Results tagged “UMass Lowell” from Hawk Talk - Christian
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
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)
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!
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...
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:
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
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
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
Like what I said for my last blog, it's just weird to not come back. Sure, I'm coming back as a part-time student to get a graduate certificate in nutritional science, but coming back as a full-time naive, not-ready-for-the-world undergrad? That's history. We're not coming back as undergrads. We're already called alumni. It's just weird, weird, weird, and weird.
I can tell you that I don't regret going to college. College was a major chapter in my life when I finally grew up to be a better person, academically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and so on. Physically... eh, I need to work on that (Ha ha). Going to college was the best choice I ever made in my whole entire life. I feel like I am ready to take on the work world and go to graduate school down the line.
And who should I thank? UMass-Lowell off course. UMass-Lowell is the school to go to if you want to make a difference in the world. Everyone here is awesome and extremely supportive beyond belief. You can't get anything better out there. Financially, the tuition here is affordable compared to big-time schools. Come on, who would turn down affordable tuition with phenomenal education? And sports? All the sports here are extraordinary. Come on, Division I Hockey East Riverhawks? It's true that the university is young and lacking in traditions, but that is where you, the perspective and current student, comes in. You have the ability to make a change for the better. UML will give you the best education out there, and you should give the best of you. I did and now I'm graduating.
It's your turn to make a difference and to create life-long memories for your cabinets in your brain. It's worth a shot. You won't be disappointed.
- Christian EP '09
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..."
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."
Is H1N1, also known as, the Swine Flu, a big deal? Or is it just an overblown illness that can be easily treated?
As a health student, I'm concerned, especially when two known cases of the H1N1 virus was found in Lowell. Like all airborne illnesses, it is always good to take as many precautions as possible, even if the "cold" is going around. These precautions include washing your hands with soap and water (and singing "Happy Birthday" to yourself), sneezing straight into your sleeve instead of your hands, and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Most of all, if you are feeling sick with flu-like symptoms...
...PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE DO ME, YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND EVERYONE IN THE WORLD A FAVOR... STAY HOME AND CALL YOUR DOCTOR A.S.A.P!!!!!
...sorry I needed to vent that...
Ever since the Swine Flu took the top shelf of the News, newspapers, and health websites all over the world, I've seen a rise in people taking precautions, especially with my School of Health and Environment buddies. A few days ago, my friend and I decided to go to Walmart in Drum Hill to buy Purell hand sanitizers so we protect ourselves from "dirty and germy" hands. My buddy from the Exercise Physiology program was giving everyone a little squirt of Purell to everyone she knows. My community health buddy said she'll take every chance to wash her hands. Another said a professor actually passed around a big container of Purell to his/her students as a precautionary prelude to their health lecture.
So here's my question: Why do we all of a sudden take these precautions, when we are supposed to do it everyday even without H1N1 in the picture?
In my opinion, we don't think about these precautions unless the situation presents itself, like working in a hospital or collecting money from a customer in a retail store. Also, we never think about getting sick. Everyone goes around giving people hugs, kisses (well... not me), and hand shakes without having the thought of getting sick from the other person's germy hands. Yep, we always have some type of germ on our hands. And yes, we ALWAYS transport that stuff to each other. The thing is, are we doing our job everyday to kill those dang germs?
I guess you can say that the H1N1 is a wake-up call to everyone. Now everyone is taking every step to stay healthy. This virus has proven the world that it is lethal and can make anyone from age 0 to 100+ sick no matter how healthy you are or how sick you are. I believe that we all should be concerned about this, but not to the point where you are going to isolate yourself from the world around us, like the band Oasis who is touring in Venezuela (Story: OASIS Stuck in Hotel Room Because of SWINE (3rd story down)).
All I have to say is please protect yourself from this virus, and continue on with your everyday routine. The U.S. government will tell you when it's time to panic... okay, nevermind, you have to decide if you're going to panic or not... they will tell you when it's time to halt your routine and take EXTRA EXTRA precautions like using masks.
If you want more information about this, click on the following links:
- Center of Disease Control: Swine Flu Updates
- MA Department of Health: Swine Flu Updates
- Talk to you doctor
- Go the the Student Health Services in South Campus, which is an awesome place to get info about protecting yourself and the Swine Flu. The staff is great there!
STOP BEING (S)WINEY - PROTECT YOURSELF!!!!!!!
Oh yeah, here's my P.S.: If anyone sneezes around you, don't freak out, especially if that sneezer is allergic to the floating pollen in the air. It's just allergies, not the Swine. Just a friendly reminder from a person suffering from allergies. :-)
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 :-)
I'll still be your friend if you dislike baseball. If you hate baseball, then there's a possibility... But I'm told that I'm fair and that I'm a nice guy!
So here we are again. Back to the old groove. The baseball season is on its way.
The Boston Red Sox will have their home opener this Monday at Fenway Park vs. the American League Champions, Tampa Bay Rays. This will be the first time the team opened their season at home in 7 or so years. That's a long time, ya know? It will be the Sox ace Beckett vs. Shields. I cannot wait to start screaming at the T.V. screen (and oh, you didn't know I was that passionate about my good ol' Sox?!?). You know that my blog would stink if I don't mention my Sox!
Hey, I have to mention the team I coach too! Today was my baseball league's tryouts at the city's high school. According to registrations and my 2008 Roster, only 2 players are coming back this year... you know how much that stinks? It's ridiculous. That means I have to pick up 11 new players. That means I might end up picking up rookies for my team. That's not too bad actually... When I first coached my Babe Ruth team, I had a bunch of rookies. At the very end of the season, we won the city championship! So I'm looking forward to this new challenge.
Tomorrow, I will be attending the Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and College (**takes a deep breath**) Brunch and the Omicron Delta Kappa Induction ceremony. I'm happy to say that my community service and my good grades helped me get inducted into these two student organizations.
I'm sorry that my blog is lacking punch today. I'll blog more about my induction day and about clinicals next week.
But only a select group of people can say they bleed red and blue. Those people are the Riverhawks.
Who are the Riverhawks? You can say that it's all those who play a sport at University of Massachusetts - Lowell. That is correct, but that's only a small portion of the family. It's those who work hard in classes, strive to be the best of the best, teach others the knowledge of their field, keep our campus safe, serve others with a golden heart, and those who continue to hold the torch of UML after graduation. It's everyone in the UMass-Lowell community - the administration, faculty and staff, current students, alumni, sponsors... and you, the perspective student. We all support each other like a family, even if we don't know each other that well... or heck, even know each other at all. We simply are a rare breed of people.
Do you want to be a Riverhawk? Do you want to bleed red and blue? You can be part of the family by coming to tonight's Hockey East Final Championship game at the TD BankNorth Garden in Boston, MA. The UMass-Lowell Riverhawks will be playing their second Hockey East Championship ever versus the #1 Boston University Terriers. You may say it's going to be a hard obstacle to clear, but nothing is impossible for the Riverhawks. Last night, my friend Abbey and I watched a game that no one will ever forget. The Riverhawks played against the tough Northeastern Huskies. Before last night's game, the Riverhawks were 0-3 against them with only 4 or 5 goals. That was a statistic that was anchored in the minds of everyone in the Garden... But that was a weak statistic. After being down 2-0, the Riverhawks scored 2 unanswered goals, which one was scored in the final few seconds of the game, UML held it strong and brought it to overtime. Within 3 minutes of OT, UML scored the game winner.
I seriously can't explain the atmosphere, the thrill, the anxiety that was going through the hearts and minds of everyone in that arena. Maybe you should come down and experience it yourself - 7pm at the Garden.
What are you waiting for?!? Jump on the MBTA and head into Boston now!!!!
Oh yeah, I'm hoping I will be able to blog after the game to tell you what happened... GO RIVERHAWKS!!!!!!!!!!
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
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!!!!!
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.
What is wrong with this picture? Why is the side of the parking aisle empty... and why is everyone parking right in the middle of the road????
Ladies and Gentlemen, today, February 4, 2008 - a date which will live in infamy - the Riverview Lot was attacked by a small snow storm the night before, which ultimately caused a massive amount of confusion to the commuter and residential community of the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. This morning, the parking lot was dusted with a half-inch of snow, which covered the yellow parking lines (and possibly glared common sense to some drivers). With the snow on the ground, students began to make their own parking spaces in a disorganized and broken-jigsaw-like fashion. A simple idea of creating your own parking row soon became a chaotic, yet comical nuisance to all mid-day commuters. As soon as the sun came up and the temperatures rose, the snow melted. There was a surprise waiting for the UMass-Lowell community especially for the UML Police and commuters - NO ONE WAS PARKING ON A LEGAL SPACE (and another picture below).
[Caption: A driver makes her/his own parking space... wait everyone did]
I honestly started to laugh when I saw the mess we all made (yes, that includes me - a picture of my car "out of line" below). I have never seen such a thing in my whole life. It was such a simple (and right) thing to create your own parking row, which allows enough room to drive around the lot, yet we all messed up and underestimated the line placement.
Yep, okay, we messed up, but I think some people are COMPLETE IDIOTS. Why would you park your car three rows deep, instead of making a new aisle for parking? When I say three rows deep, I meant that there are three consecutive rows of cars next to each other. So basically the middle row is completely trapped in the middle. Yes. You heard me. Three rows deep. Don't believe me? I have a (poor) picture to prove it, with labels and a small overhead view of the parking situation (below). ... What happened to common sense today? Did we forget that a full section means... well... it's full? It's like trying to add an extra 6 eggs in a carton dozen of eggs. Come on, wake up!
[Caption: A detailed picture of the 3-deep parking mess. I also made a diagram of the situation if you don't know what I'm talking about. The numbers indicate the row]
Overall, I think this should be a wake-up call to the UML administration. When it snows, it snows. Plow it or melt it, even if its just a coating. It would reduce any type of craziness that happens in the South Campus Riverview Parking Lot. Maybe those snow banks at the back should go? If they are removed, students would be able to park in actual parking spaces than making their own parking space. Did you see what happened when students made their own parking spaces? Wow. That's all I can say. Absolute Wow. Thank God the UML Police didn't ticket people at all, because they would have a field day ticketing every single car in the back side of the lot.
I wonder what tomorrow bring for UML parking?
Maybe another adventure to blog about? Absolutely.
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.
"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