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#MightyMay: One Final Adventure

4 May

For the month of May the staff has been tasked to “do something over-the-top to celebrate!”

I am graduating in no time at all and that will be the most over-the-top this I will be doing this month, but a single celebration isn’t enough… here is where my adventure begins.  

What is more over the top (in the MOST perfect way) than a 3-day trip to Disneyland? 
The answer to the questions is NOTHING!

A few weeks ago, 2 of my best friends from high school told me to clear my schedule, they were going to take me on my last vacation before the dreaded day*  (*a.k.a. graduation). 

We ended up at the Happiest Place on Earth. 

Spending 3 full, exhausting, hilarious, and exhilarating days with two of the people I care most about was amazing.
For those 3 days I wore a “Just Graduating” button, which wasn’t 100% true but it was they closest thing they had. I was congratulated by EVERYONE. I felt popular and proud of all that I have accomplished so far. 

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A week after the dreaded day* (*a.k.a. graduation) I have been given the opportunity to jump on a plane and spend 10 weeks in India. I am going there for a real reason, but I will also be using that time as a celebration of the last four years before I have to get back a join the real world workforce.

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-Elena 

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This Again?

17 Apr

As we all know, the morning of registration is a toughie — not only because UAwifi normally crashes (for those who live on campus), UAccess is normally “loading” for 15 minutes, but also because all of this happens at 6:00AM. 

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The day of registration is always the same for me…I wake up at 5:50AM (but still have an alarm set for 5:55AM, just as a back up… I don’t know what’s going to happen!). By 5:58AM I’m logged onto UAccess and in my Shopping Cart.

I have done 7 of these registrations, and overall I have been able to register for MOST of the classes I had wanted. That being said, my first attempt was NOT smooth sailing.

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Fall semester my freshman year (my first time doing the morning registration), my roommate and I woke up at 5:50AM and got ready for this process that we had heard so much about.. Once 6:00AM hit, both of us had some loading issues but by 6:05AM she was done…  I, on the other hand, hadn’t gotten past the first page. By 6:08AM I was freaking out. 

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That semester I ended up having to register for my courses on my phone. But by 6:15AM I was enrolled in most of my courses that had been in my shopping cart. 

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This process is challenging but it gets better as your class ranking increases. Good luck with the battle in the mean time! 

–Elena

#AdventurousApril: Nature is Neat… Neature…

5 Apr

When people think of Arizona, they think of hot weather, cactus, and the Grand Canyon… but there is SOO much more here. I just got back from the neatest nature adventure! 

We started at Tonto National Bridge Park. Unfortunately due to high water level and poor planning  on my part, we were unable to really explore the park. 

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It is a bridge, I promise!

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This tree was half hanging over NOTHING!

Up next, Sedona. Sedona is a beautiful place that has something for everyone, no matter what you’re interested in. The town is super cute and there are a bunch of shops and restaurants to explore. There are also so many hiking options. The entire area is so beautiful and no matter which adventure you choose, there will be an amazing view!

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No adventure in complete without a selfie.

Then I took a surprise trip to Page, Arizona. Right next to Page is the Navajo reservation. We went with our guide into the Upper Antelope Canyon… this place was spectacular! 

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Horseshoe Bend is a little spot along the Colorado River and it is only a few minutes away from Page. The view is gorgeous and it’s a wonderful place to spend a few hours!

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My final big adventure was to Bearizona in Williams, Arizona along Route 66. There are two parts to Bearizona. In the first, you get to drive through the enclosures of  wolves, bears, bison, and deer. Then you can park and see baby bears, otters, beaver, and some birds. 

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Arizona has a lot to offer, so get out there and enjoy! 

–Elena 

#MiddlingMarch: Elena’s Day Off

9 Mar

Let just come out and say it… this semester has been HARD! I know we have all been strugglin’ which is why when I got sick at the beginning of the month, I was NOT happy. I pride myself on not skipping class or work unless something huge happens, and this illness was HUGE.

The first Monday of the month, I found myself struggling to breathe as I lay in bed (I won’t bore you or gross you out with all of my symptoms of that day — but a lot was going on). 

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That day was the closest thing to a “personal day*” I have taken in a LOONNNNGGGG time! *Urban Dictionary defines “personal day” as a phrase used by college students when they decide to skip all their classes for a day.

I wouldn’t say laying in bed all day because you are a ball of virus is all it’s cracked up to be or what someone should do on a day off, but it was wonderful. I took the day to sleep, relax, and try to force myself to feel better. It wasn’t my cure… but it helped. 

Taking those days to relax and recharge are crucial to maintain your health and happiness throughout tough times. Utilize your weekends for this… after all, personal days can be dangerous! 

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–Elena 

Planning Is Not for the Faint of Heart

6 Mar

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” — Alan Lakein

The best advice I can give to anyone in or about to enter college is to take control of your college career. One way to do that is to plan it out. There an numerous resources on campuses to help you figure out what you need to take/do while you are here. Be a self-advocate. Be knowledgeable. Be in control. This is your experience. Your time. Your degree. Your life. So make it count!

If you are one of my loyal fans (can we make up a cool name for this?) by now you know I changed my major multiple times. This just means I got REALLY good at creating 4 year (or less) plans!

Now it is time to create YOUR 4 year plan!

1. First you will need a white board and a array of expo markers.

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** Note: although whiteboards give you the space to create this amazing plan, they are not permanent, nor easy to take places. You might want to consider paper and colorful pens/pencils.**

2. Second, you will need resources regarding YOUR major. U of A has helps you out with Degree Search. Here you will be able to find your major, career ideas, and a 4 year plan! Now you might be thinking “can’t I just use that 4 year plan, why do I have to make my own?” The answer is of course you can use that one, but in order to be in control of your time here, think about making your own. 

3. Get to it! Based off of the information you have found the courses you need to take for your major, start planning it out. 

Additional things to consider:

An internship. Do you want one? When? 

Study abroad. Talk to your advisor to see what makes the most sense with your major/minor and interests. You’ll also want to think about when you want to go.

Do you have an interest in adding another major, minor, or certificate? Do you have time?

By knowing what is required of you and your timeline, you will be able to make these decision and take control of your time here!  

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— Elena

#FearlessFebruary: Hola, Officer

2 Feb

2014

Just slightly over a year ago, I drove to Puerto Penasco (otherwise known as Rocky Point) in order to celebrate my Dad’s birthday with my parents and cousins. Long story short. I crossed the border that Saturday morning (around 6:30am) and was IMMEDIATELY pulled over. Now I won’t give you the play-by-play (because when I tell my story it takes like 20 minutes), but I will give you the main points.

I had literally JUST crossed the border when I was immediately pulled over by two police officers. I was nervous because I didn’t speak the language, and it was a tough conversation to struggle through for 40 minutes. I ended up paying a fine and going on my way, but it definitely was a scary experience. It’s scary enough being pulled over when you do speak the language, so when you struggle to communicate, it makes the experience that much more nerve-wracking.

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2015

So a few weeks ago my friend asked, “Do you want to drive to Nogales, Sonora and walk around for the day?” I knew this was the perfect opportunity to have a better experience and it was an awesome trip!!!! 

We parked on the U.S. and walked across the border. 

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We spent the day exploring the city, we had lunch, and went shopping. I loved it. 

My friend Maria is fluent in Spanish which made me feel so much more comfortable the entire time we were there. We met some awesome people as well. Some only spoke Spanish, but they still tried to include me in the conversation!

Overall it was a GREAT experience and I am so happy I could go back, face my nerves, and bring back some fun souvenirs! 

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–Elena 

A 16 Week Delay

25 Jan

I don’t know about your first semester on campus, but mine was pretty good (socially at least). My best friend from home and I both decided to come to U of A during our senior year of high school.

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This was totally going to be us.

We decided not to live together that first year as we had very different opinions about which dorms would be the best to live in, but we did have a gen ed together! Life was pretty good, I had class with her 3 days a week and once we got our schedules settled, we ended up being able to see each other 5 days a week (normally). It was awesome, I mean I didn’t get to hang out with her A LOT but we could always do the daily update and it was like having a little piece of home.

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Our routines were already established.

Of course I made some friends in my dorm also! My roommate and most of the girls in the hall all got along really well and hung out often. I also became really good friends with a guy in the hall and we hung out all of the time.

Now, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies.

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As fall semester was ending, I found out that my new friend decided to transfer to University of Miami. I supported him, I knew it would be best for him, but I also knew that was going to suck for me once spring semester started. Then as finals were wrapping up I found out my best friend (who I had come to U of A with) was transferring back home! I was heart broken.

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This all caught up with me in January, I came back the day the dorms opened up again because I was very excited to come back to school – I loved having my own(ish) space and my own little world. I sat alone in my bedroom that night on the verge of tears. I ended up calling both of my abandoners.

Over the next few days I talked to some girls in the hall and one said something that stuck with me, “Your spring semester will be like everyone else’s fall semester, you have to make some new friends now.”

And that is what I did… I started making new friends, made a new group.

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Kind of like this.

Some of these friends I am so lucky to have met, will other ones did not fit quite right. Either way, it was a learning experience and I became a stronger person because of my experience. 

And you might be asking a very serious question right about now – What the heck is with all of these White Chicks gifs? I mean, the biggest reason is that it’s one of my favorite movies. But it also has some perfect quotes to help me get my message across. 

— Elena

#JumpStartJanuary: … And We’re Back!

1 Jan

We. Are. Almost. Back. 

January is here. The start of a new semester. A new chapter in all of our lives.

A time reflect before the we start the new year. A time to start off on the right step. A time to really get ready for the next 5 months! 

I decided to truly prepare myself for this next semester BEFORE January 14th. I have to say, I think this might be the first semester I have successfully done this (oops). 

I started with my home life. I have moved every single year. If I am going to be completely honest, I almost never completely move into a place. IF I unpack all of my boxes, it happens sometime around March (when my move occurred the previous August… again, oops). So to say the least, my room is never as organized as I would like it to be, especially when I start a new semester. 

I decided to start with my room. After finals ended last semester, this became my project. I can do a big clean in one day, no problem. But finding a location and organize the stuff I have been avoiding for the past 6 months… that’s when I start to lose interest and ANYTHING can distract me. So I pushed through and did a little organizing every day. 

I feel like a clean and organized living environment is good for the soul. When I go home, I am comfortable, I think I know where everything is, and most importantly, I am not tripping over boxes of stuff. 

Will I make the claim that my room is perfect? 
No. 
But it looks pretty and spacious and I can’t ask for much more. 

Onto the next task: textbooks. Once I started my room organizing and cleaning, I found old textbooks that I never sold back or did anything with. So I had to add that project to my list. I have started the process of selling my books online. I’ll keep you updated with that experience.

Oh and then the age old ordeal of buying textbooks. I decided to start early with some research and figuring out which retailer will give me the best deal. I am still working on that process but I am just about ready to order some books! This is always the most depressing time of year as money leaves your bank account for large, heavy, and (sometimes) boring books. 

The last thing I needed in order to be prepared for this semester was school supplies. For the last few years, I have been just winging it as the semester goes on, I figured it would be nice to go out and purchase a few new note books. So far so good!

-Elena

 

#DreadedDecember: Home is Where the Hea…. JK I Don’t Have One

23 Dec

A home that is! 

This December is was the first time I went to my hometown since my parents sold their house in August. My last memory had been driving away from the only home I have ever known with the feeling of “now what?”

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This is the last image I have of my home.

Once I decided to go back this month, I called one of my best friends to make sure I could crash at his place before I made all of my arrangements. I have stayed at his house a TON of times and his entire family is SOO welcoming to me. I always enjoy staying with them, but at the end of the day, I am still a guest. It’s not my house, it’s not my stuff, it’s not my dog, and it’s not my home. 

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This is my puppy!!!

When I was in town, I drove past my old home. I usually wouldn’t have done that but I knew I had to write this blog so I went for it. 

It looks the exact same from the outside, except the fact that there is now a HUGE dumpster in the drive way. From what I could see, it looked like the entire inside had been gutted. 

I thought I would feel awful when I was in front of the house, and I definitely was sad… but I was okay. 

What I felt the worst about was the fact that I didn’t have a place to go. I had arrived an hour and fifteen minutes early to my first appointment in town. I couldn’t just go home, play with my dog and waste a little time, and that’s when it all got to me. 

I am still sad that when I go “home”, I don’t really have a home, but I am also so thankful for my friends’ generosity in trying to give me a “home” when I visit.

–Elena 

… Wait… What?!

5 Dec

Freshman year. I don’t know what expectations I had when I came to the University of Arizona, although, I knew I was excited and SOOOO nervous. Obviously, I knew that everyone that came here would be studying different subjects. I assume it crossed my mind that everyone would have different experiences, but it wasn’t until I was in the midst of my freshman year that I realized that my experience here would be NOTHING like anyone else. It looked like mine would be a long, rough journey while some people would have a cake walk. 

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My journey is like Amy’s dance moves, a little rough, but fun! Meanwhile, others….

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are rockin’ it.

 

Anyway… This was made extremely clear to me from the get go. A few weeks into the semester, I found out that I was in a class that was tailored to sophomore science majors, where I (a first semester freshman) was taking it just to test out the waters. On top of that, I found out that the specific class I was in was an “experimental” class, which essentially meant we were learning nothing the other students were learning, so when lab came around, I had no idea what was going on. Ever.

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I am SURE this was my face in every lab.

And if I didn’t already understand that my work load was large, my math class was there to reinforce that. Out of everyone I became friends with my freshman year, I was in the highest level math class and I was NOT prepared for the material or the pace. It was one of the toughest parts of my first semester.

But what really put this all into perspective was my homework. I had crazy math homework every night and a 4 hour lab once a week for my science class. I spent countless hours every night working on assignments. All of my friends would be going to get dinner and I would be stuck in my dorm doing homework for hours. 

In fact, I had so many assignments that I need to use post it notes to keep myself organized. I had 15-20 post it notes with assignments for a single week. At the end of each week I would make new post it notes for the following week. I was drowning in post its.

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The cat representation of me running away from homework…

The biggest realization I had freshman year was that even though we are all sharing this experience, it will be unique to every individual. That is the magic of college, we all come here from different backgrounds with different interests that lead us to different paths. The workload for a BFA theatre student is polar opposite from a mechanical engineering student, both have their challenges and rewards. 

 This experience is different for everyone, it is amazing and challenging. Enjoy your time here. Again, not everyone will have the same experience or work load as you. 

-Elena