CAPS STUDENT HERO: REBECA NAJARRO

Hey Slugs! Let’s celebrate the end of midterm season with an introduction to another wonderful Peer Educator, Becky! Becky is another new Peer Educator and she has been a fantastic addition to the program. Her hard work and dedication are much appreciated, with the added bonus of a delightful personality! Read on to learn some fun facts about Becky!

What do you do regularly to relieve stress?

My type of therapy speaks to me, not with words, but with melodic harmonies that enlighten my soul. Music relieves my stress. At the age of seven I instantly fell in love with the flute, whose sound captivates beauty with every touch. Ever since, music has been flowing erratically through my arteries. When I begin to feel frail, I play and feel similar to a blossoming flower, growing stronger with my aspirations as a musician. Whenever I am feeling unnameddown, it is an instinct to shuffle through my belongings and look for the shimmering metal instrument that has been there for me through the toughest times!

 

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

I am passionate about the inclusion and empowerment of people of color. I am the current co-chair of Unión Salvadoreña de Estudiantes Salvadoreña (USEU). Our mission is to empower the Salvadoran/Latino community (and allies) through education. Every week we hold informative meetings about the politics, history, and culture of El Salvador and Latin America. Last year, USEU gave me the amazing opportunity to go to Washington D.C. with co-chair Rodrigo Mendez. We attended a conference held by the “Center for Community Change” where we spoke about the recent deportations of hundreds of thousands of Central American Immigrants. We acted as a voice for Latin youth and advocated for a stop to the deportation of our people. I am also a part of the Academic Challenge Program, a program at UCSC that introduces freshmen to research. Since last year, I have been interested in how the recent rise of an “anti-immigrant sentiment” has led to scarce resources and lack of opportunities for many undocumented students pursuing high education.

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

I would love my peers to know that it is okay to seek help from CAPS. Many times, students feel outcasted or labeled if they mention they have used resources at the Counseling and Psychological Services Center. Teenagers and young adults are especially prone to peer-pressure and bullying. With stigma surrounding psychological disorders and mental health issues, many students are insecure and worried about their classmates (or roommates) finding out their diagnosis and treatment methods. Many young adults are also uneducated about mental health, have common misconceptions about certain illnesses, and hold stereotypes that can make it extremely difficult for them to be understanding when a person comes out about their illness. It is important to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health on college campuses, in order to provide a safe space for those who are affected by mental health issues. I want my peers to know that it is important to be educated about mental health, because we may not know if one of our friends or our family members is going through a tough time and needs our help and other resources. By reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and educating students on campus, it will help those students who want to access these resources because they will no longer feel afraid to get the help that they need.

Rebeca is a second year student, majoring in Psychology and she is affiliated with Merrill College.

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