Meet Jasmine—Your New Student Engagement Coordinator!

Hi, NU Community! I’m so excited to be a part of this family and connect with all of you! ✨

Let me give you a little bit of my background. I’m originally from the East Coast (Pennsylvania) but have been in California for the past five years and currently reside in Los Angeles (if you have any recommendations for food spots, let me know!). Some of my identities that are important to me include being Black, queer, and a woman. These identities greatly inform my work and dedication to inclusivity within the higher education space and beyond.

Met Him at a Bar Restaurant – Los Angeles
Echo Park Lake – Los Angeles

I received my Bachelor of Arts from UC, Santa Cruz, where I studied both Psychology and Critical Race & Ethnic Studies. Getting to study these topics was really impactful for me because I grew up in a predominately white town in the suburbs of Philadelphia where critical race dialogue was not taking place or being centered, and so getting to engage and immerse myself within these fields empowered me to continue on with this work. I was also able to learn about and understand psychology from a decolonized lens which informs the collective care models I center my work within.

During my time at UC, Santa Cruz, I was involved in a variety of student groups and served in various student roles, like my work as a Student Educator for the Facilitators for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, a Program Coordinator for the African American Resource and Cultural Center and as an RA for the Social Justice & Diversity housing. It was these experiences that helped me find my community and belonging during college, while also allowing me to grow as a leader. This is why I’m a huge advocate for getting involved throughout college and look forward to helping all of you in your journeys.

Koi Pond at UC Santa Cruz
Oakes Lawn at UC Santa Cruz

In my previous professional role, I oversaw the First Generation Initiatives program of UC, Santa Cruz’s Educational Opportunity Programs office, which serves underrepresented student populations. Being a part of First Generation Initiatives was especially meaningful to me because I, like the students I served, was the first in my family to go to college. I had an amazing support system as I navigated academia and the higher education space, so I was happy to be able to give back and be that support system for others.

I hope to eventually go back to grad school and pursue a Ph.D. in social psychology. Along the way I want to conduct research on community-oriented approaches to psychological treatment, as well as help develop more inclusive mental health treatment that centers the experiences of marginalized groups. Some of the psychologists I look up to are Carl Jung and the late Dr. Aaronette White.

In my free time, I’m definitely more of a homebody, so you can usually find me in a cozy spot on the couch with a good book, writing, or watching the newest true crime documentary. When I do venture outside, I love to find nature spots to explore, like the botanical gardens at the Huntington Library and the rose garden at Exposition Park. I also love finding new food spots, going to museums, and browsing local bookstores. I’m an avid baker and am always bombarding my friends and neighbors with various baked goods.

Some of my interests include astrology, mindfulness, tarot, plants, home décor, cooking, baking, and true crime. If you ever want me to read your birth chart, feel free to message me! (I’m a Leo sun, Aquarius moon, and Scorpio rising for anyone who’s wondering).

Here is some music I enjoy:

Here are some of my reading recommendations:

How We Show Up: Reclaiming Family, Friendship, and Community by Mia Birdsong
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
We Do This ‘Til We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice
Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur

Now enough about me, I’d love to get to know you! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me and use me as a resource as you navigate your time at National University and beyond. I am rooting for you and look forward to connecting!

P.S. I will be having Zoom office hours on Wednesdays from 4:30-5:30PM PST and by appointment. I look forward to seeing you there!

Zoom link:

Appointment link:

In community,

Jasmine Banks, she/her


Showing up as Your Best and Most Authentic Self

By: Chad C., MSCJ, LSW
President, National University Student Nurses’ Association, San Diego

In this post, Chad C. discusses self-care and authenticity. As a pillar of student support, NU offers Timely Care, an app that gives our students access to mental health professionals.

There’s a wonderful book in psychology field called, “The Body Keeps the Score,” by Bessel van der Kolk. In this book, Mr. van der Kolk discusses the science behind how the body physically manifests unprocessed trauma and emotions. More importantly, he highlights the simple, yet sometimes hard, solutions for those struggling with mental health.  These include being vulnerable to face your fears and processing your emotions to become stronger. A solution that allows us to move from life happening to you to life happening for you. 

I owe where I am today to Mr. van der Kolk and the concepts laid out in Tim Ferris’ Ted talk on fear setting.

If you haven’t seen it, I double dog dare you to watch it.

As I stand here, having had the honor to serve as the president of NUSNA and go through the nursing program with a cohort of amazing students on the brink of graduating in January 2023, I can look back and say it is because of the tools that I have learned along the way that have brought me here. 

Chad C. “Let me tell you in my experience, self-care is the highest yield thing we can do for our future patients and the ones we love. I say this because it allows us to be our best self and impact more individuals.”

It was just a few years ago that I was working in a stable job with exceptional benefits but struggled to get up each morning.

The kicker on is this had been going for four years, but it finally reached a point where I felt I needed to seek help. When I did, I was told that I was suffering from my own mental health issues stemming from unprocessed emotions and feelings of secondhand trauma.

My trauma accrued from working in a field that exposed me to some of life’s harder things to see, as well as some of my own childhood trauma. Emotions and feelings I thought I was alone in feeling. It wasn’t until I started to talk and read about them that I came to learn I was not unique in having these feelings that I didn’t want to feel. In fact, one article I read found that across cultures, the cause of seven basic emotions (sadness, happiness, disgust, surprise, anger, contempt, and fear) may differ they are all experienced similarly on a cellular level.

When I finally got vulnerable and sought outside help, the prescription from my doctor was straight forward and obvious. First, start by processing those unprocessed emotions of my past to allow me to be present in the here and now. Second, reintegrate an ongoing self-care routine that allows me to process my emotions and stress both physically and energetically.

There are many options that have shown to be resourceful in this area, from meditation and breathing, to putting pen to paper and journaling, or good old fashion getting active and exercising. The list goes on and on and the important thing is you identify with the method that works for you. The last prescription, and possibly the most important, was to utilize all the tools I obtained from the first two prescriptions to maintain my own self-care, remain current with my emotions, and share those feelings as they come up moving forward. I think the most impactful aspect of this last prescription is through speaking our story and truth and I encourage others on the same journey to speak their truth.

As January 2023 and Cohort 65’s graduation approaches quickly, I am reminded of the quote, “If it excites you and scares you at the same time, it probably means you should do it”.

A simple quote that I believe challenges us to lean into life, to experience our emotions, and to grow from what life has to offer.

I can’t help but seeing parallels in my journey of self-discovery and our future responsibilities as a nurse. As individuals entering the field of nursing, or any other field where you are service to others, I believe it is easy for us to get lost in service to others and forget our own needs.

Let me tell you in my experience, self-care is the highest yield thing we can do for our future patients and the ones we love. I say this because it allows us to be our best self and impact more individuals. More importantly, research shows that positive patient provider relationships result in improved health outcomes, and there’s no easier way to develop relationships then by showing up as your best and most authentic self.

I am excited for myself and other to continue to grow emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and intellectually both as individuals and nurses in this next chapter of our life stories.