Archive by Author

The One with the Unrealistic Expectations

3 Sep

Ah, finally the time has come! College. You’ll have tons of time to explore the city and go out with all of your amazing new friends. Your courses will be so easy, fun, and laid-back in comparison to high school courses. You’ll have so much independence to make your own choices and do whatever you want!

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While these are all very optimistic thoughts to have, they may not necessarily be true. Sorry to burst your bubble, but many of us as new students jump into college holding many unrealistic expectations of the new world around us.

As a new student, I felt many things in the first few weeks of school. I remember being absolutely amazed that so many people could be in one lecture hall at the same time – and all be quiet. I was eager, nervous, excited, and optimistic about the new semester. I believed that my new college life would be like something out of a movie!

But, to my dismay, it was not just like a movie. If I knew the common misconceptions about college life, maybe I would have had an easier time! Here are some expectations I experienced when I first came to college, and what you should really be expecting from your first year at the UA:

  1. Classes will be easy-peasy! Ha, don’t make me laugh! College coursework is not for the faint of heart! You may believe that your high school courses were the epitome of tough classes, but unfortunately, that is not the case. In high school, I took many dual enrollment classes and AP courses. I took chemistry, biology, history, etc – and I passed with flying colors! When I took my chemistry class in college, I walked in thinking it would be a breeze. I did well in high school chemistry, so I’ll do really well in college level chemistry, right? WRONG. College classes require you to dedicate hours and hours of your time to studying. You might even need to attend tutoring, study sessions, or your professor’s office hours for extra help. The point being that college courses are not something to take lightly – you must work for the grade you want!
  2. I can skip all the classes I want! My entire senior year of high school, classmates and even teachers would often say, “College professors never take attendance!” This, my friends, is the furthest thing from the truth. When professors go over their syllabus, they will often mention attendance policies. Many of these syllabi will include a statement along the lines of “Attendance is recorded for a grade” or “Missing 3 or more classes will lower your grade.”200w_dNot only can skipping class potentially lower your grade, but think about all of the money you will be losing in the long run. Why would you pay for $1,000 courses if you’re not even going to show up? College courses should not be a chore, so make sure you choose a major that you will really enjoy! Gen eds also give you the opportunity to take courses that you may have particular interest in, such as an art course or a mythology course.
  3. I’m going to have tons of free time! Um, no. College courses are going to take up the bulk of your life (refer to number 1). As a new student, you will most likely have class every day of the week! On top of that, you have to factor in the time you spend studying and dedicating time to your coursework. You may even look into getting a part time job to help pay for tuition, living expenses, books, etc. 200w_d2I know, I know. This isn’t what you wanted to hear, but in the end, it will all be worth it! College gives you many opportunities to get out of your comfort zone! Maybe you want to join a club and dedicate some time to that. You could join an intramural sport to get some exercise into your busy schedule! Even though a student’s life is extremely busy, it doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and full of new experiences.
  4. None of my friends are going to U of A, I’m not going to have any friends! This was one of my biggest fears coming into college. Many of the classmates I graduated with stayed in my hometown or decided to go to a different university. I had no idea what to do to make new friends in college, and to be quite honest, I was terrified! giphy-downsizedasedfHere’s the truth: you don’t have to do much to make new friends! A lot of folks live in the residence halls on campus, and that is a great way to make new friends. If you join a club, you will find tons of other students who share similar interests with you. Even in your classes, just by sitting someone new everyday, you can meet a lot of really amazing people!

Even though college may not match up perfectly with what you expected, there are still many fun times to be had and many new things to learn! Open your mind, explore, and don’t be afraid to do what you love!kdkdkdk

– Elizabeth

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Staying Productive During Break

14 Dec

Hey, Wildcats! The end of the semester is finally here! Classes are ending, finals are approaching, and you’re probably starting to mentally check out. While it’s nice to recognize your accomplishments this semester, you also shouldn’t completely flip that mental switch into relaxation mode. It’s never to early to think ahead to next semester, and start preparing for the challenges of the future. Staying productive over break can help you stay on track, and make the transition from play to work much easier.

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It’s so easy to sleep half the day and watch Netflix until 9 pm when you don’t have to worry about studying anymore but there are tons of ways to stay productive during break to avoid that beginning-of-the-semester slump when spring comes around!

  1. Start a project. With no school work to tend to, many students try to do as little as possible during break. After such a long fall semester, it’s a relief to sit back and enjoy your free time. Starting a new project to work on – no matter how big or small – can help you ease into the spring semester much easier. Projects will help you keep your work flow alive, and in the long run, help you get back into the swing of university life!
  2. Maintain your sleep schedule. This may be one of the toughest things to do during break. Why would you go to sleep by 10 pm if you could go out and party until 3 am every day? While staying up late occasionally can be refreshing for some, you don’t want to have a messed up sleep schedule once the spring semester comes around. Fixing your body’s internal clock is one of the toughest things to do, especially over the course of a day or two. Avoid this hassle by keeping a steady sleep schedule.giphy-downsized
  3. Set goals during the break. Start and finish a new book, explore a place you’ve never been to, or write a fictional story. Giving yourself things to work towards during break helps you stay busy and productive, and will help you avoid procrastination in the semesters to come.
  4. Prepare yourself for Spring semester. One of the worst things you can do for yourself as a college student is come into class unprepared. Take the time the read the syllabi for your classes early, grab some books and materials, and even get ahead on some readings. Show initiative and enthusiasm and it will pay off in the long run!giphy-downsized
  5. Stay active. This is definitely one of the harder things to do when Netflix and your couch is calling your name. Make sure you stay active during the break to stay healthy, happy, and productive. Go for a run once a day, take a yoga class, or even ride your bike through your favorite neighborhood. Staying active will maintain productivity for the spring semester.

As students, we all dread returning to school after the holidays. Relaxing and giving yourself a pat on the back for all the hard work done this semester is important. But by remaining productive and keeping a positive outlook, the spring semester can turn out to be amazing and it will help you in the long run!

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-Elizabeth

#NovembertoRemember: Volunteering to Save the Earth!

25 Nov

Hey, everyone! Recently, I’ve become inclined to start pulling my weight to help the Earth stay happy and healthy. We all know the basic ways to do this: recycle, ride your bike, turn off the lights when you’re not home. This month, though, I decided to volunteer for the first time in my life!

On Saturday, November 4th, I volunteered for the Arizona Assurance Adopt-A-Street Cleanup through Tucson Clean and Beautiful. Many of the people who volunteered were people I know pretty well, so it was a great way to connect with friends as well as help clean up the streets of Tucson! We were able to clean up one whole mile of sidewalk along Euclid Ave, collecting things like non-biodegradable foam cups, cans, glass bottles, etc.

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Volunteering for a street cleanup really opens your eyes to the damage that a single person can do to the Earth. It’s important to remember not to throw your trash on the sidewalk or street – many man-made products will never biodegrade into the Earth.

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I was able to make a difference as well as spend time with people that I enjoy being with! College is all about trying new things and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, so don’t be afraid to make some new memories. Through this experience, I’ve learned how important it can be to do whatever you can for the Earth, no matter how big or small it may be. I also learned that experiencing these things with people you enjoy being around can make it extremely fun. Next time you decide to try something new and exciting, push your friends to try it with you!

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-Elizabeth

How to Stay Positive at the End of the Semester

21 Nov

Hey, Wildcats! The end of the semester is quickly approaching, with only two weeks of classes left before finals begin. Can you believe how far you’ve come? This point in the semester is very exciting, but it’s also extremely important to keep a level head. Your final exam grades can make or break your course grade and affect your GPA, and being aware of this drives most students into extreme stress-mode. One of the keys to being successful during this hectic time is positivity. Even though it may seem impossible, I’ve conjured up some tips to help you stay positive during the end of the semester!

  1. Surround yourself with positive people. It’s hard to stay motivated and focused if you’re surrounded by people who aren’t. Make sure to surround yourself with people who will push you to challenge yourself. If your friends don’t build you up and motivate you during finals, you should probably find some new ones! During times of stress, having positive people there to support you can benefit you greatly.200w_d
  2. Make time for the things you love. During the end of the semester, it seems like all any student ever does is study. While studying is very important and vital to success on big exams, it can also be detrimental in large doses. Take breaks while you study, and more importantly, make time to do things you love! Read a book, watch your favorite show on Netflix, go out to eat with your friends. Keeping a good balance is important so that you don’t get burnt out during finals.
  3. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. During my freshman year of college, I pressured myself to do well so much so that when I received my first C ever, it killed me. Shooting for the stars is great, but make sure you set realistic expectations of your abilities. As a student, you may balance school, social life, a job, and even clubs and sports. Always make sure you know what you can handle! giphy-downsized
  4. Engage in positive self-talk. This may seem cliche, but self-talk is truly important to a person’s self esteem and self image. When you fail, don’t talk down to yourself. Look for the silver lining. There’s always a next time, and you can always prove yourself later. Push yourself to be the best you can be, and always build yourself up internally.200w_d
  5. Acknowledge your achievements. Some students feel as though they’ve accomplished nothing while at college, and end up feeling like they’re failing. Reassure yourself and reflect on your semester at college. What are some things you have accomplished and are proud of? Even something like making new friends is a big accomplishment – acknowledge it!
  6. Join UA’s events on campus. The University offers students many opportunities to relax and have some fun. Stressbusters 5 minute back massages are a nice way to wind down, as well as Meditation Mondays. Join other students who are going through the same things that you are, and understand that you’re not going through this alone!

Remaining positive during such a stressful time plays a big role in academic success. Remember that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and you’ve almost reached it! Stay happy and stay positive, Wildcats!

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-Elizabeth

Registration Follow Up, Time Management, and Positivity

20 Nov

Finally, it’s November! At this point in the semester, students have really settled down – they have their schedules filled up, they know where most of the buildings are, and they spend their free time with their new college friends. Some students may be still be struggling with time management, and staying positive through the tough times that college throws their way. With registration just wrapping up, it’s important to keep a level head!

Registration Follow Up

Registration is a very stressful time for students, especially for freshman who may barely know how UAccess works. During registration, students have the opportunity to create the schedule they need and want. Before registration, it’s important for them to know what they need by talking to their advisor, and adding the classes they want into their shopping cart so that they’re prepared when registration comes around. What happens after registration?

There’s a few possibilities. One of the rare (though achievable) occurrences is that registration went without a hitch and students managed to grab all the classes they wanted/needed for next semester. In this case, sit back and relax.

Another possibility, which is also every student’s worst nightmare, is that they’re missing a few classes. In this case, the student did not get all of the classes they need. Don’t worry, there are a few things they can do to help the situation. Students need to talk to their advisor ASAP. If the class they’re missing is a core class for their major and it’s full, their advisor may be able to open up the class for them to join. If the class is a general education class, the student can just choose another class that fits into their schedule. Lastly, students have the “wait list” option – meaning that they can choose a class they want (but is full) and remain on the wait list for it. Something that happens pretty often during the hectic first week of the semester is that other students will drop a class, opening space for other students to enroll.

Time Management

Time management is a tough skill to master. With the right tools and tips, students can learn how to properly manage their time without obstacles.

It’s important for students to know their limits at the beginning of each semester. Maybe they took on a load of 13 units in the fall semester, and want to try out 15 units this semester. While it’s good to challenge yourself, a lot of students have a tough time differentiating between good pressure and bad pressure. It’s one thing to for them to juggle classes, but many students also have part-time jobs or participate in clubs on campus.

One of the easiest and most helpful things for students to do to time manage is invest in a planner. Planners allow students to map out their days, weeks, and even months. Personally, I can never remember things unless I write them down, so I always make sure to write homework, events, and my work schedule into my planner.

Students also have access to many resources on campus that discuss how students can make the most of their experience in college. The Academic Success and Achievement teams have time management workshops for students, where they can learn all about how to properly manage their time. All students have to do is click the link, sign up for the time management workshop (or any workshop they feel may help them), and show up!

Staying Positive

Something that students have heard their whole life is “positivity is key.” While it may seem cliche, it’s 100% true! College is not always easy, and there are many times when students may feel like they’re failing or feel the weight of their classes pushing down on them.

It’s very important for students to stay positive, especially in tough times, such as during exams, finals, or tough projects. As a part of the student’s support system, there are many things you can do to help the student remain positive. Make sure to let them know that college is hard, and growing/improving is what it’s all about. Taking personal time is extremely important and vital to keeping a level head in college, so remind them to do the things they love every once in a while and engage in self care.

Students also have the opportunity to connect to great resources all over campus. Counseling and Psych Services at Campus Health provides students with counseling services if they feel the need to reach out to someone. Counselors will help students work through personal issues to help them succeed academically.

While struggling and failing is hard, it’s a part of life. It’s very important for students to remember that struggling is a part of college, and not to give up when things get tough. It’s okay to change majors if they’re unsure, and it’s okay to take a day off every once in a while. Classes are important, but your health and well being should always be the priority!

-Elizabeth

Think Safety, Because I Love You, Man

2 Nov

You may have noticed that in college, the weeks are for studying, while the weekends are for going out. This is something that you will constantly be exposed to during college, and while going out and having a good time can be amazing, it can also expose you to some dangers. It’s important to be aware of these things, so that you can maximize your fun time out while also being careful with the things you do and the people you meet.

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You’ve probably heard some horror stories about people going out and things going wrong. Don’t fret, I have put together some important things to remember when you go out – whether it be to a party or just exploring Tucson!

  1. Never go out alone. Always go out with a group, or even utilize the buddy system! This is one of the most important rules. Going out in a group will lower the chances of something unfortunate happening, and you’ll always have someone else with you to rely on.
  2. Utilize “taxi” services, like Uber and Lyft. These services just make life easier, especially if you didn’t bring your car to college with you. Now you never have to worry about parking! I’m sure your parents and teachers have always told you never to drink and drive, it’s essentially the golden rule. Uber and Lyft are safe, easy, and they can even be fun!giphy-downsized
  3. Always carry your phone with you. In the Digital Age, this almost goes without saying. Personally, I never go anywhere without my phone on me! When you go out in a group and get into a crowded room, it can be extremely easy to lose track of your friends. If you have your phone, your friends are just a text/call away! Always make sure to check in with your friends every so often when you’re out, and at the very least, have at least one person know where you are at all times.
  4. Making friends is great! Going out is all about meeting new people and having fun. But keep in mind that not everyone has good intentions! Make sure to always stay in a public space – especially if you’re with a stranger. If someone asks you to go somewhere alone with them, kindly direct the conversation a different way or tell them you need to find your friends.
  5. Keep your eyes on that drink! When you’re drinking, it’s pretty easy to lose track of your drink. With everyone dancing and moving around you, you may set it down somewhere only to find it and pick it up again later in the night. That is no bueno! Make sure that if you’re drinking, you always keep your drink with you and never accept drinks from strangers.
  6. Know your limits. Sometimes, we bite off more than we can chew. While challenges are great, it may not be so great when it comes to alcohol. Binge drinking is popular in college, and even though going out and partying with your friends can be great, alcohol poisoning is not. Make sure you know when you’ve had enough, and slow down! The whole night is ahead of you.giphy-downsized
  7. Don’t be afraid to help someone out.  Every once in a while, alcohol poisoning strikes. Alcohol poisoning can be extremely dangerous, and depending on the severity, even fatal. If one of your friends gets alcohol poisoning, it’s important to call the police or an ambulance right away. Many college students hesitate to call for help because many engage in underage drinking. Here is the truth: the police care more about keeping people safe than getting you in trouble.

College experiences can be some of the best of your life. You’ll make memories and friends that will last a lifetime! While college can be fun, it’s also important to remember to put your health first. Be smart and be safe, Wildcats!

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-Elizabeth

Dorm Sweet Dorm

13 Oct

Hey, Wildcats! Around this time in the semester, you may be starting to encounter a little something called homesickness. Don’t worry, it’s not fatal, and with some tender love and care, you’ll be feeling better in no time!

Homesickness is very, very common for first – and even second – year college students. It may be your first time living by yourself, away from your parents, siblings, and pets. Quite honestly, it can be terrifying at first, but once you start to grow comfortable, your dorm will start to feel just like home!

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When I was a freshman, I was very scared to live by myself. I would call my mom all the time just so I could hear her voice. I had a tough time sleeping for the first few weeks with my new roommate. I had to learn how to make my own coffee in the morning, and wake up without my mom shouting at me. Nearly every weekend, I would make the 2 hour drive to go back home and stay with my parents.

Unfortunately, tons of students come from out of state, which makes it difficult to visit home. If you’re not from Arizona, you may have to wait months to go visit your parents. You may start to miss home, and count the days until winter break. Don’t fret, with some time and effort, you can ease your homesickness. There are tons of great ways to make your dorm feel like a home away from home!

  1. Utilize pictures! You know those huge photo albums your mom has lying around in the living room? They’re stuffed with tons of embarrassing, yet memorable pictures – use them! Take some of your favorite pictures from home, or print out some pictures from your phone, and put them up around your dorm room. This will create a space that is filled with your favorite people: friends, family, pups, cats, etc. Whenever you wake up in the morning, you’ll be comforted by the memories captured in those pictures.

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  1. Bring things from home! When I was packing up my room and getting ready to move, I made sure to bring all of my favorite and most sentimental items. My coziest blankets and my oldest stuffed animals are among some of the treasures that I brought along with me to college. Anything that has sentimental value, or reminds you of home, is worth bringing with you in your move!
  2. Make the space yoursMoving into a bland, empty dorm room is awful. Don’t let the space go to waste! Use your pictures, posters, tapestries, and other decor to reflect yourself in the space. Get a bedspread with cool designs on it, buy some string lights, and throw some posters and the wall and BAM! Welcome home! Your dorm room is yours to do whatever you like with (as long as you use Command strips). Go wild, and decorate your space however you like.

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Homesickness is common, and totally curable. Surround yourself with things and people you love, and you’ll be feeling better in no time! Remember that your parents are just a call away – this is the 21st century, after all. You have the opportunity to create something amazing and wonderful, so do it! If homesickness does manage to take over, though, make sure to utilize UA’s amazing resources, such as CAPS at Campus Health.

-Elizabeth

#StudiousSeptember: Let’s Get Involved

27 Sep

Hey, Wildcats! We’re about 4 weeks into the semester now, and things around campus are falling into a nice, steady rhythm! You know what to expect from your classes now, and how much time to dedicate to each. Exams are coming up and midterms will be just around the corner. While it’s exciting to reach a comfortable point in the semester, it can be easy to get too comfortable.

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Every semester, I find myself reaching the point of exhaustion around this time. Staying motivated can be difficult and it can be easy to procrastinate your homework! The first exams are crucial to your grades and understanding of course material, so it’s important to keep your brain and health in good shape so your can do your best.

One of the best ways I have found to alleviate the exhaustion is to take “me time.” As many of you already know, “me time” classifies as anything that may be relaxing or enjoyable to you. Some people may take a nice warm bath while listening to their favorite music. Others may go for a jog, or read a book. People like me may want to hop into some extracurriculars – such as joining a new club!

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Clubs are one of UA’s most incredible features! 600 clubs, tailored to all kinds of different interests, activities, and hobbies are available to all students on campus. You may be thinking, “How will I be able to choose which club is right for me?” Luckily for you, I’ve come up with some steps you may want to take while choosing your club!

  1. Identify what your passions and interests are. You want to spend your time doing something your truly enjoy. What do you enjoy doing during your “me time”? If you want to do something pertaining to your major, that’s great! If you want to do something that you love as a hobby, that’s great, too! Maybe you want to reach out of your comfort zone and try something completely new.
  2. Explore the clubs UA has to offer. There are so many clubs to enjoy on campus! From cultural organizations to sports clubs to a cappella groups, UA will provide you with more options than you can imagine. ASUA’s Club Resource Center directory provides students with the resources to explore and join different clubs available on campus!
  3. Join A Club. Once you’ve found your perfect fit, join! While there is sometimes a fee, it is small in comparison to the experiences that your club will give you. Many clubs go on trips to many different places, perform for other people, help you create a network, or connect you to people who have similar interests as you! You can’t get the same experience anywhere else on campus, so reach out and try something new!

Even when things get a little chaotic during the semester, it’s important to remember that you’re only human. As a student, you have so many pressures around you, and taking time for yourself is healthy and vital to your success. Spend time doing the things you love, and explore what’s available to you during your college journey!

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-Elizabeth

The Butterfly Effect

25 Sep

In college, it may feel like there is a lot of pressure to have your entire life figured out right from the get-go. Your parents, former high school teachers, and even your college application is asking you, “What’s your plan? What’s your major?” It’s overwhelming to think about your career when you’re only 18 and fresh out of high school. Think of the beginning of your journey as a caterpillar. Young, curious, and just feeling around in the world to get a sense of what it’s like.

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You know you’re destined for greatness, but what does that mean? How do you get there?

When I got accepted into the U of A, I thought I had to know exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I knew very little, and I never really gave myself the opportunity to explore everything that college had to offer. I chose pre-Physiology as my major, with the ambitious goal to head to medical school for pediatrics after graduating. I knew my friends and family would be proud of me – who wouldn’t be proud of being a doctor?

Soon, I began my classes. I started with some pretty basic and easy courses, the toughest among them being my Chemistry course and lab. Up until this point in my life, learning came easy to me. Chemistry was the leaf I just couldn’t seem to reach. I tried so hard – I went to the study sessions and I spent hours upon hours on homework, but to no avail. I wanted to grow into something beautiful and strong, but I didn’t know how.

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I didn’t know how to deal with the fact that I just didn’t understand. I thought, “If I can’t even get through first semester chemistry, how am I supposed to get through 4 years of it?” I started to shut down. The med school path was the only plan I ever had, and without that what was I going to do?

I talked to my advisors, friends, and parents during winter break to try to ease my mind. I didn’t want to look for something else. I didn’t want to change my career path and, ultimately, my entire life. I wanted to do something amazing and wonderful, and I believed that med school was the only way to do it.

After I thought about it for a long time, I ended up realizing that I wasn’t truly passionate about what I was doing. For the most part, I wanted to be a doctor because I wanted to make my friends and family proud. I realized that no matter what I choose to do with my life, those around me who care about me will always be proud of me and support me.

I explored my options a little bit, looking into majors that I was truly passionate about. I love art, so I looked into music and art, as well as English. My mom suggested that I change my major to Psychology, and I looked into it a lot. It turned out that Psychology was a perfect fit for me! I chose a minor that was important to me (Creative Writing), and now I have an internship and I’m actually enjoying my college journey!

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In college, you will be faced with many, many challenges. It’s easy to give up, but keep pushing! Even if your major is tough for you, if it’s really something you love and are willing to work for, don’t give up because in the end it will always be worth it. Change can be hard to deal with, as well. Remind yourself that it’s a part of life, and no matter what, it’s always important to do what makes you happy. Your passions and interests are bound to change during your college career, and that’s okay! College is all about exploring what the world has to offer and finding your place in it. Your choices will lead to something bigger and better, so allow yourself to grow and change, and spread your wings!

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-Elizabeth