Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Coping with the loss of a loved one

How do you deal with the loss of a loved one, mentor, or anyone who was close to you at some point in your life? Is there a right way or a wrong way? What if your beliefs are not the same as the person who passed away? And are we ever prepared for the death of someone we know, whether it was anticipated (cancer, terminal illness, etc.) or unexpected (car accident, shooting, etc.)?

There are so many questions, yet I’m not sure there is a correct answer for any of them. Everyone grieves in their own way and offers their love, prayers, thoughts, or whatever belief system you follow to the family who has lost a loved one. No matter if a person is prepared or not for a loved one’s death, it is never easy to cope with. According to experts there are four to five ways people grieve: denial, anger, bargaining (the what if stage), depression, & acceptance. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, we are all unique and may not go through all the stages or in any particular order.

Over the years I have seen people grieve in many ways, through celebrations of life, traditional services, crying, laughing, isolating/internalizing. Overall the best form is to aim for the acceptance stage and if that means crying and talking to family & friends for hours or days; then so be it because in the end it is what will work best for you to deal with the loss.

Having recently (this morning) been told about the loss of someone who I only knew for a short time, but was like a mentor and grandfather figure to me; caused great pain despite knowing his battle with cancer the past few months. When I was first told I choked up, yet now I find myself in the avoidance stage; not wanting to accept the reality & instead staying busy here at work. I know I will go through the other stages, but for now I remain occupied and fill my mind with the tasks that lay before me until I am ready to move forward to the next stage.

Until next time!

Joey McIntosh

“The loss of a loved one is one of the most tragic and devastating things a person could endure; and everyone copes differently. Some cry for the loss of a loved one others smile because they know they'll see them again.” – Author Unknown

Friday, April 26, 2013

How informed are you?

Do students really know what is going on and how it will effect their education? Are you aware of the changes that are taking place not only within the college and district, but at the state level? As an example there are three bills currently going through the state Assembly and Senate that will affect both community colleges, CSU’s and UC’s, as well as the K-12 system. I’ve listed the bills below with a brief summary provided by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office legislative division; if you want to read more click here: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/.

AB 955 (Williams) Community College Intersession Programs: AB 955 adds a section to the Education Code to authorize community college districts to offer an extension program for credit courses during summer and winter intersessions.

AB 51 (Logue) Baccalaureate Pilot Program: AB 51 creates a pilot program to become a model of articulation linking K-12 schools, community colleges, and CSU campuses in seven regional areas for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in STEM related fields for $10,000 or less, including the cost of textbooks.

AB 181 (Logue) Public Postsecondary Education: Degree Pilot Program. AB 181 establishes a pilot program to coordinate curriculum to enable students to earn a baccalaureate degree from a participating UC campus within three years of graduating from a secondary school for no more than $20,000, excluding the cost of instructional materials and mandatory campus based fees. The University of California may establish a Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program that includes any campus of the University of California, any campus of the California Community Colleges, and any secondary educational institution that volunteers to participate.

Now the question many should ask is how can we learn more and stay informed and two, “should it be our responsibility or FC’s Associated Student Government to inform us?” Or do students really not care, although I don’t believe this to be the case; rather a lack of information provided to them [you]. What are your thoughts? And what do you feel is the most effective way to inform students?

Until next time!

Joey McIntosh

"Unless there's overwhelming reason to withhold the information, the public's need to know should come first." — Al Tompkins

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Natural ways to handle stress

Stress is something everyone deals with at some point in life. There are people with chronic stress or better known as anxiety; then there is the occasional stress that might be caused by work, cramming for an exam or traumatic event. The question is, how do you deal with stress and is it the best method?

People use all types of methods to relieve stress or anxiety; medications, talking to friends or a counselor, meditating, or something I have wanted to try is a relaxing massage. Then there are some who may use more self-harming methods to alleviate their stress, a common one being cutting. Although the latter may seem extreme, and it is, to the person doing using this method it provides a tremendous relief.

Let’s talk more about the healthier ways to relieve the occasional or situational stress. One way to quickly relieve stress is using a method called, “Progressive muscle relaxation, or PMR.” This technique allows you to relax all of the muscles in your body, group by group. Starting with tightening up your toes for a few seconds, slowly moving up your body until you have done this to all the muscles in your body. Another quick method is breathing, taking in deep breaths through your nose and exhaling out the mouth. Three or four times filling the lungs with more air each time, it is often suggested to close ones eyes while doing this to help relax the body.

There are so many other ways one can do to reduce stress for long-term results, I would encourage you to give them a try. Not all will work the same for everyone, it is a start. Some of these I’ve found using Google™ are; yoga, exercise, journaling, eating healthier, listening to music and several others.

I didn’t talk about chronic stress/anxiety because that is a medical condition that should be dealt with by a doctor. I know people who suffer from this and despite trying non-medication techniques they still have high anxiety. But for those who have the occasional stress of life, these are great ways to help reduce it.

Until next time!

Joey McIntosh

“Sometimes, I just need my alone time. This world is so crazy and unpredictable. I just need some time to think, relax, and breath.”

Friday, April 19, 2013

What is happening to America?

First, I would like to take this opportunity to express my sympathy and condolences to those who were injured and killed during the terrorist attack at the Boston marathon. Second, to all of the men and women of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies who have been working tirelessly to apprehend the two suspects and continue to do so.

Who would have thought the day would come where cities would be placed under martial law, lockdown, or whatever one would prefer to call it. Where thousands of local, state, federal, and military personnel are scattered throughout multiple cities conducting door to door searches, putting a halt to the day-to-day operations of thousands of businesses and the Capitol of Massachusetts. All of this from two American citizens; that is what is truly shocking.

Ruslan Tsarni, uncle to both suspects told the younger suspect identified as 19 year old Dzhokar Tsarnaev, "If you're alive, turn yourself in and ask for forgiveness." He was also quoted saying that both he and his older brother brought shame to both their family and all ethnic Chechens because people are automatically assuming some Chechens are part of terrorist organizations.

Times are changing in America, no longer are the days where people can be care free and not pay attention to their surroundings. Yet at the same time, we as Americans must not give in to terrorism or live in fear. In watching the news this morning, a commander from the LAPD said it best, that we must move forward with daily activities while at the same time being aware of our surroundings and to trust ones instinct; or as Gibbs from NCIS calls it, “my gut.”

Until next time!

Joey McIntosh

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Do College Clubs Promote Segregation?

I have heard this question asked by students and staff on several occasions. In an odd way one can see why the question has been raised. Think for a moment about the various clubs offered, not only here at Fullerton College, but at other community colleges and universities as well, do they promote segregation?

For example here at Fullerton we offer a variety of clubs on campus that anyone can join, although when students look at the list of clubs and their titles, I would believe some would feel as though they would not “fit in” with that club. To name a few we have LAMDA, which supports and provides a safe environment for students to discuss and learn about the issues gays, lesbians, and bi-sexual/transgender students face; Black Student Union offers the same type of information, as well as the Filipino-American Students Organization and many others.

Before I go any further, I need to note that I have no prejudice against any club; I have actually supported some of these clubs during my time here at Fullerton. So, in a way it makes sense that one may believe that clubs at universities/colleges in a way could subconsciously feel clubs are for specific groups of people. I know for me when I first started I thought AGS and PTK were only for the really smart kids; which I later learned was not really the case (although they do require a certain GPA).

And when some clubs put themselves out there in the spotlight as supporting or promoting a specific goal and group, it can further lead other students to believe not all are welcome unless they support an issue; rather than them being able to go to club meetings to be informed about the group’s general issues. Personally I think some clubs across the board do an amazing job at welcoming all students, whereas others push general students away because they do not support their cause or are not of the same background.

This is an issue and I’m not sure if there is a solution that would help all students realize they are welcome to join any club and feel comfortable if they attend a meeting. And should there be or is it fair to restrict certain clubs from forming? That topic is for another day.

Until next time!

Joey McIntosh

“The cry of equality pulls everyone down.” – Iris Murdoch

Friday, April 12, 2013

Summer Courses and the New Student Body Executives

Did you know that there will be a huge number of summer courses offered this year? I’m not talking about just a few more classes and seats compared to the last couple of years, thousands of seats in a variety of courses; most of which will be transfer level courses!

Some may be thinking, ugh summer courses are so intense and challenging, although this is true just think on the positive side that it will allow you to take one, two or maybe even three courses over the summer, thus speeding up when you transfer. Especially since we are going to be offering three sessions; June 10-July 12, June 17-August 8, and July 15-August 15.

Even if you still don’t want to take a summer course(s), maybe you know a friend who does want to take a course; or someone who is at a Cal State or UC who may be looking to take a transfer class without paying the high fees of the university. Don’t let this opportunity pass you or a friend by! Again the amount of courses being offered is massive and the most offered Fullerton College’s history!

On a final note, I would like to congratulate our new A.S. President, Vice President, Treasurer, and A.S. Senators. Fullerton College wishes you the best in your 2013-14 Centennial term of office! We know all of you will serve and represent the students well, keep all students informed of campus activities & decisions. And ensure they are able to provide A.S. with proper input; not going off a handful of students or clubs opinions. Always remember during your term, data and facts are vital. 
Until next time!

Joey McIntosh

"The best executive is one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it." — Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, April 8, 2013

Who will you vote for in the A.S. Election???

As some of you may or may not know, the elections for the Associated Students (A.S.) will be held this Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in the quad. Officially there are five Executive positions available, President, Vice President, Treasurer, Student Trustee, and Inter-Club Council President. Along with these positions there are approximately sixteen A.S. Senator positions available, leaving the remaining sixteen open for the Fall 2013 semester.

So what are the duties of an A.S. Executive, Student Trustee, and Senator? The ultimate responsibilities of the Executive branch of A.S.; is to be the liaisons between students and faculty and administration. As a former A.S. Senator and Vice President (2010-2012), the tasks are not easy, nor do the results come quickly. That is why it is important to elect someone who has a passion and drive to ensure things happen, one that is willing to fight for students while at the same time fostering relationships with faculty and administrators. The latter is crucial because without their support, a road block will be encountered causing unnecessary delays.

The right President is critical because without a strong leader, there is no foundation the student body can depend on. The same is true for the Vice President, when the President is absent or unable to maintain their duties/responsibilities; in addition to his/her responsibilities of coordinating events and promoting student life on campus. As for the Treasurer their main responsibility is to balance the A.S. funds and divide them among each committee and department(s) (dance, athletics, cheer squad, health center, etc.) request, as seen fit.

Now the responsibility of the Student Trustee is somewhat different. Their goal is to be the liaison to the A.S. Executives and Senators, who are supposed to inform the students-at-large; and then take any feedback, if necessary to the Board of Trustees who are responsible for major changes to Board and Administrative Policies, as well as other significant issues. All of the positions are significant and like a body play an important role; this is why it is important to know your candidates and be informed before voting.

To learn more about the candidates you can read about them in the current issues of The Hornet newspaper or stop by the Student Center, room 214 (where you can get ID cards or play arcade games) to read their bios.

Until Next time!

Joey McIntosh

“Popularity should be no scale for the election of politicians. If it would depend on popularity, Donald Duck and The Muppets would take seats in senate.” – Orson Welles

Friday, April 5, 2013

2% vs. 5% success/retention rates...Why the fuss?

According to a faculty member and some students the colleges decision to set a campus wide annual goal for retention and success rates back to two percent; which was previously set at five percent the year before with hesitation from faculty, classified staff and administrators. So is reducing the percentage back down to two percent really that bad? The reduction rate is aimed primarily at African-American and Hispanic/Latino students.

Many object that lowering the rate will discourage students from trying to succeed. I would beg the question that, if a success and percentage goal listed on a piece of paper is all one is looking for to be motivated to succeed; a re-evaluation of why they are in college or what their long term goals are needs to be done. The motivation to succeed should not come from a document that a vast majority of students do not even know exist.

Some students have also argued that they are not properly informed about the services on campus or programs offered to help them be successful. In my opinion there is only so much the college can do to promote services and if students do not take the time, one to attend events on the quad or stop at the information booths the Associated Students and Inter-Club Council have out weekly, or two go to the college website and click on the student services tab to see what is available; then I am not sure what more can be done to inform students. To be quite frank, nearly all students are adults and it is up to each individual to seek out the resources they need to succeed in college. Students need to own up to why they are not succeeding. It is always easier to blame someone else, just remember as you’re pointing the one finger at someone, there are three more pointing back at you.

Everything we do in life is based on a choice, a choice to succeed or drop out and fail. To ask and seek out the help needed or sit back and blame others for not spoon feeding us the information of the resources available to us; ultimately the final outcome falls on us, not others. And for those raising the issues about the success and retention rates I ask, what about the other ethnicities? Why is the focus only on two out of the seven to eight ethnicity groups that make up all of Fullerton College? Shouldn’t their success and retention rates also be examined and see if theirs should be raised as well? If an issue is going to be addressed it should not be one sided, but benefit ALL the students of Fullerton College.

Until next time!

Joey McIntosh

Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.” – Les Brown

Monday, April 1, 2013

Welcome Back!!!

Back to the daily grind…yup spring break is officially over, hopefully all or a majority had a great break! And a wonderful Easter, no matter how you celebrated it! As for me I went to my sister’s church to watch my six year old niece dance in an Easter celebration performance. After that some family came over and my niece and nephew did a small Easter egg hunt, then we had a nice early dinner. Fortunately everyone was gone by 5:00pm so I was able to relax.

Family gatherings are always interesting, at least with my family. There is never a dull moment and conversations can get interesting, especially when you have parents who are divorced there with their new husband and wife. This is when having little kids around can really be a positive thing.

Setting Easter aside, spring break for me was nice; although I was still on campus working, it was quiet and productive. And it was only a four day work week due to Friday being a district holiday. I was able to use the extra day to re-arrange my room, get rid of some furniture and buy a new dresser. It’s a work in progress buying one thing at a time, despite wanting to buy everything at once I’ve been able to pace myself. So soon I will have all new pieces of furniture, with the exception of my bed.

All in all I had a relaxing weekend, although uneventful and exciting, I enjoyed myself. Hopefully everyone did too no matter what you did or where you went, if anywhere. The semester is almost through, so hang in there!

Until next time!

Joey McIntosh

"It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage that we move on to better things" — Theodore Roosevelt