Category: Lorraine Capenos (page 2 of 3)

“Shifting My Focus” by Lorraine Capenos

Being in college can feel really overwhelming, especially if you’re really involved and tend to take on more responsibilities than you probably should. It can feel like a crazy balancing act just to get through the day. Personally, I usually end the day tired and overwhelmed by how much I need to get done the next day. It is also easy to feel lost and unsure about how to move forward in your life.

I recently decided to shift my focus and really home in on my academic and career goals. I began to think seriously about what I need to do in order to graduate on time and what I could do to boost my resume so that when the time comes, graduate school and a career will not seem so unattainable.

I already put in the work in my classes to get good grades, but it is important to me to maintain a high GPA and do well in my classes, so that goal was reaffirmed. I also became a DENIN ambassador to get experience in environmental event planning and advocacy, which will be great experience for me as an environmental studies major. The biggest change I made was accepting a research position for the spring and summer, in which I will be working with a professor to analyze climatic effects on agriculture, and which will not only be great experience but also will fulfill my field experience requirement, which I need in order to graduate.

Admittedly, I feel a bit out of my element and overwhelmed by this position and juggling it with all the other things in my schedule. But I cannot deny that as soon as a shifted my focus to career and academics and set my intentions to find a research internship position, the opportunity presented itself to me perfectly. I also believe that as long as I put in the work, this position will benefit me in so many ways and I am grateful for the opportunity to work on such important and advanced research. It is important for me to get out of my comfort zone and take new opportunities as they come my way, and I also believe that focusing on my career will be more beneficial for me in the long-run than focusing on less consequential aspects of my life.

Finding a balance where I can still have a social life and be involved in Greek life and clubs, but also put a lot of attention into my academic work and start a research position is difficult. There are days when I feel incredibly overwhelmed and stressed. But ultimately it will be worthwhile, and this shift of focus will help me achieve my ambitions. I decided I did not want to waste time anymore and that, while I made it a priority to still take care of myself, I did not want to content myself with just focusing on college without thinking of the future. My future is fast-approaching, and I plan on being ready for every twist and turn.

Taking Fun Classes by Lorraine Capenos

Many people think that when it comes to classes, they’re all boring and slow and require long hours of work. And while it is true that some classes out there are like that, there are so many that are fun and can be taken regardless of your major or schedule. Fun classes can fit into any schedule or program if you know what to look for and how to fit it into your schedule.

My first tip is to major in something that you’re interested in. This is going to help exponentially with your class enjoyment. If you are in a major that you don’t care about and you’re just doing it for money or because it’s what someone told you to do, you won’t enjoy most of your classes. But when you’re passionate about what you’re doing, it will come more naturally and be more enjoyable for you. My major is environmental studies and I take many classes that I find fascinating. I’m currently taking MAST200 which is a class on the oceans, and I love it and find it super interesting because it’s what I am passionate about.

My next tip is to look at what breadth requirements or elective credits you need, and find fun ways to fit those in. For instance, I fulfilled one of my Group B requirements with a history class on ancient Greek and Roman society instead of a class I would find boring. One of my group A requirements is being filled with an English class about Harry Potter, and everyone in that class loves it. You can find room in your schedule to fit in fun classes, you just might have to look a little harder. Using the UD course search can really help with this if you use its features to narrow down what you’re looking for and what requirements you need to fill. You can even narrow down what days and times you need a class to fill.

Another tip is to be prompt about registration. Most people know how competitive registration can be and understand the rush to try to enroll in a certain class before the spots all fill up. Fun classes like mythology and Harry Potter will fill up fast because everyone wants a spot. If your registration appointment is at 8 am, be ready to register at 7:45, with your computer on, charged, and logged in to register, and with a list already prepared of what classes you want to get into, and some alternatives in case those don’t work out. It’s very important to have alternatives, because you don’t want to get stuck in a class you won’t like because you took too much time to figure out your schedule while you could have already been registering for classes.

My final recommendation is to ask your friends about classes they have taken. People always seem shocked to find out that I took a class about Greek mythology and got honors credit for it, because it was an absolute dream of a class and it fulfilled honors credits and a breadth requirement for me. Definitely ask your friends or classmates about which classes and professors were their favorites, or at least spend some time looking at the course listings for the upcoming semester and see if you can find anything interesting.

Rules to Stop Overextending Myself by Lorraine Capenos

As many students can understand, I have a bit of a problem with spreading myself too thin. I have always been this way, saying “yes” to as many commitments as I can, either because I can’t stand to miss out on an opportunity or because I would hate to possibly disappoint someone. In theory, I love the idea of constantly opening new doors in my life, but in practice it can be harmful to my mental health to constantly have things going on that I don’t always even want to be a part of. As an effort to take more time for myself and reduce the time I spend doing things that do not add value to my life, I have adopted a few rules to keep myself on track for the life I want to create.

#1: Learn to say “no”. My first rule is a rather obvious one, but it can be difficult in practice. When someone asks for a favor or your friends ask you to join them on something, my first instinct is always to help them out. But I’ve realized that if you are killing yourself trying to do a million things, you’ll be miserable and ineffective and any help of yours will be nearly worthless. It is better to invest a lot of time and effort into a couple things than to spread yourself too thin and waste your time. Saying “no” will not hurt anyone, and there will always be someone else to walk through the door that you chose not to open. Continue reading

“What I’m Taking from My First Year of College” by Lorraine Capenos

With only a few weeks left until I return home for the summer, I have found myself reflecting on my first year of semi-adulthood. I have no idea where the time has gone and I honestly couldn’t tell you how it is already May and I’m a quarter of the way through my bachelor’s degree, but I can tell you that I have learned so much this year and made so many memories. But as important as classes are, the most important things I’m taking from this year are the ones I had to learn on my own, that no professor could have taught me.

The first lesson I’ve learned is that taking care of myself must be a priority. I’m the kind of person who puts others before myself and stresses myself out taking care of those that I love. Being there for the people I care about is the most important thing to me, but I have to remind myself that one of those people I care about is me. And for me to be there for others, I have to set aside time for myself and check in with my mental and physical health. I’ve learned this year that you can’t pour from an empty glass. Self-care must come first if you are to care for others. Continue reading

“How I (Try To) Reduce Stress in College” by Lorraine Capenos

Everyone in college knows how stressful it can be. Between demanding classes, financial matters, maintaining a social life, participating in clubs and activities, being a part of Greek life, and trying to stay healthy, I often find myself overwhelmed, stressed, and wishing for more time in my day. However, I still try my best to remain positive and improve myself as much as possible. These are some of the things I do to maintain a healthy and positive mental space, as much as is practicable. Disclaimer: I do not always succeed in avoiding stress and practicing self-care activities like these every day. The point is to keep trying. Continue reading

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