Monday, April 4, 2011

Program Suggestions

From "exasperate - to irritate or provoke to a high degree; annoy extremely"

As you may know, I started this to track the progress of my health and fitness through the University of Kentucky's Time to Change Weight Loss Program. I fully intend to send the URL for this blog to the program director at the end of the program, but I will continue after that.

I am incredibly tired of walking to the gym in adverse weather conditions. It's exhausting! For the unacquainted, Lexington has some monstrous wind; it's much more windy here than it was in Charleston, WV. Both umbrellas I brought when I moved here have snapped like twigs with the blustery weather. Why do I have to walk to the gym? Here's the skinny.

Although I'm a grad student, I don't have a GA position, so I don't get an employee parking pass (the only way to park near the gym). Even if I did have a graduate assistantship, I still wouldn't have an employee parking pass. I live in graduate housing, and at the University of Kentucky that means that I can only have a residential parking pass for only my housing parking lot. (By the way, I still have to pay the full price of a UK parking pass even though I can only use it to park in the apartment where I also pay UK rent.) The only exercise times are during the day between 7am and 3pm. Because I do have some UK parking pass--as most students have--I can park in the employee lot. However, I can only park there after 3:30pm, so even if I had a time later than my 9am session, I still wouldn't be able to park over there. The other option from walking is taking the campus bus. Because of where I live, I would have to do a bus change, and it would take about an hour to get there. It seems very silly to hop two buses and waste an hour when I can walk there in half an hour. Plus, the earliest sessions wouldn't have the option of the bus because they don't start running until 7am.

I can see two ways to correct this issue. One, offer evening sessions. This way, students who have work and/or day classes will have a chance to participate. My group only has two students, so I'm sure we could've taken another two or three easily. The Time to Change programmers decided not to have anything between 4pm and 8pm due to the overwhelming popularity of the gym during that time, which I completely respect. Still, with a gym that's open until midnight, an 8pm or even 9pm session wouldn't be totally unreasonable. The second solution would be to offer the program in the fall. Strangely, the spring semester has been far more uncomfortable than the fall. September to December is nicer in central Appalachia than January to April (especially lately with the horrible, horrible winters). If some of us have to walk or bike anyway, it would be more pleasant in nicer weather. I'm not opposed to walking; if I were, I wouldn't be in a fitness program! Still, it's dangerous trying to navigate the streets of Lexington when it's snowing and the sidewalks are covered in ice.

At any rate, those are my suggestions to improve the program: 1) offer some evening classes, and 2) try the program in the fall semester. Even if nothing comes of this, I feel better having said my piece.

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