Faculty & Staff

Progress | January 2010

January 2010

By Larry Pena

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New Year’s Resolutions.

We’ve all made them; we’ve all tried sticking with them. Some of us have even succeeded. This past year, marketing director Scott Callender decided to learn Italian. “I was really dedicated,” he says. “I bought the Rosetta Stone discs, and actually got through all 30 hours of them.” By the end of his lessons, he could speak enough basic Italian to render him functional on his vacation in Chianti.

Good for you, Scott. But what about the rest of us, who don’t always keep up with those ambitious resolutions? What about those of us who, discouraged by past years, have given up committing to a fresh start altogether? “I always plan to make resolutions, but it never works out,” says public relations designer Haley Wesley. “My resolution is to make resolutions, but I never do.”

So if you’re actually going to make resolutions this year, you could probably use a little expert advice. Here are tips from some of your colleagues on how to set yourself up for success with a few of the most common New Year’s resolutions.

Fitness

If you’ve ever made New Year’s resolutions, chances are that at least one of them involved getting in better shape. According to physical education professor Bob Paulson, there are three components to sticking to a fitness goal.

  1. Start small and keep it simple. “More is not always better,” Bob says. “The difference in benefit in exercising 30 minutes a day rather than 20 minutes a day less significant than the difference in going from zero to 20.” He explains that motivational phrases like “No pain, no gain” are actually counterproductive. “Whoever wrote that really doesn’t want people to exercise,” he says. “We like to get accomplishments, but you don’t have to hurt yourself to get in good shape.”
  2. Aim for making a steady change in behavior, rather than achieving a specific one-time goal. “One of the things you shouldn’t do, is to say ‘I want to, in six months, be able to run a sub-seven minute mile,’” he says—rather, ‘Three out of seven days a week, I want to do some sort of continuous exercise for 20 minutes.’ That way it’s not just something that goes away after you’ve lost ten pounds that you gained during the holidays, but something that you can maintain over a long period of time.”
  3. Build a community of support. “There’s quite a bit of research that indicates that people who exercise in groups are much more likely to adhere to that exercise,” Bob says. “If you can get even one person to exercise with, that’s gonna help you out, because that person will require you to have a degree of accountability.”

Finances

The holiday season can wreak havoc on your family finances. Here are some quick budgeting tips for starting your year from business professor Dan Madrid.

  1. Create a spending plan based on your actual income.
  2. Budget your non-discretionary expenses first (mortgage, rent, tithe, etc.), then budget your other expenses. Don't forget to put aside funds for retirement.
  3. Don't underestimate the benefit of cutting those little discretionary expenses. Seemingly small items like Starbucks coffee and heating your home can really add up over the year. “Buy more blankets,” he recommends.
  4. Use caution in using credit cards, so that you can pay off the balance every month. “Interest is a silent budget killer,” says Dan.
  5. Look for possible ways to enhance your income. Maybe you have a hobby that’s worth a little money, or unused items lying around the house that you can sell. Keep an eye out for little opportunities to make some extra cash—it will come in handy.

Learning something new

One of the most common resolutions is to learn a new skill—an instrument, a hobby, or a language. Modern language professor Sylvia Rasi Gregorutti offers advice on learning a new trick of the tongue.

  1. Set realistic goals.  Remember that it took a while to learn your own language.  Celebrate your successes, even when they're small.  
  2. Don't be a perfectionist.  Step out of your comfort zone.  “If you don't make any mistakes, you're not learning!” says Gregorutti.
  3. Make time to learn on a regular basis, even if it's only 10-15 minutes at a go.
  4. Motivate yourself with something enjoyable related to the language or culture: Listen to online radio (pop music has repetitive lyrics with simple, high-frequency vocab; ads and news help with intonation); watch subtitled movies; read a bilingual Bible; attend worship services; plan a trip, even a short one, to a place where the language is spoken.  If you have basic proficiency and keep up with news, read online newspapers, cartoons or graphic novels.
  5. Find a language exchange partner-- someone who wants to improve his/her proficiency in a language you speak fluently.  Take 15-30 minute turns in each language, choosing a specific focus or topic.

Colleagues & Departments

A Letter from the Napa Valley Food Bank
September 8, to REVO Students: Thank you so much for your incredibly generous donations to Napa Valley Food Bank, in July 2009. You guys are amazingly awesome! Thank you for all you’ve done, for thinking of us and the needs of our clients. Your support is more appreciated than we can say. It looks like our six months without a warehouse is coming to an end. As many already know, we much change our usual mode of operation. On Industrial Way, we were one of the few food banks that hosted direct food distribution to clients. This was less stressful for clients than having to locate addresses and hours of miscellaneous agencies; and more convenient for us because the food was stored right there-we did not have to load, drive, and unload trucks for Napa Food Pantry and Friday Free Market. This will no longer be possible. No property owners were willing to allow us to have clients at our warehouse. The mistaken idea that people who need food are “troublemakers” is prevalent. The reality is that most of our clients are low-income working people or those who have been laid off. We also serve many who are disabled, and low-income seniors. Many are discouraged and embarrassed. They must spend their time searching out help with things like applying for jobs, locating child care, repairing cars, looking for housing they can afford… and on and on. They are invisible to people more fortunate, and usually suffer in silence. Thank you for caring about people in need… We appreciate you so much! Sincerely, Shirley King, Director Dianne Anderson, Program Assistant

Albion
Will Cook and Gibby Muth at Albion have announced a whopping 25 percent discount for rooms booked for weeknights (Sunday through Thursday) during December and January. Families and individuals can book rooms or cabins, some with kitchenettes and all with bathrooms. (PUC employees get a 10% discount year-round.)

Church
The new church office manager is Tiny Cornish, who previously worked in that position from 2002 to 2008 and is returning to Angwin from Idaho.

Communication
Tammy McGuire presented two papers at the National Communication Conference in Chicago in November. One was "Negotiating spiritual dissonance: Approaches and strategies," and the other, presented for the "Stability and Change in the Study of Spiritual Communication” panel session, was "Spiritual vs. Religious: Differences that matter."

DOCS
The Directors of Campus Services committee delivered 16 food baskets (two big boxes each) to student families in Court Place and Brookside. This is an annual project undertaken by DOCS.

Visual Arts
Thomas Morphis has curated a painting exhibition that opens with a reception on January 21 at the Santa Rosa Junior College Art Gallery. "Working With Wax: Contemporary Encaustic Painting in Northern California" features 11 artists and approximately 65 paintings. The exhibition continues through March 6.