A Letter to the UCSC graduating class of 2015

DEAR CLASS OF 2015…

By Erika Garcilazo

CAPS Peer Educator Erika Garcilazo shares her personal experience as a graduating senior and offers words of wisdom for other Slugs in the same boat.

So it’s that time of the year, at the start of Spring quarter, when the reality really begins to sink in for us Seniors. The last quarter of our long journey here at UCSC. It seems like just yesterday we were asking for directions to Classroom Unit 2. It’s been four eventful years for us Slugs and it’s a beautiful thing to be able to reminisce and really reflect on all the wonderful life lessons we’ve learned here amongst the redwoods.

On the other hand it can be really anxiety inducing having to think about moving on. The fear of failing to succeed out in the job market or as a fully independent adult can be really overwhelming for many students. And for many others simply thinking of leaving behind our nurturing campus and this stage of life can be impactful. But as all stages in life we will get through it and perhaps we might need some help along the way.

It’s important to take care of yourself and always remember it’s okay to reach out for help during this transition. In fact the best way to prepare and set yourself up for success is by utilizing the copious resources on campus. CAPS is always a good resource if you need to talk to someone. You can call (831) 459-2628 to set up an appointment, or you can give CAPS a visit in the office where you can take some time to sit in our amazing massage chair – it’s a great way to manage your stress levels!

If you’re looking for job finding resources the Career Center is the place for you! They hold drop in resume workshops, mock interviews, as well as career counseling. You can also visit to schedule an advising appointment. So don’t hesitate to get into contact with CAPS and the Career Center; even if they’re resources you haven’t used yet in your four years here doesn’t mean you can’t find them helpful in your last quarter. Let’s end strongly by keeping ourselves happy in mind and body.

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Mental Illness and the Model Minority Myth

Discussing Mental Health in Asian American Families

By Grace Shefcik

CAPS Peer Educator Grace Shefcik shares her personal experiences with mental illness and her perspective on how to discuss issues related to mental health within the Asian American community.
The first time I spoke to my mom about mental illness, she seemed uncomfortable. I knew it was a topic she was not well versed in, but regardless of how much I tried to familiarize her, the best I could get was her support for me to go to therapy.

Through time, her perception seemed to shift. At first, her ability to succeed and live a happy life despite major difficulties made my problems appear to not hold enough merit to lead to a mental illness. I grew up in a stable home, did not have to flee the country, only had to focus on one language, and overall, I had the opportunity to devote my life to school without major barriers. What was there to be upset about? She routinely expressed this not only to me, but to my therapist and father, who eventually showed her that mental illness does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter where you are from or what you have been through. Pain is subjective. What I experienced is very similar to what other Asian American and 1st/2nd generational families have – the pressure and expectation of being the “Model Minority.”

Members of the model minority are expected to be smart (particularly good at math and science), wealthy, obedient, self-reliant, and most glaringly – immune to mental illness. Not only does one’s family or culture create this picture, but the media also perpetuates these ideas.  These can all be healthy things to strive for, but if the pressure of one’s family or culture becomes too much, especially when one can’t adhere to the expectations, it can take a major toll. Potentially, the negative impact can be large enough that admitting this model is not you or that you need help can be humiliating, often resulting in anger and/or denial from yourself and others. Continue reading

Slugs Against Sexual Assault

Have you noticed teal ribbons around campus this month? They’re to honor Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which happens every April. Preventing and supporting survivors of sexual assault is an important part of my work at CAPS, and we are grateful to partner with our downstairs neighbors at SHOP to support this mission. Today, SAFE at SHOP intern Erica West shares some information on what you can do to help prevent sexual assault at UCSC and in our communities.

Working Together To End Sexual Assault

Teal Ribbon for Sexual Assault Awareness Monthby Erica West

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and SAFE (Sexual Assault Facts and Education) wants to take this time to spread awareness and support those who have experienced sexual assault. At SAFE we define sexual assault as any unwanted sex act that is attempted or committed without the other person’s consent. Sexual assault is not something we talk about often in our society and so sometimes it may feel like it is a rare occurrence. However 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience sexual assault in their lifetimes. Unfortunately, sexual assault is also one of the most underreported crimes and so statistics can often be difficult to find and verify. Why do so many people not report their sexual assaults? Continue reading

Domestic Violence Awareness: What Every UCSC Student Should Know

A Student Perspective on Abuse and Relationships

by Erica West

As we continue through October, I’m sure a lot of us are getting excited about pumpkin spice lattes, fall weather and Halloween, but did you also know that October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month? Domestic violence is an issue that affects us all, and it’s important we know how to recognize the signs, as well as how to support a survivor of domestic violence. Firstly, domestic violence is defined as behaviors used by one person in an intimate relationship to control the other. Partners can be married, living together, or dating, and it happens in same-sex relationships just as often as heterosexual ones.

Continue reading