Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Using Exercise to Relieve Stress by Kayla Byers, CM 107

Using Exercise to Relieve Stress by Kayla Byers

            The purpose of this blog post is to talk about relieving stress by exercising.  Use exercise to relieve stress, to forget about what happened at work, to forget about your day, and to have a clear mind.  I feel like I have a rush of energy after doing a workout; it is exhilarating. 

            I think exercise is an effective way to relieve stress as it releases endorphins in the body.  Endorphins are neurotransmitters which is responsible for the production of your brain’s feel-good response.  Exercising improves your mood; it can boost yourself confidence it also helps with sleeping better at night.  This is very important to me as I like to exercise because it not only does it relieve stress, but I can forget about everything that happened that day and focus on my workout.  Who here likes to exercise to relieve stress?  How does it make you feel?  I feel energized and empowered after I finish a workout, it makes me feel like I have accomplished something. 

            For people that do not like to exercise it would be good to start, even if you just go for a short walk to get your heart rate up a little bit. However, for the people that cannot exercise due to medical conditions or have a tough time moving around, this can be quite difficult.  There are other ways you can relieve stress where you can exercise for example: A stress ball is a form of exercise and a form of relieving stress.  I find whenever I exercise I am very aware of my body and what I put into it.  I tend to make better choices in what I eat. 

            Nutrition is very important when it comes to exercising.  To get the max benefit of exercising the human body needs healthy food for fuel.  For example: It is like gas for your car, without it your car will not run.  Nutrition plays a vital role in managing stress as well.  Eating a well-balanced diet has many benefits, as I stated earlier it plays a vital role in fighting stress.  For instance, eating healthy improves brain functioning, immune function, it lowers blood pressure, it improves circulation, and it can eliminate toxins in the body.  In addition, eating healthy and drinking water throughout the day is super important; drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.    Stress can cause anxiety and depression, so relieving stress is very important.  However, not all stress is bad, so having the good stressors in your life is also important.  Positive stress can give you motivation and help you with daily tasks, it can give you that burst of energy!

            I want to talk about my personal experience with CrossFit, and share with my audience how I lost 70 pounds that I gained during pregnancy.  Prior to becoming pregnant, I have always been involved in exercising and staying active.  During pregnancy I ate whatever I wanted; I did not realize that what I was eating would have a negative impact on my body.  This unfortunately led to me gaining 70 pounds, which was not at all healthy baby weight.  I felt so miserable and did not think that I could ever lose the weight.  It is very stressful taking care of a newborn, and I was not motivated to even eat healthy, or do anything exercise related. 

            One day I was reading on a friend’s Facebook profile.  She was involved in CrossFit and she posted pictures of her progress.  I decided to take advantage of this opportunity, so I went to a CrossFit gym in Altoona called Priority CrossFit.  I tried it out for two weeks free which and discovered that I really like it.  The workouts are not easy, but they are fun, and they get your heart rate up.  CrossFit is not just lifting weights; you have cardio, weight training, and plyometrics.  After months went by, I started to see improvements. I started losing weight and gaining muscle, which felt great.  I stuck with it for five months and lost the 70 pounds I gained during pregnancy, my before and after pictures were astonishing. 

            Finally, I want to encourage the people who want to try CrossFit but are afraid because they think it is too hard, or are afraid of failure.  You would be surprised what your body can do, our bodies are like machines.  The amount of strength and power you can gain by lifting is impeccable; you just have to tell yourself you can do it!


Friday, December 8, 2017

Quanity over Quality

“Quantity over Quality”
By Omar De Los Rios, CM 107
            When can we honestly say that a person is selected for a job or for a promotion because he really deserves it, or because he has all the qualifications and experiences? Why is it more important where you come from than what you have done in order to earn something? In this blog I would like to talk about a serious topic where even lives have been put to risk. Due to the “politically correct” mentality of certain individuals that are willing to bring a higher risk in jobs like Emergency Management and Fire Services or even with our Military that still fighting a war, hiring practices are endangering lives. Most of these individuals have never ran into a burning building or put on a uniform and sacrifice anything. When can we honestly say it’s enough?
            Let me begging with an Article I read (4); that talks about the 2017 New York City Fire Department (FDNY) entry level for new aspiring candidates. This article states how most candidates where able to pay and be coached in order to answer the most difficult  questions, how these candidates where able to cheat their way into the system and most likely got selected to move forward in the hiring process not due to their abilities to perform Fire and Emergency tasks, but based solely in their personal abilities. Moving forward, how many of these candidates will be assigned to an Emergency response team and will be able to perform all tasks required to be part of a team, or even be a team player? I had a conversation with a Battalion Chief within the FDNY that clearly stated than the quality of candidates coming in the FDNY has drop drastically because new candidates are not bringing to the table the desire and love for the service that is a key component to work well within the Emergency Services. Most of these candidates are with the FDNY because of the benefits and rewards that come with being a firefighter,  but not all them are willing to put their lives at risk for either their coworkers or somebody that has called to be rescue. Firefighters have also been accused of looting.  It’s a shame that a service as important as the Emergency Services get politicalized just because of certain people. Now, let’s look at the future; how many of the firefighters will get promoted? Will they have the qualities and experience to lead and take precise decisions that will affect the outcome of operations? A perfect example of these can be seen in the Article about the NYPD Captain that went home when his 2 officers were shot (5).
            But the FDNY is not the only service that is suffering the consequences of lowering the standards in order to attract unqualified candidates in order to have a higher hire. We can see this problem more and more within the Military, Americans are being raised without a sense of patriotism or love for the Service to others; most families prefer their loved ones to go to college and get an education instead of joining the Military, which is perfectly understandable,  but many see the Military as a way out of poverty and a way to have a stable job. Most of these recruits joined the Army for college money and the benefits that come after successfully serving their 3 years commitment. What happens within 3 years served is what makes the difference; a lot of them come and put their 110% effort to and be an essential part of a team, to perform their duties and grow a be a productive member of the Military and society, but one out of ten soldiers join for the wrong reason, or realize that the Military is not something he really wants to do. Tthis is when Commanders with Basic Training prefer to “Push them forward” and send them to Units where they will become a bigger problem. I, as Platoon Sargent, has seen first-hand the quality of Soldiers coming to the Units; some of us leaders question how these Soldiers made it so far when they cannot even perform basic soldiering tasks such as passing the physical exam, qualifying with a weapon or having knowledge of their job. I had a Soldier that didn’t even know the Soldiers Creed, and that is one task that soldiers are supposed to know from day1 in the Military because it is indoctrinated to them 24/7. Now, some of these individuals managed to stay long enough to get automatically promoted to a leadership positions; a few of them do not know the difference between left or right,  and now they are in-charge of a team.
Finally, this bring my point about “The Peter Principle” (3), a person can get promoted because they are really good at what they do but his leadership skills are very low or a person can get promoted because he is really good at leading, but he lacks the basic understanding of his job, he lacks abilities and they can’t perform to the standard. Standards were created based on experiences and bad and good calls from the pass where lessons were learned and safety points where put in place in order to make things or an individual better; lowering the standards just because certain candidates believe is too hard for them harms the outcome and the final product desired. If a person really wants to be a Firefighter or a Soldier, it should be solely because their abilities.  

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Is a Safety Conscious Work Environment being Enforced by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission?

Is a Safety Conscious Work Environment being Enforced by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission?

By Kyle Sweeney CM 107

What is a Safety Conscious Work Environment (SCWE)?  Do all employers follow the SCWE guidelines?  I work in a heavily federal regulated industry (nuclear) and if there is there is not a SCWE, they will either temporarily close you down or place you under a Confirmatory Order until you do.  Well, this has not work out well at my place of employment.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a policy in 1996 (you can see it here: https://www.nrc.gov/about-nrc/regulatory/allegations/scwe-frn-5-14-96.pdf) which stated that the employer must ensure that employees in the nuclear industry can raise safety concerns without fear of retaliation.  For the site I have been employed at this has not been the case since 2014.  The NRC issued a confirmatory order directing the employer to issue a plan that would resolve this issue within the workforce.  It stated that the employer must inform the employees of all the options available to them if they needed to report a safety concern and additional training.  The employer increased training frequency for supervisors/managers and posted the avenues available to employees to report their concerns. Some of those avenues included the immediate supervisor/manager, Employee Concerns and directly to the NRC themselves.

Over the last year there has been many employees that have raised concerns to their managers and no actions were taken.  These concerns were then raised to the Employee Concerns and again no actions were taken.  These same concerns were raised to the NRC and they substantiated these concerns. The NRC again, asked the employer to come up with a plan to fix these issues.  The employer created a plan in November of 2016.  Since this plan was created, 5 of the 8 employees in my department have been terminated.  These five employees were individuals that had raised concerns to the managers, Employee Concern and some of the concerns were also turned over to the NRC.  

So, NRC acted by having the employer being accused, conduct their own investigation.  Are you kidding me?  How do I know this you ask?  I was one of the five individuals terminated and NRC contacted me and informed me of this.  While NRC tried to defend the employer with the information the employer provided them about my concern, I had informed NRC that they had provided inaccurate information and provided them more accurate information.  Their response was, we will follow up with the employer and get some more information.  At no point has NRC conducted their own investigation.

The system is broken.  The policy that NRC created is not being followed by all employers and NRC is not doing a good job to ensure it is being enforced. I would like to end this with some questions for the reader.  Where do we go for assistance now?  How can we stop this?  What is the use of a Safety Conscious Work Environment if the individuals that created it, will not enforce it?

Monday, December 4, 2017

Volunteer Firefighting and its Issues

Joey Keller
CM 107 

People probably do not know that the vast majority of firefighting services across the nation are performed by volunteers. From the time of the first fire department was created by Benjamin Franklin until more recent times volunteers have been able to handle this burden without any paid support. Year after year between call volume increasing and staffing shortfalls in the fire departments create many problems that volunteers simply cannot keep up with the demand for their services.

I am the Fire Chief of my home town fire department, the North Beach Volunteer Fire department located in Calvert County Maryland. Our county is the last 100% Volunteer Fire Service in the State of Maryland, our services include 7 fire departments, 1 Advance Life Support Department, and a Dive Team. Although being the last all volunteer county is the state       This something we are very proud of; the department Fire Chiefs have all come to realize the need for paid supplemental staffing to be able to ensure the safety of the citizens in our response areas.

Though there are many independent reasons why different volunteer departments are failing, there are some general reasons that affect all departments equally. The first reason is in general,  most people don’t want to work for free, especially where you have a good chance to get hurt or killed. In my department we saw a huge drop off of member participation when the economy took a dive around 2008. My members were faced with a choice, work overtime or work more than one job to provide for their families or possibly lose their home. Obviously people went to work instead of staff the department which is understandable, but when citizens call 911 they expect someone to come.

Another reason I believe affects fire departments is the abuse of the 911 system and the dependence of the emergency room as a primary health care provider. Besides volunteering at my home department, I also work as a firefighter in the District of Columbia and between the two departments, I have many stories of what people call 911 for and when I share stories with people they tend not to believe them. Unfortunately, people call 911 more often than not when that service and the services of the ER is not needed when they should be making appointments with their primary care doctors. Most people seem to want a solution to their problem immediately and almost never take the additional steps to make sure their problem is fixed in the long term.

Though I have many stories and there are endless reasons why volunteer fire departments have problems keeping up with the demand of responding on calls, the bottom line is when citizens call 911 they expect someone to show up. The flip side of this is, citizens need to be prepared and willing to pay for the supplemental staffing. When people hear the word volunteer, they immediately think “they don’t get paid” which is true but it also means citizens don’t pay the extra taxes to pay for these services. So when more and more departments need help of paid staffers the citizens need to be prepared to do their part in paying for those services which for most places means taxes being raised.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Publishing Opportunity

Subject: Student Writing/Publishing Opportunity: The Dangling Modifier Newsletter is Accepting Submissions!
From: Karen-Elizabeth Moroski <kxm5044@psu.edu>
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2017 10:24:54 -0400
X-Message-Number: 3

Hi, friends!

The Fall 2017 Issue of Penn State/NCTPW's Peer Tutoring Newsletter -- The
Dangling Modifier -- is now accepting submissions. Please encourage your
tutors to submit!

This year's theme was inspired by the upcoming MAWCA 2018 Conference themes
of identity, narrative and honoring intersectionality/voice in writing
center work.

*What is The Dangling Modifier?*
Why, I'm glad you asked! The DM is a peer tutoring newsletter by peer
tutors, for peer tutors. It's a fantastic opportunity for your
students/tutors (grad and undergrad alike) to get published and to be part
of a rich history of tutors writing about tutoring.

*How does it work?*
Explained more in full on The DM's website, peer tutor authors will submit
works via email. Selected writers will be contacted by our editorial staff
(comprised of PSU tutors) and our editorial staff will collaborate (through
Skype, Google Docs, email, etc.) with the writer to refine the final piece.
Then, we publish it to the web!

*If you're interested: *
In the Spring, we offer the possibility for The DM to be hosted by a guest
university. It's great experience for the tutors who work on the newsletter
-- if you're interested, let me know: kxm5044@psu.edu.

*And now... the CFP! (Also attached as a word document)*

*Issue Title: Keepers of Collaboration: Upholding Civil Discourse in
Writing Centers*

*What does collaboration mean to you? To your Writing Center? How do you
define “discourse” in a tutorial? There are times where tutees and
professors both might push against our approach to working with writers
rather than solely working on papers: How does collaboration engage
conversation and growth in ways that line-editing cannot?*

*Sometimes, that conversation and growth can be tough to navigate: as
writing tutors, we sometimes encounter hostile papers, hostile students –
maybe even moments our own beliefs, experiences or backgrounds are called
into question. But a spirit of radical openness runs through the current of
writing center work, and there are ways in which foundational parts of
tutoring pedagogy enable us to be good listeners, good community members
and good humans when we engage in challenging tutorials. The
Dangling Modifier wants to know about times when you’ve felt challenged to
grow during a tutorial, as well as times you needed to use your writing
tutoring skills to navigate a controversial difficult moment in the Writing

*Writing tutoring, civil discourse and collaboration all share the core
tenets of respect, listening, and engaging. What does it mean to be a
Keeper of Collaboration? How can writing tutors use these skills to
preserve and promote community in a tempestuous world?*

*We are also open to creative submissions of artwork, poetry, photography,
book reviews, etc. related to our Fall 2017 theme. If selected, these
submissions will not be listed as newsletter articles but will appear on
our website in our Entertainment Category. Writers can submit to both the
Entertainment and Article sections!*

*Submissions are due no later than November 15, 2017.Email submissions to
danglingmodifier.psu.edu@gmail.com <danglingmodifier.psu.edu@gmail.com>*

*Click here for submission guidelines.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Filing Taxes Made Easy by DeeDee Nguyen, CM 107 September 2017

            Filing Taxes Made Easy
Public Domain

            Every January, when all the excitement of the Holiday season has come to a close, I would make a mental list of what I need to accomplish for the upcoming year.  Unfortunately, on every years list is the dreaded task of filing my tax return.  Although April 15th is still four months away, Id grimace knowing that it will creep up on me, faster than I would have liked.  For years, because of procrastination, Id go into panic mode the week taxes are due; Ive waited, yet once again, to do something that shouldve been done months ago. 

            Over the years, my tax returns got more complicated, as there were more items that I needed to report.  Waiting till the last minute is not an option anymore.  Many people I know opt to file for extensions every year.  The ripple effect of postponing the inevitable has to be a detriment to the mind and body.  Is there a better way?  Yes, we can be more organized!

            Because the whole tax process has become increasingly painful, Ive developed a few systematic techniques to make it quite bearable.  It has helped me to be more organized; Im hoping it can help you, too.

            At the beginning of the year, Id create an Excel spreadsheet which would contain all the information that is needed to file my tax return.  I would have a column for salary, amount of taxes paid (income and real estate), retirement contribution, health savings account (HSA) contribution, charitable contributions, bank account interests, investment dividends, medical expenses, work expenses, and school expenses.  Id fill in the information as I received it throughout the year.  I would also make individual labeled folders for all the above mentioned categories, in order to keep the receipts, bank statements, and salary stubs organized; this way, I could pull up the information quickly if needed.  The spreadsheet is extremely useful at the end of the year because, I can check for any discrepancies by looking at the numbers on the spreadsheet and comparing them to the numbers on the tax documents that would come in the mail every January.  Once Im assured that all the information is correct, I would give it to my accountant for use in filing my taxes. 

            By taking about ten minutes a month to file and work on the spreadsheet, I would save tons of time and stress later.  Presently, my tax returns are completed and mailed by the end of February.  I can breathe much easier knowing that I have a system in place which helps me to be diligent.  Its still so easy to procrastinate, as there are many other activities that I would prefer to partake in, but I keep reminding myself that if I can avoid doing it at the last minute, it is better for my soul.  I still have friends who choose to procrastinate on their taxes.  It would be on their mind all year long, and sometimes thats all they could talk about; in addition to that, they are grumpy, to say the least, when the deadline is about to approached.   My advice to them is this; implement a plan, any plan; or better yet, use mine to help you be more organized.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Blogging for Small Business by Kristy Escobar

            For this blog, I am going to be talking about how to open a business, but also, still have the pleasure of  what you are going to be doing with your business. Opening up a business can be really challenging. There is so much work that goes into it. You have to be very dedicated on keeping the business up. Opening a business comes with so much joy. All these are big key factors on opening and successfully have a good business.
            The amount of work and time that goes into finding a location can be a lot. You will need a lot of time to find a building that you can turn into your business. The location is key to where your business will be at. The way the business looks has a lot to say about you and your business. The amount of time will go into all the work that need done to the building. Along with find a location also comes with the expensive.
            The dedication is a big for when having a business this will help you either succeeded or fail. You have to be dedicated to your business. Dedication can be very difficult when first starting out. But having dedication will bring success to your business. I have the dedication on owning my own business. I am dedicating my time on becoming the best business owner I can be. Without dedication or passion, you will never be where you want to be in the business field.
            The joy that comes with owning your own business is the best feeling ever. You would be your own boss. You will have the pleasure of making up your own business hours. With owning your own business, you would be able to connect with your clients more and enjoy their time, without being rushed to finish them. In the end all the, hard work and the dedication and the joy that your business brings you will all pay off.
            What I have learned while writing this is that it will take time, but with dedication you will succeed at 

whatever life throws at you. Running a business will be some work for you. All the key points I talked about 

are some of the key factors on becoming a great business owner. You can follow your passion on what you 

want out of life. The focus was how to have a successful business with amount of time you put into your 

building, the dedication you have to have and the joy it will bring when you pass that hump of opening a