Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Update: Switched to Wordpress

Hello everyone,

For those of you who are not on my Facebook page, I have recently hit over TEN thousand reads overall in this blog and I feel so proud and lucky for having you participate with my content. With this community growing in capacity I want to make this community be able to connect with each other and with that being said I think by switching to Wordpress I am able to produce stronger connections with you, my fellow readers. I will try Wordpress for a month and if I do not like Wordpress then I will continue to use Blogger. Please let me know what you all think, I do value everything you do and say to me. Also I want to thank you all for being such a lovely audience for the past two years! Chavelita Stories did turn two a few days ago and it is quite the honor that I am still able to write to you all! I really enjoy writing and I look forward to what comes next!

Wordpress Chavelita Stories

Heard any good things about Wordpress?

xx Chavelita

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Day 30: The haircut

If you have not noticed yet, this recent May I went to the beauty salon and cut more than half of my hair off. I have been planning on cutting it short for a while now and especially with the intention of donating the hair to a charity that makes wigs, I just knew that I wanted to go short. Since I have been in middle school and high school, having long hair was the total trend. The majority of the girls would grow it out long and get trims within the year, and do not get me wrong I was the same way. It was like the girl code of goals to follow when it came to hair. The idea that long hair was pretty and short hair was underappreciated floated around the halls of my school. You just did not hear often of girls getting short hair cuts. As soon as I graduated from high school, I had went to the local salon to cut my hair because I could no longer stand the struggle of keeping up with hair that reached to my hip bone. I remember pulling my hair all the time especially when I would get out of bed, my hair would get stuck to my seat sometimes, my hair would brush my arm and I would swat at my arm thinking it was a bug, and washing it was just a nightmare! Without wanting to be wasteful, I decided to keep the hair that I had gotten snipped off so I can send it to an organization that would use my hair to make wigs with other strands of hair. Just like I had captioned on my revealing photo, I had fun with my long hair and I hope that someone else has the same fun as I did.

My first hair donation was in 2015 and now with my most recent cut in 2016, I decided to go shorter. I wanted to test out how I would look with short hair and if my haircut decided to go terribly wrong I would just have to remind myself that hair grows back. Since I am one blind chick without my glasses, during the cutting process I had no idea how my haircut was turning out. All I remember is my hair stylist using razor to cut a big chunk of my hair that I was donating and using a razor to make sure she was cutting the hair evenly. I was okay with the scissors but the razor just brought me to a whole level of stress because she would continue cutting with razor, that I was fearing that she was going to shave a side of my head. Now that I would not have the words to describe how I feel. Thankfully that was not the case. I have been very impressed with the turnout actually. Before she started to cut my hair I had shown her what kind of hair cut/hairstyle I was aiming for on my phone and even though I briefly showed it to her, she immediately had an idea of what she was going to do.

In all my haircuts, I have been known to sit there in silence. I am more of that person that would rather overhear other people conversations than to make small talk with someone that I was going to spend at most half an hour with. There is just something soothing about getting your hair cut though, the hair wash, the head massage, that liberating feeling you get when you cut a big portion of your hair that you have been so used to carrying the weight with you everyday. You end up feeling like a new person when you leave the salon. You know sometimes you just have to take risks when it comes to haircuts and see where the new look takes you. In the future I want to see if I have enough confidence to cut my hair even shorter and see if I can pull of that look. As of now, I am loving my short hair! So much easier to handle and care for. Since my hair is naturally straight after I wash my hair it's like a sleek piece of silk framing my face. I barely use my straightener anymore and I rather prefer not. Rather enjoy the all natural look and let my hair be free!

How short have you cut your hair before?

June 2015
May 2016

xx Chavelita

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Day 29: PAC Leader Interview

Towards the end of my freshman year of college, I had received a text message from my protege advisory committee (PAC) leader that Mentor Tech was looking for new PAC leaders to help serve the Mentor Tech program and had mentioned how much of an asset I would be if I did decide to apply for the position. I remember sitting there holding my phone and thinking to myself of the chances that could happen if I were to go through the application process. The application was short and reflective with a recommendation letter to go with it. Mentor Tech for me was already starting to feel like my family because as a protege myself, I had gone to multiple workshops and being part of their community service program had brought a lot of me out to the public. So to be more involved with Mentor Tech was fine by me.

A few days after I had personally submitted my application to one of the unit coordinators of Mentor Tech, I received an email back stating the date and time of my interview. My PAC leader had already mentioned that there was an interview along with the application process so my initial thought about the interview was like any of the other interviews I have had. A casual sit down and chat about why I wanted to be in the program and what I wanted to bring to the program. Only thing though about that interview day is that nothing went the way I had imagined it to go. I arrived at the location a few minutes early because I believe that making a good first impression shows that you are dedicated, know how to manage your time, and that you know how to follow instructions. While I arrived we had to sign-in so I am like okay, have to sign-in in order to be counted as present. But while I was signing my name there was a column that had group numbers on them and according to the group number that you belonged to, you had to grab a name tag from the table. The name tags were mostly premade that had both the name of the applicant and the group they pertained. This is where I start to get nervous. I picked up my name tag, removed the paper so that the adhesive on the back was showing and slapped my name tag on the left side of my chest. Why the left side? Well from a workshop I had been to, the name tag should be on the left side so that when you go for a handshake (which you typically use your right hand to give out a handshake) the person you are shaking hands with is able to see your name. Well as more people started to arrive at the location, I had an idea that maybe this interview is not going to be like the rest of the interviews.

By the time everyone signed in and grabbed their name tags, the room was starting to feel hot. Now I am not sure if it was was for the fact that there was too many people or because I was nervous and wearing a blazer. There is just something about wearing professional business attire that increases my body temperature, like if you accidentally wore a sweater without anything underneath on a hot humid day assuming that the day was going to bring in rain but it doesn't. But since you do not have anything underneath you are stuck wearing the sweater for the rest of the day. That is how I felt and it was starting to make me feel anxious. Most of the groups were pretty big like four to six members per group, except my group. It was just me and two other people who coincidentally also happened to be Hispanic. I am not sure if they did that on purpose but that did not stop me from having suspicious thoughts. At least it was nice to be around other Hispanics because I find that there is not enough at my university. Also since there was this cute and kind Hispanic guy in my group too so I felt like I was already winning. This is all before instructions were being given out so me along with about thirty other potential PAC leaders were waiting awkwardly for further details.

The unit coordinator then comes and begins her shpeel and that is when we realized what was the purpose of being in a group. As a group we were asked to plan either a social event or an academic event in more or less of thirty minutes and present the idea to a panel. Each group were handed out with a sheet of paper, a large sheet of paper for brainstorming and presenting purposes, and a container of markers to write with. Given the fact that I did not know my group mates and I already had an assignment to do with them surely does play a large role of how fast you are in adjusting and producing in a short amount of time. Our group had to present a holiday event to the panel and on the sheet of paper that was given out by the unit coordinator instructs with bullet points of what to answer as we present our idea. The bullet points were pretty straightforward which asked things such as what would you call the event, how does diversity fit into the event, who you are inviting to speak, and where. The important small details that could really make a difference in planning. So on top of having to work with a group I did not know, in that same time they were calling us one by one for separate interviews. It was like an interview inception and again I had no idea who would be giving the interview out. But I am just hoping that I find the right words to answer all of their questions. 

In the middle of planning out the holiday event and sharing my ideas, one of the helpers called my name out for my separate interview. A wave of panic rushed over me and I quickly placed the sheet of paper I was holding and walked out of the common room. Slowly opening the door, I notice that not even the separate interview was one on one but more so three to one. The isolated chair signaled me to sit there and just like I always do, I try to liven up the mood so that my nervousness doesn't completely fill up the room. The questions were personal as I guessed them to be as a way to further learn about my character but there was this one question that stands out that keeps me thinking. "If you were shrunk to the size of a pencil and put in a blender, how would you get out?" and at first I had to make sure I heard the question correctly so I politely asked for them to repeat the question. Confirming my doubts, I shoot the first answer that pops into my head. "I would push the blender to its side and slide out" and with that being said all three of my interviewers begin to scribble onto their papers. I do not know if I provided an efficient answer but I was able to produce a solution on the spot which I am proud of. 

Soon after my separate interview, we wrap up our holiday event. We decided to go for a Halloween social while still bringing in diversity through the different costumes brought in by different cultures. The panel interview was held in one of the larger conference room in the same building and since we were group three we were in the first half to present. Even though I was confident in our idea, I was still feeling nervous for any spontaneous questions that could have be asked that we have not prepared for. As our time arrived to present, the conference room was filled with at least fifteen staff members of Mentor Tech half in which I have not seen. The tallest member of our group held the poster and I introduced our group. I started off the presentation and I was hoping to at least get someone to laugh. If you get someone to laugh then you are golden. There was multiple moments of laughter and other times there was awkward moments of questioning but overall I find our group to have held their ground and they presented efficiently. I was honestly proud and relieved that within the hour that I have met my group mates I was able to get along with them and be able to pull in all of our ideas to create the final product. 

This whole interview process started at five o'clock in the evening and I did not get out until seven thirty or around there. The process was long and exhausting, but it was such a great learning experience. At the end of the interview day, I even took off my small heeled flats while I was walking back to my dorm because I could not stand them anymore. 

PS: I did get the position.

Which interview do you consider the most memorable?

xx Chavelita 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Day 28: From Psychiatrist to Veteran Psychologist

How about that future? While I went to go visit some good friends for the last time before they move out of town, I came across thinking about my future again. Which is not so bad to be thinking about your future, nice to keep those creative juices flowing. Here is how my process of determining my future started. When I was in high school I had gone to Puerto Rico to visit my family and anytime I get to see them is a pleasure. Yet when you do not see family for a long time, they get curious and one of the questions that is never failed to be asked is, "Que vas hacer despues de la escuela?" (What are you going to do after you finish school). At least at that time I had an idea usually I would just shy away and avoid the question as a whole. Well my uncle who is a General Family Doctor asked me that one day I was sitting outside enjoying the sun and breeze. In which I had replied that I wanted to be a psychologist. I was starting to get into psychology because I already knew I wanted to help people in some way and I could picture myself doing that for a good portion of my life. I felt so confident in my answer until my uncle throws in the idea that I should become a psychiatrist instead. This was way before I knew about medicine taking care of the mentally sick so as naive I could be for a fifteen year old I said okay.

Well towards the end of my high school career, I had lost a great friend because of medicine that was used to take care of her emotions. And you know it was not so much how I was treated because of how the medicine changed her behavior but the fact that I was there from the start and saw how the medicine changed her completely from someone I could read from the back of my hand to someone I couldn't find the words to tell her. I am not going to go into much detail but that is when I realized that I cannot go into medicine. I cannot live with myself knowing that if I gave someone medicine to control their mood and they went through the same difficult transition of having their neurotransmitters and or hormones altered, I would probably not be able to forgive myself. Which brings me in to as I went to apply for college. I decided to stay as a psychology major and find another way I can help people without having to handle medicine. I am a strong believer of cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which is therapy to help shape or mold unhealthy behaviors into better behaviors by implementing problem solving techniques and ways of coping with the situation that the person is going through. I rather sit down with my patient and speak to them but I will not be prescribing medicine, I will refer them to a psychiatrist if needed but that is the most that I will do for them in that case.

Throughout my first year of college I had two fields of psychology in mind to specialize in, Clinical or Counseling. Which these fields are more or less in the same ball park because in Clinical it is more research based on mental illness or like the alterations of function of the mind while Counseling you have more of the hands on experience of diagnosing patients. At least that is what I think, these are not the formal terms but for the sake of this blogpost I'm going to keep it casual. So I have gotten myself involved in research to learn more about the different fields of psychology to see if there was something that I was missing out that I would probably like to consider as I get closer to graduate school. And if my lab mentor is reading this she is going to be happy, but I have found Human Factors psychology to be an interesting field. It was not until I got to college that I found out what Human Factors psychology was and I like to refer to this field as like the engineering of psychology. There is just so many fascinating researches happening at my university in this field and I am constantly hearing about The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and how big of role Human Factors play. Sometimes even I want to fangirl and I am probably the one that is least interested in comparison with my lab mates.

Then I had a conversation with my oldest brother who has already graduated from college about how my classes were going and I do not remember clearly what I had written on Facebook but we got to the topic of Veteran Psychologist. I imagined myself being a Veteran Psychologist and the idea of being one is not bad at all. Growing up as a military kid, I am familiar with veteran hospitals so to picture myself working at one, I do not think it would be a bad idea. I would also be giving back to the veterans and I may also get benefits for working with the government so that would be another thing that I would not have to worry about. I know that I am may be potentially placing myself in a difficult path because of possible stories from these veterans but I am still willing to give it a go. Who knows what I will learn from that experience if I decide to settle with this route in the future.

Overall my love for psychology has only grown in abundance and I am excited about learning more of what other fields of psychology has to offer before having to make my final decision for grad school! I also want to add that you can always change your future, you do not have to settle down with your childhood career or with someone else's idea of who you should be if you do not want to. Figuring out your future is a process that constantly needs work so please do not expect that it is going to come with a snap of a finger or with a rub of a lamp (trust me I tried and it sadly did not work). You take the time your need to plan out what you want to take with this life that we are given. I doubt anyone has their life completely planned out from start to finish so do not be afraid to try new things and to enjoy the ride as you figure out what you want to accomplish and become!

What career do you have in mind?

xx Chavelita

Monday, June 27, 2016

Day 27: Bad Day pass

For the longest time I would have considered myself as the Debby Downer out of my group of friends. Not because I saw more the negative side of things and would dwell on them more (which come to think of it, that could of been a factor, the dwelling part not the seeing everything as negative part) but I think because I have been such an optimistic growing up that I feel like a bit of the overlooked negativity caught up with me. I would try my best to avoid the bad days that I would repress my problems and would attempt to find a way to not let the bad days happen. Like that could happen. That worked until they became too much to handle that led to just more stress and trouble in my direction. I began to realize that not everything is as rosy and pretty and being positive all of the time is exhausting! I did not understand the difference between what a pessimistic would view the world and what a bad day entitled. This was me for the majority of my adolescences, I just did not like having to deal with my problems and the stress that came with it and to not tell anyone seemed like such a great answer! I cringe at the way I would treat myself in the past, always trying to put on a brave face to make sure I was the least of someone's worries. And you know what? Everyone is worth worrying about. Not too much worry that it brings in stress and anxiety but enough to know that you care about their well-being. I did not realize at the time, but the more you keep quiet the more suspicion is brought on you, and no matter if you win the award for best hidden emotions, people are still going to worry about you.

Everyone is entitled to having their bad days. Some people like to show that they are having a bad day through social media or other forms of communication and other people like to have their bad days in private or with a close friend. Even the most positive people you may encounter have their bad days and they deal with their bad days. The more you get older, I believe, and you still find a way to remain a positive outlook on life and world, should be handed an award. Problems get more complicated when you have to start making your own decisions and life can sometimes be an emotional roller coaster. Yes and even adults have to take a moment for themselves to settle into the situations that are thrown at them. Overall, I want to say that I am not an optimistic but I also do not like to dwell in negative aspects of life so I find better methods to handle with the not so pretty parts of life. I started using my words and stated the things that I did not like or that have been bothering me. You come to understand that there are just days where if in order to get over something and feel better is if you need to cry it out or throw out some swear words, then be my guest.

Everyone has different ways of dealing with stress, some habits better than others, but I just hope that you are finding a healthy outlet to let go of some of that stress that is preventing you from being happy. Just like everyone is entitled to have bad days, everyone is also entitled to being happy. I wish there was such thing as a Bad Day pass at work or at school and with that being said you were excused. Like instead of a Sick Day pass when you got the flu, you have a Bad Day pass because it is important to also take care of your mental health. Just because you cannot detect immediately whether someone is emotionally well or not, it does mean that the potential of someone being in distress does not exist. So do not feel bad or non-deserving for the days that you happen to feel sad, I rather you acknowledge your problems for what they are than to stay quiet with your thoughts and coming up with conclusions that do not pair up with your problem. Just make sure you are not revisiting the same problem, one visit should be plenty.

My mama instincts are showing, but just know that I care for your well-being. You can still be strong and have bad days. Those bad days strengthen you not weaken you.

Do you wish Bad Day Passes existed?

xx Chavelita

Day 26: What I have learned about my college town

Living in my college town, you kind of start to pick up on a few things. Some intentionally, other times unintentionally, and most times forcefully. Coming from a town where seeing a tree meant that it was your lucky day to a town where a tree could be found at any corner, I was a happy camper. I was able to embrace more of the raw nature that the Earth had to offer which also meant lovely sit downs underneath a tree for reading or studying. But just like any place you move into, you have to learn how to deal with the unpredictable features that comes from the city.
  1. Embrace the wind or plan not to wear a dress or skirt
  2. Carry an umbrella with you no matter how lovely the day may be looking at the moment
  3. Country music will either make you or break you
  4. English is mainly spoken so for those who know another language, make sure you have someone you get to speak your additional language so you will not start forgetting that language
  5. Rain and the road do not get along, the roads will flood if there is rain so make sure you have a pair of rain boots or shoes that you are not afraid to get wet and another pair of socks
  6. When you feel like it is safe to put away your winter clothes, do not put your winter clothes away
  7. My college town is very flat so tornadoes can be a possible threat so always listen to directions if there happens to be one nearby
  8. Just because it was warm during the day does not guarantee a warm night, carry a sweater around with you
  9. My college town is indeed a college town for the fact that you mostly find my college merchandise or emblem dominating most stores
  10. Mostly everybody I have met has different shade of blue or green eyes and are lovely people 
My college town's weather is quite different from my hometown given the fact that I am used temperatures peaking 100 degrees Fahrenheit, hot wind blowing, sandstorms, and little rain. I am just surprised that without even leaving the state, temperatures could differ among cities. And the in between tips of the atmosphere is there to give more a perspective of how the people are like. Which in all, my college town is decent and full of life which I enjoy and appreciate to have chosen to live there during my college semesters. 

How's the weather like near you?

xx Chavelita

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Day 25: Research Interviews

To be a research assistant was never on my to-do list nor did I know that being a research assistant was a thing until I had received an email from my psychology adviser that there was positions open. My initial reason to become a research assistant was to step out of my comfort zone. I knew I wanted college to be different than how I spent my years in high school and I wanted to make sure that in college I was getting the best experience possible as an undergraduate. So when I sat down with the application open to apply for my first research assistant position, I had no idea what I was getting myself into and yeah I was stressing out as I would normally but from the back of my mind I knew if I did not follow through this opportunity I was going to be regretting and wondering what would of happened if I only submitted my application. I also never thought about how I would feel if my application got rejected so I came in with such high hopes for a new beginning. A few days passed since I had submitted my application and one of the graduate students emails me back an email introducing himself to me and how my application stood out especially for that fact that I was a freshman without even stepping into college yet. A part of myself was making sure that this was actually happening and the other half was kind of anxious and curious about what would happen next. Within the first few weeks that classes has started I scheduled my interview appointment to go meet up with the person who had given me feedback on my application. Which to this day I still find weird that I had the ability to schedule when I wanted my interview and at what time...

The psychology research labs at my university are located in the basement of the psychology building and walking downstairs for the first time to the basement was pretty creepy and unexpected. You have to open a door to get access to the stairs and even then the stairs were dimly lit, one wrong step and who knows where would I end up. There are still times where I will miss a step and nearly fall down those stairs, so knock on wood that my day does not come. In the basement of the psychology building though the lights were bright and if anything all you can hear is the hum of the furnace. The rooms down in the basement for the majority time are closed and are only open if someone were running labs or waiting for their participant to come participate in their study. Well I sat down outside of the room where my interview was going to be held at and I kind of just stalled. I knew that I was early and I felt like my anxiety was kicking in because my thoughts would be on loop. "Ok... in ten minutes I will get up and knock on the door" "Alright in five minutes..." "In a minute..." until I had to actually knock on the door, I would just think about at what time I would knock on the door. With enough time to be considered early and on time, I gave a loud knock. 

The interview process was oddly really casual. There was even laughing and side stories included like how statistics just gets more and more alphabet as the content advances. I sat down in the adjacent seat by him and we just spoke. The only technical thing that I was asked to do is to get certified as a research assistant by doing the online trainings that were found on the university's website and on the National Institute of Health website. I was expecting like a proper eye to eye, seat table seat, interview. I remember what I had worn that day, I had ironed my sleeveless white shirt with crosses and had on tight khaki jeans. And as usual with my potato sack Toms to complete the outfit. I do not remember if I had a resume on me at the time because I had just gotten out of high school so I did not know how to make a college resume if I did not have any experience to write about. Even with that, I was given the position. Except what I have come to realize that so far all of the research assistant positions that I have applied and been interviewed for, I was never told a direct answer that I was accepted as their research assistant. I had to assume that I was accepted when my interviewers started talking about how they should contact me and when they would ask about my schedule details. 

On my second interview, the interview went even more casually because I had already known my interviewer since she was the teacher (or is it teaching?) assistant to my former Statistics class and she would teach our class on Fridays in the afternoon. In the first weeks that I have started college, I was concerned about my future and I already know what you are going to tell me that I am still too young to be concern about my future but that is what anxiety does to you. Makes you worry more than you should and the only way I was going to stop worrying is if I handled my concern. I did not know my Statistics TA that well but my first impression of her was that she was funny, awkward, and friendly. I knew that that was enough for me to put my trust in her that she would help me out with my situation. I wrote a thorough email explaining about graduate school and research. Soon throughout the week that I had emailed her, she replied back with such warm words. For someone who did not know me she sure accepted me pretty quick and offered her assistance to me. Half through my first semester of college, she emails our class about how she was looking for research assistants to come help her out in her research lab. I remember her mentioning in an email or in person that she was waiting for a response for me since I have been interested in doing research. Well on the day of my interview I sit down and we talk like it was just another day. And again she starts asking for my schedule without even telling me directly that I was accepted as her new research assistant. I am starting to wonder if this is a trend that happens to interviewers and their interviewees. 

My most recent interview was before I left home for the summer, I had decided to do apply for another position only this time I was not alone. During my tutoring session for Research Methods my Supplemental Instructor mentioned to my lab mate and I that there was an opportunity for us. The opportunity he has been talking with us for a while and it was that we had the chance to create our own study. Maybe we won't run the study but we would be able to learn the process in making a study and what it takes to get one starting. Since both my lab mate and I were first year college students he saw a lot of potential which was really sweet of him to mention when he had given us both good words of acknowledgement to the professor that he was doing research under. On the last week of school I meet up with another graduate student and although I did not know my interviewer personally, I did hear about her and from what I have heard she seems like a good person to get along with. In which she was because the interview went so smoothly, it did not like feel like an interview like my previous interviews. 

Reflecting over my research interviews and how much I have gone through as the lost college student to the less lost college student, I feel super grateful for taking the chances when I could. I had stepped out of my comfort zone and I carried my anxiety on my shoulder to all of my interviews. Even though I was nervous, I put on a smile and went in with a positive outlook. If you get the interviewer to laugh with you, then you should be golden which has been my goal in all of the interviews that I have had this year. Sometimes we forget that our interviewers are just like us, with experience and a upper hand, but they are people too. I know that I have so much to learn but at least I feel comfortable knowing that I have wonderful mentors to guide and support me along the way. I am so excited about what happens next in my research labs!

Update: I am no longer a research assistant for my first interviewer but I am still continuing with my second and third research positions. I have also found a passion for research so in the end I feel like I came out like a winner and soon a paid winner. 

In what field would you like to do research in?

xx Chavelita