Tuesday, September 27, 2011

athens county young life

As I've mentioned before, I am involved in an organization called YoungLife; it is an outreach ministry to high school students. I lead YoungLife about twenty minutes away from campus at Nelsonville York High School. Sometimes it's hard to explain to others exactly what we do, but I saw this video and it literally explained everything so well.


We lead bible studies, game nights and hangouts, spend time in the community, and get involved with the kids as much as we can. I encourage everyone to get involved in Athens County as much as they can. This is an amazing community.

Here's a couple places you could get involved : athensohio.com

Saturday, September 24, 2011

utilize your observation skills and start an awesome blog.

Joe Finney and Brian Kassouf, OU Junior and Senior respectively started a blog called Scooter365. They noticed a checkered scooter out by South Green and decided to take a picture of it every day for an entire year. I got an interview with em last week, shown on Day 36. I may have also been the talent for Day 23.

Check out the interview:

Also, if you're ever feeling bored, I've uploaded some links to some pretty cool blogs/sites on my Inspiration section.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

people observation #21: I'm a birthday cynic, and your birthday doesn't matter.

Today is September 21, and it's also my 21st people observation.
My big 21st birthday is coming up in November... and it doesn't matter.

I've always been a cynic when it comes to birthdays, getting colder to the idea of them the older I get.

Look, there are 365 days in a year, a number far less than the amount of people in this world. Chances are a birthday is going to fall on the same date as someone else's birthday. Or perhaps, your birthday may fall on the same day as an event, or a moment in history. Why in the world do people think that this is significant?.. at all? My favorite is when a date is brought up at a meeting or some other date-bringing-up occasion, and someone from the back of the room finds it necessary to yell, "that's my cousin's daughter's boyfriend's sister's birthday!" wtf.

People expect special treatment on their birthdays. Like, because it's my birthday the world needs to completely cater to me? No! Because it's my birthday, I shouldn't have to work. I shouldn't have to wake up and be on time to class. I shouldn't have to help out these people who are currently depending on me.

I have a friend Joe who doesn't like the idea of one designated day to tell someone we care about them. Why don't we tell people we care about them all the time? I make a point to tell him often that I'm glad he's alive. Not just on his birthday, but the other 364.25 days in the year. Or things like "belated" birthdays. Just tell the person you care about them. I shouldn't have to apologize for forgetting to post on your Facebook wall on your birthday. How about I post on your wall and keep in touch with you all other days out of the year? Better yet, let's have a conversation in person.

Jimmy Johns has always done such a great job at providing my eyes with activity as I enjoy my #6Vegetarian. Signs cover the walls. My favorite is "free smells."

But the other day I saw a sign that gave a list of 16 life lessons. Number six reads, "Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance." Number 14 reads, "Your friends love you anyway." And number eleven says, "There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age 11."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

tweeting twitter tweeters twit a tweet.

There's a scene in one of my hardly-embarassingly favorite movies Mean Girls where protagonist Kady asks Regina, the clique's bitchy-yet-forwhateverreason-loveable ring leader if she would be receiving a candy cane for the school's "candy gram" fundraiser. Regina replies to Kady that she doesn't send candy canes; she just gets them.

Folks, this is my outlook on Twitter.

Call me a snob, but I use Twitter in the way it was intended. You earn the right to be followed on Twitter; I don't want to be clogging up my feed with updates on your opinions of the weather every five minutes. I don't want to have to read your conversation with @personIdon'tKnow that adds nothing to my well-being. You make me laugh, you update me on the status of a Jackets game- I'll follow you.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

people observation #20: customer service, please serve us.

I am currently sitting in the health center getting a check-up, and experiencing the inevitable frustration with the system that is the campus clinic.

Clinic: we all know the connotation associated with this word. In the same way the word moist just seethes off the tongue if you're a girl, the word clinic really makes us cringe. We could go for a more appropriately-connotated word, like "health center" to be more politically correct or we could say "infirmary" if this were Hogwarts, but regardless of what you call it, when you're at college, going to see a doctor is a nightmare to say the least. It's on my top-five places I'd least want to be in Athens (probably somewhere between the back of an OUPD squad car and the bottom of the Hocking.)

It's as if clinics were designed for inefficiency. That's another blogpost, though, for another day. I do, however, give OU props for the changes they seem to be making to their health services. (Unless it's like the Pennsylvania turnpike, of course, and it's never actually finished with construction).

I sit here and listen to the nurses and technicians discussing something to be of great importance (gossip), and from below me the sounds of hammering vaguely make out the rhythm to Katy Perry's Firework as it plays on radio 105.5. There's some Japanese kids engaging in what I think is bickering somewhere close outside.

Because the first floor is getting new carpet or something, the clinic has been "temporarily" squished onto the second floor. Sidenote: The waiting room is divided with signs separating the sick people from the healthy. Like a smoking section in a restaurant, the flu-infected runny-nosed Sophomore won't affect you because you're sitting on the far east "healthy" corner of the room. Viruses can read too, you know.

So I have just passed through level one of the appointment.
Are you a Smoker? No.
Are you allergic to anything? No.
How tall are you? 5'5'' if I'm not slouching.
Your blood pressure reading is outstanding. I'm a bad ass.

Now I am sitting in the 2nd waiting period, as if the first awkward calling of the names isn't painful enough. Alright, Erin, Phase One complete. Why am I nervous? I feel like I'm sitting outside an audition. Boy, I sure hope I made the cut!

Because they're making renovations to the main entrance, people enter through whatever sidedoors and cracks in the walls they can find. I find myself sitting on an arbitrarily-placed bench in the hallway where I'm stuck between a green-faced girl in the fetal position on my left and a desk of nurses doing paperwork on my right. After memorizing the eye chart placed on the wall in front of me, and being informed that I can do my part in preventing the flu from the hand-washing PSA next to it, my mind starts to wander, and the eavesdropping begins.

Nurses' conversation seems to be dominated by the topic of several patients' confusion as they walk in side doors and attempt to find the waiting room with few, if any signs. Being in the position of these disoriented patients earlier that hour, I found myself empathetic to their situations. A student would walk up, give some rendition of the "is this where I check in?" and the nurses would explain to them that it was further down the hall. After each student would leave, the nurses would gripe about how irritated they were at the students for not knowing where to go. I began to lose patience, pardon my pun.

I started thinking about how many times this happens to us as people. We are in a different position than others, and forget that their experiences do not mirror ours. So when a student walks in to the clinic, already in a state of feeling thrilled to be there, they aren't necessarily going to know the remodeling situation let alone where they are suppose to go, even if there's an 8.5x11 Scotch-taped up to the door.

I see a student, stomach in hands, walk up to the desk and ask a nurse with stethoscope-wearing cats on her scrubs where she can find the check-in desk. Folks, don't be fooled by the cuddly sea-foam green felines on her attire. This lady snapped back with total sarcasm and cruelty to someone who was clearly a freshman (lanyard) and clearly ill, "you're in the wrong place!" She my as well had laughed in the patient's colorlessly clammy face and called them an a hole.

What happened here was the nurse failed to recognize that although several other patients had come in and asked similar questions, this particular bewildered student did not know those other kids. The nurses could have easily fixed this problem and put a sign up that said "check-in" with an arrow on it, but instead they proceeded to get ruder and ruder with every passerby. Instead, they chose to question the college kids' intelligence.

The thing is that this happens all the time. Everywhere. When you call the gym and ask if their hours will be cut short for the national holiday coming up, you don't know the other people calling in to ask similar forms of that question. When you walk up to the host's station at Red Lobster to ask how long their Saturday night wait is, you don't know that the seventeen-year old hostess had just answered that same question for a middle-aged man holding a screaming toddler just two minutes prior. When you ask the TWA officer at DFW whether or not it's alright to bring your ak-47 on board, who were you to know that there was just a recent ban on assault rifles on airlines?

My point is, when in the shoes of the gym representative (probably sneakers) or the hostess (probably dress shoes) or the nurse (crocs?), every person that comes to ask a question does not have the knowledge that you do, hence, the whole purpose of asking questions: in hopes for an answer. In a customer service position, one is to understand that they are providing exactly this, service to their customers.

I don't care if you are seventeen or seventy. I don't care if it's just a part time job you picked up for a couple extra bones. I don't care if you're stuck working this job for the rest of your life and you're miserable.

The ability to understand things from the perspective of other people is crucial to literally everything. What I learned today in the clinic is that when people keep coming up asking some form of the same question, realize the only thing that can be done is flash that million-dollar customer-service smile and answer their questions. I also learned that washing your hands is important. Do that too.

Eventually, I made it passed the check point and into phase two of my appointment. I sat on the cold crinkly paper rolled out over the table. The doctor had me take deep breaths as she listened to my heart and lungs.

"Are you allergic to anything?" She asked.
"No," I replied, shaking my head in disappointment. Stupid doctor. Doesn't she know I already answered that to somebody else?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

should old acquaintance be forgot, and never thought upon

WUDDDUP READERS! We're back! eleemccarthy decided to take the month of August off. Nobody really likes August anyways. (those of you saying, 'my birthday is in august' can shove it.) Why don't I like it you ask? Well, it is a dirty combination of boredom mixed with lotsofthingstodo,butnotenoughenergytodoit. So apologies that the world has been complete chaos. Let's brush off these cobwebs, grab some coffee, and have a chat.

So in the last week I've been working hard on my new house- you know, christening the place, establishing pet peaves with the 'mates, telling the boys sleeping on my couch to get the eff out. I deep cleaned the entire downstairs and accomplished my goal that everything I sniffed for the next three days would smell like bleach. With the priority of a clean floor, comes the temporary ceasing of all things blog. (Let's be real though, it's hard to blog when the best of Will Ferrel is on your roommate's Wii Netflix account.)

At first, I thought I could dedicate this first blogpost of the year to the incoming freshmen, and how much I enjoy watching them. Their love of lanyard-swinging, their love of walking in massive groups, the look on all 1200 of their faces- a unique concoction when excitement meets fear meets optimism one can only find in a freshman. I found that trite, however, and freshmen deserve a breathe of air. They might be attempting to establish bearings in a new world, and thus amusing to watch, but they are adults, and apparently have enough brains to get into college. I thought I'd cut them some slack.

Then, I thought I could dedicate this first blogpost of the year to my three new roommates and how freaking pumped I am to be living with them. They all have different personalities, but appreciate my sarcasm, organic recipes, and loud spontaneous noises. But then I found that somewhat unnecessary. They aren't that cute.

I thought I could blog about my brother Sean, today being his birthday, and he being totally awesome. He is twenty four today, and I am probably more freaked out about that than him. He's always been my hero, ever since I was little and any thunderstorm was an excuse to get to hang out with him. I'm not very sensitive for a twenty year old girl, but I do have a soft spot for my big bro. Over the summer, I got to hang out with Sean a lot, and I owe him credit to my love for sports, music, comedy, and rational thinking. Come to think of it, I also blame him for the fact that no member of the male population has yet to measure up to the significantly high bar which my brother has set for me to expect from a guy.

Perhaps I could make this blog a recap of my summer. The topic ranging from the wonderful kids I was blessed to spend my 9 to 5 with to some sort of position in the political spaghetti I had time to slurp up every morning. I took a week to hike across Maryland on the Appalachian Trail, and got to visit my best friend Lucas Gilfillan a few times in Cincy.

There's the possibility this blog could be dedicated to the wonderful people at YoungLife, and the high school students at Nelsonville York, where I will be spending countless hours hanging out with some really cool kids.

I suppose this post just makes for a medium by which I can share my excitement for a new year. Being in Athens is great. Being in class is great. Being a Junior.. somewhat great, with a little bit of sad I'm halfway done with undergrad.

It might not be January, but it is a New Year, and I'd like to make a toast as we ring it in at Ohio University. First, let this play in the background for dramatic effect: thanks Mariah.. With quickly filling-up schedules and even-more quickly-emptying pockets, let us make it another good one, folks! May 2011-2012 be as amazing as the last, and thank you to all who have made this true. This one's for you! Cheers!