May 2008 Archives

It has been exactly 10 days since my last final, and the start of my summer.  Honestly, it feels like its been a few months since my last final.  It feels like this because I've been working a lot already... and being lazy at home.  I've made a few plans for the summer already, which includes finding a new job - most particularly a physical therapy aide job or anything along the lines, coaching my baseball team to the playoffs (we're in 3rd place), continuing my UML blog, study for my certification for the strength and conditioning specialist, and taking a trip somewhere.  While it seems like I'm going to be very busy, my definite goal is to relax, take it easy, and spend some time with my family and friends.  I'm going to spend some time playing my guitar, record some music, try to start an art piece, spend some time at the beach, and just enjoy nature with hiking or mountain biking. 

Remember, the summer time doesn't mean your learning ends for 3 months.  If you are "behind" with classes (like a lack of General Education credits) or you want lessen the load of your semester, you can take one or two summer classes.  Last summer, I took Human Biochemistry for the whole month of June, so I can lessen my load for the fall.  Sure, the issue of commuting to campus, such as high gas prices, or the urge to just sit in the beach may be an obstacle, but I think that its worthwhile.  Maybe its just me, but summer classes are more laidback and less stresful.  I think this is so, because I didn't have to take my normal class-load (5 classes), and I had more time to study. 

High schoolers, please don't look at summer classes as "summer school."  It's not a punishment!  It is a great way to stay on track for graduation, or even get a head start! 

Well, the Celtics Game 6 game is distracting me right now - the current score is 74 - 74 in the 4th quarter with 5:25 to go.  Pierce just got fouled with a 2 pointer.  He has a chance to give the Celts a one point lead... okay I better stop now before I end up writing a whole blog about the game!!

Have a good day!


Finally, summer is here.  The weather is getting nicer, the temperature is rising, and the urge to jump into your pool, sit next to the ocean, or even "chill" in your air conditioned room is increasing quite nicely.  This is also the time when you hop into your car, go to work or head for your vacation destination... or not.  Gas prices are soaring the past few months, and many people are getting a bit nervous about our nation's economy.  Will gas prices reach $5.00 per gallon at the end of summer 2008?  Will it continue increasing?  What should I do?  What will happen to me financially?  These and many other questions have been floating around my mind the past few weeks.

Most of you know that I'm a commuter student who drives from Malden, MA to Lowell, MA everyday.  If you think about it, I drive 60 miles per day, which means that each single way trip is approximately 30 miles. 

At the beginning of my junior year, the gas prices were around $2.20 or something like that.  I drive a 2005 Mazda 3 car that can hold about 11 gallons.  If regular gas is $2.20 and I need to fill it up from empty, it would cost $24.20.  That isn't that bad especially for my car.  According to Mazda, my car has a MPG (miles per gallon) of 30 on the highway, and about 24 for city driving.  So if you think about it, one trip from Malden to Lowell is about 1 gallon (30 miles).  So all together (if I have my math right, hehe), 2 gallons would keep me running through my round trip. 

Recently, I've noticed (and most likely all of you) that the prices are creeping very very close to $4.00 per gallon.  I was driving around today and I've seen prices as "cheap" as $3.87, and as extreme as $4.20 (I almost threw up).  Curiously, I drove into a few gas stations and checked the digital readers for amount spent on a full tank.  The most I've seen so far was close to $70.  So let's do the math again.  Let's say, I'm taking the same trip to Lowell and back with $4.00 a gallon.  For my 11 gallon car, I have to spend $44 to fill it up.  That is $19.80 more than the beginning of junior year (yikes!).  And if this trend continues, let's say that gas reaches $5.00 at the start of senior year.  I will have to spend $55 for a full tank. 

I'm lucky to say that my car is very gas friendly.  From my math and experience, I don't spend a lot on gas before.  Nowadays, the price for a full tank is getting too high for comfort.  I used to drive a Ford Explorer and that vehicle was a gas eater!!!  My plan for this summer to work as much as possible, save up, and get ready for a bigger increase in gas prices.  I might have to work 2 (and I think 3) jobs all because of gas prices (and other college stuff).

Throughout the summer, I will be writing more about the increasing gas prices, my experiences as a college commuter student looking for gas, and tips on how to be more fuel efficient.  I also will be posting website URLs that relates to gas prices. 


"The baserunner is rounding third, heading home!!!!  Here come the throw from left field... and there is a collision at the plate!!! THE BALL IS LOOSE!!! The home team wins on a RBI single!!!!!  The home team is now 3-0 in the World Series and one more game to go!!!!!  That was definitely the play of the game!!!!"


Finally!  My last final (Exercise Physiology II) is done, and the doorway to summer break has opened!  It has been a rough few weeks for me (finals, other problems), but I stuck it through and survived!  This is the time where the commuter student drives back home, sit on his or her bed and finally take a deep breath, and relax!  Usually around this time, professors would correct their exams and/or papers, and post their grades on a cool online system called the Intercampus Student Information System, also known as ISIS (pronounced Ice-Is).  This system has tons of features such as paying your bill online, telling you when you have an advising appointment (and who's your advisor), checking your grades from your past semester and your current semester, your unofficial transcript, and more!  Instead of getting something in the mail (which takes forever), all you have to do is log on and see your grade right away.  It saves money and its "green" since the school doesn't waste that extra paper!  During your freshmen year orientation, you will have a crash course on how to use ISIS and your school email. 

So yeah... right now I'm waiting for my grades, and wondering if I get the Dean's List again. 

Since its the start of summer, I'm going to talk about many topics most (or all) commuters have to face right now.  My next topic is about the rising gas prices and my experience with them.

So look forward to that next week!

Right now, I'm relaxing on the couch about to fall asleep!  For all those UML students who still have finals, good luck!  For those who are graduating, CONGRATS!  And for my fellow EP juniors... we're now SENIORS (if we pass)!!!

- Christian

3 Down - 2 to Go

Hello everyone,

The battle continues.  Three classes down (Dynamics of Interpersonal Relationships, Introduction to Gerontology, and Exercise Physiology II Lab)... Two classes to go (Abnormal Psychology, Exercise Physiology II Lecture).  This is when the college student has to strap down and get ready for a strong ending.  Many college students would start to slack off after a few finals because the sense of summer is around the corner.  Try your best to stay strong!  Don't let your guard down!  At the same time, try not to stress out about it.  From personal experience, more stress would decrease your concentration and you'll probably won't do as well as you could have.  Just relax, stay focused, and you'll be fine.  The past few days I've been studying with buds at Panera Bread (3 days, 3 locations haha).  It helps me stay relaxed, less stressed, and you can go over notes and stuff. 

Right now I'm taking a break from studying... watching the Celtics game... hmmm... I'm not liking what I see. 

Go Celtics!


Hello fellow blog-readers,

It's been awhile since I wrote a blog on here... I've been busy with getting papers done, studying for exams, and coaching baseball!   Finally, after 3 1/2 months of classes (approximately 15 weeks or 105 days or 2,520 hours or 151,200 seconds), we are at the end of our journey... but we still have a final test of our knowledge with a week full of final exams!  Finals don't actually start until Friday, due to a designated day off/study day - "Reading Day."  The name of it is kind of funny.  Sure it's a day when you finish up your studying... but why would you read?  Is that a day where you try to read over chapters before the exam?  Read your notes?  Or read something fun to get you relaxed for your first final... Just my thoughts about reading day. 

To relate to my own baseball analogy, this is the part where you are 10 feet away from homeplate.  You have two options... Knock the catcher down and get the winning run, or unsuccessfully hook slide for the out... You are the runner now.  This is the situation.  Which option will you take?  How much does it mean to you to do well on all your finals and get the winning run?  It's up to you.  You make the decision, because at the very end, you are either a winner or a loser.  And I'm hoping that everyone will be a winner.

Good Luck with your Finals!  I'll blog again this Friday after my first final (Dynamics of Interpersonal Relationships).


#4 Christian

Wow, this semester is really coming to an end!  Today was my EP II Lab Practical (of course I was brilliant)!  This Thursday will be my unofficial end to Introduction to Gerontology (after I take my exam).  My last class of "Dynamics of Interpersonal Relationships" is also this Thursday.  To tell you the truth, I will be somewhat sad because I grew to know everyone in that class through the discussions, exercises, and other stuff.  I made some great new friends and strengthen my existing friendships with others.  So many people have said that this class was boring and that it "stunk."  But seriously, it was a very informative class that helped us realize our flaws in communication, and it overall helped us become stronger communicators.  Giving feedback was a big thing for me especially with the situation I'm going through and coaching.  With effective feedback, I was able to solve some issues (not all).  It helped me understand what others felt and made me less critical to other's behavior and less of an "ego-basher."  It was a fun class and I would recommend it to other people.  Taking the class may be annoying and awkward at first, but you'll get used to it, learn a lot, and know really good people... I have. 

I'm looking forward to a hard run down to home plate (end of finals) for the game-winning run!!!!!  Go me (and go Red Sox)!!

By the way, I want to thank my friends, professors, supervisor, and family for supporting me through this hard time!!  Thank you so much!


The past few days was a total wreck for me.  I had a major personal problem that heightened to its peak last night.  It's pretty obvious that I cannot concentrate in school, the commute, and even talking to other people at work.  I was at the bottom of the pail yesterday and I thought things would get worse.  But throughout the tough few weeks and the horrific few days, my buddies from UMass-Lowell saved me from total depression and despair.  Everyday my friends would check up on me, ask me how I'm doing, help me relax, and other great things.  Even professors were very supportive. 

If you need a good reason why you should go to UMass-Lowell, this should be the reason:  the UMass-Lowell community will help you get through any problem you go through.  The community is very diverse, and has tons of supportive people, no matter if its an academic, social, emotional, etc. problem.  My time at UML has been great because I have buddies from different majors that helped me through the good and the bad.  I know you will probably think, "well every university and college has a very diverse community and they're very supportive, too."  I never been to another campus, but I do promise that the students/facility/staff are the best set of people in the world.  It doesn't matter what kind of style you are (hip-hop, rock, emo, goth, anything) you will always find people to help you out and be by your side.  Including friends, UML also has a counseling center where you can find a way to cope with stress and other life problems.  UML has been through a lot in the past few years, especially last year with the deaths of some students, or even events that never happen (and hope will never happen), such as the Virginia Tech shooting.  We are a community that is strong and supportive.  Like I said, they will help you through thick and thin.  I wish I can say more, but I don't have any more words/thoughts in my mind right now, since I'm still dealing with the situation.

I hope your week is great!


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