Category Archives for The Self-Power Club

How to Mindfully Choose Your College Experience

College. A scary and yet exciting place to be. This is a time when you will grow and a place where you will learn. Going to college means to become more independent. It means to be free. But with great power, comes great responsibility…

Choosing a university can be a very long and tedious process. I remember feeling a lot of stress as I tried to decide what I wanted to do with my future. People at my school would compare their SAT scores, look at the rankings of the schools we were each applying to, and stressed about how we could’ve gotten a better grade in a class. We were all competing to prove who was the most academically qualified.

Looking back, if there is one major lesson I learned throughout the process it’s to always remain true to yourself. We each have our own unique paths after high school, and ultimately, in our lives. What I realize now is that it’s not about getting into the highest ranked school, but understand who you are and what is it that you are seeking to achieve in the next four years of your life. You want to find a place where you feel comfortable to be yourself and where you believe you are going to grow as a person.

Here are some more tips I want to share with you on how to mindfully choose the school that is right for you – and what I used to end up in a place that I really love.

  • Ask yourself why you want to go to college: Is it to pursue a career that you are really interested in? Is it to be able to live away from your parents? Is it for the parties? Whatever it may be, and as we have talked about before in The Self-Power Club, it is always good to ask why before you make a big decision. I personally knew I wanted to go to college because I wanted to receive an education that supported creativity and the arts.
  • Consider the Environmental Factors That Matter To You: Knowing what type of environment you work best in can help you identify the possible locations that do and don’t fit. You may conser the location, the weather, the night-life, outdoor activities nearby and even the culture of the city or town where the school is located. I knew I wanted to be close to my family so I limited my search of schools for those located in Southern California. I was also looking for a small town type of environment because I wanted to take a break from the city.
  • Understand the philosophy of the school: You are going to get educated anywhere you go, but how you receive that education changes tremendously depending on the school. I would really recommend taking some time to read the “about” page of each university. Mission statements also do a good job at capturing their educational philosophy in just a few sentences.
  • Read about the majors you are interested in: Similar to my previous point, try to read over the academic catalog of the career(s) of your choice. It is also okay if you aren’t really sure what to pursue yet. Reading about the classes and requirements can help you get a better glimpse of what subjects you would be learning about. For example, some schools that offer psychology as a major have classes that are more theory based while other schools are heavier on research.
  • Look at the different activities offered on campus: College is not only about the academics, you also want to have fun! What made Chapman University really stand out for me was the amount of student involvement that was encouraged on campus. I searched for my school’s list of clubs and started to get a glimpse of what the campus community felt like. You could also look at the different traditions or honour societies that each school is affiliated with.
  • Consider the size of the school: Are you okay with going to a lecture with more than 200 people? Or do smaller classes sound better? Knowing what the ratio of students to teachers is very important. I like Chapman because the classes here are small (about 20 people). I feel like this allows me to participate in the classroom and form closer relationships with my teachers and classmates.
  • Set an intention: Picture yourself being on a college campus. How do you see yourself? With a lot of friends? With a lot of homework? Before going to college, I would recommend thinking about what is it that you want to achieve during your time there. It could be anything from growing professionally or meeting new people from different parts of the world. Whatever it may be, having an intention can help you set a direction that fits you.

I ended up going to Chapman University because it really fit with my personality and what I was looking for. The liberal arts education gave me more freedom to choose my classes based on my own interest. I also really enjoy the small community because it has made it easier for me to adapt to my new home. My friend, on the other hand, goes to Penn State and really enjoys the big campus environment. She likes the diversity and ability to meet new people from different cultures everywhere she goes. She also really enjoys the fun home football games that happen every other weekend.  

Whatever path you may choose to take, I hope you find a place that matches with your own personality. Spend some time researching your different options available and connect it to your own interests. Each school will offer different doors of opportunities, but it is up to you to choose the one that feels the best for you.

If you have any other questions about college or even my transition from high-school, don’t hesitate to ask!

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

The World of Visual Arts

How can I be an artist in today’s digital world?

Meet Leah. Leah is a student at Chapman University studying Animation and Visual Effects. She is distinguished by her vivid energy, her love for video games, and her unique approach to the world. Today we talk about her perspective as an artist and how she’s been adapting to the digital arts world. Hope you enjoy!

“It’s not only about talking, it’s also about listening.”

Meet Colleen and learn about her unique experience after high school and how she realized Communication was the field of study that brought out the best in her.

Colleen Penaluna is a student at Chapman University studying Communications with a minor in Political Science. Her discerning mindset for social justice distinguishes her from many of her peers – that and her love for corgis.

Thank you for being here today. How about our readers get to know you a little better. How would you describe yourself in three words?

Oh lord. I’d say I’m loyal, open-minded, and diligent (oh and sleepy too).

What is something that you do every month that you think makes you feel the happiest?

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Why You Should Try New Things

Last weekend my friend called me and asked if I could help her out on a film set she was working on. The person in charge of the production design had canceled last minute so she needed someone to replace them. At first I thought about rejecting the offer and telling her I was busy. I didn’t really know a lot about set design, let alone a film, so I didn’t really think I could be much of  an asset.

But after giving it a second thought, I decided to give it a go. After all, what’s the worst that could happen?

Participating in the set actually ended up being really fun. I got to help out with the arrangement of props and learned about complex processes behind film production. It even reminded me how much I enjoyed interior design.

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The Power Of Self-Awareness

It was only a few years ago when I first heard about the concept of self-awareness. This notion of “self” had always been something unspoken, for I’d always been told it was psychologists who were in charge of analysing people and their patterns of behaviors. As a response to this abstraction, I struggled to understand what this idea truly entailed. I had always been me, so how could I not know who I am?

Time passed and I was introduced to the art of yoga and meditation. In my practices, this word kept showing up and I became more curious to understand what it was really about. Reading from the different perspectives of psychologists, philosophers and spiritual teachers, I realized just how naive I had been.

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A Mixtape of Music and Science – Interview with Laura Frias

Can passion for music intersect with a profound interest in human sciences? Spoiler alert: Yes! (And really successfully too).

Laura is a 24 year-old pioneer living in Los Angeles, California. After earning her bachelor’s degree in Cognitive Science and Consumer Marketing Behavior at USC, she received a life-changing opportunity: working as an assistant manager for one of the biggest music companies in the world.

Recruiting new artistic talent, helping out with weekly concerts, and getting to meet amazing stars are just some of the activities Laura now gets to do for a living. Here are some of Laura’s thoughts on being herself, her college experience and how she worked to find the job that fit her. Continue reading

Getting to the Roots of My “Why”

Every decision has a reason, but do we ever stop to ask why?

Picture yourself holding one single flower seed between your fingers.

It may sound a bit odd, but trust me on this one.

Now you take that seed and plant it in a pot filled with soil. You spray some water on it and put it by the window to get some light. Over time, you continue to take care of its needs by watering it and trimming the dead branches. Eventually, the flower begins to take form and its colorful petals start to show. In this way, you get to see the results of your own efforts, a physical manifestation of the decisions you took to give that seed a chance to grow.

This same happens to us throughout our life – we are our own seed. From the moment we are born, our life is made by a series of decisions that impact that way we flourish and evolve. The beauty behind this is that, while life at times may seem like a big garden, we must remember that each seed still embarks on its own personal growth.

Finding My “Why”

You see, I always felt like all the decisions in my life had already been made for me. Life to me seemed to come with a series of instructions: I had to go to school, get good grades, complete a college degree, find a job, buy a house, get married. The endless pursuit of the next decision of what I “should” be doing overpowered the present moment. I was searching for opportunities, wanted to follow new trends, placed expectations on my future, but never really took the time to stop, take a look around, and appreciate myself for who I already am.

This was until I was introduced to Journeous; through their interactive workshops of introspective questions, I discovered the power of decision-making and understanding the true motive behind those decisions I made. Yes, life had given me direction, but it was up to me to recognize and accept my own authenticity to be capable of working towards my true purpose in life.

I realize now that success isn’t necessarily about making choices, but about understanding why you are making those choices. When you decided to water your seed, it was because you realized that the soil was too dry. When you placed it on the window to give it day light, you figured it needed some nutrients to grow. When you trimmed the damaged branches, you saw they were getting in the way of its healthy roots.

Every decision has a reason, but it’s only when we observe and reflect about our actions that we become aware of what those reasons truly are. Our life is a reflection of our own beliefs and emotions. We have shaped our own reality and hold the power of our personal growth. While planning for the future may be inevitable, it is important to realize who we are and where we come from for us to move along a path that fits to our world.

But self-awareness is easier said than done. We may think we know ourselves, but do we really?

What is your own definition of happiness? Do you know what your true potentials are? What are some habits that form your personality?

It’s okay to not have all the answers, but we can only create our path by wanting to discover them.

Join me in The Self-Power Club series and, together with Journeous, let’s find the true power of who we are and who we can become to be.

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” – Albert Einstein

Carla Frias


Join us for occasional installments of The Self-Power Club, authored by students for students, as we explore personal journeys through career development and self reflection.