Archive | March, 2010

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College weight gain can be avoided

Posted on 19 March 2010 by admin

Fat Superman

Photo by swruler9284, used with CC licensing

Graduate students often report a noticeable change in weight during their first year back at school. The causes are similar to those of the notorious, yet fabled, “Freshman 15,” which refers to a claim that freshman usually lose or gain up to 15 pounds in their first year. In all reality, researchers have found the weight gain, or loss,  is around 5-7 pounds.

Instead of thinking with their noggins, many students think with their stomachs and fall victim to the temptation of carbohydrate rich foods, copious snacking, fat saturated “goodies,” and sometimes, excessive drinking. A decrease in time or willingness to exercise only exacerbates the weight gain. Even worse, these habits can stick around, contributing to obesity later in life. Common sense, education, time management, and deliberate lifestyle choices can prevent or help shed bulging waistlines.

The National Institute for Health recommends dairy, meat/beans, fruit, vegetables, grains, and oil as the food sources for a well-balanced diet. Oil? Yea, oils actually help to provide energy, insulate our bodies, protect our organs, and absorb important vitamins. The good oils, or fats, that is, like vegetable oil, canola, or olive oil. You shouldn’t run out and buy a bucket of fried chicken. Instead, get your intake from mono- and polyunsaturated fats–not saturated or trans fat.


  • Fast foods: fried chicken, biscuits, fried fish sandwiches, French fries, fried apple or other pie desserts
  • Donuts, muffins
  • Crackers
  • Many cookies
  • Cake, cake icing, & pie
  • Microwave popped corn
  • Canned biscuits

Oh, the obstacles.
College students very often have meager finances, and tend to purchase the cheapest foods possible, which are likely to be high in saturated fats. Moving away from the parental sponsored and stocked commissaries, as well as structured eating patterns, also presents a challenge. A heavy course load, often balanced with work contributes to erratic eating patterns. Seems like a never-ending cycle, eh? Lack of money and time creates poor diet and lack of time means no money to create the good diet and then a bad diet can’t create the right energy to make more time to use to go create money. Not to mention–stress also triggers the compulsion to eat. It’s easy to scarf down a bag of potato chips and bundle of Oreo’s while studying for an exam, or doing project research on the computer. In between classes, 7-11’s kitchen is always open, peddling saturated fats for just the right price. But at what cost?

Sleepless nights and a decrease in exercise contribute to weight gain. Lack of sleep lowers your lepitin levels, and exercise helps to regulate them. A lepitin deficiency, caused by lack of sleep, or exercise, actually increases the appetite and is directly related to obesity. Sometimes it seems more beneficial to pull an all-nighter or skip a work out, but studies prove the exact opposite. Exercise also helps stimulate blood flow to the brain, and even develop new brain cells. What college student doesn’t want to improve their memory and ability to learn?

There are several ways that college students can incorporate healthier patterns that ultimately enable peak performance and a healthy BMI. Evaluate the snack foods and meals you turn to in a pinch. Replace them with healthier ones, like nuts, hot-air popped popcorn, peanut butters & crackers, bananas, or dehydrated fruit (yum pineapple). Try hummus with carrots, or tortilla chips instead of nachos, french fries, or junky food. Plan ahead for your busy week by grocery shopping and preparing meals ahead of time. Pack a lunch to bring on campus, instead of visiting the local sub shop or 7-11. Buy some frozen veggie burgers to skillet cook a meal in about the same time as heating up one in the microwave. Buy bulk foods, available at most grocery or health food stores, to save money. Reward yourself with snacks after a certain amount of your workload is finished, instead of just mindlessly snacking. Mindfulness, after all, is the ultimate “life-hack,” and can apply to everything.

Be mindful and create time to go the gym, take a nap, or call it an early night. Even if the day seems too short, maximizing your health will ultimately help you maximize your time, because you will always be in your prime. If you can’t fit in a trip to the gym, take several breaks and simply walk around the block, and do some stretches/push-ups/sit-ups.  Dog owners always find a way to squeeze in three walks a day, so can you. Dick’s Sporting Goods sells cheap weights that will help you keep, or build, muscle without leaving the house. Just take 10 minutes away from the computer, and do it.

The obesity problem in America is on just about everyone’s radar. Education can prevent future weight and health problems. As you become an adult, and step into the hectic pace of college life, make sure to get an early grip on what could be a potential problem. If you find yourself at Lincoln University, in Pennsylvania, definitely take this advice to heed. You won’t be allowed to graduate if your “Freshman 15,” moves into the upper levels!

P.S. If you feel like slamming down a drink after reading this post, first take a look at the alcohol calorie counter.

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The Grad Beat: Hire Us!

Posted on 06 March 2010 by admin

“You don’t need to hear another list of statistics to know that our economy is in crisis, because you live it every day. The impact of this recession is real, and it is everywhere.” ~President Obama

Long Road

Photo/Alix Bryan

Graduating college during a recession can be daunting, and sixty-four percent of college seniors surveyed have anxiety about finding employment. The unemployment rate has held at 9.7 percent, while the underemployment rate has risen recently. The latter includes people with part-time employment, who need full-time positions.

A student graduating with a degree in journalism will have more anxiety about job prospects than, say, a student of veterinarian science. Since 2001, daily newspapers have lost an estimated 17 percent of their news staff, with 15,000 jobs eliminated in just 2009. Rather than throw in the towel paper and switch careers, especially if journalism is your passion, just be prepared for the rocky road ahead–with deliberate effort it can turn into a long, prosperous road.

Certain steps will likely make your job search more successful, and possibly motivate you to get ahead of the curve with the latest in social and new media. No journalism career could possibly ignore Web 2.0, so if you don’t already have an online presence, get started–as soon as you finish this! Social media will enhance your job search, and the web is also a great place to network with other creative individuals, as well as to promote your talents.

Here are some resources.

Twitter is not only a place to curate your network by following the leader’s and thinkers in your industry, it can be a powerful job searching tool.

What it takes.
Interacting. Twitter is not merely about self promotion. Only 10-20 percent of your Tweets need to be about you. The rest needs to be information that benefits you & your followers. Also tap into your local Tweeters, and get to know them, which can lead to an “in” on local events and opportunities. As with any social networking site, potential recruiters can view your account. Keep it free of curse words, and less than savory viewpoints. Use the account to show how you are immersed in your industry, and up-to-date on the latest trends. Some people suggest maintaining two accounts. One for more personal interaction with acquaintances, a second account for professional purposes.

Follow people with experience and ask them questions, most likely they will respond back. When you engage in conversation, ask intelligent questions, and contribute meaningfully to the conversation. By nature journalists are curious and chatty.

On Wednesday’s, at 5pm PT, you will find fellow journalists participating in a conversation about web journalism, and the industry in general. As with all topics and conversations, they can be found by labeled hashtags, like #wjchat. The topic this past week was “Young Journalists Breaking into the Industry,” and it brought together college students, job seekers, and professionals–from some pretty big names in the industry.

The conversation is archived, and contains valuable suggestions. One shared viewpoint among the employers present was that the old school resume doesn’t carry the same weight it once did. Journalism employers also want to see that you have your own domain, website, blog, and Twitter account–and that they have good content. As one participant said, “Demos, not Memos.” That means showcasing a variety of subjects, media, and well developed articles, not just single-source ones.

Another consensus was that who you know is how you get someone to look at a resume or profile. Networking will always be important to a journalist.

How to make it effective

Step one, get an account. Step two, make sure your profile is optimized, which means it needs to be 100 percent complete. This will require getting three recommendations–testimonies to your character and work ethic. Try to return the favor when possible. There are several features to showcase your work, like current blog posts. LinkedIn offers a deeper dimension than just the paper resume, as a recruiter can see what other people think of you, and also get a view of your Twitter feed and blog posts without having to hit several URL’s.

Don’t get overly detailed, just put an emphasis on what you’ve accomplished and use specific numbers when possible. You can attach a more detailed resume to your profile, for managers to download and share.

Join some of the numerous groups on LinkedIn. These are another way to put yourself out there, ask questions, and be recognized. You can get a scoop on trends and access to jobs posted in the forums. You can opt to receive email notifications anytime from posts in your forum.

Be selective on LinkedIn. Never forget that you will be known by the company you keep, and here quality reigns over quantity. You don’t have to accept every request to join your network.

Wired Journalists
What it is.

Wired Journalist is a Publish2 network, and they are both collaborative platforms. Publish2 provides free tools to help curate the web, aggregating useful news and information. Use it to see who is in the field and what other journalists are following and creating. Wired Journalist is a growing community with forums to host conversations about the craft. You can join a group of colleagues interested in the same topic and mutually share your expertise. Job listings and internships are posted on WJ.

Be published

United Press International is more than another social network. The editors review and publish student submissions daily, including multimedia.  It is a great outlet to not only get your work published, but a network to receive feedback and ratings, which can help you improve your craft. They work with universities around the globe.

While you are in school, use the many resources available to strengthen your craft. Produce, produce, produce! Learn new applications, but never forget the importance of writing, and critical thinking. Attend conferences. Get an internship, or two and work beyond what is expected of you. Internships can lead to future employment, and sometimes you can create a position there for yourself.

Don’t be dismayed
Keep looking. Have several cover letters and tailor each one to the specific organization. Employers say they pay more attention to the cover letter, it helps them decide whether to look inside or not. Make your job search efficient by organizing your contacts, applications, resume, portfolio samples into one document. That will help you remember who you already contacted, and be sure to follow-up. Despite all this online networking and job searching, a phone call can be the best way to follow up with someone.

Other platforms that post job openings and internships are:

Poynter Careers
Journalism Jobs
Online News Association
Media Bistro
Cub Reporters

Remember, recessions end and news is always happening. Stay ahead of the curve in order to stay on a long, prosperous road.

For more resources, read “How To Elevate Your Journalism Career,” and “Social Media Resources for Job Seekers.”

And of course, please share your resources here for others.

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Community Center

Posted on 01 March 2010 by admin

Just off of Interstate 95 squats a mammoth, rainbow painted building. Located at 1407 Sherwood Avenue, the Gay Community Center of Richmond offer a diversity of events to the greater Richmond community. Many LGBT residents feel that the GCCR, which opened two years ago, has created a space that unites the community.

The GGCR opened just two years ago, although it is a part of the Gay Community Foundation, which just celebrated 10 years in Richmond.

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