Tag Archives: UHCL

Time For A Study Break

Welcome back to another week of school, Hawks! I hope everyone is surviving midterms. This past week was full of midterms, I Heart UHCL and field day!

This past week was the beginning of midterms for me. The long awaited nightmare was finally here. I had promised myself I would start days in advance to study for midterms, but as a master at procrastination I was unsuccessful. Quick college tip: try not to procrastinate on studying right before the exam. Cramming makes my brain hurt. Although I’m decent at cramming, it’s not always successful and won’t be a good habit for the future.

kickI had to ease my mind somehow this week, and man was I glad we had the recess and kickball event Oct. 13. During the recess we competed in games like egg toss, relay races, tug-of-war and soccer shootouts. I felt like I was back in my elementary class field day. It was probably one of my favorite events I have attended this semester. Blue Team won. Although I was on Green Team I still had a lot of fun. It wasn’t long after the recess ended that the Student vs Faculty Kickball started. I, of course, was expecting the students to win, mainly because we are younger. Man, was I wrong. UHCL professors are really fit. They can run, kick and catch. You might think they are robots.

UHCL had a lot going on this past week. I Heart UHCL Day was amazing sight to see. It was such a great way to take a break from midterm season. I volunteered for The Wingspan booth during the evening, and I was so glad to see so many students involved in the event. There were so many more great events, but sadly I was not able to attend all of them this year. There’s always next year!

Well, that’s it for this week. Hope you all survive midterm season. Study hard and don’t forget to take breaks in between or else you might fry up your brain.


Flashback to Freshman Year

We’re back at it again. Exams have finally started for me, and it’s going pretty well. I remember this time last year I was still getting used to college. I wasn’t doing so hot. The first time I got a failing grade on an exam, I thought I was going to fail the class. That failed exam actually helped me in the long run. We learn from our mistakes, and even now I use what I learned last year to my advantage.

Last year my study habits were not the best. If I compared my study notes from now to the ones I took a year ago, let’s just say I wouldn’t be drawing stick figures anymore. I never really knew how important note taking skills were until the professor started talking, and I realized my brain wasn’t trained for a marathon. Notes are like a gold mine full of useful information.

test graphicThis semester I’ve been focusing more on my classes, then worrying about my social life. Education should always come first! I am still involved in many things, one of which is Strictly Speaking, an international student porgram. I get to mentor international students, and this past Thursday, Sept. 24, we had a potluck. We each brought items from our cultures and feasted like kings. I loved seeing our cultures blend, and enjoying new foods that I’ve never had before.

I’ve also realized that I’ve become a decent test taker. I don’t get the butterflies in my stomach every time I take a test, anymore. I remember the first time in history class when I made a 50. I was thinking, “I had a bad day.” When I got the next exam back, I made a 55. I thought to myself, “I must be doing something wrong.” At the time, being a lazy young freshman, I would only study for about 10 minutes. I mean, I always thought 10 minutes before the exam was plenty of time. Now, I think differently. I study for 20 minutes before the exam! Just kidding! It takes time to prepare for an exam. It’s like training for a big race. All of my past experiences from tests, notes and getting involved have helped mold me into the Hawk I am today.

Well, that’s it for this week, Hawks. Remember, we learn from our mistakes! It’s ok to fail. Just remember to keep on trying until you succeed. Have a great week!


Volunteering is fun!

I don’t know about you, but this week sure has gone by quickly. In fact, this entire month has just flown by. That’s a good thing though, because as much as I love being in college, I can’t wait to move on to grad school. Speaking of grad school, I went to see my advisor this week to work things out with my degree plan. I ended up switching from a B.A. degree in biology to a B.S. in biology. Now I get to take physics and human anatomy! (Okay, so maybe it’s not the coolest thing in the world, but I’m excited!)

I also used my first of six drops. I know that isn’t something to brag about, but I’m relieved I got to drop Intro to Social Work. Don’t get me wrong, the class is interesting and interactive. It has awesome guest speakers and a laid back professor. I did have to write an essay each week (that was a hassle), but it wasn’t a big deal because I still got As. My real issue was that I needed 40 community service hours – and work with animals didn’t count! I’m normally all for volunteering, but in order to even be considered for veterinary school, I need over 500 hours actually interacting with animals. Having to deal with 40 hours of something that won’t contribute to my resume was just stressful. Plus, I need a psychology course as a pre-requisite for the veterinary science degree at Texas A&M (my grad school of choice), so I might as well take it at UHCL as my behavioral science class rather than social work. It turned out it all worked perfectly, and I don’t need to worry about getting 40 community hours by the end of November or an essay due each Monday.

attachmentIn other news, the blood drive was this week. I hope you got a chance to stop by and donate. It was refreshing to see so many people interested in saving lives. I, personally, couldn’t donate due to low iron levels, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t help out. If you saw a blue-haired girl walking around handing out blood drive flyers, that was me. I volunteered 6 hours at the blood drive, which gives me a total of 16 volunteer hours for this semester.

Speaking of volunteering, did you guys check out the charity event in Atrium I last Wednesday, Sept. 23? Truth be told, the main reason I went over there was because I saw a doggy. Turns out there were a ton of charity organizations looking for donations and volunteers. There were three animal rescue organizations, so I swept in and got some volunteer opportunities. Not to sound like a volunteer junkie, but I am ecstatic about it. In fact, this weekend I’m going to be volunteering at PetSmart taking care of kittens and walking doggies. Things just keep getting better and brighter. I can’t wait to see what next week brings!


Now Watch Me Whip!

Hey there fellow Hawks! Hope everyone had a great third week of classes. Yes, you heard me right. Its been three full weeks already. Somehow, it doesn’t feel that way. I’m either stressing out or having fun. (Fun is what takes my mind of the time!) This past week I went to two amazing events. One was the Strictly Speaking program and the other the School House Rock Dance.

Strictly Speaking is a program held by ISS and is led by Nhee Vang. I was paired up with an international student who wanted to know more about American culture and casual American conversation starters. (I was signed up during the Student Organization Expo. Emphasis on the “was signed up”. My friend told me, “Hey, sign here!” and I did. Turns out I signed up to be apart of Strictly Speaking. I’m glad I signed that form, though!) Sept. 8, I met the students I will be mentoring at a special event. There was food and drinks, along with some amazing people. The conversation with my assigned student, Ameye, was the usual get-to-know-each-other. He asked me so many questions, such as: “What is Thanksgiving?” or “What is Trick-or-Treating?” Since he has never had pumpkin pie, I am determined to feed him a slice! Ameye and I hit off to a great start.

12004674_946664885407581_2007255492524067097_nAside from Strictly Speaking, there was also a school dance this week. This was my third time attending the School House Rock Dance. Every time I go, it seems like there’s more and more people! We did all kinds of dancing, from the whip/nae-nae to dancing bachata, all the way down to some Indian hits. The School House Rock Dance was a blast! I was a bit nervous to dance at first, but I honestly stopped caring after my first few moves on the dance floor. Not only was there a dance floor, but they also had games such as ‘Hunt for Hunter the Papier-Mâché Bird’, hot potato and limbo! I’ve got to say, my back is still a bit sore.

That’s all for this week Hawks! We’re about to start our fourth week of school. Let me know how everything is going. Midterm season is right around the corner; be sure to be prepared! As always, have a great week!


Two Weeks In, Way-Too-Many-To-Count To Go!

Nothing says “welcome back” like a school-wide social with upbeat music, games, and (you guessed it!) free food. The Welcome Back Bash was, honestly, a lot more fun than I expected. After experiencing a handful of boring, unorganized and just plain sad welcome back pep rallies in high school, the success of the Welcome Back Bash really came as a surprise to me. It was a fantastic way to start the semester and to get to know a lot of new people. Everyone I’ve met at UHCL so far has been so friendly. (I wonder if it’s a Southern thing?)

Speaking of meeting new people, another great way to socialize (while at the same time adding things to your résumé) is joining student organizations. One of my new semester resolutions is to become more involved in extracurricular activities, so the Student Organization Expo could not have come at a better time. Astronomy Club, Student Social Work Organization, Music Club, Psychology Club, Unity Club – just to name a few I’m incredibly interested in – make me sure that this is going to be a super busy, super fun and super fulfilling semester.

Of course, it can’t all just be free hamburgers and talking about aliens. (Apparently that’s what they do in the Astronomy Club while they’re out stargazing. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?) Schoolwork has to remain my main focus. I suppose I’m doing an all right job; considering I spend most of my free time on campus in the library. (Call me a nerd. It’s fine. I accept the title.) I have to do math problems upon math problems, essay-writing, and read endless chapters of things I half understand. Fun, right? Well actually, yes. All of my professors have been entertaining enough to keep me awake, and the assignments haven’t been all that hard so far. My main goal here is to master time management. Luckily, I’ve already signed up for the upcoming SLICE workshop to help me out. Exciting stuff.

Okay, so maybe these aren’t incredibly interesting things to share, but the school year has just started. I’ll leave you guys with a few things I’ve discovered these past few weeks:

  • The chicken tenders at the Patio Café are on point.chicken tenders
  • It’s unbelievably hard to find a power outlet near a bench/chair/table.
  • It’s so fast and easy to get your student ID (so if you haven’t yet, you should!)
  • Printing is free at the computer labs (with your student ID)
  • The bookstore totally knows what’s up. The day I forgot my earphones at home, they had my back.
  • Having blue hair makes you really recognizable, which is something I like but am still getting used to.

See you next week with more updates, fellow Hawks!



Week two of sophomore year done. I can’t even process what’s going on anymore because there’s just so much happening. During the summer all I had to do was sleep and eat. My mindset then was very different from where it is now. It was a good three months, not having to stress about homework or tests. But, I knew my fairy tale would soon end. Summer for me was pretty much focused around orientation and summer classes. Orientation would always be the highlight of my week. No matter what month we were in, a day at an orientation session would be the best feeling in the world. Speaking of orientation, UHCL had their second Hawk Launch event during the summer!

Hawk Launch is an event that creates bonds with other freshmen during a two-day event. It was loads of fun. I got to meet a big group of freshmen. Last year was when I first met some of my closest friends, Helen Nguyen and Nelly Tanori. Our one-year anniversary was Sunday, August 23. (That’s just a little fun fact for you.) It also shows how big of an impact Hawk Launch had on me and in regard to meeting new people.

11937466_943861629021240_985207277126350804_oMoving along, this was my second year representing the Yellow Team. Yellow Team 2.0 was amazing. This year was a bit different. For one, Hawk Launch was extended to two days. Second, we were unable to have some of the Hawk Games outside due to the heat wave that was blazing through Houston that day. This also led to the cancellation of the Color Fight. Although we weren’t able to go outside, we still had a blast indoors. We, of course, had to be quiet because there were still summer classes going on. There were the occasional slip-ups where I would yell “Banana!” too loud. Yes, our theme song was based around the Minions tune. It went as follows:




Our team ended up getting second place, the same place as last year. Hope you all are having an amazing start to a great semester. Let’s keep up the good work and aim high, Hawks! Have a great week!


From a Cougar to a Hawk

First Things First

My name is Natalia Marfil. This isn’t my first time attending college, but I’m still a freshman and entirely new to UHCL. Even though I’m not a fish fresh out of high school, I’m still going to constantly get lost inside the Bayou Building. (Everything at every turn looks just the same!) Thankfully, I’ve already met some wonderful people, both in class and through the Hawk Leadership Institute. We can get lost together. UHCL promises to offer an exciting and enriching college experience, and I am more than eager to share my crazy journey with all of you. Stick around, I might even say something worthwhile.

From a Cougar to a Hawk
High school graduation seems like it was ages ago, doesn’t it? Before our caps even hit the blog-01ground on their way back down, we were already in college orientation, selecting classes, trying to figure out how Blackboard works, and wondering why textbooks are so expensive. I remember thinking I had everything figured out then: I’d get a bachelor’s in Creative Writing at the main campus of the University of Houston, have the college experience of a lifetime side by side with my high school sweetheart, and become a famous novelist with a plethora of puppies to call my children. Well, now I’ve switched to being a biology major at UHCL. I’m happily single and plan on becoming a veterinarian. (The puppies plan remains the same.) Life takes so many unexpected turns; sometimes, it’s really just a matter of learning to run with it. Expect the unexpected and deal.

High school teachers and parents usually take it upon themselves to drill a very particular statement into our brains: “College is important.” It is, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t as dire or as intense as they make it out to be. What your major is right now, what you got on that one essay, what you missed on that one class you fell asleep in — it doesn’t define you or your future. The reality is that you don’t know what’s going to happen after you walk that stage four

or eight or however many years from now. You don’t even know what’s going to happen in a year, a semester or a month. Life changes, minds change and you change. You grow up, you switch majors and you find new interests. That’s what college is all about – finding yourself and letting yourself flourish. Then you go out into the real world and repeat that process; this time with new knowledge and experiences to back you up. It took me a while to unlearn the lie that you have to decide your entire future at 18. You know what? I sleep a lot better now.


Being a Cougar was fun, I suppose. I got into the Houston Zoo for free, I could feed very friendly squirrels on my way to class and I played with therapy dogs during finals week. But was I happy? Probably not. The campus is huge, the classes are composed of literally hundreds of students, the professors didn’t know (nor cared to know) my name, and all in all I was just a bit lonely. I felt like a tiny goldfish trying to make it big in an ocean full of sharks. UH-Clear Lake, on the other hand, feels a hundred times smaller (and might actually be, but I’m not that great at math). Some people might not be so fond of a small campus, but to me it feels a lot homier. All of my classes are in one building, so I can say goodbye to running across campus under the burning Houston sun. Everyone seems to know each other, or knows someone who knows them. Making friends seems like less of a challenge and more of an inevitability here. Most importantly to me, though, the entire faculty seems so much more committed to their students. Thanks to the fact that the student body is relatively small, professors and tutors can actually take the time to get to know their students and work with their needs so that they not just pass a class, but actually succeed and reach their academic goals. Sure, main campus had its tutoring programs and whatnot, but they always felt more like last option resources than anything else. I also love how everyone normalizes counseling/therapy and is so open about it. No one here seems to shy away from the fact that anxiety, depression and overall crippling stress is abundant in our demographic. It only makes sense for the university itself to address the issue, so I’m more than happy that UHCL strives to do just that for its students.

It’s because of this, and more, that I feel in my bones that UHCL is not going to be just another school I reluctantly attend, but a university and community that I will proudly be able to call my new home. So yeah. Being a Cougar was fun, but I bet being a Hawk is going to be exceptional.