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Excuse Me, While I Kiss The Sky #FearlessFebruary

19 Feb

This month I was given the challenge to try something out of the ordinary, something out of my comfort zone, and most of all to be FEARLESS.

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I took this challenge to heart and thought about my bucket list.  This is a list that I want to complete before I graduate college that includes crazy things like jumping off the stratosphere in Las Vegas, going river rafting in the Grand Canyon, and going skydiving.

Well, this past weekend, I decided that I want to scratch skydiving off my bucket list. When I decided that this was what I wanted to do, all I could think about was the feeling of weightlessness and the thrill of being alive. Now, come along with me as I share the “ups” and “downs” of my skydiving adventure.

As soon as we arrived at the Maricopa skydiving center in Phoenix I immediately noticed the small planes all lined up on the runway, ready for takeoff. This made me a little sick to my stomach. I was actually going to jump out of one of those tiny plane doors, “hatches,” at 12,000 feet above ground level.

Despite my nervousness, my friends and I started our paperwork and watched a skydiving safety video.  When I received my paper work, I couldn’t help but notice the disclaimer on the front page. It warned that I could be seriously injured or “killed.

This boldfaced warning made me nervous and I soon felt my heart sink into my stomach. I looked over at my friend, Adilene, and she had the same concern I did in her eyes, but I wasn’t going to back out. I knew that this is what comes with being fearless, and I didn’t want to go another day in my 20’s without experiencing that freefall-feeling. Still, I couldn’t help but think I may have just signed my life away as they took us into a nearby room to put our suits on and get ready for the jump.

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Our instructors explained the skydiving process; step-by-step. They taught us how to kneel down before flying out, to put our hands on our shoulder straps, and to bend our body backwards to make the flight go well. The suits were not required, so instead, I wore my Chain Gang Junior Honorary rugby.

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As we were getting all geared up, they interviewed us to see how we were feeling and what our thoughts were before we jumped. I felt like I was about to complete an Olympic event, like I was being interviewed by the media. This made me excited for the jump!

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We loaded the plane, and the wind made it hard to walk, but I climbed into the plane with a smile on my face and I was ready!!

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My instructor pushed me towards the open door of the plane and said, “here we go.” We jumped out of the plane and I felt like I was in a dream. We were free falling at 120mph for about one minute. My instructor pulled the parachute and I felt like a bird soaring through the sky. This was my favorite part because we got to do cool tricks with the parachute, and I got to really enjoy the view from the sky. This view was indescribable; it was like I was a giant looking down on a tiny city, but I found it peaceful.

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As we made it closer to land, I felt a sense of relief because I was safe, but I also felt accomplished. I celebrated with my friends, who had also landed, and we gave our instructors high fives.

I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Skydiving was definitely the craziest, most fun adventure I have ever had. I would definitely go skydiving again, and encourage everyone to try it, because it is a once in a life time opportunity to be daring and “kiss the sky.”

–Jocelin Calcagno

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Started From 2013 and Now I am Here!

17 Jan

Sometimes the most significant moments in our lives can go unnoticed or unrecognized until we take a few minutes to truly look back at them. As I reflected on 2013, I  remembered three small, but meaningful moments last year that really made a difference in my life. I wanted to share these moments with you, and the meaning that it brought to my year in 2013, in hopes that you’ll consider your own accomplishments, and how you’ve learned from them.

1)   Finishing a year’s worth of hard work and dedication in my position as Wildnights Director through ASUA’s Wildcat Events Board I successfully planned and executed four events for the student body each semester with the help of a wonderful committee. This position gave me leadership experience, new friendships, and event-planning experience.

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2)   Being accepted into Chain Gang Junior Honorary. This honorary became my family throughout the summer and fall semester of junior year. It gave me 35 best friends, and memories that I will cherish forever. These memories include homecoming traditions, philanthropic events, and social events. These are people that I know will always be a part of my life.

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3)   Traveling to a different state all by myself. I traveled to Washington DC to meet a friend this past summer. This was the first time that I had flown and traveled without my family. This trip made me realize that I am growing up, and that time is precious. I had an awesome vacation and got to see all the beautiful landmarks in Washington DC, and since then, I have been on three more vacations by myself.

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These small moments in 2013 really taught me something about myself and about this wonderful life that I am living. I think that it is important to appreciate the small things in life because they add up to something special.

What were your three most special moments during 2013? Tweet us at @WildcatConnect. We’d love to hear from you!

Happy New Year!

— Jocelin Calcagno

Study…stud…stu…st…s…sl…sle…slee…Sleep

9 Dec


Five ways to motivate yourself to study and/or complete an assignment

 One of the commonly used phrases that I find myself saying while in college is, “I have no motivation to study for my exam coming up.”

I bet this is a relatable feeling knowing that winter break is only two week away, and that finals are already here! I know from going through several final weeks that this is the hardest time to stay motivated. I’ve learned over the years that there are certain little things that might help you stay engaged, and here is what I’ve come up with.

Follow Wilma the Wildcat as she makes her way through studying for finals this week.

1. Make every thought serve you and move you forward

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I learned in my physiology course recently that we have 60,000 conscious thoughts a day. Each thought that you make during the day can either bring you closer to achieving your goals, or further way from them. So it is important to carefully watch what you tell yourself. I tried this myself by replacing thoughts such as ‘I can’t do this’ and ‘I’m going to fail’ with ‘I got this’ and ‘I’m doing the best that I can do and I will do well on this assignment’. By thinking positive thoughts, it will reflect a positive outlook and attitude that will give you a jump in motivation when you feel like giving up.

 2. Visualize yourself taking action

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Start by visualizing yourself completing an action. This should be visualized before you sit down and start to actually do it. These actions could include visualizing yourself organizing your desk with study materials, or visualizing yourself typing a paper. This simple strategy helps you to stay focused on what needs to be done, and by visualizing yourself doing it, that visual image can be turned into an action.

 3. Small actions add up

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Growing up, my parents always told me that every action you perform would always have an outcome. Whether this outcome is a good or bad one, every action is a cause that has an effect. So when I came to college, I realized that every action I performed whether it be turning in an homework assignment, or putting in an extra hour of studying would make a difference, because small actions add up in the end when you are striving for that A in your class and your only a few points away.

 4. Get some comrades and spend time with them

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It is always nice to have someone to study and do homework with, especially someone that you share common goals with. This could include having the same major, same class, or future goals. It’s comforting to know that you always have someone who understands what you are going through, and someone to turn to when you don’t understand something on the study guide, or just a shoulder to lean on when you feel get overwhelmed. This person can help motivate you to accomplish certain assignments, or help you memorize all those flashcards that you may need to memorize for that exam coming up. Getting together with others can help ease your stress, and make school fun! For example, I have one friend who is in most of my classes and we get together for “Study parties”. These include buying study snacks, making pots of coffee, and listening to a great study station on Pandora. Planning study parties with someone who is studying the same material as me always keeps me motivated.

 5. Remind yourself that this is worth it

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It is easy to get caught up and overwhelmed in college stress. I’ve noticed that the more I stress out about school, the less motivated I am to complete the work that needs to get done. This is why it is important having one goal that you set for yourself. This should be a long-term goal that you are willing to go through thick and thin to complete. For example this goal for me is to get into dental school. As I’m sitting around telling myself that I don’t want to study, or I will be fine if I don’t complete this one homework assignment, I ask myself, “Will this get you into dental school?” and this makes me rethink my actions. If you remind yourself that the effort you put in now, will someday be rewarding then it changes your outlook and can motivate you to keep pushing.

–Jocelin Calcagno

The Registration Games

18 Oct

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Spring registration is around the corner from November 11th to November 15th. Every time registration comes around, it reminds me of The Hunger Games. We don’t get served a fancy banquet and we are not given an outfit that lights on fire before registration, but, similar to the games, over 40,000 students fight to add common classes around the same time. This can be a nightmare, or the odds can work out in your favor. The secret to winning is being aware of the strategies on how to beat the system. So, let the games begin!

Happy day one! This is the most important day of the games because this is when you become knowledgeable and strategize your plan. Here are some tips to remember…

1) Know the date of your registration and write it down somewhere you won’t forget.
2) Plan out your ideal schedule ahead of time and make sure to always have a backup plan with alternative classes ready in case you don’t get the ones you want.
3) Remember that UAccess opens up to add your classes at 6:00 a.m. on the day of your registration, so make sure to wake up before six on that morning and have your hand on the mouse to add your classes right when the clock strikes…remember this is when you are trying to win the race with the click of your mouse.

Congratulations you have now you have made it to day two of the games. Now is when you will receive your sponsored gift to help you out during the games. This gift includes some insider advice on a few questions you may be asking yourself…

How can I make it easier to plan my class schedule?
First, it is important to remember your current or future obligations. This includes family, job needs, extracurricular activities, and any other factors that may affect your daily schedule. Once you are aware of these obligations, you can then know what days and times are free during the week. It’s also important to remember to make time for yourself. This includes having some time to relax and distress from the day by doing any one of your hobbies.

Does it matter what time a course is offered?
It is important to plan your schedule around the time that you think you work best or have the most energy. If you are not a morning person, like me, then it would be best to choose classes that start later in the afternoon. This way you are motivated and focused during your classes.

What if I have to work during the week?
Whether you have an on or off campus job, it is important that your employer is aware of your school responsibilities, and is willing to be flexible with your hours, so make sure to have this conversation with your supervisor. This way you can work your job around your school schedule, rather than your school schedule around your job.

What does my major entail?
Meet with your advisor on a regular basis to discuss the requirements for your major. You can visit the Advising Resource Center’s  “Academic Advisor Directory” to find your advisor’s email and schedule an appointment. Meeting with your advisor is key to making your schedule in order to know exactly what classes you need to add for the semester. Being on track for your major is important to accomplish future goals such as graduation. Sometimes classes that you need for your major fill up quickly, so that is why it is important to know in advance which classes you need.

What is the right balance?
College is all about finding the right balance, and this may seem difficult when you feel like you have too many classes to take in only four years. A key thing to remember when trying to make the perfect schedule is making sure to not overload yourself with too many challenging classes. Make sure you have a good balance of both difficult courses, and ones that you have prior experience with, so that you are not overwhelming yourself. This goes the same for outside academic commitments such as extracurricular activities, and your social life. It is important to know where to draw the line in order to be successful in school, but also to have fun.

What do I do if I don’t get the classes I want or need?
This is when your back up plan comes into play. If you do not get the classes you need on your first try, add the alternative classes that you picked out. There is always the possibility that the classes that closed up when you tried to register will open up later, so keep checking! Also, if there is the option, add yourself to the waitlist for the course, which can be done on Uaccess as well. The third option is to wait until the first week of spring semester and wait until students start to drop/swap classes to see if your course opens up.

This is my “perfect” schedule…

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This works well for me because I scheduled all my classes after 9:00 a.m. because I am not a morning person. I also gave myself a few breaks because I have an on campus job that I work at during these breaks. I also gave myself the morning off on Friday to have “me” time and de-stress from the long week. My afternoons are mostly open for extracurricular meetings and studying. I thought about all the questions mentioned above when making my schedule.

You made it! The end of the games is drawing near, and now that you have the inside scoop on the registration games, and strategies that can help you win, you are on the road to the perfect schedule. And May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor When Making Your Spring Schedule! 

–Jocelin Calcagno

Looking for an alternative way to study?

11 Apr

There are many helpful FREE phone applications on the iPhone store and Driod Play store that you can used as a resource and quiz your knowledge.

Some of these applications include:

iPhone:

Want to quiz your knowledge on ANY subject?

  • Quizlet –  It’s a free, fun, and beautifully simple way to study on your iPhone.

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Taking a Spanish course?

Don’t want to spend money on buying flashcards?

  • Flashcards – Flashcardlet is a free, easy-to-use studying application with material for any class or standardized test. You can also create and share your own.mzl_fxrkugah_320x480-75

Having trouble learning vocabulary in your science course?

  • Science Glossary – All definitions link to related terms and to free, detailed science learning modules.mzl_lpotiipc_320x480-75

Taking chemistry or biology?

  • Molecules – Molecules is an application for viewing three-dimensional renderings of molecules and manipulating them using your fingers. mzl_dzwpexqf_320x480-75

These are only five out of the hundreds of different iPhone applications you can download to your phone to study at any time or any place.

Driod:

Taking biology this semester and want to quiz your knowledge?

  • Biology quiz – This has a database of questions related to Humans,Plants,environment and animals which can be used for practicing different exams like NEET, nursing entrance, medical entrance, etc.biology

Are you a business major?

Taking English this semester?

  • English Grammar – This application is the best way to improve your English grammar at home, on the move, anywhere!uuuu

Need a helping hand?

  • Dictionary  – This applications ha over 2,000,000 definitions and synonyms from Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com!

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Do you find yourself forgetting to do assignments?

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Switch up the way you study and maybe you will see improvements in your overall scores. Some of these applications can also be found on other types of phone markets, so check yours today and find an application that works for you.

How to Choose Your College Roommate

6 Mar

Choosing a roommate is more complicated than it may seem. This roommate can either become your best friend, or your worst nightmare. This is why it is important to choose wisely.

One piece of advice that is often given is to live with a friend, but not a best friend. I followed this advice when choosing my roommates and found that it worked out in my favor for these reasons:

1)   It reduces the elements of surprise: Living with a friend, or at least someone you know, takes out the unknown of living with them.  This does not mean that this will guarantee a smooth sailing, but at least you have a general idea of the person you are about to live with, including their personality and your compatibility with that person.

2)   It helps preserve the friendships: By choosing to not live with your best friend, your friendship does not have to withstand the pressures of always being around each other.

3)   It expands your social circle: By rooming with someone you know, but aren’t the closest to, gives you the opportunity to meet new friends and acquaintances throughout your college experience.

4)   It gives you another place to get away: Sometimes it’s nice to get away from school and your normal circle of friends.

There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when choosing a roommate, and this is one strategy that worked for me.

Have you made the most of your experience here?

6 Feb

As the end of your freshman year will soon be approaching you may be asking yourself, how do people make these four years the best four years of their life? Well it all starts with the decisions you make.  These decisions include getting involved with your university, getting help when you need it,  finding out what you want to do with your career, and most importantly asking yourself,  “have I really made the best decisions to get the most out of my time here at the University of Arizona?”

Here are just some steps to help you answer this question:

What organizations/clubs/resource centers have you joined?

–          If your answer is none, you might want to consider looking at some of these links to help you explore some of the involvement opportunities the University has to offer.

1. Search through 500 clubs and organizations to find one that fits you: http://arizonaorgs.orgsync.com/

      2. Interested in the Greek community? Browse through their website for more information: http://arizonagreek.orgsync.com/

      3. Are you born to be a leader? Here are some leadership programs to look through: http://leadership.arizona.edu/

      4. Search through the different cultural and diversity programs here on campus: http://www.arizona.edu/diversity/support-centers-research-units

 My experience:  I remember being a freshman, and feeling like a robot who woke up and went to class, and then went home every day. I never sat by the same people in class, and I felt like I didn’t play a role here at the University. I soon DECIDED to make the choice to join student government. This decision led to new friends, windows of opportunities, and a place that I enjoyed being a part of.

Have you taken advantage of all resources we have on campus to help you in classes you might be struggling in, or helping you decide on what you want to do with your career in the future?

–          If your answer was no to this question, you might want to consider exploring some of these resources that are here on campus to support you.

1. Are you struggling in one of your classes? The think tank offers tutoring, exam review sessions, and supplemental instruction: http://thinktank.arizona.edu/

2. Do you need direction or advice about your future goals? Check out career services: http://www.career.arizona.edu/

3. Speak to your advisor or professor. They are a great resource. Here are some tips on writing a professional email: http://www.cats.arizona.edu/sites/catsacademics.arizona.edu/files/docs/email.pdf

My experience: I was enrolled in a molecular and cellular biology course. This course was very challenging and I needed some extra help. At first, I was embarrassed to pursue the resources available to me, but I made the DECISION to step out of my comfort zone and start going to see a tutor. After a week of seeing a tutor, my exam grades went up and I saw huge improvement in my class overall.

These are just a few of the opportunities that are available to you, but you have to go out and find one that fits you.  I challenge you to say that college was the best four years of your life because you made the decisions to make it that way.

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TIME MANAGEMENT FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS

6 Nov

If you are a full-time student, you have a full-time job. You may not think of school as a job, but consider this. You typically have 12-15 or more hours of class per week. In addition, you are expected to put in about 2 hours of preparation and production outside of class for each hour in class. This means that your work week is at least 36 to 45 hours long. This is a full-time occupation. If you have a job outside of school and/or family responsibilities, you may feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day. Trust me, I feel like this all the time, and wish I had one more hour in my day to get things done.

BUT when lack of time is a problem, your first consideration should be the “big picture.” Everyone should try to have a balanced life. If you don’t think that your life is balanced, you may need to make some serious decisions. Whatever your decision, you should also try to allow time for family and friends to keep that important balance. Also, having a balanced diet and getting enough sleep should also be an important aspect of your balanced life. I know you are probably thinking…HOW IS ALL OF THIS POSSIBLE!?

Do not worry though, now that you have considered the “big picture,” it is time to improve your ability to manage your time. This really means managing yourself.

Here are some important tips to help you manage and organize your time:

  • Set realistic goals.
  • Avoid study marathons (like all-nighters).
  • Create an effective place to do your school work.
  • Schedule time for yourself — for exercise, relaxation, and socializing.
  • Use your free time wisely.
  • List your activities
  • Create a week’s plan
  • Prioritize your activities

Congratulations! You have taken the first step toward getting yourself better organized and doing better in your classes. Now that you have made a schedule and prioritized what you need to do, it would be a good idea to carry your schedule with you and add changes to it if needed. This will help you out when preparing and thinking about your class schedule for next semester.

The Consequences of Late Registration

10 Oct

As a college student, we have a million things going on in the day! The last thing on our minds may be registration. However, REGISTRATION IS AROUND THE CORNER, and will come up faster than you think.

I remember I had no idea when my registration date was, and I missed it. I did not get any of the classes I wanted, and I was stuck with a horrible schedule. I even had to pay $50 in late registration fees. Not only did I have an inconvenient schedule, but it also messed up my plan for the following semesters because I had not taken the appropriate courses.

Registration is on a first come, first serve basis. Imagine around 5,000 or more students adding classes at the same time. Getting your classes is the luck of the draw, so make sure you do everything you can to increase your chances of getting the classes you want. I want to make sure that no one makes the same mistake I did, so remember to know your registration date, wake up at the time the portal opens, and be left with the schedule you want!

Wildcat Wisdom: Have a Plan B.  When you meet with your Academic Advisor, think about a backup plan in case some of your classes fill up.

A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes

14 Sep

Being a first generation student is a lot of pressure. I grew up always wanting to be an Interior Designer, because I love creativity, color, and organization. Since I was the first one in my family to go to college, my parents told me I should major in something that I would make more money in and is of higher demand. They asked, “So what else are you interested in?” and I simply answered with hesitation, “uhhhh teeth”. So since that day, it has been engraved in my head to pursue a career in the Dental field. Contrary to me, I would suggest, PURSUE THE DREAM YOU WANT, and not the dream someone else wants for you. It is stated in the book, “The First Generation Student Experience” by Jeff Davis, that first generation students are more likely to take longer to choose a major and therefore take longer to graduate, which leaves space to drop out.

Sometimes students major in something based on family influence but do not realize everything that is incorporated in that major. In the end, they end up switching their major several times.

 Take a chance on your dreams in the hopes that they will take you to your highest hopes, to the corners of your smile, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart as ever know.