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 Coordinators for the 2015-16 year are Peer Educators Ila Rutten and Katherine Chadbourne!

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

CAPS Student Hero: Samer Muhareb

Hi all! Thanks for checking back with the blog. Today we’d like to introduce one of our Peer Educators, Samer. He’s been working hard this year and we appreciate all that he does for CAPS and PEP!

hot single in ur area act fast!!!!What do you do regularly to relieve stress?

To relieve stress, I like to hang out and have a good time with my friends, listening to music, or even watching TV with them. It always relaxes me and puts me into a better mind state.

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

I am pretty passionate about astrophysics and neuroscience. I often find myself looking at articles, taking online courses, and learning new things about both subjects. I also love the environment, and will do what I can to increase awareness and sustainability wherever I can.

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

If I were to share one thing about CAPS, it is that they have so many resources that a lot of people just do not know about! Everyone should really go on their page online and check them out, they are very helpful and free!! 

Samer is a second year Neuroscience major, and he is affiliated with Kresge.

Feeling Lonely?

Hello! One of our great Peer Educators, Melissa Newton, shares an article about how to approach loneliness, especially during Winter Quarter. Enjoy!


Winter quarter, in my experience, is by far the loneliest quarter. If people have to bundle up to go outside, they tend to avoid it compared to warmer months. The sun’s early descent in winter can make the low temperatures and feelings of isolation from others feel even worse.

I am an introvert, and so I rather like to re-energize in the solitude of my heated blanket, but this can make it extremely difficult to make any effort to see people. When this becomes a pattern for too long, I feel lonely, isolated, and depressed—even for the whole quarter! Often, this makes me cycle into feeling unmotivated to do schoolwork, causing more stress in my life along with even more sadness, and I may even spend a good chunk of time crying or thinking that my friends do not want to hang out with me.


Contrary to what movies may show about college life, this is common. Feeling lonely when surrounded by hundreds of peers of the same age sounds ridiculous, but it is far from unusual. So, what can students do to get through this winter quarter funk?

Continue reading

CAPS Student Hero: Chris Chow

Hi everyone! We hope you are all having a great Winter Quarter so far. This week we would like to introduce another amazing PEP member, Chris. Thank you for all your hard work, Chris!

1965420_10204765968219918_6291937030160543942_oWhat do you do regularly to relieve stress? 

To regularly relieve stress, I play video games, take occasional naps, and play the guitar. I feel like doing these activities allows me to escape from the stress of the world and gives me time to recuperate and relax.

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

I love playing my guitar. Taking time to learn new songs and different chords is really cathartic for me. It’s the one thing I always find myself going back to when I have spare time.

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

I would like people to know CAPS is an extremely safe place to go and talk about anything that’s bothering you. Going there doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. Many people have gone and received help with stress and various experiences that have been hindering them. Overall, it is worth checking out and I promise they won’t bite!

Chris is a third year Intensive Psychology major, affiliated with College Nine. 

CAPS Student Hero: Miriam Medina

Hey everyone! We hope Winter Quarter is going great so far. Today we’d like to introduce you to another wonderful PEP member, Miriam. She’s been doing great work this year at CAPS. Thank you, Miriam!

20151008_201333What do you do regularly to relieve stress?

In order to relieve the stress that arises from life’s daily hassles, I choose to run. Running long distances liberates my mind from worrying about any stress. When I run, my sole focus is on creating a steady rhythm in my breathing, so I immediately begin to coach myself: “inhale with your nose and exhale through your mouth…repeat”. The inhales and exhales parallel with my speed. As I gain momentum, my inhales and exhales occur more rapidly; however at the same time their consistency give me a peace of mind. In this sense, it is ironic that I am able to reach a calm state of mind at a moment when my heart is racing at what seems its quickest pace and pumping my blood like there is no tomorrow. However, I get this amazing feeling when I reach my destination. At this point my breathing is pumping in my ears, but it makes me feel alive, rejuvenated, and accomplished.

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

Over the past 6 years, I have grown passionate about soccer. Throughout these 6 years, I have worked hard to master the game and the mentality that is essential to play it. Although I still have much to learn about the sport, to this day it ceases to amaze me how I have improved. I sincerely believe that without my amazing coaches from high school, I would not be the same player I am today. They taught me dedication, persistence, and the most important virtue: simply being able to enjoy the game. What is awesome is that these characteristics are not only necessary to play soccer, but they are definitely essential for living our lives. Every time I step onto a soccer field, a rush of excitement warms my body as I await the whistle of the referee to begin the game. In my eyes there is an immense beauty to this sport, for most if not all of the power is in our feet and legs. The fact that I can have direction and coordination with my legs is so cool, and as the years have passed I have grown to appreciate my body for the amazing capabilities it has. Also, I love that soccer is universal and that through soccer I have made deeper connections with a variety of people and students in my school, job, and in my home town. In soccer it is known that every game or practice is a chance to get better, and that just reminds me that the same goes for life: every day brings opportunity for change.

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

I would share with my peers that CAPS does not stay within the Student Health Center building; actually its resources and services can be found all over campus! For example, the locations for Let’s Talk, a drop-in program that provides support and encouragement through a variety of topics, are in the Cantu Queer Center and Graduate Student Commons. CAPS makes an effort to reach out and provide UCSC students with the help that is incredibly useful in our busy environment. Just remember, it is okay to feel stress because it is normal; once it begins to overwhelm, CAPS is here to help. :)

Miriam is a second year, double majoring in Psychology and LALS. She is affiliated with Oakes.

CAPS STUDENT HERO: Katherine Chadbourne

Hello! We hope that everyone is looking forward to their much-deserved break this week. This week we are proud to introduce the illustrious Katherine Chadbourne: she is a returning member to the CAPS Peer Educator Program. Thanks for all you do, Katherine!

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What do you do regularly to relieve stress

The first thing I usually do when I’m stressed is make a list of everything I have to do, and check things off as I go. It really makes everything feel manageable when I’m able to see what I’ve done and what I have left to do. I’ll also listen to music and bake something to take a break from whatever’s stressing me out, that way I can go back in with a clear head.

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

I’m really passionate about volunteering. I volunteer in an elementary school and I just love that I’m able to interact with children and help them learn. They’ve impacted me in such a positive way, and I love seeing their smiling faces when I walk in the classroom, and their expression when they finally understand a math problem we’ve been working on is the best! I also love travelling- I lived in Europe for a few years when I was younger and I studied abroad last year, and I took every opportunity I had to explore somewhere new. It’s so important to me to learn about and experience different cultures, and I’m always daydreaming about and planning trips I want to take in the future. I’m also passionate about my family, friends, cooking, and hiking.

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

I want my fellow students to know that CAPS has so many amazing resources that are available to help students with anything, whether they just want to talk with someone, or are struggling with a bigger issue. It’s free and confidential, and going to CAPS doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you! CAPS is here for us, so take advantage of the services!

Katherine Chadbourne is a fourth year Psychology major affiliated with College Nine

CAPS Student Hero: Melissa Newton

FullSizeRenderHi everyone! Thanks for tuning in to the blog. We’d like to introduce Melissa Newton, one of our Peer Educators, who work to reduce stigma and reach out to students. Melissa’s been working hard as a Peer Educator, and recently helped facilitate one of our Stress Less Workshops. Thank you for all you do, Melissa!

What do you do regularly to relieve stress? 

To relieve stress, I regularly take breaks and spend time with friends and roommates. I also do yoga to help reduce physical stress along with the emotional stress. I have found that laughing helps me more than almost anything, so taking the time to laugh (with friends and family, watching a comedy, or on Tumblr) is extremely important to me.

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

This year I am excited and passionate to be president of Psi Chi, which is UCSC’s Psychology Honor Society on campus. We foster students’ academic achievement, relationships with faculty, and develop a community of students passionate about psychology. Another passion of mine is soap making. Making soap from scratch is incredibly fun. I have perfected a recipe and I add colors, scents, and herbs to the soap to make it even more lively. I’m also obsessed with dinosaurs and plants.

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

I want my peers to know that CAPS is a genuinely welcoming space. They offer many services other than traditional, one-on-one therapy for anyone seeking more support, and above all, that seeking support is normal and okay and can be really helpful!

Melissa is a third year Intensive Psychology major, and she is affiliated with Cowell.

CAPS Student Hero: Michelle Vo

One of our newer initiatives at CAPS is our Peer Education Program (PEP). The CAPS peers support the mission of our counseling center by fighting stigma, facilitating workshops, helping with marketing, and other projects. If you’d like to help out at CAPS like today’s hero Michelle, keep an eye on the blog in upcoming weeks for information on volunteer opportunities.


What do you do regularly to relieve stress? 

Whenever I am stressed, I like to spend time by myself to relax my mind but at the same time I like to prioritize my schedule and responsibilities, here are some examples!

  1. Take a nice walk by myself with my headphones on; listening to my favorite songs ‘Slow Dancing in a Burning Room’ by John Mayer and ‘Me and Mrs. Jones’ by Michael Buble!
  2. People watch from a coffee shop or a shady bench on campus.
  3. Take a walk at West Cliff Drive or at the beach.
  4. Most importantly, I like to map out the things I have to do and take action! I remind myself to pace myself and make sure my plate is not too full.

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

I’m interested in Asian American communities and their connection to mental illnesses. As a Vietnamese American student, I’ve seen both sides of the spectrum. I’ve witnessed the differences of how mental illnesses are treated/untreated and I want to be able to be a resource for my own community!  Something else I’m passionate about is social justice issues regarding gender differences,  and equal rights and opportunities for marginalized communities. Being aware and knowledgeable about these issues is a step further into educating others and inspiring action within the community. I also enjoy spending time petting, walking, cuddling, loving all sorts of dogs! I have three little puppies at home.

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

Something I want to share with all my slug peers is that after interacting with many CAPS faculty, I can say with confidence that all of the CAPS counselors are very well trained, approachable, and wholeheartedly caring of their campus community.

Michelle Vo is a fourth year Intensive Psychology major affiliated with College Nine.