Archive by Author

A Healthy You and Me

28 Apr

As you may have come to realize, there is a lot more to college than just academics. You find yourself spending a lot of time with a lot of different people; humans are naturally socially dependent beings. We like to share our personal experiences with others and surround ourselves with friends we care about. It’s in our nature. That’s why it is important to keep a healthy relationship with your peers, colleagues, friends and loved ones. A bad relationship will bring you down, but a good one will lift you up.

I remember at my high school graduation telling all my friends that we would be “friends forever” and always keep in touch. Little did I know how difficult that credo would be to uphold. I grew up here in Tucson, AZ and when we graduated my group of friends had different plans for our future. I don’t think we realized it at the time, but that also meant we had different paths we would continue on from the football field that night in May. Some of my friends entered the workforce, some went to community college, others went to universities in other cities and states, and a few even went to the University of Arizona.

Although you and your high school friends “grew up” together and those memories made will always be a part of you (I know this may not be all of you, but bear with me), it will be hard to make the time you think they deserve or the time they think they deserve. Sooner or later one has to realize that everyone goes down a certain path and, at times, those paths don’t intersect as much as you both may like. As long as you have a mutual understanding of this and know that no matter what, you will be there to support them; you should be OK. Now, it’s even simpler to keep up with what your friends are doing thanks to Social Media. This will be the key to keeping relationships that are less in person and more in spirit. Liking a post, commenting and giving shout-outs are just an easy way to show loved ones that you are still present in their lives. If social media isn’t your thing, keep an email going back and forth, or send a text message/make a phone call every once in a while just saying “hey!” It’s always good to hear from a friend.

I’ve had the pleasure of having met a lot of new friends while in college but I’ve also had the pleasure of having a serious relationship in college. My girlfriend and I met during our studies here at the U of A and have been dating for over a year now and though that doesn’t make me a relationship guru by any means, I will say I’ve learned some things along the way. When a relationship becomes a little bit more serious it’s even more important to keep that relationship healthy. The more serious a relationship is, the more emotionally attached you become. The more emotionally attached you become, the greater the impact this relationship has on your mental and emotional health. But not to worry! There are just some simple things to remember when maintaining a serious relationship.

Honesty and communication are the first step to ensuring a solid relationship. Honestly and communication are the foundation for any relationship but it becomes even more imperative in a relationship that may turn romantic. You have to be willing to openly communicate and be honest (with yourself and partner) with what you’re intentions are in this relationship. Let’s say you meet someone, you hang out with them, and maybe you even go on a couple of dates. If one of you is looking for a short-term fling and the other has fallen madly in love – we have here a recipe for awkward sauce and the after taste is bitter. If you’re honest with what your intentions are from the start, it makes it easier to be honest the rest of the way. As they always say “Honesty is the best policy.”

In college you discover who you are. When you’re in a relationship during college you get to discover who you are with someone and I have to tell you, it’s quite an adventure. You have to be patient with each other, and realize that you are both still still growing as individuals. I like to think of it as allowing some “wiggle room” for the both of you to grow. Don’t take the term “wiggle room” the wrong way or out of context! This doesn’t mean you should accept unsavory behavior or allow anything that would go against your personal standards and morals go unanswered but it does mean that patience and understanding will take you a long way.

Before anything else, you have to have fun. It may seem pretty trivial, but if you’re not having fun in your relationship then why are you in one? Always make time for dates and special activities to do together. In college, everyone has a schedule. As you may be aware, when two people want to meet up, the task can be like a game of Battle Ship.

“You free at 5:30?”

“Nope.”

“How about 6:30?”

“Nah.”

“8?”

“Yes!”

And you sunk their battle ship! I mean, you found a time that works. And when you find something that works it’s easy to get stuck in a pattern and develop a routine. That’s OK! Just make sure you always have time to do something fun! Something that will shake up the routine and keep you from getting stuck in a monotonous cycle. A flowing river goes further than a stagnant pond, so get your river flowing with some ideas to change the routine. Even if it’s just studying in a new location or trying a new restaurant, a new experience will bring you closer together.

-Andy

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Time to Tie Ties

7 Apr

The time has come for all you Wildcats out there to learn the most important part of any “suit up” situation: The tie. Even if you already know how to tie a tie this blog can be a great reference to look over. After I show you my favorite tie knot (The Half-Windsor) I’ll ALSO show you how to tie a Bow-Tie. Yes, I said “tie a bowtie,” not, “clip on a bowtie.”

 

The Half-Windsor

Start with the wide end of your necktie on the right and the narrow end on the left. The narrow end should be at the tip of your sternum and the wide end should hang around your hip.

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Cross the wide end over the narrow end.

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Bring the wide end around behind the narrow end

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Bring the wide end up and tuck it in to the loop (like your tucking a napkin in to your shirt) then pull it over to the right

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Bring the wide end around front, over the narrow end from right to left.

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Bring the wide end up and through the loop (The reverse of tucking a napkin in your shirt).

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Bring the wide end down through the knot in front

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And — using both hands — tighten the knot carefully and draw it up to the collar.

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The Bow Tie

Drape the bow tie around your neck so that left side is slightly longer than the right

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Cross the longer end over the shorter end.

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Pass the longer end up through the loop, forming a simple, loose overhand knot.

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Pull the dangling end to the left and then fold it back over itself to the right.

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Drop the raised end of the tie over the front of the bow.

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Feed the middle of the dangling end back through the knot you made earlier. (This is the part I had the most trouble with while learning- take your time!)

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Tighten the bow by pulling on opposite sides and halves simultaneously.

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-Andy

Staying Focused!

2 Apr

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Only a couple more weeks until the end of the semester! Be sure to stay focused on what’s ahead so that we can finish this semester strong! Click the picture to see this week’s edition of Wildcat Connections!

Got Time? Volunteer!

13 Mar

Summer break. You know, something I don’t always find myself thinking about is how fortunate I am to actually have a summer “break.” Many people (primarily adults) don’t have a vacation like we do. Some people choose to use this time to relax, de-stress and have a good time before getting back in to school. Others choose to use this time to their advantage and take summer school, participate in an internship or take up a summer job. However you decide to use your summer break, it is important to remember how fortunate it is to have this free time. Use this time, or at least some of it, to give back to your community. This blog will cover different ways and different locations to volunteer.

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Pima County Library

The library is a place built for discovery. They support reading and literary skills, traditional and non-traditional education, and lifelong learning. Pima County guarantees free access to all library resources, and as a volunteer, YOU would be a much-needed resource. Being a Volunteer for the Pima County Library (or any library) would mean being a resource to assist with job help, computer help, tutoring, and special programs.

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Community Food Banks of Southern Arizona

The Food Banks of Southern Arizona are dependent upon their volunteers to bring food to the less fortunate of Southern Arizona. Many individuals volunteer on a regular basis, but the opportunity to work short-term or in a group is also available. There are sites in Tucson, Marana, Nogales, Amado, Green Valley/Sahuarita, and Graham, Greenlee and Cochise Counties, so if you find yourself in Southern Arizona for the summer, there is somewhere close by! Jobs include  packing food, working in the gardens, helping with farmers markets, and office work.

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University of Arizona Medical Center

UAMC volunteers help to contribute compassionate care to its patients and residents. The goal of UAMC is to provide meaningful, worthwhile, purpose-driven volunteer opportunities.  That being said, each opportunity is a professional endeavor and should be done to reflect the professionalism set forth from its staff. With two locations, University Campus and South Campus, volunteering with UAMC may be an easier commute than going to school!

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Arizona Greyhound Rescue

Greyhounds, just like horses, are used in racing events and when their career is over they are often left without a home or owner. That’s where The Arizona Greyhound Rescue team comes in! Arizona Greyhound Rescue is a non-profit, all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) corporation committed to the belief that every greyhound deserves a loving, permanent and responsible home. This team is completely dependent upon its volunteers and the opportunities to help are endless! You can become an Adoption Team Member, Table at Petsmart and Petco, write grants, outreach, and mentor.

Check out Volunteer Match for more insight about where and how to volunteer. This site pairs you up with opportunities in your area based on your interests!

This is just a small list of the literally hundreds of volunteering opportunities out there! If you are looking for a way to give back to your community AND find something to bulk up your resume. No better way than to volunteer!

–Andy

One Show, One Month

7 Mar

Auditions for the Spring Studio Series were underway and I found myself in the Theatre Building, among a group of my peers, ready to take on the task of being in a show. As I sat there going over my monologue, singing my audition song to myself and scoping out who was going for the same part as I, the realization of the journey I was about to embark on struck me. Although I have been an active member of the Theatre Department here I have yet to be in an actual UofA affiliated full-length show (you can probably guess that this was about to change). I was cast in The Proposal; written by Anton Chekhov and part of a night of three one-acts all written by Chekhov. Again, this wasn’t my first time acting or performing (in fact, I’m part of a group of students called Short Attention Span Theatre based out of Tucson) but this was going to be my debut role here at the University of Arizona.

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My friends, colleagues, and professors within this program have never seen me perform at this caliber. In fact, the director of show is one of my favorite professors with in the theatre department. On top of all that, I’m taking 18 units this semester and working as an Outreach Facilitator with another part time job on the weekends, so needless to say, I was worried. But that sense of urgency you get when you know you have a lot to do really put a fire under me and launched me forward in to action like a rocket. It forced me to be as productive as possible with the time that I had. If I was going to tackle this whirlwind of a February, I would need to be fearless…

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Hopefully you remember the shameless plug I fit in earlier about my theatre group, Short Attention Span Theatre, because it also played a role in my journey to be FeruREADY for FearlessFebruary. We started rehearsals for Three One-acts the first week of February but I also had a show for Short Attention Span Theatre the second week of February. I was soon going to rehearsals for two different shows, at two different locations, and sometimes on the same night. But you know what? I kept my cool. In fact, this workload that I took on only motivated me more. When I was given the task to complete a Fearless February Challenge I noticed I was already in the middle of my own challenge and it gave me an entirely new outlook on what I was doing. I was no longer waiting to work and instead I was out doing work. It’s easy to find yourself waiting. Waiting till you’re done with school, waiting till you hear from an employer, or waiting until something of interest comes your way.

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This February I discovered we all have the power to create a solid future for ourselves if we stop waiting for something and instead create something. Light a fire under yourself and go for it. If you want a good grade in a class don’t wait till the next test for a better score be active in your studies that moment. If you want a job or internship for the summer don’t wait to you hear about something from someone, ask someone about something. If you want to act and produce theatre, film or television then get out there to a grassroots organization or group and create something big.

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As the stage lights came up on opening night I was nervous, I was excited, but mostly I was happy. Happy to perform, happy to showcase my talent, and happy to close this show that had been a big part of my life the past four weeks. We put on four very successful shows and family, friends, co-workers and even my bosses from Student Affairs Outreach and New Student Orientation came to see me perform! Now that February is over, and my challenge complete, I want to remind you that being fearless comes from within you and can be shown through adventures both big and small. If you want to know more about how the show went, email me at gzandy@email.arizona.edu. Also check out the Short Attention Span Theatre page for upcoming show and festival dates.

Five Strategies, Five Weeks

11 Nov

Sit back. Breathe in. Breathe out. Let’s take a break from our busy, stress-filled lives and focus our energy on finishing this semester. With only five more weeks of school, where should your energy go? What’s your plan of action?

Let’s make a plan together for these next five weeks. We’ll go week by week, and I’ll give you some of my ideas as to what should be done. Think of me like your personal trainer. I’m Mickey and you are Rocky. Except, instead of a ring, it’s a classroom. I’ve had my fair share of rough semesters, but here are some ways I have been able to still come out on top!

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I may not know how to train you to go toe-to-toe with Clubber Lang, but if the goal is to be successful in your semester, then call me Apollo! I’m your guy!

1. What Do I Have? – First thing we need to do; let’s look through everything we have. Go through each one of your classes and pull out any exams, papers or homework you have gotten back. While you’re gathering any papers you may have, start to organize them. Put them in order and start taking note of any questions you have about your work. Is it all here? Did you miss any assignments? Were you unsure about the grading on some assignments? Take note and WRITE IT DOWN. This will help us for next week where we’ll get our questions answered at…

2. Office Hours! – Going in to office hours is much like going to see your doctor. You may notice something is wrong with your body. Maybe your knee has been getting really sore lately, or maybe your eyesight is getting a little blurry. But you are tough, you don’t need a doctor! Next thing you know you need a knee replacement and corrective eye surgery. DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU! Take the upper hand and be proactive if you notice something is not quite right. If you don’t understand a particular subject in a class, ignoring it won’t make it go away. This is why we took notes on all our assignments and organized them neatly last week. We have taken notice of what needs to be brought to our attention and now we can just go through the list with the Professor or TA in office hours. Maybe you should start making lists for the doctor’s office? Hypochondriac? Nahhh.

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3. The (still probably not very) calm before the storm! – What we need to do is plan out our final assignments and exams. Do you have a paper coming up? Now is the time to gather resources and start the initial process of getting that paper together (I recommend the Assignment Scheduler on the UA Libraries Web site). You may also have an exam coming up as well. Use this time to STUDY. You’ve already gone to office hours though, so you should know what needs to be studied.

4. What DON’T I know? — Alright, we know what’s coming up and we know what we need. I guess now we just need to know what we need to know! Let’s find the help we need! Who can help? (of course your professor can, but we’ve talked about them enough). Your fellow students! I thoroughly enjoy putting together study groups. It’s a great way to be productive in a positive, or at least collective, atmosphere and to make friends along the way! And smart friends at that! 😉 Now, if group environments aren’t your forte, individual tutoring is ALWAYS an option for ANYONE. The ThinkTank is a free resource to get individualized attention and help. With both drop-in hours and appointments available, the ThinkTank is sure to have what you need. Also, be sure to remember ALL the ThinkTank locations. You may be surprised by the number they have and where they are.

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No one is more willing to help than your friends!

5. Okay, Everyone. The time has come. Finals week. — What do we need to do? RELAX. Were you reading the rest of this blog? We just had a hell of a past couple weeks, and with all the work we put in, we deserve a break! We should still do some light studying on any subjects we may still not be 100% confident about, and complete any small assignments we still need to turn in. If you do your work like we’ve been talking about, you should be more than ready going in to finals week. So, go with your head held high. You’ve done a lot of work to get to this point. Be proud of it! And be ready to show them what you’re made of!

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YOU, after finishing your final!

Before I go, I want to leave you with ONE more piece of advice, rather, a request. No, a demand. I want you to take ONE day out of each week and devote it to yourself. DO THE BASICS. Eat, Exercise, do laundry! Clean your house, take out the trash, whatever you need to do to keep yourself happy and healthy, do it. Don’t forget to take care of yourselves these next couple weeks; it’s really easy to get lost in the madness of it all.

-Andy Gonzalez

Ways to Beat the Boredom

27 Sep

When I was a freshman, I had a four-hour gap between two of my classes. When I didn’t have homework or a project to work on, I found myself very, very bored.  My four-hour break turned in to four-hour nap time in the library. I do not suggest this. You may find yourself being woken up by a librarian with everyone watching as you wipe the drool off your face. Whether it’s cleaning out your backpack, organizing your computer files or grabbing lunch with a friend, there is always something to do! Of course, the first thing on your list of things to do — when you’ve done everything on your list of things to do — is STUDY! Always review your notes and look over homework; I can’t stress that enough. BUT there is such a thing as taking a break, and if you’ve done all your chores, you deserve it! Take care of yourself! Here are some ideas if you find yourself “bored’ on-campus.

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The Rec – It always surprises me how many students don’t utilize the amazing facility they have at their disposal. If you know you have a break, bring a change of clothes and step on in! The Rec is not “just a gym.” The Rec is an amazing facility and offers classes like yoga, self-defense, and dance. The Rec also has a spa, bouldering wall and an OSCR lab with 16 Mac computers. The Rec is  the best way to exercise your body AND your mind. 

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The Charles Darwin Experience U of A’s Improv Group “The Charles Darwin Experience” creates scenes off the top of their heads JUST FOR YOU! They perform every Tuesday at 10:00 pm in the Gallagher Theatre and are guaranteed to make you laugh! Head over to the Union Tuesday to socialize and let off some steam! Did I mention they are all current U of A students?! The audition process was just featured in an article in The Daily Wildcat. Check it out!
Art Museum The University of Arizona Museum of Art is a calming and reflective place to visit. Two floors of captivating pieces and all it’ll cost you is showing your CatCard at the door. I’ve spent plenty of time browsing through the art, reflecting on my thoughts and current situations. If you get a chance, be sure to spend some time at the Mark Rothko piece. It is my personal favorite. Take the time to sit and really look in to it. You may not see anything, but art isn’t always something you can see. It’s something you feel. Something that evokes emotion. Walking through the museum will get you thinking, and it’s a great place to “get away.” The Art Museum is also a really great place to take a date! But considering it’s free you should probably grab dinner or something. Don’t be cheap, gents!  
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I remember slumping down in my library chair as a freshman and being reminded of when I was a kid and I got “bored.” Every time I ever told my Dad I was bored, he would quickly respond with, “clean your room, wash the dishes or mow the lawn then.” I usually found something that WASN’T a chore to do real fast. But my dad had a point. You should never be “bored.” All the time you spend on being “bored” can be time spent on studying, finishing projects or doing something to make yourself and this world a better place.

–Andy Gonzalez

Back to School: First Day in The Life of Andy

30 Aug

This was Monday. The first day of the semester.  I knew that once I set out my door, I would again be living life as a Wildcat, and I was pumped!

As I walked down the sidewalk, coffee in hand, I began to feel the tinge of excitement, and even a bite of nervousness. Yes, even us seniors get nervous on the first day of classes. I knew I would be seeing old friends, making new ones and, of course, I would be a student for some amazing professors.

I also thought about what I was wearing. I am a firm believer in dressing how you want to feel, and how you want to be seen. I had a nice T-shirt, Levi’s and my good watch. I always choose to dress comfortably, but nice enough to make a good impression.

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Syllabus week is an exciting time for me. It’s the time to see what the heck you got yourself in to.  My first class of the day followed the typical, “first class format.” Go in, read the syllabus, short context lecture on the subject matter, and then leave. I was okay with this.

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After class it was time to go to work. Those of you who are devoted Wildcat Connections followers may recognize this building; it’s Nugent! Our office is located in the basement of this building, but it’s a lot more welcoming than most basements.

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And here we are. The basement. Did anyone see the post on the computer screen right now? Yeah, I posted that. This is more or less what I get to look at when I work. I find work to be my place to de-stress from my classes and get my mind thinking about something else. I mean, look–between classes I made memes and posted them for all of you to see.

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After work, I took a break. I had to run back to my apartment in order to meet the Cable Guy to set up my internet connection. On the way, I grabbed myself a treat from Seven Eleven. Did you know Shaq has his own soda? Also, get this–it’s made by Arizona Iced Tea. I had to grab one.

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I realized I needed a notebook for my last class, so I ran over to the BookStore to grab one. I really enjoy these notebooks. I get them every year. They are a little pricey, but hey! They are good quality, spirited, and when you Bursar them, it doesn’t feel as bad. (Be careful with what you Bursar, kids).

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The day was over and I was starving. Only logical thing to do at this point was to stop at the Greek Patio. I love this place, and surprisingly not many people know of it. It’s just a two-minute walk from campus and has a gyro that keeps me going back.  It’s also right next to my apartment. They know me by name. Actually, they aren’t the only food place that does. I eat a lot.IMG_1221

This was just a glimpse into my first day as a Wildcat. How did it go for you? What did you all do on your first day? Do you remember what you wore? Where did you eat? Keep all this in mind as you continue through this year and the ones to come. It’s truly surprising to see how much I’ve changed, and how my routines have too. Who knows how many memes I will post, and how many food establishments will know me by name, before I leave?

–Andy Gonzalez

Star Wars Connection: Mastering the Force

30 Aug

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

I am willing to bet $20 (and remember, I’m a college student, $20 is over two hours of hard-earned cash, and just about my whole wallet) that nearly 95 percent of you identified this phrase as the beginning to the ever-popular film series, Star Wars. And if you didn’t, well, you are missing out, my friend. Star Wars has a special place in my heart for two reasons:

  1. It’s awesome. For as long as I can remember I’ve enjoyed sitting on the couch and eating an entire bag of microwave popcorn while I watch the Original Trilogy. I even went to the midnight premiere for Episodes 1, 2, and 3. (My favorite Episode is still 5. Yes, I loved 3. Yes, we’ll talk about that later.)
  2. My second reason is a little different, and a fairly recent development. I have found Star Wars, almost perfectly, parallels the life of an incoming freshman.

Let me explain. Let’s step into the shoes of Luke Skywalker/new freshman. Before your journey ever begins, you find yourself on a dusty, desolate planet (high school) that you are ready to get off of because you know, deep down in your heart, you were destined for greater things in greater places (college).

Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Luke that he has the ability to become a Jedi by mastering The Force. Let’s rephrase “become a Jedi by mastering The Force” to “becoming a graduate, by mastering the art of college.” Yes, college is an art. And, it’s as mysterious and powerful as the force.

Along your journey you will find friends who are there to help and support you.

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You may find friends who don’t necessarily have the same goals and beliefs as you, but sometimes they will still be your strongest allies.

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You’ll find your favorite professor, a mentor, or a program that will give you the tools you need to succeed.

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Who would have known that one professor you thought was so terrible

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would turn out to be the one that helped you the most?

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Remember when I said I liked Episodes 3 and 5? Well, I like Episode 5 because of Yoda, obviously. I wish I could be trained by a little green alien in the swamps of Dagobah how to do backflips, and how to use a light saber. The reason I like Episode 3, however, holds a little more meaning. In Episode 3, we witness Anakin Skywalker at his lowest point. He single-handedly is responsible for the fall of the Jedi and the Galactic Republic. Fast-forward to the end of the series, Anakin Skywalker (Spoiler Alert: aka Darth Vader), takes down the Emperor and brings balance back to the force.

Episode 3 reminds us that even after you’ve hit bottom, and it seems like it you can’t dig yourself out of the hole you’ve dug, you can still redeem yourself, and you can still succeed. In my first semester of college, I felt like I was in way over my head. I received an unsatisfactory grade on my first midterm and it seemed like the end, but I decided that it wasn’t. I studied, I asked questions, I was attentive. I changed my previous ways of “learning” and I came out victorious, with a grade I could be proud of.

Don’t ever think it’s the end when things get tough. You have the power to bring balance to the force and peace to the galaxy…

–Andy Gonzalez

Andy’s App of the Week: Summer Fun

1 May

This is it. The last edition of Wildcat Connections for this year. What are your plans for the summer? I know what I’ll be doing: Starting my second job as an Orientation and Welcome leader! That means I’ll be sticking around for the summer. This week in Andy’s App of the Week I’ll share with you some apps I know I’ll be using and apps that I think will help those of you who are staying in T-Town for the Summer.

Urbanspoon

I don’t know about you all, but I eat. A lot. And I like to eat at restaurants. A lot. One of my most beloved apps- and one I think you may find useful- is Urbanspoon. This app lets you discover the local cuisine of whatever city you are in. It uses your GPS location to find what is near you. It will also organize all your options by Price, Meal and What’s Open. If you are undecided about what you want there is also a nifty option called “Shake” where you can enter specific criteria and see what Urbanspoon comes up with for you!

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Shazam

When I hear a song and I can’t identify who and what it is within the first 5 seconds, I get really annoyed. THAT is why I have Shazam! Shazam identify’s the songs that you may not know but are interested in listening to again later. If you hear a song on the radio, at your friends house or in a club and you don’t know what it is-let Shazam figure it out for you! A lot of good music is expected this year, and this summer especially. So be on top of it!

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Vine

My last app for this blog will be the recently popular Vine. Vine is a social media platform that allows you to record and upload videos. People have referred to this app as “Instagram for videos” and I am apt to agree with them. It may not give you the ability to add filters or a focus tool but the simplicity of the video recording can lead to some creativity among its users. Go ahead, add your friends and give it a try!

Andy