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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

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.

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.

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…..

Tuesday
04/11/17

Beyond my Backyard

Posted by caaponte on April 11, 2017 in Going Abroad, Junior Year, Reflection

According to recent studies, 33 percent of students surveyed reported feeling so depressed that they had trouble going about their daily routine. 33 percent. For those 6 million of American college students, that means a daily internal struggle with the already existing demands of university life.

Did I pick the right major?

Am I smart enough for this?

And where is this light at the end of the tunnel everyone keeps talking about?

After months of reflection, I learned that help could be found outside of your comfort zone. Where may that be? Not in your backyard, but abroad.

 

The overwhelming anxiety college students experience can be paralyzing and lead them to deficits in their academic and personal lives. After struggling with depression, anxiety, and the confusion that coincides with finding your sense of self, I want to emphasize the impact travel has on the journey of self-discovery.

  • Excitement: Instead of approaching these changes with unease and angst, travelers are open and willing to accept things that deviate from their standard routine. Your adventures are new, fun and exciting, and leave students feeling eager to tackle the obstacles that life brings.
  • Expansion: Traveling allows the mind to expand and see the world from a completely different angle. When we become accustomed to a certain way of living, our minds tend become closed off to many of life’s possibilities. And think about the muscle memory involved – Your brain gets stronger and faster when you’re speaking another language.
  • Flexibility: No matter how rigid a plan may be, life always has an edge of unpredictability. For travelers, this means they need to allow a large margin for sudden changes in their schedule.
  • Perspective: We all tend to imagine that our problems are most important. That is, until we see first hand the sufferings of others. When we see others copeing with similar or worse situations, we gain insight that our problems are not as daunting as we had originally perceived. Because traveling helps put life into perspective, it also has the beneficial byproduct of decreasing the anxiety, stress, and depression involved in changes of everyday life.
  • Teamwork: Traveling with another person, or even a group, builds team synergy and brings everyone closer together by sharing new experiences simultaneously.

Bringing what I learned back to the university setting, I felt empowered to continue learning. Not just in the classroom, but also about myself. 96% of study abroad alumni, including myself, attribute the increase in self-confidence to their experience outside of their comfort zone. Going abroad was my breath of fresh air and reconnected me to who I am today and who I hope to be ten years from now.

The sky is the limit for the life of a college student. But each student needs their own push to look outside of the box and explore outside of their comfort zone.

So, tell me. Where to next?

Friday
02/24/17

Two Songs and Two Songs Only

Posted by caaponte on February 24, 2017 in Junior Year, Reflection

You’ve got two songs and that’s it.

If you could listen to 2 songs as you laid on your death bed, what would they be? I bet you’re thinking that it’s a ridiculous question and you’re partially right. But if you’re actually taking the time to think about what sweet sounds you’d want to hear, by now you have probably reached the point where you have realized how difficult it is.

Would you want to hear something that reminds you of when you were 5 on a road trip to your grandparents or the song you’d listen to while warming up for the big sectional finals in high school basketball? Is there a song that relaxes you or do you have a favorite song that you get ready to every morning that you couldn’t go without?

After asking my friends, it doesn’t seem like people usually choose a song based on the memory that it couples with. But, I do think your choice says a lot about you. For me, I would like to listen to “Island in the Sun” by Weezer and “A Wonderful World” by Israel ‘Iz.’  Why? Something about those two songs that put a smile on my face every time they come on. But…this isn’t a post about me. It is about YOU.

Music is universal and can reach out to us in ways we could have never imagined. It can make you feel motivated and discouraged and enlightened all at the same time. So, for the moments where you get to listen to your last two songs of choice…would would they be?