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Tuesday
10/10/17

AmeriCorps Here She Comes

Posted by caaponte on October 10, 2017 in Reflection, Senior Year

Amidst the semester, it is so important to have a support group. While you’re finding your own path, it’s a beautiful thing to have someone working alongside you while they find theirs.

That being said – today my best friend is leaving for a year to work with AmeriCorps. She is older than I am and is ready to take the next step in helping others the best way she can. Her work to assist in emergency relief will bring smiles to many and her charisma will certainly lift a burden off of those who need it the most. To recognize how blessed you are and how much you have to give – is one of the most admirable qualities a person can have. And I call her my best friend.

Selfishly, I would love to have her here with me in Buffalo. But I know that I should look at the big picture. What is the big picture? People are placed strategically in our lives – at least that is what I believe – and she was here when I needed her and now its time for her to be there for others that need her.

Take a long, hard look at your friend circle. You pick out a social worker named Emily, a future Physical Trainer named Mardi, a future engineer named Zack, a future doctor named Shawn, and a future dentist in yourself. At some point we will all take a turn that we feel is best for our personal and professional development. It is the most bittersweet thing I’ve ever known. Our time here at UB has a time limit but the memories we have made here do not have to.

Moral of the story – Good luck Emily! Buffalo will miss you so much. We cannot wait to hear about the difference you have made.

Tuesday
09/26/17

The Future is Here

Posted by caaponte on September 26, 2017 in Futuristic Thinking

http://www.dentalcompare.com/Dental-Lab-Products/24990-Dental-Laboratory-CAD-CAM-Software/

 

How cool is it that you can bring a patient into the office and within 2 hours they can leave with their own customized crown? No need for the waiting period while the lab does their best to get the shading right for the patient.

What happens when the shading isn’t right? Back to the lab it goes and the patient has to use a temporary while they wait for the lab to make their best adjustments without even seeing them.

Those days are over! With CAD/CAM Software, dentists are able create customized crowns in a way similar to 3D Printers.

See the magic for yourself.

Tuesday
09/26/17

90 in September

Posted by caaponte on September 26, 2017 in Fall Semester, Reflection, Senior Year

I will not be complaining about this one. It’s incredible and extremely relaxing that it is so beautiful out in Buffalo. Not a cloud in the sky and I even got myself some tan lines. I’m not the girl that gets excited for fall festivities by any means so I am absorbing every bit of sunshine that I can.

Homework outside, games outside, Bills tailgates in the blazing sun, running outside…I am not ready to give it up.

It brings about a completely different element when you can actually get work done while enjoying the sunshine. The sun makes people happy and you can see it everywhere on campus.

Wherever I end up next year and whether there are more cloudy days than sunny days – Buffalo has taught me to appreciate the little things and take advantage of the sunshine when I can.

Thursday
09/21/17

How Do You Decompress?

Posted by caaponte on September 21, 2017 in Fall Semester, Mental Health, Reflection, Senior Year

We get so focused on managing our “To-Do” list that we forget to do fun and simple things. I remember being asked, “what do you do for fun?” and I did not have an answer.

What do you mean?

“I have 3 homework assignments due this week, an exam tomorrow, a group project with a group that can never find a time to meet, my friend’s birthday is tomorrow, and I should probably go grocery shopping before I starve. So what exactly do you mean I need to make time for fun.”

With a little less sass, that was my response. But after reflecting on how living a life SO focused on my surroundings – I see that the end result is far from what I had anticipated. When I did not take time for myself to decompose and do things that I enjoyed doing on my own, my academics and personal life took a heavy toll.

There’s no perfect formula with how to manage your time. If you find one – let me know. You’ll probably make millions. But if there is any advice I can give underclassmen (or anyone for that matter), it is to find balance. Otherwise, you will wear yourself out.

Choose a monotonous activity that decompresses you. Our brains are not designed to work hard from the minute we wake up to the minute we go to sleep. So BE KIND to your hard-working, mental machine.

Tuesday
09/19/17

Help Me Talk about Me

Posted by caaponte on September 19, 2017 in Fall Semester, Senior Year

During interview prep, I quickly realized how difficult it is to talk about myself. Anyone else with the same problem? Sure, I can give you a number of bullet points that include things I enjoy and things I rather avoid for the rest of my life – but say, “Tell me about yourself” and I have trouble translating those bullet points into a blurb about Christina.

This isn’t just a skill I would like to have during college when interviews for dental school and scholarships are more frequent. In every conversation I have with someone new, I want to be able to tell them a little about myself before releasing the sassy sarcasm.

Off to Career Services I go to meet with one of the counselors. Talking in front of the mirror does not compare to having a counselor comment on the amount of “um’s” I use and the mannerisms I may want to put an end to. Things you don’t even realize you do – you are able to see for the first time. You look at the screen and watch yourself answer the interviewer’s questions and think….”Who is that?

After meeting with my career counselor, I realized I had been approaching the common questions all wrong.

 

Tell me about yourself.

Why do you want to be a dentist?

What do you believe is your biggest weakness?

She told me ways to dig myself out of a question if I get too buried in, how to compose myself if I feel worried about a prior question, and most importantly – she made sure I understood that the interview begins the moment I approach the building.

Here we go!

Friday
09/01/17

It’s My Turn.

Posted by caaponte on September 1, 2017 in Fall Semester, Futuristic Thinking, Senior Year

Entering my fourth year, I realize that in many aspects – it is my turn to organize, implement, and promote what I have been taught these past three years at UB.

It’s my turn to direct freshmen through the maze that the university refers to as the Hochstetter and Cooke Complex.

It’s my turn to lead meetings for the Pre-Dental Association.

It’s my turn to TA Evolutionary Biology Lab.

It’s my turn to sign THE Bull.

It’s my turn to make plans with my group of friends for our last spring break (Bahamas, here we come).

It’s my turn to direct students to the best places to eat on and off campus.

It’s my turn to run a Bills tailgate.

It’s my turn to see one of my closest friends open as a DJ for Fall Fest (Shoutout to Frank Pierce).

It’s my turn to apply to dental school.It’s my turn to set an example for how to make the most out of your time at UB.

It’s my turn to set an example for how to make the most out of your time at UB.

As I reach for more coffee than usual, I will be finagling my way through my last year at UB all while helping those around me make it to their senior year successfully.

Raise your coffee/ tea/ beverage of choice in the air and cheers to the beginning of a semester full of possibilities!

Monday
05/08/17

Getting into my Headspace

Posted by caaponte on May 8, 2017 in Mental Health, Reflection

I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews in regards to meditation. I tried this app “Headspace” to turn off my brain for the 10 minutes the app asks you. My thoughts?? I am horrible at it. I am having the worst time turning off my mind in order to concentrate on just the immediate world around me. I am just in one of those states where I am overwhelmed and looking for a way to close myself off from the outside world just to relax. Turning my phone on airplane mode doesn’t do the trick for me either. So for those who meditate on the regular, any advice? Maybe I’m not seeing the larger picture. Because I either 1. fall asleep or 2. think about all the other things I should/could/need to be doing. How exactly can I turn my brain off for those 10 minutes or longer/shorter?? I think I am just missing what the main goal at hand is. One of the many things I will be looking into once the semester ends (even though I should be utilizing its benefits beforehand).

Wednesday
05/03/17

Mental Health at the University Level

Posted by caaponte on May 3, 2017 in Chile, Going Abroad, Mental Health, Reflection

It’s difficult to find exactly what it is that a student may need in order to find their inner peace. With so much going on during the semester, students often overwhelm themselves and neglect doing what makes them happy.

I believe it takes reflection, support, and an open mind to find what makes you a successful student. For me, it was going out of my comfort zone and using what I knew to survive in a foreign country.

Wednesday
05/03/17

I Hope You’re Not Afraid of Heights

Posted by caaponte on May 3, 2017 in Chile, Going Abroad

A picture speaks 1000 words, so what does a video say?

This video captures my trip to the driest desert in the world – San Pedro de Atacama in Antofogasta, Chile. HIGHLY recommend a trip there…HIGHLY recommend a GoPro…HIGHLY recommend Chilean empanadas.

Tuesday
05/02/17

It’s Never Just a Checklist

Posted by caaponte on May 2, 2017 in Futuristic Thinking, Junior Year, Reflection

I just finished my Pre-Health Committee Interview and my biggest hope is that I really helped my interviewer understand that I spent my time at UB making sure I would be anything but a student checking off things from her checklist. The road to professional school is often looked at like a checklist but it is far from that.

We do so much on and off campus as undergraduate students in order to find where we best stick. As one Anatomy professor says, “the things that make us wonderful as often what negatively impacts us.” Getting so involved and remaining busy can also be the reason why a student may fall behind in their studies.

How do you find a balance? How do you sleep enough, eat right, work out, socialize, do your homework, get a 4.0, and still have time to call your mom? I apologize but this is not a guide on how to do all of that….because I am still looking for the answer.

There is so much pressure on students to be these people with superpowers and with the ability to manage all of these tasks in order to get to the next level of their education. Where do these high standards even come from? What about those who went through to the next level without the pressure to do so much – were they not good enough doctors? We are human beings are always looking for the next best thing and for ways to improve and thus we set the standards higher and higher.

But, the road to your next goal is not a checklist and I hope that I am far from that. There are too many diverting paths and curveballs thrown at you along the way for it to be anything like going down the list to check off each one. I feel that my time at UB has facilitated the exploration of me as a person and as a student. I hope to take that and bring it with me wherever I go because I never want to stop learning.

All in all, I think my interview went well. I hope he had great things to say about our interview and I hope I was able to describe myself and my future goals effectively. It turns out, it harder than I thought to talk about yourself. BUT – I don’t want to jinx myself and so this story is to be continued…..