Results tagged “spirit” from Hawk Talk - Christian

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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.

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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...

Christian Tiongson
UML Alumni, EP '09

Feel free to comment my blog!  If you leave questions, I will answer them!

It's Sunday, November 30, 2008.  The time is 6:45pm, and its gloomy and dark outside.  The ground is wet, the air is cold, and Mr. Sun's warmth and light is 12 hours away from us.  This whole environment makes me reflect the fake Christmas Spirit we all have during this time of the year.  Wait, let me use another word for "Christmas Spirit," because stressing to buy a toy for your kid, pushing other people just to get the perfect gift for your "loved one," and giving retailers the iron fist because nothing is going your way is NOT what Christmas is all about.  Christmas is far from this fake mask we put around our heads from the start of November to 12:00am the day after Christmas.

For those who do not know, I work at a Hallmark retail store around the Boston area.  I started in July, and loved it until the word "Christmas" floated above the Hallmark staff.  Right away, my coworkers (and I) gave one huge sigh in disgust, not relief.  All of us thought back to all the "Charlie Brown Commercialized" Christmases and thought about how stressful it was working, shopping, and preparing for huge Christmas feasts and events.  I personally did not like the working aspect of the Christmas season.  And today just made everything implode with stress...  I've helped a few customers who were extremely rude to me and my coworkers.  Even with their "happy" red coats and "religious" christmas pins over their heart while whistling a season tune, they would give us crap for not "making their day" or not contributing to the Christmas season.  My honest answer is that we are trying out best to give them what they need for their season, but it seems impossible for both ends... it seems impossible to make everyone happy...  

This brings me to a question that still remains unanswered:
Why do we have to be so stressed out, grumpy, rude, and (add other adjectives of your liking or disliking) during the Christmas season?

Why do we have to put ourselves in financial debt to make our family, friends, and other loved ones "happy?" 

And for those who are not stressed out by the holiday, why do we have to put on a so-called fake "I'll be nice for the 25 days of Christmas only," and not continue to be this nice-Christmas self throughout the year?

Those answers will never be answered... that's my opinion.  I've tried to decipher the Rosetta Stone of the "Fake" Christmas Spirit for years, but that ancient mystery is still floating above all of us like a dark thunder cloud.  I can tell you this.  I am trying to change.  Yes, good ol' Christian who does not like working the Christmas Season, because of all the fake unnecessary negative vibe that is felt from customers.  All my life, I've always thought this time of the year is joyful and memorable for everyone in this world.  Come on, it's when Jesus was born, right?  That's the true meaning of Christmas right?  Not this stupid commercialized crap that we all grew up with?  It's all just the flashy, material possessions that makes us happy right? No. 

Is it just the thought?  Yes, but if its just the thought, why do some people spend thousands, and put themselves in debt or in any type of financial crisis?  Like I said, it still boggles my mind.  And I'm not saying that we should stop buying gifts for people, no way.  I'm more of a gift-giving person who adds a memory to it, or to create a memory.  For example, for my friend's 21st birthday, I recorded a music CD with original guitar tracks that I made myself.  I made it extra special by making a (love?) song just for her.  That made her love the gift even more.  Why can't we just do something simple like that... something personalized, creative, and self-fabricated?  I do not want to make someone worry about how much money I spent for their present, because I don't want to put a dollar sign and a figure next to my friend's name.  My friends are not worth money; they're worth more than that.   I want to put everything from my heart into my present.  That's why every Christmas I always make something just to show how much I care, how much the person (or people) means/mean to me.  I think that's better than buying a flat screen television.  Think about it.

I really hope I'm getting my message down nice and clear... sometimes its hard to type down my complete, straight to the point thought about certain topics, especially when my thoughts can be explained in many directions.  But, I hope you (the reader) relax this Christmas season, and think of its real importance.  Put all that money-spending, fake-fronting, Christmas-stress aspect of you aside, and look at the true Christmas Spirit.  Everyone has their own meaning of that spirit... I really hope its not the buying aspect of it.

From my heart to yours, have a Merry Christmas Season.  This won't be the last time I'll say that to you, my readers!

- Christian 

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