Twice a month, we’re getting to know one of our CAPS staff members by asking them to answer five questions. This month, we’re featuring Amy Mandell, LMFT, one of our permanent staff members who has worn several different hats over the years.
Amy Mandell, LMFT
What is your position at CAPS, and how long have you been working at UCSC?
I began working as the CAPS Case Manager in 2008, helping students access resources and providing crisis support. After four years as Case Manager, I transferred to a new position and have been working as a Staff Counselor since that time.
What is your favorite part of your job?
There are quite a few great things about my job. I enjoy working in a learning environment, and helping students take advantage of it. It’s great to meet so many students, to hear about their successes and struggles, and to help them find the path that feels right for them. I believe that we are heavily shaped by our own personal experiences of family, culture, religion/spirituality (when applicable), and our place in society as compared to others. I appreciate learning about others’ experiences, witnessing the strengths that people bring to the table, and helping to make those strengths more evident and useful.
Tell our readers about one of your favorite spots on campus or in Santa Cruz.
One of the highlights of being on campus is watching the deer follow regular pedestrian rules. I’ve seen deer look both ways before crossing the street, use the crosswalks, and even use the stairs! It’s hilarious and strange at the same time. I also love the College 9/10 meadow in the mornings. It’s so beautiful and serene.
What do you do to take care of yourself and relax?
If I didn’t engage in some form of regular exercise, I think my brain would permanently remain on overdrive. Running is particularly effective at helping me live in the moment and feel happy. Even better is running with my partner and my dogs. I also love to cook, and to eat good food!
What is one thing you wish you knew as a college student?
Looking back on my college days, I wish I knew of the host of campus resources at my disposal, and that it’s okay to ask for help. As a first generation college student, I wasn’t aware that it’s normal to ask a professor or TA for help, or to request meetings with my academic and financial aid advisers. Ironically enough, I didn’t even know there was a student counseling center on campus. I felt much more at home once I learned how the university system worked, joined a few student organizations, and found others who shared similar life experiences.