Recent Entries by Bre  

Flying Vegans!

This past weekend at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, they have been focusing on ways to reduce stress in students' lives. They held many events throughout the week to allow students with the opportunity to unwind. Two of the events that I went to was Cirque de-Stress and the Twin Cities Veg Fest.

Cirque de-stress was a circus sponsored by local mental health facilities both on and off campus in an attempt to provide students with ways to manage stress in their lives. At the circus they had juggling, unicycle riding, therapy animals (including a chicken) and tightrope walkers. The cool thing about the circus was that most of the performers where fellow U of M students. It was also a nice break away from mid-terms. So even though life might get stressful at times, and we may wish to run off and join the circus, Cirque de-stress provided students with ways to manage their stress while also making it fun in the process. Below are a few pictures of the event.

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Crazy guy balancing a ladder on his chin!

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One of the therapy dogs.

The second event was the Twin Cities Veg Fest. I helped set up the event and volunteered as a greeter for the first half of the day, but afterwards I enjoyed the wonderful free food samples provided by local venders. The Twin Cities Veg Fest had three main components to it. In main room was filled with vendors from local businesses that have either vegan friendly food or clothing. The vegan samples where actually surprisingly good. I was able to try vegan ice cream sandwiches, nachos and cheese, sausage and marshmallows just to name a few. The second room called "The Whole" had various musicians playing, ranging anywhere from jazz to hard medal. The last room was filled with speakers who came to talk about the various reasons on why they have chosen a vegan lifestyle. It was a great opportunity for students who have wanted to learn more about vegan or vegetarian eating and gave them an opportunity to see how easy it can be. At the end we were able to get a free swag bag that was filled with coupons and free cookies!

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Overall it was a fun experience to see the different types of events that are present at a larger university. It would be interesting to take some of these ideas integrated into the Rochester campus just in a more scaled down version.

Hej from Denmark!

This summer as part of my capstone experience I traveled to Copenhagen Denmark. In this blog I am going to focus on the things that I learned with taking classes abroad. While I was in Denmark I took a Clinical Psychology class for three weeks and then a Genocide and Holocaust class for another three weeks. Traveling to Denmark was by far the best experience of my life. I met amazing people and got to experience a completely different culture.

While taking classes I learned two main things. From my Clinical Psychology class, I learned that the way that Danish psychologist diagnose people is completely different than the way American psychologist diagnosis people. In Denmark they use the ICD 10 while in America we use the DSM 5. This leads to, in some cases, a drastically different diagnosis. When used both the ICD 10 and DSM 4 (since the DSM 5 was not out yet) to diagnose the same patient and found out that if you use one manual you will find that the patient has mild depression, but if you use the other manual then the patient will have schizophrenia. This can have some clinical applications because it shows that depending on the culture that a patient grows up in, they can be diagnosed with different disorders, and therefore as doctors we need to take into account the environment in which the patient grows up in when making a diagnosis. Below is a picture of my class in the garden of my teacher's house. When the days were nice outside she would allow us to have discussion outside in order to enjoy the nice weather.

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The other main thing that I learned while taking my Genocide and Holocaust class is that the concentration camps in Poland and in other countries have different meanings to different people. While I was at Auschwitz I saw a mother and daughter lay flowers next to the wall between block 11 and 10 which was a common site for Jewish prisoners to be executed at. In that moment the mother and daughter did not even notice all the tourists flowing in and out of the buildings, but instead looked at the flowers that they just laid next to the wall and then started crying while hugging each other. It was then that I realize that these concentration camps are more than just museums, but are memorials. Next we went to Auschwitz 2 which is for the most part in the same condition as it was when the Nazis left it. While we were there our class noticed big pools of water that were almost like mini lakes. It was not until you looked closer that you could see that were the water was started to reseed there were mini bone fragments. Our teacher than told us that these lakes where used to get rid of the bones of prisoners after the Nazis burned the bodies. It was during this moment that I realized that these camps are more than just museums and memorial but they are also burial cites. I could go on and on about the horrors that I saw at the concentration camps, but instead I would like to focus on the positive. Instead of allowing these concentration camps to go unkept (many of the camps were vandalize and had metal plaques stolen off the memorial stones) we should start thinking about these camps as a memorial, burial cite and museum hybrid. If people starting thinking about them in this way, it would hopefully lead to less vandalism and more respect at the concentration camps. Below is a picture of Auschwitz 1.

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I know this blog only talks about the academic side of studying abroad, but in future blogs I will talk about the different cultures that I experienced and the social side of studying abroad.

We are not in Kansas (UMR) anymore

As part of my capstone experience I am taking all of my classes this year at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus in order to obtain a minor in psychology. To say that things up here are a little different than at the Rochester campus would be an understatement. Instead of having a graduating class size of about 200 people, one of my classes has 200 people in it alone! It is weird to not be sitting like knights at the round table huddled around the mediascape working on a group paper every other week. Instead we sit in individual seats all facing the same direction listening to the professor for about an hour long lecture and then are dismissed. It was a weird feeling going through my first class at the Twin Cities without having a single moment were the whole class would break out into groups and discuss the main arguments of an article/theory.

Along with the differences in class structure the way things are graded at the Twin Cities campus is also very different. Instead of having group work count for about half of your grade, for the most part he only thing that makes up your grade are your test scores (thank god I paid attention in Anatomy class sophomore year). Even after receiving our test grades, instead of just walking up to the just ask center at UMR to go over your test with the professor, you have to set up an appointment with a TA (new term I learned after moving to the Twin Cities campus since we do not have TAs at the Rochester campus) during their office hours. I am not saying that one campus is better than the other because both of them have their positives and negatives, it is just a major adjustment.

On the brighter side of things (not talking about grades anymore) I did go to my first college football game a couple of weeks ago. I would highly recommend that each college student experience some sort of sporting event before they graduate. It was like a whole different world. Even people who I have never met before came right up to me and started singing the University song just out of school spirit. Even though the Gophers lost the homecoming game everyone still seemed in high spirits. Below is a picture of the marching band during half time.

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Other than that things are pretty similar to the University of Rochester campus, besides the long walk to classes. Instead of taking a five minute walk through the skyway system to get to class, it now takes be about 30 minutes to walk to class. I do not really mind the long walk though because the campus is beautiful in the fall time (minus the rainfall that we have been having the past couple of day, I think I may invest in a hatbrella). Below is a picture of the bridge that connects the east side of campus to the west side. It is really pretty to walk over on your way to class because the leaves are starting to change color by the river and students just painted the inside of the bridge with different club logos.

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So next time you think you are having a bad day, just think you could be stuck crossing that bridge without an umbrella (or hatbrella) in the pouring rain.

Summer Plans-Hej from Denmark!

Now that the stress from finals is over, I finally get to start packing for Denmark! This summer I will be taking some classes abroad in Denmark through the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS) program. I am excited to see what makes Denmark the "happiest country in the world," by bet is on the fact that they have trampolines built into their sidewalks!

While I am there I will be taking two courses, which last 3 weeks each. The first three weeks I will be taking European Clinical Psychology. In this course I will be able to work in the field of clinical/abnormal psychology and focus on the way the European/Danish work within the field. We will also look at the similarities and differences between the clinical practices and health systems between the United States and Europe since the two use different diagnostic systems. We will also be able to talk with people who are working in the field and go on field studies. One of the field studies involves going to the Copenhagen Buddhist Center. The second class that I will be taking is called Holocaust and Genocide. This course involves analyzing the causes and consequence of genocide since it is still apparent today even though after the Holocaust people swore "never again." We will also be taking a week long study trip to Poland. While we are there we will visit Auschwitz, Birkenau, Kazimierz and Chelmno nad Nerem. During my first few days in Denmark I will also get to take a tour of the Rosenborg Castle, which is pictured below.

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After classes end a few friends and I are going to stay a week in Europe to see Paris, London and Anne Frank's house in the Netherlands. I am SUPER excited to go London to see 221 Baker Street (where Sherlock and Watson live). I hope this will help cure the withdrawal that I am having since season two of Sherlock ended.

After spending half of my summer in Europe, I will be moving up to the Twin Cities since, as part of my capstone, I will be earning a minor in Psychology. I am excited to see what it is like to live, and take classes, at a more traditional university even though it kind of scares me. I also plan to but my EMT license to use and work up there in order to gain some patient hours before I start applying to graduate schools (time flies so fast).

Hope all of you have a wonderful and warm summer!

How to survive finals week

Start studying in advance: this will make finals week less stressful because all you will need to do is go over your notes that you took during class and while you were studying beforehand. Make sure to look over the course syllabus because it normally provides you with an outline of the "main concepts" of the course, this will allow you to narrow in on the information that will be present on the test and were you need to spend most of your time studying.

Make a playlist: this will help you stay motivated and will help you survive those long nights of cramming before a test.

Take study breaks: this will allow you to relax and help with the nerves that come along with finals week. I found that it is best to study for 40-50 minutes and then take a 10-15 minute break, just make sure that you do not get stuck on Facebook for too long.

Make friends with a barista:
lots of free coffee is always a good thing when it comes to staying up late and helping you get through those last few hours of studying before a test.

Set goals: this will help you stay on task and make sure that you are getting stuff done. This will also allow you to keep from being overwhelmed with the amount of work that you may need to do in order to prepare for your tests.

SLEEP: people who pull all-nighters have actually been known to have lower GPAs, by getting sleep it will increase your productivity and keep your mind sharp.

Make an escape plan: when you have your winter/summer break plans before finals week begins it can be used as a source of motivation, or a light at the end of the tunnel. This can make all those long hours of studying worth it because in the end you will have something great to look forward too.

Everyone is stressed: everyone is going through the same type of stressors as you are so you are not alone. My roommates and I would come up with study breaks together (like building a fort, playing Mario Kart, or hitting each other with stress sticks). Yeah that last one was not that great of an idea, but it did take our minds off finals for a little bit (see picture below)!

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March Maroonness

While everyone is excited about March Madness my friends and I were excited about March Maroonness. As you can tell by the themes of my past blogs, I am a music junky, so when I found out that Maroon 5 was going on tour with two of my other favorite bands, Owl City and Neon Trees, I bought tickets instantly. Six months after buying the tickets the concert finally came and it was epic. I was not sure how the concert was going to flow since the bands all come from different backgrounds, and Owl City is kind of the outlier in the fact that their music genre is different than Maroon 5 and Neon Trees. In the end though all the bands songs flowed nicely together and the concert was a huge success.

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In a way it reminded me of the structure of UMR. The reason for this is because UMR students take a wide range of classes but they all flow nicely together to represent the bigger picture, multiple careers in this case are the health sciences. Even though all the classes highlight a different main theme (or genre) all of them work together to provide the students here with a holistic approach to the health sciences. By the holistic approach I mean that as a UMR student you will see how integrative the classes are here. Many of the assignments that are due in one class will overlap into others, and some of the professors will help co-teach the lectures. For example, in our physics class we have our anatomy teacher come in and talk about the structure of the human ear and how using the equations in physics will allow us to calculate how sound travels down the ear canal. In this way, it shows that even though as a student we will be coming from different backgrounds and gaining a wide range of background knowledge we will all end up in the health sciences field and maybe even working together in the future.

Chancellor's Dinner

One of the amazing opportunities offered to UMR students their freshmen year is to go to the Chancellor's house for dinner. During my Chancellor's diner there were five other students and an ambassador. It was fun to see were the Chancellor lives, and let's face it; it is always great to get free food. The Chancellor shows you around his house and then has you all sit down for a three course meal prepared by John who used to be the cook at Bridgstreet (the hotel/suits that I stayed at my freshmen year). Since I am an ambassador, I just recently got to go to another Chancellor's diner which reminded me of what a great experience it is. Besides getting to see John again it was nice to get to know current underclassmen and talk with the Chancellor on a more personal level. The Chancellor really wants to try to know all the UMR students at a personal level, which is something that is unheard of at traditional campuses. While at the diner we talked about our future career goals, things that we liked about UMR and things that we would like to change. It was nice to see that the Chancellor really cares about what the students have to say about the college. I can even attest to the fact that he does take the concerns about UMR to heart and tries to fix them as best as he can.

The Chancellor's dinner is another way to make long lasting connections. I met my future roommates at the dinner and continue to talk with the Chancellor on a personal level whenever I see him. I think that it shows the connectives at UMR because you will see the Chancellor stopping in the skyway to talk with students about how their day is going, and how last weeks Anatomy and Physiology test went. Another thing that is kind of unique at UMR that involves the Chancellor is that he actually taught one of my psychology classes my freshmen year. I think that this also shows how much the Chancellor really wants to connect with the students and see them succeed.

Benefits of Studying Abroad

With the deadlines of our capstone proposals fast approaching, many of us juniors are thinking about studying abroad. UMR has made it easy to study abroad and still graduate within four years because it fits in nicely with your capstone experience. Studying abroad will allow most of the students and opportunity to learn about different cultures, and to gain a new healthcare "lens." Below is a list of reasons why I think students should think about study abroad options, and to also keep in mind that studying abroad does not always have to be expensive.

1. Gain a new perspective on the world: Studying abroad allows students to explore issues like globalization, development and poverty from different perspectives. This can be extremely helpful in the healthcare field because it will allow students to learn about different cultures, and how they perceive illness, and the common treatments for those illnesses within that culture.

2. Test your interests: By studying abroad it also allows students to test their interests in a more specific and applied direction than just in the classroom. This is one of the main reasons why I am considering studying abroad in Denmark this summer, because it will allow me to gain a more in depth view of the mental health treatment centers outside of the United States. It will also allow me to take more psychology courses since I have already taken all the ones that are offered at UMR.

3. Making new friends: Studying abroad can also allow students to make long lasting connections outside of just their professors and roommates. Ways that students can make new connections can be through home-stays, the study abroad on-campus living, or even just exploring downtown and meeting new people.

4. Get to see where Sherlock Homes lived: Another reason why I want to study abroad is because one of my "bucket list" items is to see 221B Baker Street. Studying abroad can also help students fulfill those life time dreams, even if it is just getting a picture outside of a building.
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Aside from all the free food that appears in the commons of UMR during finals week, another change occurs once finals weeks starts approaching. Around a week before finals actually start, I stated to notice that students are listening to music more than normal. I think that this is because listening for music helps distress people, and also motivates them to get work done. Due to the increase in music playing around campus, and the approach of finals week, I have decided to recommend my top 5 songs that students should listen to while studying for finals. I have provided a link to all of the songs, and provided a URL just in case the links do not work.

5. Don't Stop Believing by Journey. Yes I went there, but really this song is one of those that no matter what mood you are in, it makes you believe that you can keep powering on. I also like to listen to different versions of this song because it is interesting to see the different angles that singers take on this song. I normally like to start off this this song and then build up to more empowering songs because this one just seems to be a good song to get me in the mood of starting my assignments for some reason. I could not find the official music video so here is a live version of the song, I hope you enjoy.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9iIdZDbbFg

4. We Are Young by MIKA. This song was inspired by the movie Kick Ass, and after listening to this song, you will do just that. This song gives me the empowerment to get through any of the assignments or papers that the teachers give me. While I am listening to this song, and writing my papers or studying I just imagine that no matter how hard it might seem right now, we are young as the song says and that means that even if life seems like it sucks now, it is going to improve. The song/video can be found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qm9d5wAXW5c.

3. Kids In The Street by The All-American Rejects. If I could I would have put all of the All-American Rejects songs on this list because they are by far my favorite band, but then it would not be that interesting of a list. I decided to go with Kids In The Street because the music video is one of the least provocative of them all. Also I love how all of their instruments are light up. The beat with the music also just helps me relax while doing all the projects. This song can be found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIw7RAfYgI8&NR=1&feature=endscreen.

2. Love Somebody by Maroon 5. Now, I could have just put this song on here because right now I am on a Maroon 5 high because I just found out that I am going to their concert in March, however I do believe that this song is going to be their next hit. I first heard this song while I was working at Express and I must say it was stuck in my head for the rest of the day. This again is one of those songs that no matter what mood you are in before listening to it, it will put you in a good mood. It also is not to strong so it creates a nice background music while you are trying to think of things to write about for your final papers. Maroon 5 does not have a music video for this song yet, so I have just attached a semi-interesting lyric video which can be found here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WQNlPJMIJs.

1. It's Time by Blaine Anderson from Glee. I know that some people might think that they are too cool to be watching Glee, or to be facilitated with the show in any way, but it is time for you to put your pride aside and listen to this one song. I would venture to say that this song is even better than the original. This is the perfect song to listen too right after you just had a stressful day of studying for you finals because it will always lift your spirits. I would also recommend watching the video because I love how they use the cups to make the beat of the music, and everyone just looks so happy smiling and dancing it is hard to stay in a stressful mood after watching this video. Due to the upbeat music and dance number I am putting this song as my number one choice for best song to listen to while studying for finals. Here is a link to the epic song and video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArW6SvANU-0.

This Thanksgiving break I went with my friend Melissa and her family to Chicago to go to a Never Shout Never concert and the Museum of Science and Industry. This Thanksgiving break was monuments on three accounts. First I had my first traditional Thanksgiving dinner (with the mash potatoes and everything). Second I got to see two of my favorite bands play, The Maine and Never Shout Never, and lastly I got to see the Museum of Science and Industry, which is a lot cooler than it sounds.

To start off this epic Thanksgiving break, I joined Melissa and her extended family for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in Sheboygan Wisconsin. While joining her family for dinner I experienced my very first traditional Thanksgiving dinner and I must say that it was delicious. I had too many servings of potatoes, stuffing and French silk pie, but overall it was a great dinner. After having dinner with the family, Melissa and I decided to go out black Friday shopping because we were bored and could not go to sleep. We decided to go to Wal-Mart because we figured that it would be the most entertaining, and her dad wanted to get a new TV. This was also my first experience black Friday shopping because since I work in retail I normally have to work on black Friday and I must say going shopping on black Friday was an interesting experience. The good thing is that no one got hurt and I got all three of the Lord of The Rings movies for only three dollars.
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After recovering from both the food coma and black Friday shopping, it was off to the Never Shout Never and The Maine concert in Chicago. The ride was long but it was definitely worth it after seeing the concert. I love going to concerts where it is all general admission because you can get so close the to the band, the only bad thing is that for some reason I always manage to find may way right in front of the "launch pad." Now for those of you who do not know what a "launch pad" is, it is where typically four guys get together and offer to launch people into/onto the crowd so they can crowd surf. The bad thing about being in front of it is that I had to try to lift people up, otherwise they would have done a belly flop right on to the cement floor. Luckily the crowd moved so I was able to sneak my way up to the front of the stage and away from the "launch pad." Below are some pictures of the two bands (who you should check out).
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The picture above is of Never Shout Never.
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This picture is of the lead singer from The Maine.

After going to the concert, the next and final day in Chicago was spent at the Museum of Science and Industry. This museum was filled with everything! It had different exhibits ranging from space centers to weather centers and DNA sequencing centers. This is the perfect place to go to let your inner nerd out. It was also pretty to see since we went during Christmas time they had different trees set up representing all the different countries. Each tree was labeled as a certain country and then was decorated with traditional cultural aspects from that country. I have included some pictures below of Melissa and I at some of the exhibits but that is not even half of what we saw that day. I would strongly recommend taking the time to go to this museum if you ever have the chance.
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