Tag Archives: #HawkLeadershipInstitute

My Freshman Year: A Year of Self-Discovery

On my first day of my freshman year, I cried while I was walking to my first class. I wasn’t crying because I was scared, but because I was a first generation college student and I felt very proud. I didn’t know what to expect, but I remained optimistic. Next school year, I am going to be a sophomore. I am going to be taking a whole new course load that will challenge my brain even further. I heard it only gets harder. I hope it gets easier. Only time will tell. Oh gosh I hope it gets easier.

Joining the Hawk Leadership Institute was one of the best decisions I have ever made. My success coaches Robin Aleman, Julie Brenengen, Jennifer Clark, and Jayme Tiemann are all very influential women in my life. Our relationships will only grow over the years and I am grateful to know that I have them for a support system. In college, I have to be responsible and get all my work done on time, but when I was with my success coaches and my HLI peers I was able to relax and feel like less of an adult. They referred to us as their “babies,” and it soothed me since it made me feel like it was okay to make mistakes and the pressure was off. Through this program I was able to find myself. I learned that leadership isn’t about how many followers you have, it is about how many leaders you create. Leadership is about making a difference and giving back to your community. I plan to remain in the Hawk Leadership Institute and now it is time to invite others into our organization. I can be a mentor to the incoming freshman because I have already gone through the stresses of personal and school life.

After having been inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success, I have decided to run for council and landed the Secretary position. From what I have heard, it isn’t an easy position and requires a lot of effort, but I know I can handle it. I can already see it now, secretary this year, vice president my junior year and president for my senior year.

This year was not a walk in the park. I have had a few breakdowns due to all the academic stress, but I somehow managed to get through it. My most informative classes were Learning Frameworks, Comp I and II, and my Speech classes. Not only were these classes informative, but the women who taught them inspired me in some way. In high school, I never had a favorite teacher. In college, Dr. Wanalee Romero, Dr. Lorie Jacobs, and Dr. Diana Bowen are by far my favorite professors. I can say these women have taught me something new about academics and about myself. Dr. Wanalee Romero showed me how to think critically, and now I question everything, even myself which has allowed me to improve. Dr. Lorie Jacobs has called me a great writer numerous times and that has helped me gain confidence as a writer. Dr. Bowen taught me about the different aspects of public speaking and believes I am a good public speaker. I know I am a good public speaker and each time I speak in public it gets a bit easier. I can sense the sincerity from all of these women, they love what they do which made me love learning. Thank you all.

I would like to say I am looking forward to a long summer break, but I decided to take three summer classes. I would rather work hard now than later. This blog is the last blog of my freshman year. Blogging has allowed me to self-reflect and come to a deeper understanding about the world and within myself.

All in all, this year has been an amazing one. I have experienced so much and still have so much more to witness. I love the University of Houston – Clear Lake. I hope everyone reading this has a great summer. Till next time folks!

-Bianca

The end is near

I noticed how fast these weeks have gone, but it hasn’t hit me until now. The first freshman class will no longer be the babies of the university and it is only going to get harder. The pressure is on, and I am ready for anything this university has in store for me. There is so much more to learn and new experiences to witness. The only thing I am worried about at this point is passing my finals. Well, of course, I am going to pass, but I hope I am able to maintain my GPA.

biancaOver the weekend, I attended the 37th Annual Student Leadership Banquet and received my certificate for completing all the rigorous requirements of the Hawk Leadership Institute. It felt great receiving my award because at the beginning there was 18 of us in the group and only 12 of us made it to the end. All of our thoughts on leadership have grown and improved over the course of the year and now it is time for the next step. I will definitely be involved with the Hawk Leadership Institute next year. This year was full of self-reflection and development and now it is time for manifestation and clarity. The requirements are not set in stone for year two of HLI, but so far we are going to be required to be an orientation leader or an officer of any organization. We will also act as mentors for the new students coming into HLI next year. I am already an orientation leader, so I have that covered, and I can’t wait to meet the next round of HLI students.

Seeing many of my peers accepting their awards was a satisfying feeling. It motivated me to want to work harder and get my name out there. I promised myself that next year I will be accepting more than two awards. There is no “if’s”, “and’s”, or “but’”s about it. I am just warming up.

It is official, I will be inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) on May 2. I have also applied for two officer positions for the society, and I hope I land one of them. If I get elected for the secretary position or the new member orientation chair I will be satisfied. It is time to put all my words into action and hold a position in a student organization. It is a lot of pressure, but I know I can do anything I set my mind to.

-Bianca

I am a leader who…

So much happened this past weekend. I had to present my personal leadership credo for the Hawk Leadership Institute. I have learned so much through the Hawk Leadership Institute, and I had to put all that information into an 8 – 10 minute presentation. It was difficult trying to put all of my thoughts together and produce a well-organized speech. I was the first one to give my speech. I had shared my journey to leadership by describing what type of leader I wanted to be at the beginning of the year, what I have learned throughout the year and where I see myself as a leader in the future. It was great sharing my experiences with my fellow peers and hearing what they have learned. After my presentation, I rushed over to the Orientation and New Student Programs office to fill out some waivers and head to Camp Cho-Yeh for the Orientation Leader Retreat.

bianca1I had a great time at Camp Cho-Yeh this past weekend. Since I am an orientation leader, I was invited to attend a weekend retreat. I have not been to a camp site since fifth grade, and it was even better this time around. Of course I had homework to do this weekend, but I decided to leave it all at home. I deserved some time to relax. I was nervous to attend at first because I was going to be surrounded by people I did not know. The environment surrounding the camp was beautiful and it brought nothing but good energy. We had the opportunity to learn about all the resources UHCL had to offer, how to handle questions students or parents may have at the orientations and what it means to be an orientation leader.

bianca 2My time at Camp Cho-Yeh was the perfect balance between work and play. We were separated into three groups: The Justice League, The Avengers and The Incredibles. We had plenty of time to get to know the members in our team, and I had a great vibe from everyone I got to know. Everyone was so excited to be at the camp and for the upcoming year. The experience was like no other and has really opened my eyes. I am not used to these types of situations. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, it made me feel safe and appreciated. In my high school, I never had such a welcoming experience. It felt great to be a part of something that was bigger than myself. I got to learn new things about the campus and increase my network. I received so many friend requests once I got home from the trip and I now have more people to call my friends. Our relationships will only grow, and I am looking forward to learning new things from all of them. We are definitely a diverse group and it is still new to me because I have been surrounded by Hispanics for the majority of my life. I am open to diversity and learning new customs. This is going to be a great year.

-Bianca

I am working so hard

Twelve weeks into the semester and I could not be more relieved. I have so many major assignments due, but I am taking it day and day and the weight is slowly being lifted off my shoulders. I have an Orientation Leader Retreat this weekend, the 37th Annual Student Leadership Banquet next week, and then finals. I am so devastated the chili cook-off was rescheduled, because now I will not be able to attend since I have a retreat to go to. You all have no idea how excited I was to try 28 different chilies.

biancaI wish I was great at science and at math, but it is not my cup of tea. This past week I had an Astronomy exam and I totally forgot until the night before and immediately started to study. I was not looking forward to the exam since last time I received a 68 after actually trying. This time I earned a 79, which was surprisingly one of the highest in the class. Maybe the sciences are my cup of tea. Hmmm. Maybe not.

I have finally finished all my requirements for the National Society of Leadership and Success, so I will be inducted May 2nd. How exciting! This is truly meaningful for me, because not only will it look great on my resume it has also helped mold me into the person I am today. I have also completed all my requirements for the Hawk Leadership Institute and will be accepting an award at the Student Leadership Banquet. This award means a great deal to me, because I have not won an award since elementary school. I am actually being recognized for my efforts and it feels so great. I just found out I have been nominated for a new category named “Emerging Leader of the Year”. Some people actually took the time to think of me and nominate me for this award. I am so grateful to have my accomplishments be known, it is such a warm feeling. 🙂

Everything in school is handy and dandy, but life outside of bianca2school is starting to affect me. I see other people my age who have full time jobs, have their own car, own apartment, and their own money. I can’t work more than twenty hours without having a mental breakdown and it is frustrating because I want my own things. I am moving out of my mother’s house and into my own apartment with my cousin, Robert and I am pretty excited. But there are some downfalls. I was not able to receive any financial aid for the summer so now I have to pay $1158 for a class and a lab. It’s absolutely crazy how much fees come along with a semester term. The classes alone are $600 and now I have to worry about paying that off, because I really do not want to fall behind and need to graduate in four years. But if I am living on my own, that means I have to work more. Reality is setting in and all I can do is continue to work hard and save as much money as possible. Hopefully this all works out.

-Bianca

You have to play the hand you are dealt

I am so stressed. Every time I run my fingers through my hair more and more continues to fall out. I guess it is okay since I have hair as thick as the Earth’s mantle. I have around a month left of school with so many major assignments due. I think I am going to cry.

Two speeches and two exams, two astronomy exams, two major papers in writing, two tests and a ten-minute presentation for Introduction to mass communication all in a month. Lately, I have been procrastinating and now I get overwhelmed with just the thought of my upcoming assignments. I told myself at the beginning of the year I would never procrastinate, but that is what college does to you. It knocks you down to your knees and now I just have to get right back up and do what I have to do.

I keep telling myself, “just one more month.” I have been through the majority of the school year being a first generation college student, and I have done really well. My planner is still my life and the only thing keeping me sane.

*Takes deep breathe* Just one more month.

On the other hand, I have some really exciting things coming up. For the Hawk Leadership Institute, I have a presentation coming up that will reflect all the aspects of leadership I have learned. I can present it in any form I like, and I am glad I have the chance to tell my peers everything I have learned and what I am going to do next. I will also be attending the Annual Student Leadership Banquet to receive an award for my achievements in HLI. How exciting! My mother Yolanda Gonzalez and my better half, Ibrahim Bouras will be by my side while I receive it and that is the most exciting part for me. They get to see how hard I have worked, and I know how proud both of them are of me. I want to let them know that my accomplishments are not just for me, but for them and my family as well.

At this rate, I will definitely be inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success. I heard the majority of the officers will be graduating this semester so I will certainly apply for an officer position. I was very involved this school year, but I am going to go above and beyond next year. The majority of the school will either know me or know of me. I am going to grab the bull by the horns. I am going to make a difference here on campus, I promise.

This week, I will begin my first Orientation Leader workshop and I am so excited to learn things I did not know. I will let you all know how that goes.

bianca1So, I was fostering a puppy from the League City Animal Shelter, and I am so eager to announce that I found Leana a home. The best part? My friend Melody Ayala adopted her, so I still get to visit. She goes by the name of Sandy now and even has another dog to play with. I feel great knowing I was able tobianca2 find her a new home with a loving owner. She was such a sweet dog, and I actually kind of miss her. I was so close to adopting her myself, but once my friend Melody told me she was interested and she had another dog I was over the moon. It was like a win-win for everyone. I hope Melody and Sandy are enjoying each other’s company. 🙂

-Bianca

I am growing up so fast

Coming up on the tenth week of school and I can’t believe how much I have grown in one year. This time last year, I was in my senior year of high school, had three classes and worked as a server on the weekend. I never had any homework and was so ready to graduate. I was never involved with any organizations and dreaded the idea of even stepping foot into Chavez High School. I never fell in love with high school.

Now, I am a freshman blogger for The Wingspan and social media manager for UHCL’s The Signal. I am involved with the Hawk Leadership Institute, and I am working my way to being inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success by the end of the semester. I have almost 100 hours of volunteer hours under my belt and that is just the start of it. I am a first-generation college student and UHCL has helped me adapt so well. I am a natural and have had so many “ah-ha” moments this school year. I fell in love with UHCL as soon as I saw the campus.

biancaI am a leader in the making. I have learned so much, but I still have so much more to witness. I want to be successful not only for myself but for my family and members of my community. I’ve really grasped the concept of perspective, and I have really took a step in my shoes. We are so small compared to what is out there in the universe. Our lives are all we know and I am looking to be more aware and help others do the same in the process. The question that keeps coming up is “What are you going to do to make a difference”? It has really resonated with me and pushes me to keep going.

This past week I got one step closer to my goal of success. I became an Orientation Leader! I am so happy that I was chosen because now I get to share my love for my university with future students and have them as excited as I was when I started. I like to think I am pretty involved on campus, so I know I will be very informative and enthusiastic. I understand how scary it can be transitioning from high school to college, and I want to help ease their minds. The majority of the people at UHCL are friendly and helpful, so I really had no issue adjusting to the environment.

bianca2This past Thursday, I attended the 2015 Report to the Community Breakfast and I did not get nervous until I stepped foot on the premises. It calmed my nerves knowing I had my better half, Ibrahim, by my side and one of my success coaches, Robin Aleman, there as well. Eva deCardenas, assistant director of marketing for CCISD, talked to me about an internship, but I had to break the news that I was only a freshman. She gave me her business card and assured me if I ever needed anything to not hesitant to ask. I was so grateful. I was hesitant to mingle at first, but then I got called up to give some brief information about myself. I was told to give my name, my major and the high school I attended. I quickly walked up to the podium, took a deep breath, and started listing my credentials. I told the audience I was a first-generation college student, about my two positions within the Office of Student Publications and the organizations. I was shaking by the time I sat down, but after the breakfast was over I had several individuals come up to me and tell me how impressed they were with my speech. I was given three business cards and I was over the moon. Wow, people were actually interested in who I was and introduced themselves to me. I have officially broke out of my shell. 🙂

-Bianca

Baby, come back! You can blame it all on me!

I cannot believe how fast Spring break went. If only school weeks could go by just as fast. As I update my planner, I notice how fast these last weeks of school will go. Essays, discussions, assessments, and quizzes all due one after another and I have no choice but to get it done.

The Hawk Leadership Institute (HLI) has been a safety net for me. My success coaches: Julie Brenengen, Jayme Tiemann, Robin Aleman and Jennifer Clark have all encouraged and supported my peers and myself to do better in school and in life. Robin and Julie refer to us as their “babies,” and in a way it comforts me because it gives me room to make mistakes. It allows me remain a teenager in an adult world. Being in this organization has helped me grow as a person and as a leader of my community. Being alongside others who have the same mindset as me is such a relief. We all took a step in the right direction when we decided to apply for HLI and are all growing, together. As I grow, I become more adamant that I need to make a difference in this world and it is happening slowly but surely.

I had an interview with Sara Khalifa, coordinator for orientation and new student programs, to become an orientation leader for the next school year and I really hope I earned the position. I will find out on Monday, March 22 in the SSCB lobby. No pressure or anything, but I will be disappointed if I don’t get it. I love this university and I want the chance to get others just as excited as I was when I began my college career. If it’s meant to be then it will. Fingers crossed.

biancaDuring my break, I attended a Foster Orientation workshop at the League City Animal Shelter in hopes of fostering a dog until I could find it a home. I have been taking care of Leana for four days and I think I am falling in love. She is mixed with chihuahua, but I have never met one that was so calm. She is only a puppy, but knows she is supposed to urinate on the puppy pads. I was so impressed! That almost never happens. She loves to cuddle, but listens when you tell her she cannot sleep on the bed. She is pretty obedient and has no problem with sleeping inside of her kennel. She enjoys comfort so her future owner has to make sure she has a blanket in her kennel. Hopefully, I can find her a great home.

During the school year, I had been invited to the President’s Cabinets Breakfast and Dinner and recently I received an invitation to the 2015 Report to the Community Breakfast this Thursday, March 26. I am not as nervous as I once was. During the breakfast, I will have the opportunity to mingle with community leaders, donors, partners and university administration. 🙂

I find it absolutely amazing how much I have changed in the duration of one year. I did the bare minimum in high school and my achievement list has grown more in this time frame of being a freshman than in my entire life. The University of Houston – Clear Lake has given me so many opportunities to reach my goals of success and I am so grateful that I decided to become a hawk. The possibilities are endless.

-Bianca