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Get Involved to Give Back

29 Jan

How you get involved on campus truly influences and enriches your college experience. There are many ways to make your campus involvement serve a dual purpose- both improving your life and contributing to the University and Tucson communities. Many extracurricular activities provide you with an automatic group, making giving back even easier if you haven’t really done it before.

Here’s a breakdown of ways that you can get involved on campus that often facilitate giving back!

Fraternity and Sorority Programs: One aspect of fraternities and sororities is their partnerships with philanthropic organizations. Those partnerships offer opportunities to impact complete strangers’ lives across the nation. You also don’t necessarily have to be a member to help out! By attending our chapters’ philanthropic events, you are able to make a small contribution.

Honoraries: There are several honoraries on campus! Some are based on eligibility by GPA, year in school, or are focused specifically on service to others. Regardless of the honorary, all of them arrange service projects for their members. In addition to the benefits of membership, you get the bonus of feeling good after participating in such projects.

ASUA Clubs: Joining clubs that are focused on your interests such as academics or hobbies are a great way to make new friends and network! In addition, many of these clubs provide opportunities to engage with the Tucson community and encourage children to consider going to college.

Housing and Residential Life: Joining Hall Council, getting involved with RHA/NRHH, or becoming an RA or DA isn’t just for people wanting to work in student affairs later in life. These leadership opportunities are also a chance to improve the daily experiences of students living in the residence halls.

On Campus Jobs: Many departments on campus hire students to work on-campus. These are also wonderful opportunities to gain leadership experiences and network if Housing isn’t your thing. This can be a very rewarding experience because you are helping your fellow students get the most out of the U of A. 

There are many avenues to focus your energies. If you are already involved with some of the groups I discussed, start taking advantage of the opportunities for service! Since it’s the beginning of the semester, it’s a great time to join something new.


Just Keep Swimming

12 Sep

In the hustle and bustle of the beginning of freshman year, everything seems to go by so quickly. So many opportunities get thrown at you and before too long your head starts spinning with all of the possibilities. In many ways, that is the beauty of college – you can become who you were meant to be! Some of the opportunities that interest you the most may be things you never would have imagined could be a good fit. My entire college journey has been a mixture of absolute uncertainty and questioning my decisions. Don’t stress too much if you’re in that spot too, it’s hard to believe it now but everything will work out in the end.

Freshman year:

I came to UA as a pre-med student, but the more I explored the options available to me I realized it wasn’t quite the right path for me. I ended up changing my major 5 times between orientation and the beginning of sophomore year. Thankfully, they all had overlapping courses so I was still on track to graduate in four years. One of the most helpful classes I had that year was a 1 unit health professions exploration colloquium. Between the guest speakers for that class and the many mentors in my life I found the perfect major.

Sophomore year:

At this point, I knew I liked my major because I was actually enjoying my classes. Every day I felt really excited about all of the options my chosen field had to offer. In all of the excitement I started to get scared because I could not narrow down my interests to one career. Instead of stressing out too much about this, I decided to just go with the flow and take the time to keep exploring rather than trying to tie myself down to one thing.

Junior year:

Last year, I was able to narrow down to two or three options that I felt extremely passionate about. I spent more time researching how to get started in those fields to start to identify what my life after college could look like. Talking with professors in my field really helped me realize that most professionals had a journey filled with uncertainty and change too, which reassured me a lot.

Senior year:

During the summer, I took on an internship that gave me a lot more insight into a potential career path. While it may not have been exactly right for me, it did help me do a lot more thinking about what careers truly fit with my passions. One day I watched a YouTube video and I learned that public health law exists as a career. Immediately, I made an appointment to sit down with a pre-law advisor to discuss how to showcase my journey in my applications. Finally, after all of the confusion my path forward has action steps.

When the future seems scary or intimidating, just keep swimming! Don’t discount yourself or your abilities, if you put your mind to it you can make it happen. No two people here at the U of A are the same, your experiences won’t be identical either. If you’re like me and need a lot of structure, let yourself be a little uncomfortable in the confusion for a bit. When you do finally find the right path, you will know.


Your Easy Guide to Priority Registration Advising

12 Apr

So it’s finally your week for advising during priority registration season. You’re probably thinking, “How am I going to get everything I need in just 15 minutes?” Remember that during this time, they will only discuss your courses for next semester, and the appointment will go much better if you come prepared. Here’s my checklist so you can quickly make sure you are ready to go.

  • Check out classes on UAccess and put them into your shopping cart, or make a list
  • Have backup courses/times selected and add them to your list as well
  • Figure out what questions you have. For example: Am I eligible to take these courses? Do I need to take any pre-requisites or co-requisites? Will I be registered in enough units? Will I graduate on time?
  • The morning of your appointment: gather your lists and questions and any paperwork that you need. Also, remember to bring some sort of writing utensil in case you need to jot anything down.
  • Show up about 10-15 minutes early for your appointment to ensure that you get the most out of your meeting and do not delay the schedule.

Priority registration can be somewhat stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Put just a few minutes into preparation, and you will minimize stress and maximize the usefulness of seeing your advisor. Good luck with registration!


#AdventurousApril: A Mountain “hike”

9 Apr

This year for Adventurous April, I decided to take advantage of the beauty nature has to offer right here in Tucson. Even though I was born and raised here, I had never gone up to the top of A mountain. Here’s a photo I took at ENR2 of it from far away, if you don’t know what it is.


I wasn’t too sure what the experience would be like, and I wasn’t disappointed in the end. We decided to park as close to the top as possible because even at 9AM it was ridiculously hot (I can’t handle the heat once it’s past 75-80 degrees). The trail was pretty clearly paved, but there were a few points where we got confused about whether we were at a fork in the road or if it was runoff from summer rains. Overall, it was a very good way to dip my toes into hiking. The trail was pretty safe, except for a few parts where we came upon a few loose rocks.


Looking NW at the top of the mountain.

When we finally got to the top, it was a really cool view! I never really realized how spread out the city truly is. It was nice to sit up there and just breathe for a little bit. We even met a nice family with a small child that kept trying to venture to the edge, it was a little terrifying. When it got unbearably hot, we went back to the main path that we had taken and kept going to see the actual “A”. It was not as fun to look at as when it was painted more colorfully in past years, but I am glad that I did it.



It’s The Future You Can See

1 Mar

Everyone has goals, whether they are aware of them or not. Whether your goals are academic, financial, health and fitness, or something else – your choices determine whether you will achieve them. No matter where you are in your goal timeline, it is always good to check in with yourself periodically.

Step 1: Evaluate your current situation
Think back to the original goal that you set for yourself. Now look at where you are in relation to that goal at this current moment in time. Sometimes, you’re going to have an “OH SNAP” moment when you realize that you are wayyyyyyy off track. That’s okay, it’s better to know that what you’re doing is not working than to keep going on your current path. Now evaluate what you need to be successful, do you need more accountability or are you lacking the resources to succeed?


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Sometimes it feels like life hits you like this. It’s totally normal, you just have to get back up.

Step 2: Evaluate the quality and importance of your goal.
Now that you know where you are, take a hard look at the goal you’re trying to achieve. Is it realistic and achievable? Read about SMART goals and consider revising your goal. You may need to completely abandon your goal and try something new if you realize that it isn’t that important to you, or it could be helpful to break up a larger goal into several short-term ones. Visualize what it will be like when you achieve your goal to find your motivation.


Step 3: Determine what changes need to be made
This is the hardest part, and you have to be brutally honest with yourself. In order to achieve goals, there will be changes that need to be made in your lifestyle. This is why you need to set achievable goals because making change is HARD. You’re going to have some days that are extremely successful and other where you have some setbacks.


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Step 4: Get your game plan together
Congrats, you’ve already done the bulk of the work! Now you just have to lay out what changes you will implement when, get your support system ready to go, and get started TODAY. Trust me, do not put it off because you will not be as motivated if you wait, I know it from experience.

Repeat this process as often as needed until you’ve achieved your goals. Good luck!



#FearlessFebruary: Adulting is hard

20 Feb

As graduation quickly approaches, there are many aspects of “adulting” that fall squarely on my shoulders that were never there before. This month for Fearless February, I decided to tackle those big challenges and decisions head-on rather than hiding from them.

Taxes: This was the first year where I had to file my taxes on my own without my dad’s help. Thankfully, it was not too complicated! I just used Turbo Tax’s free online filing system, gathered all of my receipts for educational expenses, and got it done step-by-step. Of course, I was nervous so I had my dad check at the very end just to make sure I didn’t completely mess up.

Grad school: This month, I finished my grad school applications! It’s been a long time coming, so it feels great to finally be done. Writing a personal statement involves getting very vulnerable and conveying to admissions committees who you truly are. It took a lot of time and deep thought to figure out what I really wanted to say, but I eventually got over my fears of being real in the personal statement. Thinking about the future so seriously is terrifying, but it is inevitable. We all have to figure out what we are doing with our lives at some point.

It’s been a tumultuous month, but overall that has facilitated a lot of personal growth. No one likes adulting, but it is necessary to overcome the challenge.


College Just Got A Lot More Complicated

7 Feb

As first-year students progress into their second semester, there is often a lot of confusion and big changes in their lives. Their focus moves beyond simply transitioning from high school to college and onto their future and their relationships. Parents can be both helpful and frustrating during this period. These are a few of the things your student may be encountering at this point in time:

  • Healthy vs Unhealthy Relationships
    Maintaining healthy, adult relationships, romantic or otherwise, can be difficult during this period. At times students engage in relationships that can be abusive or toxic. If you notice that they may be in such a situation, it is helpful to have an honest discussion about your concerns. Your student may not initially react overwhelmingly positively, but unhealthy relationships often warp the way someone thinks about the relationship. Be patient, aware, and offer your support, making sure not to be judgmental or place the blame on your student.
  • Major Exploration/Doubt
    After receiving grades from the first semester, some students start to seriously doubt their choice of major. Alternatively, they may be even more invested in their field of choice while still exploring their options. Remember that it is ultimately your student’s life and their choice; it is difficult to detach your own hopes for their future when discussing major choice with them. Avoid pressuring your student to decide down a particular path, instead ask questions encouraging deeper thought into their likes/dislikes, talents, skills, and passions.
  • Future Careers/Graduation Plans
    Thinking about the future can be absolutely terrifying for students at this point in the semester. Some are wondering whether they really belong in college and should even continue after the first year. Others are wondering how their education fits into their overall career and life plans. Encouraging students to schedule a meeting with their academic advisor to create a four-year plan of courses can be helpful in envisioning the end goal of graduation. Advisors can also help connect students with resources and identify supplemental activities such as study abroad, internships, and preceptorships that can help prepare them for the workforce.

This can be a pivotal time for your student. Depending on their experiences, they will need your support in different ways. Remember that first-year students often make mistakes, and it is important for them to take ownership of correcting those errors. Your role in their development as adults can really help them find confidence in their future decisions.


Get Comfy with Being Uncomfy

7 Feb

College forces you to really get in touch with yourself, and that process can stir up a lot of discomfort. Sitting with those feelings will actually help you grow as a person and prepare you for the future. When you start college, you quickly learn that “What’s your major?” is likely one of the very first questions someone will ask you when they meet you. It seems as though your major becomes so inextricably a part of your identity. So when you don’t have one or you doubt the one you’re in, it is very natural to feel uncomfortable about that.

Choosing a major is a big decision; you’re focusing a lot of time on studying it, after all! Just keep in mind that it is not the most important thing in the whole world, so do not stress too much over it. Really think about what interests you and take your time to decide, because it does take a lot of energy, time, and money to earn a degree. Many of my mentors have also told me that often your career doesn’t perfectly line up with your major because of the things that happen to you in life, and that’s perfectly okay. If you’re one of those people that gets really uncomfortable with not having a clear direction, recognize it and let yourself feel that. There will be many more times where you feel the same way in life, so it is best to get a little more comfortable with it now.


Cozy up to the fact that you have complete control over this decision.

You have to be honest with yourself during this period of your life. It’s a little painful to get that real with yourself, but it is worth it in the end. Accept what you are good at, and not so good at. This can affect your choice of major greatly. On the one hand, you can choose one that emphasizes your strengths, or avoids your weaknesses. On the other hand, you can choose one that emphasizes things you are not naturally talented at, but you must commit to working really hard to overcome that.


Find your thinking place to contemplate!

It can be helpful to get advice from others on which major to choose, but be careful when doing so. Family and friends are a great source of ideas, especially because they know you very well. However, their good intentions may be clouded with their own hopes and dreams for you, which may not be compatible with your vision of the future. Consider using professors, academic advisors, or mentors as sounding boards to get a more balanced perspective. They may be able to connect you to options that are not as well-known that may actually be the perfect fit.


Don’t get too wrapped up in other’s opinions!

No matter where you are in your journey, there is the right major out there for you, don’t worry. Just remember that ultimately this is your life, and you are the only one that can make the final decision.


Beat the Winter Blues

14 Dec

Congratulations, you have made it through the fall semester! Now you’ve got a few weeks at home to not be stressed out for the first time since August. It will be very tempting to just lay around and be lazy, but now is the time to maximize your fun before the stress restarts in January! Here’s a few things you can do to make your winter break more worthwhile.


Now is the time to sleep… but not for the entire break!

  • Be a tourist in your own hometown. There’s a lot of cool things in every hometown that you never realized were that awesome, until you started telling all of your college friends about them. So take advantage of being back! Go see all of the things that you’ve missed, or took for granted.
  • Play with pets. Take them outside, if appropriate, or cuddle on the couch. Most college students don’t have time to take care of pets or aren’t able to bring their family pet with them.
  • Skype your college friends. Being separated from your friends for four weeks can be tough. Take advantage of video chat to keep in touch and feel like you’re basically together, even if you’re miles apart.
  • Take advantage of holiday sales. Buy the things you need or passed on for a while because it was a little too pricey. Take this moment to treat yo self to something nice, you deserve it!
  • Enjoy home cooked meals and learn how to make them. Even though it’s never as good as when your family makes it, having that knowledge comes in handy when you’re having a bad day or feeling under the weather.
  • Spend time with friends that went away from college or that you haven’t seen in a while. It’s always great to trade stories and hear about what people are up to!

Whatever you do this winter break, take some time to enjoy yourself. It’s so important to rejuvenate over these weeks and reconnect with the things that make you happy.



#DreadedDecember: Off Schedule

14 Dec

When it comes to time off of school, I much prefer winter break to summer. I enjoy spending time at home with my family, but I always dread being off of my daily schedule. I’m usually the person that risks getting burnt out at the end of every semester, because try as I might, making time for self-care on a regular basis is difficult during the last few weeks of school. As a result, I spend the bulk of the first few days of break just catching up on sleep and eating properly. Invariably, my sleep schedule gets thrown out of whack and then I struggle to get it back to normal when the next semester starts.

Don’t get me wrong, there are perks to getting off schedule for a little bit. It’s somewhat refreshing to be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want. Between school and work, that’s not a luxury that I have once classes are in session anymore. I relish the time that I get to just go shopping with friends for as long as I want, or exercise as it is convenient. Breaks are a great time for me to reconnect with the things that I enjoy and that I am passionate about. However, after a few days of this, it loses its sparkle.

It’s okay to be a couch potato for a few days during break, but you have a lot of time on your hands to actually be productive. Take advantage and start planning ahead for the next semester, apply for summer internships and jobs, and start thinking about your future! For me, break is a time that I simultaneously look forward to and dread. Fortunately there are a lot of solutions to make it a lot better.