Motivation Monday: Stephanie


University of Illinois - Chicago
Nursing | 2019

Hometown: Dapitan City, Philippines
Currently: First-year nursing student / office aide for the Clinical Research Center at the University of Illinois - Chicago hospital system
Self-described: Open-minded, Observant, Reserved
Enjoys: Watching Netflix, Youtube, and playing video games. Lately, I've been trying to take up reading during my free time. Hopefully I'll be able to make it a habit.

I always tell myself that all my hard work will pay off, and I know it will.

Tell us about yourself!

I am an immigrant from the Philippines, but I've been living in the United States for so long that I don't know whether to call Chicago or my birthplace as my hometown. I am a first generation college student. I have three younger siblings: two of whom are currently in high school and the other will be starting college this school year. I will also be starting my first year as a nursing student this fall semester 2017 at the University of Illinois - Chicago College of Nursing. In my job as an office aide for the Clinical Research Center at the University of Illinois - Chicago hospital system, I interact with a lot with the participants for the many different studies that are conducted at the clinic. It's honestly the first job I've learned to love and definitely worth the hour-long commute.

Typically, I like to watch a lot of shows, but the only show I've binge-watched multiple times is The Office on Netflix. I highly recommend the show to anyone. The best part is that there's nine seasons. If I could read a book again for the first time, it would probably be Fahrenheit 451. I read the book as a requirement the summer before my freshman year of high school and I absolutely loved it. If there's anything I can't live without, it would be music. I listen to a variety of genres and it just gets me through everything nowadays.


Greatest source of inspiration

My mom has and will always be my greatest inspiration. She's a hard worker and I want to make her proud in any way possible.


Greatest source of support

I think my friends have made a big impact on getting to where I am today. Even though I've lost some along the way, I feel like I've kept the ones worth keeping. I'm very thankful to be surrounded by motivated and smart people who, more or less, share the same goal as me.

coffee or tea- - Stephanie.png

Favorite thing

My favorite thing about college are the naps in between classes, but I also love the freedom and flexibility that college gives you. I feel like there's less stress overall, but you definitely have more responsibilities, which I like.


Least favorite thing

After two years of college, I'm still not used to large class sizes. It's a bit harder to make friends in a class that has 100+ people who constantly shift seats.


Study habits

I have a very unhealthy study schedule: studying the week before big exams. For the upcoming school year, I definitely want to change and improve how I study. Staying focused is also a challenge for me, but lately I've found that studying in a quiet and scenic library has helped. It's so weird how a setting can make or break my sense of productivity when it comes to studying. I think that listening to classical music also helps or anything instrumental. I've found that I'm easily distracted by music with lyrics because I'm more likely to sing along to it.


Tell us about a challenge you faced. How did you overcome it?

The hardest challenge I've had in college so far was during my second semester of sophomore year. I felt like I had no sense of focus or motivation to try in any of my classes since I had already gotten into nursing school. I had my first reality check when I had failed my anatomy and physiology exam. My friends were a big help in overcoming this slump. They gave me study tips and even gave me some of their notes to show me their style of learning. I also took time to look back on what I was doing and how I could improve. I think a big part of my success was self-reflection and admitting that something wasn't working.


How did you find your sense of belonging?

I don't think I've found my sense of belonging in college yet. It's very hard as a commuter to really dive into the all the extra-curricular activities and events that my college has. It's always a battle of "Do I want to go home early and chill" or "Do I wanna stay in the city so late?"


What campus resources do you use?

I think the resource I've used the most is the counseling center and the tutoring center. I've never really felt that I needed to use the writing center since the English classes I took weren't that difficult.


What advice would you give to your freshman-year self?

The best advice that someone has given me, and the advice that I'd give to my past-self and to anyone in college, is: don't study last-minute. It is the worst feeling ever when you're trying to cram weeks worth of information in less than a week before the exam. I also think that keeping a visible schedule of your class in your desk, folder, phone, etc., will help redirect your focus on deadlines. I think there's been more than enough instances where I've been "surprised" by quizzes and exams because I've lost track of what week the class is on. If you're lucky, your professor or TA will remind you, but college is all about responsibility, and missing a quiz or exam is your own.


What's your secret for time management and productivity?

In terms of time-management, I've always found my phone to be really helpful. I always set reminders and keep them in check. I've attempted to use a physical planner before, but it has never worked out for me.


How do you stay motivated?

I always tell myself that all my hard work will pay off, and I know it will.


How do you de-stress?

I de-stress by playing video games (mostly team-based games such as Overwatch, League of Legends, CS:GO, and the occasional MMORPGs with my friends) or hanging out with my friends. But on other days, I just like to lay down, watch Netflix, catch up on some Youtube videos, with food and a comfy blanket.


Future goals?

My short-term goal is to improve my study habits. These last two years of my undergraduate studies will be challenging and I want to establish good and effective study habits that I will carry on to my graduate studies. I also want to improve my time-management skills by starting a routine that balances my sleep, school, and leisure time.

My long-term goal is to be a better person overall. I feel like I'm slowly becoming a negative and self-loathing individual and I want to change that. I want to be happier and more accepting of myself, emotionally and physically. I also want to keep and maintain my current relationships with my friends and make new ones who will be by my side 5-10 years from now.


How can the community help you?

I could use some help finding scholarships for nursing school, study tips, study abroad opportunities, and paid and unpaid internships for health-related students.
Connect with Stephanie