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Vegan Foods Meet Food Trucks: The Man Behind Try Vegan, NJ

Vincent Gulino, the owner of New Jersey food truck, Try Vegan, has made a huge splash in the mobile food industry. What started out as dream once never thought to become reality, became more than just a job. Gulino has been serving smiles and a positive, can-do attitude, oh and some of the most delicious vegan food you can get on the road, for over four years. Soon after he finished college at Rowan University, he became a manager of a Walmart, working a busy and physically trying schedule. “It is really something that wears on their soul. One week you’re handing them [employees] paychecks, the next you have to fire them” said Gulino.

After a few years at Walmart, he moved on to a job at one of the supermarket giants at a higher-paying and even more stressful and busier managerial position. Gulino found himself working six days a week with “optional” weekends that he realized weren’t as optional as they made it out to be. Again, Gulino found himself stuck at a terrible job he did not enjoy wondering why life was full of such grim and unhappy times. Was this what everyone works towards and thinks success is?

After earning himself a week-long break, Gulino was overlooked for a business positon, which was his focus of studies while at Rowan, because he was “not office trained.” He couldn’t even come close to understanding what that could even mean. “I was so torn down and broken” he said. During that time, Gulino received some advice and encouragement from a guy he had just met that will forever change his life. After telling this man about the positon he had failed to get, Gulino began to describe his idea for a vegan restaurant. It was a dream he had had many times before, but never really knew how to chase. Well, this guy motivated and inspired Gulino to stop being miserable at a job he didn’t enjoy and to chase the dream that would make him happy. That very night, Try Vegan was born.

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Here Comes... Ms. Senior America

Saturday, April 29, Specialist Professor of Management and Decision Sciences, John Buzza’s small business management class will be holding the Ms. Senior America Talent Competition for the organization Senior America, Inc. The event begins at 1:00 p.m., in Pollak Theatre, free of charge.

According to their website, Senior America Inc., is a non-profit organization that is “designed not only to enrich the lives of seniors but also to tap their energy to enrich the lives of others.” Known for their Ms. Senior Pageant, the organization emphasizes that their seniors are the foundation that helps to build a future, and supports them in the pursuit of continuing to seek personal growth.

Organizing the event was a semester-long project for members of Buzza’s class in which students are assigned an organization that they have to organize an event including everything from getting participants to planning the schedule, as well as marketing for the event itself.

“As always, I hope our students get an opportunity to grow outside of the classroom and to garner experiences that they would not get through lectures and classroom rigors. Best case would be through the connections made and the experiences gained, if it could lead to a job in this or any industry,” said Buzza.

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Puppy Protectors

Puppy ProtectorsStudents of Monmouth University’s Communication (CO 320) course – Small Group Communication under the guidance of Professor Shannon Hokanson--are taking part in Service Learning Projects to connect with diverse populations beyond the University’s campus. The students selected non-profit organizations of interest to them in which they planned, designed and executed an event to financially support their community partner.

According to Professor Hokanson, “a service-learning project links the teaching and learning strategies of the community service with the academic study so that each strengthens the other”.

“We all learn and share each other’s knowledge and experiences; every party is an equal”.

One group, “The Puppy Protectors”, selected the Monmouth County SPCA for the benefit of their fund-raising efforts. The group composed of – Jordan Bornstein, Nicole Giordano, Olivia Lipp, Eileen Jones, Michael Losasso and Hunter Rainis selected an off-campus event to reach outside of Monmouth’s community and an on-campus event for within.

The Puppy Protectors’ off-campus event was a “Paint and Sip” night at Asbury Park’s, Uncorked Wine Inspirations establishment held on Wednesday, March 29th. Those in attendance painted a beach scene entitled “Evening Stroll on the Shore”. The night was an awesome experience and a huge success, selling out with 30 attendees, and raising $300 to benefit the SPCA.

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¡Ich suis Plurilingüe! Benefits of Being Multilingual

Walking down the street, languages from every person’s homeland are heard: Spanish, Russian, Polish, French, and so many other native languages fill the air with cultural awareness. Our people are vibrant and make for a flourishing land filled with cultures all over the world.

According to The Daily Texan, “The United States is largely monolingual. In fact, only about 15-20 percent of Americans consider themselves bilingual.” This low percentage further increases the likelihood that citizens, natural born or otherwise, will end up either being shamed or feeling ashamed for speaking in their native tongue or being prideful in their cultures and nationalities.

Dr. Mirta Barrea-Marlys, Chair of the Department of World Languages and Cultures, said, “I have seen this reaction and have experienced it myself when I first came to this country from Argentina. It was hard to assimilate into a different culture, especially since I did not speak English and back then there weren’t any ESL [English as a Second Language] programs to help students in schools.”

Additionally, the fluctuation in numbers for the college track for Spanish has seen a variation in numbers, “There is always fluctuation of interest in different language fields. For example, there used to be many more Education/World Language majors, but the numbers have dropped as it has in other areas of Education,” Barrea-Marlys added.

Getting accustomed to a new environment is scary in and of itself, but, coming into a new country and having to immerse yourself in a new culture is something that cannot be imagined. Many foreign students and citizens that emigrated to another country, like the United States, experience a degree of culture shock--a sense of confusion or uncertainty that can end up having an affect on people exposed to another culture or environment without adequate preparation.

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Experiencing Post-Graduate Life

Experience Post Graduate LifeSo many of us graduating seniors are bombarded and weighted with the doom and gloom of the future—the monotonous humdrum corporate life just knocking at our doors. But, don’t fret, because we still have time to thrive.

It is not to say that our future jobs and/or possible internships won’t be amazing, but sometimes thinking about being an adult in the working world can be scary and daunting. Trying anything new is hard to think about, but not when it is something perhaps you’ve always wanted to do.

We have summer 2017 to do some of the things we have always wanted to do, but couldn’t do because of the mountains of work and school-affiliated responsibilities we had in our four years of undergraduate studies in college.

Dr. Chris Hirschler, Chair of Health and Physical Education and associate professor, said, “Life doesn’t stop after graduation. Students who worked really hard during their time at Monmouth will likely not have a lot of free time as they will be applying for graduate school or jobs and preparing for either endeavor. Other students might realize that they had much more free time in college than they do post-graduation.”

With this extra time, we can engage in activities we didn’t have the time for during our undergraduate studies. Many of us would have loved to study abroad at our time here at Monmouth, but it just wasn’t in the cards. Perhaps we couldn’t find the money, spare the time, or bring ourselves to leave home for so long. Whatever the issue may have been, we didn’t get to study abroad.

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“Springing” into Schoolwork

Springing Into SchoolworkWhen the springtime weather starts rearing its head, there is a feeling of rejuvenation and a higher level of focus on getting things done. There is a reason that there are things like spring-cleaning and the temptations of buying new wardrobes for the spring season.

This rejuvenation is either a positive or a negative in our schoolwork. On one hand, this great weather could inspire us to be more productive and really get things done.

When the semester is winding down, we have quite a bit of work to not only do, but to catch up on too.

So, when we start to feel better about ourselves and our state of mind because of warmer weather, we can accomplish all of these tasks at hand.

Dr. David Strohmetz, a professor of psychology, stated, “There is something called the good mood effect. When the weather is nice, we tend to be a better mood, which does influence our behavior. We become more willing to help another person in need and also become more generous.” 

“For example, people tend to tip their server more when not only the weather is nicer out, but even when they believe that the weather is forecasted to be nice. So, regarding spring days, we do tend to be in a good mood those first nice days when it seems that the gloom of weather is over,” he further explained.

When we are in good moods because of this weather, we are nicer and in a happier state of mind in general. This helps us focus more on our work. Victoria Howe, a senior psychology student, said, “springtime, the nice weather at least, makes us view ourselves more positively and motivates us to do better in our classes.”

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Power on, Girls: Women in the Workforce

Power on Women in WorkforceWomen holding powerful positions has often been unheard of for the majority of American history. Of course, there were revolutionaries that broke through to become successful in otherwise male dominated fields such as Sandra Day O’Connor as the first woman on the supreme court; Janet Yellen, Chair of the Federal Reserve of the United States; and Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors. More women than in the past have recently held powerful positions.

Even right here at Monmouth, women hold powerful positions, but it was not easy to get there. Dr. Johanna Foster, Director of the Sociology Program in the department of political science and sociology, teaches gender studies and discusses being a woman in the professional world of today.

Foster recalls when her gender affected other’s views on how she would manage her work. “I was eight months pregnant and the University asked how I would be a professor and a mother.” Today, this question would still have the misogynistic undertones it had back then.

Another time, Foster was asked by a chair to take on an administrative position, assuming that she would be better at multitasking because she was a mother.

The issues of biased perceptions of women put them under a negative scope within the workplace and that practice is still common today. However, Foster noted she has not experienced gender biases from faculty while working at Monmouth.

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Say Hello to Julia: Sesame Street Introduces Their Newest Autistic Muppet

Say Hello To JuliaSesame Street has always been a show that focuses on learning and inclusivity, and their new character Julia is no different. This spring, the show welcomed their first autistic cast member to the television screen. According to the Huffington Post, Julia has been included on their Digital Storybook series since 2015, but have decided to make her a regular cast member as of late.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in every 68 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. “The inclusion of this character is not only helping with awareness outreach, but also disability representation,” explained Dr. Stacy Lauderdale, a professor in the school of education.

“More diversity in television is always a good thing, and disabilities are a part of that diversity,” said Lauderdale. “Older children with autism who are higher functioning understand what makes them different and suffer more from depression; [with the addition of Julia] more representation can help others understand [autism],” Lauderdale said.

Chelsea Byrne, a junior education student, noticed that this representation is an increasing trend. She said, “The ABC show Switched at Birth represents the deaf community by making the leads of the show deaf. Speechless has a main character who has cerebral palsy. Society and television have come a long way with including individuals with disabilities and giving them a voice on TV.”

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Accidentally Famous: A Look into Studio 54

Accidently Famous Studio 54Studio 54 was a 70’s nightclub, also known as, “The World’s Most Famous Nightclub”. Regular visitors included Elizabeth Taylor, Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, Calvin Klein, Truman Capote, Cher, John Travolta, Tina Turner, and Elton John, just to name a few.

June of 1978, Patrick Taylor had just graduated high school. His plans for the upcoming fall were set to play football at Seton Hall University on a full athletic scholarship. To celebrate such an accomplishment, a few of his friends and his girlfriend took the train into New York City to attend San Gennaro’s Italian Feast.

Taylor and his friends enjoyed a long day at the feast and were just about to head for the train station, but a pair of drunk twenty-something Italian men interrupted those intentions. The tall one put his arm around Taylor, “Let’s go to down to Studio 54 and check out the freak show,” he suggested. The shorter one nodded and agreed, starting to tug on Taylor’s shirt.

“I looked at my girlfriend and man, her eyes could have cut into my soul”, Taylor recalled, “but it was my night and I was a selfish 18-year-old. My friends took her home and I went with the drunks.” 

At the time, Studio 54 was one of the most inaccessible nightclubs; people would wait outside for countless hours in hopes the door attendant, Mark Benecke, would allow them entry. The owners wanted a compilation of people who were famous, rich, or beautiful. “If Mark [Benecke] did not find any of those in a person, there was no way to get in,” Taylor explained.

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Stricter is Better?: Being Raised by Strict Parents Leads to Efficient Adults

Stricter is BetterThinking back to high school, the memory of asking parents – “can I go over so & so’s house?” The answer for many was always, “do I know their parents,” or “can I speak with their parents?” etc.

Being considered ‘strict’ in ones parenting style can either have positive or negative effects on the child’s development, and how the child is integrated into the work force. On one hand, strictness instills adult-like morals and standards in children. On the other hand, strictness in child development can be negative because it makes children more rebellious or angrier.

Looking at strict parenting from a beneficial standpoint, some would say that it creates self-discipline, establishes the idea of responsibility and accountability, and also instills some sort of fear in that child to never want to disobey.

Christen Piersanti, a junior criminal justice student, explained her experience growing up, and how she believes it positively influenced her adulthood: “I was the youngest of three, so I wouldn’t say my parents were super strict, but they definitely laid the law down most times. Some examples of rules always set in place are, curfews, the people I hung out with, and my grades.”

Piersanti also stated, “My parents set expectations for me to achieve, which some people might think is absurd, but it gave me something to work towards – and something to achieve. I feel like their parenting style has affected me in such a positive way.”

“From little things, like making my bed every morning when I wake up, to bigger things like the curfew instilling in me to never be late; I think it has all prepared me for what is ahead and I hope to raise my children one day in the same type of way,” Piersanti continued.

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Jersey City Street Art: Enrique Espinal

Jersey City Street ArtAt the center of his room, the folded desk is laid out with a colorful canvas in the works. The desk itself is stained with paint marks, making it one of a kind. With the lyrics of xxxtentacion blaring through the speaker, the words are almost as overpowering as the smell of the paint markers.

Walking into his bedroom seems like stepping into an art gallery. The ‘artsy’ vibe of the room is predominant. Grey walls, with a red border rim outlining the room, glow in the dark stickers on the ceiling, and drawings by the artist are scattered on the walls. Open up his white closet door and there are various taggings of his name all over.

Canvases from various years, with different graffiti art hang in various angles. Even though each one has a different theme from one another, the canvases do not overpower each other.

Enrique Espinal, or as he likes to tag his artwork with, ‘Eaze,’ is one of many graffiti artists based out of Jersey City.

A recent high school graduate, Espinal works hard in various restaurant jobs in downtown Jersey City, trying to take care of his mom. When he finds free time in his busy schedule, he tags items and paints canvases.

His hard work and dedication to the arts is prevalent in his work—the details speak for themselves. There is a level of devotion and an amount of time that needs to be spent to create pieces like this—a couple hours to 2 days to be exact—and it is evident that Espinal has been doing this for years.

Espinal has had a passion for drawing since he was 6 years old. “I always thought it was something really cool, even though that sounds weird to say.”

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April 1st is No Joke: How Students and Faculty Get in on the Pranks

April 1st No JokeApril 1st is a day that many people dread and many wait for days or hours like children on Christmas day.

Many students at Monmouth University take pride in their pranks, and prepare for weeks, and even months before, making the plot against their friends, family, and even professors thicker with each passing second.

A senior sports communication student, Toni Lynn Taranto, said, “I have two younger sisters and one younger brother, so we take tricking each other very seriously.”

“The one I am most proud of is replacing my brother’s toothpaste with horseradish; the look on his face was priceless,” Taranto remembered.

Jokes are more fun when there are a bunch of people in on them. By having a group included in a joke, it also makes the person who is getting pranked take it more seriously.

A senior communication student, Gary Mortellite, said, “In high school, it was a group of like six or seven of us who planned the joke. My friend Pete loved his Jeep. He never let anyone else drive it or really touch it. “

Mortellite continued, “On April Fool’s Day, when we were leaving during senior sign out, which he did not have that day, we texted him that someone dented the passenger’s side of the Jeep. He was in tears. We kept it going for a while, and finally told him we were kidding. I’m pretty sure he almost had a heart attack.”

Students are not the only ones in on the fun; there are many faculty members that love to play games.

Dr. Aaron Furgason, associate professor and Department Chair of the Communication Department, added to the limitless list of jokes and said, “In the days before technology infiltrated life, a part of college life was pranks. Boredom equals pranks, whether it was April 1st or not.”

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Hawks Cruise Toward Healthy Living

Hawks Crusie Health LivingIt’s no secret that parking is an issue on Monmouth’s campus, and there are several ways this problem has been attempted to be solved.

In New York City, there’s a very popular sharing system of bicycles called, Citi Bikes. There are daily passes or annual memberships, and riders are able to take and return bikes from one of the many different stations and return them to the one closest and most convenient to their destination.

In the city, there are over 10,000 bikes and 600 stations to return the bikes. The purpose of this system is to help go green, promote exercise, and have fun.

A system like this at Monmouth would be helpful, because it’s a way to help eliminate the struggles of parking on campus. There are a few locations around campus that would help give Monmouth the same benefits that Citi Bike gives to New York City.

There could be bikes located on both the academic and resident sides of campus, and also the Bluffs and Pier Village. This would allow almost all students close enough to campus to have the opportunity to skip the drive and ride a bike to get to school.

Dr. Merrily Ervin, Coordinator of School of Science General Education Courses, said, “Bicycling is an excellent form of aerobic exercise.  If this program generates interest in the use of bicycles as a mode of transportation that persists after graduation, that could have a very beneficial health impact.”

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Ball 4 A Cause Basketball

Ball 4 A Cause

Mid-Majors as Told by the Committee

Mid Majors Told by CommitteeThe 2015-16 Monmouth University Basketball team is no different than any Monmouth team in the past. They are, have been, and always will be a mid-major. What is a mid-major?

Well, we on the ever-esteemed NCAA Tournament Committee would be glad to answer that question for you, but give us a second please, Duke and Kentucky are tied up in the first half, and we cannot miss this.

Oh, that John Calipari offense is so efficient, and he is only doing it with six McDonald’s All-Americans. Wow, he just knows how to find them. Okay, where were we? Ah yes, what is a mid-major? Mid-majors always make for a fun time. These are the teams we invite to our historical arenas early on in the season, to get our top programs running before conference play.

You know how in horse racing, trainers like to have their horse mock race against a much slower horse to boost their confidence and get them into the winning groove?

This is essentially the mindset we have adopted regarding mid-majors. When our royal blues like Kentucky and Duke face off on ESPN, and any other channel that gets the gracious opportunity to broadcast us, we need our one-and-dones to be in perfect form.

While our guys benefit physically and statistically, our strong-hearted mid-majors get the great experience of playing basketball alongside them in some of the highest regarded basketball hubs of the world. Even though the high-major gets the check in the win column, really everyone wins, right?

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Post-Graduate Life

Seniors - we all know how dramatically we cringe at the thought of the g-word: graduation. With May right around the corner, the senior class is looking forward to what’s next; not picking classes for next semester like the rest of the campus population, but applying for further schooling, choosing where to travel, or even picking the right job.

So, before we walk across PNC with pomp and circumstance playing in the background, here are a few tips for life after graduation, so we can transition from a college senior to a functioning adult with ease.

 Michelle Gonzales, a Monmouth alumna with a B.A in communication, advised, “My tip for graduating seniors is to keep an open mind. When searching for a job, read deeply into what the day-to-day tasks are. What you enjoy doing may be out there, but not necessarily where you’d expect to find it.”

“You go to school for 16 years, and after you graduate, you are expected to fill a role in which you may think is out of reach. The reality is, is that you won’t know everything you’re supposed to when you start – but you’re also not supposed to,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales encourages graduating students to go into the workforce confidently. No matter you’re your sub-conscious may be telling you, you have the skills to accomplish anything. 

Casey Hanna, a senior education student, said, “I don’t necessarily know what route I want to go in after I graduate, but I know I am not solely limiting my path to my degree in education.”

Hanna continues, “My love for field hockey has led me to look for assistant coaching jobs, at various levels. The idea of giving back to the game that has meant so much to me makes me so excited.”

For students in the communication department, it is a requirement to take a Career Prep class, and to complete a resume. Since I had taken that class sophomore year, I haven’t really focused on updating it regularly.

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Taking Learning Outside of the Classroom

Outside Classroom LearningOn a campus so enriched with a plethora of diverse events, it would be a shame if students did not attend these events. For many humanities courses at the University, there is a mandatory attendance requirement for students to attend a specific event for the course.

Many students shudder at the word “mandatory” because of their busy and hectic lives. Students choose classes to fit their schedules to a T; so, hearing that there is a mandatory event outside of the class time frame that one has to attend is irksome for most.

Lucia Bailey, a sophomore English student, said, “At times I wish the attendance was not mandatory, because if I am not on campus I find myself driving 45 minutes from my house to get there to attend the event.”

Dr. Susan Starke, associate professor of English, who has required her Shakespeare classes to attend simulcasts of popular Shakespeare plays studied in class, said, “As long as the professor offers an alternative assignment for students whose prior obligations literally don’t permit attendance at a special event, I feel it’s reasonable. I put it in the syllabus so students know from the start of the course what they are getting into.”

It seems as though classes in the humanities are more likely to assign these mandatory attendance events than the sciences. Dr. Merrily Ervin, Coordinator of School of Science General Education Courses, explains why the School of Science does not require students to attend events outside of class: “Students’ schedules vary and most likely, not all students would be able to attend an event that does not coincide with class time.”

Ervin added, “Even if you just offer extra credit for attendance, it is not fair to those who are unable to attend, unless you offer them an alternative way to get extra credit.”

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First is Not the Worst: First Generation Students Take Higher Education by Storm

First Gen Not Worst 1The day your acceptance letter to college comes in the mail is a proud day for you and your family, but there is a completely new level of pride and achievement when you are the first child in your family to go to college. Although it is 2017, and college seems like a norm to everyone, we still have students who are the ‘first generation’ students.

Being a first generation student means being the first person in your entire family to earn a degree in college. Many parents of first generation students may have only gotten a high school diploma at the most. Some students graduating this May are the first in their families to be able to call themselves a college graduate.

Dr Robert McCaig, Vice President for Enrollment Management, said, “40.7% of the fall 2016 incoming freshman were first gen students.”

“One of the myths about Monmouth is that we are a rich white kid school. That is so untrue, 30% of the incoming class comes from varying ethnic backgrounds. These are facts, these are real. Our school is very rich in diversity,” according to McCaig.

Joey Affatato, a senior music industry student and first generation student said, “Going away to college and having this experience really means a lot to me especially because my parents didn’t get to have this same experience.”

“I feel the opportunity to go away to school, make lifelong friends, and learn from professionals is an amazing experience that some cane only dream of,” he continued.

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Sustainability for Students: The Importance of Eco-Friendly Businesses

John JohnsonThe world needs to start heading down a more sustainable path for the sake of future generations. We are over-populating, overeating, overfishing, and overusing. Multibillion-dollar corporations corner the industry and put money in the pockets of those that have influence politically and have the power to make a change.

It's up to big name brands like Adidas, who are releasing a shoe made up of 95 percent ocean plastic, to make a difference and be the change. In 2017, the brand aims to produce one million pairs of the sneakers made from more than 11 million plastic bottles.

Another big name busines, IKEA, has just unveiled a furniture set made out of recycled plastic and reclaimed wood.

“We need to become better at using the planet’s resources in a smart way. Our ambition is to increase the share of recycled materials in our products," said Anna Granath, product developer at IKEA. "We are looking into new ways to re-use materials, such as paper, fibre, foam and plastic, so that we can give them a new life in a new product.”

Later in 2017, IKEA has plans to release an even more sustainable and "waste-free" line of furniture, and continue to produce more sustainably.

When Keurig came out with the single-serve coffee machine that almost instantly brews a cup of joe, it seemed like the best innovation at the time. Little did we realize how detrimental they could be to the environment and our health.

According to, " In 2014, enough K-Cups were sold that if placed end-to-end, they would circle the globe 10.5 times."

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Getting Over Mid-Semester Blues

Mid Semester BluesThe spring semester is always an interesting one, to say the least. You feel like you’re in high school again, just counting down the days to summer vacation. But you also realize that you need to “adult” and actually complete your work to finish out the semester.

This time of year is also very confusing in terms of the weather. One day there’s a snow storm, and the next day it is gorgeous and sunny. You don’t know if you should curl up in a blanket and attempt to study for all your midterms, or get ready to forget about all responsibilities and go to the beach.

Around this time in the semester when midterms are happening and soon finals will be approaching, students may have a hard time remaining focused and staying motivated to do work.

“Everyone wants to be outside in this weather and it’s important to find a balance,” Dr. Andrew Lee, the director of Counseling and Psychological Services, said. “We shouldn’t allow ourselves to lose track of everything, but we also shouldn’t restrict ourselves from going outside and enjoying the beautiful weather.”

 Not only are we distracted by the beautiful weather and our close proximity to the Jersey shore, we also have finals right around the corner. Lee said “We must know and acknowledge that stress will come. Life happens, and sometimes, life is stressful.”

Lee continued, “The best way to help with stress is to have a plan to finish your work and study efficiently.”

Lee also shared that some simple things we can do to have less focus on stress during this time is to make sure we engage in some kind of physical activity, get enough sleep every night, and also to just breathe. These tips may sound silly and simple, but can actually be very helpful in avoiding being overwhelmed by stress.

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Student-Athletes: On and Off the Field/Court

Student Athletes OnOff CampusStudent-athletes are multifaceted individuals who have passion, love, dedication, and motivation for the sport they play, and all the work that comes along with it. People often overlook the responsibilities that athletes have, on and off the court. Whether it is soccer, lacrosse, football, basketball, field hockey, golf, or bowling, each student program and team has rules and demands that athletes have to obey. These students also have the pressure of representing their team and Monmouth University.

Senior communication student, Justin Robinson, guard on the men’s basketball team, said, “We have a whole bunch of things that people don’t notice. We have to sit in the front rows of classes, or else we get in trouble. We have to carry ourselves a certain way because everything we do is watched under a microscope. Things that a regular student could get away with, we can’t because we’re athletes.” Robinson continued.

“It’s demanding, but I love it and wouldn’t change it for anything.”

Athletes are a symbol for Monmouth, and they have to strive in the classroom and on the court. There are no easy days for them. They are always asked for more than a student who is not involved in sports programs.

Lacrosse senior midfielder and communication student, Kevin Osback, said, “The team comes first, long practices followed by film sessions and lifting sessions. Applying a championship mentality to every aspect of the day from the little things to the bigger picture.”

Student-athletes are motivated to win and practice every single day to reach their goals. They have practices in the morning, during the days, and sometimes later on in the evening. Practice makes perfect, and practice puts Monmouth up on the charts against other universities.

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Technology: The Good, The Bad, and The Controlling

Tech Good Bad ControllingIt’s no wonder titans of tech are locked in an epic battle of the bots, racing furiously to produce the best virtual assistant.Their respective help-bots--Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana--promise consumers one of the most valuable commodities in the world: free time.

Due to the sudden acceleration of artificial intelligence and advancements in speech recognition and big-data storage, the technology behind virtual assistants is rapidly spreading from phones and electronic devices to cars and homes, and the truly useful helper is approaching fast. The four companies are fighting for the biggest share of a market expected to grow to $12 billion by 2024.

“There’s a tremendous amount of promise for these agents to help and assist with many different tasks that we face every day,” said Ross Rubin, Principal Analyst at Reticle Research. “The more the agent can help you with, the more value it holds.”

The ultimate goal is our own personal genie in a bottle that awakens with a word or touch to liberate us from all of our daily mundane tasks, organize our days and nights, and free us from the stress of endless days that have become so terribly busy. But that’s not going to happen quite yet.

Today, the aid these virtual assistants provide remains fairly limited. Most users of Google Home and Amazon Echo devices--which host Assistant and Alexa respectively--stream music, play audiobooks, and control smart-home devices, according to surveys by San Francisco analytics firm VoiceLabs.

Still, the virtual agent’s foundation in Artificial Intelligence (A.I) means the more it learns about a user’s preferences and behaviors, the better job it can do. So, while experts predict a handful of firms will dominate in this field, most agree that Apple, Google and Amazon will be major players, with Microsoft in a lesser role. The one thing they’re split on is whether consumers will be served best by one bot, or more.

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Student Raises Money For Syrian Refugee Children

Keychain Cause 1Carly Miller, a junior homeland security student, has raised about $40 so far in donations for the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) by creating “Keychains for Children” to directly help child refugees from Syria.

The keychains are little plastic animals painted with various metallic colors. Miller explained how she had to screw a hole into each plastic animal and attach the keychain ring to create her final product.

The homeland security student has been selling her keychains through her personal instagram and facebook accounts and also booked a few days in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center(RSSC) to sell her keychains in person a few weeks ago. Miller plans to continue selling her keychains online and booking table space across from the information booth in the RSSC to sell them for $2 each.

Miller explained how she really felt moved to dive into this craft.”It was truly the intense media coverage and intimate personal videos of the victims I saw on social media one night that really motivated me to do something,” said Miller.

Her inspiration for the project cane when she was scrolling through her facebook page and saw all of these videos of innocent civilians being shot and killed in Syria. A few months ago, government forces in Syria attacked the city of Aleppo. The attack was supposedly a search for rebels, but it was evident that they were just killing innocent civilians.

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How to Reclaim Your Life from the Stress of College

Reclaim Life From College StressCollege is a time to find yourself, figure out what you’re passionate about and explore all of life’s options, but this is something that is easier said than done.

Between going to class full time, working part time and being involved in clubs on campus, it is difficult to remember to take time for yourself.

Endless to-do lists and class assignments control the majority of our time in college, but it is important to pencil in time in our planners for ourselves in order to take control over our schedules.

By taking advantage of free time, learning our limitations, and prioritizing ourselves, we can make the most out of our college years and reclaim our lives from our busy lifestyles.

Free time can be rare for some college students; how that time is spent can really affect the rest of our day.

Most of the time students end up mindlessly scrolling through social media or binge watching a show on Netflix for hours before getting back to the limitless work that is still piled in the corner we left it.

Samantha Marella, a senior business student, said, “Being a senior is a lot of work. Between my classes, internship, part time job and sorority, I’m always on the move. Sometimes it feels like I’m just on a nonstop cycle and I need to actively make time for myself and do things that I enjoy.”

Marella shared, “Some days I like to wake up an hour earlier so I can go to the gym or cook myself breakfast. It’s the small things like that that really help break up my crazy schedule and make me feel like I’m in control of my day.” Free time can be really beneficial in helping us accomplish what we want to do, instead of what we have to do.

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Internships: A Glimpse Into Your Future

Internships Glimpse Into FutureMany students try to push off the responsibility and task of getting an internship, but that experience is more beneficial than some people think. An internship is a preview of what someone’s future career will be like in a specific field. It could be a business, a public relations firm, or student teaching.

Whatever your calling may be, it is extremely important to figure what you want to spend your life doing, and what it is like to work that job.

Some may be wondering how to go about the process of obtaining an internship. For many instances, the process depends on the company or firm itself. Students should initiate searches on Google to find businesses and companies that appeal to them.

Collect as much information that you are able to, and familiarize yourself with the work they have done in the past.

Some websites provide a phone number or email address for students to reach out and connect with employees. Other sites have information about internships explaining the time span of the internship, what the intern would be doing and learning, the skills and education they require or prefer, and so on.

It may not seem like much, but, writing a cover letter and making sure your resume is perfect, and properly sent in are crucial steps.

When going in for an interview, it is best to have questions prepared to ask the company as well. They could be simple, such as their favorite part about working in the company, how long they have worked there for, what a typical day is like for an intern, and any other information they did not touch upon.

Lexi Swatt, a Monmouth alumna who is currently a postgraduate assistant for the Young Athlete team at Bleacher Report, said, “I made bullet points of information I found out about the company and then I made a set of questions I wanted to go over. Whatever company did not fully appeal to me, I crossed it off my list, and moved on. Make sure that you intern for a company that you know you will enjoy and have the same mindset and goals as they do. It really makes a difference.”

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Hawks Lend a Helping Hand as Peer Mentors

Hawks Help Peer MentorsThe spring semester is upon us and classes are in full swing. Workloads are increasing and stress levels are rising. While you may have a knack for writing your papers and completing assignments on time, others may not. Luckily, there is a place for that.

The Center for Student Success is housed in the lower level of the Student Center and encompasses many amenities for students in need of support. One service located in the Center for Student Success is Writing Services.

If you're someone who does have a knack for writing, you can become a writing assistant within the program.

Writing Assistants work with their peers to upgrade to student’s work and skills.

Students who wish to apply as a Writing Assistant must have already completed at least 30 credits at Monmouth, have a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or higher, have completed both EN 101 and EN 102 with a B+ grade or higher, and must have the recommendations of two faculty members. 

Neva Lozada, the Director of Writing Services and Supplemental Instruction said, “If students build a strong foundation in academic writing during their first year, they will be able to transfer these skills to other writing assignments and courses throughout their time in college as well as to their professional life after Monmouth.”

 “Writing Services is positioned as a resource for these students to assist them throughout all stages of the writing process and serves a partner in their journey toward academic success.” Lozada added

Another service on campus aimed at helping fellow hawks is the Office of Off-Campus and Commuter Services.

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A Look into the World of Women as Sports Fans

A Peek at the Gendered World of Sports Fandom

Gender World Sports FandomAs a female sports fan (a Hawks basketball fan to be exact), I am frequently confronted with questions like, “Okay, but do you even know any statistics?” or “What does the term ‘paint’ mean?”

And if I don’t answer immediately, I get shut down and shamed for being a “fake fan,” or I get told, “You just like the sport for the players’ looks.” And, while the players’ looks don’t hurt, I really am a fan of the sport itself. It is about time that women get treated like the true, dedicated fans that they are.

Dr. Jennifer McGovern, an assistant professor of political science and sociology and current professor of the sociology course, “Sports and Society,” explained that sports, from the beginning of times, have been a way for men to prove that they are manly. It was first used as a method of training for military combat; therefore, sports were gendered because women were not able to engage in military combat.

However, nowadays, McGovern suggested, “The performance of masculinity, or just a man trying to present himself as a man to other men and to women often wants to associate himself with sports.” Since masculinity is so rooted in sports from the beginning of time, it makes it difficult for women to ‘connect’ in men’s eyes.

Girls are often socialized from birth to enjoy things like shopping, caretaking, and dressing up, but, at least in their earlier years, most girls are not encouraged to take a liking to sports. Or, worse, girls are at times discouraged from taking a liking to sports. Therefore, when a girl decides to truly get involved and invested in a sport, whether it be playing the sport or being a spectator, it seems as though a good portion of men take offense to it.

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The Dangers of Emotional and Physical Abuse

Dangers of Emotional Physical AbuseNot all relationships are what they seem to be on social media. The couple may be smiling and kissing for the camera, but what about what happens when they are not in front of the lens? Maybe the girlfriend goes through her boyfriend’s phone, or maybe he abuses her. That is an unhealthy relationship.

Emotional and physical abuse cases are much more common and damaging than we think, and are educated on.

In a relationship, one partner does feel more in control and has more power over the other. Jack Demarest, a professor of psychology, said, “Physical and emotional abuse often appear together in relationships. The mental abuse in this case reinforces the physical abuse. In fact, it’s rare to find physical abuse without the presence of emotional abuse (usually referred to as mental abuse).”

Demarest continued, “Often, when the physical abuser cannot physically abuse the victim, such as in public, they can emotionally abuse him or her.”

Emotional and mental abuse ranges from name calling, yelling, shaming, or putting one down. Demarest explained, “Some tactics of emotional abuse include dominance, humiliation, isolation, threats, intimidation, and denial and blame. Emotional abuse’s purpose is, in part, to make the victim completely dependent on the abuser.”

Demarest added that financial abuse is a subtle way of doing this, saying “Financial abuse is a form of mental abuse, it’s where the abuser severely restricts access to money, such as putting the victim on an allowance, preventing the victim from working, or taking his/her credit cards.”

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Can Hashtags Really Make A Difference?

Impact of Hashtags 1Everyone is guilty of taking time out of their day to refresh their social media feed. Lately, one of the topics of conversation is about the decisions President Donald Trump is making and how they affect every citizen. Other posts consist of cooking videos, funny memes, song lyrics, or just someone complaining about their day.

What some people fail to realize is the power that social media and all these seemingly unnecessary posts have.

People share articles, make comments and use hashtags to either get a topic trending or create attention around it so everyone can be involved.

Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing, Alex Gilvarry, said, “The hashtag compiles posts by people of like minds and a quick search could bring you in touch with those in your area who care about similar things.”

Whether you know it or not, you have probably seen and used some yourself. For example, #NoBanNoWall, #feminism, #tbt, #beatcancer, #love, the list goes on. Hashtags are a great way to get a situation trending and people’s opinions heard.

Do hashtags really make more of an impact than someone who is actively trying to make a change or speaking about an issue? Are hashtags enough for citizens to make a change?

Depending on the subject matter, and how far an individual is willing to go: yes! The help of social media does let people have a voice, and pulls people together, but sometimes, an individual behind a screen can cause more havoc than peace. It is all about how people approach an issue or discussion, and how people react.

Coral Cooper, a senior English and creative writing student, said, '#BellLetstTalk is to help spread awareness about mental illnesses. In that sense, the hashtag could offer emotional support for some and financial support if the movement behind the hashtag is sponsored. It offers connectivity to people across the globe."

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Ready, Set, Routine!

Get the Most Out of Your Mornings

Morning RoutineWhat’s the first thing you reach for the instant your eyes open in the morning? I bet it’s your smartphone. And within 105 seconds, you’ve check your inboxes, Instagram, Facebook and everything else in the digital world, right?

I used to do this too. And before 7:05 a.m., I’d already feel stressed out. My heart would race at the touch of a mailbox icon, which flooded requests, questions, comments and calendar invites into my brain all at once.

This still happens whenever I let it, but those first 10 minutes after waking are the most potent for setting the tone for your entire day. What if you spent those 10 minutes differently? Here’s how, on my best days, I set up for a badass 24 hours, feeling like a total boss:

Layout Your Clothes Before Your Shower.

I got this advice from a friend, and it feels totally glam without costing a thing. Often on my commute home the night before, I consider my plans for the next day and what I’m going to wear. This is a massive time-saver!

Then, before I hop in the shower, I lay my outfit for the day out on the bed — accessories included. I pretend a personal stylist did it for me.

Awake With Intention.

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Women Can Do it!: Making Waves in the Music Industry

Women in Music Industry 1The music industry is always changing and evolving; the women involved in the music world are seek-ing a greater change and overall acceptance. While women have come a long way since the beginning of the 20th century, the amount of women involved in music compared to men is nowhere near the same--and it’s not because women have no interest.

Though there are a number of people that feel as though there is an equal playing ground for every-one. The industry, though it may seem like many other ‘businesses’ in the sense that it is or is not equal, provides society with the opportunity to see musicians under a different light.

Marc Muller, adjunct professor in the music department and professional song writer and musician who has played with big acts in the industry from Rush to Taylor and Shania Twain, said explained women in the industry, painting them as role models to look up to.

Muller said, “Ever since Bessie Smith sang out and signed with Columbia Records in the 20s as a black woman in segregated America to Lady Gaga leaping into the Super Bowl Halftime show with Woody Guthrie’s protest song, women have earned their plave in a male dominated business without ques-tion.” 

At Monmouth University, there are many students who spend a lot of their time over at Lauren K. Woods Theatre learning music and skills to prepare them for the industry.

Most of the time, you’ll see women practicing dance, theatre, or singing, while men strum away on guitars and bang on the drums. It’s as if women aren’t allowed to enter the man world of ‘real’ hard rock.

Kelli Misenheimer, a sophomore music industry student, explained how she grew up and wanted to pursue music: people thought she was crazy, irresponsible, and everyone discouraged her from learn-ing an instrument.

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The Impact of Growing up Exposed to Disability

Impact Exposed to Disability 1“That’s so retarded.”

Every time I hear the word ‘retarded,’ I cringe; what do people really know about the use of the word and why is it used as an insult so frequently?

Growing up with a mother who worked with special needs high school students and growing up with a cousin that had severe cerebral palsy, I knew that the use of the word ‘retarded’ was completely inappropriate.

However, the word is still spewed from mouths of those who just don’t understand the connotation of it or why it is so inappropriate.

For many, disability isn’t something that is prevalent in everyday life. Furthermore, many people didn’t grow up with a stark exposure to disability and therefore, don’t know the proper way to act around those who have disabilities.

The exposure to disability at a young age, whether it is mental or physical, affects children positively because they see people with disability as equal to themselves. To them, there is no disability at all, just another possible friend.

Skip Carey, Director of Disability Services, stated, “Such exposure [at a young age] allows for an opportunity to ‘see ability, not disability’ in an atmosphere of understanding and acceptance.”

If one grows up with an understanding of disability, it makes it easier to have a more open mind to acceptance for those who are different than us.  

“Living and working with people with disabilities promotes a sense of inclusion rather than isolation, and helps to level the playing field when it comes to equal access to opportunities that should be available to everyone – including people with disabilities,” Carey continued.

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Split from the Stereotype

The Problematic Portrayal of Mental Illness in Movies

Mental Illness in MoviesThe true terror that fuels scary movies has no longer become about the suspenseful plot or the battle between good and evil, but rather the minds of the villainous characters that are made to seem so inhuman in order to partake in such terrible activity.

For decades, movie writers and producers have preyed on mental illness as a way to entice moviegoers to buy tickets for horror films. Numerous movies have leveraged mental disorders in hopes of making their main characters more complex and unique. While this may help in creating a more obscure plot, it subsequently creates a harmful notion that those who struggle with mental disorders, such as dissociative identity disorder, should be feared. This problem has come to the big screen yet again through M. Night Shyamalan’s Split.

This suspense movie centers on the persona of a mentally ill serial killer named Kevin, who also goes by Hedwig, Patricia, Jade, Barry and a handful of other personalities that come alive in the film. As seen in the trailer, Kevin kidnaps three teenage girls from inside the doors of their unlocked car. His illness is the centralized theme in the movie as he preys on these three young girls through his 243personalities. We are first introduced to the notion that the kidnapper has a mental illness when the young girls scream for help after noticing what they believe is a woman wearing high heals through the crack of a door. It’s soon revealed to the young girls that this is the same man who kidnapped him, and the first plot twist of the movie is set into action.

Filming a movie about a person with dissociative identity disorder (D.I.D) as the main villain becomes problematic to not only those who struggle with the disorder in real life, but the audience and society as well. Through the messages in this movie (that those with D.I.D. are dangerous to themselves and to others) we are subconsciously misinforming society on what we know of this mental illness.

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Why All Men Should be Feminists

Men FeministsI am a feminist. Queue the questions and judgements. Yes, you heard correctly, I am a feminist, I am not a female, and feminism isn’t a women’s issue.

Merriam-Webster defines feminism as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.”

Sadly, we’ve grown up in a society that color-coded infants according to gender; boys in blue, girls in pink. This socialization is something that causes a rift between the two genders rather than considering them both as equal.

This goes beyond color-coding; the toys children receive are also based on the parents and society’s views on what’s culturally appropriate per gender role.

Parents often gift male children with toy trucks, superheroes, and anything that would promote aggression and an authoritative mindset, while female children predominately receive dolls, doll houses, and dress- up kits which endorse nurturing and communal contiguity meaning they get a better understanding of “family.”

I splurge these facts solely to explain that the negative male complex is related to the years of men being raised as the superior gender. And then there’s the dilemma of how society views a female that does not suit the traditional norms their families have set forth or what society is accustomed to. I would be doing an injustice if I were to attempt to define what femininity is because that definition differs from female to female.

Regardless of the female’s family norms and how society defines what being female is, the mind is the female’s and she can determine what being a female means to her. Regardless of how they define their gender, they should always be receiving respect and equality and not yearning for it.

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Avoiding the Fallout of Fake News

Fallout of Fake NewsEver since “fake news” became a talking point of the recent presidential election, the topic seems to be increasingly prevalent in the media and on the political stage.

According to the BBC, fake news is marked by dubious sourcing, vague details, a lack of reports on the topic, and a lack of clearly sourced evidence.

Dubious sourcing can mean one of two things - firstly, it can be a news source that one has never heard of before, or it can be very closely named after a real source, in the hopes of tricking readers into believing it is a legitimate source. This was the case with the Christian Times Newspaper, which was a false publication used as a source in a fake news story. In reality, the organization does not exist, but was easily confused with the legitimate newspaper Christian Times, according to the BBC.

“I recently fell for an instance of fake news myself,” said Marina Vujnovic, Ph.D., an associate communication professor. “I believe that sometimes it’s not easy to tell right away fake news from real news. However, fake news usually appears on less credible news sites or distributors of news such as Facebook, or on news aggregation sites such as Yahoo News. They are often distributed via e-mails as well. In my experience, fake news is hyper-sensational and often not well written.”

Vague details and a lack of reports on the topic are also characteristics of fake news. The information sourced can be entirely made up, or it can be exaggerated details of something that has already gone viral.

One such story was published by fake news sites including the Boston Outlet, the Denver Guardian, and the Christian Times Newspaper, claiming that a zoo in China was about to name a gorilla Harambe McHarambeface. The story brought together two viral memes of the year - the widespread Harambe meme, and the amusing story of a public vote by the British Antarctic Survey to name a new vessel, with the winning name being Boaty McBoatface.

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How Does Global Warming Affect Students?

Global Warming on Students 1When thinking of global warming, my first thought, and maybe a few others’ are: I don’t hate it, if its 60 degrees on Christmas Day. But the reality of it is that global warming is having immense effects on the environment and its inhabitants. So, just because we appreciate when its warm in December, it doesn’t necessarily mean we should be okay with it.

In order to have life on earth, green house gasses hold the heat we need. They trap the gasses and heat that are necessary, and make earth a average of 59 degrees Fahrenheit.

An article written by Elizabeth May and Zoe Caron on states that because of our own human contribution of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere, we have increased the amount of greenhouse gasses by almost 35%.

Plainly stated, the more greenhouse gasses we have, the warmer the temperature of earth gets. The two main gasses to worry about, that humans can produce both actively and naturally, are CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and CH4 (Methane). The same article from May and Zoe explains that CO2 is produced through “from burning fossil fuels, such as coal and oil. It also occurs naturally as it flows in a cycle between oceans, soil, plants and animals” and that MH4 is produced “by rotting garbage and wastewater, gas from livestock, and rice crops. Swamps and anything that decomposes without air naturally creates methane.”

While most of the main changes we all can make to reduce our carbon footprint are easiest when we become homeowners, there are a few easy changes we all can make without thinking and we can save the environment at the same time. First, instead of ordering that juicy hamburger at Five Guys, or buying steaks from Wegmans – try a vegetarian option instead.

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New Semester, New You: Making the Most of Spring

Making Most Of SpringAs you prepare for new classes by memorizing your schedule, seeing who is in the course with you, and adjusting to change, do not forget to take a deep breath. Last semester could have been a bit rocky, or maybe it was smooth sailing. Either way, it is in the past. Do not put yourself down because of the marks you earned or boast yourself if you did well. Taking college courses, each with different teaching styles and workloads, is not always an easy journey.

My freshmen year came easier for me than my friends. I enjoyed my classes, really pushed myself to achieve the grades and learning I wanted to, and I was motivated. Sophomore year I lost a bit of that fire. My courses were more difficult, and I had all new professors that I had to become accustomed to. Still, I pushed myself.

In college, this happens all the time; you lose motivation and dedication. Stress and anxiety can try to take over, but do not let it. You’re not alone when you’re going through these motions. It is a part of the “college experience” and growing. Once you get through a challenging course, professor, or semester, you will realize you can do anything you put your mind to.

These four years are the best years of your life, and the years that go by the quickest. Senior business student, Alison Maoli said, “I remember moving into Pinewood Hall the first day of college, and now I have about four months left. Looking back on it, I just wish I never took time for granted and learned to enjoy life more. Also, time management was a big factor and skill that I think college students need to learn.”

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How Time Management Helps you Achieve Goals

Time Management and GoalsHow can college students make time to focus on our goals in the midst of a busy semester? The answer is simple, but often ignored: time management. Time management is simply scheduling and pacing yourself, from when you work out, to when you study, to what time you can hang out with your friends and family.

While this doesn’t sound too difficult, without practicing correct time management, there is the possibility of crumbling under pressure.

However, once you get into the momentum and find a balance, it will become habitual and carry through your entire life, not just your college or career.

College is a stressful time, but life goes on and whatever seems like a big deal now will be a distant memory soon enough-so it isn’t worth the amount of anxiety we expel on current tasks.

So rather than stress over your next move, take the time and plan how you want things to go.

Travis Spencer, a freshman computer science student, stated, “My time management is setting up a routine for my entire week, so I always have a task that needs to be completed to keep me motivated.

Every day I set aside two hours for homework and have set tasks every other day of the week, from cleaning my room to doing the laundry on certain days.”

Having goals and aspirations and being passionate about them is great; however it’s important to break down each goal you have and give it a realistic timeline.

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Following Through with New Years Resolutions

Flowing New Years ResoultionsThe idea of reinventing yourself completely might be one of the biggest clichés that ringing in the new year brings. Gym memberships are purchased, diets are started, and with each new year, resolutions are made in hopes of keeping.

There’s nothing like Jan. 1 at the gym: all the machines are taken, people come out of the woodwork just to fulfill their resolutions, when in reality the regulars know it’ll only last a week.

 Making realistic resolutions seems to be the issue for most of society, because keeping them is the tough part.

Casey Hanna, a senior history and secondary education student, shared her resolution for 2017. “With field hockey, taking care of body and my health became less of a priority then it should be. For the new year I’m prioritizing myself and my needs.

With field hockey ending for me, I’m able to take care of my body, and do yoga or exercises that make me feel good.”

Hanna continued, “Eating healthy is another one of my major resolutions. Sure, everyone says they want to ‘eat healthy.’ but then give up soon after. I want to have healthy weeks, and then indulge in things I like on the weekends. Meal prepping is also becoming such a big part of my weekly routine already, and its definitely making a difference.”

By preparing a week’s amount of lunches and dinners, you’ll have more time in the week for working out or getting work done, and you’ll be less tempted to order take out when you know you have food waiting for you at home.

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Leave Our Beaches Alone

Beach ConservationAt Monmouth University and within the surrounding community, we have a responsibility towards something much bigger than ourselves. Living where we do in New Jersey, we have an obligation to protect the ocean and the local beaches that surround us. When summer ends and tourists leave, the local community members must stand up for the rights and protection of our beloved beaches.

Living less than two miles from the coast, it is hard to believe that Monmouth students can forget about the wellbeing of our beaches. Yet as usual, winter drives us from the beaches to the warmth of our homes. Again, we prove the saying is true: out of sight and out of mind.

At the end of last semester, members of the Monmouth University Surf Club were able to leave the comfort of their homes and get back to the beach.  An organization called the Surfer’s Environmental Alliance (SEA) hosted a beach grass planting event along the beaches of Long Branch. 

“For the beach grass planting we walked along the Long Branch boardwalk putting in new bundles of sea grass in the many empty spaces that were left after construction of the boardwalk finished up,” said senior Surf Club member Zack Karvelas.

Karvelas continued, “I want to make more of an effort to participate in the preservation and protection of our precious ocean. It’s important to be aware of the issues surrounding our ocean and beaches, especially for us Monmouth students who go to school at the beach.”

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FOMO: More Than Just Missing Out

Fear Of Missing OutFOMO, or “fear of missing out,” is an anxiety that most of us brush off as a minor life speed bump, but what if it is affecting us more than we think? FOMO, according to Urban Dictionary is, “compulsive concern that one might miss an opportunity or satisfying event, often aroused by posts seen on social media websites.”

None of us can say that we haven’t experienced FOMO at some point in our lives, but now, especially being college students, the FOMO is real in everyday life. Social media is a definite factor when understanding the triggers of FOMO. Students are so engrossed in social media—checking it every spare moment they get—that it would be silly not to consider it a factor in feeling that awful left out sensation.

Anthony Papetti, a senior communication student, said, “FOMO always distracts me since I find myself on social media looking at what I miss. Occasionally, I can wrap my head around that fact that it's better that I don't go out, but for the most part I think FOMO is a big part of everyone's lives and worries because it's usually talked about non stop and then you can't join in.”

While we may consider it purely a bad feeling that eventually goes away, for many students this feeling sticks around and actually causes health problems. Papetti stated, “FOMO is a deadly disease that 60 percent of people suffer from 100 percent of the time.” FOMO is a type of social anxiety that has some of the same effects other types of anxieties cause.

Katherine Rizman, a psychological counselor for Counseling and Psychological Services, said, “FOMO can be the direct and indirect causes of anxiety and other mental health (and health) concerns for college students in many situations.”

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Combatting the Winter Break “Brain Dump”

Winter Break Brain DumpThe stretch of time between the fall and spring semesters affects us the same way each year—we get sluggish, we’re in food comas after eating lots of home cooked food again, and we have little motivation to do anything related to school or education. As easy as it is to let all the knowledge we’ve absorbed over the first semester slip away, there must be a way to keep that info in our heads. Is there a possibility that all of that loss of knowledge is somehow a psychological phenomenon we all go through?

Elizabeth Roderick, a junior psychology student who focuses on neuroscience, explained that psychologically there is a reason to lose knowledge between semesters. “When we learn new information, new neural pathways and connections are formed. As we practice that new skill of piece of information, the pathway is strengthened and we remember it more easily,” she said. “However, if we stop using the pathway it becomes weak, and could eventually die off. It’s a process called neural pruning. Over the school year, we practice using these pathways constantly, but when we are on a long break we don’t use the pathway nearly as often and it becomes weak.”

Nothing is worse than having to relearn something. Gina Geletei, a junior English and education student, chimed in, “Long breaks are good for the students because it gives them a chance to debrief from the extensive learning they go through, but at the same time, the students often lose a lot of what they learned over the break.”

On the other hand, Roderick believed, “As far as long breaks go, I’m not sure that they’re as beneficial as they seem at first glance. First and foremost a lot of students experience a lapse in knowledge when they are away from school.”

Roderick added, “However, many students also experience a lot of anxiety during the school year that could be mitigated by having more short breaks and spreading the information across a longer time span rather than cramming it all in and having long breaks.”

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How Monmouth Students Get in the Holiday Spirit

MU Students Holiday SpiritIt’s that time of the year, where tinsel and lights cover front yards, Christmas trees, roofs and everything in between. Sometimes, we neglect to acknowledge that not everyone does the same things as we do for the holidays, and sometimes there are holiday traditions that some families do that we don’t even know exist. I asked a few students around campus to see how their family celebrates the holidays, and if they do any traditions within their family that are a little out of the ordinary.

Olivia Higson, a senior biology student from Manchester, England, explained that her family celebrates Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. She explained that during Boxing Day, it is the day in which they throw away all of the boxes from the presents on Christmas Day. It’s another time to see family that they hadn’t seen the last two days, and a day to indulge in more leftovers.

“We always celebrate with my dad’s side of the family because we don’t get to see them on Christmas Day,” Higson explained. “It’s like getting to celebrate Christmas for three days, and to keep eating all of the food leftover, so I can’t really complain.”

Higson also explained how a traditional Christmas dinner in England consists of turkey, stuffing, vegetables, etc. – most of which seems like our Thanksgiving meal.

Higson added, “Boxing Day really just highlights the importance of time with family and friends. Since I attend a school in a different country, I definitely miss out on a lot of important things when I’m not home. Having these three days around Christmas gives me the opportunity to see everyone, my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and friends.”

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More than a Fashion Fix: The Truth Behind the Safety Pin

Truth About Safety PinA loose button, a top that is too big for your body, a broken dress zipper-- all of these fashion emergencies can be fixed by a safety pin. However, since the recent Presidential election, safety pins have taken on a whole new meaning. Rather than being used as a fashion fix, they are being utilized as a political statement. They have become an actual pin of safety, symbolizing that those who wear the pin are allies to people of color, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, religious minorities, and anyone else who has experienced discrimination.

The outcome of this election has pinpointed President-Elect Donald Trump and his anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant rhetoric to be the cause of tthe safety pin trend, but could it just be that there is simply more light being shed on them? This safety pin movement is giving people a way to combat the fears and behaviors being instilled by those who are acting out.

The safety pin concept originated in the United Kingdom, following Britain’s decision to leave the Eurpean Union. After the vote, there was an increase in hate crimes against immigrants and minorities. According to Town Hall, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported over 200 incidents of “hateful harassment and intimidation” since Election Day; most incidents were labeled Anti-Black and anti-immigrant.

A junior communication student, Valentina Sanchez, said, “As a Latina woman, I feel like it is important to show my support and wear the pin as a symbol of unity and to create awareness amongst others. In my opinion, if you wear the pin and see an act of discrimination, you should do something.”

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Locking Down the Dream Job- Or at Least a Job

Getting Dream Job Or JobThere are so many questions that pop up in people’s minds when they are on the verge of making a life-changing decision. While choosing the college that fits your wants and needs is a stressful, timely task, searching for a career is even more difficult.

Most kids grow up with the financial dependence of their parents or guardians. As we grow older, we realize how thankful we were for their support because, little did we know, the real world costs a whole lot of money. Whether you have drinking habits, food necessities or relationship responsibilities, it all has a price. Once the flow of income from our loved ones stops coming, we need to get out there and fend for ourselves. A simple job just to put money in our pocket is a good first step, but when other factors like rent, utilities, and groceries come into play, a simple minimum wage job won’t cut it. Life is expensive and money doesn’t come free.

As the semester is winding down at universities across the country, students are beginning the hunt for jobs, if they haven’t started already. Despite student’s need for money, jobs and internships that give experience in their field of interest become more relevant and valuable for the future. So how are you supposed to know when to take an odd-job just to put money in your pocket, or to look for serious, more applicable jobs that’ll set you up for your future?

Some students worry about choosing the right offer. “It’s nice to know I have an option for a career right after college. There’s a lot of anxiety that comes with graduating, and knowing I have a job (If I want it) relieves a lot of that stress,” said Huascar Holguin, a senior music industry student. “However, there’s a sense of settling. There might be other great opportunities out there for me that I’ll never find, because I was eager to jump into the first offer I got.”

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Surviving the Quarter Life Crisis

Survive Quarter Life CrisisWhen you’ve spent 12 years of your life in school, the thought of a life without the structure and routine of education can be a little scary. Since pre-school, school has defined our every-day patterns. As May gets closer and closer, many students are beginning to experience something terrifying: the quarter life crisis.

A quarter life crisis can be explained as a period of time during your twenties to thirties when you begin to feel doubtful about your life, brought on by the stress of looming adulthood. George Kapalka, Ph.D., a professor of psychological counseling, has witnessed this anxiety among many students at Monmouth University. He explained, “Most students go to college right after high school, so by the time they graduate from college they have been in school for 17 years straight. When you’re 22, that’s about 2/3rds of your life.”

Kapalka continued, “So, after college will be the first time when a good degree of structure provided for you – by having classes and spending time studying and completing assignments – so when you now have to create your own structure – by getting a job, a place of your own, etc. – this is anxiety provoking because you never really had to do that.”

Students have to face the reality of the job market. We’ve been in our comfortable Monmouth bubble, but the thought of competing with students from all over the country (not just North and South Jersey) is something a lot of us sweat over. “It’s stressful at times to think about what I want to do for the rest of my life, after I get my Master’s,” said Stephanie Merlis, a senior business marketing student. “The idea of sending in hundreds of job applications and not getting a response is terrifying.”

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Continuing Education as an Educator

Continuing Education As EducatorBeing a student here at Monmouth, I’ve noticed the handful of faculty members (a general term for those who work for Monmouth in some way, shape, or form) in our classrooms right alongside the everyday students. I got the opportunity to speak to not only some of the faculty member/student duos but some of my peers who have had the experience in a number of their classrooms as well.

Margaret Checton is the Assistant to the University Librarian and doubles as a student on some days as well. Checton is currently enrolled in a Language and Linguistics class, and had a lot to share about her experiences and thoughts on faculty members of any type being a fellow Hawk. “The most important thing I learned from being a student is that we are constantly learning from you, the students, too. The Monmouth classroom has never been a one-way street from my seat.  Every class is an expedition where professors are instructing and students are adding significantly to the destination,” she explained.

Checton continued, “In other words, I am not only learning from the professors, but from the students as well. I have found that our students bring an abundance of many things to the classroom, all of which are essential to effective learning processes.”

It’s true, the Monmouth education field has never been one to discriminate or fail in the teachings of all of life’s treasures, but, we all know that being a student can be difficult at times. The pressure of exams, papers, quizzes and more could make anyone buckle underneath the weight, Checton reveals that to help in being the best student and member of the Monmouth community she could be, she will “take a certain amount of vacation days each semester to study for exams or complete a project-” this being the only stipulation to doubling as a ‘faculty member’ and a student.

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The President Is… Wait, What?

Trump PresidencyThe 2016 Presidential election has been the most controversial election in history. Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have created such strong supporters over the many months of campaigning. Argu-ments, fighting, and protests have taken up social media feeds, as well as streets all over America. It all came down to election night, Nov. 8, 2016. Everyone thought that Clinton was going to win, because that was what the polls were telling us. To many people’s surprise, however, they were wrong. Trump had won, and will be the 45th President of  the United States of America, starting in January.

Many of Monmouth University’s students and faculty members were divided over this election; stu-dents posted on Facebook and Twitter supporting one candidate over the other, causing havoc and tension. There were countless articles bashing each candidate, with new insults and dug up incidents appearing in the media every day. This election really became an example of dirty politics.

When Trump was announced as the President-elect, a huge portion of the country was shocked, stunned, and angry. People threatened to flee, and move to Canada and other countries.

Many individuals have criticized our next President  as being racist, sexist, and against the LGBTQ+ community, based on his past remarks and actions. Everyone’s feelings were so raw. Individuals felt like they no longer had a home in America and would not be able to live safely.

A senior communication student, Ayse Yasas, stated, “I’m scared to see people forgetting how to love and respect one another regardless of what our values are. I don’t want to see the lives of the black, Hispanic, LGBTQ+, female or assault victims ruined because of this election outcome. We need to love more.” That is exactly what we need— love. Our beloved country needs to come together, and be unified.

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What it’s Really Like to Work Black Friday

Working On Black FirdayI wake up from my Thanksgiving food coma at 4 a.m. to the piercing sound of my alarm. With an extra large coffee in both hands, I head off to work to greet the holiday season and its anxious shoppers with a less than enthusiastic, “Hi, welcome in! Can I help you find anything today?”

Arriving at the outlet center, I pass a long line of shivering customers waiting to shop the great deals my store has to offer. Before even stepping foot into work however, I’m faced with my first of many peculiar encounters with these Black Friday shoppers.

“She’s cutting the line! Who does she think she is?” shouts a disgruntled mother of two at the security guard, wagging her manicured nails towards me. I share a laugh with the security guard as he lets me into the store, listening to him convince her that no, I’m not getting some type of early bird special on the handbag she tried to put on hold the night before.

 In the midst of the Christmas music and holiday discounts, many forget to acknowledge that people actually work during Black Friday.

Walking into the perfectly organized, untouched store I take a minute to appreciate the silence— the calm before the storm, and the ability to hear myself think because I know that all will vanish in a matter of moments.

Black Friday shopping isn’t for everyone. Some people love waking up at the crack of dawn with friends, grabbing an espresso and heading out to take advantage of deals others decided to sleep on. But many, especially those who work during the craze, believe that it’s a socially constructed, merchandiser driven ‘holiday’ that shoppers participate in for the less than exceptional deals.

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A Groundbreaking Soundbreaking Experience

Ground Breaking Sound BreakingOn Saturday, Nov. 12, 16 Monmouth students had the unique opportunity to see an advance premiere of a documentary that is described as a “music driven celebration of the art of recording” —Soundbreaking: Stories from the Cutting Edge of Recorded Music. The trip was sponsored by the University’s affiliation with the Grammy Museum, a museum devoted to the history and winners of the Grammy Awards.

Joe Rapolla, Chair of the Music and Theatre Arts Department, said, “Soundbreaking is a great series, and this event is another great way we are leveraging the great resources and connectivity of our Grammy Museum affiliation.”

This eight-episode series, which premiered on PBS Nov. 15, was created as part of a movement to document what happens in American music and the process of creating music. The late Sir George Martin, most famous for producing The Beatles, was a big inspiration in the creation of this film, and he had said antemortem that there had never been a movie made about the importance of technology and recording.

This documentary had been underway for almost 15 years and includes interviews with over 200 artists and producers from various genres and generations of music history. Bob Santelli, Executive Director of the Grammy Museum, explained, “This series takes you behind the scenes into the creative process.” He continued, “It shows you how the role of technology has changed over time and creates a deeper connection to the music.”

Rapolla explained the importance of technology in the Industry, “Technology has always been a key driver of the music business. Using technology to create music, especially popular music, compliments the creative process.”

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Exploring the Hype Over the New Starbucks Cup

New Starbucks CupFacebook blew up with furious complaints over Starbucks’ freshly released green “unity cup.” While Starbucks’ Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz said the design’s mosaic of more than 100 people drawn together in a single stroke was meant to “create a symbol of unity as a reminder of our shared values, and the need to be good to each other,” my Facebook friends, and many people across all platforms of social media, did not feel the same.

One Facebook friend posted,

"Right before the holidays? It’s November third! People need to relax. Seriously, it's just a cup." Another said, "Please tell me what a green cup has to do with politics. People will read into anything just to find something to be angry about."

 This new cup has been causing quite a divide amongst coffee drinkers and we're all wondering why. Why are these new cups such a big deal for people?

Mirta Barrea-Marlys, Department Chair of World Languages and Cultures, said, "I actually like the cup! Starbucks is an international icon when it comes to coffee, serving millions of people across the world. It makes sense that the company would make a diverse and eclectic cup for their customers as a symbol of unity and peace.”

Our world is such a diverse place and the green cup promotes unity. Barrea-Marlys explained, "After all, what brings people together more than having a cup of coffee? Some people may complain, but after all, it is what is in the cup that matters. The packaging won't change the taste of the coffee, but it sure makes your cappuccino much more interesting to look at!"

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Service Dog Acceptance at Educational Institutions

Service Dog Educational InstitutionsThe use of service dogs in educational institutions has recently been under attack. A service dog, according to the Americans with Disability Act, is “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.”

Service dogs are usually thought of just for those with impaired vision of sorts, but they serve many more purposes than that. They can help with mental disabilities by keeping their human companions with severe anxiety, or other mental disabilities, calm and at ease.

Furthermore, some service dogs also aid in the detection of seizures in their human counterparts, which is a sensory skill that humans are incapable of.

Service dogs are very useful and quite essential in many humans’ lives. A venue in which service dogs are especially necessary is at a school or university. For students who attend school every day, a service dog is extremely beneficial. That’s why when the recent case of a girl who was denied the use of her service dog in school was sent to the U.S. Supreme Court, it was a mind-boggling concept for many.

While there are many concerns for service dogs in schools such as allergies and other students’ fears, schools should not be allowed to deny a student services that aid in the disability of a student. This recent case leads many to ponder the thought of service dog acceptance.

Jaime Kretsch, specialist professor and Department Chair of Computer Science and Software Engineering and proud Seeing Eye dog raiser, said, “Anyone bringing a service dog anywhere, regardless of whether it is a school or not, needs to feel that they and their dog will be allowed to function as the team that they are.”

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Shooting for Success: Justin Robinson

Justin Robinson 1Some people are simply born to excel at something, whether it be in academics, politics, art, etc. For senior communication student and point guard Justin Robinson, basketball is what he was always destined to do. It’s not easy to pinpoint the exact moment you figured out your passion, but Robinson knew when he was just a toddler.

“When I was about two years old, my mom put a blow up basketball in my crib and she said I would take it with me everywhere I went,” Robinson recalled. “She said I would take it to the mall when my mom went to get her nails done, to my grandma’s house, I always had the ball with me. So, I guess I naturally fell in love with basketball.”

This toy led Robinson to an incredibly successful basketball career- one that he’s worked diligently for his entire life. He is set to lead the men’s basketball team to a victorious MAAC conference starting Nov. 11 against Drexel. For Robinson, this has been his plan since he was dribbling on the playground as a kid. He began playing basketball as soon as he could walk. “[My mom] would take me to the park and I’d run right to the basketball court,” Robinson remembered.

Robinson’s journey to becoming the unanimous pick for MAAC Preseason Player of the Year started in Long Island, where he was first noticed by former assistant coach Brian Reese. Two weeks later, King Rice, Men’s Basketball Head Coach, noticed Robinson at a tournament in Philadelphia.

“[Rice] offered me to come down here for an official visit the week before my birthday, and I came down here and I loved it,” Robinson said. “On my way home he offered me a scholarship. I said I’d think about it. Then, on my 18th birthday, I decided I was gonna come to Monmouth.”

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No, You Don’t Look Fat in That: Overcoming Negative Body Image

Overcoming NegFirst impressions are created within the first seven seconds upon meeting someone new, ac¬cording to Forbes. So, it is no won¬der that young women hold their appearance at such a high value. With constant pressure to look ones best at all times, negative body issues are rapidly arising.

College students around the world put a massive amount of pressure on themselves to look and feel their best everyday. For many, getting ready in the morn¬ing becomes an internal struggle as negative thoughts about their bodies consume their thoughts. It’s common for many to voice negative thoughts by asking room¬mates, “Do I look fat in this?” al¬most daily.

In order to combat negative body image and fat talk, Huffing¬ton Post writer Jamie Feldman proposes a simple game:

For every bad, negative or de¬grading comment made about yourself, you must follow up with two uplifting, positive and com¬plimentary things. By doing this, you can counteract bad thoughts with positive ones. This can also create a better mindset about ones body and actively train minds to celebrate positive things, rather than dwell on the negative ones First impressions are created within the first seven seconds upon meeting someone new, ac¬cording to Forbes. So, it is no won¬der that young women hold their appearance at such a high value. With constant pressure to look ones best at all times, negative body issues are rapidly arising.

College students around the world put a massive amount of pressure on themselves to look and feel their best everyday. For many, getting ready in the morn¬ing becomes an internal struggle as negative thoughts about their bodies consume their thoughts. It’s common for many to voice negative thoughts by asking room¬mates, “Do I look fat in this?” al¬most daily.

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The Dangers of Hacking and How to Protect Yourself

Hacking 1With hacking at the forefront of the news lately, is it possible to ever truly be secure on the in¬ternet? For those unaware with hacking, it can be defined as us¬ing a computer to gain unauthor¬ized access to data in a system.

In today’s heavily dependent technological society, it is nearly impossible for hacking to cease any time soon. With websites like WikiLeaks, the Yahoo hack¬ing scandal and television series focused on hacking like “Mr. Robot” – it seems as if we can¬not escape the idea of living in an insecure cyber society.

WikiLeaks is a multinational media organization which spe¬cializes in obtaining persecuted documents. It was founded by Julian Assanger, who started his hacking career as a teen¬ager. Most recently, WikiLeaks has been a popular news topic because of the upcoming presi¬dential election. In March of 2015 it became publicly known that Hillary Clinton had been us¬ing her private email server for official communications, rather than her State Department email account.

The emails were hacked from the accounts of both Clinton and her campaign chairman, John Podesta. FBI director James Comey identified 110 emails containing classified informa¬tion, with 65 being secret, and 22 as top secret, according to USA Today.

Obviously, this came at a time which was right in the middle of her campaign for president. Now, with the upcoming elec¬tion, Clinton is asking the peo¬ple of the United States to put their trust in her, even with all of these scandals behind her.

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Matt Alonso Breaks Down Walls in the Music Industry

Matt AlonsoLast December I interviewed senior music industry student Matt Alonso about his Kickstarter for Cortex which successfully raised $5,500. It may sound cheesy, but what once was an idea has now become a reality for Alonso after nine months of dealing with the ups and downs of the industry and working four jobs to make sure his dream would come true.

The platform of Cortex is a way for musicians to connect with their fans, according to Alonso. Currently the website “” can be used for fans to download their favorite artists’ music for free. Artists that are registered with Cortex currently include current Blue Hawk Records artists Littlebear and The Ramparts Rebel. and some Monmouth alumni bands like The Bunks, Flammable Animals, and Grin & Bear. Some local bands, such as Bounder and Black Sox Scandal, are featured on the website as well.

The website had its first soft launch in mid-September. Artists pay a single payment of $50 to start connecting with their fans and making money off their music. Although this is only the beginning, Alonso has a lot in store for Cortex. Within the next year Alonso wants to “go towards streaming music for these artists’ and get them paid more than Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music combined.”

We have seen artists like Beyoncé and Taylor Swift take a stand against the music streaming sites that only seek to take money from artists. Alonso’s goal is to “put the music industry back in the hands of the artists.”

 He explained that current CEO’s of these streaming sites have a formula they use to calculate how much money goes to the artist and how much goes to them and Alonso blatantly stated “I made up my own formula and it’s better.”

His whole platform revolves around making sure artist get paid fairly and can connect with their fans. Alonso recently celebrated his first two cents of revenue, and although that may not be much to most of us, it meant the world to him and the future of Cortex.

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Take A Step Back From Sharing So Much: How Social Media Overwhelms Our Lives

Kim Engagement 1It is a part of life, a routine rather, for an individual to share aspects of their life and their beliefs and values on social media. Instagram is for perfectly filtered images and videos, Twitter is used to rant or vent, and Snapchat allows us to capture pictures letting others know where we are, who we’re with, and what super fun thing we’re doing. Facebook, however, that has become a battlefield in the midst of this messy political election.

We are all guilty of sharing way too much on many sites. In college, students post their whereabouts, who they are with, what they are thinking, and so forth. Individuals are seen on their phones, refreshing these media vessels, tuning out of the real world, and becoming instantly educated on other people’s lives. People fail to realize that posting too much can be risky and threatening.

Tommy Foye, a senior communication student, said “People are very interested in the lives of celebrities because of what they do and the money they can spend. It’s all interesting but can sometimes be too much, being that they are revealing too much to the public and are almost wanting the attention.”

It is the guilty pleasure of many fans and followers to watch and see what their favorite celebrity is up to, doing, and thinking. At the same token, celebrities break the privacy barrier, and post things that should be for their own private knowledge and eyes.

Providing information for others to see on an Instagram page, Twitter account, Facebook profile, or Snapchat story, is dangerous. People who are seeing these things are not always friends or trusted eyes. It crosses over the line of what should be personal, not public. 

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The Importance of Music as Told by Roseanne Cash

Roseanne Cash Music ImportanceTen University students had the extraordinary opportunity to meet and talk with "one of Country's pre-eminent singer/songwriters," Roseanne Cash before her show in Pollack theatre on Friday, Oct. 21.

Joe Rapolla, Chair of the Music and Theatre Arts Department, said, "It was such a treat for Monmouth students to be able to be a private audience for sound check and have a personal conversation with such a great and gracious artist like Rosanne."

Rapolla continued, "This is a great example of how coordinated performing arts programming can be leveraged at the academic level, to the benefit of the students."

As an attendee of the workshop, I can say that this was definitely the opportunity of a lifetime and instilled a passion in me to go forward with writing music, and reflect on how important music is. While listening to WMCX last week I heard a host say, "Imagine what life would be like if there were no music at all." The hosts of the show seemed confused and upset to even think about a world without music. So we wonder, what makes music so important to us?

When I asked Cash this question, her automatic response was, "Because it's like oxygen." Many of us, especially songwriters and artists, could not imagine living without the free spirit and energy of music. Cash went on to tell us how songwriter and producer, T-Bone Burnett, breaks down music into a physics and explains how we are all made up of music. From the day we are born to the day we die, we are exposed to many different types of music. Every song has a different meaning to us, every beat hits us a different way.

Rapolla explained, "I think what the students heard from Roseanne reinforced our program philosophy, that music and the arts are part of our DNA, and how the arts enriches life, no matter what your field. There are so many ways to engage with music and the arts."

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Why You Should be Taking More Time for Yourself

More Time for YourselfBright-eyed and smiling young adults decked out in college apparel walking off to class is a picturesque scene of college to many high-school seniors and hopeful parents when thinking about future collegiate years. On the surface, higher education looks as fun and easy as sitting in lecture halls, dining in the student center and hanging out in cinderblock dorms.

However, there’s more to the story than what tour guides and college pamphlets will let you in on. Amongst all the club meetings, Greek events and sports games, students are met with an underlying sense of stress, anxiety and depression, as self-care isn’t at the top of everyone’s daily to-do lists.

While being in college gives young adults the opportunity to meet new people and discover life passions, it can also be a vulnerable and unstable period. Students find themselves overwhelmed with stress as the pressure to study, write papers, and accomplish numerous daily tasks becomes exhausting.

College students are more involved than ever; being a full-time student, working part time and being involved in clubs on campus creates insane amounts of stress and pressure, and for many it is difficult to find the right balance.

With heavy involvement and busy workloads, many college students are neglecting necessary self-care precautions to maintain their mental health. As mental health issues and concerns are on the rise for college campuses, it is important for students to put self-care on their priority list and take action to ensure they aren’t letting their busy schedules consume their lives.

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Is the Media Biased?

How to Stay Media Literate During the Election

Media Biased“Is there a bias in the media? Yes. Is the media biased against Donald Trump? No,” stated Matthew Lawrence, a specialist professor of communication.

Trump, on the other hand, told the audience at a rally in Pennsylvania earlier this month, “This crooked media. They are worse than [Hillary Clinton] is. I’m letting you, they are so dishonest.” Is the media biased? And how much of an effect does the media have on our perception of this presidential election? The key to this question lies in becoming media literate, or learning the ability to access, analyze, and evaluate media and employ critical thinking abilities towards media consumption.

The job of the press is to report the news, and to avoid bias. This gets muddled when publications endorse a candidate. As I write this article, Clinton has been endorsed by 178 newspapers, and Trump has been endorsed by 4. “In this ongoing election the media has been completely biased,” stated John Maurer, a junior communication student. “Reporters are biased and are giving their opinions instead of doing their job.”

Eleanor Novek, a professor of communication, pointed out that journalists have always been sharing their opinions on elections. “Some journalists try to be as objective as they can be, other news organizations take a position so they let you know right from the start that they are biased,” Novek explained. “Political humor and political satire goes back to the origin of newspapers. People made fun of leaders, rulers, or anybody who was running for office… This is nothing new.”

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Lions, Tigers and Clowns, Oh My: Inside the Clown Phenomenen

penn state clown huntWhat can only be described as a bad scene from an overrated horror film has begun taking the stage in neighborhoods throughout the U.S., causing commotion and resurfacing childhood fears for many. Clowns are sweeping the nation and causing mass hysteria for concerned parents, college campuses and those with a fear of clowns.

Menacing clowns have been terrorizing the streets in dozens of cities throughout the past couple of weeks, and as Halloween approaches, this frenzy has skyrocketed.

While this phenomenon seems to have ignited overnight, the clown that started this national craze was from Greenville, SC as he gained the presses attention trying to lure a child into the woods. The buzz this unsettling story created led to many following in the footsteps of the South Carolina predator, with hopes to get their own sixty seconds of fame.

Claude Taylor, professor of communication and transformative learning, shared his opinion on how this bizarre incident snowballed into a nationwide trend. “Sometimes what happens with contagions like this one, is that people see something on TV that gets attention and they want to emulate it themselves,” Taylor explained. “For me, what I’m seeing is an extension of the prank phenomenon where people want to get in on a rush. Teenagers are tired of watching others do it online, and want to up the ante and do it for themselves. Unfortunately, people are not thinking about the consequences of their actions in the heat of this trend, and its extraordinarily dangerous.”

The frequent clown sightings have instilled such a strong fear in college students that pepper spray sales have gone through the roof, and many are ready to fight back. With clowns roaming the streets at night, some residential college students are taking precautions to a whole new level. Penn State University recently bombarded the streets on a “clown hunt” in hopes to scare away the clowns seen on their campus.

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The Power of Celebrities and Social MediaKAITLYN

anti Trump campaignSocial media is more prevalent than ever, with apps like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook being refreshed constantly on everyone’s phones. These apps offer breaking news and a quick way to skim through what’s going on in the world— and also a huge focus on celebrities, which gives them a vessel for them to voice their opinions. We’re seeing a lot of this now with the upcoming elections; celebrities are voicing their opinions in hopes to influence their audiences to vote for one candidate or another. Just because someone is famous, does that give them the right to influence people, especially Monmouth students? This is a question many students have trouble answering. Fame puts someone in the spotlight, but not because of their insights on politics or social issues. Just because they have a platform and a widespread audience, they are not necessarily the most informed source. The control and power they have over people can be either positive or negative; it is up to the individuals to decide how they perceive what they hear.

When a celebrity talks about their views on a certain topic or situation, their fans can be biased, and follow their favorite singer, athlete, or actor blindly. Shannon Newby, a senior sociology student, said, “I think when celebrities voice their opinion and promote specific things it persuades us more to either buy what they’re trying to sell, or believe what they say, rather than coming from someone who isn’t very well known.”

Newby continued, “Someone who is more famous I feel like we assume they have lots of experience that has clearly made them very successful making them influential on us.” Because these public figures are in magazines, get paid millions, and have huge fan followings, people tend to think celebrities, actors, and actresses are reliable sources.

Angelo Sceppaguercio, a senior finance and real estate student, said, “Celebrities are icons, and the way they are portraying themselves has a lot to do with what students say and believe. They influence the minds of young adults who listen to social media and not the truth. Half of the student population can’t even name what parties are fighting for what.”

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From the Battlefield to the Classroom: Being a Student in the Military

cesarMost college students feel like they have enough problems to warrant all the stress in the world—balancing classes, activities, jobs, and maintaining relationships; however, there is a population of Monmouth students who balance more than the average student could imagine: serving our country at the same time.

Cesar Monterroso, a sophomore criminal justice student, is a prime example of someone leading a life of schoolwork, and a life in the military. He is a member of the United States Reserve, as a Flying Chief for the KC-10A Extender at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in South New Jersey. “I wanted to join and serve my country, but I also wanted the flexibility of being in the reserves to attend college at the same time,” explained Monterroso. “I joined with the mentality of eventually bettering myself down the road. I also loved being around aircrafts growing up, and even today I am still mesmerized when I walk up to the [aircraft], so it was a win-win situation.”

Another student involved in the military is Samuel Herrara, a senior computer science student, who is also a United States Marine. “My dad was in the Navy when I was young, so I was raised on a Naval Base in South Carolina. My dad is my hero and my greatest influence to be in the military,” Herrara said. “He raised me in a strict military manner, so the military lifestyle is all I ever knew. I specifically chose the Marine Corps because I remember as a young boy I would read about the legacy of the Corps, and I just knew I belonged in the greatest fighting force in the world.”

Being a college student and a member of a military branch are two extremely different ways of life. George M. Kapalka, Ph.D., a professor of professional counseling, explained the differences in the lifestyles, “It is a different mindset. In the military, direction is given ‘from the top’ – it is expected that the commanding officers have most (if not all) the answers and give instructions to those under their directions, and those commands are to be followed precisely and completely,”

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Why You Shouldn’t Underestimate Women’s Magazines

obamaWith the current election cycle, everything and everyone seems to be focused on politics. The candidates cover the front pages of newspapers, fill radio broadcasts and news programs, and dominate social media feeds. Now, even women’s magazines – typically seen as ‘fluff’ news – are coming into the political field.

Women’s magazines are now filled with political content, usually interviews with important figures in the election such as Ivanka Trump, Chelsea Clinton, and Hillary Clinton herself.

“I think it’s an important outlet that typically gets ignored,” said Christina Caliendo, a junior music student. “I don’t read a lot of women’s magazines but when there’s a particularly interesting interview I’ll pick it up.”

Those involved in the elections have also been publishing their own words in women’s magazines. Hillary Clinton herself wrote a piece for The Toast, a publication that closed in July. She focused on the importance of women’s spaces in media and in other fields. Katy Tur, a reporter who covered Donald Trump’s campaign for NBC, wrote in Marie Claire about her experience working with him – which often included harassment.

“Trump called me naïve,” she wrote. “He told me I didn’t know what I was talking about. He shamed me when I stumbled on a question. And when the cameras shut off, he was furious. He didn’t like my questions, which were direct, or my tone, which was conversational.”

Trump also insulted and shamed Tur on national television, called her names during interviews, and announced on Twitter that she “should be fired for dishonest reporting”. All of this, and more, was covered in her piece for Marie Claire. It was shared about 30,500 times via Facebook and Twitter, according to the site; it received much less attention than typical election coverage.

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The Pumpkin Spice Phenomenon: Do You Really Love it?

starbucks coffee flickr urban bohemianIt’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, the air has grown crisp, and the days keep getting shorter – yes, the pumpkin spice season is upon us. Every year, when September strikes, the notorious spice makes its debut to once again provide warm, comforting flavors to the masses. Though it may seem like no human being on the planet can resist this autumnal favorite, it might actually be the media who harbors the true obsession. Do people truly love pumpkin spice, or is the media just telling us we do?

While some may choose to parade their love of pumpkin with pride, others prefer to quietly give in to the overarching trend. Toting his own warm cup of pumpkin spice coffee, senior English student, Michael Mottola said, “I don't get super hype about pumpkin spice's inevitable arrival in fall, it's just like any other seasonal event, but I always do like pumpkin spice stuff when it comes around.”

Others at Monmouth have yet to hop on the pumpkin spice train. Senior communication student Emma Gepner admitted she doesn’t quite understand all of the pumpkin hysteria. She said, “Personally, I'm not a fan of pumpkin spice coffee. I'm all for the traditional pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, but other than that, I could really do without it in my food.”

When it comes to pumpkin spice, we’re paying for much more than flavor alone. Deanna Shoemaker, Ph.D., an associate professor of communication, said, “Whether people love or hate all things pumpkin spice, I think marketers know how tap our desires and perceived needs to sell, sell, sell. We as consumers buy into a feeling generated by cultural traditions that advertisers amplify in order to sell products. Pumpkin spice as a flavor, a color, or a smell is framed as an expression of the beauty of the fall season, the coziness of hot drinks and sweaters, a fire, so on.  That association generates profits.”

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The Importance of Classes that Think Outside the Box: Creating a Culture of Peace

class in circle small wide picStudents do not really know what to expect on the first day of classes, or throughout the semester. Everyone has experienced the typical routine: write a few papers, be up all hours of the night to study for exams, and stay at desk in the classroom, barely raising your hand and participating. How sad is that— not learning, not growing, and not becoming involved. Well, surprise; there is a course that can change your life for the better, for years to come.

Creating A Culture of Peace is a course that is the exact opposite of many classes that a student has taken here at Monmouth University, which makes it extremely unique and life-altering. Eleanor Novek, a professor of communication, teaches this class, which has received positive results and relationships after the students have completed these credits. "The class was developed out of my volunteer work with the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP)," Novek explained. "AVP is a nonprofit group that offers conflict resolution programs in community groups and prisons. Through games, exercises, and shared experiences, it develops the communication skills and attitudes people need to solve conflicts peacefully.

 It is a class that is set up in a circle, having the students and Novek looking at each other, and interacting on a conversational level, so anyone can speak about any topic at any given time. Each individual is given a name for the class, making it more friendly and comfortable. The student has to use an adjective that describes them that starts with the same letter as their name.  Novek recalled, " In the class, everything we do builds a community of trust and sharing. Students journal about topics as far-reaching as early experiences of violence, holding grudges, and random acts of kindness. Each one chooses a positive name they use all semester. At the end of the semester we didn't want to leave!"

Ayse Yasas, a senior communication student who went by Amazing Ayse, said “This class wasn’t like any other class I’ve ever taken in the best way possible, and it’s probably one of my favorites of all time. It felt like a small community of peace and togetherness, and I became friends with people that I would never normally talk to. It’s also the only class that taught lessons that I could use in everyday life and genuinely made me think about my actions everyday to actively be a better person and keep the peace with people.” How amazing is that? A class that really makes an individual think about their everyday life, and change.

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The Trophy Generation is #Adulting

adultingEvery so often, a new catchy phrase or saying will enter the vocabulary of hundreds of millennials, college students and teenagers nationwide. Words like “yolo” find their way into daily conversations without a second thought. Recently, “adulting” has become the new thing to say when talking about responsibilities like going to work, paying bills or simply growing up. This generation of college students and recent grads have begun glorifying everyday tasks and occurrences that come with growing up by using the term “adulting.” This notion and the ideas associated with it allude to the idea that everyday responsibilities are trendy, and that college students want to be celebrated for going about everyday tasks.

Many people use the term jokingly to talk about their daily tasks to give them a fun spin on something otherwise boring and commonplace. While the word has struck up some controversy, many twenty-something’s enjoy using it in a laughable manner. Senior business student Stephanie Merlis explained why she enjoys using this word: “It’s a fun word to use because it’s almost comical in the sense that seniors in college are ‘adulting’ as we begin to search for paid internships and full time jobs, but really we aren’t in the adult world yet.” 

Perhaps college students and recent grads use this idea to help distance them from those who are fully immersed in the adult world. Merlis continued, “I have an internship now but I’m still working towards getting my degree, so in a sense I’m not an adult. I don’t work 9-5 or have benefits and 2 weeks of paid vacation time. So I like using the term because I can connect with those in the real world, without actually becoming a part of it myself.” 

While some find the phrase to be comical and harmless, others blatantly disagree. Junior nursing student, Shaheen Grajeda rejects this notion of adulting, having stated “I really dislike hearing people use this term all the time, especially over stupid things. My friends will go grocery shopping or pay bills and say ‘I hate adulting,’ or ‘I can’t adult today,’ and it’s frustrating because these are just everyday occurrences. She continued, “I think in a sense it glorifies the idea of growing up, because people use it as to show off that they can do things on their own.”

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How Businesses Get Away with Lying to Us

brands top global brands v3There are 10 corporations that control just about every product you own. Kraft, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestle, Proctor and Gamble, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, Unilever, and Johnson & Johnson are the sole organizations responsible for marketing and distributing what the general public views as the products of hundreds of other companies. These 10 corporations basically run the entire market—and we blindly allow them to, without doubting the ethics of these huge businesses swallowing up everything in their paths.

Recently, a study from JAMA International Medicine revealed one of the secrets of a group aligned with big sugary drink and candy businesses, the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF). Dr. Cristin Kearns dug through boxes of letters in Harvard library’s basement to reveal that two of Harvard’s researchers were paid off by a group called the SRF to counter research that linked sugar to coronary disease. This unethical incident may have occurred 40 years ago, but this is not a trend that is buried in the past. John Maurer, junior communication student, said “Businesses that have been around for a while and have a lot of money can be suspicious. Having money means you can do powerful things.”

In 2012, Coca Cola provided $1.5 million dollars to Global Energy Balance Network, a group aiming to spread the message that people should focus less on counting calories, and focus solely on exercise. Another big corporation, Nestle, saw this donation as a way to take a dig at the competition, telling the New York Times that the agenda of Coca-Cola was clearly to get researchers to deflect attention from dietary intake by confusing the science to the public.

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The Truth About Following Your Passion

Following Your PassionEveryone has heard the phrase "If you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life." We all want a life filled with doing what we love, but we also want a life where our wallets are filled with money.  Unfortunately for the current generation of college graduates, the fear of not being able to afford to live on your own and start your own family is very real, and plays a big role in what these students major in and how they plan their future.

People tend to be worried that they will be miserable if they are stuck working a job that they do not love, but they are also worried that what they love will not be able to provide a steady living for them.

Ryan Tetro, an instructor of political science and sociology, just began his full-time position as a professor this fall, after working as an adjunct professor and a full time attorney. Tetro is a Monmouth graduate and always believed during his time here that law was something he wanted to practice as a career. Tetro reached out to his old advisor Dr. Joseph Patten,an associate professor of political science and sociology.

"I emailed him [Patten] in the fall of 2014 and told him I didn't love what I was doing and asked him if there was anything else I could do,” Tetro explained.  "He had always given me great advice when I was a student here, and told me I should consider teaching."

Tetro began teaching as an adjunct professor here at Monmouth in the fall of 2015. He still worked at his firm, but was always excited to come to class and see his american government students. "I had a Tuesday and Friday morning class that fall and I swear I was never more excited for the weekend to end so I could go back to my class on Tuesday!" Tetro remembered.

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Starting a Business as a College Student

Business As College Student 1Starting your own business and being a college student sounds nearly impossible. Who has time for that when it's a struggle finding time to grab Rook iced coffee between classes? For me, I had to start finding time, because I came up with a small business idea in June that blew up more than I ever anticipated.

One day over the summer, I was browsing online for necklaces when I noticed everything I liked was totally overpriced. I didn’t want to buy a piece of string with a gem on it for $30. Then, I realized that I could easily make my own necklaces and accessories.

ABC's hit TV show "Shark Tank" is a show I watch constantly, which subconsciously taught me a lot about how to succeed as an entrepreneur. It can be challenging starting a business as a college student, but with hard work and creativity, anyone could do it.

Finding the courage to begin is a tough part for many young adults with a big idea. Alan Fazzari, Instructor of Management and Decision Sciences, offered the following advice to budding businessmen and women: “Follow your passion, don’t be afraid, because fear is not a part of being an entrepreneur,”

The first step is testing the market. I went to the arts and craft store and bought a small amount of jewelry supplies. With trial and error, I made a few chokers and a few necklace wraps, then advertised them on my personal Twitter account. If no one showed interest, I would have just kept the necklaces for myself. But luckily, I had a lot of responses of people asking where they could get one and for how much.

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Uber Everywhere (Without a Driver)

Uber No Driver 1When many of us think about the future of technology, innovation and the year 3000, we paint a picture with cars flying sky high above the ground. But even in the most elaborate visions of future technologies, most people also picture a driver operating those sky-high vehicles. While neither Google nor Uber are trying their hand at creating a flying car, they are coming up with the next best thing – a driverless one.

Uber is currently test-driving self-operating vehicles in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and are inviting passengers to come along for the ride. For many, the idea of getting into a car without a licensed driver is worrisome, but others believe this is the next big step for our society and will revolutionize the way we get around. John Morano,a professor of communication, isn’t planning on hopping into a driverless car anytime soon. “I’m not sure I would trust this technology just yet; rather than be a Guiana pig, I’ll stick with driving myself around,” Morano explained. “But when I’m in my 80’s and when this technology isn’t so new, I’ll be thrilled to be in a self-driving car so I can still go places and do things when I can’t drive myself.”

Although the creation of self-driving cars is controversial, there are many benefits for both the passengers and companies taking advantage of this advanced technology. Driverless cars and robots will help to reduce congestion on roadways as the “Domino’s Robotic Unit” operates only on sidewalks and bicycle paths to deliver contents and reach its destination. This four-wheeled robot navigates its way through bustling towns and cities using GPS and lasers, while maintaining a steady speed of twelve miles an hour. This bot is also equipped with cameras to keep vandals and pizza thieves away from stealing its costumer’s food and beverage. Upon arrival, the robotic unit will stop in front of the designated address and wait as the hungry customer enters a four-digit code to gain access to their lunch, dinner or late night snack. Through the use of domino’s pizza bot, we can cut down on the amount of cars on the road and reduce traffic in suburban areas.

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Have We Become Numb to the Homeless?

Numb To The Homeless 1Over the summer I was frequently in and out of cities all across the country. As I walked through the hustle and bustle of each city, a common pattern came to mind. We, as a society, have turned a blind eye to the homeless. I decided to test this “pattern” out. Last week while I was in New York City I walked to Bryant park and sat. I people watched, you could say. On each corner of Bryant park there are a few homeless men, women, children and dogs just laying with cardboard signs explaining how they got there. Some say veterans, some are business men beaten down by this economy and some are mothers. Person after person passed by without a blink of an eye.

 I liked to call this the numbing bystander effect (NBE). Thousands of people walk by each of these homeless men, women and children every day and they are aware of these people, but we walk by. We all take part in the NBE—you look at your phone, at your shoes, you talk to the person next to you just to avoid that split second of eye contact with a destitute beggar on the ground. The NBE is a social psychological phenomenon where people will refuse to provide aid to a victim when other people are present. The less people there are, the more likely you are to jump in and help.

In urban areas, there are so many people around, that we all think “Oh, I’m sure someone else is helping them, they have to be, right?” The answer is no. We need to break the cycle. We cannot turn away. We cannot look down. We are the problem. People love to ask the question, “What is wrong with the world?” Well I am, we are. The problem will not disappear without us. We cannot merely dream of the solution. We must be the solution.

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Pageants: The Importance of Beauty and Brains

Pageants 1When people think of beauty pageants, the first thing that comes to mind is girls up on stage, decked out in their best attire with their makeup and hair expertly styled. On the other hand, some people take notice of the hard work, dedication, and preparation that goes into these events. The talk about pageants is so intriguing due to the multiple views associated with them—do they objectify women and showcase them as just pretty objects? Or, do they pro-vide women a platform for empowerment?

Eleanor Novek, Professor of Communication, points out that a big aspect of beauty pageants comes from the name itself: beauty. “Unfortunately, the primary emphasis of a beauty pageant is physical beauty,” she explains. “So young women who might otherwise spend time excelling in sports, or doing science experiments, or writing a novel, or becoming a musician, or traveling and learning about other languages and cultures, or developing their talents through other ways, instead spend the majority of their spare time and energy on their outward appear-ance.” Beauty pageants have been shown to lower young women’s self-esteem, which can lead to plastic surgery and eating disorders.

A big issue in our society is the notion of physical appearance, especially that of women and their femininity. Women and young girls care more about their looks, how skinny and fit they are, and what their hair and makeup look like. The pressure to look like the girls on stage when you’re watching Miss America on TV can affect a lot of girls negatively. However, there are positive aspects to these pageants that viewers might not realize.

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From the Runway to Real Life

AXID STG 1J.Crew made a bold statement at this years New York Fashion Week as their models stole the spotlight from the clothing everyone was there to see. This New York brand decided to ditch the pro-fessional models and use the everyday woman, man and child to present its new line to the public. Staffers, friends and family members of J.Crew were featured on the runway to model the clothing in an attempt to create an effortless, relatable and relaxed feel for J.Crew as a fashion company.

A diverse group of non-professional models were seen walking up and down the runway in J.Crew’s latest apparel. The everyday models were a diverse group of people with different skin tones, body shapes and sizes. This “normal people” notion created a brand so relat-able that people watching were able to picture themselves in the clothes, as there wasn’t one standard of unrealistic beauty. Jennifer Shamrock, a Lecturer in the Communication department, comments on the use of real models during this runway: “This is really a move in the right direc-tion for our society. It’s great to hear that the fashion industry is becoming more inclusive and appreciative of different body types in their runways. I think as a society we need to move away from one unrealistic body standard and this is really where it’s going to begin.”

By using everyday people to model their clothes, J.Crew empowered their audience to embrace their uniqueness and helped bridge the gap between the runway and the checkout line. J.Crew sent New York Fashion Week viewers a powerful message that we shouldn’t conform to one stand-ard of beauty and everyone should be celebrated. Stephanie Merlis, a senior business student, re-marks “I think it’s great that J.Crew didn’t use professional models in their run-way during Fashion Week. It helps create a more personable brand and typical beauty stand-ards.”

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Robbie Panasuk: On and Off the Court

Robbie PanasukWhen you’re sitting in the stands for a basketball game, cheering and screaming for the Hawks to destroy the other team (especially Iona) you’ve probably seen Robbie Panasuk standing on the sidelines. Or, maybe you recognize him from the HERO Designated Driving Campaign billboard on Route 35, or you saw him and other members of the basketball team on stage last spring in Zeta Tau Alpha’s philanthropy event, Big Man on Campus. But who is the manager of the basketball team, really? Is he actually 30 years old like everyone says he is? Today, we’ll find out more about the guy with the Minions backpack who sometimes is referred to as “Ruber.”

After attending one year of college in Virginia, Robbie took a semester off before his family decid-ed to move back to New Jersey. “I stayed behind which was not a good choice on my part,” Robbie remembered.  “I thought I was ready to be an adult; I wasn’t.” So, he moved back to New Jersey, put in one semester at Ocean County Community College, and then applied to Monmouth, thanks to the recommendation of his uncle, a former Monmouth football coach. When he told me this, I squinted in suspicion. “Didn’t you drop out of Princeton,” I ask him? He laughed at me. “I bought a Princeton sweater at TJ Maxx and wear it around and tell people I transferred from there because I am a liar and that’s what I do.”

Robbie is definitely someone who doesn’t paint himself in a serious light. He’s ea-ger to joke around, whether it be around his friends or onstage in Greek events. He participated in Big Man on Campus twice, and ended up winning his second time around. “I like to believe that I can be decently funny,” he says when asked about his winning strategy. “And making people laugh is something I like to do as often as possible.”

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Confessions of a Broke College Student

Broke College StudentWhen we start college, we are excited to make new friends and have a good time in a new place; however, you slowly start to realize when you get to college you have to start “adulting,”. Our parents are not around anymore to do our laundry, cook meals for us, or buy us what we need. These college years often challenge young people and really put their “adulting” skills to the test. Finances are one of the hardest things for a college student to maintain and get a real grasp of. Many students are taking a full class load and do not have time for a job.

Or, even if they have a job, they cannot work as many hours since they’re juggling a million responsibilities. Often college students have to decide between buying textbooks, purchasing food, or having a social life. While it may seem obvious to choose food, college students want to experience college to the fullest while still getting acceptable grades and not collapsing of starvation.

The classic joke is that the college student’s diet consists of only Ramen noodles. While that may not exactly be the case, there is some truth to it. Andrew Jackle, a senior music industry student, said “Freshman and sophomore year especially, I ate so many microwavable meals because I would just get tired of the dining hall sometimes.” Students cannot afford and often do not even have the resources to make good quality meals.

Kelly Currie, and senior art student advised, “Whenever I can, I try to go home and get leftovers from my mom just so I can have a good meal.” We all know that at one point or another, we have gone to an event on-campus just because they offered free food. Currie continued, “I remember last year I really wanted to go to the ‘Paint Night’ on campus in the Rebecca Stratford Student Center, but I wasn’t sure if I could make it… until I heard there was free food, then I was totally in!”

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The Importance of Excelling at Your Internship

Internship ImportanceInternships give students an opportunity to experience what a job in their career field would be like. They provide the individual with a taste of their future, enabling them to see if they enjoy what that major has to offer, and if not, internships can lead to students changing their minds about a career field. Internships are a great thing to have on a resume as well, showing employers what you projects you have accomplished and skills you have honed.

Toni Taranto, a senior sports communication student, had an internship with the New York Jets football team. A few days after Taranto submitted her application, she received a phone call and was invited to a group interview at the Jets facility. “Being involved with a group interview was a different, yet cool experience. I have never been to a group interview before, but it gave an insight to other people, their opinions, and what they had to say,” she said. 

Taranto is a huge sports fan with a passion for football, making her internship more enjoyable. She worked in the training camps alongside the NFL players. Every Sunday home game, Taranto would be on the sidelines, working the game, getting the crowd hyped, and assisting the team with anything they needed.

Yazmin Rodriguez, a senior communication student, also had a valuable internship this summer working for "The Chew".

“I think that internships are a great thing to complete. I enjoyed my internship, but at the same time, I learned things about myself,” Rodriguez pointed out. “I discovered that there are some aspects of the field that I just do not enjoy. I am happy that I figured that out and had the chance to, sooner rather than lat-er.”

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How to Make the Most of Your Freshman Year

Freshman YearThe transition into college is a tough one for a lot of new students. High school doesn’t teach you a lot about the balance of a college workload and maintaining the trifecta of mental health, good grades, and a fulfilling so-cial life. College is a whole new world where suddenly a new independence is thrust upon you, and you can handle that freedom in whichever way you desire. While you may enter Monmouth afraid of making friends, managing your time, or fitting in in this big sea of new people, every other student has been there before. If you are a new student reading this article, then get ready for some weight to be lifted off your shoulders. A range of upperclassmen are here to provide their insights into the freshmen year struggle and how to make the most of your new beginning.

One of the biggest things freshmen stress out about is managing their time. Justin Robinson, a senior communica-tion student, recalls being nervous about the balance of homework and other commitments. “The biggest thing I was stressed out about was definitely time management,” he said. “Understand that your parents aren’t here, and you’re completely responsible for everything. Its all on you now.”

While the workload can seem overwhelming at first, there are many ways to utilize your time effectively and stay on track. “Have a calendar with you at all times!” recommended Bianca DiPreta, a sophomore health studies student. Maintaining a day planner, setting aside certain hours each week for focusing on studying, and meet-ing up with classmates to work together are just a few tactics to keep up with assignments without getting in over your head.

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Truths About Moving to the Other Side of the World

Australia KoalaWith my passport in one hand and my GoPro in the other, I walked on the plane with the mindset that four months abroad would be the best time of my 20-year-old life. I had never been out of the country before, so why not begin with being 10,000 miles away from my comfort zone? After years of dreaming, months of packing, and weeks stressing, I finally embarked on my journey across the world to Sydney, Australia with my best friend by my side.

First impressions are crucial, and to be frank, my first impression of Sydney was awful. Not because of the scenery or the culture, but because adjusting to living in a new country and the fourteen-hour time difference was a form of torture that I never knew existed. Homesickness formed like a cloud over my head and rained on me everywhere I went. To say I felt like an outcast was an understatement. While everyone went out to explore our new home, I was on the phone with my mom making arrangements to go back to my home. My family supported my feelings and said I could back, but coaxed me to give it a “real” try. Meanwhile, I had already decided that I was heading back to America as soon as humanly possible.

I contacted Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Director Colleen Johnson, who is also my advisor, rationalizing on why I wanted—needed— to come back so badly. She told me, “You are in Australia – learning a new culture, seeing new sights, growing as a person. Think about it and be thankful.” She was the one person who was stern with me and really pushed me to stay. Looking back, I didn’t know how badly I needed that push.

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We’ve Got No Time For Getting Old

Senior Goodbye 1I’ve been waiting to write this goodbye since I started in The Outlook as a freshman, so you’d think that I would have had some idea of how to start this by now. I honestly have no words of wisdom, no great advice, and nothing inspirational to share with anyone bored enough to read through this whole thing.

I do, however, have a lot of people to thank for making my time at college everything that it was, so I won’t waste any time getting to the point.

Mom and Dad, I don’t even know where to start. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn, live, and grow at a place as beautiful as Monmouth. Thank you for allowing me to travel the world and experience life in a way that I never thought possible. Thank you for showing me unconditional love and support, even after you figured out that me moving back home after graduation is not what I would consider to be an ideal situation. You both have given me literally everything I could ever ask for and then some, so thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you.

To Morgan, my little sister – the person that I love the most in this world – thank you for always being my cheerleader, my rock, my best friend. You inspire me every day to be a better version of myself and I truly could not imagine my life without you. I am eternally grateful that you chose Monmouth, not just because you always let me steal your meal swipes, but because being able to watch you grow during your first year here has been the ultimate treat. You make me proud always.

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Living With a 24/7 Bully

Samantha CaramelaSamantha Caramela is constantly bullying herself. Every day and night since she was a little girl, this “24/7 bully” inside Caramela has been telling her that she is selfish, a harm to others, and that she doesn’t deserve love. This bully is making Caramela fear herself consistently, but Caramela is finding a way to defend herself. This bully is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

“Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder of the brain and behavior, causing severe anxiety and involving obsessions and compulsions that take a lot of time and get in the way of important activities the person values,” according to the International OCD Foundation.

Samantha is affected by obsessions, which are thoughts that occur out of her control on a daily basis. Her scariest obsessions are triggered by circumstances, big or small. At a young age, one of her triggers was throwing up, while another was the thought of a family member’s death.

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Graduate Studies Spotlight: History and Anthropology

With a growing demand in the current job market for men and women with skills revolving around history and anthropology, the University’s graduate programs for each of these fields provide students with just the right amount of experience both inside and outside of the classroom to help them get to where they want to be after they earn their degree.

With students who have ended up working for the National Park Service, the American Red Cross, the American Museum of Natural History, the Port Authority, and a number of other various state and county agencies, it is clear that the University’s History and Anthropology programs are the perfect way for students to prepare themselves for the real world.

“Students leave with research, writing, and critical thinking skills,” said Richard Veit, Chair of the History and Anthropology Department at the University. He continued to explain that although most classes in the program are small seminars, many hands-on courses are also offered to the students enrolled, particularly those that are focusing on archaeology.

There is an Ancient Technology class, for example, in which students recreate ancient technologies, “from fire and flintknapping to plowing with mules and shearing sheep,” said Veit. Experiences like those offered by that class in particular create a clear picture of the kind of work that students will be conducting after they graduate.

Those involved in the Anthropology program also “learn how to use geographic information systems (GIS, a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on Earth’s surface), address anthropological questions, how to carry out ethnographic fieldwork, and for those who are archaeologically inclined, they learn the lab and field skills necessary to secure a job in cultural resource management,” Veit explained.

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University Students Visit Guatemala for Class

MU Students GuatemalaIt was truly an amazing experience to go to Guatemala and immerse myself in a new culture. Five University students, including myself, who were enrolled in Dr. Chris Hirschler’s Guatemala Public Health course, traveled to Guatemala to educate the Las Amigas, rural communities, and children in the area. The Las Amigas are men and women from rural areas who are trained to promote good health in their communities that are connected to Salud y Paz.

Salud y Paz is a clinic in Guatemala that was started by an American dentist when he saw how poor most Guatemalans’ oral hygiene was. Now, Salud y Paz has grown and is serving the people of Guatemala at a low cost due to donations, volunteers, and spreading the word.

Katie Slage is the community health and surgery coordinator at Salud y Paz. She has been working with the clinic for almost three years now. When I asked her how she got started with this project, it seemed like fate. Katie said she was working as a registered nurse in Florida and began to hate her job. She wasn’t sure what her next move would be, and then her friend said she was going to Guatemala for three months to explore and jump into a new culture.

While she was there, she ran into the community health coordinator of Salud y Paz, Heather. It didn’t take much to convince Katie to take over Heather’s job. Heather was there visiting the clinic when we were there, as she frequently returns even though she is not a full-time employee there anymore.

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Graduate Studies Spotlight: Speech-Language Pathology

It was truly an amazing experience to go to Guatemala and immerse myself in a new culture. Five University students, including myself, who were enrolled in Dr. Chris Hirschler’s Guatemala Public Health course, traveled to Guatemala to educate the Las Amigas, rural communities, and children in the area. The Las Amigas are men and women from rural areas who are trained to promote good health in their communities that are connected to Salud y Paz.

Salud y Paz is a clinic in Guatemala that was started by an American dentist when he saw how poor most Guatemalans’ oral hygiene was. Now, Salud y Paz has grown and is serving the people of Guatemala at a low cost due to donations, volunteers, and spreading the word.

Katie Slage is the community health and surgery coordinator at Salud y Paz. She has been working with the clinic for almost three years now. When I asked her how she got started with this project, it seemed like fate. Katie said she was working as a registered nurse in Florida and began to hate her job. She wasn’t sure what her next move would be, and then her friend said she was going to Guatemala for three months to explore and jump into a new culture.

While she was there, she ran into the community health coordinator of Salud y Paz, Heather. It didn’t take much to convince Katie to take over Heather’s job. Heather was there visiting the clinic when we were there, as she frequently returns even though she is not a full-time employee there anymore.

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Lisa: The Seeing Eye Pup in Training

Seeing Eye Lisa TrainingIt’s early in the morning and little paws are running around the backyard and being walked down the street in preparation for a long day ahead. These little paws belong to Seeing Eye dog in training, Lisa Kretsch.

Lisa needs plenty of activity in the morning if she will be spending the day at the University with her trainer, Chair of the Computer Science and Software Engineering Department, Jamie Kretsch. Her next few morning routine steps include breakfast, picking a Seeing Eye vest or scarf, and saying goodbye to her brother Buddy and sister Enya at home.

When at the University, she recognizes many faces of her “special friends” on campus, including many people from the Computer Science and Software Engineering Department, the Math Department, and First Year Advising.

Lisa is currently 11 months old and will be staying with Kretsch until she is one year old; Kretsch has plenty of experience in training dogs for The Seeing Eye; Lisa is the fourth dog that Kretsch has raised for the cause. Kretsch is a leader for the Monmouth County Seeing Eye Club and has been a participant in puppy raising for the society since 2003.

Being that Kretsch has been exposed to many different dogs in training and is in contact with canine graduates of the program, it is safe to say that when she says that Lisa’s progress is beautiful, we can take her word for it.

“She handles everything with utmost poise and dignity; she’s amazing,” Kretsch gushed about Lisa’s progress. “Lisa is gentle and seems to understand what appropriate behavior would be necessary for where she is,” continued Kretsch.

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Holly Migliaccio’s Quest for Happiness Leads to Rook Coffee

Rook CoffeeA coffee lover can walk into any of the 10 locations with the prestigiously known black crow imprinted on the doorway as they are hit with the positively potent aroma of brewing coffee infused with a bit of charisma and joy.

Rook, the popular local brand of coffee that can be commonly found in the hands of University students at any time during the day, belongs to the entrepreneurial visionary, Holly Migliaccio. Migliaccio, the co-founder and owner of Rook Coffee, said that Rook focuses on three aspects: quality, simplicity, and experience.

“We are constantly trying to get the product to be better and better and better,” Migliaccio said. “We want to make sure that its product is always at its best.” Not only does Migliaccio and her business partner and co-founder of Rook, Shawn Kingsley, focus on quality coffee, but they also emphasize the importance of quality relationships with their customers and even the farmers who supply the coffee beans.

Migliaccio believes that staying focused as business owners on exactly what they are good at is key in terms of simplicity. “We are good at coffee,” Migiaccio said. “It’s a very, very simple process. It’s all about Rook, all about the coffee, all about the conversation.”

Migliaccio and Kingsley do not wholesale their coffee even though they receive hundreds upon hundreds of requests for its vending in grocery stores, restaurants, etcetera. “We are good at serving a cup of coffee over the counter in a retail setting. We want to open more stores, spread our footprint, and do what we know how to do.”

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Capturing Moments and Recognition: One MU Student’s Photographic Legacy

Jackson 1When the Monmouth Hawks host a sporting event at one of their facilities in West Long Branch, NJ, there are a few staples; these include Shadow the Hawk hyping up the crowd, cheering fans waving blue and white flags, and Taylor Jackson holding a camera. The 21-year-old photography major from Westtown, NY is the official photographer for Monmouth Athletics.

Prior to Jackson’s arrival at the University, the school’s photographer, whose responsibilities included documenting all events occurring on campus, served as the primary person to collect photos for MU Athletics. However, due to a busy schedule, he would only be available to document certain sporting events.

Therefore, the University’s Assistant Athletics Director, Eddy Occhipinti, was interested in hiring a photographer to document games and assist with marketing efforts.

After meeting Jackson at a job fair in 2012, Occhipinti decided to create a new position: Monmouth Athletics photographer. “Thankfully, Taylor wanted to expand her role with us and got into shooting our games both at home and on the road,” he said.

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Inspired by Ireland, Fueled By Coffee

WMCX Taste IrelandThe traditional Irish proverb, “giorraionn beirt bothar,” translated as, “two people shorten a road,” means that companionship makes time fly, and is a truth that Irish Coffee Radio hosts Jamie Griffin and Elizabeth White live by. Together, the two friends spend Saturday mornings from 10 to 12 on the University’s WMCX radio station playing Irish music and chatting about all things Irish, from the poetry of William Butler Yeats to what the colors green and orange represent.

“For this particular show, you have to be into Irish culture, history and Ireland itself,” said Jamie, “otherwise, you wouldn’t know what we’re talking about, or the meanings behind certain songs.” Jamie, a senior elementary education and history student with a minor in Irish studies, has family in Ireland and even speaks the Gaelic language. “My dad’s parents only moved here in 1948, so it hasn’t been a long time since my family left Ireland. I have two aunts that still live in Ireland,” said Jamie, “but they’re nuns, so they probably don’t listen to our show,” she joked.

“Jamie’s family is a lot more connected to Ireland than my family,” conceded Elizabeth, “but we’re both Irish. My family came to America from County Cork during the Irish Potato Famine and never left.” Irish Coffee Radio not only connects Jamie and Elizabeth to their Irish heritages, but also gives them a greater appreciation of their own cultures.

“Doing the show made me appreciate my heritage more, and it made me appreciate my culture. I’m an Irish American, and I didn’t realize how Irish I was raised until I did the show and realized I can relate to all these songs about Irish culture,” said Elizabeth, as Jamie fervently agreed.

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The Tale of Godzilla Boy

Godzilla BoyWith a purposeful grimace and a terrible sound, a 4-year-old boy fashions his hands into claws and jumps up and down. The young boy has nothing but an old Godzilla t-shirt on and Spaghettio sauce dripping from the corners of his mouth. He watches gleefully as Godzilla rampages through the streets of Tokyo, knocking over buildings and stepping on innocent civilians. The boy mimics Godzilla’s walk and suddenly lets out a ferocious roar that would put Godzilla himself to shame.

This little boy is now 25, yet still has a child-like obsession with the King of the Monsters. My brother, Ian, has loved Godzilla for as long as I have known.  Before I could even walk, I knew who Godzilla was thanks to him.

Our mother, Bonnie, said, “At first he was afraid of them and he wouldn’t watch it with me. He would watch it in another room, stand there and just look. Then, he would get closer, and closer, and closer until he was right next to me.”

As Ian grew older, his obsession with Godzilla grew to gargantuan proportions just like the beast that fascinated him. “He had me tell him everything about Godzilla,” Bonnie said, “then, he wanted a toy. Then, he got an 8-pack of all the big monsters. That led to more, and more, and more.”

Ian would play his old Godzilla VHS tapes over and over until the images of monsters fighting was embedded into our whole family’s brains. Ian, who has special needs, has always responded to science fiction and action on television and video games. “He liked every time the monsters would fight and destroy. Godzilla’s roar and fire hooked him,” said Bonnie.

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The Life of a Backstage Rockstar

Monmouth Alum Works Behind the Scenes for Billy Joel

MU Alum Billy JoelThe lights dim, the crowd roars, the band walks out on stage. The speakers erupt with the sounds of guitar and drums, and the show finally begins. Mesmerized by the performance in front of them, concertgoers in the audience think nothing of the people behind the scenes who are working the lights, the sound, and the special effects being played on the screen behind the band; people like Kaitlyn Baklarz, who could easily be considered artists themselves.

Baklarz is an employee of Live Nation Entertainment, an American entertainment company that owns, leases, and operates a number of entertainment venues around the country. She works as a stagehand at PNC Bank Arts Center during the summer, and occasionally as an Assistant Dressing Room Coordinator for concerts at the Prudential Center, Barclays, Izod, and Madison Square Garden, where she is currently working on the Billy Joel Tour.

“I’ve grown up in the industry since birth as my uncles and dad are in it as well,” Baklarz said. Her uncle works as the lead rigger at PNC Bank Arts Center, her grandfather started working at the venue when it first opened, and her dad is the Steward of Local 536, a union within The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States. “That’s three generations,” Baklarz said.

As a stagehand, Baklarz is one of the many people responsible for setting up the stage for whichever artist is performing; just about everything necessary to put on a show except the artist themselves is handled and put into place by Baklarz.

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“Blackfish” Creator Surprised by SeaWorld Changes

It should have been fun - sitting in the Splash Zone at SeaWorld’s Shamu stadium with her two sons, watching killer whales perform impressive tricks. Instead, Gabriela Cowperthwaite felt a pit in her stomach. Seeing whales up-close in captivity made her uneasy. So she began looking into the theme park, working on a documentary called “Blackfish” - a 2013 film that would ultimately shift the way the public viewed the multibillion-dollar corporation too.

Just three years after the release of “Blackfish,” SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby announced Thursday in an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times that the company would stop breeding orcas this year. That means that the 29 killer whales currently owned by the theme park will be the last to swim in SeaWorld tanks. The remaining orcas will live out the remainder of their lives at the company’s three SeaWorld-branded parks in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego but will not perform in theatrical shows by 2019.

“We are proud of contributing to the evolving understanding of one of the world’s largest marine mammals,” Manby wrote. “Now we need to respond to the attitudinal change that we helped to create.”

Though Manby made no reference to “Blackfish” in his op-ed, the film was largely responsible for that “attitudinal change.” The documentary was released in theaters in July 2013 and went on to gross $2.1 million. But the film really began to make waves after it aired in October of that year on CNN, where the movie has since been broadcast more than 30 times and been seen by nearly 30 million viewers, according to the cable network.

“It’s exceedingly rare to see this kind of result,” said Amy Entelis, the co-founder of CNN Films, which acquired “Blackfish” at Sundance in January 2013. “There are a lot of good stories out there, but they don’t always see the final chapter that Gabriela is seeing at this point. We’ve had other documentaries about Steve Jobs and Glen Campbell attract many viewers during their premieres, but ‘Blackfish’ endures even after multiple viewings. It’s had a deeper impact and has been seen by far more people.”

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Fighting the Stigma: Raising Awareness of Endometriosis

Fighting Stigma EndometriosisMarch is Endometriosis Awareness Month and organizations such as the Endometriosis Foundation of America have been working hard to bring awareness to this medical condition.

According to the Endometriosis Foundation of America, endometriosis can be defined as, “when tissue similar to the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) is found outside the uterus on other parts of the body.”

It affects an estimated 6.3 million women and girls in the U.S., about 176 million women worldwide, and is found in one in 10 women on average. Due to lack of knowledge about the disease by both doctors and patients, the average diagnosis period for women with endometriosis is 10 years in the U.S.

Often, women are not taken seriously or are misdiagnosed, leading to a delay in the proper diagnosis. There is little known about the disease and there is no cure; even a hysterectomy will not relieve a patient of their symptoms.

One of the key elements in achieving awareness to this disease is eliminating the stigma that is associated with talking about a woman’s period. Women are expected to keep quiet about their periods and to suffer through their monthly pain quietly. They are expected to continue to go to work, school, and social events and act as if nothing is troubling them.

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Mythbusters: Monmouth Edition

Mythbusters MonmouhtThe University has about 4,600 undergraduate and a few thousand graduate students enrolled in various programs. Each has heard, repeated, or believed a few myths that the school seems to be popular for. From the golf carts, to landscaping, to a possible ghost, everyone has had an experience and a hard time depicting reality from myth.

Golf carts are envied by many as they drive around campus on rainy, cold, windy days, and even the hot, sweaty ones. Sometimes, the carts sneak up and scare from behind, or the driver looks as if they are going on a joyride, while others become extremely close to hitting innocent people strolling along. There have been rumors that if a golf cart hits someone, it results in them receiving free tuition. 

Not to disappoint anyone, but even if a student got hit, suffered the pain and even received surgery, tuition would still be paid out of their own pocket. Kaitlyn Jones, a junior health studies student, is one of countless students who has heard this myth, but when she brought it up to one of the faculty members she was proven wrong.

Jones said, “My professor laughed in my face. If anyone were to get hit by a golf cart, they would still have to pay to attend Monmouth. Trust me, if this was true I would have dodged in front of a cart on my first day here my freshman year.” Sadly, there is no easy way to attend this University for free, so please do not try to dive in the path of a cart because it definitely is not worth it.

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Celebrate Women’s History This Month

Women History MonthIn his address to the nation in March of 1980, American President Jimmy Carter stated, “From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.”

Women, ever since (and perhaps even before) the first foreign settlers came to America’s shores, have made giant strides and achievements in overcoming gender inequality through their various contributions to American society. However, how the month of March came to be celebrated and designated as Women’s History Month is quite an interesting story in and of itself.

It all began in the year 1981 when Congress passed Pub. L. 97-28, which authorized and requested that the President proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as “Women’s History Week.” Congress continued to do the same for the next five years.

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Graduate Studies Spotlight: Public Policy

Grad Studies PolicyAs a part of the Department of Political Science and Sociology, the University’s Public Policy graduate program provides students with the opportunity to advance their knowledge in this particular field of government and law from both inside and outside the classroom.

This 30 credit program is one that prepares students for careers in policy analysis and public service, according to the University’s website. Courses such as Policy Analysis, Research Methods, Research Design and Theory, and Policy and Ethics “offer the foundations for students interested in understanding, framing, and analyzing policy,” said Stephen Chapman, Director of the Public Policy program at the University.

A practicum course is also required for those enrolled in the program, meaning that it is necessary for students to participate in real-world policy settings outside of the classroom in order to earn their degree.

“This not only builds a student’s resume for employment following graduation, but it gives them hands-on experience in a policy-related position,” commented Chapman.

“I really enjoy all of the classes that I take because I get to either understand the policy process a little more or I get to learn some practical, analytical tools for doing work in the policy area,” said Susan Pagano, a current Public Policy student at the University.

She is currently taking classes that focus on theory, ethics, political analysis, and research methods.

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“About-Face” Fashion Show is a Celebration of All Sizes

Two weeks after glowering, stick-thin models strutted the runways at New York Fashion Week, San Francisco played host to a fashion show of a different kind.

Four women of varying sizes and modes of gender expression glided across a small stage, smiling and laughing as they happily modeled outfits that ranged from a flouncy, lime-green sundress by San Francisco retailer ModCloth to a classic masculine suit and tie, specifically fitted for the curves of a female body, by Oakland-based Saint Harridan.

The appreciative audience made up mostly of women at the Impact Hub San Francisco on Mission Street applauded between sips of wine and signature Campari cocktails.

The occasion was the annual Embody Awards, presented by About-Face, a nonprofit that works in Bay Area schools to improve girls’ self-esteem by challenging society’s unrealistic and unhealthy images of beauty. This year’s celebration came in the form of “Transforming Fashion,” an alternative fashion show to honor four groundbreaking Bay Area designers who are creating “inclusive, body positive” clothes.

“All our honorees are working to change fashion so that true self-expression is available to women and those born female-bodied,” said About-Face Executive Director Jennifer Berger. “We want girls and women to be free, and we want them to think for themselves and to dress as themselves, not someone else.”

The show is yet another sign that media portrayal of women is changing. It follows such recent headline-making moments as Mattel launching a new line of Barbies in different body types and skin tones and Sports Illustrated putting a plus-sized model on its cover.

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Uber May Pose More Risks Than One Thinks

Uber RisksWhen stuck in a situation where you have no way of getting home safely by yourself, you go for the quickest and cheapest option, which, as of now, would most likely be to call an Uber.

Uber has been getting a lot of publicity as of late because of various horror stories revolving around deranged drivers. Due to these recent situations, Uber users have been motioned to be more cautious about their driver choices.

It is important to know how someone becomes an Uber driver; there are only a few real requirements. According to their official website, in order to become a driver, one must meet the following conditions: Be at least 21 years of age, have a driver’s license, pass a background check, have a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License), have car insurance and registration, and have a car with a make of 2000 or newer.

The requirements are not as involved as they would be if one were to register to become a certified taxi or limo driver, but, nevertheless, Uber has become one of the most popular driving services of our generation.

Its cheap charges and convenience make it an easy option for people almost anywhere, especially college students. Because of its popularity, it isn’t uncommon to hear stories about everyone’s Uber drivers.

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It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know

Its Who You KnowAs a wise man, Justin Timberlake once said, “I think the first half of my twenties, I felt I had to achieve, achieve, achieve. A lot of men do this. I’m looking around now and I’m like, where am I running?”

So where are we running? And why are we all running so fast?

Because if we don’t sprint, we might lose out on a chance to be hired in today’s dog eat dog job market. Also, it has been drilled into our brains that we need to have a job lined up for us right out of college and a career path set in place.

As a senior, it feels like just yesterday that I received my letter of acceptance from the University, welcoming me to my home away from home and promising me an exciting four years.

Freshman and sophomore year seem like a blur, and junior year was over in a hot second. That summer, I realized senior year was here and that it would end quicker than I can eat a taco. I also learned that whenever you tell someone you’re a senior in college, they suddenly are so interested in what you plan to do with the rest of your life and what job interviews you have lined up.

The second senior year started, all everyone kept talking about was which job application they just finished submitting.

A common theme on most job applications is the question of whether or not you have any family members or friends working there and if you have any previous relationship to the company. This relationship is called an internship.

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Video Really Killed the Radio Star

Taylor Swift GrammysIt seems as if the music industry has been placing a much higher importance on image over true raw talent since the 1980s. The release of the first music video ever for “Video Killed the Radio Star” by Buggles in 1979 really depicts the message of how looks, style, and what you could see on video literally killed the radio star, or the musicians who could sing and had true talent. 

The reason for this shift could be the growth of technology. The 80s were a great time for technological advances and that decade has really shaped the technology we have today in the music business.

Joe Rapolla, Chair of the Music Department, said, “Technology has impacted the [music] business, like all businesses, over the last 150 years.”

Dave DePaola, a junior music industry student, explained, “I think the decade of the 80s was a turning point in music because of the emergence of new technologies for recording and production, as well as evolutions in music with the creation of new sub genres like glam metal, where the image was more important than the music.”

Bands like Poison, Mötley Crüe, and Def Leppard were some of the most well known glam metal bands and were the epitome of image focused musicians.

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MU Alum Finds Passion in Paint

Carly Long Painting 1Carly Long proudly walked across the PNC stage last May to accept her diploma from the University. Shortly after graduating, she moved to Arlington, VA to take a position at Sibley Memorial Hospital of Johns Hopkins Medicine. All this sounds like a typical path for a recent college graduate, however, Long has used all her spare time to run her own business.

Long has been commissioned by various clients to recreate photographs using a black and white paint palate. She has titled her company “Carlyal.”

“I began painting on photographs, using ones of myself that I had, asking others if I could use theirs to practice on,” Long said. “My mind was easily able to dissect the shadows and highlights of the piece - which should be painted black, which should be white.”

While at the University, Long studied journalism and public relations but never enrolled in an art course. In fact, she has only been painting for six months.

“I had always wanted to paint, but didn’t want to endure the immediate critique if I began with a class; therefore, I tried thinking of ways I could teach myself,” Long said. “That is how I came up with painting on photographs.”

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Are You There, Universe? It’s Me, Earth

NASA G WavesRecently, astronomers observed gravitational waves for the very first time, proving part of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity right: if there was a great astronomical collision, like two black holes, then the gravitational waves would echo throughout the universe, like a ripple in a giant pond.

These gravitational ripples finally reached us from millions and millions of light years away, where the collision actually took place, so we were finally able to officially confirm part of Einstein’s theory.

Now to the common man or woman, this does not seem particularly relevant or exciting unless you’re an astronomy buff. But the truth is actually quite different.

Many big discoveries in astronomy have more to do with us than we realize. Each and every discovery changes how we as members of the human race see the universe we live in.

It’s a sort of ‘big picture’ thinking, which allows for a renewed perspective on the world. If we think of the earth as a pond or tank, then we are all very tiny fish in a very large ocean. That’s why it’s important to be able to understand the different workings of the universe.

“The recent discovery of the gravitational waves predicted 100 years ago by Einstein is one of the most important discoveries of the 21st century,” said Gloria Brown-Simmons, an Adjunct Professor in the Chemistry and Physics Department.

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Major Key: The Potential Benefits of Entering an “Impractical” Academic Field

Does Practicality Outweigh Passion?

Impractical MajorsAs an education and history student, I hear all the time about how I will never make a decent amount of money. Growing up I was always told I should go into a field like law or nursing, where I could have a better salary. I’ve also heard countless times that if I was to be a teacher I should teach something more “important” like math or science as opposed to history.

There seems to be this idea that majors such as business, nursing and others of that nature are more practical in comparison to majors in the realm of  humanities like fine art, communication, and history.

Why is it that these majors have a reputation for not being useful in the real world?

Dave DePaola, a junior music industry and business management student, has a true love for playing music and would dream of being a professional musician. However, the idea that music isn’t a very practical field to enter is ultimately affecting his decision.

“I don’t expect to ever be successful professionally as a musician, and so working in the industry is the next best thing. I treat my business major as a practical supplement to my music industry major,” said DePaola.

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Nothing Comes Close to the Golden Coast

Golden Coast 1Oh, Los Angeles; your massive palm trees, sunny days, and laidback culture will be greatly missed by this Jersey girl. While waiting for my plane to depart from the LAX terminal, I felt the urge to abandon my flight and become a permanent California resident. But reality began to sink in and I realized that I would miss my friends, family and pork roll sandwiches.

The Garden State is the only place I have ever really felt at home. But to my surprise, after spending only a short amount of time in California, I began to feel as if I had found a new place to call home.

Robyn Asaro, the Assistant Director of Study Aboard, shared her thoughts on travel, “Traveling opens the heart and mind to new experiences, new relationships and a sense of awe that we often lose in everyday life.”

I went to California for the annual Associated Collegiate Press Journalism Convention and not only did I gain valuable knowledge for my craft, but I also had the opportunity to fall in love with the state and all of its beauty.

With my luck, upon my arrival it was raining in Los Angeles. My group and I tried to make the most out of the dreary day since the convention had yet to begin. The rain was on and off but we decided to load into cabs to travel to the famous Santa Monica Pier.

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Graduate Studies Spotlight: Corporate and Public Communication

After graduating with their Bachelor’s Degree, many students choose to take the next step in their academic careers by attending graduate school. While some will seek specific schools with certain programs, others will enroll in a degree program right here at the University.

Corporate and Public Communication (CPC) is just one of over 20 graduate studies programs that prospective students have the option of enrolling in at the University. By earning their Master’s in this particular field, “students will gain a competitive edge by mastering vital skills needed to analyze and produce effective messages for diverse audiences across multiple platforms,” according to the CPC informational brochure.

The program offers three different tracks, much like the undergraduate communication program offers varying clusters for students, including Public Relations and New Media, Human Resources Management, and Public Service Communication.

Students who earn their CPC degree are typically looking for jobs in the realm of public relations, health care, human resources, and marketing, among many other careers.

“I’m currently working as a marketing and media relations specialist. My position deals heavily with brand management, advertising, social media, and PR,” said Roxanne Belloni, a CPC alum. “The CPC program helped me to develop my writing and analytical skills, and also exposed me to different aspects of communications as a career.”

This 31-credit Master’s program can be completed in just four semesters, but students are also able to complete an 18-credit certificate program if they are not looking to earn another degree.

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Just One More Episode: The Dangers of Binge Watching

Dangers Binge WatchingIn today’s day and age, virtually anything we desire is available at the single touch of a button. Entire television series are accessible to our society as a result of online streaming sources like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. These streaming websites have caused a habitual and continuous viewing among users that is commonly known as “binge watching.”

Binge watching can be defined as watching a particular television show in rapid succession, without any breaks to engage in alternate activity. This has become extremely popular among millennials, particularly college students.

Online streaming websites like Netflix and Hulu are incredibly successful due to the fact that they let their users watch multiple episodes in progression. It’s very rare that a Netflix user would log on and watch only a single episode of their favorite television show because it has become such an addiction to continue streaming.

Binge watching shows and movies online has become so popular that college students would rather sit in front of their laptop or tablet instead of actually flipping through channels on a television. Binge watching is all about instant gratification, convenience, and the accessibility to multiple episodes in just one sitting. 

While binge watching your favorite show can be a fun way to leisurely pass time, there are many negative effects when it comes to this phenomenon.

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The University Celebrates Black History Month

MLK BHMAlthough winter is not officially over yet, during the month of February there is still cause for celebration in recognition of Black History Month. Black History Month is not only about acknowledging the achievements of black inventors or Civil Rights leaders, it encompasses culture, pride, patriotism and humanity - something that is inherently human.

 This year marked the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s visit to the University. King’s dream of disbanding segregation and embracing diversity was still not shared by everyone at the time.

In fact, his speech was not well received at the University when he spoke in front of a seemingly conservative audience, a majority of them white faculty and students, on Oct. 6, 1996. The issues that he spoke about concerning segregation, poverty, the racially motivated killings down South, and the Vietnam War touched a nerve that made some people uncomfortable.

Nevertheless, King’s speech and presence were both timeless. He transformed the University and established principles that deeply reverberate on campus to this day.

The words that he spoke during his visit were reminiscent of his “I Have a Dream” speech; revolutionary in so many ways that a plaque in Wilson Hall was made in honor of his historic stop in West Long Branch. Black History Month is about cementing a legacy, and Martin Luther King Jr. did that the day he spoke on this campus.

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Music Festivals Through the Ages

Music FestivalsWoodstock, Coachella, Firefly, Bonnaroo, Warped Tour, Governor’s Ball...the list goes on and on. Music festivals have always played a major role in the lives of many Americans, particularly the younger generations, but it seems that just as the culture has changed with the times, the meaning behind these melodic celebrations has also undergone some alterations.

“Music festivals have certainly evolved since I first remember them from the 1960s,” said Stuart Rosenberg, an Associate Professor of the Management and Decision Sciences who also teaches a class on the history of rock and roll.

“People think of the 1960s as the Woodstock generation, and the one music festival that helped commercialize the explosion of festivals to come in later decades was the Woodstock festival in the summer 1969,” he continued.

The Woodstock Music and Art Fair, referred to as “three days of peace and music,” was held in August of 1969 in White Lake, NY and is probably one of the most notorious music festivals in history.

Rosenberg explained how Woodstock was the first really big event that basically began the huge popularity of music festivals and made them a marketing tool.

“Music promoters could see the big business that these festivals could generate, and from the 1970s through today there are several festivals each year across the world that attract music fans of all genres,” he said.

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Early Birds vs. Night Owls

Early NightWhile Founding Father Benjamin Franklin once said, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise,” American journalist James Thurber claimed, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead.” If whether or not a person identifies as an early bird or a night owl also has the ability to determine the quality of their life, which one of these two men are we supposed to believe?

Everyone knows that getting enough sleep each night is crucial in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but for many college students a proper sleeping schedule is simply not possible. Between homework, extracurricular responsibilities, and opportunities to socialize, sleep is often hard to come by.

Because of their busy schedules, many young adults turn into nocturnal beings upon entering college, regardless of whether or not their sleeping habits aligned more with the thoughts of Franklin during their time in high school.

Alyssa Healey, a senior health studies student, claims that she has been a night owl her entire life. “I was always the last friend asleep at sleepovers,” she explained. “Now it still hasn’t changed and there is definitely homework involved.”

College students should get about six and a half to seven hours of sleep a night. Healey, however, typically averages about five hours, but feels as though she actually works best with less sleep than the ordinary person. “If those nights come where I truly get an excessive amount of sleep then I get groggy the next day,” she said.

Although this particular sleeping behavior may very well be true for some students, there are others who share the exact opposite experience.

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15 Student Musician Returns From Brief Hiatus

Student Musician HiatusOne rainy afternoon, I scampered to my car, leaping over puddles. I hopped in and stuck my key into the ignition. I plugged the auxiliary cable into my iPhone and pressed the power button on my dashboard. As I began driving towards West Long Branch, an array of acoustic medleys accompanied by soothing, smooth vocals permeated the air through my speakers.

I began to hum along to the song “2 Months 2 Early,” from an acoustic extended play (EP) known as “All in the Past,” as the sound of rain droplets pattered against my windshield.

After about five minutes of splashing through the saturated streets, I stopped my car in front of a brown paneled house. I ran up to the residence as quickly as possible so the writing materials inside my backpack would not get wet. Knock…Knock…Knock.

“Door’s open,” an occupant said. I stepped inside and found a man plucking the strings of a cedar colored guitar with a glistening finish reclined in an armchair while two other men, who appeared to be his housemates, sat on a couch.

As everyone greeted me, the man with the acoustic stood up and outstretched his arm. We shook hands. “It feels good to be back, dude. I was actually just working on some new stuff,” the guitarist said.

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Distance Relationship on Valentine’s Day

V Day Long DistanceWhile being in a long-distance relationship is never easy, having to spend Valentine’s Day without your significant other is probably one of the hardest things about them.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, couples are getting ready to celebrate with their loved ones, but for those in long-distance relationships, celebrations aren’t done in person, but instead over FaceTime or Skype.

My boyfriend and I will be celebrating our three year anniversary on Feb. 25 and this will be our fourth Valentine’s Day together, but our first celebrating apart.

My boyfriend is currently studying to receive his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at the University of Miami in Florida, so our Valentine’s Day will be celebrated with over 1,000 miles between us. Our nightly FaceTime calls have become the norm for us since August, so Valentine’s Day will just be another day.

Knowing my boyfriend the way I do, he will probably be sending me two-dozen red roses on Valentine’s Day, as this has become a habit for him to do once a month since he has moved to Miami.

Not to sound ungrateful, but I would much rather have him as a gift instead of the flowers. But I understand that with his schedule of taking classes, conducting research, and teaching, he will not be able to make the trip home for the weekend.

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New Semester, New Motivation?

The Spring Semester Serves as a Fresh Start for Many Students

Spring Semester MotivationThe new spring semester brings new challenges and possibilities. It seems as though students have just had a whole month of relaxing by Christmas trees and fireplaces during winter break, only to have a new list of classes to drag their feet to by the time the end of January comes around.

It’s a short semester, saturated with events and deadlines ending earlier than ever in April this year, due to the University’s new 14-week schedule. With such a short time span for students to get their lives together, will they be able to rev up their motivation towards the spring semester?

Fall is always a time of beginnings; as the red and orange leaves fall to the ground, students gear up for a brand new year.

“I definitely am more motivated in the fall; it’s a new school year, you are so excited to be back, you think you’re going to do great and you have an open mind,” Jackie Giacalone, a junior communication student, explained. “Because of that motivation, my grades are better in the fall,” she continued.

When 21 students at the University, ranging from sophomores to seniors, were asked which semester they felt more motivated in, 20 claimed that they were more driven in the fall. Only one student felt more motivated in the spring.

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My Funny Galentine

Galentine DayThe question of whether or not I will soon become the world’s most single woman is always valid, but I find that my nonexistent relationship status tends to become more of a pressing issue around the same time every year: Valentine’s Day.

But alas, there is a light that shines in the darkness for all of us single ladies during the month of February, and it’s a holiday that doesn’t call for a significant other. I give you, Galentine’s Day.

This holiday, which seems to have originally been created by Amy Poehler’s character Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation, is to be celebrated on Feb. 13 every year.

“February 14, Valentine’s Day, is about romance, but February 13, Galentine’s Day, is about celebrating lady friends,” Poehler, as Knope, explained in an episode of the hit NBC show. “It’s wonderful and should be a national holiday,” she continued.

What’s great about Galentine’s Day, for the women in relationships, at least, is that it doesn’t interfere with Valentine’s Day, which means that those happily in love are still able to celebrate with their other halves on V-Day, even after spending the previous night with their best girlfriends.

And what makes it even better is that unlike Valentine’s Day, there is no need to make elaborate plans or buy expensive presents; Galentine’s Day is simply about showing love for the women that mean the most to you.

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Student Starts Photography Company In a Flash

Student Photograpgy CompanySenior year is when students often experience the dreaded “senioritis,” a slang term referring to the feeling most students get right before they graduate when they are over all of the work and responsibilities of school and college life. Senior music industry student Sam Bastone, however, has been feeling quite the opposite.

At the end of the 2015 spring semester, not only was Bastone elected as President of the University’s student run record label, Blue Hawk Records, but as her interest in taking pictures grew, she also added photography as her minor.

Throughout the year, Bastone and the others involved with Blue Hawk Records have been planning some pretty big things, not only for the campus but also for the Music Department. Each semester the record label helps the music industry class put together a compilation album and an EP release show.

Bastone and a selected group of music industry students are also planning a trip to Nashville, TN this summer to attend the Music Business Association’s annual conference. Bastone, along with other officers at the record label, are planning various shows on and off campus for this semester.

But along with being the president of Blue Hawk Records, Bastone has managed to start her own photography company, Bastone Media. She has taken pictures for numerous Blue Hawk Records events including Rock Cure Socks Off this past November, the Shades of Blue EP release show last semester, and the Light of Day festival show over winter break.

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Are We Too Hooked on Technology?

Hooked On TechnologyWe are often told to take the advancements in technology with a grain of salt. Although such advancements allow people all over the world to gain and share a myriad of information, they have also connected the globe in ways unmatched in any other time. Those who are critical of its effects, however, argue that it also means losing touch with one another, and ourselves.

Those who grew up without the Internet, cell phones, mobile devices – our parents, teachers, and people born before 1995 – boast an enchanted childhood chock-full of adventure, imagination, and skinned knees.

They shake their heads at toddlers playing games on iPads instead of climbing trees, at kids playing video games for hours on end while the sun is shining just outside their windows, at teens refusing to be torn away from their phones even for a moment to have a conversation outside of alternating little blue and green boxes on a screen.

“Where is their sense of wonder?” they implore. “Why aren’t they exploring the world around them?” they demand. It is almost as if we’ve become two different species, one perplexedly studying the other, while the other is sedated with Instagram. 

Emily Nieliwocki, a freshman psychology student, believes that technology is doing some kind of harm to children. “My cousins, who are nine, seven, and five years old, are always on their own iPads playing Minecraft,” she said. “I definitely think it’s becoming a problem because they’d rather play games by themselves than with each other.”

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Taking Care of Business

Companies Begin to Address the Lack of Female Entrepreneurs

Female EntrepreneursIt’s no secret that women have almost always been given the short end of the stick. They don’t make as much money as men, childcare is expensive, and they are constantly fighting for the rights to their own bodies. Debates about these issues are typically at the forefront of the discussions that revolve around gender politics, but it seems as though many people forget, or are simply unaware of, the fact that women are virtually invisible in positions of power almost entirely across the board.

Regardless of the fact that women make up 50.8 percent of the country’s population and hold almost 52 percent of all professional-level jobs, ladies in the U.S. make up only 14.6 percent of executive officers, 8.1 percent of top earners, and 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs, according to the Center for American Progress.

No one seems to talk about the severe lack of females who have “CEO,” “Project Manager,” or “President of the United States” written on their business cards.

Although women like Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina may be fighting to get a hold of that last title, the other millions of women in America remain, for the most part, completely unseen in authoritative positions, even at levels much less significant than what The White House has to offer.

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In Latest Trend, Plus-Size Labeling is Out of Fashion

Plus Size LabelingThere’s a makeover of sorts sweeping the fashion industry, but it’s not about what clothes look like. Instead, it’s about how retailers are talking about them.

ModCloth, the e-commerce site specializing in vintage-inspired fashions and accessories, recently announced that it’s removing the “plus” section of clothing from its home page, and is in the process of eliminating plus-sized language from its website.

Shoppers will be able to find sizes for a range of body types all in one place on the site, or there will be a way for them to search for pieces that come in sizes above XL via a filter to be called “extended sizes,” which someday could also include petite, tall and other size variations.

“ModCloth’s mission is to help women feel like the best version of themselves, and we believe this is another way we can promote inclusivity,” co-founder and chief creative officer Susan Koger said in a statement.

Koger, a Carnegie Mellon University graduate, started the company in 2002 with Eric Koger, who is now her husband. Employees are based in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The online retailer conducted a survey about the experience and perceptions of plus-sized fashion. It involved about 1,500 women ages 18 to 35 in the U.S. who identify as wearing a size 16 or larger.

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Changing the World One Hashtag at a Time

Millennials InfographicOur generation is about to change everything. We have adapted to endless new technologies, progressive reforms, and new ways of thinking. We are the largest generation in U.S. history; with about 80 million millennials, our numbers are surpassing those of the Baby Boom. As we leave college behind, how are we going to leave our mark on society?

Unlike Generation X and the Baby Boomers, we have countless ways to share our opinions with the world. You don’t have to write up a letter to your town paper to have your voice heard.

Thanks to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Snapchat, and a number of free forums online, it’s easy for millennials to express their beliefs, especially during monumental social events or tragedies.

When riots broke out in Ferguson, MO and the Black Lives Matter campaign took off, we were able to contribute with a hashtag. “Social media gave us a platform to express how passionate we were about these controversial issues,” Samantha Marella, a junior business marketing student, explained.

With the presidential elections looming ahead, we’re using our voices more than ever on social media to debate over candidates.

“Many millennials are using social media to spread awareness of social injustices and important political issues,” Robert Scott, a Specialist Professor in the Communication Department, said. “And doing so in an immediate fashion often leads to mobilization and positive change.”

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Dealing With the Loss of Music Legends

David Bowie Memorial“And the stars look very different today,” David Bowie wrote in his 1969 hit “Space Oddity;” with the recent loss of some major icons in the world of music, like Bowie, the stars do look different to the fans who followed these artists. Legendary performers leave their mark on society and the hearts of fans, so it’s no surprise that the recent losses in the music industry have left many people heartbroken.

On Dec. 28, 2015, Lemmy Kilmister, founder and front man of heavy metal band Motorhead, passed away from cancer. Andrew Jackle, a junior music industry student and a fan of Motorhead, said, “Lemmy was such an iconic figure in the rock music world that even great stars like Dave Grohl, who don’t play metal music, were influenced by him.”

Along with Kilmister and Bowie, who passed away on Jan. 10, family, friends, and fans were also forced to say goodbye to Glenn Frey of The Eagles on Jan. 18.

The deaths of these rock stars has certainly shaken up the music world. I remember first hearing about Bowie’s death: I just started my car to go to work and the first thing I heard on the radio was that he had passed away at the fairly young age of 69.

Dave DePaola, a junior music industry student, explained, “Bowie is one of those musicians that you thought would never die. He made amazing music right up until the end of his life.”

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The Downfalls of the College Diet

College Food PyramidThe “freshman fifteen” has become a common expression among college students in this generation. The notion that students will gain weight in college has become widely accepted simply by adapting this term. But what exactly are students eating that creates this phenomenon?

Pizza, beer, fries and coffee is how Kristine Simoes, a Specialist Professor in the Communication Department, would describe the typical college student’s diet and the reason as to why the “freshman fifteen” is usually gained.

Students tend to eat things that are readily available, cheap and that taste good. While it’s hard to generalize a typical college student’s diet, it’s safe to say that junk food is favored by busy students on the go.

“I try not to generalize diets and food choices, because those things are so personal, even among a collective group such as college students. However, I do see, more often than not, that students are surrounded by an abundance of processed foods, sugar-loaded beverages, and not-so-healthy choices,” Mary Harris, a Specialist Professor in the Communication Department, commented.

Students are, in fact, consistently surrounded by unhealthy food choices. Whether that be in the dining hall, student center or fast food restaurants that deliver in the area, it’s easy for students to eat an unhealthy meal.

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He For She: An Open Invite to Fight Gender Inequality

Emma Watson He For SheI am a feminist, and I recently participated in a campaign where other feminists and I attempted to get male students at the University to take a pledge stating that they were “He For She.” The pledge was simply about making a commitment to stand for gender equality. However, there were a few male students who made excuses for not taking the pledge, and there was one in particular whom I will never forget.

This student declined to pledge with assurance. He looked us in the eyes and said, “I believe in gender equality, but not in...feminism.”

For three milliseconds I stood there, confused, and it was just enough time for him to make a getaway.

I will always regret this lapse in my motor skills, because I never got the chance to enlighten him. I did not get to tell him that a feminist is someone who believes in gender equality, and that the two are synonymous.

For centuries, the fight against gender discrimination and gender-bias has been a burden on the shoulders of those it mainly affects: women. I have come to realize that this is due to the fact that men, and some women, misunderstand the true definition of feminism.

According to a poll taken by YouGov in 2014, 75 percent of Americans do not consider themselves feminists. However, when asked if they believed that “men and women should be social, political, and economic equals,” 60 percent said yes.

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Through the Lens of a Pro: Tips for Beginning Photographers

Pro PhotographyWhen I held my first “real” camera, all I wanted to do was shoot, shoot, shoot. I would shoot a photo of that bug on the ground, the clouds in the sky, or my sister in awful outfits I thought were fashionable at the time. I was drawn to photography because it has the ability to tell a story with no words and capture a moment in time forever.

The art of photography has gone from sitting still in front of a camera for an extended amount of time to get a single photograph in the 1800s, to using your phone to take multiple selfies at a time. We are so saturated in images today that we forget that much more goes into a photograph than just pointing and shooting. People dedicate their lives to the craft of photography in order to perfect it, and share a different perspective of the world that we often look past in our busy lives.

So, what should you know if you want to pursue photography as a career?

First, it is good to know some statistics on photography as an occupation. According to the United States Department of Labor, in 2012, 136,600 people were employed as professional photographers. That includes everyone from studio photographers, to product photographers, to photojournalists. The average salary of a photographer is $28,490 per year, but of course, that depends on the photographer’s level of success. Their income always fluctuates as well, since their jobs depend on clients and assignments.

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The Stress of Student Loans and College Tuition

College students are subject to many sources of stress throughout their time in school; homework and projects for classes, trying to make money by having a job, maintaining a social life, and attempting to balance all of these things at once. On top of all this pressure, students eventually begin to realize that they must think about their future after graduation.

A college student’s biggest fear is being swamped with student loans after graduating. Many undergraduates receive a great amount of help from their parents when it comes to paying the bills and loans. However, there are students who have to deal with the stress and burden of student loans all on their own.

Tom Gargano, a sophomore business student at the University who is paying his own way through college, said, “It has its rewards and downfalls…because I have to work throughout the week I have less time for social activities and homework. I have to manage myself properly and according to my work and class schedule.”

He explained that this kind of balancing act is hard for any student, but it seems to be even more difficult when your college student job is the only way you are getting through school.

I am a junior transfer education student here at the University. When you were in high school, I’m sure one of the parts that you were most excited about in regards to going to college was getting the full away-from-home experience. I felt the same way; I even remember thinking about going away to school since my freshman year of high school.

I had always known that I wanted to be a teacher, so some of my favorite schools with great education programs were West Chester University in West Chester, PA and The College of New Jersey in Trenton, NJ. But I remember always thinking, “How could I ever afford to go away to school?”

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Winter Celebrations: Not Just Christmas

Winter Celebrations 1December is one of the most important months of the whole year. Not only does it signify the end of a year but it is also filled with many different holidays. While some people are getting into the Christmas spirit, it is important to focus on all of the other significant holidays that December brings.

One of the most celebrated holidays is Hanukkah. For those who practice Judaism, Hanukkah is an important celebration of a very historical moment in their religion. Heide Estes, a professor of English at the University explained, “The holiday commemorates a time when the Assyrians and the Jews were at war, and the Jews were driven out of the Temple in Jerusalem.”

Estes continued, “Eventually they defeated the Assyrians and regained control of the Temple, and prepared to rekindle the ‘eternal light’ that is always burned in the Temple, but discovered they had enough oil to last only for one day. It takes eight days, apparently, to make new olive oil. By a miracle, the original oil lasted until new oil could be obtained.”

This is why those who practice Judaism light the Hanukkah Menorah for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah and say the blessings. “You have eight candles and one taller candle called the Shamash. Each night you light it starting from right to left and you always start with the number candle that represents the night it is. For example, on the second night of Hanukkah, you would light the second candle in from the right first and then the new candle to the right of it,” said Dr. Michael Schwebel, a Coastal Resilience and Climate Adaptation Specialist at the University. 

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Almunae Start Cupcake Business

Almunae Cupcake BusinessSisterly bonds sometimes go on a little further than just family, especially when sisters are just three years apart. Alumnae Carissa and Jaclyn Franzi both graduated from the University and have started their own cupcake business called Stuffed Enuff, where they create personalized cupcake orders to match any occasion.

Carissa graduated from the University in 2011 with a degree in anthropology and elementary education. Carissa attended school on a scholarship for women’s lacrosse and not only met some of her lifelong friends at the University, but also eventually had her younger sister, Jaclyn, by her side through her final college year.

Jaclyn, who graduated in 2014 with a degree in elementary education, anthropology, and special education, found her way to the University because of Carissa. While touring other campuses, she began comparing all of them to her sister’s campus and quickly realized there was no place better than Monmouth.

While Carissa was on the field scoring goals in lacrosse, Jaclyn spent time participating as a member of the Alpha Omicron Pi Fraternity which was colonized on campus in 2013. Before then, Jaclyn, although not as always involved as a college athlete, would have said that she always felt welcomed at all and any events she attended on campus.

As of right now, Stuffed Enuff is mainly based on Instagram with no established website, however, hopes for it to become more well-known over time are high. The Franzi sisters are currently continuing to take classes to find new ways to increase their pastry skills. Not only that, but they also get to keep baking and testing out their own products.

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Monmouth Student Reimagines the World of Music Distribution

World MusicPandora streams free music, but you have limited say in what plays and the commercials are endless. Spotify streams free music where you are able to choose what you listen to, but the commercials are still there. On iTunes you can download music with no commercials, but it costs money. Now, imagine a website where you can download music that is all yours for free and the artists can get paid a fair amount for all the music they create. That is what Cortex Music is.

Matt Alonso is a senior music industry student at the University who transferred here from Caldwell University in Caldwell, NJ, where he studied communication with a focus in radio. While he was there, he met many people who worked in the radio business, but someone told him he should not go into radio because it is dying medium.

This experience is what lead Alonso to look into the music industry field where he stumbled across the University’s continually growing music industry program. This new change in direction for his schooling is what lead to the idea for his own music platform, Cortex Music.

About three years ago while driving to dinner with his family, Alonso was listening to poor quality sounding music and thought to himself, “What if there was a way for people to download quality music for free while still paying the artists?” He then saw a billboard for headphones on the side of the road and the idea for Cortex Music came about.

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Feminism Isn’t Just for Females

Feminism 1For a number of reasons, many people in today’s society are afraid to identify themselves as feminists. Both men and women seem to flee from the term in fear of also being categorized as crazy, delusional, or what many consider to be worse, a “feminazi.”

The media plays a large role when it comes to creating negative connotations and stereotypes for what it truly means to be a feminist. When celebrities and pop culture icons publicly dismiss and discredit the feminist school of thought, as well as those who identify as feminists, the people who look up to and idolize said celebrities will most likely soon begin to discredit feminism themselves.

Although there are a number of men and women in the media who portray and view feminism in a negative light, there are plenty of other amazing celebrities, both male and female, who use their heavy media presence as a way to campaign and fight for gender equality.

Many of the celebrities who do the most talking about feminism in interviews and on various social media platforms do seem to be women, but there are also a fair amount of male stars who just as proudly consider themselves to be feminists. Even still, many men seem to shy away from the term.

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From the Classroom to the Cell Block

The Story of How One Professor Educates the Incarcerated

Classroom to Cell BlockWhen Dr. Eleanor Novek walks into a room, she is a woman of paradoxes. She’s soft-spoken yet a leader, conservative in her mannerisms, yet witty and fun-loving in her conversation. So it is no surprise to find out that despite her small stature and gentle nature, she works with some of the grittiest, most terrifying people in the country: convicts.

As an Associate Professor of Communication at the University, Novek teaches classes in journalism, communication ethics, gender, race and media, and research methods. She preaches an interactive teaching method in her classroom, stressing student involvement and student/professor open communication rather than presenting lectures.

“Most of our class time is spent with selected students speaking about links, interesting articles and op-eds, and the student’s own take and position on the current issue with help from classmates,” said junior communication and foreign language student Jenna Lally, who is currently taking Novek’s Editorial Writing class.

“This kind of environment is conducive to students’ comfortability in adding to the discussion and speaking in class, which I don’t see in most of my lecture-based classes,” continued Lally.

But Novek’s collaborative methods of teaching are not being applied strictly at the University. This is the same kind of atmosphere she produces when she works in prisons. Yes, that was plural; she currently works at not just one prison, but two.

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Behind the Mask of Social Media

Mask of Social MediaSocial Media has become part of our best friend circles and she seems to be the friend that holds the group together. She isn’t left out of any gathering and you can usually find her snapping pictures at a girls’ night out or recording videos at tailgates. She never misses a special occasion. But our good friend Social Media is known for lying and sometimes portraying herself in a certain light.

With Social Media in her prime, she finds herself only posting pictures of her dancing the night away, sipping on expensive cocktails atop rooftop bars and the occasional #OOTD, but do we really know who Social Media is?

As college students, we have been taught to depict our best selves, but does that mean only sharing what makes us look cool or different? Recently, Essena O’Neill, a 19-year-old Instagram model from Australia, revealed what went on behind the scenes in all of her posts and how it was not her real day-to-day life.

Having to please thousands of followers and create this “perfect life” was all part of the illusion O’Neill was painting for her fan base. She recently posted a video on her new website,, describing her reasons for why quitting social media will be a healthy change for her.

“We say its connecting and social sharing, but when its validation through numbers, you can’t just ignore it and say it doesn’t get to you when we judge everyone so clearly on it,” said O’Neill.

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‘Tis the Hashtag Holiday Season

NationalIBlingDay 1What does it mean to show someone in your life that you love them? Buying them flowers? Giving them gifts? Simply telling them? Many would agree that any of those options could be used to show one’s affection for another, but recently a new trend over social media referred to as “hashtag holidays” has become a popular way of publicizing a person’s own personal relationships. 

Social media in general has produced varied responses when it comes to social interaction, especially romantically. Kristin Bluemel, an English professor at the University, believes social media can produce and foster good and bad relationships. “If you consider cyber bullying on social media, the data suggest negative psychological effects. If you consider dating through social media, I know a lot of people have gotten married [that way] so those effects would be positive.”

Social media usage can be used for both positive and negative social interaction. The new trend of hashtag holidays are only yet another tool meant to aid in virtual communication. These fictional holidays seemed to have started on Instagram, and have since spread across other avenues of social media such as Facebook and Twitter. The most commonly used and starter “holiday,” is referred to as #NationalBestFriendDay.

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Blue Hawk Records Artist Spotlight: Dan Amato

Dan AmatoEvery semester, the University’s student run record label, Blue Hawk Records, creates and records a compilation album featuring various artists on campus. They hold open auditions for all students on campus, and then select four or five artists to record for the album.

This semester’s album will be released on Dec. 9 with a show from the artists that will be held in Anacon Hall in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center. To prepare for the event coming up next month, let’s meet some of the artists on the album!

Dan Amato just started his first semester here as a freshman at the University in the music industry program. He is from Paramus, NJ, where he has performed at his high school’s Coffee House event each year, as well as the local Italian Festival in Hoboken, and even Relay for Life.

Amato loves it here at the University. “It’s great being by the beach and I love the music scene here. There are so many great musicians on campus,” he said.

Amato is a singer/song-writer and has been playing guitar for eight years. His biggest influences are first and foremost Bruce Springsteen, but also include other artists like John Mayer, Bon Jovi, and Richie Sambora.

Although Amato usually performs acoustically, he explained, “I love playing electric [guitar] and going harder sometimes…my music tastes really go anywhere from Rage Against the Machine to Frank Sinatra.”

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Life After Loss: The Story of Evan Baubles

Evan BaublesPeter Evan Baubles woke to the sound of knuckles tapping the passenger-side window of his family’s 2000 Pontiac Grand Am and a man’s voice saying, “Hey buddy, are you okay?”

Was he okay? What happened?  He could barely gain the strength to open his eyes, and could not feel a muscle in his body.  He willed his eyes open for a fleeting glance; seeing his father, slumped over the steering wheel in the driver’s seat. Seeing him bleeding, motionless, he knew the man he admired his whole life was gone.

Fading in and out of consciousness, he worried about his younger brother Colin, who was horizontally sleeping across the back seat. He would later find out he had lost him, too.

Soon, the glass of the window on his door was shattered and Baubles’ 23 year-old body was being dragged onto the road. He heard the rotors of the rescue helicopter above cutting through the air and drifted back into the darkness.

Baubles, who is now 30 and goes mostly by his middle name, is an aide at Asbury Park Middle School who specializes in working with the 8th grade alternative school.  He also works one-on-one, shadowing a student who happens to suffer from bipolar disorder.

But before he was teaching, coaching baseball, football, and track, and finishing his college degree online, Baubles was just a normal child growing up on the shore in Wall Township, NJ.

Baubles exceled in multiple sports as a child, mostly football and baseball, and grew up in a family that may have had their difficulties, but were tightly knit, especially him and his father.  They were a no-nonsense, extremely active group.

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Why Should You Care About the 2016 Election?

2016 ElectionAs the 2016 presidential election draws near, candidates are eagerly doing their best to ensure that they get every vote they can. They argue with each other in debates, they release interviews where they discuss their future plans and policies, and they do their best to make the American public believe that they are the best one for the job, that they are the one that should be chosen.

The Bipartisan Policy Center released a report shortly after the 2012 Presidential Election, stating, “Despite an increase of over eight million citizens in the eligible population, turnout declined from 131 million voters in 2008 to an estimated 126 million voters in 2012.” This means that about 93 million eligible citizens did not vote in the last election.

In 1972, those who were 18 were given the right to vote. While the current generation of young people is believed to be politically and socially aware, they do not show it the way that their parents and grandparents did; they are much less likely to donate their time or money to a campaign, and come voting day, they are less likely to be seen at the booths.

“It’s important for anybody to vote,” said Dr. Stephen Chapman, an assistant professor of political science. “Democratic theory assumes that the government will pay attention if the public makes their voices known. Policy will be based on those voices. If mass portions of the population don’t vote, that population will not be heard. If students aren’t voting, they are not being heard.”

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Millennials Still Crushed by Recession

Statistically speaking, 28-year-old graphic designer Amy Norris is something of an anomaly. Twenty-eight percent of her fellow millennials don’t hold full-time jobs, but she has steady employment at Quartermaster Marketing.

While studies reveal that many millennials are putting off big life changes like getting married, buying homes, and starting families because they’re paying off hefty student loans, Norris graduated owing less than $2,000.

Census statistics show that about 28 million out of 70 million millennials in all are not enrolled in school and are making less than $10,000 a year at their jobs.

Recessions tend to affect young people the hardest. But members of the country’s largest generation have been waylaid far worse than previous generations, and economists worry that those effects on a group just now starting careers could linger for decades.

“The financial crisis and the Great Recession and its aftermath are hopefully the most significant economic calamity that this generation will experience,” said labor economist and policy analyst Catherine Ruetschlin, a visiting professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Wage inequality is a particular scourge for millennials. It’s difficult to say why so much money rests in the hands of an elite young few because there hasn’t been much study of it in this age group.

Given that so many millennials are making less than $10,000 a year, a salary of about $60,000 would place someone in the top 10 percent of potential earners among millennials, concluded.

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Student Starts T-Shirt Business

T Shirt BusinessMost college students take advantage of their free time by watching Netflix, heading to happy hour, or taking a well-deserved nap. Not many can say that they design their own t-shirts and run a successful online shop in the time that they have between classes and schoolwork. Not many, that is, except for Jerry Salvatore. 

Salvatore, a senior business finance student, has been designing and selling his own t-shirts since he was a senior in high school. “I didn’t really like things that were out and available at stores during the time, so I decided I was going to make stuff that I wanted to wear and put it out, too, because maybe there were people out there that felt the same way I did,” he explained.

Finding his inspiration from vintage-style concert, rap and tour t-shirts, Salvatore’s designs are heavily influenced by the styles and culture of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Before this year, Salvatore was “seriously doing designing individually” under his own name, putting out shirts in small quantities before eventually beginning to sell to more influential and popular designers and rappers, who would then post photos on Instagram wearing Salvatore’s products.

The social media recognition that he began to receive placed Salvatore on the radar of a number of others involved in the business who were looking for someone to partner up with. Eventually, a popular designer from California contacted Salvatore about collaborating. “Since then, I became his designer and we became a team, just me, him, and a couple other guys,” he said.

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Ladies Who Rock

Ladies RockWe all know that women have had their struggles in the work force and in society in general. The question here is, do we also see this problem in the music industry? Why does it seem that male musicians and boy bands are more popular than female recording artists? Is there a double standard in the music industry where more is expected of women than men?

If we think back in history, there have been plenty of girl musicians that were influential in the industry, such as The Ronettes and Joan Jet. Liam Frank, a junior music industry student, said, “There certainly has been no shortage of influential and famous female musicians throughout the history of rock and roll. Since we are used to a male dominated rock history, it might take more thought for some to mention these female musicians than it would be to mention the legends like The Beatles or Led Zeppelin.”

“The male musicians definitely have seemed to get more notoriety, but that doesn’t mean the women in the industry get no credit,” Frank continued.

Joe Rapolla, the Director of the Music Industry program at the University, believes that rock and roll music was always seen as radical for anybody, but even more so for women because they broke out of their traditional housewife duties to become a face for the music world.

Fast forward to 2015 and as we look at the world of music, especially in pop, we see a 50/50 split between male and female artists.

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BFF: Best Female Friendships

Female Friendships 1When you fall in love with a television show, falling in love with the characters and their relationships is almost inevitable. In fact, many people like to personally connect themselves to their favorite shows by comparing their own real life friendships with the ones that are depicted on screen.

Often times, however, the female friendships that are created on many television shows are not realistic or healthy portrayals of what a real friendship between two or more women should look like.

“Women are forcefully pitted against each other as a way to serve the male ego,” said Gracie Zwernemann, a senior English and education student. “So female friendships on TV are important for young women because it accurately represents them in a way that isn’t always available in the media.”

Many depictions of these friendships are littered with stereotypical and negative female character tropes: the frenemy, athe mean girl, the ex-best friend, the list goes on.

However, amidst all of the less than desirable female pairs on television today, there are a number of  fictional female friendships that serve as excellent examples for what a healthy relationship should look like.

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Police Brutality and Social Media at Monmouth

Police BrutalityNo changes have been made in the Monmouth University Police Department (MUPD) following a year of police brutality in the media, and no changes were deemed necessary.

In the wake of the media firestorm regarding police brutality, the University remains unfazed. Chief of Police Bill McElrath pointed out that no abuse of force happens on campus, and no trends in crime or force have changed in the past year.

After students and faculty have watched Michael Brown and Treyvon Martin lose their lives to excessive force, a question has been raised: has the use of unnecessary force used by officers grown, or has the media’s portrayal of it made it seem like a resurgence?

Criminal Justice Assistant Professor Michelle Grillo said, “[Police brutality] is made a larger issue through the attention it receives through social media.”

Grillo continued to say that social media and videotaping has made the events more prominent than they have been in the past, stating “We have to be careful and not be quick to judge…an officer until we have all the facts. While social media and cell phones help civilians with their cases, in most cases only a piece of the whole event is captured on a cell phone. We do not see the before and after.”

While it is important to consider what’s not on the video, it’s important to realize that citizen journalism and the broadcasting of these events are showing what was previously unseen. Without citizens documenting brutality on their iPhones, the media might have portrayed the events in a different way.

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A Day in The Life of Skip Carey

Ten years ago, Skip Carey was hired at the University as the Director of the Department of Disability Services (DDS). He attended Marist College and currently resides in Long Beach Island, NJ.

After he graduated from college, he taught English and Special Education at a high school, and eventually became a school social worker on a child study team.

“From there, I ran a district-wide student assistance counseling program before becoming a guidance counselor and lead counselor at a different high school,” Carey said.

“I retired from that district in 2005 as the Supervisor of Guidance and after three months, I started working here at MU.  Having worked in a guidance office for many years, I’ve always had an interest in higher education. Given my background and experience, working in a disability services office at a university seemed like a good fit for my ‘second career,’” he continued.

On weekdays, Carey commutes from his home in LBI and comes to work in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center.

“As the Director of Disability Services, I am responsible for making sure that students who are registered with my office have equal access to academic programs, extracurricular activities, and social opportunities that are available to all MU students,” Carey said.

But what exactly does DDS do? According to Carey, “The Department of Disability Services provides reasonable accommodations and services to students who, under the laws that govern accommodations in higher education (ADA & Section 504 laws), have a diagnosis or a disability that qualifies them to seek such assistance.”

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The Claws Are Out: Why Are Some Women So Catty?

Women Claws 1As many women make strides for equality and feminism, there is still a noticeable pattern of young women treating one another poorly. On an almost daily basis, there is a story about a woman fighting or insulting another woman, be it someone bashing Amy Schumer for being “fat,” someone calling Kim Kardashian “trashy,” and so on.

It doesn’t just happen to celebrities, it happens everywhere; two coworkers mocking one another, or girls as young as kindergarten making fun of one another for the way that they dress.

On Sept. 13, Miss America contestant Kelley Johnson performed a monologue during the talent section of the pageant. Instead of the traditional formal dress, she wore nurses’ scrubs and spoke about her nursing career.

The next day, co-hosts on popular television show The View poked fun at her, saying that it was no surprise that she did not win and that her attempt at showing her talent was “hilarious.” While the women who made those comments later released a public apology, it seems that they only did so as a result of the social media firestorm that erupted.

Other shows, such as The Bachelor and The Real Housewives (of any city) are almost entirely focused around women tearing each other down, often for ratings and entertainment purposes. It even happens in political fields – journalists are currently intent on pitting Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton against each other and when that fails, they often stoop to mocking their hairstyles or the way that each of them dresses.

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What’s Cooler Than Being Cool?

Cooler Than Cool 1Many of us have dealt with the social anxiety of wanting to be considered “cool.” From an early age all the way up to college, we have been faced with the pressures of trying to be in the spotlight and to be accepted by our peers. 

But what are those characteristics that decide such an important social standing? Is it how a person looks? How they act? 

It is unclear and can be answered in dozens of ways, but what many people believe to be favorable behaviors that are socially accepting usually fall under the same umbrella of characteristics that have not altered significantly over time.

Hairstyles and clothing trends have certainly changed throughout history; from neon pants and big hair to body jewelry and bucket hats. Although what seems to have not changed is the invisible governing system that decides out of a group of people who is the fairest of them all. 

According to Julian Garcia, an adjunct of communication, the idealistic “cool” person has definitely changed between his generation and ours. 

“I do think ‘what’s cool’ has changed significantly over time. All you need to do is watch a movie like ‘Grease’ and you will see how times have changed,” Garcia explained.

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It’s Just A Little Crush

Little CrushDo you remember the first crush you ever had? The boy in your kindergarten class or the girl you sat next to on the school bus in the second grade? Your first love. He or she was probably messy and sticky, with glue in their hair and jelly on their face, but what more could a five-year-old ask for? 

It was so simple. You could go up to the person you liked and simply state, “I like you,” giggle, and suddenly you were dating and madly in love. The crushes you had when you were five didn’t seem to have much rhyme or reason, they kind of just happened like most things in life. 

As we grow older, things become more complicated. Life suddenly isn’t as simple as it was when we were little. When you start to mature, getting a crush isn’t just based on one thing, like looks or personality; many factors play a part when it comes to liking someone. 

Dr. Hettie Williams, a lecturer in the History and Anthropology Department, who teaches a course titled  “Love and Marriage in Historical Perspective,” explained, “My immediate response would be that attraction is biocultural in that the laws of attraction are shaped by biological factors such as hormones (oxytocin) and other body chemicals such as dopamine.”

Williams continued, “While at the same time, cultural beliefs also dictate to us ideas about who we should love, who we should not love, as well as other ideas about attraction in general.” 

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Family Matters: Life as a Twin and a Quadruplet

QuadMany of us have siblings, but nothing quite compares to the uniqueness of spending nine months together in your mother’s womb and being born almost at the exact same time. Once born, it is nearly guaranteed that one will already have a friend to grow, play, and explore life with by their side. 

A pair of gentlemen from Cranford, NJ have ventured through life and landed here together at the University. These identical twins are Tommy and Brian Foye, two junior communication students. 

“When we began the whole college search, we both definitely didn’t plan on going to the same college,” Tommy said. “We kept our options open and wanted to find a place that would personally make us happy.” 

Brian, on the other hand, knew exactly where he wanted to go. “Ever since I was a junior in high school, I knew I wanted to come to Monmouth. I came to visit the University when my older brother came for Monday’s at Monmouth his senior year of high school,” he explained. 

After some decision making, Tommy realized that he wanted to become a Monmouth Hawk alongside Brian as well as their older brother, John Drew, a senior criminal justice student. “I was between a few colleges, but ended up feeling that Monmouth was the right fit for me,” Tommy said. 

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What Do You Want to Do Before You Graduate?

During their time at the University, students will do more than just go to class and prepare for careers. College is an experience, and the only way to have experiences is to live life to the fullest. No doubt every student has a bucket list of some shape or form before graduating. Work and study are very important, but there are absolutely some things every student should do in their short time at the University, and who better to ask than the students themselves? 

First of all, there are a multitude of things to do on the campus itself, which the staff and students work very hard to put together. These are designed not only to allow students to have a good time, but also for students to interact and create new friendships with each other, which is especially important for new students. Who says you need to go off campus to have a good time? 

“Every student at Monmouth should attend events like Monmouth Palooza, Spring Fest, the Involvement Fair, Battle of the Buildings, etc., because essentially they are always fun, and it’s a great way to get involved and make new friends,” said Samantha Toc, a junior communication student. 

The campus has more than what first appears on the surface and can be a stepping stone when it comes to getting to know the area and enjoying your time away at college. 

But there’s more ways to spend your time than just enjoying yourself on or off campus. It can be both fulfilling and meaningful to help someone else, either on a small or large scale. 

“Personally I think any kind of service work, whether that being on campus or in the local community, would be beneficial. Some of my best Monmouth memories have been around service projects through student government or through Alpha Kappa Psi,” said senior psychology student Michael Qualiano. 

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The War on Women as Seen in Magazines

Mag 1“Hot Body Express!” “Bikini Body Now!” “Have The Baby, Keep The Body!” 

These are all headlines that have appeared on the covers of Women’s Health magazine. The magazine claims that it wants to help its readers, that it wants its audience to be able to have the flattened stomachs and perfect bodies that the models and celebrities on the cover have. However, not all of these claims are possible and sometimes they can even be harmful. 

It is impossible to open a fashion or women’s magazine without being assailed by advertisements; advertisements for anti-aging products, advertisements for weight-loss programs, advertisements for clothes and makeup and a thousand other things, all designed to make women look “pretty.” 

Many individual articles focus on that goal as well. In magazines such as Cosmo, Vogue, and People, they write mostly about the routines and beauty secrets of other women, usually celebrities, who are often able to afford products and procedures that others cannot.

An article by Julia Belluz published on highlights this issue, calling out eight problems in women’s magazines. These issues almost entirely revolve around physical appearance and weight. 

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If You Could Gaze Into the Future...

PhysicA bakery opens at the corner of Main Street and Parker Avenue. Their storefront shows promise: an alluring design, an appealing name, an assurance of quality; their personnel show initiative, a friendly countenance, a “how’s it going” attitude, the enthusiasm of a new beginning. 

But it seems that as soon as the ribbon is cut, the problems emerge: inconvenient hours of operation, unaffordable prices, disappointing products. 

Just as hurriedly as the owner opened, they scramble to close. After the “going out of business” and “everything must go” announcements are torn from the windows, another will embark on the same journey, feeding into a cycle of trial and error, of brief success and ultimate failure, of rolling the dice and losing it all, over and over again, with no foreseeable end.

Then it does. After decades of tossing a variety of ideas to the wall, from bakery to deli to salon to shoe shiner, something finally sticks. And it’s not due to business acumen, networking or even dumb luck, it’s the ability to foresee that end, and any end for that matter. 

Or, at least, that’s what they tell you.

Psychic readings and their success are perhaps one of the most elusive of modern businesses. There never seems to be a shortage of them in any given area and, regardless of the economic climate, they seem to stick around. 

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The Men Who Inspired the Movies: Baseball’s Hidden Stories

Field of DreamsThere are countless movies based on true stories and baseball movies are no exception. Some of the more notable films that follow this trend are Eight Men Out, which is based on the 1919 White Sox, and A League of Their Own, which is based on the All American Girls Professional Baseball League.

There are notable characters in every baseball film that many do not realize were actually based on real people. For all of the baseball lovers out there, here is a list of the real life stories that inspired such memorable characters.

1.) Moonlight Graham in Field of Dreams – based on Moonlight Graham

In the iconic Field of Dreams film, Terrance Mann based a character in one of his books on John Kinsella. In reality, the film based the character Moonlight Graham on Archibald “Moonlight” Graham.

The real life Graham was born on November 12, 1877 in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Much like the film’s portrayal, Graham really did only play in one MLB game and never got the chance to bat. The date was June 18, 1905 and he was a member of John McGraw’s New York Giants.

In the eighth inning, Graham was put in right field for George Browne. In the top of the ninth, the Brooklyn Dodgers retired the side in order. Graham would have been the fourth batter of the inning.

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The Age of Celebrity Obsession

Celeb1All across America, there are thousands of people a day that get a morning coffee, get their hair cut, or begin or end a relationship. You may be wondering what all of these things have in common, and truthfully, it’s not much, especially when they’re done by average people. But when a celebrity does any of these things, it’s considered “news” in the tabloids. Our society is so interested in celebrities that even minute tasks such as getting coffee are noteworthy. But why?

Think of award shows as an example. Tons of Americans will get together to have a “viewing party” and talk about the fashion, the speeches, and the performances. Viewers all around the world will gossip about who’s talking to who and other things of that nature, but these celebrities are just regular people. 

The difference between them and the general population is that they’re ranked higher in society for their looks and talents. It’s an exclusive club that only a small percentage of the world will ever know, which makes their lives seem all the more mysterious and exciting.

“I’m personally obsessed with celebrities because of how great their lives are,” Brittany Chapman, a junior business administration major explained. “They have all the money they will ever need to live a lifestyle that I will never get to live. I feel like people love celebrities so much because that’s the closest they will ever get to experience that kind of life. Not to mention their amazing bodies and looks.”

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10 Tips That Will Make Your Trip Abroad Count

Big BenHans Christian Andersen once said, “To travel is to live” and before I spent a semester living and taking classes in London, England in the Fall of 2014, I hadn’t understood the truth behind his words. 

My study abroad experience taught me a lot about myself and the world around me, but I also learned a great deal about traveling and what it takes to visit unknown places along the way.

Although my experience across the Atlantic was my own, what I learned during my time abroad can be used to help any future travelers who have plans to explore other parts of the world. So if you’re getting ready to spend a semester in another country or you’re simply planning a cross-country roadtrip, be sure to keep these tips in mind.

1. Talk to your family regularly

Whether it’s via Facebook, Skype, or WhatsApp, be sure to check in every few days. They will be very, very happy to hear from you. I tried to FaceTime my family two or three times a week while I was abroad; it was a great way for all of us to talk about what we had been up to, and seeing their faces while I spoke to them also made it feel like they weren’t so far away. 

Be careful not to get so caught up in calling home that you start to get homesick, but do make sure that you’re keeping in touch often enough that your family knows you’re thinking of them.

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New Dining Options Caters to Students’ Unique Tastes

VegatarianFor most students, the University offers a wide variety of dining options. The Rebecca Stafford Student Center (RSSC) has a food court and a Dunkin’ Donuts; the Magill Commons Dining Hall offers food in an all-you-can-eat style, and there are grab-and-go eateries scattered around campus as well, such as in Bey Hall and the Murry and Leonie Guggenheim Library. The convenience store also offers a variety of pre-packaged meals and snacks. For those who crave late-night snacks, there is always Shadows, found outside of Elmwood Hall. 

However, for those who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, or suffer from certain digestive conditions, eating away from home can be a difficult process, even with all of the options around. 

Even in those cases, the University does its best to offer a wide variety of alternative options for those who need them.  

This year, the University changed their dining service to Gourmet Dining, which has led to some additional changes in the options offered. The layout of the RSSC has also been altered, as have the food options available. 

The most noticeable change was the removal of Grilleworks; however, the menu items remain available and can now be found in the food court. Grilleworks has since been replaced with Dunkin’ Donuts. 

Maria Padaliano, a sophomore English education major, suffers from a digestive disorder called gastroparesis which, according to the Mayo Clinic, is a condition in which the spontaneous movement of the muscles in a person’s stomach do not function normally. As a result, her diet can be difficult to maintain. 

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Get More Than Just Movies With Your Netflix Account

Netflix ChillMost college students have been on less than 10 dates in their lifetime but most likely have been asked on at least 20 “Netflix and chill” hangouts.

“‘Netflix and chill’ is an easy way for guys to ask girls to hang out with them. It’s their way of asking a girl out and being funny at the same time,” explains Matt Cox, a junior communication major. 

When asked why “Netflix and chill” has become so mainstream, Charlie Battis, a senior communication major, says, “It’s much more convenient for a guy to have a girl come to his house and hang out than take her on an expensive date.”

Price is definitely a plus when it comes to “Netflix and chill.” A Netflix subscription is $7.99 a month while Fox News reports that a typical date that includes dinner for two and two movie tickets will total around $80. 

How can one justify paying $80 to be with someone they are interested in when they could pay $7.99 a month and could be with multiple people they are interested in? It is rather obvious that the old fashioned dating style is out the window, but who is to blame?

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Next Stop on the Struggle Bus: College

Infographic College StresslWhen students finally settle into their university, their problems shift from adjusting to college life and preparing for the coming year to more conventional issues that they face on a day-to-day basis. College is a place of learning, socialization and, most of all, growth, but these aspects create problems that every student will have to face in some shape or form. 

Whether it be stress from grades, relationships, or even the future they are all working their way towards, college students are under a lot of pressure, and unfortunately it’s usually self-inflicted. 

“I think the major struggles facing students are best expressed by the questions racing through their minds: Will I get the GPA I want? Should I even go out tonight? Do my professors even like me? What if I have a fight with my roommate? And so on,” says Liz Roderick, a sophomore psychology major. 

“The best way to deal with these things is through good planning, building a strong support system, and remembering that you’re not supposed to know everything about your class material, or about life,” continues Roderick.

It’s true, especially for new students and freshmen, that students will be filled with questions and self-doubt upon their arrival to college, and that’s perfectly normal. By removing the self-inflicted pressure, new students can finally give themselves the chance to flourish at their chosen school.

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Dino Marino: Impressing the University Community One Performance at a Time

Dino MarinoUpon entering the stairwell of Oakwood Hall, one will often hear guitar melodies as they take each step up the staircase. On the second landing, before opening the door to the second floor, the acoustic sound grows. I walk through the well-lit, plainly painted corridor until I approach a dorm room door that reads, “206,” where the tunes are playing louder than before.

Knock, knock, knock.

The sound of fingers plucking at nylon strings desists.  I hear shuffling and the door click sto unlock. The door opens. A young man dressed in a backwards Miami Dolphins hat, a black Red Hot Chili Peppers t-shirt, khaki colored cargo shorts, and a pair of weathered Converse All-Stars stands before me. 

The fellow removes his cap, pushes his hair back, grins, and outstretches his arm. We shake. “What’s up man?” he asks. 

This Monmouth Hawk is named Dominic Marino, a sophomore Homeland Security major. Dominic, nicknamed Dino, can be found jamming on his guitar in places like Long Branch beach, the Residential Quad, and the stoop of Wilson Hall. Not only does the Connecticut native just practice for his love of music, but also for the variety of performances he is invited to play at the University. 

“While at Monmouth, I played a show for the Sinatra family as well as a few other small jazz gigs on campus,” Dino says. “I also performed on Hawk TV with my roommate and on the quad for the Student Activities Board.” 

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New (School) Year Resolutions

Student CenterThe University is standing on the precipice of change. With a brand new academic building, fresh new food options, and more construction emerging, the University has never been so full of new beginnings. In the wake of all of the changes on campus, students and faculty are making some adjustments themselves. After a long summer, students are looking forward to making some revamps in their academic and involvement choices.  

The new layout of the Student Center paired with the introduction of Gourmet Dining is the biggest change in the eyes of the student body. The new white picnic tables offer a fun new design, but provide some challenges for students who like to sit with a big group of friends. 

Samantha Marella, a junior business marketing major, feels a little disappointed with the new design. “I don’t like how the tables are smaller; they can fit at most six people,” Marella contends. “This creates a very cliquey environment, and I feel that Monmouth is taking a step backwards in creating a sense of community.” 

While the tables may be small, the possibilities the new food service and layout provide are large. Danielle Romanowski, a junior communication major, points out that “Gourmet dining is new, and they’re still learning how to accommodate the students.” While students are getting used to the new layout and food choices, that doesn’t take away from the excitement they feel about the new beginning. Romanowski also believes that Gourmet Dining provides better quality food. “[They] really care about the dining experience the students have,” she insists. 

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At Your Service

The Hidden Benefits of Waiting Tables and Working in Retail

RetailWhen it comes to making a living, most college students end up either behind the register somewhere in the local mall or serving food to hungry customers at a restaurant. With flexible hours and a half-decent salary, customer service jobs are an easy way to make some extra money during the summer months and even on weekends during the school year. But is that all that these kinds of jobs are good for?

Working in customer-driven environments, such as retail or the food industry, provides employees with a number of skills that could potentially help them in their intended career paths. 

“Jobs like waiters, waitresses, retail clerks, etcetera, are excellent ways to build skills that employers find desirable, even though it might not be obvious to some people,” says William Hill, Assistant Dean of Career Services.

Although the kinds of jobs that tend to revolve around the idea that “the customer is always right” are usually seen as undesirable, those who actually work in those areas of employment have noticed that the fast-paced and sometimes overwhelming conditions have helped them gain skills that could be the reason that they succeed later on in life. 

“Since I started waitressing, I’ve definitely improved my people skills,” says Amanda Guarino, a junior English and education major. “I’ve always been very shy, but working with customers has helped me break out of my shell and become more confident.”

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Reality Check: Summer’s Over

Note Taking in ClassThe beginning of the school year marks the return of school work. Some students return to college already used to the rhythm and volume of homework. Some freshmen are just starting out and are experiencing it all for the first time.

No matter what, it’s always an adjustment. For most, there was no homework to worry about over the summer, and there was no waking up for tiring 8:30 classes. Papers were a thing of the past, and the only reading done was recreational. Even if students are used to a schedule and routine, those who live on campus have to re-adjust to living away from home. For some freshmen, this may be even more difficult as this could be the first time they are staying away from their families. 

The adjustment can be hard, especially for those who are signed up for a heavy course load or are taking classes that they are having difficulty with. With five or six professors all assigning homework at once, it’s easy to feel like the course work is piling up. 

However, some students find it easy to get back into the swing of things, especially considering the bridge that syllabus week creates. The week is often considered to be the easiest in the school year, as teachers go over the syllabus and only give out one or two assignments.  

“I feel like I had a break, and now I’m ready to go back to school,” said Malia Padalino, a sophomore English major, “I’m going back into the year relaxed and not stressed out, so it makes it easier to keep up with the course load. Classes start off slow, and you don’t have too much homework in the beginning, so it’s not hard to get back into the swing of things. They ease you back in with a few homework assignments here and there, so it’s a gradual return to school mode.” 

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Moving Past Memory Loss

In what seems like one minute, you’re shouting the lyrics to every song of one of your favorite bands as you watch them perform live; the next you can’t remember ever being there in the first place or who you were with. At least that’s what happened to me. 

Long story short, as a type one diabetic, my blood sugar levels rose extremely high and caused my body to go into cardiac arrest three times following a concert I had attended the night before. The loss of oxygen to my brain during these arrests caused what is known as an anoxic brain injury which, in my case, means a short term memory loss. 

For weeks I was weak from being bed-ridden, I could not remember the names or faces of the doctors and nurses who came to see me and I could not even gather the strength to swallow a sip of water without choking. 

Now, while I can handle daily tasks such as eating solid food or even walking long distances, getting back to a normal routine has been difficult.

For example, I have to use alarms and calendar reminders for things I used to just know such as what time I am due into work or when and where my next class is. I even take pictures of where I am parked so I can easily find my car when it’s time to leave anywhere with multiple parking lots such as campus or the mall. 

People start to look at you strangely when they ask what you’re doing later that day or what time your next class is and you have to check your phone calendar to answer them. 

Being with friends becomes different as well. It goes one of two ways. They become more cautious of what they say, especially when referencing old memories you’ve shared with them because they do not know what you remember or how you will react if you have lost a particular memory. 

On the other hand, they treat you exactly like they used to, forgetting that you have a memory loss and conversing like they previously had before the brain injury because upon first impression, you don’t seem that different. 

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I Got By ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ | Victoria Keenan's Senior Goodbye

And Everyone Else Along the Way


As you all know, Monmouth University hasn’t been my favorite place. Everyone that I’m going to mention here has listened to me whine, complain, and grow excessively bitter with many aspects of this school. People say that college is the best time of your life, but I hope this isn’t true. In my mind, there are many great things to come, and many more years to actually fully enjoy.

In saying that, this is supposed to be a positive article, (see Mom, I’m changing, slowly but surely.) So even though I would never admit it until now, I have had some wonderful times at Monmouth, and I have met many amazing people who have helped shape me into the person I am today. The people that deserve a thank you have seen me laugh, cry, struggle, fall down, and get back up. 

They have seen me at my best and at my worst. You all must know that saying thank you isn’t enough, everyone I mention has become a part of my heart and my daily life wouldn’t be what it is if you all weren’t in it. In saying that, these are just some of the people that hold a special place, and will for the rest of my life.

Daddy. There are not enough words in the English language to express how much I love you and appreciate everything you do for me. Thank you for your daily texts, I know Mom thinks it’s because you don’t want to let go, but know that those texts got me through a lot of rough days. Thank you for always checking up on me when you knew I was upset, angry, anxious, sick or stressed. No matter what happened or what kind of trouble I got into, you always found a way to figure it out and calm me down. Thank you for always putting aside your work and busy day to listen to me complain about a professor, ‘friend,’ or a class. I could never repay you for everything you’ve done, not only throughout college, but throughout my whole life.

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Living Through a Camera Lens? Put it Down

selfiesWe take a trip to the Philadelphia Zoo with a few friends. Our iPhones are secured in our hands, at the ready. We take a Snapchat of the monkeys, the hippos, the sea otters, and the penguins. We rotate our phones between ourselves to ensure everyone has a selfie with the giraffes. We stroll through the Zoo, squinting at our screens to find the best Instagram filter for our photos. 

We get food, sit at a table, and silently scroll through our social media feeds. We peer at the exotic birds for a minute before checking to see if our Instagram pictures hit 11 likes yet. Once we arrive home, we upload all 312 pictures we took that day onto a Facebook album.

Thanks to the surge of technology and social media we have today, young adults struggle to find balance between living life in the moment and recording everything on our iPhones. Someone posted a 300 second Snapchat story the other day of a concert they attended. That’s a lot of seconds to be fiddling with a phone when you could have been soaking up the music and the entire concert experience unfolding around you. We are so busy trying to get the perfect photo to get maximum Instagram likes, that we ignore everything around us.

Students are frequently saying that they would like a disconnect from social media and technology, but a severe of those ties is unforeseeable. Social media will only continue to grow and become more of an influence on our daily lives. Stephanie Merlis, a sophomore business marketing student, admits that social media has a strong pull on her daily life. Merlis explains, “This generation, myself included, is often too obsessed with rushing to take a picture, or a tweet, or Snapchat so they can upload it and show the rest of the world, rather than actually taking the time to sit back and enjoy what’s happening right around you.” 

Erin Lupo, a freshman psychology student, agrees. “It’s a huge distraction,” she admits.

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‘Home is Where the Heart is’... Moving Back

movingbackIt’s about that time. The senior class is beginning to finish up their last few papers and are starting to study for their finals. They’re picking up their cap and gowns. They’re starting to get anxious and emotional. 

The lives we have shaped for ourselves for the last four years are about to take a drastic turn. We are about to take the next step into our lives, as real adults, finding jobs and starting careers we have worked so hard in our majors for. We are about to graduate college, a wonderful time for some, a terrifying time for others.

For most of us, we have spent our college years learning, experiencing, and becoming an adult. Many students do this away from their parents, and other then during breaks, have lived out of the nest since they were 18. But now it’s time to fly back, because lets be honest, who has the money to move out officially? Not this girl. For the last four years I have lived away from my parents during the school year, forming my own style of living and doing things. Not really though, considering almost everything I did, ate, and paid for came out of their bank accounts. 

But I’ve becoming accustom to doing my own thing. I come and go as I please, eat snacks instead of real meals, and stay up until 4 am doing work that I procrastinated doing. Luckily, I have parents that give me space and let me do my own thing, but I will obviously be under their roof again. I can’t not wash dishes for a couple days just because I don’t feel like it. When I come home every summer, I live out of boxes and bags and never really unpack everything because I know I’ll be heading down to school again eventually. But this year, that won’t happen. My mom won’t tolerate tripping over bags of clothes, everything is going to have a find a spot because I’m not going anywhere, for a while. That’s weird to say the least. 

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Through the Eyes of a 7-Year-Old Guatemalan

manuelaIt was just like any other normal day, I guess. I woke up to the sound of my mother getting ready to take me to school. But this time, she was moving so fast, I was getting dizzy spinning around the room watching her.  She kept talking to herself about “special people” that were coming to visit the school. In the midst of the madness, I had noticed, whether it was last night or some time ago, she had lost the last tooth in her mouth.

My name is Manuela, and I am 7-years-old.  I live in a house made of cement bricks with my mother and brother, Chepe, down the road from Chichicastenango, a small town in the mountains of Guatemala where I walk every day to school with my mom. But it’s not too bad; I know of people who must walk hours for their water supply and live in houses made of mud and sticks. I hear people in town say we live only four hours from Guatemala City, but I have never been there. It’s like a mystical legend. I like to smile a lot.  I don’t like to talk much, I get very shy, and smiling is a way to make people happy without so many confusing words. I like making people happy.

We had gotten to school when a strange bus pulled up carrying a crowd of people in it. They were odd; stepping off the bus I was scared by their white skin, but almost thrilled to see them.  Some of them had shirts that said “MONMOUTH” on them, which I later was told is the school they went to, but was in the United States.  

My brother saw my fear and came over to calm me down. He told me that these were good people coming to fix the schoolhouse. They had sent a different group of people the year before to work and everybody in town was pleased with what they had done. All my friends seemed to be so happy to see them; I was too.

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How Two Words Can Change a Life

melissaali“I’m gay.” These two tiny words, whether spoken out loud or simply thought, possess the power to dramatically change a person’s life forever. For 21-year-old Melissa Rance, they meant losing her home, but finding herself.

When you first look at Melissa, you see a beautiful young woman with light eyes, long hair, and a smile that is contagious. Her personality is that of a typical, happy-go-lucky girl, enjoying her junior year of college to its fullest. When you first look at Melissa, you would never guess the number of hardships she has endured that have caused her to mature far beyond her years.

“I’ve known I was gay since I was a little kid,” Melissa explained. “My close friends knew that I was gay, but I never had an official coming out until college, when I felt more comfortable with myself and who I was. I was lucky enough to have a more than accepting roommate, and joined a sorority with 70 girls who didn’t care about my sexual orientation and liked me for me.”

Growing up in a single-family household with her father and sister, Melissa’s sexual orientation was not a topic of discussion at first. Her sister, who is two years older than Melissa, moved out as soon as she graduated high school, while her father spent half his time working and the other half with Melissa’s stepmother and half-sister. “My dad was never very involved with my life or what I did, so it wasn’t hard to be with my girlfriend at the time and she was always over,” she said. “As far as he knew, she was just a friend.”

Circumstances took a turn for the worst when Melissa was 17. Her relationship with her father deteriorated, and he kicked her out of the house. “I moved in with my aunt, who my dad asked to ‘take me because he couldn’t deal with me or my issues’ and thought that I needed a ‘woman figure in my life to deal with the gay thing,’” she recounted. 

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Jibo: This Little Bot of Mine

jibopicOne can say many things about today’s society and how we live, but no one can say we aren’t entertained. Between smartphones, tablets, and being able to access almost any TV show, movie, or song with a few clicks of a mouse, many things have been made easier for humans, and a lot more interesting. But, we haven’t slowed down; in fact, we’ve officially broken new ground. 

Logging onto the website will bring you to an advertisement that explains “The World’s First Family Robot,” otherwise known as Jibo. Jibo was designed by Jibo, Inc., a pioneer of Social Robotics, MIT Media Lab. Founder and Chief Science Officer Dr. Cynthia Breazeal describes Jibo as being able to bring family members closer together, and identified the company’s goal as humanizing technology. 

According to Jibo’s website,, Jibo contains two hi-resolution cameras that can recognize and track faces, take pictures, and provides his own three dimensional Skype-like video calling. Jibo has 360 degree  microphones and can understand and hear commands from anywhere in the room. Additionally, he can talk, and give hands-free reminders and messages. Artificial intelligence algorithms in Jibo’s programming allow him to learn user preferences to fit into each family’s life. Jibo also features natural social and emotive cues so the robot and the user can understand each other in the best way possible.

When first reading about this new step towards interactive, humanistic technology, one of the first things on my mind was the expense. However, many middle class families would be able to purchase Jibo with its surprising cost of $599 for the Home edition of Jibo and his JiboAlive Toolkit. The developer edition that includes JavaScript API access to Jibo’s sensory systems, an eclipse plugin, and a sample source code, is only $100 more. There are also $125 developer upgrades available for your bot. Jibo is about 11 inches tall, 6 inches wide, and weighs about 5 pounds. It has its own wifi and its own cloud-storing system. Jibo’s website states that full public release of the device is scheduled for the summer of 2016. 

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‘Shut the Front Door’: Is Cursing Really That Bad?!

curseIn the past, curse words were used after stubbing a toe or during private conversations, but somehow they have slowly started to make their way into pop culture. Now you can find curse words in almost every song, in television show titles, book titles, and even in a few company names. The question is, have curse words become so popular that they have lost their shock value?

Younger generations are starting to use curse words in the ir everyday vocabularies. Everyone these days uses a very “colorful” language, no matter where they are. They could be in school, on the bus, in the car, with their friends, even at home, it doesn’t matter anymore. We use profane words everywhere and the younger generation is starting to pick up on this, making curse words lose their meaning. If we hear these words every day, there is no more surprise to them. 

Lauren DeSantis, a senior studying business management, said, “I feel like curse words have become too common because of the way our younger generations are growing up. They’re common in the media, like movies, video games and music, things we are familiar with on a daily basis.”

DeSantis continued, “In the household, curse words have become a part of our daily language. The other night, while I was babysitting, my seven-year-old cousin dropped the ‘F-bomb,’ and when I asked her where she heard it from, she said ‘mommy.’”

In an article posted on, it was reported that Melissa Mohr, a medieval literature expert, found that about 0.7% of words a person uses in the course of a day are swear words. That number may not sound like a lot, but it’s actually about the same rate that people typically use first-person plural pronouns - words like “us,” “our,” and “ourselves.”

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What’s ‘Love’ Got to Do With it?

Amour. Laska. Agape. Elska. Gra. Milosc. All these words have the same meaning, and according to Merriam-Webster, that meaning is having a warm attachment, enthusiasm, devotion, or admiration for an object or another person.

It has been said throughout the ages that “love” is the most powerful word a person could utter in their lifetime. While this may be true, it seems as if some people are beginning to overuse the word to describe nearly everything and anything under the sky.

I have always equated the word “love” with something or someone you could not see yourself living without. Whether you believe this to be a person, an object, or even a pet, the word “love” has become far too common in our generation.

“I feel people over-emphasize their feelings by using the word ‘love’ because it’s an easy go-to, but it’s not usually the most appropriate word,” said Nicole Rubino, a senior health and physical education major. “I think that ‘love’ is a very powerful word that conveys powerful emotions, just like how ‘hate’ is a very strong word.” 

Rubino also said people must be willing to expand their vocabulary so this word is not overused. She suggested replacing “love” with “adore” or another less extreme word. 

A sad truth I have found is that instead of replacing “love” with something less extreme, people have replaced a less extreme word with “love.” This word is as common to you as seeing a squirrel on the University’s campus. The word is like the word “like.”

“Like,” according to Merriam-Webster, is to enjoy, get pleasure from, or regard in a favorable way. Synonyms for this word are “care,” “want,” and “feel.” I failed to find the word “love” in any synonym list I researched for the word “like.”

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Max Goldberg: MU’s Up-and-Coming Surf Photographer

goldbergIt is a cloudy and cold morning in March. A gentle breeze rolls in offshore. Even though the water is unbearably frigid, local surfers still find themselves chasing swell. One by one, surfers clothed head to toe in thick neoprene wetsuits become immersed in the bitter Atlantic. They begin to paddle on their surfboards against the current in order to get to an area in which most surfers are in good position to catch a wave, known as the “line-up.” As the waves begin to roll in, each surfer is taken on a wild ride towards the shore. Not only are the surfers excited about this surge, but certain people onshore also prove to be elated. 

 The shutter of a camera begins to go off. A young man stands tall next to a tripod. Looking into the camera, he follows the surfers as they catch waves. He begins to focus in and then out, as well as change the settings on the camera. This young man is Max Goldberg, a photographer and freshman at the University. When he is not in class, one can usually find Max scoping out the shoreline, trying to find the best spot to take photos of surfers. 

“Surf photography showed me the world of photography and how I can make it into a lifestyle and a career,” Goldberg said. While completing school and obtaining a degree in marketing from the Leon Hess School of Business may be priorities for Goldberg, photography, particularly surf photography, awaits him in his future. 

Over the past four years, Goldberg has worked hard to cultivate his talents and develop his business. Today, the 18-year-old is the proud owner of MPG Photo. While he was constructing his profession, Goldberg had established an extensive collection of cameras used for his business. He owns a few Canon Professional DSLRs, also known as digital cameras, in addition to Pentax film cameras, in which the film used needs to be developed after the photo has been taken. 

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New Video Game Class Launches

gamingAndrew Demirjian, a specialist professor of communication, is creating a new year-long video game class that will combine the skills and expertise of students from the computer science, software engineering, music, art, and communication majors, among other fields of study. Starting in the 2015-16 academic school year, the class is designed mainly for seniors, or those who have completed all of their general education requirements and have more than 87 credits, but can fulfill some last minute requirements before graduation.

The first half of the course, for the fall semester, is a theory class that will focus on the critical, theoretical, and aesthetic issues in video games. Titled “Critical Play: Theories and Aesthetics of Video Games,” this class will fulfill the ISP (Interdisciplinary Perspectives) requirement at Monmouth. During the Critical Play class, students will have the opportunity to apply these ideas in order to develop the concept, a script, and a storyboard for a new game that they will create.

The second half of the course, completed in the spring, will be spent producing the code and media for the game, creating cut scenes, music, 3D models, and more. This portion of the class will be an independent study where students work together to develop their own video game. There are different course options for each major, such as CO399 or 499, AR 410 or 499, MU 499, and CS 490, but they all lead to doing the same project, just with different tasks pertaining to their skills. 

This part of the class will also count towards the Interactive Media (IM) minor. The end goal of the entire course is to publicly distribute and market a video game that puts Monmouth University on the map. Professor Demirjian said that he is looking to establish a novel version of the Music Department’s Blue Hawk Records, but for video games.

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Mondays at Monmouth vs. the Monmouth Student

parkinglotRunning out the door with my extra large Starbucks caramel coffee and an english muffin in hand, my oh my, it must be a Monday, and I’m late. 

Zooming down Cedar Ave doing the Jersey weave, I say a quick prayer for green lights, yet I get red lights in return. Now at I am the intersection of Cedar and Norwood and some clueless freshman pressed the walk button. Don’t they know by now you can just walk when there are no cars? It’s the second semester already. But great, add on another minute to my tardiness. 

The line to turn into campus is longer than normal; everyone must have been feeling a little sluggish this lovely Monday, hopefully to my benefit, my professor included. Finally I get into campus and drive past my favorite parking booth attendant; I give her a wave and a big smile while taking my last bite of my english muffin. She never seems to have a bad Monday; then again, she doesn’t have to worry about parking.

By now the clock strikes 11:20 am and students and teachers alike are getting nervous as everyone seems to be playing musical chairs in the parking lot. With my class being in Plangere, I whiz into the lot behind the mac. Deadlock.

You would think the president of the Untied States of America was here to do a speech by the amount of people trying to find that golden spot to not be late to class. After a few moments of panic I have an epiphany, the parking attendants! 

I bolt into the middle isle of the parking lot nearly hitting a car or two in the process only to see no cars double parked, just more frantic students trying not to be late. I see a sign up ahead, thinking this must be good news but instead the worst thing I could have read on that woeful morning.

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Step Aside Susan Sarandon, Here Comes Franny Kieffer!

rockyhorrorAt the late night, double feature picture show, there is girl who shines brighter than the sequined costumes worn by her cast mates and that girl is Franny Kieffer.

In May of 2014, Kieffer joined the cast of Friday Nite Special’s Rocky Horror Picture Show production in Aberdeen, NJ and hasn’t looked back since. Kieffer was inspired to join the cast of the show not only because she found the cast to be a group of warm and accepting people, but because Kieffer has a knack for performing herself.

“In high school I was super involved with the marching band,” said Kieffer, “and I missed performing so much I thought I’d give Rocky a chance.”

A week after her audition on May 18, 2014, Kieffer went straight into preparing for her role. Kieffer auditioned for the role of Janet, the female lead, but she had a long way to go before actually hitting the stage as the leading lady.

Before performing the role of Janet, Kieffer was trained by a fellow cast mate who takes on the role as well; as the cast switches up the parts they play every week, to learn the staging for the songs. As far as learning lines from the movie, it was up to Kieffer to spend her own time studying every line and song of every single character.

On the night of Kieffer’s first show, her debut performance was portrayed as a Transylvanian, or “Transy” as the cast refers to this group of people. The Transies are party goers in the movie that are crucial to one of the most famous scenes in the movie, which is when they do the Time Warp. However, while Kieffer was performing as Time Warping Transy, she had to study the girl playing Janet that evening as well. Despite the rehearsal time Kieffer received, she still needed to observe the girl so she would be prepared when it was her turn to be Janet.

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The Evolution of Friendship

friendsplayingDuring this decade we often get caught up in our love lives and relationship status. Your love life is, of course, something to be conscious of (especially when grandma keeps asking if you have a boyfriend yet,) but there are other relationships just as important in our lives: our friendships.

When thinking about those people who I cherish and call my good friends at this point in my life, I can’t help but think about all of the friendships in my life that have either been tested, broken or (best of all) have lasted to this day.

Growing up, I’m sure most of us were told, “if you find one best friend in this life, consider yourself lucky.” When I was younger, this piece of advice was kind of a bummer to me. Out of all the people I encounter and befriend in my life, ONE best friend is lucky? This sounded a little crazy to me. However, my twelve-year-old self didn’t realize how people change. Friendships don’t always last and it’s truly difficult to find someone who you consider your friend-mate, what I call a soul mate version of a best friend.

I’ve never been one to have a huge group of friends. Okay, correction: I’ve never been one to have a huge group of friends who are all friends with each other. This meaning, I always had groups of friends from the different aspects of my life. I had my dance studio friends, my work friends, my school friends and my childhood friends. As normal as this sounds, having these different social groups in high school was kind of taboo. I went to a small Catholic private high school and man was it clique-y, as most high schools are.

Halfway through freshman year people find their set of friends and latch on. A lot of my eighth grade class went to the same high school so I didn’t feel alone entering high school, as I knew about 40 other people right from the start. Looking back, this was a good and a bad thing. I had a few friends who I considered my “BFFL;” remember those days when everyone was your besty and you would be friends for life? HA. I felt security knowing I would go through high school with my bffl. Think again young Fabiana.

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When Hitting Your Alarm Clock Becomes Problematic

studentslateWhen students come to college, they leave a world of 6 am alarms and sleepy rides on dirty busses behind them. Now, they have the power to control when they wake up for class, if they decide to attend that day. 

For many students, it isn’t possible to hide from the inevitable 8:30 am class. Students also have the choice to go to classes at the prime 2:30 pm spot, or even take classes that stretch from 7-10 pm once a week. With all these options, plus the sleep deprivation and mounting stress students face, it isn’t easy to pinpoint which time students are more likely to be late, but the majority of students feel that the morning classes are the culprit. 

With clubs, sports, work, Greek organizations, community service, textbook readings, group projects, going to the gym, doing laundry, and occasionally eating and sleeping, a college student’s schedule is packed. Each class comes with high stakes of expectations and assignments. For classes that apply to one’s major, skipping or tardiness arent as common. 

Students understand that these classes are instrumental to their lives post-college. But for that Intro to Geology course on Friday morning… skipping doesn’t seem like a big deal. Sometimes, I will give myself a pep talk into skipping a class like this. I’ll tell myself, “Hey, you deserve this. Go back to sleep.” But then, when I roll into Edison the next week and realize I didn’t learn about the bone structure of dinosaurs, I’ll regret those two extra hours of slumber. Skipping class offers students a way to control their daily lives more so than in high school, and the precipice of whether to skip or not, to show up half an hour late or not, is steep.

One of the reasons students skip or come late is because the consequences aren’t as dire as in high school. The Vice Principal isn’t going to call your mom at work or leave a message on the home phone. No one has to know you stayed in to catch up on “Grey’s Anatomy!” The consequences, of course, come down the line, when you aren’t prepared for the pop quiz during the next class. 

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Is There Room for Love in the Life of a College Student?

coupleIn the life of a college student, much of his or her time is spent studying, relaxing with friends, or working. This may seem to leave little time for a committed relationship, but some couples make it work. 

Others, however, seem to believe they can’t be bothered with something serious, and prefer not to get involved with others romantically. It can even be said that students might be scared to fall in love, due to the potential havoc it could wreak on their social lives. Or even the question of is falling in love even worth the trouble when devastating heartbreak is always a possibility? As always, the only way to get an answer is to ask the students themselves.

“I really don’t think you need a relationship in college,” said Katie Pedernera, a freshman. “You should be more focused on yourself. Relationships can happen; you just shouldn’t go looking for them.” 

People often have trouble seeing what’s really there, meaning the ability to distinguish love from infatuation. It can be a hindrance to spend time on what ultimately won’t yield any lasting results, so it may just be better to not go looking for love at all. 

But as in life, what about when things just happen? We should be prepared for the unexpected, so what should students do if they find themselves truly smitten with someone?

“It all depends on the person, really. Some people are more into commitment than others. Also everyone has different views of the meaning of the word love,” said Jessica Schue, a sophomore business administration student. 

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Different Ways to ‘Spring’ into Easter Celebrations

eggsColoring Easter eggs, jellybeans, Peeps, chocolate bunnies. It only means one thing. Easter Sunday is around the corner. Everyone has his or her family traditions, but why not change it up? There are tons of different ways you and your loved ones can celebrate this Easter Sunday. Try one of these ways to switch things up holiday season. 

#1. Celebrate with your family, not with the candy. Families, especially those with little kids, tend to get caught up in the traditional Easter egg hunts and the Easter baskets, but it is not all about the candy. 

Rebecca Zidik, a senior communication student, said, “In my family we used to celebrate Easter and when I was younger I would be in charge of a big Easter egg hunt. As I got older we moved away from the egg hunt unfortunately because my mom thinks its ‘bad’ that we don’t actually practice a religion. So instead of Easter, we celebrate springtime with the same Easter candy bunnies, baskets, eggs, etc. basically we “celebrate Easter” but we call it ‘Springtime celebration.’”

Juliann Fiorentino, a junior studying communication, said, “My family and I, every year, go to the Point Pleasant boardwalk to have lunch at the Snack Bar and play all the games in the arcade. It’s sort of a tradition.” 

Easter is a day to spend with the family. It is a holiday where you and your loved ones can finally push the stress aside and enjoy being with one another. 

Kevin Moedt, a junior studying communication, said, “My family and I spend Easter at my aunt’s house, just quality time with family. My nephew spends the day hiding Easter eggs for his sister. He likes the hiding part more than the finding part!” Family is the most important thing and Easter is the perfect holiday for families to enjoy quality time together.

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Cut it Out: When it’s Time to Cut Out Toxic Friends

friendsLet’s face it: sometimes, friends fight. Your best friend might have stolen a shirt you wanted to wear out. They might chew with their mouth open and you just can’t take it anymore. It’s only normal to get annoyed with the friends in our lives. But sometimes, a friendship goes south and it’s time to cut that person out, for the better of your own life.

As a 21-year-old woman, I’ve had plenty of friends come and go. Some I got into catty fights with and things were never the same. Some I just grew apart from; life gets busy and you can’t keep in touch with everyone. The most consistent friends in my life I’ve known since elementary and middle school. Those are the friends that I can count on no matter what happens, and no matter how long we’ve been apart or haven’t talked. But some friends I cut out on purpose, because I knew they were toxic in my life and the friendship would end eventually anyway (probably badly).

There comes a time in everyone’s lives, I believe, where you realize some people around you just aren’t really your friends. You know the ones. They’re the people that will talk about you behind your back as soon as you leave. They’re the people that do things that purposely make you angry. You might try to save the friendship, but I’ll give you a word of advice: these people aren’t your friends anyway.  So why try to fight for something or someone that wouldn’t do the same for you? Keep these types of ‘friends’ in mind when you are deciding whether or not to cut someone out of your life: 

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The Personal Growth of College Students

college lifeUpon arriving to college, new students tend to be nervous about what lies ahead for them. It can be frightening to see the great unknown called “your future” lying ahead in the years to come, but when college is over and done with, it’s safe to say that the unsure young freshman will have matured into a completely different person. 

The only question is, what kind of growth does college bring out in students? Besides being educated for a career in your chosen field, college elects personal growth above all other things. We learn how to become people, in a sense.

“I’d say we learn how to be a person, really,” said Chenowa Wendel, a sophomore English student. “We learn how to fend for ourselves and how to help others; we learn how to have fun and how to sacrifice our fun for our responsibilities.” 

Wendel, as a second year student, understands the expectations before her and the valuable lessons being at college is teaching her. The duality of her statements reflect the wide variety of lessons learned at college: you’re not just learning social skills and ways to live, you’re learning about compromises and sacrifices that are inevitable in life. “In a way, we learn what’s important and what isn’t,” she added.

People tend to come into their own once they’re left to their own devices. At college, you’re responsible for your own grades, food, and time management. The lack of a metaphorical “safety net” tends to bring out the best or worst in students. 

You stop being the person you were in high school for a number of reasons, because your attitude, environment, and expected behavior have all changed. This “reveal” of your inner self is characterized by your actions in college; by seeing what you are like under the pressure of being self-reliant and self-managed, you develop into the person you will likely be for your adult life.

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Constant Snapchatter: Are You Really Having Fun?

snapchat usersYou’re at a local bar with your group of friends singing along to a classic 90s song. Your food comes at a restaurant and it looks delicious. Your pet does something funny. Why wouldn’t you display these things to show the world? Okay, maybe not the world, maybe just your list of Snapchat friends.

Don’t lie, we’ve all done it. I know I definitely have. If you add me on Snapchat, you will see a wide variety of my cat, the food I eat, something that I’m watching on TV, me being sarcastic about things like traffic, homework, getting ready, life in general, and the occasional shot of me, in fact, singing to a great 90s classic at the bar. And sometimes, lets face it, I get a little over excited about my night out (…okay, I’ll be honest, it’s more likely to be of my cat and food) and post a ton of Snapchats for my friends to see.

Now, when I really think about it, I’m almost positive most of them don’t care to see what I’m doing. If they do, I’m flattered and I’m glad to see that they are keeping tabs on me and my life. But, as their names pop up under my story, I can’t say that all of them are actually watching. And I don’t blame them. I’ll admit if someone is a frequent poster (especially in the same night, we get it! You’re at a party and I’m in bed!) then I’ll just hold my finger down and let the video play fast enough for me not to able to watch it. Sorry, friends, just being honest here.

The real question that arises here isn’t what sandwich I’m eating today or if my cat is trying to bite me. It’s more like, why do we feel the need to post 10 second stories of our lives anyway? We already have Instagram for pictures. We already have Twitter for words. Does anyone really care if you’re eating sushi or petting a dog or getting ready with your friends? Does anyone really care that you’re taking a walk or laying with your significant other or driving your car listening to music? And in saying that, if you are posting 10 second pictures or videos every 10 seconds to showcase your exciting life, are you really having a good time or are you just showing off?

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Effects of Shore Dredging on Coastal Environment

dredginggggMonmouth University prides itself on its ties to the ocean, but do we truly analyze exactly what is happening to this vast space?

Dredging.  It is a topic few know about, yet it affects all University students. 

For some it is a simple eyesore that is forgotten about after the fact; however, for surfers at the University, it can be a draining nuisance when a certain area forgoes the dredging process. 

To get a perspective that is not fueled by surf daydreams, John Tiedemann, Assistant Dean and Director of the Marine and Environmental Biology and Policy Program at the University, offered his take on the procedure.

Tiedemann, who has been an Ocean County local for more than 40 years, recognizes that dredging is necessary and used to help rather than harm the ocean.

He defines dredging as, “the removal of sediment that has accumulated in channels.”

Professor Tiedemann explained, “In harbors dredging is required to maintain shipping channels, in smaller ports dredging is required to maintain navigation channels for commercial and recreational vessels.”

Whether it is a small private dock, a public marina, a commercial waterway or our own beaches, dredging may be affecting you or someone you know in monumental ways.  

“The biggest issue with dredging is finding an appropriate location for disposal of the dredged material. If the material is clean (uncontaminated) it should be considered for beneficial use; if it is contaminated, it must be handled as a waste material and disposed of in an environmentally acceptable manner,” said Tiedemann. 

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Who You are Meant to be According to Astrology

horoscope1 saidaonline xlargeAstrology is often confused with astronomy, however, the two offer very different views. “Astrology is a myth while astonomy is science,” Gloria Simmons-Brown, an adjunct astronomy professor said. 

Astronomy is the science of the universe while astrology is an interpretation of how the universe is dispalyed. In other words, astrology is the belief that the stars can predict one’s future based on their date of birth. While many may not believe the stars have this ability, society as a whole believes astrology to be well practiced.

Think about it: when you go to a bar, they may ask what is your “sign.” This term relates directly back to astrology, a science of thought first introduced by the Ancient Greeks.

Horoscopes are perhaps the most well-known aspect of astrology. They have formed off the basis of astrological methods of finding meaning in the sky, but instead of focusing on all elements in the sky, it looks at the stars and their constellations. A horoscope is meant to tell one’s characteristics as well as portions of their future.

Casey Allocco, a senior studying communication, said that she tries to read her horoscope daily, but does not always find it to be truthful. “I read my horoscope everyday on the app DailyHoroscope. I wasn’t sure if I believed them, but the more I read about my sign, the more I realize it actually does describe my personality. It tells me often that Pisces adapt to the characteristics of people around them and it changes who they are. I see that in myself along with a few others.”

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The Low Down on the Local Food Scene

low downNo matter where you go to college, you can guarantee there will be places near you that you can eat. Of course, there’s always the local McDonald’s or Dominos, but I’m talking about food that you can feel good about eating (sometimes, for really good prices).A few weeks ago I discussed how we aren’t lacking local bars around Monmouth, and we definitely aren’t lacking food either. 

I like to think of myself as a breakfast and sandwich connoisseur, so it didn’t take me long to scope out every sandwich place within the 732 area code. Along with that came breakfast places, and I’m not just talking about TAYLOR HAM (North Jersey people, preach with me) egg and cheese, which there are plenty of. I’m talking about whatever kind of sandwich you want, you can get it around here.

Let me start off local. If you don’t know what Brennan’s is, please get in your car and drive off campus, the dining hall is not going anywhere. Brennan’s Delicatessen in Oakhurst has a large variety of deli sandwiches, which come with almost everything you could imagine. They also have breakfast sandwiches, different types of salads, options you could have for dinner like chicken parm or fish, and a bunch of desserts from cookies to cannoli’s. If you enjoy a good deli sandwich arranged pretty much any way you can think of, go to Brennan’s.

While we’re on the topic of local sandwich places, you can try Neil’s Kitchen in Long Branch too. They have a large variety of both hot and cold sandwiches, sides like french fries and chicken fingers and multiple Italian entrees like baked ravioli. They also have soups and I would recommend the Spicy Cream of Artichoke. Don’t knock it till you try it, it’s awesome. 

There is also the Hungry Hobo, which is a small, diner-kind of place in West Long Branch. They have a ton of breakfast and lunch options, from soup and sandwiches to pancakes and French toast. They have several options on how you can order a college favorite, TAYLOR HAM (otherwise wrongly known as pork roll). You can get it on a regular roll or bagel, but you can also mix it up and get it on a quesadilla. They serve this with salsa and sour cream, which may sound strange, but it’s a great combination. 

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Excess Harvesting of Oceanic Wildlife

“We are in the situation where 40 years down the line, we effectively are out of fish,” Pavan Sukhdev of the United Nations Environment Programme said. In recent years, scientists and conservationists much like Sukhdev have been witnessing what they call “overexploitation.” 

According to the National Wildlife Federation, overexploitation is the “over use of wildlife and plant species by people for food, clothing, pets, medicine, sport and many other purposes.” Of all the animals in existence, the most overexploited belong to the ocean.

Whales are the earliest example of overexploitation in our history. During the early 1800’s, humans began to eagerly hunt whales for their blubber. Depending on the species, a whale’s blubber can be anywhere between one and eleven inches. 

During that time period, whale blubber was considered of high value because of the oil it contains. More often than not, the oil used in oil lamps could be traced back to a whale’s blubber, however, the blubber also served as ingredients for soap, paint, and even margarine. 

Once whalers were faced with a high demand, the sadistic trend of slaughter only continued to grow. In 1970, an estimated 39,000 whales were being killed per year. According to a report published in 2011 by the International Whaling Commission (IWC), over hunting has caused some whale breeds to wane to five percent of their original population number.

In an article published by the New York Times, the IWC estimates that 300,000 whales, dolphins, and porpoises die each year due to entanglement in fishing gear alone. Although the IWC was created with the intention to protect whales from extinction, they have made little gain towards this mission. This is largely in part due to certain loopholes created in 1966. 

Once founded, the IWC allowed Japan, Norway, and Iceland to continue whaling only for scientific reasons. Unfortunately, Iceland continues to be the only country who abides by this rule. Advisor to Japanese whaling association, Shigeko Misaki, justifies his countries continuous hunting of whales by saying if it were not for the Japanese whalers, many species of whales would become overpopulated. 

Furthermore, Misaki defended his position by stating that there were “no whale stocks that had been driven to extinction in the 20th century.”

I hate to discredit any human, but Misaki’s utterance reflects only lies. In the 18th  century, there were 1.5 million humpback whales. At the end of the 19th century, the number of whales in the ocean had declined to an astonishing 100,000 humpback whales. By the end of the 20th century, the number was 20,000. While humpback whales are not technically extinct, their population is certainly diminishing. 

Fortunately, the whalers have taken note of this and have since decreased their hunting of the humpback whale, however, they have set their sights on a new whale. Only in recent decades have minke whales been hunted by whalers as before they were deemed too small to be a worthwhile catch. But as the larger whale species became depleted, the whalers began to hunt the minke as a replacement.

This overexploitation is also seen in the shark industry. According to the Ocean Conservancy, “millions of sharks are brutally killed through the practice of shark finning every year. This practice involves chopping off the shark’s fins and throwing the shark back into the sea, left to die.” 

Fishermen have found the fins of sharks to be much more valuable than the entire shark and often dump the shark back into the ocean in order to save space on their boat. Once back in the ocean, the sharks die a painful death as they are unable to swim and bleed profusely.  

One of these sharks is the oceanic whitetip. An article written by Nick Collins of the Telegraph wrote that shark finning has caused a 70 percent decline in the whitetip population between 1969 and 2003. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), all 14 shark species that are hunted for their fins are considered endangered.

Overexploitation is not limited to big marine wildlife such as whales and sharks; this grim trend exists among smaller populations of fish as well. According to Save Our Seas, three-fourths of the world’s fish are being harvested faster than they can reproduce, thus placing many on the endangered species and even extinction. 

In fact, the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) predicts the Atlantic bluefin tuna, one of the most popular fish used in sushi, will be extinct within the next three years. Many of these smaller wildlife caught tend to be discarded and cast overboard, but not until they are dying. Save Our Seas estimates that 27 million tons of fish are dismissed annually. 

The most common industry to discard their catch is the shrimping industry. Most shrimp are caught using a bottom-trawl system. This is when the fishermen scrape the sea level floor with a net. Not only do these shrimping companies throw back most of their catches, but their bottom trawl tactic destroys the marine ecosystem. The United Nations say the damage can even be seen from space.

The question now posed is what can be done to stop overexploitation. The simplest way to save these marine species from extinction is to stop buying the products. Overfishing is a supply and demand industry; with less demand, there will be less supply. Do not think one person executing one action will neglect to make an impact. If everyone thought this way, there would be no gains in fighting overexploitation. Feel empowered and stop the demand. 

Tattoos Can Still Leave a Mark on Job Opportunities

tattoosNo longer are tattoos associated with burly men glowering from atop their Harley Davidson’s. An art form once seen as taboo, tattoos are now far more common in society, starting with sixteen year olds and working their way through age bracket. 

The millennial generation who grew up seeing tattoos as scary and looked down upon, now get them etched into their skin with confidence. According to the Wall Street Journal, the number of young adults who say they, or someone in their home, has a tattoo has increased from 21 percent in 1999, to 40 percent today. 

In an age when everything is expressed to the world, via Facebook status, Snapchat post, or Instagram photo, tattoos are another way for young adults to express themselves to the world. While the young adults of America have become more tattoo friendly, the employers are still not the biggest fans of the body art.

“Regardless of whether you like them or not, does a visible tattoo influence your opinion of the person wearing it? Sure it does. It’s why we wear a suit, shine our shoe and spend extra time on our hair for a job interview. Our appearance in the workplace says a lot. And tattoos can say much more.” 

Frank Bocchino, a digital marketing consultant, summed up the stigma against tattoos in the workplace perfectly. There has always been a trend of employers skipping through the application of the tattooed individual. As more and more people get tattoos, they also find ways to hide them from the employer. Easily concealable tattoos have become the trend among teens and young adults. 

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When Caring Too Much Becomes Too Much

caringcoupleStarting a relationship or friendship at any age is an exciting time in a person’s life. You get to meet a new person, find common interests, and get to know someone for who they really are. Of course, the two are very different in some ways, but a main factor of both relationships and friendships is that you have a companion there for you through thick and thin.  

This can apply to the people you have had in your life for years as well. They could be friends or a partner, which you have made memories and had fun times to last a lifetime. These people have been there for you through tough times, through happy times, when you are angry or upset. A good friend or partner should care for and appreciate you for who you are, and you should do the same for them.

All relationships and friendships rely on multiple factors, but a few important ones are love, trust, and caring about the other person. Man or woman, you can admit that you love your friends (and hopefully your significant other) and appreciate them for all that they do for you. Both friends and partners are there to make you laugh, to help you when you’re feeling down, or to listen to you when you have to complain. But, as much as you can love and care about this special person, can caring too much cause trouble in paradise? 

Robert Scott, a specialist professor of communication, said, “Caring too much has not been a problem for me personally, but I would imagine for some people it might become an issue of their time.”

Scott used an example of this by explaining that it could hurt a person in the end if they put someone elses needs before their own, whether it be a friend or a partner.

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Self-Balancing: Being an Introvert in an Extroverted Society

introvertvsextrovertIn order to succeed, people need to network and interact with each other. Social skills and being able to approach people are necessary for furthering yourself and advancing your own causes. If you can’t, then you may very well be doomed to not achieve as much as you could have if you could just talk to people without becoming exasperated. 

But some people just aren’t like that. Talking to people naturally is a skill that has to be learned, just like a language or a trade. If you’re less social or extroverted than others, how can you better yourself or achieve your dreams?

“It’s a challenge at times because I have to force myself to be social and place myself in uncomfortable situations,” said Malia Padalino, a freshman English student. “I do like keeping to myself at times because I find it hard to relate to others and fit in. I have friends but I tend to stick with a small group rather than a large crowd,” Padalino added. 

Being an introvert affects how you deal with other people and is different for every person. But it’s not always a bad thing; spending less time in a large group can give students more time to think about themselves and thereby gauge their own strengths and weaknesses. 

“It kind of gives me time to just relax and think about things. Since we do live in such an extroverted society, everything is very rushed. Being introverted allows me to take a step back from the craziness,” said Tianna Gabriel, a freshman communication student. 

It’s sort of an “outside looking in” scenario: introverted people can observe groups from a distance, usually while keeping to themselves. It’s all about finding a balance within oneself in order to balance real-life relationships and networking. Although people don’t always need to view their personalities as black and white, sometimes it’s more evened out, while favoring a specific side. 

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The Lowdown on the Local Monmouth Bar Scene

JohnnyMacsOnce a student enters college an important countdown begins. It’s not how long until they graduate; no one wants to think about that. It’s not even how long until the closest break, though that’s always a nice countdown to have in the back of your mind. It’s how long until they turn 21, a birthday that many people have been thinking about since high school.

Being 21 opens a lot of doors for people, and by doors I mean bar doors. Sure, you’ve technically been an adult since 18, but you’re not really an adult until you turn 21. Twenty-one means you can do a lot of what you want, mostly meaning that you can legally drink. Many people have been waiting for years, and let’s be honest here, many people have been doing this for years.

In reality, how many of us can really consider ourselves adults right now? When not at school, I live with my parents, they pay for my bills, and they feed me. I know I could do all of these things myself, but…why? And more importantly, I don’t have enough money to support myself, not too many people I know do. But whatever money I do scrounge up for the week goes to two places: food and the weekend outings to local bars. Sorry Mom and Dad.

Having a birthday five days before the end of August, I am pretty young for my grade. This only affected me twice: once at 16, when all my friends were turning 17 and driving and one at 20, when all my friends were 21 and going out to places I couldn’t get into. Alas, I was stuck at basement parties all of my junior year of college while my friends were going to bars and posting Instagram pictures to prove it. I was very over it by then, (I’m sorry freshman, but you’ll know what I mean in a year or two) and I would usually just stand in a corner and judge the youngsters around me. 

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Her Song: The Girl Behind The Ukulele

ukeleFor those of you with a particularly strong imagination, you might be able to recall warm weather. While walking around campus, you might have seen a girl casually strumming her ukulele as she herself walked to her destination. Though enigmatic and a delight to see, it’s natural to wonder about this student that everyone knows, yet no one “really” knows.

“One day I was just walking past the quad and this girl was just kinda walking along, playing a ukulele! I was taken a little off guard, but I thought it was pretty cool. Like, go her,” said Liz Roderick, a freshman psychology major. Many students were curious as to this mysterious musician’s true identity, but very few actually knew her personally. Well, I decided to track them down to see the person behind the music, as it will. 

Her name is Cassandra Larrosa, a freshman at the University. A music education major who plays 11 instruments, Cassandra is clearly cut out for her actions. First impressions showed her to be bright, happy, and cheerful, like the strum of her infamous instrument. 

“I actually walked around with a ukulele in high school all the time, nobody thought it was that weird,” said Larrossa. “When I did it here people started to stare and be really impressed or something.” Cassandra is friendly and creative, and it shows in her social circles. While interviewing her over lunch, a friend of hers, Alice Soubasis, decided to interject and shared her thoughts on Cassandra. 

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An American Horror Story: Waitress Addition

waitress“Uhhh, Miss! Yeah, refill on the Pepsi and extra bleu cheese!” aggravatingly stated, scratch that, demanded, the hippopotomaus-esque creature sitting over at table 103 with hot sauce smeared all over her primitive face, after the fifth time of interrupting me as I was attentively taking the orders of actual civilized customers. 

That’s right, the animal over in the corner has returned to her watering hole of Buffalo Wild Wings. She was reclaiming her territory. Unlike the humans over at 102 and 104, this monstrosity sprawling out along the booth against the wall with her three-year-old calf have been harassing me for the past half-hour. 

Baby beast, for the record, has been chucking crayons all over the restaurant and ripping up napkins as if he was the direct spawn of not only his beast of a mother (who has been savagely whipping her tongue around her mouth in an effort to conquer every last drop of bleu cheese hidden under her tusks), but a paper shredder and a confetti gun, too. What terrible genetics. I guess the whole idea of evolution just sort of skipped their entire family line. 

“You heard me say extra bleu cheese, right?” roared the woman, as I was pacing back to the kitchen, debating whether or not I should dive headfirst into a fryer to momentarily escape this hell.

If Dante Alighieri were to write Dante’s Inferno today, his depiction of Satan would most certainly include Judas, Cassius, Brutus, and this brute over at table 103 just chewing away at the souls of every innocent server.  

“Yes, you foul excuse for a human, I hear you,” I mocked in my head. 

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Rocky Start for Rock N’ Raise

rock n raise setMy nose dripped snot as I pounded nails into a wooden frame. My spine ached from hunching and my fingers felt splintered. I was tired, cold, and hadn’t eaten a thing in hours, except for my words. “Just hand me a hammer and nails and I’ll make it happen,” I assured those who heard about the set design idea. 

Everybody expressed severe doubt when I explained what we were trying to build: wooden frames to resemble the shape of a doorway. I somehow needed to construct six of them. Even the male employees at Home Depot questioned us. It was as if women’s brains fell out of their heads as soon as they step foot into a home improvement store.

It was not that we didn’t need help. We just didn’t want any help. We wanted these sets to be amazing. Amazing and built by us. My producers and I headed toward the lumber section unaccompanied. We strutted past scattered men in bright orange vests and tool belts who looked at us with perplexed faces. The men were like lions ready to pounce at the sight of us, as if we were a feeble group of antelope. We snubbed their offer to assist and quickly found ourselves in aisle ten. 

We stared at the wall lined with two-by-fours pretending like we knew exactly what we were looking for. There was a man down the same aisle standing a few feet away from us. We resisted the urge to ask him if he knew what premium standard lumber meant. So we picked the cheapest one and grabbed nine of them.

Then we maneuvered our way to tools and hardware. We were faced with an entire aisle of metal. We needed to find nails that were large enough to withstand layers of strung yarn, but small enough not to split the wood. Unfortunately, we didn’t know a single thing about what we had already bought. So we caved and asked one of the men with an orange vest.

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A Modern-Day Debate: The Instant Text Back

waitingfortextIn our modern age of instant connection, it’s easy to see how we’ve become so accustomed to being able to instantly get in touch with and hear back from anyone we choose. But adjustment is a far cry from obsession, which some people today seem to be infringing on with their devices and conversations. 

A major reason behind this is the lack of wait times between responses. Anyone can text or message back instantly, so it’s created this world of impatience and need to keep up the flow of virtual conversation. But does this society of “text-backs” really disrupt communication, or is it just a story of the new definition of communicating today? 

Before we think of whether instant responses are a bonus or detractor of communication, let’s think of all the good the technology has done for us and our conversations.

“I think it’s more effortless because it’s faster and easier than talking on the phone. Also, as far as communication goes I think it almost helps. We have group chats that help us stay in touch and talk as a group, which is something we wouldn’t be able to do just over the phone,” said Katharine Dix, a freshman political science major. 

Our phones and computers have us all connected in this metaphorical (and kind of literal) web, and that brings just as many benefits as it does problems. People like to be connected with other people, that’s the real truth here. Communication as a concept comes after the acknowledgement of the fact that texting back and instantaneous messages are one of the best things to happen to communication in history.

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What Does Your Pet Say About Your Personality?

dogvscatThere are many age old debates out there: tomayto or tomahto? Ketchup or mustard? Crust or no crust? Gryffindor or Slytherin? One battle stands out in particular that resonates with everyone: Are you a dog person or a cat person? And what exactly does your answer say about you? 

Research presented by the Association for Psychological Science explained that there are distinct personality differences for dog people and cat people. Dog lovers were shown to be more outgoing, energetic, and more likely to follow rules. Fans of cats were introverted, sensitive, non-conformist when it came to rule following, and had higher intelligence scores. These personality tropes are polar opposites, and from what I found, it seems that Monmouth students lean more towards loving dogs.

As someone who has experienced the joys and hardships of having both cats and dogs, I’d say having a dog is a more fun experience. A question like this, though, is not black and white. Many students at Monmouth have both cats and dogs, and their personalities are a combination of both. So while sometimes I love to walk my dog through the park and say hello to everyone I see, I also don’t mind relaxing at home by myself with my cat,Tommy, nearby.

Denise Guastello, an associate professor of psychology at Carroll University Wisconsin, agreed that pet preference does have a strong link to personality.

“It makes sense that a dog person is going to be livelier, because they’re going to want to be out there, outside, talking to people, bringing their dog… Whereas, if you’re more introverted, and sensitive, maybe you’re more at home reading a book, and your cat doesn’t need to go outside for a walk,” explained Guastello.

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How to Stop This Generation of Music Shamers

musicshamingA few weeks ago, I read an article about “Music Shaming,” and thought, what are we, 10? Who makes fun of people for what kind of music they listen to, especially at this age? 

But as I started thinking back to middle school and high school, everyone always had something to say about other peoples music taste. The emo kids with their heavy metal music were called weird. The popular kids with their catchy radio pop music were told they didn’t know anything about music. If people listened to rap music, they didn’t know “real rap.” If people listened to classic rock, they “weren’t even alive to hear these bands, so, like what’s the point?” Yet no one was interested in anything but what they liked.

But is this really fair? Music, in my eyes at least, is one of the few things on earth that everyone can enjoy, no matter what it sounds like. In every song, a lyric can be appreciated, understood, and talked about. People can dance to anything if they put their minds to it. They can introduce their friends to underground bands, and to new songs that aren’t overplayed on the radio. 

Yet many people in this generation do the opposite. They hide what they like, most of the time just to fit in. They listen to what their friends listen to, instead of embracing the fact that they like boy bands or rock out to classical music while doing their homework. No one wants to be shamed for anything they like, especially music. But why should people hide something that makes them happy?

Michelle Levash, a senior English and education major, sees this generation as being heavily involved in the electric dance music, or “EDM” scene. “I feel like while at college I’ve realized it’s a weird mix of students liking edm or country, and that’s pretty much it. I’ve only met a few people who like anything besides the two.”

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Can College Students Really Negotiate Grades?

a or b editedA student’s Grade Point Average can be a key factor when applying for jobs in his or her chosen field. Therefore, it is imperative that students take the necessary steps to ensure quality grades. Aside from academic performance, students will need to make an extra effort in attempt to boost their grades. Often, they will approach their professors and try to negotiate with them to reach a desired GPA. There is constant debate as to whether or not this is a viable method of securing classroom success. 

Some professors feel that grades are non-negotiable, and that if a student fails, he or she earned that failing grade. However, other professors feel that grades are not black and white and should be open to discussion them with students. 

According to an article on published on Feb. 3, “Great Career Success Debate: Did you know you can negotiate your grades?” there is a certain criterion that the circumstance must meet in order to justify the compromising of grades. 

If a student believes a recorded grade has been entered mistakenly, author Dr. Susan Davis-Ali, noted that a student can approach the professor about the error and ask for it to be corrected. Furthermore, she said if class participation is factored into grading, students can reasonably appeal grades and assert that they have sufficiently contributed to the class. Finally, if the majority of the class involves essay writing, she added that students can approach the professor and request a second look at the paper in an attempt to raise the grade.

Co-author Patrick O’Brien noted that it is critical for a student to establish good rapport with a professor; so that future negotiations will not seem unwarranted. Additionally, he added that students need to start negotiations early. They should not wait until they are desperate to approach the professor; a student who consistently asks for extra credit opportunities will be regarded as conscientious. Finally, O’Brien said that grade negotiations must be reasonable. Students should be more cooperative with their professors and not take advantage of them.

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Why a Chipotle Burrito is a Better Valentine than Your Boyfriend

boo rito

The glory place. The holy mecca. The most visited, tourist-attracted place in the world. Even just pulling up in the parking lot and batting your eyelashes at the sight of the building’s beauty alone is enough to make your heart palpitate out of your chest. The doors swing open; welcoming you into what is essentially heaven on earth. You look up and see the letters "C-H-I-P-O-T-L-E" perched above you, and you know you have found your true home.

Any state, any town, any time you see a Chipotle restaurant, people are lined outside of it as if it its burritos store the beautiful truth of the world inside of their toasted flour shell, and people are ready to get enlightened by even just one bite. Perhaps the reason Socrates was so incredibly wise was because he found this nice, little secret Tex-Mex fast food chain, took one bite, and suddenly, every truth in the world was revealed with just the taste of guacamole dancing on his tongue.

Yes, that good. It’s almost as if, too, the Fountain of Youth is stored inside of its chicken and carnita scented walls, and people just can’t wait to dive-in head, and mouth, first.

The smiles on people’s faces are indescribable, as it seems to get painted across the face with pure joy as the smell of the brown rice simmering creeps up their nostrils. This incredibly elevating phenomenon of knowing that they are about to indulge in what is quite possibly the best chain burrito in the world, is pure bliss.

People are lining up at its doors because, really, Chipotle fills a void in not only our stomachs, but in our lives. You see, Chipotle will never let you down. That big, succulent burrito oozing with cheese and hot sauce knows you better than your very own significant other. And it knows how to treat you right, even on Valentine’s Day.

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No Valentine? How About a Hot Date with Netflix?

netflixdate When you feel like all you have to look forward to is 75 percent off chocolate the day after Valentine’s Day, it helps to remember that Valentine’s Day isn’t really all it is hyped up to be.

Everyone has had their fair share of Valentine’s Day blues, whether it’s because you just happen to be single on this "Hallmark holiday" or maybe you might have lost someone special, the real meaning of Valentine’s Day isn’t to make all the single ladies and gentlemen feel bad. In fact, many people that are in a relationship on Valentine’s Day don’t even celebrate it, and if they do, it isn’t much.

Julia Riordan-Goncalves, an assistant Spanish professor, said, "I think [Valentine’s Day] is a really nice holiday, it’s just that it could be bad timing sometimes…"

She went on to say that she and her significant other don’t really celebrate this holiday very much at all, a much different type of celebration than what she used to do when she was younger. Riordan-Goncalves explained that when she was younger she used to exchange gifts with her partner if she was in a relationship. And even if she was single at the time, she’d hang out with her friends. She also understands how it could be looked at negatively considering it is a lot of hype for something that isn’t all that fabulous.

When people hear the words "Valentine’s Day," they either go heart-eyed or start dry heaving at the thought.

Casey Chrobak, a sophomore health and physical education major said, "I’d rather spend Valentine’s Day relaxing and cuddling up with the one I love rather than obsessing over fancy stuff. It’s about the little things to me."

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Valentine’s Day: Still Special Even When You’re Single?

valentines couch As each holiday seems to be more and more commercialized, none are as much of a "Hallmark holiday" as Valentine’s Day. As soon as New Year’s comes and goes, stores and commercials will be stocked with hearts and chocolate for the big day. "Find the right gift for your significant other," and other similar quips on advertisements are spewn across the store.

But what’s the point of it all? Material gifts and signs of affection cannot possibly encapsulate love. What’s Valentine’s Day about really, and how can it be made special, for relationships or otherwise?

"To me, Valentine’s Day is very sentimental and special," said Tyler Manwarren, a freshman marketing major. "If you’re single, hang out with your friends just to be with people that you love."

Sentimentality and affection are key elements of the holiday, and should be taken into account whenever it rolls around. Valentine’s Day should be letting the people in your life know that you care, whether through gifts or displays of affection. We can so often forget about the people in our lives thanks to materialistic distractions (ironically so), and Valentine’s Day is a chance to show someone you really care.

On a holiday that is all about "love," it can be hard for those without a special someone in their lives to feel included. Expensive necklaces, earrings, and other beautiful gifts can give off more of a glare than they’re worth to the unwanted observer, and it’s easy to feel alone or left out.

All the talk of special gifts can seem an ill-fitted gift for just a normal friend. However, the key is that the materialistic side of Valentine’s Day is not the focus; the holiday can be just as well-spent with friends and loved ones as a significant other. You just have to find a way to make the day meaningful with someone you’re close to.

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Wanted: Unconditional Love for Valentine’s Day


Opening my eyes and rolling over on my mattress, I realize that I’m not crushing a pillow with my body, rather a living, breathing ball of fur. Though quite an uncomfortable position, it becomes regularity. By the luxury demands of the princess, I move with grace, making sure I do not wake the twitching feline while she dreams. I can imagine she wondered in excitement as soon as that faux fur blanket touched the bed; you put that there for me, right? But when a merciful living thing shows you nothing but love, it’s pretty hard to argue for extra leg room.

Arriving home is the big event. Where have you been? Did you miss me? I missed you. But as a college student, I can’t always be home. I attend class, work, and maintain a social life. As soon as I step foot in the door she’s lurking, her eyes beaming at me from the shadows of my living room. Her demeanor is too cool. Within minutes she is at my feet. While I can stand there annoyed by the tickle on my leg after a long day, I look on the bright side. I have love.

Even better, I have a permanent valentine. With the month of February forsaking hearts, singles everywhere pine away wondering when cupid will shoot them next. But what we covet most in humans; loyalty, friendship, and everlasting love, can all be found in a pet. Even better, I have a permanent valentine. With the month of February forsaking hearts, singles everywhere pine away wondering when cupid will shoot them next. But what we covet most in humans; loyalty, friendship, and everlasting love, can all be found in a pet.

No matter what, you are number one to your pet. To them, there is no greater human being on this planet. Perhaps it may be because you feed them on a daily basis, but isn’t it nice to think of a living thing loving you that much?

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Wanted: Unconditional Love for Valentine’s Day


Opening my eyes and rolling over on my mattress, I realize that I’m not crushing a pillow with my body, rather a living, breathing ball of fur. Though quite an uncomfortable position, it becomes regularity. By the luxury demands of the princess, I move with grace, making sure I do not wake the twitching feline while she dreams. I can imagine she wondered in excitement as soon as that faux fur blanket touched the bed; you put that there for me, right? But when a merciful living thing shows you nothing but love, it’s pretty hard to argue for extra leg room.

Arriving home is the big event. Where have you been? Did you miss me? I missed you. But as a college student, I can’t always be home. I attend class, work, and maintain a social life. As soon as I step foot in the door she’s lurking, her eyes beaming at me from the shadows of my living room. Her demeanor is too cool. Within minutes she is at my feet. While I can stand there annoyed by the tickle on my leg after a long day, I look on the bright side. I have love.

Even better, I have a permanent valentine. With the month of February forsaking hearts, singles everywhere pine away wondering when cupid will shoot them next. But what we covet most in humans; loyalty, friendship, and everlasting love, can all be found in a pet. Even better, I have a permanent valentine. With the month of February forsaking hearts, singles everywhere pine away wondering when cupid will shoot them next. But what we covet most in humans; loyalty, friendship, and everlasting love, can all be found in a pet.

No matter what, you are number one to your pet. To them, there is no greater human being on this planet. Perhaps it may be because you feed them on a daily basis, but isn’t it nice to think of a living thing loving you that much?

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The Price is Right: The Truth about the Textbook

textbookscmyk2It’s a new year and a new semester, which for the University Bookstore, means long lines of students, tons of textbooks, and an awful lot of money in exchange for said books. This new year was shown to be very futuristic and innovative on old movies and TV shows, and time will tell how modern we will be when it comes to our book buying this year. 2015 was a year predicted to have flying cars, talking garbage cans, and hover boards (according to Back to the Future, that is,) but will it be the year that textbook sales decline?

In an age of blossoming technology and so much power at our fingertips, will students decide to find cheaper solutions to mounting textbook prices online? Services such as Amazon and Chegg provide students the opportunity to rent textbooks as well as buy them for cheap. Yet, students continue to flock the bookstore. The question here is, why? 

Textbooks are some of the most expensive things students will have to purchase in their college careers. Once they get past tuition, loans, and dues for organizations, they will have to dole out hundreds of dollars for a book they may never need. In return, they are given back anywhere from five bucks to a penny for the same book at the semester’s end. The cost of textbooks has risen over 800 percent since 1978, according to an article by USA Today called “College textbooks could be the digital age’s next victim.”

Nicki Hernandez, assistant manager of course materials at the University Bookstore, offered insight into the world of textbook sales. Hernandez explained that back in 1978, there were hundreds of small publishing companies, which allowed competition and thereby low prices for books. Today however, there are just a couple of giant cooperation’s with the power to sell books for whatever price they’d like. 

“I know people think we’re ripping them off, but we’re not. Amazon can sell a book for 75 percent off because they have thousands of them, while we have 100. We can’t compete sometimes with those places, due to natural supply and demand,” Hernandez pointed out. 

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Seniors: How Can We Really Enjoy Our Last Semester

seniors last semcmyk2No sooner did the clock strike midnight on the night before class did I see texts and tweets from seniors that read, ‘This is my last first day of school.’ This is a moment in time when we seniors stop and think, where did time go? Not only is it a time to reflect on our last three and a half years at a university, but also a time to gear up for whatever the future holds. But we can’t be certain about what the future holds. We have today and only today. So seniors take a minute and ask, “What have I done today?”

The time has finally come, class of 2015, that in just a few months we will be walking across a stage in our cap and gown. But before we do, why don’t we take advantage of all the great things that Monmouth has to offer us and really enjoy the moments spent on campus. And though it makes us sad to think these years have gone by so fast, we still have 104 days until we really have to throw in the towel and say, thanks for the memories.

Whether it be dilly-dallying in the Student Center or sitting in your car in the parking lot, we all have moments in between classes that are free from obligation. Ranging anywhere from 15 minutes to four hours, free time should most definitely be used to our advantage. Remember all of those friends from freshman year you promised you’d keep in touch with? Give them a ring! And yes, I’m talking about a phone call.

 Catching up with an old friend just might make your day a little bit brighter. Having the audacity to reach out to someone is both empowering and emotionally fulfilling. Speaking with someone who you don’t converse with daily is an easy way to take your mind elsewhere for a while. By allowing yourself to focus solely on one person, you’ll strengthen a connection between you and your long lost friend. 

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“Cheers to a New Year and Another Chance for Us to Get it Right”

new year rezcmyk2New Year’s resolutions have been a part of holiday culture for as long as I can remember. Numerous people make goals about bettering themselves, but the real question here is how many people actually stick with their goals? Of course sticking to a plan is not always an easy task. I am sure we all know what I am taking about.

I personally have been pretty good at keeping certain New Year’s resolutions. I suppose I just have a lot of determination. Each year is a fresh start and should be taken advantage of. Of course, certain goals are extremely challenging to achieve such as breaking bad habits or giving up something you are crazy about. 

This year my New Year’s resolution was to try to give up chocolate and everything chocolate flavored since I am simply addicted to it. This goal was a bust and I failed my goal in three days. I know, it’s pretty pathetic and ridiculous. That itself is proof that chocolate addiction is very real. Breaking habits really are tough. I may try to give it another shot, but let’s face it, probably not anytime soon. I simply love it too much.

There are a myriad of methods to stick to a New Year’s resolution. One way could be trying to visualize the long-term effects of your goal. For example, a lot of people choose losing weight as their New Year’s resolution goal. The long-term effects of completing that goal would be overall better health and lifestyle. Other methods on sticking to New Year’s resolutions are taking change slow, realizing that making a resolution on New Year’s Day is no different than any other day, making realistic goals, and having a positive attitude. 

College is full of motivated students and wise faculty, so I am sure some interesting New Year’s resolutions are around here somewhere.

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Winter Break Blues: What Do Students Miss About College?

Alive in the Fire Sarah Rhoads 2For some people, winter break is a wonderful time to catch up with friends, to spend time with their families, and to just generally take a break from the rush and the work of college. However, for some people, these few weeks are a long break from the friends that they have made at college.

Being at home always has its advantages. It’s nice to be able to have a home-cooked meal over dining hall food, and in some cases it’s refreshing to have one’s own room, without having to worry about a roommate or their friends always coming over. Being on break also means a break from classes, which means a break from homework and papers and a constant stream of assignments. 

David Strohmetz, a psychology professor, believes that this is the biggest relief that comes out of break, for a brief month, students can avoid “the stress of balancing academic work with the other pressures of living on one’s own.”

Being home is a chance to reconnect with family and friends, to spend holidays together, to see people who you haven’t seen for weeks or even months. For some people, winter break was a time of travelling, whether it be on a trip to visit family for the holidays, or a weekend trip with friends.

Erica Walsh, a freshman elementary education major spent a large chunk of her break in Florida. “I also went on a road trip to Connecticut,” she said. “Both of them were great, and being on break gave me the chance to go out and do things that I wouldn’t usually have time to do during the semester.”

Elizabeth Roderick, a freshman psychology major, said being home is nice because, “I get a lot more sleep than I usually do. I also get to cuddle with my dog literally every day.” Reasons as small as these can be why people enjoy going home.

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The Gray-test Ending EVER

Alright, I’ve put this off long enough. I really, really did not want to do this, because now the reality is setting in.

To say Monmouth has been the most insane roller coaster ride I’ve ever been on would be the understatement of the century. In the past three and a half years I cannot count how many laughs, tears, friends, and all-nighters that have been pulled in the pure namesake of the college experience.

However, there is no way that I would have been able to make it through everything, or even fully enjoyed college, without the help of all of the amazing people in my life. With that being said, there are some important people I need to thank.

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Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication 
and Instructional Technology (CCIT) Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey 07764

Phone:(732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151