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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!


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!


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).


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.


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.


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…..


Refrain from using the word ‘Coddled’

Posted by caaponte on April 29, 2017 in Future of the United States, Futuristic Thinking, Junior Year

So I read this article about a student from Fordham University complaining about the free state tuition to students who qualify. She complains on ‘The Odyssey’ about students who are being ‘coddled’ and further encourages those students to get a job instead of expecting their tuition to be paid for. She continues to complain about the outrageous difference between her student loans and those of a state at a state university. Understanding that she had the option to go to a state university instead of drowning herself in student debt, she claims that she decided against that option because state schools just “aren’t for [her].”

Those are her major points and so here are mine:

Freedom of Speech Alert


  1. As a student of a state university, what is so bad about our system? I am a competitive candidate for professional schools and am accepted into internships and research programs where I work alongside students from private schools. Your experience is what you make of it.
  2. I am confused as to how she felt that every student given tuition coverage must be coddled. After working in Buffalo public schools helping to fill out their FAFSA and TAP forms, I can assure you that coddled is not the word they deserve to be called. Many of the students don’t consider themselves to be smart enough to pursue an education in the first place. With many under the poverty line, of course, they feel like their pursuit of a college education (if they possess the confidence in the first place) would be a burden on their family.
  3. Many of these students DO already work while in high school. They come from families where they will be the first to attend college. The expectations are often as high as they set for themselves.
  4. We are investing in the future of New York State. The program needs to feed back into itself and require students to maintain a certain GPA, work in NY for a certain amount of time after graduation, serve as a mentor for new students in the program, and maybe deduct some of their pay (for a specified amount of time) once they’ve established themselves in order to pay for more students to obtain free tuition. It is all a cycle and it is important to look at the big picture. However, if something is simply given, it is not valued as much. And so setting standards as I have listed above would give an encouraging push without making the student feel as though obtaining a higher education is out of their scope.


We are more than what is on the syllabus. So let people have the chance to figure out exactly what that means for them.


Suggestions for Vegas

Posted by caaponte on April 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

As a predental student, my life essentially revolves around school and studying and resume building but as of recently I have been trying to do things more to build myself as a person and not just what “looks good” written in black and white. So I hope that my blog mirrors that and is not just about school. Because although important, we are more than what is on the syllabus right?

At the end of the semester, my family is going to Las Vegas. (About as far away from a academic-related blog I could go, am I right?) My father’s girlfriend has tons of family from there so I am looking forward to meeting them and exploring Vegas for the first time. They have a dental school there I’d also like to check out (quick academic-related addition) and of course exercise my right as a newly 21-year-old in the United States of America.

Any restaurants/ foods/ places I should visit/try? With a newly purchased GoPro, I am looking for just about any excuse to use it. In my free time, I edit videos and add music and effects to remember each trip in a different way than just through photos. Photos can say 1000 words but I think videos can leave you without words. Far greater of an effect.

We leave a week after the semester ends and so I will spend that time looking up where we should go but I will love to be surrounded by the mountains once again (missing the Andes Mountains in Chile always). Hikes will be planned, the Hoover Dam will be visited, shows will be watched, money will be gained in the casinos (hopefully), and of course, I would love to share a “Cheers” with my dad.


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?


Is it Summer Yet?

Posted by caaponte on March 30, 2017 in Futuristic Thinking, Junior Year, Mental Health

I find myself having a hard time focusing because I keep thinking about the glorious light at the end of the tunnel that is summer vacation. Three months to spend how I please. Now, I know I will not be able to enjoy it if I do not do well for the next 8 weeks BUT that doesn’t mean I can’t daydream of what life will be like when I can walk outside and see that thing called the sun.

I think it’s good to keep that light at the end of the tunnel in mind because it keeps you motivated and reminds you why you are in college in the first place. Always striving for a better life, a career that will allow you to fund your backpacking trips, and making your mom proud…right?

If you’re anything like me, you have a list of things you want to do as soon as you have more time. On June 1st, applications for dental school open and I plan to get mine out ASAP so that I can relax as I play the waiting game and wait, wait, wait to hear back from the schools I chose to apply to.

Life doesn’t ever necessarily get easier, even during summer vacation. But I think as humans we inherently look where we believe the grass is greener. For me, it’s a time when I’m not taking 22 credits and I am instead cooking with my mom while listening to Andrea Bocelli.

By now it’s evident that none of my thoughts are transitioning well. But what else can you expect from a college student midway through the semester? Don’t worry about me. I just had a nice cup of coffee. Focusing on what is important here – Study hard, enjoy it later.