Last night I looked at my mirror and saw a different person. Who is that person? Who was he four years ago? Was he a person who was just fresh out of high school? A naive young man who wanted a girlfriend, has a lot of friends, and just hangs out a lot? A person who wants a job and make a lot of money? A person who doesn't know what to do with his life? A person with no purpose? I can tell you this: he was all of that before and now he is someone else. This person I see in the mirror wants to make a difference in the world, someone who wants to change people's lives for the better, a person who can make goals and aim higher to achieve them. This person has a set of skills with a vast and vivid knowledge that continues to grow, a gentleman-type of professionalism, and a drive to live that cannot be destroyed. This person has a caring and loving heart that is bigger than he knows and a personality that will build bridges, not walls. This person has a purpose in life. Humbly, this person is me, Christian.
And who should I thank for helping me become a better person and a worthy "top-of-the-line" contributor to society? I have to thank the University of Massachusetts Lowell, my alma mater. I have to thank my professors, their teacher aides, the deans, the Chancellor and the administration, the rest of the staff, my blog supervisor, and my blog co-workers. Most of all, I have to thank my friends and my classmates, who stuck by me through the thick and thin. Everyone here at the UMass Lowell has taught me many things from the topics set within my major to essential lessons about life. They have taught me that knowledge does not end at the last page of the textbook; everything around you is a "teachable moment" and a life-worthy learning experience. With these lessons, I took on UMass Lowell's challenge. They challenged me to be the best that I can be. They challenged me to work hard to reach my goals, and to fight in what I believe in. They challenged me to make a change and to make a difference in the world that we live in. I can be I am proud to say that I took on the challenge and succeeded; now I'm an UMass Lowell alumnus.
So can you take on the challenge? Can you change the person that you are now? Can you make positive changes? Can you make a difference? If you are up for the challenge, UMass Lowell is your answer to overcome that challenge "plus ultra." You "Gotta Be Here," plain and simple. This is where dreams are made and met, and where life truly begins. I can honestly tell you that I am happy with my decision to go to UMass Lowell four years ago. It was one of the best decisions in my life and I hope it is yours too.
Now I leave you all with this quote:
"We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make."
- Ted Kennedy (1962-2009)
See you later and thank you,
UML Exercise Physiology Class of 2009
Thank you all for following my blog posts! It's been a pleasure blogging for the university!
(Now to my blog post...)
You can say that UMass Lowell has an extraordinary relationship with social networks and other similar "we-can-reach-you" technology. Their relationship is pretty simple
For those who have not noticed yet, UMass Lowell is everywhere internet-technology-wise. Umass Lowell has its own Facebook, Twitter, email system, text message system, blogs, and even a Youtube! UML uses these communication facets so they can easily reach their students without using the good ol' email system (yes I said old). I've recently added UML's facebook page and Twitter, and I can definitely say that it's a great way to read what's going on in the university since my eyes are glued on those two sites. Youtube is also a fun way to see what's going on in the University. Most of the time, UML video-cams their events, such as meetings and sports. Also, tons of student projects (class-runned or privately done) are also showcased on that website. What's pretty cool about that is the posting of UML's 2009 Commencement videos! You should look for me in the School of Health Environment video!
In terms of text messaging, UML's text message system is used for emergency uses only. If you sign up for UML's text messaging system, you will be notified about school closures, delays, and other emergencies. I find this system EXTREMELY handy, especially those who are commuters. Instead of waking really early in the morning to see if school is canceled on T.V., you can simply wait for a text message that says its canceled. The system is fast and easy. What's also cool about this is the email and phone call options. You can receive email or phone call updates if text messages aren't your cup of tea.
Now, how do you get these services? The following information is a quick run through to get yourself updated!
Here is how you can get UML as a "Fan" on Facebook.
- Log-in to your Facebook account or make one!
- Simply type in "UMass Lowell" in the Facebook search bar (the upper right hand corner)
- Click on the little magnifying glass. It will take you to the "new, more useful Search page." - On the left side, there is a menu. Click on the orange flag that says "Pages."
- You should see "UMass Lowell" at the very top of the middle list.
- Click on "Become a Friend" which is right next to the picture.
- You are UML's fan!!
Here is how you can follow UML on Twitter:
- Log-in to your Twitter account or make one!
- Click on "Find People" on the right hand corner
- On the search bar, type "UMass Lowell"
- UMass Lowell has tons of Twitter accounts based on colleges, etc.
- Click on "Follow" on any of the UML accounts (ie. UMassLowellBlogs)!
- You are following UML!
Here is how you can subscribe to UML on Youtube:
- Log-in to your Youtube / Google account or make one!
- Type in "UMass Lowell" on the search bar at the top of the page.
- Look at the very first video at the very top. Right next to word and number of viewers (ie. 866 views), there should be a blue word that says "umasslowell." Click on it.
- You are in UML's Youtube Page. Click on the gold button that says "Subscribe."
- You are subscribed to UML!
To get UML Emergency Notifications, go to www.uml.edu/notify.
To check out our UML HawkTalk blogs, click here: UML HawkTalk!
I hope that you will subscribe, follow, become a fan, and sign up with UML!
- Christian '09
One major addition to the university is the old Double Tree Hotel a.k.a UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center. I've heard about Chancellor Meehan's interest in purchasing the hotel throughout my senior year. He wanted to buy the hotel so the university would take in more dorm students for the upcoming school year. To me, it's a great idea. First of all, who wouldn't want a renovated hotel room as a dorm for a whole year? Everything is going to be brand new for the hundreds of upper-classmen, honor, and international students who will dorm their in the Fall. Nice and fresh for the new year, huh? Second, it's right smack in the middle of Downtown Lowell. Students can spend more time in the area, like hanging out at coffee shops, heading to the museums, eating at the great restaurants down there, or just plain sitting and enjoying the historical atmosphere of the canals. Maybe more students would bring new life to the Downtown area and help the already poor economy.
Another major addition is the new UCard. This new identifcation card will allow you to gain access to parking lots and the recreational center, purchase food from out-of-campus merchants, buy food from Aramark food in campus, and so on. You can even add money to the card so you don't have to carry cash on you. It's just like a bank debit card. It pretty much makes life simplier for UML students - one card for everything! What make's it better is the protection system that backs the card. According to the UML website, the card is protected by the "most secure technology available in the market today." That should give the UML student peace of mind if the card gets stolen.
There are other plans such as building a new dormitory across the tracks in South Campus, a new parking garage, and more renovations throughout the university. For freshmen, you should be very excited of the new changes your university is going through. There is a bright future for the University of Massachusetts Lowell!
- Christian '09
Those who are heading back or are heading to UMass Lowell for the first time, I want to congratulate you in getting accepted to your major. UMass Lowell is a competitive school; thousands apply every year to go to this great insitute of education. You should be proud that all of your past experiences and achievements have brought you this far. Don't let it stop now. Continue to bring your talents, skills, and motivation into your new chapter at UMass Lowell. This university is well known in developing well-rounded professionals, so expect to be one of the very best when you cross the stage four (or less) years from now. Like I have mentioned in other blogs, please get involved in the Riverhawk community! You will feel like you are part of a family if you do (and yes, that means you "Commuter Students!"). Keep your head up through your college career and you will suceed.
Here are a few links to my older blog posts to help you out for the new school year:
High School - College Transition
Forever Bound to The River
Commuters Prepare! (2008)
Gas Tips (2008)
Gas Tips 2 (2008)
Small Blog Post About Summer Classes
What is my drive like to UML? (Video)
The rain definitely bothered a lot of New Englanders during that week. No one went to the beach or went out for a picnic. No one had any baseball games because of field conditions. No one went out at all. That gray stretch was torture. I'm a very outdoorsy person. I like to go to the park to play catch, walk, take pictures, or just sit out there and just take everything in. When it rained "forever," I didn't do anything productive. Sure, it got me to sit down and do paperwork, but that got boring QUICK. I tried to amuse myself with video games, board games with the family, watching T.V., cleaning my room, and other indoorsy stuff, but that didn't work. It is amazing how one big ball of fire (also known as the Sun) can make a difference in everyone's life.
While writing this blog post, I jumped on to wbztv.com and hit the weather link. It looks like summer finally wants to poke its head into the New England area. "Oppressive humidity" and high temperatures are FINALLY going to take over. That means the beaches will be crowed, ice cream parlors will be busy, and air conditions will be in full blast...
... oh Summer, you finally returned :-)
This post is going to be about the transition or shift from a easy going high school life to a more rigorous and meaningful college path. To me, the high school and the college worlds are two totally different things. One is a small, yet significant pebble, and the other is a noticeable and majestic boulder. It's like a huge change on the "grade" (or hill / slant) of a treadmill. High school is like a 1.0 grade, which is a little bit intense, and college is like a 5.0+ grade, which is very intense. It's like Babe Ruth Baseball and Major League Baseball... like a 1987 Honda Accord to a 2010 Lamborghini... I think you get the point.
College is a huge step in your life. It's a drive towards your goals and dreams. An education at UMass Lowell will help you become a well-rounded professional and a successful contributer to the present-day world. This is a new chapter that is waiting to be written, and only you can write your story. How can you, the potential college student prepare yourself for a life-changing four years?
1) Be mentally prepared.
Many students have a very hard time transitioning from a "high school mind" to a "college mind." Heck, I think all students have a hard time going from a summer fun mode to a buckled down college mode. Weeks before school starts, students should start looking at what is ahead of them. Start thinking about the subjects of your classes. For example, if you are taking a general psychology class, start looking for current day event articles that might relate to that and start thinking about it. Professors will most likely talk about these events and relate them to the topic of the day.
Start making goals for yourself. If a person has a set goal in mind or on paper, most likely that person will stay focused to reach that goal. Being motivated, focused, and driven towards your "summit" is how you succeed in college.
Overall, stay positive. Negativity will lessen your drive to your goals, or even put you in the wrong track. To me, a negative attitude and focus brings negative results. Even when things get rough, keeping your head in the game will take you further in life. Keep your goals in your mind with that positive attitude. Positivity WILL bring you to your goals and dreams. That's 100% true.
2) Get organized.
Let's use my messy room as an example. There's clothes everywhere. Papers, books, CDs, and guitar picks are littered everywhere. You can't see the floor. It takes you hours to find something.
So don't be like my room. Get organized!
3) Game plans are a must.
I've noticed that many students do not have a game plan towards college work. These students are like football players with no huddle and no play called. So, instead of driving the team (you) to field goal range (goal), the defense (college) will push you back further and further back to force you to punt the ball away (fail). If you do not have a game plan, you will be a lost soul. You must plan out your attack on your college work. It's the only way to keep your mind driven and ogranized. Plus, doing a paper the night before it is due IS NOT A GAME PLAN. You will be burned out instantly. That's one thing you should not do.
So here's the situation: Each semester will consist of many game plans. Each assignment needs a plan of attack. With a game plan established for each assignment, you will be successful in winning the game (passing the class with an awesome grade). A "win" will be a plus on your "win-lose" record for the season; one semester is a season. If you continue to go undefeated for the next four years, you will have one helluva career. Hey, you might be a hall of famer (also known as summa cum laude)... who knows?
So try to create a game plan towards something during the summer, like planning out a camping trip or a day-trip to Boston. Plan and organize your trip and see how smooth the day will go.
These are some of the important factors a transitional student must have. If you think about it, all three of those points link together. In order to be positive, you have to be organize and have a game plan. If you do not have a plan and be disorganized, you most likely turn your positive attitude to a negative one. Your dreams and goals will be wiped away if you have a negative attidude.
So if you are nervous about your first semester at UMass Lowell, think about the three factors that I have mentioned. Those factors brought me through 4 years and now I'm a successful college graduate. I hope this helps on your transition from a high school student to a college student.
If you have a question or comment, leave a "comment" on my post! I will respond!
Driving to and from UMass Lowell was a major part of my college life. I drove from Malden, MA to Lowell, MA everyday for all of my four years at UML. The drive from my hometown to the university was a good 40 - 50 minutes, depending on the times that I'm driving (ie. driving 8am vs. 1pm), traffic, and the routes I took. Planning out my drive was very important for me as a commuter student. I wanted to avoid night driving, hitting traffic, getting caught up with construction crews on Route 3, and so on. I also wanted to get home right away so I have enough time to study, do papers, and other school-related stuff.
All commuters were like this, especially those who live 20+ miles away from UMass Lowell. Because of our strict planning to get out of Lowell to beat rush hour and our limited time in UML, we all felt that we weren't part of the UML Community. I bet a lot of commuters felt like this. The problem with commuters is our lack of discovery, involvement, and spirit. I first realized this when I got involved with Alpha Lambda Delta in my sophomore year. To make the most of the college experience, I felt that I have to get involved with what was offered, from sporting events, joining clubs, getting involved with an organization, helping out a professor, or even just plain hanging out in the university with residents and other commuters. My friends and I have realized that if we get involved in some kind of way, we would finally feel like we're part of the community. Last year, I started going to hockey games... and now I wish I started watching them when I was a freshmen! The Riverhawks are an excellent Division 1 hockey team. Their games are super exciting and... hey, they're nasty!! (And when I say "nasty" that means THE TEAM IS WICKED GOOD). Also, I started to get involved with Omicron Delta Kappa. One event I helped out in was "Trick or Treating for the Troops." That was a blast! Plus, I get to dress up as a handsome and adventurous Indiana Jones (hehe). I started to get involved with what was offered and I finally felt like home.
I regret not spending more time at UMass Lowell. I wish I was more involved with the community and the organizations I was part of. I wish I was at more sporting events so I can support our Riverhawk teams. I finally felt like I was part of UML community at the end of senior year... do not make the same mistake of being a late bloomer.
Get involved as soon as possible!!
Trust me, those 4 years will fly by faster than you can blink...
UML Alumni, EP '09
Feel free to comment my blog! If you leave questions, I will answer them!
A lot of people ask me if I get paid to coach baseball. I tell them no. I think teaching my young players life lessons, how to handle rough situations, and most of all how to play the greatest sport in the world (under my book) is good enough for me. Money cannot match the price of coaching baseball. Heck, I think it's priceless. Giving back to the community is something that I have enjoyed for many years. I just have a great feeling inside. I honestly can't explain that feeling, but I know for a fact that I'm doing something good, and making a difference to my players' lives.
I can tell you straight out that the world we live in is very different than what it was two decades ago. Nowadays, you see gangsters walking down the street, giving other people bad looks, swearing their heads off, and being complete punks. If you give them a bad look, you are a potential target. These gangsters grew up without anyone to look up to. If they had someone to look up to, it must have been a gangster himself/herself. Bad influences causes kids to jump into the wrong path, which leads to a bad life. As a coach, I want to change that and prevent these kids from making wrong decisions earlier in life. I want these kids to grow up to respectful young men, who is not a drunk, a druggie, or a criminal. Sure, I can't hold their hands 24/7, but I believe that distracting them from the hardships of life 3 hours at a time can make a huge difference. Instead of hanging out in the streets and learning how to beat up a kid, the kid can learn something new and POSITIVE. It does not have to be baseball, or sports in general. Taking dance lessons, drawing, hanging out with the family, reading, or playing a musical instrument can pull kids away from the "hard knock life."
That's why I'm here. That is why I give up 6-8 hour work shifts. That is why I give up studying hours. I want to be there for the kids and to make a difference in their lives. I want them to learn how to play the game correctly, how to handle situations, how to be better people.
I'm proud to be a baseball coach and this is my call to all of my readers. If you want to make a difference, go out of the box or "plus ultra." Show your true colors without money or fame in your minds. Take time to give back to your community. Every community needs a hero, and you can be one.
Before I entered the spring semester of my senior year, a growing sense of worry filled my head. Watching the news, reading newspapers, and visiting info websites about the economy and the job market did not help at all. I thought in my head... "Will I find a job after graduation? Will it be tough finding one?" Luckily for many of my friends, they already had a job lined up from practicums, clinicals, or connections. I, on the other hand, did not have anything lined up, even when I applied for a few jobs well in advanced.
So as of June 22, 2009, I did not find a job yet and I'm discouraged. I do like to say that there are a good number of opportunities out there, but what throws me off is this: "We are looking for someone who already has 3+ years of experience" of something, such as exercise testing, personal training, etc. Now here is my question. How can a college graduate get experience for a certain thing if no one will give him/her a shot?
Ideally, I want to work at a cardiac pulmonary rehabilitation clinic, but the places that I applied to have no responded at all. The same goes to personal training. I applied, passed in my transcripts, and waited. No response. I plan to call them as soon as I get this blog done to know the status of my application and to see if I should just give up hope on that location. I hope they are still considering me.
Most people have told me that I'm pretty lucky to still have my retail, blogging, and physical therapy aide jobs, even if their hours are somewhat slim. There are a bunch of graduates who don't have a job prior to graduating, or had one that sustained the 4 years of college. One person (who is very famous and known by all in the Boston area) said that we all have to start at the bottom of something, like the bottom rung of a ladder. We need to grab it and climb it to reach the very top. It's all up to me to grab on to it and hold it tight, hoping I can climb the ladder. The whole "ladder climbing" metaphor reminded me of my recent college career. I was a freshmen at the bottom of the ladder. I pushed myself hard to climb that ladder. Now, I'm a UMass Lowell alumni.
I just need to take that approach and hold on to what I have right now, because one day I will get a shot to climb the ladder. Like I tell my baseball players, "We need to keep our heads in the game. Focus and have fun. It will take you somewhere."
... Dang I need to listen to myself more often (Ha Ha).
Abbey Denaro's Commencement Speech at UML's 2009 Graduation.
Our journey through college is over. Those four long years of writing papers, cramping our hands during long exams, and endless nights of studying is a distant thought. We are here looking back at the memories, both good and bad, and how much we all changed. Sometimes, we think that a "change" can be a bad thing. A bad "change" throws us off to a different path that we are not ready for or something that we just cannot adapt to and further better ourselves. Fortunately, this type of change doesn't match the one we all have undergone at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. We all have changed in a way that our dreams are a reality and our future becomes brighter like the sun illuminating the clear blue sky or like the moon shining among the twinkling stars of the velvet night.
Abbey Denaro, who is one of the most amazing people I have ever met, gave everyone at graduation the perfect metaphor for our journey through college and life; our journey is like the Merrimack River, which cuts through the heart of UMass Lowell.
Here is part of her speech that explains the metaphor:
"In reflecting upon my years at UMass Lowell, I realize that
We have all been making our way through that river our
whole lives, and now is the time that we get to go full steam ahead to the open
expanse of the sea. There is no doubt that there will be rough waters along the
way, but they are there to strengthen us, just as the waterfalls strengthen the
And you can't write anything better than that... Abbey wrote/spoke it beautifully. The river is very relatable to our journey through college and life. We all experienced its turbulent obstacles when the flowing water hits the rocky section of the river, and the calmness and beauty of success when the river passes along. Our life can be chaotic, unpredictable, and fearful, but with our newly learned knowledge and skills that was passed on through generations of Riverhawks, we become the navigators and forgers of the future. We can direct ourselves over and through these obstacles to reach our goals and dreams of success and happiness.
So here it begins. My journey through life continues. I was once a naive child who held his wooden ship on his hand and dared to sail it on the mighty river. Now, I'm happy to say that I finally know how to navigate "to the ocean of opportunity." I'm the captain of the ship fighting the currents of that same river.
Let me sail away with the Class of 2009... we're heading for the ocean...