*contains offensive language

It certainly feels good to say it. “Fuck. Them.” Too bad it doesn’t fix anything. While our politicians play their grade school posturing games, the impact of the shutdown will continue to grow. Wait, fuck them…I shouldn’t compare them to our grade school children, because most of our children are smarter and certainly much better than these ignorant so called leaders. They are as bad as the grade school bullies. The minority in school, the small, but obnoxious few, but who, unfortunately, exert undeserved and unwarranted power.

First Strides and RunKeeper

Last week, we started another session of First Strides, a walking and running workshop for women.  In the workshop we meet together as a large group over 12 weeks, with each week getting progressively advanced.  We meet once per week as the group and then we ask participants to do some homework on their own, which means they have to do that weeks program on their own several more times before we meet again the following week.  The workouts are designed by combining easy and hard intervals over time, by slowly reducing the ‘easy’ interval times and increasing the ‘hard’ interval times.

We often get asked if there is a mobile phone app that will help track these workouts because it often difficult to keep track of that with a regular exercise watch.  We don’t have a particular *First Strides* app, however, here are some directions for setting up the workouts with one popular workout app called RunKeeper.  There are other app options with similar functionality, such as MapMyRun and Fitnio.  (For a review on some of these and other smartphone apps, check out this Lifehacker article.)

I use RunKeeper and absolutely love it, so that’s the app  you’ll get step-by-step directions to set up.  Once it is downloaded on your phone, just follow these easy steps to add each week’s work out to your phone.

Step 1:
Once you open the Runkeeper app, under ‘start’ you will see your activity type.  One of the options on that screen is ‘Workout’.  Click on the ‘Workout’ row.
Photo 13
Photo 14 Step 2:
Scroll down for the option to ‘Create New Workout’.
Step 3:
This is where you set up your workout by giving it a name, adding intervals, and indicating whether you want a warm up and/or a cool down.  Notice the the warm up and cool down are set to 5 minutes which is fairly standard in the workout world. Give your workout a name, such as “First Strides Week 1” or “FS Wk 1” if you don’t want to type out a lot.
 Photo 12
Photo 7 Step 4:
After naming your workout, click on the option to ‘Add Interval’. There are three things you can set for an interval: the interval pace, interval type, and interval size. Click on the row or the drop down for ‘Interval Pace’
Step 5:
Under ‘Interval Pace’, you can set your pace as slow, steady or fast.  In First Strides we use easy and hard.  For the easy, I like to use the steady option.  You can set your easy as either slow or steady.  Save the fast option for our hard.
Photo 7
Photo 10 Step 6:
For the ‘Interval Type’, you have two options, either time or distance.  It should be defaulted to ‘time’, but if it isn’t then go ahead and set the ‘Interval Type’ to time.The final setting is ‘Interval Size’.  Click on this option to set your time.  For the first week, our easy is 4 minutes, so you need to set both minutes and seconds by putting in 4 and 0.  Just click in each block to bring up the number pad to add your interval times.   Then click on OK under the time block. Then click on OK once more to close out the Interval settings.
Step 7:
Now we have to do the same thing to set the hard interval.  Click on the ‘Add Interval’ option again to bring up a new interval setting screen.
Photo 6
Photo 5 Step 8:
Now we need to go through the same steps as above to set the hard interval. Set your ‘Interval Pace’ to Fast. Keep your ‘Interval Type’ as Time. Set your ‘Interval Size’ to 1:00 min.
Step 9:
That defines our interval.  If you remember from our workout, we actually do that interval several times.  Each week not only the times in the intervals change, but the number of times you do that interval will change as well. To set how many times to do your interval, click on the ‘Repetitions’ option under ‘Workout Options’ after you’ve set your easy and hard intervals. For week 1, we do the interval 3 times totals, so you have to set your repetitions to one less than that, or ‘2 More Times’.  That will give you the original interval and then two more repetitions.
Photo 3
Photo 4 Step 10:
Almost done!  Now we just have to tell RunKeeper to include both a warm up and a cool down. To do that, all you need to do is check the boxes next to those options. That gives you your full Week 1 workout of First Strides. Be sure to save your workout!
Step 11:
Save your workout by scrolling down until you see the ‘Save Workout’ buttons.  Click on that button to save your workout.
Photo 2
Photo 1 Step 12:
Now all you need to do is select that workout.  If it is not shown in the ‘Workout’ row, click on that row to select the workout you want to do.  If you need to create another week’s workout, just start from the top. If you’re ready to workout, click on ‘Start Activity’ and the app will then tell you when to switch from the warm up to the ‘easy (slow or steady)’ interval to the ‘hard (fast)’ interval each time and then let you know when you can cool down.Have fun working out!
Saving Workouts:
Another nice option with RunKeeper is that you can save every workout you do.  Each workout is saved by the date you did the workout and then you can go back through your workouts to see your progress. It will show your distance, duration, average time/mile, calories burned, any notes you added about your workout, a map of your workout route, splits, and charts. You can also post these to social networks such as Facebook or Twitter.
Photo 15

Hope this was helpful!  The workouts are much easier and quicker to set up than reading through these directions, so you will be able to quickly add your workouts to this app.  As mentioned, other apps have similar functionality.  I’m just too lazy to do this for the variety of different apps.  However, if you want some assistance getting yours set up, regardless of whether it is Runkeeper or another app, feel free to contact me!

Do I Look Like a Baby Killer?

Kat captures what so many of us are always thinking, but could not put into words as eloquently as she has. Excellent post worth reading, sharing, and living.

Fieldwork in Stilettos

This morning I went to Planned Parenthood.  I go every three months to pick up my birth control pills and again in August just before my birthday for my annual pelvic exam.

My usual concerns when going to Planned Parenthood are:

A)     Where am I going to park?  Parking in Center City is never easy.

B)      How long is this going to take?  The folks at the Locust Street branch are always friendly and seem pretty efficient but if you don’t have an appointment, you can find yourself sitting in the lobby long enough to watch an entire Tyler Perry film.

I’m never worried about getting stopped by protestors because let’s face it: this is 2013.  This is Philadelphia.  We’re not like that here.

Plus, my visit to Planned Parenthood has nothing to do with abortion, which makes sense because 90% of the services offered by Planned Parenthood have to…

View original post 1,517 more words

I AM…PENN STATE

For the glory of old State,

For her founders strong and great,

For the future that we wait,

Raise the song, raise the song.

Sing our love and loyalty,

Sing our hopes that bright and free

Rest, O mother dear, with thee,

All with thee, all with thee.

When we stood at childhood’s gate,

Shapeless in the hands of fate,

Thou didst mold us, dear old State,

Dear old State, dear old State.

May no act of ours bring shame,

To one heart that loves thy name.

May our lives but swell thy fame,

Dear old State, dear old State.
~Penn State University’s Alma Mater

If the allegations are true, and the evidence is certainly pointing in that direction, Jerry Sandusky did not stay true to our beloved Alma Mater and has brought horrible shame to Penn State.  Others involved in this case have also potentially brought shame to what Penn State represents.  The families and victims have suffered greatly and will continue to suffer because of the actions and inactions of many.  I hope they will be able to heal.  I hope they will be able to find peace.

I am sad.  I am hurt.  I am confused.  I am angry.  But I still am Penn State.  Penn State will always be a huge part of who I am.  Being a part of We are Penn State helped shaped me into who I am today and for that I am grateful.  Horrible as these recent allegations are, this is not Penn State.  Penn State is a top public university.  Penn State is a cornerstone of quality education and research.  Penn State makes us better people.  Penn State football is indeed a significant part of Penn State, but it is not all Penn State is or will be.  A handful of individuals who made some very bad decisions are not the full representation of Penn State.  JoePa is indeed an iconic figure of Penn State, but he alone is not Penn State.

Yet it is because Joe Paterno is an iconic figure, not only at Penn State, but nationally, that the media has sensationalized this terrible story.   I am angered and hurt by what Jerry Sandusky has allegedly done to those innocent young boys.  This story does need to be told and justice does need to be served.  However, I grow more and more concerned by how the legal system seems to be bypassed and decisions are made in the Court of Public Opinion.  Let’s keep in mind that it is Jerry Sandusky who allegedly committed these crimes.  Additionally, key personnel at Penn State have also had charges brought against them in their handling of these events.  Yet, the biggest witch trial is for Joe Paterno.  Mind you, Joe Paterno is not completely without fault here.  However, he has already been tried, convicted, and hung based mostly on speculation and what people think may have or should have occurred, but certainly not on facts.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident.  Our country has been polarized because of knee jerk reactions and sensationalized journalism.  We are becoming a society that yearns for the downfall of it’s people.  How can we aspire towards greatness when we continuously seek out the negative and look for opportunities to drag people down.

Penn State helped bring out the best in people and believed in what we could offer the future.   That is why We are Penn State.  That is why I will always be Penn State.

Research Paper Frustration

Meredith Farkas highlights one of my other frustrations with research paper assignments in her blog post, “I need three peer reviewed articles” or the Freshman research paper.    With today’s technology and search engines, it is certainly much easier to search for and find ‘peer-reviewed’ articles, which is great.  However, it seems we are often doing our students a disservice because we have skipped so many important steps in helping students understand the various types of information and why each is important for a variety of different reasons.

In the following paragraph from her post, Meredith perfectly articulates one key result I feel often happens in the well intentioned research paper assignment:

Another thing that the focus on requiring students to only find peer-reviewed sources does is that it distances them from research and information literacy. Information literacy should be seen as a life-long process of information seeking. Information literacy is about finding reviews of cell phones to choose the best one for you. It’s about researching an illness you were just diagnosed with. But when the focus is on telling students that the only quality stuff comes from the peer-reviewed literature, we are distancing what students learn in school about information literacy from what they will do in the real world. Information literacy instruction should be relevant to students’ lives and help them develop transferable skills, but in so many cases, the assignment the students have forces us to focus on getting them through a single class, rather than on giving them skills they can use later on.

We want our students to be excited about doing research, about digging around for new information, about making connections between unrelated bits of knowledge they’ve acquired.  That is what learning is all about.  Let’s face it, requiring 3 (or whatever magical number) peer-reviewed sources is not going to spark their desire to learn more, especially when they are only going to read the introduction or conclusion to get a relevant tidbit to stick in their paper to meet the requirements of the assignment.  Getting them to realize that doing research is really about satisfying their own curiosities, well, that’s why I became a librarian.

Get a Job: Prep!

I really don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to do a blog post every day this week on job searching tips.  Given my past posting record, posting every day is in itself quite a feat, but then I pick the very week that the Harry Potter finale opens, and yes, I’ll be at the midnight showing Thursday night!  It is also in the same week that my youngest is having a sleep-over for her birthday, for which I have to plan yet another epic scavenger hunt.  Oh and we can’t forget about Women’s World Cup Soccer!

oopsOops!!  I certainly did not plan very well for this week.  Poor planning can sometimes have very negative consequences.  That is what today’s post will be about…the planning and preparation that needs to go into an effective job search.  Job searches and career management are already tricky enough; you don’t want to make it any more difficult than it needs to be.  One thing you can do is learn from other people’s mistakes. 

Common mistakes people make in their job search:

  • They don’t know themselves.
  • They don’t learn enough about the job or the organization.
  • They just aren’t prepared.

You can (and should) easy avoid these mistakes by doing the following.

Know Yourself

This one comes as a surprise to most; after all, you know what you’re capable of, right?  You know your college degree, what you’re smart at, what your skills are, what you like to do, so what is the big deal.  The big deal is that you need to fit into a job for you to like it and for the organization to be glad they hired you. 

  • Determine your values
    • What is important to you?
    • Do this values exercise and try to come up with a list of your top 10 values.
    • Values are what help you prioritize your time.  If creativity is very important to you, do you really want to work at a company that stifles it?
  • Do a skills inventory
    • Note:  this is not your resume! 
    • Be honest and determine what you are good at.
    • Be able to match your skills to a job position’s needs through accomplishments 
    • This OWL website offers a nice set of skills to start with (you have to create and determine your own accomplishments, though, and you may need to add some other skills to this list)
  • Maintain a Curriculum Vitae or comprehensive file of your values, skills, and accomplishments.
    • Again, this is not your resume or what you will send in for a job application.
    • Consider this your toolbox or file cabinet to pull from when you need to build your resume for a particular job.
    • Update it at least once per year.
  • Start your job search
    • Your professional network, job websites, etc. are all great ways to learn of job openings.
    • When you find a job you wish to apply for, do some research.  

Know the Job and Organization

Too many people will send in a generic cover letter and the same old resume to every job they apply.  The person reviewing job applications spends something like 10 seconds looking at your material before making a decision on whether to keep you in the ‘consider’ pile or put you in the ‘forget about it’ pile. 

  • Research the job and the organization.  
  • Utilize your network to learn more. 
  • Determine if the job and organizational values match your own.
  • Determine what skills you have that match the needs of the position.
  • Write a cover letter that not only indicates your interest and that you are applying for the job, but also that addresses a specific need mentioned in the job posting by highlighting your experience, with examples, as it relates to that need.  
  • Create your resume, highlighting skills and accomplishments, that relate specifically to the job for which you are applying.
  • Leverage technology.  There are plenty of websites that address resumes, cover letters, the right action verb, etc. 
  • Apply in a manner that matches the organizational culture.  For most places, the traditional resume is still the best way to apply, but there are alternatives, but those alternatives should align with the cultural expectations of the company that you researched and learned about much earlier in your process.  

Be Prepared

If you are fortunate enough to put in the ‘consider’ pile, you may be called for an interview.  There is often a ‘weeding’ phase where a preliminary interview may be done over the phone or by other means.  If you are called for an interview, it is absolutely vital that you be prepared.

  • Do more research!  Know as much about the job, the organization, and the field as possible.
  • Practice interviewing (more on this tomorrow)
  • Contact possible references and prepare a reference list (sometimes this is asked for in the initial application, but be prepared to offer more)
  • Prepare questions.  You’ve done you’re research, but you can’t possibly know everything!
    • Ask meaningful questions, questions that demonstrate a genuine interest in the position and the organization. 
    • Don’t ask question right away about money, time off, vacation, etc. 
    • Don’t not ask questions!
  • Be yourself.
  • Be honest.  Don’t make things up or embellish your capabilities.  It will become apparent at some point if you do.
  • Be positive.  Highlight your accomplishments and don’t discredit or bad mouth other people or other organizations. 

Remember, the interview should be a two-way information gathering session.  Naturally the organization wants to determine if you will be a good fit, but you should also be determining if the organization and the job are really a good fit for you as well. 

This may all seem like a lot of work, especially considering most people don’t even hear back from companies when they apply.  However, you greatly increase your chances of getting that ‘consideration’ and will be called if you do this work upfront.  Additionally, maintaining, or managing your career in this way makes it so much easier to submit a job application when that perfect job does come along! 

Tech Tip Tuesday: Get a Job

Day 2 of the ‘Get a Job’ week and since it is Tuesday, the focus will be on technology.   There are a lot of websites dedicated to getting a job or managing your career.  There are some big players in the job search market, such as CareerBuilder and Monster, but don’t discount some others that are in the game such as Simply Hired and Indeed.   There are also more specialized options such as USA Jobs for government listings and HigherEdJobs for those like me who enjoy working in academia.

Managing your career isn’t just about getting a job, especially since most people will have several career changes over the course of their lives.  It’s important to stay current on how to effectively manage  your career.  Two of my favorite blogs on career development are The Brazen Careerist and Penelope Trunk.   These two absolutely rock; they not only offer great advice and career wisdom, but they also make me laugh.  Others that are good and more traditional, include QuintCareers and CareerHub.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include some networking sites.  There are obvious networking sites, such as  LinkedIn and Brazen Careerist that are great tools for professional social networking.  However, creating profiles is not the extent of maintaining an online network.   You should also network by following people on Twitter or reading blogs that matter to you or relate to your career interests.  It is not only important to follow and read what others have to say, but it is also important to add to the conversation.  I contribute to and follow It’s Academic, the blog of the College and Research Division (CRD) of the Pennsylvania Library Association.  The blog certainly covers interesting things happening in academic libraries, but it  also covers thing such as networking,  Just last week, one of my awesome colleagues, Erin, not only shared a post on networking in the CRD blog but her own blog is also a great read for librarians.

Leverage the technology and use it effectively.  Experiment with it.  A traditional resume or a CV are still the main ways to convey your skill set for a position.  Today’s technology allows you to be more creative in how you sell yourself.  Google Maps, video, slideshare, etc. have all been tools used in place of or along with traditional resumes.

As awesome as technology is though, what Erin said in that CRD post really says it all:

it all comes down to people and the power we have to make or break situations, organizations, conferences and the like…read more

Use your technology effectively and appropriately, but growing and nourishing your relationships and networks will be the biggest advantage in your career.

What sites or tools do you use to manage your career?