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Blessings on Blessings on Blessings on Blessings

 

Wow, these past months of 2018 have been some of the most challenging, but rewarding, months of my whole entire life! I’m still pushing through, and I have definitely grown through the process!

My faith has never been stronger and even though I still struggle at times, I’m learning to let go and trust the process. I have met some of the most amazing individuals this year, and I cannot express the gratitude I feel for the opportunity to know so many awesome people!

So I have decided to share some photos and memories that I have experienced along the way!!

 

This is me and my husband, my rock! <3 We have been dealing without a lot of personal us vs. life type stuff right now and I can gladly say that I wouldn’t go through it with any other person! I have always loved picnics and being outside so this day we had one outside our apartment. It is truly the small stuff that makes the world of a difference in life. Te quiero tanto baby ! <3

 

 

These are just a few members of my YP4 family. Both of these amazing individuals, Jasmin Chavez (left of me) and Paolo Mutia (to the far right) are doing so many amazing things for their communities and honestly the world. I am so proud to know them! Thanks for eating too many crab cakes and turning up extra hard to La Gozandera (my personal anthem, look it up!) with me <3 God really blessed me with ya’lls friendship! <3

 

This is me on my flight from IAH (Houston, TX) to BWI (Baltimore, Maryland). I flew by myself! I joined Yp4 without knowing anyone else, and never have I felt so brave and strong. While it was a different experience navigating things by myself, I soon grew to love and enjoy my adventures, even though they were alone. This trip, to me, gave me a little itsy bitsy taste of how it will be studying abroad. While I was scared at the beginning, I soon let God do his work and take my worries! I love this picture because I feel like it truly captures how I was feeling in that moment.

 

This is Francisco and I four years ago on our first trip to The Wichita Mountains together. We were 16 and having the time of our lives! I am so thankful to have met this amazing man and to be able to navigate life with him. So, here’s to many more adventures near and far through this crazy life!

This is Yooseung Lee, my best friend of this semester! <3 We have eaten lunch together every MWF of this semester and she goes back to Korea this week. I am so so so so so blessed to have been able to met her! She has not only broadened my perspectives, but also taught me many life lessons in this past semester. As Yooseung says “You just gotta let it go and live life” <3 I’m excited to go to Korea and visit in the future!

Thank you for taking this trip through memory lane with me!

 

Learning about Independent Study

Do you know what an Independent Study option is?

I honestly didn’t know much either, but it’s really cool!

While pondering my options for study abroad, I’m not quite sure what route I want to go yet. I’m currently finishing my last two classes for my Spanish minor so now I’m a little unsure of where I want to go and what classes I would take wherever end up. I have always thought it would be really cool to intern in another country and work in a social services field like a school, clinic, or even humanitarian organization. Hearing other fellows talk about their own study abroad experiences, specifically their experiences with independent study, was not only extremely informative, but also pretty cool!

While a couple fellows talked about the ways in which their language skills improved greatly over their time abroad, a couple mentioned the ways in which they were able to go off and explore on their own during their stay. I think that it is a really great quality of the independent study! As I listened to other fellows talk about their experiences, I gained a lot of clarity and learned the pros and cons of independent studies.

Personally, I am not sure if I am a right fit for an independent study, although I really enjoyed learning more about it. I’ve never travelled abroad, let alone lived by myself, so I think it would be best if i started off with an OU study abroad option, at least for my first study abroad experience.

I really valued listening to other students take time out of their hectic schedules to give me a little insight on the many study abroad opportunities here at OU. It was nice being with other Global Engagement Fellows and sharing community, even if it was only for an hour.

As for me, I am not sure exactly where I want to study abroad, but I definitely have a couple countries in mind. I saw a study abroad experience for Cuba that really caught my eye, but I will most definitely have to keep looking in to it.

Summer 2019 this lady is going abroad! <3

Fullbright Advising Meeting 05/04

So, although I titled this post “Fullbright Advising Meeting 05/04”, I think the event may have been cancelled due to the meeting that was held in honor of President Boren in the space outside. While I was very interested about learning more about The Fullbright program, I was also honored to hear President Boren and various other international students at OU speak about their experiences here at the university.

First off,

I SHOOK PRESIDENT BOREN’S HAND

You may be thinking “Cool I do that all the time” or “Don’t be dramatic, Katelyn. He shakes hands with people all the time.” or maybe even the dreaded “cool. no one cares.”

Well, thank goodness I can’t be sure that’s what you’re thinking so I can pretend that you are just as excited as I am in this moment.

So, let me set up the scene for you. I’m waiting with my best friend, Luis for The Fullbright Advising meeting when we see a bunch of people gather outside of the room. Everyone looks really nice and professional whereas me and Luis are very casual and comfy. We are talking and all of the sudden everyone gets quiet and turns to the beginning of the hall. Photographers snap photos quickly, ensuring that the moment is never forgotten.

President Boren and other very important people at OU stride down the hall like they own the place! And they kind of do! Luis and I look at each other. Woah, we are underdressed.

then

all

of

the

sudden

Boren stops and shakes our hands and greets us!!! WOAAAAAH

Neither of us had met him before, and it was really awesome to finally get to meet him in person. He was very kind a approachable. It was definitely a cool experience!

Then, we got to hear Boren talk about how almost 1/3 of the OU population studies abroad and how he truly believes the experience makes students better people. A few international students offer gifts and kind words to Boren, reciting speeches that made even my eyes water a little bit. The whole meeting was beautiful and very inspiring. The college of International studies is so important, and I’m thankful for all the staff and students who make this college as awesome as it is!

2018: The year of knowledge

Hello!

Thanks for stopping by to read my late night thoughts!

May I say, How did this semester go by so fast? How did this school year go by so fast? I feel like I say this every year but each year it feels like its going by faster and faster. Maybe life is just getting busier?

I really didn’t have any expectations going in to 2018. Each year I feel like a grow a little and learn some things but Y’ALL… It is May of 2018 and I feel like each day is a new lesson that I am learning, mostly the hard way. But I’m growing, and I am at least thankful for that.

I am impatient, worrisome, and oftentimes a little controlling. I like to do things how I like to do them, and while until this point I have been able to get away with having these issues this year is something else.

Did I tell you God is really doing a work in me? And when I say ” a work in me”, I mean a full fledged mindset change and rearrange. While I am excited to be growing and learning, change is difficult.

These year I have had to let a lot of things go. While dealing with numerous things that I am unable to control and affect, I have had to take a backseat and let God do what he knows is best. While this is definitely a blessing, it has been one of the most difficult seasons I have gone through this far in life.

I’ve learned a whole lot of things like:

  1. “The easiest way to make God laugh is to make plans”- a preacher at my church
  2. You can micromanage and obsess all you want, but you still can’t control how the wind will blow
  3. Hard times in life are almost always lessons to be learned, even if you really don’t want to learn these lessons right now
  4. In the valleys of life you will see who genuinely cares for you
  5. Forgive anyway because everyone is going through their own journey.
  6. When you feel everything that could go wrong does, wait a second and let God do his work

2018 is my year of patience and growth. I pray that I learn a lot and allow my heart and mind to be shaped!

 

HASA plays kickball

There’s nothing like hanging out with some of your best friends and just letting go of the stresses of life for just a couple hours. While I tend to keep most of my stresses and doubts inside, I know that it is crucial to find those whom you can bond with and to just let go, even if its on for a bit. HASA kickball was honestly one of the funniest and enjoyable HASA meetings that I have ever attended! I really love being outside and taking in the fresh air, and I also love cheering people on in sports so this meeting was definitely a win-win for me!

Here are a couple of pictures of some of the HASA members playing kickball! I, myself, did not play because I honestly forgot we were going to play kickball and I was wearing boots, but I played in spirit! Honestly I kind of had flashbacks of playing kickball in middle school so it was probably better for all of us that I did not play and accidently hit someone in the face! I am so bad at aiming!! I never mean to I promise!

In the pink is my friend Isabel!! She is one of the kindest and most genuine souls I have ever met! She had such a great attitude playing kickball and she really was great about being a team player! Eventually after playing for a while the teams switched out so we were able to catch up on the sidelines. While catching up about life, school, and everything in between, I really felt like I could breathe again after getting everything off my chest.

College can be hard. Life can be really tough. And trying to find one’s way in the midst of it all can not only be extremely difficult, but also very lonely. Community is necessary in order for survival. Let me say it again, community is NECESSARY for survival! As someone who tries to do everything on their own, this meeting really reminded me of the many ways in which I have to remain active and involved within the many communities that I am apart of.

Once again, thanks HASA for giving me a place to call home during my time at OU!

TRiO Project Threshold

Have you heard of TRiO, and in particular Project Threshold at OU?

If not, you should definitely look into the program! Project Threshold provides academic and emotional support to First-generation, low-income college students come from underrepresented communities. It provides us not only a home away from home where students are able to feel like they belong, but they also provide and empowering environment where all students are valued and encouraged to succeed. I have been aTRiO student since high school, and it has undoubtedly changed my life!

Lets be honest, college is kind of scary! There are so many unspoken rules and secrets to surviving at a university, and students whom come from environments where many people are unable to attend, they are most likely to be uninformed and confused. From learning how to effectively take notes, register for classes, create a financial game plan to even writing a professional email, college is a huge learning experience! Project Threshold invests in these students and supports their dreams all of the way!

 

Unfortunately, I am unable to rotate this picture, so tilt that screen!

This is Scott!! He is my Project Threshold Counselor at OU and my #1 supporter in life!

While being extremely sweet and compassionate, he motivates all of his students to always do their best and to follow their dreams.  He is truly an amazing human being, and deserves to world and more!

Of course I am writing about Project Threshold because I hold the student resource/family close to my heart, but there is another reason.

Project Threshold’s, a TRiO organization, funding was cut in the new administration’s budget. This means that not only will students be robbed of an amazing resource aimed to help students who traditionally do not attend college let alone graduate, but amazing people like Scott will no longer have a job with OU. So if you didn’t know, now you do, and there is no excuse to let this occur!

It is our duty as occupants of The United States to stand up in times of oppression and hatred. It is our duty to ensure that all people get the same opportunities and support. It is our duty to let our voices to be heard. Project Threshold, and organizations whose mission and goal is to further the dreams and aspirations of their students, is an amazing organization that has helped countless students. Just a little statistic, Project Threshold has a 100% graduation rate of its students. They are changing the world! Please support and remain active in the discussion regarding its existence and importance.

College Inspirational Vibes

Man, How is it already the end of 2017?

Time flies so fast, but the memories will be cherished forever! Finals have arrived, and I believe now more than ever students (especially first generation college students) need to reminded that : YOU ARE MORE THAN JUST A TEST SCORE <3 <3

College is wild, and the combination of life itself, school, work, family, and everything else is a lot to handle! Sometimes it feels like an endless struggle, but in the end, I assure you, it will all be worth it. I think!

From having to take countless tests to writing super long papers and trying to just get by, I hope that you cherish and love yourself along the way. Your mental health and humanity is more than a test score, and even if you don’t feel like your necessarily in your prime, love yourself as you continue to grow. This is something that I have struggled with throughout my life and I think just started to get the hang of.

It’s okay if you have a lot of bills to pay off. Its okay if your credit score sucks, your life isn’t put together, and if sometimes you feel like you have no clue what you’re doing. It’s okay. It’s okay because you’re human! While putting unrealistic expectations on myself, I found that I was so worried about where I wanted to be that I forgot where I was even at. I am present, I am here, and I am taking the waves as they come.

By simply changing my mindset, I was not only able to see the world in a different light, but I was also able to connect on myself and my spirituality in a deeper way. If you are reading this, I hope that you know that your efforts are not unseen and unheard, and that you owe some love to yourself. Cherish yourself and your being, for life is too short to constantly worry about where you need to be in live. Embrace where your at!

This is me, a work in progress, learning how to invest in myself!! <3

International Bazaar <3

 

I heard it while walking to class. It was music, and it wasn’t in English so instantly I GOT SO EXCITED!!

Shout out to IAC, for this event was not only super fun and heartwarming, but also really informative! While being able to meet various student organizations and people of all cultures, it was awesome to look at beautiful artwork and treats groups brought with them!

In a political climate which is so destructive and negative, it was truly beautiful to be able to see various cultures and student groups spread love and knowledge. Diversity is what makes this world beautiful, and that certainly includes The University of Oklahoma. While meeting such friendly people, and being able to experience new things in various cultures, it was really refreshing and just nice. Sometimes life gets so busy and rushed that we forget to just take a breath and experience the things and people around us and this event really gave me that experience.

One thing that I really loved about this event was the banner! While having the opportunity to see all of these places that various students at OU call home, it really made me realize how big and at the same time so small this world really is. Also, I loved reading all of the positive messages on the banner. People like this remind me that there is hope in the world! Ah, so many nice talks, feelings, and emotions. This experience definitely made me even more excited about studying abroad and seeing this big world!

Thanks to IAC for putting on such a beautiful event! It was great!!

HASA; the place to be!

HASA Family is always there when you need them. Their arms are always open, and they always make you feel at home!

OU’s HASA is home! I’ll be completely honest, sometimes I miss meetings, I go MIA for a while, and I get lost with all the stresses of being a first-gen working college student. It can be rough! However, each time I attend a HASA meeting and speak with some of my HASA family, I remember why I am doing all the things that I do. They remind me that although this journey is not easy, in the end it is so worth it! I am so thankful for their endless love and support!

At HASA meetings, I get a taste of my home community. Everyone makes jokes, laughs a lot, raises each other up, and motivates one another to keep going on this wild journey. They are a support group like no other. There is just something about the atmosphere which this organization brings. It is so warm and loving. Its like giving you mom a hug! <3 You just have to feel it to believe it!

I’ve made some of my best friends at these meetings! Honestly, wherever you sit there will be a person to talk and laugh with. The door is always open, and there will always be people to lean on in times of celebration and disappointment. That’s what community is.

Thanks HASA! For always having great dancing music, funny moments, and the best people you could ever meet. I highly encourage anyone to attend a meeting, for if you do, I bet you would go back!

Here I am with Aurora Martinez, one of the most driven and kind people at OU. Luis Ambrosio, my best friend for life and the smartest man I know! and Chis Coronado THE KING HIMSELF! He is actually Mr. Hispanic OU and SOUTHSIDE ROYALTY. These people make life so great!

At HASA there is always great food! and we love to eat!!

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HASA is my home away from home, and these people truly are my family!

I feel extremely blessed to be able to take part in this organization at OU. They keep me sane and excited about being a college student. HASA is the best!!

Dia Del Muerte Street Festival 2017

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El Dia Del Muerte Street Festival at OU was not only beautiful, but extremely informational and culturally rich. This was my second time attending, and each year it truly does get better and better! With great Latin treats, and experiencing beautiful traditions such as “La Ofrenda”, This event is hands down my favorite at OU!

Maybe you’ve never heard of Dia De Los Muertos before?

That’s okay! Basically, it is a day where families honor and celebrate the lives of loved ones who have passed. While presenting offerings to those who have passed and celebrating their memory, families gather together and  honor those who have gone before them. It is a truly beautiful tradition!

I also love how much this event was promoted in South Oklahoma City, a great community with a very high Latin@ population! I grew up and currently work in South Oklahoma City, so to be able to see so many familiar faces in Norman at The University of Oklahoma is amazing! We need more people from my community to experience events at universities! Just being on campus opens the door to many opportunities for people to not only become interested in attending OU, but attending any college.

Check out this performance below! This Mariachi was great! While attending performances such as this one growing up, couples would dance and it would just be a beautiful site to see! Although this didn’t take place at this performance, it brought me back to when I was younger! There is so much tradition and value embodied in this music, and it truly feeds the soul.

This event was awesome, and the way in which HASA not only celebrated El Dia De Muertos, but also included various members of the Hispanic Community in the event was extremely special. If you didn’t get to go this year, be sure to check it out! There is something for everyone at this event!

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