Welcome to the official blog of UCSC Counseling and Psychological Services!

We are the UCSC community’s resource for counseling, wellness, and mental health concerns. Follow us here to learn more about upcoming events, health and wellness topics, our staff, and updates from the counseling center.

The CAPS blog is written and managed by the CAPS Peer Educator Program, with guest posts by staff and students. Our amazing Blog Coordinator for the 2016-17 year is Peer Educator Emma Burke!

Click the about tab to learn more about CAPS, and what we can do for you!


The Social Expectations of Social Media

Social Media has integrated itself into the every day lives of the current generation. Although these platforms have the best intentions, not everyone benefits from them in the same way. In this article, one of our peer educators, Priyanka, reflects on some of the negative aspects of excessive social media usage.

The Social Expectations of Social Media

By Priyanka Kulkarni

Social media has impacted the mental health of many individuals. The number of platforms that show what people are doing on a Saturday night, where people are by their exact location, the number of followers and likes one can get on their posts and pages, are just a few examples of the anxiety social media can create. Like everything, there are pros and cons to social media. Places like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are great places to advertise, get people involved in events, raise political awareness, and communicate across the world. However, social media can also create a lot of social expectations. We create expectations for ourselves about what we should be doing on a day-to-day basis and we begin to compare ourselves to different people and develop this idea of becoming the perfect person.

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Perfection is impossible. We are perfect if we make mistakes, work through them, and move forward from them. Society has created this notion that we have to be at our best all the time, that we cannot lag in the workforce, in our social lives, personal lives, family lives, and any other facet to life there is. We are expected to be on top of it, if not accomplished, we are threatened with labels from other people. There is a fear instilled in us that if we do not succeed financially and career wise, then we are not going to be happy. Happiness and success have individual meanings to each person that cannot be generalized. Whether we know that or not, a lot of ideals of perfection and striving for perfection have been socialized into our minds in which our actions and thoughts reflect that socialization. That in which, creates a lot of anxiety. Merely existing is impossible for the human mind, we are constantly thinking about what we have to do, problems we have, anxieties that might come up in the future, and past anxieties. Especially as college students, our brains are cycling over and over through various thoughts. Never have we been taught to just exist in the moment. We are told to live in the moment, but how do you do that? How do you get yourself to be stress free and clear your mind for a moment or two.

Social media and social platforms get us to think that everyone is super human, able to conquer all, but it is important to realize that we are all human, that we have problems with existing and repurposing ourselves within the social world. It is important to take a step back and realize that we need to just breathe or exist for sake of existing, and not for anything else, for a bit. It will be very difficult, but once you get in the practice, eventually it will become natural to your body like anything else that takes repetition and consistency. It is also very important to indulge in the activities and things you love. Self care is taking time for yourself, shutting off social media and really living for yourself for a moment. We are constantly doing things for other sources, other people, other systems, we are not taught to live for ourselves in fear of selfishness. But mindfulness is necessary to keep moving forward.

CAPS Student Hero: Jorge Roque

Hey Slugs! As the holiday season approaches us it is always good to reflect on what we are all thankful for. Expressing gratitude has been proven in positive psychology to uplift mood Someone that our Peer Education Program is very thankful for is our Tabling Coordinator, Jorge! So meet our CAPS Student hero this week, Jorge Roque! It is Jorge’s second year with us at CAPS and we do not know what we would do without his kind disposition.

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What do you do regularly to relieve stress?

Something I do to relieve stress is that I set time aside throughout my days where I do literally nothing. I give myself this time to perform self-care routines as simple as eating, talking with friends, or just listening to music. Something else I do is that on certain weekends I go out to the beach or go hiking, where I disconnect from my phone and just take in all this town has to offer.

Tell us something you’re passionate about outside of school (clubs, hobbies, interests, volunteering, activities, etc.)

Something that I am very passionate about is photography. I usually carry my camera out with me when I’m out hiking or at the beaches surrounding the city. I love takinIMG_4139 2g pictures of things, such as the different paths around campus or even the amazing sunsets!

If you could share one thing you would like your peers to know about CAPS, what would it be?

Something I’d like to let my peers know about CAPS is that we’re here to help in any way we can. It may be scary at first to come up to the offices, but there’s people here that want to see you succeed and reach your full potential!

Acknowledging Societal Stress

Do you find it difficult to identify the sources of stress in your life? It can be difficult to find time to reflect on your body and what may be weighing it down while also balancing the by everyday life of a college student. Here, Peer Educator, Sanam, references an article on chronic stress and identifying it, while also applying it to herself.

Acknowledging Societal Stress

by Sanam Noorani

The link: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-stress-proof-life/201711/stress-doesnt-look-stress-and-thats-problem

There’s no doubt that societal issues are strong stress inducers and it’s difficult to think that sometimes there isn’t an easy way to resolve them. This article discusses the difficulty in identifying stress and ways to pay attention to your body. Oftentimes, a change in your body’s natural clock (Circadian 

stressRhythm) and changes in appetite can be symptoms of chronic stress. This made me think about times when my sleep pattern has been adjusted without my conscious doing. The article also focused on the scientific aspect of stress and how “stress” feelings are caused by cortisol, a hormone produced in the brain. I liked that this article addressed the importance of acknowledging stress and when reading about the physiological aspects of stress, I was interested to understand how researchers have studied stress in the brain and it gave me some hope, because there is still very little known on what stress actually is and if there is a “cure” for it. It’s our responsibility to pay close attention to our bodies so that we can avoid long term illnesses in the future. I know I will probably experience chronic stress, and when I do, I’ll be able to identify the stress, try to conduct preventative measures, take extra self care, and listen to my body.  I hope others who read this might find it useful.

When Home No Longer Feels Like Home

What do you consider home during your college career? As college students it can be hard to understand your identity and place when comparing your home before coming to college and your home here at school. Here, Peer Educator, Jorge shares his experience with coming to terms with himself on what he considers his home.home

When Home No Longer Feels Like Home

by Jorge Roque

I’m originally from Long Beach,CA which is about a 7 hour drive away from Santa Cruz. Now while everyone is usually sad to leave their hometown, I was not, I was happy to have been given the opportunity to leave my hometown for a place where I could start fresh and develop myself as a person. And that’s exactly what I did my first quarter, I outgrew my old self, I learned new things about myself that I could have never done if I stayed.

As soon as I returned to Long Beach for my winter break I found myself feeling like home lost the warm loving feeling, I quickly realized that my home was no longer my home. Now while at first I felt bad that I lost this sentiment towards my hometown, I realized it was bound to happen. Me leaving was the first step at me really becoming the person I was going to grow up to be. As bad as it may sound, I don’t miss home, and each time I say that I get a gasp or two from friends around me. But the thing is, that I outgrew home, I outgrew the mindset, the people, and the area overall. I’m lucky enough to say that I was able to get out. I try and remind myself of a few things

It is okay to no longer feel attached to your hometown. For many, like myself, our hometown may be something that restrains us from reaching our goals or our full potential. You don’t have to feel bad for losing relationships with people, whether that be with friends or family. You shouldn’t feel guilty about the fact that you outgrow certain people. I think most importantly you shouldn’t feel guilty at the fact that you left, that you were given the opportunity to better yourself.

You may not feel this for a few quarters, or you may feel it as soon as you finish your first quarter, just remember that it is okay for home to no longer feel like home. You’re just on a journey to finding a new place that you can call home.


Having a friend who cuts you down or makes you feel bad about yourself can be a terrible and damaging experience. However, how do you know when to reach out to a friend and fix things, or when to say enough is enough and preserve your own self esteem? In this article, Peer Educator, Madison discusses some helpful tips about how and when to end a friendship. And be sure to check out the link at the bottom too!

When to End a Friendship

by Madison Wright

Why is it more common to hear about break ups in romantic relationships than friendships? Most people have significantly more friendships in their lifetime than they do romantic relationships, yet you don’t hear people going to their loved ones asking for advice on how to break things off with a friend. Is it more acceptable to put up with toxic behaviors from friends than it is from partners? I don’t think so. I would never stay with a partner who treats me badly, yet I forgive friends time after time for similar behavior. A large part of any relationship is communication, so it’s important to communicate your feelings and boundaries to friends. At that point it is up to the other person to respect how you feel and your wishes or disregard them in hopes that you will make exceptions for them. Exceptions for friends you trust are normal and usually harmless, but for friends who violate your trust and continuously cross boundaries, it may be time to reflect on whether that friendship is worth keeping. Examples of actions that reflect a lack of trust and respect are provided in the link below. Every relationship is different, but if you are thinking of ending a relationship remember that you should always put your best interest first. Ending a friendship is never easy, but it also provides you the opportunity to establish new, positive relationships.




At times, we all doubt ourselves and our own abilities. As college students, we may often feel that we don’t belong here or that we won’t be able to compare to the other intelligent students around us. Here, Peer Educator, Erich shares his story about finding his confidence in an overwhelming and intimidating environment.

Finding Confidence

by Erich Crawford

I have spent time worrying if I am strong enough to maintain my education at a university that has so many people and part of a UC system that I never thought I would be apart of. I grew up with the mentality that education was not the proper path for me and that I was not cut out to make it at a university. Luckily, my desire to learn and grow provided me with the opportunities and guidance to take that chance to apply to the UC’s. I chose this school with high goals but often do not believe that I belong here and struggle with the idea that I am smart enough, dedicated enough, or have the skills to succeed here.

There is a study called the big fish study and it explained to me how often times when you are surrounded by a lot of big fish you feel smaller. A report showed how the top students at less rigorous schools than Harvard were equal in scores and research opportunity. Yet the students at ‘less rigorous’ schools had higher success rates and feelings of accomplishment. Analytically they did the same but those at Harvard were comparing themselves to the highest achievements and that left them feeling like they were small. This always reminds me that my studies and work that I put in are valid and important and it helps me recognize how much I have grown in the past few years. This recognition motivates me to keep pushing and that I do not need to compare my work and grades to anybody else because that is not a true measure of value. My values are created by my choice and not by how well someone else is doing. If I am able to develop and learn while making a peaceful impact on people lives then I know I am doing well. I do not need a test score to show me how valuable I am.

If you ever feel like your confidence or self esteem are too much to handle on your own, CAPS is here to help!


Anticipation can often be the hardest part of any task. Our minds have this incredible power to build up things and jump to worst case scenarios. And it often gets to the point where the anticipation is much worse than the actual event itself. Read Peer Educator Aditi’s thoughts about the role that anticipation plays in anxiety and check out the psychology today article below as well!

Anticipatory Anxiety

by Aditi Sheth

Anticipation is like your mind’s own distorted movie, consistently playing in your brain. The movie that’s playing can be of any genre. Romantic Drama, the way your mind wanders when you think about a crush. Psychological Thriller, thinking about the different ways the midterm you’re about to take can trick you. Workplace Comedy, considering the way your friends at the office will react to that joke you want to tell. Sometimes though, these movies and their genres can take a turn for the worst. The tendency to anticipate can create a film that increases those symptoms of anxiety, causes stress and ultimately long term harm. Anticipation is a definite exacerbator of anxiety and for some people, it can be the main cause. Let’s take a look at this phenomenon with an article from Psychology Today, which talks about different ways to combat the Anticipatory Anxiety.