Accomplishing goals and setting new ones

Well folks, it is that time again. Finals. The weather is nicer outside than that stack of papers sitting on our desks. And the longing to stay slouched int he couch rather than getting up to go to work is all too real. But don’t worry, friends, although the semester is coming to a close, I won’t be going anywhere for a while, except a pretty big adventure that I have planned for the first week of summer.

Without boring you with detail, I spend a lot (and I mean A LOT) of time rock climbing. Some friends of mine and I have made it a goal this summer to head out to Devil’s Tower, Wyoming to climb the tower itself. We’ve been training for months now, learning proper safety and climbing techniques in order to make this goal a conquered reality.

This being said, I have realized the sheer importance of setting goals. It might seem that now that the semester is over, goals aren’t all the necessary until, say, September. Give yourself the vacation, right? Well, vacation from what?

Setting goals help maintain a healthy lifestyle. Goals help create consistency and routine, especially during summer, when irregular days might throw off your eating habits or exercise regime. I mean, how many times have I gone for the ice cream over the kale smoothie and told myself I deserved it because it’s summer. With a goal in place, each day turns into another new step toward successfully reaching that goal.

Goals also help us embrace failure. No one likes to fail. But it is the prime way to learn something and never forget it. While climbing indoors, I fall all the time, miss a rock while reaching, or just sheer slip off a rock under my foot. If I never failed like this, I would never be able to improve and get stronger. So don’t be afraid to fail. In failure, we become our own greatest teacher.

Having reasonable goals set also gives us the power to believe in ourselves. Each day working toward achieving a goal is stimulating to self esteem and gives us a better sense of self. Goals can turn life-long, mountainous dreams into step-by-step achievable realities. Being able to see the end-result and that it is actually attainable through hard work and determination can help us continue to live with positive self-images.

So now just since summer is here, don’t abandon projects that you’ve started. Plus, maybe there is new free time to take on a new goal. I highly encourage that you do it. Whether it be a goal like climbing a massive rock formation or simply cutting back on sugar, setting these goals helps us live a better, fuller lifestyle. Hold yourself accountable to treat yourself the greatest that you can. You deserve it. And I have no doubt that if you set a goal, you’ll reach the top just as I intend to.

Merry end of the semester and hooray for the start of summer, Marquette!

The secret behind the smile

image1In this day and age, we spend a lot more time on our health than we used to. We go for a run, we are conscious of what we eat, we try to get our sleep, but what we don’t often remember to take extra care of is our teeth.

Brush your teeth twice a day and dental floss, yes, we know, Sarah, you don’t have to keep telling us. Well, same. But what I bet you didn’t know is that your gums are the root (literally) of your oral health. We spend a lot of time caring for our individual teeth. And while they are also extremely important (I mean, who doesn’t like to eat?), your gums hold your mouth together.

I sat down with Marquette University School of Dentistry’s Dr. Arndt Guentsch DMD to find out the real deal with gum health. Guentsch specializes and is most passionate about periodontology, which is basically the study of the structures that support the teeth and the diseases that affect them.

According to Guentsch, one of the keys to mouth health is systemic balance. This means, simply put, that all the parts of your mouth are doing their jobs correctly, all the parts of your immune system are doing their jobs correctly and all of the good bacteria in your body are doing their jobs correctly. Yes, that’s right, your body is covered in bacteria, but in this case, it’s all the good kind. Especially in your mouth, these bacteria live to fight off the bad stuff that can make you, your mouth or your gums sick. If another part of your body is sick, though, different factors can be out of balance and cause the good bacteria to over grow. This is usually what causes you to “get sick,” especially when it comes to oral diseases.

Guentsch mentioned that nearly half of all middle-aged Americans have some type of gum disease. The most common is gingivitis, but most are referred to as periodontitis regardless of the severity. Some of the first signs of periodontitis is swollen or bleeding gums. He also said that periodontitis increases a person’s chances of developing heart disease, having a stroke and even can be linked to birth defects if a woman is pregnant with periodontitis. Needless to say, these gooey-looking pink things holding our teeth in place are nothing to be ignored.

There are quite a few things that you can do, though, in order to prevent throwing off your body’s balance. According to Guentsch, one of the most important things is to brush your teeth correctly. Yup, you heard it here first, ladies and gentlemen. There is a RIGHT and a WRONG way to brush your teeth. Who knew? The most effective and healthiest way is brush in a circle, instead of back and forth. This prevents gum lesions and other inflammation that make gum disease more likely. Also going to get your teeth professionally whitened in place of using whitening strips can help prevent the onset of gum diseases. And then, as any dentist will tell you, regular use of floss and mouthwash can also reduce the chances of developing periodontitis.

There are many other online resources that you can check out in order to help maintain a healthy smile. Marquette also offers clinical hours at the School of Dentistry. Regular dentist checkups and cleanings can all help keep an eye on your oral health and help prevent future disease.

Environmental health is our health too

IMG_1123.JPGA few weeks ago I may have spoken too soon, because NOW we are finally getting to see some beautiful Milwaukee spring  weather. It is incredible just how much my mood lifts when I wake up in the morning to warm air and sunshine in my windows. All I want to do is go outside and lie down in the grass.

Here in Milwaukee, we can be thankful to have at least some grass space, especially on Marquette’s campus. For such an urban area we are lucky to have so many parks and a preserved shoreline of Lake Michigan. Other urban areas are not so fortunate, though. We humans have managed to plow our way through nature in order to build our society. And don’t worry, I will not go all tree-hugger here on you, but we need to take the time to be grateful and conscious of the wildlife around us.

For this reason, Marquette’s Diederich College of Communication professional in residence Joe Brown has brought the Great Lakes Film Festival (GLEFF) back to Marquette for a second year. Brown once worked on a film festival during his time in Colorado and decided to throw a similar event in Milwaukee. The festival’s purpose is to bring people closer with the nature around them.

“The idea is really to inspire people to act. I think one of the big things is that film does have the ability to take you places, like rainforests, lakes and oceans. We can actually go there and see that with film,” he said.

This year the festival will take place this weekend, starting on Thursday and running through Sunday. The films presented range from locally to internationally based topics, such as Great Lakes footage, to fracking films, to climbing stories. “We also like to think globally and act locally,” Brown explained.

He mentioned that an environmental film festival may show many films that will be issue-based, but there will be some pieces that just celebrate nature. He and a group of volunteer students sorted and watched all of the GLEFF film submissions and also curated a few films from other film festivals over the past few months.

So… why do we care? Well, the earth we have is the only one we’ve got. And the environment plays a huge role in our wellness. Plus, GLEFF is free, runs all weekend and is located right here on campus. Taking the time to learn more about the world around us could help us keep our planet as healthy as possible, and in turn, keep us as healthy as possible as well.

Brown put it like this: “I hope that people see some of these films and are inspired to think about the natural world in a different way and are inspired to take action, whether it is going out on a river cleanup or getting involved in their nature center and teaching children about nature and learning more about nature themselves. I hope that people reconnect and appreciate nature, especially in this super mediated age.”

A full schedule for the festival can be found here on the GLEFF website. All students, staff, friends and family are welcome.

The movement starting with 2 wheels

IMG_1510Despite the cold weather, I have always known Milwaukee to be a very bike-friendly city. Along with the bike lanes in the streets, we even have trails down by the lake for cyclists. Newer, though, to Milwaukee’s city life is the addition of Bublr Bikes, a bike rental system that involves stations at different locations throughout the city. Milwaukeeans can go to any of these bike racks, rent a bike for some time and drop it off at the Bublr station nearest to their destination. A pretty solid idea. And now Marquette is in on the game.

In the past week, Bublr installed a few new stations right around campus. The first, just off campus to the east, is on the corner of 12th Street and Wisconsin Avenue right next door to Straz Tower.The second and more obvious is located right smack in the middle campus behind the Alumni Memorial Union across the street from the corner of 15th Street and Wells Street, next to the Weasler Auditorium. This Bublr addition is due to a vote that Marquette students participated in early last semester. Marquette University Student Union arranged for the station to be put in, hopefully tying Marquette to the Milwaukee community a bit more.

Marquette staff is also involved with the National Bike Challenge starting in May. We are taking on other institutions across the country in biking as much as possible to work between May and September. As a university, we are competing against UW-Milwaukee, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Alverno College, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and Milwaukee County.

Biking to work not only helps the environment, but also helps your health. Turns out, starting your day with a quick bike ride to the office could help you stay awake and happier throughout the rest of the day. It also is just another way to keep active, which can be hard while working full time. And not to mention the best advantage of riding a bike to work – no need to worry about pesky Milwaukee parking (YES!).

Marquette now has plenty of resources at hand making biking to work a doable endeavor. With the incentive to beat the rest of Milwaukee, the new Bublr stations near or on campus and the beautiful Milwaukee summer weather (that will hopefully be coming soon), being the difference while biking the difference should be a no-brainer these next few months. Also be sure to join President Lovell by taking the new Bublr bikes for a spin around campus on April, 14!

Join the Marquette Biking the Difference movement here:
Check out Bublr Bikes, their stations, memberships and more here:

What’s the stigma?

Happy Mental Health Awareness week, Marquette community! This is week is a great time to come together and realize how mental health issues could affect us all. Whether it influences the lives of loved ones or yourself, being aware that those with mental health issues are not much different than ourselves can help end the stigma.

But wait, what’s the stigma? By definition, it is a mark of disgrace associated with a person or their circumstances. Stigma is tied to mental illnesses because in the past, it was not understood that most mental illnesses are biological or chemical issues within the body. A mental illness was viewed as a weakness or loss of oneself.

Now, though, science has proven otherwise, and so have people with mental health issues. Since mental illnesses are mostly related to chemical balances in the brain, mental illnesses are now being treated as diseases, not as untouchable, helpless causes.

Many people who have a mental illness are not weak at all. This week you can catch a number of different events being put on by Marquette that can help us all better understand mental health and those suffering from mental illnesses.

Through education and support, we will be able to tie positive stories to mental illnesses, and end the stigma. Find out more about this week’s events on Marquette’s website.

Monday: A ribbon tree outside the library that will be up all week for students to put a ribbon in memory of someone who has a mental illness.
Tuesday: Veronika Scott will speak at 7 p.m. in the Lunda Room.
Wednesday: Active Minds and MUSG will host a dialogue dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. in AMU Monaghan Ballrooms.
Thursday: Campus Ministry will hold a prayer service for people with mental health issues or those who know others with mental health issues at 12:30 p.m. in AMU 227. Sigma Pi Epsilon will also host a fundraiser comedy show for the week in the Annex Courts at 7 p.m. Admission is $5 and proceeds will raise money for the cause.
Friday: MUSG presents Forrest Gump in the Varsity Theatre at 8 p.m.
Saturday: Stomp Out Stigma 5K run/walk; opening remarks begin at 9:30 a.m. and the 5k begins at 10 a.m. Registration is available online. MUSG will present Forrest Gump in the Varsity Theatre at 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Staying motivated for the final stretch


Photo via

Now that spring break is over, we can all finally see the light of summer approaching us. While that is incredibly exciting, the waiting game for the school year to be up can be so draining. Carrying on with everyday life until then might become your greatest challenge. Thankfully, though, there are a few ways that you can counter the lack of motivation beside giving in to it. Here are a few things to try to keep you head in the game until summer.

Plan. You can see the finish line but there are a few obstacles in your way. Taking the time to plan out how you will achieve your goals over the next few months will help keep the stress low, the goal in perspective and keep you on track with your achievements.

Get some time in the sunshine. Sometimes the best you can do is open the windows in your office, but either way, strive to see the sun. Grab your work and take it outside for a few. Walk to grab a coffee over break. Or maybe just even chat with your friends outside on a bench. You would be amazed how much the sunlight could improve your day.

Be positive. Like Mom always said, “Complaining never helped anything.” Although being a pessimist can be the easier option sometimes, a negative mind doesn’t usually prevail. Noticeably thinking about the positives of day-to-day life can keep you happy and motivated to finish the semester’s-worth of work strong. Remember, you are what you think.

Take care of your body. And equally, you are what you eat! Just because spring break is over, it doesn’t mean that beach bod season is through! Regular exercise, good sleep and healthy eating impacts our daily lives directly. Sticking to a consistent routine will help you stay on track with your personal goals, health goals and work goals.

Reward yourself. yes, yes, your deserve it! After a hard day, meek or month of work, treat yourself to whatever you like to do to relax and enjoy life. Whether it be a good bike ride, binge-watching the next season of House of Cards or going out for a good steak one night, DO IT. We work hard to play hard, so do yourself a favor and enjoy the life you live.


Spring breaking the healthy way

I have a feeling that you might be just as stoked as I am about spring break coming up next week. Whether you’re hitting the road like me, adventuring with the family or spending your time relaxing at home, being safe and healthy should still be a priority. Here are a few ways to continue living in wellness even on break.

Get up and out. Even if you’re here at home, don’t get caught bumming around all day everyday. Yes, relaxing is nice, but take the time to get a good walk in, ride your bike or go for a quick run. Even a day-trip wandering through the local museums will guarantee a better, more productive day than stuffing your face with Cheetos and binge-watching “Friends,” (debatably).

You know what’s cooler than being really, really tan? Not developing melanoma. Blah blah blah, here comes the the sunscreen lecture again. But really, people, this is a serious thing. The sun’s rays are scientifically proven to cause damage to your skin that can lead to cancer. So please, enjoy the day on the beach, reading a book in the sunshine, but soak up some suntan lotion along with that Vitamin D. It could save you tons of trips to the doctor’s later in life, not to mention – sunburn really hurts!

Hold yourself to your eating habits. Even though spring break is a little bit like a real-life-hiatus, being sure to continue fueling your body well is important. Especially if you are on vacation, it can be easy to eat junky, not-so-good-for-you food. Avoid this by preplanning meals and bringing along healthy snacks, like sliced peppers, carrots, granola or pasta salads.

Catch the Zzzzs. Finally, this is your chance to catch up on that sleep you might be missing from the past week’s midterm rush. Erase those dark circles under your eyes with bountiful naps, sleeping in and early bedtimes. Certainly use the days off to adventure and enjoy time with family and friends, but don’t forget to rest up to finish out the rest of the week (and the school year) strong!

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