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Hannah Medina: Instagram Influencer, Chemist & Calligrapher

Jomely Breton model and influencer Our new podcast series, Student Influencers, will inspire you to reach your full potential and live the life you have always wanted. We talk to high-achieving college students who are all about achieving their dreams while navigating the ups and downs of being a student. Have you wondered about studying abroad? Want to know what it is like to participate in cutting edge research while managing a part-time job? On the 3rd episode of the Student Influencers podcast, we had the pleasure of speaking to Hannah. We first met Hannah Medina through Instagram when she designed a beautiful piece of calligraphy advertising our Homework Help services. From there we knew Hannah was exceptional and we just had to bring her on for an interview.

The College Years: A Fresh Start

For 4th-year chemistry student Hannah, walking onto campus at the University of California Irvine was a fresh start. She decided to venture out on her own to experience a new college and start a new life as a freshman. Little did she know, here college years would see her involved in climate change research, take her on travels across the world, and open up a whole new chapter of her life.

Hannah was born in Japan, lived in Hawaii for some of her childhood and then moved to California. Perhaps it was her lively upbringing which fuels her passion, intelligence, and creativity and desire for adventure as an adult.

Despite, or perhaps in compliment to her clear inclination towards art, Hannah’s focus in college has been in the realm of science.

“Throughout high school I always really liked chemistry and always really liked doing lab work. Chemistry seemed like a good route just because I get to do a lot of lab work – a lot of hands-on learning and that’s something I know I enjoy. Then I ended up picking up an environmental concentration because I realized that I was passionate about climate change.”

Climate Change Research

Hannah was happy to share some of her insights on climate change. She commented that the issue is discussed in most of her classes outside of chemistry courses. One of the primary questions covered in Hannah’s classes is how to combat climate change. Fortunately, schools like I of C Irvine are taking climate change seriously, and researchers at the institution are actively engaged in producing literature around the topic. Hannah commented on her love of the school and the focus on research on what she considers to be an essential topic.

“Something that I love about the University of California Irvine is that we have this fantastic Earth Systems Sciences Program. Scientists are looking at atmospheric concentrations and carbon dioxide from so many years ago up until now.

Other groups are looking into ocean circulation and how that affects climate change and how human-made pollutants lead into that. There are so many projects that are looking into humans affect that one specific thing and how we can work to go against it.

I’m involved in one of the projects. So, it’s great that I can have a role in this.”

Hannah Medina Says Find What Works for You

Hannah had a lot of knowledge to impart to new college students. “Even though the classes are fewer, the workload is greater,” she explained when discussing the difference between high school and college.

Time management is a consistent struggle for students across the board. Hannah described her experience as challenging when she first came to college. She did not know how to manage her time effectively while balancing school, working part-time, and extracurricular activities. There were times she said she even had difficulty managing to fit in proper sleep and meals.

Eventually, Hannah found her cadence. Her advice?

“Find what works for you. Not every strategy is going to work for every person.” Before she figured out that Google calendar helped her most with time management, Hannah tried everything from sticky notes, to a physically written schedule, and electronic reminders.

Without Risk There is No Reward

Aside from the workload, Hannah was clear that college is a new experience that students should embrace.

“College is just a whole new experience. Being surrounded by completely different people is such a great learning experience that you don’t get to have when you’re in high school, and you’re still living at home.”

We asked Hannah if she would recommend that new students live on campus.

“I recommend living on campus. It is pricey, but it is an experience that you learn from. I learned a lot about socializing, I learned a lot about myself in the process about how I am living with other people and communicating with other people. And I feel like the people you meet early in college are the ones who act as your support system when you are making that big transition.

Hannah lives by the quote, “Without risk, there is no reward,” and this theme is dispersed throughout her undergraduate experience. She took a huge leap of faith in her third year of college by applying to attend a study abroad program in Berlin, Germany. Again, it was a new start for Hannah, as she did not know any of the other students attending the program.

“There were people from all over the world. In my classes, I had students from Spain, students from Australia, students from Canada and just all of us learning in a different environment and learning in a city with a different language. It is a crazy experience I can’t even begin to describe.”

Hannah encourages other students to take advantage of the opportunities presented in college. She feels that traveling abroad gave her a whole new perspective on different cultures around the world while also increasing her confidence and self-esteem.

Constant Growth

Hannah describes her life story as one of constant growth, coming to the realization early on in college that she will never come to a point when she is finished learning or growing. Her love of life influences her desire to experience new things.

“You can’t get anything out of life if you are not willing to make yourself a little uncomfortable and risk thing and put yourself out there. Especially in college when you have all these new opportunities open up to you. You have to be willing to put yourself out there.”

Hannah’s final message for college students?

“Enjoy it. Enjoy college. It’s fun. Don’t get the stress of school take the fun away. You’re only this age once, and it’s important to experience all you can while you have the chance.”

Find Time for Naps

Before we ended our conversation, I had to ask Hannah about her Instagram handle @thenapenthusiast.

“That’s another great thing for college. I do take a lot of naps. I’ve napped between classes before.” In between taking risks, learning new information, managing your time, and meeting new friends, there is always time for a nap.

We love Hannah’s outlook on living a life of constant growth and investing time into simple yet significant transitions. During our conversation Hannah discussed many points which we think could be of benefit to students:

-Do what you love. Hannah always loved chemistry which led her to a degree in chemistry with a focus on environmental sciences.
-View college as a fresh start. Even if you are timid to attend college on your own, take the opportunity before you and don’t look back.
-Find a time management strategy that works for you.
-Take risks.

We’ve developed this Student Influencers podcast to share stories like Hannah’s so that students around the world will benefit. Hannah is a humble and adventurous young woman who has inspired us to embrace new opportunities like studying abroad. We hope you continue to join us on this journey of talking to successful student influencers who tell their stories of struggle and triumph and then share these insights with you! To follow along, please visit our Anchor site and stay tuned for future episodes.

Read the full Transcript here:

Cath Anne: [00:00:07] Hi friends and welcome back to Episode 2 of the student influencers podcast hosted by Homework Help Global. My name is Cath Anne on the student influencers podcast we talk to college and university students from around the world to gain their insights on their college experience. Today we’re lucky to have Hannah with us from Irvine California. Hannah is a calligraphers student and artist and she’s made an impact on Instagram with her art. Hey.

Cath Anne: [00:00:39] Hanna welcome to the show.

Hannah Medina: [00:00:40] Hi. It’s good to be here.

Cath Anne: [00:00:42] We’re happy to have you. So first let’s get to know you a little bit. So right now you’re living in Irvine is that right.

Hannah Medina: [00:00:50] Yep that’s correct.

Cath Anne: [00:00:51] And is that where you spent your childhood or where you grew up?

Hannah Medina: [00:00:56] So I actually moved around quite a few times. I was born in Japan.

Cath Anne: [00:01:01] Oh, okay

Hannah Medina: [00:01:01] And then moved to Hawaii for about four years and then moved to Oxnard California which is about two hours north of Irvine.

Cath Anne: [00:01:13] Oh wow. And so now you’re in Irvine. So what college or university do you go to?

Hannah Medina: [00:01:22] I’m a fourth year student at the University of California Irvine.

Cath Anne: [00:01:27] Okay, so what are you studying?

Hannah Medina: [00:01:30] I’m studying chemistry with a concentration in environmental chemistry and a minor in earth sciences.

Cath Anne: [00:01:38] Wow. Can you tell me a little bit more about what drew you to study that?

Hannah Medina: [00:01:43] So throughout high school I’ve always really liked chemistry and I always really liked doing lab work. And when I entered into college and I wasn’t really sure what exactly I want to do, I just thought okay, chemistry seemed like a good route just because that means I get to do a lot of lab work lot of hands on learning. And that’s something I know I enjoy. And I’ve kind of just stuck with it throughout the years. And then I ended up picking up an environmental concentration because I realized I was really passionate about climate change and just everything that was going on that was so current. Like these current pressing issues that I really wanted to one day work to fight against.

Cath Anne: [00:02:25] That’s incredible. So is that something you discuss a lot in your classes about climate change and what’s going on with the environment right now.

Hannah Medina: [00:02:34] Oh yeah definitely. Oh most of my classes they’re not just straight chemistry classes focused primarily on the environment. Like I’ve taken environmental chemistry courses atmospheric chemistry courses. The biggest issue in all of these classes is OK climate is changing, what are we going to do to combat.

Cath Anne: [00:02:55] That And are there are there any thoughts around that or any research that’s being done that kind of points to what could be some next steps.

Hannah Medina: [00:03:04] Yeah there’s actually tons of research. So, something I love about the University of California Irvine is that we have this amazing Earth system science program. And there are scientists looking at atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide from so many years ago up till now. And there other there are other groups looking into ocean circulation and how that affects climate change and how manmade pollutants lead into that and there are so many different little projects happening that oh had this one specific goal of seeing how humans affect climate change and how we can work to go against it.

Cath Anne: [00:03:49] And so is all that research happening at your university?

Hannah Medina: [00:03:55] I’m actually involved in one of the projects. So it’s really great that. I can already have a role in this.

Cath Anne: [00:04:02] Yeah that’s amazing and it definitely, as you say, like a topical conversation because we’re kind of getting to the point where we do need to take action. So that’s- I’m so happy to know that you know there are people like you working on it. So I’ll switch gears a little bit just for some of the students who are kind of coming out of high school and transitioning into university or college. I’m wondering how would you say high school is different from university?

[00:04:35] Oh so many things. I feel like the biggest thing with the workload. When I was in high school teachers always say oh college is so much work. And I don’t know, I feel like I kind of brushed it off but once I actually arrived in college and started attending all of these classes even though the classes are fewer the work is so much greater. And it’s this constant- I feel like this constantly tests happening. So you’re always studying or you’re always doing homework and that. That’s not really something that was there in high school. The workload is just so much greater and you have to figure out how to fit that into your schedule. I’m on top of that. It’s just it’s college just a whole new experience. And I feel like being surrounded by completely different people, usually in a completely different environment, is such a great learning experience you don’t get to have when you’re in high school and you’re still living at home.

Cath Anne: [00:05:40] Right. So were there- did you find there were a lot of new people that you met? Like did you go to high school with any of the people that went to university with you?

Hannah Medina: [00:05:50] I actually- it was kind of a fresh start for me I didn’t really know anyone else coming into coming into university so I just had to get to know the people I was dorming with, get to know the people I had classes with and It was really nice having that fresh start and everyone is just out there socializing and just looking to meet new people. So it’s quite nice.

Cath Anne: [00:06:11] Nice. So did you find living on campus was a good way to meet people? Would you recommend that to new students?

Hannah Medina: [00:06:18] I definitely recommend living on campus. It is pricey but it’s an experience that you just you really learn from. I learned a lot about socializing. I learned a lot about myself in the process and how I am living with other people and communicating with other people. And I feel like the people you meet early in college are the ones who act as your support system when you’re making that big transition.

Cath Anne: [00:06:45] That’s so true it’s a huge transition and you’re right, it’s kind of- you need to set that foundation with the people that you first meet and like you said they become your support network for sure.

Hannah Medina: [00:06:56] Yeah.

Cath Anne: [00:06:58] So moving on, this is one of my favorite questions. Would you say that you have a favorite memory in college so far?

Hannah Medina: [00:07:07] Oh definitely. So my favorite- my favorite memory so far actually did not happen at my university. So last summer. I decided to take a leap and study abroad in Europe.

Cath Anne: [00:07:22] Wow.

Hannah Medina: [00:07:22] I highly recommend studying abroad for anyone who hasn’t or for anyone going into college. It’s such a great experience just super, super enriching experience. I stayed abroad in Berlin, Germany.

Cath Anne: [00:07:40] Wow.

Hannah Medina: [00:07:40] The entire just the entire summer was full of so many different so many different cultures and so many different people and different experiences and that’s something I’ll never, never be able to forget.

Cath Anne: [00:07:55] Did you meet any friends there and make some new connections?

Hannah Medina: [00:08:00] Yeah so just like UC Irvine, I went to this study abroad program knowing no one at all. I just met them and they met people from all over the world. It wasn’t just students from California in my program, in my classes I had students from Spain students from Australia, students from Canada. And just all of us trying to learn about learning in different environments and learning in a city with a different language is just so it’s a crazy experience I can’t even begin to describe.

Cath Anne: [00:08:36] What would you say – I’m gonna put you on the spot a little bit if you don’t mind -.

Hannah Medina: [00:08:40] No worries.

Hannah Medina: [00:08:41] What would you say it was your- that you took away most from that experience?

Hannah Medina: [00:08:47] I feel like the experience gave me a lot of confidence. It gave me this, like, okay I could handle being in this completely different environment. I can handle learning and trying to get my get myself around the city even you know when I’m not familiar with it so I feel like I grew a lot in self-confidence. But I also had this greater appreciation for just other countries and for other cultures. I had never been to Europe before this so I had this really big appreciation for every all of the little differences there in America.

Cath Anne: [00:09:28] It would kind of open your perspective, I would imagine.

Hannah Medina: [00:09:30] Oh yeah definitely.

Cath Anne: [00:09:31] Oh I love that. So how long were you there?

Hannah Medina: [00:09:37] I was there for seven weeks.

Cath Anne: [00:09:40] Wow that’s a good chunk of time. Plus the learning component on top of that. What an incredible experience.

Hannah Medina: [00:09:46] Yeah. And it was so much fun just being there is so much.

Cath Anne: [00:09:54] Would you do it again do you think?

Hannah Medina: [00:09:56] If I wasn’t graduating this year I definitely would try to.

Cath Anne: [00:09:59] Right. Did it did it incite a travel bug in you.

Hannah Medina: [00:10:03] Oh of course, I plan on traveling once I graduate. I really want to.

Cath Anne: [00:10:08] Amazing. So just to kind of change it up a little bit, are there any particular struggles or challenges that you’ve experienced as a student?

Hannah Medina: [00:10:18] So one of the biggest problems I had coming into college was learning how to manage my time effectively because it’s so different from in high school. It’s, okay in high school you go to class from eight to three then you go home and do homework. Everything kind of just seems like laid out for me. But when it came to college, my classes were more spread out and I was also trying to do extracurriculars or I was working part time. It was really difficult to figure out where I can fit in all the work that needs to be done while still, while still having time to eat and sleep and take care of myself things like that. But after a while I kind of just learn what works for me. I developed my own scheduling system and I figured out what ways of organization just worked best ands calendars scheduling – they’re lifesavers.

Cath Anne: [00:11:16] Yes. So would you say those are kind of like your go-to tools that you use to manage time?

Hannah Medina: [00:11:22] Definitely my biggest thing is Google Calendar. I just put everything on my calendar and I make chunks, so log time that I’m going to be studying in between the times that I have class and the times that I have work, just so every hour is used effectively throughout my day.

Cath Anne: [00:11:42] Right. And so does that give you reminders on your phone as well?

Hannah Medina: [00:11:47] Yes so it’s all linked so I can link it with my computer and my phone.

Cath Anne: [00:11:52] So I can turn on notifications for things that I’m more likely to forget. Turn on notifications but most of the time I’m just constantly checking my calendar like OK this is the thing I have to do next.

Cath Anne: [00:12:04] Right.

Hannah Medina: [00:12:04] And then I’ll prepare myself for that.

Cath Anne: [00:12:07] And that keeps me on track.

Hannah Medina: [00:12:08] Yeah definitely.

Cath Anne: [00:12:10] It’s funny. I’m beginning to see themes and so that tends to be, from the interviews I’ve done so far, that tends to be one of the biggest challenges for students – time management.

Hannah Medina: [00:12:23] So hard.

Cath Anne: [00:12:25] Yeah, and like knowing how to balance being a student and then working if you have to. And like you say social life, and extracurriculars so I admire you for figuring that out.

Hannah Medina: [00:12:38] Think you.

Cath Anne: [00:12:39] It’s a good skill to carry into your work life as well.

Hannah Medina: [00:12:43] I feel like the difficult thing is figuring out what works best for you. I tried using an agenda, like a paper agenda, and I just didn’t work for me and I tried doing, just like other little things, like sticky notes with all the things I have to do or just to-do lists and then I figured out OK using a calendar is just what works for me.

Cath Anne: [00:13:06] It works best. And that’s so true. You really have to figure out what works best for you. Right? Yeah. So if you could go back and talk to your 15 year old self, do you have any advice for yourself at that at that age?

Hannah Medina: [00:13:21] Oh… 15…

Cath Anne: [00:13:23] That’s a big one I know.

Hannah Medina: [00:13:25] So, 15 I was in high school. I guess I would tell myself that everything would- everything’s going to work out. I feel like in high school it’s really easy to just get swept up in everything that’s happening at that moment. That yes you tend to get overwhelmed. Years down the road. It’s not that big of a deal. So I feel like I would tell myself to just take it easy for a bit and just focus on what’s really important. Focus on doing the best that I can so that my future is just. It just goes as smoothly as possible. But overall just don’t stress too much.

Cath Anne: [00:14:11] I know it’s so true and when you’re younger you kind of get like you said wrapped up in the day-to-day little things that are going on.

Hannah Medina: [00:14:19] Yeah. And I feel like that pulls away from focusing on more important things.

Cath Anne: [00:14:25] Absolutely. Great advice! So do you have any current short term goals that you’re working on or long term goals?

Hannah Medina: [00:14:37] I guess my short term goals just because it’s happening within the next five months is to just graduate.

Cath Anne: [00:14:46] Congratulations!

Hannah Medina: [00:14:46] Thank you.

Hannah Medina: [00:14:48] Just graduated from, graduate from university and I suppose the long term goal is just figure out or find a job that I’m really passionate about. I do eventually hope to go back to school for a master’s program but I’m going to take some time off to work first and I guess my long term goal is to figure out what exactly I want to go back to school for. I really want to just specialize in something really passionate about. And hopefully once I’m in the workforce and able to narrow things down a bit.

Cath Anne: [00:15:22] Get some experience under your belt and then go from there.

Hannah Medina: [00:15:25] Yeah.

Cath Anne: [00:15:26] I think that’s a wise choice. And then even if you wanted to do more research you can kind of like you say make it a bit more specific.

Hannah Medina: [00:15:31] Yeah exactly.

Cath Anne: [00:15:34] Well I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you because I’m excited when people are kind of investing their time in social justice and environmental causes because we really need to start taking those things seriously.

Hannah Medina: [00:15:51] Oh yeah for sure.

Cath Anne: [00:15:53] So if you had to summarize your life story what would you say?

Hannah Medina: [00:16:01] I guess it’s just a story of constant growth. I realized in college that there’s never going to be a point where I’m just I’m done that I’m just like this is the best I’ll get throughout life I’m going to constantly be learning and growing and experiencing new things and it’s just going to continue building and building on the experience I already have. So I guess my life story is just. I don’t know, continuous growth.

Cath Anne: [00:16:33] I love it. That’s awesome. Just a little segway from there, so do you have a favorite motivational quote?

Hannah Medina: [00:16:41] Oh yeah. Actually my favorite has to be, I don’t know who said it but I think I just found on the Internet and it just really stuck with me and it was “without risk there’s no reward.”

Cath Anne: [00:16:54] Oh, yes. That’s amazing. I love that.

Hannah Medina: [00:16:57] Because I just, I don’t know. It makes so much sense. It’s such a short little saying but it just makes so much sense like you can’t get anything out of life if you’re not willing to make yourself a little uncomfortable and risk things and put yourself out there.

Cath Anne: [00:17:12] It’s so true.

Hannah Medina: [00:17:13] I feel like that’s so important especially in college when you have all of these new opportunities open up to you. You have to be willing to put yourself out there and take those, take those opportunities.

Cath Anne: [00:17:26] Absolutely. I agree. Well said. There was one, there was something you wrote on your Instagram and it was just a little short quote simple but-.

Hannah Medina: [00:17:39] Oh, simple but significant.

Cath Anne: [00:17:40] Significant, yes! I feel like that’s a very similar thing. It’s like you take simple steps or you take small risks and the reward will come.

Hannah Medina: [00:17:51] Yeah.

Cath Anne: [00:17:51] So finally. What advice would you give to a student just entering college or university?

Hannah Medina: [00:18:00] I would say figure out what works best for you. Like we said when it comes time management, not everything works for everyone. So figure out what works best for you and at the same time remember that it’s important to have a support system of just good people that have your back out this humongous transition.

Cath Anne: [00:18:22] Very well said.

Hannah Medina: [00:18:23] Thank you.

Cath Anne: [00:18:25] Was there anything else you thought you’d like to add before we end off here, Hannah?

Hannah Medina: [00:18:30] Enjoy it. Enjoy college, it’s fun. Don’t let the stress of school take the fun away.

Cath Anne: [00:18:39] Yes that’s so true. Because school can be stressful.

Hannah Medina: [00:18:42] Definitely. There have been times when I just get overwhelmed by the stress that I don’t want to do anything. But, you’re only in college once. Well not true but, you’re only this age once. It’s important to just experience all that you can experience while you can.

Cath Anne: [00:19:00] Absolutely Live in the moment.

Hannah Medina: [00:19:03] Exactly.

Cath Anne: [00:19:03] Well thank you so much for joining me.

Hannah Medina: [00:19:06] Yeah no problem. This was a lot of fun.

Cath Anne: [00:19:09] We love having you! And I know that your story and your experiences are going to be of benefit to other students. So we really appreciate having you. So if people listening wanted to find you would they be able to look you up on Instagram?

Hannah Medina: [00:19:25] Yeah, @thenapenthusiast.

Cath Anne: [00:19:31] Ah I love it! That’s Amazing. Do you take a lot of naps?

Hannah Medina: [00:19:33] I do take a lot naps. That’s another great thing for college.

Cath Anne: [00:19:37] Can you nap between classes or do you have to put them into your Google Calendar?

Hannah Medina: [00:19:40] I haven’t put them in my Google Calendar just because it’s kind of weird to read “nap” between classes but I’ve definitely napped between classes before.

Cath Anne: [00:19:50] You built them into your day. You have to. That’s how you that’s how you retain all the information you learn.

Hannah Medina: [00:19:59] That’s true. That is totally true.

Cath Anne: [00:20:00] Yeah it is!

Cath Anne: [00:20:04] Well thank you so much again Hannah.

Hannah Medina: [00:20:06] Thank you for having me.

Cath Anne: [00:20:06] To chat and hopefully we’ll talk to you soon and we’ll be following you along. Congratulations, too!

Hannah Medina: [00:20:14] Thank you. Have a great day!

Cath Anne: [00:20:15] Yeah, you too. Take care!

Cath Anne: [00:20:16] OK so that’s it for me this week guys. As always if you have any questions hit us up on our social media platforms using #AskHHG. Share your comments with us on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Find us by searching Homework Help Global. Have a great week and take care.