Early College Program: Worth It?

Photo Credit: EPCC.edu

Photo Credit: EPCC.edu

Written by Joella Methola

 My experience with the early college life is remarkable. I attend the El Paso Community College (EPCC) as an early college student. As an early college student, this means that I go to both high school and college. It is a unique campus environment where I earn college credits, a high school diploma and an associate’s degree upon graduation. It is a great educational program, plus it is free.

Enrolling in an Early College Program
Applying for an early college program takes a lot of work and effort. Applicants need to have one available in their city, complete an application (submit by the priority deadline), write an essay (why you want to go an early college), meet the compliance with state attendance policy, have an GPA of 90 in core subjects during the student’s 8th grade year, submit 7th grade STARR scores, and, finally, submit a letter of recommendation from a teacher.

Benefits of Being an Early College Student
The transition from middle school to an early college is not that easy and it took me a while to get used to it. After all, going to an early college after middle school is a great jump but a grand opportunity. Being enrolled in an early college program has helped me grow academically and personally. For example, I have learned how to manage my time, how to use and improve my strengths, open my mind to new ideas, and how to be aware of my surroundings.

It is rewarding process because you learn to be a more mature, responsible and successful college student. I personally believe the hard work is worth it because you have the opportunity to learn in a college setting with other EPCC students. This type of environment helps you decide which route to take when you  continue your education to earn your bachelor’s degree.

Myth VS Reality: Is It Worth It?

The early college is not all work though. There are a lot of rumors saying that when you attend an early college you miss out on a high school experience; however, you do not. There are clubs and activities you can participate in. For example: Mock Trial, Science Bowl, High Q, Piano, Moot Court, Fashion Club, Community Service, Business Professionals of America, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Spanish Club, and more! Plus, we have scrimmages against each other on sports like basketball, volleyball and soccer. One other cool thing is that all students (freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors) can go to prom and homecoming! We also have a lot of school spirit.

Being in an early college has been the best choice I have made so far. I believe that others should follow the same path. It is very fun but also challenging, which is a good thing. It challenges you to be a better student.

Retaining Your Cultural Heritage Through College

international_studentsSometimes with the start of a new chapter in one’s life, it’s difficult to hold one’s heritage close. And for some, the fear of losing one’s cultural roots may prevent someone from attending college far away or stepping off to a new adventure. This is why it’s so important to see the value of being a Latina or Latina-American in a different setting from how you grew up.

One of the greatest things about living in the United States is that you’re surrounded by so many cultures and cultural perspectives. And many grow up in a household that celebrates more than one culture and speaks more than one language. Today, there are roughly 53 million Hispanics in the United States, making it the largest ethnic minority in our nation. And for states such as California, Hispanics are the majority.

California native and Yale graduate, Stephanie Cuevas said, “My high school was approximately 90% Latino. Transitioning to college at Yale, where Latinos only made up 10% of the student population, was a bit of a culture shock.”

Many can relate to this situation, and one of the best things to avoid feeling out of place is joining an organization that celebrates Latino culture and taking Latino studies courses. This will not only help with avoiding feeling out of place, but one can find many in the same boat to relate with.

“As a light skinned Mexican-American, my peers often questioned my relationship to my cultural identity and would sometimes label me as “white.” Rather than assimilating, I took courses in Latino studies and maintained involvement in our cultural house, La Casa Cultural. Through these steps, I grew closer to my family’s roots, and further explored what it means to be a Latino in America. We are a rich and diverse group with similar, but different, cultural perspectives,” said Cuevas.

“Don’t let fear stop you from putting yourself out there to meet new people in clubs or organizations. Joining a club organization with a cultural focus will be your home away from home. Most universities have international clubs for culture, comida, or even Hispanic interests! Yes, even in dominantly non-Latino schools! If your school doesn’t have one, you might consider starting your own to unite other Latinos,” said Jasmine Villa, Latinitas Communications and Fundraising Assistant.

Other than joining clubs or organizations, keep speaking and practicing Spanish – whether it’s calling a family member or just reading a book in Spanish. It’s a quality so imperative to have for today’s growing demographic. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, the number of Spanish speakers in the U.S. has grown rapidly over the past few decades. Today, there are 37.6 million Spanish speakers, making it the most spoken language after English. It’s a quality many don’t see the importance of at a young age, but see the role it plays when getting into professional careers. And it’s also a quality many are envious for not having – so feel empowered!

“Practice your Spanish as often as you can. Speak Spanish, write in Spanish, and read in Spanish,” said Alexandra Landeros, Freelance Writer and Publicist.

And lastly, don’t ever feel out of place. Being with people who make you proud of who you are and ones you can count on lead to a satisfying and fulfilling college experience.

In Search of Female Doctors

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To be a doctor, one must be passionate, dedicated, intelligent, hardworking, and compassionate.

Women are ideal for these positions! Why is it, then, that less than half of all physicians and surgeons are female? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “in 2012, 34.3% of all physicians and surgeons were women.” Even though it is better than older statistics, there is still an unequal amount of female doctors compared to male doctors. Why is that?

Robert Fiorentine from Pennsylvania State University mentions in his work, Men, Women and the Premed Persistence Gap: A Normative Alternatives Approach, that when starting college, the premed programs have an almost equal amount of men and women enrolled.

The University of Illinois in Springfield says, “The ratio between men and women varies between schools, and from year to year, but is usually close to 50/50.” In their research for “Medical Schools in the United States, 2010-2011,” Barbara Barzansky and Sylvia I. Etzel discovered that 48.3% of medical school graduates are women. All the research shows that up until the actual work field, women and men are pretty balanced.

Why are there fewer women practicing medicine than there are men?

Because fathers are not seen as the more nurturing of the two, they are able to continue working and getting their dream job is a frequent explanation of the gap in the field of medicine. They hardly ever have to make a choice between being a father and being a doctor, businessman, lawyer, etc. Women do not have the same good fortune. Since they are the ones carrying the child, they have to take time off of work during their pregnancy and sometimes after, too. If they choose to continue working after having children, they are harshly criticized, but if they choose to not work, they are still criticized.

Career VS Family

Women currently enrolled in a university were asked why they think women put a pause to their career goals or never go through with them. One answer was repeated more than any others: women do not want to be doctors because they do not want to take time away from starting and taking care of a family. Melissa Moya, 21, says, “Women are stereotyped to be caregivers instead of in the workforce.” This stereotype can cause changes in the way women planned their future. Although this idea that doctors cannot have both a family and a career is a popular one, it is not one that is always instilled in all women who dream of being medics.

For example, Emily Orquiz, 14, still holds to her dreams of finding a profession in the medical field, regardless of the stereotypes. “I [want to] help people,” she says. She plans on attending college and then medical school to do just that.

In her article, “Faces of Change, Voices of Inspiration: Celebrating Latina Women in Medicine,” Sethina Edwards highlights Latinas who have proved that women can be doctors and lived a balanced familial life. Sethina Edwards talks about Dr. Sandy Tsao. Dr. Tsao, a Navajo Indian, Hispanic, and Basque woman, did not let anything stand in her way and she attended Harvard Medical School. Since graduating from Harvard, Dr. Tao has had many successes which include, but are not limited to, “a high-profile career and book coming out.” Adding to the list of achievements is her loving family. At the time the article was written, she was expecting a second child.

The second person featured in “Faces of Change, Voices of Inspiration” is Perla del Pino-White, the first one of her Cuban family who was born in the United States. In spite of facing harsh circumstances such as her father tragically dying when Perla was only fourteen, she persevered and followed her dream of becoming a doctor. Although Perla continued to face unfortunate and tragic events, she kept fighting to make her dream come true. She got accepted into medical school. When this article was published, Perla was on her fourth year of medical school, balancing not only the stress of med school, but the birth of her first son. She, too, proved that it was possible to seek a career as a doctor and have a family.

Although statistics show that, for multiple reasons, women are not following through with their dreams of becoming doctors, there are still women out there who are fighting to change those numbers. Today the stigma that women cannot do what men can do is slowly but surely dissolving, allowing women of all backgrounds to, like Emily Orquiz said, “help people” through the profession of medic.

Talking About Aunt Flow

Mamí, me platicas de mi cuerpo que esta cambiando? Mom, would you talk to me about my changing body?

It is normal for a young girl to have tons of questions about their menstrual cycle, or period as it is commonly known. Girls between the ages of eleven and fourteen have experienced this changing event in their lives.

Periods often range from three to seven days. A girl’s period varies especially if it begins in its primary stages. This is called irregular periods. Irregular periods last for one to three years.

Most girls will find that their mothers teach them all about this day before it actually occurs. For some young ladies, this moment never comes. Young girls concerned over what to prepare themselves with prior to the “coming day” are often told a year or two before  to take a sweater, just in case. The sweater is often used to wrap around a girl’s waist due to staining the seat of her pants.

Some girls, like Noemi Escalante, 25, never got the opportunity to prepare themselves for the moment when they make the shocking discovery that they have stained themselves. This can lead to embarrassment and a horrifying realization that she’s lost her child-like sense of self for what may seem like forever. Escalante explains, “My mother did not have that talk with me until I came home with my skirt stained.”

“I don’t believe it was about religious reasons, that wouldn’t make sense…but it could explain why she never talked to me about getting a bra. Maybe she was uncomfortable about talking about [a woman’s changing body].”

Escalante says, “I had my period at an early age, 9, which could explain why I didn’t have the confidence to ask about it.”

Noemi’s grandmother also never spoke to her mother about the menstrual cycle or how her changing body was just another natural occurrence during a girl’s lifetime. According to Women’s Health, a menstrual cycle is a natural occurrence in a changing girl’s body. A period prepares the body for pregnancy every month. It also regulates body hormones that keep the body healthy.

Most girls become timid when approaching this topic with an older female.  A girl should never be afraid to ask questions.

In reference to her mother’s reaction on the big day Escalante says, “It looked like she felt sorry for me, but then she took me to go buy pads. I was mad that she didn’t tell me about it. I wouldn’t have gone through the embarrassment of people noticing my stained skirt. Boys would’ve laughed at me especially since I was in 6th grade when it happened.”

Escalante says, “It is important for a mother to tell her child about her period so that the daughter is alert. Also, there’s a sense of trust in the relationship.”

She adds, “Me and my mother do not have a [close] relationship. I don’t feel like I could trust her completely. One time I overheard her talking to my friend, telling her that we had the talk, when I knew that we didn’t. I don’t hate her or anything, but I was embarrassed.”

Now, Escalante would give younger girls advice of her own. She says, “A girl should wear black, but it’s normal for women to bleed.”

A senior at Houston Community College, who chose to be anonymous, says, “Initially, I had no idea of what was going on. I was scared.”

She also says that her mother didn’t warn her about her body’s changes, she admits, “ I thought I was bleeding internally.”

This senior says, “My mother told me that I was a woman now, but I felt like I didn’t know what a woman was.”

“Still,” she says, “I do not hold any [resentment] towards my mother. She lived in different times than I did. She told my father of the situation making me feel like we were truly disconnected. I was angry and awkward [about the situation].”

These days though, she says, “I have two sons now, but if I ever have a girl, I would make her feel like her situation is really important. To other girls experiencing the same, you are not alone. It doesn’t change who you are. Find someone willing to answer all your questions.”

Escalante adds, “Having a friend may ease the anxiety about a girl’s changing body. I asked a friend to let me borrow her sweater when I found out I [was] stained. I am grateful she was there.”

For some girls, menstruation comes with painful cramps or bloating in the lower area of your abdomen. This is due to the ovaries opening and releasing the unfertilized eggs out of your body. If you get your period there is a potential to become pregnant.

Want to know a secret, girls? Exercise often helps ease severe cramp pains!

For additional answers to questions on menstruation ask your primary health care practitioner or a trusted adult! She or he could provide you with the best medications or advice to ease pain.

Cloning Is the New Trend

Cloning means to make an identical copy of (insert anything here). For every culture, there comes along a unique ethnicity in which certain traditions and models are followed. Latinas are known to have brown skin, wide hips, and a natural sense of motherhood. While everyone might not fit this mold, this is how Latinas are often stereotyped. Similarly, Asian females are expected to be of light, fair skin and have a petite figure paired with jet-black hair.

Stereotypes may survive forever, yet a new rising “trend” amongst women is to try to change physical features to meet the “ideal” body type. The only problem now is they are trying to be other people that they’re not.

This is an infectious trend where many women who feel the pressure to meet the “ideal” standards society have imposed on them. South East Asian countries are influencing women to change, through media the same way Western countries do. In South Korea, suddenly women are seen through alphabets depending on what their bodies look like. The most common is the V-line where your facial structure, the jaw, is beautiful either oval or heart shaped.

Another example includes double-eye lid surgery (double-eyelid below), because monolids (where the eyelid has no crease) is considered a burden to be born with. The surgery allows for the out corner of the eyes to be cut to make them rounder and open. “Big round eyes, straight nose, round face,” says the K-pop band D-Unit, is essential for any Korean celebrity these days.

What is their goal? To look more western.

This does occur only within the Asian communities; it’s ever present here in our own Latina society.

We see celebrities almost everywhere we go, whether it is an advertisement or on T.V. “Photo-shopping” is the medias most used weapon. Consumers never realize it but for beautiful Latina celebrities, they are often altered on print. Whenever America Ferrera, a naturally curvy Latina, graced the covers of magazines, the use of editing slimmed her down to close her wide hips and lighten her skin color. There’s the beautiful Columbian singer/belly dancer named Shakira. Astounding in every aspect with her dedication and poised character may all be natural; however, her hair is not. Shakira is a natural brunette, as most Latinas are, yet she’s blonde and many take after her.

Other examples include the lightening of the skin. Commercials or magazine covers have produced pictures that are the opposite of what natural, paparazzi pictures put out. Latinas like Eva Mendez or Eva Longoria suddenly are two tones lighter on T.V than in real life. The editors are able to manipulate society where they know they have a large group of avid followers. These followers are guaranteed to adapt to any style they are offered thus feeding into the cycle.

Oddly enough, these naturally beautiful women are altering themselves based upon what their society is idolizing as pretty. They intentionally change their bodies from natural to man-made. However, this only furthers them away from being proud and from loving the culture and society they live in.

The world was meant to be diverse; complete with sets of different, beautiful looks that keep everyone distinctive and not boring. Having everyone look the same would be nothing more than problematic.

Diversity in beauty is important. We must take pride in our genetics and smile for what we’re given. We are chosen to represent certain aspects of our ethnicity and to continue on what makes us, us. There is no point in attempting to change who we are. Being a Latinita makes you beautiful in every single way you can think of.

 Let’s stop the cloning and start the owning. Own up to yourself, no one else can.

My Mother

Like Mother, Like Daughter
By Jasmin Floreslatina mother and daughter

My mom gave birth to me a month before her 18th birthday. Though she was young, that didn’t hinder her desire to be the mom she wanted to be as well as the mom I deserved. As far as I can remember, my mom has always been my best friend. She went to college and worked at a supermarket; trying her absolute best in both and succeeding in getting her Associate’s Degree in Respiratory Therapy. I remember I graduated from Pre-School at the same time she graduated college and we took professional pictures of us in our cap and gown together. I was so proud of her, just as she was with me.

She got a job at a hospital at the same time I was entering 1st grade. She used to work the night shifts back. She would drop me off at school in the morning and my grandparents would pick me up from school. I recall her being upset that she wasn’t able to help me with my homework a few days out of the week because she was working and I told her, “Mom, the sick people need you to help them get better. You should be there and I’ll try my best here.”

Through out the years we’ve grown to be each other’s main support as well as become the other half to each other. If I didn’t have my mom, I’d feel as if I had been cut in half. She is the yin to my yang, so to speak. I’ve told her things that I’ve never told anybody else. I have best friends but when someone asks me who my absolute best friend is, I say my mother. We’ve gone from her teaching me how to walk to her teaching me how to drive. I’ve learned so much from her and she says she has learned a lot from me. Before I was born, she was a pushover and was afraid to speak for herself. Now she is single-handedly the most independent and strong woman I know. She has raised me by herself from the get-go and I think she’s done a terrific job. I’m a straight A student going to a prestigious school and I’ve solely worked this hard to make her proud.
To me, my mom is my idol. She is the person I look up to because she embodies everything a good person should have. Unlike celebrities, she has shown me what being a good person with good morals should be. She pushes me to try my best, not just in school but in all aspects of my life. She has shown me that I need to be independent so I can do anything I want in life.

 

My Mom’s Story
By Angela Reganit

Do you know someone who is great? Spends time with you? Cares for you? And is an important person? Well, I do; she has black hair, brown eyes, and a caring touch. That’s my mom, Grace Reganit.

She is the one who carried me in her womb for nine months without a single sigh.
My mom is the one who takes all kinds of pain and cares for my sake. When I am sick, she spends sleepless nights beside me. She has always guided me in the right path in every step of my life. She has taught me and disciplined me. My mom has taught me the sense of duty I should have towards others in the family and in society.

My mom is an ordinary woman but in her small presence lies an extraordinary figure of fortitude, perseverance, and strong mindset. She is a diligent and determined woman who has guided me toward taking the right direction by following my own path. More importantly, she has helped me appreciate myself as a precious gift of ordinary life and true happiness.

My mom is the best woman in the world and no one can replace her in my heart. I admire her so much. She is always busy with house chores and taking good care of me, my sister, and my dad, but I never hear her say that she is tired. Every day, she is the first person in my family to wake up very early. Then, she makes breakfast for everyone. When my dad goes to work, my sister and I go to school. My mother stays home and does all the daily chores while we are gone. When we come home, there is always a delicious dinner waiting for us. My mom is the last person to take a break after such a long day.

Mom, you gave me everything but you never ask me to pay you back. You are the best, the greatest woman in this world, and in my heart, I love you forever. I am happy when I have you by my side to take care of me, to protect me and to give me your love. I am happy that you are my mom. In the future, I will be a successful adult in life, but in your eyes, I know that I will always be your little kid.

Mommy’s Girl
By Samantha D. Martinez

Ever since I could remember I was always a “Mommy’s Girl”, but my mom wasn’t just a “mom” she is also my teacher, best friend, hero, and more importantly my “partner in crime”. Since I’m an only child I have no brothers or sisters to talk to about sorts of stuff you wouldn’t tell your parents, but my mom is different. I can tell her everything. She is honestly that big sister I never had.

My mom is not only my “partner in crime” she is also my teacher. After working an eight hour job in a hospital, she rushes home to cook my father and I a warm meal. Afterwards, she helps me with my homework. Even though sometimes she doesn’t understand it, she will teach herself the lesson and then explain it to me the best way she can. Also, if I ever have a question or advice she will give me guidance from her experiences so I won’t make a mistake. Even though I disagree with her ALL the time, in the end I realize she was right.

My mom is also my best friend. She’s always there when no one else is; when I’m sick she gives me everything I need and if I’m lucky what I want. I can trust she won’t stab me in the back like other people would. I trust my mom.

Lastly, my mom is my “Super Woman”. She does so much! She cooks, cleans, washes, and works. I can barley handle waking up for school. When I grow up I would be lucky enough to become half of the woman my mom is.

But my mom isn’t just my hero, partner, etc. She is a hero at work and in my family as well. Coming from a house with three siblings, a mom and a dad, and a grandma and grandpa, my mom made the impossible POSSIBLE. She wasn’t a straight “A” student, but more like an A, B, C, D kind of student. Her parents only knew Spanish and did not have an education. My mom and her brother and sister had to do their homework on their own. She didn’t want to work at McDonald’s and neither did she want her siblings to work there. Being the youngest, she was the one they looked up to — even today. My mom helps my aunt and uncle with money, advice, and guidance. She is like their 2nd mother in my eyes.

At work she helps others that need it, like translating or learning something new and simply by just being their friend. My mom doesn’t do this by force, it’s in her naturally! I admire this about her so much. I see other moms that do not fulfill their duties as a mom and their child suffers at the end. I thank God everyday for giving me a mother/woman like her.

Why I Love My Major

If you are getting ready to apply to college or have at least started thinking about applying, you are probably wondering how in the world are you going to choose a major. You might already have your parents or other family members pressuring you into pursuing a major that they think is best for you. It might make you less stressed out to know that many college graduates change their major several times while they are in college. Don’t worry, most college graduates agree that your major doesn’t necessarily define the career you will have for the rest of your life.

Getting a college degree in any major only broadens your chances of achieving success. However, it is important to make sure you choose a major that you are passionate about. Your major may not define your career choices but it will influence the types of classes you will take in college. By choosing the right major you can ensure that you will take classes that interest you, instead of some that might put you to sleep. Pursuing a major that motivates you can help make your college experience meaningful and prepares you for a career you will love.

Take it from these five undergraduate Latinas as they explain why finding a major they love has made their college experience more beneficial and has brightened their future.

Maria Librado

Major: Youth and Community Studies

Minor: Sociology

What influenced you to choose this major? I realized there was a strong need for direction in today’s youth. There is also a lack of availability of resources that has negatively influenced the community a child is brought up in.

Why do you think this major suits you? My major suits me because I have a passion for helping youth through community outreach.

Was this major your first choice? No, my first major was sociology. When I realized this major was more focused on research I realized I wanted to major in something that allowed me to make a direct impact on youth.

What has been the best class you have taken for your major and why? Mexican Americans in Higher Education has been my favorite class because I learned about the issues that have deeply impacted the educational attainment of Mexican American students. I learned that alternative paths can be taken to help these students gain access to higher education.

How do you see your major helping you achieve your goals for the future? My career goal is to one day become a counselor focused on helping minorities get into higher education. I feel that my major is giving me the preparation I need to work with and understand youth and communities collectively as a counselor.

 

 

Nicole Garcia

Major: Health Promotion

Minor: Education with specialization in disability studies.

What influenced you to choose this major? I have come to realize how important our physical and mental health is. Coming from El Paso where it’s encouraged to eat, or else grandma gets upset, I never realized how important it is to watch what we are putting into our bodies. Promoting health is important to me because there are people out there who get diagnosed with brain diseases or cancer, diseases that we can’t prevent. So we should do what we can to take care of the healthy bodies we are given.

Why do you think this major suits you? I want to be able to help people and give back to my community, my major gives me the foundation for that. It has also given me the opportunity to take classes that teach a great deal about autism which my brother was diagnosed with during my senior year of high school. After some of my kinesiology classes I am now able to understand him a lot better

Was this major your first choice? No, I started off with exercise science and switched to health promotion. They are in the same umbrella of kinesiology though, so there wasn’t a big difference.

What has been the best class you have taken for your major and why? Programming For People With Disabilities, because my passion has always been to help those with special needs and this class taught me about different disabilities and how to accommodate people with them so they can participate in physical education. This class also gave me and opportunity to volunteer with UT’s Autism Project where I was able to interact with children who have autism. This was by far one of my best experiences at the university.

How do you see your major helping you achieve your goals for the future? My major has given me the information I need to be able to go back home and start programs or interventions that I feel El Paso really needs such as better physical education and nutrition being included in our high school health class.

 

Bethany Ward

Major: English

Minor: RTF (Radio, Television and Film)

What influenced you to chose this major? When I was in high school I had a really good English teacher who taught me how to think critically and outside the box. After that I had very good English teachers throughout high school. I also love to read and write, its always been something I enjoyed.

Why do you think this major suits you? With English major there is no right answer.  As and English major you get to come up with your own opinions and answers to questions.

Was this your first choice? Yes!

What has been the best class you have taken for your major and why? The American Novel After 1920. We got to read many classic American books and the professor was really open and encouraging with the class.

How do you think your major will help you achieve your future goals? Being an English major makes you well rounded, you learn a lot more than just about books. You learn how to analyze and become a more critical thinker which is an admirable trait in many job positions.

 

Patti Martin

Major: Microbiology

What influenced you to choose this major? I have always been interested in science and learning about how bacteria and viruses can infect us and make us sick. It really amazed me that tiny microorganisms have the ability to make people die!

Why do you think this major suits you? I think my major suits me because I like to think analytically and with science there is always an answer. Also I feel as though being able to learn about different symptoms and diseases will help me when I become a dentist because I am going to have to diagnose my patients.

Was this major your first choice? No, first it was biology then I realized I could specialize in an area and I chose microbiology and have stuck with it since that day.

What has been the best class you have taken for your major and why? My favorite class has been organic chemistry because the professor I had was truly an inspiration to me. He showed me that hard works truly does pay off and taught me to never give up.

How do you see your major helping you achieve your goals for the future? I have been accepted to dental school and the first year is basically all science including microbiology, immunology, and physiology which are all courses I’ve had to take under my major. As a dentist I will have to diagnose and treat my patients which is also something I have learned to do in many of my classes.

 

Linda Serna

Major: Women and Gender Studies

Minor: Sociology and Social Work

What influenced you to choose this major? My experiences growing up as a female have encouraged me to pursue this major. I have also always wanted to help and give back to the community.

Why do you think this major suits you? My major suits me because it allows me to surround myself with diverse people. Gender studies is also a new field so there are many more research possibilities.

Was this major your first choice? No my first choice was social work, which I still hope to pursue a Master’s degree in.

What has been the best class you have taken for your major and why? Intro to Women and Gender Studies has been my favorite class because it made me realize how interested I am in this new field.

How do you see your major helping you achieve your goals for the future? My major will teach me to reach out to marginalized groups and create a safe space for all people to express themselves and learn.

Resolutions Worth Keeping

Most people set a new resolution every year, but end up forgetting about them by, um, mid…. January. However, these five New Years Resolutions are truly worth keeping all year! You may ask: why? Answer: because these resolutions are good for both your heart and soul.

1.) Stay Active!

Try joining an after school activity or sport at school or your local recreation center. There are many fun ways to stay fit and healthy while having fun doing it. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), children and young adults from ages 6-18 should do three essential types of physical activities. Your exercise routine should include aerobic activity, such as running or jogging. You should also mix in muscle strengthening like sit-ups or push ups as well as bone strengthening like running or jumping rope. The CDC recommends doing these three activities three times a week for an hour or more. Check your local recreation centers for a list of their different activities, they can vary from dance classes to gymnastics; remember to try something new, you never know what you may learn or if you”ll end up loving it! Also, get your friends to join, physical activities can be more enjoyable if you have a friend of workout buddy.

2.) Get Involved

There are many ways for you to get involved in your community. Volunteering can be very rewarding, not only for the person or animals you will be helping, but also for yourself. Mari Ruiz who volunteers with Latinitas and at her church mentions, “It is really rewarding to volunteer in the community because you give your time and effort to help other people who need it and you don’t ask for anything in return.” Not sure where to volunteer? Check out your local organizations via a simple Google search or look through your local newspapers.  Try looking for local animal shelters, crisis shelters, and/or organizations for the less fortunate — it helps if it’s for a cause you’re passionate about. Too busy with school or work to volunteer? Many of these organizations and shelters accept donations, look them up and call them.  You never know that what you may have laying around the house could benefit others.

3.) Learn a New Skill Or Try Something New

We all have many things we would like to learn to do but never seem to have the time to do them! Focus on one and stick to it. This new skill can be learning about photography, but it can also be an old family tradition you acquire from abuelita ( like learning how to make her delicious home made cookies). Don’t limit yourself to learning one new skill try for two, three or ten if possible! This year, make time to learn something new like Daniela, who is dabbling in new fashion resolutions, ”Sweatpants, a bun and no makeup was my fashion trend last year. Really practical, but every time I ran into someone it was the most embarrassing thing, especially when it was someone I had not seen in a long time. I wanted to start the new year fresh and with a new look, so I made that one of my new year’s resolutions. I’ve been working on it and trying to make it a habit. I wear more casual clothing and try wearing eyeliner and eyeshadow that combines whatever I’m wearing. Up to now, I’ve been getting compliments for looking different and that’s awesome.I feel better about my looks and I don’t have to worry about bumping into somebody and looking like I just woke up.”

 

4.) Explore New Attractions:

You would be amazed at how many new things there are to discover in your home town. Grab your best friend and be tourists of your own city! Remember: You can also be the star photographer and take your camera to document your trip.Your local newspaper is filled with events taking place that weekend. If possible, check out local event guides that are normally free. The Visitors Bureau also offers pamphlets on local attractions or local museums. Feeling adventurous? Go downtown and explore the different historical buildings, parks, natural attractions, local cultural art centers, conventions, museums, shops and more. Look up your city’s history, you might be surprised at what historical landmarks and attractions are available. Don’t be shy, try something new, or meet new people, but always remember to be safe.

I had my own adventure, check it out:

 

5.) Relax!
 With all of these new activities to try on top of your normal routines, you will also need time to relax and rest. There are many ways to unwind that can be fun, like snuggling on the couch and reading Latinitas Magazine, taking your dog out for a walk, or catching a movie with friends. Remember that relaxation and rest are  very important for your mind, body and soul. We must treat our bodies with respect and always allow time for recovery when exercising or doing other strenuous physical activity.

Looking Through a Senior’s Eyes

Many seniors across the country are counting down the days until a very special day. That day is not their prom or their senior field trip. That special day is their high school graduation. From the first day of the Fall semester, a long time before the school year comes to a close, seniors are already getting excited to walk across that stage (or field) to receive a piece of paper that will set them free from high school.

Demonstrating the symptoms of ”senior-itis,” three Texas high school seniors give a small insight on their four years of high school and what they plan on doing after they finally receive their high school diploma.


Name: Jackie Reyna
Age: 17
What clubs and organizations did you participate in?
“I was in Skills USA and band.”
What’s your favorite memory of high school?
“My best high school memory was making the Texas All-State Band in my junior year of high school.”
What was your most embarrassing moment in high school?
“My most embarrassing moment was when we were reading ‘A Separate Peace’ and I looked it up and told the class about my discovery on an extended version of the story ‘A Separate Piece of Man Meat.’ The whole class, including the teacher, laughed at me.”
What will you miss from high school?
“I will miss all the friends I’ve made, all the great memories that will forever stay with me, and marching/football season.”
What you plan on majoring in college?
“I plan on majoring in either Criminal Justice or Psychology to become a Border Patrol agent.”
Any advice to underclassmen?
“My advice to any underclassmen would be as long as you do what the teachers tell you, and turn in your work, high school would be a breeze. Any grade is better than no grade. Also don’t mess with the seniors because if you act better than them, they will hate you and the will not be afraid to show it.”


Name: Sarah Lozano
Age: 
17
What clubs and organizations did you participate in?

“I was in band, 21st Century, TSA and golf.”
What’s your favorite memory of high school?
“My most unforgettable high school moment would be finding myself and who I am, surrounding myself with intelligent, sweet people and reaching my goals.”
What was your most embarrassing moment in high school?
“My most embarrassing moment was this one time I was wearing really high, high heels and I fell on my teacher crush and he caught me. We both got really red so now he stays away from me when I wear heals.”
What will you miss from high school?
“Nothing. I don’t wish to dwell on the past, what’s done is done. Whether it was great or horrible, I don’t want to look back.”
What you plan on majoring in college?
“I plan on majoring in music performance.”
Any advice to underclassmen?
“My advice to underclassmen is to be yourself. People will like you for who you are. Be humble and remember your manners. Don’t think you are better than people. If you do, the seniors will hate you. Don’t mess with seniors! Always compliment them and tell them nice things. Then they will love you forever. Also, if you want to get good grades, be a teacher’s pet.”


Name: Gigi Valentina Reyes
Age: 
17
What clubs and organizations did you participate in?
“I’m in the colorguard, Art Club and do a bit of theater.”
What’s your favorite memory of high school?
“Performing at half time shows with the band for color guard or performing on stage for theater.”
What was your most embarrassing moment in high school? “First day of senior year, I walked into what I thought was my Government class, but ended up being a freshmen English 1 class. I couldn’t tell it was an English class because there were no posters around. I walked out embarrassed!”
What will you miss from high school?
“I’ll miss going to school everyday and being surrounded by people I’ve known for years. Not feeling awkward.”
What you plan on majoring in college?
“I plan on majoring in Physiology.”
Any advice to underclassmen?
“Don’t stress so much with school. It won’t help. Try your best to stay on track with all your assignments. Study! Get as much sleep as you can, get involved, and have fun. Cherish every moment!”

My Bully Story

Bullying has always been around, even since the caveman years. Today we are realizing how harmful and hurtful it can be for the bully and their victim. Everyone has their own story to tell and everyone has been affected by bullying, some more than others. These Latinitas were eager to talk about their experiences in overcoming a bully situation.

Friends Before Foe

Hally, age 17, has been a victim of bullying, a bully, and defended someone who was being bullied. Hally was bullied for her personality and because she started wearing glasses. “When I was younger I really didn’t understand what bullying really was until I entered middle school,” said Hally. Hally didn’t really pay attention to the comments her classmates made and was also bullied for being a “nerdy girl,” and for her short height. When she entered middle school, she bullied one of her best friends to be seen as a cool kid. “I do regret what I did to my very first friend I met in middle school,” said Hally. She did apologize and her friend accepted, now they are very good friends. Hally also saved someone from being a bully victim when she was in high school. “I can’t remember the words I said, but I remember the feeling of helping someone else,” said Hally.  She still gets bullied from time to time, but then remembers her own advice, “forget other peoples comments; do what you want and follow your dreams.”

No Regrets

When Evelyn, now age 17, entered elementary in the third grade, she was the only Hispanic student in her class where everyone else was white.  “Therefore, I bullied other students, so they wouldn’t bully me. My teacher never noticed  because to her I was known as the sweet and quiet one,” shared Evelyn. “When I bullied my classmates, I had no shame for what I did. I had anger and would ask myself  ‘Why am I so dark?’  I would let my anger go on my classmates, which made me the bully.” After seeing  a little boy get picked on by four kids who were bigger, she saved him and stopped her bullying days. “After helping him, it felt better than picking on someone else. Now I have grown  up, I regret my mistakes… I help those who are in need. Be careful of your actions, you  might regret what you did.”

New Beginnings for a Realized Beauty

Jasmine, who is 17, first moved to a new town when she was in elementary school. Jasmine was being picked on by her classmates because she had a different skin color. “I never understood why younger kids did this to me, just because I was a different color didn’t mean anything,” commented  Jasmine. “I would tell my teacher of my troubles with my classmates, but she would respond with ‘My students would never do such a thing’.” Jasmine also shared that during fine arts class one of the girls threw a pair of scissors at her and she had to go to the nurse immediately. She lied to the school nurse and to her mother by saying ” Oh, there was some scissors on the floor and I fell over them”. When Jasmine entered middle school she started to gain friends and  learned that there are other people who will ignore the differences and accept her the way she is. “We are all the same on the inside; we shouldn’t hate one another because of our skin, we should love each over no matter color we are,” shared Jasmine.

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