Rest up for Finals Week…and Your Safety

Sleep is one of the most powerful indicators of student success, and with good reason. Sleep not only refreshes our organs and physical bodies, but it helps us consolidate and synthesize the information  we take in everyday. Many college students (and adults in general) find that they have trouble getting enough quality sleep at night.

Not only is sleep important for success in the classroom or the workplace, but getting enough sleep is critical for your safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses. These figures may be the tip of the iceberg, since currently it is difficult to attribute crashes to sleepiness.

I found some great tips for improving the quality and quantity of your sleep, from Middlebury College in Vermont:

Develop a routine. Routines signal to our body that something is about to happen—in this case, sleep! Starting a bedtime routine 30 minutes before going to sleep can help unwind the mind and body and release melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep. Starting the routine at the same time and trying to wake up and the same time everyday can improve sleep quality and quantity.

Reduce caffeine. Caffeine has been shown to cause people to take longer to get to sleep, cause more awakenings, and lower the quality of sleep. Many types of soda contain caffeine as does chocolate, coffee and many types of teas.

Limit alcohol. Consuming alcohol, even as little as one to two drinks can produce fragmented sleep, causing a decrease in deep and REM sleep.

Go screen-free. The light emitted from cell phones, computer screens, tablets, and televisions trick our bodies and brains into thinking that it is light outside and we should be awake. Adding screen-free time into your routine can help you fall asleep faster.

Make time for physical activity. Often at the end of the day our brains are exhausted but our bodies are restless after sitting in class all day. Making time for physical activity, even just a walk around campus or your neighborhood, can help the brain and body get on the same page at the end of the day.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Pathophysiology, the Bridge to Understanding

It’s one thing to know WHAT disease or injury a person suffers from. It’s another thing entirely to understand WHY he or she became sick or injured in the first place.

If you’re studying to be in a Parkland College Health Professions program, or even if you’re already in a health career, you may not yet have made the important connection that fits these two pieces of knowledge together.  In fact, most clinical programs in the U.S. acknowledge a slight disconnect between foundational health career courses and the applied clinical practice. What is needed, they recognize, is a ‘bridge’ of understanding that can answer the question: What has gone wrong within the basic anatomy and physiology of a particular patient to cause the disease or condition that they present with?

With a basic knowledge of pathophysiology, you can come to understand this link and be on your way to delivering better care for your patients.

Pathophysiology (BIO 225) is that bridge; this course describes the underlying disturbances in the basic homeostatic mechanisms that lead to the signs and symptoms of selected diseases. In other words, you can learn to determine what is it that causes the problems associated with congestive heart failure, glomerulonephritis, or a host of other maladies that we humans can get.  

Professor John Moore teaches BIO 225 this summer, and students find that he makes that health education-clinical practice connection lots clearer. One of his students commented:

I have learned some of the same material in my health career classes, but [Professor Moore’s] presentation of the subject matter makes it much more tangible. When he teaches, I get it. I never want to miss any of his classes.”

BIO 225 meets  Mondays and Wednesdays,  1–3:50 p.m., from June 19 to Aug. 10 in Room X104. For more information, visit Parkland College’s summer class schedule or go to the my.parkland student portal.

[Cindy Smith is program manager for Arts and Sciences at Parkland College.]

 

10 Tips for Nighttime Walking

Whether you’re walking out to your car through the Parkland parking lots or enjoying an evening out in downtown Champaign, Urbana, or Campustown, foot travel at night carries more risks than the daytime. As starts to get nicer outside, we’ve compiled the following list of tips to help you safely reach your destination:

  1. Stay away from poorly lit areas and avoid taking shortcuts down dark alleyways or paths. Choose well-lit, heavily traveled sidewalks.
  2. If you are in an emergency situation, call 911.
  3. Whenever possible, do not walk alone at night.
  4. Be aware of places along your path that could conceal a criminal (shrubbery, buildings, recesses, etc.). Avoid these areas.
  5. Do not use headphones or talk on a cell phone while walking alone at night as this reduces your awareness of your surroundings.
  6. If you think someone is following you, make your way to a populated area and consider calling the police.
  7. Carry yourself with confidence. If confronted, shout or use a whistle to attract attention.
  8. It is risky to travel under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances. Drugs and alcohol can greatly alter your perceptions, reaction time, and judgments.
  9. Make sure to tell someone your plans and travel routes and when to expect your arrival.
  10. Wear clothing that will allow you to run if necessary. If you need to run, drop any heavy cargo you’re carrying (heavy books, packages, etc.) since these slow you down.

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

It’s Plant Sale Week at Parkland

Parkland College invites the public to its 11th annual Greenhouse Spring Plant Sale, May 3 through 5 and May 8 through 11, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The annual sale is an opportunity to showcase the work that our agriculture and horticulture students have been doing over the course of the semester. We asked Theresa Meers, who coordinates the popular semiannual Greenhouse Plant Sale, a few questions to find out more about the sale.

Q: What is the difference between the Parkland plant sale and a local nursery selling plants?

A: The students have been involved in the planning, seeding, growing, and now the sale of the plants, so it’s been a learning experience from the beginning. We have a very small selection of plants compared to the local nurseries, so we are not competing with them. Some of the plants we tried did not even make it to the point of being able to sell, which is a learning experience in itself. The funds go into the Horticulture account to help pay for greenhouse and other horticulture-related expenses.

Q: What role do students play in the plant sale?

A: Students have been involved from the planning phase, specifically through the agri-business work experience courses AGB 191 and 291; HRT 270, Greenhouse Production; and a new class HRT 111, Sustainable Urban Horticulture. Selling the plants is the reward of all their hard work. They will act as salespeople and answer customer questions.

Q: What kinds of plants are available for sale?

A: Because the students choose which plants to grow, each year is different. This year, we have lots of hanging baskets and annuals, plus some veggies and tropical plants. There is a limited selection of perennials this year.

Q: What new initiatives are you planning for this growing season?

A: We are in the second year of our sustainable plot between W and T buildings, so we are hoping to harvest a wider grouping of plants this year.

The greenhouse is located on the west side of the Tony Noel Agricultural Technology Applications Center on the west side of campus. Great vegetable plants, annuals, perennials, tropicals, hanging baskets, and other ready-made containers (great for Mothers’ Day gifts or your own yard) will be available.

Cash or checks only, please. For more information, contact Theresa Meers at tmeers@parkland.edu.

 [Hilary Valentine is associate director for Parkland College Marketing and Public Relations.]

 

National Child Abuse Prevention Month

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. During this month and throughout the year, Parkland College is dedicated to supporting families and reducing the risk of child abuse and neglect.

Even if you’re not a parent, almost everyone knows or is somehow connected to children through family or friends. You don’t have to be a professional to spend time and offer appropriate affection and support to the kids in your life.

Being the best parent you can be involves taking steps to strengthen your family and finding support when you need it. Parenting is part natural and part learned; you can supplement your natural skills with questions for your family doctor, your child’s teacher, family or friends. Books, websites, and parenting classes can also be helpful for ideas on how to deal with new challenges as your child grows up. Parenting isn’t something you have to do alone. When you have the knowledge, skills, and resources you need, you can raise a happy, healthy child.

Find out more about activities and programs in your community that support parents and promote healthy families. Dial 2-1-1 from any telephone in Champaign County and you’ll be connected with trained specialists who can help refer you to the variety of assistance programs available in the area.

A comprehensive tipsheet for parents and caregivers can also be found at: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/tipsheets_2017_en.pdf

[Ben Boltinghouse is a public safety officer with Parkland College.]

Go ahead, get ahead.