Curry College Advocates for Suicide Prevention

BY CHRISTIANNA CASALETTO  // SEPT. 9, 2016 //

Mental health and suicide can be difficult topics to discuss, but Curry College is making strides in opening the discussion and advocating prevention ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10th.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, each year, over 42,000 Americans die by suicide, making it the 10th leading killer in the US.

Because of these troubling statistics, various organizations are taking action to alter this trend. Faculty, staff and students alike at Curry College are joining the efforts to minimize the severity of this issue.

The Curry College Counseling Center, just past the basketball courts near the library, offers a variety of counseling services, including individual, couple and group. These services also include various outreach programs like First Year Seminar visits, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response programs, stress management, and more.

Alison Markson, the Director of the Counseling Center, is just one of the many staff members Curry College students can turn to in times of crisis. “Students come to us, sharing deeply personal stories and we talk with them about how their thoughts, feelings and behaviors may impact their overall stress levels, mood and quality of life.”

Markson added that the two most common reasons that students come to the Counseling Center involve anxiety and depression. “This is consistent with national trends at college and university based counseling centers, with anxiety ranking the number one concern.”

Students can also visit the Counseling Center for diverse reasons that include, but are not limited to, grief and loss, homesickness/adjustment to college and relationship or family issues. In addition, counselors will meet with students about mood changes, personal stressors such as finances or academics, as well as the impact(s) that trauma, drugs and alcohol may have on their lives.

“The important thing is that students discuss the issues that are important to them,” says Markson.

Out of all the advice Markson has for suicide prevention, she stressed the trust in your own instincts. “If you believe a friend is in distress, or you notice that they are exhibiting worrisome changes in behavior and/or mood, take it seriously.”

Markson recommends that if you are looking for pointers about how to approach your friend, consider talking with a counselor at the Counseling Center first. She also says that if you yourself are having a difficult time, please let someone know. A friend, an RA, a coach, a professor, advisor, etc. “There are many people out there who can help, and who care about your well-being.”

The Curry College Counseling Center is located in Smith House (up the hill from the basketball courts) and can be reached at 617-333-2182. You can contact the Counseling Center during business hours (8:30am-4:30pm, M-F).  After hours, contact the Counselor on Call via Public Safety at 617-333-2222 or the CD on Duty. They also offer anonymous mental health online screenings at http://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/CURRY

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or dial 911.

Marty Walsh’s Chief of Staff Never Let ADHD Stop Him

BY CHRISTIANNA CASALETTO // FEB. 24, 2016 // 

Dan Koh, a Harvard graduate who serves as Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s chief of staff, shared his struggle with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and succeeding in spite of a learning disability, to members of the Curry community during a program hosted Tuesday night by the Curry College Public Relations Student Association.

Aside from explaining day-to-day responsibilities working with Walsh, the major theme throughout the talk was how Koh overcame the obstacle of an ADHD diagnosis at the age of 14. Although it was a challenge, Koh said he used his ADHD as a strength rather than a weakness.

Matthew Katz, a sophomore criminal justice major, said it felt “reassuring” to hear of someone who has had so much success despite struggling with ADHD.

Dan Koh, chief of staff for Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, visited Curry Tuesday night // Photo by Kirk Hazlett
Dan Koh, chief of staff for Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, visited Curry Tuesday night. // PHOTO COURTESY OF KIRK HAZLETT

Even while managing his ADHD, Koh, 31, has developed an impressive resume. He has two Harvard degrees (an undergraduate degree and an MBA), was adviser to former Mayor Tom Menino, General Manager of HuffPost Live, and assisted in the creation CityScore, a way for Walsh and city managers to measure and monitor data trends in the city of Boston.

He has also been honored in Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30, the Boston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40, and was named one of 10 Outstanding Young Leaders by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.

John Ridlen, a sophomore Communication major, said he admired how open Koh was about his diagnosis with ADHD. “There are a lot of young people who suffer from learning disabilities, and I think it’s great that he can sort of act as a role model for them.”

During his speech, Koh gave three pieces of advice to those in attendance.

The first was to help people. “Even when it’s a pain in the butt for you. Even when you don’t know that person,” he added. Koh gave an anecdote about how he helped a stranger get a job with the Huffington Post, which he had previously blogged for. That eventually led him to a future job opportunity as chief of staff for Huffington Post founder Ariana Huffington.

The second was to “be persistent.” Koh reminded students that sometimes things fall through, but you shouldn’t give up. Upon hearing there was a job opportunity as chief of staff to the mayor, Koh emailed Walsh numerous times but with no response. However, he decided to send one more email.

“It was actually a Sunday…he was in church on his knees praying because he didn’t have a chief of staff,” said Koh. “He finished his prayer, mass ended, he opened up his phone, and my email was at the top of his inbox.”

The third piece of advice, and the one he stressed the most, resonated with his audience of Curry students. “Just because you struggle in school doesn’t mean you’re a failure,” he said. Koh described how he had a tough time thriving in an academic setting due to his ADHD.

He advised students with similar struggles to find jobs that appeal to their strengths and explained that he avoided a job that involved being at a desk all day and sitting through long meetings. “The real world in terms of working is very different from what you’re doing here.”

dan koh 2
“Just because you struggle in school doesn’t mean you’re a failure,” says Koh. // PHOTO COURTESY OF ELAINA DRUID

“Being able to relate to his challenges in school and hearing about how he overcame them inspired me to keep working hard to reach the goals I have for my own life,” said Alexandra Landry, a freshman Communication major.

Koh’s presentation left a lingering sense of hope for the future. He opened and closed with this message: “If you haven’t got it figured out, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to be successful.”

Kelsey Davis, a freshman Communication major, said she “walked away with knowledge about the professional world and how to be persistent with [her] goals.”

Alexandra Callanan, a sophomore Communication major, added: “It’s refreshing to know that even the most successful people have had struggles that they have overcome. Dan Koh is now someone that I can look up to when it comes to going after what I’m passionate about.”

Health Services Wants You To Avoid the Flu

BY COLIN MURPHY // NOV. 10, 2015 // 

In October, a total of 147 flu shots were given to Curry students during Health Services’ flu shot clinics. Flu season starts in October and reaches its peak between December and February. Getting a flu shot is the best way to avoid contracting the flu.

The number of shots provided by the Health Services’ flu shot clinics increased this year. Last year, 125 shots were given.

Erin Simmons, the Director of Campus Health Services said, “The shots are a great service to the community… You are not only protecting yourself, but you are protecting the people around you.”

COURTESY OF NHS EMPLOYERS. CREATIVE COMMONS.
COURTESY OF NHS EMPLOYERS. CREATIVE COMMONS.

Individual students getting their flu shots is extremely beneficial to everyone else on campus, including those who do not get their annual flu shot.

Common reasons for people not getting a flu shot include the dislike or fear of needles, the myth that the shots can make people sick with the flu and underestimating the shot’s importance.

Simmons said that increasing advertising and explaining misconceptions are the best ways to raise awareness of how important the flu shot is.

Simmons said that Health Services has the goal of reaching “herd immunity” on campus. Having “heard immunity” to the flu would mean that everyone on campus would be immune.

First-year student Roberto Roca got his flu shot from a doctor prior to arriving on campus. Roca said, “It was my time to receive it.”

There are 2,100 traditional undergrad students at Curry and only 147 flu shots were given to students. It is likely that many students, like Roca, received their flu vaccination off-campus from a family doctor or a pharmacy like CVS or Walgreens.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter where or how you get vaccinated, just as long as you do so.

Simmons encouraged all students and faculty to get their flu shots to reduce the likelihood of illness and to learn more about the flu vaccine. More knowledge will lead to an increased chance of a fully flu-protected campus.

Beauty Into Beast: A Fitness Journey

BY OLIVIA ANDREW // SEPT. 22, 2015 //

When it comes to exercise and eating healthy, everyone has those days where they feel down. They swear they are going to change and that this time will be different.

I was a gymless body builder for two years in high school. I took a yearlong break and got back into the routine about seven months ago. Sometimes, it’s important to give your body a break and after a yearlong hiatus, I was ready to get back into the routine. Now, I couldn’t be happier.

So… what is a gymless body builder?

A gymless body builder is an individual who trains to gain muscle mass, but in everyday spaces such as bedrooms, living spaces, classrooms and even outdoors. My lifestyle helps keep me on track. I can never skip a workout because no matter where I am, I’m already in the gym.

PHOTO COURTESY OF OLIVIA ANDREW.
PHOTO COURTESY OF OLIVIA ANDREW.

How did this all start?

I credit it all to my best friend, Nick Condon. Nick not only inspires my fitness goals, but he also inspires me to become a better person.

For years, Nick was bullied by his peers for anything and everything he did. Instead of becoming destructive and ruthless, Nick followed another path. That path was bodybuilding. Through bodybuilding, Nick was able to release the pent up frustration he’d been holding in from years of bullying.

Every workout became a thrill for Nick. He allows nothing but the best to enter into his life. To me, his strength and love for bodybuilding, is what inspired me. Not the physique you achieve from the sport, but just the love for it.

After every workout, I feel strong and empowered. I feel pride every time I choose the healthy meal over the fried one. Every little triumph leads to a greater success. I am still learning, but I just have to remember – my hero wasn’t always a pro. There were days when he was exactly like me, and I look to where he is now and how successful he has been. I am so insanely proud of my best friend.

Being in college definitely makes my lifestyle even harder. Luckily, being on a strict diet in college isn’t as hard as you may think. You just know where to look.

PHOTO COURTESY OF OLIVIA ANDREW.
PHOTO COURTESY OF OLIVIA ANDREW.

Here are a few things to try next time you’re at the Student Center for a meal:

1. Get those greens!

Make sure you eat as many vegetables as you can. Find your most favorite and flavorful salad combinations. Some people like veggie-only salads. Some like fruit, meat or even eggs added on. Find the combination that makes you happy, and make sure you work it in with lunch and dinner.

2. No fried ANYTHING!

That means no pizza, no fries, no chicken tenders, no fried clams and no French fries. It is going to be tough, but just keep in mind – it’s all worth it. Plus, you always have your CHEAT DAY!

3. MEAT!

Meat is a very important staple. Meat helps support your muscle growth. As you increase in size, you are going to have to eat more to keep up with your over all size. Make sure that your protein intake is relatively high, whether it comes from protein bars, protein shakes, meat or eggs.

4. Lots and lots of water.

Water is one of the best things to give your body. Drink up!

When the going gets rough…

No grilled chicken in the dining hall? Grab the chicken or other meat available and peal off the skin or breading. Cut up the pieces and mix it into your salad. Or, my personal favorite: go to the sandwich station. You dictate what goes in it, so definitely use that to your advantage.

Craving something sweet? Instead of dessert, grab a fruit or two. You get the same sugary satisfaction, without the extra calories.

Whenever I get bored with a workout routine or need new recipes, I always refer to bodybuilding.com. I have had so much success using this site and it is extremely helpful!

It sounds simple, but searching for workout circuits on YouTube is also very helpful!

Remember – your fitness dreams are achievable. You CAN do it!

Teching Care of Your Health

BY KILEY FARRELL // MARCH 29, 2015 //

When most people think of unhealthy living, they picture fast food and sitting around on a coach. But few think about the negative impact technology has on our health.

For example, when I step out the door to walk to class, I automatically put my headphones in and crank up the volume to block out background noises. But according to research out of Massachusetts Eye and Ear, the ear buds on headphones have the ability, over time, to cause hearing loss or ringing in the ears when volume is too high.

PHOTO BY PHILIPPE PUT, Creative Commons
PHOTO BY PHILIPPE PUT, Creative Commons

There’s also something now called “computer vision syndrome,” which leads to burning and irritation of the eyes from staring at a computer screen for long periods of time. We become so interested and focused on what we’re reading, typing or even looking at we often forget to blink! That leads to dry eyes, which cause irritation.

Many eye care specialists say that spending hours on a computer screen can take a negative toll on one’s vision, especially in the long run. For example, it can result in straining the muscles in your eyes, headaches, blurred vision, and eye fatigue.

However, there are ways you can prevent all of this from happening. An obvious but helpful solution would be wearing prescription glasses during computer use, adjusting your computer’s contrast so the lighting isn’t so bright, and making sure to take breaks from your computer or any screen you’re staring at. Try two to three minutes for each half-hour on a screen, and 10- to 15-minute breaks for every hour on a screen.

Today’s college students have only known a world with computers and digital devices. How we continue to use these tools, and the technologies of tomorrow, can influence our health just as profoundly as all those late-night pizza orders.