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What an Awesome Year We Had HPAC!

Check out our annual report for 2015-2016!


Why Me? The struggle of feeling special.

As I walked through the Butler Library at Columbia University, I couldn’t stop asking myself this:

Why me? What am I doing here? Why was I given this opportunity to be here? I feel honored, though I mistrust it. Have I worked as hard as my parents and siblings to be rewarded so greatly?

Why me?

It’s beautiful here, but I can’t stop thinking about those in my community who didn’t have this opportunity, about the others who didn’t have the same privileges I have been given.

Why me?

Others have been pushed down and oppressed by the world yet they keep on thriving.

Have they realized that they, too, have a voice? Or was that taken from them?

Have they understood the power they can possess? Have they realized their potential?

Why me.

I remember my best friend in middle school taking care of his older brother who was shot from a rival gang. He, too, wanted to be in 18th street. Was that also my outcome? I was waiting for my turn, where life would shift for me. I was waiting until I became addicted, like so many in my family who have, and continue to suffer from addiction.

I always felt like I was going to fail, that I too was going to be addicted, that I was going to be shot for being in a gang.

It’s amusing looking back on this, because if you know me, I’m not violent and I’m not an addict. I felt like it was all inevitable though, that I didn’t have a choice. I was worried more about falling into the trap than about focusing on what lay ahead. Was there ever going to be an escape for me?

Why me?

I see the voice though it’s hard for me to reach. I feel it trembling within me, making my voice and mind crack.

Why me?

What about my brother and sister who have worked harder than I have ever worked my entire life? They’re pushing me, they’re encouraging me, síguele. They see something in me. They see their voice through me.

Why me?

I ask myself this question as the librarian announces, “10 minutes till closing.” I feel so humbled in this library and ask myself if the others feel it too.

I feel loved by those that I left – “I’m so proud of you, mijo.”

Why me?

The voice is in all of us, and I arrived here on the backs of others. I see my community uplifting me and the responsibility they have given me. I must represent them. That’s why I am here, right?

My friend mentioned that this educational system was not built for us. She was right. It’s not built for us. Though it’s our obligation like it was for the generations before us to the leave the front door open even though we sneaked in from the back.

Why me?

I don’t know why, but I know that my voice is that of my community.

I don’t have the privilege to deny them my voice because its not mine its theirs. And I promise whatever comes of me whichever field I work in that my community will be heard loud and clear.

How did we do this year?

Check out our annual report for 2014-2015!


On the Road...Again

The Day Before: The day before any of my interviews I have flown across the country, flown a few hours into a nearby state the morning of, and driven a few hours into the city where I was interviewing. There are so many things that are running through my mind. I find it hard not think about the interview because it is a big moment in my life. The endless hours invested in a book, in a classroom, in different research labs, having my work criticized, and being an active member in society you sometimes forget that you are an amazing person. I keep my day light with work that I have. I’ll grade my students work, organize some materials on my computer, and review a few interview questions the morning of. One thing that I always do is go to bed early.

The Day Of: The day of the interview I wake up 2 hours before I have to leave to the University. I follow my daily ritual: shower, wash my face, brush my teeth, moisturize my body, put on my contacts, fix my hair, and carefully assemble my outfit. I take my time. Upon arrival to the University I walk slowly to the site. And as I approach the admissions door I take a deep breathe and tell myself, “You got this. You have been preparing your entire life and there is nothing that you can’t do.” I greet everyone I see faculty, staff, students, and my fellow interviewees. I am truly excited to meet everyone when I arrive. Some interviews I am asked to fill out a short secondary application and in others we are expected to wait in the lobby with the other interviewees. I speak with everyone and ask about there story. And then I hear, “Rick Campos.” I stand up, button up my blazer, introduce myself with a handshake, and ask who I am speaking with. I keep things casual and immediately begin asking questions about the university and what my interviewer does as we walk to the location. My favorite place I interviewed was in the dining hall with the Dean for the School of Dentistry.

The interview is a blur the majority of the time. It is a back and forth conversation talking about the University, myself, the interviewer, anything we might have in common, and any questions that I may have. Of course, you have your typical interview questions come up, but little time is usually spent on them. The interviewer concludes the session and I begin the casual talk about other interesting things the University has to offer or about the interesting things to do within the city.
Upon arrival back to the lobby we conclude our session and I express my gratitude for the time they spent with me. What usually happens afterwards is the other interviewers talk about their interview experience and we exchange things we enjoyed and disliked about the questions they asked.
Following the stressful interview experience we have our question and answer session with faculty and staff, a tour of the facilities with current upper class, a lunch with the students, and a financial session. And that concludes the interview day. You are relieved informally of the completion and are free to go.

Moments After The Interview: Since I will be spending 4 years of my life at these potential institutions I make efforts to speak with other faculty and students. This turns into casual conversations and tours of other facilities on campus. If that luxury isn’t presented I tour the University on my own. I spend the rest of the day exploring the city. This usually consists of going to art museums, restaurants, and coffee shops in the surrounding area.

Final Thoughts: My experience with interviews has been excellent. The institutes go out of their way to make the day enjoyable. The faculty, staff, and students are friendly and ecstatic to have us around. It is obvious that we are interviewees, the only people with suits, and we end up being the center of attention when we are walking around. My only advice is to enjoy the time you spend there and be yourself. You have been invited for an interview because you are qualified, you have demonstrated abilities for success, and you have demonstrated abilities that they believe are necessary for a health care professional. Congratulations on your interview and all other future successes you will have in the endeavors you pursue.

by: Rick Campos, Graduate Student in Biology (soon to be Rick Campos, D.D.S.

HPAC Peer Mentor

Yummy Career!

Growing up I hated the idea of fish. Absolutely hated it. Does the expression, 'How do you know you don't like it if you haven't even tried it yet' ring a bell to anyone? I heard it all the time from my mother when I was 8 years old. Fast forward to my teenage years when I had my first piece of salmon. Sparks flew! I loved it! To think I had wasted all of those years not liking something only because I refused to try it out.

What am I trying to say here? Try something first before you decide anything about it. Many times students decide to major in something because they 'heard' it was a good major, or perhaps because 'everyone else' is doing it, or maybe simply because they genuinely think they would 'enjoy' it.

Whatever the case is, HPAC highly encourages participating in some sort of internship, volunteer, or work experience to gain exposure. Not only does this prepare you for your future career but it also gives you a better understanding of what it is that you're pursuing. While doing this you might come to the conclusion that you would like to pursue a different field or you might come to embrace your original decision and pursue it even more passionately.

The Clinical Care Extender Internship is a great way to get started! Learn a thing or two about hands-on clinical and administrative work in a real hospital setting. For more information, visit L3 Connect.

You can also contact the CSUSB Career Center for more resources and information on internships. They are located in University Hall room 329. You can call them at 909-537-5250 or visit the Career Center website.

So go out there – take a bite out of the health professions! You just might find you love it and sparks will fly.

by: Jocabed McCormick
HPAC Staff

5 things I wish I knew when I was a Freshman...

Looking back, there would have been a few things that I would have done differently if I had learned about it from the start. College only comes once in a lifetime, you have to take advantage of every opportunity.

  1. Give everyone a chance. Don't just stick to the same friends, go out there and gain the opportunity to meet new and interesting people. Networking is huge. The connections you build in college may be the ones hiring you for your next job.
  2. Take advantage of the resources CSUSB has to offer. Remember, everything is exposed to us during SOAR, pay attention and take into consideration the advice that is being offered.
  3. Get to know your professors. Attend office hours. I can't stress this enough. This is something everyone tells you, and everyone says 'yeah, whatever'. Trust, as soon as you start going to office hours your grades will jump.
  4. There is no express train to success. You have to put in work without taking short cuts. Be open to new opportunities to develop and grow. Remember it takes time, commitment and focus.
  5. Remember the importance of internships and volunteering. If you start volunteering from the start you will gain exposure to the field you would like to get into.

Break out of your shell, and embrace the world. Try new things, ask questions. Feel the urge to grow and gain knowledge from others. Good Luck Yotes!

by: Carolina Meza
HPAC Staff

I graduated! Now what?

As one chapter closes, another one begins. Graduating can be a mixed bag of emotions. You're excited, yet nervous. You can't wait to go out there, yet you don't really know where to start. It can be a very overwhelming moment.

One of the greatest lessons I've learned as time passed since my graduation is to make it count. Sometimes things go smoothly and you find great opportunities right away, and other times it's going to take time for things to come together. So what do you do in the meanwhile? YOU MAKE IT COUNT.

It's important to know that all people have different experiences when it comes to job hunting. But one thing that most people have in common during this stage is 'time'. Whether your time between graduation and landing a job is short or long, make that time count for something.

First things first; Don't be shy. Network! There are hundreds of people out there that just might be the next link to your future. Shake hands, smile, be confident, and always professional. CSUSB holds several career events and employer networking opportunities throughout the year; don't let opportunities like these pass you by.

Secondly, make sure you're growing. If you find yourself in a position where you want to advance your skills and duties, don't be afraid to pursue that wish. Look for opportunities within your job and develop new skills that will enhance your resume. Build a website; create marketing strategies and apply them; train new employees on software you're proficient in; anything! The opportunities are endless. Remember to have the proper communication with your supervisor about your goals and see what develops out of it. If you never ask, you never know…

And lastly, don't forget to celebrate too! It's an incredible accomplishment to finish a degree. No matter what your situation was the past few years, remember that finishing what you started means a lot. Don't forget to give yourself a pat on the back.

From someone who has been in your shoes, let me just say, there IS light at the end of the tunnel. Make sure you're using your time well during your journey. Wishing all students the best!

Shout out to my Class of 2013! ;) GO YOTES!

by: Jocabed Bolanos (Jackie)
HPAC Staff

A Season of Endless Possibilities.

There are moments in life when we question ourselves, 'Is it going to be possible?' We sometimes limit ourselves to what we think we can do, as oppose to what we are capable of doing. We should go as far as our mind lets us. We need to have faith in what we believe so that we may achieve it.

A friend once told me, 'It's not the grades you make, but the hands you shake! It's not always what you know, it's who you know! So come out of your comfort zone, and meet new people, dream big and always network.' When I heard this, it made me question who I am and who I can possibly become. There is unlimited potential to endless possibilities, but our best can change from moment to moment. But no matter the circumstances, do not let the hardships stop you from doing what you know is right in your heart. Simply do your best, and the possibilities will be endless.

George Bernard Shaw once stated, 'The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.' Do you find yourself pleasing others instead of making yourself priority? Keep in mind, you are in charge of going as far as you know you can. You need to work harder than you ever thought you should and longer than you ever thought you could. Never say no to an idea until you consider what might come to fruition.

To end this, I would like to leave you with this insightful quote, 'Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other peoples thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.' –Steve Jobs

By: Carolina Meza
HPAC Staff

Does this profession make my butt look big?
(Finding the right career 'fit' for you)

I know personally it's not always an easy journey. We don't all have that same experience. Sometimes you think, 'What do I really want to do in life? How do I even start? Who do I talk to? What's out there? (insert screaming here). '

Well, let me just say, it's okay. It's not the end of the world. If anything, it's a good thing to have these questions because it means that you're thinking seriously about this and you want to find the right 'fit' for you.

As a graduate student, there have been a few things I've learned along the way:

  1. Be Proactive - Yes, our professors and advisors have some great resources to point us to but that's not always enough, nor should it be the only place you look. A good student is one who puts in the effort to go out and look for experiences, internships, volunteer opportunities, etc. Sounds silly, but Google it! There are a lot of opportunities out there, if only you look…
  2. Get Your Feet Wet – You don't want to find yourself walking across the stage at graduation thinking, 'I really don't even like this field.' Trust me. I thought I wanted to be a counselor, applied for a program, got accepted, and then realized this wasn't a good fit for me a few weeks in. I can't stress this bullet point enough. It goes closely along with number one. Be proactive. Get some experience; shadow a few people, work along side them, ask questions about their daily routine in that field. This will help you get a good idea if you're on the right path or if maybe you need to adjust a few things. You might find yourself loving it even more, or you might find yourself really reconsidering and that's the beauty of it – it's OK! Even if one door closes, many more open and you have a better understanding of what you want to do. Now is the time to do it.
  3. Talk To Someone – You'd be surprised how many people out there actually want to help you. I know it can be a little intimidating at times. I use to think, 'Gosh. I don't want to bother them with my silly questions.' Well, people enjoy answering questions and it turns out they're really not that 'silly' after all. The way I've always thought about it is like this: Find someone who is doing what you want to do and talk to them. Ask them about the steps they took to get there. Ask about the rewards and challenges that come with it. Ask for advice. You're networking while you do this; killing two birds with one stone.

We're all going to have different paths, but we all have something in common: getting started. If you find yourself stuck, confused, or just need a little guidance, consider taking some of the steps outlined above. Sometime it just takes a little venturing out to get the ball rolling, but it's a rewarding journey, let me tell you!

I wish you luck on your journey!

By: Jocabed Bolanos (Jackie)
HPAC Staff

I'm going to change your life with one word: STRATEGY
(a.k.a. the guide to getting into graduate/professional school)

You like strategy games? Try the ultimate in strategic planning-getting accepted into graduate/professional school. Anyone who has ever considered a post-graduate degree knows that the labyrinth of graduate school application process can be complex and daunting. You have multiple applications, special tests, interviews, letters and essays. The only thing missing is a blood test. You can, however, successfully navigate this labyrinth by applying some foresight and strategy to the process:

Step 1: Ain't no party like an A+ party…
Getting into graduate school starts when you are a junior. Grades are the name of the game. Although it is not the only thing they look at, it is a major factor in your acceptance. Make sure you choose a major you enjoy and in which you do well.
**Note: you do not have to have a special major for acceptance into any graduate program, you just need grades and the right pre-requisite classes.**
If you are not sure what classes you need visit the Health Professions Advising Center, we can help you figure it out!

Step 2: Needle in a haystack
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of programs in the United States for every given major area. How do you locate the one that is right for you? Research is the only way. You can use sites like Petersons or O*net to narrow your search.
Pay close attention to program specialties, faculty to student ratios and graduate rates. This information will give you an indication of how well developed the programs are.
Also, once you have selected the schools you will likely apply to make sure you note their applications requirements and deadlines. Many graduate programs want not only academic and application information but letters of reference, personal statements, and in some cases 60-100 volunteer or field hours. Knowing what hurdles you need to clear early, makes it easier to plan for, and complete, those requirements.

Step 3: Testing, testing 1, 2,3…
Most graduate school programs are going to require an entrance exam of some type. Make sure you consult ETS for testing dates and deadlines. Some of the most common exams used are the following:

  1. GRE-General graduate school exam
  2. MCAT-Medical school exam
  3. DAT-Dental school exam
  4. OAT-Optometry school exam
  5. PCAT-Pharmacy school exam
  6. GMAT-Business/Management school exam
  7. LSAT-Law School exam

Step 4: No offense- it's personal
Writing a personal statement tends to be one of the most grueling processes in applying to graduate school. Most students push it off to the last minute and then struggle to complete the essay. The secret to a good personal statement is simple-talk about you. What is unique about you? Why are you passionate about this field? Many students try to be overly clever or highbrow, this makes for an awkward and unbelievable essay. Keep your statement simple, personal, and sincere and you'll do fine. For help with your personal statement visit the Health Professions Advising Center.

Step 5: Can I get a letter…just one letter
Letters of reference/recommendation are an essential part of your application packet. You generally will need 2-4 letters. One should be from a professor in your academic major but the others can be from work supervisors, precepts at volunteer sites, or advisors. Basically you want letters from anyone that knows you well and can speak about your academic and/or work experience and abilities. Remember it is always better to get a letter from someone that really knows you rather than from someone with an impressive title that hardly knows you.
When asking for letters make sure that you ask in person or via email and provide your letter writers with the following information:

  1. Where you are applying
  2. A copy of your personal statement
  3. A copy of your resume/CV
  4. A 'please' and 'thank you' for their help

And I never hurts to ask the person recommending you if they would like a draft recommendation letter. While many people may want to help you out with a letter, not everyone has the time or talent to write a good referral letter. Having a draft ready that the recommending person can use eases the process tremendously for all concerned. It may seem weird writing a draft of your own referral letter, but it really eases the stress for the recommending person, so always ask if they would like a draft.

Step 6: Talk to me baby
Ahhh interviews. There is nothing I like better first thing in the morning than dressing in a suit and talking to 4-10 strangers about me and why I am awesome while sounding humble. Does that sound fun to you? Of course not! No one likes interviews but they can be easily mastered by remembering this acronym STAR. It is a method for answering interview questions completely and with little effort while staying on track:

  • S= Situation (what was the setting)
  • T= Task (what happened)
  • A = Action (how did you handle it)
  • R= Result (how did it turn out)

For more information on interview prep or to do a mock interview you can contact the CSUSB Career Center or the Health Professions Advising Center.

Step 7: Show me the money
Good news you got accepted into you graduate or professional school of choice! Time to pop the champagne and call the family! They will be overjoyed to hear you will be living with them for 2-6 more years I'm sure. Everything IS awesome! Your final act in the graduate school application process is deciding where to go. Make sure that you fill out all of the necessary financial aid paperwork and ask about all of the options for funding. These include: loans, grants, assistance-ships, research opportunities and jobs on-campus.

By: Lesley Davidson-Boyd

Social Media and You: Frenimies for Life

Is social media your friend…or your frenimy? Do you belong to the 'right' sites? Do you even know what all of those little icons are on people's webpages (i.e. what is Vimeo anyway and what does it mean to me)? Most importantly, do you have any idea what to post? Here are a few tips and tricks to the social media game. Try these hints they could even make your grandma online savvy….well they will at least make you savvy:

  1. Give me the run down: Here is a list of the most popular social media sites in the United States and what they do. Depending on your profession you can benefit from all of these or only a few. The key is how you use them:
    • LinkedIn – Business and professional networking site.
    • Twitter – Micro-blogging and update site.
    • Facebook – General social information-photos, videos, blogs and apps.
    • Instagram – Photo blogging site.
    • Flickr – Photo sharing, commenting, and networking.
    • Pinterest – Online pin board to organize things you love.
    • Tumbler – Blog site where you can post anything from anywhere.
    • Meetup – used for planning offline meetings for people with shared interests.
    • You Tube – video sharing site.
    • Google+ -- General social information-photos, videos, blogs and apps.
    • Hootsuite – Social media management tool.
  2. I'm sorry do I know you? Don't assume because you have connected with someone online they are your friend. Studies show that the more online friends a person has the less likely they are to form friendships in real life. This holds true in professional relationships as well. Don't miss the mixer because you think you know everyone on LinkedIn. Put the 'social' in social media by interacting with people in both virtual and actual reality.
  3. You kiss your mama with that mouth? Keep all of your content professional and appropriate. Recently, I had a friend tell me that she was freaked out when her mother sent her a friend request in Facebook. Her exact words were, 'I can't let my mom know the things I say and do on there!' If this seems like you then you probably have some content online that needs to be deleted. Generally, you want to make sure to tone down the swearing, drinking references, rants about your boss/co-workers and anything that could be considered lewd in either text or picture form. Remember that when you walk into a job interview your entire online presence walks in with you. Your prospective employer can (and will) look you up. Would you walk into a job interview with a portfolio of pictures of you half naked at your besties graduation party doing keg stands? If you have pictures of that online, you might as well be.
  4. Do WHAT to myself? Google yourself. That's right I said it. You need to see what your online presence is at this point. Even with privacy settings you may be surprised by what is out there about you. I have been told that seems paranoid and maybe it is, but I also know that if I am not managing my own professional imagine someone else will. Be in charge of your own image.
  5. Jeez what CAN I post then!? It is a free country feel free to post whatever you want, but know that once you do it is public domain. Anyone can see it and no matter how much you delete it, it never truly goes away. Personally, I use this as my guide: would I want everyone to see this? Do they really need to know about my Ryan Reynolds obsession or where I may or may not have gone last night? Generally no…sigh.* But if you must tell, do so as if you are in a public forum for all to see (because you are…).
  6. OMG there are jobs out there!!! There sure are. Many recruiters are saying that Twitter and Linked in are the new job boards. According to Rachel Silverman of the Wall Street Journal, 'Applicants should follow the companies they are interested in on Twitter. This shows interest in the company and makes you a more likely recruiting target.' The more socially engaged you are, the more likely you are to hear about exciting opportunities.

Basically, clean it up people and start following companies instead of Snookie. She may have a job for you but let's face it how good do you look in leopard print anyway? For more information on how to tune up your online presence attend out social media workshop series at the Career Center.


By: Lesley Davidson-Boyd