ATC Scott Royer on How to Take on the Post-Graduation Blues

By: Richard Partheymuller II

For a college graduate, the first six months of the “real world” are the slowest and sometimes most overwhelming parts to life. There’s no questioning that there is a looming pressure of finding a job, excelling at that job, liking that job, and somehow figuring out how to navigate monthly loan repayment plans. Because of those reasons, recent college graduates may feel like they’re walking a wire into the unknown. They reach that point in time when they now understand that graduation was the easy part. Then, they look at their other friends who graduated as well, and say “okay, so what now?”

Mr. Scott Royer: Permission of use granted


Walking across that stage was easy. After you step off the stage, after you go to the restaurant with your family, after you send out thank you letters to all the people who helped you, that you’ll be staring the future in the eyes…it’s there that you begin to feel the pressure. We get that python called stress and it coils around us until we don’t know how we’re going to walk that wire anymore.

We felt safe in college, for the most part. Even though we had the late nights of studying different parts of the human heart, the principles needed for teaching preschoolers, or the architectural structure of bridges, we soon felt uncomfortable without the safety of college. The unknown towers over us as we walk down our own paths, but maybe we don’t have to be afraid. I set out to find out how true this is.

So, I reached out to a friend.

Enter Scott Royer.

Mr. Royer, 38, has been the athletic trainer and athletic coordinator for Ocean County College in Toms River, New Jersey for the past three years. Before that, Royer graduated with a Bachelor’s in Athletic Training from Rowan University in 2002 and received his Master in Educational Leadership, Management; Policy from Seton Hall University in 2004. Royer has worked in his field as an athletic trainer and physical education teacher at Lakeland Regional High School.

royer action
Permission of use granted


Royer also worked as the athletic trainer at the Jackson Township school district before ultimately coming to O.C.C. in 2014.
Those accomplishments seem to be knitted together, as if they were destined to happen. They didn’t come together overnight though. Royer still had to take that leap of faith out of college like everybody else, even with a stocked resume like his. That in mind, I decided to reach out to him, in an effort to seek wisdom, to see what advice he could give to recent college graduates.


A. How Does a College Graduate Handle the Transition into the Real World?

Q. I think that’s a question that has many layers. I think first and foremost, how do you define “the real world?” If the “real world” means they’re entering the workforce and putting their degree into use, you know, they have to find a job that meets their needs, challenges them, and brings them joy. You know the old saying is “if love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Well, I think that’s the first step is finding something that is really enriching. Then, doing the right thing with their money, you know, applying it to savings, or paying off debts, and putting down school loans, putting money away for to buy a home, or a slush fund that they can use for vacation, and things that they enjoy. You know, so I think that pretty much sums up all of the layers to it but I think there’s definitely multiple parts to the answer to that question.

Q. How Does a Graduate Decide Upon Which Wages to Aim For?

A. Well, I think a lot of degree programs already kind of spell that out for you while you’re in school. When you’re researching what you want to do for a living, you can look for all the statistics that relate to salary. They’re available to you. You pretty much can find the median salary for every profession out there. You know, even as it changes based off of geographic region and cost of living throughout the country. So, I think you kind of know already what you’re in for while you’re going through your degree program. Then, once you’re out and established, it’s really based on resume and experience. How well can you sell yourself? How well can you tell a potential employer “this I worth and this is why you should pay me this much. I mean, if you know how to sell yourself and you have a resume that exemplifies your skill set, then you’ll be in a good position to make the kind of money that you want to make. I also think you need to be realistic about it too. Everybody’s gotta start somewhere and experience is what will ultimately get you the salary that you’re looking for.

Q. When Do You Think is the Appropriate Time for a Graduate to Move Out of Their Parents’ Home?

A. I think when one week’s pay equals one month’s rent, you can afford to move out if you want a hard statistic. To expand upon that, I think everybody’s ready at different times. I think living in your parents house gives you the opportunity in many cases to save some money, to put some money away, so that way, you have a really good savings and you’re in a position to be financially independent. I think when you’re looking for a hard statistic, I think when one week’s pay equals one month’s rent, you can afford to move out.

Q. How Does a College Graduate Find the Balance Between Paying Off Loans and Doing Things That They Enjoy?

A. I think that’s the million dollar question, I think a lot of people struggle with that. All of a sudden they have all of this money in their pocket and they want to go out and enjoy themselves and spend it, and I think they should enjoy themselves. I just think you have to have a delicate balance. At the end of the day, you gotta pay your bills, and I think that has to come first. I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy yourself, but if you’re enjoying yourself and you’re living above your means, well, then that’s not really appropriate. I think basically, when you’re young and you don’t have that much overhead, you should be able to pay in cash for things. If you can’t pay cash for something, you really can’t afford to do it and you shouldn’t be doing it. So, I think that’s the best way to balance it. If don’t have the cash, don’t do it.

Q. What Are Some Common Pitfalls that You’ve Seen Graduates Fall Into?

A. Settling for jobs. Getting into jobs that they really don’t like, based on the idea that they didn’t really do their homework on what the job, the career was going to entail, maybe they just listened to what somebody told them what they think they should do, rather than actually research it themselves. Living above their means. Not knowing the value of a dollar. Living beyond what they’re capable of living in terms of fancy cars or maybe they move out too fast. They get into an apartment or a lease or something like that where the rent is just too high and they struggle that way. They end up spending a lot on credit cards and stuff like that, just digging a deeper debt for themselves. Again, a question with a lot of layers because there can be financial issues, there can be emotional issues. Obviously, the emotional issues of not liking a job or maybe you’re not getting the starting salary you’re looking for, so, that kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Going to work every day with a chip on your shoulder. I would say those are probably the biggest things.

Q. What Should Be a Graduate’s Mentality Be if They Have Yet to Find a Job Yet?

A. Just keep looking. Just keep searching. Broaden your search. Expand geographically, maybe you have to get out of dodge to find exactly what you’re looking for. Look out of state and really just keep your options open. The more flexibility you have, the better opportunities are going to be available to you.

Q. What Should Be a Graduate’s Mentality Be if They Are Employed but They Don’t Seem to Like it Anymore?

A. Always look, always keep your options open, and always look for something. Everybody has something that they like and if you have the opportunity to make money doing something that you like, you’re in a really, really good position. Always keep your options open and maybe you want to do something totally different. Maybe you have to go back to school to do that. You have to consider those options but you should always keep your options open and you should always be looking for something bigger and better. Never settle. Maybe you have to settle temporarily to pay the bills but that should just be a time where you’re holding down the fort until you find what you’re looking for.

Q. What Should a Graduate’s Attitude Be Toward a Big Job Offer Right Out College?

A. Big job, small job, good paying, low paying; does it meet your needs? What exactly are you looking for? Is it all about salary? Is it about a flexible schedule? Is it about assistance with tuition, to further your education? Is it assistance with paying your loans back? What are you looking for? It all depends on what that is. Some people are lucky enough to have a big, high-paying job, but with that comes a lot of pressure and a lot of responsibility. Maybe you don’t have the learning curve you would if you started with more of an entry level position. You gotta do what you gotta do to stay ahead. You can’t chase the money and you can’t chase the title. All you need to do is put yourself into a position to be successful.

Q. How Should a Graduate Handle Stress and Anxiety?

A. In a healthy way. Exercise, eat right, talk to people, express yourself, be open minded. Listen. Listen to what people who’ve been there tell you. You don’t have to do it exactly like them, but they’ve been there, they have the experience. Don’t be afraid, if you’re really struggling, to go seek counseling. That’s what it’s there for. There are mental health professionals that have a business, it’s how they make a living, helping people who struggle like this, those are the people who you can’t be afraid to ask for help.

Q. Do You Have Any Closing Comments?

A. No, no. I just think you need to keep an open mind and be flexible. From what I’ve seen, dealing with young people these days is that everybody wants “now.” It’s instant gratification, they gotta have the best paying job and the great title. They have to have it now, they can’t wait their turn. They don’t want to put the work in. They don’t want to start at the bottom and work their way up. That’s what you have to do. Very very few people get to the top of their professions without having started way at the bottom. So, you have to resist the instant gratification and you have to take your time and be patient and let it come to you. You can’t chase it, you gotta let it come to you and it comes to everybody at different times. There are people who have high-level jobs in their 30s, and there are others who don’t get it until their 50s. It doesn’t mean the person in their 30s is better, it just means that was the path they took. You gotta let it come to you and you gotta take advantage of opportunity when it presents itself, but you can’t chase it. When you don’t get what you want, you’re only going to end up resentful. So, you gotta be patient and you just take your time, and take opportunity when it comes to you, and always, always, always keep your eyes open for other opportunities, because you should never settle.


Is the New iPhone worth the $1,000 Price Tag?

To everyone’s amazement, or possibly even dismay, the newest Apple iPhone is likely to debut at a price of $1,000 or more. So why are the newest iPhone models costing over $300 more than their predecessors? Many would believe that the main reason is additional features, and although that is partially true, that is not the driving reason for such a hyper inflated price. The main reason is that within the past few years, U.S. wireless carriers have discontinued subsidies that made smart phones like the Apple iPhone more affordable to consumers. With the subsidies eliminated, consumers are much less likely to upgrade to the newest model phone every two years, and are becoming more likely to hold on to their existing phones. With the prices of new smart phones climbing so high, businesses like Apple and Samsung may find it increasingly more difficult to generate revenue through the sale of new smartphones.

On September 12, Apple officially announced their newest iPhone, the iPhone 8, that is set to be released later this month. Even the Samsung Galaxy 8, which released back in April, has a price tag around the same $1,000 mark as the new iPhone 8. With such high prices, consumers are finding it more difficult to rationalize the cost of a $1,000 phone, especially when their current model is completely serviceable. To counteract the growing trend of sticking with older devices, wireless phone companies like Verizon and T Mobile are using promotions to lure customers into purchasing newer models of phones. For example, Verizon is offering customers a free tablet with the purchase of certain smart phones, while T Mobile is offering to pay for customers Netflix accounts if they have two or more phones on an unlimited data plan. Of course, neither of these plans match the value of the extra $300 consumers will be paying for a new iPhone 8 or Samsung Galaxy 8, but Verizon and T Mobile hope that these deals will convince customers to upgrade their phones.

Consumers on the other hand are privy to these company’s tricks, and are not eager to buy new phones. For most consumers, it is hard to rationalize a $1,000 price tag. $1,000 for many people is a single paycheck, or maybe even more than a single paycheck! Consumers must also rationalize their buying power, and are choosing between either spending $1,000 on more practical things like a few weeks’ worth of groceries, their mortgage, their car payment, maybe even their kid’s dance lessons, or forego all those things to buy a new smartphone. Companies have also begun to allow financing for the purchase of new smartphones, which has helped considerably, but still does not completely justify the problem of rising costs. As it stands now, the price of new smartphones has risen to the point where it has crossed a psychological threshold for many consumers. Consumers are finding it increasingly more difficult to rationalize the expense, and sales of new smartphones are likely to fall drastically.

Within the past few years, U.S. wireless carriers have discontinued subsidies that made smart phones like the Apple iPhone more affordable to consumers. With the subsidies eliminated, consumers are much less likely to upgrade to the newest model phone every two years, and are becoming more likely to hold on to their existing phones. Companies like Verizon and T Mobile are actively trying to lure in new smart phone sales by offering customers promotions and financing, but many consumers still find it hard to rationalize the increasing costs. With the prices of new smart phones climbing so high, businesses like Apple and Samsung may find it increasingly more difficult to generate revenue through the sale of new smartphones.

Would you buy the new iPhone? Let us know here!

 -Isaiah Owens

One Woman’s CommendaBULL Endeavor

Meet Petey, a rather large white pit bull weighing in at about 100Ibs, who could only be described as a “gentle giant” by volunteer dog caretaker, Jennifer Kalash. This humble year-old giant couldn’t have a more endearing personality. Yet, it’s for that reason that Kalash doesn’t understand why, that when Petey was brought to Pitties and Pals Rescue, both of his ears had been cut off with scissors.

Although Petey has since been adopted and is now in a loving Connecticut home, he is one of the many abandoned, seized, neglected, or abused pit bulls that have come through the Pitties and Pals Rescue mission. Kalash is one of many caretakers who have taken the time out of their days to help abandoned and stray pit bulls find their “furrever home.”


Kalash has been active in the mission for a little more than a year, but the 23-year-old from Jackson, New Jersey, has already seen 15 individual pit bulls come through the program. Each one with their own distinctive personalities and temperaments. Some, like Petey, come from abusive household. For example, Bernie is a year-old pit bull who came to the mission as a puppy with his jaw broken. It’s dogs like Bernie and Petey that have kept Kalash as a staunch advocate for the long-stigmatized breed. Kalash has surrounded herself with good company, as Pitties and Pals has a secondary focus of reducing fear and debunking the myths that the pit bull breed has acquired through the year.

“They’re so misunderstood. They’re the sweetest, most-loving dogs but they get such a bad reputation. I think a lot of people can understand or relate to them, that just because they have a name or one affiliation, that doesn’t mean they’re bad or that they deserve to be treated any less than anyone else,” Kalash said.

According to Kalash, the rescue brings in pit bulls from neglectful or abusive households. These can include places such as Jackson, N.J. itself, or even Newark, N.J. Once the pit bulls are found, they are either placed in a boarding facility or in the care of a foster family. From then, active volunteers and other participants work toward finding permanent homes for these dogs. Until then, the dogs receive sincere treatment and care by those involved in Pitties and Pals.

Kalash says she has always had a fascination with pit bulls but couldn’t be as active as she wanted to be up until now. Kalash received her Bachelors in Athletic Training from Montclair State University in May last year. Becoming a Certified Athletic Trainer as well as spending time as an EMT for the Montclair area left little room for a pit bull rescue. Kalash would eventually sync up with Pitties and Pals soon after she graduated, after Kalash’s sister, Amanda, adopted a pit bull,, through the group. Since then, Kalash has lent her time and energy to the cause by walking and playing with the pit bulls that come into the rescue. She was first paired with Ace, a grey and white pit bull who Kalash described as “me in a canine body.”

Kalash gets her exercise in while walking them around the Manasquan Reservoir, as well as beaches and of course, over to the Howell First Aid and Rescue Squad building that Kalash volunteers at. Kalash also works with Pitties and Pals to get the dogs public exposure, and works with the rescue’s fundraisers throughout the year as well. Spending time in the company of these pit bulls has been a beneficial endeavor, Kalash said.

“My dog and other dogs have done more for me than I’ll ever be able to do for them. I’ve been in some dark places and always coming home or going to see a tail wagging and a tongue hanging out, it just makes you feel so good that you can do something for someone else who isn’t as fortunate as you,” Kalash said. “It doesn’t take much time to go to a shelter and walk a dog, but for that dog, getting out for a few minutes or a half-hour, is the world to them.”

Kalash with a Rescued Pit Bull “Kato.”


Kalash’s ambition and passion for pit bulls is amplified by the fact that she is the proud owner of a stubborn 4-year-old pit bull named Nala. Describing Nala as “a fat, lazy, old lady,” Kalash laughed as she recalled a time when she had to carry Nala in her arms from the beach into her car. Kalash said Nala was too lazy to walk, and thus created quite a humorous scene on a beach where other people carried considerably smaller dogs. Although Nala has comfortably found her place in the household, Kalash said her parents were “hesitant” when she first explained to them that she wanted to get a pit bull following the loss of her beagle-mix to cancer. After extra reinforcement to persuade her parents, Kalash was brought to the local animal shelter.

Kalash and Nala permission of use granted


“I went into the shelter looking for an older dog and we were right about to walk out. My friend was working at the shelter and she said “I have one more dog to show you” and she brought out this cute, little puppy who just ran around in circles, laid on her back, and did this little scratch thing when you rubbed her belly and me and my mom were like “she found us, this is the one,”” Kalash said.

Kalash’s experiences with Nala have reinforced her belief in how well these dogs defy stereotypes. As a breed so riddled with stigma, showing the public how these pit bulls have affected her life has become an important aspect for Kalash. It’s this aspect though, that still proves to be an uphill battle.

“I’ll be walking one of my rescue dogs or one of my personal dogs at the reservoir or at a park and I’ve had people make comments or pull their kids away from me, [and ask me] like why am I in public with them, why they’re not muzzled, or just about the breed, and It’s amazing how ignorant people still are,” Kalash said. “It’s 2017 and you see everything going on in the world, [you would think] that people would be able to put things aside and break down their stereotypical discrimination and then you wonder why; if people are hating on a breed of dog, no wonder why people can’t accept another person.”

Kalash knows that there is more to these dogs than their bad reputation, despite the criticism she has seen first-hand.

“I think because pit bulls are loyal and they are used for fighting sometimes that people get that really bad reputation for them but if you ask anyone who’s had a pit bull, they’ll say there’s no other dog like them. They’re the most love-seeking, loyal creatures,” Kalash said.

Kalash sincerely hopes that people will be able to see the good in these dogs that she sees. Being involved with Pitties and Pals has certainly strengthened her resolve to do so.

“At the end of the day, pit bulls are just another dog. I mean, you can call them whatever you want and they can look however they want to look but they’re man’s best friend just as much as a lab or a retriever or a German shepherd is,” Kalash said.

That resolve is no surprise though, as Kalash has found that 15 hearts have touched her heart just as much as she has touched theirs.

For more information on Pitties and Pals, or to get involved, check out the rescue’s Facebook page here.

Bieber Runs over a Cameraman + Game of Thrones + People are mourning the death of a Manatee: The Week in Review

Here’s a look at some of the coolest stories that have developed on twitter over the past week.


Bieber Hits a Camerman

Tired of paparazzi stalkers on his doorstep, Bieber tries to flee his house and seek privacy elsewhere. In his attempted escape, he has a run in with an unsuspecting cameraman.


R.I.P Snooty

Move over Harambe, Snooty is here to stay!


Theon the Cockless Coward

Only Theon Greyjoy would do this (Warning Spoilers from Episode 2 of Season 7)


Ejected for What!?!?

Why don’t we pick up the on deck circle, and push it over there! (Spongebob reference).


The Best Job Ever

It’s So Fluffy!!!!!


 Disclaimer: *Cover photo via @HuffPost*


Four-Legged Fun with Kyle Scripko

By: Richard Partheymuller

It’s a little bit more than just easy-dealing, but when Kyle Scripko packs up his “suitcase” with assorted toys, leashes, and dog food, he knows today will be strictly business as usual.

Tools of the trade for sure, but for Scripko, none of that would matter without Leia, his fastest, and furriest business partner. As such, the 2-year-old Border collie has been trained alongside her master in the Scripko-family pastime of agility training.

Typically, Scripko focuses on being a history major at Rowan University. When his face isn’t sunk into a textbook though, the 19-year-old from Jackson, New Jersey, puts his bond with Leia to the test. A test that she inevitably passed with flying colors; placing 2nd in the Biathlon, and 3rd in the steeplechase at last weekend’s USDAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Championships in Barto, Pennsylvania. This is no easy task, of course. The amount of big names at the event, and the nerves that were felt, reinforced the idea that it was a significant event for Scripko and Leia’s portfolios.

“There was a lot of pressure, because there were a lot of people that I knew that were kind of like big time. Getting to compete against them was pretty awesome,” Scripko said. “It just makes you want to beat them more, makes you feel good when you place above them.”

Like other sports, dog agility competitions become a lifestyle for their athletes. Scripko himself found his way into the sport through his family. Both of Scripko’s parents, as well as his sister, are all veterans in the sport. Scripko said he has stayed with his mother’s group, Clever Canine, as he’s gone on to compete. From there, Scripko has ran a Belgian Malinois, a Boston terrier, a flat-coated retriever, an Alaskan malamute, and a number of border collies (including Leia).

For Leia, and for any dog specifically-bred for this sport, training begins when the dogs are puppies. From then, the dogs are trained to recognize eye contact, hand movements, foot positioning, and of course, how to take on the intricate courses they are brought to.

As trainer, Scripko had to undergo some training himself, and learned how to mentally and physically prepare himself. It hasn’t been a straight-shot up to where he is now though. Scripko learned early on that dogs are like people, in that they all have their own separate personality. Scripko told a story of how his father’s flat-coated retriever stopped during a competition, and “just kind of wanted a belly rub.” Scripko was about 10-years-old at the time, but since then, he has learned how to work with different dogs.

“This weekend, I was running both my dog, Leia, and my sister’s dog, Flip, and I had to completely change who I was running, like stylistically, in order to accommodate how the dogs’ knew how to run the course. So, it’s very specific to the dog,” Scripko said. “Sometimes, you can mold them to do it the way the handler is, but a good 80 percent of the time is you trying to adjust yourself to how the dog understands it.”

Scripko and Leia Photos/Video used as per Scripko’s permission

Scripko said that these shows have brought him all around the East coast. He and his family have traveled to venues in places such as Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, as well New Jersey at Logan Township’s Dream Park and Pitman’s Total Turf Experience.

Aside from traveling the country for shows, Scripko and Leia take note to always come prepared. They take them on like any other business meetings, with a method to the madness that keeps the days under control.

Typical Day for a Show Includes

  1. Getting up really early, as some shows are quite far, such as those in Pennsylvania
  2. Making sure you have food, water, toys, and leashes packed for the dog
  3. Once you get to the show, you set up your crate inside of the building
  4. Stay all day for a variable number of courses running at about 30-40 seconds each
  5. Winners announced
  6. Family dinner/Barbeque!!

Scripko joked, saying it’s funny how he spends so much time preparing for a couple of runs that combine for only about a minute total. He and Leia compete in the 22in division for the standard and jumper classes. In these classes, there is zero margin for error. A dog is expected to be perfect throughout the intricate courses. A dog can lose out on qualifying through refusal to run a course, running the wrong course, or from failure to complete the course; knocking bars or failing to make contact with an obstacle. For these reasons, Scripko has to work his hardest to make sure that he and Leia are in-sync with each other for the entire course.

It takes a dedication to the lifestyle, but for Scripko, his partnership with Leia has paid off because of it. Among Scripko’s accomplishments in the sport include winning the 24in class division with Dash, a Belgian Malinois, at a youth invitational, and placing with Leia in the starter division of the USDAA Title Mania in Geneva, Ohio. Of course the past weekend is one for the books as well, as getting into the top three of any championship is not a small task, much less placing in a regional championship.

Scripko is not a professional, but his schedule is already cram-packed with shows for the rest of the year and beyond. Scripko plans on traveling to Latrobe, PA, for the European Open Agility Team USA Tryouts in December. If he is selected for this team, Scripko would be able to travel to Europe to compete for Team USA. Along with that, Scripko is hoping to qualify for the AKC Nationals in Reno, Nevada, next March. As of now though, Scripko is qualified for the Cynosport World Games in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, this coming October. So, it would be safe to assume that Scripko just might satisfy his wanderlust in the coming months.

“You never think that like, your dog could take you to a country in Europe or around the US to the states,” Scripko said.

Through all of the traveling and competitions he’s been through, Scripko said that he’s definitely grown with the sport. Due to a lack of kids at these shows, Scripko had to learn how to properly conduct himself around adults. Scripko said that the lifestyle made him “grow up a little quicker.” At the same time, he said that he is grateful for how much he has benefitted from the sport, both as a competitor and as a person. Beings that he was brought up into the sport, Scripko was dependent on his parents while growing up. Now, Scripko pays for his own entrance fees and drives himself and Leia to shows.

“Although they did a very good job of raising me, I think this sport of agility really helped raise me as well,” Scripko said.

As he matures with the sport from here, Scripko said that competing with Team USA in Europe is the next step for him. So, his eyes are looking to December to see what could happen.

Of course, that’s nothing too new for Scripko and Leia though.

After all, it’s just business as usual.

For some awesome photos of Scripko and Leia at their run in regionals, check out these by Kelly Bove Photography

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