Category Archives for The Self-Power Club

“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?

I feel like I really value my relationships with others – even with those who I might not see as often. Every now and then I’ll ask one of my friends if they want to get some food and chat about life, or anything really. It’s all about sharing that meaningful conversation with someone I care about that makes it worth it for me.

Do you think that this is what inspired you to study communications?

After graduation I actually didn’t really know what I wanted to study. That summer I got offered a job as state president for a non-profit called Rainbow. I had always been part of it and decided to give it a chance. I thought I needed some time away from school to help me focus on myself and figure out what I really wanted to do with my life.

My work in public speaking made me aware that I had always enjoyed the study of interpersonal relationships and decided to enroll in community college as an anthropology major. The more I learned about it however, the more I realised that my curriculum required a lot of research that didn’t really catch my attention. I finally decided to meet with my counselor and she suggested communications. I research about it and realized it was everything I was looking for! To this day I am very grateful I reached out to my resources and gave myself the time and patience after school to really figure myself out.

Colleen speaking at an event for The International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, a service organization she has been involved with since very young.

What is it that you are enjoying most about being a communications major now?

Communications is the study of behavior and expression. It’s about understanding how to talk to people and deliver clear messages. It is similar to anthropology in the sense that it includes observation of personal and social structures, but it also brings in some psychology since it teaches you how to predict and explain human reaction. I really think it’s the perfect combination of my personal interests.

I also think that the environment of my classes helps me become more engaged with what I learn. The students and professors in the Comm department here at Chapman all seem to have this desire to share and discuss ideas. This and the smaller classrooms really enable me to create engaging connections that inspire me to grow.

How would you describe your own voice as a communicator?

Interesting question! I believe my voice really depends on the context where I am speaking. For the most part though, I usually keep a very empathetic and open minded approach with others. I try to step back on a conversation and understand where that other person might be coming from. Communications is not only about talking, it’s also about listening.

Having this in mind, what are some of your goals?

I honestly don’t know for sure where I want to take my career. Communications really gives you a broad spectrum of where you want to focus. Recently I have become interested in the political processes of non-profits that engages in social justice advocacy. I know I want to help create a meaningful long-lasting impact in the world.

Although I also do stress about my future sometimes, I also think it’s okay to not have everything figured it out. I see it as a continuous process of learning and discovering what resonates best with who I am.

What is your own definition of success?

I guess I describe success as a feeling of personal fulfilment. It’s about finding something meaningful to do with your life and doing it. Personally I am always looking for new ways to engage in my community and working to create meaningful changes in both simple and impactful ways. I think the point is to go out into the world and put your ideas into action.

What advice would you give to someone who might not feel like they have found a career path they’re excited about?

I would say it is never too late to change. It is easy to feel stuck in the moment, especially if you don’t have the money or the resources to do it. Trust me there are always resources waiting for you out there. Do some digging and find a club or association that support one of your interests. Community college is also a great opportunity to learn about new topics of interest without having to fully commit.

Never forget to advocate for yourself, it’s you who has control over your future and your life.

Colleen’s desire to change the world for the better is only now starting – and I believe great things are coming her way!

If you want to see more of her – check her out here.

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.

I realized how tempting it is to conform ourselves with what we are already used to. It’s like we have this inevitable fear of rejection and failure that makes us avoid the unknown. Earlier during the day I was making excuses and now that it was over, I was fascinated by the work in film production.

So while there may be a million reasons not to do something, there will always be one great one to do it: to learn from the experience.

During my few hours there I was able to see a group of artists work together to achieve quality shots. Reflecting back, being around so many creative people made me really inspired and created an engaging work environment that fit with my personality. Although I do think I prefer to work in smaller groups of people, I was astonished by the effectiveness of the team delegation.

Knowing where you want to go and what you want to do for your future might be hard to decide. If you start exposing yourself to different situations, you get the chance to start testing out what you like and what you don’t. Join a club. Try a class at your local gym. Get an internship. Cut your hair. Find something you have always been interested in and give it a chance.

You might not like it at first, but at least you tried it. Or maybe you’ll enjoy it more than you expected. The knowledge you gain and the lessons you learn can be more rewarding than the actual results.

In the end, the best way to not regret the things you didn’t do is to do them. Discover, experience and reflect about how that situation influenced you. You might find a new interest that you didn’t have before, a cool group of people you can connect with, or even a talent you didn’t know you had.

The point is to try! If you’re curious about where to start, check this out – the steps you can take to learn more about finding your career fit.

And now with all this talk…. I should really start looking for a summer internship.

“If you never did, you should. These things are fun and fun is good.” – Dr. Seuss

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.

Continue reading

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.