Category Archives: UHCL Freshman Experience

Eric reflects on his choice of classes

Hey Hawks! I hope everyone is settling in to the semester well. It has always been difficult to do anything when the stress kicks in. Especially during mid-term season. Not even all the skills I have accumulated throughout my college years have been able to prepare me for my statistics class. A couple of my classes involve learning entirely new materials.  

This past week has been focused around statistics. It’s amazing how much this class has actually helped me out around everyday things such as grocery shopping. Even though it has been helpful in my everyday life, it hasn’t been helpful with my grade point average. It’s like learning a whole new language. 

I never would have thought that my senior year would be this stressful. I pictured my last year in college like my last year in high school where I did not have anything to really stress about. Do not to worry, there are a couple of classes that help ease my mind. 

One of the big things I’m enjoying about this final semester is that a lot of my exit level courses are very informative. These classes like my Coastal Resilience and Techniques of Environmental Assessment have taught me the core skills that I will be needing in my field. My instructors are amazing and I have probably had to take them for over four classes each. The Environmental Management Program is a great major if you are looking to learn more on the mother nature side of things.  

Well that’s it for this week guys, I hope you all have a great week. Make sure to set goals and dreams for yourself and strive to be the best you can be. 

Until next week Hawks. 



Natalia partners up with UHCL Day of Service

Hey Hawks!

I hope you had another amazing week at UHCL. My week was pretty good. I feel really tired. I think it’s that time of the semester where I am in desperate need of a break. Thankfully, Spring Break is coming up!

I spent my week focused on extracurricular activities – from Campus Activities Board to Social Justice Organization to Hawk Leadership Institute and even to a new initiative I’m starting with a friend. (More on this next week!) It’s crazy to think about how involved I am on campus, considering who I was when I first started going to UHCL. In high school, I was never involved in ANY extracurricular activities. I just went to class and went home. I thought college was going to be the same. Little did I know I would be running for president of CAB, starting my own organization (SJO), being a peer mentor (HLI) and spearheading an entire initiative. This is a testament to how much I have grown over the course of four years. It’s exciting to look back and notice that growth. It’s even more exciting to wonder how much I’ve still yet to grow. In another four years, I hope to look back and feel the same pride in myself that I feel today.

This weekend was UHCL’s annual “Day of Service.” I was a site leader, which means I had to arrange carpooling, give out water and snacks, take pictures of everyone and give a small reflection piece at the end of the day. We volunteered with a non-profit organization named SBP, which focuses on disaster recovery. They took us out to two houses that needed to be rebuilt after Hurricane Harvey. We helped tear out drywall, mud and paint. It was super exhausting but so rewarding. It was so nice to see everyone work together for something bigger. We worked from 8:30 a.m. to noon. It may seem like a lot, but some participants complained that the day was too short! Some even stayed past noon to continue working. I felt very proud of them.

That’s pretty much all there was this week.

Until next time Hawks!

– Natalia

Natalia enjoys extracurricular life

Hey Hawks!

I hope y’all are having a great week at UHCL. It’s been very rainy, very busy and very hectic. I am finally done with all of my midterms, so I can really focus my energy on extracurricular activities without feeling guilty about it.

I forgot to mention, but last week the Hawk Leadership Institute had its annual luncheon! We all dressed up, got together and ate some delicious Thai food. The Assistant Dean of Students Iliana Melendez, the Director of Student Housing and Residential Life Amy Snyder, UHCL alumna Jane Woods and HLI alumni Izuh Ikpeama, Aileen Kelly and Sandy Samaan. It was a great experience to have open conversations about leadership and mentorship, while also eating great food. It really took me back to my first ever HLI luncheon back in 2015. I love seeing how much HLI has developed since then, and how much my fellow HLI members have grown. Izuh is running for president of SGA, Sandy got accepted into the medical school of her dreams and Aileen is already “adulting.” It makes me feel excited for what this new cohort of HLI students will achieve in the future. I’m happy I get to be part of witnessing that process of growth and leadership development.

Campus Activities Board had two events this week, which were pretty fun. The first one was a panel called “Experiences of Women of Color” and it was part of the CAB series titled “Food for Thought”. The panel consisted of Assistant Director of SLICE Yolanda Barnes and Melendez. They spoke openly about their experiences as women of color, especially as it relates to the workplace. The participants enjoyed free pizza, while being able to anonymously submit questions to be asked to the panel. Overall, this two-hour event was a success. It was very insightful and inspiring. The second CAB event was a collaboration with Student Life’s Film and Speaker Series. Student Life showed the movie “Coco,” while CAB provided some fun activities for participants, including face painting, a photo booth, coloring pages, and even free Mexican sweet bread! It was a great experience. I loved the movie, so getting to watch it again was a delight. Next week will be exciting too! CAB is hosting one of their biggest events of the year: Go Texan Day! They will have barbeque, a mechanical bull, games and much more.

Other than that, I didn’t do much else. I studied a little, took an exam, napped a lot and probably ate less than I should have. The classic college student life, right?

Until next time, Hawks!pastedImage-1

– Natalia


Eric tries to find a way to trick time

Hey Hawks –

I have stopped keeping track of time. College is going by so fast I can’t keep up with it. My parents always told me that after a certain age, you’ll stop caring about the time. I feel I am now at that age. Before, days would feel like weeks and weeks would feel like months. I wish time would slow down.

Going 100 miles an hour is torture sometimes and aside from worrying about time this past week, I have also been really focused with school. Getting assigned three essays in one week was hard, but I have come to accept the fact that I will never get over procrastinating. Netflix always gets the best of me.

We’re about to go head to head with mid-terms. I hope everyone makes sure to train hard and knock them out. Show them whose boss. That means I’m going to be studying hard and taking breaks often, because I don’t want to fry my brain.

Luckily, I have managed to wake up on time this semester. Of course, I’ve had those days where I’m too comfortable in bed to get up, but I still manage to sneak in 10 extra minutes every time. I have a few tricks that I’ve learned to help me wakeup on time. For example, I set two alarms one at 6 a.m. and the other at 10 a.m. I wake up at 6 a.m., but then go back to sleep so I trick my brain into thinking I have more time to sleep. I’m not sure if it’s scientifically proven but it seems to help me.

I have already planned out my future after graduation: saving up for a house. Even though its only $10 at the moment, it does not hurt to start saving now.

That is all for this week Hawks. I hope your settling into your classes smoothly, good luck!


Natalia stares down the first wave of exams

Hey Hawks! 

I hope y’all had a good week. I won’t say a fun week, because that’s an unrealistic expectation to have for the first midterm week of the semester. I hope exams went well for everyone. If not, don’t worry! It is only the first set of exams. There will be more opportunities to really bring your grade up. 

I had three exams this week: Human Anatomy Lecture, Human Anatomy Lab, and Organic Chemistry II. The first one was relatively easy. It helps that I had already taken (and dropped) this class a year ago. I spent the whole weekend writing all over whiteboards in a random classroom in SSCB with two of my closest friends. It was very reminiscent of freshman year, when we all met and decided to get together on campus to study. We tried reserving a room in the library, working at a table in the atrium and even at the Patio Café. Nowhere really seemed to work, especially because we get very easily distracted. One day, we decided to try studying in a random classroom so that we could use the projector as well as the whiteboard. This changed everything! Suddenly, we were getting As in our classes. It felt really good to finally find a studying technique that worked with us. We haven’t stopped using it since! Every time we have an exam coming up, we come to campus on a weekend and spend hours in a random classroom. Unsurprisingly, it worked this time around! All three of us got an A+ on our exam.  

The other two exams were a different story, especially because we couldn’t find time to study together for Human Anatomy Lab and we aren’t together in the other class. I don’t know what my grade is going to be for these, but I don’t feel too worried.  

My main focus right now is working out ideas and plans on how to make Campus Activities Board better next semester! As I have previously mentioned in past blogs, I’m going to run for president of CAB. I know I shouldn’t get my hopes up about winning, but I still want to take the time to fully research and plan how I can change CAB for the better through this position. I am aware that I might not be elected, but that’s better than winning and not having any idea what to do. Wish me luck!  

A fun thing I did this weekend as a reward for myself for having survived three exams was go see the new marvel movie: “Black Panther!” I’m not a big superhero fan, but I was very excited about the fact that it was coming out. Black representation in the media is so important! I encourage everyone to go see it. It’s a great movie with a great cast. Also, this will get you even more ready to see “Avengers: Infinity War” on May 4. 

It was really nice to relax and hang out with my family after a stressful week. After the movie, we went to Jack-in-the-Box at around 10 p.m. to have some breakfast! I highly recommend their #21 at any time of the day!  

That’s it for me. Until next time, Hawks! 

– Natalia  pastedImage

Eric’s stressing about stress

Welcome back Hawks,

I hope everyone is having a great semester so far. I’m sure not having the best time right now. This semester has been nonstop. I can hardly breathe. I don’t think that I have ever been this stressed in my entire college career. Every semester has its downfalls and my final college semester has a ton of challenges. Usually I get the hang if a semester after about a week, but I have yet to get in the swing of this one. Every day is a new hurdle that needs to be overcome, and sometimes I end up running into them.

I have not done a weekly favorite this semester and I would like to bring the snippet back. I’m really into Celebrity Big Brother right now. I have been obsessed with the show since it first aired. It is amazing to see all the drama and challenges the players have to overcome. I am currently rooting for Omarosa Manigault to win, because she is great at causing beef with the other contestants.

One of my main fears after graduation is being vulnerable to the world. All my life I’ve been sheltered, so it is going to be rather difficult to leave the nest. I plan on moving out shortly after graduation, and it’s honestly one of my biggest fears. I feel as if I’m going to miss my mom’s homemade meals, the free cable and free Wi-Fi! Like all good things in life, one must be able to adjust.

Well that’s it for this week Hawks! Mid-Terms are right around the corner! Be sure to study up. If you guys need any study tips/college tips be sure to check out some of my previous blogs. Hope you all have a great week!


-Eric Yanez

Natalia’s blaming it on Zelda and loving panels

Hey Hawks!

I hope y’all have had another amazing week at UHCL. Mine, as always, has been insanely busy.

I’ve tried to study every day to get ready for my first upcoming midterms, but I get very easily distracted. I think I’m going to have to make my family hide my Nintendo Switch because I can’t seem to stop playing Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. If you haven’t played it yet, you should! If you don’t have a Nintendo Switch, borrow one from a friend (not mine, I’m very protective of it)!

I did do one very exciting, school-related thing this week, though. I was part of a panel, hosted by UHCL’s First Year Seminar. The theme of the panel was community activism. My friend (and vice president of the Student Justice Organization) and I were invited to sit on the panel to represent SJO. We talked extensively about student activism, specifically on campus. The other panelists were amazing! One of them was Adrienne Bell, who is running for US Congress TX-`14! It was so exciting to meet her, share a panel with her and talk with her afterwards. She’s definitely got my vote.

I love being on panels. I love talking about things I’m passionate about. It’s so wild to think about how during my first year at UHCL I loved panels because I loved being in the audience and hearing people’s different perspectives and passions. Now, I’m the one on the panel! It’s crazy how things change.

I went to school over the weekend so I could study and make up for all the time I’ve spent not-studying (i.e. playing videogames). It was boring and tedious, but I think it was definitely worth it! I feel very confident about my upcoming exams. Me, studying intensely, is something that has not changed since my freshman year (and probably will not change once I go to grad school).

Next week’s blog will probably be even less exciting, as I will be mostly taking exams and stressing about them.

Until next time, Hawks!

– NataliapastedImage