Wellness Wednesday

Fall 2020

Wellness Wednesday's new podcast "Take 10 for You" will become available each week on Sound Cloud and Twitter.

The specific episode link and transcripts are listed below.

Episode 1 - Intro to Podcast

Intro to Podcast

Released Sept. 2, 2020

Intro song: 10 minutes for your health and wellness

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for You part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am Marissa Whitaker aside from co-hosting this podcast with Lauren, I work in the Substance Abuse Prevention and Education Office. On today’s episode we are going to be talking about how and why we decided to have a podcast.

Lauren: Before we get started, let me ask you Marissa, what are the factors that are important for the students to do in order to be safe and remain physically at Cortland throughout the semester?

Marissa: Yeah, that’s a great question. I think so often we are getting really tired of hearing all of the things we can’t do. We can’t go to the concerts I had planned this summer. So I guess Alanis Morissette will have to wait. So maybe we can talk about the things we can do.

Lauren: Yeah absolutely.

Marissa: We can wear a mask. Learn to love the mask. Do you know how many awkward run-ins you don’t have to have with people you went to high school with? Really embrace this. You can go to the grocery store and you don’t have to smile at people. It’s kind of nice actually now that I think about it. You know I might keep the mask after this is over with.

Lauren: Yea, it does help with the awkwardness if you should smile or not when you are passing by a stranger. So there is a lot of talk about being socially distant or physically distant, what are your thoughts about that?

Marissa: We keep hearing stay socially distant, socially distant, but that can feel really lonely too. So I think replacing socially distant with physically distant could be helpful for people. You can still see your friends but do it safely. Be outside, stay at least 6 feet from people. There are some things we should avoid doing. So avoid anything with big crowds, a party, event, in Cortland, you can only have 25 people at a gathering.

Lauren: Yeah there was an executive order that was supported by the Cortland City Council that limits all social gatherings in the city of Cortland to no more than 25 people. That started on Aug 27th. So there are a lot of precautions people are taking. Another one that hopefully everyone was doing you know “BC” before COVID-19 was washing their hands. I know I have been a lot more aware recently of how much I touch my face throughout the day. But everyone has to be aware of other things too right?

Marissa: So while you might be cautious of touching your mouth, you should also be cautious of the things you touch. Cups, ping pong balls, water bottles, your student ID, your cell phone. I think we don’t often talk about how absolutely disgusting our cell phones are on a good day- let alone now with COVID to worry about that too. How often do you wash your cell phone Lauren?

Lauren: Actually, anytime I leave the house and come back, I have a little alcohol wipe that I use to wipe it down.

Marissa: Right, that’s smart. That is something I need to work on maybe doing a little more. You forget that your cell phone becomes an appendage so just little things like that.

Lauren: Yes, it makes a difference. So this segways us a little into why we are doing a podcast.

Marissa: Yeah, can you explain the rationale behind this podcast?

Lauren: As everyone knows, we are going through a pandemic. So I was brainstorming a way to get Wellness Wednesdays out there that would be easy for all students to access information at any time of the day or night. Because let’s be honest some people are up at 3am with nothing to do and a podcast is perfect for that. It is important to note that we will be discussing health and wellness as it relates to COVID-19 and since this is still relatively new we will keep you updated if anything changes.

Marissa: So do you have any experiences with podcasts or is this you the first one you have done?

Lauren: So this is actually my first one. I have listened to a couple before but that’s kind of the extent of it. This is a new experience for me and I believe for you also. I have been having some fun learning how exactly to do this and navigate it. How have you been feeling Marissa?

Marissa: Well I figured because I listen to plenty of podcasts, this would be a real easy transition but for our listeners this is not our first take so I guess at this point I am qualified to offer commentary and to help facilitate those awkward silences. So we will just embrace that silence for a second. And I will ask you about the title. Where did that come from?

Lauren: Sure, so Take 10 for You coincides with the amount of time each episode will be, ideally. My thought was that everyone could take 10 minutes out of their day to learn about their health and wellness.

Marissa: Yeah and I mean, we all have 10 minutes. For some that is 10 Tiktoks, or approximately 7 scrolls on your Instagram or Facebook for those of us, including myself over the age of 30. Full disclosure I did have to look up how long a Tiktok was. So I guess I am in the demographic. I did hear too though the grapevine that you are going to be offering some prizes raffled off for some of the later podcasts going on.

Lauren: Yes, we will be posting a questions on our twitter page @CortlandHPO and when you answer on twitter, regardless if it is correct or not, you will be entered into a raffle that week. So then we will respond back and let everyone know who the winner is and then we will contact them to get them some sort of Cortland prize.

Marissa: Oh that’s awesome, see stay connect through podcasting and a free chance for some merch too, that’s great. So this sounds really exciting and I think that might be coming to a close for all the time we have today. Consider this like syllabus week, we get out a little bit early. We will catch you all next week.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 2 - What is COVID-19 and Student Perspectives

What is COVID-19 and Student Perspectives

Released Sept. 9, 2020

Intro music says “10 minutes for your health and wellness.”

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for You part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am the Substance Abuse Educator, and armchair epidemiologist, Marissa Whitaker. Today’s episode is going to be a two for one. The first part will talking about the basic epidemiology of COVID-19, and then we are going to switch gears and have two students as our guests. So let’s start a little bit about the name “COVID-19” and some of the misconceptions associated with it. This isn’t the 19th coronavirus, and although COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus, it’s not THE coronavirus. And I have to catch myself sometimes saying it because I am like coronavirus and I say it and the Cardi B, I don’t know if everyone saw that video, I’ve seen it way too many times to be proud of. So, Lauren, can you explain a little background of coronaviruses?

Lauren: Yes, so I did some research from the infection prevention at Johns Hopkins Medicine about coronaviruses. Coronaviruses are a type of virus. Corona means crown in Latin and refers to the way the virus looks underneath a microscope.

Marissa: Cool! I could talk about this all day but I know we are only here for 10 minutes. But little fun fact for those who don’t read the Lancet, I’m just going to nerd out for a really quick second. Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses so think of the envelope as a membrane that protects the virus and all of the horrible things that it’s taking away from us. The spikes, or crowns, that you just referred to Lauren, they are embedded in this membrane, and are needed for the virus to enter the host’s cells. Because coronaviruses are an RNA virus, it needs a host to replicate. This is why hand washing is so important. Either alcohol-based hand sanitizers or soap is going to disrupt that membrane. If you disrupt that membrane, or wash it away, there's no more spike for the virus to attach to something. So if the virus can't get into your cell, and is then inactivated.

Lauren: That’s so cool.

Marissa: Yeah, so there are multiple types of coronaviruses like we said before. Right now the one that we are hearing about is COVID-19. Lauren, you have a lot more information on specifically about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19.

Lauren: Yea, so the virus that causes the disease COVID-19 is SARS-CoV-2. Let me explain what it all stands for. COVID-19 stands for Coronavirus Disease 2019 and SARS stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome and the CoV portion is coronavirus. I find it very interesting that people like to abbreviate coronaviruses as ‘rona but there’s a technically a actual scientific nickname for COVID-19 so I don’t know why that hasn’t caught on yet.

Marissa: Yes, I know we got a coronavirus puppy, which I know I am a cliché but if it was a girl I really wanted to name it Rona but that didn’t fly in the house.

Lauren: Not anymore I guess. So I know everyone must be wondering, the reason it is SARS-CoV-2, the 2 at the end, is because there was a SARS Coronavirus before in 2003 that seemed to be similar. There is still a lot unknown, but COVID-19 seems to spread faster than the 2003 SARS. In 2003, a little over eight thousand people became sick compared to currently over 24 million world-wide  have tested positive for COVID-19. In 2003, 774 died from that virus and unfortunately there was been over 800,000 deaths across the world in relation to this virus.

Marissa: Yea and you bring a good point with the statistics that you just read about SARS. I was listening to another epidemiology podcast the other day and this is when COVID first came out and they were saying, you know SARS is still much more serious and has a much higher fatality rate. Just in these few short months, just how diseases, the natural history of them progress, goes back to what we said before. There’s so many things that we just don’t know about this right now. So let’s talk a little about what have we learned in the past 6 months about how COVID-19 impacts the body?

Lauren: Yes, so it is interesting because at first the virus it looked like it was just impacting the lungs. But we are seeing more now that it is affecting multiple organs in the body. I got this quote from an internal medicine doctor at Hackensack University Medical Center and she said that “Individuals recovering from COVID-19 may struggle with a number of respiratory, cardiac and kidney problems. They also have an increased risk of blood clots, which can potentially lead to a stroke or heart attack.” I think a lot of people don’t think of the potential long term effects this can have and I mean it is only been about 6 months plus but there is still a long time to go before we really know how it going to impact our bodies in the long run.

Marissa: Yea, you got it right. This has been around for 6 months. I mean we are still learning things about HIV and how long that’s been around so in terms of disease, this is a very new virus we are encountering. We do have information on other coronaviruses, viruses mutate. SO as fast as we are learning information, things can also change. There’s still much to be learned from those who have recovered from COVID-19. And really, all of this just highlights the importance of taking care of yourself and others – in the now. What can we do now to prevent things from getting worse later. So now let’s shift gears and welcome our guests, Roman Rodriguez who is an alumni and current SGA Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Tyler Pitner  who is a senior this year. Thank you for joining us. First, how have both of you been handling the pandemic since March? Tyler, do you want to start?

Tyler: Yea, basically since March, I have been hanging out in my house. Just trying to maintain sanity, just staying busy as much as I could until I went back to work. And then I came to school and I’m excited to be back.

Marissa: Yeah I feel like we can watch everything on Netflix now but it’s time to get back to school. What about you Roman, how have you been handling the pandemic?

Roman: Personally, the past few months has been quite difficult for me. It’s been a struggle interpersonally, socially, professionally, pretty much hitting all the core demographics of well-being. And I am trying to keep my spirits high and I’m trying to move forward with everything that’s been going on.

Lauren: You hit on it, there are so many different things that are going on right now. And I appreciate you saying right now it is a really tough time and my heart really goes out to everybody because this is just so hard and I think everyone is doing the best they can do. Which brings us to any words of advice that you have for your peers going into the rest of the semester?

Roman: Tyler after you.

Tyler: I think this semester can be as good as any. The school has implemented so many guidelines that benefits everyone. They are meant to keep us safe but as a school wide base, we need to be accepting and oblige to those terms. If we follow the protocols and the social distancing, we can remain on campus. I mean, it is also bigger than that. The town of Cortland and the whole community needs the school to stay open, the businesses need it. I guess for some of the first year students, who I have heard say “we might as well enjoy it now before we are sent home,” we won’t be sent home if we can just follow those guidelines. I mean even the returning students, the ones who are off-campus housing, hopefully they can agree that it isn’t the best idea to be throwing big parties. We can still have a good time too. Like even with everything going on, I still see everyone having a good time even with all the guidelines that are happening.

Lauren: Right, you can still hang out and talk to people with masks on and being socially distant, you know? So, absolutely. Roman what about you, what advice do you have?

Roman: To not look at this time as something that’s being taken away from you. To not be disheartened by everything that’s been going on. This is a time to appreciate what we can have in the moment. Yes, things are difficult but it is difficult for everyone so this is something that we are all going through together. So my advice would be to go through this together. For it to not be “oh man this sucks,” “I can’t do this,” for you to hold on to one another and be able to push past and try to appreciate the moment that you have.

Lauren: That was said really well.

Marissa: I know, that’s a tough act to follow. Any final thoughts that either of you have before we sign off for the week?

Tyler: We should all just be smart and stay safe.

Marissa: Yea, it’s as simple as that. Well it looks like that’s all the time we have for today. Thank you both Roman and Tyler for joining us this week. And we will catch you all next week.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 3 - Keeping Yourself and Others Safe and Healthy

Keeping Yourself and Others Safe and Healthy

Released Sept. 16, 2020

Intro music says “10 minutes for your health and wellness.”

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am Marissa Whitaker. On today’s episode we are going to be talking keeping yourself and others safe and healthy in the age of COVID. We have a guest with us, SUNY Cortland’s emergency manager Mr. Nick Tomizawa. Thank you for joining us Nick.

Nick: Thanks folks.

Lauren: So we are just going to jump right in. Part of keeping yourself healthy is not just relying on your own actions, but the actions of others. So we encourage things like wearing a face covering, maintaining 6 feet distance, washing your hands and sanitizing surfaces. Today we are going to focus on face coverings and physical distancing.

Marissa: Let’s take a more in depth looking at the what, why and how of covering your face. So let’s start with a softball. Nick, why is it important to wear a face covering?

Nick: Well as you know, when we start talking for example, we emit respiratory droplets. It can come from your conversation, it can come from straight breathing. If you sneeze or cough that will project these droplets even further. One of the key processes of this entire COVID infection, this pandemic, is that those who are infected are sending out infected droplets with a heavy viral load and that will infect other people. So we need to wear these face coverings or masks to prevent infecting other people.

Lauren: I think it is also important to mention that when people are either asymptotic or presymptomatic, if they don’t have any symptoms or they haven’t yet experienced any symptoms, and they don’t even know they are transmitted it. They seem like they are totally healthy.

Nick: That is absolutely right. The best we can all do for our own personal responsibility is to make sure to wear that mask. We all do that, we are cutting down the risk of spreading this disease.

Marissa: I was out this weekend and no joke, I saw a lady with this little crocheted mask on, you could see her mouth through it. So aside from wearing a doily on your face, but I also don’t want to look like Bane at the same time. What kind of face masks should we be wearing?

Nick: I mean, Cloth masks out of cotton, any type of coverings that allow people to cover their nose and mouth, from the top of the bridge of the nose down that covers the chin onto the neck. So you see various types that people are wearing from gators to cloth masks. Again we are just trying to prevent people’s respiratory emissions from passing, so if it covers the nose and mouth then we are doing a good job.

Marissa: Oh cool, so I think you have answered my next questions really well I just want to make sure we are covering everything. So like those chin guards that I see a lot of people. It’s a mask but its covering your chin. Not the right way to be wearing masks here.

Nick: No, there is a lot of wackiness going on of how people are wearing masks. And to be very fair, this is new to our culture. I lived in Asia for several years and it is part of their background to wear masks. It is built in to their sense of community and personal responsibly that if they are sick they don’t want to spread it out. So we are learning right now. All of us, students, faculty, staff. It is something that we are learning to do.

Lauren: Yea, I have to admit with the first face covering I had, it did not fit me correctly. I was talking and it was falling down my nose.  And I realized I needed one to be tighter. So I ordered some different ones to kind of play around with what would be the best. I have also seen some people wearing one with the little vents or valves to breathe out the air. But that’s actually not recommended by the CDC, right?

Nick: Yeah, the vents are not helping. Really what it is doing is your respiratory droplets are making their way out of those vents. So, no, those are a no-no. To go further, there has been lots of discussion about face shields. Those are always from the start a secondary measure. Wearing a mask is also a primary issue. Wearing a face shield and a mask. For those who think the face shield is the sole protected covering, it is incorrect. Just think of the aerodynamics of your breathe hitting the shield going underneath it. It is not an adequate protection. If you are going to wear it to protect your eyes, you still must wear a mask.

Lauren: So there should not be anyone on campus within 6 feet, just wearing a face shield.

Nick: No, that is not on the approved CDC list. Just common sense the shield only goes here and your breathe can easily go underneath.

Marissa: I like how you just said common sense. I feel like a lot of this is kind of common sense. So just wear the mask and wear it for the humanitarian reason of wanting people to be safe. I really like the Eastern culture of approach to this is doing it for other people and to keep other people safe so I’m glad you said that.

Nick: Clearly there is an empathy element to this. I think this is a really important show of what it means to be a part of the community.

Marissa: Yeah

Lauren: I agree. And I think too, a lot of people, aside from wearing it, the next step is cleaning it. Taking care of it. So it is not really helpful if you are going to wear it and then your touching it the whole time, your touching the outside of it. So how do you then properly take it off and clean it in between uses.

Nick: Well for environmental reasons, for garbage waste disposal, we want to get away from the single use mask out there. Of course, they are approved for use and they do- do the job. We do recommend if you have a multiple use a cloth mask or a cloth face covering you grab them by the ear straps. Thoroughly wash them with soap, hot water, detergent. Hang them up to dry, put them on a high heat setting in the dryer. Its good to wash them daily, again if it is getting on the surface of the mask, you don’t want to touch the surfaces of the mask. We want you to wash your hands, sanitize it before you take it off. Make sure you have a number of them. Make sure you rotate them and wear them appropriately.

Lauren: So it is recommend still to wear it outside but why is that?

Nick: First having the mask with you at all times it is very important. Should you come into contact with someone outdoors, it could be happen sense. Someone sees you in your car and stops, someone walks out of a building and is now approaching you. You should have the mask on already.

Marissa: What about, and you talked on this earlier a little, but exercising near other people. Why is the mask important then?

Nick: You are breathing harder, you are emitting respiratory droplets even further because you are breathing harder. Distance and the mask are very important.

Lauren: And you are breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide but the masks are not filtering the oxygen and carbon dioxide. So I actually looked up, I was curious, how big were the particles were of oxygen and carbon dioxide. And I am looking at it on a scale of nanometers which is just so incredibly tiny and the amount of space in between the cloth masks, they can freely go in and out of the cloth masks. So it is not that you are breathing in so much more carbon dioxide when you have the mask on or you are not getting enough oxygen.

Nick: Yeah masks are not bullet proof jackets or anything like that. They are made for the exchange of air. The size of those molecules are way too small for it to be a hidden. If they were, these masks would not be approved for use.

Lauren: Right, so lets briefly have you talk about the distancing recommendations.

Nick: The primary way the disease is being spread is by close contact, that’s within 6 feet. Social distancing is from the aerodynamic studies of a breathe without a mask, so we are doing double duty by wearing a mask and spreading the distance. So the mask has already cut down the emission distance. To really fight this coronavirus, we are doing both.

Marissa: Yea, I saw on TV a couple weeks ago this girl was standing in the crowd saying no I am holding my breathe so its okay. So those are the myths that we need to dispel.

Nick: Yeah she takes a breathe in and exhales out.

Marissa: Right and you are holding your breathe so its probably going to be a bigger breathe that you would take on normal circumstances.

Lauren: Yeah, right. So what are our last take-a-ways, Nick.

Nick: It’s that personal responsibility again. The power that you, the individual has to stop it. Really, if everyone felt that personal responsibility to do these things and be cognizant that they have the power. If everybody else felt that, we could really conquer this problem quickly.

Marissa: Yea, so I think that is all the time we have today. Thank you so much for joining us Nick. This was so informative. And we will catch you next week.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 4 - Challenges of Adapting to Change

Challenges of Adapting to Change

Released Sept. 23, 2020

Intro music says “10 minutes for your health and wellness.”

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am Marissa Whitaker. On today’s episode we are going to be talking about the challenges of adapting to changes associated with COVID. We have a guest with us who has her Ph.D in Clinical Psychology, Dr. Roueida Ghadban, a Senior Counselor at SUNY Cortland. Thank you for joining us.

Roueida: Glad to be here.

Marissa: So let’s just jump right into things. We’re constantly faced with loss and change in our lives, how do the losses and changes associated with COVID differ?

Roueida: Well under normal circumstances, if we are going through a crisis, the rest of the world is usually not also going through the same crisis at the same time as we are. So typically, there is some semblance of normalcy that we can look to outside of what we are going through to help put things into perspective. This is definitely not the case with COVID. The losses and the changes associated with COVID differ in three important ways. They are pervasive, they are prolonged and they are unprecedented. So just to go into more detail, these may seem self-evident but these changes are pervasive in the sense that we are experiencing the effects of COVID in almost every area of our lives. Relationships, career, employment, physical health, social connections, milestones, important life events, and emotional well-being. In addition to that, we are also witnessing losses that important people in our lives are also experiencing which is stressful as well. These losses are prolonged because we have been going through this experience now for about 7 months and there is not clear end in sight. It is unprecedented because we have never gone through something like this before. We are learning as we go and as the pandemic progresses. We don’t have a clear sense of how it is going to continue to unfold and this is also a significant stressor as well. So all of these differences can feel like a collective loss of control over our lives. And long-term, it can really take a toll on us.

Marissa: That was just worded so perfectly and it cut me to the core because that is so true, all of those things. You are right though, I mean this change happened so quickly. It was like the world was turned upside-down so fast where its not like in three weeks you are going to have to start wearing a mask. It was like you should have been wearing this yesterday. And all of these things you anticipate what the changes are but it is hard to anticipate because we don’t know the situation that we are in. And we are all going through it together which feels good on one end that we are not alone in this but when you are going through loss, sometimes that feels very lonely too.

Lauren: Yeah and I think you said it really well, everyone is experiencing loss in so many different ways. Just because someone has a loss that is a certain person or losing certain things, doesn’t mean it is more or less important than other people. Can you talk a little more about what kind of losses that people can experience?

Roueida: In terms of students in college, there are a lot of things that they have actually lost. They lost their college experience as they expected it to be or as they have experienced it prior to this. They have missed out on things like graduation celebrations. They have a new way of learning that doesn’t work for everybody. This has touched every area of our lives. There are things that people can’t do now as they did before and while people can say well just get used to it, we are all trying. But easier said than done.

Marissa: It is almost a form of privilege to say just get used to it because if you are struggling with addiction or something- and you know get used to how we are changing- but if going to a meeting everyday was your support system and you can’t do that. I mean even mental health groups and groups of support in general, we are missing a lot of support there.

Lauren: Yeah and that actually goes along to what I was hoping you could talk about too Roueida. How has COVID-19 in your professional experience impacted people’s ability to take care of themselves?

Roueida: That’s a great question. These are just some of them. Fear and anxiety about the future, difficulty making decisions, difficulty with attention and concentration, decreased in energy, apathy and emotional numbing, loneliness and isolation, reoccurring thoughts about the stressful situation, irritability and anger, sadness and depression, feelings of powerlessness, feelings of hopefulness, feelings of self-doubt and guilt, changing in eating habits, disruptions in sleep, headaches, back pain, stomach issues and an increased use of alcohol and drugs. Now this is not an exhaustive list. And how someone is actually affected by COVID or any crisis for that matter depends on the factors such as have they experience any significant instability in the past.

Lauren: Wow. We know there are things affecting people, but when you hear it all together, you realize that people may be struggling with a lot. No wonder why this is such a hard time for people.

Roueida: You know when you say that, I think one of the things that people sort of persuade themselves into believing is you know what, we have been going through this for almost 7 months. We should really be in charge at this point. We should be okay at this point. We should be used to it at this point. And that is certainly not the case. I hear over and over again, how difficult this has been to manage for people.

Lauren: Right and another challenge I have noticed is that people seem to not be as cautious as they were in the beginning.

Roueida: So back in early March when we first heard about COVID and we were more vigilant about taking the necessary safety measures. So one of the challenges is caution fatigue. This term was actually coined by Jackie Gollan, she is a clinical psychologist at Northwestern University. Caution fatigue is characterized by how long we have been in crisis mode as well as a loss in interest and motivation in taking the necessary safety precautions. Because we are warned down. We essentially become physically and emotionally too tired to care about safety risks as we were at the beginning of this. It is difficult to sustain that level of hypervigilance indefinitely. And that’s the position we are in.

Marissa: There is so much truth to what you said, I am like did you just read my diary? But you are so right about the fatigue because in the beginning, I’m so open to admit, that when it first happened, I went and got about $300 worth of like beans and other. I thought it was like the walking dead was about to start and I just needed to like here is my apocalypse kit. And now just this weekend I am like I think we need cilantro, so it is wearing on me and I don’t think I am alone. I think we are all kind of in this boat. But it is really interesting though that there are things we can do about this.

Lauren: I get so fascinated with caution fatigue because like Marissa said, I see it in my own life as well. How do you combat caution fatigue?

Roueida: I mean the first step is clearly recognizing when your energy level is that low and you are not really doing what you have been doing and that may not be so easy to see. One of the things that can help is to engage in behaviors that motivate you, not deplete you. I mean this is going to be different for different people. So its not like this is a how to for everyone. You got to kind of figure out what works for you and do the things that help you feel more energized. The other things that we have heard a lot about and these are all factors that can make you more resilient or help you come back from caution fatigue. Be selective of the amount and type of information you expose yourself to about COVID.  Get information from reliable sources. Know what your limits are. The other thing is, if you haven’t done this already, you may have to build or rebuild your daily routine to incorporate safety measures as part of it so you don’t have to think about them. So they are an integral part of your daily life. For example, extra masks in your car, at your backpack, at work, placing post-it notes on the door before you leave, reminding yourself about social distance, washing your hands, not touching your face. I mean these are pretty straight forward things to do but we may not think of them necessarily.

Lauren: Right and those are just really good things to keep in mind.

Marissa: Thank you so much Roueida, you have given us a lot to think about today.

Well that is all the time we have and we will catch you all next week.

Lauren: Thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 5 - Exercise and Motivation

Exercise and Motivation

Released Sept. 30, 2020

Intro song says 10 minutes for your health and wellness.

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am the Substance Abuse Educator, Marissa Whitaker. Before we get started with today’s episode, let’s take a minute to talk about flu shots.

Lauren: It is so important for everyone to get your flu shot especially because the symptoms of COVID-19 and the flu are so similar and we already have a vaccine for the flu. So make sure that you get your flu shot. Keep an eye out for the flu clinics that will be held and check your email for those.

Marissa: Right, just make sure you get your flu shot. On today’s episode we are going to be talking about exercising safely and what types of workouts you can do at home. We have two guest with us, Evan Nolan, a Graduate Assistant for Fitness and Personal Training in the Rec Sports Department and Chris Gutierrez who is a Masters student at SUNY Cortland and was previously a Grad Assistant for Fitness and Group Exercise. Thanks so much for joining us.

Chris: Thanks for having us today.

Marissa: So I know there have been some changes made to utilizing the Student Life Center Evan. Can you talk a little bit about what these changes are and what students should know if they want to use the Student Life Center?

Evan: Sure, the first thing I would recommend for students to do is to go on the Recreational Sports webpage. It outlines all the new rules and regulations for the Student Life Center. And Eve Mascoli also sent an email on the 31st of August to all the students as well. So we have been doing a system of time slots that consists of an hour and 15 minutes. Your actual workout will be one hour and there is a 15-minute transitional period in between sessions for our fitness supervisor staff to sanitize all of the equipment.

Marissa: Oh cool. How is that working with the sanitizing? Is everyone keeping it pretty clean?

Evan: Yes. The fitness supervisors have been doing a great job of make sure the sanitation rules and regulations are implemented properly as well as the patrons have done a great job of doing that themselves.

Marissa: Are people wearing masks too? I know that is required but do you seeing everyone wearing them as well?

Evan: Yes, that is something we are very diligent about for the safety and health for your fellow students and staff. We have to make sure that’s upheld.

Marissa: I saw that Under Armour just put one out and they aren’t our promotional sponsors but if they want to (Lauren: We will take it) Yeah so I did just see that Under Armour put a new mask out that is supposed to be really well rated.

Lauren: I have not seen it but I wonder how much of that is marketing? I feel like it is important to have a back up mask to begin with. I mean I don’t go this hard but if you get super sweaty and your mask is just drenched, you probably want to have another one with you because when it gets wet it is going to be hard to use that right?

Evan: Yeah, wet masks seem to stick to people’s faces and especially if you are sucking wind it’s not a great recipe.

Marissa: There is nothing worse that drives me nuts then having a wet sock, so I can’t imagine a wet mask on your face. And then you walk out in the cold after and it just, sorry. Did you just say a person trainer video that is launching soon right.

Evan: Yes I would like to talk about the programs a little more in-depth because I think they are really customizable for students and staff at the college. The one is a fully remote option where you only have to step in the Student Life Center twice and from there it is fully online. And the other one we have in person coaching sessions and weekly video chats. So it is about as facilitated as it can be. What was in mind from us from the ground up was building it so it is sustainable no matter what happens to the campus long-term. You will still be able to work with your trainer all the way through the semester, no matter the conditions of the campus.

Marissa: Cool, how does one sign up for the personal training?

Evan: To sign up for personal training, you can fill out a personal training interest form. There is a whole webpage on the SUNY Cortland Rec Sports page that will point you in the right direction.

Marissa: That’s awesome. And there is still group exercises too right?

Evan: Yes, we are trying to start the group exercise program. It is still in the works. It is going to look like a monthly calendar that people can join live sessions.

Marissa: Well it sounds like you guys are doing a lot of really great things for the campus and there are a lot of options for people to utilize them.

Lauren: Yes, I agree Marissa. Now if students don’t want to go to the Student Life Center, they can also do a lot of outdoor activities. So Chris, what are some things that students can do outside?

Chris: Right now the weather is really beautiful. It is not too cold, not too hot so something that I like to do is go on lots of hikes. I've been to Robert Treman, Buttermilk Falls and Lime Hollow Nature Center. Another activity that you can do is go for a jog, go for a long walk, go for a run. Those are exercises/activities you don’t necessarily need any equipment and it’s pretty easy to do.

Marissa: I love that you mentioned Treman park. I just went there the other weekend. It is so pretty there and it’s nice now but when the leaves start to turn soon, it will be even prettier. It will be a little chillier but it will be so worth it for the leaves. So we have covered a lot of stuff you can do outdoors, what about what people can do inside?

Evan: I would recommend bodyweight calisthenics. You can perform them anywhere and how creative you are, determines the quality that your workout is. There’s also tons of free resources online. I would personally recommend using Youtube, there are a bunch of great channels on there. Specifically, stronger by science, they are really evidence-based practice program that has some great content for free for people. The quality of your home workouts is only limited by your own creativity. Look what you have in your own environment. You can get chairs, tables, find things you can use to change angles, use gravity, those are going to be your best friends in doing home workouts.

Chris: Yeah, like Evan mentioned, calisthenics is something you can do at home. Just using your body weight to do body weight squats, push-ups, lunging, burpees, which are my favorite exercise.

Lauren: Those are terrible.

Chris: Those are awesome, full body workout right there.

Lauren: It is a full body workout.

Chris: Right, but just playing around with calisthenics and your own body weight but if you want to add a little bit of resistance, you can purchase some resistance bands. So something that I have recently been saying is anything that can be done at the gym, can be done at home.

Lauren: It’s so easy to say, just workout at home, or just workout at the gym. But how do you encourage people to be motivated to workout?

Chris: That is one of the struggles to working out at home. We are home all of the time so one way that I motivated myself by surrounding myself with other individuals who view fitness as a lifestyle versus a chore or activity. I lose motivation quite often. Especially being home all day. It’s hard to get moving when you’re at home. For me, when I am home that usually means I am relaxing but now my home has also become my gym. So surrounding myself with other individuals who view fitness as a priority has helped me stay motivated. Another way I stay motivated is I teach virtual group exercise classes. I have been teaching these classes for about 5 months now actually. It helps me to fulfill my purpose which is to help people develop these healthy habits. The reason I mention that is because I am trying to help individuals create these sustainable, healthy habits so I feel that I should be following these same habits.

Lauren: And it seems like it helps so much keeping everyone accountable because I feel like that is the main way I have continued to do some workouts. Not every day but you know.

Chris: I definitely agree with that. Just having those classes and I’ve asked for feedback and what I hear is the accountability, just knowing that alright at 5:30, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, I have a workout, its scheduled. It kind of feels like there is a routine there and I think a lot of people like that.

Marissa: Oh cool, so Evan, what about you?

Evan: Motivation is probably one of the most important parts of being successful in integrating fitness into your lifestyle because that is really what it should be. It should become a part of your lifestyle and something you look forward to. What I really recommend is to find activities and modes of exercise that you enjoy, that can be one of the most fulfilling parts of your life. Every single time you perform exercise or any activity, you are getting better and making internal changes to your body, even if you can’t see them.

Marissa: I like that and with everything we are learning about COVID, staying in good or decent physical shape I think is really important. Well that is all the time we have today. Thank you both Evan and Chris for joining us. We will catch you all next week.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 6 - Reducing Stress and Meditation

Reducing Stress and Meditation

Released Oct. 7, 2020

Intro music says 10 minutes for your health and wellness.

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am Marissa Whitaker. On today’s episode we are going to be talking about how to reduce your stress and the benefits of meditation. We have a guest with us today, Melanie Jennings who is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Senior Counselor here at the college. Thanks so much for joining us Melanie.

Melanie: I’m excited to be here.

Marissa: So I’m sure a lot of people are aware that there are a lot of stressful things going on right now in the world. What are some things we can do to reduce some of that stress?

Melanie: I think the first thing that is really important is to just normalize that there is stress in life and this year probably in particular there is increased stress. So just lowering expectations a little bit and just be kind to yourself. Because if you are struggling right now, if there is a challenge in your life, you are already going through a lot. So just try to find some compassion. You are probably doing the best you can with what you have right now.

Marissa: Yea, I like that. I think that makes a lot of sense. Just being kind to yourself because that can go a long way in order to take on some of the other tasks that might be thrown at us too.

Melanie: Yea, it can be hard to do that. An exercise that is helpful for some people, if it is hard to know what to say to be kind to yourself, is to imagine you are talking to a small child, a friend or anyone you care about. And think, would I say this to someone that I really care about? If the answer is no, then maybe channeling what would I say to that person. Would I be more supportive? Would I be more loving? Would I be kinder? And then seeing if there is a way to transfer that to yourself because it means you have the capacity to think those things and believe them.

Lauren: That is so true. I have actually said that to some people that I realized I was like wow do you hear what you are saying to yourself? Would you say that to me? And they were like oh no of course not. And I’m like then why are you saying that to yourself? It’s so true I think we can all use a little bit more self-compassion. Something else that I have heard of and I don’t know if you can talk about is grounding techniques. What exactly are those and why can that be helpful?

Melanie: Grounding techniques are one of my favorites. There’s a bunch of different ways to ground but grounding the way I see it is making a connection between yourself and a physical object. Whether it is walking barefoot on the ground, in the grass, in the dirt. Hugging a tree, those are some outdoor examples. But there are a lot of different ways to ground and one of my favorite ways is to encourage people and myself to just be aware and drop into your body in the present moment. Be aware of the connection your body is making with whatever you are sitting on, if you are sitting. Feet on the floor is best so you can make contact with the ground and just noticing, just observing. You are where you are, you are here. Reminding yourself, I am in my room, I’m in my class, I’m outside, I’m safe right now. A lot of times people are using grounding when they are anxious or they are stressed so they are really out of their body. So just bringing yourself back physically and then from there, people like to use senses. So they can go through their senses and name three things, four things, five things with each sense. Like right now I am looking at Lauren and Marissa, I am smelling a fall candle so you can kind of just go through your senses and it can really help just bring you back to the present moment and help your nervous system get regulated. It takes you back from the sympathetic nervous system where your body is anticipating something stressful happening that you are prepping for, back to the parasympathic nervous system where your body is more relaxed.

Marissa: Even as you were mentioning all of that, I was changing how I was sitting. I was like you are holding your coffee cup. You really can lose yourself almost in getting to where your senses are so that’s really cool.

Lauren: Yeah that so true. I am really more aware of what I am doing. Aside from when you are stressed or anxious, would you use grounding any other time?

Melanie: Well sometimes grounding is great just to take a break and a pause so you can focus on the task at hand.

Marissa: Yea and I imagine if your mind is wandering if a thousand different directions at least if it is wandering towards something a little more productive than your fears and worries because that’s not helpful either. So those grounding techniques sound like they can be really helpful. I also know meditating can be helpful too, so what are some of the benefits around that?

Melanie: Meditation is a form of mindfulness. Mindfulness people have described as being in the present moment on purpose, so intentionally, and without self judgement. And that part can be really hard. But one of the primary parts of meditation is connecting to your breathe. We obviously always know we are breathing because we are alive, but we don’t always stop and notice our breathe. We don’t really consider the last time we were intentionally aware of our breathing, the quality of our breathing, is it relaxed and natural sounding, so meditation really just brings you back into your body in either a specific or general way. There are people that have a strong sitting meditation practice and they sit on their zafu, their meditation pillow with their hands in a certain way and they do it for a certain amount of time and they breathe in a certain way. I personally don’t do that. I am more of a mindfulness person who also meditates in certain ways. SO for me, yoga is probably the main way that I meditate because I am connected to my mind and my body. I am moving my body in a really mindful and joyful way, connected to my breathe. But people can mediate in any kind of way. I have heard a lot of my clients who enjoy exercise or who have been athletes, that’s how they mediate. Just being very in your mind and in your body and having them be in the same place and the same time.  

Marissa: That’s really helpful to hear because I always thought meditation was more just clearing your head of thoughts and I wickedly struggle with that. So my question was are some tips for people that find it difficult to mediate but I feel like you kind of answered it partially by focusing on your breathing so that is something tangible that you can do then.

Melanie: Yea absolutely. I think one of the major tips going off of what you said Marissa, is that the goal is never to clear your mind of thoughts. I think that’s an idea that has been put out there a lot and it really deters people from meditation or then they get really self-critical thoughts thinking that they have failed at meditation. You are just noticing them. They are coming and going and you don’t have to attach drama or a story to them.

Marissa: That’s so helpful to hear because I last about 30 seconds when I’ve tried to mediate in the past. One thought leads to another. I always admire people when I’m like what are you thinking about? And they are like nothing and how is that even possible? You are thinking about something like you are thinking about how annoying this question is. So that is really helpful to hear so thank you.

Melanie: Yea and I am also with you Marissa, I am never not thinking about something. But even if I guess you are thinking about your breathe but you are making a shift from overtime. This is a lifelong practice but making a shift from thinking about breathing to thinking about feeling to just noticing it. Because there is going to be something happening in your brain at all times if you are alive just like with your breathe. 

Lauren: One of my other coworkers once told me that you can mediate just standing on line at the bank or just anywhere that you are and after that I was like you know what, I never realized you could mediate anywhere. I thought I had to sit down, take time for myself, you know do all of that stuff. So in talking to students how could they mediate at home? What kind of things can they do? How long should they take in doing that?

Melanie: Yea and as you were saying that too it reminded me of all these skills you can do anywhere, they are all portable. So as for how long you have to do it or how you have to do. I think it is really just a personal preference. The essence of mindfulness if just being in your body connected to your mind and body in the present moment so that wouldn’t look the same for everyone. Some people swear by 20 minutes, some people can tolerate more than 2 minutes. Some people say 5 minutes. It’s really just different. Also when people meditate, they do visualizations. So they can picture themselves at the beach or picture themselves with somebody that they love. That might be pretty powerful these days when maybe some people haven’t seen certain people that they love due to COVID. Another mediation too is the love and kindness meditation. One part of the love and kindness meditation is to say kinds of affirmations to yourself. Like I am happy, I am safe, I am healthy, I am well. And another part of the love and kindness meditation is just wishing that for the greater community and greater world. So it starts within yourself and it also ripples out to other people.

Lauren: That’s so interesting. I find this all so fascinating.

Marissa: Yes, you have given us a lot to think about and a lot of actual things we can do to reduce some of this stress. I am excited to take that into my own life and I hope our listeners are also. So that wraps up all of the time we have today. Thank you so much for joining us Melanie and we will catch you all next week.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 7 - Impact of Alcohol and Other Drugs

Impact of Alcohol and Other Drugs

Released Oct. 14, 2020

Intro music says 10 minutes for your health and wellness.

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli. My co-host Marissa Whitaker actually has an additional role as our guest today since she is the Substance Abuse Prevention and Education Associate. So Marissa, thank you for joining us.

Marissa: Thank you. It’s weird to be here in the other seat. Although it is the same seat I am sitting in when I am co-hosting.

Lauren: So on today’s episode, we will be talking about the impact of alcohol and other drugs. We know that alcohol and other drugs can impact many different aspects of our bodies. So I was hoping we can take a look first at alcohol and its impact on our immune system.

Marissa: Yea, yea. Alcohol absolutely plays in role in our immune system. It actually weakens the body’s ability to fight off infection. So this, I think a lot of the time you think oh the flu, but this anything from our gut microbiome because alcohol plays a role in that, to our susceptibility to contract pneumonia, to, this is real important, to disrupting our ciliary function in our airways. So cilia are the things that clean out our airways to keep it clean from mucous and dirt. So you can’t really fight off COVID or the flu if you are fighting off a hangover.

Lauren: Yes, that is so important for everyone to keep in mind right now. So the best way to not have your immune system weakened, is basically to not consume alcohol. But we know that approach doesn’t always work so can you talk about harm reduction and using alcohol and what the role of that is?

Marissa: Yea, I’d love to. So let’s before we get into that, start off with a working definition of what harm reduction is. It is really just a set of practical strategies and ideas that we can use to aim at reducing negative consequences to something. It’s everywhere. We wear seat belts when we get in the car. We wear helmets when we are riding a bike. Same with sunscreen. So in terms of alcohol use and harm reduction, just what you said before, looks different for different people.  What I think one of the great things about harm reduction is one of the key principles of harm reduction is to meet people where they are at with things. There is not a cookie cutter way to approach this stuff. So for some people, abstaining from alcohol altogether is their best option. It’s not usually having one or two beers, it could be a case of beer, or they blackout every time they drink, or they get in a fight with a friend, a significant other or family. If alcohol tends to be the common denominator in a lot of those situations, for some people the easiest way to avoid those negative consequences is to just abstain from alcohol. But some people might argue that abstinence only isn’t always the best approach for some people. So I think that is where harm reduction can come into play. So that would be using some strategies that you predetermine ahead of time to avoid some of the negative risks associated with drinking. So for example, easy things that people can do. Eat before you drink, during while you are drinking, after you’re drinking. Always, always hydrate. Ideally with water in between your drinks.

Lauren: And the reason that you are hydrating is because alcohol is dehydrating you.

Marissa: Oh yea, absolutely. I mean it is really cool the anatomy of a hangover. It is entirely preventable, well yeah from not drinking, but again, the reason that you have that headache in the morning is because the alcohol has sucked the water from your body and your brain is expanding to fill in the brain cavity, so that’s why you feel like your head is pounding. So again, staying hydrated is extra important if you are going to be consuming alcohol. So other things that we can do. We can stay with your friends if you are going to go out. Now this becomes a little bit of a difference situation while maintaining social distancing and gathering guidelines but not wanting to be out at a party alone. Stay with your friends if you are going to drink and always have a designated driver. I think college students do a really good job of that. And the data shows that as well, especially on our campus. And I think that most college students are responsible when it comes to wearing masks and I think that most college students are responsible when it comes to drinking as well. We don’t hear about the students that are staying in and having a Netflix marathon or staying in and having a game night with our friends. So I think maybe giving acknowledgment to the students who are doing the right thing is also important to do too.

Lauren: Yea, that’s so true. In addition to how alcohol and COVID-19 don’t mix, its important to look at how alcohol is consumed. First, sharing drinks or shots in general or a drinking game can easily spread respiratory droplets. Then being in a group of people and when someone drinks anything indoors, they are going to take off their mask off. So are you aware how close you are to other people? What the ventilation systems are in those places? These are all important things to keep in mind so students are protecting themselves and others.

Marissa: Yea, so you mentioned not getting into a large group together but I think its also important to talk about not drinking or using substances alone. These are some stressful times that we are in and so I think it is really important to be mindful of any substances that someone might be using. Why do you want to drink now? Am I drinking out of anger? Sadness? Frustration? Those are not good times to be turning to a substance, and it is not a sustainable way to cope with stress.

Lauren: Right, there are a lot healthier ways to cope. So I do want to switching gears on focus on the other drugs and specifically cannabis. If you are inhaling anything aside from air, that’s not good for your lungs. So cannabis is no different.

Marissa: Yea and that’s a good point. Any smoke in the lungs is not good smoke. And this was pre-COVID but now during in the midst of COVID there are some added risk factors that we should talk about. As its getting colder and you are going into someone’s car which is dangerous on so many other levels. What are you doing in the that car? There is no way you are six feet apart from people. That is a really good way to contain a virus. So again, you are in that closed environment you take a hit and you start coughing. That is like the definition of how these diseases are spreading. Because just what you said before, there is no way to wear a mask and hit a bong at the same time. It’s just not conducive to one another. So you cough, the infected person might cough, their respiratory droplets are in the air. The people who are in that car or in that close space are inhaling those droplets in. And let’s just rewind back a little bit to how that blunt is sealed together. With someone’s saliva. That was disgusting even before COVID happened so you are at a party and someone passes it to you and you hit it. So yea your friend passed it to you but do know who rolled that blunt? Again, sketchy on a good day but now that there is a communicable disease that’s going around. Perhaps smoking isn’t a good thing to be picking up right now. Or if you are doing it, maybe is a good tie to take a tolerance break.  And again, this isn’t just COVID, this is how communicable diseases spread. So sharing cannabis can potentially expose you to the flu, herpes simplex 1(those are the cold sores we are talking about), strep throat, staph infections, mono, and meningitis. I mean, that’s the definition of a shared experience, just not a good one.

Lauren: Not the ones that we are looking for. Aside from them smoking cannabis, also there are some people that use edibles or ingest it. How is that impacting their bodies?

Marissa: Yea and that is a really interesting and one might argue a complicated point that you bring up. So on one end, yes you are not inhaling the smoke, vapor, concentrate. You are not inhaling something so from a respiratory standpoint, that might be a check plus. However, there is another side to that coin. Edibles can be unpredictable. So because the THC is absorbed by the digestive track, it takes longer for it to kick in, if you will, then if it was smoke. So that’s why a lot of people, you might hear from friends or anecdotally they have a bad time after using edibles because they eat a brownie and they are like this doesn’t work, this thing is garbage, I’m just going to eat the rest of the pan and see how this works. Edibles can take up to an hour for some people to kick in so by the time you already had two or three after that, you might be in for a bad time. It’s also an entirely different molecular structure what someone is having after they eat it. Typically, when you smoke, that’s delta-9-THC but when you are eating it that becomes, metabolized to 11-hydroxy-THC which has a much stronger psychoactive property. Also, in terms of responsibility, we live in a state where cannabis is illegal for adult use. So, when I’m talking edibles, I’m thinking more from a regulated place like a dispensary. When we are talking edibles in a state where it is illegal, it might be a roommate, friends, boyfriend who just made them in his kitchenette. So we are not talking a regulated product here either. So we don’t know is that 5 milligrams of THC or 50 milligrams of THC that I am ingesting.

Lauren: That is a big difference. I know we could talk so much more about this but unfortunately that is all the time we have for today, but this was so helpful so thank you so much Marissa.

Marissa: Thank you so much for turning in everybody. We will catch you next week.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 8 - Transitions in College

Transitions in College

Released Oct. 21, 2020

Intro music says 10 minutes for your health and wellness.

Lauren: Hello and welcome to Take 10 for you part of our Wellness Wednesday Series. I am the Health Educator Lauren Scagnelli.

Marissa: And I am Marissa Whitaker, the substance abuse educator. On today’s episode we are going to be talking about some of the transitions that students’ face in college. We have a guest with us, Greg Diller, who is the Coordinator of Transitions Programs in the Advisement and Transition Office. Thanks for joining us, Greg.

Greg: I’m glad to be here. Thank you.

Marissa: So, there are so many transitions that students face when they come to college, whether it’s for the first time or coming back for another semester. This semester in particular, there is an added layer of transitions that students are faced with. Can you first talk to us a little bit about what kind of transitions students face from being at home vs being in college?

Greg: Yea absolutely. So, in normal years, the transition ranges from leaving from what is familiar and living on your own for the first time to how to make sure you don’t shrink all of your clothes with you do laundry for the first time. It’s making new friends and being apart of this new and diverse environment that students get to join and its scary to put yourself out there and feel vulnerable doing so. With COVID, it does throw a new layer on top of what is already challenging for students. So much of what we do as a campus community is relationship building during those first few months. That comes from students’ in person learning, building relationships with professors and other students in their major, from going to Cortland Nites, cheering on fall sporting events. Things that I know I am missing. And casual conversations in the dinning halls and hanging out with friends in residence halls. So, Cortland as a college itself is transitioning to how we can still offer these types of events and experiences safely. Students are learning new systems and new information, adjusting to the reality of our new world. And it’s important for students to try new things and new ways of doing things this semester especially and provide any feedback to us on what we can continue to improve or add moving forward.

Marissa: I like that you say that to put yourself out there to do things. I remember when I was a first-year student, I didn’t go to the president’s barbeque that everyone else was going to. Everyone got a sunburn and they all showed up with their red faces and there was such unity, so not only was it obvious that I was not going to the mandated group activities, but then I missed out on all of the fun stories that people had to tell after so you’re right, putting yourself out there is a good thing that students can do.

Greg: Yea, and it’s definitely hard. I am an introvert by trade so I know for me it is even a little harder to be in some of those big group settings but especially this semester it is one of those, in this virtual world. I know for me sometimes you go and you want to scope things out but you are kind of thrown into a room of people, a virtual room of people, so I know it can definitely be challenging. A lot of times we have done events virtually throughout the semester and the students that have come, we have had some really great conversations, had some laughs, had some fun, been able to bond together a little bit. People have shared, they have been able to meet and talk and win some prizes but also just made a new friend online. So, I think it has been very different for everybody but we still had some really great experiences so far with the students who have come.

Lauren: Honestly, even with me, I’m mostly an extrovert, and even with me going in to these virtual things its so awkward. It doesn’t matter who you are, there’s not really a way to make it not awkward so I just kind of embrace ‘you know what, it’s awkward’. So, with all of these transitions, we are all in college and the biggest thing is being successful. So, what about students successfully transitioning with their academics?

Greg: Absolutely, so on top of all the social transitions I just mentioned, academically students are learning a new school with new lingo, new expectations, how to take college level courses, and some of the students may have taken AP or other courses through their high school but it’s just all new. So, it is just a difference level and with COVID it is a new layer of learning how to participate in online classes and make those meaningful connections. But in some ways, we are more accessible than ever as an institution. I encourage students to go to professor’s office hours, make appointments with them outside of class virtually. Professors have been really great in meeting with students and so many things have happened this semester changes because we are in a pause that professors have been really great to help students and meet them where they are. Students can continue to become more familiar with blackboard and starfish and know ways to ask for help when they need it. The learning center and the writing center have all their tutoring and resources online, so students are still getting that help that would normally be given in person in the semester. In my office, Advisement and Transition, like many other offices, there is the live chat availability that are on all of our websites now. Our office is advising students virtually from 9 to 3 on Wednesdays. We normally have our walk-in Wednesdays on Wednesdays but we are virtually 9 to 3 now so anybody can pop in with any questions. The biggest message students can share about being successful is ask for the help the moment they need it because we are all here as a campus community to answer that call. 

Marissa: So, it sounds like all of these services are still there its just about changing our routines to finding these services. What used to be we could go in person, drop into an office, now we are setting up appointments virtually but you can still have access to all of those things. Which is a good segway to routines in general. How are those helpful to students and how do you go about setting up a good routine?

Greg: Yes, absolutely. So, I facilitated a few sections of COR 201, which is enhancing the transfer experience course and we spend some time talking about time management. When we ask transfer students what is the biggest struggle for them adjusting to a new school academically, time management is always at the top of the list. So, we spend some time looking over weekly calendars, providing some tips and reflecting from week to week. The assignment I usually do is I do an over-the-top busy schedule and just see how schedules can fill up so quickly. Making sure students’ have time to eat, sleep and have that wellness that they need. We talk about wellness a lot because you need to take time each week for yourself as well and not just go go go study. So, then I have them do their own actual schedule and reflect on that. I know many students will go through all their syllabi in the beginning of the semester and put in every assignment that’s due in a student planner or a calendar which I think is great. But then sometimes it could get lost because you don’t know where all that stuff went. So, I encourage students to go one step further and make a two to three week plan out. Your classes might be similar, your work schedule might be similar but your outside of work whether it is studying or reading or papers, that is going to change week to week. So at least you know, two or three weeks out how those are going to look, you can plan out a little bit better. You are not waiting until the last minute to read or study for an exam and it might relieve a lot of stress that might come when you realize you have a busy week. Students can also make an appointment with somebody in the learning center and continue this, because their professional tutors really help them learn to not only study a little bit differently but just really find what’s best for them. That’s something I would really encourage, not just transfer students but really all students to do that.

Lauren: Yea and we talk about all students in general for all of these things but this week is National Transfer Student Week so is there any advice specifically for transfers that you want to let them know?

Greg: Yes, I would say for transfers, because when we look at transfers and transition, it is a new school for them as well. Just because they have been somewhere and they know how college professors might work, its finding how that works here. And I would encourage them to talk to their professors, meet with them, if they are in person when we can be back in person, meeting with them before or after or virtually and going beyond the class with that to get to know them a little bit better.

Marissa: It’s really interesting that you say that because it sounds like COVID has kind of leveled the playing field for all students because everyone is kind of making a transfer into an entirely different system then what we knew before. So, in one way we can all kind of identify like that together.

Greg: It definitely is. And at any given point, roughly 35-40% of graduates each year are transfer students. So, it is a huge part of our population and of what we do here at Cortland.

Marissa: Wow, I never realized there were that many students that have transferred in. That is like a sixth of our population on campus.

Greg: It is yea. So, we are about a little over 6,000 and almost 1,000 each year. So yea it’s a large part. I know we have been putting some things together for National Student Transfer Week and retention is 84% which we are always really proud of. I think that has to do with a lot of the really great things that a lot of office do for transfer students around campus. So, we are really proud of all of that focus and the great students that we do bring in.

Lauren: Yea, I agree, we have some really great students here at Cortland.

Marissa: Well that is all the time we have today. Thank you so much for joining us today Greg. I feel like we learned a lot about the Advisement and especially the Transition programs here on campus. We will catch all of you next week.

Lauren: And thanks for listening and be well.

Episode 9 - Oct. 28, 2020

Content coming - stay tuned!

Episode 10 - Nov. 4, 2020

Content coming - stay tuned!

Episode 11 - Nov. 11, 2020

Content coming - stay tuned!

Episode 12 - Nov. 18, 2020

Content coming - stay tuned!

Episode 13 - Dec. 2, 2020

Content coming - stay tuned!

Contact the Health Promotion Office

Lauren Scagnelli
Health Educator

Rose Ryan
Office Assistant

Van Hoesen Hall, Room B-38
Phone: 607-753-2066
lauren.scagnelli@cortland.edu