For my applied project I will be working with Residential Life to create a more well and wholesome experience for students utilizing the Blair Hall fitness facility. My project will be creating multiple projects as I provide students with workouts they are able to do in the fitness facility, office hours as a resource, research and data collection about gym usage and improvements to be made. My large question I will be looking to answer is what ways can we improve the mental and physical health of first-year students using the Blair Hall fitness facility? I want to do this project and explore this topic because I am passionate about exercise and mental health. I feel as though first year students have the hardest time adjusting and exercising during college. I am very passionate about Residential Life as I have worked in the department for four years and therefore I also want to explore ways to help these students. I also think this is an awesome opportunity to be a manager of a fitness facility, since there is no supervision or structure in this facility right now. Erica Burke, the Community Director, has given me the ability to do what I want with the space, so it is an awesome opportunity to really make this my own.
This project incorporates both exercise and psychological aspects of my IDS degree. I will obviously be coming up with a variety of different exercises and physical ways to help students but will also be using these strategies to improve the mental health of students. Offering other tips on self-care and the importance of a healthy mind will be targets of discussion throughout my project. During my time this semester I will be visiting the fitness facility quite often as well as doing a lot of little projects. Below I have a detailed outline of what I plan to accomplish during the semester. To document this project, I will be taking lots of pictures as well as posting data and research I am doing on my ePort. I believe this project will be able to evaluate this project by using feedback from Erica Burke as well as showing data trends throughout the semester (both qualitative and quantitative).
I will be using resources from the library databases as well as creating my own data. I will keep in contact with Erica Burke for this project as well as the Residential Life Director Chuck Crawford. There is a challenge of this project since this space is not widely advertised as well as many first-year students are hesitant to exercise especially without an exercise partner. No matter how this project ends up I know it will be successful because I am able to create my own path as well as help students.
Oct. 10 Inventory of Gym and Create Sign Up Sheet
Oct. 12 Bulletin Board 1
Oct. 17 Check in on Space
Oct. 24 Data Collection on Fitness Facility deadline and office hours in fitness facility
Oct. 26 Bulletin Board 2
Oct. 31 Check in on space
Nov. 7 Check in on space and office hours in fitness facility
Nov. 9 Bulletin Board 3
Nov. 14 Check in on space
Nov. 28 Program
Nov. 30 Final Bulletin Board 4
Dec. 3 Final Presentation at Frost House
I am working on the topic of mental health challenges faced amongst college student athletes because I want to find out the biggest issues in order to help my reader understand better the solutions, treatments, and experiences of these college student athletes. There are many reasons I am interested in this topic, however, the biggest being I am a college student-athlete who struggles with mental health. I think a lot of athletes are held to the expectation that they have to be mentally tough, however, struggle the most. Injuries are a huge part of sport and we often think about the physical effects of the injury, but neglect the mental effects. Other challenges student-athletes face include but are not limited to disordered eating, stress, and anxiety. I am interested in diving into these challenges to better understand what we can do to be part of the solution, what treatments are available to these athletes, and lastly inform the public of what student-athletes go through every day. I am writing to not only inform the general public, but to inform higher educators, coaches, and parents of the issues faced. I think it is extremely important that professors, coaches, and parents sending their students away to college knowing what can happen and what treatments are available.
Guiding my research is what is the best forms of treatment and what actually happens in the brain. Some databases that will be helpful are “Academic Search Premier” as well as “PsycINFO”. Some key terms are:
- Intercollegiate Athletics
- Brain and Spinal Injuries
- Mental Illness
- Disordered Eating
My timeline while still loose right now is on track. I plan to have research done by October 8th. Following the completion of research, I will complete one part of the paper (about a page and a half) every 4 days until November. This will allow for revision and editing to take place and completion of the paper by Thanksgiving break.
5 Possible Article Topics
- I am working on the topic of concussions because I want to find out the impact on athletes in order to help my reader understand better treatment and rehabilitation.
- This is interesting as athletes often don’t think about side effects in the classroom and daily life. This topic targets the disciplines of neuroscience, psychology, and exercise science.
- I am working on the topic of daily exercise because I want to find out about the benefits in order to help my reader understand better mental health benefits.
- I am interested in seeing how daily exercise helps one’s mental health. This involves psychology, as well as exercise science, and sociology.
- I am working on the topic of higher education and exercise because I want to find out how college students benefit from exercise in order to help my reader understand better ways to help students.
- I think this is important as this population is often overlooked regarding health studies. This incorporates psychology, higher education, and exercise science.
- I am working on the topic of injury rehabilitation because I want to find out how it effects the brain in order to help my reader understand better the best course of treatment both mentally and physically.
- I think the connection between physical and mental injury is very interesting and important to my field. This involves the disciplines of exercise science, psychology, and athletic training.
- I am working on the topic of veterans care because I want to find out how PTSD and other mental illnesses effect veterans in order to help my reader understand better ways for caring and treating.
- I think veteran care is so important, but there is no real solution yet. This involves psychology, history, sociology, and exercise rehabilitation.
5 Possible Applied Project Ideas
- Post-Concussion Side Effects in Athletics
- I am interested in exploring this topic and how athletes are affected in their daily life from concussions. The idea of how the brain is affecting performance is often explored while classrooms effects are often forgotten.
- Exercise Amongst College Students
- I am interested in exploring how students get daily exercise as college students. I think it is important to promote health even during a busy time of life.
- Mental Illness Amongst Veterans
- I am interested in exploring the after care of veterans. Mental Illness is a major issue faced and am interested in being part of the solution.
- Healthy Habits Amongst College Students
- I am interested in studying the health habits of college students and how those affect daily life. I am also interested in seeing if unhealthy habits have the ability to change.
- Mental Health Amongst Athletes
- I am interested in studying the mental health of athletes and the rate of certain illnesses such as disordered eating and anxiety. With pressure of performance comes a lot of internal pressures and I am interested in studying this correlation.
My PLN Plan: Senior Year
Sport Psychology is an up and coming field of its own and the best way to connect with others in my field is through conferences, journals, and social media such as Twitter. There are many tools that are useful when learning more about sport psychology such as different magazines such as Psychology Today and studies that are constantly being shared with the world in a variety of journals. Other tools right here at Plymouth State is our library database which has a wealth of information. I feel as though LinkedIn would be a great way to connect with scholars and professors within my field. As part of my PLN I want to research more about how a LinkedIn works and what is the best way to connect with scholars. I think creating blog posts on my ePort is a great way to convey my ideas and thoughts regarding my field. This ePort can be used as a launchpad for discussion and hopefully increase my knowledge. While I am still young in my field I hope to learn from the experiences of others using my ePort. I want to encourage conversation amongst scholars and other young professionals, however, while I am still researching in my field I want to remain semi-private in my own thoughts. I am hoping that I will learn lots from others during this stage in my career and develop more comprehensive thoughts before being largely public. At least once a week I hope to be active on Twitter sharing ePort posts as well as other scholarly writings. I will be able to evaluate my PLN based on the discussions created from my posts as well as how many scholars, professors, and other young professionals I am able to engage with.