Sexual assault is a heavy topic for a Saturday. Yet this weekend, 18 people gathered to spend the better part of a day participating in the Sexual Assault Response Advocacy training.

The training is collaborative in nature with faculty from the Women’s Resource Center, the Department of Criminal Justice, LUPD, Student Conduct, and the University Counseling Center (UCC) providing information in their areas of expertise. Representatives from both NOPD and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners program volunteered to provide information on their services. These speakers address the gendered nature of violence, review various options available (including medical, legal, and judicial options), and provide empathic communication skill building. Each trained advocate then serves as a knowledgeable, initial point of contact, connecting survivors to community resources for health and healing.

Among the participants this weekend included students, staff and faculty representing a variety of departments, ages, cultural backgrounds, genders, and grades. Herein lies the note of hopefulness: many people from many backgrounds care and are seeking ways to address the problem of sexual violence. Though sexual violence permeates our culture, there are individuals choosing to teach, learn, listen, brainstorm, volunteer, and dialogue.

If you are a survivor, a list of trained advocates and a list of local resources can be found on the UCC’s webpage.

If you are a community member looking to engage this topic further, consider the following:

  1. Challenge your peers who make comments that blame victims.
  2. Reflect on the posters in residence halls highlighting the link between alcohol and sexual violence.
  3. Look for information about Sexual Non-Violence Week (in early April).
  4. Consider being trained as an advocate.
  5. Attend a lecture on a related topic.
  6. Talk to a counselor about how you can engage this topic. We’ll be providing information on the UCC services in residence halls tonight!

By: Brooks Zitzmann, LMSW

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Counselors from the University Counseling Center will be in each of the residence halls on campus Monday, February 25th from 5:30 to 7PM handing out cookies and hot chocolate until our supplies are gone!  Don’t miss out on free food and a chance to pick up some free swag.  Of course we’ll be promoting a little of what we do here at the UCC with the main goal of putting a face to our name for those who might not know about us yet!

DID YOU KNOW? – 20% of all Loyola students come to see one of us in therapy before they graduate?

DID YOU KNOW? – Sessions are included in your tuition and there is not session limit?!?

DID YOU KNOW? –That we have a psychologist on staff that provides psychiatric treatment?

DID YOU KNOW? – We test students for ADHD?

DID YOU KNOW? – Our records are kept strictly confidential?

DID YOU KNOW? – Our client satisfaction is through the roof?  Over 90% are satisfied! 

DID YOU KNOW? – We also help coordinate other healthy living initiatives on campus?

DID YOU KNOW? – We are located right above the OR in the Danna Center?

DID YOU KNOW? – We have a 24 hour crisis line available?

DID YOU KNOW? – Your mind has just been blown?  Didn’t think so.

We could keep going all day, but we’ll limit it to these easily digestible bylines.  So stop by and say hello and grab a snack.  Better yet, make an appointment with one of us by calling X3835, catch up on our blog – Care for the Pack, or look out for the upcoming TEAL Dot campaign.

-Logan Williamson, LPC and the rest of the UCC Staff

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Ah, I know it well. The dreaded post-Mardi Gras slump when it all begins to come back into focus: readings, papers, midterm exams, obligations. How is it that just a few days ago our lives seemed suspended in a wonderland of beads and cake, and now I’m supposed to give a presentation on the impact of climate change on archaeological digs in Greenland for my Anthro class? Ugh. Well folks, chin up. Because what we’ve got here is an Après Carnival Boot Camp to kick start yourself into a healthy and productive spring!

Self-Care

I love this term for its simplicity and global applicability. Self-care is essential for all of us, and nothing is more important when it comes to gearing up for that grueling Spring semester than doing just that – taking care of yourself. Easier said than done, perhaps, when you’ve got class, homework, job work, a social life, that meeting with your Lit professor you’ve already canceled twice…But carving out time, even once a week, to do something just for you can work wonders on your stress levels. So catch a movie, read a book for fun (yes, people still do that), take a nap, knit some socks, whatever. If it brings you happiness, it’s important to allow yourself the time to enjoy it.

Healthy Routine

It’s easy after a long break to get a little lazy about the everyday, but making sure you eat regularly, exercise, and sleep can make a big difference. Eating well is crucial: a 5-Hour Energy and a Nutri-Grain Bar isn’t going to cut it for a full day of class and homework. Explore the healthy options in the Orleans Dining Room, Smoothie King, La Davina, or over at Tulane’s LBC. Balance your food groups and utilize what you’re eating for optimal energy and your body.

Speaking of your body – jump back into that fitness regimen, or start a new one (it’s Lent)! I know I know, “But I walked allll the way from Napoleon to Jackson Square like every DAY over Mardi Gras” – and that’s great! But your body and your brain both need an outlet for the everyday pressures of being a student. The Rec Plex is right there, and Punxsutawney Phil missed his shadow so we should be seeing some beautiful spring days to run in Audubon Park. Take advantage and try to get in 30 minutes of physical activity each day. If you’ve consistently taken care of yourself, you’ll be thankful come exam time.

As a graduate student, I understand better than most that your nightly eight hour meeting with your pillow can often devolve into a forty five minute affair with one of those way-too-comfortable-for-school-work couches in the library. But sleep is an integral part of developing a healthy routine for yourself, especially after Mardi Gras. Make it a priority to get enough shut-eye that you wake up feeling ready to start the day. Hitting snooze a couple times is fine, but if you’re consistently having trouble getting out of bed it may be time to call it quits earlier the day before.

Manage Your Time

It may seem too early to be thinking about May, but the semester can fly by and you don’t want to be caught off guard for finals. Now that you don’t have 10 AM parades to attend, use weekends and days off to get ahead. Make a realistic schedule for yourself, and stick to it. Knocking out the bibliography for that paper due in March or typing up notes as you go for a study guide you’ll use later on will free you up later during crunch-time.  Crossing off a few things every day can ease your mind and allow more time to decompress once things get crazy.

More To Come!

Springtime in New Orleans is an experience, whether it’s your first, your last, or somewhere in between. So, don’t be too devastated that Mardi Gras is over – because we’ve got everything from Jazz Fest to Strawberry Fest coming our way. Get excited!

- Emma Cate Pegues, MSW Candidate

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The Elusive LDR

Long Distance Relationships (LDRs for short) are an interesting beast.  These romantic relationships are ones where the couple has decided that even though distance separates, the commitment will continue.  They are not impossible, but LDRs present their own set of difficulties.  Recently, I had the chance to interview a college senior who has been in a successful 3 year LDR.  I used the opportunity to pick her brain about what she believes are some practical tips for maintaining a healthy relationship over the miles.   While she stressed that normal relationship qualities are important like commitment, fidelity and love, she also had some great specific advice for LDRs.

Facetime/Skype/Google + Hangout – Seeing the person’s facial reactions and being able to read social cues are much better than when you are reading or listening.  Technology has made this even easier as newer smartphones can stream video chats with a Wi-Fi connection.  She said that Facetime has better video quality and the calls aren’t dropped as often as Skype.  She also told me that even though she may have an iPad or a computer, she prefers using her iPhone 4s because it is so portable.  We aren’t in full hologram mode, but the race is on between Google and Apple to see who gets there first I’m sure.

Leading a Normal Life – She stressed that leading a normal life outside of the relationship is essential.  Being active in school and with her social life help keep her from missing her relationship as much and help her establish a good balance.  She acknowledges that at times she has had to accept being the 3rd wheel with a good spirit.  I thought this was pretty refreshing because she admits that there are tradeoffs to the LDR.  Not everyone likes 3rd wheel status, but if hanging out with your friends is the priority, then you have to suck some things up!

LDRs won’t work without seeing one another – It is important to keep up regular intervals where you see one another.  Ultimately, the relationship needs physical contact and shared experience.  Not breaking these commitments is important and she stressed that it “has to be kept even.”  If she went to visit him this time, then he is coming the next time.  That way they don’t worry about if someone is more committed than the other.  This advice seems simple, but I think it taps into a big fear that couples have going into and even in the midst of an LDR.  Negotiating how long between visits and keeping it even can go a long way to introduce more stability into an unstable equation.

Taking Advantage of Longer Stretches – When visiting, it is rare that actual face time is more than two days.  Her insight was that anyone could put on a good face for 2 days, and that doubt can creep in.  “Do you really know the person?”  Her advice was to take advantage of breaks when you are able to spend more time together so that you can get to know each other outside of these short stints.

Worlds Colliding – Making sure that visiting weekends are not only date nights has worked for this relationship.  This student said she usually spends one night with her boyfriend and one night with her boyfriend and his friends.  This is the same when he visits.  That way they are able to integrate and get support from their friends when there is distance.  I felt like this was the best piece of advice that she gave.  When she told me this, she was clear that this process was purposeful, and it makes sense.  It can be really easy to get wrapped up for the short period of time that you have together and not acknowledge the life that one another leads when you are gone.  I feel that this can also be helpful in combating the inevitable creep of jealousy that happens in LDRs.  If you hung out last weekend with all the people who tag your significant other in Facebook photos, it is a lot easier to talk yourself down off the jealousy cliff.

What I really liked about the combination of these pieces of advice was that it really showed a nice balance between connecting with your partner and accepting the role that distance plays in the relationship.  Like all LDRs, she hopes to break up with Distance one day soon and be monogamous with her boyfriend.

-Logan Williamson, LPC

 

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Smardi Gras

Carnival season is here and what a great time to be in New Orleans! Beads, doubloons, throws, and king cake—all things that incite excitement and wonder to new comers and old faithfuls alike. Whether you choose to watch the parades on St. Charles Avenue or join the madness of the party on Bourbon Street, keep these safety tips in mind to have a Smardi Gras:

  • Travel in groups to and from parking spots and be aware of your surroundings. Leave nothing of value in plain sight in your car.
  • Carry valuables (I.D, keys, cash) in your front pockets. This puts would be pickpockets at a disadvantage. Avoid carrying bulky purses and don’t wear expensive jewelry.
  • Pre-program your cell phone with 2-3 local cab numbers and carry enough cash to cover a cab ride.
  • The drinking age is 21 and please be safe if you choose to drink. Set a reasonable limit for yourself and stick to it.
  • Look after your drink. If you leave your drink unattended, just get a new one.
  • Pack snacks. Bring non-alcoholic drinks and food to stay hydrated and energized.
  • Check the weather forecast. It can be very warm or very cold. Whether or not you wear a costume, it is a day outdoors, so plan accordingly: wear comfortable shoes, sunscreen, and layered clothing.
  • Bring a plastic or cloth bag with handles with you to hold all of the trinkets that you catch.
  • Be extra aware when using your cell phone in public.
  • Respect the police. Our NOPD officers are working overtime and are deserving of your cooperation and compliance. It is very easy to get arrested for being overly intoxicated or obnoxious. Have fun but be smart.
  • Visit the Smardi Gras table in the Danna Student Center on Thursday, February 7th from 12:30- 2pm to get great giveaways!

-University Counseling Center

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In an earlier post I mentioned my bias against Reality Television.  If I was being honest, it is more of a disdain.  A disgust.  Like when someone says “Moist” really slowly and accentuates the “st” at the end.  “Moi…STTT.”  That is how much I do not like Reality TV.  (Sorry for making you read that.)

The source of my revulsion comes from the way that Reality TV pretends to take away the veil between fiction and nonfiction.  You are watching people talking to one another, going through their lives, relating to one another, relating to you through the confessional booth, and having conflict.  The problem is that this isn’t the reality television that I grew up with – when reality TV shows came out of a writers strike and the broadcasters had to create a product that didn’t require scripts.  No, this is a highly scripted, highly crafted and focus group tested exercise turning you into a consumer of these quasi-celebrities’ lives.  Honestly, shows like MTV’s Real World or Survivor weren’t all that “Real” either though.

Snapple Fact of the Day: The first reality TV show that, which is still being aired today… COPS.

Not only do we become consumer of fake-real people, but I feel like it adjusts our baseline for reality (real reality, not reality TV).  Instead of using our internal experience of conflict as a guide, we buy into the idea that the fights that these people have on screen are real representations of conflict – even though they aren’t.  The worst case scenario is that we take these actors as a guide for how to relate, and the best case scenario is that we use their overreactions as a comparison point for our behaviors.  “At least I didn’t string together a dozen cuss words like one of the Kardashians.”  All of this tends to happen on a subconscious level as well.  We aren’t having this conversation with ourselves, it just happens.

Lastly, I feel like these shows are exploitive.  Some are explicitly exploitive like the Honey Boo Boos and Toddlers and Tiaras.  These shows serve only as ways to make fun of these odd subgroups – a modern day PT Barnum.  They’ve replaced the Bearded Woman with, “The Woman who hyper-sexualizes her child.”  BF Skinner, father of modern behavioral psychology, once famously said that he could get any woman naked, given the right conditions.  He of course was referring to how people routinely take off their clothes for medical professionals and do not ascribe the same meaning that they do for this same behavior with their romantic partners.  Reality TV producers have taken this literally, putting out shows like, “The Man who will eat Beetles by the handful and then stab his friend in the back for CASH!”

I feel like it is important to burst the Reality TV bubble so that when we watch these shows, we appreciate them for the fiction that they are, in hopes that they don’t subtly shift our values.

-Logan Williamson, LPC

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I once had a professor tell me that she could tell the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful college student with one question.  “Do you have a planner?”  At the time I thought she was being overly simplistic, but that was because I didn’t own a planner!  The more that I learn, work and live, the more I find value in her words and in organization as a whole.

The brain is a funny thing.  It is so immensely complex and functional that sometimes it fools us into thinking it can do more than it is capable of doing.  It reminds you of when it bailed you out and when it was able to outperform your expectations.  We all know that cramming for tests is the worst way to study, but remember all of those times when you crammed last minute and still did well on that test?  What about the paper you threw together right before the due date?  It turns out that if you are at Loyola, then you are probably naturally smart enough to do things like this every once and awhile.  But success doesn’t come from winging it.  Success comes from consistency. 

After winning his 3rd National Championship in 4 years, Nick Saban was asked if Alabama was a dynasty.  He replied, “I don’t think words like dynasty are words that I’m interested in.  We’re interested in accomplishment and consistency and performance.

http://www.wbir.com/news/article/248668/2/Blowout-Alabama-routs-Notre-Dame-for-repeat-BCS-title

/Side note – if you read between the lines, he was saying, “Yes, we are a dynasty you idiot.  I won 3 of 4!”  Because what is a dynasty if it isn’t accomplishment, consistency and performance?/

Consistency is where organization comes into play.  Organization allows us to increase our speed and efficiency (read: performance).  Imagine if every time you were looking for something, the last place you looked was 3 places sooner.  5 places?  Imagine that the answer to simple questions about scheduling or due dates were answered in 30 seconds as opposed to 5 minutes?  What if you were able to use those minutes towards being productive?  Admittedly, there are limited hours during the day where our brains are operating at a pace where we are truly productive.  Sure we can stretch these hours during finals and midterms, but in a typical day there is only so much energy that we have to put towards our endeavors.  If we are spending those precious minutes answering questions that organization can answer quicker, then we are not operating in a successful pattern.

I found the most value in organization came from decreasing the amount of brain power spent maintaining the organization system in my head.  Sure I knew when that paper was due, but it was because I was actively storing and recalling that information.  The simplest verified fact that neuropsychology catalogued was the brain has its limitations.  Sure, some people are smarter than others, but everyone maxes out at a certain point.  Because organization invariably taxes our resources, why not implement a healthy tax cut this semester and buy and use a planner.  Get to know Google Calendar or iCalendar.  Sync it up to your smartphone.  Enter in all of your due dates and have it send you reminders.  Use it for social events too.  If you only use your calendar for school then you can’t look ahead to the fun stuff.  Don’t let your brain fool you into thinking it can do more than it can and make the first place that you look for information, the last place you have to look.  A little organization can help make your college career a dynasty!

-Logan Williamson, LPC

***Thanks for covering your mouths when you cough and getting those flu shots!  Student Health hasn’t diagnosed a case of the flu in over a week!***

Wait! Don’t Go!  Check out past posts on the Care For The Pack blog.  Also, keep checking back as we have 4 articles that will be posted in the next two weeks, and we update the blog twice a week with contributions from our staff at the UCC and Student Health!

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Non-violence seems like such an easy concept. The difficulty, of course, is in the application. As I think about the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I honor not only what the Civil Rights Movement did but also King’s underlying philosophy which still rings true with wisdom for us today, decades after the Civil Rights Movement.

MLK described non-violence as “…a willingness to be the recipient of violence while never inflicting violence on one another…” (You can listen to him speak on the topic at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1K1j9FaH2io)

Non-violence is not agreement with or consent for a system or an act. It is not avoidance of injustice so as to minimize conflict. It is a methodology, a way of opposing injustice that does not create more violence.

Decades later, we live in a world where there is still injustice and systemic oppression even if the manifestations have shifted. Human trafficking, modern day sex slavery, sweatshop labor, rigged financial systems, oppression of women in various parts of the world, and unsustainable stripping of ecological systems are a few.

Closer to our daily lives are the kinds of interpersonal violence that many students directly experience. Bullying, holding grudges, blaming, victim blaming, retaliation, cyber stalking, domestic violence, threats with intimidation and vicious gossiping are all too common. These may not be structural systems of injustice, but they are acts of violence that inflict unnecessary harm on others.

We have all been recipients of violence. How do you choose to respond?

Perhaps the “natural” reaction is to respond in defensiveness with more violence. When we sense injustice toward us, we tend to feel anger. But if we hold onto and then act on that anger with violence, our own cause can be overshadowed. There are reverberations which harm both parties, leaving both less free.

If we want a world that is less oppressive, less cruel, less unjust, then non-violence urges us to willingly receive the violence that comes to us while refusing to inflict that same violence on another. We are to oppose injustice and violence with steadfast determination but do so in a manner that does not use the very method that we are protesting against.

“There is no road towards peace. Peace is the road.” –Ghandi

(To hear MLK speak on Ghandi’s influence on him, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDpd0oM2x_E)

Brooks Zitzmann, LMSW

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Making an Error

I recently read the book, Moneyball, and thoroughly enjoyed the quick pace and how Michael Lewis made people like Billy Beane and Bill James jump off the pages.  For those who haven’t read the book, it focuses on how baseball teams that spend much less money can still be successful.  Instead of spending money on players who could hit the ball the best, the author writes about the development of a system that values getting on base; in whatever way possible.

I was struck most by a section that redefined some of the most basic of statistics in baseball; remembering that in baseball, statistics are everything.  For instance, Lewis looked at how Errors in baseball mean much more than a bad play.  The original purpose of the Error was to differentiate a ball that someone could have fielded from a ball that was impossible to make a play on.  It used to be a much more important statistic because baseball fields were not the carefully manicured and maintained sanctuaries they are today.  Additionally, Errors are not specifically defined like a hit or a homerun, but are determined off the field by an umpire.

Moneyball argues that in order to get an error, you have to be doing a bunch of things right.  Someone has to be in just the right spot for them to field that tough ball.  They have to have a certain skill set and even a reputation for an observer to say they erred in their play.  Instead of looking at errors as terrible and marks of a bad player, the author argues for errors to be seen as marks of a good player, or at least an inaccurate judge of someone’s ability.

When I read this passage, it made me look upon human errors in a new light.  If human errors can be compared to baseball errors, then we should try and place less importance on counting them by number and cataloguing them for future review.  Errors are judged by humans, and thus subject to… well… error.  An overemphasis on mistakes can lead to ignoring what was going right, and may even encourage future errors.  This viewpoint is inherently sophisticated and nuanced.  Of course you should pay attention to mistakes, but you have to be willing to play and make mistakes too.  In a culture of success and drive such as Loyola, errors can feel very negative.  Instead, see how you are doing things right amongst the errors and know that even the pros make them.

-Logan Williamson, LPC

**Please note that Student Health Services is sold out of Flu Shots – local pharmacies still have them available.**

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The Flu Facts

As I’m sure you’ve heard already, flu season is upon us!   This year, the flu virus has been detected in all 50 states with high activity levels in the South Central and Southeastern United States (CDC, 2012).  The flu typically occurs every year from October through May, with peak months of January and February.  However, a higher number of flu cases have been reported earlier in this season than in the past few years.

Each season, the flu severity is unpredictable and it can vary widely depending on what viruses are spreading, the availability of vaccine, and how well the flu vaccine is matched to the flu viruses that are causing illness.  This year’s vaccine covers two new strains of the virus plus the same H1N1 compared to last year’s vaccine.  Enough of the vaccine supply is available at local pharmacies and doctors’ offices and it’s a good match for the virus this year.   Thus, if you haven’t done so already, please get your flu shot!

So, what is the difference between a cold and the flu?

The flu and common cold are both contagious respiratory illnesses but they are caused by different viruses.  The flu is caused by the Influenza A and B viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs.  The flu usually comes on suddenly; you may or may not have all or some of the symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue.   Most people who get influenza will recover within a few days to a few weeks with very little health compromise.  However, some people, especially those with other chronic conditions and the elderly, can develop complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, or other secondary infections. 

On the other hand, over 200 viruses can cause a common cold.  The rhinovirus is the most common virus that causes colds. The symptoms of fever, body aches, fatigue and dry cough may be similar in both illnesses but more intense with the flu.  People with colds are more likely to have a runny or a stuffy nose.  Colds usually do not result in serious health problems and/or complications.  Since common cold is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not help. There are prescription medications available for the flu called “antiviral drugs” that can be used to treat the flu.  When used appropriately, these medications can shorten the duration and severity of illness by 1 to 2 days and prevent serious complications.  Laboratory testing can be done to better differentiate between the cold and flu, however, recent studies indicate that adults with mild illness without high risk conditions who are younger than 65 years of age do not require testing or treatment (CDC, 2012).  Treatment with antivirals is recommended to individuals within 48 hours of onset of symptoms but not afterward.  Overuse of antiviral agents can promote resistance of the virus to the medication that could lead to these agents becoming ineffective.  Additionally, antiviral drugs have some side effects including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, runny or stuffy nose, cough, diarrhea, headache and some behavioral side effects. 

Prevention is key!

CDC recommends that all individuals six months of age or older receive the flu vaccine annually.  By getting the flu vaccine you can protect yourself and others from the spread of influenza.  It’s ideal to be vaccinated before the onset of flu activity in the community; however, it’s not too late to be vaccinated now!  The protection of the vaccine should last the entire season.  You can get vaccinated at a local pharmacy and your insurance should cover the cost. 

Other preventative strategies against a cold or flu:

  1.  Wash hands/keyboards/phones/door knobs and other surfaces you may share with others
  2. Cover your mouth with your elbow or a tissue if you have a cough
  3. Don’t share drinks or food with others
  4. Exercise – studies have shown exercise can boost your immune system
  5. Get plenty of rest/sleep
  6. Eat a well-balanced diet

Please call us or stop by the student health center to receive more information on the flu vaccine and over the counter remedies.  For more information please visit our website at http://studentaffairs.loyno.edu/health.

Irina Foxman, ANP

Student Health Services

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