What Makes You Happy?

Hi everyone!

So just to re-introduce myself for those of you who may not know, my name is Nicole Oparaugo and I am currently a first year U/U( well for the next few weeks) student planning on declaring biology next school year!

I currently live in Mesa Court, Ondas to be exact, and I am super happy to have had the opportunity to be able to reach out to you all!

As my freshman days slowly come to a close I can’t help but look back and think of all the amazing things this year has brought. From having such amazing hallmates, becoming Volleyball champs, PASSING my classes, lol and going to China this year has been extremely memorable.

Thinking back on the days when I was making my college decision I guess you can say I’m pretty solid on the decision I made. There really are a lot of opportunities that rest ahead, it’s all just a matter of whether or not you take advantage of them. My best advice that I can give is to not let anything or anyone get in the way of your dreams and aspirations. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel like you’re “not good enough”, power through! More importantly than that, if someone says that you wont make it, prove to YOURSELF that you will. Make your college experience your own! Do the things that make you feel the most fulfilled and happy because at the end of the day it’s about you and you don’t want to graduate and say “I wish I would have.”

zotfingers– Nicole

Once Undeclared, ‘It’s Okay’

Hello fellow Anteaters!

For those you that don’t know, my name is Jazmin Reyes and I’m a first year Zot Blogger. My current major is Literary Journalism but I initially came into UCI as an Undeclared/Undecided student.

Seeing that there are only three weeks left of my first year in college, I can definitely say that this year has gone by too fast! It’s funny that it wasn’t too long ago when I was worried about which college I was going to be admitted to and which one would I sign my “life” away to. I believed that my choices would be limited down through the rejections I would received, but unlike some of my fellow classmates I was lucky to have been accepted to all nine universities I applied to. As gratifying as that is, it only made my decision harder (and it didn’t help that I didn’t know what major I wanted to pursue either). Going on campus tours was the only way to make a decision. I only visited UCI once, but as my family and I were waiting in the office watching an intro video, I was already impressed. I think what left the best impression was UCI’s wide and open campus. Unlike the other campus’ I had visited, I was able to envision myself feeling comfortable and at ease. From then on, UCI was present in my thoughts. Social and involvement wise, I didn’t know what to expect from college, but I did look forward to the experience of making a lot of new friends (which was something the tour guides never failed to mention). And as I mentioned in my first couple of blogs, I didn’t do SPOP (Student Parent Orientation Program), which is where you first meet most of your fellow first years. Instead, I was already going to be getting the experience of dorming life and college classes through Summer Bridge, a summer program at UCI specifically designed for incoming Freshmen. It was through the summer program that I met a group of people and mentors before starting the quarter, so that is definitely something I would encourage everyone to do.

As you will go on to do either SPOP or a summer program, I would just like to congratulate you once more for being admitted into UCI. One thing I would like you all to know is that you shouldn’t feel pressured to “find” or declare a major, even if you have an idea of what you want to go into. Try to keep in mind as well, that we are a UC school, which means that your major does not necessarily have to have a direct correlation to your path after college (i.e. for law school or medical school). One of my sorority sisters is graduating UCI in a couple weeks as an English major and is starting law school next school year. As you work on your general education, you’ll start figuring out what you like and dislike, and I that’s one of the beauties as start unaffiliated with a school.

 

All the best,

Jazmin.

Part 1 of my Trip to China

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Research

So this is what it feels like to be in the last week 5 of my freshman year? Wow, time really does fly. Besides the midterms stress, this weresearchek has definitely been a good one. I got a position in a research lab on campus! What that means is that in addition to classes and everything I will also be conducting research under a distinguished faculty member. Working in a lab is exciting because it is a direct application to the things that you learn in the classroom. You get to physically manipulate, test, and apply many of the things that you have been studying!

If you do in fact decide to pursue research I would advise you to research something that you love. Join a lab that engages you and makes you excited. Research is choice, so why do something that you would be absolutely miserable doing. For me personally, I love the area we are focusing on. Being that I would like to specialize in neurology, the lab that I am in taps into that interest. Even if you foresee yourself pursuing medical school over grad school, I would still say to give research a chance. You never know if you will enjoy something if you never try it. Keep your mind and your options open!

UCI as well as every other UC school are research driven schools. (You will hear that a lot) There are plenty of options and I am very confident that you will find something that interests you!

zotfingers-Nicole

Relay For Life

Hello fellow Anteaters!

IMG_0389Today approximately around 12:06pm, I completed a twenty-seven hour volunteer shift for Relay for Life. This twenty-four hour event took place at UCI in remembrance of those who lost their battle to cancer and to celebrate the survivors. From as early as nine in the morning many of our on campus organizations where setting up along Aldrich park. The most impressive part of the event was how many of our clubs and Greek organizations prepared to spend the night on campus, setting up tents and blankets in order to support and represent such meaningful and heart-touching event.

The ground was hard and the temperature only continued to decrease, but this was nothing compared to what many of these survivors and family members of individuals affected by cancer had to face. There were guests speakers sharing their stories and their experiences with cancer. It was touching to hear our fellow Anteaters speak during this portion of the event.

This event was personal for me; my mom is a breast cancer survivor. And although I was too young at the time to comprehend what she was undergoing, I cannot possibly imagine how different my life would have been if I would’ve lost her so early on in my life.

As my first relay event at UCI, I was extremely pleased with the outcomes of it. Tiring as it was and despite my upcoming midterms, it was nice being able to support a cause as important as this. I would definitely become involved next year!

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Lanterns were lit up during the Luminaria portion of the event, spelling “Cure”.

 

All the best,

Jazmin.

Nigerian Student Coalition Conference

This weekend I attended a conference at UCR called NSCC( Nigerian Student Coalition Conference) . Every year for the past three years a UC has held this conference in efforts to create a stronger network of Nigerian students on different campus’. The conferenceIMG_8526-1 also gives students an opportunity to not only network amongst themselves, but amongst renowned individuals within the community.

In attendance was students from : UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside, UC Merced, Cal Poly, and Cal State Fullerton. In total there was near 100 people at the conference.

From Friday to Sunday we attended workshops pertaining to cultural subjects as well as workshops focused around the individual. Personally I took away quite a few new ideas and have widened my network of other Nigerian students.

It is not everyday that you get to surround yourself with others who identify with you and can relate to your ups and downs. Although it is extremely important to diversify yourself, I believe that it is also important to maintain your culture, whatever it may be.

zotfingers -Nicole

Celebrate UCI

celebrateEnjoy dancing? Enjoy food? Enjoy interacting with other students?

Celebrate UCI was a major event that just recently took place. Celebrate UCI is campus tradition that is held on campus every year. Not only is it an event for current students, but it is also meant to welcome prospective students. The day is full of events, booths, and games all put together by student run organizations. It is really awesome to see everyone on campus coming together as a single entity.

A major event that took place was the car show. Even before the day of the event I heard students talking about it. Regardless of whether or not you are into cars, the car show would definitely have snagged your attention.

Celebrate UCI can also be thought of the “Open House” of UCI. There were campus tours available, student organizations talking about their clubs and initiative, and campus representatives showing off the school.

It was a perfect opportunity for perspectives and current students to just take a day off and come out to celebrate our beautiful campus.

 

zotfingers– Nicole

“What is the hardest part of college?”

Hello fellow Anteaters!

There is one question I’d like to tackle for this blog. A question that I seem to get asked as frequently as “how’s college going?”, and that would be: what is the hardest part about college?

And although there’s the difficulty of adjusting to dorm life, the campus, and the classes, or even the difficulty of the initial move away from home, I would say the hardest part is having to start over.

Yes, in regards to being a freshman again, but on the broader scope: goal setting. Since I was in elementary school, I knew I had to get good grades in order to be granted an acceptance to a four-year university. In high school, you become involved with all these extra-curricular activities for the sole purpose of a college acceptance letter (or email). But, what about once you get there? What’s the new goal? Many, like me, would say graduate school, but, and I say this without any discouragement, this idea of graduate school changes once you start college and interact with upperclassmen. Graduate school is at a whole different level than undergraduate school that requires more commitment and discipline that what we face in our undergrad studies.

What I’m trying to get at is that, the hardest part of college is trying to find my long-term goal, because without that long-term goal, I feel lost as to what I should become involved with on campus. It’s no only about “what looks good” on my resume, but what will give me the experience I need for my long-term goal. At this point, I don’t know if I want to go onto graduate school, law school, or go straight into the workforce, but if I decide on the latter, then the question then becomes: what would be my career path?

I know this blog is different from my others, but I wanted to voice my initial/current struggle. It’s reassuring that I’m not the only one who feels this way, and I’m optimistic that as I continue my studies at UCI, I’ll slowly begin to develop that long-term goal. For now, I’ll have to be content with setting short-term goals (e.g. passing my last quarter of HumCore with an “A” or running for a board position in my sorority).


All the best,

Jazmin.

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Celebrate UCI

Hello fellow Anteaters!

Yesterday UCI hosted their annual “Celebrate UCI” event. “Celebrate UCI” was not only opened for current UCI students but for our incoming freshmen as well. The event kicked off with the presentation of the Hydrogen Bus. Unlike our current Anteater shuttles, the hydrogen-fueled bus does not release pollutants into the air. Our Vice Chancellor, Dr. Parham, was our key-note speaker for such moment, addressing UCI’s contribution to a healthier and “greener” environment.

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As exciting as the introduction to UCI’s new bus, it was not as nearly as exciting as the Wayzgoose portion of the day. Aldrich Park was filled with student-led booths interacting with the public with activities, information, and food! So much food! Tamales, rice balls, caramel apples, and tacos are just some of the few varieties of food UCI’s organizations and clubs had to offer us. And if food wasn’t enough, many of our student athletes were present as well, taking pictures with other students and future Anteaters!

Although I didn’t get to venture out and appreciate the car show up close, “Celebrate UCI” was a fun and fitting way to rally current students and our future students together to show our pride for UCI and celebrating our fiftieth anniversary. It was also a nice way to de-stress many of our fellow Anteaters who are going into midterms this upcoming week.

 

 

 

 

 

All the best,

Jazmin.

A Weekend with SigDelts

Hello fellow Anteaters!

My spring break was not like my fellow Zot Blogger, Nicole, who got to venture out and visit China! My week, unlike hers, was very uneventful, but it was nice just being able to do nothing and spend time with my parents and my brother. Given that, I would much rather talk about my retreat this past weekend!

Friday afternoon, the ladies of Sigma Delta Sigma and I embarked on our journey to Dana Point for a weekend at a beach house. Before this, I had never gone on a retreat so I had no idea what to expect, especially since it was a two-day-three-nights thing. We shared many laughs and bonding time though, that the tiring trip was worth it.

On Saturday we headed out to Salt Creek Beach. Despite the fact that the beach was only five minutes from the house, a couple of girls managed to get lost. They ended up on the other side of the beach searching for us, for an hour, I might add. One thing about the SigDelts people should know is that they love food, and when I say “love”, I mean love. To put it in perspective, when UCI gave undergraduate students without a meal plan a free pass to eat at the commons, they all took up an entire table and crowded it with food. Just when you think they would get full, they got up for another round, taking advantage of that one pass. With that being said, our retreat was full of delicious foods. We cooked and we went out to eat, but my favorite was pasta night.

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There were other moments of retreat where we were able to just sit down and talk, which was nice because many of the girls will be graduating by the end of this quarter. And even though I have only been an active member of the sorority for two quarters, I have already gotten attached to many of these girls who not only serve as mentors for me, but true sisters I can count on, vent out to, and share embarrassing moments with.

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All the best,

Jazmin.

Nicole Takes China

My Spring Break was kind of… AMAZING! Not only was it full of adventure, but the adventure took place in China! I can honestly say that my trip to China was life changing. I finally understand what it means to appreciate the little things in life. I can barely begin to put into words the different things I was exposed to. The many individuals that I met in China reignited my drive to not only become a doctor and serve those in third world countries, but they have given me a reason to. In life we often get so caught up in achieving certain goals that we often lose touch of why we are even doing them in the first place. As cliche as it may sound, I truly believe that the children I met in China have restored my sense of humanity.

The journey began early Tuesday morning. I can’t really describe all the emotions that were rushing through my body. It was like on one hand I was nervous, but on the other I was just ready to jump on thr flight and completely immerse myself into the unfamiliar culture. When we landed, it was like a whole new world, the language was different, the food was different, everything was different. BUT I LOVED IT. There is nothing like trying new things for the very first time. Nothing can compare to the moment you smell, see, or touIMG_1867ch something for the VERY first time. Above all, nothing compares to being able to help a complete stranger for the very first time.

So I guess I should get to the part of where I actually did things right? Ok, enough ranting. lol.

So the day we landed in Lanzhou province, we went to the hospital to meet the patients who were going to have the surgery the next day. We met the mother and father of two year old, “Zhenyu Tian”, and the mother of 4 year old, “Yue Ma”. It broke my heart to see such innocent young children have to be in the situation they were in. The pain in their parent’s eyes told it all. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t understand the language, I  knew that they were hurting deep inside.

The next day came and it was now surgery time. After being briefed on the conditions of the children, we suited up and prepared to watch the operation. I didn’t know what to expect. I knew that I was about to watch open heart surgery, but how can one even prepare themselves mentally for that type of thing? So I went in and there I was. Standing in the middle of the theatre watching as the doctor carefully carvFullSizeRendered an entrance into the child’s heart. I watched as the beats went from diseased to deceased. My heart dropped. Throughout the hour and a half operation, I stood watching as the doctors and nurses worked to save this childs life. It was a beautiful thing.

The next day in Lanzhou we went to visit past Ahi patients in the homes on the countryside. This was definitely the most eye opening experience for me. We watched as the families offered us literally everything they had. Their homes were made of clay, their food supply was lacking, and they collected water from the rain. I couldn’t believe the conditions they were subjected to. However, they didn’t let this break their spirits. They welcomed us with water bottles that cost half their years’ salary, and welcomed us with open hearts. This was the point where I felt my heart break. To them, they feel like we have changed their lives, but it was them who changed my mine. I admire them, and want to dedicate everything in my power to help them as well as many others in the same conditions across the world.

After the family visits we returned the the hospital to check on our patient who received the surgery. She was recovering quickly and you could see the transformation in her mother. She smiled, but this time from her heart. Her daughter doesn’t have to live in pain anymore and that is such a precious relief I will never forget.

The remainder of our trip was spent as tourists. We flew from Lanzhou to Shanghai and saw so much. From Shanghai we spent our last couple of days in Hong Kong. To put it into a few words, China was amazing!

 

zotfingers– Nicole  FullSizeRender-2 Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 15.13.06DSC_1480IMG_8425  IMG_8409

Dear Future Anteater

Dear Future Anteater!

From one Anteater to the next, I would formally like to welcome you! My name is Nicole and I am currently a first year Undecided/ Undeclared student here at UCI with hopes of pursuing bio. Aside from studying, my hobbies include getting involved on campus and hanging out with friends! Originally I’m from a small little town called Victorville. Ever heard of it? Yeah, not many have.. lol. I chose UCI for many reasons. Major determining factors that led me to UCI were the renowned faculty and departments, the school’s atmosphere, and the location.

Coming into college can definitely be exciting but also in many cases scary! One piece of advice that I always tell incoming students to do is to get as involved as HUMANLY possible over the summer. Around this time you should be receiving different invitations to come to campus and check out some programs. Other than SPOP, these programs will not only help you get acclimated with the campus, but it will also provide you with a network of friends! The summer before school started I came to a couple different programs on campus, but one that I really wish I attended was the “ Summer Start Program”. Mostly everyone that I talk to now say that it was an experience that they are truly glad they took advantage of. Another piece of advice is to talk to your TA’s. If you ever need help with a subject these people will do as much as they can to make sure you get the help you need! The biggest surprise for me was all of the opportunities. I have only been through ⅔ of my first year and I have already traveled to China! Needless to say however, in order to do things like this, you must be willing to put in the time and effort.

I cant believe that I am already in my last quarter as a freshman! Time flies! These past quarters have taught me a lot about myself. Through all of the trials and trivials, I have found my way and realized that I can do anything that I really put my heart into. Hope to see you on campus!

zotfingers– Nicoleunnamed-2