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#MiddlingMarch: Con(drag)ulations

22 Mar

Ladies, start your engines… 

Graduation is closer than I thought it would be! And if we’re being honest as of this. exact. moment., it’s the one thing keeping me motivated and pushing through the “mid-semester slump” this March.

The mid-semester slump comes for all of us. If you’re not feeling like you’re running on fumes by this point in the school year (even AFTER spring break) then you’re probably not even a real human. Anyways, for the all the real humans, I’m sure you can relate because up until this week I was feeling it. But you know what’s starting to get me through it? The thought of finally graduating in a couple of months!

I’m finally getting busy putting together graduation outfits, pictures, cap and gown… Even the not so fun stuff like audits and dishing those last few dollars the university tries to squeeze out of all of us near the completion of our degree. All these things are a terrifying yet comforting reminder that life as an undergrad is coming to close.

The idea here is: keep pushing past the slumpy times in the semesters because the slumpy times and the proactive times are both going to get you to commencement no matter what. 

The awareness of knowing that the end of my time here at the UA is almost over (interestingly enough) is encouraging me to try my very darndest.

I don’t want to risk not graduating because of a failed class LOL.

Anyways, a reminder to push through the middle of March. I know it’s a hard time, we’re tired, over it, done. But we still need to finish with a bang. Let’s make these last few weeks count as we race to the finish line!

And may the best man… win.



The Ten Commandments of Safe Spring Breaking

28 Feb

Welcome, freshmen, to your first college Spring Break! One of many that you will spend either happily wasting time in your bedroom, running around another city with your friends, or visiting your hometown. Whatever it is that you ultimately end up doing, know that it is of the upmost importance that you stay safe. You may have completed midterms last week but that doesn’t mean we won’t need you around (all parts included) for the remainder of the semester!

Commandment Number 1:

Don’t you DARE take a drink from a stranger, from someone’s personal container, or from anywhere near you if it doesn’t belong to you (trust me, people have done it).

(Not even this guy would do it)

Commandment Number 2:

Keep yourself hydrated. This is a good idea anytime, anywhere. Especially if it’ll be hot wherever your staying and especially if liquor laws allow you to drink.

Commandment Number 3:

If you’re traveling outside the country, make sure you leave your valuables at home. Cell phones and tablets can be exceptions, but anything more like jewelry or watches can make you a target for muggers.

Here we have an example of what not to take with you on vaca

Commandment Number 4:

Research the place you’re visiting. Get familiar with the layout of the town and where the best areas to stay in are. It’s better to be safe than sorry, friends.

Commandment Number 5:

Work on a buddy system because you just never know. Two people are less likely to be targets than one–keep each other safe at all times.

Commandment Number 6:

Emergency cash is a must in case you run into some trouble. Most of us tend to carry cards nowadays, which is great but take it from me: those suckers are easy to lose. Backup is essential.

Commandment Number 7:

Not everyone likes talking about, but we need to. Spring break can get wild and hook-ups sometimes do happen. No matter what you feel comfortable with, always make sure to be safe and to set clear boundaries.

Commandment Number 8:

Give yourself a break while on break. If you’re planning on partying it up it’s probably a good idea to give yourself a good day or two of nice, easy, clean relaxation. Your body will thank you for it.

*Actual footage of your body speaking to your brain*

Commandment Number 9:

Have a designated driver/sober friend in the group every night. People can get carried away and it’s always a better idea to make sure there’s at least one person you trust that can help you in case you need it. If you see that you’re designated friend isn’t staying sober, step up and take their role.

Commandment Number 10:

If you’re driving to your destination make sure you’re not traveling alone and trade off drivers. Road-tripping is fun but it’s definitely tiring.

We hope you have a fun and safe spring break, Wildcats! See you next week!


#FearlessFebruary: Climbing Camelback

20 Feb

Around the Wildcat Connections office, February means it’s time for some fearlessness! Some of us like to get piercings or dye our hair wild colors, but this semester I decided to with something a little bit more outdoorsy. If you’re a Phoenix native, like me, then you definitely know how much of a destination spot Camelback Mountain is for avid hikers. Now, I am all about the hikes… Arizona is a pretty awesome place to hike in but Camelback has always been one of the few places in Phoenix that I never really got around to experiencing. It’s always had a sort of intimidating presence (the climbing over giant boulders with a handrail really did it for me).

But since it is February and this month is all about being fearless I said “What the heck? Let’s do it.”

Last weekend I was up in Phoenix for my younger brother’s birthday (which was super nice btw) so it was the perfect time to get down on this huge boulder of a challenge. Just as I expected… This hike kicked my butt. In a good way! Keep in mind that I haven’t been very active these last few months basically because I suck and my laziness has taken over my life ever since I took on work, school, and research. Don’t judge me, I swear it’s more time consuming than it sounds… Add to that my not so healthy habits during that entire time and you got a heck of a (breathing) problem.

There are a few good things to come out of my asthmatic adventure, though. For starters I got to the top of the mountain LOL. The weather in Phoenix this weekend was pretty great too which made it all the more enjoyable. I also got to spend some quality time with one of my really good friends since I totally made her do the hike with me.  All in all, it was just a much needed workout and it resulted in a pretty amazing view of Paradise Valley. 🙂

Doing a little something that makes you a bit nervous can sometimes be a great thing. Not only did I get over my weird hesitancy at hiking Camelback but I got in some really good exercise and also the realization that I NEED to start being active again. I definitely encourage anyone reading this to go and do something fearless not just this February, but every once in a while!



Adulting 101

25 Jan

Making the transition from teenager to responsible adult is definitely not an easy one. Lucky for you, most of us know this and we (as in me) are more than willing to offer a little bit of advice I’ve collected over the last few years. My attempts at adulting have kept me alive and functioning thus far which probably means I’ve made some pretty decent decisions along the way. If we’re being honest, trying to live as a grown up can be a bit challenging. Here are a few tips on how to manage all on your own!

Stock up on the business casual fits

Every one needs a good business casual outfit. It’s an absolute necessity for job interviews, internships, and important meetings/events. Trust me on this. Start with one good outfit and build from there. There are tons of affordable places to shop if you’re concerned with finding budget friendly options. Places like JcPenny and H&M sometimes offer students discounts throughout the year (it’s just a matter of finding out where and when).

Learn to cook one signature meal

Maybe it seems silly, but having a trick like this up your sleeve can really come in handy someday. Part of being an adult might mean that you’ll have to host people over for lunch or dinner or anything in between. Why not impress them? Cooking is an essential part of being an adult anyways! You have to eat and learning to cook at home can save you tons of money in the long run.

Practice budgeting

This is the one thing that no one likes. I’ve yet to master it myself! Budgeting is an integral part of successfully crossing over into the world of responsibility. Limiting yourself to a certain amount of spending money every week can really impact your bank account in a positive way and help in developing habits that will carry over far into your adulthood. No one wants to be broke from overspending in the wrong places, am I right? Wally, Level Money, and Unsplurge are a few good apps to help you start your budgeting journey.

Find your balance

Part of being an adult is understanding the importance of finding the appropriate balance between work and fun. This skill makes all the difference between someone who is ready to take on the world versus someone who pretty much isn’t ready to handle responsibility at all. It’s alright to stay in. It’s even better to get to bed on time on days you know you’ll be busy the next morning. Early bed, early to rise and all that. Fun is important too, though. Nights when you know you’re responsibility free the next day are always fair game!

Finding your way around the “adult” world doesn’t have to be scary. You might even find that it’s easier than you thought (especially with all of the tips and tricks you’ll learn along the way).


There’s More to College than Textbooks?!

18 Jan

We’re in the thick of the spring semester. So what exactly does this mean? It means back to adulting, focusing on self-improvement, and on contributing to the world beyond UA.

Students get so used to the “college” lifestyle that often times the thought of handling their “adult” responsibilities is a drag. Work, taxes, spring semester… basically everything else that primarily involves preparing for school and handling money can seem likes it’s become ten times harder to jump back into. Even if things didn’t get done during break, early in the spring semester is still prime time for “life chores.”

Just as important as adulting is making time for self-enhancement. Cultivating the skills we already have isn’t something that most would associate with self-enhancement but it’s one of the best forms of self-enhancement that there are! The obsession with trying to add new skills to our repertoire of talents can be helpful, but it leaves little room for those that we already possess to grow. Whether it be creative talents or athletic gifts, those are skills that make us better, well-rounded individuals. Distractions may often get the best of students when it comes to these kinds of things, but a little encouragement from support networks goes a long way.

Part of self-enhancement stems from working on making the world beyond our own a happier place. Should time allow it, one of the most important things students can do is get involved in their community. Volunteer service and internships are both things that distinguish the regular students from those who go above and beyond when applying to grad schools and jobs. Most students know this, it’s simply a matter of getting out there and looking for the thing that sparks their interest. With so many options available, there is very little chance of not coming across a good service opportunity.

Sure, students will typically claim that they’ve got everything under control and in reality, those that are lucky really do. More often than not though, parents may find that with everything going on in a student’s life on a daily basis some parental assistance may be necessary. Perhaps this means providing some good advice or simply throwing out a little reminder of things to do here and there. Whatever it may be, a little help from mom and dad is (almost) always welcome even if we students don’t always show it.


Refresh, Not Reinvent

11 Jan

New Year, Better You

January is a time of new beginnings, fresh starts, clean slates… It’s 2018 and with this new year we have the opportunity to focus on ourselves again. At least for the time being. Like the intelligent, capable people that we are, we should all be striving towards becoming a stronger and greater version of ourselves. This doesn’t necessarily mean cultivating new skills or strengths. What may be even more beneficial than that during this time in the new year can simply come down to nurturing what strengths are already there.

Where to Begin?

Some people can have a hard time getting this process started. Sitting down and identifying all of the things that make us valuable can be difficult, especially if we aren’t used to it. A lot of what it comes down to is knowing yourself. In other words, understanding where your assets lie as opposed to berating yourself for the things you wish you were better at. Ask yourself: “what am I good at?” and answer it honestly. Perhaps its your ability to relate to people or your ability to plan, organize, and see projects through.

Whatever said assets may be, there are a number of ways to discover them. One way is by self-reflecting. Sitting down and dissecting yourself is one of the top ways to name all of things you probably already knew about yourself but had never acknowledged. Or perhaps you had no idea at all! Another good way to discover your fabulous attributes is to ask others for their perspective. Of course, not everyone is comfortable doing something like this, but for those of us who are, it can be quite eye-opening. Collect a mental list of the qualities that come up over and over again: those are the ones that are more than likely true. Whichever way you choose to dig into yourself, what really becomes important is that you cultivate those qualities you find.

Leave Reinvention in 2017

The ultimate goal in putting forth so much effort towards identifying your best qualities is to nurture them. As I mentioned before, the new year doesn’t have to be about reinvention. Make this new year a time for improvement of the individual you already are. Someone who is likely intelligent person, strategic, kind, nurturing, logical… The skills which we already possess should continue to be practiced so that they may be perfected. Forget the pressure of trying to become someone new–this year it’s about embracing what makes us outstanding and running with it!



Keeping it Fresh

21 Dec

It’s the end of a very long, very eventful 2017. Right around this time is when we, as ever-growing individuals, begin to reflect on the nearly finished year and on ourselves. It’s when we realize that, yes we could have been better in some aspects, but that despite that there was (hopefully) a lot of learning and growth that came out on top. Above all, the end of a year is about closing some doors and opening new ones–giving ourselves a fresh start.

In my three years at the university, I’ve found that I’ve learned more than I thought I would. Definitely more than I’ve ever learned before, especially outside of the classroom. Of course we all kind of learn similar things: self-reliance, making sure to feed ourselves, maybe some budgeting here and there. Those are all valuable skills to acquire as a young adult. However, I like to admire the character growth of people over the year as well. Whether we like it or not, we learn a lot about the kind of people we are during the course of a year. The spaces for growth and an appreciation for the qualities that make us good are both things that should be a part of the process of closing welcoming a new year.

Reflect on this year. Take the things that you have learned and apply them to your future self so that you may be better in all the things that you do. Most importantly though, as you do this be open. Take things easy and keep things light. There is no need to be too harsh or too demanding of oneself as we push ourselves to be greater than we were in 2017.

Best of luck and happy holidays,


The Long Study Night

28 Nov

The winds are cooling… professors are plotting… assignments are piling… Winter is here. Prepare yourselves, the long study night is coming. 

So you’ve made it to the final stretch, Wildcats. Congrats! You’re not quite finished yet, though. With the last two weeks of the semester quickly coming to an end there are a lot of things to keep in mind. Exams, projects, essays, and finals are all going to come at you like a train but it’s nothing you all can’t handle like pros.

In the midst of essay and exams it’s crucial that you remain well taken care of and healthy. Relaxation should always be a key part of your game plan for success: plan for it and enforce it. A strung out body and mind will produce unsatisfactory results that will make all of your hard work feel wasted. It’s even been scientifically concluded that a getting rest betweens study sessions helps the information stay better stored within the brain. If that’s not motivation enough for a little break, then I don’t know what is.

If you’re having some trouble racking up some good relaxation ideas, here are a few to get the gears moving:

  • Power naps: Power naps are one of the best ways to get your energy up during long study sessions (weeks). There is even some evidence that sleeping after bombarding your brain with new information helps it soak up the knowledge even more so.

  • Meditation: This is my personal favorite. Meditation is all about being aware of yourself and your surrounding and learning to approach it without the negative emotions that may accompany them (stress, fear, anxiety…). Youtube is a cool place to get some guided meditative practice if you’re new to the business.

  • Exercise: Many people say that exercise is a great way to shed the stress of everyday life. It gets your adrenaline going and your mind focused only on your body. It’s definitely a good way to take a break from reality.

  • Writing: Some people may giggle at the idea of journaling, but journaling is an awesome way to release any pent up frustrations or anxiety. Letting go of any feelings of “silliness” and writing out everything that’s on your mind helps to reflect on what you are doing and what you can be doing.

With that, fellow Wildcats, I leave you with some (hopefully) helpful tips for these upcoming finals. Remember, a burnt out brain is not capable of producing what your fullest potential has to offer.


#NovemberToRemember: Tennis

22 Nov

This November we were prompted to do something memorable. Because I happen to think the most memorable times are spent with good people (good people, good times, right?), I decided to include one of my oldest friends in this memory making process. Jess and I met when we were fourteen our freshman year of high school and have stayed good friends ever since. Of course, my decision to move to Tucson and her decision to stay in Phoenix has made it so that our time spent together is few and far between: we’ve grown into our own selves over the years but have thankfully managed to stay close.

That’s why when Jess called me up a few weeks ago to invite me to a show her favorite band was playing in downtown Tucson, I was instantly game.

One of our favorite things to do together when we were younger was to go to as many shows and concerts as possible. Sadly, with the business of school and work I stopped making shows a priority. Fortunately, Jess’s visit couldn’t have come at a better time. Not only was I going to get to see my dear friend, but I was also going to go enjoy a great live performance (one of my favorite things in the world) and get some good blog content for this month!

All in all, the evening was great. We caught up, I met some of her new friends, and we all enjoyed a sweet show by a little band called Tennis. Definitely a cool sounding and even cooler looking group of people, let me tell you. The really great part of the night though was for sure getting to hang out with friends, both old and new.



An Arizona Horror Story: Waitlisted

8 Nov

If it hasn’t already happened, it probably will in the future… You plan a week in advance, you wake up at 6:00 AM, you hit that “submit” button, and it’s all downhill from there. Unfortunately, it happens to all of us. Sometimes it just so happens that our semester schedules don’t look exactly the way we wish it would. So where do we go from there?

Well, like many students I’ve also been in that same boat. Even now, in my senior year, I have to deal with not having taken the right classes or being waitlisted for graduation requirements with only a semester before graduation. A bad schedule, closed classes, and waitlists can put a damper on your day. Sure, it’s a little bit stressful feeling like you don’t have many options left to choose from and you’re short on time but with a little bit of perspective you can take a step back and find an adequate solution!

Finding ways of fixing the problem, no matter how daunting, is the first step in paving the road to better days. The first suggestion anyone would give someone who is having schedule troubles is obvious: go see an advisor. Advisors know the ups, downs, and turn-arounds of scheduling. They understand that things happen and they always seem to be ready to provide a number of good alternatives. Who knows? Maybe the one class you thought you had no option of replacing has an alternative or an equivalent that can you can substitute for. And waitlists? Those aren’t forever. In my case, my advisor was great about walking me through the steps of getting on the waitlist and, more importantly, was great about assuring me that the department was working on a way to resolve the issue for everyone expecting graduation in May. Point is, there are solutions.

So yeah, not everyone gets the schedule they believe they deserve. It’s not always fair but it’s the way of the world and in the world, the things that matter the most are not the hardships that come your way but the manner in which you respond to those hardships. Be the person that goes out of their way to find a solution! You’re a Wildcat, you’ll find a way!