Tag Archives: university

Immersion

If last weeks theme was feeling overwhelmed, this weeks theme is “I think I got this?”

Note the slight lack of certainty.

There is something about being surrounded by the student AT family who are all equally stressed about pretty much all the same things constantly that has brought back my cool, calmness.

So much about what we do as athletic therapy students (and graduates) is about jumping right in and just taking it as it comes. Really. You can’t fight against the current here. When you find yourself on field with no certified to answer your questions in person, and you have one athlete with a dislocated shoulder calmly (surprisingly) laying on the ground saying he can’t move his arm, two others waiting less patiently to be taped, 25 other players grouped around the first kid gawking, a currently injured athlete standing on the field yelling “you’re a wimp, you’re not actually hurt!” at players who come off the field injured (usually significantly) in between flirting with the water girls, coaches yelling things like “you are not brothers today.. you’re enemies! Let’s see what you can do!”, and kids getting absolutely smoked, getting up, coming off the field, and matter-of-factly stating “what happened? I can’t remember..?”…. all within an hour… you have to acknowledge this as a normal wednesday, go with the flow, and deal with it. Don’t worry about the numb hands, you can tape just fine with them. Palpating an acute injury doubles as icing when it’s 10deg and windy on a Manitoba fall evening. Jump in there… awkward injured teenagers are waiting.

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So far this week has been all about immersing myself back into a routine. I’ve found myself in many positions (partly volunteered) of leadership already, between being head therapist with football, c0-president of KSA, and just generally being a final year student. People ask more of you, people expect more of you, and you expect more of you. The first week of this new realisation terrified me, but so far the second week has reminded me that I’m ready to tackle all this (and hopefully fare better then my football players).

As classes got rolling this week, I thanked summer me for pushing myself to almost crazy squeezing all the extra reading, clinic time, and field work that I did manage to. It’s already made 4 super intimidating courses seem a little less mental. The switch back to super-human scheduler has begun. I’ve noticed that (so far) I don’t find myself feeling like prep reading for class is as dreaded. I actually just do it without thinking. And I usually actually find it quite interesting. Which in turn also helps to make these courses seem more manageable. Studying is so much easier when it doesn’t feel like work! Now I just have to figure out a way to get my brain to shut off for bed time. It wants to just keep on rolling 24hrs a day! Luckily, I never really find myself low on energy (again, so far). I still manage to find time to have car naps, a habit a started this summer too. And, as my boss at the gym pointed out one day after coming in stressed as I could be (during week 1)… “you still have time to work out, so things must not be too bad). I’m making a conscious effort this year to take time each day for me, even if that’s just a car nap. This is in an attempt to keep myself from the colossal melt down that usually happens around January.

This past weekend we welcomed home the newest addition to the hobby farm… Lucy (already sometimes “Lucifer”)! She will the the new project, now the Felix is almost all grown up. Of course he isn’t going anywhere fast, and Lucy has a few years yet before we’re riding her as she’s only just 4mos old now. What we’ve learned so far is that she loves people, but not in the mornings.

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The rest of this week brings another football game (on my birthday of course), plans to spend time with friends and family over the weekend bringing in the 22nd year, and hopefully a continued progression of immersing myself into a comfortable stress/study/function level for this semester.

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20 written exams, 8 practicals, and 6 papers later…

Another academic year has come to a close (FINALLY), and I am a proud survivor (sometimes thriver) of third year athletic therapy- a year renowned for being among the toughest. 27 exams total, in 10 courses- with countless hours spent practicing- on top of balancing field work in the clinic and the football fields, and somehow finding time to read stuff. It’s safe to see why year 3 is a little (in)famous.

Within this year I got my first taste of the practical side of things, real patient interaction and real emergency response.  Less then 6 months ago if you had put me in a room and told me to effectively assess an injury, deal with it appropriately, and create a rehab program to properly return the patient to appropriate function- there is no way I would have known where to start. If you had thrown me into an emergency scenario and told me to manage it? Disaster might have ensued!

The amount that I’ve learned in what is relatively a very short period of time continues to stun me.  At the same time the amount that I still need to learn, mainly just through experience, is equally as stunning. I set some goals for myself at the beginning of both semesters, and managed to achieve them for the most part. I definitely did much better in the first part of the year, with second semester burnout (and a broken leg) catching me off guard.

Where first semester brought me the self-discipline to get the tough work done efficiently and the ability to be examined practically- second semester taught me to take a step back and do what my body needed to get things done. By the time I got to finals this term, there wasn’t much discipline left- but thankfully there was enough practical and stored knowledge left over to get me through. Practical exams by the end of this year turned into more fun then nerve wracking.

Third year also provided me with a ever growing network of fellow students and colleagues.  With so many opportunities to jump in and get involved, and so many practicals to practice for- it would have been difficult not to become close with classmates. Taking a chance and submitting one of my posts to the national athletic therapy association (CATA) ended up getting it published, which was pretty sweet! Click here for that post. The opportunity also came about for me to do some teaching, both in a fitness respect as well in formal courses with the University. This is definitely something I hope to do more of in the future!

It’s safe to say this year came with some ups and downs. Both time and stress management skills came into action, and one of the most important lessons I learned is probably managing myself under pressure. As an AT student, we deal with a lot of pressure- from our peers, our patients, our profs, the requirements of the degree, and most of all ourselves. Knowing how to micromanage our overwhelmed brains and still extract knowledge to perform is what we do best. It’s a skill we need to do well in our chosen profession, and we need to do it maintaining professionalism and reactivity to our client’s needs.

A concern for me in the past, and especially at the beginning of this year was how I was going to effectively manage to pursue a career in AT as well as continuing my pursuit of my athletic riding goals. Over the last few months I’ve discovered ways in which to optimize my knowledge and practical skills while building a business in the sport I have experience in.

What started as just a training class for riders is ever evolving into new ideas. Since implementing the class I’ve been able to brainstorm with profs over where I might go with this, and recently have begun work on setting up a position assessment program for equestrians- using my knowledge of orthopaedic assessment, biomechanics, and training. I feel very lucky to have endless resources to keep my ideas running, and look forward to developing a directed study on the topic of rider biomechanics and training. As this is an area of the sport not as commonly looked at- I have a chance to create something new to give back to my sport and build a business while maintaining involvement and continuing my own training.

This year I’ve also gotten the chance to step into student politics- and next year will be taking over leadership of the Kinesiology Students Association. I’m excited about the challenge of rebuilding our student involvement schemes in the inaugural year of the brand new athletic and health centre at the University of Winnipeg.

Some key lessons from this year:

  • Day planners are a glorious thing. Thank you moleskin.
  • Athletic tape can be used for many purposes, and should be on hand at all times
  • When people look at you like you’re the one in charge… you should probably do something.
  • It’s okay to not feel guilty about taking a day off.
  • Forgetting your wallet is the only way to ensure you won’t spend money on Starbucks.
  • Smile at the bus driver- because one day you will forget your bus pass and have no change… and it will be -40.
  • Being someone that gets along with everyone is handy.
  • Asking questions is never wrong.
  • Asking for help is never wrong.
  • Saying no is okay.
  • Using crutches to ensure a good spot on the bus is okay.
  • Every prof has a different idea of what APA format is, even if they all recommend the same source for formatting.  You can’t win that battle.
  • Practicals become less scary once you realize that everyone marking you was in the exact same spot as you not too long ago.
  • There is a limit to what you can do.

And so, after writing my last exam on Tuesday- I’ve been enjoying some quiet time. My schedule is dedicated to work, riding, training myself, mental breaks, and doing what I want. I have a week before spring term starts and I’m making the most of the slack schedule (filling it up quicker then I should). Tomorrow I have my first lesson with M&C of the year, and am both excited and nervous. I’ve been back in the saddle for a few weeks now and am feeling pretty good- but not all the way normal yet. However, each time I ride things get better. I’ve been given the okay to begin impact training again by my doctor and ATs- so will hopefully ease my way back into running and conditioning work (now that I’m not hella burnt out and a little motivated again).

 

Among other things I’ve begun writing for MORfit’s blog, and may be publishing pieces on another blog related to rider fitness in the near future. Stay tuned for more on that! Click here for my first post for MORfit, on time management. Hopefully I’ll be a little more motivated to write more for you readers as well, now that my head is out of it’s end of the semester grog.

I also will be working on ideas for the new stream of my functional training for the equestrian business over the next week or so, looking to set up clinics later in May. Funny- biomechanics has become a staple in my goals.. Upon faced with my first ever biomech course and respective project, I was in tears at what seemed to be such an impossible subject for me to grasp. Now it’s something regularly found in my daily vocabulary.

Until next time!

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Carrot at the end of the stick

“You’ve got that ‘march glaze’ about your eyes.. its that time of year for you students”

Yep.

Talk to any student right now and they’ll either give you a zombie-like reply and/or mumble something about “only 3 weeks left.. so close”. I know pretty much all my peers, as well as myself, are pretty much over the whole classes, assignment, school idea.

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Totally burned more calories on my run then are in this dish…. Totally.

It carries over to other things as well- like running. Tonight, for instance, the only reason I convinced myself that doing my run was a good idea was by bribing myself with cake and ice cream. Productive? No, not really. But, hey, it worked. And it was better than sitting on the couch and eating cake anyway. Right?

But in all seriousness- I’ve been working really hard at keeping my motivation levels up. 2 weeks ago now I started a self-designed “pre-show season bootcamp”, which I have been sticking to as best I can. I’ve been putting all the fitness programming knowledge I’ve learnt this year into action (anybody want a trainer?), and feeling the results. In a good way! Since I’ve made so much progress with my back and hip issues- much thanks to the great AT/Chiro that helped me get on this track, Dr. Notley – I want to go into this season as best prepared as I can to not back track. There is definitely some fear there that it will all kick up again as soon as I start riding full time- but I’m trying to keep my thoughts trained on the fact that I’m in great shape and stronger then I’ve ever been. And if it does, then I know how to work through it. Anybody who has had a lingering injury will know how tough that can be sometimes. If you’re interested in seeing some of my workout plans, I post them all on my Fitness Log, so feel free to take a look!

It’s been a pretty quiet few weeks for me, school wise. Well. Relatively speaking of course. It’s kind of the quiet before the storm. The storm being finals. The quiet being me still running around 6 days a week not knowing what I’m doing half the time. But hey, I’ll take it. The last big project I worked on and finished (B), was a group presentation on “Norms in Athletic Therapy” for psych skills in sport and life. Past being frustrated with my fellow group members for most of it (apparently none of them had really done a presentation or public speaking before…(thank you 4H)), it was a pretty fun project. Instead of sticking to boring classic research for our references- we decided to interview two practicing ATs from the community and use their answers to support our points. Norms was a pretty tough concept for us to present- and there were definitely aspects we lost marks on because of that. Norms are the things you do in life, but don’t think about really.. ever. For an AT it would be something like showing up before a practice, having a certain set of personality characteristics (naturally or taught), or being the type of person people are comfortable talking to. Its things that aren’t in the code of conduct, but things that are often past down through peers or teachers you have along the way. What norms do you have in your career, or daily life? In groups/organizations you are a part of?

The next big paper I’m writing is on (hopefully anyway, proposing the idea to my prof tomorrow) the Canadian Eq. Team and the Tiffany Foster situation at the olympics- mainly on how Eric Lamaze and the other members of the team reacted relating to the topic of “leadership” in sport. Should be a pretty interesting topic, I think!

In health news I’ve finally got a date with a specialist… unfortunately not for another month or so- which I guess isn’t bad for wait time. I’ve also started looking into seeing a naturopathic doctor- so here’s where I ask you lovely readers- does anyone know of good names in Winnipeg?

As I alluded to in the opening paragraphs- I’m in the homestretch for the semester. What’s my “carrot at the end of the stick”? Besides cake.. it’s getting on my horse and starting spring training! Everyday I get through is one day close to riding season. Assuming I can get my saddle on the white buffalo…

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Do what you love. Find it. Do it well. If you don’t know how to do it, learn. Know that it will rough you up a few times, and occasionally bring you to tears. Do it anyway, to the best of your ability. You’ll have no other choice. There is no end- only the journey. It will be a long one- but know this: You will be forever changed.

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Tuesday night rambles

To continue my trend, check out where I was a year ago!

Usually, on a Tuesday night, I’d be in bed by now. But since I somehow ended up consuming WAY too much caffeine today.. I need to do some typing to burn some energy.

This nice weather we’ve been having is making me want to kick into gear on the riding front- unfortunately school is getting in the way! I’ve been really upping my work-outs to compensate. And watching a lot of youtube videos, like this one. And studying.. of course. But seriously.. counting down the days, minutes, seconds, until I can get riding!

I had my first shift at the new job yesterday. I am working on a casual basis, so any shifts I have right now are as covers for other employees- I don’t have a permanent shift yet. Which is actually perfect because it basically means I can pick and choose which shifts I want. What student with my schedule would complain about that? It became very apparent yesterday that I am going to learn a BUNCH from this job. Whether it be in interacting with clients, managing a business, or, of course, everything else related to the fitness field. Only had one embarrassing moment yesterday (surprising for me), where my boss was going through a mock start up program (new members are guided through a basic fitness program by the staff on duty) with me (where I was guiding him through the program) and I couldn’t figure out how to work the treadmill. Awkward. Thankfully he switched roles with me and helped me out. He seems very committed to thoroughly training his staff, and helping them gain knowledge in every way he can in this career path. Looking forward to my next shift on Thursday, where I’ll be flying solo for the first time! Eek!

Today I got some more news on my health (or lack of) diagnosis. I had a voicemail from my GP letting me know that my CT was clear, and my appendix was/is healthy and there is no need for it to be removed. Great to know I was literally minutes away from having an unnecessary surgery. I owe the anaesthesiologist who put a halt to the procedure a big thank you! Only downside to this is that we still don’t know whats causing my symptoms. At least now that is ruled out. I am meeting with my GP tomorrow to move onto the next step- a referral to a gastroenterologist (spelled that right the first time, heck ya!). Can’t say I’m too excited about meeting with MORE doctors. This has sure been a year full of them. But, I don’t control life; I control how I react to it. So, we are going to keep thinking positive and take it as it comes.

In my last post I think I mentioned I had a pretty off week of exams, two marks around a C+ in courses where I should have been getting much higher. Crediting that to bad symptoms of the mystery ailment, and bad head space because of it. The week after that I wrote three more exams. The marks for two of which I got back, and both were A- (prevention and care of athletic injuries, and intro kin)! That definitely is a boost! I feel pretty good about the last one I’m waiting for too.

In other news, I really just want it to be riding time. 5 more weeks! Let the count down begin!

Here are some fun pictures, just for fun!

Sunrise on Ness Ave

Sunrise on Ness Ave

Zoo day anyone?

Zoo day anyone?

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I'm sure the staff at Value Village love us..

I’m sure the staff at Value Village love us..

 

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Etc.

There’s a classic Manitoba blizzard blowing around outside, this was yesterday, a few hours before it started raining/snowing/blizzarding… luckily I got back to the city before that occured.

Ice road trekking (aka highway 2)

Ice road trekking (aka highway 2)

AND it’s the first day of reading week…I think it’s time for an update, don’t you?

First off, a year ago I was doing much crazier things then I am now. Well maybe not crazier, but very different. Click here for a blast from the not so past. Or check out my archives really from anything before April of last year.

It seems like more than just a year ago I was planning all those exciting things! At the same time it doesn’t feel like it’s already almost been a year since I landed back on Canadian soil! Most of the past year has been spent with the plan of returning to the other side in the back of my mind. It’s happening. Don’t worry. This blog will get interesting one day again.

Okay, so what has happened in the past few weeks? Well, I’ve experienced what many students experience during February leading up to reading week. Complete burn out. Along with some unpleasant symptoms of whatever is going on with my health (hopefully answers soon on that). There was a week in there where I was unable to really eat much because of lack of appetite and over the top nausea- which did have a great effect on the two exams I wrote that week. Thankfully, I guess, those symptoms mysteriously disappeared for my remaining 3 exams the next week- and I’m hoping for better marks on those ones. I debated going to the hospital a couple times when I was home in Ctown, but didn’t feel up to facing the surgeon I had before- so waited it out. What would they do anyway? I had a CT scan this week, and go in for results next week. If there are any. Not sure how I’ll feel if I find out it was actually Appendicitis all along. But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there I suppose.

In other random news, I’m inching closer to dead-lifting my bodyweight (165lb)– got up to 150lb last week!  There is a video of that here. My gym time has been slightly less this semester. Well, I shouldn’t say that. It’s just been different. I’m staying active in other ways, besides strictly just the gym. I’m pretty sure I’ve only been to the gym at school maybe 5 times this term? But I’ve been at the “Homewood gym” pretty much every weekend- so those turn into my weight days. During the week I’ve found myself doing yoga, who my friend Michelle teaches, which is usually a solid work out. Also been taking a intro dance class twice a week- finding muscles that haven’t been used in a while. Yay for fitness groupons! This isn’t close to what I was doing in the first term, where I was in the gym around 5-6 days a week. However, the rule of quality vs quantity is coming into play right now. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

 The closer we get to spring, the more I’m starting to itch to get on my horses. One of which resembles a white, furry, house at the moment. The other one has near doubled his size since fall (height wise). Come the end of March, boot camp begins. For both Willard and I. The first few rides will, I’m sure, be America’s Funniest worthy. They always are.

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OH! I have other news! I almost forgot!

About two weeks ago, I think, I went to a job interview. A interview I really only went to because I was surprised to actually get a reply back to my original application. An application I sent after seeing an ad on kijiji which I almost didn’t even apply to, because, really.. do I have time for a job? No. No is the answer. But anyway, went for this interview for the experience of going for an interview. But the interview, which was for a gym assistant at a small gym in St. Boniface, went very well. It even involved a testing of my knowledge of kinesiology (which I rocked, thank you first term). And after discussing what kind of hours I was looking for, etc, it was revealed that not only would the hours work well with my monster schedule- there would also be a chance for me to gain working experience with the Athletic Therapist they have situated in the gym. Uhm, no way! Yes way! So I left the interview, not knowing whether or not I had gotten the job- but now with a new excitement about the possibility of getting it. Completely different from the “meh-whatever-don’t want a job right now anyway” attitude I went into the interview with. Skip ahead a couple weeks, and I GOT IT. So, I’m hoping that it turns out to be as great a experience as I think it will be! It’s definitely a foot in the door of the AT/Kinesiology industry, anyway.

Other things that have happened the past few weeks:

  • Learned some basic massage techniques, which I’m sure my family and friends will take advantage of. I know Leah already has. 
  • Began some taping techniques, and learned that it is NOT as easy as skilled people make it look. I never was good at arts and crafts, turns out that skill hasn’t developed over time either. Definitely going to be a lot of practicing for that going on.
  • My hair can ALMOST completely go into a pony tail. The day is near, my friends.

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  • I have almost made it the entire winter without putting on a parka. Stupid right? Don’t worry, I still wear a jacket. Just one that doesn’t have a tag saying good up to -50 or whatever. And I still have my parka with me, in case of emergency. However, this also means I’ve made it through the coldest days (-45 degrees Celsius, approx), which now means that all the other days feel like t-shirt weather. No point giving in now.

Well that’s my 1000 words. I’m now on reading week, 3 days of which I’m at the school anyway learning first aid and other school related things, hoorrah for being a good student. The other days I’ll probably be doing one or more of the following: eating cake, reading non-school assigned books, re-watching Grey’s Anatomy, working out, sleeping, napping. If only I could get paid for doing any of that.

To any students out there, make the most of zombie time.. To everyone else, hug a student!

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Turbulent 2012

Similar to previous years, seeing as I don’t make resolutions, here is a list of some of the most memorable moments of the past 12 months (in no particular order)!

  • Meeting the people I met overseas. Especially all the distant relatives. To be made to feel at home in a country that is so far away from home was something truly awesome. I am very lucky to have had that experience, and those people surrounding me during part of a pretty rough year made some impossible situations very possible. 
  • The last few weeks of travel in NZ. Working for a grand prix rider, glacier hikes, bus trips, amazing scenery, living on trail mix and instant noodles, being broke, sitting along the coast and listening to the waves crash to the shore, scenic train rides, busing through, unbelievable landscapes, and everything else. Pictures don’t do it justice, and no words can describe it. This post has more detail on some of what I did those last few weeks.

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  • Flying into Vancouver, and then Winnipeg. After what seemed like ages away, the sight of the Rocky Mountains covered in snow and looking glorious brought an unexplainable feeling, and was the best thing I’d seen yet. There is no better feeling than coming home after being away. If even where you were became like a home away from home. All those things I experienced, good and bad, were solidified as my plane landed in Vancouver. A journey was concluded, and another begun. I came home both the same, and completely changed. DSCN0373
  • Choosing a career path, and making relevant goals. I battled with myself long and hard over what I wanted to do with my life. Pretty much exactly a year ago I decided that athletic therapy was where I wanted to be, and set some goals for myself. It was definitely the right choice, and accomplishing the goals I’ve set has been unbelievably challenging and terrifying- but also fantastic. It’s nice to know that I’m doing something with my life that is always going to present me with a new challenge to keep me motivated.
  • MHJA’s Fall Harvest Show. I believe this was in last years list too. Coming up to this year’s show, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. After a surgery in mid-July on my tailbone- I wasn’t able to ride up until 6 days before the competition (approx 6 weeks off for both me and my horse). Challenge accepted. I definitely pushed my recovery a little far- but I rode everyday for those 6 days and against the advice of pretty much everyone went to Fall Harvest. I’m sure we only survived that weekend on pure adrenaline (sooo out of shape). It was at that show, same as last year, that the difference in my riding ability really was shown. Mike broke his gruff exterior more than once at this show, saying “we might make a rider out of you one day”. A huge compliment!
  • Similar to the above, the Hunter Derby class at Fall Harvest 2012 (Check out this post for more!)
    . This was the first year doing a derby was realistic for me, and I got the okay from my coaches to enter. I wish I had a video of it! But any rider reading this will understand- it was one of those courses that presented so many new challenges and tests for both horse and rider and somehow, by some luck, we got around it and were rewarded the greatest feeling of teamwork and accomplishment. Best way to end off our short season!

    Not from Fall Harvest, but from Beach Party 2012.

    Not from Fall Harvest, but from Beach Party 2012.

  • Getting to know the people I ride and compete with better. I realize this is more than one moment in time, but over the past year I’ve really gotten a chance to spend more time with my coaches, Mike and Charlene, as well as other riders who train with them. It makes the sport so much more fun to be surrounded by people like this! I’ve learned a lot just by being around them, and they’ve helped me to gain confidence in myself and as a result ride that much better.
  • Kin-3201 Biomechanics. From day one this course terrified me, as well fascinated me! The study of biology and the forces acting upon it. Anatomy and physics combined. Being someone who never really excelled in physics- this was a challenge. But I found the math part of things much easier to understand when it was put into a athletic/movement perspective. I liked this course way more than I thought I would. And the final project, which was one of the hardest academic things I’ve done so far, was so cool! My post Critical Instant has more detail on the project and what I did my research on. I learned so much from this course, and loved the challenges it presented!_DSC0315 _DSC0317

 

2012 was a challenging year for me. I saw some pretty unbelievable things, on both ends of the spectrum. I experienced some of the worst physical pain, and emotional turmoil I ever have- but also had some great accomplishments and good times. I am positive 2013 will present new challenges, tough times, and good times to rival what 2012 threw at me. After facing what I’ve faced the past 12 months, I don’t know what else could be better preparation for whatever 2013 has in store. Here’s to the New Year, and may it be what it will be!

 

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Pre-Exam Update

Ahhh it’s been a while. This is going to be short and sweet.

It’s been a pretty stressful month, what with finishing classes of my first term and all that good stuff. But, after 5 exams.. I’m done! Until January. I have survived-so far- what many thought would be the killer of all semesters.. five courses, four labs.. so pretty much 9 classes.. INSANITY. The past few months flew by. Last time I wrote I believe I was getting ready to do my presentation for biomechanics, on the posting trot. That went very well, I think, we have yet to get our feedback for that. I got asked my all time favourite question “is rider fitness important in the sport” Uhh, let me think.. YES (of course followed by a suitably intelligent sounding explanation). We finished our paper this week, and will hand it in sometime next week once it’s been proof read a few hundred times. I had Charlene read it tonight, and she seemed to think it was good. Hopefully our prof thinks the same thing! If anybody is interested in reading it, let me know- the more proof readers the better!

Tonight is the eve of what is going to be a crazy week (do I have any not crazy weeks?). Four finals await me, two on tuesday (nutrition, and stats), and then scientific principles of fitness and conditioning (I did my final case study (worth 25%) on a program for a equestrian athlete!) on Wednesday, and the big scary Biomech final exam on Friday. Biomech is definitely the only exam I’m worried about. I’m pretty determined on getting a good mark, so the pressure is on. The midterm was created by the devil, so I’m sure the final will be of the same calibre… but at least we have double the time to write. And then next week I finish off with my A&P midterm (this is a full year course). I basically have spent the last 3-4 days buried in my stats text book. Hypotheses testing, inferential statistics, and data analysis, are all things I will be very happy to be done with!

In other news.. well.. I don’t really have a life outside of school at the moment. Maybe I’ll think of something interesting to write about in the coming weeks, after my brain has recovered from what it’s about to be put through.. Wish me luck!

 

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Critical Instant

Two weeks left in the term?! How did this happen!

I’ve been figuratively, and sometimes literally, smothered by projects, lab exams, and review that I’ve lost track of time. That being said, nothing is really new either. I’m almost nervous for December holidays to arrive because I’m not sure what I’ll do without the stress of having to finish a lab report, analyze a joint, calculate the probability in a two tailed hypothesis test, or finish case studies. What a crazy few months it’s been. I survived the 6 midterms in a week. I’m hoping I’ll make it through this big biomechanics project alive, and the finals. Oh the finals.

I never fully accomplished unpacking my room after moving in in September, so maybe that will get finished during break. I’ll definitely be working because not having income kind of sucks. I’ll hopefully be riding because I’m missing that part of my life like crazy. But, first I have to get through the next two weeks.

On the docket this week is the presentation of my Biomechanics research project. Which, if you’ll remember, I did on the posting trot as a unskilled vs skilled analysis. I had two awesome subjects who let me tape them up and make them trot around a ring until I got the shots I needed. Since then, my partner and I, have been breaking down their movements into phases, measuring the angles of their joints, and deciding what would be the best aspect to present to our class and professor. We are required to discuss one qualitative (what you can observe) and one quantitative (calculations and what they mean in relation to what you previously observed) aspect of the project (the paper itself will involve many more of these aspects, including many more calculations yay). Our qualitative aspect is simply showing the difference between the skilled and unskilled subject in the critical instant of the movement, i.e.. when the rider is up out of the saddle, mid-post, with a straight line from their shoulder, hip, to ankle joints. All riders know this as it’s drilled into our heads day in and day out by coaches, for good reason. We found that there was only a small difference between our riders, being a deviation in the placement of the ankle joint. The skilled rider had great alignment, while the unskilled’s ankle was just ahead of the vertical. This would suggest less stability in the lower leg. Our quantitative analysis was based on the velocity (speed) of the rider’s hip joint during the follow through phase, ie.. as they sink back into the saddle after critical instant. To calculate this we used the change in degrees of the hip joint, divided by the time it took them (calculated by the number of frames over the amount of frames per second the camera filmed at).

Why is this important?

Well, you know how coaches sometimes say to slow down the rhythm of your posting? This is exactly what we’re looking at. We found that the skilled rider had about 18degrees/second and our skilled rider had about 19degrees/second in their hip joint. Not a huge difference, but enough of one to prove our point. The slower velocity supports a controlled follow through phase, which in all sports is necessary for injury prevention- probably less of an issue in this case, but a controlled movement is pretty important to create balance, support the horse’s movement, remain stable in the saddle, and flow with the movement. Plus the more controlled and stable the rider is in their follow through, the less jarring on the horse’s back. In that slower velocity of the skilled rider we can show that she is able to control her body as it sinks down into the saddle, and maintain a better rhythm while being stable in the saddle- allowing her to follow the horse’s stride. Of course there is also the aesthetic portion to this part of the skill. The more balanced and stable you are in the saddle, the less you interfere with your horses natural movements and the better the entire picture looks.

Anyone asleep yet?

This is only a small part of the project. As I mentioned earlier the paper will include all that and more. We’ll be calculating almost everything there is to to calculate based on the information we have in the videos. Can’t wait. But for right now, our main focus is getting this presentation done. Probably the biggest challenge will be trying to get all of what I just wrote above across to a room full of people who have basically no understanding of the equestrian sport. Sometimes even my partner has to stop me when I’m talking through some of this stuff and ask me to explain in english. I have honestly never thought about the posting trot in such depth before. Who knew it 30% of my final mark in a University course would be riding on a movement I don’t, or never used to, really even give a second thought to? Education, gotta love it.

Wish me luck!

 

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The Student Games

A thought popped into my head today while I was trying to decide between the $1.89/lb apples that I wanted, and the $.99/lb ones on sale that looked half as good (I picked the cheap, bruised ones), and again when I was watering down my cranberry juice (that I got on sale)) as to make it last longer,  that students lead quite interesting lives.  And as my roommate just pointed out, in between mouthfuls of carrot, that her supper is just that. A carrot. “With dirt on it”.

“University doesn’t test your knowledge and the amount you have learned, it tests your stamina, study skills and sanity. What will you give up to keep up?”

That quote makes it sound like we live in the Hunger Games trilogy.

It’s not all that bad. Usually. Most of the time.. Actually, we do tend to be hungry a lot… But it definitely is an acquired lifestyle, between study sessions turned into tv show marathons, screaming “I don’t waaaaannnt to studddddyyyy”, flash cards, notes, bus passes, cramming information into your head (even if you don’t understand any of it), debating which subject needs your attention most based on the due date and complexity of the assignment, writing blog posts, yelling at printers, and Facebook.

“I’m going to get a cupcake, and then I’m going to study….. I’m probably not going to study…. yes I am…maybe…” – Christine

Every year we enter into our respective schools, quickly spend all our funds on books, of which 50% of which are actually used in classwatch our care for personal appearance dissapate, wish we were at Hogwarts, procrastinate, somehow get through midterm season- relax, panic, write finals and finish final projects, anxiously await marks, and repeat. Public naps happen often. There are rooms at our school where every person inside them is napping. It’s like that scene from Inception where all you can hear are people sleep breathing.

I’ve had friends who aren’t in school ask me what movie I want to go see, and I’ll have absolutely no idea what is playing, or what has played for the past few months. The outside world doesn’t exist to a University student, especially from 2nd year onwards, and for those having more then 4 classes. We get our news from Facebook, our ideas from Pinterest, and as a result lose a lot of sleep on news and ideas. 

Grocery shopping is put off too long, at the same time as cleaning the fridge is put off. I think there is still left overs in our fridge from the first week of school- which I am now afraid to touch. There a numerous empty granola bar boxes in the cupboard, which I still reach into every morning hoping that there is one in there. We learned quickly that IF we buy fresh vegetables, putting them in the crisper drawer is NOT the best idea. Because they get forgotten about. Then, 4 weeks later, we are left with a very unspeakable things that are not crisp, or fresh. Whether or not you are a vegetarian, sometimes that is what you’re diet turns into. Let’s face it. Meat is expensive, not always on sale, and time consuming to cook. Sidekicks are a fancy meal, because they are the closet thing to a complete meal you’ll be eating all week. Whenever I do find myself relaxing into thinking I have free time, it is quickly overcome by a fear that I’ve forgotten something. In lieu of having a can opener, I’ve been know to try desperately to open a can of soup with a screw driver (it doesn’t work, by the way). I’ve also been known to bribe myself through papers by making the deal of one paragraph, 5 minutes of nap time. Sometimes that same bribe gets me through 3 hr lectures. Listen for 5 minutes, sleep for 5.

If you want me to go somewhere, mention free food, and I’ll fit it into my schedule.

We live in a world where skipping class is reasonable for two reasons- being extremely sleep deprived, or staying home to do homework for said class. No matter how excited you get over a great midterm mark, beware, because the higher the class average, the harder the final will be. Do not try and communicate with a student who is pre, mid, or post- midterm or any other exam. Never underestimate our ability to write a 15 page research paper the night before it’s due, and still somehow get a decent mark. It IS possible.

I’ve found that school and travelling (my kind of travelling anyway) have a lot in common. The views are certainly less spectacular, depending on how you define spectacular, but there is a the similar money and food scarceness, and a equal amount of dirty laundry.

I start somewhere around the 3rd phase..

However, there is not as much panic, while travelling, as there is as a student when you forget your pencil case at home and you have 3 lectures and a lab to get through on no writing utensils, protractors, calculators, or rulers. There is, though, a great deal of wondering what you’re doing, where you’re going, and various other universal questions, in both areas of life.

I can go from feeling like I’ll never be out of school, ever ever ever, to holy sh** I’m already half done a degree in 2 seconds flat. Same amount of time about that it takes me to open and close the fridge in the morning and see that I have no juice to water down, therefore I’m stuck with just tap water.

As students we learn what each prof wants to see from us, and how to adapt to their varying personalities. Know which classes to come wide awake for, and well rested, and which ones are okay to maybe nod off for a few minutes in the middle (they do exist). Mix those two up though, and you won’t know what hit you come exam time. Some like to fool you into thinking they teach an easy class, and then test you on everything they said, posted, and thought.

**Holds up text book full of post it book marks* “Look at it, isn’t it pretty?? It’s like a rainbow”

“Christine, study.”

Somehow, no matter how hard we will ourselves, we cannot help procrastination. Sometimes we procrastinate in ways that indirectly could possible sort of maybe relate to our studies. Grey’s Anatomy episodes taught me some stuff about Anatomy.. It has anatomy in the title anyway. And I’ve also convinced myself that gym time is equal to study time. But by some miracle, we make it through. We don’t melt into the puddle we would rather be come exam time, usually, anyway, and our brains sometimes help us out with exams, but even when they leave us as blank as the answer sheet- we come up with something and live to write another paper. Then, by who knows what cause, we come back for another semester. The will to make something of our lives is greater then the will of Facebook. In the long run. Procrastination does eventually lead to getting things done. In the most stressful way possible, but they do get finished. Being a student would be just too easy otherwise. And, those hard earned marks wouldn’t feel as good if we did the work and had no stress going along with it. Right now I’m wondering how I managed to write 1300 words this quickly, when it takes me a week to do the same for something much more important.

 

It’s an vicious cycle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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