Cats, Birthdays and Leadership

Howdy, Hawks! I hope you guys had another awesome week at our lovely campus. I personally feel like the more I’m here, the more I fall in love with it. I’m totally a small campus type of gal, which is why – though I look forward to getting my bachelor’s degree – I’m a bit worried about big and scary graduate school. Either way, that’s in another three or so years, so by that time I’ll probably have things put together.

My Friends Say I’m Getting Old

dofdSpeaking of growing up and getting myself together, I turned 20 years old Nov. 2! It’s crazy, right? I still feel like I’m a dorky 16-year-old without a clue. Two decades sure do fly by. I didn’t do much celebrating (I’m saving that for my 21st birthday), mainly because it fell on a Monday. Not only that, but on a midterm day as well! Happy birthday to me. Still, I received lots of love, hugs, food and presents! Of course, since I’m older than most of my friends, I’ve got to get used to all those “oh, you’re such an old woman now” jokes again. Fun.

My birthday falls on the Mexican holiday “Dia de Los Muertos” or “Day of the Dead.” On this holiday, people celebrate their friends and family members who have passed away with altars, food, music and decorated candy skulls. Although I’m Mexican, I’ve never really celebrated this holiday (mostly because I was too busy eating cake and opening presents). Intercultural Student Services (ISS) held a “Dia de los Muertos” event on Nov. 2. It consisted of Hispanic music, face-painting, free food, skull decorating and other fun stuff. I stopped by for a bit, finding myself feeling nostalgic, homesick and even a bit hungry.

The Leadership Conference Was Awesome!

Another, much bigger, event held at our campus occurred over the weekend: the 19th Annual Leadership Conference. Okay, so that doesn’t sound so exciting, but bear with me. Though the end goal was to teach the participants how to become better leaders, it also did a lot for people’s confidence. Troy Stende, the speaker at the conference, made the participants step out of their comfort zones and explore their teamwork skills as well as personal strengths and flaws in fun, interactive and entertaining ways. There was not one single movement of boredom. He literally opened up with a backflip.

I recommend this conference (and other events, especially if held by SLICE) to anyone wanting to develop his or her leadership skills and have a good time. If you missed it this time around, don’t worry. It’ll come back around next year. You don’t even have to be a UHCL student or alumni to participate! Bring your whole crew. If that isn’t convincing for you yet, let me just tell you that the food was on point, and it included a giant cookie.

It Feels Good To Do Good

I know you’re all dying to know about my doggie/kitten adventures. Okay, maybe it’s just me that’s dying to tell you guys about it. I went to the Alvin Animal Shelter this past week and got to bathe cats. That’s right. Bathe cats. Needless to say, I ended up scratched and exhausted. Still, best volunteer opportunity ever.

To end on a bright note: my family and I are sponsoring a little 4-year-old girl from Africa through Compassion International. I’m excited to send her coloring books and pictures, and to write and receive letters to and from her throughout the years. It’s a beautiful thing to help others, and I’m looking forward to being a part of this little girl’s journey to a better life.

That’s all for now, Hawks. Have another great week!

-Natalia

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