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#NovembertoRemember: Treat Yo’self

27 Nov

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Sometimes all you need to do towards the end of the semester is Treat Yo’self. This is one thing I always forget to do, especially when finals are approaching. This time of year is so hard to do anything other than school because I feel like I do not have any free time from prepping for finals to the holidays. This month, I have decided to challenge myself to do one thing for myself every day. I know this may seem easy to do, but surprisingly, it has been a very difficult task.

I’ve been going through a very hard time lately with family issues and I have been encouraged by a lot of people to focus on myself, rather than worry about things that out of my control. This is something that is very difficult for me to do, hence why I am trying to slowly integrate things to just focus on myself into my day-to-day schedule. As you can see above, I have created a fun calendar that lists everything I am trying to do for myself throughout this month to keep myself accountable. After the day has passed, I look on my calendar and mark if I accomplished my treat yo’self task or not. If I don’t complete giphy-downsized.gifthe task for myself, I try really hard to do the one for the next day. The things I have put on this calendar are things I think are realistic for me to accomplish with my hectic schedule; some of these include: painting my nails, sleeping in, using a facial mask, and sitting out by a fire. All of these things are simple, but are fun and relaxing to me (which is much needed!).

The first week of the month all about doing things for myself, I did very well! It was fun to do things for myself and acknowledge the impact. I started to be happier throughout my day and I had something to look forward to every day that was not for anyone else or for school. I let my coworkers know about my challenge and they would do a great job asking what I did for myself that day/week, which was not just helpful for keeping myself accountable, but also encouraging to keep doing the fun tasks on my calendar. As the month continued on, honestly, I started to slack on treating myself every day. Schoolwork and family started to dominate (like always) and looking at my calendar, I was disappointed I missed out on doing things I was really looking forward to. Some of the things I was really upset about not completely were going to Mt. Lemmon (I’ve been trying to go up all semester, but have not gotten there), do my nails (I haven’t done them since September), and meditate (I’ve wanted to try this for awhile now). Even though I didn’t get to do these things this month, I always have time to do this AFTER finals week.

I have learned a lot about doing this little challenge. I’ve learned to list things out I really want to do for myself and remind myself to take a little time out of my day to do it! It was amazing to set a time of free time for myself, during all of the chaos. I’ve learned to set time to check in on how I am doing and to take a break. After this month, I definitely am going to try to keep this going from here on out.

It is so important to take time out of YOUR day to TREAT YO’SELF!!!

-Courtney

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Work Smarter, Not Harder

15 Jan

super_strength-512Spending Time on Strengths

Everyone is their own worst critic and we often have unrealistic expectations of ourselves. While we challenge those expectations in college, it’s important to keep it real and use our time in school wisely.

It’s hard for us to see a weakness in ourselves and accept it as is. This makes it very tempting to work harder on our room for improvement instead of maximizing our strengths.

To work smarter, not harder in college, we have to identify our strengths and focus our energy on developing them even further. Weaknesses will fill in and follow suit over time while you evolve as an individual.

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Finding your Strengths

We all want to succeed, that’s why we came to the U of A. We hear a lot about “following our passions” and “doing what we’re best at”, but how do we discover these things? How do we know when our passion has been ignited, or when we’ve found our niche?

It sounds like we should just stumble upon these hidden strengths and know them when we see them, but it’s not always so easy to pinpoint. One way of finding out about this is by looking at a challenge and your skills to meet it.

When a challenge presents itself, our response to that challenge tells us about our skills in that area. For me, just a few minutes of algebra problems are enough to remind me that math is a weakness of mine. On the other hand, ask me to draw you a picture and I’ll handle the task with a smile on my face. You might be a person who is very comfortable with math, but stressed out by creative demands. Stress is just an indicator of how we evaluate a challenge, and how we think our resources can meet it.

When it comes to school we can identify areas of strength and weakness in ourselves by monitoring the challenge level and the skill level we experience from different subjects.

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Getting in the “Flow”

According to the “Flow” model presented by positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, the ideal scenario is a high level of challenge met with a high skill level. According to this model, a person can perform at their best and achieve their highest under these conditions while experiencing fulfillment from the task. He adds that you must have clear goals, visible progress, frequent feedback, and confidence in your abilities.

Keeping track of your grades can help with setting clear goals and watching visible progress. Visit office hours for frequent feedback, and keep up the hard work for more confidence in your abilities!

-Amanda

 

Motivation in 10 Haiku Poems

15 Jan

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Be a powerhouse

Take it one step at a time

You know you’ve got this

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Time to step over

The things you used to trip on

Gain your confidence!

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Sleep 8 hours each night,

Eat balanced breakfasts each day,

Stay fit, win at school.

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Failed my math class twice

Changed my major to fine arts

Straight A’s ever since!

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Strength is knowing that

You’re tougher than your homework

and much more hardcore.

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Follow your own dreams

Let nothing get in your way

Blast through obstacles

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Doctor or lawyer?

Or marine biologist?

What am I best at?

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Mom wants me in law

Dad wants me in business school

I prefer science.

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Mind-numbing classes?

It’s only the beginning

prepare to bear down!

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College is so great

It’s hard and it will change you

Find yourself through it

 

You First

22 Nov

The first semester of college can be a daunting experience. Maybe you went through this first part of the year with such ease, even seniors in high school would be jealous. Or, maybe you had a really difficult time navigating through your first semester, and you came out with a couple of bumps and bruises. Whatever the case may be, hopefully, I can lend you a little insight as I reflect on my first semester of my sophomore year.

Let me give you some background about what my freshman year was like.  After I left college at the end of the year, I went back to my friends in my hometown and told them this…

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Now, I realize the immense gift it was to have a pretty easy and successful freshman year. Luckily my high school was really tough on academics, and it made my freshman year in college quite easy. I had no morning classes either semester, I lived on a great spot in campus, I had zero roommate issues, I had made tons of friends – it was a great start to my college experience.

Now coming around for my sophomore year, I did not expect it to be as easy as my freshman year since right from the gate my schedule was way more intense. But man-O-man, let me tell you, I could have never imagined the difficulty I was going to face this first semester. Hopefully, with these tips on my experiences, some of you can make peace with any issues

If you have roommate problems:

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Look. Whether you lived at home, in an apartment, or on campus, chances are you ran into a couple of issues with floor mates, roommates, or family members. The only thing I can say is, try you best to meet people in the middle, but always remember to speak up if you are feeling neglected or mistreated. This is a good life lesson, because at the end of the day there are just going to be people you don’t like, and there are just going to be people who don’t like you. You can’t control anyone but yourself.

If you had a busy schedule:

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Having to work alongside a full class schedule for the first time in my life was exhausting this year. I did not realize the meaning of time management until I had to frantically create a system to help organize my messy life. As you progress through college, you will find it is probably going to get more difficult over time. Especially if you decide to work along with your studies, being busy can seem like a struggle. The only way to get through this,in my opinion, is to stay positive and organized. Sometimes we are going to have to sacrifice time with our friends to study, or vice versa, maybe this quiz is not as important as something with your family or friends. This semester has taught me that not all decisions are clear, but they are important for you mental health and overall happiness.

If you got a bad grade (or a couple):

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Getting a bad grade is bound to happen at least once in your college career, if not more than once. For some of you, like myself, getting a less than stellar grade your first semester might be your first time. Honestly, it sucks, a lot. Sometimes you just have to accept that you aren’t a superhero and that you can’t succeed in everything. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t options out there for you to try! Maybe you can GRO the class or work hard next semester to balance out the grade. Just try and remember to tell yourself one grade does not define your worth!

If you didn’t make as many friends as you thought:

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Now for some people, maybe this wasn’t a problem. Last year I had a really easy time making friends. But I know a lot of people who perhaps didn’t make as many as they thought and that’s ok! It’s ok for two simple reasons. 1. Even if you make friends, it doesn’t mean they will be around forever, or even past one semester. I definitely made friends last year that I don’t talk to now, and that’s ok, not everyone is supposed to stick around forever. And 2. It’s never too late to get out there and try! Try going to events on campus, joining clubs, or talking to more people in your classes if you can! I still find myself meeting new and interesting people and we are almost done with this semester!

If you had some Ups and Downs:

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Maybe you were told that college was going to be this fun party 24/7 and that you would have a nearly amazing time. The reality is, though, you are going to go through some struggles, some people more than others. College can be fun, and at times it can be a breeze. But like the wind, it can turn into a raging Haboob (Arizona dust storm reference ;)) in 2.5 seconds. Next thing you know you are living off ramen, writing your 5-page essay due in 2 hours while trying to keep  your life from falling apart. Just know that we all go through those trying times and that if you keep working hard and asking for help when you need it, you can get through it!

At the end of the day,the first semester is a trial run for the rest of your college career. We all learn from our mistakes, and we keep growing as we look towards the future. Reach out when you need it and help out when you can, because at the end of the day. We are all in this together. 😉

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~Mandi

Top 20 Movies to Watch Over The Summer

10 Jun

 

Shannon’s Picks                                                              Chrissy’s Picks

Action:  

 The Bourne Identity                                                          Dracula Untold

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Adventure:

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows                       Bridge to Terabithia

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Animation:

How to Train Your Dragon                                            Lion King

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Comedy:

The Hangover                                                                    The Intern

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Drama:

Cast Away                                                                            Sense and Sensibility

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Family:

The Sandlot                                                                         Howl’s Moving Castle

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Fantasy:

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey                           Harry Potter

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Horror:

The Shining                                                                         Shrooms

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Romantic Comedy:

The Wedding Singer                                                         The Ugly Truth

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Science Fiction:

iRobot                                                                                    Blade Runner

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Chrissy’s Summer Reading List

10 Jun

Summertime,  the most relaxing word a college student can hear, say, or think. Summertime opens up a plethora of opportunities that are not available during the school year: sleeping until 1pm, going on random road trips, and of course reading fun books. I don’t know about y’all, but I find that during the school year I am way too busy reading the various assigned readings to  actually get any fun reading done! So, I made a list during the school year of all the books I would like to read during them summer and I am now steadily working my way through them! Here are my top 10 books that I would like to have read by the end of the summer. I included short summaries of the books that I found on the publishers’ websites.

Please note that most of these contain adult themes and violence. Please read at your own discretion. 

10. Ella Enchanted: Gail Carson Levine

How can a fairy’s blessing be such a curse?

At her birth, Ella of Frell was given a foolish fairy’s gift—the “gift” of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, whether it’s hopping on one foot for a day or chopping off her own head!

But strong-willed Ella does not tamely accept her fate. She goes on a quest, encountering ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, fairy godmothers, and handsome princes, determined to break the curse—and live happily ever after.

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9. Dracula: Bram Stoker

During a business visit to Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, a young English solicitor finds himself at the center of a series of horrifying incidents. Jonathan Harker is attacked by three phantom women, observes the Count’s transformation from human to bat form, and discovers puncture wounds on his own neck that seem to have been made by teeth. Harker returns home upon his escape from Dracula’s grim fortress, but a friend’s strange malady — involving sleepwalking, inexplicable blood loss, and mysterious throat wounds — initiates a frantic vampire hunt. The popularity of Bram Stoker’s 1897 horror romance is as deathless as any vampire.  Its supernatural appeal has spawned a host of film and stage adaptations, and more than a century after its initial publication, it continues to hold readers spellbound.

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8. The Blood of Flowers: Anita Amirrezvani

Both a sweeping love story and a luminous portrait of a city, The Blood of Flowers is the mesmerizing historical novel of an ill-fated young woman whose gift as a rug designer transforms her life. Illuminated with glorious detail of Persian rug-making, and brilliantly bringing to life the sights sounds and life of 17th-century Isfahan, The Blood of Flowers has captured readers’ imaginations everywhere as a timeless tale of one woman’s struggle to live a life of her choosing.

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7. The Iliad: Homer

Dating to the ninth century B.C., Homer’s timeless poem still vividly conveys the horror and heroism of men and gods wrestling with towering emotions and battling amidst devastation and destruction, as it moves inexorably to the wrenching, tragic conclusion of the Trojan War. Renowned classicist Bernard Knox observes in his superb introduction that although the violence of the Iliad is grim and relentless, it coexists with both images of civilized life and a poignant yearning for peace

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6. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep: Philip K. Dick

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was published in 1968. Grim and foreboding, even today it is a masterpiece ahead of its time.
By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn’t afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep. . . They even built humans.
Emigrées to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn’t want to be identified, they just blended in.
Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to retire them. But cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results.

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5. 13 Reasons Why: Jay Asher

You can’t stop the future. 
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.
Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

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4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That’s because he’s being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he’s really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.

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3. Brave New World: Aldous Huxley

The astonishing novel Brave New World, originally published in 1932, presents Aldous Huxley’s vision of the future- of a world utterly transformed. Through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering, people are genetically designed to be passive and therefore consistently useful to the ruling class. This powerful work of speculative fiction sheds a blazing critical light on the present and is considered to be Huxley’s most enduring masterpieces.

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2. The Other Boleyn Girl: Philipa Gregory

When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of the handsome and charming Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the king’s interest begins to wane, and soon she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. With her own destiny suddenly unknown, Mary realizes that she must defy her family and take fate into her own hands.

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1. Poison Study: Maria V. Snyder

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace- and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dusté and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison. As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear—.

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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

New Year, New Me?

21 Feb

Starting Spring semester is always a wake up call for me. I am not sure why, but I am never as motivated in Spring as I am in the Fall. This Spring semester seems to be the worst one of all because I am taking a lot of units and I have my annual laziness epidemic going on. Personally, I think I, and students in general, have a harder time staying focused in Spring because the weather gets better, and everyone wants to be outside. Regardless of the causes, what I need to do this Spring is to get myself organized and set up personal goals.

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The most important aspect of a goal is that it is achievable, so while it is nice to think that I can take 21 units and work 20 hours a week, this is really not possible for me. So, my first goal is to work enough to keep me busy, but not so many as to overwhelm myself. I have actually already achieved this goal, I found that working 13 hours a week is best for my current schedule.

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My next goal for the semester is to study on the weekends. Often, I have the mindset that the weekend is my time to relax from school, and while I might not have to go to school, I can still do school work. Doing work on the weekend will make my daily work less stressful and help me stay more motivated.

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My last goal for the semester is to socialize a bit more. I am not sure how it has happened, but since I have come to college, I have become a recluse. It doesn’t matter if it is just hanging with friends at my apartment, having any kind of social interaction will help me not procrastinate as much.

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Look, I know motivation in the Spring semester is hard to come by, but if you make goals for yourself, we will find a way to get through it together!

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-Chrissy

#JumpstartJanuary: I Know You Know It’s A New Year

30 Jan

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I know you know it’s a new year, it’s 2016! I don’t have to reiterate that. You’ve seen the glittery numbered sunglasses. You saw the ball drop. You are constantly writing 2015 instead of 2016.

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I know you’ve heard endless resolutions for the new year. I know resolutions scare you. I know you know that many people set these resolutions without fully committing to them. I do not plan on informing you of these things because I know you know them. You’re very smart, congratulations!

However, I would like to encourage you to keep working hard on those resolutions you’ve set.

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Starting a new year doesn’t have to mean you have to set a resolution, it simply means that a new year with new possibilities has begun.

Committing to changes is extremely difficult. We’re human, sometimes we mess up a bit.

BUT HOLD YOUR HORSES.

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Just because you make one mistake does not mean you are finished with the test! You have an entire year to continuously dedicate to your goal, to your resolution. If you struggle one day, conquer it, then start up again the next day. The point is to not give up on that goal.  The only way to get there is to continuously focus and aim on achieving that goal. You’ll get there when you least expect it.

So, no, I don’t want to tell you to set a New Year’s resolution, I just want to encourage you to set a goal, any goal, and give it your all.

 

Fitting In Is Hard

22 Jan

As an introvert, it has always been a struggle for me to push myself outside my comfort zone and connect with others. By the time I was a high school senior, getting involved was no problem. I had walked down the same halls for 4 years and it was clear where I fit. Coming to college was like facing high school all over again, only the stakes were much higher. I was scared, confused, and alone.

Being the over-thinker that I am, I saw how difficult it would be to make friends and get involved so I joined a leadership club to help get started. The Blue Chip Leadership Program became my jumping off point. I lived in the learning community my first year and met lots of nice, intelligent, kind individuals. Blue Chip was great for my first year because it taught me a lot about myself and how I work best. My sophomore year in the program proved to be more difficult. Living off campus led me to feel less connected to campus and my friends.  It soon became clear that although I had learned so much from Blue Chip, and I enjoyed myself, it was no longer the right fit for me.

Junior year was my year. Blue Chip had given me enough experience and confidence to try something new-getting a job. I applied to be an ASA Peer Mentor in the Spring of my Sophomore year, and began my position in the fall of my junior year. Working for ASA was one of the best things that happened to me while here at the U of A. It pushed me to be creative and challenge myself to be better. It allowed to move on from my past mistakes by helping first year students navigate their way through college, and it became my home away from home. It took me 2 full years in college to finally find where I not only fit in, but flourish.

Looking beyond your comfort zone and finding your own path can be extremely difficult. It is okay to be lost and afraid, but it is not okay to give up. Try new things and make changes along the way. I knew Blue Chip wasn’t where I fit in best, but I took every opportunity to learn from my experiences there. I know myself as well as I do now because of Blue Chip. So remember to always keep fighting, because one day you’ll find what you’re looking for.

Erika