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July, 2011

Calm and Quiet Summer

ashley-85This summer has been anything but exciting. Coming home later than I did last year has made it quite difficult in finding a job. While most kids would think this is an awesome way getting to spend their summer, I can assure you that it is not. One thing that I have done this summer was get back into reading for pleasure. With so much free time on my hands I have been passing the time with reading.

It started with me first reading to my nephew, who turned one last month, to having the desire to read for myself. This is something that I haven’t really done since the summer before my senior year of high school. I got so busy with getting ready for college and then going to college and working and all of these super grown up things that I let go of the one thing I enjoy the most.

While I still really wish I had a job this summer I am thankful that I have been reminded just how nice it is to read something that is not academic for a change. While you are getting ready to go to college and spending all that time becoming an adult, just remember to keep the things you enjoy near and dear to your heart as you never know when you will need them. Always make time to do something that makes you smile. You never know when you will have the time to do some of these things, but when you do you will remember just how special they are.

Brazil is more than just Beaches!

jesse-85One of the best parts about being in another part of the world is the change of context. Even though you may be experiencing something familiar (for example, a college campus or museum like in the video below), it could be a totally different experience. The opening days in Sao Paulo, Brazil were definitely a change of context and I really enjoyed checking out the museums and cultural landmarks that riddle the city.

Come to think of it, Sao Paulo was a great (and slightly unexpected) introduction to Brazil. When I pictured Brazil, the first thing I thought of was the beach but the urban setting of the metropolitan city of Sao Paulo showed me that there was so much more.

I’m so happy that I’m able to experience all of this first hand. And remember, it’s all because of college! My perspective on the world is definitely expanding- The world is so huge and I have so much more to see.

Sao Paulo is actually one of the largest cities in the world- which kind of blew my mind, to be honest. I was born and raised in the city (San Diego to be specific) so it was similar but totally different at the same time. There was definitely a lot to see, that’s for sure. Actually, let me show you- check out the video to see a few of the things I was able to experience in the first few days!

R. Kelly had it Right!

seanna-85Last summer, I found love and excitement amidst 90+ kids in a youth program that focused on high achieving first-generation, low income students who wanted and deserved to attend college after graduating high school.  My heart’s still with the program, but this summer, I’m one of those kids…and my focus is graduate school.  I was accepted as a McNair Scholar student through Claremont Graduate University, so I’ve been taking classes and preparing for my GRE for the past four weeks.  I’ll be doing research on the influence of stereotype threat among African-American female college students, and I actually took the GRE this afternoon (one more thing off my plate)! 

This past week had its ups and downs as I anxiously awaited another standardized test that would be influential for my future.  Words that I’d never seen before, like peccadillo and burnish, were on the verbal section…and the math questions weren’t hard but DANG you’ll pick the wrong answer if you don’t pay attention!  In the middle of the week, I found out that an OBSA Staff member will be leaving the school because he was accepted into graduate school.  Although it made my own ambitions more of a reality, I was really shaken up that night.  This graduate-school prep program has seriously made me start thinking about the next step.  Where will I be two years from now?  My blogging days will be over for CSO, but hopefully I’ll still be able to give back in other ways!

When I look back on my days at Pomona, I know the overall experience will have been amazing.  The professors…students…classmates…I’ll never find another atmosphere where there are so many creative and brilliant personalities in one place.  I’ve learned so much about myself in my time here, and truly found a direction that I’d like to head in the future.  However, the years have sped by and I know the next two will be even faster; hence, one of the reasons behind my sadness over hearing that the Staff member was leaving.  He’d been a part of my campus experience since I started at Pomona…and he’ll no longer be here to praise me for my grades or provide encouragement when exam times near.  He reminded me that change happens, even when we aren’t ready for it.  This program has made me consider my future, and acknowledge that it’s already upon me.  In addition to balancing school work and personal time, I also have to maintain thinking about five years from now, while also appreciating every moment of each day.

Enjoy the people in your life and moments that you share.  Never get so caught up in thoughts of tomorrow that you forget about today…but also…never feel so lost or drowned in present adversity that you lose sight of future aspirations.  When things get rough, I tell myself… “This too shall pass”…and when I catch myself thinking about months and years down the line, I tell myself… “Slow down, you’ll never get to relive today.”

This summer has been a time of reflection and hard work.  I’m finding out more about who I am, what I’d like to pursue in upcoming years, and how to successfully achieve those goals.  Whatever you may be doing this summer…whether it’s working or relaxing or traveling all over the world…keep in mind that things are about to change very soon…school starts up in the fall, and since you can’t turn back the hands of time…make every moment worth it!

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”
Gail Sheehy

Adventures in Brazil!!

jesse-85It’s hard to believe that just a few weeks ago, I was in a different country, time zone, and hemisphere. Up until college, I had only known California and small, poor parts of Mexico (where my family is originally from) but now I am enjoying the culture, language, and beaches of Brazil!

I am currently participating in a Harvard Summer Study Abroad Program that gives me the opportunity of studying- and experiencing- three very unique cities of Brazil: Sao Paulo, Paraty, and Rio de Janeiro.

I never thought in a million years that I’d be able to travel the world, see so many new things and have so many new experiences but here I am- doing just that. And for FREE! Definitely one of the great things about college. Make sure you start brainstorming where you want to go for when you get here! Colleges usually have a very wide selection of Study Abroad Programs to choose from. Where will you go?

I will be chronicling my experiences in Brazil through a video blog. Below is the introduction to the journey!

I will also have videos about my experiences in China and Spain, which are coming after Brazil! I am excited to see the world through a new lens. These study abroad programs will definitely provide exciting adventures. I hope you tune in!