Monica B. Perez: Miami As Text 2023

Monica at the Everglades by John Bailly // CC by 4.0

Monica Perez is a student of the FIU Honors College pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Religious Studies. With that and future schooling she hopes to administer therapy and conduct research. With a secondary interest in ecopsychology, she hopes to also use elements of nature and the environment to treat PTSD and anxiety disorders. Her current motto is “seek radical empathy” as she strives to understand and share in others’ thoughts and life experiences.

Spring Encounter As Text

Monica and Professor Bailly demonstrating “selfie attendance” By John Bailly / CC by 4.0

“The Last Chapters”

By Monica B. Perez of FIU on the first week of class, January 13, 2023

On one’s last semester of undergraduate study, it is common practice to reflect on what has made the past few years so special. My undergraduate experience has been far from conventional. It was not until my second year that I was fully able to attend school on campus. Now, it is my third and last, and I am looking for a way to approach this semester that will make the confused freshman inside of me proud of what she becomes. One thing I am heavily focusing on is how to make the most of my commitment to study abroad in France with the Honors College.

This is a moment I have been dreaming of ever since I was a little girl listening to my mother tell stories of her own travels to Europe as a young adult. She has never been back since (life gets in the way), so this has been one of the greatest motivators for me to seize the opportunity to experience something different. I chose this program for long list of reasons, so I will only name a few. For one, France is the European country I am most intrigued by. From my limited knowledge, it is so culturally different from the United States despite being so heavily involved in its conception and history. In my time there, I would like to explore this difference a bit further and theorize why I think it is present and what I can learn from the French lifestyle.

Another reason I chose this class is because of the professor and course content. I am familiar with Professor Bailly’s teaching style and personality as I have taken his courses and interned with him in the past. It is very complementary to mine as I am highly anxious, overly empathetic, and an overall over-thinker. I know that the fast-paced, “just do it” attitude of the course is exactly what I need to make the most of this trip. The content of this course interests me because as a psychology major, I learn about mental health and society from the American perspective (understandably so, considering I will be conducting research and psychotherapy in the United States). It will be useful to learn about how a society’s history influences their artistic expression, which may hint at their views and values regarding mental health and wellness.

It is safe to say I am feeling curious, excited, and motivated about this course and my last push at FIU. I am curious to discover what my findings will be, what new questions I may develop, and how I may change over the course of the trip. I am excited to experience something so old yet so new to me. I am motivated to make the most of this trip by honoring my past and current selves in this transitional period of my life. I expect the course to challenge me physically and mentally. I expect to be uncomfortable and find comfort in my discomfort. Most importantly, I expect to learn more about art, world history, current world issues, and myself. I look forward to seeing what the last chapters of my undergraduate study may hold.

Author: Monica Perez

Monica Perez is a student of the FIU Honors College pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Religious Studies. With that and future schooling she hopes to administer therapy and conduct research. With a secondary interest in ecopsychology, she hopes to also use elements of nature and the environment to treat PTSD and anxiety disorders. Her current motto is "seek radical empathy" as she strives to understand and share in others' thoughts and life experiences.

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