WHEN TO END A FRIENDSHIP

Having a friend who cuts you down or makes you feel bad about yourself can be a terrible and damaging experience. However, how do you know when to reach out to a friend and fix things, or when to say enough is enough and preserve your own self esteem? In this article, Peer Educator, Madison discusses some helpful tips about how and when to end a friendship. And be sure to check out the link at the bottom too!

When to End a Friendship

by Madison Wright

Why is it more common to hear about break ups in romantic relationships than friendships? Most people have significantly more friendships in their lifetime than they do romantic relationships, yet you don’t hear people going to their loved ones asking for advice on how to break things off with a friend. Is it more acceptable to put up with toxic behaviors from friends than it is from partners? I don’t think so. I would never stay with a partner who treats me badly, yet I forgive friends time after time for similar behavior. A large part of any relationship is communication, so it’s important to communicate your feelings and boundaries to friends. At that point it is up to the other person to respect how you feel and your wishes or disregard them in hopes that you will make exceptions for them. Exceptions for friends you trust are normal and usually harmless, but for friends who violate your trust and continuously cross boundaries, it may be time to reflect on whether that friendship is worth keeping. Examples of actions that reflect a lack of trust and respect are provided in the link below. Every relationship is different, but if you are thinking of ending a relationship remember that you should always put your best interest first. Ending a friendship is never easy, but it also provides you the opportunity to establish new, positive relationships.

 

https://www.liveabout.com/reasons-for-breaking-up-with-a-friend-1384874

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FINDING CONFIDENCE

At times, we all doubt ourselves and our own abilities. As college students, we may often feel that we don’t belong here or that we won’t be able to compare to the other intelligent students around us. Here, Peer Educator, Erich shares his story about finding his confidence in an overwhelming and intimidating environment.

Finding Confidence

by Erich Crawford

I have spent time worrying if I am strong enough to maintain my education at a university that has so many people and part of a UC system that I never thought I would be apart of. I grew up with the mentality that education was not the proper path for me and that I was not cut out to make it at a university. Luckily, my desire to learn and grow provided me with the opportunities and guidance to take that chance to apply to the UC’s. I chose this school with high goals but often do not believe that I belong here and struggle with the idea that I am smart enough, dedicated enough, or have the skills to succeed here.

There is a study called the big fish study and it explained to me how often times when you are surrounded by a lot of big fish you feel smaller. A report showed how the top students at less rigorous schools than Harvard were equal in scores and research opportunity. Yet the students at ‘less rigorous’ schools had higher success rates and feelings of accomplishment. Analytically they did the same but those at Harvard were comparing themselves to the highest achievements and that left them feeling like they were small. This always reminds me that my studies and work that I put in are valid and important and it helps me recognize how much I have grown in the past few years. This recognition motivates me to keep pushing and that I do not need to compare my work and grades to anybody else because that is not a true measure of value. My values are created by my choice and not by how well someone else is doing. If I am able to develop and learn while making a peaceful impact on people lives then I know I am doing well. I do not need a test score to show me how valuable I am.

If you ever feel like your confidence or self esteem are too much to handle on your own, CAPS is here to help!

ANTICIPATORY ANXIETY

Anticipation can often be the hardest part of any task. Our minds have this incredible power to build up things and jump to worst case scenarios. And it often gets to the point where the anticipation is much worse than the actual event itself. Read Peer Educator Aditi’s thoughts about the role that anticipation plays in anxiety and check out the psychology today article below as well!

Anticipatory Anxiety

by Aditi Sheth

Anticipation is like your mind’s own distorted movie, consistently playing in your brain. The movie that’s playing can be of any genre. Romantic Drama, the way your mind wanders when you think about a crush. Psychological Thriller, thinking about the different ways the midterm you’re about to take can trick you. Workplace Comedy, considering the way your friends at the office will react to that joke you want to tell. Sometimes though, these movies and their genres can take a turn for the worst. The tendency to anticipate can create a film that increases those symptoms of anxiety, causes stress and ultimately long term harm. Anticipation is a definite exacerbator of anxiety and for some people, it can be the main cause. Let’s take a look at this phenomenon with an article from Psychology Today, which talks about different ways to combat the Anticipatory Anxiety.

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/debunking-myths-the-mind/201101/anticipatory-anxiety-the-suffering-and-solutions

 

A SELF-REFLECTION

The end of the school year is a great time to think about self-reflection and to ask yourself why you are in the position you’re in. What good and bad things have lead you to this place? Are you happy where you are or are you ready to make a change? Read on to learn more about the importance of self-reflection and how you can reflect upon yourself this year.

A Self-Reflection

by Jonathon Tsou

As another school year passes, I remember the little and the big things at Santa Cruz. There is a poem by Robert Frost called, “The Road Not Taken”. It is a relatively well-known poem that most American high schools teach their students. Most people would say that the poem is about regret and about the road that was not taken. But there is another hidden meaning. It says that there are outside factors that make up our minds for us. We will be given a chance to pick from a couple options for life, but these options are not discovered by us. They come and go at the willingness of invisible people. Any action we take will be regretted and remembered in the future. There is no path that is the best and no one person you meet or one place you go that is perfect. In the next couple of months, many of us will make a hard decision. From continuing to go to graduate school, to move to other places, to find a job. There is no perfect option but is also no wrong choice. It is a fantasy to say that there is nothing scary in the future. It is a fantasy to say that any choice is the right choice. It is a fantasy to say that there is something that is easy.

 

As I look back to my time at UC Santa Cruz, I ask myself why. Why did I do this and why I am here? I ask you to look back at your life and why you are here. In Psychology, we are taught that self-reflection is important for self-improvement. We are not perfect individuals, but we are people who all want to strive for excellence. So thank you all for such a great year.

 

DISCONNECTING AND RECHARGING

Most of us are fairly aware that the constant barrage of messages, notifications, and alerts we feel buzzing in our pockets can be stress inducing. And attempting to keep up with a constant stream of news and social media alerts can be a contributing factor to anyone’s anxiety. So how can we unplug on a small scale to help combat some of these negative effects? Read more to find out!

Disconnecting and Recharging

by Jorge Roque

There are many different types of stressors in our lives, from our academics all the way to our friends and family. Many of these stressors can sometimes get the best of us, resulting in us being overwhelmed by the easiest tasks. One of the largest stressors that students face now has to do with social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. A good way to reduce stress could be disconnecting from many of these sites. Now I don’t mean completely deleting your accounts, unless you’d prefer that, but it can be as simple as putting your phone on do not disturb or turning off the notifications for these certain sites. Here are some benefits of disconnecting from social networking sites, as well as some other things to recharge as you disconnect.

Some of the benefits of disconnecting from social media could ultimately help maintain a good mental state of mind. For starters, disconnecting allows you to have time for yourself, it gives you the opportunity to think and clear your mind. Disconnecting can also help you in removing unhealthy feelings such as jealousy, envy, and loneliness. Separating yourself from social networking sites could also help reduce feelings of missing out when looking at posts. Another thing that disconnecting helps you do is look at life and experience it in person rather than through a screen. You may begin to notice things that you’ve never had the opportunity to notice.

Now that we’ve managed to disconnect from social networking sites, we can see how much time we may actually have on our hands. Now that we have all this free time we can start to do new and exciting things. You can begin to explore your surroundings. An amazing thing about being in a place such as Santa Cruz is that we are surrounded by countless scenic views, ranging from hikes through the forest or getting that good view of the ocean, we have it all. Another thing you could also do is dive into school work, and hopefully complete it sooner now that you’re not distracted by social networking sites. There are still other things you could do such as trying out new things or simply continuing hobbies you have.

Now that you’ve managed to disconnect and recharge, you can still return to these sites and social media platforms. Just remember it’s healthy to disconnect sometimes in order for you to be able to recharge yourself.

YOU AND YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

You have your own unique and vibrant personality, and certain people in your life can bring out your best qualities, while others may unfortunately not connect with your personality in the most positive ways. It is important for us to search for people who make us feel good. But how can we go about doing this? Read on to learn more!

You and Your Relationships

by Priyanka Kulkarni

Personality is a dynamic concept of humanity that we tend to overlook because we are naturally conditioned by the social world to judge people based on the attributes we see of them, the connection we have with them in simple conversation, the attitude we think they have, and other things that we compile about them without even realizing. We have various personalities elaborated for specific social situations. We are different in front of our families than we are with our friends and we are different with adults and professionals than how we are with our peers. We might even be different among friend groups and with individual friends. There is so much abstractness in personality that is remarkable how our brains unconsciously practice different self perceptions and perceptions towards others without thinking.

There are some situations in which we do not like ourselves in and we tend to always replay that experience over and over again in our heads, analyzing and frustrating ourselves about it. Some people are toxic to our lives and it is best to leave them, but it can also be hard when we are used to them. We have all lost friends or relationships when we shouldn’t have or lost friends and relationships when it was best for us. It is hard to let people go sometimes, when they have become part of your everyday life. I had a friend that didn’t make me feel good about myself when I was around her. I didn’t like the person I was when around her. It wasn’t her fault, it was just the nature of our personalities and how they were always conflicting. At the beginning of our relationship, we became really close and after so long it was hard to let go of that friendship since she knew so much about me. It was very refreshing however, when I did cut off that relationship, when I decided that I didn’t want to dislike myself around someone. Everyone deserves to live a happy and healthy lifestyle and having people in your life that disrupt how you self care and love, can be a detriment to your mental health.

In every social situation we are in, we should check-in with ourselves and see if we feel good in this situation, if we feel comfortable and enjoy being who we are in this situation. You shouldn’t have to alter your personality in a way that you don’t like or do not want to be, you should always be the personality that you feel comfortable with and like to be. People are abstract and dynamic and it is impossible to like everyone in the world or have everyone like you and so it is important to understand where you come from and where others come from and build relationships based on understanding and acceptance.

IT’S REIL: MY IDENTITIES AND MENTAL HEALTH

Each of us has our own unique set of intersecting identities that make us who we are! Read below to get to know Peer Educator, Reil, and learn about her identities and how they intersect with her mental health!

It’s Reil:

My Identities & Mental Health

by Sareil Brookins

Who is Sareil? I’ve got many identities (racial, sexual, gender, able, etc.). But the most salient are my Black [African descended], Mexican, bisexual, cis-gender, woman, able-bodied and anxious-filled (hope that makes sense), identities.

                                                  

I am still working on loving myself to my fullest potential of course, nobody is perfect. We have our flaws, but learning to love myself for me, is something constant in my life. Nevertheless, each identity has its own impacts on me, as well as intersecting impacts on me. For example, yes, I am Black and Mexican. However! The way in which I am phenotypically presenting, I am perceived as primarily, or solely Black. Thus, this has a lot to do with how I can and do move throughout the world—from the personal interactions with other people, to the ways in which I am represented in media.

Now, in regards to my mental health…

My identities intersect in various ways. I won’t outline those all of course. But I will highlight some I find to be at the forefront of my mind when thinking about this. Soooo, as mentioned before, I have many identities and they have everything to do with how I do certain things, say certain things, present myself, etc. I think one of the larger roles my identities have to do with my mental health is the fact that because of some of the identities I hold, I deal with microaggressions revolving around sexism, misogyny, homophobia, and many other –isms and –phobias.

When these sorts of things are occurring on a daily basis it is so very exhausting because I am bottling in my reactions, feelings, thoughts, etc. It might all begin as a small fog over my head, and then the next minute I have a huge dark cloud over me. The interactions replay in my head, and I use my energy thinking about it all. It becomes quite draining when my energy goes towards these interactions. A few examples of these interactions are: 1) being told to calm down and relax when I am in no way shape or form upset or mad when explaining something [angry Black woman] 2) being told I am “so articulate” and it sounding like a surprise [Being a Black student of color at a PWI is not too common, so for me to be smart? Holy moly wow] 3) Hearing comments about bisexual folks and the LGBTQ+ community in general [homophobia and transphobia are a no in my life, stay away from me]. Bottling up things is not good and that’s based on personal experience because I get headaches, I get anxious, and overthink and think and think and think. It truly is not worth it, but I can’t help myself in remembering such interactions. I like to think of microaggressions as mosquito bites (credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDd3bzA7450). Imagine getting so many you can’t stop itching. This sort of thinking takes a toll on my mental health. Subsequently, in my CAPS appointments, I am usually spending time on discussing my interactions and how it affected me throughout the week. One thing I can say it helps with is my… resilience!

I love the fact that I can bounce back at any time. Sometimes the negative interactions don’t impact me immediately—at times I have to let it go and maybe the realization of it comes later. Regardless, I get past it, there is tomorrow, I talk with my Dad, mentors, counselor and friends about this stuff all the time because they get it. Finding people who just get it and will listen to me without judgment is one of the best freaking feelings ever. My identities have made seeking mental health help both easy and hard. I don’t see myself talking with people who don’t get it for an hour at CAPS because I don’t want sympathy or apologies; I want someone who gets it. This is where representation comes in. I need to see myself represented in spaces I go to for help. At UCSC we actually do have that and I am sooo grateful we do! But I can say that seeking help has just been hard in general because mental health in both the Black and Mexican community is not really a thing that is praised… it’s sort of treated as a religious healing treatment type of thing (at least in my experience). I’ve been told to pray on it many times…but sometimes we need to talk with folks, get a better understanding of ourselves, recognize our identities and make sure the help we do get works. Self-care is key.