2016, Baking, blog, cookies, debbie, deborahgillum, february, myblog, recipe

Vegan and Gluten Free Cookies

I enjoy baking and wanted to challenge myself with my next recipe.
I chose to make cookies, but not just any regular cookies: These are vegan, whole grain and gluten free. 
For the recipe, I had to go shopping. So I went to Kroger and in the healthy food section, purchased new ingredients like raw sugar, coconut oil, oat flour, vegan chocolate chips (I admit at first I didn’t realize chocolate chips have milk from cows in them) and other special ingredients. 
Cookies before baking
It was a fun challenge to make these special delicious cookies and I hope to try more vegan and gluten free recipes. Now that I have some of the ingredients, like a big jar of coconut oil, nothing is stopping me from making similar baked goodies. 
I found the recipe on Pinterest by searching “gluten free vegan cookies” and it’s from a blog called Texanerin. 
This recipe took me about an hour total I made 24 large cookies. I could’ve made 36 normal size cookies.

  • 1 1/2 cups oat flour (use certified gluten-free oat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons raw sugar or coconut sugar (I used raw sugar)
  • 1/2 cup  milk of choice (but not canned coconut milk, as it’s too thick) (I used Almond Milk)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups  rolled oats (use certified gluten-free oats, if necessary) (Quaker makes gluten free oats)
  • 1/2 cup  chopped walnuts (Why is a little bag of nuts soooo expensive at the grocery? Oh well.)
  • 3/4 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips 

What my cookie dough looked like
  • Preheat the oven to 350 °F
  •  Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the oat flour, baking powder, and salt. 
  • In a large bowl, add the coconut oil, sugar, milk and vanilla and beat with a large spoon or with an electric hand or stand mixer until well combined. Slowly add in the dry ingredient mixture and stir just until combined.
  • Fold in the oats, walnuts and chocolate chips. Form into 1″ balls and place 3″ apart on the prepared baking sheet. Do not press the balls down.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until the centers of the cookies no longer appear wet (they should not brown – if they do, they’re overbaked and will be cakey instead of chewy). They should have formed a light crust.
  • Let cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

2014, debbie, deborahgillum, denison, gillum, green, informative, TheDen, university, website

Going Green On the Hill: An Update

Going Green On the Hill: An Update

byDebbie Gillum ’14

With the campus starting to look green for spring, Denison is continuing to go green and be more sustainable.

Facilities Services has been improving buildings by replacing old light bulbs with fluorescent lights that consume less energy and have a longer lifespan. They have also added occupancy sensors that automatically turn off not the lights and reduce the heating and air conditioning in unoccupied rooms.

Most recently, the facilities team has started working on updating the heating and air conditioning systems in Knapp and Olin.

“We started the work over spring break. We hope to be done by the end of summer,” said Bob Jude, Denison’s Energy and Project Specialist.

The funding for making campus buildings more energy efficient comes from the Green Hill Revolving Loan Fund, which was started in 2011. The university is committed to setting aside three million dollars over a four to six year period to be used to fund energy efficient projects. The fund is revolving in the sense that it uses the proceeds from energy savings to fund future projects. This fund is part of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge initiative, which challenges over 30 universities to make a commitment to green revolving funds.     

“We were already spending money on sustainable campus renovations and we knew we would continue to reinvest in our buildings so it was an easy decision to be part of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge,” said Seth Patton, Vice President of Finance and Management, “These kinds of investments make sense for our campus.”

For example, when money is invested in replacing older lighting in residential halls with newer, more efficient florescent lights, then the savings from what would have spent on electricity goes back into the fund. In about three to six years, the improvements will result in a return on investment.

“Since the start of the fund, we have invested about $1.2 million, mostly on lighting. Through these sustainable investments, we have saved roughly $300,000,” said Jeremy King, the Campus Sustainability Coordinator.

Each year, the facilities team has about $450,000 to invest in making campus improvements. A set amount of $50,000 is set aside to be used for community initiatives, such as ideas for solar panels or outdoor LED lights. Ideas can be submitted by anyone to Jeremy King.

With improved heating and cooling systems as well as lights, energy consumption has decreased by ten percent.

“But, this doesn’t mean that our costs are down,” Jude said. He explained how with rising energy costs, the reduction in energy consumption results in spending roughly the same each year. The reductions help to combat inflation.

Art Chonko, director of Facilities Services, appreciated how Denison has built in maintenance and renovation costs into the operating budget. He said that does not happen at  all universities.

“We don’t do it just for the money,” he said, “We’re also concerned with conserving energy and reducing our carbon footprint.”

After Olin and Knapp, Chonko hopes the Facilities team will work on making the library and Mitchell use energy more efficiently.  He said that the idea of using more solar panels was also being explored.

While the Facilities team works to reduce energy consumption through upgrading technology, a fair amount of energy can be saved by making simple behavioral changes.

“When devices are left plugged in, they still use energy. They don’t use a lot of energy but there are a lot of these devices around campus,” said Jude.

King encouraged students to turn off lights when they leave a room and to “be more aware of where they are using energy.”

Chonko said that heating and cooling rooms can be very costly.

“Even adjusting the temperature a few degrees can use significantly less energy,” he said.  

Chonko said that Denison is making good steps in using energy more efficiently and reducing energy use, but there is still a ways to go.

“We need to continue doing what we’re doing,” he said, “And it needs to be a community effort.”

“We don’t do it just for sound financial management; we’re also concerned with conserving energy and reducing our carbon footprint.”

2014, debbie, debbiegillum, deborahgillum, denison, news, university

Decrease in crime violations on campus

The DenisonianApril 1, 2014News
In the past three years, sex offenses, disciplinary action for drug abuse violations and arrests for liquor law violations have decreased at Denison. In addition, schools similar to Denison in size and atmosphere, like Kenyon and Oberlin, also saw similar decreases.
This data was reported by the Campus Safety and Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool, which discloses data about campus crime and fire reports online to the public. The tool is sponsored by the Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education.
Under the category of criminal offenses on campus, Denison had 11 forcible sex offenses in 2010, seven in 2011 and four in 2012.
In comparison, Kenyon had a total of seven forcible sexual assaults within the past three years. At Oberlin, the data was fairly inconsistent over the years. Seven sexual offenses occurred in 2010, ten in 2011 and eight in 2012.
Garret Moore, director of security and safety speculated on the reason for the trend at Denison.
“I would have to attribute a decrease in reports of sex offenses to a consequence of lawsuits brought by students charged with those violations.” he said, “A local attorney has filed suit against the victims of reported sexual assaults and probably has created a chilling effect on reports here on campus.”
In terms of arrests on campus for liquor law violations, Denison also saw a noticeable decrease within the past three years. There were 14 arrests in 2010, ten in 2011 and eight in 2012 due to liquor law violations. It is important to distinguish that these students were arrested verses given disciplinary action.
At Kenyon, there was a major drop in violations from 2010 to 2011. There were 17 arrests due to liquor law violations in 2010, two in 2011 and four in 2012.
Oberlin’s data was less consistent with Kenyon and Denison. They had four liquor law violation arrests in 2010, 12 in 2011 and one in 2012.
Moore attributed the decline in the number of liquor law violations on the hill to be because of party registration. Rather than being arrested, a more common consequence of liquor or drug violation is disciplinary action.
In terms of drug abuse violations, this has decreased. In 2010 there were 84 people referred for disciplinary action, 83 in 2011 and 48 in 2012.
Disciplinary action for liquor law violations is less consistent at Denison. In 2010 there was 185 people referred for disciplinary action, 217 in 2011 and 191 in 2012.
This data only represents up to 2012 but Moore predicts that future data will not continue the downward trend. “We have experienced an uptick in drug violations this school year and these numbers are expected to be greater than in years past,” he said.
For Kenyon, they saw a slight increase in liquor law violations with 210 violations in 2010, 231 in 2011, and 233 in 2012.
At Oberlin, the numbers started out lower than both Denison and Kenyon but spiked in 2012. In 2010, 135 students were referred for disciplinary action for liquor law violations, 36 in 2011 and 278 in 2012.
It will be interesting to see what the 2013 and 2014 data reveals about Denison.
2014, article, debbie, debbiegillum, deborahgillum, denison, news, writing

Farmer Fridays

S.K. Piper, Dan and David Ochs. 
Farmer Fridays is a new Dining Services initiative to help students learn where their food is coming from and to be able to meet the people who grow that food.
This Friday Feb. 7 was the first Farmer Friday in Curtis dining hall veggie room from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.. The featured farmers were Dan and David Ochs from Ochs Fruit farm, established in 1842 and located about 25 miles away in Lancaster, Ohio.
Students had the chance to eat lunch and ask questions to Denison Dining Sustainability Manager S.K. Piper and the Ochs farmers.
Unfortunately, a pipe burst in the Curtis veggie room so the event was disrupted so they had to relocate to a table farther away from general student traffic. Piper said that, “one or two students came over to say thank you for the apples,” but hopes for much more student participation as the series continues.
This is the first season Ochs Fruit farm has partnered with Denison. They provide around ten different kinds of apples to Denison at a time and grow over a hundred different types of apples.
“We’re very pleased with the way things have gone and the level of professionalism. When they talk about sustainability and high quality they actually mean it,” said Dan Ochs, a fourth generation apple farmer, talking about the relationship between them and Bon Appetit.
Bon Appetit has been using their apples since the season began in September but will likely run out next week, because Ochs Fruit farm stock of apples has finally run out. Apple season ended in November, which is when Ochs last harvested apples, and Denison has been buying those they had in storage since then.
Piper said that it was amazing that “we’re still getting delicious local apples in February because Dan Ochs has figured out the perfect temperature and humidity level to store the different varieties of apples for maximum flavor retention.” They know the exact temperature to keep the apples cold but without freezing.
Next week the farm will run out of it’s stockpile of apples so Denison will switch to using Produce One for their apples.
David Ochs explained that apples have a lot of nutritional benefits such as, helping to “reduce blood sugar, lower cholesterol, provide anti-asthma benefits, and they average only 80 calories.” He said that the skin on apples contains 70% of their nutritional value.
While the farm is not organic, Piper and both Ochs explained that the word organic is not synonymous with the word local or sustainable. It is difficult and impractical, according to Ochs, for small farmers to become certified organic. One of the things that sets Ochs Fruit apart from larger competitors is that they do not wax or brush their apples.
David encouraged students to “eat as much local food as you can.”
“You guys eat a lot of apples so keep at it,” joked Dan Ochs.
Piper hopes that Farmer Fridays will soon have a bigger following once more students learn about it. She’s going to change the time to 12 to 1 p.m. in order to accommodate students who have class at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Next week the Farmer Friday will be Valentines Day themed. Piper will be the “stand in” farmer talking about the fairly traded Cordillera chocolate that the dining services uses. She spent a month in Columbia researching the fair trade chocolate, talking with farmers and seeing the factories and looks forward to sharing her knowledge with students.

2014, article, debbie, debbiegillum, deborahgillum, denison, university, writing

David Hallman Remembered

The DenisonianFebruary 11, 2014News

The Denison community mourns the loss of senior history major and economics minor David Marshall Hallman III, 21, from Erie, Pa., who passed away on Saturday Feb. 8 after a search of campus and the surrounding areas.
“My hope is that in a small community like Denison, that we can give his life and legacy more meaning. We all can, in a way, be more aware and kinder to each other,” said Professor Mitchell Snay, one of Hallman’s professors this semester. “We can embrace our friends and our professors and our students.”  
Hallman’s father called the Granville police department on 12:56 p.m. Saturday afternoon to report his son missing. He was last seen leaving Brew’s cafe around 1:30 a.m wearing a black North Face Jacket, a navy blue dress shirt and blue jeans according to Brew’s surveillance video. Hallman had missed a noon appointment with his girlfriend and was unreachable by phone, according to the Granville police department’s news release.
At 2:50 p.m., a DU Alert was e-mailed out to the student body asking them to contact security or Granville police if they knew anything about his whereabouts.
Hallman’s friends provided information of his last known location. An emergency request was sent to Hallman’s cell phone provider, Verizon, and his cell phone was tracked to help law enforcement locate him. Officers searched the area around the signal location in the afternoon and evening.
Dr. Tim Miller, economics professor, had Hallman in his econometrics class, and Hallman was one of his advisees.
“He was always very positive, upbeat, fun to talk with, respectful and was always prepared,” said Miller. He said that Hallman’s passing was “upsetting” and said that young people “ought to wait until they’re 90 ‘til they die.”
“Whenever a young person dies, it’s upsetting, and in this case, it seems unnecessary and pointless. He had so much future and potential ahead,” said Miller.
Search parties were organized with help from Ohio State Highway Patrol, Granville Police Department, Licking County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit, and the Granville Township Fire Department. The Ohio State Highway Patrol used an air unit to do an over-flight of the area.
On Saturday evening at 7:20 p.m., another email was sent out from Laurel Kennedy, Bill Fox, Adam Weinberg and Garret Moore., which stated that “At this time, we do not have reason to believe he has fallen in harm’s way but are very actively pursuing every possible lead.” It also said that counselors and clergy came to campus and were available for students.
By 8:15 p.m. Hallman was deemed a missing person and a DU Alert was sent out via e-mail, text, and phone call.
One of David’s roommates, Eric Fischer, a senior from Longmont Colo., and swim teammates went around to the Sunset apartments Saturday evening looking for Hallman.
Saturday afternoon, roughly over a hundred students gathered in Slayter and split into six groups to search the residential halls for Hallman.  
He was found by two female professors who were searching for Hallman at 10:34 p.m. Saturday night. The Granville Township Fire Department emergency squad was dispatched to the scene at 5 Parnassus Village Dr., near the Granville Golf Course.
At 11:22 p.m., a DU Alert was sent out that confirmed Hallman’s passing. Members of the campus community who wanted to gather could come to Swasey Chapel at 11:30 p.m. Approximately 700 students, faculty and staff gathered at Swasey Chapel to mourn the loss of Hallman.
At this time, the cause of death is unknown and is under investigation by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Granville Police Department and the Licking County Coroner’s Office, according to the Granville police department’s news release.
In the spring of 2013, Hallman took “Traditional East Asian Civilization” and “The Confucian Classics” classes with professor Dr. Barry Keenan in the history department.
“He was a quiet, always clean cut and pleasant student,” said Keenan.
He remembered how Hallman would always warmly greet him whenever he saw him in an elevator or around campus.
“There were no defects in his personality. He was so thoughtful,” said Keenan.  
It was stated in the news release that “alcohol is suspected of being a factor in the case.” In addition, the Newark-Advocate reported that  Granville police Sgt. Keith Blackledge said, “[Hallman] most likely died from exposure.”
A gathering of students and community members was held in Swasey at 11:30 p.m. Counselors were available to meet with students in the Shepardson Room on the 4th floor of Slayter Hall, beginning at 11:30 p.m.
Dr. Suzanne Condray, communication professor, had Hallman in her “Freedom of Speech” class and said he was a “nice guy.”
“He talked a lot about his values and beliefs. He had very strong values and beliefs, perhaps from his upbringing at Catholic school,” she said. Hallman attended Cathedral Preparatory School in Erie, Pa..   
Dr. Jessica Bean had Hallman in her very first Economics 101 class at Denison in his first year, and this past fall semester he was in an elective she taught, the Evolution of the Western Economy.
“That was probably the most fun and inspiring group of students I’ve had in any class yet,” she said, “David was hard working and good humored, fun to have in the classroom, always polite and respectful, and just such a good and nice kid in every way.”
She said that she “will always have an image of him laughing with the rest of the class on our last day last semester.”
“This is a very, very hard loss for all of us, and I will be very, very sad not to get to see him graduate with his class,” she said.  

Front page story

Continued onto page 3

This was one of the most challenging articles I’ve ever had to write. I really wanted to do it respectfully. It was emotionally exhausting to interview his professors so soon after they heard the news. I didn’t interview any of his friends or roommates but perhaps I should have.  It was difficult to combine the news part of his death with the personality profile his professors painted. In the end, I’ve received several sincere compliments about this article and that means a lot. 
2014, debbie, debbiegillum, deborahgillum, disney, disneyworld, gillum, packing, tips, travel

Pack with me

Make little clothes people on your bed to plan outfits

Tomorrow I’m leaving for Disney World! We go there every year so I’m an experienced Disney traveler. For tips about Disney World see this post. For tips about how I pack for my adventure, read on. (Note that some of these packing tips are specific to females.)
How to pack:

  1.    Do laundry. This way you can see all of the clothes you have to work with and so you don’t come home to smelly clothes. You’ll be shocked at how many clothes you actually own. If not, immediately go on a wild shopping spree with your dad’s credit card. 
  2. Try on the clothes you’re thinking of taking. I find that a top that sometimes looks great on the hanger, doesn’t look as good on me. (Meaning, I probably shouldn’t have bough it in the first place. Oh well.) Or I’ll find that my weight has changed and pants fit differently. (If only cookies were healthy for you…) Put on the clothes you’re thinking of bringing and look in the mirror. 
  3. Lay them out on your bed. Make piles for each day you’ll be away. This helps you visually check you’re packing shirts, pants, underwear, socks, shoes, bras, camisoles, etc for each day. Plus then it will look like you have six stylish friends laying on your bed. 
  4. Be sure you pack pajamas or comfy clothes you can also sleep in. Do not forget your pajamas. Not that I’ve ever done that or anything. Puh-lease. What kind of idiot would forget jammy jams? Psh. 
  5. Put socks and underwear inside shoes to help the shoes keep their shape and to save room. Ain’t nobody want their shoes to get crushed in their luggage. That sucks. This also makes it easy to find your socks and underwear when you arrive. No more pawing through your luggage for clean undies. 
  6. Figure out what you’re wearing the day you leave, on the plane. Wear your heaviest clothes and layer to save room in your luggage. If it turns out to be hot in the airport, be sure to make a spectacle of slowly and sexily stripping off your excess layers.  
  7. Roll up pants tightly and fold shirts. Use rubber bands to keep them rolled up. Pack pants first in the bottom of your suitcase.  Carefully place clothes in suitcase. Don’t just throw them in there. How would you like to be thrown into a suitcase? 
    Cram your socks and undies in shoes

  8. What jewelry wil you wear? Place earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets in baggies. Then pray to God that they don’t become a tangled mess when you arrive at your destination. 
  9. Pack toiletries. If you’re flying and checking a bag, put all your liquids in that bag. If you’re not checking a bag, put liquids into a baggie and keep them under 3 oz. My dermatologist and dentist give out tiny samples that are perfectly travel size.  Be sure to reminisce on the days before Sept. 11 when you could carry on any liquids you wanted. 
  10. Pack stuff to do. Airports are treacherous boring hellholes. So, I packed two books, my ipad and my journal to keep my occupied. I used to bring my Gameboy with me, but I’m “too old” for that now 😉 I’d encourage you to bring whatever Gameboy, Pokemon, Walkman, Tamigotchi, Furby or other 90s toy you have. Don’t bother bringing headphones, your neighbors will immensely enjoy hearing whatever you’re doing. 
  11. Play liquid Tetris inside a Ziploc baggie. New high score!

  12. Make sure there aren’t any liquids in your purse or backpack. I’ll never forget when TSA confiscated a bottle of apple juice I forgot was in my backpack. I cried for weeks. Be sure to take out your hand sanitizer, dump out your water bottle and move liquids into your little liquid baggie. Heck, even empty the liquid in your bladder, unless it’s less than 3oz. 
    Tightly roll pants and shirts while humming “Roll up”

Be sure each day you have what you need to wear. Or else.
 What I usually Pack aka Packing list for female Dummies: 


  • Facial Cleanser
  • Moisturizer
  • Foundation
  • Loofa in a ziploc bag
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Razor
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush
  • Comb
  • Trial sizes of shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel


  • Walking Shoes
  • Flip Flops
  • T-shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Jacket or Cardigan
  • Swimsuit
  • Underwear
  • Bras 
  • Socks
  • Shorts 
  • Jeans
  • Pajamas


  • Purse/ bag 
  • Books
  • iPad
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera (plus charger)
  • Sunglasses
  • Journal
  • iPod (charger)
All photos taken by me. Admire my awesome point and shoot photography skills. 
2014, debbie, debbiegillum, deborahgillum

Knock Knock jokes

Knock Knock!
Who’s there?
Madrid who?
Madrid you wash my jeans?

Knock Knock!
Who’s there?
Alex Who?
Alex plain later, just let me in

Knock knock!
Who’s there?
Little old lady?
Little old lady who?
Wow! I didn’t know you could yodel!

Knock Knock
Who’s there!
Egg who?
Egg-citing to meet you!

Knock Knock!
Who’s there?
Accordion who?
Accordion to the TV, it’s going to rain tomorrow.

Knock Knock
Who’s there!
Leaf who?
Leaf me alone!

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Hawaii who?
I’m fine, Hawaii you?

Knock Knock
Who’s there!
Hutch who!
Bless you, and I’m right out of tissues!

Knock knock!
Whos There?
Tara Tara Who?
Tara McClosoff!

Knock Knock
Who’s there!
Joe who!
Joe Away, I’m not talking to you!

Knock Knock!
Who’s there?
Rhino Who?
Rhino every knock-knock joke there is!

2013, bullsheet, debbie, deborahgillum, denison, writing

Deer will now be students

Hey. Here’s a satire piece I submitted to the Bullsheet on November 9, 2013. Enjoy! 

The university announced yesterday that in order to relieve racial tensions on campus and to promote diversity, deer will now be admitted to the campus.

“What better way to teach students to value diversity than to have diversity of species within the classroom?” said Denison’s president.

The university is the first of its kind to take such dramatic steps, but they are confident that it will be successful.

This decision came partly because of financial reasons.

“The deer have been freeloading on this campus for too long. It’s time they pay tuition like everyone else,” said an administrator eating Halloween candy.

The deer will be paying the full $50,000 semester tuition that includes food and lodging. The office of financial aid said that some deer will be given merit scholarship but only if they demonstrate, “exceptional academic promise.”

To accommodate the new students in the dorms, deer-doors will be installed over the summer in Shep and Shorney. Huffman and Curtis will also be offering tofu grass, organic twigs, and gluten-free grain for the deer.

Students have long complained that the campus was not diverse enough so the administration hopes that this decision to blend humans with animals within the classroom will once and for all end the debate.

The administration is emphasizing to students that any hazing of the deer will not be tolerated.

“They be grazing, not hazing, let’s be amazing” rapped one administrator.

The deer are excited to gain the respect of students and begin a rigorous schedule as a full-time student.

“I’m going to have to cutdown on my time standing in the middle of the road so I can really prioritize my environmental studies readings,” said one deer. The deer was seen shopping at J.Crew in order to prepare to blend in with fellow students. “Now, I’ll finally be able to swipe into Slayter instead of charging in there,” said the deer in an exclusive interview.

Students have mixed emotions about their new classmates.

“I don’t like the deer. They are too annoying. I don’t know how much more of their deer drivel I can take,” said a sophomore from Hawaii.

“This is great news. Now we’ll have more students available to attend fake protests,” said a student wearing Ugg boots in November.

To help integrate the deer onto campus, they will have their own unique Deer-O pre-pre orientation starting tomorrow followed by a pre-orientation beginning a week before classes start in the spring and then a formal orientation a month after classes start.

2014, debbie, debbiegillum, deborahgillum, gillum, life

Working at the Pet Wellness Mobile Vet Clinic

Today, I helped my mom at her Pet Wellness Vet clinic. I’ve been helping her with this since it started several years ago. My role has shifted from just filling out rabies paperwork to talking to customers to holding dogs for nail trims. Working her for so long, it seems like I know how to pretty much do it all.
When I’m working, some people will assume that I’m training to become a veterinarian and I politely tell them that I actually do not want to be a vet. I just enjoy helping my mom (and petting the cute dogs and cats). But it’s still a job and I’ve taken a lot away from the experience.

Skills I’ve learned working at the Pet Wellness Mobile Vet Clinic:

Too cute!
We travel around to different locations, like this one. 
    The best part of my job: the canine customers. 

  • Stay organized: We have to keep the clipboards organized so that people get seen in the order they came in. This can be tough when we’re so busy and the counters start to get messy. I have to make it a priority. Also, it’s important for me to help my mom stay organized with her medicines and vaccines so she can easily find what she needs to help people. 
  • Roll with the punches: Sometimes we make mistakes. It’s not the end of the world. Life goes on. Some of the mistakes are beyond our control like when a dog has an accident. I’ve learned to not make a big deal out of it and to just clean up the situation and move on. 
  • Be cautious around new dogs: I have a bad habit of excitedly lunging at dogs I think are cute. Not surprisingly, this scares them. So, I’ve learned to approach them slowly, hold out my hand for them to smell and wait for them to approach me. This helps to lower my risk of getting bitten or scratched. 
  • Talking to a wide variety of people: We’ve seen it all. Blind, deaf, handicapped, non-English speakers, really rich, really poor, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, etc. You name it and they’ve been to our clinic. I’ve learned to interact with a diverse group of people.
  • Do what needs to be done: At other jobs I’ve worked, someone will always tell me what needs to be done. Here, my mom is often too busy to tell me specifically what to do. So I have to be proactive and realize that what I could do to help out, get ahead or go where I’m needed. This helps me become independent.  
  • Watch what you say: I’ve definitely put my foot in my mouth before. This happens a lot when I say things like, “What a pretty girl!” and the owner stares at me and tells me it’s a boy cat. Whoops. Note to self: ask about gender before assuming a pink collar means it’s a girl. I’ve learned to try and be as polite and politically correct as I can to customers. 
  • Go outside my comfort zone: When I began helping my mom, I was in high school and was really shy about talking to strangers. I didn’t feel confident enough to talk to people about what vaccines their dog or cat needed. But when my mom needed me to pass out clipboards to people in line, I had to go outside my comfort zone and talk to strangers. It was the only way I would get better. Now, I’m more comfortable talking to people I’m unfamiliar with and I feel more sure of myself.  
Celebrating my 20th birthday at a clinic 

Working at the Pet Wellness Clinic is such a unique work experience opportunity that I know most teenagers don’t get to do. I’m thankful for the chance to help so many dogs and cats. Even though I don’t want to pursue a career in veterinary science, I can still apply what I’ve learned in my life and future career. 

2014, debbie, deborahgillum, hacks, informative, life, lifehacks, tips, travel

My Life Hacks

Life Hacks that I’ve learned and used over the years. These will help you stay organized and pack more efficiently. 
To best keep old headphones organized, take bits of cardboard and cut them into small pieces. Make a cut on the top and bottom then wrap the headphones around the cardboard. You can also keep them in small plastic containers. 
When packing earrings for a trip, pin them onto an old tie. I did this when I went to Denmark for four months. I borrowed my dad’s old tie, chose my earrings, folded it up carefully in my luggage and when I arrived, all I had to do was tie it up somewhere so I could see the earrings. Easy!

With your earrings on a tie, you can easily pack them, see all of your earrings and you can fit a lot. 

To display bracelets, use old toiler paper roll holders. I wrapped them in blue wrapping paper so they looked nicer. 
Buy one of these cheap toothbrush holders. I found this at Wal-Mart for $2. It sticks to your mirror with suction cups and you can use it to hold toothpaste, toothbrushes, teaser combs and other combs. I have one at home and school. 

Clip your hair clippies onto your hairbrush holder. This way, you can easily see them and access them for styling your hair. 

For a cute way to diaplay stuffed animals like Beanie Babies, build them a a beanie ark. My uncle built this for me when I was little. You can fit tons of Beanie Babies on this. However, make sure to include two of every animal!

When travelling, save room in your suitcase by stuffing your shoes with socks, underwear, t-shirts, tank tops, etc. This is a big help. Let’s hope you have pretty big shoes to fill. haha

In this box, I squished a pair of pants, two long sleeve shirts and a sweatshirt. This is what packing looks like when you don’t fold or roll up your clothes. Don’t do this. 

Much better! To save room when packing, tightly roll up your clothes. You can even use rubber bands to make sure they stay tightly rolled. You’ll be amazed how much space this saves. 
The cheapest and best lip moisturizer around is petroleum jelly. My dermatologist recommended this to me in middle school and I’ve been using it ever since. Put some on before you go to bed and wake up with softer lips. It’s better than any chap stick or lip gloss.
A fun way to display rings is on a mannequin hand. I got this off eBay a few years ago. Bonus: You can practice manicures on this hand. It also comes in handy around Halloween or for pranks.

To remember which cord goes with what device, use a matching sticker. I put a blue sticker on the device and the cord. I also put a sticky note on it. You can also use a bread tab thing to mark the cord.
More Life Hacks:
Photos taken by Debbie.