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The Gen Ed that Won Our Hearts

13 Nov

It was 5:45 AM as I turned off my alarm clock and greeted registration day with bleary eyes. I had been waking up at 4 AM to do my homework all semester, but this particular day, I had a case of the dreaded Mondays. My laptop had died at my bedside during the night, my roommate had taken the last Frappuccino and my favorite sweater was nowhere to be found. Things weren’t going my way, but I accepted my fate, plugged in my laptop and logged on to UAccess.

The wifi was crawling along like molasses, leaving me with nothing to see but a bright white page that made my eyes water. Refreshing the page, I looked over the handwritten list of classes my advisor had given me, my academic security blanket. The classes had been in my shopping cart for weeks, but my advisor warned me to be prepared for anything.

Sure enough, my student center looked like text-salad nightmare and the wifi crashed completely. By the time I logged in again 20 minutes later, a disheveled heap of stress at the café, all of my classes were full. Admittedly, I freaked right out.

If you find yourself in these shoes, it may seem like your academic sky is falling, but don’t panic! Make the schedule you can make with the course options you have left and talk to your academic advisor about it. There are still a few ways to get you on track and into the schedule you hoped for:

1. Get on the wait list, when available

Two of my classes gave me the option of being put on the waiting list. This may seem like a bleak land of limbo, but it’s not. So many students change, swap and drop their classes before registration ends. With the wait list, you’re already in line to take those spaces as they open.

2. Check on the class religiously

If there’s no wait list, keep checking on the class and accomplish the same thing manually. Keep your fingers crossed for the green circle to take the place of the angry blue square next to your class in the class search. As long as registration is still open, there’s still hope for an open seat.

3. Beg your way in

Showing up to your desired class on the first day with a Change of Schedule form is not a bad idea. Some classes are more rigorous than others about attendance, so you may even get lucky on your first day. In one class I wanted, anyone who didn’t show up for the first day was dropped from the roster so the wait-listed students could take their places.

4. Talk to your academic advisor

At the U of A, your advisors are the music makers and dreamers of dreams. They know what’s possible and they can help you see the glimmer of hope in any academic disaster. Ask them for ideas if you get stuck. They’ve seen degrees completed in the most unconventional of ways and can always help you navigate your obstacles to gain that academic success you so deserve.

My registration nightmare ended with a less-than-perfect schedule, but it resulted in the best set of classes I could have hoped for. It threw me off my 4-year plan a little bit, but overall, I still got all of my requirements knocked out without any extra semesters added onto my academic career.

If you find yourself in this position, keep calm, bear down and hang in there! That which doesn’t bend can break under pressure, so take it as an exercise in adaptability, jump the hurdles that are thrown at you and keep on keepin’ on. The commitment you’ve made to your education is a commitment to yourself, and that makes it worth the struggle. Use the resources all around you and don’t be discouraged. You may be forced to take a gen ed at an awkward time, it might shift a prerequisite over to a different semester, but overall, you’ve got this!

-Amanda

 

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#AdventurousApril: Archaeology Adventures

18 Apr

April is one of the hardest months in the school year. Everyone is ready for school to be over and yet there is still a ton to do! Added on top of all this is registration for classes, which inexplicably comes with thinking about the future.

Personally, I have always known what I wanted to do both for my bachelor’s degree and my master’s degree, but suddenly out of almost no where, I was not so sure. Essentially it started with my school tour last month. It got me thinking about things, always dangerous, I know. What it really came down to was that I did not think I could be happy being a Professor for the rest of my life, not that I did not want to teach, but I did not want to do research (a big part of being a professor).

Equipped with this new-found information, I had a decision to make: what the heck was I going to do now? I had come into college with a sure-fire plan of what I wanted to do, and now here I was at the end of my JUNIOR year with no idea about what I want to do?! So, I did what anyone would do: I stayed up all night watching Ted-Talk videos trying to come up with a semblance of a plan.The videos actually ended up helping because during one of the videos, I heard someone talking about classical preservationists, who preserve ancient artifacts. I started researching the requirements for this job, and it turned out that all my hard work in my undergrad would not go to waste! I would need the exact same classes that I had already taken, so I was not as hopeless as I thought I was.

The truth of the matter is that most students will change their minds about what they want to do sometime during their undergraduate career, it is just a fact of college. As we grow as people, we find out more about our interests and limits and have to adjust for that. If you find yourself in my shoes, with no idea about what you want to do with your life, don’t fret. Start researching, do some personal digging and figure out what interests you. Take a class that sounds interesting, you never know… maybe Psychology is your thing, maybe you were born to be a Criminologist!  Whatever excites you, go for it!

Christine Ellis

#MiddlingMarch: Chrissy Gets Her Groove Back

29 Mar

Of all the breaks and days off we have, Spring Break is the worst. It is just long enough that we delude ourselves that we can put off doing school work for a few days, but not long enough for that to actually be the case. Please, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Spring Break, I cherish the fact that I don’t have to be at school at 7:30 in the morning everyday, but coming back from break is always the hardest thing to do.

Personally, to avoid the awkward phase of getting back into the swing of school, I do school-type things over the break. This break, I visited the University of Washington to check out their graduate program. I was able to talk to the Professors I could potentially be working with to get my PhD. Doing this helped me refocus my vision. Throughout your school years, you might forget why you came to college in the first place, and it is a good idea to remind yourself. If graduate school is not in the books for you, spend some time talking to people in your field. Sometimes you have to focus on the end goals a bit to stay motivated.

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Of course, I did not visit Seattle without visiting the sites! I was there for three days, and while one was spent at the University, the other two were spent touring around Seattle. I visited the Chihuly Glass Museum, the Seattle Aquarium, Pike-Market Place (where we saw them throw fish at customers) and of course the Space Needle. It was the right amount of school and relaxing.

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It’s not always easy to flit off to schools you’re interested in, but looking up programs is a great way to focus your mind on the future and to remind yourself what you are working toward. It is never too early to start planning your future!

-Chrissy

#FearlessFebruary: Filing Fears

29 Feb

This month, I did something just about every adult in North America does this time of year: taxes. While this might seem to be a mundane task, it was quite frightening for me, as it is for many first time filers. Now that I have filed though, I see that it was not as bad as I thought it was going to be and I started wondering where the stigmas and fears come from.

Part of the fear stems from the fact that this is something “adults” do. While I am over the age of 18, it has not seemed to hit me yet that I am considered an adult. I am still in school and doing many of the same things I was doing when I was underage; as a result, I have not yet fully transitioned into “adult mode”.

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Another part of the fear comes from the stigma that filing taxes is hard and takes a long time. Growing up, at least for me, February-April was a time of stress and anxiety. My parents would pour over every receipt looking for ways to get more money back, and as a result they noticed all the frivolous money they had spent over the year and the tension in the house was high. Luckily for me, I keep a pretty good track of what I spend, and the actual filing was fairly easy because I used an online program. I filed mine within two hours, which considering I had no clue what I was doing, it went pretty fast.

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The final fear people have when filing their taxes is that they will mess up and they will owe money or be accused of fraud (or at least this was my fear). In the end though as I said before, filing was fairly simple and while you may end up owing some money, every case is different, at least you’ll know that you passed this large milestone.

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-Chrissy Ellis

Your Guide to Summer Internships

9 Apr

It’s easy for students to fall into the idea of having a completely work-free three months of summer. Of course you want to relax, but sometimes it hits the third week of summer and you’re already bored. What are you possibly going to do for three months? tom2 Summer break is the perfect opportunity for college students to get an internship. We’re not distracted by a full schedule of classes, club meetings, exams, etc. If the realm of internships is an entirely new world for you, here are some things to know: 1. Résumé If you haven’t yet, this is a good time to start cleaning up that résumé. You’re about to finish another school year, so add the clubs you’ve been involved in and show off your GPA! Finalizing your résumé is the first step to finding an internship. 2. Keep an Open Mind tom6 Think about your future career. Is it in an office? Is it outdoors? The purpose of an internship is to get “real world” experience in the field you want to go into. Remember to keep an open mind. If your dream is to be a lawyer, your first internship probably won’t have you pulling an Elle Woods anytime soon. My first internship in a law office had me shredding paper and filing, but it was still awesome to see day-to-day operations. 3. Consider Your Location – Tucson, Home, or Abroad? If you’re sure that you’ll be spending your summer back home, then look for internships in that city or town. If you happen to find an internship in Tucson and you’re scrambling for summer housing, many students who are leaving for the summer are subleasing their apartments. Residence Life also offers summer housing in certain residence halls. There are also options to have an internship abroad. Although I’m sure you may be able to independently find an internship abroad, many students go through the Study Abroad department on campus. It is probably too late to apply for this upcoming summer, but remember that this is an option next summer! Keep in mind that internships abroad typically cost money. 4. You Might Not Get Paid, But It’s Surprisingly Worth It tom3 My first internship wasn’t a paid position. Actually, my first paid internship is happening this summer. Don’t let that bring you down, though. That internship where I was shredding papers and filing all day? They’re the ones who led me to this paid position! I cannot stress enough how invaluable the connections are worth. You may be graduating some time soon and you never know who will be hiring when you graduate! 5. Finding an Internship tom5 There are many companies and organizations that specifically have internship programs. If you’re interested in public health, you can simply google “public health internships in Tucson”. Ask your friends who have been through internship programs. They’ll be able to tell you about their experience and give you tips. You can also ask your academic advisors. When companies are hiring interns, many of them reach out to academic advisors for majors that coincide with that career field. If all else fails, approach them! When I wasn’t able to find an internship program, I found a company that I wanted to work for and sent in my cover letter and résumé. They hired me! The hiring manager commended me for being proactive and going for what I wanted. 6. Internships Are Awesome. Have Fun With It. Even if you’re not being paid or you’re doing simple tasks, always observe what’s around you. I always loved looking at the work the lawyers in the office were doing and realizing that it was only a matter of years until I was as cool as they were. I don’t even care how uncool that sounded. Seeing how your career field operates every day just makes you that much more motivated to work your hardest because, believe it or not, that’s you in a few years. tom1 Happy Internship Hunting!

-Briana

From Children’s Hospital Patient to Volunteer

19 Feb

When I was younger, I was a competitive soccer player. My entire family was a soccer family–my brother and my sister play competitively, and my father was my soccer coach. I remember feeling happiest when I put on my cleats and walked onto the soccer field. Soccer was my solace; it was such an integral part of who I was as a person.

However, in 8th grade, at the start of my competitive season, I started having medical symptoms that forced me to miss class and soccer practice. I ended up begin admitted as a patient to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. To say that it was one of the scariest times for me and my family is an understatement. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to make it through without my parents and their endless support, but the nurses also made a huge impact. I remember one instance of being so heavily nauseated that I pressed the nurse call button to get a bed pan to throw up in. My mom had left to grab food, and the nurse willingly stayed with me and was there for me as I threw up. Although I cannot remember her name, it is something I will never forget, and something that sparked a fire in my passion to become a pediatrics nurse. I had a muscle biopsy, a few inpatient hospital stays, and many cardiology and neurology appointments. My experience really inspired me.

After high school, I applied to participate in Phoenix Children’s Hospital as a summer intensive volunteer. This was 100 hours a summer, which equated to 4 shifts a week. I was chosen to become a volunteer, and was assigned the areas of pediatric playrooms, outpatient rehabilitation, and animal-assisted therapy. Not a lot of volunteers chose to work with animal-assisted therapy, but because of my personal experiences with it during my hospitalization phase, I knew how beneficial and inspiring it was to receive a visit from a dog during a time of stress and uncertainty.

I eventually went on to the roles of nurse assistant and neonatal intensive care unit cuddler, but I always kept a shift with animal-assisted therapy. To see a child go from dim and unsmiling to cheerful and bright is truly a sight I will never forget. To this day, it is hard to describe what this experience has meant to me. When I was a patient in the hospital back in 2006, a therapy dog named Molly visited me and I got to keep a Polaroid picture of it. I remember how much the dog made my entire hospital experience. Turns out that a random shift I decided to cover was the SAME dog and owner. When Molly walked into the room that day, needless to say I freaked out and began explaining to her owner how much her work and Molly’s work meant to me, and helped influence me in my giving to others today. It was honestly one of the most beautiful experiences, and it was nice to see my painful childhood medical experiences come full circle with doing work for others in similar positions.

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I was chosen to be a Shift Leader during last summer’s volunteer program. During these shifts, I assisted younger volunteers in their tasks tasks and mentored them through the process of volunteering. This upcoming summer, I will be helping to pilot a new version of the same Shift Leader position. I have made my mark on Phoenix Children’s Hospital, where I sincerely hope to work one day. But not only did I help plenty of others while volunteering, the experience helped me as well. It solidified my career pursuit of nursing. Volunteering became my outlet; it became what soccer once was to me.

–Sarah

Major Changes With Major Changes

30 Jan

I’ve always seen myself as a determined student. Someone who knows what to do and how to do it.

THEN I CAME TO COLLEGE.

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I came into college with one goal in mind: to become a lawyer. I thought being a lawyer was my destiny, my calling, my life. I knew becoming a lawyer was going to make my family extremely proud of me, which frankly is a serious and big goal in my life. Having a proud family is a big deal for me.

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Being a first generation student in his freshman year, I childishly thought I had my entire life figured out. I remember letting everyone in my freshman year dorm know of my goals, constantly repeating the phrase “I’m going to be a lawyer.”

And I believed it too.

Things started to change during the first semester of my sophomore year, once I started to take courses required for my major. I was not doing so great in them and even thinking about my major would stress me out.

I felt as if I were an alien in a foreign land, unaware of what to do next.

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I realized that I was feeling all of this because I wasn’t truly passionate about the subjects I had to focus on to succeed in my major.

I felt like a coffee aficionado being forced to drink water for the rest of his life.coffee animated GIF

I began to wonder if I truly wanted to be a lawyer. I felt scared, ashamed, and clueless.

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I wanted out.

I knew I wasn’t meant to go through college with doubt and dissatisfaction. I knew I had to make this experience my own, I had to formulate a plan that would get me where I need to be, where I truly want to be.

I forced myself to focus on MY goals and dreams, not anyone else’s. I realized college is a place for students to advance their knowledge on the things that they truly want to learn about, not what they think will make their parents proud. Although this is a big goal for many students, as it is for me, it is not all that students should focus on. At the end of the day, if you are passionate about something, you will always be eager to learn about it, which only guarantees your success.

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If you truly set your mind on the things you love, you can accomplish them.

And THAT will definitely make people proud.

I encourage students to reflect on their educational and professional goals throughout their college experience. Think of all of the high stake decisions you’ve had to make, and the many you know you’ll have to make. Focus on what your goals are, memorize the steps you need to take in order achieve them, and succeed. Remember, sometimes change is good.

Good luck, wildcats.

– Julian

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Don’t Kill My Vibe

6 May

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A lot of times, we find ourselves in situations that we can’t control. These circumstances can often lead us or the people around us to have a negative output towards life. I know I’ve had my fair share of those moments and learning to overcome them was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever accomplished.

We are often surrounded with negativity and we need to figure out how to get it out of our lives. Whether it is taking out negative thoughts or actions from our own minds, or moving away from those people who tend to bring you down. Change is always difficult but it is small actions that can lead you to having the results that you want and need.

positive-quotes-good-sayings-change-yourselfSmall things like changing your thoughts every morning will lead you to having a better day. Because when you surround yourself with positivity it is easier for you to be a happy person in general.

Here are two things that I’ve done in the past that have helped me get through some of the toughest times in my life.

Happiness Jar Project:

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I conveniently found this project on my searches through Pinterest! And it’s probably one of the best things I have learned off of that website. The nice thing about this is you can modify it to what you like and need. When I decided to embark on this adventure I decided I needed motivational quotes to get me through the days. I found 365 quotes that really inspired me to do better everyday. I did this for a whole year and I did notice myself engaging in more positive thoughts and overall feeling like a better person (once you’re happy your make others happy as well).

Burning Negative Thoughts:

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Before I explain the benefits of this activity I want to throw a small disclaimer… BE CAREFUL! Make sure you do this in open air and have something to put the paper in while its burning. This activity helped me get through a hard point in my life. Again you can tailor this to what you need to throw out both physically and emotionally. Often times people burn pictures of past relationships, letters about all the things they dislike about themselves, or things that just are stressing them out. At the time I did this I had had a horrible gen-ed class that I had gotten a D in, just gone through the loss of a family member, and was feeling too negative about myself. I burned the class book and all of my notes, I wrote a letter to my grandfather and burned that, and I wrote a letter about all the things I had to work on myself and also burned that. The most rewarding was the book!

One of the best lessons that I’ve learned while working as your Outreach Facilitator is FAKE IT ‘TILL YOU MAKE IT!

This will literally work in any situation. I think it’s important to remember that life will always have challenges, but we always come out a better person! Get those negative thoughts or people out of your life and you will notice that happiness will just come to you!

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Career Planning

7 Apr

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This week’s edition of Wildcat Connections is full of great job searching tips. You can find links to career services, interview preparation websites, and even outfit guidelines. Searching for a job doesn’t have to be scary. Click on the picture to view the edition and use the resources from the Outreach Team to prepare.

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