24 January 2014

America Reads 2013-2014 Blog Post #4

Attn: America Reads Tutors,

Welcome to Spring Semester 2014. How are you adjusting to your new school and life schedule? How do these changes affect your tutoring obligations at your school and the children you tutor?  Describe the life skills you are using to balance all of these changes?

62 comments:

  1. The beginning of this semester has been a little hard to get used to.My schedule didn't turn out as I was expecting. First off I wrote my schedule for myself that included tutoring hours, class times, and my desk job hours. After the first week I discovered my American Civilization class Tuesday and Thursday and had to reduce the amount of hours I was planning to tutor. I've also been busy putting my application together for graduation and the Radiologic Technology program which is demands many things I need to do before the end of the month. Such as, getting my CPR certification, composing an essay, re-taking the HESI exam s to score a 90% or above. Being a student and a tutor has its demands, but when you want to do other things as well it becomes more demanding. But its important to not overwhelm yourself!

    I'm still adjusting to this semester but I know it will become easier with time. I'm just grateful that Lynne and Sherrie understand and can work with me. As a tutor I feel like my time isn't enough. I know that if I had more time to dedicate to the kids, I could make a better impact on their learning. Although I know this busyness is temporally and soon I'll be able to focus on just being a student and a tutor.

    Some of the skills I use to balance my life out are: self-talk I tell myself to take it one-step-at-a-time it's helps to minimize stress, I also plan out my days, and try to get as much sleep as possible, I also try to eat healthy foods so I have more energy, I also find it helps if I talk about my day to someone. Ohh && at least one cup of coffee everyday! (thats my secret;)

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    1. As the great and powerful Lynne always says "SCHOOL COMES FIRST" (so she has told me a thousand times when I say the same thing) so I can relate. Any time you have is definitely better than know time and Sherry understands that. Just hang in there years from now when your full fledged in your career you will think this time was a piece of cake.

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    2. School is demanding and it sounds like you have a lot on your plate right now. I think it's great even though you are so busy you are still thinking about the kids. That says a lot about how much you care about their success. I too am grateful for Lynne, she is always there to help and make you feel good about it all. She is an angel. I wish you the best on your tests! Sounds like you are so close to being where you want to be!

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    4. Many people seems to overwhelm to back to work and school after a long break. I think when we get along with our class and work, we will less more worry about it. I agree with you on that this stress at beginning of semester is just temporary and we will move on soon.
      quynh

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    5. I know it's crazy going back with all new changes but keep your head up and things will work out

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    6. I get that feeling also of being overwhelmed. It's like do I swamp myself with school so I can get through my program or do I only take 12 credits so that I have time to go tutor? Everything is so important, which do I devote my time to? I have come to the conclusion that 12 credits is enough and 10 hours of tutoring creating a happy balance!

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  3. The truth is I haven't really started my semester since I took a week off for a vacation. Now I am getting ready to start my semester full speed and I am looking forward to a very less stressful school semester, however Karma has seen that I was trying to take it easy this semester and thrown a few personal life monkey wrenches in my stress free time and I need to work them out. I was planning on upping my tutoring hours but now I don't know.
    So my plan for handling this new stress is the same one I have used to get through all the past stress. Step one set a timer for 10 minutes and let the anxiety come. Step 2 afterwards take a deep breath and relax. Step 3 just keep telling my self it always works out fine. Step 5 brainstorm solutions. Step 6 let it go and think about it no more.

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    1. I think a vacation is the best way to start the semester! I hope you went somewhere warm and fun. But now you have the stress of trying to catch up, it's always give and take. I like the steps you take for stress. I think I kind of go through the same thing but it isn't quite apparent to me until I feel I've hit a wall and see no other way out, LOL. Oh goodness, school is stressful.

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    2. These sound like some useful coping mechanisms to deal with the stress. Hope it works well for you.

      -A Stuart

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    3. Constance you deserved a vacation. I liked reading your coping mechanisms, those could help anyone during stressful times.

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    4. Sorry my other post got cut short. You are also an amazing tutor and the kids will be excited to work with you.
      H.P.

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  4. The only change I had to make this semester was the days I tutored. So far I have two classes that are completely stressing me out because it takes more time for me to grasp what is being taught, so that means more sleepless nights. But on the bright side, I enjoy seeing the kids, they really are the highlight of my week. How am I balancing it all? I am not, I attend to the things that need attending first (when you have twins you learn this well) and if two things need attending at the same exact time (which doesn't happen too often) well then, I get 2 hours of sleep that night. I guess you kind of get used to it, but at my age it is hard! And getting harder! I am stressed all semester long and my poor family just know that mama is going to be evil while school is in session. It is all stressful :(

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    1. Glad you didn't have to make any earth-shattering changes. :) I can't imagine having kids and trying to go to school AND trying to tutor all at the same time. I hope you can find some effective ways to deal with the stress.

      -A Stuart

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    2. One of the great challenges of school is really time management. I do not know how parents do it. I cannot study well with no sleep. Hope you are able to limit you obligations.

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    3. I feel sorry for you to hear about your stress and sometimes you only get 2 hours of sleep. I think it's better for you to slow down, take more time to relax. The more you feel good, the less you have stress, the more effective you work will be and when you can get also with you schedule and change, you could accelerate and put more thing on your schedule.

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    4. I feel sorry for you to hear about your stress and sometimes you only get 2 hours of sleep. I think it's better for you to slow down, take more time to relax. The more you feel good, the less you have stress, the more effective you work will be and when you can get also with you schedule and change, you could accelerate and put more thing on your schedule.
      Quynh

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    5. I am feeling a little overwhelmed also, I feel your concern about grasping the concepts of some of your classes. Between Accounting and Algebra, I am feeling overwhelmed. This isn't supposed to happen until at least Spring Break is it? Good luck with getting the balance you need and deserve. I hope you have an understanding family that can support you through your efforts!

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  5. I enjoy my current schedule a lot. It is very important for me to get a consistent schedule, (as much as possible and this is a life skill). School is hard enough without additional chaos! So I have classes on Tue/Thur and tutor Mon/Wed with Fri-Sat for other work. I worked hard straight thru the holiday break, even Sundays and got finances caught up, yipee! When I tutor I can relax and focus which is great for student and me. I am hoping for vacation in May and this gives me a mental relief.

    I have 3 great classes. One of them is Children's Literature and Anna is there also. So I may use this class for some reflections. Our class reading and assignments all relate closely with tutoring. Its a great class and will be a great semester.

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    1. I think having a little consistency can really help make the job and your life much easier. It sounds like you have some exciting classes. Looking forward to my next break helps alleviate some stress for me also.

      -A Stuart

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    2. Just an additional note; I took the class College Essentials that helped me a lot. It focused upon life skills. Many practical things including weekly planning, setting goals, how to read a text book, preparing for exams, eating well and getting sleep, and FINANCES. They stated that most people drop out of school due to financial problems, not bad grades. The class can be taken online for an easy A!

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    3. Sounds like you had a good start on this semester. Your schedule looks nice and clear when you had all the classes, tutoring and work on different days. I had class from Mon to Fri 8am to 7pm and I had a short time to tutor in the gap between my classes.
      quynh

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    4. Mark you are such a great tutor. The kids that you work with truly appreciate you and your help!
      H.P.

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    5. This is great! Congratulations on getting your finances squared and having a chill schedule, it really does benefit the level of stress one feels and how they make it through schooling. My schedule is a little bit more crammed than ideal, however, I think I will manage well. That class sounds very interesting and you get to take it with a friend, yay! I am also planning on taking a little vacation in May and boy ohh boy does that help me keep my head up. Have a great semester Mark!
      LSH

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    6. Sounds like you pretty much got it all planned out. Good for you! My schedule is a little more crammed then yours I have little time to tutor and a whole lot of homework to do in between. I'm still in the middle of working it all out.

      S.T

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    7. The College Essentials class is awesome and can benefit us not only with study skills but also with life skills. I would highly recommend it to anyone that hasn't taken it yet. It is very important to have a set schedule when you tutor. Our little charges depend on us to be there, when we say we will be there! I am taking a Laughter Yoga class, focusing on expressing feelings, and having fun while living life to the fullest. I love it when my students share there feelings with me. I know that they trust me.

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  6. I was lucky enough to arrange my school schedule in such a way that I did not have to make any changes to my tutoring schedule. As such, the lack of changes have not had a huge impact on my stress level or my life outside of school. I think the life skill I used to make this possible was a little bit of foresight and pre-planning, which is extremely useful when trying to juggle your various obligations.

    -A Stuart

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    1. Planning is always a major key to success! I think you've pinpointed a key element in having a successful semester.
      Brian

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    2. Amen!! This is one of The most important principles for a successful life. I will always remember working with Dr. Marlin Clark at SLCC on a year-long leadership project. One thing that he said over and over was "Never over-commit and under-deliver." By having some foresight we can take an honest assessment of ourselves and time, and make responsible/reasonable choices.

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  7. Sounds great, that is what makes school truly enjoyable.

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  8. An event that Lynne notified us of is the "Race Card Project" which I plan to attend on Feb 11 Tuesday. Order your tickets and lets sit together. You can also go to the website and submit your own card to post on the wall.
    http://theracecardproject.com/category/race-card/
    Order tickets through the link in Lynne's email.
    It should be a good night with an NPR host
    Mark A

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    1. I am excited for this event too. I really enjoyed the wall that was put up down by the Thayne Center. Thanks for the link to get my own card posted, I have walked past that wall downstairs several times and have yet to submit my ideas. Ordering tickets was super easy and they have already responded to my email.

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  9. One or two weeks before the school started, I changed my class schedule twice and I had to come up with new tutoring schedule as well and notify to school principal about that. I felt sorry because I didn't want to confused her with my change.
    I have class all day in a week from 8am till 7:30pm so there a 3 hours gap between my classes, take a bus get to Whittier to help with the after school program. Be home after 8pm, I feel such a long day of school. Certainly tutoring and school aren't the whole part of my life, I also have to take care of other things, some issue with my family and myself.
    Overall, I really thing that I am lucky to have this job and to go to my interesting class. I love to see the kids, watching them reading. I work with another group of kids now. Sometimes when the kids that I worked with last semester see me, they run to and give me a big hug.
    Quynh

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    1. Wow! You have a busy th schedule, it is awesome though that you are so dedicated to school, tutoring, & life! You are making a difference to those kids.
      H.P.

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    2. Wow, good for you. Pre-planning always comes in handy and I think us having the luxury of being able to pick and choose our schedules is a plus when it comes to working around school and work study.

      S.T

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  10. I am finally adjusting to my nrw schedule. It was a little hard to get used to at first because one of the classes, I was scheduled to take was canceled and had to choose a different one luckily, I was able to get into another class that was at the same time as the one that was canceled. However, none of these things have effectec my tutoring. What has effected my tutoring this semester has been illness. My grandma fell on ice at sliced her eye open down to the bone and then my premie daughter was really sick with a viral upper respiratory infection. As a result of those things I was not able to fully tutor, which really sucked. I haven't really had to gain or use life skills with these things other than adapting and flexibility. I am also grateful for the support Lynne, Sherrie, & others tutors gave me.

    H.P.

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    1. Oh my you have had your fare share of trials! You've hung in there though and sticking with it even with these unwanted life events....and I think that says a lot about a person!
      Brian

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  11. I have been part of the project for the Marketplace and enrollment period has been hectic as seen in the news, so the America Reads program has been challenging for me this semester because of work, I actually work 2-3 jobs, hairdressing, Obamacare, and tutoring or side work thru America Reads, and have a son with his own special needs as well, all the while taking online courses...sound crazy?? it is! I am looking forward to after march 31st and things will hopefully slow down so I can dedicate myself to this wonderful program more, thank you Lynne for being so willing to work with me and allow me to stay with America Reads!

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    1. It definitely does sound like you are busy busy busy. I hope everything goes smoothly for you this semester. I am glad you are with America Reads too and so are the children you tutor I bet. Keep up the good work.
      LSH

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    2. It doesn't sound crazy, it sounds busy. One thing I like to slow down my hectic schedule is a good audio book. They are great, you can even try to incorporate them into time with your children. My favorite are the follow along books that are for all ages you can even reserve them online and pick them up from the library to save time.

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    3. Wow I honestly don't know how you stay sane! I think it is a very honorable thing that you are doing. Hang in there things always seem worse than they really are. Good Luck!

      H.K.

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  12. So far so good as in I am getting what I need to do done and even though I am loosing a little bit more sleep than would be ideal and I have more on my plate than I have ever had before I am feeling optimistic that it will all work out. It I stay on top of my homework and continue to make it to tutor every Wednesday and my boys are fed and happy then that is a success. Honestly I am a little bit overwhelmed but like I said so far so good so let's hope that things continue at an even pace and I can keep up. All of the obligations and responsibilities I have this year affect my tutoring because I am only able to go tutor once or twice a week where as last semester and the one before I was in there three or four times a week; however, the children I work with are still progressing and I am connecting well with the students and the teachers at Whittier Elementary. Thank goodness I live so close by and can walk or ride my bike that really does help out of me. The life skills I use to balance this chaos is responsibility, respect, meditation, patience, and gratitude. My only hope is that it all keeps working out and even maybe improves a little.
    LSH

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    1. Your schedule sounds a lot like mine.. CRAZY, but I am glad that you have still made time for tutoring. We cannot forget about our younger generation. Things will get better!

      H.K.

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  13. I have had a difficult time getting my school schedule together but think I finally have it down. I started the semester with 15 credits but have decided to go with just 12. I now have my schedule where I am able to continue working with the same students I had last semester, plus I am in the process of finding 2 or 3 more students to work with. I love this program and the students. I want to see each of them be successful at reading. Feeling like I have a do-able semester!

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    1. That is awesome that you are working with so many students. I have found that working with a variety of children can help you find new ways of teaching them to read better.

      H.K.

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  14. My morning schedule this semester is very similar to last semester, so I have been able to keep things flowing at my school. I still work with the same students. However,my classes this semester are more complex than last and I have assignments due in the middle of the week as well as on the weekends, so I have had to be more organized and keep track of my classes better. It has been challenging to make sure my priorities are in order. As a mother of 3, I have quite the challenge of making sure that my kids get adequate amounts of my attention without losing the time that I need to put into my schoolwork. Eliminating distractions at home is still something that I am working on for this semester.
    KL

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    1. You're my hero! How do you do it? I babysit three kids occasionally, and that 's difficult enough. I hope my semester flow as smoothly as yours, too.
      Jeslicania

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    2. Oh my goodness!! I honestly don't know how parents handle the rigors of a working/student schedule. I am so proud of you 'KL'. The future looks bright because of people like you, which includes You and your children's futures. Thank you for being admirable.

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  15. This semester started out smooth, and then I hit a road block. One of my classes changed at the last minute. I managed to drop and find a new one but my schedule changed. My once tragic moment is turning out to be a great opportunity. The hard part about this job is witnessing the demand, but the supply of education is limited by teacher. There are so many volunteers and I think about my own families school and their need with less than ½ the volunteers. Utah education is in dire need of a complete remodel. This school could be a great blue print on how to nourish an education, not break it. The best part about Whittier is the fact they spill out into halls and learn outside the box. One of the classes held debate and each person gets to speak. This is pretty common for me in college, or someone in high school but this was a 2nd grade class. Critical thinking at every age is my motto. Icing on the cake for me? A presence of baskets with fruit in each classroom. No child left behind or hungry. My focus on the quality time spent, helping children learn made most things fall into place.

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  16. I haven't yet received a schedule but I anticipate it will occupy the majority of my Wednesday and Friday afternoons. Once again my wife will be the real champion here having to take on 4 kids at home without me during this time. I will have to step it up when I get home, especially on these days to help relieve as much as the stress as I can by giving my wife a break in those evenings. As far as life skills, I will just need to be that much more involved as a dad and husband so that I make sure I'm doing my part to keep the household afloat.
    Brian

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    1. The time you spend tutoring with the children will hopefully improve how well you interact with your children. I know how difficult trying to balance everything at once can be, just make sure you tell your wife you appreciate her in your own way.
      jeslicania

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  17. I am taking math 1010 this semester, so things are a little rough. I am also heavily involved in a police department program for those interested in law enforcement. My work-study award was cut dramatically this year, so I only have few hours, but I am still able to tutor thankfully! I am continuing to tutor the same little girl for the third semester in a row! It is absolutely amazing to see how much she has grown in these three semesters. When I first met her she was reading at a C level, and now she is currently at M level. She is reading chapter books! Although my semester is incredibly hectic this semester I have come up with a few strategies that are helping me do the best I can in school and the volunteer programs I am involved with. I focus on what is important, that would be school first and foremost. Then I make sure that I leave time for the things that I love doing i.e. tutoring at Nibely. I have found that if I completely concentrate on school and doing else I tend to do worse, than if I I did other things besides just school. I love tutoring and I plan on being a tutor for as long as possible!

    Heather K.

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    1. Sorry to hear about your hours, it sounds like you're an amazing tutor. Good plan, that's how my priorities go, too. I have a huge problem with telling people no, especially when I'm saying no to things I love to do. I hope you're a tutor for as long as possible, too.
      Jeslicania

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  19. 'm glad I finally have something to do. Most of November and December, I was bored out of my mind. As soon as school started, it was like a domino effect. I went from nothing to do to not even having 5 minutes to spare, but I have able to come up with time for America Reads. I hope to come back every semester and tutor more. I'm developing some serious time management skills, self-discipline, follow through skills, and communication skills to cope with these new changes. I've already grown so much, I can't wait to see how well next semester is going to go.
    jeslicania

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    1. That sounds like such a drastic change! I went through a similar process before I served an LDS mission a few years back. Once I found the joy of being busy (I have not owned a TV in many many years) I've never gone back. Being bored is our fault, I think, and that is great that you are handling your new busy life so well. Cheers and keep going!!

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    2. I don't own a TV either, Levi. How are you? Yes, I've toned the business down quite a bit the last couple of weeks, though. Finals are coming, brace yourself!
      Jeslicania

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  20. Ah yes, the age-old question of 'How to balance our time better?'
    This semester is not much different, only that I know myself a bit better. Because of past experience, and my self awareness, I was able to set up this semester with my sanity in mind. Because of my not wanting to over-commit (which I have done in the past) I am only tutoring one day a week. This has dove-tailed into what Whittier has going on and I think we are all happy with the arrangement. Also, I have tried to incorporate exercise and better sleeping patterns. Alas, I am still spread too thin but I don't feel as overwhelmed because my inside feels better. The more I think of others, the more energy that I have to accomplish the tasks at hand.

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    1. That's great that even though you probaby are still stressed out your able to cope with it better. Have you started eating healthier as well?
      S.C.

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  21. I think this semester I am more awareness of my strengths and weakness. Also, I learn to not bite off more than you can chew very true saying! Taking things one step at a time is something that personally helps me because if I try to look at everything at once I tend to get stressed out so trying to get one task done helps. Time management is definitely something a student should be very familiar with it's the key to everything.
    S.C.

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  22. First of all Spring Semester came in like a lamb, and now I'm going out like a lion. First semester was my learning adventure I didn't know how to use the syllabus, but now I know how. LOL! I have learned to manage my time, school schedule and work schedule. Tutoring is no problem, I tutor for 2 hours in the afternoon. I am going to miss the kids when the time comes for the school year to end. The America Reads Program has opened my mind and heart to all sorts of things I was not aware of. I have enjoyed tutoring the children for they fun to be around.

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