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Traveling during the Semester

Posted by caaponte on May 13, 2018 in Senior Year

I have family everywhere, including the West Coast. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to make a weekend trip to LA during the semester (completely doable as long as you formulate a plan). I’m thankful for one of my best friends, Fay, to bring positivity to a weekend that was a little more difficult than most.

There will always be time if you make time.


Make Time for Mom and Dad

Posted by caaponte on May 13, 2018 in Reflection, Senior Year

My parents always call and ask if they can come visit but I usually say, “Not this week, there is a ton going on so let’s postpone.” Next thing you know….I’m graduating in ONE week.

If there is a centralized theme among my blog, it would be to keep a balance of everything that is important to you. If you don’t make the time – I promise, you will regret it.

With my dad, we went to Giancarlo’s Sicilian Steakhouse where we ordered a few small plates off their menu. When I am going to a restaurant for the first time, I like to try a variety of what they serve to get a better idea of which type of food they prepare best. We talked about my hopes for what was to come in the next year and showed him pictures of Squad in order to prepare him for meeting them during Commencement weekend.

With my mom, I took her to Shea’s where we saw Phantom of the Opera. Absolute spectacular show with an extremely talented cast. I’ve been playing the infamous “Phantom of the Opera” song on repeat ever since and have attempted to reach the high notes of the song with little success. After the show, we went to The Chocolate Bar right around the corner on Chip. A few martinis later, we were both wishing we had done this more often and I was wishing I had made the time.

Moral of the story: Make time for those that raised you and those that gave you the opportunity to continue on in the pursuit of a higher education.




Sunsets at Baird Point

Posted by caaponte on May 8, 2018 in Senior Year

Have you sat and watched a sunset at Baird Point yet? It was one of those things I always said I would get around to but never did. I highly recommend it.

Earlier last week, I was there to watch my first. I’ve seen sunsets in the world’s driest desert (San Pedro de Atacama in Chile), Malibu, Orlando, Austin, and all throughout Western New York. But I can testify that there is nothing like a sunset in Buffalo. I’m not sure if it’s the combination of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie or what but the view is certainly spectacular. Especially in the fall. I remember walking back from dinner at C3 and having to stop just to gaze at its beauty.

It wasn’t crowded, there was a perfect spot for my friend and I to sit and chat. Someone sat far off to our left and was playing guitar. Beautiful view, acoustics in the background, good company….nothing better.


Ceremonies on Ceremonies

Posted by caaponte on May 4, 2018 in Buffalo, Futuristic Thinking, Reflection, Senior Year

In the next month, I have the following:

  1. Senior Brunch
  2. Signing of THE Bull
  3. Senior Ceremony for Alpha Sigma Tau
  4. Honors College Graduation
  5. Graduation for the Department of Romance Languages (Spanish minor, hola como estas???)
  6. ALANA Ceremony
  7. ….and then the official graduation for Biomedical Sciences majors

I am asked my post-graduation plans more often than normal which can often leave me feeling overwhelmed. But really, it reminds me how LUCKY we are to have even had the opportunity to obtain a higher education – or even an education of this caliber. We started freshmen year staring at the seniors in awe and somewhere along the line we became upperclassmen, too. We better continue to check off more items our bucket lists….time is ticking.




I am the Bahama Mama

Posted by caaponte on March 27, 2018 in Reflection, Senior Year, Uncategorized

My favorite thing in the world is watching the sunrise and the sunset with people close to me.

Be quick about it – just like Robert Frost said, “Nothing gold can stay.” The majestic nature of both the sunrise and the sunset are so beautiful that it is impossible for them to last longer than a few minutes. The small portion of the day that they reveal themselves is what makes them so special.


Love for Squad

Posted by caaponte on March 27, 2018 in Buffalo, Family, Reflection, Senior Year


I was lucky enough to go on a cruise with 30+ of my friends where we sailed off to Port Carnaval and the Bahamas. Upon returning, everyone asked how it was but WHERE do I even begin?

I can tell you we didn’t get a full group picture and that everyone on the ship knew the Buffalo group VERY well. We’re a group of charismatic people…what can I say.

I can tell you we tried new foods..and lots of it. From duck to grouper to steak to cakes and pastries and back again.

I can tell you we had no service and were all pleasantly surprised with how good it felt to step away from social media.

I can tell you to wear sunscreen and to expect sand to take days to completely come out of your hair (and suitcase).

I can tell you that the Bahamas sunrise is worth waking up early. The water is as crystal clear as it appears on Google. No one Michael Jackson himself spent $100,000+ to spend a mere four nights in Atlantis (more than once I might add). Oh, and add watching the sunset with your best friends to your bucket list.

I can tell you that it was incredible to be surrounded by people in such a great mood. The positive spirit was contagious and I can’t wait to make more memories with these amazing people.

Specifically, I can’t reveal much more. Why?

1. Because there is not enough space in this blog and 2. Because some things stay between my friends and myself.

But….I can tell you that time is the one thing we can never get back. No matter how much money you make or how successful you are, you can never go back in time.

So thank you Squad 🙂 For understanding that I’m still adjusting to my new sense of self, for understanding my limitations, for being a shoulder to lean on when I needed it most (shoutout to Jesse, Shannon, and Christina), for missing my corny jokes (shoutout to Keesh), for welcoming us all in your home (shoutout to Ebron) and for reminding me that I’m still me (shoutout to you all). I love you more than I can express in this blog post.




Posted by caaponte on March 13, 2018 in Futuristic Thinking, Reflection, Senior Year

I have completely ignored the notices to pick up my cap and gown until now. It wasn’t really the money…it was more about facing the fact that I am graduating in just a couple weeks and I do not want to face it.

No more spontaneous trips to Buffalo’s many places to eat

No more going downstairs to find my housemates

…no more stealing my housemates’ food

No more texting our GroupMe to meet up every night of the week

No more stressing over exams (yes, I am going to miss that)

There is something so incredible in stressing over the same things with a large group of people. We are not all certain about where we are headed to upon graduation. But, that’s okay. Whether we are in Buffalo or some other city, I know we are all confidently moving to the next step.


Now for that cap and gown…..


New Year, New Me…Literally

Posted by caaponte on January 30, 2018 in Senior Year

First day of school and we are asked to introduce ourselves. Normally not an issue…except for this time.

I had double jaw surgery on January 4th, 2018 but had to go back into surgery on January 26th, 2018 to readjust the lower jaw. So this means my braces are still on, people are still unable to recognize me, I can’t open my mouth wide enough to pronounce words correctly, parts of my face are still numb, and I still do not know what the end product will be. My surgeon can show me the schematics of his incisions but not of the covering tissue.

So what does this mean for me?

It is truly a test of patience and bravery. Patience because it is uncommon to have to go in for a second operation. Bravery because I am afraid I will never regain sensation in my face. The swelling should go completely down in 6 months to a year and my nerves should regain complete feeling in about a year. Every case is different so I just have to be optimistic.

Being on the liquid diet, I stop at Jamba Juice a little more often than usual and always have straws on hand.  But still, I am hungry – All. The. Time.

Doing things that are part of my normal routine help me feel more like myself. I cannot work for 2-3 weeks, I cannot workout for 6 weeks and I cannot participate in contact sports for 6 months. For right now, I feel dizzy after just 2 hours of walking around. But, I take a picture every day to remind myself how far I have come.

I do not know anyone who has had the procedure done but that’s where online blogs and YouTube videos have come in handy. Everyone says their lives have dramatically changed for the better so that helps keep me thinking positively. It will all be worth it and I can’t wait to show my before and after photos!


It’s a Wrap

Posted by caaponte on November 22, 2017 in Fall Semester, Reflection, Senior Year

After physical testing, academic review, interviewing, and a boat load of paperwork. I am finally finished with my application to the Health Professions Scholarship Program through the United States Navy. If I’m one of the lucky few, the fingerprints I took this morning will lead to serving our military personnel as a General Dentist.


Are you tough enough for this?

Are you ready to wake up at 4am to workout?

Are you aware you may be at sea?

Are you able to assert yourself in a group full of veterans?


For me, it is a crucial portion of my ultimate goal. The combination of serving my country and traveling while utilizing the skillset I will have acquired in dental school….I cannot think of anything better.

In the next few months, so much is about to be uncovered. I have never been in a position where I won’t know where I’ll be in the next year. But in less than 20 days…. I will know where I stand for the rest of my life. This career offers so much growth and I cannot wait to begin the next chapter of my journey.


Being a Teaching Assistant

Posted by caaponte on October 26, 2017 in Fall Semester, Future of the United States, Senior Year, University Life

During my freshman year, if you asked me if I would ever be a TA – my response would be:

Absolutely not

Why? Well because, why would I add additional responsibilities to my own responsibilities that I am working to balance.

Fast forward to my senior year – choosing to be a TA is single-handedly one of – if not the best – decision I have made to date. Why? Because it is not an added responsibility. It is a humble reminder of how far we have all come in our undergraduate careers and how much more room we have to grow. I am supposed to be teaching them, but I never realized that they would also be teaching me. They each arrived to UB with a history of trauma, disappointment, some form of loss, and often with the idea that AP Biology would make the transition easy. Their stories have inspired me to continue moving forward even when I feel as though I have too much on my plate. In fact, hearing them confident enough to share my story makes me feel as though a support group during your fall semester of freshmen year is absolutely crucial.

I lead my own lab but I assist in another with one of my best friends. We try to create a judge-free environment because we remember how intimidating it was sitting amongst 28 others in Evolutionary Biology. Students don’t yet realize that they don’t need to ask permission to use the restroom and refrain from participating in lab because they aren’t yet confident in their answers.

As their TA, I hope to assist them in the transition to university life. I’ve lived it. I understand it. Every semester has had its ups and downs and I’m not afraid to share that with my students. I share with them how I tackled more difficult topics. I hope that my stories have inspired them to reach their potentials and to want more from their education.

The undergraduate degree is more than just academic growth. Toward the end of the semester, I will ask them to reflect on their undergraduate experience and hope to find that the highs and lows have only promoted personal growth.

In the meantime, I continue to revamp the way I run my lab. There is no perfect way to monitor or teach a group of 28 students from all different backgrounds, but I will continue trying my best. I hope others can follow my lead and choose to TA a class. I hope that they get as much out of the experience as I have and see the value in instructing the next generation of STEM students. It helps you visualize that this field is much larger than just you. When you plan to meet with a student, the exam you have the next day can wait until after you help the freshman sitting before you transition to university life.