The Impact of Technology

Hey Slugs! Today we are sharing a great article, written by one of our hard working PEP members, Samer, about how technology can affect our ability to be connected with ourselves. Have fun reading!

THE IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY

You are sitting on a chair, waiting. You are having a difficult time in a class this quarter and decided to seek help by going to your professor’s office hours. You are waiting to talk to him but the guy in front of you really just does not understand what is happening in class. As you sit there waiting, the urge to check your phone encapsulates you. You get out your phone and begin scrolling through Twitter, mindlessly looking at tweets, and continue reading well packaged thoughts from people you barely know.

Later on in the day, you are at the bus stop, waiting for the 10 to come and pick you up so you can go home. As you are sitting there by yourself, the urge appears again. You open up Snapchat and begin to watch everyone’s stories and you even begin to post some funny ones yourself. Later in the night, it comes to the point when your roommates are asleep and you are sitting in the dark and you feel so much discomfort. You pull out your phone and check Facebook. You used to be able to just get into your bed and crash. This was my daily reality and this wasn’t what life used to be like growing up. It wasn’t like this for my parents either. But imagining that is so strange now and that in itself is weird. I feel the world around me changing, but I don’t know if I like the direction it’s going in. Some people don’t see growing social media use as an issue, but I eventually saw the results of those growing urges.

In a world dominated by technology, it only seems normal to check your phone in your spare time. And the long term effects and rooted reasons for it don’t seem apparent. But when I actually sit down and think about it, the fact that most of society feels bound to technology is a bit scary. Can technology/social media (phones specifically) be detrimental to the development of humans?

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The Pressure’s Off

CAPS Peer Educator Emma Burke shares her experience of navigating a relationship during the transition to college. Read on to see what she has to say!

THE PRESSURE’S OFF
With everything we hear from our favorite TV shows, movies, and even music, it’s easy to begin thinking that by the time we get to college, we need to be in a serious relationship. College is where everyone finds their partner, right? Well, maybe not so right. According to The Daily Dot, only twenty-eight percent of married college graduates actually met their spouses during college while attending the same University (Klee). What does this tell us? College is where we come to grow into well-rounded adults. Do we like surfing? Do we enjoy tofu or steak? Do we want to travel, and if so, where do we want to go? Each one of us has to answer these questions for ourselves, and we have limitless opportunities to do so! There is no reason why we can’t find our partner along the way, but there’s also no pressure to be on the hunt for our soulmate before we find out what we actually want in one. And the most important thing to keep in mind is that if we feel the pressure to find a partner, we may be more likely to “plug someone in” instead of finding someone we truly want in our lives. Overlooking someone’s faults in an attempt to fulfill one’s societal duties can lead to unhealthy relationships and unhappiness.

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Are You Running Out Of Time?

Hey Slugs! We hope you enjoy this article from one of our Peer Educators, Miriam Medina, about finding a balance with time management. Enjoy, and keep checking back for more articles by our great PEP Team!

ARE YOU RUNNING OUT OF TIME?

Is it me or is this quarter going by ridiculously fast? It seems as though we have tons of assignments and tasks that are piling up before us with very little time to complete each one. What does our situation call for? Time management.

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We have heard about it thousands of times from our advisors, professors, and even friends. The actual act of managing your time consists of thinking out all your responsibilities and activities and distributing them thoughtfully throughout your days of the week; in order, to ensure that they are completed efficiently. Such activities will probably include going to classes, doing homework, working, or even doing exercise. But as you have already probably figured out, the actual act of managing your time is way easier said and talked about than done. So how can we make it easier for it to be actually be “done”?

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Feeling Lonely?

Hello! One of our great Peer Educators, Melissa Newton, shares an article about how to approach loneliness, especially during Winter Quarter. Enjoy!

FEELING LONELY?

Winter quarter, in my experience, is by far the loneliest quarter. If people have to bundle up to go outside, they tend to avoid it compared to warmer months. The sun’s early descent in winter can make the low temperatures and feelings of isolation from others feel even worse.

I am an introvert, and so I rather like to re-energize in the solitude of my heated blanket, but this can make it extremely difficult to make any effort to see people. When this becomes a pattern for too long, I feel lonely, isolated, and depressed—even for the whole quarter! Often, this makes me cycle into feeling unmotivated to do schoolwork, causing more stress in my life along with even more sadness, and I may even spend a good chunk of time crying or thinking that my friends do not want to hang out with me.

Contrary to what movies may show about college life, this is common. Feeling lonely when surrounded by hundreds of peers of the same age sounds ridiculous, but it is far from unusual. So, what can students do to get through this winter quarter funk?

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Breaking the Boundaries: Trying Something New!

CAPS Peer Educator Marisa Patel shares her experience in trying something new and encourages you to step outside your comfort zone just in time for summer!

BEING BRAVE AND STEPPING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

By Marisa Patel

try something newAbout halfway through my sophomore year, I decided to join a traditional Filipino dance team housed under the Filipino Student Association. I wanted to join because I have been dancing from a young age, and my roommate, who was already a member of this dance team, assured me that it would be a lot of fun. At the same time, though, I was nervous and feared that I would not be able to adapt to a culture and learn a style of dance that was so unfamiliar to me. It turns out that this was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my undergraduate career. After joining the team, it wasn’t long before I realized that I had joined an incredibly fun and welcoming family that I was sure I wanted to be a part of for the rest of my time here at UCSC. By stepping out of my comfort zone and taking a risk, I was able to move past my fears and build truly meaningful connections.

What exactly does it mean to step out of your comfort zone? Well, to me, stepping out of one’s comfort zone means breaking boundaries and trying something new, or challenging. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to try something that absolutely terrifies you or makes you cringe. I believe that this “something new” should be a good balance between comfort and discomfort.

Moreover, stepping out of your comfort zone doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to make a BIG change, either. It can be as simple as ordering something other than your go-to dish at your favorite restaurant, or enrolling in a dance class when you know you have two left feet.  Little steps like these are a good way to ease yourself into moving out of your comfort zone, and may even prepare you for a situation in which you have no choice but to step out of it. Another thing to note about stepping out of your comfort zone: it doesn’t have to be planned; it can be a spur of the moment decision. In fact, I’ve found those spontaneous decisions to be the most satisfying.

Taking risks is an essential part of stepping out of your comfort zone and making room for personal growth. We make it difficult for ourselves to grow personally if we are always sticking to the same routine and do not instead embrace the fear of taking risks every now and then.  By stepping out of your comfort zone, you are allowing yourself to be more aware of who you are, realize your strengths, weaknesses and potential, self-improve, make connections, and so much more.

I am about to graduate, and reflecting on these past four years I’ve realized how important it is to challenge yourself and take a stab at something different. To be honest, I haven’t stepped out of my comfort zone all that much over the past four years. But when I think about the times that I have, I am glad and proud that I did. The only regret that I have is that I didn’t do it more. But, I also know that it is never too late to make this kind of change.

I understand that this is easier said than done, but trust me, you’ll never know until you try, and when you do try I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. So, don’t be afraid to be bold, trust yourself and let go.

Asking for Help: A Student’s Personal Struggle with Mental Illness

As the month of May comes to an end, Peer Educator Erika Garcilazo reflects on the importance of fighting the stigma of mental illness and reaching out to others for support.

BREAKING THE SILENCE – MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH

By Erika Garcilazo

stop-the-stigma-of-mental-illness-e1381250784828May is Mental Health Awareness Month. But what exactly does that mean? It seems like we have so many awareness months it’s hard to keep track of them or even really know how we can participate. When it comes to awareness, the first step is to look within yourself and how this issue has affected or currently affects you. I think the first thing that many people notice about the topic of mental health is the stigma. Many of us are afraid to share our struggles, and even more notably we are afraid to ask for help. I definitely have experienced the reality of this stigma first-hand.

There have been many times in my studies here at UCSC where I was juggling various personal issues, some of them relating to mental illness.  I felt that if I shared this with anyone, I would seem weak or I would somehow be less than a productive and intelligent student. There were many factors contributing to me feeling this way; having already felt out of place in higher education as a first generation student of color, my mental illness made my experience as a student that much more difficult. I felt alone and lost. This isolated outlook on what I was going through kept me not only from getting the help I needed, but made me feel unworthy of the opportunities surrounding me, pushing me deeper into my depression. At times it seemed as though I was the only one going through these feelings, and that was a very scary place.

Thankfully I was able to reach out and find the support and help I needed. I realized I wasn’t alone. It took me a while to learn to manage my mental illness, and even now I still have bouts where the struggle becomes daunting. But I’ve learned that although this is something I will personally have to manage throughout my life, I can be happy and I can be productive. Even though I may fall off the horse every now and then it gets easier to get back on every time. Not too long ago it would have been impossible for me to share this story, but I’ve tired of the stigma. I hope that in sharing my experience, those who  are going through something similar will be empowered to break the silence and ask for help. You are not alone.

The truth is 1 in 4 of individuals in the US struggle with some type of mental illness throughout our lives. Being a student can be hard. For many of us it comes with unique struggles and barriers that at times culminate into a challenge that can seem insurmountable. Fighting it alone makes it that much more difficult. Never be afraid to ask for help, even though at first it can be hard to do so. Some people may not understand, and it may take a couple tries before you find the help and resources that are right for you. But take it from me the more you practice the more you start to realize you are never alone. This month of May lend an ear to a person in need, or even better yet begin the conversation by breaking your own silence.

ICYMI – CAPS has a Relaxation Station!

CAPS Peer Educator Marisa Patel shares the outcome of her outreach project this year. Read on to learn more about the Relaxation Station launch last month!

CAPS RECAP: THE INSIDE SCOOP ON OUR RELAXATION STATION!

By Marisa Patel

CAPS Associate Director Dorje Jennette, instructs peer educator Marisa Patel on a computer used at a new relaxation station for students to use to reduce stress through biofeedback. (Shmuel Thaler -- Santa Cruz Sentinel)

CAPS Associate Director Dorje Jennette, instructs peer educator Marisa Patel on a computer used at a new relaxation station for students to use to reduce stress through biofeedback. (Shmuel Thaler — Santa Cruz Sentinel)

In case you haven’t heard, the Relaxation Station Launched! What is the Relaxation Station, you ask? It is one of CAPS’s many resources to improve your self-care habits. The Relaxation Station, located in the CAPS waiting room, has a state of the line massage chair that you are welcome to use for 15-minute intervals, free of charge! Along with the massage chair, the Relaxation Station has an iPad from which you can access audio-guided relaxation exercises while getting your massage. Some of the apps included on the iPad are MindShift, CBT-I Coach, and PsychMeUp. Feel free to check out these apps and download them on your mobile phone, too! While waiting your turn to use the Relaxation Station, you can use the laptop in the waiting room that provides biofeedback programs and games. The biofeedback programs and games measure your stress levels and give you feedback so that you can learn to exercise some control over your stress levels.

The Relaxation Station launched just a few weeks ago on April 25th, and the Santa Cruz Sentinel covered the event—check out hyperlink! The launch was successful and I’m very proud of how everything turned out.

I’d like to give a big shout out and Thank You to everyone in the Peer Educator Program, and Dorje Jennette. Dorje is a licensed psychologist and the Associate Director for Clinical Services at CAPS. He was the lead developer of this project and he contributed an immense amount of time and work to the development and launch of the Relaxation Station. Thank you, Dorje, for guiding me and allowing me to help you officially launch this project.

I hope you all take advantage of this great resource that CAPS has to offer. Don’t forget to grab a gift bag on your way out!