cups in the kitchen sink, and sanitize every hard surface, I’m very satisfied and ready to work.

9) Listening to people: I’m really glad working as a peer mentor for ASA is my job, because I love listening to people. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy doing my fair share of contributing to the conversation, but it’s really nice hearing what others have to say. I want my friends, family, and students to feel like they can tell me anything, without worrying about not having my undivided attention. I know how good it feels to get all of your thoughts and feelings out, especially when you’re just having one of those days.

10) Family/Friends: I think this goes without saying for most people. Since my immediate family does not live anywhere near me, I still feel so much better whenever I get a chance to talk to them on the phone. And if I can’t do that, I have my boyfriend and his family, and my family at work, and my family in NASA (Native American Student Affairs). I know they will be there for me no matter what, and knowing that makes me the happiest.

-Casey

#OutrageousOctober: Making Amends With Future Friends

27 Oct

One thing that makes me very uncomfortable is confrontation. Even if the person who I should be confronting is completely in the wrong, I still hesitate. And what’s worse than knowing why you should confront someone, is not knowing why you should confront them.

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Yes, this has happened to me recently. And in this case I use the word ‘confrontation’ lightly because the negative feelings that have formed between me and this other person (who will remain unnamed) formed from indirect actions. We didn’t talk about each other behind each other’s backs, we didn’t break any promises, and we didn’t bail on each other at a sporting event. We didn’t even get a chance to do any of that, because me and this other person barely even know each other.

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The key component to this “non-verbal spat” was a person who we both know and love. We spent much quality time with this person separately. We eventually became jealous of one another. It felt like we were trying to steal this mutual friend from one another. And this mutual friend of ours was the only bridge of communication we had. They tried their best to be Switzerland but the feelings were already too strong.

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I know this must sound incredibly ridiculous, two people fighting over another person. And you would be right, but I think negative feelings created by a simple misunderstanding is all too common. But it got to a point where I needed to throw away my pride and start on the right track with this person. This finally happened last week, when I sat down to do my homework and saw them doing the same right across from me at a different table. I probably contemplated “confronting” them for a solid 15 minutes, but I know I had to do it quick before they left.

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So I tried to be all smooth like, getting up to throw away a piece of paper I just crumpled and walking right past them while returning to my table. I knew this person and my boyfriend have a class together, so I opened with that. “Hey (insert name here), you’re in (name of class at specific day and time) right?” And I had to remember to smile a lot because sometimes I forget to do that. They said yes, and they actually sounded as uncomfortable as I was. “Well my boyfriend is kinda struggling and I think he would like to study with you, would that be okay?” “Yeah sure, that’s fine” they said in a more comfortable yet still unsure tone.

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And I walked back to my table and sat down slightly disappointed about the outcome. I foolishly assumed that this little conversation would erase all the negativity between us. However, I did finally talk to them and there was no longer a giant elephant in the room. I can honestly say that I will feel more comfortable talking to them again in the future. And maybe somewhere down the road, we can become friends. But like life, it’s a work in progress.

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Best,

Casey