Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy New Era

Hi everyone, Pam here, one of your professional advisors.  I just wanted to take time as many of you head out of town for the winter break, to close out the semester.

This has been one of the most intense semesters in my years working at Chico State.  We have weathered a lot of adversity and are now teetering on the edge of the so-called Fiscal Cliff.  There has been a lot of upheaval in the world these past few years.  Oh, and don't forget about the mythical apocalypse. 

I have studied the Maya extensively and lived in Yucatan.  They are among the wisest, warmest and gentlest people I have ever met.  I've visited ancient ruins which are off the beaten path where few non-locals go and there's something mystical and magical about them. The Maya Prophecy foretold that the 13th B'ak'tun would be a time of discovery, but also of unrest and it began around 1600 when the Spanish Conquest was in full swing.  I'd say that they were pretty accurate about that.   According to the sacred Maya texts, the 14th B'ak'tun will be the era of knowledge, reconciliation, peace and opportunity. Let us hope that this projection turns out to be accurate as well. We could use a little of all of that. 

As I write this post, this medley played on Pandora.  I love it's positive messages. Here's to a joyful holiday season, restful winter break and a B'ak'tun filled with "knowledge, reconciliation, peace and opportunity." 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

More Ideas for Beating Stress

STRESS, it’s such an ugly word and an even worse feeling! Many of us deal with it on a day-to-day basis and yet we don’t really know what it is. Stress is a feeling of anguish, anxiety, incompetence and worries. There are many causes for stress yet the one thing it affects the most is your health, both your physical and mental well-being. When one is stressed your immune system isn't as strong as it should be you are more susceptible to germs and virus, which cause your body to become sick. Once you become sick it becomes it a lot harder to concentrate on what needs to be done because our body is trying to focus more on making itself better and all its energy is going towards the illness.

A great way to deal with stress would be by working out even if it’s just for 20 minutes a day of cardio. By working out, your body releases endorphin.  Endorphin are hormones that make your body feel better, are a natural source of pain relievers, and they make you happy because your state of mind changes.  

Having a well balanced diet also helps with reducing your stress levels. There are many different kinds of foods that help with this and they range from light snacks such as nuts to hearty meals such as turkey!  These foods are high in certain vitamins and minerals that are proven to stimulate blood flow that in turn can help reduce your feelings of stress. A great article that describes these super foods is by Marie Claire; it gives great tips on how these foods help you and how they can be eaten. There are also 50 great and simple ways to ease, reduce, or get rid of your stress they may sound silly but they are as simple as hugging someone or brushing your hair.

Reducing your stress will not only make you feel better about yourself but it will allow you to do better on whatever tasks you have at hand!


 By Wendy Vega

Monday, December 17, 2012

Getting Along With My Roommate: Part 2

As a third year student at Chico State, I have gone through many experiences that have helped me grow. One of the obstacles that I had my first year was getting along with my roommates. I had moved into University Village, an apartment style dorm, where I had my own room, but shared the kitchen and a bathroom. The bathroom was shared between two other girls and me and I shared the kitchen with five other girls. Going into living in an apartment was very exciting for me because I was going to be off on my own with other first year students. 

My roommates and I tried to get to know each other the first couple of weeks and they all seemed to be very outgoing and chill. As the time passed, I began to notice tendencies that they had like not cleaning and having a messy kitchen. Living there began to get harder because of differences in our lifestyles. Some people never had to clean at home so they hardly cleaned here. Some of us grew up washing our dishes and cleaning and the other roommates would take advantage of it.
I became really good friends with one of my suite mates and we began to talk about how dirty everything was and we needed to set ground rules. Since we are all adults, I thought we did not need to police each other’s tendencies. I felt even worse for my suite mate because she has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and had to see everything clean in the kitchen. Her roommate was one of the messiest girls I had ever met! The problems kept getting worse to the point where I would stay in my room and just use the kitchen to cook.

As a first year student, I suggest to keep constant communication with all the roommates. If there is a problem don’t ignore it, talk about it. If you feel uncomfortable, there are resources on campus that can help you such as your residential advisor or housing director. Take advantage of everything, after all you are paying for all of this! 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Communicating With Family

Family is the most important aspect of my life, I’m sure the same can go for many but not all. My hometown is in Southern California where the rest of my family lives, so I am a long way from home.  Since I really only see them during the holiday breaks I make sure to keep in contact with them as much as possible.  Being about 500 miles away from my parents sometimes worries them so we talk on the phone at least once a day, even if it is only for a few minutes.  Parents and family members like to hear that their son/daughter/niece/nephew/grandchild is doing well in college and on their own.  Simple quick phone calls are the easiest way to keep in contact and keep your mother worry-free. Skyping has also become a more popular form of communicating with my family, sometimes when my extended family has gatherings they make sure to Skype me so it’s like a family reunion and nobody is missing.  It always feels nice to know that they’re happy to see and hear from you. In some cases, the relationship between family members might not be too strong so phone calls and Skyping are out of the question, in this case I would suggest recognizing their birthdays. Getting letters in the mail seems to be decreasing in popularity; I know whenever I get mail it’s a great feeling.  I would suggest sending birthday cards that can even be handmade depending on your level of creativity!

By Eve Hernandez

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Take Note

By Erick Garcia

Effective note taking is a key factor in college. This is what I think because notes can help in a couple of ways. When writing notes, it can help you in knowing what can be on the exam. In my past and occurring tests, I've noticed that the smallest of points that a professor writes down are always on the test. I feel like the professors know that some students don’t really take notes, so for the students who do it is a privilege and an advantage because when reviewing and going over your notes you can memorize those small notes. 
At the end of the test that one point that you got can be the border line between a B or an A or a D to a C, all because you knew those little points from the notes.

I also feel like taking effective notes cannot just help you but others on your class that you know. Someone you know in class may have missed class and they need the notes from that day. You can help them if you are a good note taker. Look at as if you missed class and you needed the notes from that class session. Are you going to want the bad note taker who barely writes anything down or someone who took fair enough notes but got the important point of the notes?

Another good point about taking notes is that professors may write something in the notes more than once, that’s most likely to be on the test. If you pay attention and make sure you know that term because you paid attention and realized that he/she was repeating it constantly. I look at note taking as an important part in your classes, not for all but for some.

The Student Learning Center has an online workshop on taking notes.

By Andrea Hernandez

In my sophomore year of high school, I had the opportunity of having a teacher who taught me wonderful ways of note taking.  although some may not agree with her tactics, she made us highlight and write notes in our books to help us revisit what we had read.  For me, being a visual learner, I felt that highlighting and writing in my book helped tremendously, because I would color coordinate notes and definitions and then summarize every few sentences or paragraphs which helped me remember what each section talked about.

as soon as I entered Chico State, I noticed that every time I would read an article, I would highlight and take notes.  I ended up doing that to my textbooks and that technique has helped me a lot.  I hope this tip helps you all, but remember not to highlight everything.  Only highlight what you believe is most important.  If you don't understand something, don't be afraid to ask!  There is no such thing as a "dumb question."  You also have the internet at your hands as a resource, but also remember that we libraries filled with amazing books.  Have fun!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Unwanted Stress of Being a College Student

Studying for midterms, volunteering three days a week, attending Alpha Delta Pi events, homework for seven classes, becoming a peer advisor, studying for more midterms, keeping up with housing and utility bills and attempting to catch up with friends is what my semester has consisted of.  Being a college student at CSU, Chico is not always the stereotypical life of a “party animal”.  To some outsiders’ amazement, many CSU, Chico students are involved in more than one organization on campus and lead a very busy life that can cause stress beyond belief.  School days can be overwhelmingly long and anxiety filled.  Throughout my college career I have developed many ways to control the stress produced by living the life on a college student. 

My iPod became my best friend my first semester of freshman year when I took Biology 103 and we have maintained a close relationship ever since.  Whenever I feel stressed or have the "stomach on a roller coaster" anxiety feeling, I just slip on my ear phones and put on my Taylor Swift playlist.  Music has a magical way of acting as a medicine and relieves my anxiety.  it cures the unsettling feeling of not being able to breathe.  In the article, "The Power of Music to Reduce Stress," by Jane Collingwood, the author states that "listening to music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on our minds and bodies."  Music has a way of absorbing our attention, while distracting our mind at the same time.  Singing to music is a way of relieving tension.  The article also states that listening to music has been used to relieve depression as well as relieve stress and anxiety among hospital patients before and after surgery.  My advice to all those stressed out college students out there is to create a playlist of music that will ease your mood and whenever those troubled, heavy feelings come around, your playlist will help you coupe and get rid of unwanted tension.
 Another tool that I use to manage my stress especially on those depressing cold, windy, gloomy day is go on a run or walk through Bidwell Park.  Playing basketball, walking, bicycling, etc. are all great activities that involve exercising.  According to Livestrong, an article was written by Cynthia Meyers, “Does Exercise Relieve Stress”, which explains the ways in which exercise can reduce stress because “exercise focuses your thoughts somewhere besides your problems.”  Next time that you are feeling stressed, go out and engage in fun filled movement activities and see how you feel afterward.               

Keeping a journal is a way that I can relieve tension about an issue stressing me out.  Something about writing down my feelings makes me feel free.  Probably because when I write out my thoughts it leads me to come up with solutions to my problems. Keeping a journal is a way to sort out your thoughts and reflect on your past.  The article “Journal Your Way to Stress Relief,” written by Trisha McCoy suggest reasons for why writing in a journal relieves stress. One reason that writing in a journal is a great stress reliever is because it “provides an outlet for expressing difficult emotions, such as anger and frustration without harming someone you love” and it “can be a way to release your negative thoughts and emotions so you can move on to a happier state of mind.”  The article provides a research study done by Psychotherapy Research which found that the patients who had greater reductions in symptoms of anxiety and progressed better in psychotherapy were those patients who were encouraged to let out their emotions through expressive writing.                 

There are many ways college students can relieve their stress that are free and easily accessed.  Next time that you or a peer you know are having a hard time coping with their anxiety, try listening to music, engaging in a physical activity, or write down your feelings in a journal.

By Sam Brasil

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Getting Along With My Roommate - Part 1

When I first came to Chico from my hometown in Southern California I had no trace of friends.  Thankfully I lived in Whitney Hall for my first year of college.  The people here in Chico are also extremely friendly and open to meeting new people, which I love. Unfortunately you aren't always going to meet the right people, or you might get stuck with a roommate that does not necessarily fall under the “friend zone.” Alas, I was stuck with one of those roommates during my second year of college.  Once you are signed onto a lease with someone it is nearly impossible to get out of that situation.  Solution: make the best with what you have. Try your best to make plans with this person so you may find common interests and hobbies that can help relate you with one another.

One main aspect of college that is extremely important is being a good student but also having fun and exploring new destinations.  Juggling a full load of units and sometimes a job can be a little difficult and stressful to cope with.  The solution to this problem could be stress relief.  There are many ways of getting rid of stress that allow you to still have time for your academics and social life. A few ways that I rid of my stress is walking around campus and just think about absolutely nothing.  Chico State offers an amazing campus and we need to take advantage of it, it can be a very peaceful place.  A way of preventing stress is to manage your time equally; there is a time for work and a time for fun.  Time management is key to a successful semester.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

How I Got Involved

Wendy Vega

The first thing many people think when they set foot onto a college campus is, "Oh my god there's so many things to do!"  Yes, it's true we do have many things to do, but how do we determine which organizations best fit our needs?  This is a great question!  In order to determine which organization best fits your needs you mus do what I like to call, your homework.  Your homework will help you determine the organization's intentions toward its members and what their beliefs are.  Rule number one before joining any origination that doesn't value what you believe in you will have a miserable time.

When I first shopped around for the different organizations, I made a list of all the different names and went to my dorm room to do some research before committing to attend any of their general meetings.  Once all of my research was completed, I decided on attending general informational meetings for the organizations  whose paper information had caught my attention, once I went to the meetings, I realized that many of the organizations didn't practice what they preached, per say.  After determining that none of the organizations on our campus fit my needs, I decided I would do more research and talk to others on our campus about my dilemma.  I then found my ideal organizations, one in which I was not judged by my appearance nor was I going to be asked to change so that I would be able to fit into their cookie cutter molds.  Since then, I have been a proud member of The Interested Ladies of Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority, Inc. at California State University, Chico.  Since becoming a member of this organization, I have become a better person and have grown in more ways than one.  I have also noticed that instead of having the organization stunt my accomplishments, the ladies within the organization have guided and supported me to become and do better than what I have already done.  With this being said, we must always look for an organization that will make us better people instead of dragging us down and causing us harm.

Elizabeth Hernandez

Getting involved is one of the most important facets of the college experience and has a huge impact on the academic and social status of an individual.  When a student first enters college it can be quite intimidating when they don't really know anyone or even know where their first class is.  Getting involved is the perfect way to make friends that share the same interests as you.  When you're looking into getting involved, it is important to keep your ears open and eyes peeled!  There are copious amounts of clubs and organizations that may or may not pertain to you.  trying out the different clubs or organizations, at least once, is never a bad thing.  Joining a club is a great way to feel a part of the community and can provide the opportunity for some fun!

I myself have taken advantage of this opportunity and am now the Vice President of NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) here at Chico State.  This club allows me to make connections with my peers that area also future teachers.  Being the VP grants me the proper training to become a leader.  Through this club, I can look forward to having fun with science, making a trip to the observatory, and teaching kids some basics of science.  I am also a Peer Advisor in Liberal Studies (PALS) and this position allows me to learn about my major inside and out.  I am therefore, capable of sharing this information with my peers and am able to make strong connections with the other peer advisors.  I guess you can say we are somewhat of a family now.  The first semester of my college career I participated with CAVE (Community Action Volunteers in Education), which allowed me to become a teacher's aide in a 4th grade classroom in one of the local elementary schools.  Being a future elementary teacher, this organization was extremely rewarding and that's when I knew teaching was definitely my future career.  Becoming a part of your new college makes it feel more like home in so many ways, so find your club and sign up for everything and I promise only good things will follow.

Andrea Hernandez

Since the beginning of my first year here at Chico State, I began to get involved on campus in in my community.  I joined an organization called, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano/a de Aztlan (M.E.Ch.A) and I did some community service volunteering with them at the Boys and Girls Club and helped plan out events for the following semester.  I helped with events that year such as, Dia de los muertos, MEChA Toy Drive, and Cesar Chavez teach outs, just to name a few.  That year, I also applied to work at a local Halloween store where I had the chance to meet some of the locals and get used to my surroundings.

By the middle of the semester I had gone  in for my group advising to get some help with registration.  Pam was the advisor guiding us, but when students in my group began to ask questions about who to take the next semester and which classes, I was the one with the answers.  Pam was surprised at how much I knew and saw the potential I had to become a Peer Advisor in Liberal Studies.  She talked to me a little about the program and gave me an application.  I was a little hesitant on applying because I thought I was too young for the position and I had no clue about the program.  If it were not for Pam to keep reminding me to turn in my application, I would not have turned it in and become the advisor I am today.  I was fortunate to not only become a peer advisor, but also a student receptionist for the Liberal Studies Advising office.  From then on, my involvement in school and in the community has sky rocketed and although I might have a lot on my plate at times, I try and keep busy to give back to my school and community.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Hello, Liberal Studies majors!  In case you haven't visited us lately, we have a new team of Peer Advisors in Liberal Studies (aka PALS).  PALS are here to help YOU!  They are students who've "been there" and are a very diverse cross section of students in our major.  PALS can help you with everything from planning your schedule, demystifying how the university runs, knowing how to approach your professors, getting involved, to where to get tutoring and everything in between.  They have a plethora of resources to help make your university experience smoother and more enjoyable.

My name is Pamela Morrell and I am one of the professional advisors in Liberal Studies.  We also have Rena Marino (formerly Rena Craig) and Esther Larocco on our professional team.  Since I teach the PALS class, I'm starting us off on our new blogging adventure and will occasionally post, but most of what you read here will truly be "Reflections of a Peer Advisor."

And now for the introductions:

Jena, Wendy, Samantha, Eve, Andrea, Tiana, Erick, Jonathan (l-r in order of height)

They like to have fun!

The PALS can't wait to help you, so come introduce yourself!