Hey everyone! I hope your winter quarter is getting off to a great start! Today I want to introduce you to another Peer Educator, Miriam. This is Miriam’s second year with PEP and she continues to exhibit fantastic leadership skills and a true commitment to bettering the UCSC community!

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 third year, double majoring in Psychology and LALS. She is affiliated with Oakes.