THE LIGHT TO MY DARKNESS

Many of us stopped and took time to celebrate the beautiful holiday of Diwali not too long ago. This is a time of year where many celebrations are coming and going, and while the holidays can be a beautiful time, they can also be a very difficult time for many people. It is important to recognize this and recognize that whatever holiday you may be looking forward to, don’t let your own flame burn out!

THE LIGHT TO MY DARKNESS

by Harsimran Kaur

 

I eagerly gather my candles and matches because this week is very special to me – and my community. This week, an entire day will go to celebrating light – the light within us all, the light that defeats darkness and the numerous lights glowing around us.This is a day where all of our houses are lit with candles, lights, and most of all, hope. Diwali, also known as Bandi Chhor Divas, is one of my favorite holidays of the year and for many reasons.

 

Within Sikhism, Diwali marks a day that is celebrated in remembrance of our Gurus victory in helping 52 kings escape from imprisonment and return home. Personally, this serves as a constant reminder to not give up on helping someone; even if it may seem impossible, a way can be found. To celebrate this, Sikhs spread light within their homes, and within the Sikh gurdwara – the Sikh place of worship-  by lighting candles and decorating with lights together.

Annually, being surrounded by so much light, positivity and love, reminds me of the light to my darkness. For me, my faith and family have always been the light that never dimmed, even in my darkest times. In fact, darker times made it shine even brighter. For each person, this light can be different, and for some it may shine brighter or for some it may dim. Just like candles, one light can ignite the next, leading to darkness vanishing all together around you.

A friend once told me I was like a diva – a candle. At first, I was confused. How was I anything like one of these hundreds of little lights? Then, she continued to explain. She told me that I continuously brought light and inspiration to those around me, but I needed to remember not to burn out while doing this, and keep some light and warmth for myself as well. Ignite those around you, help their flame flourish, bring light into their lives, soak in the little beauties around you, and remember to practice self care in the midst of it all.

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CAPS STUDENT HERO: JORGE ROQUE

Meet Jorge! Jorge is a new CAPS Peer Educator with a passion for helping others and spreading kindness! Jorge brings a lot of great energy to the group and we value him greatly as a Peer Educator. Read on to learn fun facts about Jorge!

What do you do regularly to relieve stress?

When it comes to relieving stress I try and set time aside in my week to do things that I enjoy. During this time I do a lot of things to de-stress. Majority of the time I go to Its Beach, a local dog beach in Santa Cruz, I just sit and admire the view of the beach as well as the dogs running around. Another thing I do to relieve stress is listen to music whenever I can, whether I am walking to class or when I’m just in my room studying.

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

Something I’m passionate about is reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness. Often times people are

scared of talking about mental health and it’s brushed under the rug. I became a psychology major because I wanted to help reduce this stigma and show people who have a mental illness that they are not forgotten. They are visible and valid!

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

Something I’d love for my peers to know about CAPS is that there are many resources at their disposal. Most of those do not even require you to come to the CAPS office and we have many programs and workshops meant to help students with a range of stressors and difficulties.

 

Jorge is a second year Oakes College affiliate majoring in Psychology.

A HELPING HAND

All around us, people need help. And more often than not, the people we care about most need our help. But it can be difficult to know when to reach out and how to help. Peer Educator, Jorge offers some great advice about small things you can do to be there for the ones you love.

A HELPING HAND

by Jorge Roque

It can be difficult seeing someone you care about slowly losing themselves and shutting down due to a mental illness. It can leave you scared and hopeless, and not knowing how to help can make you feel worse. But it is okay not to know what to do all the time. Here are some things you can do when you see a loved one struggling with a mental Illness.

 

  • Check up: A simple message or phone call asking your loved one if they are fine or how they are feeling can go a long way. Now you do not have to do this everyday, but it is good to ask every now and then when you find yourself having a few minutes to spare.
  • Listen: Sometimes people just want someone to listen to the things that have been bothering them. Ask them if they would like your input, if not just offer support.
  • Treat yourself: Go out and spend time together, you can go out for dessert or simply go out and walk around town. You do not have to spend money, there’s many fun things to do around town.
  • Reassurance: It is always a good idea to reassure your loved one that there is help, whether it be from you or a professional. It can help ease their soul and make them feel comfortable knowing they have someone to trust.
  • Respect them: Just because they have a mental illness does not mean that they deserve any less compassion. Respect them as an individual and respect their boundaries.

While these may have just been a couple of tips for taking care of a loved one, it is also important to take care of yourself. Be sure to set some time aside for you, so that you are able to unwind as well. Helping others can be emotionally and physically draining, so remember to charge up your batteries. You can’t take care of others if you are not taking care of yourself!

CAPS STUDENT HERO: SAREIL BROOKINS

Sareil is a fantastic new addition to our team this year! Her student leadership experience and passion for advocacy make her a valuable voice in the room. Read on to learn more fun facts about Sareil!

What do you do regularly to relieve stress?

I like to call back home (usually talk to my Mom, Dad, or Siblings), take a long nap, go outside and take deep breaths with no electronics near me, or eat a really good meal…then nap.

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

I am extremely passionate about helping/contributing to the ABC (African/Black/Caribbean) community at UCSC. Given the small number, I do anything to foster community for ABC identified folks. I am also very passionate about being involved in general and keeping my work ethic at an all time high. This encompasses volunteering at animal shelters, veterans centers, being a liaison for undergraduates and graduates, as well as many other things. Lastly, I am passionate about making people smile. I usually give compliments to any person I see that I admire, whether than be their physical appearance, intellectual, style, personality, voice, laugh, etc.

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

If I could share one thing about CAPS that I would like my peers to know, it would definitely be that CAPS is one of the most helpful resources on campus, it offers so much more than an office space to sit and talk, and it’s free, so take advantage of that.

 

Sareil is a third year double majoring in Intensive Psychology and Critical Race & Ethnic Studies, and she is affiliated with Stevenson College.

MY 2 CENTS ON CHANGE

College is a time of great changes! And these changes can be exciting, sometimes scary, and often overwhelming. We have to adapt constantly and that can take a toll on our nerves. Read on to hear about Kyle’s experience dealing with various changes in college!

MY 2 CENTS ON CHANGE

by Kyle Retzer

Summer came and went (a bit fast, I might add) and we are back to the beautiful campus of UCSC, some of us for their first year as a college student. So why does all of this matter? Change!

Personally, I am lucky to have found housing off campus, but it was quite nerve racking as I did not know any of my new housemates. Millions of questions and concerns raced through my mind. Who are these new people? Are they cool people? Will we get along or is it going to be tense? The list goes on. Being off campus is a new experience as well and is making me work on planning my days out better (I’ve been late to class a few times). Well, as we are approaching the third week of the quarter, some of those questions have been answered. They are all pretty cool people and it’s fun hanging out with them when it happens. However, plenty of questions still remain.

Housing isn’t the only change however. New classes, new schedules, possibly a new job or extracurriculars; all of which also involve change. Now, I’m not great with change, as many are not, and at times I would prefer things to stay as a constant, like my schedule from fall quarter freshman year, which was the best schedule but will never be able to be repeated. But, at this point, I am very excited to say that all of this change has been good.

Ultimately, change can be a good thing. We could get bored with the same thing each and every day. Change means life is happening, that we are a part of life and we are growing constantly, every single moment. But change is hard. It’s stressful–it’s the unknown. It is not something that is always going to be easy to go through, but it is something we will and are going through, especially now as college students. Change can be an opportunity, it can open a door for you to become someone new, someone you want to be. Find an opportunity or challenge and work at it. Change does not have to be a fast process, and for most who struggle with change, including myself, taking it slow can be a good idea. As fall quarter progresses, try to enjoy your time, the differences and changes in your life, and remember that in some way we are all changing.

However, while a lot of the changes we experience are good and exciting, this may not always be the case. Changes such as the loss of a loved one, or a difficult break up can impact our mental health and well being. In these cases, it is important to find ways to cope and get support. CAPS offers group therapy dealing with grief and loss and individual counseling to help support you through other difficult changes. These services can provide support, referrals and connect you with other resources.

That’s my two cents.

CAPS STUDENT HERO: MADISON WRIGHT

Take a break from your midterm studying to meet one of our fantastic Peer Educators, Madison! This is Madison’s second year with PEP and she continually brightens up the room with her infectious laugh and ambitious ideas. Read on to hear Madison’s methods for dealing with stress!

What do you do regularly to relieve stress?

To relieve stress I take time to myself to do little things I enjoy, like watching a movie or even going downtown to shop.

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

Outside of school I’m passionate about sports, specifically Track and Field. I’m also passionate about social organizations that help build a strong sense of community on campus.

 

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

I would like students to know that although there is stigma surrounding mental health, you will not be judged at CAPS and you can feel cared for and supported by staff.

Madison is a third year student, double majoring in Intensive Psychology, and Cognitive Science and she is affiliated with Rachel Carson College.

MOTIVATION VS. STRESS

We all want to be productive in college! And we often push ourselves to get more involved, to make the most of our college years, and to do the best we can. But when does this proactive self-motivation slide over the edge and become stress? Read on to hear Priyanka’s ideas about how she motivates herself without laying on too much pressure.

MOTIVATION VS. STRESS

by Priyanka Kulkarni

Coming into my second year of college I’ve created a lot of expectations for myself. I want to get more involved in organizations, focus more on my writing and art, keeping a consistent workout schedule, learning how to cook healthy meals since I have an apartment this year, all while juggling schoolwork.

After my first year of college I felt like I needed to do more than just school. I needed to do something bigger that helped other people and made me feel good about myself. I became a Peer Educator because I wanted to get more people educated on the services CAPS offers as well as advocate for everyone’s mental health. I told myself to get out my comfort zone and join writing organizations to be more proactive with my goals. I want to improve my artwork and writing and so I have to do that scary thing of getting people to critique my work. Doing something outside of the classroom really helps me understand that I am human and that I don’t need to have my life just be about school. I can also focus on myself and do what I want in order to give myself a full college experience.

Coming to college we may feel excited, but also stressed out. We can feel isolated from the rest of the world, especially if we live on campus, that school can literally be our entire world. I encourage you to destress by doing something that doesn’t have to do with school, maybe pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to meet new people can be one way. Give yourself something that can take you away from some of your stress and anxiety. You deserve a good college experience and trying new opportunities that seem fun and interesting can help take your mind off of things. But also try to take time for yourself to relax, hang out with friends, and just be lazy.