Tiongson, Christian J: January 2009 Archives

My first day back on UMass-Lowell soil was uneventful.  Actually, it was the worst first day of classes I've been experienced.  Figures, it's my last semester as an undergraduate at the campus, too! 

Let's start out with some positive aspects of my first day.  I woke up at a reasonable time that morning, which gave me enough space and time to watch T.V., catch up on the news, take a shower, have a "good" breakfast, and warm-up my car adequately (Sweet).  My drive up to Lowell was also pretty awesome too.  The drive was a good 35 minutes without any hint of traffic, slow downs from state trooper speed traps, or even a splash of icy patches.  Heck, even my trek through the back streets of Lowell was very smooth without any red light stops or construction.  But as soon as I turned into Broadway St. and entered the Riverview lot, my commuter nightmare begun. 

Let's just say that my journey in the parking lot took a good... 45 minutes to find a LEGAL parking space.  First of all, it seems like UML decided to dump all their snow on one corner of the "Big Lot," which eliminated a good 40+ spaces.  Why on Earth did they do that?  They never did that stuff before!  In the past, the crew usually would dump all that snow behind the softball fields, where the temporary overflow lot was.  I guess this time, the university decided to just pile 20ft mounds ON the active parking lot.  With those mounds, many people decided to parallel park next to them like there was no problem narrowing the space to drive.  Also, many people just decided that there were no such thing as parking lines.  I saw people continue to add more "imaginary" spaces, which also obstructed driving.  Come on folks, I know the unverisity screwed up by not removing those mountains of snow before the first day of classes (and the annual first day parking auto-fill), but at least don't be stupid by making driving difficult for that lot.  So basically, driving in that lot was like a Pac-man game without eating ghosts - we're all "Pac-mans" who were hungry for a clean parking space.  Luckily for me (after 45 minutes of car "Pac-man," I found a space in the Mahoney parking lot.  Thank God I gave myself a lot of time that day.

Here's the picture of the snow mounds from the top of the Mahoney parking lot:

Sorry for the crappy picture, but you can tell that those hills are noticable in the picture. 

I wonder where all the new snow will be dumped tomorrow... I hope they plow all that stuff onto the unused overflow lot.  At least get rid of those hills so I (and the rest of the commuter population) won't spend 45 minutes of my life looking for a space.

- Ian

Today is the day the United States and the rest of the world see a change in leadership, a change in everyday life, and a change that will impact our future.  This is when you can say there is a "change of guard" of the President of the United States and the President-elect.  Many people have waited for this day when George W. Bush is no longer the forty-third president, and Barrack Obama becomes the forty-fourth leader of our nation.  This will probably be one of the most memorable historical events I'll ever witness on T.V - from the swearing in of the first African-American president, to the first democratic president of the new Millennium, the end of the reign of a president who went through a lot, from 9/11 to the war. 

I know the last inauguration is a blur in my memory, but I don't remember any inauguration being so up-beat, happy, and exciting.  About a half-hour ago, I watched the motorcade drive down the streets of Washington D.C., and all I could see is a sea of people cheering for their new president of the United States.  Was there this many people in the last inauguration??? There are literally millions of people jammed from the Capitol to the Memorial.  That was pretty cool to see the crowd happy for once, despite the economic crisis, the war, and other hardships during the past decade.  All I could hear from the television is people cheering "O-BA-MA!  O-BA-MA!"  Again, I never heard of a "BUSH" chant in the crowd during the last inauguration.

It's 11:40am, and the chant of "O-BA-MA" starts up again at the anticipation of President-elect Obama's entrance into the Capitol steps.

It's now 11:43am, and President-elect Obama just entered the stage.

There you have it folks, the start of the new, and the end of the old. 

If you are reading this and not watching the Inauguration, go to cnn.com and you can watch it via live streaming video.

I'm signing-off for now - I'll blog about my thoughts after the Inauguration.

Here's a quote to leave you thinking:
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.
-John F. Kennedy

- Christian 

I woke up this morning with one of the weirdest feelings in the world.  It feels like something hit me really hard - not physically, but mentally.  As soon as I opened my sleepy, blurry eyes, all I saw was my desktop calendar.  I tore off the first page, put on my glasses, and realized what day it was:

"Friday, January 16, 2009"

Is it really January 16th or is it just a dream?  Has the month been that fast?  What happened to the month long winter break?  I finally got the sense that my final semester in UMass-Lowell will begin in 10 days.  In 10 days, my final sprint to my Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Physiology starts.  After realizing all that, I grew excited and worried - yeah, mixed feelings right there.  I was excited that its finally my last semester in my degree.  I've been waiting for this moment since day 1 of freshmen year.  I've always thought about my last semester, well, actually my last full day of classes.  I imagine it as a warm "wear your shorts" day and all of us are excited beyond belief.  I imagine my buddies taking our final pool game at the McGauvran Student Center with our water bottles sitting on the already-turned-off heater right next to the large windows.  Right there, we just reminense about the four years from the one year of torture from general physics to that tough pharmacology class we all had to take last semester...

At the same time, I'm worried what the semester will throw at me.  Clinicals start this semester and I'm working at the cardiopulmonary clinic at Saints Memorial Hospital.  For some reason, I feel very ill-prepared for any type of work over there.  It just feels like I don't know much about any cardiopulmonary stuff to do well there.  Heck, I'm still having trouble taking blood pressure on the treadmill.  Another worry I have is what will happen after graduation.  Will I find a job right away or will it take forever to find something?  Generally, with the Exercise Physiology degree, you can enter into many areas of the health field, like entering the doctor in physical therapy program at UML, working as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists, becoming a personal trainer, working as an exercise physiologists at the hospital, work at the cardiopulmonary clinics, etc (I will talk more about the options with the Exercise Physiology degree in a future blog post).  I know there will always be a job for me in the health field, since the demand for these jobs are always high.  Right now, I'm still undecided - which area would fit me perfectly?  Will it be the right choice?  (Yeah I think/question way too much).  I know down the line, I'll aim for a higher degree, but my major plan right now is to get experience out there, learn from experts in the field through work, and bring all my experiences to a higher degree program.  In that, I would feel even more prepared for graduate school.  Then my current "60% devotion" to graduate school would be a "100%." 

It sounds like I do have an actual plan, but I'm just scared of the uncertainy and the mystery of the future.  In my college career, I've seen a lot of things fly perfectly, then take a nose dive to complete failure.  Probably, I'm just afraid to run out there and fail.  I guess that's something we're all afraid off.  I just have to stay in a positive attitude, stay consistent with my plans, and look at my future as a bright opportunity, then a mysterious shroud. 

With that positive outlook, I can succeed.  (I hope).

- Christian EP '09

I want to straight out say that I'm glad that my coworkers and I survived the 2008 Holiday Season.  The malls were crowded - the checkout lines were long - customers went nuts when things don't go their way - tons of money being dropped for that special person/people (and I'm proud to say that was not me).

But throughout the enormous two-month war between the customer and the store, the 2008 Holiday Season was not as busy as years before.  A few years ago, retail stores would be busy majority of the time.  In the news, I would read/watch stuff about customers fighting it out for that one product, waiting in line for hours, creating illegal parking spaces, and other weird yet comical things.  But this year seems different.  Most of the time my store would experience pockets of quietness then a few short bursts of accumulating crowds.  The parking lots were not as full as before, and the frequency of a "sold-out" parking lot was relatively low.  Customers would "pick away" or buy their series of presents in small amounts than the large, one-time shopping buyout.  Seriously, the economy definitely affected everyone from retail stores to customers.

Sure, it was still a stressful season since those rushes were overwhelming with needy customers.  But overall, I did feel the effects of the economic crisis - from the low turn-out of customers to the lack of sales.  Funny enough, the economy affected the company so bad that they ended up "clearancing" all of their Christmas products two days before Christmas started.  I've never seen anything like that before.  From what I've heard from the news, retail sales went down a miserable 5 - 10% during the shopping season.  Think about it.  Let's say your store makes $1,000,000 during that period, and you're sales went down 10%?  You pretty much lost $100,000 of your profit.   That's a ton of money!!

Now retail stores are cleaning up the mess and saving more money with a employee or hour cuts, which is pretty much hurting me right now.  With the new semester around the corner and bills piling up, money is tight and I need the hours to buy new books and stuff from clinicals.

Hmmm...  I'm hoping that President-elect Barrack Obama can change things around and save this economy.

- Christian   

2009 Poem

It's finally a new year
And I'm ready to start over again with
A new, clean piece of lined paper.
I'm holding a "clicky" pen
That contains 4 colors
and green;
I'm not a monochromatic individual,
you know?
I like to add color to my story,
so that means I'm not
that boring person who makes
everything restricted and boring.

You know what?

Let's bring in
the watercolors,
colored pencils,
and even the crayons.
Let's make this story creative,
and worthwhile -
let's add all the mediums
into this work.

Remember, this is the
whitest piece of paper -
no dirt,
no smudges,
no flaws, nothing.

It's clean.
It's mine
and I have the ability
to create a picture
so unique
that no one will ever
recreate it. 

That is what
the new year is to me -
a work of art. 
A piece that is
so elaborate,
yet abstract -
a piece that contains
a deep meaning,
yet is so simple -
a piece that is
established through
a single first person
perspective, yet
can be viewed
through the eyes of
It's my work of art
and I'm going to
share it with you.

Here's to 2008 2009.

- Christian J. Tiongson

I still promise to continue my Winter Fun blogs - just a little break from formalized casual writing (if that makes sense).  Plus, I was in a poem making kind of mood.  Happy New Year! - CT

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Tiongson, Christian J in January 2009.

Tiongson, Christian J: December 2008 is the previous archive.

Tiongson, Christian J: February 2009 is the next archive.

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