Posted by: lindseychristine | November 3, 2009

Dr. Internet at Your Service!

webmdThe rising popularity of health related websites which feature symptoms and treatment information like Web MD and Discovery Health, have led to a surge in many self-diagnosing illnesses, injuries, aches, and pains. We have not only come to depend on the Internet for activities such as checking our email or Facebook, but also as our own personal medical resource to determine our sicknesses. With an enormous amount of detailed medical information accessible on the web within seconds, utilizing such sites has become a helpful craze for millions of Americans, according to a Fast Company article in September.

A UPenn student summed up a perfect example of how a college student could take full advantage of the medical website phenomenon in an October article from the The Daily Pennsylvanian, “Last week, my friend told me she’d had an allergic reaction to a spider bite, and mentioned she was eventually going to go to Student Health Service about it. She had searched her symptoms and diagnosed herself using WebMD, and the doctor’s office was just a bonus.”

imagesAlthough a visit to see a medical doctor does not exactly compare to self-diagnosing yourself, such medical resources come in handy for those who may not be able to afford the high costs of medical visits, especially for the thousands who are uninsured, or co-pays. In Connecticut alone, approximately 209,027 working individuals were reported uninsured in 2006-2007, according to a report on Cover the Uninsured from the Census Bureau.

Often times individuals are unsatisfied with visiting their physician since it often seems impersonal, rushed, and inconvenient to wait long periods of time in busy, germ-infested waiting rooms. Medical websites such as WebMD provide detailed illness information in an easy to understand language on categories such as:
~An overview and facts
~Diagnosis and tests
~Treatment and care
~Home remedies
~Resources to find help

Those who take advantage of visiting “Dr. Internet” to help diagnose and cure themselves from illnesses must keep in mind that like anything on the Internet, medical information may be inaccurate or misleading. The Early Show Medical Correspondent, Dr. Jennifer Ashton, provides further explanation about being cautious when trying to “Webnosis” yourself…

Health websites to help us self-diagnose our illnesses should be utilized as a stepping stone since they can be valuable in offering us a greater understanding of whether or not we may suffer from a physical or mental illness. When it comes to our health and well being one should not limit themselves from the big picture, an overall, thorough health examination by a qualified health professional to diagnose symptoms and advise treatment.

Have you come to rely on health information websites for self-diagnosis?

Posted by: lindseychristine | October 29, 2009

Drop the Books and Take a Break. “Just Do It!”

It boggles my mind when working out at the gym to see several students reading textbooks while exercising on machines like bikes, ellipticals, and treadmills. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to see students so invested in their education. However, the gym should be the one place where students should completely “escape” the stresses that come with schoolwork and clear their minds from the strains of a challenging college workload.

Stress and anxiety pertaining to schoolwork and our personal lives causes 68 percent of students to toss and turn in their beds and keep them up each night, according to an August report by Medical News Today.

It’s certainly no secret that the majority of college students consistently experience some level of stress in their everyday lives. You may not be able to run away from studying for that biology exam or writing your 10 page research paper, but you can run off the stresses that come with a demanding academic lifestyle on a treadmill.


Many would argue that “milk does the body good,” as does working out. Of course exercising surely improves one’s physical health, but hitting the gym for college students to revamp mental health is a must.

“Exercise time is a great time to get in touch with your inner feelings such as anger, anxiety, fear, sadness or worry. If you feel any emotion that is burdening you, exercise sessions can be a perfect opportunity to release feelings and find peace,” reported nursetogther. I couldn’t of said it better myself. It’s true, students should surely focus their workout sessions on gaining a sense of rejuvenation rather than on that diagram of the brain for the psychology exam.

imagesThere’s a time and place for everything. Studying and reading textbooks at the gym simply does not seem appropriate in such setting. If you give your brain a break and replenish your energy at the gym, you are more likely to be more concentrated later on after a workout.


Obama hits up the court to work off all the stress that comes with living in the White House

If Obama is able to drop everything he’s doing to run the U.S., you should feel more than able to leave your books and study guides behind in your backpack for that library visit later on. Am I right? After all, you deserve that time for yourself.

Posted by: lindseychristine | October 27, 2009

Why donate blood? Save Lives & Your Heart

“Every minute of every day, someone needs blood,” according to the American Red Cross.

blood_donors_1“It’ll just be a quick pinch!” The thought of giving blood can make those who fear and despise needles squirm. However, those who are kind and brave enough to be consistent blood donors not only help to save the lives of others in need of a blood transfusion, they are also improving their heart health by decreasing their risk for heart disease, according to a report by The Boston Channel.

Dr. David G. Meyers, an associate clinical professor of cardiology at The University of Kansas Hospital, reported on their website, “Giving blood reduces the level of iron in the blood…a lower level of iron in the blood protects individuals from coronary artery disease. This study suggests that frequent and long term whole blood donation may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

Medical research has confirmed that men who donate blood often can particularly benefit the most from preventing cardiovascular damage since heart disease is the main cause of death for males, according to Dr. Kristie Leong in a HealthMad report in February 2008.

The American Medical Association reported that those who gave blood every six months had less heart attacks and strokes from research conducted on participants ages 43 to 61, according to a March 2007 report by the Associated Content.

Yes, we are young adults and are not overly concerned about our cardiovascular health or cholesterol at this stage of our lives. However, getting into the routine habit of donating blood early on will certainly benefit your body and heart in the long run. Be sure to encourage your parents to donate blood and inform them of how beneficial it can be in preventing heart disease.

Of course we’re all busy balancing our lives with homework, studying, and fun, but if you can take one hour out f your day two times a year to give back to those in desperate need of blood, the benefits are truly positive. Need more reasons to be a blood donor? Check out The American Cross’ Top 10 Reasons to Give Blood.

The Miller-Keystone Blood Center provides further explanation of the advantages blood donors have…

Look into the next blood drive at your school or find an American Red Cross blood drive location here.

Have you donated blood before? Were you aware of the health benefits of donating?

Posted by: lindseychristine | October 22, 2009

The New and Improved “Library Book”

DM1809-1The growth of emerging technology over the years has resulted in media becoming incredibly modernized digitally. Looking back, the way music has been bought and enjoyed has surely progressed over the years from records, cassettes, CDs, to ultimately songs being downloaded on iTunes. People used to simply rely on newspapers and magazines to acquire the news, but now we depend on the web and multimedia news organization websites to give us the scoop. Why buy a card when you can just send an e-card right? So why buy a book if you can read it online for free?

When was the last time you used your library card? Maybe it was in third grade when you had to do a book report. Regardless if it was yesterday or 13 years ago, library cards have become more valuable than ever before. About 5,4000 public libraries across the country are pulling in readers by offering a wide variety of ebooks which can be downloaded free of charge via library websites, according to a New York Times report last week. The New York Public Library currently provides a remarkable 18,300 ebooks on their website.

imagesTo adapt to today’s desires to obtain information with a quick click of a mouse and to view and read information on the computer rather than through a hard copy of a book or newspaper, libraries are now pulling in more readers through ebook services. Regulars of the library or non-library users now can take full advantage of browsing through thousands of titles and reading books of all genres without ever having to leave their home or dorm.

“As young people become used to reading virtually everything online,” said Paul LeClerc, president of the New York Public Library, “that is going to propel a change in terms of readership of e-books rather than readership of physical books,” according to the NY Times.

Like “traditional” library books, an ebook can only be “borrowed” by one individual at a time. Also depending on the library’s borrowing period, access to the ebook will also be terminated after the take-out time frame. Ebooks can be borrowed by simply typing in your library card number.

College students eat, drink, and breathe the Internet. Since we have the constant want to stay connected virtually on a personal and academic level, having the option of borrowing ebooks for leisurely or educational purposes is brilliant. The fact that students work long days and nights throughout summer months to fork over $400-600 to college bookstores each semester for textbooks makes the idea of free ebooks extremely appealing.

“Students are really suffering from the high price of textbooks, and it’s largely due to predatory practices on the part of publishers,” according to the Maryland Public Interest Research Group in a WBALTV- Baltimore 11 report this August.

Have you read an ebook? Would you prefer reading a book for fun on the web or physically hold it?

Get a taste of the ebook craze by checking out the beginning of this video to see how a New Jersey public library offers ebooks.

Posted by: lindseychristine | October 22, 2009

Murder of “Jazz” Howard Results in Third CT College Death

49947952In recent months we have read and heard disturbing news headlines such as “Police: Gunman in Deadly Wesleyan Shooting Threatened Victim, Is Targeting Jews,”Bloody Clothes’ Found Inside Lab Where Missing Yale Student Worked,” and this past weekend “UConn Football Player Jasper Howard Stabbed to Death on Campus.” The tragic death of Jasper Howard, a well-loved, popular, 20-year old cornerback for the Huskies, marks the third death of a college student on or close by a college campus in the state of Connecticut within the past six months, according to a Fox 61 report on Sunday.

imagesA junior from Wesleyan University, Johanna Justin-Jinich, 21, was shot and killed on May 6th by Stephen Morgan at the university’s bookstore and cafe which is in close proximity to the campus.

images-1With a new school year in full swing this fall, Annie Le, 24, a Yale doctoral student was found dead on September 8th in a school lab’s wall after being strangled and suffocated by 24-year old Raymond Clark III.

images-2This past Sunday, Jasper Howard, UConn junior and a soon-to-be father was stabbed to death outside of the Student Union on the university campus at 12:33 a.m. following a university sponsored homecoming celebration dance, according to an article published yesterday in UConn’s student newspaper, The Daily Campus. Howard’s killer still has not been identified, according to Major Blicher from the UConn Police Department.

An overwhelming amount of sorrow and grief have transpired on the campuses of these three Connecticut educational institutions, only miles a part from one another. Students and faculty at the universities have been forced to cope with the loss of young adults who had such bright futures ahead of them. Students at these or any other college university should never, ever have to see there campus turn into a murder investigation scene.

We often watch the news and feel unfortunate and saddened to hear tragedies occurring at places elsewhere, but we may often think that such a tragedy could never occur at our own school. Waking up to horrifying news that a murder had been committed on my campus hit myself and the entire UConn community like a ton of bricks. It does hit home when a death, whether if you knew the student or not, occurs on your campus.

49925741Seeing yellow caution tape blocking off the homicide scene, a surge in police and emergency personnel, news station vehicles and reporters plastered on the center of campus, people crying, students and faculty walking around with looks of disbelief, it’s just down right disturbing. The entire horrific scene and event is utterly appalling and has planted a pit in my stomach. The chaos that has enveloped on the rural UConn campus appears to be one bad nightmare in which everyone just wished we’d be able to wake up and realize it was only a dream. Everyone on campus seems to be asking themselves, “Why? Why did this happen?!”

The Yale, Wesleyan and UConn communities will always remember their fallen students and will progress and strengthen from such tragedies. News stations should not have to arrive on any more college campuses to cover the death of a student or to report at candlelight vigils. Where do we go from here? When will there be a stop to college campus violence?

Posted by: lindseychristine | October 15, 2009

Pumpkin spice, you are so nice!

CS-03C1025-18-37The air is crisp. The leaves have changed to beautiful orange, red, yellow colors. The nights have become chillier and the wind’s howling. The sounds of leaves crunching have become routine. Apple crisp, hot cider, and “fun size” candies never fail in hitting the spot during this season. Many would say that “the most wonderful time of the year” is the winter holiday season, but I’d argue that fall in New England is by far the best time of the year hands down. No, I’m not Scrooge but I’m still a child at heart who loves to go apple picking and carve a pumpkin. Whether you enjoy these activities or not, you can always spice up your season with a getaway.

CS-03C1025-02-31 Got plans for the weekend? Grab your friends and head to Southern New Hampshire toward Mount Monadnock to the land famous for jack-o-lanterns! Yes, Keene, NH! This Saturday marks Keene’s 19th Annual Pumpkin Festival which will kick off at 10a.m. and end when the bats are out and about at 9p.m.

Approximately 70,000 people from all over New England attend each year to be awed by pumpkins that range from humorous, creepy, weird, and original, displayed on wooden platforms along Keene’s Main Street, according to an Associated Content report last month. You’re never too old to enjoy “a costume parade, a seed spitting and pie eating contests, live music on three stages, facepainting, craft booths, lots of food provided by area non-profits,” which the festival site promotes. See for yourself what it’s like to be surrounded by thousands (yes thousands!) of beautifully carved pumpkins.

Since the start of Pumpkin Fest in 1991, the Guiness Book of World Record for Most Lit Carved Pumpkins was set seven times at this well-loved autumn event, according the Associated Content report. Can you try to imagine being in the presence of 28,952 pumpkins?! Crazy to think about! However, those who attended Pumpkin Fest 2003 could confirm they experienced just that. The quaint streets of Keene were completely brightened up by such an astonishing amount which set a Guinness Book of World Record for the Largest Amount of Carved Pumpkins Gathered Together! If that wouldn’t get you into the Halloween spirit I’m not sure what will.

Oh, so this is what a pumpkin artist does…

Posted by: lindseychristine | October 12, 2009

Computer Companies to Introduce High Tech Computer Tablets

500x_courier8Blackberries, iPhones, kindles, the iPod Touch, what’s next you may ask in the booming world of technology? The high-tech computer industry is currently working hard on a new and improved device, computer tablets. A keyboard-free, touch-screen device is in the works by computer companies like Apple and Microsoft with the goal of introducing such gadgets at the start of 2010, according to a report last week in The New York Times.

The Times revealed that Apple plans to incorporate its iPhone services to a modernized computer tablet which will have an introductory price of a whopping $700. Plans for the tablet include a two screen device which will include e-book readers, television, movie, and video game capabilities, social networking software, restaurant finders, and of course visually pleasing web and computer applications.

The rumor that Microsoft was also creating a similar tablet called the Courier was confirmed at the end of September on the popular technology blog Gizmodo, according to a report in the LA Times last month. The blog states that Microsoft’s tablet will be a 7-inch, touch-screen and will provide writing and drawing features to be used with a stylus or by the use of a finger. The back of the tablet will also include a camera.

Take a look at the wide array of features Microsoft’s Courier will offer…you may just be amazed.

Although everyone always seems to want to purchase the latest technological device, many are debating on whether or not there is a need for such a device since it will incorporate many of the same applications that other current devices already offer. “I can imagine something like the iPhone with a much bigger screen being a gorgeous device with great capacity, but I don’t know where I would fit that into my life,” a former Apple executive shared with The New York Times.

imagesOn the flip side, students and professors at Albion College in Michigan certainly disagree, according to an August report on Michigan Live LLC. Andrew French, an organic chemistry professor, finds computer tablets to be extremely beneficial and incorporates the use of them in his class lectures. French requires his students to have tablets in class. He draws on his own tablet and the asks the class questions which are to be answered on the students’ tablets. Undergraduates in this class are able to give the professor an instant response on whether or not the material that is being taught is understood.

The use of tablets have truly had a positive effect on the learning process in this course. “I’ve seen the dynamic in the class change…We’re able to learn together,” French mentioned. Kyle Shanton, Associate Professor of Education at Albion, found, “The average score was nearly 10 percent higher than a class in a previous year that did not use the devices.”

Nobody is certain what the future holds for the success of computer tablets. For the average person the device may not be anything too out of the ordinary with all the modern technology available. However, utilizing such gadgets to advance upon classroom teachings would truly be beneficial. Not only will students be able to interact more effectively with professors in class, note taking whether in words or drawings will surely be helpful with an improved computer tablet. Do you think computer tablets could benefit you as a student? Do you see a future with such new technology in the classroom?

Posted by: lindseychristine | October 11, 2009

The Curse of the Tanning Trend

tanning_bed_3The desire to have the ideal, golden bronze appearance has made visits to tanning salons a popular activity amongst a surplus of college students. As the profitable tanning industry rakes in more than $5 billion each year, according to the Indoor Tanning Association, tanning bed fans set themselves up for a rude awakening.

Since tanning often appears to be a must amongst this population, many do not realize how incredibly damaging and harmful it is to the body to routinely bask in UV rays. The Journal of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescence Medicine reported that teenagers are nowhere close to worrying or being concerned about the health consequences associated with tanning practices, according to a Discover Magazine report in August 2006.

The urge to maintain a tan, dark body has led individuals to become frequent visitors to tanning beds and stand ups, ultimately increasing their risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of cancer. Young people who routinely choose to tan are eight times more likely to develop melanoma, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer reported by The Boston Globe in July.

A surge in research studies linking those who tan to cancer led to the medical journal, Lancet Oncology, to report, “Tanning beds and ultraviolet radiation are definite causes of cancer, alongside tobacco,” this past July.

The American Cancer Society predicts close to 69,000 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma this year. Cancer experts found ultraviolet radiation to be one of the highest risk factors for cancer and have been compared to poisonous substances like arsenic and mustard gas, according to The Boston Globe report in July. Like the carcinogens in tobacco, experts say the UV rays in a tanning booth are highly comparable to the poisonous ingredients found in cigarettes.

victoria-beckham-orange-tan-240tp072009Teens and young adults have become incredibly brainwashed by the media and fashion industry to maintain a beautiful, tan body in order to feel attractive like the bronzed models on magazine covers and actors on TV. Whether models choose to tan or their bodies are Photoshopped to appear more golden, mainstream media has encouraged the younger generation that tanner is better. This trend ultimately sends the poor message to younger generations to embrace a superficial lifestyle, rather than embracing natural beauty. As a result, there is a constant want and need for a tan glow to feel appealing.

A national survey conducted by the American Academy of Dermatology confirmed, “More than half of all men and women said people look better with a tan,” according to a CBS News report in May 2005. Although melanoma is a highly preventable form of cancer, ultimately powerful societal norms of how one is supposed to look push many into unsafe UV filled beds.

For those who cannot give up trips to the tanning salon, the FDA suggests adults should limit their visits to no more than three times a week, according to a report in this month’s issue of Time Magazine.

They say pain is beauty, but purposely placing your body at risk for developing skin cancer in the future isn’t worth the beauty benefits.

Posted by: lindseychristine | October 8, 2009

One Blog Audience Mystery Revealed!

bloggersWho’s reading your blog? Friends? Family? The guy down the hall? Is your roommate your blog’s biggest fan? Of course complete strangers can also read your blog on a daily basis. You may never know who enjoys reading your topic focused blog or personal life blog that reveals your experiences and thoughts. Blog sites do provide their bloggers with stats to determine the amount of traffic their blog receives, however we are unclear of who those visitors are exactly.

Did you ever think that a link to your blog could be posted on your college’s admissions office website? Probably not, but it could more be more likely than you think!

admissions_vassar_eduStudents’ blog links are being publicized on admissions office websites at MIT, Yale, Colby, Wellesley, Amherst, Bates, and Carleton, according to a report published by The New York Times last week. Why you ask? Student blogs are now being viewed by professionals in higher education as a valuable way for prospective high school students to zoom in on the attitudes and perspectives from the college or university’s student body. The NY Times reinforced that college personnel are firm believers in providing such blog links since they are “…a powerful marketing tool for high school students, who these days are less interested in official messages and statistics than in first-hand narratives and direct interaction with current students.”

Let’s face it, going on a college tour you’re often provided with lots of “fluff” by peppy tour guides who are eager to do and say whatever they can to sell their school. Getting the real scoop on a college and students’ experiences is truly important. It’s great if you know someone who attends a college you’re applying to since it’s easy to hear the real deal. However when you don’t know anyone who goes to a school, blogs of current students from such school may be a great alternative to acquire a better glimpse of the kinds of students who attend.

When it comes to searching for the perfect college, high schoolers need to make an effort to learn about the kinds of students who attend, the best weekend spots, if the location is conducive for a college lifestyle, how the classes and professors are, costs, and the types of activities and services offered. There is certainly a lot to consider, however blogs could serve as an excellent role to hear what real students are saying about the campus, classes, and student life, both in a positive and negative light. After all, there are only so many overly enthusiastic, all-star students’ feedback you can read on college brochures you receive in the mail as a high schooler.

Since students are able to freely write what’s on their minds without admissions offices editing or covering up material up to be PG, prospective students can be confident in utilizing student blogs as a realistic source of student life information.

Very interesting to see how colleges are promoting students’ blog posts on their websites! Take a closer look yourself…
MIT Admissions

Posted by: lindseychristine | October 6, 2009

Jumpstart your online identity!

linkedin1College students are constantly being cautioned not to upload or write inappropriate material on social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, to maintain a professional online identity. However, nobody ever offers us advice on ways to create a positive image for ourselves or improve upon our professional appearance on the Internet.

LinkedIn is a great way for students to “market” themselves and boost their identity to perspective employers. This professional website allows you to enter in educational information, past work/internship experiences, activities, skills, academic and professional achievements, and URLs to personal websites/blogs. In addition, you can provide a short summary about yourself highlighting a desired industry(s), interests and aspirations. Ultimately you are creating an online resume for others to access instantaneously which could be beneficial in various ways.

The popular site allows you to stay connected with current and past employers/co-workers/ internship supervisors, friends, professors and highly qualified experts in specified fields. Since social networking sites like Facebook are often very personal, LinkedIn is a fantastic alternative for keeping in touch with such individuals on a positive and conservative note.

Employers from all fields are able to contact users they may find suitable for job openings or internships as well. Having the opportunity to develop inside connections with potential employers is just one of the many advantages of choosing to utilize LinkedIn. The site emphasizes that more than 47 million people are members from more than 200 countries. Very impressive! The site is truly a strong networking tool with a wide array of professionals associated within the organization. Like Facebook, you are able to invite those you prefer to connect with and manage your information with privacy settings.

Rumor has it that LinkedIn is only for professionals and graduates, however that is certainly NOT the case! LinkedIn is advantageous for college students since you are making a name for yourself and putting yourself out there to a reputable, professional online community. The site can assist undergraduates who may only be seeking career advice from those working in the field or those in search of landing an internship. Regardless of a student’s motive for creating an account, if a potential employer “Googles” their name their LinkedIn account will most likely appear within the first page. Always a plus! Including the URL to a LinkedIn account can also snazz up a resume and show employers that you’re focused professionally.

Here are five reasons why students should dive right into the big LinkedIn pool and help launch their career paths…

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