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Camila Haro

May 16, 2023

Camila Haro
  • Tell us a little bit about yourself …

My name is Camila Haro, and I am a fourth-year student at the University of California, Irvine, pursuing a double major in Psychology and Education Sciences. Before attending UCI, I transferred from Riverside City College. Currently, I'm serving as a Health Educator Intern for Partners4Wellness/Connect-OC, which has been a fulfilling experience. I'm originally from Chula Vista, San Diego, and I'm passionate about mental health advocacy. In addition, I'm also a self-professed theatre geek who is obsessed with musicals!

  • What’s your connection to Orange County?

I feel a deep connection to Orange County because it has become my home away from home. I moved here to attend UCI as a student, and over time, I have come to love this community. I've made wonderful friends here and built strong connections that have become like family to me. The experiences I've had in Orange County have helped me grow and develop as a person, and I cherish the independence and sense of belonging that this place represents to me. In short, Orange County holds a special place in my heart.

  • Share a little bit about your outlook on life …

When it comes to my outlook on life, I see it as a journey that can be filled with both challenges and opportunities. Life can be full of ups and downs, and it's important to recognize that both the good and the bad times are not permanent. I believe in the power of processing emotions in the present moment, rather than bottling them up, as this can lead to greater difficulties in the future. Furthermore, I believe that empathy and perspective-taking are key to creating a safe and positive environment for all. By trying to understand the perspectives and experiences of others, we can foster deeper connections and a greater sense of community. Overall, I try to approach life with an open mind and a compassionate heart, and I believe that these values can help us navigate the ups and downs of the journey.

  • What’s your favorite book?

My favorite book is "You Can Heal Your Life" by Louise Hay. It has taught me about self-love, letting go of guilt, and positive affirmations that have changed my life for the better. This book has inspired me to approach challenges with a more positive and optimistic mindset.

  • What’s your favorite self-care activity?

For my favorite self-care activity, I love going to the gym while listening to my favorite music and treating myself to a delicious fruit smoothie afterwards. Exercise makes me feel energized, less stressed, and more confident, which is why I enjoy rewarding my body with it. It's also a great opportunity to enjoy my favorite music without feeling self-conscious. After a gym session, I love having a fresh fruit smoothie that not only replenishes my body, but also feels like a well-deserved treat. Overall, this self-care routine helps me to feel physically and mentally refreshed, and ready to tackle whatever comes my way.

  • What drew you to community mental health work?

I found myself drawn to community mental health work once I started college. Helping others and seeing the positive impact it had on their lives brought me an immense sense of fulfillment. I personally struggled with mental health during my adolescent years and early adulthood, and I didn't have access to the resources I needed. Through my work in community mental health, I hope to provide individuals with the tools they need to overcome their challenges and realize that they are not alone. Mental health education and support are essential for everyone, and I want to help individuals feel empowered to take control of their mental health and well-being.

  • What are you studying in school, and what drew you to that area of focus?

At UCI, I am pursuing a double major in Psychology and Education Sciences. While I started as a psychology major, my classes and research have shown me that education plays a crucial role in an individual's development. Schools not only teach academic subjects, but also provide opportunities for socialization and identity formation. As students navigate new experiences and pressures, such as bullying and academic stress, social-emotional learning becomes essential. This realization drew me to combine psychology and education, as I believe that supporting students' mental health and well-being is just as important as providing them with academic instruction.

  • What led to you deciding to extend your academic work into pursuing a PhD?

After reflecting on my academic journey as a psychology and education major, I realized that I want to delve deeper into research and make a tangible impact on the field of education. I believe that pursuing a PhD will allow me to contribute to the knowledge base in my area of interest, particularly in the importance of social-emotional learning in schools. Additionally, I feel that a fifth year of undergraduate studies will provide me with the opportunity to further explore my research interests, connect with professors and gain more experience, which will ultimately prepare me for graduate school. By pursuing a PhD, I hope to make a positive impact on the education system and help students thrive both academically and emotionally.

  • How do you effectively manage and balance your academic commitments with other areas of your life, including work, family responsibilities, and social activities?

One important aspect is prioritizing your physical and mental health. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat healthy, and exercise regularly. When you take care of yourself, you'll have more energy and focus to tackle your other responsibilities. Another helpful strategy is to use a calendar or reminders on your phone to stay organized and plan ahead. Write down a checklist of tasks that need to be completed each week, and prioritize them based on their importance. Breaking down your tasks into manageable increments throughout the day or week can also help prevent feeling overwhelmed. Remember, taking care of your basic needs is crucial to effectively balance all aspects of your life.

    • What encouragement do you have for fellow young adults?

    Some encouragement I have for fellow young adults is that you are not alone in your struggles. It's okay to feel overwhelmed or stressed at times, and your emotions are valid. Remember that there are resources available to help you, and no problem is insurmountable. It's important to take care of yourself, seek help when needed, and keep pushing forward towards your goals.

    • What made you decide to apply to the Connect-OC internship?

    I decided to apply to the Connect-OC internship because of my passion for assisting individuals in need of mental health support, especially transitional youths who often face challenges during their developmental stage. Having worked with different age ranges in the past, I have come to realize the significance of mental health support during adolescence, and I want to do my part in providing the necessary help for this group. Additionally, I learned about the Connect-OC internship at a Mental Health resource fair at UCI, and it aligns perfectly with my interests and career goals. Overall, I applied because I am passionate about mental health and I want to make a positive impact on the lives of transitional youth.

    • Why attend community mental health events, like those hosted by Connect-OC?

    Attending community mental health events, such as those hosted by Connect-OC, can have many benefits. These events offer access to valuable resources that can not only benefit yourself but also those around you. By participating in these events, you can help to normalize conversations about mental health, reducing the stigma surrounding it. Additionally, attending community mental health events can help you feel like you are part of a supportive and understanding community, which can help alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness. Overall, attending these events provides a safe and supportive space for both self-improvement and helping others.


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