CAPS Student Hero: Hilaria Barajas

Hilaria Barajas - Peer Educator

Hilaria Barajas – Peer Educator

Thanks for tuning in to our bi-monthly feature of our CAPS Student Heroes. This week we’ll be shining the spotlight on Hilaria Barajas, one of our incredible Peer Educators for this year! We appreciate all that you do, Hilaria!

What’s your favorite part about being a UCSC student?

I really enjoy going to school in the middle of the forest. The campus is ridiculously beautiful and at any point I can run into some deer or come across some amazing views. I really enjoy finding secret spots in the forest where students have decorated or created something awesome. I think UCSC has a pretty unique culture and I feel grateful to be a part of it.

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

I feel passionate about trying new things and exploring my surroundings. I enjoy meeting new people, traveling, creating and appreciating art, listening and discovering music, learning about culture, going to concerts, eating and pretty much just discovering new things about myself and everything around me. I also really enjoy volunteering and I hope to help others in my future career through psychology and sociology!

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

CAPS is a tool created for YOU to use! It is all about the student and they really do care about your well being and want you to succeed here. It’s okay to ask for help when you need it, especially as a college student where you’re expected to juggle a million things on top of dealing with all your basic human emotions and feelings. Its confidential and free so if you’re at all curious, it would not hurt to try!

Hilaria Barajas is a second year student affiliated with College Nine. She intends to declare an Intensive Psychology major.


National Depression Screening Day! January 21st, 11 AM – 1 PM


By Camara Chea

NDSD Flyer Silver Lining - UCSC


With winter quarter in full swing, you may feel that things are racing by and you can’t catch up. The cold weather, combined with growing piles of homework, unrealistic expectations,  and everything else going on in your life, may be putting you in a funk. Is it the winter blues? …Or is it something more? If you are tired, sad, anxious, having difficulty concentrating in class, or just don’t have interest in the same things you used to, depression may be the culprit. Depression is something that can affect anyone. Half of all college students feel depressed at some point during their time in school. According to a 2011 survey, 60% of college students reported feeling very sad in the past year. However, you shouldn’t let depression dictate your college experience.

Thankfully, UCSC Counseling and Psychological Services is offering students a mental health check-up on Wednesday, January 21st at the Cowell Student Health Center from 11 AM to 1 PM as part of National Depression Screening Day®. Students will have an opportunity to take a brief, anonymous screening and meet one-on-one with a mental health professional. The screening provides students with insight into symptoms they might be experiencing and offers helpful treatment and referral information, if necessary. This event is free of charge and totally anonymous. And if you love free stuff as much as I do, you’ll be psyched to hear that there will be COMPLIMENTARY DONUTS!

TLDR: You have 99 problems but don’t let depression be one of them. You’re not alone. It’s okay to ask for help. Take this next step.

CAPS Student Hero: Grace Shefcik

Grace Shefcik - Peer Educator

Grace Shefcik – Peer Educator

Welcome back to CAPS Student Heroes, and we hope you feel reinvigorated for Winter Quarter! With the beginning of the new year, we would like to introduce one of our newest Peer Educators at CAPS, Grace Shefcik! Grace has been assisting in designing our CAPS Peer Educator Program t-shirts for the upcoming year. Thanks for everything, Grace!

What’s your favorite part about being a UCSC student?

My favorite part about being at UCSC is the sense of community the university has. I feel very comfortable and welcomed here. The people I have met have encouraged me to pursue and consider different opportunities I wouldn’t have otherwise, and consequently, the best people I have meet here have been through these organizations that have strong community.

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

I love writing, reading (predominately Sylvia Plath & Carl Jung), and watching movies (my favorite is American Beauty). I’m passionate about social issues – predominately regarding the ways in which most issues disproportionally affect different communities, of which many are silenced. Additionally, I’m incredibly interested in the German language and spend a fair amount of time practicing it and day-dreaming of Germany. I also enjoy painting, swimming, and biking.

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

That CAPS is a great resource to be used and is a welcoming environment. It’s important to remember that even if you have faced stigma with your friends, family, or peers, that CAPS will not stigmatize or delegitimize your respective feelings or state. There are so many different ways CAPS can help a given individual, and it is important that students are aware of the various forms of services offered.

Grace Shefcik is a 2nd year student affiliated with College Ten. She is majoring in Cognitive Science.

Tackling your Mid-Winter Slump

Hello slugs! CAPS wishes you a happy new year and a warm welcome back to campus for Winter Quarter!

Before I get started, I’d like to briefly introduce myself. My name is Alina and I am a peer educator here at CAPS. This means I help out with advertising and facilitating programs put on by CAPS, and that I am extremely interested in the mental health and wellness of students. I am a fourth year student studying psychology and linguistics, and I also work as an RA in the College Nine and College Ten community. Additionally, I am a writing tutor for the College Ten core course, so I love writing. I will be blogging here from time to time, so expect to read more posts by me! I’m really excited about this, and I hope you are too!

Now, Winter Quarter is unfortunately a time when many college students hit a slump; they start to feel tired, uninspired, and detached from school and friends. These are all symptoms of something more commonly known as “burnout.” With the help of the internet and my own personal experience, I would love to offer tips and techniques for countering the burnout of winter quarter.

1) Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. This is something I’m definitely guilty of too… when I’m stressed and have a lot of work to do, sleep is the first thing to go out the window. Try aiming for at least 8 hours per night.

2) Start the day with a relaxing ritual. Instead of jumping out of bed as soon as the alarm rings, try meditating for 15 minutes. I like to start off the day by reading some articles online, or reading a chapter of a book. Doing something soothing eases you up and helps you take care of yourself a little better.

3) Set boundaries for yourself. Sure, the sky is the limit… but you need to realize that taking care of yourself is the most important thing. Everyone has different levels of stress that they are able to maintain. Don’t compare yourself to others, and think about what works best for YOU. If you constantly feel stressed out and like you have too much on your plate, you might need to reevaluate your choices.

4) Take a break from technology. I know that this piece of advice sounds archaic in this time and age. But try it, and see how you feel afterwards. Try just turning your phone and laptop off for half an hour. Interact with your friends face-to-face. Or just do something creative – I love sketching painting. Maybe try something physical, like taking a hike in the forest.

These are just a few of my tips that I use to try to keep my energy up so that I won’t get burned out. Hopefully you felt like you learned something new. Remember, you are never alone and there are resources available for you if things get too overwhelming. Good luck slugs!

PS: Here is a picture of my cat. Clearly, she understands the importance of getting enough sleep and staying relaxed!

Sleeping Apricot