Bruce Smith, associate professor for the University of New Mexico course “Positive Psychology,” is creating a workbook to help UNM staff and students to navigate mental health struggles through positive psychology.  

“(The workbook) is really about enabling people to become their best,” Smith said. 

Much of the workbook is based on work that Smith has taught in his positive psychology courses. 

As part of the 2017 BA/MD cohort, Helen Zhao is graduating this semester with a major in health medicine and human values with a concentration in biomedical science and a double minor in chemistry and psychology.

Born and raised in Albuquerque, Zhao spent her adolescence in the halls of La Cueva High School before building her prominent career as an undergraduate at UNM. Through her application for the BA/MD pipeline program UNM offers, Zhao was able to receive a full ride within the School of Medicine.

“I’ll see where (med school) takes me because I have no idea what field of medicine I want to go into. I know once I start med school that’s going to be the main thing that takes up my life so I’m just gonna let it,” Zhao said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered the social lives of college students across the country. College, normally a time when students are finally away from the supervision of parents and claim the ability to explore a newfound freedom, has taken a different form this year.

On Nov. 16, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham ordered restrictions requiring New Mexican residents to only be in contact with people they live with and only leave their residence for essential trips. The order was in response to the drastic spike in COVID-19 positive cases in New Mexico.

The restrictions on social gatherings have provoked students to find new ways to socialize with their peers.

Through a year of pandemic, protests about racial injustice and divisive politics, Bella Davis made it to graduation, leaving behind a massive legacy of reporting in her wake. With a major in journalism and a minor in international studies, Davis is also ending her time as a senior reporter for the Daily Lobo.

Davis pursued writing throughout high school but wasn’t sure which path was best for her when she began studying at the University of New Mexico. By the end of her freshman year, she applied to work for the honors literary magazine Scribendi and was accepted — much to Davis’ surprise. She continued to realize her full potential by becoming the editor in chief for Limina: UNM Nonfiction Review during her junior year.

UNM graduate Victoria Knight steps into the unknown with an open heart

Balancing three degrees, along with a multitude of extracurricular activities, University of New Mexico fall 2020 graduate Victoria Knight is ready to enter the world with an open heart for new possibilities.

Knight is graduating a semester early with a liberal arts major and mathematics and honors minors.

Unlike many other graduates, Knight still has her options open for possibilities of the future after school, considering various positions including mechanics.

Throughout her time at UNM, Knight said she wanted to settle into the person she was going to be for the rest of her life and really find her own personality, especially after being raised in a military family where they never stayed in one place for too long.

First-generation college graduate Cyanne Garcia aspires to life of music, learning

University of New Mexico senior Cyanne Garcia is graduating in the fall 2020 semester with a degree in music education and will continue to radiate kindness and a love for music for the rest of her lifetime.

As a first-generation college student, Garcia is especially proud that she was financially independent in school.

“So much has changed from my first year of college until now,” Garcia said. “That’s been a really nice journey; really hard sometimes, but really necessary.”

UNM’s Hanging of the Greens tradition goes virtual

Every year, the University of New Mexico celebrates the Hanging of the Greens, one of the University’s oldest traditions. This year, instead of carolers strolling throughout campus to see thousands of luminarias, the event was held virtually on Nov. 20 due to the pandemic.

The University put together a video highlighting some of the activities that happened this year, including a festive song by Something Major A Capella and a short talk of the history of the event given by President Garnett Stokes.

“With the ongoing threat of COVID, however, this year is a very different kind of celebration,” Stokes said in the video.

Virtual Uni Nights hosts second Among Us game night

After nearly 70 students attended the first virtual Among Us game night hosted by the Student Union Building in October, administrators decided to hold a second virtual event on Friday, Nov. 13. Even though only about 20 people joined the second game night, the event kept the same positive energy from the first one.

Among Us is an online multiplayer game set in a spaceship where players complete tasks while one or two secret “imposter(s)” attempt to kill all the other players without getting caught. Players can guess who the imposter is throughout the game and vote out the crewmate they believe is acting the most suspicious until they find the imposter or run out of time.

UNM community remains resilient through difficult year

Students at the University of New Mexico, already under a great deal of stress, have become overburdened with the additional stressors of the coronavirus pandemic and remote learning.

A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that college students were already in a vulnerable position in terms of their mental health and that, for a vast majority, the pandemic has significantly worsened their stress, anxiety and depression.

The increased stressors have led many to seek new or revisit old outlets that may relieve that stress. These outlets can take many forms, from art to crafting to exercise — whatever helps alleviate the pressure.

Cherry Reel lives on to spotlight student filmmakers

After a 15-minute countdown to the live premiere on the YouTube channel for the Southwest Film Center (SWFC), the Cherry Reel Film Festival premiered after 7 p.m. on Oct. 14 to a group of over 100 participants.

As a precursor to the main event, panelists from IATSE Local 480 — the New Mexico branch of SAG-AFTRA — and New Mexico Women in Film gave advice and provided networking opportunities to students in a series of Zoom sessions.

The nine-year-long Lobo cinema tradition was made possible by staff at the film center who crafted a social media strategy to maintain student engagement up until the festival, despite the physical challenges presented by COVID-19.

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