Blog

  • Valentine’s Day 101

    coby

    Written by Coby Stalteri-Fewings

    For those of you that will be sharing your day with that special someone or maybe taking the next step with a new valentine I will go over some of the tips I’ve been building for over 8 years with my now fiancée.

     

    DO

    1. Let them feel the caring and friendship that Valentines should be all about.

    2. Surprise them with something romantic you know they will enjoy.

    3. Make something simple like a heart shaped card (the effort of making something really shows you care). *Also a good way to save money for cash conscious students

    4. Have whatever gift you are giving delivered or deliver it yourself (this shows that extra bit of effort and pleasant surprises go along way).

    5. Maybe this year you can forget the gifts, as a student this can be an expense you cannot afford and instead cook your Valentine a nice dinner. See BrockTV’s Broke & Hungry for cheap recipe ideas.

     

    DONT 

    1. If this is not your first Valentines with your Valentine try not to repeat what you did last year. After all variety is the spice of life.

    2. Don’t be too practical. I am not saying spend $600 I just mean this is not the occasion to buy your secret admirer a toilet plunger.

    3. Don’t overspend, you wouldn’t want to overshadow your partner’s efforts (Another reason why homemade gifts are great).

    4. If you find yourself without a valentine this February 14th, don’t fret just treat yourself to a nice relaxing Friday and let the love come to you.

    5. Don’t be overly mushy in public settings on Feb 14th this is what gives the day itself and all the love birds a bad name.

     

    And now a couple personal stories of my own personal Valentines success.

    Last year around this time I was finishing up midterms and starting to think about my spring break trip to Florida, the first day that we landed into Florida happened to be  the day before Valentines day and I was not sure how to go about surprising my Valentine (Keep in mind this was our 8th Valentines together) we had decided that we weren?t going to get each other anything since we were already spending money to be on a trip. This gave me the perfect opportunity to surprise her, so I got the address of the place we were staying and had flowers delivered on the morning of Valentines. Needless to say she was very surprised and happy.

    On the other hand my favourite gift that I ever received on Valentines happened 8 years prior to the flowers in Florida story. My Valentine had put together a photo album of all the memories that had been captured in the first year of our relationship (Maybe the best part was a caption in the back that said something along the line of ?There is empty pages for the many more memories to come?. This gift is a great example of a homemade gift that shows a lot of thought and doesn?t have to break the bank.

    These are just a couple of examples of very successful Valentines experiences. Hope everyone has a happy healthy Valentines day!

    Signed the benevolent Badger!

     

    Post Categorie(s): Culture, Featured Event, Growth, Spirit
  • Stress is Subjective

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    Written by Stephanie Klok

    Stress is subjective. The level of stress felt is dependent how we evaluate a stressful situation, if there are coping resources available, how controlled we feel over a situation and if we have a strong or weak social support system.

    I cannot even count the number of times at Brock that I have over heard the words,  “I AM SO STRESSED,” something I am also guilty of!  I hear this phrase and variations of it on almost a daily, constant basis and there’s data to back me up on this:

    A Brock University wide study was done last year to assess a range of health-related behaviours & attitudes amongst Brock students. The results showed that 28% of females and 18% of males have felt overwhelming anxiety in the last 2 weeks. The study also showed that 62.8% of females and 46% of males reported feeling overwhelmed within the last 2 weeks. Feelings of ANXIETY and feeling OVERWHELMED are mediators for stress. These percentages are quite high, but are they not understandable? Given the WORKLOAD we face in university, exams, tests, labs, financial strain, relationships, being away from home, family problems, sickness, extra-curricular activities, varsity sports, and workplace stressors it’s no wonder we are overwhelmed. These daily stressors build within us, whether we realize it or not and can cause reduced immunity and increase our risk of illness.

    In the video link provided below, Kelly McGonigal, a health psychologist, describes several ways to make stress your friend. McGonigal quotes an American stress study that reported those who believe that stress is harmful to their health had a 43% increase risk of dying. However those people who noted feeling moderate levels of daily stress but did not believe it was harmful to their health had the lowest risk of dying compared to everyone else in the study! She then goes on to state “believing stress is bad for you” could actually be the 15th top cause of death in America—that is huge!

    McGonigal states that if we can change our mind about stress, we can change our body’s response to stress:
    “…We interpret these physical changes as anxiety or signs that we aren’t coping very well with the pressure. But what if you viewed them instead in that your body is energized; your body is preparing you to meet this challenge… That pounding heart is preparing you for action. If you’re breathing faster, it’s no problem. It’s getting more oxygen to your brain. Participants who learned to view the stress response as helpful to their performance felt less anxious, less stressed-out, more confident….” (McGonigal, 5:06)

    Through this interpretation, a biological change was seen in individual’s cardiovascular response. McGonigal explains that this one biological change may be the difference between someone who suffers a fatal heart attack in their fifties or lives well into old age.

    I was wondering how those who likely experience more stress than the average Canadian, those on the streets, those with mental illness, who are in solitude and isolated from an outside world either due to choice or chance—what about these individuals? I truly think more initiatives driven towards the powerful human connection could solve this problem or at least help to alleviate chronic stress these individuals are faced with. If we all reached out to just ONE person in need a day, a week, a month even. How much stress would then be reduced for both parties? I am seeing a kind of “pay it forward” domino effect in the future– we can hope.

    The speaker discusses another study that showed that individuals who helped and caredfor others in times of need showed no increase in death due to stress related ailments. How we think and act can indeed change our stress response, especially when we choose to connect to others under stress—
     I believe
    compassion goes a long way.


    I encourage you to check out the video I am referencing, there are so many other important points touched upon there.  Maybe you will benefit during this stressful next couple of weeks.
    Remember, you don’t have to sweat stress!
    TEDTalks: “Kelly McGonigal: How to Make Stress Your Friend”:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcGyVTAoXEU

    For more resources, check out:
    www.facebook.com/CopeCareConnect
    www.CopeCareConnect.ca
    www.youtube.com/CopeCareConnect

    Post Categorie(s): Growth, Leadership, Spirit
  • A Badger Abroad – The Eve Of My Departure

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    Written by Alex Pennington-Little

    Hello Webisphere – here marks the beginning of my travel blog, the account of my four-month adventure across the Atlantic. I’m a 22-year-old Brock University student majoring in Popular Culture with the CPCF department (Communications, Popular Culture, and Film Studies). Brock gives each student the incredible opportunity to study at a partner school abroad for one or two semesters, for the tuition cost of studying at home. I chose to go to Glasgow, Scotland for one semester (too chicken to commit to a full year abroad!).

    So here I am, sitting in bed (trying to get an early night to make up for the inevitable lost sleep from my overnight flight tomorrow) taking stock of my luggage. Visually, I see one large blue suitcase, one carry-on pink case, and my floral school backpack. Internally, I know that it took two days of cramming, folding, stuffing, dumping, repacking, and rolling to fit all my choice articles into my luggage. Somehow, I managed to pack for four months abroad into three bags of varying sizes.

    I had to keep telling myself that laundry and toiletries are established amenities worldwide, and I didn’t need to pack my own toothpaste, soap, or enough clean clothing to get me through the one hundred twenty days I’m to spend across the pond. When I get anxious, I get… crazy. Normally what I rely on is my boyfriend Jarrett’s words of wisdom to bring me back to the realm of sanity but we said our goodbyes two days ago. And so, to cope without him, I have done plenty of preparation.

    I’ve done my research on currency, taxis, subways, and getting a pay-as-you-go phone once I arrive. I’ve suspended my home cell account, notified my bank that I’ll be in the UK, and gotten all the paperwork together to A) cross the border and B) open a local bank account. I’ve packed twice, double-checked with my airline that I’m within all the baggage restrictions, and have printed a copy of my travel itinerary. I’ve even Google-Earth’d my residence at Glasgow Caledonian, just to have something to expect when I arrive.

    I seem to be split in two – between really looking forward to going to Glasgow, and really anxious and upset about leaving home. I’m sure once I’ve landed, unpacked, and taken a deep breath I’ll feel much more settled.

    Find the full A Badger Abroad blog at http://www.brockbadgerabroad.blogspot.ca/

    Post Categorie(s): Culture, Growth, Leadership, Spirit
  • Not okay? That’s okay!

    CopeCareConnect

    Written by Aimee Alderman

    Approximately 50% of students at Brock University feel happy almost daily; however, with the help of the CopeCareConnect campaign, the aim is to have 100% of Brock University students experiencing happiness everyday. CopeCareConnect is a students-for-students campaign run in conjunction with Student Health Services. It identifies positive and negative coping strategies, recognizes the importance of effective support systems, and acknowledges the significance of student-staff connections.

    The goals of the CopeCareConnect campaign include increasing student awareness of the harmful effects of negative coping strategies, and the importance of positive coping strategies; providing information and resources to connect with Brock University staff and faculty; and help develop connections among peers.

    The campaign features themed weeks, with this weeks theme being “Sharing is Caring”. It is important to realize that life is a gift that offers us the opportunity, privilege, and responsibility to give something back. Through sharing with others, and caring about others we can live a more abundant life. Next weeks theme, “Small Things Make a Big Difference,” is regarding different compassion towards others; things like attitude and gestures of kindness, smiling and being supportive. We encourage you to practice some small acts of kindness, and to spread positivity amongst the Brock campus as many times and ways as possible!

     The campaign integrates multiple media components in an effort to reach all students at Brock University. You can view student-made videos on YouTube, partake in contests on the Facebook page, or visit CopeCareConnect.ca to attain additional resources. You will also see students from the campaign wandering the halls of Brock wearing bright green t-shirts – feel free to speak to them for more information about the campaign!  

    To find out about contests, and to post comments about the campaign please visit www.facebook.com/copecareconnect

    For display table locations and time, online resources, and polls visit the CopeCareConnect website at www.copecareconnect.ca

    To watch student videos on mindfulness, coping strategies, and how Brock University students are feeling, visit the YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/user/copecareconnect

    Post Categorie(s): Community, Growth, Spirit
  • Be the Face of Brock at the Rankin Run

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    Written By: Brian DiCarlo

    Everybody knows someone who has had cancer.  Be it through a friend, family member, or just someone in the community, cancer touches everyone.

    For 8 years, the Rankin Cancer Run has been raising money for cancer.  They do so through a run that takes place during the summer and draws massive crowds.  Last year hosted 207 teams, 11,587 total participants and this year should be even bigger.  One of the most important things to note is that all money raised goes directly back into the Niagara region.  Funds raised are given to local hospitals and charities, often focused in oncology.  Last year alone, $675,000 was raised and redistributed in the Niagara Region.

    In recent years, Brock has had a proud showing at the race.  Students, staff and faculty, along with their family and friends have consistently contributed.  Forming the team, raising pledges and completing the walk has always been something that we have strived for.  Our 2013 team had almost 100 members.

    This year, we are starting early with our recruiting.  Aside from searching for the usual team participants, this year we are searching for something special.  We are looking for an individual or small group who would like to be the face of Brock at the Rankin Run.  Consider yourself the team captain(s).  You would be representing Brock as the team leader, as well as working closely with our team on activities such as advertising and recruitment.  We need someone who is passionate about the cause and is willing to advocate, attract a team, and lead that team.

    If you’re up for the task, or would like to know moreinformation, feel free to contact me at:

    bd12ck@brocku.ca

    Brian DiCarlo

    Post Categorie(s): Community, Culture, Featured Event, Growth, Leadership, Spirit, Volunteer
  • What To Do with Your 9 Days of Freedom

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    Written by Brianne McMillan

    There is a short three weeks until Reading Week and for some students this means heading home to visit their families. I am from Northern British Columbia so it takes (at least) three flights to get back home so I hang out here during the shorter breaks. If you’re like me and live far away, you may be staying on campus and wondering what to do with yourself while everyone else is gone. Here are some suggestions for occupying your time.

    Check out tourist sites: Last semester I bought some MegaBus tickets for cheap and headed out to see Niagara Falls for the first time and went to Toronto to go up the CN Tower and see the Hockey Hall of Fame. I grew up on the opposite side of the country so I didn’t have the opportunity to see these as I grew up and it was so amazing for me.

    Workout: One evening I went for a run on the track and there was barely anyone there. If you like to workout without a lot of people around this is a great time to go.

    Get stuff done: I did those little things I had been putting off, such as cleaning my oven, and I didn’t have to worry about it after that.

    Do some schoolwork: If you get some of those little assignments done now, you’ll have more time for the bigger ones later on when it comes to the end of the semester and everyone is stressing out over assignments and studying for exams you’ll be able to focus on acing your finals.

    Give Back: This reading week I am heading out to South Carolina on a Habitat for Humanity build and according to the Student Life website you can still join the South Carolina Habitat for Humanity trip. Visit http://brocku.ca/student-community-outreach/brock-cares-alternative-reading-week for more information on signing up for this trip.

    Relax: I definitely spent some time during the October reading week just hanging out, watching lots of Friday Night Lights, and baking plenty of cookies and consuming them all.

    Whatever you do, enjoy the break, after it’s done you have six short weeks until it’s time for exams!

    Post Categorie(s): Community, Culture, Featured Event, Growth, Leadership, Spirit, Uncategorized, Volunteer
  • Alternative Reading Week? ‘…100% do it!”

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    Written by: Sam MacNeil

    Thinking about going abroad for Reading Week? My advice would be 100% do it! Throughout your university career, people will tell you to set yourself apart from anyone else who could potentially be competing for your future job. The best way to develop your life resume is to experience something different from the ordinary.

    In August 2013, I took a trip with nine strangers to a remote village in Nicaragua. While this may seem like the opening plot line to a thriller movie, it was the best experience of my life. We were completely submerged into a foreign culture, surrounded by unfamiliar things. While I can admit that this notion seemed terrifying in the beginning, you eventually realize the experience presents so many opportunities to find out things about who you are as a person and what you care about in life.

    One of the most conflicting questions we are faced with in life is “who are you, and what do you want to do?” The best way to answer these questions is to get out of your comfort zone and redefine what your life means. My outreach trip did not only lead to meeting nine amazing people with similar interests and life goals, I experienced life in a developing culture with different food, language, clothing and ways of life. If any of these experiences sound like something you would be interested in, do not hesitate.

    Like the great ones always say, YOLO.

    Read about 2014 Alternative Reading Week experiences here

    Post Categorie(s): Culture, Growth, Leadership, Spirit, Volunteer
  • The Student Life Experience: Colleen

    coleen

    Written by: Colleen McGuire

    I can’t believe I am already sitting here writing about my experience with Student Life. It feels like yesterday that we were working the vendor fair at O-Week and moving first year students into res! That was my first week working for Student Life, and by far the most memorable. It was overwhelming, as any new job can be, and totally awesome! I knew right away that this job was going to be the highlight of my Brock University career, and it has yet to prove me wrong.

    I originally applied for the Event & Volunteer planner position here at Student Life because I thought it would look good on a resume. I never thought it would give me so much more than that, such as numerous professional connections within Brock and the Niagara community that I will be able to connect with for years to come. The management team allows us to foster our creativity and gain hands on experience by giving us total control over our projects, which in turn has given me the confidence to plan an amazing event!

    Lastly, I can’t stress enough how great the people in the Student Life department are. I have never worked on a team that collaborates so well and truly has fun while working together! If you are considering applying for a job with Student Life, I suggest that you take the risk and just go for it! It is an experience that you will not regret.

    Post Categorie(s): Community, Culture, Growth, Leadership
  • The Student Life Experience: Brian

    brian blog pic

    Written By: Brian DiCarlo

    July 2012:
    Leap Program, Brock University

    On a warm July day back in 2012, a young man attended his first Brock event.  After accepting his admission offer, he was eager to learn more about the university he would be immersed in for the next 2.5 years.  Also in attendance at this event, were some Student Life employees.  What seemed like an insignificant relationship now will come back with more importance later in the story.

    February 2013:

    If you would’ve told me in first year to get a job I would’ve laughed.  I loved the relaxing life of staying up all night, sleeping in all day, and only having afternoon classes.  However, as the year came to a close, my marks were lower than I wanted them to be, and my messed up sleep schedule left me constantly tired.  I realized something needed to change that could put me back on track.
    Remember when I told you about the Student Life employee I met at Leap?  On a chance meeting in the hallway, she mentioned a job opening.  A job opening for Brock Student Life.

    January 2014:
    Fast forward to the present.

    I’ve been working for Student Life for 5 months.  My job more specifically, is as a Marketer.  The Student Life Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and blog, is in my hands (and a team of 2 other marketers).  I use those media outlets to promote events that allow students to extract the most out of their Brock experience.  I would love to continue to work with Student Life, but seeing as I only have 1 semester left at Brock, it is not possible.
    As my time with the Student Life team winds down, I look back on a year that I’ve really enjoyed.  This job has allowed me to take so much from the school, all while giving back, and encouraging others to do the same.

    If there is one thing I’ve learned in this job it would be to…

    WORK ON CAMPUS

    Sure that’s a pretty blunt statement, but it is some of the best advice I can give to current or future students.

    Looking for…

    Credible work experience?

    Connections on campus?

    Flexible schedule?

    New friends?

    Time management skills?

    The most out of your university?

    All of these things are perks of a job with Student Life.  Take a few minutes to look at the job descriptions in the link.  If one catches your interest, apply for it.  You won’t regret it!
     http://brocku.ca/student-life-community-experience/Get%20Involved/get-involved-on-campus/job-opportunities

    Post Categorie(s): Community, Culture, Leadership, Spirit, Volunteer
  • The Student Life Experience: Hilary

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    Written by: Hilary Canivet

    This April closes one of the best chapters I have had as a student here at Brock University. I have had the wonderful experience of working with the Student Life & Community Experience department for three years, holding three different positions and it all comes to a close this April as I transition to the Brock Hamilton Campus for my fifth and final year.

    The Student Life department has provided me with the opportunity to get involved here at Brock University, develop new and engaging programs for students and collaborate with amazing people!

    One of my favorite experiences was working as the Volunteer & Event Management Coordinator in the summer of 2012. It was a full time summer position that worked collaboratively with the community and campus partners, such as BUSU and Career Services, to organize events such as Relay for Life, Dragon Boat Festival and Random Act of Kindness Day.  Brock University is a small community, especially in the summer; I got to know many of the other summer student staff in various departments and got to experience the Niagara region during the summer months.

    The best part of my summer was the day of the Dragon Boat Festival on Henley Island. There are a number of teams that consist of 20-25 people, who pile into a large boat to compete in races.  Our team consisted of students, staff, faculty and alumni, creating a unique team dynamic to work together and learn from each other’s experiences at Brock and in Niagara. The key to success at the Dragon Boat Festival is to have all team members paddling the boat at the same time, and this is facilitated by a drummer. The drummer is sitting at the front of the boat, on a TINY seat, facing the paddlers. I had the nerve racking but thoroughly enjoyable experience of being the drummer, pushing our team to engage a little bit more and push our boat a sliver ahead of our competitors. At the end of the day we had shared stories, and engaged in a fun experience together.

    The memories are ones I will never forget and that day remains a favorite with the Student Life department.  As a bonus we came in first in our division and have metals to recognize our efforts. I thank the Student Life department for providing me the experience and opportunities that have developed my sense of belonging at Brock and fostered my creativity and passion for community engagement.

    If you would like to make a different to the Brock Community and work for the Student Life & Community Experience department I encourage you to apply for the coordinator or assistant positions, it will not be a decision you regret!  (Applications are available at http://brocku.ca/student-life-community-experience/Get%20Involved/get-involved-on-campus/job-opportunities and due on Friday January 24th by 4:00pm)

    Post Categorie(s): Community, Growth, Leadership, Spirit, Volunteer