Results tagged “jobs” 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
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

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 ( to watch it! 

Also UML will Twitter the event!  Follow them on
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

It's officially a diagnosed disease for seniors.


What is the definition of that word?

According to, senioritis (n.) is (comically) a "virus which seems to affect mainly second semester seniors... This virus can be deadly to one's grades, as the carrier becomes totally apathetic about their grades, classes, homework etc. This results in many 'Zeros ( 0 )' or failing grades - ultimately leading to the drastic lowering of the grade in the carrier's classes. Side effects include: Failure to give a (crap), complete and utter apathy, and not graduating with the carrier's class." 

Rough stuff, huh?

Unfortunately, my diagnosed senioritis is not that serious or grade-threatening (so far).  I really don't know why I'm slacking off so much.  Is it because this is my last semester and graduating is very possible?  Is it because I'm mentally tired from 4 years of academic hardship, lack of sleep, and hours and hours of work?  Or is it seriously the fact that I don't really care anymore?  Maybe its a mixture of it all.  Truthfully, I'm just physically, mentally, and emotionally tired.  I haven't had a good 8-10 hours of sleep in months and my free time to do homework is dwindling thanks to my senior practicum and my three paying jobs that I work (even if I work one day per job per week).  Many of you have heard me recite what I want to do in the future:  work at a cardiopulmonary rehab or personal train, get my CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning) certification, then apply to PT school after.  Honestly, I don't know how well my plans will work out.  For the past few months, my self-confidence has been in an all time low, and I really don't know why.  I just feel down all the time, and it's affecting my work, which actually might have caused my overall senioritis.  I just still haven't really recovered from a few incidents... that's all.  And I guess those events have caused me to think less of myself, which made me slack off even more.  Sure, my best friend told me to knock it off because I'm doing so well, but when will I ever listen to what they say and get out of this hole?  Deep (deep deep) down I just don't feel happy.  Surprising huh?  Most of my friends and people I know would see me as the happy kid, who drops a few jokes here and there.  But I don't know.  Maybe I just need a distraction, a new scenery, or even a vacation.

Wow, some tangent, huh?

I would like to hear what you think.  Leave a comment and I'll answer back through a comment.

- Christian
Oh no baby.
Why is everything going away?
Oh no baby.
Why is everything dying this way?
I don't see the dollar flowing.
I don't see my sorrows flying away...

Ha!  Do you like my cool, depressing blues babble?  Sure, it may sound cool and straight from the cold, lonely, heart, but millions of jobless Americans are playing "the blues" after watching the economy free fall to the abyss.  From the stores of the Square One Mall in Saugus, MA to the wealthy Newbury St. in Boston, everyone is feeling the burn of the dying economy.  With rents skyrocketing and the lack of sales and customers, many businesses have ultimately decided to end their ways and liquidate what they have left to pay their creditors.  Stores such as Circuit City, Linen n' Things, Kaybee, Filene's Basement, and Macy's have taken this "final resort."  Other corporations are also laying off administrative staff to compensate with the lack of funding.

What does this mean for the people?  Some would think of liquidation sales, where retail prices are reduced at a certain percentage.  That is a bargain hunter's dream, since many would save money buying that wide screen T.V. or something like that.  While that might be the case, many would think of this word:  unemployment.  Without any type of income, many are struggling to find ways to pay for their car, house, rents, and other types of bills.  Finding another job after getting laid off is very difficult.  Like I mentioned before, many companies are laying off people and reducing the number of job openings.  That leaves the jobless in an even bigger hole.  I'm fortunate enough to have three paying jobs - blogging, retail, and a physical therapy office.  Even though I don't work enough hours because of classes, I still get enough income to pay for bills, gas, food, and other stuff.

Another thing I'm happy about is the field I'm planning to work in.  As all of you know, I'm an Exercise Physiology major.  For most, if not all, health and medical jobs are always in high demand, especially for doctors and nurses.  With a high demand for health professionals, finding a job won't be as difficult than finding a retail job for a major corporation.  Plus, the pay is better too.  The bottom line is that if you stay in school and get a degree, most likely you'll find a better job that's in high demand. 

But for now, the A-minor pentatonic scale blues will echo through heartland of America. 

Oh baby, will there ever be a cure
For my heartbreak blues?


July 4th Weekend

Hey bloggers,

Sorry for the late blog.  As you can probably tell that I had a busy July 4th Weekend.  Usually around this time of the year, my baseball season takes a break from a tough season and when my family comes together and relax for once.  On Friday, my family and I went to Boston early and just walked around to see the festivities.  We also walked down to the Charlestown Navy Yard to see the USS Consitution sail into the Boston Harbor.  Unfortunately, when we got there, all we saw was the ship going back into its "resting grounds."  So we basically hung out around the navy yard, took some funny pictures of each other, and headed into Quincy Market to find something to bite.  After we headed to the small park near Spaulding Hospital at watch the boats flow into the Charles River for the night. 

After our day in Boston, we headed back home, had our annual BBQ and played extreme musical chairs with my younger cousins and siblings.  That was really funny.  I actually have a video of us fighting for the chairs, but I don't have any time to post it up.  Another tradition we have is watching the "Flyover."  Around 7-8pm every year, a group of fighter jets (this time it was 2 F-15s) would set up their flight formation over my area before the big flyover over the Esplanade.   Funny enough, this is usually the indicator that I should leave for Boston so I can get a good spot to watch the fireworks.   This year, unfortunately,  my watching spot is no longer available to the public - the Longfellow Bridge.  I guess that the bridge is falling apart or something and its no longer safe for anything (except for the MBTA Trains) to get on.  It stunk, because I didn't find a great spot for the fireworks; all I got was trees and smoke from the fireworks.  Oh well, I got to re-watch it on!

On Saturday, I worked my final shift at Kohl's Department Store.  It was a fun last time, because I didn't really do anything, ha ha.  I've heard that more employees have quit the between the last time I've worked (2 weeks ago) and yesterday, and inventory was going to start this Monday... so I guess I left at the right time!

Today, I'm working again, but in my new job at Hallmark.  I'm pretty happy that I got more hours this week, because I need the money!!  My baseball team is going to start playing again also; we have 3 more games left. 

So I'm thinking this is going to be a long week.  See you all later!

- Christian

First Day


Today was the first day at my new job at Hallmark Gold Crown Card store in the Square One Mall.  This is actually my first time in any job in a week, because my old job at Kohl's didn't give me any hours for my last two weeks... oh well, it seems that I'm at a better place.  My new job is definitely different than the large department store atmosphere.  Instead of focusing on cleaning, cleaning, and cleaning in my store, my new job is more focused on a set way of customer service and getting as many sales and Gold Crown card members as possible.  It is a bit intimidating but this can't be as bad as taking a hard college class.  I'm still trying to find a physical therapy aide job or anything that relates to it.  Generally a PT aide job brings in more money and is closer to my major.  So you can still say I'm still in the job hunt, but not as strong since I'm away from my old job!  Orientation wasn't too bad today; there were a few exercises that were very time consuming, but it did help me get used to the store and started to get me interacting with my other coworkers (I forgot their names already haha). 

Deep down, I was a bit nervous though - a new set of coworkers, bosses, location, atmosphere, and customers.  It is still away from what I want for the summer too.  The first day of everything is always a bit nervewhacking or uncomfortable for everyone.  So I'm not letting this get me down.  I should be happy that I got a job, because the jobless rate is increasing with the bad economy.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll get a full-time physical therapy aide job or something like that, or even a better paying job?  Let's see what the summer brings.  All I know now is that I still don't have enough money to pay for my CSCS Certification exam... I haven't studied anything either... hmm.

Tomorrow I have a makeup game with our "green team" rival.  If my baseball team (Dukes) win tomorrow's game, we will be in second place and have a three game winning streak!!  I'm looking forward to another weekend full of baseball!!!

- Christian

I woke up worried about one of my pitchers for my youth baseball team.  At the top of the first inning he said his shoulder was hurting and his medial aspect of his throwing elbow was getting numb.  I took him out of the game right away and he was sent to the hospital after the game when the pain grew worse.  I just found out a few minutes ago that he tore his rotator cuff.  Tearing a rotator cuff is a pitcher's nightmare, especially for a young teen like him.  I (freaking) had mixed emotions - sad and angry.  I was sad that one of our veteran players was out for the season for an injury that was preventable, and I was angry at myself for letting him pitch.  I knew he pitched last Friday and he had 2 good days of rest.  I could tell he wasn't in the game at all because of the pain.  Instead of being a real coach and taking a step back to see who else we could pitch, I just threw him in there because I had trust in him.  I actually had another pitcher scheduled for that day, but he wasn't there.  We were lacking pitchers because another pitcher was also not there and our "ace" was not available to pitch due to a muscular strength and endurance repetition maximum exercise test.  I went straight to my now-injured pitcher because he did very well the last game.... I'M SO MAD AT MYSELF!! 

Well all I could do now is find another player in the player pool and revamp our defense because he was also a pither...  If I had the ability to do anything with my team, I would want to tryouts to be held months before the season starts so I can aleast do some condition for my players.  I also want a pitcher count rule to be in effect.  Dang... I was a pitch counter supporter and I didn't give him enough rest...  I even read many articles from Exercise Physiology II about pitch counts. 

I just got another phone call and he might get surgery... wow can things get any better?

- Time to do something thinking...



P.S. I promise to write a blog about gas prices this week.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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