Friday, May 8, 2015

Summer Break and Finals

You probably have noticed already that I love traveling. Visiting new places allows us to put things in perspective, get in touch with different cultures, meet wonderful people, and live unimaginable adventures.  So, obviously, I am taking off a few days after I am done with my last final.

Unlike many (or shall I say most) international students, I am not going back home. Instead, I’m taking a one-way flight to Panamá and will see how far I manage to go. I think it is going to be lots of fun, and a great opportunity to improve my Spanish! Seriously, exploring a new country alone is definitely a marvelous experience that everyone should try at least once. But I’ll admit my budget is a little limited, which doesn’t prevent me from having fun. It simply means I’ll have to stay in hostels and cook more often than aregular tourist would.

The only thing standing between me and Central America, therefore, is the exams I still have to take and a few essays due. Of course, I’ve been studying for them, yet I get a little nervous. I guess this is part of the inherit pressure that comes with finals week, and we all have to learn to deal with it.

Anyway, I am going off to summer break soon, and thus wish everyone a good time too!

Where I'll be this summer! So excited!

Oh! I am sorry I haven’t been taking many pictures in the past weeks, but my life latey could be summarized in two words: library and books.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The End Is Nigh

A little corny, but oh well...
As the last few days of school approach, and I start to freak out with finals and other assignments, some changes in my schedule become necessary. I am not going to lie, as much as I love my life and attending SBCC, sometimes it gets tough. Because the last couple weeks are packed with exams and essays due, I usually set a new routine so that I can (at least try to) get everything done. For example, I have an exam and an essay due this Thursday, May 7th, so I need to find time to study, research, and write.

I know this a little too well
I am fully aware that each person has a completely different schedule, takes different classes, and that whatever works for me may not work for everyone else. Yet this is what I have planned until May 14th (which is when I take my last final): write a lot, study even more, and not sleep as much as I’d like to. So, my friend, grab a cup of coffee and join me!

Until I come back home from my last final exam, there will be no resting. Seriously. I plan to wake up around 7am every day, study for my exam this week, go to class, go to work, write my essays, review old lectures for my finals next week, and then hopefully I’ll still have time to go to bed at 2am. I am dead serious! Besides, this is what we sign up for when we enroll in college, isn’t it?

But, aside from all the complaining and whining, think of the summer break that is right around the corner!

To end the post on a lighter note

Friday, May 1, 2015

It Is That Time Of The Semester… Again

We only have another week of lectures left, and then the infamous finals week. This means people are either extremely happy because they are transferring, or they are freaking out with all the tests and assignments due. I am definitely amongst the latter. But this is the time to catch up with all the things we kept putting off during the semester, and to study hard. Perhaps even harder than in any of the previous months this spring.

A while ago I wrote about my strategy for these last few days of class: I usually make a new schedule so that I can (hopefully) have time to study for all my finals. However, what I think I left out was all the stress that comes with it. Some people benefit from stress – it pushes us to get things done. But too much stress can also be very harmful. That’s why, honestly, I try to relax a little bit. I am not saying this is the time to party the whole night and only go to bed when the sun comes up again. No, quite the opposite actually. Personally, I’m simply going to watch a movie tomorrow night and, maybe, next weekend too. There is time to party, and time to focus on studying.

I guess what I am trying to say is that stressing out too much is just not worth it. I love cinema, which is why I go to the movies to relax. But I have friends who go surfing, rock climbing, or do yoga. So if you are also dealing with finals or stress in general, find something you like and give yourself a break.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Gotta Make That Cash

Like many international students, one of my biggest worries when I first came here was whether or not I would be able to work, get an internship, or simply get a job to cover some of my basic expenses. After all, as we all know, it is neither cheap nor easy to be a foreign student in the United States. Well, for those who have been asking themselves the same questions, I’ve got some good and bad news.

Firstly, it is indeed possible for an international student to work while in college; however, there are a few restrictions. Some of these restrictions are understandable, but others only reflect a broken immigration system that needs to be fixed. I am not here to criticize the system, so I am not going to write much more about it. Besides, there are plenty of credited politician and journalists whose opinions can easily be found online – The New York Times, for example, recently published a really interesting article on the topic.

We are only allowed to work on campus, and a minimum GPA is required, which I believe is around 2.5. On the other hand, there are numerous opportunities for us, and we can get any job as long as it is at SBCC. So there are students who work at the cafeterias, bookstore, and even intern in some specific departments. For instance, I work as tutor. The downside, however, is that we can solely work up to nineteen hour per week, which characterizes a part time job.

There is also the possibility of doing an Optional Practical Training, or OPT, which allows us to work for a year after graduating and sometimes even before. But it is a topic for another post.

LRC - where I tutor at

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Soccer Tournament

Frankly, I am not that into sports in general, but I can play for fun every now and again, and I certainly appreciate a good tournament – like last year’s soccer world cup that took place in my home country. I am sorry; I simply needed this little disclaimer before I talked about the 2015 International Soccer Tournament.

The SBCC Ambassadors organize some events and competitions every semester and, as you may have guessed, one of them is a weekend long soccer championship solely with teams put together by students. It is quite fun, though sometimes it gets a little too competitive, but fun nonetheless. Since I am an Ambassador, I helped with the tournament and got to watch some great matches. Seriously, some of those guys are so good.

My roommate and a few of our friends formed a team although, unfortunately, they didn’t win. On the other hand, there were a handful of Ambassadors who played, and one of them was actuallu in the winning team!Like I said, some people are incredibly good at this sport.

Anyways, I think I just wanted to briefly write about this awesome event so, if you are around for next fall, you should definitely check it out. 

The winners, ladies and gentlemen

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Week after Spring Break

Flagstaff, AZ - on our way to Grand Canyon
Everyone knows how much fun Spring Break can be. And, boy, did I have fun with mine. What many people don’t mention, however, is all the work that you need to get done during that week – or, better yet, all the work you need to catch up with after you come back.

Firstly, somehow my little trip to Los Angeles ballooned into visiting a good friend of mine in Phoenix, Arizona, who attends Arizona State University. That is indeed a nice city, but way too hot, way too dry, and way too far from the ocean if you ask me. (I think the Pacific is what I am going to miss the most when I move from Santa Barbara for good.) Anyways, at least I got to hang out with someone who I hadn’t seen in almost a year, and to speak Portuguese, and to talk about Brazil! It was awesome. I guess I felt a little nostalgic, which is a pretty similar feeling to the one people get when they visit their hometowns after a long time, or run into an old high school friend. It didn't end there, though. From Phoenix, we went to the Grand Canyon, took a bunch of pictures, and I returned to Santa Barbara last Sunday. In order words, I didn’t do anything I’d set myself to do.

Once I got back home, which was last Sunday evening, I had to prepare for two midterms and two essays due this week. Needless to say my past few days were kind of stressful. But if I could leave you with a lesson from it all, it would be this: go ahead, take a break, but try to do a little bit of work every day.

Grand Canyon - for some reason my mom didnt appreciate this photo

Friday, March 27, 2015

Spring Break

Me arriving in LA
Because of several reasons I am not going into here, spring breaks are famous worldwide even though they are pretty much an american thing. In fact, they can be really fun; after all, this is  a week long holiday in the middle of the semester when you can finally rest, and take a break from all those stressful exams. However, some people may stereotype and think that every student goes crazy in Cacun or elsewhere, which is just not true. I mean, some people do go crazy, but definitely not everyone. I have friends who are going to visit their families, or simply stay in town and work or catch up with school. In my case, I am going to lie back, relax a little bit, and go somewhere new for a few days. Somewhere beautiful. Somewhere with a breathtaking view. Then, once I have my battery recharged, I’ll be ready to come back and finalize the semester in the best way possible: straight A’s! Hopefully. Okay, a B here and there never hurt anyone. 

After four thousands words due this week and one midterm, I am glad I’ll be able to sleep in tomorrow and not worry about an upcoming essay or whatever. Though I’m still unsure about what I am going to be doing the whole week, I may be spending a night or two in Los Angeles. Regardless, one thing is certain: the road awaits for me. `