It’s hard to believe that it has been four years since I stood beside my best friends at high school graduation. I never thought things would get better than those times even though I was always told that college would be the best four years of my life. After going through it, all the people who told me that were one hundred percent correct.
Monmouth has been an unbelievable experience for me. I got to do so much and meet so many great people. Some of whom, I’ll be friends with for the rest of my life. There’s not enough time or ink to write down all I want to say about the people I’ve met, but here are some shout outs I was able to fit on one page:
Mom: Thank you for your unwavering support through everything over these four stressful years. You’ve always been there for me and have helped me get through whatever obstacle I had to face. You’re not only my mom, but you’re my best friend and I’m lucky to have the greatest mother in the world. I just hope you’re prepared for me to move back in for the first time in three years, haha. Love you!
Professor Morano: I learned so much from you in the past four years and since I’ve come to college, you’ve helped me increase my writing skills. You’ve been a great advisor to me and have given me many life tips that I will always remember. Thank you for all the help and aid throughout the years and I hope to still keep in touch with you after graduation.
Brothers of Phi Kappa Psi: Hey jerks. I know I wasn’t around that much this year, but that doesn’t change all of the great times we had over the past four years. From the beta class to the Bod Zone, the memories and stupid stuff we did will always be something I cherish. Gregg, Kyle Evans, Kyle Walter, Matty Ferns, Brandon, Shane, Casey, Miggs, Jeff, Tom, Decarlo, Deeg, Sean, Kinsella, Crazy John, Fichera, and everybody else, I love you all. Live ever, die never boys.
Andrew/Arod: Where do I begin? You’ve been my best friend since the fifth grade and now we’re graduating college together. You’ve always been there for me through the good times and the bad. You transferring here freshman year when things weren’t really going great for me, really helped me through that time. I may be an only child, but you’ll always be the brother I never had.
The past few weeks I have just been looking forward to warmer weather and some free time. I have almost been too busy to get nostalgic or sentimental about my years at Monmouth… and then I started writing this article. I remember thinking that I would never graduate eight grades – that time was a figment of my imagination.
When I got to high school I felt the same way, but when I graduated I was relieved that the next four years of my life were already planned out. Now here I am, weeks before graduation and no yearlong plans set in stone, no time allotted safety net. Realizing I am about to finish my last full week of classes as a college undergrad puts a knot in my stomach.
I have had a vast amount of personal growth over the past four years here. There are a number of people I would like to take the time to thank:
There are a lot of people who have helped me get to where I am today, and I am grateful for each one of you.
First would be my family. My father: for encouraging me to pick a profession based on my passion and not the paycheck, and for being a prime example of just that. For stressing the importance of education, no matter the cost, and making sure I had a strong foundation for my future. Although one of his biggest regrets was knowing that he would not live long enough to see me graduate college, I have a sense of pride and accomplishment knowing that in just 23 short days, I will walk across the stage of the PNC Bank Arts Center in my cap and gown.
My mother and my sister: for being the strongest support system and the best friends a girl could ask for. Mom, you are my rock and the world’s most awesome woman alive. I am so lucky to have such a close bond and great friendship with you. Thank you for letting me call you up to ten times a day just to say “hello” or just because I feel like it. Nicole, I cannot believe that you used to hate me and wanted to be an only child. Thank you for realizing how awesome I am and always having my back.
He steps up on the mound, foot on the rubber and leans forward to pick up the sign from his catcher. Going through his motion, the ball is fired toward home plate. Yet, unlike most left-handed pitchers, there is an extra step for 21-year-old Bryan Sullivan. Rather than following through beyond releasing the ball, Sullivan brings his left hand, the hand he just threw the ball with, into his glove readying him for what may come back.
Bryan was born with cerebral palsy and suffers from hemiparesis, or slight paralysis or weakness that affects the right side of his body. Despite the physical limitations, he does not let his condition hold him back, yet uses it as a means to push himself that much harder. Sullivan weighs in at 180 pounds and stands 5’11”. His bio on Facebook reads: “I’m Bryan. I like to play baseball and meet new people.”
When Bryan was 6 years-old he was watching a New York Yankees game with his father. They were playing the Orioles and Bryan noticed something unique about the pitcher. Bryan asked his dad, “Who is that pitching?” His father replied, “That’s Jim Abott, he catches and throws with the same hand.”
If he can do it, I can do it.
From that moment on, his life has revolved around becoming the best pitcher he can be and following that one simple phrase for motivation.
His father, Steve Sullivan, was, and still is, a huge part of Bryan’s life. Steve grew up around the game of baseball and his father worked at Yankee Stadium. “It’s in our blood,” he said. “I told Bryan, ‘You can do anything, you just have to learn how and work at it, and we will find a way to do it.’”
But how to do it? A little blue baseball glove and a Wiffle Ball started it all just one day after Bryan had seen Jim Abott pitch.
After a series of trial and error, Bryan and his dad were able to make it work. “At first we tried to put his glove on his right hand,” said Steve. But Bryan did not have enough control over his right hand for that to work effectively. “We decided we would have to teach him to catch and throw with the same hand,” he said.
When picturing the lifestyle of a typical college student, the thought of getting involved on campus in a way that does not include going to class or getting invites to parties is usually not the main focus. Many people tend to forget that amidst all of the schoolwork and social aspects of college life, volunteering and joining clubs is also a very crucial part of the experience.
Marilyn Ward, Coordinator of Service Learning and Community Programs, said, “Campus and/or community involvement gives students a chance to explore their potential and give back to the University or the local community.”
At the University, it is incredibly easy to start giving back. According to the school’s website, the University is home to more than 75 student-run organizations. These include various clubs, fraternities, sororities, honor societies, governing bodies, and publication and media outlets, all of which exist for the sake of giving back and making a difference.
“Volunteering has taught me a lot about myself,” freshman Jameson Tisch said. He is involved in the Student Alumni Association, the First Year Service Project and Student Government Association. Tisch explained that his time spent volunteering has benefited him greatly, as he has gained new leadership skills and a much more prominent sense of responsibility.
Ward said she believes that volunteers are leaders because “volunteering takes initiative, organization, and a passion for the cause that you support.” The leadership skills that students gain through volunteering can be used in future workplaces and all throughout life.
In response to the tragic Boston Marathon bombings that occurred on April 15, 2013, thousands of people across the nation expressed great grief and anger at this terror strike. While this anger was justified, the fear that accompanied further repercussions of the bombing was perhaps a bit disjointed.
Currently, there is a great amount of debate centering the topic of human responses to fear. Repercussions of the Boston Marathon bombing included numerous rapid responses.
Such responses included every day citizens immediately volunteering to assist law enforcement in managing the destruction and caring for the wounded, however, such responses also included anger and prejudice. So what causes such a range of responses in such unstable situations? The answer lies within the distinctive pathways of the brain.
Tumultuous situations often elicit radical and irrational consequences. Dr. Bruce Perry of the Child Trauma Academy in Texas speculates that responses to terror situations shut down the smartest parts of the brain.
The frontal lobe is amongst the smartest parts of the brain, located just behind the forehead. This area of the brain is responsible for consciously evaluating the most logical or beneficial responses to a situation while also balancing its risks and rewards according to brainline.org.
Because the frontal lobe is such an advanced feature of evolution, it takes a great deal of time to fully develop. Consequently, the ability to accomplish its tasks requires a great deal of attention and unfortunately, when subjected to intense fear or terror, numerous pathways crossing the frontal cortex more or less shut down.