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Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)

I Got By ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ | Victoria Keenan's Senior Goodbye

And Everyone Else Along the Way

lyssa1cmyk

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 www.jibo.com 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, www.jibo.com, 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 TIME.com, 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 USAToday.com 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

kitty

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

kitty

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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How Students Pull Through the Final Semester Stretch

The seasons change in a perfect cycle of inevitability, like the setting and rising of the sun and moon. During college, every semester brings new experiences, struggles, and growth. When the end of the fall semester approaches, it causes us to look back and see how to go about these few short weeks before winter break. Some students crack down studying for finals, and others do nothing at all. As it always has, and will, the real stories come from the students of Monmouth themselves.

Shannon Hood, a sophomore art major, said, “I’m just preparing myself mentally to face all of these finals that I have to take, really. Making sure that everything is in order and turned in on time.”

As the semester comes to a close, all students have to prepare for these exams, and find a balance between friends and work more than ever before. It takes a certain determination to push in those last few days to study, when a month-long vacation is just around the corner.

It’s not like sacrifices of enjoyment haven’t been made before. But entirely focusing on the end of a semester is menial and limited, the entirety of these four months have shaped students through each and every day. What’s been the influence this has had on students?

Hood continued, “The biggest thing I’ve learned this semester is probably time management, responsibility, and having a good balance of work and play.”

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“When I Grow Up I Want To Be...” The Key to Getting Your Very Own ‘Dream’ Job

Dream (noun.): A cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal. We used to question our parents about them after a night of sleep, what did that dream mean? Now as educated, inspired, young adults, our dreams are concrete. As we count the days towards graduation, a distinct dream at the forefront of our minds is getting a job or, if we’re really motivated, getting our dream job.

But what constitutes our dream job? For some, it’s a livelihood that we don’t wish to escape from, and for others it’s an opportunity to bring in the cash. But we sometimes come to find that dreams may not always come true, especially when we’re faced with reality.

Once our credits are complete and the tassels are turned, we can either apply for graduate school or apply for a job. But the professional world is a competitive place forcing us to extend our feelers in multiple directions. Days, weeks, and months may go by without ever hearing from companies whom we’ve tried to woo with our entire life experience on a single sheet of paper.

But there’s also a high chance that we’re one of the preferred candidates who gets called back for an interview. When we do finally become the fish hooked in the bay, the question is whether or not we should allow ourselves to get reeled in or fight against the current and swim the opposite way in hopes of a better offer.

After you’ve spent the past 16 years or more in school, receiving your first job offer can be electrifying. If you’ve studied science, you now have an in depth understanding of the inner workings of the brain and other systems in the body. If you’re a photographer, you know the difference between ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. Or maybe you’ve studied business, and you are confident in your strategic marketing plan. Whichever the skill, you are ready to show the world what you’re made of.

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Singing the Christmas Blues: Why the Holidays are Filled with a Little Less Spirit

No matter what you may celebrate, the holiday season is arguably the most magical part of the year. Whether children are waiting for Santa to climb down their chimneys, or families are lighting the Menorah, there is just something in the air that makes everything a little more special. For some, it’s because families come together to spend time with one another. For others, it’s because of the food and the parties and the exchanging of presents. For college students, it’s time to enjoy being back in their own homes for a whole month.

As amazing as the holiday season is, and as much joy as it brings to people, I couldn’t help but notice that the holiday season does seem a little … different nowadays. For some reason, the spirit that was around when I was younger, and even just a few years back, just doesn’t seem to be the way it used too. Perhaps it’s because everything is so commercialized? Perhaps it’s because Christmas music comes on a month before December even begins? (Even though I’m not complaining about this.)

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized the holidays really are special thanks to friends and family. It isn’t so much about getting “stuff” anymore, Christmas lists get shorter every year because you either have everything you need, or the things you want can’t be bought in a store. At this point in my life, fuzzy socks are the most anticipated present on my Christmas wish list, and I’m happy about that.

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The Student Declaration of Independence: College

College marks independence in every student’s life. No matter what college they go to, or how far away they are, when a student lives away from home, a whole new chapter of their life opens. It is up to the students to feed themselves, get their work done, and figure out how to keep all aspects of their lives organized. This is usually easier said than done, and it turns out, many students rely on their parents still, no matter how far away they may be.

When I was younger, my mom forced me into doing my own laundry and cleaning. At the time, I dreaded it and acted like washing my own dirty clothes was an act of torture. Once I got to school and learned I was one of the few people that actually knew how to work a washing machine, I was more than thankful.

I don’t think I deserve any kind of award for this, but at least I didn’t have to rely on my mom for clean underwear. It gave me some kind of independence, the kind that many students I met didn’t quite have yet.

But don’t let that fool you, while I may have skills in cleaning, I lack in cooking. Sure, I can microwave a meal for myself. I can boil water and cook up some pasta. I can even put things in the oven and wait for the beep indicating my food is done. But that’s about as far as that goes.

My mom has made countless meals and has tried to show me countless times how to put them together. But for some reason, seasoning and preparing and heating just don’t add up in my head. I have no idea when meat is fully cooked through, and whenever I do end up making some sort of dinner, I basically fear for my life that I am eating raw food.

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Instagram Photographers: How Students are Showcasing Their Work on the App

Rising photographers generate enthusiasm for their professional work by exhibiting images through the Instagram app. A growing trend around campus, these creative students are reaching new audiences with the social media app.

“Like all social media, Instagram is a tool to reach a variety of publics. By using relevant or trending hashtags, collaborating with other creative individuals, and branding an online presence around their art, students can reach a variety of new people,” said Mary Harris, specialist communication professor. Harris recognized Instagram as a great way for students to showcase their talents and gather inspiration from other student photographers.

Aspiring photographers choose to post on the app to receive feedback on their images.

“The feedback I’ve gotten on my photos has been unbelievable. The most rewarding part is hearing it from the people I photograph. Getting feedback from the athletes I shoot and getting to connect with students I’ve worked with has been amazing and I’m so thankful for people taking the time out of their day to not only look at my photos, but to say something positive about them,” said Taylor Jackson, a junior photography major, who concentrates on sports photography.

Students have not only been promoting their own art, they have also featured organizations on campus with their images. Liam Frank, a music industry major and photo minor, posts music photography as a method of promotion for Blue Hawk Records. “The photos really help give people an in-depth look at what we do,” Frank said.

Similarly, Jackson updates the campus on special athletic moments in Monmouth sports. “My goal is to become a sports photographer and get signed with a professional organization so I can travel with the team and photograph them on and off the field,” Jackson explained.

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To My Ten-Year-Old Self... Here is Some Advice

As students on the cusp of adulthood, we can often find ourselves reminiscing about simpler times of our childhood, filled with long afternoons of no responsibility. It’s certainly nostalgic to recall the days where our biggest concern was what type of cereal we would have for breakfast, or when our favorite TV show was going to be on. But even though our peaceful days are long gone, we know that the experiences of our childhood shaped us and affected who we became today.

But what if we could say one thing, just a piece of advice to ourselves at that age? What would be important enough to make sure we knew it when we were at such an influential and vulnerable stage?

“At age 10, I had already begun doubting myself. The fight for self-acceptance is what shaped me,” said Erica Walsh, freshman social work major.

When a pessimistic (or even simply negative) mentality sets in at that age, it can severely damage someone’s confidence or other internal functions. But given the chance to change that, someone would need a source of inspiration to solidify the urge to grow, but what would suffice to that?

“I would tell myself that I am beautiful and I can survive anything life throws at me, so keep my head held high and never give up,” continued Walsh.

Positive reinforcement is important at any stage in our lives, and can be especially significant in order to overcome adversity or a stressful period in our lives. But what about the everyday, the nostalgic moments we live to remember and attempt to recapture?

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Bucket List Adventures: What do You Want to Check off Your List?

The Oxford Dictionary defines a bucket list as, “a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime.”

The idea of bucket lists is common nowadays, from a movie, The Bucket List, starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, to dozens of Internet lists that suggest ideas. Many people enjoy the idea of a bucket list, seeing it as a sort of checklist for themselves, a way that they can measure the achievements in their lives.

The content of a bucket list varies, depending on who creates it, some people want to travel, and put things such as visiting all seven continents, or the Seven Wonders of the World. Some have goals that revolve around pop culture, such as watching IMDb’s (the Internet Movie Database) list of the one hundred best movies.

Others are more interested in things on an athletic scale, such as running a marathon or climbing a mountain. Of course, there are more options besides these. Internet articles suggest things such as flying in a hot-air balloon, going scuba-diving, or eating at one of the world’s best restaurants. Some are more career or academically inclined, such as writing a book or becoming the CEO of a company. The only thing that is certain about a bucket list is that it is created by the individual, and often reflects their favorite things in life.

Katharine Dix, a political science major, claims that the top three items on her bucket list are “…to go to the Great Wall of China, to go to the Himalayas, and to meet the Queen of England.”

Meanwhile, Zach Wheatley, a freshman English major, has a more adventurous checklist, which includes, “Buying a plane, going skydiving (maybe without a parachute) and going wingsuit gliding.” The two of them show just how varied bucket lists can be; one involves travel, while the other appears to be a daredevil’s checklist.

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Thanksgiving Traditions: How the Times Have Changed

1993-football-gameThanksgiving is an American holiday celebrated every fourth Thursday of November. However, the meaning of this holiday has transformed over time.

The tradition dates back to 1621 when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony had a feast with the Wampanoag tribe. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proposed making Thanksgiving a national holiday, but it was not until 1941 when Thanksgiving Day was made an official holiday by Congress.

Since the original Thanksgiving feast, much has changed.

For example, the indulgence of turkey does not trace back to the Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe. The original Thanksgiving meal incorporated small fowl and five deer, not turkey. Most of the food was not provided by the Pilgrims but instead was brought by the Wampanoag tribe.

The traditional Thanksgiving dinner we cherish today was created by a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale. Often referred to as "The Godmother of Thanksgiving," Hale climbed the ranks to become editor of Bodey's Lady's Book, the 19th century's most successful woman's magazine in America. She used her leverage to publish Thanksgiving dinner recipes, including those for turkey and pumpkin pies.

According to CNN, 253.5 million turkeys were raised for Thanksgiving in 2012 and 242 million were raised in 2013. The numbers for this year, although they cannot be solidified until after Thanksgiving, are expected to increase five percent from 2013's total.

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The Black Friday Blues: What is Worth Standing Outside at 12 am for?

blackfridayOh, Black Friday, the day when you shop till you drop, literally. This chaotic day is toxic to our bank accounts, even though almost everything is on sale. Unfortunately, it adds up. Although it is the biggest day of the year to blow money, most of us still participate. Hey, what's not fun about shopping at three in the morning, right?

Black Friday has been a day after Thanksgiving tradition for ages. People are known to lineup outside of stores as early as the night of Thanksgiving in order to achieve the Christmas gifts they desire. Riots often break out due to chaotic crowds swarming in right when the clock strikes 12. Who knew new electronics could be worth an injury?

My family and I go Black Friday shopping almost every year. We scout out some good sales, but we do not do anything excessive. We definitely do not sit outside of a store for hours in order to obtain an item. I am not even going to try to persuade my parents to do that this year; I already know the answer would be no.

It would be quite interesting to sit outside of a store at midnightthough. I'll try it when I'm older...maybe.

The best item I have ever bought at a Black Friday sale was probably a two-dollar scarf. I know, not too exciting. Maybe this year I will switch it up and get a nice pair of shoes or something.

I am sure students and faculty on campus have gotten more interesting items on sale than me. Someone on campus must have camped out outside of Walmart in order to buy an Xbox, but then again, maybe not. Some University students might surprise you and some might have some clever alternatives.

Nicolette Pezza, a freshman communication major, said, "I actually do not participate in Black Friday. I am more of a Cyber-Monday kind of girl. I do not really like the idea of getting up to go to a store after midnight; it just seems stressful, honestly."

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Home Sweet Home: Why Students Can’t Wait to Go Back

cominghomeFor many students, Thanksgiving is one of the best times of the year to spend at home. There's all that delicious home cooked food and endless pumpkin pie. While this semester is flying by, many students cannot believe it's already November. Before we know it, this semester will have concluded and the winter season will be upon us. As the dropping temperatures warn us of frosty months to come, students are eager to get a break from the grueling schoolwork and approaching cold walks to class.

Thanksgiving is the holiday known for being appreciative. As a kid, you grow used to having your parents do certain things for you, and you don't give them as much thanks as they deserve. But after spending almost three months at school, eating questionable dining hall food and paying to do your own laundry, most students are pumped to head back to their households.

Most students are eagerly awaiting the upcoming break. Malcolm Chavis, a sophomore theater major, is looking forward to many things, including "home cooking, not having to do laundry, using my car and seeing friends."

When he is home, Chavis appreciates the time he gets to spend with his family since he doesn't get to see them much during school. The big thing Chavis truly appreciates while being home is his beloved means of transportation. "I really enjoy my car; it makes me happy to sit in it."

Others are also looking forward to the time spent with family. Alexandra Stambaugh, a sophomore music education major, is looking forward to being home because she appreciates her parents and everything they do for her.

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Students Give Thanks to Change: How Have Freshmen Grown While Away From Home?

freshmanMany students, particularly freshman, have changed and grown in their time here at college. Freshman arrived two and a half months ago and have since fully experienced a portion of the college experience. Living on your own, being responsible for all your work, with no one to tell you to do your homework or study for a test, living in a dorm allows students to be in charge of their own academic career.

For some, this has been their first extended experience away from home, so for these people and all other students heading home for Thanksgiving, what has changed? What growth and maturation can occur in a student in just a few months' time?

"I think that the independence that students experience would make it a little strange going back to a place with less freedom," said Jamie Goodwin, an instructor of psychology.

Students often find that the most attractive aspect of the college experience is the lack of restrictions and increased freedoms that come with living away from home. Going back to visit family is a wonderful thing, but it will be a testament to a student's growth as an individual to see how they react in returning to that situation. As Goodwin said, students have become used to their own independence and better-rounded as adults in their time away.

Homecoming is an act that has been written about, praised, dreaded and discussed in every other way imaginable. The feeling of returning home can be felt by anyone, regardless of location or following events. It is one of the oldest feelings in the world and, especially for students that didn't go home for fall break, it's perfectly normal to feel a little strange.

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Here’s to Growing Up: A Look Into Becoming an Adult

adulthoodBeing a senior in college has put a lot into perspective for me. I'm getting ready to enter the real world. I'm gaining more knowledge about life. I'm working to achieve my goals and towards a future career. I'm a responsible young adult with the whole world at my fingertips. This all sounds nice, but at the end of the day, I just feel kind of old.

Now you may say "that's ridiculous! You're the ripe old age of 21!" This is true. At this age, we are in the prime of our lives. Most people my age are in college and many are living away from home. This means they are pictured to society as adults yet can make the decision to eat ice cream for dinner every night because "why not? No one is around to tell me no. I'm an adult!"

Yet there are some occurrences going on that make me realize I'm really not a kid anymore and this is a little more than unsettling. I'm not talking about credit card bills that need to be paid. I'm not talking about the fact that I'll never be the youngest at school again (actually, this is probably a good thing.) I'm talking about the fact that I, and many other people my age, are entering adulthood and turns out, it wasn't really what we expected. Are we ready to get hit with this thesis paper sized dose of reality? Nope.

I think this all starts out if you go away to college. You think, "Yeah, I am out of the house! I can do whatever I want! No one is here to tell me no!" Don't be ashamed to admit you thought this, I can admit that I definitely did.

This idea lasted a whole two weeks until I ate all the food in my room and was already sick of Easy-Mac and Ramen Noodles. Then I got a cold and called my mom approximately 17 times a day for a week because I didn't know what medicine to take or if I could mix cough syrup and decongestions. I'd like to think of myself as responsible, but let's all face it, sometimes, we don't know how to take care of ourselves.

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How, We, Like, Literally Use Words: Will Modern Day Text Lingo Ruin Language?

textingSince the introduction of instant messaging to society, whether it was internet chatrooms, emails, or texting, people have started to condense, modify, and alter words in order to make them easier to type. LOL, JK, TTYL, etc. have dominated the digital word since they were created. But despite the ease and comfort in typing these casual words, the consequences on formality and sentence structure could be disastrous.

It's not even text-talk that's the problem: informal phrases such as "like," "legit" and improper use of "literally" surround a generation of people who may not be able to speak in a formal setting, much less speak publicly. But is it necessary to adhere to previously established "rules" of speaking? Or are we meant to go with the flow and treat this like any other "popular phrase" of the past? Does virtual messaging really make these any worse than those that came before?

"It's more of a subconscious thing people say when they talk," said Hunter Farman, a sophomore commuication major. It's true that people don't use these colloquialisms entirely consciously. These phrases get so ingrained to our day-to-day lives, whether we're saying them or someone else is, that it becomes hard not to use them.

"There are some people who just use them way too many times when they're speaking," continued Farman.

This is true, people go into excess with words that create an easy sentence structure. This combination of repetitive exposure and ease of use makes these phrases crop up everywhere we hear. The common occurrence of these words ingrain them to convention.

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Classroom Competition: What Makes Students Work

classcompFor some students in college, grades are everything. A grade point average (GPA) can heavily affect scholarships and if someone can't afford to go to the school without a scholarship, not having good grades can be disastrous. Good grades can also be helpful in the future. In a post-college job, having a high GPA can prove to an employer that you have the skills and qualifications for the job that you are applying for, and that you're willing to work hard to do well.

Getting good grades can also lead to building a good relationship with a professor. Sometimes, professors have connections with others in their fields: people who may be hiring. If you have a good relationship with these professors, it may make getting a job in your preferred field much easier.

Students can be driven by both internal and external pressures. Some students, no matter how much they may hate a class, dislike a professor, or just do not care about the material, still drive themselves to complete their work to the best of their ability, simply because they are determined to succeed.

In other cases, it is external pressures that drive students to do well, whether that be scholarships and the chances of getting a job after college, like mentioned above, or a desire to please their parents or simply be recognized for the work that they are doing. A lot of college life can also hinge on getting good grades, such as getting a spot on the Dean's List, being eligible for a study abroad, and being able to join a sorority or fraternity.

Liz Roderick, a freshman psychology major, is motivated by external pressures. "I'm motivated to succeed in my classes for the sake of impressing future employers and not disappointing people," she said.

This seems to be a strong motivation for many, most people come to college hoping to get the training they need to find a job, and getting good grades is an important part of that. There are also a lot of tips and tricks when it comes to getting good grades.

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Are 90s Classic TV Shows The Best? "You Got It, Dude!"

fullhouseThere was a time long ago when family sitcoms and cartoons dominated the world of television. Sounds weird right? Now cheesy reality television has taken over the media industry. There is just something about it that seems to be thrilling and draws us in. Let's put aside the present for a second and have a blast from the past: the 90s.

The 90s were a time of simplicity for us college kids. We were all young without a care in the world. Pondering about the 90s decade leaves me with feelings of nostalgia. Since we all sadly cannot go back in time, why not pretend by living through our favorite 90s television shows?

"You got it dude!" Does that catch phrase ring a bell? My all time favorite show to this day is Full House. This 90s classic never gets old and is very quotable, as we can all clearly see. If I'm lucky, sometimes I'm able to catch it on at 9 pm, but sadly this rarely happens due to my busy college schedule. I would honestly do anything to have Full House make new seasons again and air constantly, as odd as that may sound. I am a die-hard fan, I am not exaggerating either.

For my birthday I have asked for a Full House T-shirt with Danny Tanner on it. I know strange, but hey what can I say, I am a true fan! Full House combines comedy with real world problems that just makes it hilarious, yet fantastic. If the Full House DVD set was not $200 I would buy it in a second. Others may or may not share my strange Full House obsession, but lets see what 90s television shows students still long for.

Kaitlyn Robertson, a freshman special education major, said, "I really wish Hey Arnold was still on television. The show reminds me of all the times my brother and I use to watch television together. We do not get that kind of quality time together anymore."

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When Picturing People in Underwear Doesn’t Work: How College Student’s Deal With Classroom Fears

classroomfearGoing to class isn't as simple as our parents assume. There are exams to prepare and show up for, homework for five to seven classes to complete, and rooms of 20 or so peers staring at you during a presentation. There are many factors that add stress to students' days, and many of them are harbored in the classroom. While many students face anxiety in the classroom, there are ways to quell the nerves and move beyond the fears.

Moyi "Pony" Jia, a lecturer of communication, has seen many anxious students in her time at the University. Jia has taught quite a few public speaking classes, a class most college students dread taking. Public speaking is definitely a topic that causes stress for many young adults in college. A way to conquer this fear is to take a course in public speaking and facing the stressor head on. Jia has seen that many students feel anxious at the beginning of the course, due to uncertainty and an unfamiliar environment.

"The anxiety gradually reduces and even goes away as they take the class and know their classmates better," Jia explained.

Jia offers some great advice to students who struggle with speaking in front of crowds:

"See your audience as friends, they are not [here] to judge you, they are here to listen to you, and to support you! Don't think 'Ahh, there are so many people and they will laugh at me when I make a mistake.' Instead, think 'there are so many people here and they want to listen to me! They are interested in what I am saying and we will create a good conversation."

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What Happens When You’re Dating... But Not: Student’s Stress Over the “Situationship”

situationshippExclusive relationships are pretty rare among college students nowadays. Everyone is looking to explore their options, while there are a few select couples that turn heads. Then there is that other category: dating, but yet not dating. This is when things seem to get complicated hence the label "situationships". The term could be defined as seeing each other for months yet not having the label as boyfriend and girlfriend. Now that's a sticky situation.

Tons of people have been in this awkward situation. The most awkward part is definitely initiating the conversation to talk about the subject. That is probably what prolongs the situation even more, which is what results in the "situationship."

When you are "together" but haven't had the "dating" talk, fights could arise. One partner could think they can date other people while dating someone else. It technically is, since there is no relationship label. But misunderstandings are likely to occur unless some previous understanding that it was okay to do so was made prior.

These situations seem to be an epidemic more so with college students. Everyone is young and just wants to have fun. Barely anyone wants to be tied down and worry about the responsibilities of a relationship, especially with the stress of college. There are always those exceptions though. If you truly like the person you should obviously be with them. If both people are willing to make the effort and really like each other I think it is worth it.

There are a myriad of views people have on this topic. Is a "situationship" worth it?

Kaitlyn Robertson, a freshman special education major, said, "There is no point of being together if someone is not going to take a step further to make a relationship out of it. Both partners times are wasted when no initiative is taken to make a lasting relationship. Either call it off or try to make it work."

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Excuses, Excuses: Why They’re Made and What They Mean

excusesDuring college, there are certain "traditions" between students and teacher that we simply come to expect. The most infamous and well-known cliché is excuses. Specifically, a student making an excuse for themselves and seeing if a teacher will take pity upon their unavoidable calamity and not take off points for a late assignment. It's fascinating, a student will go to such lengths to think up a believable reason to pitch the professor when that energy could have been better used with the original assignment.

"I think laziness and a lack of interest in the class makes students give excuses," said Connor Power, a sophomore computer science major. "I've told a professor I didn't go to class because it was so cold outside it hurt," Power continued. "But I wasn't lying for that one."

Students often give an excuse to justify their actions, or lack thereof. Power is correct in stating that students will give more excuses to a disliked class than in one they enjoy. After all, why would a student try to sway the opinion of a professor they respect? But this begs the question of why the excuses are made at all. Whether the professor is liked or not, are excuses solely based on the student's own interests?

"People want to pass the reason off to something that they're not responsible for," said Jack Demarest, a psychology professor. He claims that students have a lack of responsibility if they make continued excuses, and should just try to own up to their mistakes. His response when given an excuse? Indifference.

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Out With The Jeans: The Sweatpant and Yoga Pant-demic

kellysweatsAs winter begins to arrive and the cold begins to creep in, getting out of bed seems to become more of an effort every single day. As this happens, people seem to make less of an effort when it comes to getting ready in the morning, causing sweatpants and yoga pants to surge in popularity. Sweatpants and yoga pants are also, of course, far more comfortable than jeans, and in most cases can even feel warmer.

According to Erica Walsh, a freshman social work major, it's the cold that makes them more popular.

"They're so comfortable, to start," she explained. "And it's getting cold. Shorts are clearly out of the question, and sometimes jeans are a pain. The right pair can make you look good. Plus, in early-morning classes, it's not like anyone cares. You're all in the same boat."

Jenny Lee, a junior biology major, had the same viewpoint. "They're just so much more comfortable than jeans."

Even teachers have noticed the rising popularity. Noel Belinski, a lecturer of English, stated that she's seen more and more students wearing them in recent years.

"I've seen a lot of students wearing them on campus. I've also read that jeans sales have declined this year, so perhaps this is a new trend emerging."

As these clothes become staples of every-day life, the companies that make them make countless improvements. Gone are the days of simple black yoga pants, now, they can be bought in a variety of colours and patterns. Improvements have also been made to their functionality, some companies even design them to be thermal, making them perfect for early morning winter classes.

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The DREAM Moment At Monmouth

anniversaryTo most University patrons, Wilson Gardens is a nice little area. Tucked right into the side of the famed Wilson Hall, the Gardens feature awe-inspiring architecture, and is home to a set of fountains that look spectacular on the rare occasions they are turned on. The Gardens can be seen as nice, but are often overlooked in the daily bustle.

But for Jacklyn "Jackie" Kouefati, a recent class of 2014 Monmouth graduate, and Sebastian Chiaramida, Wilson Gardens will forever hold a significant place in their relationship and in their hearts. On Friday, Oct. 17. Chiaramida surprised Kouefati with flower petals, a ring and an unforgettable proposal that she couldn't help but say yes to.

The proposal wasn't the start of Kouefati and Chiaramida's happiness. The couple first met five years ago at a pizzeria where Chiaramida worked. "I happened to walk into [the restaurant] and that's where he gave me his number. We dated briefly after that, but not too long. We even lost touch with one another and eventually went back to each other, but not for several years later. Even when we weren't on speaking terms, we were always thinking about each other," Kouefati recalled.

Though they endured a break from their relationship, Chiaramida said there was something special about Kouefati that he couldn't ignore. "I knew since day one. When Jacklyn and I started dating officially, I fell more and more in love with her. With each day that passed and till this day when I think it's impossible to love her more than I already do, I fall deeper. She is my partner, my lover, my best friend, my soul mate, everything I could ever want," Chiaramida said.

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Candy Connection: The Best and Worst Halloween Candy

candiesThe dentist's least favorite holiday of the year: Halloween. Tons of people in America share a love for the addicting taste of sugar and chocolate that sadly could result in cavities. Even though we all know this bit of information does it stop us from eating it? We all know the answer to that, no we don't. At least I, for sure, don't. There is a countless amount of Halloween candy available, so which do people consider to be the best and worst?

My love for the combination of peanut butter and chocolate goes way back. I remember the first time I took a bite of my favorite candy in the world if you could not already guess it, Hershey's Reese's. The saltiness of the peanut butter combined with a lovely, delectable chocolate shell is to die for. My love for Reese's leaves me speechless. I don't have words to describe the taste other than it tasting amazing. Not all candy can live up to the Reese's standards though.

I believe Jawbreakers are hands down the worst candy in the world. They are obnoxiously huge and annoying to eat if you can even possibly fit one into your mouth without choking. If you think about it, Jawbreakers are a health hazard. They should really put some kind of warning label on those things.

There could be a debate for hours on the best and worst Halloween candy. If there actually was a real debate on the subject can you imagine how much of an uproar there would be?

Karen Zavala, a freshman health studies major, said, "The best candy all around is most definitely Sour Patch Watermelon. They are sweet, sour and simply taste amazing. What more could you ask for when eating candy?"

"The worst candy overall is definitely Almond Joy. The whole candy bar just tastes fake. I am pretty sure the only real part of that candy is the almonds; even the coconut tastes fake," Zavala continued.

Dana Gurnari, a freshman, took an interesting approach to the question that reflects her personal Halloween experiences.

"The best candy out there is obviously Reese's because it tastes amazing and I love peanut butter. For the worst candy, I know this is not candy but I absolutely hated it when people would give out tooth brushes, pennies, floss and other odd objects other than candy to kids trick-or-treating. It's just downright weird," said Gurnari.

Kaitlyn Robertson, a freshman special education major, picked candy that accommodates her specific food needs.

"The best candy is Twix because it is cookie, chocolate and caramel all combined into one bar of goodness. The worst candy to me is Almond Joy. The only reason really is because I am allergic to both coconut and nuts."

Robertson continued, "Actually, I remember eating an Almond Joy once and it was not that good anyway. It is basically all artificial coconut, which is not healthy at all. I know all candy is not good for you, but when picking a candy I try to avoid dyes and artificial things."

Christa Hogan, a lecturer professor of social work, said, "The best candy is candy corn because it's sweet, chewy, festive and just makes me really happy. Halloween is the only time of the year it is available so I like to take advantage of that."

The worst Halloween candy is anything with nuts. It makes candy lose its creamy texture and takes away from the chocolate. It's better that nuts are just left out of candy," continued Hogan.

Candy is forever going to be a part of the Halloween culture. With trick-or-treating still a dominant must among young children, candy is going to be kept in most households during the holiday. I wish I could go back to those days. When I am older, I will probably not have any candy for when trick-or-treaters ring my doorbell because I will probably have already eaten it all. Therefore, what I am trying to say is, do not ring my doorbell in the future because you will be disappointed. Happy Halloween!

IMAGE TAKEN from thatprettyfitchick.com

Ghosts, Goblins and Witches Brew Halloween Comes To MU

carving-pumpkinsAt the end of October, the air gets a little foggier, shadows seem a little larger, and the Monmouth campus finally becomes enveloped in the season of scaring.

Halloween is a unique holiday in that it has a way of bringing students together in ways that Thanksgiving or the Winter Holidays cannot. While students go home to visit their families during their Thanksgiving or winter breaks, Halloween is spent on campus, allowing the students and faculty to partake in festivities together.

Much of Halloween is based on traditions, from dressing in costume to carving pumpkins, which creates a common ground for everyone to participate. From Monmouth's own haunted Wilson Hall tour to students dressing in costumes, there is a piece of the holiday for everyone. But what about particular students' own traditions? Do upperclassmen get as involved or "into" the holiday as freshman, or vice versa?

"I really like the theme of the day, the 'scariness' of it. I just like the atmosphere of it all," said Joseph Schuld, a junior biology major.

There is definitely a different atmosphere around the holiday. Halloween has a unique presence that can be felt in the air itself, and helps everyone get into the holiday spirit. Some students spend all month decorating their rooms and getting their costumes ready. The environment the holiday creates can be sensed by everyone.

Students don't enjoy Halloween just because of the atmosphere, it's the scariness and the products of the holiday that make it fun. Halloween is most known for the candy, costumes, and of course, scary movies.

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The Halloween Hauntings of New Jersey

GREYSTONEWith Halloween just around the corner, scary stories are on the rise, ghost stories being especially popular. All of these stories seem to have a building with an eerie legend around it, some sort of ghost left behind by a tragedy of years before.

Some of these scary stories are found right on campus, such as the ghost of Leonie Guggenheim, who supposedly haunts the library, while others are just a bit further out of reach, like the abandoned Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, found in Parsippany, NJ, just an hour away from campus. Both of these ghost stories have also been reported on in popular tourist magazine Weird N.J., which specializes in finding the strangest and most bizarre things about the state and showcasing them.

Monmouth's on-campus library, once known as the summer home of Murry and Leonie Guggenheim, is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of Leonie, who died twenty years after her husband. His death occurred in 1939, yet, Leonie continued to spend her summers at the house, according to the information provided by Monmouth Library. In 1959, after her death, the estate became the property of the Murry and Leonie Guggenheim Foundation, and it was later donated to Monmouth University.

According to ghost stories, the spirit of Leonie Guggenheim still haunts the library even now. Supposedly, every night at midnight, a figure in white appears on the stairs of the library, making her way up the stairs before vanishing.

George Germek, the associate librarian at the Guggenheim Library said, "I've never seen anything here, though supposedly things happen by the staircase. I've been here nine years and have seen nothing, however, I've heard some noises in the basement hallways when it's empty, like dropping books."

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Saturday Night's Alright for Racing: The Dirt on What it Takes to Manage a Racetrack

new-egypt-speedwaySix Flags Great Adventure is one of the biggest attractions in the Monmouth County area and it's located on County Road 537. However, there is another destination for people in the area to spend time with their families and friends just up the road from the popular theme park. If you drive past Great Adventure, make a left turn onto County Road 539 and drive a few minutes, and you will see a large open field on your left.

Located in front of a forest of pine trees is a large dirt oval, surrounded by towering metal grandstands and lights that brighten up this clay circle when those grandstands come to life every Saturday night. This modest, unassuming attraction is the New Egypt Speedway and it is a must visit for race fans in the area on Saturday nights from April through September. Because the track hosts events for half of the calendar year, there is a lot of responsibility for making sure everything runs smoothly. These responsibilities usually fall on the shoulders of general manager, Allyse Wolfinger.

Wolfinger, a 25-year-old graduate of Albright College in Reading, PA with a degree in communications, was behind her computer, trolling websites and message boards for fan reactions to the previous night's event when I entered the track's office. As she sat behind her keyboard, which was branded with a red 88 and the same colors as NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr's race car, it became clear that Wolfinger was in the right line of work.

While many communication majors dream of writing for publications like the New York Times or the Washington Post, Wolfinger told me she has always been a race fan and, because of this passion, she has "always wanted to work in the racing industry."

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What Would You Do...

fixing-the-world

If only every problem in the world could be fixed with the snap of a finger. It would be wonderful if issues could be resolved by a simple conversation, but that is sadly not a strategy for everything. Most problems in the world cannot be fixed at all, due to conflicting opinions and scenarios that are out of people’s control. But what if it was possible to have our wildest dreams come true?

This world has been tragically dominated by disease. Everywhere you go you meet someone who has or had dealt with terrible diseases like cancer, or you see news on Ebola flashing on your television screen every hour. If I could fix the world in five minutes, I would rid the world of all disease. Illness has tragically taken the lives of too many people around the globe and the statistics keep continuing to grow.  

While growing up, I have lost two grandparents due to cancer; one I did not even get to meet. Thousands of people alike have experienced the loss of a family member, friend or acquaintance resulting from cancer.  Not to be a bummer, but I’m sure everyone has been affected in one way or another.  It is such a common disease nowadays that it is almost impossible to escape. I am positive there are other people who feel the same way I do, whether they are witnesses, victims or survivors. After all, cancer sucks.

 There are countless issues that are happening globally that need to be resolved. If individual people had the power to fix the world in five minutes, can you just imagine how amazing the world would be?

 "I would overthrow President Barack Obama so the people could have the power to rule. We could fix society and no longer use the monetary system, cut the military budget, and send relief to third world countries. If we no longer use the monetary system, everyone would have free access to resources. Therefore, this would make the world a better place," said Alli Ganim, a freshman who is currently undecided with her major.

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Weather Woes Leave Apple And Pumpkin Pickers Empty Handed

Pumkins-for-realOctober is a month beloved for its fall activities, especially pumpkin and apple picking. But what if there were not enough pumpkins for the taking? Due to the polar vortex that occurred last year, many farmers are worried about the amount of crops that will be produced this year.

With the weather changing so drastically, the fields can go from dry to damp within a day. Many areas have been declared "Primary Natural Disaster" areas by the Department of Agriculture. We're expected to have blasts of freezing air early this fall, a reminder of the awful winter we had last year. So what does all this mean for our favorite fall festivities?

While many farmers are biting their nails to see what the rest of fall brings, the community gardens here at Monmouth are flourishing. Dean of the School of Social Work, Robin Mama, is also the advisor for the gardens, and gives us the inside look at the new community garden program on campus.

Through the combined efforts of the Center for Human and Community Wellness and the School of Social Work, the community gardens were started as a way for students to reach out to many different community agencies and food pantries around West Long Branch, including the Long Branch Senior Center and the Soup D'Shore Soup Kitchen. Mama said that that this has been the garden's best year so far.

Mama explains that "the garden has both looked its best and produced its best this year. As of last week, our harvest totals were 3,265 pounds of produce donated! Once we add in October we will probably get close to 3,500 pounds."

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The Art of Letting Go of Life’s Troubles

o-STANDARDIZED-TESTING-STUDENT-facebookLet’s stop hanging up our problems. They are not pictures adorning the wall. They are not coats on a rack. It seems pretty common for people to suffer from dilemmas or "hang ups." Such troubles might include unpreparedness for a test, a bad grade, a bridge burned, a failed relationship, an opportunity lost, or any personal mistake made.

I hear constant complaining and worry over these matters. The incessant lamenting reminds me of a televised news program: a lot of bad news. And news flash, nobody likes a "Debbie Downer." But it’s time to stand up and stop the ongoing negativity. People must learn to break down the worry wall and just let go.

As college students, there are many little stresses that burden us. It’s now over two months into the semester and professors are dropping assignments left and right. Students stress about those hectic nights when they’re troubled with homework, a test, and a paper to write for the following day and they wonder how they’re even going to complete just one.

But let’s take a moment and ask ourselves why we’re so hung up on this. The reason we’re getting anxiety from a pile of paper, is because we care about our grades. We care about our success. We care about our future. If this sounds like you, then it’s inevitable that you will eventually meet your goals.

"If you fail a test, in retrospect, is it really going to matter? Work as hard as you can, and give the rest up to God. As long as you’re a good person and do your best, you will be perfectly fine," Amy Maginnis, a senior radio and TV major believes.

If you hand in a paper that doesn’t live up to your personal academic standards, try harder next time. One poorly written paper is not going to determine your future, so don’t let that heavy feeling of a potential bad grade weigh down the rest of your week. You’ll feel sad, stressed, and anxious which will affect other things you are trying to accomplish.

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Professors Profess Their Pre-Professor Professions

professor

Here at Monmouth, it's important to develop a working relationship with your professor in order to stay on top of assignments and make the semester in their class a pleasant one. Monmouth is full of knowledgeable people who are experts on the topics they teach, but one cannot escape the curiosity of how they came to such an academically prestigious profession.

"Most professors never left academia," said Kevin Rooney, an adjunct professor of history. What he says is true: many professors have spent their lives studying to become teachers, and as such have never left a school environment. Receiving a PhD is no easy feat, and requires years of work to achieve.

"I'm a bit of an anomaly," said Rooney, "I always had an interest in history, but at a critical stage, I chose to go to law school for financial reasons." Rather than go through years of schooling to get his doctorate, Rooney chose to pursue a career as a lawyer and start a family. He was a lawyer for 25 years, but then retired in 2007, and decided to pursue his passion.

"I just didn't feel like being a lawyer any more, and once I had reached a financially secure level, and all my kids were off to college, I decided to become a professor," continues Rooney.

The desire to pursue one's passions, especially if revisiting them after many years, can be an important resource on the long road to become a professor. Like anything, becoming a professor takes time and is easier when you're passionate about it. Some professors decide to simply pursue education from the very start.

All educators, regardless of position, need a love of teaching to succeed at the career. Besides tenured professors, there are adjunct professors, which are hired supplementary to the main staff. So if a professor is adjunct, how do they spend the rest of their time?

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Midterm Meltdown

crammiggIf only the information bestowed upon students by their professors would somehow stay latched into their minds permanently, allowing a smooth transition into midterm exams.

Unfortunately, with 15 to 18 credits, clubs, sports, jobs, Greek organizations, social lives, and (somehow) sleep, this process is not easy.

With midterm exams right around the corner, students are panicking about how to succeed on these upcoming tests.

In an article found in Faculty Focus, it was shown that approximately 45 percent of students admitted to cramming for exams, almost half the campus. The definition of cramming, "the practice of working intensively to absorb large volumes of informational material in short amounts of time," brings to mind the classic image of a stressed out student sitting in a mound of textbooks in a library, feeling completely overwhelmed.

While the late night study sessions may be unavoidable, there are some other ways to study and retain the information needed for both the test, and the long run.

As hard as it can be to pencil in study time, it's viable to get that extra time in. In the wake of midterms, Stephanie Merlis, a sophomore business marketing major, has had five exams this week. While many of us would be losing our minds, she kept it together.

Merlis, reveals that her key to studying success: "I like Luke McKinny, a writer for the website Cracked and former psychics student, found that "one thing I noticed without fail was that students would 'study' by piling up work all around them, then sit there wasting time and being miserable until the clock said they were finished."

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The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Students Spill All About Their First Jobs

waitressAt this point in our lives, most of us have had a first job. It could have been working for our parents, it could have been baby-sitting the neighbor's kids, or it could have been filing papers in an office. Whatever our first job was and whether we liked it or not, at the time we were probably just happy that we didn't have to ask our parents for money anymore. Some of us still might ask our parents for money, but that's another story.

My first job was at a little family owned ice cream shop a few blocks from my house. What 15-year-old girl doesn't want unlimited ice cream? This girl did. So I scooped ice cream and made the occasional milk shake and banana split - served with a dirty look for making me do extra work and wash extra dishes.

When no one was there I would read books or watch movies. A pretty peachy first job, but it didn't teach me how to deal with many different kinds of people. One would think everyone going to get ice cream would be happy and cheerful. This is not correct. In fact, most people coming to get ice cream were miserable. The all you can eat ice cream made up for it, though.

The ice cream shop eventually closed down because people in my town don't eat ice cream in the winter. I know, I don't understand it either. So I moved on with my high school career and went through office and retail jobs.

Nothing I had ever done was too unusual. Of course, weird things happen at every job, but most of everything I've ever done at work revolves around me being nice to people. Some people, I found, don't have common retail jobs, like I did, or restaurant jobs, like everyone else I knew did.

"My first job was being a janitor. I waxed floors, cut the lawn, painted walls and cleaned bathrooms. I got the job because my mom works in the school district where I worked. It taught me how to clean," said Jeremy Corrente, a freshman homeland security major.

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Will The Approaching Cold Weather Cause Students to Freeze Up or Chill Out?

coldstudentsThere is something about life on campus that just exudes the comfort; whether students are walking to class with friends as autumn leaves flutter from trees, throwing a football around on the quad, going out on the town or going to the beach. Students have freedom here: the ability to settle in, study and enjoy their new home.

However, no summer warmth lasts forever. Winter is coming. In the approaching months, cold weather will arrive and affect the entire campus. But once winter's chill gets it's grasp on Monmouth, how will the students be affected? Do the cold months have a different effect on upperclassmen than their juniors?

First, let's look at the facts. Once it gets colder, there are fewer activities for students to do and be distracted by. Less hanging out outside and more being confined to dorm rooms, due to either snowfall or cold temperatures in general.

For the fall semester, the closer we get to finals, the colder the weather gets. This is almost symbolic of the approaching pressure placed on students. That way students will (hopefully) goof off while the weather is warm and classes are just beginning. However, if the habit persists, students will have both the cold weather and exams to deal with. So, how the last months of the year affect students is entirely dependent on how much more or less they study in the colder times of the year.

"I'd actually say students study more in the cold months," said Kenneth Mitchell, an associate professor of political science. "There are way less distractions in cold weather, so without the option of going to the beach or hanging out around campus, some students are inclined to stay in and get their work done."

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Professor Ping Zhang Gets Down with 62 Questions

proffyThe Outlook got a chance to sit down with Ping Zhang, an adjunct Chinese and foreign language professor. Zhang was asked 62 rapid fire questions without time to give much explaination. This is what she said:

Outlook: What part of China are you from?

PZ: Beijing.

Outlook: How many years did you live there?

PZ: More than 40 years.

Outlook: Did you live in any other parts of China?

PZ: Yes.

Outlook: What is your favorite memory while living in China?

PZ: The people and the food.

Outlook: What is your favorite place in China to visit?

PZ: Xi'an, my hometown.

Outlook: What do you miss the most about China?

PZ: My family members and Chinese food.

Outlook: How is the culture different from America?

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“Don’t Count the Miles, Count the I Love You’s”

couple2grayKeeping a relationship in college is hard work. Not saying a relationship at any age or time of life is easy, but in college, it definitely seems to be harder. Hear me out. In college, you need to be honest with your significant other, communicate with them, be trusting of them and find time to spend with them on a regular basis. Sounds like a relationship at any age, right?

True, in any relationship, honesty, trust, and communication are all key, but outside of college, you don't really have to worry about your significant other partying every night. Or maybe you do. If so, you should probably rethink some things.

Long distance relationships, especially for college students, are even harder. You are used to spending so much time, if not every day, with your partner, and all of a sudden, they are hours away. Whether your significant other lives in your hometown and you go away to school, or you go to school with them and go back home during breaks and summer, leaving is always hard. It's not something that's ever easy to get used to either. So how do college students keep their relationships going while they are apart?

Freshman year, I entered school ready to mingle and meet new people. I quickly realized that it seemed everyone at Monmouth was in a relationship with someone from home. All my friends would spend their weekends home with their boyfriend's, and I was left alone, feeling pretty single and sorry for myself. By Thanksgiving break, almost all the high school sweethearts were terminated. But why? Why was no one willing to make it work?

I met my boyfriend second semester of freshman year and we began dating and doing things together every day. But then May came. We lived an hour away from one another. As he was moving out of his dorm, trying to vacuum the floors, I was crying in a ball, crying on his desk. I didn't know how to make this work, especially after spending months together, I wasn't used to this. Turns out I was just being dramatic because I saw him a couple weeks later. We're still together, so I guess we figured it out after all.

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Risky Business: When Drinking Goes Too Far

teendrinkingParties are one of the most famous college stereotypes – movies like '21 and Over', 'Animal House', and 'Old School' have left an image in our minds of drunken students, getting into all sorts of trouble. However, it's this sort of trouble that, while sometimes portrayed as humorous on-screen, may end badly in real life. Deaths from drunk driving are all too common, as is alcohol poisoning. In a world where the rules are suddenly removed, and almost all supervision seems to vanish, especially at night. This also makes it harder to gauge when too much alcohol is too much.

Drinking underage is risky enough. The brain's frontal lobe – the part that controls decision making – is not fully formed until 21 years old, and underage drinking can slow or damage its development. It is because of this that laws have been established that restrict drinking to the age of 21, so that the brain's development is allowed to work in its normal patterns.

According to patients.aan.com, "The problem for teens is that white matter doesn't reach its full density in the prefrontal cortex—the area responsible for judgment, decision-making, and impulse control—until age 25 or 30. And that lack of white matter is one reason teenagers are more likely to engage in risky behaviors."

However, even drinking at 21 and above can be risky. There's no set amount on how much is too much, what might leave one person mildly intoxicated could leave another too drunk to stand.

According to safety officer Jim McColgan, he and the others who share his job "aren't about getting people caught or lying in wait for them to come in drunk," but they instead focus on making sure that people are safe. They sit in the lobbies of buildings until five in the morning, their eyes peeled for anyone who might be putting themselves at risk. When drunk, it's possible that people may pass out, and if they vomit, it's entirely possible that they may choke on it.

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National Suicide Prevention Month: What Our Generation Can Do

psychiatristSuicide. The word enough can send a shiver down your back. While it may seem like a far away term that you only see on Law and Order, it is a very real problem in our world. September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and the question stands: How can our generation stop this terrible self-murder?

Suicide is a tragic epidemic that takes over 39,000 people a year, according to Dr. John Draper, director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Huffington Post reported that "there are more people dying each year in the U.S. by suicide than there are people dying in car accidents." The world was stunned by the recent suicide of beloved actor Robin Williams, and the outpour of social media reactions caused people to really look into mental illness and the realities of it.

Draper shared that "A friend of mine told me that he loves working in suicide prevention because it reminds him of the reasons that life is worth living. And most of the time, those reasons are about having meaningful connections with others. There is something we can all do to promote that in our lives and in the lives of others around us".

A shocking study done in Boston showed that more than 50 percent of college students have felt suicidal. This statistic brings this problem close to home. "Suicidal crises are a common occurrence on college campuses," contended Chris Brownson, director of the University of Texas Counseling and Mental Health Center in Austin. A recent annual national survey conducted by the American College Health Association showed that 30 percent of college students reported feeling "so depressed that it was difficult to function" at some point of time during the past year. Despite these numbers, many students think depression and anxiety are issues not commonly faced on campuses. David Drum, a psychologist from the University of Texas, pointed out that "[Most people in university environments] only see the high-profiles examples, but they don't see the everyday anguish students are going through".

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Wake Up! The College Student Morning Routine

If there’s one thing that almost all college students can agree on, it’s that waking up in the morning is terrible, especially when you’re facing an 8:30 am class. There’s nothing worse than being jolted awake by a blaring alarm, and the earlier the alarm needs to be, the more intolerable it seems. Morning routines – dragging oneself out of bed, getting ready for the day, and going off to class – can range from being a mild annoyance to the worst part of the day. To get a clearer picture of what mornings can be like, several students shared their morning routines and how they spend the beginning of their day.

Several students have said that the only way that they can wake up in the morning is with the assistance of an alarm – or two, or three, or even four. Liz Roderick, a freshman psychology major, said that she needs two alarms – one with the actual time she needs to be awake, and one that goes off fifteen minutes in advance.

“This way, I can just sit in bed for that extra few minutes if I want, depending on how lazy I’m feeling.” Roderick adds.

In case of Liz’s roommate Katharine Dix, a freshman political science major, it’s at least three or four alarms to get her out of bed on time, and for some students the number can be even higher, including alarms set to just go off at fifteen-minute intervals. The earlier the class, the more alarms seem to be needed – there’s no feeling in the world worse than looking at your clock and realizing that your first class starts in ten minutes.

However, outside of the amount of alarms set, there seems to be little variation in morning routines, whether male or female, freshman or senior. After all, everyone has the same basic list of things to do – get dressed, brush teeth, grab breakfast if there’s time, cram in one last round of studying or finish off one last procrastinated assignment, and then make it to class on time. It’s that last step that can effect a morning just as much as the time of your class – getting to Bey Hall, for example, at the far end of campus, is almost double the distance of Wilson.

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The Truth Behind The Fairy Tale: The Wicked World of Disney Stories

Walt Disney created a cartoon empire that has been admired since he introduced the world to Mickey Mouse in 1928. While it is nearly impossible for many to think of The Walt Disney Company in a poor light, most of their famous films have very dark roots.

Released in November of 1987, “The Little Mermaid” tells a tale of a mermaid princess named Ariel who falls in love with a human prince named Eric. In the end, the two live happily ever after, as most Disney princesses do. The original story, written by Hans Christian Andersen, was adapted by The Walt Disney Company and while the story began in the same fashion, not much else aligned. The little mermaid does save the prince from a shipwreck and she does seek out a sea witch to exchange her voice for legs.

Essentially, every other element of Andersen’s tale was changed by The Walt Disney Company to appeal to their target audience. In Andersen’s version, the little mermaid must die if she fails at making the prince fall in love with her while in Disney’s version, she simply changes back into a mermaid. There is also a catch to gaining the legs: Andersen’s little mermaid has the unpleasant sensation of stepping on shards of glass when she walks.

Much like the Disney rendition, the prince is involved in a wedding ceremony with another woman. In Andersen’s tale, the prince ends up marrying the other woman. Under the impression that she has failed, the little mermaid is then told there is a loophole to her immediate death. Senior English major Rachel Fox said that she is most diturb by this original tale.

‘The Little Mermaid’ while a classic is hardly true to Andersen’s tale. If she kills the prince with a knife and lets his blood drip on her feet, she can live. If she does not kill the prince, the sea witch kills her,” Fox said. Unable to murder the prince, the little mermaid is commits suicide by jumping into the ocean at which point she turns to sea foam.

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Crushing With Confidence: A Romantic Approach

How many times have you found yourself somewhere on campus locking eyes with that cute guy or girl across the room? It’s not something we plan for, it just happens. All of these thoughts begin to run through your mind: What’s his/her name? Does he/she think I am attractive? What is his/her major? Is he/she going to come over and talk to me?

Suddenly this person appears everywhere on campus and curiosity strikes. Seeing that person is just not enough anymore and you realize you are now crushing on a complete stranger.

So now you think, how can I get to know that person? People make decisions every day based on what they want. If someone catches your eye and has been running through your mind, you have a decision to make. To step out of your comfort zone and contact that person or to let it go and tell yourself if it is meant to be, it will be.

I know that when I decide to make myself uncomfortable by taking a risk, I first contemplate the best way to make a connection with a person. So many people say, I’d rather have a face-to-face interaction with the guy or girl I like. But can we follow through with that?

We live in a world of technology and we can’t always bring ourselves face to face with something we desire, even when we want to. Or maybe the timing just is not right. Or maybe no one has time in college.

As college students we are more inclined to search for an easy way out, especially when we are stressed out with a million other things, and that cute guy you saw in the student center cannot be one of them.  Therefore, the approach is the defining matter in a situation like this. Or is there even going to be an approach?

“Depending on time constraints, sometimes you have to take a leap of faith if it’s something that you think could be awesome.” said Ryan Kelly, senior political science major.

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The Generation of #BeastMode

I recently read a statistic saying that within the next 10 years or so, 85 percent of the United States will be overweight. I’m leaving out the fact that I read this while eating a large bowl of pasta. I questioned this a little, because in the next 10 years my generation will be in their 30s and because our generation is obsessed with going to the gym. It’s not just our generation either. Even when I go to the school gym, there are professors and other adults running on the treadmills.

If we are all so into the gym craze now, will that die out as we get older, or will my generation and the other gym goers of today be able to lower the future obesity rate of the United States?

While I was in high school, I don’t recall too many people spending hours at the gym until about senior year. This could either be because a huge gym opened in my town and offered dirt-cheap prices in the beginning, or because people wanted to look good in their prom outfits. Regardless, the gym craze had started, and I was definitely a part of it. I would go from school to work to the gym without skipping a beat. Students and teachers alike flocked to this gym. But then, I started college. I realized the true beauty of fried Mac and Cheese at 2 am. I had three swipes a day at the dining hall. The gym slipped away from me and I happily waved goodbye.

I watched, via social media, as people at home keep on grinding at the gym, while I ate ice cream waffles for dinner. I couldn’t understand it. How could they pick the gym over fried food? Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels? What about bread and pasta and potatoes? Was I the only person in my graduating class that didn’t have a relationship with a local gym?  What was the sudden craze to no longer be skinny, but to be muscular and fit?

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15New Study Asks: Can We Train Our Brains to Eat Healthier?

Untitled-1Are we capable of actually training our brains to choose healthier food options? Researchers from Tufts University in Massachusetts have presented promising research suggesting the possibility of just that.

Why is it that we are always so tempted to choose the pizza and soda option over perhaps a salad? Why is it so easy for us to munch away on a bag of chips instead of cutting up some fruit? Beyond the simpler explanation that unhealthier foods tend to appeal more to our sense of taste lies the more complex and often nebulous mechanisms of the human brain.

Certain regions of the brain have been designated part of the 'pleasure center' of the brain, namely the limbic system, which involves our emotions and desires. The use of functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, has shown stimulation of the limbic system when an individual consumes unhealthy food.

The researchers of Tufts University observing this effect chose to manipulate the cause that eventually leads to the stimulation of the brain's pleasure centers. They were successful in conditioning the brains of eight variable subjects to become stimulated with the idea of healthier food. The researchers accomplished this by subjecting the variable individuals to an intervention involving a strict diet particularly high in protein and fiber.

Following this intervention, the pleasure centers of the variable subjects' brains showed little to no change when presented with the idea of less healthy food. The extent of the conditioning was such that a number of the variable subjects reported having cravings for the healthier food options.

Jen Zuczek, a junior chemistry major, said, "I found it interesting to learn that a person can train their brain to find healthy food options more appealing by just a simple change in diet."

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Inside The Biggest Celebrity Hacking Scandal in History

grayApple-iPhone-4-logo-silhouetteThe Internet blew up when the biggest celebrity hacking scandal in history occurred recently. Over 100 celebrities' iCloud accounts were hacked, revealing scandalous photos of starlets like Jennifer Lawrence, Ariana Grande, and Kate Upton. While some of these celebrities have denied the photos were real, others spoke out,

Jennifer Lawrence's rep stated, "This is a flagrant violation of privacy. The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos,"

This scandal has started a wildfire of comments, with celebrities coming to the victims' defense. Emma Watson, though not involved in the photo leak, took to Twitter to offer her support, "Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated on social media is reading the accompanying comments that show such a lack of empathy".

Many people believe these starlets should never have taken such intimate photos in the first place.

"It's their freedom of expression, anyone should be able to take pictures of themselves and trust that no one will hack into their phone," disagrees Samantha Marella, a sophomore Marketing major.

"I feel really badly for the celebrities who were violated because we should not live in a society where people are actively trying to invade people's privacy."

Some websites, like E! and Vox, have come to the womens' defense, saying the scandal is about the fact that "women in pop culture are under attack" and reflects how "society treats women in the public eye". Yet others have lashed out.

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A Realistic Attempt at a Week of Positivity

happy_face_As a nation, every time we turn on the news or go onto social media sites, terror, war and disease fill our screens. Rarely is there a story majorly publicized about happiness or good deeds. Even when there are stories of love and hope, people suddenly forget about them when something terrible happens. In a world surrounded by and focused on negativity, it would do people good to find the positives in life.

After I put some deep thought into this concept, I decided that I should spend my week trying to be more positive as well. Don't laugh, Mom and Dad. If you know me, you will know that I might not always be the most positive person. My family and friends may even call me cynical, but I'd like to think of myself as just being realistic. There is nothing I like more than seeing pictures and videos that "restore faith in humanity," so I figured I would give positivity a go, and took my friends on the trip with me.

Alyssa Healy, a junior health studies major said, "I always try and make sure to smile at people and go out of my way to say hi. Giving people compliments and saying hello really does make people happy, it really is the little things," says Alyssa Healy, a Junior Health Studies major.

"If someone is struggling with something, I try to help them as much as I can and always just try to believe that everything happens for a reason."

Chrissy DiLiberti, a senior communication major, made an effort to stay positive at work throughout the week. "My waitressing job can be hectic and customers can be rude a lot of the time, but I realized smiling through it helps."

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Romantic Comedies Ask: What is “Love Actually?”

romantic_comediesYou're at a Starbucks, ordering your mocha-frappa-latte-chino concoction with sweet caramel drizzled on the frothy foam. The man in front of you is yelling to the barista about how he can taste the whole milk in his latte-mcfrapp drink, when he had originally asked for skim. As the arrogant whole milk tasting customer exits the coffee shop, he drops a 20-dollar bill on the floor which you pick up and put in the tip jar. "Karma's a b***h," you say to the barista as a smile caresses your face.

This is the moment right before you meet the love of your life. Sounds like the start of a romantic comedy, doesn't it? If you're familiar with the movie Monster In-Law featuring Jennifer Lopez you'd know that it's the scene right before she bumps into the love of her life, Michael Vartan.

Romantic comedies can come in all different shapes and sizes. They can have really complex story lines, like He's Just Not That Into You, or really traditional ones, like Clueless. Robert Scott, Specialist Professor in the Communication Department has taught a class for an entire semester dedicated to the films that capture our hearts, make us laugh, and inspire us to find true love—a class dedicated to romantic comedies.

"Romantic comedies, my interpretation of them, are anything that's romantic and has comedic elements, that's a 'rom-com'," said Scott.

It seems simple, but rom-com plots twist and turn to the developing relationships in the movie and need to be taken into consideration. But is dating really as easy as romantic comedies make it seem?

Twenty-somethings' today are looking for relationships, especially college women. In a study conducted by Lisa Daily, Dating Expert and Author of Stop Getting Dumped, most relationships form after six to eight dates. Yet in the "hook-up culture" of college, going on six to eight dates seems to be a stretch according to Daily's study.

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A Look Through The Camera Lens

painted-ladyHer Tumblr page is overflowing with photographs of animals of different species, diverse landscapes, uniquely captured human moments and ordinary objects. What do these photos have in common? Jordan Richards is in every single one of them. While her golden-green eyes may not be the subject of every shot, they are the lenses through which these pieces of art were created.

Jordan, 20, a junior at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA prefers to stay behind the camera, capturing the images she sees in front of her. Growing up in a household full of art projects crafted by her mother in pursuit of a Master of Fine Arts (MFA), Jordan was exposed to art at a young age. She enjoyed the art classes that her elementary and middle school had to offer and finally discovered photography at age 14.

"As silly as it sounds, it was all because of an online forum I was a part of. On that forum, there was a group for photographers. I looked through everything that those people did and decided I wanted to do it too, and I have been doing it ever since," Jordan explained.

Jordan's mother Christine Richards recalls the day she realized her daughter was truly passionate about photography.

"Jordan started her photography obsession in the eighth grade when she stole my birthday present," said Christine. "That year was her brother's senior year and he was playing football. I wanted to get some really good pictures so I asked for a really good camera... and I haven't seen it since... at least in my hands I haven't. It was the best present I ever asked for."

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A Senior’s Guide Through Freshman Year

Upperclassmen Give Tips to Freshman for Their First Semester

guide_through_freshman_yearThe first week back to college: a week of reuniting with friends, catching a few more beach days, and relaxing before the semester's work begins.

For freshman, the first week can be a little different. In fact, it can be overwhelming, scary, and very, very confusing. They might not know their roommates, they definitely don't know where their classes are, and this is probably their first time living away from home.

Walking around campus, especially as a senior, I can spot freshman off the bat. They look a little more lost, confused and panicked than the rest of us. They also look much younger. Did I look that young three years ago? No. Definitely not. Probably.

For a moment I felt the nostalgia of high school, being the oldest on campus. Except being a senior in high school meant you were off to college soon. Being a senior in college means you are off to the real world soon. Not as cool of a feeling.

As a group of freshman walked past me, lanyards around their necks, frantically looking from schedule to building, I smiled. I remember being in that position. We were all, at one point, in that position. So fear not my freshman friends, it definitely gets easier. Just to help you out though, here are some things I wish people told me.

Go out of your way to meet new people. I know, this is obvious; of course you will meet new people. You have a new roommate, you have multiple classes full of new people, and you see new faces at parties. If you came to college with a group of friends, you might stick to them for comfort and think hey, I have my group of friends. Don't get me wrong, this is awesome and they will have your back when things are tough, especially in the beginning. But it definitely doesn't hurt to reach out and find new friends too.

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Not Your Typical American Girl

On April 17, 1975, as the Khmer Rouge seized the capital of Phnom Penh, the life of a six-year-old girl named Bopha Yonge was changed forever. Her family was driven out of their village of Bātdâmbâng and with millions of others, was forced straight into Hell. In a country that is less than half the size of CA, leader of Khmer Rouge and paramilitary dictator Pol Pot sought out to purify Cambodia and eliminate educated people in order to nationalize peasant farming. More than one million people died.

Now, 34 years later, Bopha reflects on the memories of living, experiencing, and escaping the hardships her and her family faced during the Khmer Rouge reign. Bopha Yonge was her original name before the Khmer Rouge clutched the capital. It was her name before hostility and greed stepped into control. It was her name before the word "lifeless" could be seen on the people of Cambodia, dead or alive. It was her name before the vivacious life of Cambodia was blown out; it was her name before Pol Pot announced that every birth certificate, passport, and other forms of identification were going to be burned.

"It's like you no exist no more—your past erased and no one knows," said Bopha as her eyes darted toward the floor. She sat silent for a few moments; breathing evenly, her breath was calm despite her panicked eyes.

Every civilian in Cambodia received a new name and burden. Bopha's father had passed away before she received her new name, Chrep. And eventually received a new last name when her mother married her stepfather. Bopha's new identity was Chrep Chhouth, pronounced as Shhrep Chtruth. Her new name did not hold the significance of her original, even though her new birth certificates and new forms of identification had her new name written on them.

"I'm Chrep to some and Bopha to others, like two people but one person," Bopha said. Her eyes lit up ever so slightly, as if she was smirking with them as she made a little joke.

Millions were forced to leave their cities and villages to live on farmland to work for Pot. People worked mandatory 16-18 hour days to help gain resources to benefit the regime. Some days would be hot, stifling breath without being able to enjoy the refreshing taste of water as it quenches thirst.

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Contact Information

CAMPUS LOCATION
The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication 
and Instructional Technology (CCIT) Room 260, 2nd floor

MAILING ADDRESS
The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey 07764

Phone:(732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu