Finals Week is Here, Let the Stress Begin

It’s finals week here at Central Michigan University and the week of cramming for exams and pulling all nighters has arrived. Many students will be pouring over everything they’ve learned in the last semester to make sure they ace those last big exams of the year. Signs of stress begin to show up in many students as this final week of the semester looms in every student’s future. Emotions are running high as the end nears and summer approaches, while some students look forward to the summer fun and finally being able to relax. Others prepare for their summer classes, some of which may have already begun.

JD Drain, a Berkley sophomore, is looking forward to the summer so he can work and take a break from the  daily grind of college classes. Even with having a relaxed and fairly easy exam schedule, Drain stated, “I think finals weeks just has some sort of charisma about it that brings students to be stressed about it.” While many students aren’t as lucky to have an easy week of finals, some find themselves spending long hours at the library. Often staying till the library closes even with the extended hours exam week provides, students take the opportunity to study as much as possible in the quiet environment.

Anxiety and nervousness can affect many students, and keeping a healthy and well rested body are keys to being successful.Thomas Trenkamp, a Centrer Line junior, spent a long weekend completing several take home exams so he could avoid spending all his nights completing the exams and instead could rest and study at a more leisurely pace. “Being prepared and getting work done before it piles up is a great way to avoid getting overloaded and letting the stress of the last few weeks overwhelm you.”

Even if your the kind of person that doesn’t get too stressed over the thought of exam week it still has its downsides. Nick Lada, a junior from Marysville, isn’t the typical stressed out college student. “I don’t really get stressed by exam week, it’s just taxing in general with the amount of studying and homework I normally have to cram in the week.” Students looking to relieve stress during exam week have many options to turn to, some provided by the school such as an event for students to come and play with dogs, an increasing idea that many college campuses have begun to implement. Even CMU recently hosted an event students could attend to play with puppies on Sunday before the exam week kicked off the following day.

As the stress builds up for many students, it is important to remember to include some scheduled down time, studying too long and hard can have a negative impact on what you retain. The Mayo Clinic has a very in-depth section on their website about stress and ways to relieve stress. They have compiled a list of the top 10 ways to relieve stress.

  1. Be active. Exercise is key to eliminating stress and will increase your feel-good endorphins in your body.
  2. Meditate. Meditation will help you to organize and focus your thoughts and eliminate the cluttered thoughts that can increase stress.
  3. Laugh. Laughter can help light the mental burden that may be ailing a person.
  4. Connect. Social contact can help distract someone from stress, and friends and family can provide support in times of need.
  5. Assert yourself. Don’t be afraid to say no, delegate work out so you don’t end up overwhelmed by the workload.
  6. Yoga. Yoga can help a person to relax and manage stress, allowing a person to focus both their mind and body.
  7. Sleep. Sleep often gets overlooked in times of stress, but is necessary in order to recharge the body and brain.
  8. Journal. Writing what comes to mind can help release pent-up emotions and ease the mind.
  9. Music. Playing or listening can provide a mental distraction, decrease muscle tension, and reduce stress hormones.
  10. Get help. If stress has you overwhelmed, sometimes seeking the help of professional therapy can be helpful to identify sources of stress and find new ways to cope with stress.
Click here for an interview about finals week stress and how to deal with it with Michelle Bigard MSW, LMSW.

Disc Golf

April 20, 2011 Leave a comment

A brief look into the sport of disc golf and a player of the game.

Categories: Uncategorized

A Photograph that Represents Photojournalism

March 16, 2011 Leave a comment

I chose a photograph that I found on “The New York Times.” The photograph depicts a family walking through a flooded street with the help of Japanese soldiers. After the disaster that struck Japan, there were hundreds of captivating photos that you can find on the Internet and this is one that I found very compelling. Even after being rescued the family still has a difficult path ahead of them as their country is in chaos. Its use in a slide show about the disaster that struck Japan was very emotional as many lives were lost and many more were shattered with the loss of homes and shelter.

One of the rules that I found to stand out was the rule of thirds. A boy riding on the shoulders of a soldier to stay above the highly flooded streets was located in the left third of the photo and an elderly man was in focus in the right third with other members of the family behind them. The photo did a good job of avoiding mergers as well since the background is fairly complex. The photo also does a good job of keeping the photo balanced even with a chaotic scene, the subjects are sharply in focus while the background is out of focus, allowing viewers to focus on the human aspect of the picture.

The War in Afghanistan Up Close” focuses on following the lives of Apache Company in the Wardak Province through the eyes of Australian photojournalist Adam Ferguson. Ferguson set out to reach the smallest combat operations post in the area.

Ferguson begins by introducing the location of where he did his story and then begins to describe the area and what has happened there since the war began. After laying down some background information on the area and what Apache Company had gone through after arriving in the area.

Ferguson then narrates a story about a time when he and Apache Company’s 2nd platoon were out in patrol when another platoon was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) and the chaos that ensued afterward as the 2nd platoon arrived to provide support. Three men were injured in the explosion but there were no casualties reported

The narration finishes with describing troops morale and the effect the war was on having on troops where it was clear that the local population did not want them to be there.

The story starts with a picture showing a troop alone patrolling the Afghanistan terrain. The pictures shows how alone the troops are out in this region with only 120 troops in the area to patrol an entire province. The last photo shows a soldier sitting by tribal flags while other soldier question some locals. It doesn’t tie the story up, instead relying on the narrator to wrap the story up.

Some of the most powerful photos came about in the middle of the story when Ferguson describes the attack as it shows injured soldiers with bloody wounds and there fellow soldiers standing nearby in shock, with some shedding tears.

There is a wide variety of shots that help set the story up and allow viewers to also connect with what they are seeing. There is some soft music in the background for most of the slideshow, with it fading out as Ferguson speaks.

I felt the pacing was just right, it didn’t rush into action nor did it slowly go about telling the story. It gave viewers enough time to digest the images while being able to listen to Ferguson as he narrates the story.

There were not actually any captions for this story, when captions were turned on, it only listed the photojournalist’s name and what publication it was for. There were also no onscreen titles except for the opening and ending slide that provided Ferguson’s name, the title, and credits to those who contributed to the project.

I liked the story because while it was simple, the narration and images really connected with me personally and allowed me to really feel for soldiers and their struggles they go through. Since there where no important information contained in the captions, I would like to see more descriptions and names of the important people that were within the shot.

The pace and mood set by the music really worked effectively, but the lack of information held back the story slightly in my opinion. If I were making this slideshow I would of put much more information into it if possible.

Blog Discussion

February 4, 2011 1 comment

The first blog I looked at was The Caucus, a blog based out of The New York Times, its focus is primarily on the political and government landscape in America. Topics range from Obama pushing for clean energy in states like Pennsylvania, to former governor Sarah Palin declining an invitation to the Conservative Political Action Conference. A conference where Republicans often go to seek support for a presidential nomination. The author also discusses the implications of who may or may not run on the Republican ballot next election. The author did not seem to respond to any comments but there were a lot of discussions within the comments section. While the site had a good design and flow, there was no interaction between the author and readers. The site had links to related articles  that were both on and off the host site, it also had a blogroll of other good sources. Overall the blog seemed a little too mainstreamed and was useful to finding well-developed stories, but wasn’t the kind of site that had a more personal touch and conversational tone. To improve this site, there needs to be an increased presence by the author to readers and add more multimedia works to it as well.

The second blog, Rhetorica, which provides commentary on rhetoric, propaganda, biases, and spin of journalism. Articles cover subjects such as changes happening in the online journalism world, the wording used on a healthcare repeal that referenced job-killing, and citizen journalism gone wrong. Discussions on how bloggers go by the “my blog, my rules” mottoand that they may need to create a blogging policy so the blog can be taken seriously. The author commented with readers providing further discussing and criticism to each article. The site wasn’t very easy on the eyes, but the articles were very easy to read and scan through.The author posts regularly and has a blogroll of other other related sites. The posts were nice and short, and kept an informal tone throughout the articles. The blog was not that pleasant to look at and I’d like to see a more refined and smoother interface. Other than that, the blog met my expectations and got the information it wanted to across.



Volcano Erupts in Japan

February 2, 2011 Leave a comment

The southern island of Kyushu has begun erupting for the first time in 50 years. The Shinmoedake volcano has been erupting since Wednesday. Check out the slide show here.

Categories: News Tags: , ,


February 2, 2011 Leave a comment

I am a junior studying photojournalism at Central Michigan University. I graduated from Hastings High School in 2008. I originally I came to Central Michigan University but after taking some photography classes I decided I wanted to be a photojournalist.

Categories: About Me