Results tagged “Exercise Physiology” from Hawk Talk - Christian

I heard that this is the worst time to graduate... thanks to the faltering economy.

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).

- Christian


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. 

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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 the Merrimack River is a principle symbol and life-force of the University. It is deep, wide, and clear; it is powerful, enduring, and brilliant. But further down the river you can see the strong rapids with trees and rocks in its way, interfering with its path. The Merrimack continues on this journey, from calm and unobstructed to occluded and strained, until it reaches its final destination into the open and free Atlantic.

 

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 Merrimackís power and beauty. UMass Lowell has provided us with the skills to create our own unique means to successfully navigate to the ocean of opportunity... If we all use the skills that we have been developing here at UMass Lowell, and if we continue to be motivated in the manner that got us here today, then no obstacle will ever block of prevent the journey of our future.  We, as graduates of UMass Lowell, are forever bound to the Merrimack River..."

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...

- Christian
  UML '09

It was a bright, sunny Saturday morning.  The sky was blue, the air was warm, and the birds were chirping like there was something big about to happen.  The garage was a bit empty with a dozen cars littered here and there.  Nearby a stocky police officer stood at the corner of an intersection, directing cars of lost souls looking for a place to park...

... And there I stood at the East Campus garage alone, waiting for my good Exercise Physiology buddy to arrive.   I was armed and dangerous with my academic attire (my "Harry Potter" gown, the cap and tassle, my cords and stole), my cell phone, and my camera.  Here and there, I saw people who I haven't seen in years walking towards the shuttle area.  I could tell from their smiles, chit-chat with their parents and friends, and their proudly worn cap and gown that they were extremely excited.  I looked around East Campus and I told myself, "Dang, I'm probably never going to step foot on East ever again."  At that point, all the memories of Exercise Physiology II Labs, workout sessions with my friends, basketball, and a pool tournament filled my head.

 

Finally, my friend arrived, and we walked towards the shuttle area.  In the shuttle, we both caught ourselves saying the infamous group of words that seems to come out of our mouths a-billzion times:  "I can't believe we did it.  How come it doesn't feel like the end yet?  Dang, it feels like we have another semester left!"  Oh, at that point I got sick of those words (even if I knew I might splat it out of my mouth days after graduation). Well what can we do?  We're done.  Our four years is finally over.  We have to believe it.  In my head, I said, "Dang, I'm going to cross that stage and this major chapter of my life is over."

We arrived at the Tsongas Arena to a crowd of black-bodied people who look just like us... the caps, the gowns, the cords, the stoles, and the smiles.  We definitely felt the excitement suffocating the air around us and I can tell you that it was a great thing.  My friend and I walked towards two gigantic tents filled with graduates.  Fortunately, the great UML staff organized the tent into "schools" so it easily found those familar faces of the Exercise Physiology program.  From that point on, we went on a photo hunt.  Everyone tried their best to get a photo of each other, while trying to sustain a conversation.  That wasn't too hard (ha).

Here are a few pictures:

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Walking into the Tsongas arena was probably the second (or third) best thing of the day.  When we all poked our heads out of the tunnel and into the open, all we could see was a sea of proud families and friends.  Honestly, it was the first time I saw the Arena completely filled to max capacity.   We all had that warm feeling inside when we saw our loved ones in the crowd.  All I could think at that point is my parents and siblings.  Without them, I wouldn't be walking across the stage...  They made sacrifices to help me succeed in college and I love them for that and many other things.

After getting everyone (2,000 graduates) in the Arena, the Commencement Exercises begun.  The Sheriff of Middlesex County gave a loud, well presented opening to our graduation.  Heck, I can't even explain in words on how he opened the event.  I guess you had to be there to understand (Ha).  Out of all the speeches I heard, Abbey Denaro, my good friend and a fellow Exercise Physiology student had the best speech.  It is such a great speech that I plan on dedicating a future blog post on it (STAY TUNED).  I actually recorded the speech and I will post it on that blog also.  

Obviously, our commencement speaker, Harold Ford, Jr. who is the Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council and a former Tennessee Congressman also had a great speech!  Before he went on stage, we all saw him writing notes.  We were all amazed at his ability take in what other speakers have said and sneak it into his speech.  He mention parts of Abbey's speech many times.  You can watch it here:  Ford Commencement Speech

Then it was finally time.  After 4 years of waiting, our time finally came: Walk the stage to a new chapter.  Little by little (when I say little, I say a group of hundred or more) students lined up to cross the stage to receive their degree holder.  My EP buddies and I waited (a bit inpatiently) for our chance to walk the stage.  It got to a point that some of us had the idea to sneak into the earlier lines... but we were too good and nice to do that!!  I think it was a good 45 minutes wait before we had our shot to line up to "cross."  Waiting in line, I could see the smiles on my family's faces.  I knew they were proud of me of my accomplishments of UML. 
 

A few minutes before my turn to walk, my best friends from the major crossed the stage.  I was so happy for them.  At that point, I thought about our hard study sessions for classes, our times in the commuter room and at Weed Hall, playing basketball at the Rec Center, and eating out.  Before I got into a deep thought, it was my turn to walk.  I gave my name card to the name caller, turned and walked.  To tell you the truth, I was a bit nervous of falling than the namer caller not pronouncing my name correctly!   I walked in a fast pace across the stage, gently received my degree holder from one of the deans, shook his hand, walked to the other end to shake Chancellor Meehan's hand, and stepped off the stage.  It was probably a ten second thing, but it felt like a lifetime.  It was like a slow motion 4 mile walk across stage.  In my head, I was definitely taking in everything.  My four years was over after walking off the stage.  When I got back to my seat, I was greeted with hugs and handshakes.  Oh, I can't explain the feeling of being done and graduating.  Excited and happy are EXTREMELY weak words for that feeling.  

After waiting for 1,000 more people to graduate, the commencement was over.  I was very surprised that only a handful of caps were thrown in the air.  I heard from many people that we weren't allowed to throw our caps in the air... it didn't stop the few of us who did. 

I will never forget that day in my life.  It was the day when a journey ends and another one begins.  It was the day when my Exercise Physiology buddies were together in a group for one last time.  I can tell you that I'm going to miss my buddies... 

I'm going to leave you, the reader, a few more pictures of that day...

- Christian EP '09

 

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The Advanced Study in Exercise Physiology presentation was not my final obstacle before Commencement.  I had one big final that was worth 20% of my grade on my way.  In my head, I said, "Oh this is going to be cake.  I did very well in this class and getting a 50% will still give me a B in this class... so I'll be totally fine."  The only problem about the final was the day and the time... My last day of classes was on May 13th, which was a Wednesday, but my final happened to land on the VERY last day of finals in the VERY last hour to conduct finals.  So yes, it was on May 21st, 3pm.

Ridiculous huh? 

So what did I do for a week and one day?  I can honestly tell you that I didn't start studying until the Tuesday before the final.  I know, I know, bad me, but I was very productive during my mini-pre-final vacation.  I went on a super job hunt, and ended up applying at a hospital that is looking for an Exercise Physiologists, and a few personal training positions.  So far, as of May 24th, I have my second interview for Bally's Total Fitness this Tuesday, and having my first interview at L.A. Fitness on Thursday.  I'm very excited, yet a bit disappointed that I haven't gotten a phone call from the EP job yet... I had my EP cardiac pulmonary rehab clinical during the spring semester, so I hope I can continue working at a similar facility. 

So how did my final go?  Well, with my two days of studying 4 note packets full of information, I think I did fairly well.  There were a lot of easy questions, and a few tough ones, but I finished it in about 30-40 minutes.  Then that was that.  As soon as I left the room, I felt free!  After my week long wait, I finally took my final final of my final semester and IT'S OVER!!!!!  I can tell you straight out that I wanted to run down the hall and say "YEAHHHH, SCHOOL IS OUT FOREVER!!!!"  But I knew that as an UML alumni, that was not the way to act (until I left the building).  Again, the same theme from my past blogs came up again:  I can't believe I'm done.  My two EP buddies continued to say that they can't believe it either, even if one of them is heading to Physical Therapy Graduate School next semester. 

Well, now that's over, all I have left is Graduation!!!!!

AND I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


- Christian UML EP' 09


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For those who don't have tickets to UML's Commencement, do not worry!  UML will have a live stream on May 30th, 10am.  Just click here (http://gse.uml.edu/commencement/) to watch it! 

Also UML will Twitter the event!  Follow them on
www.twitter.com/umasslowell
 ... and that's what we did. 

Stop.  Think.  Realize... 

This overwhelming feeling is surreal.  It's like a dream.  Are we really... no, we're not...  It feels like there is another semester left, but there's nothing left for us to do.  We finished our papers,  studied up storms, and passed our exams since day one.  It seems like we were in a never ending cycle of semesters:  Fall and Spring, Fall and Spring... Now it seems like the cycle just ends like how a chapter ends:  ending a part of the story with a major cliffhanger.  We completed our chapter and now we are left with a cliffhanger.  What's next?  ... Wait, are we really... We are standing here with our knowledge in our hands, and the real world is on our door steps.  All I can say is, "Wow... I can't believe we're graduating..." 

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Caption:  My exercise physiology buddies and I at the Senior Brunch at Cumnock Hall.


... How can I explain it?  It just doesn't seem real at all.  We all worked so hard to get to this point in our careers at UMass-Lowell, and it seems like the party is over.  No more late night cram sessions, no more typing out papers on Microsoft Word, and no more poster presentations in front of a huge lecture hall.  I remember, when I was a young, insecure freshman, I told myself that college is going to be a wild ride; there will be good times and there will be bad times that's worth fighting through.  I told myself that one day after the storm settles, I will be crossing the stage to shake hands with the Chancellor and to receive my Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Physiology.  That thought was just a blur in my head and something that was too far to reach.

Now that wild ride called college is finally coming to a close.  That naive thought I had when I was a freshmen is now 19 days away.  In 19 days, my Exercise Physiology class and I will be crossing the stage to receive our degrees and walk out as an alumni of the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.  Wow, it just feels like a dream to me... pinch me please, am I dreaming?  I worked so hard the past four years and it's finally here.  My friends and I had a conversation about this today during our Exercise Physiology/Physical Therapy luncheon.  They can't believe it themselves, even those who are attending another 3 years in the Doctor in Physical Therapy (DPT) program.  My friend said that it is a major chapter in life, where we transform from "little, naive freshmen to academically seasoned seniors on our way out."

So be it, let this surreal feeling continue.  I took my one second to stop, think of what I have done in my 4 years, and realize that I finally made it.

At the end I can say that, "Our epic chapter at UML will end... so another saga will be written."

- Christian

It's been four years since I stepped foot into UMass-Lowell's Exercise Physiology program.  Four years ago, I did not know where the ulnar collateral ligament on the elbow was, nor did I know where the Recreational Center was.  Now I feel more knowledgeable, like the big man on campus.  It feels like senior year of high school. 

It's true that I've mentioned in my other blogs that I still haven't felt like the big man on campus or feel like I'm going anywhere.  I guess I feel like that because I never motivated myself to capture the opportunities for further learning or dared to apply what I learned to everyday things.  But ever since I've entered the Practicum portion of the Exercise Physiology program, I feel like I finally placed all my knowledge into something more practical (duh, that's why it's called a practicum).  Basically, a practicum is like an internship.  You can pick a site from list, which consists of research facilities, cardiac and/or pulmonary rehab clinics, athletic centers, gyms, and nursing homes.  The greatest thing about this is your choice of sites and the ability to create a site if none of those places interest you.  One of my classmates is working at a facility that supposedly trains the Boston Bruins or Boston Celtics, and she is having the time of her life. 

My Exercise Physiology Practicum site is a cardiac pulmonary rehabilitation facility.  The reason why I picked this site over an athletic center is the fact that I want to have experience as an actual Exercise Physiologist.  Many people would pick an athletic center over a site like this because they don't like the hospital setting or they can't do an exercise blood pressure (which truthfully can be a pain the butt)!  Another reason why I chose it was my interest of the "works" of the heart and lungs, and how diseases lessen its function and overall affects the body in a negative matter.  It's amazing how "bad" unhealthy habits contribute to heart, lung, and peripheral diseases...

So far, my experience is great.  First of all, the staff is amazing.  They are extremely helpful in trying to give me the full blown exercise physiologist's experience.  Another thing about them is their humor.  I've never met a group of professionals who would joke around with the patients in an appropriate and professional matter.  Oh man, the exercise physiologist over there is a riot.  His personality definitely lightens up everyone's day at the clinic.  When I first started, I thought that place would be "depressed city" due to the fact that many people are often "down" when they know they have a disease.  But it was the total opposite.  Everyone is laughing, sharing Red Sox stories with one another, talking about their family, and making fun of each other.  No wonder many patients have been attending rehab for 20 years! 

What's even better is my observation opportunities.  The clinic gave me a list of procedures that I am required to observe.  This includes an exercise stress test, pulmonary and cardiac entrance, an echocardiogram, and cardiac catherization.  Trust me, observing all those sites were amazing and very interesting!  I got to see how certain procedures work, how the staff works as a team, and how they interact with the patients so they can be nice and calm.  I honestly think that's the best part of the experience.

Unfortunately I have seven practicum days left... The semester was way too fast to grasp!  But I can say that I did enjoy my time at the cardiac pulmonary rehab.  As an exercise physiology student, this is something to look forward to!  It makes you feel like a true professional in the rehab setting, gym, training facility, research facility, and many more.  It will help you gain the experiences for future jobs.  Wow, I bet you want to be in my position... don't be jealous :-)

- Christian

 
Forget what I said for my last blog about being screwed unhappy after graduation.

Okay, maybe you still can say "I'm screwed" job-wise, but my journey to gain more knowledge?  That journey will continue for one more year at the University of Massachusetts - Lowell.  So, my final lap around campus just has to wait... Sweet, huh? 

So what am I going to take after getting my Bachelor's Degree in Exercise Physiology? 

After remembering a particular suggestion from my professor to get a nutrition certificate in addition to a certification in Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) and an U.S. Olympics Weightlifting Certification (no idea what the abbreviations are) all on top of my EP degree, I decided to research for schools to get such a certification.  And guess what?  UMass-Lowell saves the day once again!  UML is offering a 4-course, 1 or 2 year program for nutrition certification.  Instead of going to a different campus (and try to adapt to a new and strange environment and routine) I can just stay at UML as a commuter and enroll to get a "Graduate Certificate in Nutritional Science." 

After I read the description of the certificate program and saw the words "designed for the health professional, such as a medical technologist, clinical lab scientist, biologist, nurse, physician, physical therapist, exercise physiologist, athletic trainer and personal trainer" (and yes I do have selective reading)  all the stress of post-graduation just went away.  Oddly enough it just disappeared like that.  Sure, job-wise (as mentioned) I'm still stressed about that, but it feels like I finally got redirected to a better path.  All the uncertainty of what I want to do after graduation cleared up. 

Honestly, I'm pretty excited that I'm going back to UML next year.  UML became another home for me, since I've been there for a good 4 years.  Why should I start a new life at a different school if I can continue what I have at a place I pretty much like?  Besides, I finally got the hang of things this year and finally connected with the UML community.  I want to continue that "grasp" (even if it seems like Senioritis is killing me).

Also, my buddies are taking it with me too!!!! So nothing is going to change!  Hey, I'll take the parking problems (and yes... the $1500 fee raise) any day if my commuter buddies are part of the ride!!!!!

Great stuff!

Christian 


I had a conversation with my best friend from UMass-Lowell.  We were at a restaurant having something to drink after a long hard day of classes and clinicals.  As we sat there enjoying our drinks and watching Tiger Woods' return to golf, a thought came into our minds:  will we ever get a job after graduation?  My buddy and I were talking about what our degree offers us and how much we're going to make.  So far, from what I heard from current Exercise Physiologists, personal trainers, and others, "the money isn't that great."  Great.  That's great to know.  So what does that mean for us?  If the money isn't that good from our jobs, what are we going to do during this economic crisis?

My buddy and I have decided, like a few of us EPs, to take a year off and find options other than physical therapy that appeals to us.  Some of us found options, such as health management and nursing, but some of us are stuck with the same options that were told to us:  exercise physiologists, personal trainer, strength and conditioning speciailists, or just head to physical therapy school.  Right now I'm stuck at a lull.  I really don't know what I want to do after graduation (that adheres to the current economy).  My plan earlier was to head to physical therapy school... but for some apparent reason my interest towards physical therapy lessen as the years passed.  I tried so hard to force myself to like it because the money is good, but I finally realized that as of now, I'm not ready to head to that direction.  My experiences in the field of physical therapy was not memorable or desired from what I first expected.  I guess that's very unfortunate for me because I've always had that in my radar. But like an enemy bogey flying away from a military base, the idea is just flying away from the center of my radar.

So I don't really know if I'm (sorry for my language) screwed or not.  I just wish I was more motivated to look at graduate schools so I can stay in school (and ultimately keep my loan payments off).  I'm actually regretting not heading back to school next fall.  I just have a feeling that I'm just going to fall in a hole and I won't be able to motivate myself to go back.

Ahhhhhh... I really don't know.  That's my number one concern as a senior - what I want to do after graduation, if I will survive as a "newbie" in this faltering economy, and if I will be happy...

I'm praying.  Praying really hard for an answer.

- 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 can finally exhaleWhew.  For the first time in months I'm actually stress-free, relaxed, and all those other synonyms for enjoying relaxation once again! 

For the past 2 weeks, my exercise physiology buddies and I have crammed in a bunch of assignments, presentations, take home finals, in class finals, and other stuff before the "finish-line" end of the semester.  Seriously, this has been a very stressful two weeks, and you know what's weird?  I'm only taking four classes.  Funny enough, I was less stressed out with a six class load than this semester's four class pickup.  Very very strange, or like my friend said to me, "You're completely backwards on that part, man."  I guess it's probably the fact that all my assignments were due on the same day and I needed to strictly enforce some good ol' hardcore time management (which seems impossible at times).  But that's the life of a college student I guess - there is always something due, something to study for hours on, and other administrative due dates you have to meet for your academic program.  It's going to be like that from day 1 freshmen year to graduation.  You're just going to be busy, busy, busy, until you hit these life-saving semester breaks.  Oh well, the academic marathon is over and I can finally kick back and relax...  I wish I could write more about how exciting it is to be out for 2008... but I'm just too excited to sit still right now!!!

So what do I have planned now since my semester?
- Clean up my room (since I've neglected it for the whole semester... yuck)
- Record a few Christmas songs on the guitar (which will soon be on www.myspace.com/blacklite if everything goes as planned)
- A little Christmas shopping
- Call up someone about my new job opportunity (awesome)
- Watch tons of T.V.
- Finally get a good workout in
- Plan stuff with friends
- Be a kid :-)

That's only a short list of the things I want to do right now! 

I know that finals are still going on... so I hope those who are still running the academic marathon finish strong!  Good luck!

- Christian

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Hello everyone,

It's been awhile since I talked about my senior year and my thoughts about it.  It's been awhile since I really had a good "vent" on this blog.  I've been long due for a good down-to-earth blog post, so here's my little speech about how things are going for me and senior year.

For the first time ever, I feel like I'm finally getting into the groove of UML and getting really involved with the community.  I know, I know, I'm in my final year as a Riverhawk student, but for some weird reason I'm finally getting used to the way of life as a UML student.  I can't really explain it.  Maybe I feel stress-free this semester.  The past 3 years seems like a tough up hill battle.  It's like climbing up Mt. Everest in subzero temperatures during a blizzard.  But now It seems like the mountain is becoming more of a plateau.  Adaptation to the rough college climate? Maybe.  And now, I'm part of a new student leadership organization - Omicron Delta Kappa.  This group contains the top students/professors/leaders of each major, job, or concentration who has the qualities of a leader.  I feel like I'm finally getting involved with something so great and I'm finally being part of the community.  Yesterday I went to my first UML Riverhawk hockey game, and oh man!  It was a great game!  The R'Hawks destroyed #6 UNH 8-3. 

See, what I'm trying to say is that being a commuter kind of pushes me away from the UML community.  It just seems like we're not involved with anything.  I don't usually stay around campus because it seems like there's nothing to do.  But now that I'm involved, there's tons of things to do around campus, great people to hang out with, etc.  I'm pretty sad that I'm now heading to the end of my UML career... I wish I got more involved with things or be more outgoing when I was a freshmen.  If I was more into the UML community, this last drive to the finish line would be a "Final Hoorah" instead of a "Rookie Celebration."  Oh well...

Another thing that pretty much shocks me is the "speed" of these four years.  These four years is just way too fast to process.  I remember my first day of college... I was sitting on the 3rd row from the right wall looking at the chalkboard around 8am in the morning.  My college writing 1 professor walks in and welcomes us to the university... Now I'm here sitting on my laptop feeling like a freshman again!  Even when this whole experience was like a drag race car going 200mph down a half mile stretch, I seriously had the time of my life.  It is true that people have the time of their life in college.  College changed the way I am for the good, and now I feel like I'm a more established individual.  I have more knowledge, more mature (okay maybe not), and just stronger than what I was before.  I have the greatest friends in the world, who are all from UML. 

Even when I have a good 6-7 months left of my UML career, I'm going to continue to work hard and enjoy what I have left at this university.  Time to create more memories with my best friends and with the rest of the Class of 2009! 

Rock On EPs!!!!!

- Christian  
On Monday, the Sox shocked the Angels with their good ol' late game heroics.  This time it wasn't Big Papi or any other "vets" on the team.  The new faces took over that aspect of the game last Monday - Jed Lowrie and Jason Bay.  This shows you how strong the new faces on our team are!  We have a very balanced squad with speed, contact, power, and a great glove.  Look at Mark Kotsay.  He has the bat, the glove, and the speed.  Did you see all those fantastic plays he made on first?  Seriously, he is the most agile first baseman I've seen in awhile (and obviously Youuuukkkkkk is also very agile)! 

But Monday is now a mere memory in the back of our heads, because the Sox has an even bigger test:  The AL East Division Champion Tampa Bay Rays.  Like the Boston Celtics, the Rays were no ones last season, but are now in the Big (AL East) Show.  And I'm not saying that they're going to pull off a Celtics like playoff run!!!!!  I'm just impressed with that HUGE amounts of improvement this Rays team went through.  I give them a round of applause for trying... but it's all going to end tonight!!!!!  (... Oh there goes me being the COCKY Red Sox fan!!!)

So here are the pitchers lined up for this years ALCS:

Game 1:  @ Tampa Bay - Daisuke Matsuzaka
Game 2:  @ Tampa Bay - Josh Beckett
Game 3:  @ Boston - Jon Lester
Game 4:  @ Boston - Tim Wakefield
(Then back to the top)


I feel good about this rotation.  It's smart, strong, and very diverse. 

To make my first point, it's great that Jon Lester is not starting Game 1 of the series.  Using my EP skills, athletes need recovery, especially pitchers who threw x number of pitches.  Jon Lester pitched a terrific game on Monday.  Monday was 4 days ago.  Starters, like Jon Lester should have a good 5-7 days of rest, and according to that rotation, Jon Lester will be fully recovered for another strong outting.

Second point:  Josh Beckett in the "2-hole" is a great idea.  Now most of you would've probably beat me up for saying that, after his horrific outing during the ALDS.  Now using my EP-brain,  Josh Beckett has an injury that is most likely still nagging him.  Now think... for those who have a hurt back/side, when its really cold outside, do you get stiff? Hurt?  Feel like crap?  Well Beckett does have a back/side injury (I don't remember what he has in particular) and he did pitch in the cold 30-40 degree weather last week.  That cold weather probably got to him EVEN if he did have a proper warm-up.  In between innings he sat down inactively, which just lowers your body temperature.  Then when you're back out there on the mound, he throws in a few pitches, which clock about high 80s - 90s, and is expected to throw another good round of pitches for the opponent.  Keeping him pitching under Tropicana Field's dome for Games 2 and 6 will shield him from any type of cold weather conditions.  I HIGHLY doubt that the Rays will drop the air temp in the stadium JUST to get Beckett stiff again.  So it's a great setting for the Beckett! 

Third point: Dice-K and Wakefield are great being AWAY and against the RAYs.  Dice-K is perfect away (and I know that records don't count... but I do like to add that in)!  He and Lester showed the Sox that they are ace material.  With Dice-K's arsenal of (100000) pitches, he will be able to trick the Rays into a strikeout.  Tim Wakfield on the other hand OWNS the Rays (even if he did get racked a few times against them).  According to ESPN's Sportscenter, Wakefield has an overall 9-3 record at Tropicana Field, and an overall better winning percentage over the Rays.  That definitely gives the Sox hope for a great turnout from the oldest player on the team (I think).

I'm very confident with our team right now.  The Red Sox definitely got a chance to win a championship!!!!    You don't understand how pumped I am right now!!!!!!  I'M SO READY!!! Tonight I'm watching the game with my two great friends over their apartment.  According to them, they are hardcore Sox fans too.  So there's going to be a lot of screaming at the T.V. (aww poor television), and tons of high-fives, cheers, and other celebratory stuff!!!!

To end my blog post for today, I just want to say...

LET'S GO RED SOX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Christian 

While at work, I was thinking about the first few weeks of school and something hit me. I just realized that those who just started reading my blog posts don't really know who I am as much!  It might be a pain to search for my first blog post, so I mind as well give you an update about myself!

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My name is Christian Tiongson and I'm (finally) a senior Exercise Physiology student at the University of Massachusetts - Lowell.   I'm a commuter student who travels from Malden, MA to Lowell, MA every day.  For those who don't know how far it is, the round trip drive is approximately 60 miles.  So basically my drive up to Lowell in the morning is approximately 30-45 minutes depending on traffic and usually 45-60 minutes going back home.  Fun stuff, huh?  About 99.9% of the time, I drive my 2005 Mazda 3, which has brought me up and down the state through every kind of weather (snow, rain, sleet, wind, sunny, etc).  It is also really great on gas with an approximate 30 mpg.  In other occasions when a snow storm buries the roads in Malden and not in Lowell, I take the commuter rail up to Lowell and take public transportation.  Not bad, but somewhat pricey.

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As of now, I'm planning to attend graduate school to become a doctor in physical therapy.  But I feel that there is something else for me out there, like becoming a certified strength and conditioning specialists, an exercise physiologists, or do something else that relates to sports.  So right now, I'm still in the undecided state (unfortunately).  I really hope that something pops into my view that catches 100% of my attention and later pursue it.  Let's see what I find through classes and life... I am part of Alpha Lambda Delta, which is the Freshmen Honor Society, and planning to become part of Omicron Delta Kappa, which is the Leadership Honor Society.  Alpha Lambda Delta haven't been doing much lately, so I plan to devote more time with Omicron Delta Kappa.

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When I'm not busy with studying, I'm either hanging out with my friends (and that special someone), hanging out with my family, playing baseball with my brothers (and sometimes sister), doing artwork, playing guitar, or just playing around with my laptop.  Most importantly, I am the coach of a Babe Ruth Baseball team in my city.  I've coached for 6 seasons (3 years in Little League and 3 in Babe Ruth).  This brings you to my next point... I LOVE BASEBALL!  I relate everything in life to baseball from problems to love, etc.  It's part of my life.  I can't explain how much I love the sport.  In the winter I get really depressed when it's done.

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I also write music although not professionally but as an amateur musician.  My music name is "Sir Christian."  I don't sing at all, yet I do try (and I have a few fans out there who love my singing).  When I'm not up for singing, I'm just jamming out on my guitars.  You can listen to my stuff on my music myspace, www.myspace.com/blacklite .  The sound quality isn't that great due to the lack of equipment, but I believe that it's good enough to be on that site.

Well I think I basically told you my life story.  I'm happy with what I have right now and who I am.  If you have any questions about the commuter life or stuff, just email me: christian_tiongson@student.uml.edu or add me on facebook!


Leave some comments!

- Christian Tiongson '09 

 




Today I received my grade for my EPII 2nd exam and I didn't do as bad, but I thought I would've done better.  I've notice that some college students would be "down" or become depressed about receiving grades lower than what they have thought.  Especially in such a major like this, where we have to keep a high GPA to stay in the program, and maintain an overall and science 3.5 GPA to get a type of "early invitation" to Doctor in Physical Therapy Grad School, it can be quite a bummer to receive low grades.  I myself is down about the fact that I cannot receive higher than an A- because of my performance in the last exam.  But this is not the end of the world folks (and telling myself).  Sure, being the best overall student is a goal everyone should achieve, but trying to be perfect is not the ideal.  Sure, it is great to aim for perfection, but being perfect is no good.  I've noticed that those who try to be perfect would often stress on a mistake that may be simple or complex.  Stressing on a mistake is something no one should do.  You've probably heard about a saying, "learn from your mistakes."  It is true that you can learn from what you have misinterpret or have done wrong.  It will help you fix that mistake in the future. 

It is absolutely okay to get an okay grade on your exam.  You can try harder on the next exam.  You will not fall off the face of the Earth.  There is always a better tomorrow.  I know that a particular grade can affect your overall grade which also can affect your GPA, which might affect your chances to go to a particular school.  This is why you must work very hard, study throughout a long period of time, apply resting days where you can mentally clear your mind from everyday stressors, and keep a positive attitude.

I really hope I'm making sense here...

By the way, I have a friend who I met in "Dynamics of Interpersonal Relationships" name Casey Hobart.  She has tons of fantastic photography that I want to share with you all!!  Also, there are pictures of stain glass art that she made herself!  

Visit the "Adventurous" Photographer Casey Hobart in:
http://wingedreflections.deviantart.com/gallery/

http://coffeecornerarts.jimdo.com/index.php

I hope that keeps you smiling during the final stretch of the 2008 Spring Semester!!!!!

 

"Quiet" Christian   

According to dictionary.com, a mentor is "a wise and trusted advisor," while a hero is "a person noted for special achievements in a field... or a man, often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits..."  This person I am talking about has a golden heart, a sense of humor that would make everyone smile and laugh with him (or at him depending on the joke or remark, haha), and intelligence that probably could not be measured  anything in this world.  He cares so much for his students, his fellow professors, his family, and friends.  Most of all, he is so dedicated to his work.  This blog is dedicated to my advisor and Exercise Physiology I professor, Dr. Sean Collins. 

The first few weeks ever in UML was a bit scary for me.  I came fresh from an all boys high school in Malden, MA and I didn't know what college life is like.  I would look around and see how different the college life is from private school;  I knew I felt left out.  But as soon as I met my advisor, Dr. Collins, the transition from college to high school became smoothier.  Seriously, everytime I visited him in his office, I would always come out with a smile and a chuckle (and sometimes a hold-release slip so I can register for classes).  He is a great guide, teacher, and hero through my career in UML.  As a hero, he gave light to my fellow students and me.  When he was a student, he struggled trying to improve his grades; at one point he was in academic probation.  When all hope was lost, he closed his eyes and told himself to never give up.  Next thing you know he is a professor in UML teaching one of the hardest subjects on campus.  As a student would say, he went from an almost-failure to the brightest and most respected individual on campus.  His story gave me the drive to work as hard as I can to reach for my goals.  He helped me become the student I am now - professional, well-rounded and brillant.  I can honestly say that without his help, care, and love for what he does and what he continues to give to the EP and UML community, many would not even be here in this great university. 

I remember one time when my friends and I were studying for one of his exams, I certain nickname came up for Dr. Collins:  Papa Collins.  We could tell by his personality and care for what he does that he is a family man who loves his wife and children.  Sometimes I think our classes and meetings with him is more like a father teaching his kids the lessons of life, guiding them through the storm, and picking them up when they need the most help.  He is just that father figure that all of his students needed in school.  I don't know if any of his students feel this fatherly or "best friend" figure with him... maybe its just me. 

I really hope that all of you future EP/PT (or other majors) students would get a chance to meet this wonderful man, my advisor, and professor, Dr. Collins.

Christian 

Hey everyone!  Long time no see!  A lot of things have happened to me the past few days and I'm trying to fight the problems off.  Despite the problems, I did very well on my Dynamics of Interpersonal Relationships midterm (102 out of 100 points), a 95 on my Intro to Gerontology Elderly Issues Project, and an 86 on my 2nd gerontology test.  Hmmm, I guess I just got lucky... seriously. 

Today my EP II lab performed speed and agility tests.  Right away I thought, "oh no not another test that will kill me!!!"  The tests we performed were the T-Test, the Side Step Test, and the Hexagon (of Doom) Test.  This all involves moving quickly from point A to point B.  Honestly, the most interesting test was the Hexagon Test.  Imagine a hexagon with 22" sides and angles about 120 degrees (approximated).  The object of the test is to jump from the center of the hexagon, jump over one of the sides, jump back to the center, jump to the next side... and so on.  You have to complete 3 "circles" around the shape.  You are timed.  It might sound easy, but getting the pattern down in a quick motion is extremely hard.  Fortunately my past experience with plyometrics (especially Mr. Smith's ladder drills) helped me go through all the tests.  Funny enough, I'm not a big recreational college student, nor too sedentary... and I had the lowest (and best) times for all test.  I don't get it.  After years of absence from these kinds of workouts, I still had it in me.  I felt good after doing well in these tests.  I cannot forget falling backwards from the T-Test during my backwards run back to Point A... oh well.

My award for doing so well was watching a good ol' game of UML Riverhawk Softball!!!  I've heard that the team was pretty good and I had to see myself.  Secondly, there was free food being offered by (I think) The Blue Fan Group, which is the student fan club for Riverhawk Sports.  I watched the softball game with my friend and EP buddy, Corinne.  Throughout the game, we talked "baseball" (well softball) and talked about our experiences with the sport.  It was pretty fun and I enjoyed sitting on the cold metal benches in a nice breezy day right next to the Merrimac River.  I didn't know if they won or lost, but I do know that they were playing a great game.  They were winning when I left to head back to my city to do baseball practice for my baseball team.  My baseball team looks pretty good this year.  I can feel the championship run forming beneath my feet. 

I think I'm going to bed early since I'm overall exhausted,
Christian

Ouch. 

That's all I can say.  Today my exercise physiology II lab was about anaerobic power that is generated by our legs.  We conducted two tests:  The Vertical Jump Test and the (Never doing that again) Wingate Test.  The Vertical Jump Test involves the subject jumping as high as he or she can, and determining the amount of power of each jump.  Easy enough.  The Wingate Test involved a subject "going all out" on a stationary bike while trying to overcome a heavy resistance.  It may sound easy, but doing it was pure h-e-c-k.  At the first few seconds of the test I felt that I was doing okay physically, but as I was told to push harder I felt my stomach turn inside out.  Of course with all the motivation, trying to look strong and buff, and trying to get "good" lab results, I had to go all out without any hesitation.  Obviously, fatigue hit me and I slowed down right away.  I felt all right after the test, but after 20-30 minutes I started to feel some nausea, dizziness, and overall fatigue.  I spent 45 minutes to a full hour trying to let my body buffer out the lactic acid (and that was h-e-c-k also).  I barely remember what my friend said to me:  "Christian, I think that this test literally killed you... We're going to exempt you from any future tests." I can tell you this, I'm never doing that again...

For all of you future brillant EPs, don't be scared!  Going through these types of exercise tests make you appreciate the research that was done to develop them.  Without these types of tests, no one will know how will a person does physiologically, physically, etc.  Plus, I don't think you want to see a professional hockey player with a very low anaerobic threshold on the ice, or a football player "die" from running.  Honestly, doing most of these types of tests from the Forestry Step Test to Body Composition Girth Measurements combines your learning from lectures with practical hands-on applications.  Plus, it is nice to know these examinations for a future job in the field.  :-)

 

Well time to let my body rest, replenish my ATP, creatine phosphate, and glycogen stores (and whatever I lost during the test).

Exhausted,
Christian

Whew... the first half of the semester is over and it's finally spring break!  Today I had my first exam for Exercise Physiology II.  Of course, these exams are pretty tough and challenging, so it wasn't that easy.  I feel good after taking it, so I think I did well.  Like what Prof. Chamberlain says, "Be Brillant!!"  (If you are planning to be an Exercise Physiology student, the word "brillant" is something you will hear a lot, even when our very own Pro. Chamberlain retires).  So to celebrate the end of the first half, my friends and I went to play a few games of pool at the McGauvran Student Center.  The pool tables over there bring back good memories from the past few years, from meeting my best friend to relieving stress by shooting cueballs into pockets. 

The first half of the semester felt pretty fast.  My first day of classes felt like it was yesterday!  This feeling always comes to my friends and I during every semester.  Constant studying, completing assignments, projects, and other fun academic evaluations makes the college semester fly so fast.  So this may be a good thing, if you want to get through your college career, or it may be a bad thing if you want to grasp every minute of the college life. 

Oh yeah by the way, just a friendly reminder to all future UML students, there is no such thing as a february winter break.  Sorry folks... instead there is a March break week, aka Spring Break.  (Yeah... the stereotypical week where college students go to warmer beach-like destinations... or when students do an "alternative break" where they help needy people and serve other communities). Don't be discouraged!  College semesters are relatively short and there is a major one month break between the fall and spring breaks. This is actually better than having a short high school one week break! 

Well I really don't have anything else to say, since I'm laying on my couch watching a movie and finally relaxing!  

 

I'm thinking of more topics for my next blog... maybe a lecture about the UML "lingo" we use everyday; I'll figure it out.

Have a great weekend!!

Christian

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