Category Archives: UHCL Freshman Experience

Natalia celebrates the end of the semester with her student organizations

Hey Hawks!

I hope you had another fantastic week at UHCL. Can you believe we only have one more week left until s the dreaded finals week and then we get to enjoy the summer! It’s crazy how fast a semester goes by. It’s crazy how fast an academic school year goes by. It’s even crazier to think that I’ve been going to college for four whole years! I should be graduating by now (whoops).

This week was full of both closure and new opportunities.

The Social Justice Organization hosted the last meeting of the semester this week. We had a nice little social with pizza and celebration. The Campus Activities Board also hosted its last meeting of the semester this week. We spent most of the meeting voting on constitutional amendments that I, alongside the rest of the 2018-19 executive board, proposed. It was exciting, especially considering that all of our proposed amendments passed!

We ended the year with the annual Leadership Banquet, hosted by Student Life, where we all dressed up and received numerous awards for leadership, teamwork, volunteering and recognition. I officially became the president of CAB, which is both scary and exciting. I had a nice time at the banquet, especially because I got to wear a really nice suit! I’m trying to find other excuses to wear the suit because I looked pretty good. The entire night was very reminiscent of the first Leadership Banquet I attended, two years ago. Back then, I went to the stage to receive recognition for completing my first year with the Hawk Leadership Institute. This year, I went to the stage to receive recognition for serving as a peer mentor for HLI. It’s funny how things change, yet stay the same.

The next day, a group of us from HLI (and a few of our friends) went to Kemah to participate in an escape room! If you don’t know what an escape room is, it is basically a game where you’re locked in a room and have to escape by solving numerous puzzles. The catch is that you only have one hour to escape! Each room has a different theme. The one we chose was called the “Fear Room”. It was similar to the movie “Saw,” except nobody had to cut off any of their limbs. It was super fun! Unfortunately, we didn’t win. We were very close to the end when our time ended. Still, I really want to go back again and try other escape rooms. It’s a great bonding experience, as well as a good team-building activity. Afterwards, we all went out for pizza, to make ourselves feel better.

It was a fun, emotional, and exciting week. Now to start studying for finals!

Until next time, Hawks

– Natalia

A group of people holding signs that signal they failed the escape room

Natalia celebrates the end of her semester with a trip to an escape room with her friends. Photo courtesy of Natalia Marfil.

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Eric gears up for the final weeks

It’s good to be back Hawks!

Senior year has been extremely difficult especially the final weeks leading up to graduation with so much happening. It is almost impossible to sum up senior year into any one category. It ranges from a wide variety of emotions each containing its own perk. I never realized just how difficult obtaining a degree was. These past couple of weeks have not been easy.

I have had to rely on breathing exercises to help me get through the week. The stress level has finally reach its peak. I have been getting slapped left and right by the infamous Mr. Stress. I never thought stress could physically hurt. Oh, let’s not forget to mention that I found my first gray hair the other day. So not only does college make you want to enroll into an asylum, but it also deteriorates your body in the process.

There have been times this semester where I really am not certain I’ll be able to see the light at the end of the road. Stress compiled with assignments and personal problems aimlessly give me tunnel vision. All I can see in the moment is a whirlwind of assignments.

On the bright side I finally have my cap and gown! I can’t wait for next weekend to get my senior pictures taken. This makes me realize that my senior year is about to end. “Adulthood” is only a few weeks ahead. Luckily, I have begun creating professional resumes, because I’m not quite sure a company wants to know I worked at a McDonalds when I was 16. Wish me luck on perfecting this resume skill.

That’s all for this week Hawks. Be sure to study up and finish strong! The final countdown is in effect. Get ready to put on those boxing gloves and come face to face with finals. Good Luck!

-Eric

Natalia and SJO starts making plans for next semester

Hey Hawks!

I hope you’ve had another great week at UHCL. Mine was very slow-paced, and mostly consisted of wrapping up a lot of extracurricular activities and getting ready for next week’s Student Leadership Banquet.

The Social Justice Organization hosted elections this week. I will continue to be president, Lisa Jatta will be treasurer and Joe Riley will be our Student Government Organization Representative. We still have the vice president and secretary positions available, so we will focus on filling those positions and if anyone is interested, just let me know. Last general meeting, we talked heavily about what our next year looks like. We want to have more “Let’s Talk About…” events, as well as more stand-alone events like our “#MeToo” event in Atrium I of Bayou.

Another great news: The Social Justice Organization has been nominated for two awards at this year’s Student Leadership Banquet! We are nominated for Social Awareness Event for “Let’s Talk About Guns” alongside Turning Point USA. We are also nominated for Student Organization of the Year, which is essentially the most important award of the night for student organizations. We are running against Delta Xi Nu, which is impressive in itself! Delta Xi Nu is a large organization that is always visible, always active, and always embodying excellence. Even if SJO doesn’t win, running against them is already an achievement.

Speaking of the Student Leadership Banquet, I went shopping this weekend for a suit. That’s right! Not a dress, but a suit. I’m super excited because it’s my first time wearing a suit. Definitely expect lots of pictures.

That’s pretty much it from me this week. I’m excited for next week though! I’m looking forward to the Student Leadership Banquet, as well as the Rememberall play being put on by UHCL Storytellers!Natalia

Until next time, Hawks

– Natalia

Natalia gets to relax and enjoy extracurriculars

Hey Hawks!

I hope y’all had another great week at UHCL. School has slowed down a lot, so I’ve had a lot of time to focus on extracurricular stuff.

On Wednesday, the LGBTQ Student Coalition hosted an LGBTQ+ Open Forum, which was really successful. We had a good number of people show up and talk about what they wanted to see at UHCL in terms of LGBTQ+ community. We had an open discussion about building community, events on campus, LGBTQ+ visibility and healthy allyship. It was a very fruitful discussion, where we came up with a bunch of ideas! I’m really excited about what the next year will bring. We’re already planning exciting events.

Coming up on April 27, we’re going to Texas State University for the Queer Collegiate Summit, a conference specifically for LGBTQ+ college students. We’re travelling with Associate Dean of Students, Iliana Melendez, and eight other students. I’m super excited about it. It’s going to be an amazing experience.

The 29th Annual Chili Cook-Off was this weekend, which was pretty exciting! I wasn’t as involved as I have been in the past, but I still showed up to show support to Hawks Leadership Institute. Their theme was Circus, which was pretty fun to do. Everyone dressed up as different circus characters. I wore a beard the whole time because I was the bearded lady! It was nice because the beard also served as a scarf. If you were at Chili Cook Odd at all this weekend, you know it was super cold that day. Thankfully, chili is hot and that kept us warm. One of my friends, Flor Gonzalez, was the captain of the HLI team. She did an amazing job. I felt really proud of her. It reminded me of last year, when I was the captain for my HLI team. She was there supporting me, which is when I first brought up the idea to her of being captain. She did not disappoint!

That’s pretty much the most exciting part of my week. I’ll keep y’all posted on what else comes up throughout the week!

Until next time, Hawks

– Natalia

Three friends dressed as circus performers.

Natalia, as the bearded lady, supports HLI at the Chili Cook-Off.

Natalia starts new projects

Hey Hawks!

I hope y’all had another greet week at UHCL. Mine was very eventful. I started my new job, hosted a big event, had a ton of important meetings, and went to the Cultural Extravaganza!

My first day as a Student Ambassador for the Office of Student Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was last Wednesday. I only worked for two hours, hanging up flags in Atrium II in preparation for Cultural Extravaganza. I got a small tour of the office and had some informal introductions, but my official training will happen sometime this upcoming week. I’m really excited to work with the SDEI office. I’m passionate about diversity programming, and I look forward to helping put out some really great events. I especially want to see more LGBTQ+ programming on campus!

On Wednesday, I hosted an event through the Social Justice Organization and alongside Turning Point USA called “Let’s Talk About Guns”. It was a super successful event. We had about 65 people show up! This includes faculty, staff and students. Even the Dean of Students went! Andrea Baldwin, who is amazing, facilitated the discussion really well. Things remained very civil, even though it was a difficult and uncomfortable conversation to have. My favorite part was that at the end of the event, people stayed and continued to have these critical conversations.

I worked as a volunteer for the Cultural Extravaganza this Saturday, which was really fun. I was a theater helper, so I essentially got to see the whole show. It was an amazing event with amazing performances. I convinced my best friend, Madi Coates, to carry the LGBTQ+ flag for the Cultural Walk. She was hesitant at first, but still ended up doing it. It was the first time the LGBTQ+ flag had ever been part of the Cultural Walk, so we didn’t know how the audience would react. It turns out that the audience loved it. They were really supportive, which felt really nice. Both Madi and I got kind of emotional about it.

Until next time, Hawks!

– Natalia

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Madi Coates walks the LGBTQ+ flag for its first Cultural Extravaganza.

Natalia “staycations” for this Spring Break

Hey Hawks!

I hope you all had an excellent Spring Break. I didn’t go out of town or even go to a beach. In fact, I think it might be the most time I have spent indoors in a while. Everyone spends their Spring Break differently, right?

I spent the first half of my Spring Break babysitting my brother, napping and binge watching “One Day at a Time” on Netflix. If you haven’t seen it yet, you should give it a try. It’s a very sweet and wholesome show about a single Cuban mother who lives with her two teenage children and her mother. The show is very feel-good and happy, but it also touches on some very serious themes like PTSD, racism, homophobia and sexism. I highly recommend it!

I spent the second half of Spring Break telling myself I was going to get school stuff done. Instead, I just continued to nap and watched a few movies. I watched the creepy film, “It Follows” again. I also saw “The Shape of Water,” which is a movie that everyone seems to be talking about it. It won four Oscars! It was an interesting movie, but I don’t know if I loved it as much as everyone else did. Still, it passed the time. I also watched the animated film, “Balto.” The 1995 film is about a half dog, half wolf who saves the town of Nome, Alaska by leading a sled team across the state to retrieve medicine for dying children. It’s based on a true story, which is cool. It was also my number one favorite movie as a kid, so it as very nice and nostalgic to watch it again.

If you know me at all, you know that I absolutely love board games! I played a new and really intricate board game over Spring Break. It’s called Mice and Mystics. It’s a cooperative game, where you play together as mice trying to get through a big castle. You encounter enemies along the way like roaches, spiders and centipedes. The board game comes with a storybook to follow along, which is divided into chapters. Each chapter is essentially a level of the game, with its own special rules and objectives. It’s really fun, adorable, and unique. It you’re into board games at all, I highly recommend looking into Mice and Mystics.

Oh, and how can I forget? The Thursday before Spring Break, I had a job interview for the Student Ambassador position with the Office of Student Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Over Spring Break, I got an email saying that I got the job! I’m super excited to start working in their office. I will keep y’all posted on how that new adventure goes.

Until next time, Hawks!

– Natalia

the shape of water

Guillermo Del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” was one of the most critically cellebrated films of 2017 and won four Oscars. Image courtesy of FoxSearchlight.com