Learning How to De-Stress

By Amy Karagiannakis

We all encounter stress in our daily lives, but some of us are able to cope with it better than others. Dave is on the football team, USG representative, serves as project manager for his Enterprise team, works part-time as an intern, stays active in his fraternity, serves on the MUB Board, is a member of the Pony Brigade, maintains a 3.97 GPA, and is probably one of the most laid back, got-it-together people you’d ever meet. Ok, ok, Dave is not a real person, but for the record, the Pony Brigade is a real Michigan Tech Student Organization. The point is that all of us know someone like Dave or have encountered someone like him in our past. How do they not have daily nervous breakdowns?

 Picture from: http://www.theplaidzebra.com/it-turns-out-that-selflessness-is-the-easiest-way-to-save-you-from-stress-and-extend-your-life-2/

Picture from: http://www.theplaidzebra.com/it-turns-out-that-selflessness-is-the-easiest-way-to-save-you-from-stress-and-extend-your-life-2/

Understanding how our body deals with stress is a good first step to managing it, so let’s review 8th grade science. Our nervous system is made up of the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system. We will focus on the former. The sympathetic nervous system regulates what Walter Bradford Cannon called our fight-or-flight response. When this process is stimulated, your blood pressure rises, your heart begins to race, muscles tense up, and your breathing intensifies. If your typical day-in-the-life is consistently stressful, you may be conditioning your sympathetic nervous system to stimulate the fight-or-flight response for every minor circumstance. Experiencing this reaction multiple times a day can really wreak havoc on your mind and body. Finding ways to bring your heart rate down and relax your mind is important to managing stress and the triggers that cause it.

Picture from: http://users2.unimi.it/fens_stress/index.html
Picture from: http://users2.unimi.it/fens_stress/index.html

I find the most effective way to deal with stress is meditation. Meditation can be practiced by anyone. There is no wrong way to meditate, but here are some guidelines that can help you benefit from it. Finding a place for meditation during the day can sometimes be a difficult task. However, these are when our stress levels are highest. If you can’t be at home and you are looking for a place to meditate, consider the following options around campus: library study room, an empty classroom, Counseling Services Relaxation Room, empty common areas in the residence halls, or even outside in the warm sun on a nice day. Your meditation spot doesn’t necessarily need to be quiet. Some people prefer background noise or music to complete silence. Once you have your spot, get comfortable. Despite popular belief, you do not have to sit in full lotus position to meditate. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Men-and-meditation
Jagged rocks, on the edge of a cliff, in full lotus? Not my idea of comfortable, but to each their own…

Close your eyes and slow your breathing. Focusing on your breathing will help eliminate the negative thoughts and feelings that triggered your stress. If you are still having trouble freeing your mind from negativity, try focusing on an object or image that relaxes you. Others may find that the repetition of a single word said softly and slowly helps to relax them. Whatever you choose, the point is to find something that doesn’t require a lot of thought, but enough that your mind is able to focus on that instead of the negative thoughts and stressors. As you continue to breathe slowly and deeply, your heart rate will begin to slow, your muscles will relax, your mind will clear. Meditate for as long as it takes to reach this point of tranquility.

Statistics show that stress among college students is on the rise. The demand to be involved in multiple extracurriculars, getting internships and/or co-ops, keeping that GPA up, applying for graduate school, exams, getting a job, the availability of immediate communication via email, text, and social media all contribute to the stresses of today’s generation of college students.  Recurrent, long-term stress and anxiety can lead to a long list of physical and emotional ailments.

Photo courtesy of Flickr contributor Lee Winder
Photo courtesy of Flickr contributor Lee Winder

If you feel stressed and need help, remember that you are not alone. Michigan Tech offers one-on-one and group counseling services that are free to all Michigan Tech students. If you find meditation or other relaxation techniques to be unhelpful and you are experiencing physical and/or emotional symptoms of stress, please seek help from a counselor or doctor.



Filling the Pool…

By Lorelle Meadows, Dean Pavlis Honors College

For the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to find time to read a book that was recommended to me by a PHC student. It’s called Crucial Conversations. It’s about developing the skills for engaging in the day-to-day conversations that affect your life. But not just any conversation – crucial ones: the kind when opinions vary, the stakes are high and emotions run strong. Yikes!! Sounds like something we like to avoid!

Crucial Conversations

One of the first things the authors mention is the importance of the free flow of relevant information – the open and honest sharing of perspectives and ideas – because only then will the best decisions be made and only then will everybody buy in to and respect the decisions. The authors call this filling the pool of shared meaning. I like this analogy and the image that it takes all of us to fill this pool. It also fills much quicker if we are all pouring in our thoughts and ideas.

puppies

When people have a chance to share their ideas – no matter how controversial they might appear at first glance, no matter how challenging to others beliefs – people feel valued and engage in making meaning together – in understanding. Even though not everybody is guaranteed to be completely happy with whatever decision is made, the deeper the pool, the better the choice and the stronger the belief in the decision and the understanding of why the decision was made.

What I hope to always remember as I continue to meet and work with others, is that in that instant when I feel challenged or faced with controversy, and my heart begins to race and I start to think about running or hiding, that I am engaging in the beginning of filling that glorious pool of shared meaning. And, soon, that pool will be overflowing with unique perspectives, amazing ideas and all I have to do is dive in!!


Cultural Vistas Opportunities

cultural vistas
Photo from Cultural Vistas.

Application season for the Cultural Vistas’ fellowship programs is now open. Several fully-funded programs for various students and professionals are available.

Sophomores and juniors who have not participated in a formal work or study abroad program, may want to consider the Cultural Vistas Fellowship. The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals is a great opportunity for students and recent graduates (18-24 years old) in all fields, who wish to live, study, and intern in Germany. The Alfa Fellowship Program to Russia and the Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program are great for early- to mid-career professionals, who wish to gain high-level experience abroad.

These fellowships are international initiatives that offer accomplished Americans the opportunity to complete fully-financed professional development. For details, please refer to the eligibility requirements outlined on each program’s website.


Meet Kemin Fena…

Fena
Photo courtesy of Rachel Connors

 

One of Kemin Fena’s favorite books is By Amy Karagiannakis

The Quiltmaker’s Gift, written by Jeff Brumbeau and illustrated by Gail de Marcken. For those of you not familiar with this classic children’s book, it is the story of an old woman who makes elaborate, beautiful quilts, only to give them to the poorest people in the village. The greedy King, who required the people of the village to bring him their most valuable possessions, heard of the little old woman’s quilts and demanded that she make one for him. The old woman told the King that she would only make him a quilt once he had given away all of his possessions and became poor himself. The King found that as he gave away his possessions one by one, he became happier. When he had finally given everything he owned away, the old woman presented him with a quilt that was more beautiful than any quilt she had ever made. The King remarked, “I may look poor, but in truth my heart is full to bursting, filled with memories of all the happiness I’ve given and received. I’m the richest man I know.” This lovely story demonstrates how fulfilling and rewarding service work can be, something Kemin has experienced first-hand.king

Kemin is passionate about community service. Her pathway to service didn’t start with the Pavlis Honors College though. In 2014, she spent her summer in Lima, Peru volunteering at El Hospital del Nino with a non-profit organization called Aprendo Contigo. After nine weeks, Kemin realized that helping others was something she wanted to dedicate her life to. She applied to the Custom Pathway Community in the Pavlis Honors College in 2015 with a chosen focus on the service pathway.

Kemin is a Biomedical Engineering major set to graduate next Fall. While at Michigan Tech, she was an Orientation Team Leader and participated in Leadershape. Kemin has volunteered at the UP Health Center and Portage Pointe Nursing and Custodial Care Center. She also volunteered in a research lab under the direction of Michigan Tech’s Dr. Feng Zhao. In addition to all of these volunteering commitments, Kemin made time to visit Frank Pavlis at his home in Allentown, PA to do an oral history on his life. She created a masterfully edited video, that tells the story of a young man who was born to a modest farming family who grew to be one of Michigan Tech’s most successful graduates. This video will be shown for the first time later this month during the Pavlis Honors College External Advisory Board visit, and then publicly released shortly after.

kemincollage (2)kemincollage (3)

Kemin Fena continues to impress the faculty and staff at the Pavlis Honors College with her continued dedication to service and her community. Thank you Kemin for all you do! To learn more about Kemin, visit her Seelio profile @ seelio.com/kxfena.

Check out the Custom Pathway Experiential Learning Community and click on Service to find out how you can get involved!

 



summerstudentsinlabMIT’s Lincoln Laboratory will be at Michigan Tech’s Fall Career Fair on September 27th.

The Laboratory’s fundamental mission is to apply science and advanced technology to critical problems of national security, primarily working on sensors, information extraction (signal processing and embedded computing), and communications.  A Department of Defense federally funded research and development center, the Laboratory has a focused commitment to R&D, with an emphasis on building prototypes and demonstrating operational systems under live test conditions that meet real-world requirements. R&D efforts span the following key mission areas:

  • Space Control
  • Air, Missile, and Maritime Defense Technology
  • Communication Systems
  • Cyber Security and Information Sciences
  • Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Systems and Technology
  • Advanced Technology (electronic or electro-optical technologies, biotechnology and chemistry)
  • Engineering (innovative systems to test new concepts)
  • Tactical Systems
  • Homeland Protection
  • Air Traffic Control

For more information please visit http://www.ll.mit.edu.

MIT Lincoln Laboratory actively recruits individuals pursuing BS, MS and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering, Physics, Computer Science, Mathematics, and to a limited degree, Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Material Science, Biology, Chemistry, Meteorology and Materials Science. Candidates should have an interest and ability to work on a broad range of technical problems in a team environment and possess strong problem-solving, analytical, innovative, communications, and teaming skills.

Due to contracts with the Department of Defense, employment at MIT Lincoln Laboratory requires U.S. citizenship.

Last summer the Laboratory employed 219 interns (104 graduate students, 115 undergraduates) under the auspices of our Summer Research Program.  They expect to hire at the same level for summer 2017.  You will find the eligibility requirements, program details, and the application process at http://www.ll.mit.edu/college/summerprogram.html

Students interested in applying for full time or summer employment must submit their resume to www.ll.mit.edu (employment).  Via the website students can search and apply to specific full time and summer requisitions.

 


ACORE Internship Program

ACORE_logo_SQ_GREEN-300x295Are you interested in making a career in the renewable energy industry? Whether you’re interested in research, finance, policy, communications, or market development, the ACORE Internship Program may help you stand out from your peers and create a solid foundation for your future success in the industry. The deadline to apply for a Fall Session internship is this Friday, September 9th. For more information visit ACORE. If you are a rising senior or graduate student you are welcome to apply by submitting a cover letter and resume to intern@acorn.org.


Michigan Tech Ranked #18 for Return on Investment

michigan-technological-universityReturn on investment or ROI compares the cost of a college education with what that graduate can expect to earn. Bestcolleges.com recently released a report on the 50 best colleges and universities in terms of ROI. With a 30-year net ROI of just under $1,000,000, Michigan Tech ranked 18th in the nation. This number is calculated by taking the average net earnings a graduate can expect to make over a 30 year period and subtracting the cost of their education.

Find out how the Pavlis Honors College can help make that number grow. Our Scholars and Leaders Programs prepare students for success after graduation. We address society’s need for graduates who possess both depth of knowledge in their chosen field and intellectual breadth obtained through interdisciplinary collaboration, experiential learning and deliberate reflection. Graduating with recognition from the Honors College provides students with what Frank Pavlis calls the “plus factors” that put them at a noticeable advantage above their peers when applying for jobs.

Read the full report from Bestcolleges.com.


High school girls invited to Tech last Friday for Women in Computing Day

Last Friday Michigan Tech hosted high school girls from all over the upper Midwest who are interested in careers involving computer science, electrical engineering, and computer engineering. The Blue Marble Security Enterprise team, advised by Glen Archer, facilitated many of the projects which included programming a robot, building a working heart rate monitor and making a hologram. Be sure to check out Blue Marble Security at this year’s Design Expo on Thursday, April 14th. Read the full story from the Daily Mining Gazette.

Team107B