Results tagged “money” from Hawk Talk - Christian

Throughout the summer, I have been getting tons of emails from UMass Lowell News and announcements.  It seems like the university has been very busy. I can tell you that I am very happy to hear about the new changes and additions to my alma mater. 

One major addition to the university is the old Double Tree Hotel a.k.a UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center.  I've heard about Chancellor Meehan's interest in purchasing the hotel throughout my senior year.  He wanted to buy the hotel so the university would take in more dorm students for the upcoming school year.  To me, it's a great idea.  First of all, who wouldn't want a renovated hotel room as a dorm for a whole year?  Everything is going to be brand new for the hundreds of upper-classmen, honor, and international students who will dorm their in the Fall.  Nice and fresh for the new year, huh?  Second, it's right smack in the middle of Downtown Lowell.  Students can spend more time in the area, like hanging out at coffee shops, heading to the museums, eating at the great restaurants down there, or just plain sitting and enjoying the historical atmosphere of the canals.  Maybe more students would bring new life to the Downtown area and help the already poor economy.

Another major addition is the new UCard.  This new identifcation card will allow you to gain access to parking lots and the recreational center, purchase food from out-of-campus merchants, buy food from Aramark food in campus, and so on.  You can even add money to the card so you don't have to carry cash on you.  It's just like a bank debit card.  It pretty much makes life simplier for UML students - one card for everything!  What make's it better is the protection system that backs the card.  According to the UML website, the card is protected by the "most secure technology available in the market today."  That should give the UML student peace of mind if the card gets stolen. 
There are other plans such as building a new dormitory across the tracks in South Campus, a new parking garage, and more renovations throughout the university.  For freshmen, you should be very excited of the new changes your university is going through.  There is a bright future for the University of Massachusetts Lowell!

- Christian '09

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 
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?


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

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

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

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

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

- Christian   
Hello everyone,

Sorry for not blogging last Friday.  I was very busy with many things on mind.  I finally earned my certification for Babe Ruth Baseball.  In other words, I am now an "official" youth baseball coach.  That means I can coach an all-star team for Division I.  Importantly, this certification is lifetime, so I don't have to take the certification exam again.  The certification test wasn't hard at all, but you really have to know the game of baseball to pass.  So that was one of the biggest and positive moments of my weekend. 

I would like to congratulate my bother, Gerald Tiongson, and his fellow classmates of the Malden High School Class of 2008 for graduating today!  After tons of papers, examinations, and "high school drama" the Malden High senior class can finally exhale and enjoy their summer before hitting the books in college, or hit the floor at work!  The only thing "bad" about graduation today is the hot weather - hot, humid, and hazy.  So basically the whole day I had to sit on metal (and hot) bleachers under the hot blazing sun.  I started to get dizzy, had a headache, and an upset stomach during the ceremony, but I wanted to stick around to support my brothers and his friends.  At the end of the ceremony, I had pictures with some of my old buddies from high school, my brother's friends, and my family, went home and took and nice refreshing shower.  My family and I went to Applebee's in Saugus right after and had a great time!!  Like many of the people there at graduation, my family complained about the heat.  Jokingly, I told my parents that my high school graduation was indoors and most likely my college graduation will be indoors at the Tsongas Arena; they were glad!

Unfortunately, my weekend was dimmed by my job.  My job (won't reveal the name of the place) messed up my schedule for the 100th time (exaggerated number)!!  Instead of working 20-30 hours this week, I'm only working 8!!!!  I was very aggravated with their lack of management and lack of attention to my availability for this week.  They know that I am a college student who is struggling to raise money for college and other bills.  It honestly seems like they don't care about their workers.  My former managers, and most of my co-workers have quit because of stupid management moves and other things.  I'm definitely looking for another job, but I've heard from the media that the jobless rate is increasing, which isn't good at my part.  Overall, if I don't have enough money, I can't drive to places, like the ballfield, and can't save up for college texts and the CSCS certification exam.  Sometimes I just want to scream at them!!! (But I'm a nice guy!)

Well that's what is up with my weekend.  My next blog will about gas prices again - its more of an update of what I saw and other tips and hints!!


Have you ever found yourself driving around looking for the lowest regular gas price?  Have you ever driven up to a gas station, look at the regular gas price, and say certain phrases such as, "You got to be serious?!" or "Well, there goes my paycheck" or other expletive group of words that I can't dare to put in this blog post (and get fired)?  Well, I bet most of you feel the tension at the pump, especially those who have a high volume tank, or a gas-eating SUV.  Even with a fuel efficient car, it seems like I use more gas looking around for a "cheap" gas station.  There is a way where you can save gas without even hoping into your good ol' automobile.  I've noticed a rise in gas price websites in the past few years.  The following websites helped me find the "cheapest" gas prices in a particular area: gas price check - gas prices based on driver feedback

AAA (Triple A) Gas Price Finder

Here is an interesting link.  If you are (still) planning to take a roadtrip to another part of the country, AAA created a road trip fuel cost calculator.  Included in this calculator is your starting city, your destination, and your vehicle information.  This is a helpful calculator that will help you determine how much money you will need to keep your car on the road (and be less stressed-out).  Obviously, with the variable gas prices, your total cost also varies.  

Here is the link for that:


With internet research, you can find ways to save up on gas without searching the city for the "cheapest" gas prices.  Like I said, this approach to saving money has helped me beat out the pump.  This is my theory if you take this approach.  If you head to one of those websites and find a "good" gas station, you will save some gas since you haven't left your house yet.  Since you haven't left your house and hopped into your car, you are also being "green" by of course saving gas, and reducing the release of more carbon dioxide/monoxide or other harmful gases.  With less harmful gases, there will be less pollution.  Okay, okay, that may be a stretch, but I believe that by being smart at the pump and spending less time worrying and searching for the least inexpensive regular gas price, you will survive the year.  Any little change in your routine (such as less joyriding), your pockets will be a bit fuller than before, and like I said, less harmful gases will be extracted.  So yeah, it's like saving the world little at a time. 

Throughout the semester I will continue to give tips and particular websites that I find helpful for my trips to Lowell.  Next week, I will talk about car maintanence and how important it is to "keep up" with vehicle appointments. 


In a side note, I'm planning to take a 3-hr online course this weekend so I can be a certified Babe Ruth coach.  This means that I can coach an all-star team and actually be a "real" baseball coach.  Fun stuff.  My baseball team is doing good, but not as good as I thought the team would.  Our record is 3-3 and we are still in the race to make it to the Malden Babe Ruth Playoffs.  If all goes well, we should be able to dominate. 

I hope all is well for everyone!  Have a good day, stay safe, and take it easy!


- Coach Christian Tiongson

Coach Christian Tiongson  
Casey Hobart Photography 2008

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