Category Archives: College Tips

Study Tips For Finals Week 

The time has come to start preparing for finals again. You’ve probably developed the study habits that work for you- or could still be trying different methods to see what’s more successful for you. However you study, we wanted to share some tips to help you ace your exams. 

Check Your Exam Schedule

Check when, where, and what time each exam is. You never want to be in the position of being late for an exam. Sometimes exam times change, so make sure with your professor when your exams will be. 

Know Your Priorities 

After organizing the timeline of your exams, know what you have to study first. It might be for the first exam you have- or the hardest final for you. It’s good to know this in advance, so you don’t use up study time during finals week. 

Establish Your Study Spot 

By this time of the school year, you probably already know where your study spot is. Especially during finals week, your study atmosphere needs to keep you motivated and productive. It could be the library, student center, department lounge, or even your room. 

Set The Tone 

Set the tone for your study session. Have your playlist ready if you work better with music. Remove all noise and distractions if you need a quiet environment. The library is a great place to study because there are tables and cubicles that allow you to have a space for yourself. It’s all about what’s right for you to stay in the zone. 

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help 

Do not be afraid to ask for help. Your professors are there to help you, so take advantage of their office hours and bring up any questions or concerns during class or after. Your classmates are also there to help you out. (If you study better with people, have a good study group where you can stay focused while having little distractions.)

Keep Snacks & Water With You

Keep yourself fueled up with enough snacks and waters that will keep you awake throughout your study sessions.

Get Enough Sleep 

Please, please, please get enough sleep! As much as all-nighters are popular in college, your body and mind have to rest. Getting enough sleep will help you do even better on your exam. 

Pray & Believe In Yourself 

Praying is a powerful thing to do. It’s amazing what God can do during your exam by helping you remember the things you’ve studied to give you that reassurance that you are going to be okay. You also have to believe in yourself. Remind yourself that you got this! 

Coaches Corner: Abraham Garrido 

Abraham Garrido is the head coach for PUC’s Men’s and Women’s Cross Country team. This is his first year coaching at PUC and has previously coached high school basketball at Fresno Adventist Academy. He recently graduated from PUC this past June, and we couldn’t be happier to have Abraham continue his life on our campus. 

What makes PUC athletics different from other colleges and universities?

What makes PUC athletics different from other schools is the never give up attitude that our athletes have. Whether it’s on or off the field, court, or trails, PUC athletes and coaches strive to be the best that they can be. 

How would you describe your coaching style?

Fun but competitive. I say this because I want my athletes to enjoy the sport that they are participating in. In doing so, if my athletes fall in love with the sport, they’ll want to compete even more because they like the sport. 

How do you keep your players motivated during the season? 

I do fun activities such as running to a waterfall and running around lakes. I also remind them and show them the progress they have made over the course of the season. 

Outside of competing, are there activities you try to get your players involved in? 

I try to encourage my athletes to participate in clubs, church, and even school outings. 

What values do you instill in your players? 

To respect others, have patience and to do their best in everything that they do. 

How do you incorporate spiritual life within your team? 

We, as a team, pray in the mornings and pray before each race. 

What do you enjoy most about being a coach?

Seeing my athletes improve in any aspect in life. Whether it’s sports, school or other hobbies that they might have. 

How do you support your players on and off the court? 

We, as a team, have a group chat. So, as a team, we support each other with anything that they might need. 

Why should prospective students choose PUC over another program? 

Location! We have the best location out of any school, and it can’t be put more simply than that. 

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the Pioneers family? 

Having the ability to change/improve what others before me started. 

When you’re not coaching, what do you enjoy doing? 

When I’m not coaching, I love to participate in ultra-marathon races and ride 100 miles on my bike. Overall, you can say that I love to be outdoors. 

Benefits of Taking Summer Classes 

PUC offers a variety of summer classes, workshops, and seminars. Many high schoolers and undergraduates take summer classes because it gives them a head start on checking off their credits and ensures they graduate on time. Taking summer courses at PUC also cuts half the price on classes and boarding. Here are six other benefits of taking summer classes. 

Finish Gen Eds Sooner 

A great way to finish your general education courses sooner is by taking summer classes. This allows you to take up more mandatory classes your major requires from you during the regular school year.  

No Overloading 

Taking summer classes will knock out other courses you have to take during the regular school year, which can give you a lighter course load so you won’t have to worry about overloading on credits. 

You Can Graduate Early 

If you want to begin your college career sooner or want to finish undergrad faster, enrolling in summer classes can help you graduate sooner. Taking summer classes will help you check off your courses and lead you one step closer to graduating early. 

Fewer Classes

Since you’re required to take a number of credits each quarter, summer classes allow you to focus on just one or two classes at a time. No need to worry about juggling too many classes at once.

Explore Your Passions 

During the regular school year, you’re focusing more on core classes. Summer classes are an opportunity for you to explore your passions and take fun electives. You won’t only be earning credits, but getting the chance to see if you want to major or minor in your passions. 

Bump Up Your GPA 

Summer classes can help bump up your GPA and accelerate your academic career. Increasing your GPA will look great on college applications and can help you earn scholarships.

Check out PUC’s summer classes. To speak with someone from our admissions team, call (800) 862-7080, option 2, or email admissions@puc.edu

The Value of Spanish Studies at PUC

Terah Ramos is a senior studying for a BA in Spanish Studies and a BBA in Marketing. When she first came to PUC as a freshman, she was a biology major, but that all changed when she found out about the study abroad program Adventist College Abroad (ACA). On a whim, Terah decided to study a year abroad in Spain and take that opportunity to learn Spanish Studies and found it practical because everything she’d learn could apply to her chosen career path later on. 

Terah generously answered some questions for us to learn more about PUC’s World Languages program. 

What do you like about the program?

I love my professors. They are extremely dedicated and profoundly knowledgeable. Not only are they good at what they do, but they are also very helpful and caring. I know people who just visit the professors in the World Languages and Cultures department just to have a chat. It’s easy to tell that the professors are passionate about their jobs and want you to succeed.

What are some important things you’ve learned from your program?

(1) Learning a language is one of the most rewarding things you can do – the idea that you are able to communicate with an entire group of people you would not be able to understand/converse with otherwise. I love speaking to people in Spanish and seeing their faces light up because it means that I’ve taken extra effort to understand them.

(2) Language is closely tied with culture – it’s impossible to learn a language without understanding the cultures that speak it. As with every language, Spanish is full of colloquialisms. For example, “Aguas!” is a slang phrase commonly used in Mexico – essentially meaning “look out!” in English. The term stems from the time period before modern sewage treatments in Mexico when people would shout a warning (“Aguas!”) before throwing their dirty water out the window. Mexico has a ton of cool slang phrases like these, which kind of give you an understanding of the history and humor of the culture that make it into a widely used modern language. This is just an example from Mexico, but there are unique sayings that differ with each Spanish-speaking country!

What class have you enjoyed the most, and why?

My favorite class was definitely Advanced Language Studies taught by Professor Gregorutti. I’m really interested in Linguistics, so this class constantly blew my mind. We learned about language acquisition – how humans are able to become aware of and understand language. It was so insightful and philosophical!

Can you give any advice to high school students who are interested in pursuing a major in World Languages? What should they expect or prepare for?

If you’re planning to pursue a Spanish Studies or another World Languages major, you’re likely going to spend a year abroad. It’s very important to stay open-minded, embrace mistakes, and become accustomed to discomfort. It is more than worth it!

Why would you recommend this program?

I would recommend this program because of its practicality. When paired with another major (which is doable and even encouraged!), a language major not only prepares students for communicating in the workforce but everyday life as well. I feel that other majors may not be as applicable or usable in the real world as instantly as a language major.

Can you share any advice with students interested in your major?

Practice what you’ve learned as often as you can – find someone you can talk to in your target language/share the information you’ve learned in class. It doesn’t hurt to supplement this major with a minor or perhaps even another major, and most importantly – keep an open mind!

Visit our website to learn more about the Department of World Languages. Our admissions counselors can answer any questions you have. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2, or email admissions@puc.edu to speak with one of our team members to see what the world languages program can offer you. 

Biology Program Experience from Isaac Joo

PUC’s biology department has an extensive number of courses that allow students to build their knowledge of biology in and out of the classroom, which prepares them for medical school. With our high acceptance rates to medical and dental schools, our students have been accepted into Loma Linda University, Duke University, Midwestern University, and other leading institutions around the country. 

Isaac Joo is a junior biology pre-medicine student from Portland, Oregon. He chose PUC because of the rich history it has within his family. He always heard great academic success by attending PUC and felt that it was a right fit for him. Isaac loved the campus and had a great first impression with the teachers and staff here. Now being a PUC student himself, he’s been enjoying his time at PUC and finds the biology program amazing because of the professors, just as he heard. Isaac answered some questions for us to learn more about the biology program. 

Why did you choose this program? 

Biology is the study of life, and I selected this program because I felt that it could be very integrative to my profession. 

What do you like about the program?

The biology program is truly amazing because of the professors. They are great at really connecting with the students and are always willing to help. One example that stuck out to me was during COVID. My biology professor wanted us to write a weekly check-in because she was worried about us. This really helped me during the pandemic, and she would always write back with a friendly comment. 

What class have you enjoyed the most, and why? 

I really enjoyed Systems and Physiology because I was able to learn more in-depth about the human body.  

What are some important things you’ve learned from your program? 

I learned to find a good balance between studying and relaxing. Burn-outs are real in college and I had to learn that it is okay to take breaks. 

Why would you recommend this program?

I recommend this program to those who are interested in going in-depth in the study of life and how everything works. 

Can you give any advice to high school students who are interested In pursuing your major? What should they expect or prepare for?

Although this major is very exciting, I would say that you definitely need to put in your hours for studying. Most classes go through extensive information, and some parts can be challenging. However, nothing is impossible, and all the professors want their students to succeed. I would say to never be afraid to ask questions and always go to office hours if you don’t understand something.

Outside of classes, are there any activities or events your program throws during the school year? 

Yes, there are a lot of fun and thrilling activities. The biology club plays movies, throws water balloon fights, and goes on hikes in the back-40! Freshman biology majors also have a personal mentor who can help them settle in. Lastly, the biology club throws a trip to Albion, and that is where you can meet fellow biology classmates and bond with them. 

What is your favorite thing about attending PUC? 

My favorite thing about attending PUC would be my friends and the campus. I made some incredible friends here, and I can see why this place was originally a resort. Whether it be hiking the back-40 or going for a swim in the pool, I found myself really enjoying the moments here. 

A Balance Between Passions: An Interview With A Social Work & Spanish Studies Major, Sarah West 

Sarah West is a double-major student from Beaumont, CA., who will be graduating with a Bachelor in Social Work and a BA emphasis in Spanish Studies. She didn’t plan on taking two majors, but after studying abroad and taking Spanish classes, she was able to be a Spanish major, and she’s glad she did. With her desire to help people, knowing another language will be very beneficial to her future. Sarah generously answered some questions for us to learn more about her programs and how her love for helping people and traveling comes hand-in-hand.

Why did you choose these programs? 

I knew that I wanted to help people, so when I came to PUC, I was one of many Bio-premed majors. However, after a quarter of taking both biology and chemistry at the same time, I knew this wasn’t the path for me. I knew I wanted to help people, and after a quarter of being undeclared and taking Intro to the Family, I knew social work was for me. 

I did not come to PUC thinking that I would be able to graduate with 2 majors. I did come to PUC knowing that I wanted to spend a year abroad in a Spanish-speaking country, and I did. Because of the time I spent abroad, all I had to do was take a handful of classes here to get a Spanish major. So the degree kind of happened, and I am glad it did. 

What do you like about these programs? 

One of the things I like about the social work program is that the courses required will be very useful and applicable in the field. They cover a lot of topics but give you a good foundation to build on during your internship, and eventual job. The professors are also amazing in the social work/psych department. They all have unique experiences and give the best advice. 

I like this Spanish studies program because it really pushes me to use my Spanish. Being a TA in the department has also helped me improve my Spanish a lot. 

Which classes have you enjoyed the most, and why? 

The class I have most enjoyed in social work was Research Design with professor Milmine. This class didn’t feel like work and was just fun to learn. It taught how to create and conduct research, and how impactful research-based practices are. 

I think that the linguistic class I took for Spanish studies was the class I most enjoyed. It was fun to learn about languages, and how what we learned could apply to the language we learned abroad. 

What are some important things you’ve learned from these programs?

The social work program has helped me by opening my eyes to the needs of the world, and how you should never make assumptions. You never really know what someone is going through or what their past consists of.  

The important thing I learned from the Spanish studies program was how beneficial studying abroad is. Most people who end up getting a language major studied abroad, and we all agree that it was the best thing to do. The program that we go abroad with is Adventists Colleges Abroad (ACA), and it is so easy to apply to and to travel with. 

Why would you recommend this program?

I would recommend the social work program if you have the desire to help people, but don’t know how. A BSW is also a degree that you can get a job with right away or do a one-year program to get your master’s. Social work is also a very diverse field, so you can never get bored. 

I would recommend the Spanish studies program if you are interested in learning a new language, or if you are interested in studying abroad. 

Can you give any advice to high school students interested in pursuing one of your majors, or even both? What should they expect or prepare for? 

For social work, I would recommend to a high school student to try and learn something from every class you take. That is because it will help you in class, in internships, and your future. You are going to work with people from all walks of life, who have their own experiences and passions, and if you know a little about it, it will help you. You also never know where you are going to end up, what population you will be working with, or what organization you will work at. So knowing a little bit about a variety of topics will be helpful. 

I would 1000000% recommend going abroad. The ACA program is amazing and makes everything abroad so easy. You learn so much about yourself, about the culture, and the language. There is a lot of culture shock and quirks about the country you go to, but you learn to live with the changes. I always say no one ever regrets going abroad, but people always regret not going. 

Outside of classes, are there any activities or events your program throws during the school year? 

The social work department is small but mighty. There is a booth for the social work club during fall fest that you can help with, Christmas parties, and outreach to the community. 

The World language/communications department does host prevespers, provides snacks during dead week, and really helps push you to practice your language. 

What is your favorite thing about attending PUC? 

One thing I love about PUC is how close you can get with your professors. I went to a public high school, where the student-to-teacher ratio had a huge gap. So, coming here to PUC and being in the social work program, you can really get to know your professors. This is great because it makes me comfortable to go to them for advice if it is academic, professional, or personal. There are also a lot of clubs, and as the president of the Jujitsu club here on campus, there is something for everyone. What I also love about PUC is how much nature is around us. It is beautiful here, and as someone from southern California, I love the change in atmosphere on this holy hill. 

Caitlyn Koester

How Music Practice Habits Can Enhance Your Entire Life

By Caitlyn Koester, PUC instructor in piano and harpsichord

With the start of every new year comes anticipation for what’s to come, and the spark of inspiration to fortify, streamline, and enhance one’s personal potential. The annual New Year’s Resolution is the perfect opportunity for us as musicians to apply these principles to our practice routine. The great thing is that the principles behind each of these music-specific tips apply to anyone in any field or area of study. 

I find myself constantly reconsidering and rejiggering my own process and methods in order to continue to improve, and over the years have found some favorite tips and tricks. Here are a few I share time and again with my students, and frequently reintroduce to myself.

  1. Keep a practice journal. As when we were in elementary school and our first music teachers wrote down our assignments, it is useful to have a plan of attack when you sit down to play. For adults, the practice journal provides personal accountability, and the opportunity for both planning and reflection pre- and post-practice. At the end of my time at the instrument I like to take note of what specifically I need to look at tomorrow (down to the measure), and which practice methods I would like to apply to these sections. I also like to look forward to concerts and projects I have approaching in order to plan appropriately and learn my music in an organized fashion. 

Non-music application: Use this method for your lab projects, workout sessions, studying for exams, rehearsing speeches, etc.

  1. Schedule your practice time. As with anything important in our life, it is imperative that we prioritize the activity by dedicating real time on a regular basis. When I block out time to practice in my smartphone’s calendar, I find myself honoring the commitment as I would with any other priority. Plan ahead, block out those hours on your calendar, and check your daily practice off your to-do list!

Non-music application: Schedule solid time for working on an essay, reviewing lab notes, making sure to grab breakfast, calling your mom, spending time outside, etc.

  1. Become an early bird. All too recent are my memories of practicing at Juilliard until midnight… Although this seemed like the perfect solution to fitting in more hours during my busy graduate degree, I now realize that much of my time at the instrument was at less than 100 percent efficiency, energy, and creativity. When we practice in the morning–and better yet, make it the first cognitive activity we engage in upon waking–our mind and our physical alignment are fresh and ready for the task. At this time, we are not weighed down by a day full of conversation, work, physical activity, and distraction. Take this a step further and make practicing the last thing you do before winding down for the evening and the first thing you do upon waking, and you’ll be reinforcing your practice efforts on the daily.

Non-music application: Practice getting up earlier in the morning to finish your assignments, rather than staying up late to cram them in. When studying for an exam, try studying in the evening, going to bed at a reasonable hour, and then rising early to study more, reinforcing what you’re reviewing.

  1. Visual Manifestation. Practice is not only the act of physically playing your instrument. Be sure to visualize yourself performing in preparation for recitals and concerts, whether sitting in the practice room at the instrument or at home with music in hand. Envisioning the atmosphere, what you’ll smell, the temperature, your attire, the time of day, and how you’ll begin are all helpful for your mental preparation and focus. Take this a step further to enhance your expression of a piece of music before you begin playing by envisioning where the music might transport you. What does the place or scene look like / smell like / taste like / feel like? 

Non-music application: Imagine the end result of the final project you’re starting. What message do you want to convey with what you’ve created? When you’re presenting, what will the room look like / smell like / taste like / feel like? Envision your success from the very beginning and it will give you a definite end goal that feels (and is!) attainable.

Photo by Kael Bloom on Unsplash

Coming Back to Life: Preparing for music-making in the fall

By Becky St. Clair

We’re all tired of talking about the pandemic, but…it’s here to stay for a while, and we can’t ignore it. What we can do, however, is focus on coming out the other side of it all, physically, mentally, and spiritually intact. 

Over the last 17 months or so, it’s likely your lifestyle and habits have changed significantly. Whether that means dropping or discovering a hobby, picking up or conquering bad habits, sleeping different hours, or developing a hatred of all things Zoom and an appreciation for well-stocked grocery stores, it’s likely life looks quite different for you in August 2021 than it did in March 2020. 

For many of us who are musicians, this change in lifestyle likely includes a dramatic decrease in the amount of playing or singing we do on a regular basis. Which means that when we talk about “getting back in shape,” we’re not talking about those pounds that mysteriously appeared over the last year and a half and obviously had nothing to do with the vast number of baked goods and stress snacks we were consuming. (#denial)

When we as musicians talk about “getting back in shape” we’re talking chops. For brass and woodwind players this is the embouchure and breath control; for string players, guitarists, and pianists it’s calluses and muscle memory; for vocalists it’s the vocal cords and breath control; for percussionists it’s the forearm muscles, hand-eye coordination, and accuracy. And after a year and a half of not using them, these skills and abilities likely need a bit of a tune-up.

Here’s the good news: 

  1. It’s totally doable to get yourself back in shape in time for fall quarter ensembles and lessons; and
  2. If you haven’t been involved with music yet at PUC, now’s the time to join, because everyone is in the same boat, and music is the life preserver.

So, without further ado, here’s some sage advice and tips from the music faculty at PUC.

Don’t practice. Get together with friends and just play or sing. Do duets or quartets. Play woodwind and brass quintets. Play or sing with an organist or pianist. After all the isolation, playing with friends is a joy. And don’t worry if your ensemble is made up of odd instruments. A flute can play a violin part (and vice-versa). Clarinets, tenor saxes, and trumpets are interchangeable. Lots of music today even has parts in multiple keys so the instrumentation is very flexible. Have some fun and make some music.

Schedule yourself as the special music in church (and then take the music to a retirement home or a hospital or a place where people need to hear some music). Don’t pick anything too hard or too long, just something that you might enjoy playing. A few rehearsals, a performance, and you’ve made a lot of peoples’ lives brighter with your talent, and gotten your fingers and face back in shape. Hey, do this more than once! People want to hear you.

Commit to playing/singing for only 10 minutes several times a week. If things are going well and you want to spend more time, great! But 10 minutes begins to get your muscles back into shape. Your playing/singing muscles are likely out of shape, and just like an athlete, take time to rebuild them so you play/sing without injuring them.

Play with curiosity rather than expectation. Celebrate what still works and give yourself grace for what doesn’t. It may have been a long time since you played or sang. That means the control you used to have with your instrument/voice may not be as accessible as it used to be. It will come back!

Review the basics. Simple scales, hymns, and long notes can be used to remind and re-engage your muscles/embouchure/vocal chords in good habits of intonation, articulation, and control. 

Find a rhythm book or other music book and practice reading the rhythms on a single note. This will make it easier when you start sight reading again. 

And here are some thoughts for once we’re back together in September:

Manage expectations. We must remind ourselves that the instrument is rusty and like going back to exercising after a break, the voice is going to respond similarly. It will take time to get back to our previous level regarding breath, tone, volume control, etc.

Make it about socializing–rebuilding connections and trust. These are two elements that have been in short supply over the last year and a half. Provide plenty of time to socialize and get acquainted or reacquainted. 

Have reasonable goals in terms of skill development and musical artistry. Start with things that can be mastered and grow from there.

Celebrate the ability to make music together again. It is a privilege that others may not fully grasp. 

Give yourself and others time and space to share what you’ve missed and what you hope to gain and revitalize. 

Many of us have really, truly suffered from not being able to be with one another and make music while actually in the same room. It will take time and care for each other to get back into the swing of things, but regardless of how long it has been, celebrate the journey and privilege of making music. Treat it as a gift and give yourself grace. We cannot wait to see you in September!

For information about the department of music, including how to be part of an ensemble (spoiler: it’s easy, and there’s scholarship money involved!), contact us at music@puc.edu or 707-965-6201.

Photo by Kael Bloom on Unsplash

Creating the Perfect Fit: An Interview with a Double Major

By Becky St. Clair

Natalie Fode is a senior piano and nursing double major who grew up right here in St. Helena. With an Associate’s Degree in music (flute performance) and one in nursing already under her belt, she plans to graduate in June 2021 with her Bachelor’s Degrees in both. Natalie plays flute in the PUC Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and when we’re on-campus in person, she works in the department office managing recordings. She currently lives in Yountville with her husband, Jordan.

Why music?
I’ve always been fascinated with music for as long as I can remember. I have a musical family; my grandfather taught choir at various academies, and my grandmothers were/are both very good pianists. My dad is a great musician too, and plays the bass guitar, and my mom also plays the flute. I think this combination made me interested in music from a young age because music was often in the home in some form or another. I ultimately decided to pursue a music degree because I couldn’t imagine my life without it and I wanted to be better able to share my love of it with others, as well as to grow my composition, piano, and flute performance skills. I hope to someday teach lessons and continue writing music throughout my life.

So it surrounded you for most of your life, but do you recall when you first started really noticing it and exploring it for yourself?
My grandma first taught me the basics of piano when I was about four years old, which first awakened my love and fascination for piano. I don’t know where I got the idea of composing, but I remember playing the lap harp when I was about five or six and creating my own music on it. I also remember going around and making up songs (if you could call them that) about everything that happened in my life when I was little. It turns out each of these early interests developed into something that I now know and love and are all a part of me to this day. 

I ended up becoming extremely interested in composition and songwriting as I got older, writing songs from the time I was about 11 and starting my first choral piece at age 14. I have continued to pursue flute, piano, and composition during my time at PUC. Each of these early musical experiences are still a part of my life today as a college student and they will forever be a part of my musical identity.

How has your experience been pursuing both music and nursing simultaneously?
I would say the biggest challenge for me has been finding the time to stay in a creative headspace while also pursuing nursing, which is a different-type-of-difficult degree. I adore composition and wish that I had the time and creative energy to do it more often. Though it hasn’t always been an easy balancing act, I would say that music has been an oasis for me during the difficult times of the nursing program, which, as much as I love nursing, certainly existed.

Nursing majors have crazy schedules; how did you manage that while also being in a music ensemble?
First of all, I would like to mention that I took the first year and a half of my time at PUC to focus primarily on music and attempting to get into the nursing program. That allowed me to finish a lot of my classes for the AS in music degree, but not all. Once the nursing program began for me, the music department professors worked with my crazy clinical schedules and helped me achieve my goals in both nursing and music; I couldn’t have gotten this far if it wasn’t for their graciousness. 

Nursing is, by necessity, a very structured program and so it speaks volumes that the music department has been willing to work around and with that to help me create the perfect fit during my time at PUC. Now, during my two bachelor degrees in nursing and music, the music professors are working with me more than ever due to “core weeks” (weeks one and six each quarter) which are a part of the BS in nursing when I have classes the majority of the day and can’t typically attend normal class periods. They’ve also worked with me through more crazy clinical schedules and have always been so understanding through it all.

I couldn’t be more blessed and grateful with the music department. It’s taken me five years to finish these two degrees, but the incredible experiences, connections, and future opportunities that I’ve gained along the way has made it all worthwhile.

You and Jordan have recorded a few videos performing together; do you have plans to do something more formal with your combined skills? 
Jordan and I both love music. He’s been playing guitar since he was 12 and saxophone since he was nine, and we’ve both been casually singing in choirs and on our own from a young age. We have just recently started exploring who we are as a musical twosome and it’s been a really fun journey. We hope to make it a “thing” in the near future. 

We have a YouTube channel and want to fill it with covers and original songs, and hope to utilize other social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok to share as well. We also want to do concerts both locally and across the U.S. as a ministry, once things are a little less “germy” of course. Ha! This is important to us because we both want to share God’s love and the message of righteousness by faith with as many people as possible. We’d love to combine that message with speaking and music in the form of concerts and social media.

What do you enjoy about being part of the music department?
One of my favorite things about the music department is sitting in the office, working and listening to all of the students and ensembles practicing. It’s so inspiring, makes me smile, and it’s fun to hear people progress in their pieces. I also love the family feel of the department. It’s not huge, and so everyone gets to know everyone and there’s a real sense of closeness there that is quite unique. It feels like a home away from home.

How do music and nursing intersect—at least for you?
Music is inherently therapeutic, and so I definitely feel that my knowledge of music can help me provide my future patients with better care in the hospital. I’ve heard stories of nurses singing or performing for patients per their request and I can see that being something I’d be open to since I’m interested in treating the whole person in their healing process. I see it as a connecting point, regardless of where I am located or what I’m doing; music is something that I’ll carry with me everywhere. 

Likewise, I think that the nursing mentality and my nursing skills are things that can benefit me in many different situations. Nursing has helped me to attack my instrument practicing more systematically which has been helpful for me. I also know that it will come in handy if anyone hurts themselves or has something go physically wrong during a rehearsal or lesson. Both music and nursing are focused on connecting with the whole person you are serving at that moment, and because of this they are interchangeable disciplines in many respects when they are done well.

What is your ultimate career goal?
Well…that’s rather ambiguous at the moment, if I’m honest. I am currently hoping to find a nursing job so that I can begin serving my community in whatever capacity is most needed. Eventually, I would love to work on a labor and delivery unit as I’ve always had a passion for obstetrics. This passion was likely spawned by being an aunt to eight kiddos and watching three of those births at various points throughout my childhood, as well as having a sister who worked as a labor and delivery and postpartum nurse for most of her career. It is possible that I would want to pursue a certified nurse midwife/nurse practitioner degree in the future, but that would be many years down the road, if ever; there are no concrete plans in place for that at this point. 

As far as music goes, from home jam-sessions with my husband and family, to writing my own compositions and songs, to teaching lessons or even potentially leading ensembles at the elementary or high-school level, I see myself using my music degree all the time. I would say that the knowledge I gained during my time in my AS and BS in music degrees is even more valuable to me than the degrees themselves in many respects. I’ve learned so much that I will carry with me throughout my life, and though the degree titles are inherently valuable, the information I gleaned while earning them is invaluable.

If you could offer one piece of advice to incoming first-years at PUC, what would it be?
Embrace the changes that inherently come along with your first year in college and to go for the thing that seems audaciously out-there if it’s something that you truly want to pursue. It’s not too late to switch your declared major, not too late to change your mind in pursuit of the desires of your heart. By all means, be smart about it, but whether it means adding, switching, or dropping a degree, if that’s what you think is best for you – do it! And go all-in. 

Also, don’t wait any longer than you have to, because the sooner you make the switch, the more time your professors and advisors will have to work with you. Have those conversations early on, and bounce ideas off people you trust. I switched at the end of my first year, but there’s no “right way” to do it. It’s never too late to make a change. Don’t let your life decide itself for you–you get to hold the reins. Ask questions. Don’t let things just “happen to you” academically. Take an active role in your course planning, picking a major, and the timing, difficulty, and pace of your quarters.

And then, I would say something that seems almost contrary to my previous advice, but it isn’t: Prioritize your health, both mental and physical. Don’t push yourself too hard, it’s not worth it. Don’t hesitate to reach out when something feels off, and take advantage of the resources that PUC has to offer because no amount of hustle is worth your well-being. I pushed myself so hard and I got through it, but looking back I would advise my younger self to prioritize my health more. You’re a human, not a machine, and it’s important to realize that–and the earlier on, the better. 

Most of all, I want to say: You’ve got this! It’s a long road ahead, but if you find a major and future career that you love, and prioritize your well-being so that you can enjoy the journey and the destination, it will all be worth it.

Conquer Your First Month ON Campus 

Your first quarter of college was probably VERY different than you imagined, and for the record, we HATED not having everyone on campus and are thrilled to welcome everyone. Your first month on PUC’s physical campus will likely be a bit of a whirlwind. You’ll be meeting new people, learning new things, and having a new schedule. Here are some tips to help you get on the right track.  

Attend Class

You’re in college to go to classes and learn. Please do yourself a solid and attend class. If you’re not a morning person, don’t schedule early morning classes. If you rather have your evenings free, take classes in the afternoon. Make a schedule that you can work with that won’t make you skip class. 

Stay Organized 

By staying organized in college, you will have a better time conquering your assignments, tests, and other things. The first month of school may be overwhelming for you, so get a planner, use your calendar, just find a way that works for you to stay organized. 

Don’t Forget To Eat 

Please don’t forget to eat! Your health is important and if you don’t eat well, you might have a hard time concentrating. Fight the temptation to snack on junk food and instead indulge in healthier options. It’s a good idea to have water with you at all times. You must stay hydrated! 

Meet With Your Academic Advisor 

You’re going to have a lot of questions regarding your classes and major. Having meetings with your academic advisor will be very helpful to you. They are there to guide you in the right direction and help you out in any way they can. 

Put Yourself Out There 

One of the best things about college is that you get the chance to meet people from all over the world. It’s not always easy putting yourself out there, but during the first month, most students will feel the same way as you. Join clubs, study groups, intramurals, etc. Even if you’re scared, put yourself out there. 

Find Your Quiet Place 

From going to class, eating at the cafeteria, and living in the dorms, you’ll be surrounded by people most of the time. If you need your space and some quiet time, find a spot on campus that lets you have time to yourself. 

Get A Good Night’s Sleep 

Lack of sleep is what causes the most stress, so please make sure you’re getting good sleep every night. There will be nights where you and your friends stay up late studying and getting to know each other, but if you don’t get enough hours of sleep you won’t feel so great the next morning. 

Be True To Yourself 

College is a chance to have a fresh start, but don’t lose sight of your values and beliefs. You’ll be figuring out new things about yourself, but don’t feel that you have to act a certain way or be someone different just to fit in. Be true to yourself and let your light shine to others. 

Take in every moment during your first month on campus. Be open to change, new opportunities, and keep an open mind. Enjoy the beautiful Napa Valley and remember that your PUC family is here for you!