Capturing the solitude of nature // October 7, 2016 // Sunny 70-75 // Northampton, Easthampton, & Amherst
Wow, where has the summer gone. Seemed like I was just finishing freshman year finals and getting ready for the warm weather and long summer days. Well here I am my last days as an intern at Emerald Physicians Services. Hard to fully quantify just how much this job has meant to me considering I never imagined being here and learning so much.
It was only a year ago I was just heading off to UMass to begin my first year as a student. I had goals I made for the year. One I am proud to say I accomplished is the one I completed this summer. It was to find an internship opportunity related to my field of study kinesiology prior to leaving campus last spring. I have to say I nailed the perfect summer job. Dr. Coyle gave me an internship for the summer to be the secretary at Emerald Physicians. He founded Emerald Physicians years ago and I had the great privilege to work under the care of his company. Dr. Coyle recently moved to Florida with his family to start a practice there. I’m honored to have known and worked with him. I knew him on a personal basis as I was his daughters’ babysitter over the years. I will miss his smiling face around. His passion for his practice was evident here. He hired a team of employees who are committed to top patient care.
So what do I think of Emerald. Well it’s a work place and much, much more. Its community, not just a work place. I see day-in and day-out how the various teams have worked so well together. I like to include myself in this and say I believe we really encouraged one another. We praise each other’s accomplishments, and we bring to attention things that need change. We all work for a common purpose: that is that each patient leaves the office highly satisfied with the care we provide. In a doctor’s office, patients are very unpredictable. Many times patients are sick and not happy when they come in. And I can’t blame them either. I’m not the always the happiest when I’m feeling badly. Although on the flip side I see patients that are glowing with joy, even when they have a 101 reasons not to be.
I think I’ve left the office every day with a new relationship, or a patient that I can remember for next time. I believe I have grown considerably this summer. Specifically, in my communication skills. I learned how important it is to answer phones, engage in real conversations, and in person encounters here. And this will help me in the future. I’m convinced of it! Emerald gave me a chance to wear my “big girl shoes” and grow into a more communicative and responsible young woman. I was posted at 13 locations on different days. Meaning tons of driving. And lots of GPS’ing. I considered myself one of the “first faces” at Emerald. And that I suppose comes with lots of responsibility and compassion for this field of work. I am pretty confident of my job now but it’s funny because when I started Week 1 was baptism by fire. I trained fast and quickly met many of the providers and hundreds of patients.
One big thing I really liked about being an intern this summer was that I was able to meet most of the teams at each location. There are a few more I know I will get to meet next summer or this winter when I come back 😉 Tomorrow being my last day, it’s still hard to believe I’m ending my first real job related to my career and starting sophomore year at college. I am so blessed. God had this plan for me all along. I have never grown so fast as a working individual than I did this summer. I’m thankful for all the staff and want to express special thanks to Christine Shea and Jo-Anne Carey for being the coolest supervisors/managers/boss ladies around. These ladies care. They show this not only to the patients but to employees. Its awesome. I look forward to coming back next year and learning even more. I wish them all the best! Until then it’s on to college. Go Minutemen!
It came— the time to fly back to the nest and settle in for the summer. Between visiting friends the second I crossed over the Sagamore Bridge and committing to a new internship this summer, it has been a busy transition back home — Probably why I am only now reflecting on it!
I began an internship with the primary care office, Emerald Physicians. I am in awe of how much I have been learning here as I am exposed to the medical field on a daily basis. I have found connections that I would never have even thought twice about in such a short period of time. Not only does this job have a benefit on my long-term goals, I also have something that keeps me on my toes and out of trouble!! (kidding!) Anyways, this summer has been better than I thought it would be.
But, coming back home to a place that you trained yourself to distance from, is an adjustment for me. And, I’m sure for lots of other 1st year grads!
Home on the Cape has been home since I can remember, and leaving school for Freshman year was hard on me. I had to adjust from living away from my best friend, who is actually my sister Hayley, and my mom. It was hard…. but I’m sure you know that from my other blogs. But hey, I got used to the change and made my home with friends from school. I never thought of Cape to be my home anymore, it was in Amherst. I found places that I fell in love with, places that I hated, and places that just took my breath away. I was proud of the home that I made at school. Fast forward a half year and I can’t believe that I was actually packing to leave for the summer!!!! I still don’t understand how the year went so fast, I believe that the school cut us early 😉
But there I was standing outside of my dorm building with my best friend at 11 o’clock at night, just hours before I had to leave. Tears in my eyes and my stuffy gripped tight in my hands, I said goodbye to some of the best friends I’ll ever make. Some of them include my friends Alex, Alyda, Izzy, and Jen. There’s never been another place where I have been myself totally and completely- and I think it had to do with the friends that I made along the way. As I drove home I was thinking to myself, “what am I doing… turn AROUND!” I really could not grasp the idea of leaving-even in the midst of it!
I think the awe settled in about 2 weeks later when I figured “you know, you’re not going back to school for a few months, why not make it home again.” So, I did just that. I unpacked my clothes (well actually Hayley helped me with that) and turned my room around. I had to kick Hayley out of my room and move her into her old bedroom. Do you blame me!? Maybe I should’ve taken the extra room, but I don’t think she minded that much. It’s been a great summer– full of camping, swimming, eating, tanning, relaxing, working, sleeping, crying, laughing– Everything! I have a summer that I can be proud of, and a place that I can look forward to going after the summer air has cooled. I think the transition from home to school will be hard, but not as hard as the first year. I know I’ll miss my sister the most, so I am savoring each second with her as I am home.
Have a wonderful summer, friends, and try to enjoy the sun 🙂
Currently I am writing this blog in the middle of the night, because well, it’s finals week and sleep is for the dead (I’ve painfully learned). Anyways, as I mentioned, it’s finals week, which means the final stretch is among us college students. My freshman year is coming to an end and it’s one of the most bittersweet feelings I have felt in a while. Basically, this school year has made me feel like a life-size hamster running on an exercise wheel over and over and over and over – well, you get it – and then, BAM! As if someone stopped my spinning wheel, I saw that finals week was approaching… and that I have a single-digit countdown until summer.
What I mean by the hamster wheel, is that these past 9 months have been nothing but a blind path for me. I knew I had to just keep running with it as fast and best as I possibly could. Can you blame me though, or any college freshman for that matter? Not to say in any bit that this was not an incredibly fun and special time for me, but as I am writing this, I have to say that I am quite exhausted from my work here at UMass Amherst.
To catch you up, this summer I will have an intern position at Emerald Physicians primary care. I am thrilled to be a part of this diverse community as it is one that I have been looking at for a while now. I hope to integrate my knowledge as a kinesiology major into my position this summer and that I will get a clearer image of what my occupations could be like after college.
So, looking back at my two semesters on campus thus far, I can say that this year has held the biggest milestones for me as a student, but mostly as an individual trying to cope with everyday struggles. My communications skills have improved significantly, as I had (many) bumps in the road this year with my family because of poor communication. I gained empathy for those around me through the many tear-jerking as well as incredibly uplifting stories strangers and friends have shared with me. I see myself as a smaller person in this world now – not in the way that I feel inferior, but that the world is so big and holds so many wonderful experiences for us, and I have just gotten started. I think living with a community that is driven to succeed in his and her futures’ has showed me that my possibilities are endless here. I can really do whatever I want for my future, and it all started 9 short months ago.
Sorry that this post is long over-due. I’ve been busy with my winter break activities and then transitioning back to UMass as a second-semester Freshman.
So, let me tell you, being a freshman is not as easy as everyone says. You are tempted, teased, challenged, beaten, and by the end of it, well, you could say that 5 weeks of vacation is completely necessary. But, I got through it and so did almost the rest of the class of 2019. Hurray! Now we are back at it again, stronger than before. Before getting too far ahead, I wanted to reflect on how I was able to push through first semester in my hardest, most-challenging BUT also my newest and most memorable days.
Friends were the majority of my life vest. Literally anytime I needed someone to talk to about last night’s homework, or the test that I am struggling to study for that is tomorrow, or about the party that had a live band, or about how good the campus food is here, I have someone. Having a physical friend or neighbor to talk to during my transition was something that I have realized made me stronger in the first semester. Maybe stronger is the wrong word, but I can’t think of anything else. Anyways, as I was saying, there are really hard times as a freshman. I was constantly second-guessing myself as a student, friend, daughter, and sister. I was nervous that I was the one person around me that didn’t have a set direction in my life. The freedom we as students have here at such a big university is not exaggerated by our parents. It is a LOT of freedom that sometimes I even feel overwhelmed by. You know? Sometimes I want my mom to make soup for me when I feel a cold coming on. I want my dad there to clean the virus that got on my computer. I want someone to congratulate my good grades and cheer me on. Those small and yes, petty, desires I have are hard to get used to the fact that I can’t have that anymore, or at least for half a year. Surely, the heartache got better and I saw that my home is with my friends. They are the ones that push me to do better on the next test, or there to get excited about the assignment I scored an A on. My friends are also the ones to make sure I am at the dining hall eating warm food or drinking hot tea when I am sick. And in return, I am that friend for them too. So yes, first semester was HARD, but each day got better as I am finding my notches here and there. Visits from my dad and sister and friends from home made the home sickness more bearable, so I encourage family members to take even a quick visit to see their student at their home away from home.
Keep going, wherever you may be in your journey to the next “thing.” Make a home wherever you must and find friends that will be your sister, mom, dad, uncle, brother, etc. whenever you need them. 😉
More than likely you have found your way to the big (or small) campus of your college or university and things are now starting to settle in. Unfortunately, as a new student- Freshman, transfer, etc.- the days may not be going the way you planned or pictured weeks, months, even years prior. You may be thinking “What did I get myself into?” or “Why am I the only one who can’t find friends?” or “I’m not ready to be around the pressures of college students.”
The thing is… you’re not alone!
The first few days here at UMass Amherst I was wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of moving in, finding my classes, getting aquatinted with my roommate, and everything in between. Now the days, and especially nights, are becoming hard as my mind rushes with self-identity questions and challenges with my faith. ALL I WANT TO DO IS GO HOME! I doubt my free-spirited personality to make a good group of friends which leads to questioning if drugs, alcohol, and boys could help that doubted ego.
After telling my friends that I wanted to stay in for the night and NOT go on and cope in a negative way, I gave myself space and time to dig deep into how “stuck” and lonely I feel for my first week. Here is what I came up with and I hope my thinking and advice will help you stray from negative coping skills in order to feel better about a scary situation.
– I am not alone in this lonely and lost feeling
– YOU are NEVER alone
– It is just the first week
– It may be your first or second week (maybe you 3rd YEAR!!) and thats okay!!! Give it a few more days and the school will have so much more to offer (clubs, sports games, holiday breaks, social events, classes, concerts, plays). These places are where you can get to know people one-on-one or in a group (without the booze or drugs).
– I do NOT have to change who I am to fit in. Trust my instincts.
– Please, please, please keep this in mind. You NEVER have to try, do, or say ANYTHING that makes you uncomfortable. If you find that you are with people who are doing things that you have never and aren’t comfortable with… THAT IS THE WRONG GROUP. If you are scared that people will look down on you for not drinking or smoking, that usually is not the case. People don’t care if you are sober or smashed… so why be fake? Never ever feel like you are the only one “out of the loop.”
– God is with me.
– I have an extensive background on my faith. My religion, faith, and spirituality is something that has never left me, but something that I have put on hold during periods of my life. Right now I know that I need structure and control back in my life and I will not give myself that. I am giving it to God. How? I joined Cru, the Christian organization on campus that meets weekly. I know that God will work in me AND in YOU if you let him. Reach out and find that core group of friends. For me… Im still looking. Never give up until you feel like the people you are with make you feel like a better person.
There is ALWAYS someone, something, or somewhere out there for you. All I’m asking of you, Reader, please, please, PLEASE never give up on yourself.
Make these years count.
Yours truly and always here for you,
Have you ever felt like all four walls around you are caving in? Or that the world just keeps spinning and spinning with nowhere to go? Well, hang in there, reader- you’re surely not alone.
Instead of just forgetting what you might be upset about or overwhelmed with, you’re going to come up with a PLAN OF ACTION for when you walk back to “home base.” Use the time to give thought to how and what you feel, why you feel that way, and how you can change it for yourself.
Particularly, I’ve been struggling with stress around preparing for university in the fall — placement exams, packing, settling in, going to appointments, financial aid, and everything in between. Every now and again I find the stress of having to manage all these things overwhelming. So much so that I may forget to take a step back for myself.
But when I remember to get out, change my surroundings and breathe I once again feel a sense of renewal. So start learning to appreciate what you can do when you put your mind, energy, and WILL to it. You’ll be glad you did!
Over the past month I was once again challenged with a task that I have always dreaded. It seems like such a simple and natural one, but it is one of the hardest things I’ve done. Mindfulness.
Kabat-Zinn said that mindfulness is, “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.”
Isolate yourself from distractions. This doesn’t mean to hide under your blankets or in a dark room, but to find a calm environment where you know you can detach yourself from the norms of your daily life. Sit or lay in a comfortable position. Either close your eyes or focus on an object around you. Begin the practice with taking a deep breath; inhale through your nose and exhale out your mouth. Breathing is important in this exercise. Clear your mind of anything but the present moment. Do not think of yesterday, tomorrow, or even the next 10 minutes. Stay on the now. Now use your senses. What do you hear? Can you smell anything around you? What are your body sensations? If you feel yourself drifting out of the present moment, go back to focusing on your breathing. Inhale… exhale. If breathing is the only thing you can focus on, then make that your goal.
Commit yourself to this exercise for 5 minutes to start. But don’t think about the 5 minutes while you are practicing. Once you are done, check in with yourself and see how you feel compared to when you began. Do you feel more at peace? Do you feel less anxious? Do you feel more anxious? Do you feel tired? Do you feel more energized? Was this hard for you? Was this easy? Why or why not? You can find out a lot about yourself through practices like these.
Try this mindfulness practice a few times a week, especially if you struggle with staying present. This helps me stay grounded on days when I feel a bit jumbled– or when I just want to relax! You can do it. Believe in yourself… because I do!
Recently I received an email from my dad. We often share online links, photos, updates, and just about anything in between. Sometimes I find myself checking email more than I do my phone!
OK, off topic! Anyways, my dad shared with me in an email a video of a motivational expert named Josh Shipp that he’s been following for a couple years now. Josh’s mission is to work with teens to motivate them and bring bright light to a hectic world we live in.
This new video is directed to the class of 2015. Hey — that’s us! His main focus was on two challenges. I won’t give them away because it’s something that seniors should watch for themselves. I can tell you though that Josh touches on something that I guarantee we *all* struggle with. You guessed it: self-esteem. Josh provides a short and entertaining talk on how we can manage those negative thoughts and all the pressures of what lies ahead after high school.
So I encourage you to watch this inspiring video (be sure scroll half-way down the page to see the video). If it speaks to you please share it with a friend, sibling, or teacher. You just never know how it could be an inspiration to someone else!
BTW, what is YOUR #1 advice to the class of 2015? Give it some thought now because you might be asked to give it.
A good life skill to master is effective interpersonal communication. Having the ability to successfully communicate your wants and needs to another person makes life that much easier. By no means is this attained overnight. If it were that easy, anti-wrinkling cream would be a thing of the past.
The first step in learning interpersonal effectiveness skills is patience. Keep in mind when that while you may be working on better communication, the other person may not be… so be mindful when approaching a situation that may become one-sided very easily. Be considerate of your body language; have good posture and make steady – but not staring – eye contact. Have a 90-degree chin when addressing the person.
Be assertive. Don’t fall into passiveness, aggressiveness, or passive-agressiveness. Stay neutral. Avoid “you” statements. For example, instead of saying to your sister “I don’t like when you take my clothes without asking” you could say “I don’t appreciate when someone takes things from me without asking.” This way the person you are addressing will less likely become defensive. Make your case and then let the other person state his or her side after. MAKE SURE TO LISTEN! Treat them the way you wanted to be treated. Be an example.
Remember good communication takes a lot of practice so do not be discouraged if at the first time it’s rocky … they usually are. Just keep trying and encourage others. You can do it!