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Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)

Why I Love Monmouth

As my four years here at Monmouth come to a close, I look back at my entire college experience and cannot imagine how it could have turned out any better. 

I truly do believe Monmouth is one of the greatest universities you can attend. 

Granted, my views may come from a very biased perspective. I have never went to another college, and I do not know enough people at other colleges to really grasp what attending a different college would be like. 

What I do know is what I have seen these past four years. This being said, I cannot imagine how the college experience could get any better anywhere else.

First off, there is the community at Monmouth as a whole. Greek life, psych major, athlete, commuter, the list goes on. I have friends who fit into all these categories. 

The thing about Monmouth is everyone here has his or her main group, but at the end of the day, we all come together as one. 

The school  is large enough so you can meet new people everyday, but small enough where you can still run into a different friend everyday. 

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Why Monmouth Was Not Worth My Money

By October of my senior year of high school, my kitchen table was already littered with postcards, letters, and magazines of potential colleges. Being from North Jersey, I could have easily went to Montclair State or William Paterson and lived at home. But I wanted to go away, to experience college life, and to spend some time away from my parents to grow into an ‘adult.’ I wanted to go far enough to live at school but not far enough to where I couldn’t hop in the car and get home whenever I needed a break.

One day, in the middle of the table, sat a post card from Monmouth University, showcasing the words ‘study at the beach’ and that it was ‘only less than a mile away!’ I obviously liked the beach but I was still a little skeptical. My dad convinced me that we should go and check it out, if anything, I got to miss a day of school. I agreed and we set out early one Fall morning, making our way down the parkway, to take a tour of the campus.

As soon as I set foot on the manicured path, I fell in love. The campus was beautiful, full of colorful flowers, pretty buildings, and helpful students. We toured the communication department, where all the staff seemed eager for you to come to their school. I went home that night, paid the $50 for the application fee, and sent all my information in for early-action (hopeful) acceptance. I should have stopped there.

Throughout my college experience at Monmouth, I’ve seen and learned a lot. Yes, the campus is still beautiful. Yes, we are still close to the beach. But that’s about where my past expectations end. Throughout the last four years, my parents and I have poured enough money into this school to buy another home. And in my eyes, it has absolutely not been worth it. 

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Is Having a Competitive Nature the Key to Success?

success wolfMy family has always been extremely competitive. We’re talking hardcore mock-Olympics and ruthless basketball games in the driveway. My dad and I were always the more outwardly competitive ones—don’t talk to us if we lose! 

Yet, my brother and mom are more inwardly competitive. I think that is a big difference. My brother internalizes his competitiveness and uses it to fuel his desires and drive him through his ultimately ambitious life goals.

 I, on the other hand, am very obvious about my competitiveness. I’ve been called a sore loser many times, and honestly, it doesn’t bother me!

 I show my feelings of defeat, while my brother and mom, just accept a loss graciously, on the outside that is. 

But, just because we lose doesn’t mean we can’t be successful. I could lose a game of basketball, but be an overall successful basketball player. So, what does the concept of competitiveness, outward or inward, have to do with success? Are the two linked? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the word competitive most nearly means, “having a strong desire to win or be the best at something.” 

If you encounter someone who has a “strong desire to win,” it is extremely difficult to stop him/her from fulfilling this desire. Desires are internally driven. Things that occur within someone are a part of his/her mental make-up; therefore, a competitive person could arguably be a person destined for success. 

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'Slut' Up: Stop Shaming Sexual Females

 slutshaming2 3There’s a question that I’ve considered since before I entered college four years ago. What does it mean for a girl to be a “slut”? The word is so vague, yet used in so many contexts, which are almost always negative. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve used the word countless times. More often than not, I say it with no harm intended to my friends. And I know I’m guilty of looking in the mirror before the bar and asking my friends if my outfit was too “slutty” without even considering the negative connotations associated with it.

Just last month, a Bloomsburg University baseball player attacked famous Little Leaguer and thirteen year old, Mo’ne Davis, on Twitter. He tweeted “Disney is making a movie about Mo’Ne Davis? WHAT A JOKE. That ‘slut’ got rocked by Nevada.” Really, how is Mo’ne Davis by any means a “slut?” 

“Slut” by Google definition: “a woman who has many casual sexual partners.” I’m going to go ahead and say Mo’Ne Davis is the farthest thing from that.

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The Million Dollar Question: Can Ex’s be Friends?

exAsking whether ex’s can be friends is like asking whether the chicken or the egg came first: a never-ending argument. It is not a simple yes or no answer.

Personally, I have met individuals that can attest to both sides: some will argue that ex’s can be friends, while others will insist that it is impossible.  I believe both are absolutely correct. Ex’s becoming friends is one of those scenarios in which more than a single factor must be taken into consideration.  

For instance, how long were the parties involved in a relationship for, what caused the breakup, was there dishonesty?  Did one of the parties involved end with a complete broken heart, or was it a mutual agreement? 

 Every couple has its own history, and the history developed post breakup is absolutely unique to each case.

I believe that the chance to be friends with an ex-partner depends on whether the couple was ever friends with one another. If the couple met and immediately fell into a “love” scenario, skipping the whole friendship stage, they will probably not be able to hold a friendship after the break up. 

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The Not-So Typical American Family by Today’s Standards

famI think we can all agree that there is no longer the “typical American family” in today’s society. That era of the nuclear family, the father who went to work from 9 am to 5 pm: a mother who stayed home and did the house cleaning, the car pooling, and the cooking, and the children whose focus was completely on school work is no longer existent. 

Lately, most families have both parents who have full time jobs, which are typically outside of the home. The question is, what has changed?

According to Philip Cohen, sociologist at the University of Maryland and author of The Family: Diversity, Inequality, and Social Change, three big changes in family life have occurred over the past 50 years.

 The first change that is occurring in families: the decline of marriage. In 2010, 45 percent of households were headed by a married couple compared to 66 percent in 1960. That is a huge difference. 

What this means is the divorce rate has increased significantly. We all know that couples are having trouble staying together in today’s society and everywhere we look another couple is breaking up or getting divorced. What we didn’t realize is that this is affecting the “typical American family.”

Children are growing up with their parents living in two separate houses. Some children don’t even get to see both parents on a daily basis. Some children grow up not ever meeting their mother or father. 

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Proud to be a “GDI” (G*d D*mn Independent)

gdi jpgdocxI live with the president of a sorority on campus. Next year, I’m living with two girls in that same sorority. So let me preface this by saying that I in no way, shape, or form, am knocking Greek Life. Instead, I propose this: It’s very possible to get through your undergraduate years at Monmouth without being involved in Greek Life.

I transferred schools and I was in a sorority before that happened. I know what it’s like, as most of Greek Life has the same rituals and processes (loosely said). You go through recruitment for girls or rush for the boys, you then pledge for the sorority or fraternity you want, you get initiated and boom: you have fifty close sisters or brothers that you can never imagine your life without. Or can you? 

After transferring schools, the 126 girls that were in my sorority disappeared. Except for one or two of the girls, nobody spoke to me. I didn’t get asked how I was doing or if I was coming back (even though I made it pretty clear I wasn’t). Those girls who I had been so close with seemed to evaporate in thin air just because I was not involved in the sorority anymore. 

Was my pledging, my time, my effort, and my money worth it? No. That is why I fully decided when I came to Monmouth that I was going to be a GDI (also known as a “g*d d*mn independent,” a sarcastic twist on the slang for fraternities and sororities). 

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The Achilles Heel to the Philadelphia Phillies

philliesPhillies General Manager, Ruben Amaro Jr., needs to be fired, but this is much easier said than done. He has been part of the Phillies front office since 1998 and has held the GM position after the team won the World Series in 2008. 

A security guard at Citizens Bank Park who wishes to remain anonymous said Amaro will never be fired because he is part of the “inner circle,” a group of employees who chief owner Dave Montgomery refuses to let go. While it is unlikely Amaro will be fired, this does not keep fans from discussing the endless reasons why he should be fired.

The Phillies had 2.4 million fans pass through the turnstiles at Citizens Bank Park in the 2014 season, a significant drop from the 2013’s total of 3 million fans. The influx of money has been decreasing from year to year, yet Amaro seems to spend like it is 2009 all over again. As fans show up on game days just to witness loss after loss, their opinion of the team changes and eventually they lose interest. 

Anyone who actively follows the game must notice that Amaro believes pitching is the reason teams win or lose. Since Amaro has confidence in this theory, he uses all resources available to construct what he views as an elite pitching staff. 

If we retrace what seems to be some of Amaro’s most well-known pitching acquisitions, we would find relatively disappointing figures and a grim hope for the future of the team. Let us examine three of these examples:

1.) Chan Ho Park

 Prior to the 2009 season, Amaro promised fans a veteran reliever and with no time to spare, he found the then 36-year-old Chan Ho Park. Chan Ho Who, you say? Why, the veteran reliever Amaro promised 2009 fans of course! 

During his one season stint as a Philadelphia athlete, Park went 3-3 and posted a 4.43 ERA. By no means was he the worst pitcher off the bench that season. We were all eye-witnesses to Brad Lidge’s 2009 crumble when he went 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA, a pitiful performance compared to the previous season’s perfect 48-for-48 saves. 

With this said, can Amaro somehow justify paying $2.5 million for the mediocre Park? When the city’s beloved Jim Thome was re-signed, he was only paid $1 million for a one year contract. Thome, unlike Park, was signed as a mentor and first baseman. Park, who was flakey on the mound, deserved an equivalent to Thome’s salary or less, but certainly not more. 

The $2.5 million given to the South Korean native could easily have remained in our farm system, which now has little to no prospects on the horizon. This acquisition ignited the trend of signing pitchers who were 30+ for much more than their worth. How do you measure one’s worth? In baseball, it is simply looking at the statistics produced. Park’s irrelevance to the ball club is displayed in his .500 record and high ERA. 

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College Campus Debate: Small vs. Large Universities

What are some of the thoughts students have when choosing a school?  Perhaps, both campus size and classroom size, professor to student ratio, party life, food court options, campus life are largely deciding factors that come to mind.

Whether looking into undergraduate or graduate school, the questions roaming our minds remain the same, and at the end of the day, the school we end up choosing depends on the answers to those questions in order of relevance to our liking.  

US News lists some solid reasons to go to a small college such as “you’ll have more opportunity for one-on-one contact with your professor,” and “your work will be evaluated more carefully.”

As a graduating senior in high school, I was left choosing between Rutgers University-The State University of New Jersey (New Brunswick) and Monmouth University. Now, these are two Jersey universities, but with obviously different campus sizes.

Half of the people I told about Monmouth University did not know what it was or where it was located-and the other half only remembered Monmouth College and warned me of the “party school” it had been known to be. 

What finally made up my mind was the small classroom sizes Monmouth offered: a roughly one-to-twenty professor-to-student ratio (just about the same as my high school, and even lower). 

Always being the type of student to take advantage from office hours and forming an academic relationship with professors and classmates, I had a feeling deep down that Rutgers did not stand a chance against Monmouth during my decision making process.

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Success Calls for You to Leave Your Comfort Zone

Make Simple Changes Now to Prepare You for the Next Stages

ODC groupTime and time again as I have grown up, I have heard people say, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Like most things in life, it is much easier said than done. As the end of my academic life approaches, I find myself longing to make this last semester last as long as possible. 

I am scared to leave the comfort of school five days a week, meaningless group projects, summers off, and the only routine I really know. It is important for me, as well as all young millennials, to remember that as life goes on it is imperative to constantly move away from our comfort zones. 

Comfort zones are nice. They are safe places we have experienced so many times. We know them like the back of our hands. The problem with them is that they can make any other situation seem scary and daunting. 

Great Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” Life is not a stagnant thing. You have a past self, you have the person you are now and you have the person you are going to become. 

Think about it. No one really wanted to leave the comfort of their elementary school, but since leaving look at all the good that has happened. Same goes for high school, one of the hardest places to move away from, but look at how much greatness college has afforded you. 

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The Tale of Alzheimer’s

M: Did you have enough to eat today? You have to have some food in you for energy.

G: I am not sure, did I eat today? Where are we going?

M: To the gym. What did you yesterday?

G: Let me try to remember.

M: Did you go to the gym this week?

G: Your mom would know. Where are we going again?

M: The gym.

G: Oh that’s right. Yahoo.

As myself, my mother, and my grandpa take the five minute commute from his house to the gym, this has become a daily occurrence. He always remembers his children, but cannot name even half of his grandchildren. He cannot remember what he ate for breakfast. He cannot remember words to his favorite songs. He cannot even remember the date, the month, or the year. He has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

My 84-year-old grandfather is slowly losing control of what he considered his greatest asset: his mind. He is not nearly a needle in the haystack when it comes to Alzheimer’s. A little over five million Americans are currently living with this disease. Not only are people living with the disease, but many are also dying from the disease. Yes, it must seem odd that simply forgetting parts of one’s past can ultimately kill someone, but it is more than that.

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Just go to Sleep Already! Why Napping is Great

How great do you feel after you wake up from a nap? Do you feel refreshed? Do you feel like you can function again? Don’t you just feel awesome? Well you should.

A study reveals that napping during the day after an uneasy sleep from the previous night, can actually be beneficial to your health according to an article published in New York Magazine. According to the article, the study consisted of 11 participants that engaged in this sleep deprivation experiment. The individuals were allowed two hours of sleep one night and the following day they were allowed two 30-minute naps to help recover from their lack of sleep. The study found that those who took the naps found themselves sleeping much better than the previous night and their stress hormones were at a healthy level.

Though the study only consisted of 11 people, it reveals a lot about how we function as human beings. It serves as a reminder that we are not machines and we need to take the time to take care of ourselves.

College is a place where the term “all-nighter” is used quite frequently in everyday conversation. We live in an environment where it is socially acceptable to deprive ourselves of sleep to get important things done and that’s not healthy. What’s even better is that people actually brag about how much they didn’t sleep because they were too busy doing work. How is that okay? 

It’s not. Plain and simple. How is it fair to stay up all night working on a class assignment that will most likely never be relevant to your life after the fact? And, yes, I understand professors do not encourage this behavior, but many professors don’t do anything to prevent it from happening either. It’s not that our educators are conspiring against us, but if they expect anything to get done something has to be sacrificed. More often than not, sleep is probably sacrificed the most in our lives and we don’t even realize it. 

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Ringling Brothers Plan to Remove Elephants from Circus

elephantsIf you are on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and see a picture of an elephant, I can almost guarantee you it is because of me. If we’re ‘friends’ or ‘followers,’ you must know I have been overly obsessed with elephants and the symbolization they embody. That’s why when I heard about The Ringling Brothers deciding to phase the elephants out of “The Greatest Show On Earth,” I was insanely thrilled. 

I read up on the articles and could not believe how many mixed reviews on the decision. Decades of treating an endangered species as actual show animals, leaving them in cages, and shipping them off from location to location, is finally coming to an end and people are actually complaining? 

One-hundred and forty-five years of this to be exact. It doesn’t exactly add up. Reading some of the negative comments had me a little skeptical as well, and really got me thinking. Except, unlike those seemingly upset and aggravated over the fact they will no longer see the elephants parading around at the circus, I am pretty upset and aggravated at The Ringling Brothers.

I cannot lie: the circus is part of the reason I have loved elephants since I was young. They look absolutely adorable with their headpieces on and the women who accompany them look like they are having a legitimately amazing time. I am fully aware that elephants are some of the smartest animals known to man. They can even identify different languages.   For a long time, I believed that this intelligence was the sole reason these magnificent elephants were able to put on such amazing performances. 

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The Classroom Matters

We greatly appreciate the thoughts that The Outlook staff writer, Katherine Jaffe, shared in her opinion piece titled, “What Really Matters: GPA or Activities?” Three main points framed Ms. Jaffe’s opinion: 1) grades should not define students; 2) grades are unimportant because of grade inflation; and 3) hands-on and work experiences are more valuable than classroom learning. As educators and administrators from two different content areas, we felt compelled to respond and offer some of our unified thoughts. There are no easy answers to questions regarding the relationship among grades, classroom learning, and out-of-class experiences. To be worthwhile, experiences both within and outside the classroom have to be transformative for students. We have seen students transformed through course readings, lectures, class activities, written assignments, and educational experiences outside the classroom. There is no one best method of learning for all students, which means that professors must provide a diversity of opportunities within their classes for students to learn in a variety of ways. There are many ways to encourage students to think in new ways about issues with which they are familiar (what sociologists call “making the familiar strange”), and to think about issues that they have never considered. 

Regardless of the subject, a strong classroom experience should help students expand their abilities to answer serious questions in innovative and creative ways based on evidence that can help improve upon the worlds in which we all live – not just for themselves, but for others as well. To present classroom learning and experiential learning as separate and unrelated entities creates a false and harmful dichotomy. The two need to be connected – and indeed are often connected – in most university missions and realities. Furthermore, one of the concerns we share about project-based learning is that professors who do not have experience with such modes of education may require professional development to be able to execute such endeavors with a high level of competency and confidence.  But we also recognize that given the current technologies, there are so many innovative ways to bring project-based and group learning into our classrooms. Unfortunately, many students are uncomfortable with the grading of group work. 

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If You Could Live in a Different Decade, Would You?

I’ve always been the first one to say that I would LOVE to go back and be a 1950s housewife with the white picket fence, golden retriever, and perfect cooking skills in the suburbs. But I never really gave any thought about the reasons why. I should learn to love the era in which I live. So many of us complain and wish we could live in the 1920s, 1950s, etc., but I don’t think that any of us have actually thought about what that entailed. 

It wasn’t until I heard someone say, “If I could go back in time, I would just go back to yesterday. We have it so good in the world we live in today.” This got me thinking. So many of the things that we would list as “necessities” in our lives, we wouldn’t even have access to in the 20s, 50s, etc. 

For example, admit it: you can’t live without your phone. But it isn’t just the phone we can’t live without. It’s the social media platforms, texting, Internet, and email that we wouldn’t be able to part with. Wi-Fi is king nowadays, but in prior eras, phones were landlines and Internet was only in its earliest stages of development, if that! It’s not just our technological advances that make the world we live in today so much more convenient than that of the earlier eras, it is our social advancement too. 

So, why would I want to live in the 50s? Or even the 20s? Especially when we are so lucky and blessed to be living in the era we live in today.

Part of the reason we are all so intrigued by these eras is because of popular decade depictions such as The Great Gatsby and Grease. Books and films such as these make those eras look only desirable and glamorous. Who wouldn’t want to be Daisy in The Great Gatsby? She is loved by the hopelessly romantic, (and did I mention rich), Jay Gatsby, (played by Leo Dicaprio, of course)? And to live a life full of luxury and frivolous spending? Sign me up for that! The 1920s seem simply fabulous through the eyes of Daisy Buchanan. 

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Why We Need to Travel to Find our “Happy Place”

travel“Travel far enough, you meet yourself,” the British author, David Mitchell, once advised this to the world. To be honest, this quote couldn’t sum up my latest travel experience anymore perfectly than I could. I met my better, happier self. Because of this, I now know that traveling has the power to change you as a human being.

I have always had wanderlust. Unfortunately, I have never studied abroad. I’ve traveled a decent amount for vacations, mostly on the east coast. As a kid, I experienced going out of the country in Canada, Aruba and Mexico. I have always had an urge to see the unfamiliar. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve lived in the same town my whole life.

Since I chose my college major, I’ve thought that whatever I end up doing, I want to be able to travel for my career. As I reach a terribly confusing time in my life, the urge to see the world is the greatest it’s ever been. I attribute this to my recent trip to Los Angeles with The Outlook for the Associated Collegiate Press National College Journalism Convention. 

The people I met, the scenery I experienced and the overwhelming positive energy I felt during my stay in Los Angeles still has me in awe of the happiness which I am capable of. At this stage in life, I thought I’ve experienced a decent amount. As it turns out, there is so much more out there for me to reach.

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Shopaholics Anonymous

Step one is admitting you have a problem, right? Well, my name is Lauren Niesz and I am a shopaholic. I get high off not only the idea of saving money, but spending it too! I don’t think I have purchased something that wasn’t on sale. 

I might be wearing a Kate Spade bag and donning Coach shoes, but, honey, I can assure you that I did not pay full price for them. This feeling of euphoria that I get when I purchase things for myself is indescribable. 

Many students are probably experiencing the same exact thing when they head over to the mall or shopping center.

Being a college student, I am constantly engulfed in mass amounts of classwork and homework. My stress levels are through the roof! So, to manage this, I often engage in retail therapy. My love for shopping comes through when I need to relieve this stress.

I always thought that retail therapy worked for me because shopping/bargain hunting simply made me happy. 

Well, according to a study done by the University of Michigan, the happiness factor isn’t the only positive psychological impact shopping has on one’s mind. 

The main reason that many of us experience anxiety is because we have a loss of control in certain situations and their outcomes. 

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Your 20s: The Time to Make Yourself or Break Yourself

Throughout life, we hit these milestones that are often looked forward to. We begin as young tots when we look forward to turning 13 because we’ll officially be a ‘teenager.’ Then there is 17, the year we get behind the wheel and cause our parents more gray hair. 

Some say 18 is a big year because you’re a legal adult, whatever that means because nothing changed for me when I turned 18 except for the fact that I was that much closer to my 20s. 

As a young female, growing up in my teens all I did was adore older girls who were in their 20s. In my eyes, these girls were fresh out of college, pursuing their careers, getting cocktails with their friends and looking glamorous through it all. I couldn’t wait to enter this phase of my life. Becoming of legal age to drink only added to the anticipation. 

My mother, an independent, saavy, strong woman always instilled in me that one’s 20s are their make it or break it years. Adding to my mother’s mantra, I say your 20s are also your selfish years. Don’t worry, I say selfish in the nicest way possible but we’ll get to that later. 

As the years went on and I got closer to crossing that line from my teen years into my 20s, my mother wised me up on the years to come. Yes, your 20s are like an experimental phase as your exploring, trying new things and figuring yourself out. 

In the first few years of your 20s, you’re finishing up school and trying to grab a hold on what it means to enter the ‘real world.’ You’ll probably take a few different jobs, figure out what you love and maybe don’t really care for. You’ll date, try new relationships and figure out the hard way that the edgy tattoo-covered poet is not the guy you’re going to spend your future with. To look at the glass half full, after a few heartbreaks, you’ll know what you really want in a partner. 

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Sports Illustrated: Beyond Size 10 and Beautiful

Robyn Lawley Shawn Johnsons The Body Department1

The media has always given the public a very clear image of beauty since the beginning of time.

The image created for our viewing pleasure is normally of a smaller woman, preferably sample size, with light skin and a perfect complex and a perfectly proportioned body. At least that’s what we’ve been seeing, up until now.

Recently, Sports Illustrated hired a “plus size” model, Robyn Lawley, in their annual Swimsuit Issue. Lawley is an Australian model who happens to be a size 12, the requirement for a plus size model is that they be “beyond size 10,” according to an article in USA Today

On the topic of Sports Illustrated featuring a plus sized model, New York Magazine stated that this is the first time in the publication’s history where they will be featuring a model who is “beyond sample size,” which traditionally is around a size 2.

This is a major turnaround for the world of modeling and entertainment. Having a plus sized model featured in a magazine known for sexualizing women has actually done something positive. It is making the average woman feel sexy.

Plus size model, Ashley Graham, who has appeared in a Calvin Klein ad in Sports Illustrated, told CNN that “the average American woman is size 12-14,” and strongly emphasized the point that “women want to see themselves in magazines.”

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Modelling World Makes Positive Move Towards Showcasing Disabilities

disabilities modelingThis year the fashion industry has made significant moves for representation equality during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC. To begin, mega-retailer Macy’s premiered last week with their “Go Red for Women” campaign on the catwalk, showcasing a line of clothing (all stunning red dresses) in the first-ever collaboration to fight against heart disease in women, backed by The American Heart Association.  “Macy’s has brought awareness [of heart disease] to consumers across America and has raised $46 million for the cause,” stated. 

It is only appropriate that the American Heart Association had a part in kicking off this year’s show, because shortly after fashion week began things started to look a bit…different. 

On Feb. 12, 2015, a new campaign was launched on the runway. Role Models Not Runway Models by designer Carrie Hammer set the stage by showcasing her line modeled by people with disabilities. This included American Horror Story actress Jamie Brewer, who is now, remarkably, the first model with Down syndrome to strut down the runway during Fashion Week. 

On Feb. 17, Brewer’s debut was followed by FTL MODA which incorporated models in wheelchairs to raise awareness on spinal cord injuries by teaming with Fondazione Vertical. “One cat-walker, who was missing part of her arm, strutted in a black cutout outfit and her muscular body was spray-painted silver,” US Magazine commented of the show. 

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Live Like Peter Pan

tinkerbell silhoutteThis month marks the 62nd anniversary of Disney’s release of Peter Pan. I believe we all need to be like Peter Pan. No, not exactly Walt Disney’s Peter Pan. I am talking about the cocky little bastard Peter Pan that J.M. Barrie created in 1904. Peter embodies enough confidence to inspire thousands and does whatever he wants, no matter who is watching.

As we grow up, we tend to lose our confidence and our untroubled way of life. We no longer can approach a random person in the middle of a park and ask if they would like to be friends. While at my age, the park setting may be altered to a bar or party setting, the case remains the same. We no longer have the self-assurance nor the carefree sense of nature to approach a complete stranger. It is of my observation that we have become far too concerned with the thought of being judged to release our carefree, confident side.

One of my favorite quotes comes from PJ Hogan’s 2003 adaptation of Peter Pan. Wendy begins to discuss the topic of love with Peter, and he responds, “Why do you spoil everything? We have fun, don’t we?” 

Why can’t we just have fun? I am not suggesting that the idea of love is appalling; for everyone wants to be in love and be loved in return. I also am not suggesting that we abandon our responsibilities just so we can have fun; after all, Peter is in charge of protecting the lost boys who reside in Neverland from Captain Hook, an act he successfully carries out. However, why can we no longer have fun in the process?

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Declining Dollar$ Lose Value by Restricting Solely to On-Campus Use

Monmouth University currently has “declining dollars” available for students in their meal plans. Declining dollars can be used at a few areas on campus including Java City, the Student Center, Convenience Store, Jersey Mike’s, and Shadow’s. Different meal plans give different amounts of declining dollars. 

According to the University’s website, the Carte Blanche meal plan includes $50 worth of declining dollars, the 225-meal plan includes $90 worth of declining dollars, the 195-meal plan includes $95 worth of declining dollars, and the 105 meal plan includes $170 worth of declining dollars. 

What if Monmouth University developed a plan where declining dollars could be used at participating local businesses in West Long Branch such as Scala’s, Surf Taco, and Top It Frozen Yogurt? 

Many of these specific businesses already do offer a student discount, for example, Surf Taco gives students a 10 percent discount on their food purchase with a Monmouth ID. This is quite a deal for college kids looking to switch it up and eat off-campus on a budget. However, collaborating even furthermore by incorporating the University’s declining dollars within these local businesses could be even more beneficial to many students.

Steven’s Institute of Technology is a university located in Hoboken, NJ, that has implemented a plan similar to this where students can use “duckbills” at participating local businesses. 

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Op Ed to Previous Story: Why You Should Not Fear Studying Abroad

Being Afraid To Leave Your Comfort Zone Restricts You More Than You Realize

“Sometimes, we find ourselves in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, we find ourselves.” Our entire lives, we live in fear of death. It is the shadow that lurks behind us no matter what we do or where we are. 

Our lives are so fragile. So many people are dying to live, but simply not seizing the day. They are just living to die. It is often that we cling to what we know because that is what we are comfortable with- with comfortability, there is no unknown. Sure, that may be appealing to some. 

But is that a life you really want to live? Do you want to die, only having seen the comforts of your own home because you are scared of the unknown? Comfortability does not show us the true wonders of life and the world in which we live. It does not help us grow and find ourselves. In retrospect, it keeps us in the same place for the entirety of our lives. 

We were not born with roots. We are fortunate enough to live in a country where almost anything is possible. So many people are homesick for places that they do not know. Fear cannot stop you from living your life. With that being said, fear cannot stop you from studying abroad. 

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Through The Eyes of a Transfer Student

The parking lots are terrible, the traffic around school is terrible, and everyone already seems to know each other. This may not be surprising to you, but it is to me. 

No, I’m not antisocial. I’m just a transfer student. 

Now, I come from a small private college tucked away in the mountains of Southern Connecticut, so I’m pretty used to the small college deal. I was not expecting a state school feel at all and in fact I was expecting Monmouth to be slightly similar.

There are so many things that I should know about this school that all other juniors seem to know. Yet, I feel like more of a freshman than I did when I actually was one two years ago. 

For one, everyone already knows each other. They have found some type of niche where they fit in and have formed a group of people that they call friends. They recognize faces on campus and are comfortable in their surroundings. People have joined their sorority, fraternity, or some other organization. 

Where do I fit in? I left my old sorority and don’t want to join another one out of respect and while I’ve made attempts to get involved, after a semester I can only count my friends on one hand. People are not as welcoming as I had hoped. 

I was never anticipating anyone to roll out the welcome wagon or have a welcoming committee sing me to class. At this point, the “unwelcomeness” has actually formed another “clique.” For those who have not yet noticed, most of the transfer students seem to flock together—we are going through the same transition after all. 

You may say to me—“you sound like a freshman”—but that even furthers my point.  Even the freshmen have a different, welcoming aspect to them. They’re interested in making friends because they are similar to me. They also (most of the time) come here not knowing anybody, but there is enough of them that they all want to make friends and people have seemed to be more accepting if they mess up or don’t know something.  

Being that I’m almost three quarters done with my college career, I should know a lot about this school and the people and the professors but I feel like I’m missing out. 

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Texts Instead of Door Knocks: Is Dating a Thing of the Past?

textA walk along the beach, a picnic in the park, dinner and a movie. They may not be original dates, but they are definitely classic dates. But for generation Y, is dating a thing in the past? Do people go on legitimate dates like they used to? 

The idea of a date is moving towards “let’s hang out at my house with a bunch of friends” rather than “would you want to go out to dinner and then catch a movie after?” Guys and girls rarely take a walk along the beach or have picnics in the park. You are most likely to find a couple hanging out at a party and considering that a date. This world is losing its romance. 

The idea of dating has changed from dinner and a movie to ‘hanging out,’ and traditional dates are very hard to find in today’s society. If you ask your grandparents how they met and compare it to how you and your significant other have met, I guarantee you it will be completely different. 

Older generations have very romantic stories about when they first started “talking.” These older generations can talk for hours about how their first date was a picnic in the park or their first kiss was on a beach at sunset. With today’s generation, you will never find that. 

Our generation will tell our grandkids that they met their lover while at a college party and their first kiss was while they were hanging out at home or at a random bar. 

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Why Being In Love Can Be So Damn Stressful, But So Damn Worth It

I don’t know about you, but my idea of being in love has always been painted by those sappy rom-coms featuring Ryan Gosling, Gerard Butler, and Leonardo DiCaprio. I always imagined being constantly showered with love, flowers, chocolates, and gifts and being told that if I was a bird, he was a bird, a la The Notebook. 

I always pictured that I’d constantly be bombarded with so many love notes that, eventually, I’d have enough to wallpaper our entire house together, paralleling Butler’s love in P.S. I Love You. 

I envisioned that if we were on a sinking cruise ship, I’d get the final chunk of floating door frame, sprawl across it, and would eventually find my way to safety all in part due to my completely selfless hunk of a DiCaprio-esque man, just like in Titanic.

But that vision of love is a tad unrealistic. It is flawed which is why I curse movie directors and producers every single day for tainting my idea of love. Love is never as smooth and lovely and rainbow-y and unicorn-y as it is painted in the movies; but once you overcome the obstacles, it is the grandest of all prizes that one can possibly win.

You see, going from being single to being in a relationship is a life-altering transition, and only the most dedicated will survive. It’s almost as if you’re thrown into this Hunger Games arena of love – “May the odds be ever in your favor.” You have to channel your inner Katniss Everdeen and really fight for what you love, and who you love.

You go from completely focusing on yourself from an independent perspective, to now being totally submerged in a partnership. 

You have to now become selfless. You have to now become open. You have to now think in terms of not “I” anymore, but as a “we” and an “us.” 

Being in a relationship, I now not only worry about my own personal happiness, but my partner’s. Essentially, I’m not truly happy until I see that huge, glistening smile painted across my lover’s face. I now consider my partner when weighing huge life decisions, because, as you know, a partner shares these experiences with you. 

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Disney Princesses Prove Valid Life Lessons

Glass slippers, fairy godmothers, magic carpets, finding true love, and of course, happy endings are what fairy tales are all about, but is this the only element of Disney movies? Many see Disney films as “just a fairy tale” and “impossible” but what if there is a deeper meaning to Disney princess stories? What if Disney princesses  inspire those watching them? 

To begin, Cinderella, as everyone knows, is about a young girl who loses her father at a young age and ends up being forced to live with her stepfamily. Her stepmother and stepsisters are very unloving, bossy, and cold hearted. Cinderella is treated very unfairly, being forced to do her stepfamily’s laundry, cooking, cleaning, and all of their other chores. One of the many lessons from Disney’s Cinderella is to choose to remain kind and thoughtful. Instead of returning evil with evil, Cinderella chooses to be kind and thoughtful, even with the way she was being treated. Cinderella teaches viewers to remain acting kind and appropriately even if one is surrounded by evil and unfair behavior. 

Another lesson that can be taught by Disney’s Cinderella is to never give up and to hold onto your hope and dreams. Cinderella was forced to grow up in poverty while her stepfamily lived in riches. This story teaches viewers to enjoy the simple things in life. Cinderella never gave up hope and always had an optimistic attitude; Cinderella got her happy ending by holding onto hope. This teaches viewers that if you set your mind to something and never give up, one can achieve their goals and have their own happy ending.  

Aladdin tells the story of a young princess, Jasmine, who is being forced to get married by the age of sixteen. Jasmine only has a few days left to find a suitor to marry. She feels this is unfair and decides to run away. Jasmine is a wonderful role model for viewers. Jasmine knows she deserves to be treated equally. She does not let anyone push her around and she wants to decide her own fate and future. She wants to be herself and wants to decide for herself. Jasmine teaches viewers to stand up for themselves, to believe in oneself, and that everyone deserves to be treated equally. 

Beauty and the Beast is another classic Disney movie that teaches viewers a few life lessons. Belle is forced to live with the hideous beast in his castle in order for her father to be free. The first life lesson to be taught by Belle is to put others before yourself. Belle gives up her entire life in order for her father to be freed from the Beast. Belle does not want to see her father suffer and would rather herself be trapped if it means her father is free. Belle teaches viewers to not be selfish and to put other before yourself. 

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Grades vs. Experience

What if everything you have done thus far in life suddenly didn’t matter anymore? What if someone told you, your college GPA and all of the classes you took amounted to absolutely nothing? What then?

It is up for debate that the grades you get in college actually matter in the real world. It’s great to have the satisfaction of being rewarded with excellent grades for schoolwork, but what about what you do outside of school? What if you’re so focused on your grades that there’s no time for an internship? 

In an article from USA Today, the four main reasons why your grades will not matter after college are discussed. One of the reasons is “grade inflation” making your GPA worth less than it actually is. The article points out that those select 4.0 students are not entirely uncommon. There are other schools with other students who also happen to do well. In fact, there are whole schools of people who consistently get great grades. It is because of this that grades become less valuable. 

Huffington Post argues in “Why Grades Don’t Really Matter That Much After All,” that grades have an effect on one’s self-esteem. They suggest that people are so focused on getting that top mark that students aren’t realizing that they’re getting something out of just taking the class. Regardless of the grade they get, it is more about the content they absorbed and how they can apply it in the real world.

Also in this place called “the real world,” there are people out there looking to hire college students. These same people want to hire someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. Now, let’s say that the employer is looking for a specific skill that you weren’t able to take a class in because of scheduling reasons, but you learned all about that same skill through doing an internship. In this same hypothetical situation, your competitor has only taken a class on this very specific skill, got an A, but has never had any out of class experience with this skill. Who’s getting hired? The one with the real life experience or the one whose only learned about it in school?

Chances are, if you have the experience, there’s a likely possibility you’ll get the job. Just because someone has done well in a classroom with something, does not necessarily mean it has significance. The same thing also applies for someone who hasn’t done well in a class especially when it involves writing. 

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Sia’s Music Madness Starring Shia LaBeouf and Maddie Ziegler

shia labeoufIrrelevance: every celebrity’s worst nightmare. Clearly, Shia LaBeouf can attest to that. The 29-year-old actor has been struggling with the transition from a popularly sought-out actor, to wearing a paper bag that reads, “I Am Not Famous Anymore;” a very natural and common response to feeling forgotten (or not). Though it may be hard to imagine why, this bold move certainly drew the attention of the media and its viewers, including singer and performer Sia.

Sia is an up-and-coming female pop artist, commonly known for her hit single, “Chandelier.”  Her latest music video, Elastic Heart, features two interestingly selected people, the “not-so-famous” LaBeouf, and 12-year-old and Dance Moms star, Maddie Ziegler. Though this is an interesting pair for a music video, it is not nearly as interesting as the setting of the video.

There are two things that negatively drew my attention: the concept and the visual. In this video, Sia places LaBeouf and Ziegler on opposite sides of a cage. The video opens with the two staring at each other with obvious hostility in their eyes. 

LaBeouf is wearing small, tight nude shorts, and Ziegler is wearing a nude leotard. Though it would not be my outfit of choice, the clothes are not what I find strange. Instead, I find it weird that the two are made up to look basically nude together. Keep in mind that LaBeouf is 29 and that Ziegler is 12. Knowing about this drastic age gap turns this video to a somewhat creepy scene and is hard to get past while watching.

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For the Love of Lectures: Please Stop the PowerPoint Presentations

We’ve all had that class before. Walking into the dark, ominous room, the only sign of life coming from a stream of fluorescent illumination out of a machine somewhere in the middle of the space, finding its home on a screen in front of the room.  The class where the only thing harder than retaining information is keeping your eyes open.  The class no one wants to go to.

I thought it would end in high school.  Being lead like cattle to a classroom where the teacher is too young to know better or too old to care, reading their pre-school year determined lessons word for word from Microsoft PowerPoint.  

This involves professors rarely adding their own input and leaves minimal opportunity for intellectual, interesting dialogue with students.

The fact is, it shouldn’t be happening in high school, or middle school for that matter.  What is even worse is that it is happening at esteemed universities.

Created in 1990, Microsoft PowerPoint has made itself a substantial impact on schools of all levels throughout the country.  And, when used properly, it can be a helpful tool in sparking discussion and providing an easy and “green” (which everyone loves) alternative to printing out notes for students to follow along on.  

However, it’s when teachers and professors become reliant on what is supposed to be a springboard for learning, can they hinder their students’ ability to take in information.

“I have never used PowerPoint and never will,” said Michael White, a seventh and eighth grade Language Arts teacher at Asbury Park Middle School in Asbury Park, New Jersey.  “If I’m not feeding off the students and they’re not feeding off of me, there can be no creative energy in the classroom.  A machine can’t create that energy.”

I know what you’re thinking, Michael White is my father. Well, yes, you’d be right.  However, he is also considered in high regard one of the best teachers in his field of Language Arts in the northeast region by some colleagues.

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Reality Television Series: Don’t Think Too Much Into Them

Reality shows are considered lazy, thoughtless TV and are usually filled with a bunch of ordinary people with no special talents. Even if you don’t watch reality shows, or want to admit you watch, everyone knows what each of them are about and what type of impact they are putting on today’s society, but is that impact really as bad as we think? Does this so-called “true TV” send positive messages to their audience, or do they influence viewers to follow in their footsteps?

In 2009, MTV got permission to film the pregnancies from six different teenage girls for 16 and Pregnant in hopes that it would allow viewers to learn from these girls mistakes and to be careful. They wanted their viewers to see what a struggle being a teen mom can be and wanted teens to wait to start a family until they were self-established. MTV also created a spin off series called Teen Mom. Both of these shows followed real life teenage girls throughout their pregnancy and showed viewers what it was really like to have a child.

Sure, these reality shows infamously presented the audience with these teenage girls who became “famous” and got paid a ton of money just because they were teen moms, but studies showed that teen pregnancy rates dropped enormously since the premiere of 16 and Pregnant. 

Both of these shows can be seen as “glamourizing” teen pregnancy, but statistics don’t lie. Shockingly, teenagers who watched these shows realized how much of a struggle being a teen mom really is. 

According to a CNN writer, Jacque Wilson, “Between 1991 and 2008, the rate dropped steadily at an average of about 2.5 percent a year. In the past four years, it had dropped even more dramatically at a rate of about 7.5 percent per year.” The decreased rate changed in 2009, which is when both 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom both premiered on MTV. Although parents may not like their children watching reality shows like 16 and Pregnant or Teen Mom, they may actually be sending a good message to their viewers. 

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Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Sends the Wrong Message

It goes without saying that the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is probably one of the biggest events to kick off the holiday season. Both men and women love watching all of the supermodels strut their stuff in their 2 million dollar bra and lingerie, but at what cost?

In an interview with Fox News, some of Victoria’s Secret’s most prestigious models talked about the dieting techniques they use to stay for the fashion show. Their answers varied from juice cleanses to portion control and one model was even said that she doesn’t do anything special to prepare for the event.

Ultimately, there is no natural beauty for these women. They work so hard to fit into ridiculous outfits they will only wear once in their life.Even worse: they are willing to do this to themselves multiple times.

Why starve yourself and go on crazy diets just for one night of fashion? More questionable is the example that is set for the young women and girls that watch this show. These models, and the people of Victoria’s Secret, are saying that it is okay to do whatever it takes to fit into a size two even if it means essentially cutting down on all of the food groups that sustain your life.

Realistically, size two is not average. Multiply that by five and you’ve got my size, a ten. I’m not even ashamed of it. What I am ashamed of, however, is that the place where I buy my best yoga pants wants me to be something I’m not. Victoria’s Secret not only wants me to be a size two, but they also want me to fit into a C-cup, “naturally,” like Adriana Lima and the rest of those models that wear giant angel wings and Swarovski crystal encrusted bras.

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Ugly Christmas Sweaters

The ugly Christmas sweater is becoming an omnipresent item of the holiday season. Many people are buying and borrowing tacky sweaters to wear to ugly Christmas sweater themed parties. Telltale signs of these unpleasant sweaters are cartoon snowmen with fuzzy pom poms for decoration, Christmas trees decorated with red and green felt applique, Santa with a fuzzy beard, and of course Rudolph with his bright red nose.

The garments are also usually itchy, too large or too small, and uncomfortable to wear. If they are so ugly and uncomfortable, why is there such a craze over ugly Christmas sweaters?

Well, if you have ever been invited to an ugly Christmas sweater party you would know that it is an entertaining tradition. You do not have to worry about dressing up or looking nice; you can basically look ridiculous for a night and fit in with everyone else.

Actually, the worse you look, the more popular you are at the party. The sweaters give the party a more fun atmosphere, than any other holiday party.

Your first step in attending one of these parties is obtaining an ugly sweater. One option is making your own garment. Taking a trip to the arts and crafts store to pick out silly decorations to put on your sweater is a fun tradition to do with friends.

You have pom poms, colored felt, bows, ornaments, ribbons, bells, candy canes, feathers, garland, beads, tinsel, lights and much more to choose from. Once you choose the décor, grab a glue gun or sewing kit and get to work. It’s all about making your sweater the most obnoxious garment at the party.

If you do not have time to craft your own ugly sweater, consignment and thrift stores are always an option to find something cheap and hideous.

But, if you do not want to spend money you could search through your parents or a grandparent’s drawers for sweaters that they think are, of course, beautiful.

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Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

As everyone’s favorite time of the year, the end of the semester, approaches us, so do the resolutions to better ourselves in yet another upcoming fresh new year.

After the holidays come to a close, we get to experience the joy of looking forward to the new year. We get a fresh start, a reset option to life as we know it, an opportunity to set our goals for the upcoming 12 months and forget about them about a month in: these are what I like to refer to as New Year’s Resolutions.

This season is certainly my favorite all year and Christmas is in fact my favorite holiday, with New Year’s Eve coming in second. The cold weather, the shiny, unique white crystals swinging from side to side as they fall from the sky, the hot chocolate and holiday-inspired lattes topped with sweet old whip cream awaiting in closed areas filled with people embracing a hug of warmth as winter runs the streets of society: it never gets old for me.

Every winter I stand back and embrace it all in, imagining myself to be part of some sort of Christmas movie.

However, this season is great in every aspect: everyone has something to celebrate. Whether you are Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, or Christian, there’s a reason for you to be in family embracing the love and joy going all around.

By the time the last day of the year approaches our home, most of us have moved on from family celebrations to finding fun ways to welcome the new year.  Some look back and recall on all the happy memories from the ending year, some rather avoid the bad ones and look forward to a new beginning. Some are simply ready for the partying and fun.  Whatever the case may be, no one misses out on the New Year resolutions.  

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Snapchat Could Pay a Price for Introducing “Snapcash”

In recent years, more and more people are declaring themselves self-proclaimed photographers. First is was Photo Shop, then it was Instagram, now it’s Snapchat?

On Nov. 17, Snapchat announced they have added a new feature to the app, “Snapcash.”

According to a blog post on the company’s website, Snapchat teamed up with Square, an application that appears to help with payment processing on laptops, tablets, smart phones, etc.

With Square’s help, Snapchat is able to construct a payment system for its users so that snapchatters can exchange money with another through the application. The company has made it so that one can simply set up their debit card information in their settings as well as agree to their terms and conditions.

Well, actually, their terms and conditions is more or less their signature ghost icon with a large “I agree” banner and miniscule script confirming that the person about to agree is at least 18 years old.

Snapcash did not come say exactly what the money would be used for or why people would want to use it in the first place, but I can only imagine what people are thinking.

It’s safe to assume that Snapchat is monopolizing on the distribution of people’s nude photos.

With the amount of celebrity nudes that were leaked this past year alone, everyone is interested in seeing someone else’s body solely out of curiosity. So why not make them pay for it?

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Having One “Soulmate” Sounds Overrated

We won’t all visit China, not everyone will get to experience climbing a mountain, and not everyone gets the chance to perform in sold out arenas. So why is it that we as a society are so hung up on the idea that everyone will find one true love in the form of a husband or wife? And then stay with that one person until eternity?

For some reason, society has decided to enforce this ridiculous rule on itself and encouraged everyone to follow suit. For what reason? So that the divorce rate in the United States could be 40 – 50 percent according to the American Psychological Association?

The idea that every single person will find one true love, of their sexual preference, and then they will remain in a happy and loving relationship for the rest of their life is just not real. That is not to say some people will not experience this. It is also not to say that anyone who does not experience this is doing something wrong.

Society has made anyone who does not find this ideal feel like an outcast. This is what I believe forces people to settle for anyone who can create the illusion of a soul mate. They meet someone when they are young, settle because the rule is you meet your soul mate when you are young. But how is everyone going to find his or her other half by 30 years on this earth, when that isn’t even halfway through your life. There is still so much time to go other places and meet new people. I think it is possible that people rush into relationships before they have a chance to meet someone later on in life who would complete them.

Then there is also the possibility that not everyone gets to stay with their soul mate. Perhaps some people have to deal with the one that got away. Or some people are wasting their time with someone else and miss out on a chance to meet their real soul mate. But people are willing to settle for someone who isn’t everything to them. They in turn miss out on someone even greater. When it comes to your happiness, there should be no exceptions but the absolute best.

Then there is the question, who decided that everyone’s soul mate was a sexual partner? I think it is possible that some people’s soul mates come in the form of friends that have a stronger bond. We won’t all keep the same friends we have in college, let alone in kindergarten. People move, people change. Why is not as much value given to great friendships? 

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Stop Defining Self-Perception: See Yourself as More Beautiful

How many times have you looked in the mirror and not appreciated the person looking back at you? The same is true for countless individuals across the globe who continue to judge themselves for what they are on the outside rather than what they are on the inside. Take note from an incredibly powerful speaker, Shane Koyczan, in his speech “To This Day” where he states, “If you can’t see anything beautiful about yourself, get a better mirror. Look a little closer, stare a little longer, cause there’s something inside you that made you keep trying despite everyone who told you to quit.”

So who is to tell you what the definition of beauty is? We are all built to be of different sizes, of different shapes, having different skin colors. There is nothing about different that is wrong or ugly. The thing about being different is that you are unique.

The media has such an incredible impact on the way we view ourselves. A Kaiser Foundation Study found that one in every three articles in a teen magazine have a focus on appearance rather than self worth.

According to Teen Health and the Media, out of a survey of nine and ten year-old girls, 40 percent were dissatisfied with their bodies and in turn, attempted to lose weight. These children were polled after being shown a variety of music videos. By the time children reach the age of 17, 78 percent of all teenage girls are unhappy with their bodies. This leads to excessive sessions at the gym, depression, and eating disorders.

But why has so much changed over the past years? What happened to when the epitome of beautiful was Marilyn Monroe, who is known to have worn a size 12? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the average weight of women over the age of 20 in America is 166 lbs, which is nowhere near the representation seen in the media. 

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Think Before You Judge Us: Not Your Stereotypical “Sorority Girl”

sorority-gs"She pays for her friends. She's so dumb. She parties too much. She only cares about her looks. All she says is 'Oh my god, I have the best Big. Or, 'Little, you're my favorite person in the entire world.'"

Sorority girls have been discriminated against since any of us can remember. We're constantly put down for being part of something bigger than ourselves, for wanting to be part of an organization that gives back to the school and the community. But why? What did any of us ever do to be hit with the "sorority girl" stereotype? I can tell you from personal experience, sorority girls are not "sorority girls."

It's time to set the record straight, we don't pay for our friends. Yes, we are a group of women of 55 or more, who pay national and local dues. We pay to be a national member of an organization, to donate to the philanthropies we hold close to our hearts, to network within a group of thousands of other women. Believe me, we do not pay for our friends.

We aren't dumb, either. Seven percent of individuals in the Greek community graduate from college, compared to the 51 percent of college graduates who were not affiliated with an organization. According to Pace University, in the United States, Greek's make up about 350,000 of college undergraduates. And on Monmouth's campus, the average grade point average (GPA) of Greek women is 3.2. That's .7 higher than the required GPA on campus.

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Feminism: Much More Than Just the American Girl’s Fight

By an official dictionary definition feminism is the belief that both women, and men, should have equal rights and opportunities. In America, women's fight for equality has been long and hard, but I'd have to say we are almost there.

I understand that there is still a wage inequality gap, and for that I condone women who keep fighting for that equality. There is no reason for women to not make equal pay to men, when they are doing the same exact job and working the same hours.

But when it comes to any other issue on the equality of sexes, we as American women have no argument. According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, women make up half the workforce and are considered breadwinners in four out of ten families. Not only are most women raising families and working full time jobs, but more women in America receive college degrees than men.

Granted, America is not yet perfect on the issue of equality. People argue that there are not enough women CEO's or women in Congress. Ascending to these high level positions takes a lot of time and experience. In due time, when the numerous amount of women with college degrees start to move up the ranks there will be a definite switch.

One of my marketing and international business professors, Susan Gupta, mentioned how only 20 or 30 years ago it was unheard of that she was going to succeed in business. Now, her class is equally split in gender. As leadership roles switch to younger minded people, equality opens up. It does take time.

But when I see a woman in the Middle East put to death because she refused to marry a man three times her age, I refuse to stand with the women fighting in America because they feel they are treated unfairly or because it has just recently become a trendy topic.

Yes, there are instances of inequality, but it could be so much worse. We, as American women, do not go to sleep scared every night that we may be faced with some instance of abuse the next day simply because I am a woman.

Recently on the Internet, a woman posted a video of herself walking through New York City in a tight black t-shirt and a pair of jeans. People said nothing disrespectful but complimented her the whole time and she called it an argument for feminism. I wonder what the women who are beaten if they chose to leave the house in anything but a burka would say about that video.

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New Found Glory Gets a Totally Unfair Review by Alternative Press

Alternative Press, a music magazine for the alternative rock and pop punk music culture, reviewed New Found Glory's personal choices instead of reviewing their new record early last month.

New Found Glory announced on their Facebook page in Dec. 2013 that their guitarist, Steve Klein, would no longer be a part of the band. The band no longer felt they could work with him because of "personal difference," and that despite Klein's absence, the band would still be making music.

On Oct. 7, 2014, New Found Glory released their eighth album, "Resurrection," without Klein. Many of the songs included stories of their hardships with the former guitarist, including the title song "Resurrection," but there were other moments of the band members' lives reflected in some of the song writing as well.

In an interview with Fuse, guitarist Chad Gilbert opens up about having relationship issues with his girlfriend Hayley Williams, lead singer of Paramore, and how their hardships reflect in some of the songs on the album as well. Gilbert also reveals that bassist Ian Grushka's relationship with his ex-wife is talked about in some of the songs, too.

A day after the album was released, Alternative Press, who has reviewed multiple New Found Glory records in the past, spent the entire first half of "Resurrection"'s critique on Klein's absence.

The first three paragraphs of the review, which typically sets the tone for what any album review or article in general, were all about how Klein was kicked out of New Found Glory. Alternative Press even went as far to say that the band was "kicking him while he's down" with regards to some of the songs on the album.

For a music magazine known for praising bands in this particular music scene, they unnecessarily bashed a well-respected band. A band that has inspired others to form bands whose names are direct reflections of their appreciation for New Found Glory (i.e. All Time Low and The Story So Far). A band who received a full four-star rating on their previous album, Radiosurgery, only three years ago from Alternative Press. So why now, is this happening?

Is it perhaps that the younger, newer artists, the ones that are inspired by bands like New Found Glory are more musically relevant? Or maybe it's because Alternative Press is simply trying to change its readership and move towards a younger audience. If that's the case, then I fear for the music world.

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Let the Best of the Sports Season Begin: College Basketball

When it comes to college sports, two sports generally get the bulk of attention: football and basketball. Each sport has their arguments as to why they should be considered the king of college athletics, but is there really much of a competition?

A college basketball game is simply one of the most entertaining events a person can attend. From the tempo of teams going back and forth up the court, to the regular season spanning from November to March, to the many conference tournaments, to finally, the big dance itself, the NCAA tournament, college basketball has a lot going for it.

With Monmouth's men's basketball team tipping off its season this Friday in West Virginia, let's take a look at why the madness of college basketball makes it the number one sport in collegiate athletics.

Basketball, unlike football, has the advantage of having the action continue after every score. So while there are breaks for TV timeouts and fouls, basketball typically embodies a lot of energy. This represents the very nature of college: non-stop energy and fun. Watching a college basketball game gets intense when teams are going back and forth, trading baskets. This allows the college atmosphere to shine through as the student body is on their feet cheering for another basket every other minute, while cheering for the defense to block a shot or grab a rebound in between offensive possessions. When the game comes towards its conclusion this pace tends to slow, as the team that is behind tends to foul to remain in it. This doesn't kill the energy however, as things become even more riveting with every foul shot. This feeling of being on the edge of one's seat compliments the high energy felt throughout the game.

Another big part of college basketball is conference play. Typically, a team will play every team in its conference twice throughout the regular season. This leads to many entertaining rivalry games, as these teams are competing for the same goal of a conference title. The energetic atmosphere doubles when a conference rival comes to town, such as when Iona or Siena comes into the MAC this season. These games feel more important, and that is because they really are. A conference record is vital to a college basketball team's success and its placement in the conference tournament.

Not only is it more important, but it leads to many big-time matchups when it comes to the big conferences. This year the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) is loaded with many high profile teams, such as Duke, UNC and Louisville. Having any combination of these teams face off with each other, plus other big time ACC schools, leads to a very fun portion of the schedule to finish the regular season.

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Opposing Response from Last Week’s “To Go, or Not to Go to Class?”

I am not an avid reader of the Outlook. In fact, I had no idea how frequently, or on which day, the paper was printed until this week. My perusal of its pages has been part of a recent attempt to develop some semblance of a connection to the University and my classmates – outside of my own personal academic life – before I graduate in May.

When I read the op-ed "To Go, or Not to Go to Class? That is the Question" I became excited. Expecting a criticism of the all too frequent student absences on campus, I found myself thinking, "Could it be... another Monmouth student who is as appalled, discouraged, and frustrated with the overall lack-luster academic attitude of the student body as I am?"

Within the first few sentences of the article, however, I knew I was mistaken.

The piece begins, "How often do you find yourself sitting in a classroom and thinking, 'Wow this is what I woke up for?' We've all had those classes, mainly electives or graduation requirements, which feel like nothing more than a waste of time, credits, money, and most importantly, sleep. I understand that the University has certain requirements a student must fulfill so that he/she is considered well-rounded enough when entering the real world – or at least that's their excuse for stocking us with unnecessary courses."

To answer the writer's question: never.

I recognize that adequate sleep is important for college students, but to dismiss the amazing educational privilege afforded to college students in favor of an extra hour of sleep does not make any sense to me.

It does not matter whether the student lost sleep because of academics, or because they decided to binge on the latest season of their current Netflix vice. Sleep is important for college students because it ensures they will have the energy to attend college. Adult responsibility is not just the ability to say, "Screw class, I have more important things to do." It means planning and prioritizing your life so that you can both sleep and go to class.

Although somewhat pertinent, the issue of sleep deprivation is hardly the most glaring problem expressed in the opening paragraph. The sentiment that gen-ed and elective classes are a waste of time, or unnecessary, should trouble all members of the academic community.

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Kids of Illegal Immigrants: Entitled to Education?

While skimming The New York Times, I came across a very interesting subject: should children of illegal immigrants be entitled to public education? Taking into consideration that elections just took place, I found it to be perfect timing to discuss something a bit more serious. This topic offended me. Having been illegal for more than half the time I have lived in the United States, it hurt me to read that citizens like me are questioning whether my past self should be allowed to have an education.

If it were not for the fact that public schools do not require a child to prove a legal status in this country, I would not be where I am today- on my way to walk on stage with a B.S. in Chemistry, a minor in Informational Technology, and on the pursuit of my PhD in Chemistry! Could you imagine what would have become of me if I had not been allowed to attend elementary, middle, and high school? I did not gain my legal status in this country until my junior year of high school; prior to that, I woke up afraid every morning that this would be my last day as I knew it, that this would be my last day of education, that this would be last day in my road to the "American Dream."

What a beautiful thing, the "American Dream," is it not? Individuals from all over the world come to this land of freedom with hopes of the white fenced, two-floor house, the Benz in the front yard, pool in the back, and 2.5 kids.

Of course, we are all aware of the fact that this dream is not obtainable without some sort of higher education, correct? And, in order to be eligible for that higher education is it not a requirement to attend some sort of basic schooling, like high school?

Yes, people can argue that homeschool is an option and therefore this country does not owe those of illegal descent any type of public education. Let me bring you back to the black board for a second. The American Dream is more than often pursued by immigrants from less fortunate countries who find hope in this "land of the free." Now, how do you think those illegal immigrants, or legal for that matter, will work towards such dream? The parents sure won't be attending school, they will be out maintaining two and three jobs at a time to support their families and give their kids what they never had- a higher education.

Now, if the parents are out busting their behinds all day, do you think they have time to homeschool their children? Can we, also, remember to factor in the realistic assumption that these parents probably do not speak the primary language in this country? How, then, do we expect these kids to be home schooled? Sounds a bit obscure, doesn't it?

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American Horror Story: Conceptualizing Ideas about Violence and Sexuality

ahsIt starts with the news. We see graphic images of people dying on a daily basis and we become accustomed to seeing violence in our everyday lives. Once we accept reality, violence finds it way to the big screen, television and soon, we become trapped. Trapped in a web of violence, but we don't see it that way.

Violence in the media is not something that makes us cringe much anymore. It has always surrounded us in various media outlets and no one has ever suspected it to be anything but the norm. What we don't seem to understand, however, is that violence is not a natural norm.

When it comes to portraying violence in the media, we normally don't think twice about. When we talk about adding another element to the mix, something like nudity, we reevaluate our choices. Seeing parts of the human body that we don't see every day scares us.

Just because we walk around with clothes on doesn't mean we don't know what's underneath them. With violence, we wouldn't know what a person who had been attacked violently looked like if the news didn't show us. So then why are we so comfortable with accepting the familiar as opposed to the unfamiliar?

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To Go, or Not to Go to Class? That is the Question

How often do you find yourself sitting in a classroom and thinking, "Wow this is what I woke up for?" Lectures are not always fun, or easy to remain awake through. We've all had those classes, mainly electives or graduation requirements, which feel like nothing more than a waste of time, credits, money, and most importantly, sleep. I understand the University has certain requirements a student must fulfill so that he/she is considered well-rounded enough when entering the real world- or at least that's their excuse for stocking us with unnecessary courses.

My purpose in writing this, however, is to question the theory behind attendance policies. As college students, do we truly need to attend class, or would it be possible to pass without attendance being a factor?

Back in high school, one's attendance record was significant. You either recieved perfect attendance or, on the contrary, absence letters threatening your eligibility for graduation. I was threatened to repeat my junior year due to absences, though they were mostly medically excused, and my grades were on point.

It made no sense to me that the administration wanted to keep me from graduating on time because of a tally of 17 absences. Regardless of the number of missed school days, I managed to ace all my classes. After a long battle they forgave my absences and I was able to move on with my academic life. Still, was all that stress and constant back and forth calling and paperwork necessary? I think not.

I thought once I got to college the rules would change and I would finally have the freedom to attend class as I chose. I mean I am paying for it, right? Wrong.

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Dr. Duckett’s Course: No More Climate Change Skepticism

Ah, the holidays. Famous singer Andy Williams described them in his legendary song, "It's the most wonderful time of the year." The "holidays" usually refer to a period in the United States of America that ranges from around Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, that is filled with food, shopping, and gatherings of families across the country.

The dinner tables on holidays like Christmas are supposed to be filled with joyous conversation, laughs, and catching up with one another, but the mood of the table can change swiftly when one certain topic is brought up: politics.

Even the closest of families can have differing ideological and political views, which can quickly cause conflict at the dinner table. More recently, one of the most discussed and debated topics is climate change.

In simple terms, climate change means exactly what it sounds like: the changes in the climate. Weather patterns and temperatures are often the most talked about examples of climate change. Like most subjects, there are believers and non-believers about climate change. In a general view, the typical political categorization of believers and non-believers of climate change are liberals and conservatives, respectively. But there are conservatives, like myself, who do believe that the climate is changing. As much as you may not want to believe it due to your political allegiance or religious views, the fact is this: the climate is change is real and an immediate threat to our society.

Before taking Dr. Catherine Duckett's (Associate Dean of the School of Science) Climate Science course, I was a climate change skeptic. I thought that there were changes happening in the climate, but I was not sure of the magnitude of sudden change or overall risks if the climate continues to change at the current rate.

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November is National Marrow Awareness Month: Why College Kids Should Care

bone-marrow-factWe all know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There are walks to raise money for research taking place across and the color pink has become just as popular in October as orange and black. Because of initiatives like these, public awareness about this horrible disease has greatly increased and we're closer than ever to finding a cure and saving even more lives. There's also another cancer fighting initiative coming up in November that could also save people's lives and all it takes to help is a cotton swab.

November has been designated National Marrow Awareness Month to raise public awareness about fighting diseases like Leukemia and Lymphoma and the importance of registering as a bone marrow donor.

Someone in my family battled Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) which is what really opened my eyes to how devastating these blood cancers can be and how much being a marrow donor can help. AML is type of leukemia that, according to, causes "the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cell), red blood cells, or platelets."

My aunt's niece, 13-year-old Hayli Hough, just beat AML. She was diagnosed in August of 2013 and after four rounds of chemotherapy, the cancer was gone. Unfortunately, she relapsed this past April and following two more bouts with chemo, the decision was made to get Hayli a bone marrow transplant. Since the procedure, she is doing great. Hayli was recently released from the hospital and no longer requires 24-hour doctor care. The cancer is gone for the second time. This transplant saved her life.

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American Dream Myth: Tuition Costs Suppress Overall Success

This is not an article that is going to slam Monmouth or any other college or university for having high tuition costs. This is not an article that is going to complain about where my tuition money goes or what I believe it is spent on. This is, instead, an article expressing my beliefs on the fact that something needs to be done about the rising tuition costs in America.

By now, everyone in the world knows that Germany is offering all German citizens, and people from anywhere else in the world, a free college education. It is a revolutionary idea and to most people in America, even myself, it seems unfathomable.

Of course, there are many differences in German universities and American universities. All those extra amenities like gyms, sports teams, career services, advisors, etc. offered at American schools are not offered at German universities. The classes, even the higher-level classes, are all lecture style and offer a midterm and final and are mostly pass fail.

Both experiences are very different but the main point is ANYONE in Germany can go to college. Rich or poor, you can afford to better educate yourself. In America, we know there is a problem with income inequality. People who sit on and below the poverty line have almost no way of moving up because today, most decent paying careers require a degree.

I feel so blessed to know that I am able to afford a higher education, but at the same time know how unfair it is to so many people in America who simply cannot afford it. The American dream seems to be dying. It is so unrealistic to simply work hard and move up in America. I think the government should look at Germany as an example and use it as a way to help Americans.

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Five Old Fashioned Values Gen-Y Should Live By

Generation Y: the "Millennials", "Generation Me", and the "Instant Gratification Generation." Yup, that's us. In a world with social media obsessions, high speed technological development, and much of what we desire readily available right at our fingertips, I hate to break it to you but we sort of live up to it.

I get it, naturally, times change. With the times, so do people, habits and values. And I mean call me old fashioned, but I think we in Generation Me could take some serious lessons from the humbler, more patient and conservative generations that came before us.

Whether it is in relationships, work ethic or attitude, here are five old fashioned values I think we should try to keep alive today and maybe the world will be a little bit better off for it.

1. You can't always get what you want.

Spoiler alert; things in life are not always going to go exactly the way you imaged or according to your perfectly thought out and formulated plans. And that is okay. Often today, it seems our generation is a bit spoiled. We are used to getting necessities quickly, easily, and exactly how we want them thanks to technology, fast food chains, and other advances in convenience.

What I think we tend to forget is that lessons are not learned in getting what we want, but rather when we don't. When we do not get what we want we learn to adapt, grow and see another perspective. We may know what we want, but not what we need and sometimes life gives us just that.

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Halloween Costumes: Lots of Money, Barely Any Material

dallas-costumeAs a favorite holiday of both children and adults approaches, it is only right to speak about the well-known facts: Halloween is your chance to be anyone you have ever wanted to be with a judgment-free card as your encouragement.

It is not only about the opportunity to be someone fictional and unreal, to pretend for a night to have powers or be the "baddest" superhero around, it is about the confidence boost a piece of polyester gives each and every one of us.

The minute we put a costume on, we are no longer the nerd that sits in the front row of science class, or the jock that is barely passing his classes. We are not the weird hipster who is always on his guitar, or the pothead who's secretly a genius. On Halloween, we become our alter egos. In most cases, that alter ego is confident, cool, and untouchable-able to do anything and everything his/her heart desires.

Women for instance, have the opportunity to dress down rather than up and be the inner goddesses they have always dreamt of. For females, Halloween is about showing the most skin possible and party stores know that. Hence, ironically, the less material a costume has, the more money it will cost. Take Party City for instance, a nicely made, fashionable pirate costume whose skirt reaches past the knees is selling for $24.99. Meanwhile, a Cowboys Cheerleader costume with spandex white shorts and a bandeau blue top, is $49.99. That is exactly double the price.

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Now is the Time More Than Ever That You Should be Doing AC

ac"America's favorite playground," "Monopoly City," or the gleaming "city-by-the-sea." Call it what you like, I as well as many others, have fallen in love with Atlantic City and made many fond memories in our little South Jersey treasure.

Fortunately, for those of us who are fond of AC, the city has almost always thrived. From being a famously rebellious place where all bets were off and all alcohol was available during the prohibition, to the wild success of the real estate along the coast with large casinos, clubs and the boardwalk in recent times, we knew our little playground was safe and sound.

But on the other hand, unfortunately, in the past couple of years the economy and success in Atlantic City has been steadily declining and plummeting to dangerous new lows.

With big name casinos such as Showboat, Trump Plaza and Revel closing its doors, it is obvious the city could be in trouble.

The main reason for this slump is likely that other states are opening smaller solo casinos and legalizing online gambling, eliminating the need to make the trip to AC entirely. To me, Atlantic City just has something more going for it than other casino rivals like Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun; it has heart.

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Rule Out Location When Rooting for Out-of-State Sports Teams

When it comes to deciding on a sports team to pull for, most people tend to make their decision based on the area they live in. In this part of Jersey, that tends to mean seeing a lot of "Big Blue" decals on cars or fans decked out in green pulling for the "J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!"

Yes, many people root for teams that play in or around the state they are from. But there are quite a few fans, myself included, who believe "location, location, location" is best served for real estate investors. We rely on other factors when choosing what team to pull for.

When it comes to baseball, embarrassing as it might be, I'm a Mets fan. Yes the "Amazin' Mets" have not lived up to that nickname in quite some time, but you have to stand by your team. While it may seem like I made this decision based on the fact that the Mets are a local team, that's not the case. My grandmother was a die-hard fan of the New York Metropolitans. Because of that my dad and the rest of his family are Mets fans and because of that, my brother and I have been fans of the team since we were kids. Whether they're "amazin'" or not, win or lose, we both bleed orange and blue.

That's how it is with the NHL too. My dad has always been a New York Islanders fans because when he was following hockey, there was no New Jersey Devils franchise. Back then, when you hated the Rangers, the Flyers and the Penguins, the only logical choice was to pull for the Isles. While I don't really mind the Devils, when it comes to teams like the Mets and the Islanders, I feel almost like it's a family tradition to take up a rooting interest in these local underdogs.

But when it comes to football, I've noticed this is where people's loyalties tend to transcend state lines. I'm a Kansas City Chiefs fan because just like my baseball and hockey selections, my father is a fan. Plus, the team is among the biggest underdogs in the league. Seeing them go to the playoffs last year after winning just two games the previous season was beyond exciting. You don't get that kind of thrill from the Patriots or the Broncos; teams that seemingly always make the playoffs as of late. I know this seems like a strange argument but when your team hasn't made it to the playoffs in a while, it makes it much more special when they do make it back.

My brother Matt is a fan of the Washington Redskins because, as he put it, "I hate the Cowboys, I hate the Giants and I hate Philly." Rather blunt, but when you hate three of the four teams in the NFC East, why not pull for the fourth one? Also, the team has become a lightning rod for controversy, but he doesn't mind being politically incorrect and wears his burgundy jacket, emblazoned with "Redskins" in big gold letters, with pride.

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Social Media? More Like Anti-Social Media For This Generation

phoneNow I admit it, I am on my iPhone just as much as everyone else; I check Facebook almost every hour, I am constantly updating photos to my Instagram account, and I am always checking Twitter to see what my favorite celebrities are up to, but how much is this really helping my social skills? Sure, it is called social media for a reason. It helps you keep in touch with your family, friends, celebrity icons, and even your favorite department stores and brands, but what many people don't think about, is how social media is ruining our generation.

Everywhere you look, someone is always on a phone. Take a look around you. Next time you are out to dinner with your family, walking to class, in your doctor's waiting room, I guarantee you will see at least one person on a phone. This is what our generation has come to. No matter where you turn, someone is always on a phone.

This is affecting people's social lives. People do not interact with others like they used to. Some people even use their mobile devices and social media as a form of comfort.

Dr. Michele Van Volkom, a lecturer of psychology, said, "Based on recent research conducted by myself and my co-authors, I cannot say just yet if our communication is 'ruine,' "but it had definitely changed."

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Veganism Health Hype Is Overrated

Many people who consider themselves to be "vegan" have been very misinformed as to exactly what being a true vegan means and are potentially putting themselves at risk.

Since the food trend started about a year ago, people have been giving up all animal products and by-products in order to maintain a healthier lifestyle. What these people do not realize is that they're not actually vegan, they just have a vegan diet.

According to The Vegan Society, veganism defines as "a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to animals for food, clothing or any other purpose."

So what does this mean for the "vegans" out there? Basically, they are not exactly what they make themselves out to be. Yes, their diet is free of anything animal related, but what about the rest of their daily lives?

Part of living like a vegan involves making sure every aspect of your life is free of any form of animal "exploitation." You may be wondering why I put quotes around "exploitation." Well, let's just say I didn't know that wearing wool could make a sheep feel exploited. I apologize to you, sheep.

Thankfully, the animal rights advocates over at PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has provided the vegan version of "What Not to Wear" on their website. Every article of clothing you could possibly imagine wearing, minus underwear and bras for some reason, is highlighted on this mini fashion tutorial. So if you're thinking of becoming a vegan, it might be best to get rid of those cute leather boots and fancy wool coat.

While veganism preaches that we should feel guilty about "exploiting" animals in our daily lives, it fails to discuss the health risks that come with being a vegan. It is very gracious of those who choose to be vegan to be kind to the animals of the world, but what about them?

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Appreciate Your Internship

Internships have become a major part of the college experience. Here at Monmouth, students cannot graduate unless they complete at least one of them and gain some experience working in their respective fields.

At first, I saw this as nothing more than an inconvenience; something else school-related I had to complete that would only eat up more of my free time. And it's not even going to pay, so what's the point? But after completing my first internship this summer, I see how valuable these experiences can be.

As a communication major, I initially thought about interning at a place like the Asbury Park Press or the Star Ledger. But after meeting with John Morano, a professor of communication and advisor to The Outlook, he suggested I look into working at the New Egypt Speedway as well. As a big race fan, this was the first place I applied.

I started on the night of one of the biggest races of the year; the night when the World of Outlaws 410 sprint car series came to town. My duties involved answering phones and putting wristbands on drivers and fans at the pit entrance.

Initially, I really couldn't see what this had to do with my major, but after performing these jobs on a more regular basis, I realized how much my communication skills had improved. To say that I'm quiet would be a serious understatement, but having to deal with the public on a regular basis really helped me become more outgoing; something that journalists and public relations professionals need to succeed.

Speaking of public relations, I had taken a few classes surrounding this field at Monmouth, even though my main focus has been on journalism. When I got to New Egypt Speedway, however, I really got a good taste of how important grassroots public relations campaigns can be.

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Women Have Right to #BoycottNFL #GetRidofGoodell

NFl-boycottIn this country, football is a great American tradition. Many individuals, especially a large population of the youth, idolize the strong, tough and larger-than-life NFL players.

However, as more stories of domestic violence begin to surface as a result of recent crimes, many are jumping on the bandwagon and making the decision to #BoycottNFL.

I believe that anyone, especially women, are completely justified in their anger, disbelief or disgust in Roger Goodell and the criminal activities that are occurring without consequence in the National Football League under his leadership.

Most people are all too familiar with the Ray Rice case that has been dominating our TV screens, news feeds, magazine headlines and internet searches. Is that type of extreme violence really what it takes to get our attention and cause us to act? Is it not until a famous NFL player hits his fiancé so hard that he renders her unconscious that the public's eyes will be open to the truth?

We would all probably still be left in the dark if not for that infamous Rice elevator video being leaked to the media. It was not until then that the NFL and it's commissioner Goodell could no longer conceal the truth for the sake of keeping their player in the game.

As horrific as this Rice fiasco is, it is not the first by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, according to The New York Times, 713 NFL players have been arrested since 2000. 88 of those were documented under assualt and battery, while 85 of them were domestic violence cases.

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Jeter’s Farewell Changes Face of Baseball

jeterDerek Jeter is baseball. Before the start of the 2014 Major League Baseball season, the Yankees' captain announced this would be his last. This season marked Jeter's twentieth and final season wearing Yankee pinstripes. With the Yankees missing the playoffs this season, and the regular season having ended Sunday, Sept. 28, the face of Major League Baseball has changed forever.

Jeter ended his career playing career in New York the only way he knew how – with an iconic moment. On Thursday, Sept. 25, No. 2 stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles in a tie ballgame, for what would be his final at bat in front of the home crowd at Yankee Stadium.

In classic Jeter fashion, he singled to right field on the first pitch of the at bat to score the runner from second base and seal a walk off victory for the Bronx Bombers. Jeter's final game as the Yankees shortstop came against long time rival, the Boston Red Sox. It was a Hollywood ending to this Bronx Tale.

With Jeter leaving the world of Major League Baseball, the game of baseball will never be the same. Derek Jeter was the face of baseball for all the right reasons. He earned respect amongst all of his teammates and competitors. He played the game right, giving it his all every time he stepped on a baseball diamond. Mr. November will go down not only as an all-time Yankees great, but an all-time great in the history of MLB. Jeter's departure leaves baseball without a clear-cut face for the general public to associate with the sport.

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Perks of Hook-Up Culture

As millennials, we are criticized daily. From our attitudes on life, to how much we drink, and of course how we interact with the opposite sex. Article after article is written on why the hook up culture of our generation is so detrimental. I have read articles that claim our generation will wind up alone because we cannot form relationships. That could not be farther from the truth.

As I watch my friends twist their way through this confusing time in our lives, I am seeing strong, beautiful people forming.- young adults who know what they want in life, people who know what matters to them. Is a culture of people so sure of who they are a bad thing?

I often listen to my friends speculate about having a boyfriend, yet the conversation always ends like this, "I don't have time for a boyfriend anyway." Our generation is driven and determined to succeed. Adding in the responsibility of nurturing a relationship is just not a priority at the moment.

Relationships take time and effort, and starting a new one takes even more time. Overwhelming amounts of credits, budding careers, part time jobs, grad school, greek life, sports teams, clubs, events and internship our generation is lucky if we even have time to grab a beer at Jack's happy hour!

This means that people who do get into relationships know it's worth it. Among my taken friends, including myself, I see some of the strongest bonds between people. People who really do have a connection, who chose to be in relationships because they know it is worth putting in the time and effort.

As we take less time to learn from relationships we take more time to learn who we are and what we actually want, whereas generations before us have had it hammered in their head they must find a spouse, get married and have kids, our generation's hook up culture does not condone the opposite of this but just promotes focusing on your happiness.

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Appreciate Autumn and All the Fall Festivities it Has to Offer

fall-2-gsAutumn - the bright and colorful leaves are falling; the temperature cools down to a crisp degree and lives fall back into their familiar and comfortable routines again as summer winds down and students return to school.

Also worth mentioning are comfy hoodies, Ugg boots, apple picking, haunted hayrides and pumpkin spiced EVERYTHING.Those are just the few of many reasons why for me, it is so easy to fall in love with fall.

Let's face it, we're not children anymore, and for most of us summer simply does not mean what it used to. Gone are the long summers filled with days spent by the pool or at the beach and with no responsibilities. Now as working adults, summer is really nothing more than a time of the year when the weather heats up and the roads are packed with shore traffic.

Winter can be fun due to the excitement of the holidays; however, in my opinion it gets pretty old after about the third snowstorm. Snow just means I have to wake up an extra hour early in frigid temperatures to clean off my car and prepare to trek to school, work or wherever else I may need to go.

And spring is a beautiful time of the year. The flowers and trees bloom again and the promise of summer returns. But unfortunately, along with spring comes an abundance of allergies and rain, I will pass on that.

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Proclaimed “Hippie” Culture Today is Not Similar to the Sixties

NamWe all know those people. The self-proclaimed hippies of today (or sometimes referred to as hipsters) that walk around in overpriced clothes from Urban Outfitters, listen to Sublime, and have some affiliation with weed. They claim to be hippies and channel their ancestors of the sixties and seventies but in reality they don't know the first thing about what it meant to be a hippie fifty years ago.

In every decade you can see a rebel group that comes to fruition. There were the flappers, the beatniks, the punks, and the slackers. The rebels of these generations were more than the music they listened to or the clothes they wore. We think we know what hippies are because we've seen the pictures and watched the movies. Hollywood has preached to us all our lives just how cool the hippies were.

It's easy to listen to the Beatles, wear round glasses, throw flowers in your hair at a rave and get tattoos of Sanskrit. What is not quite as easy to share is the ideology and the passion the hippies of the yesteryears had. Sixties hippies wanted to remove capitalism and an American political system they saw as authoritarian and unrepresentative.

It bothers me that these people channel the cool of the sixties but think it can be bought at a store. The same type of stores those hippies once fought against. Not only did hippies fight commercialism but they also fought an American government system that they did not believe in. Back then, hippies were protesting the Vietnam War and the draft that sent their brothers and neighbors off to fight and ruin their lives. It was a confusing time, and nothing in society today has the same sense of urgency.

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Can Athletes Still Be Seen As Role Models After Ray Rice Scandal?

Devon-Still-and-Daughter-LeahWill Ray Rice play football again in Baltimore? Quoth the Ravens, "Nevermore." After being suspended two games for beating his now-wife, Janay, new and more graphic video of the incident leaked this week by TMZ. This led the Baltimore Ravens to terminate the three-time Pro Bowl running back's contract and the NFL suspended him indefinitely. Now NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is embroiled in an investigation into whether he knew about this footage before TMZ leaked it and how much he really knew when he handed down that initial two game suspension. But this incident has also raised another issue that has not been touched on by most media outlets: Do athletes still make good role models?

I know as a kid, and a life-long Mets fan, I had several different t-shirts with Mike Piazza's name and number on them. I also knew many other kids who wore Derek Jeter t-shirts. The idea that either of these players, or any other popular athletes for that matter, was capable of things like steroid abuse or domestic violence never entered my mind. I only cared about how they performed on the field; how many home runs they hit or how many runs they drove in. But with more and more athletes today being judged by how they act off the field, is it a good idea for children to idolize sports stars like Rice?

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Broadway Musicals Are Making The Move To Be More Popular for the Masses

If anyone knows the musical, Wicked, they know one of the show's most famous songs, "Popular." Popular is one of the first songs sung by Glinda the Good Witch in the first act, and it begs one to question what makes a person popular. On the other hand, the music that is popular on radio stations and Billboard charts today begs one to question why this music is popular.

As a fan of Broadway and theatre music, I question why I like this genre so much, but when I really think about it, it reminds me of the parallels between Broadway artists and some of my favorite Hollywood artists today.

Some people believe that Broadway music is just a bunch of song and dance, that it's full of tap and chorus lines. This is not the case anymore. The style of Broadway is changing. Yes, it is easier to get access to Broadway music from listening to soundtracks of shows, but there are contemporary composers who are releasing music just like a regular recording artists are.

Theatre music is not what it used to be anymore. Composers like Kerrigan and Lowdermilk, as well as Jonathan Reid Gealt are putting out CD's featuring some of the music industry's up-and-coming stars.

If you want to hear a singer put their emotion into a song and sing their heart out, listen to Jonathan Reid Gealt's song "Quiet" sung by Natalie Weiss. Weiss has been on Broadway and is now famous for teaching a workshop called "Breaking Down the Riffs". This song has the ability to change anyone's opinion of what Broadway is in a second.

Weiss will be coming to Monmouth's Woods Theatre on October 2nd for anyone who is interested in learning what contemporary Broadway has become.

If one was to turn on any top 40 radio station today, they would be able to listen to a mix of pop songs, some occasional ballads, and usually some rap. Broadway music is a mixture of just that. One can go from listening to rap from shows like In the Heights, to ballads like "Always Starting Over" in If/Then sung by Idina Menzel. Broadway music is a mix of all of the music that is popular on the radio today, so why don't more people listen to it?

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Rape: Mattress Message

It would be strange to see a woman walking around campus dragging a mattress. It's arguably an interesting sight to see in any setting. Mattresses belong in one place: the bedroom.

If you venture to Columbia University's campus, however, you might spot Emma Sulkowicz, a student who is defying a social norm. Everywhere she goes, her mattress follows.

Sulkowicz, to the surprise of many, is dragging the mattress around of her own free will. She is attempting to make a sobering statement about the various facets of injustice in on-campus sexual assault cases.

Sulkowicz was raped in her own bed by a fellow Columbia University student. The administration and faculty at Columbia University were ineffective in properly responding to her case, and Sulkowicz felt that something needed to be done.

It is not uncommon to hear a story about another college campus assault case. The word "rape" has almost become desensitized. Yet, in stark contrast to the commonality of the issue is the absolute lack of change that it has inspired.

People love to talk about it, of course. Sulkowicz's story will be shared on Facebook and Twitter and across any other appropriate medium of communication for many more weeks to come. She has gained a lot of attention in the past few weeks. Major newspapers have covered her story, depicting her as the brave heroine who is standing up to her attacker.

But people will forget, as they always do. Eventually, Sulkowicz's story will become just another statistic, and her uniqueness will wear off. Once it does, we will again be faced with the challenge of rekindling another call to change.

As a  college student, as a feminist, as a human, it's a depressing trend to acknowledge. So we cannot forget. We cannot forget Emma Sulkowicz, or the facts of her case, or the injustices that her University afforded her.

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Advice from College Seniors: Senior Year -The Perfect Time to Persevere, Not Give Up

As we begin our senior year, many of our fellow students have already invested in the luxury of a four class schedule with plenty of time to kill. We see our friends casually drinking on weeknights and going to the beach on weekdays. While we too have some time during the week, we have taken the liberty of keeping our hectic schedule in order to grasp a full appreciation of our college life.

A friend who recently graduated consistently goes to social media to complain how much he misses the college lifestyle and even his out of school responsibilities such as participation in clubs and his fraternity.

We realize that we are fortunate enough to be part of three major clubs on campus and did not want to drop these activities just to more freedom during our senior year.

Being leaders for two of our clubs' majors on campus has taught us that being involved and staying involved is a learning experience that pays off. It looks much better on your resume if you stay in an activity because it shows commitment and dedication which can then be translated to a future job.

If you diminish your responsibilities just because it's your senior year, then a future employer may think you could do the same during your career. With this said, it is never too late to join an organization. Both of us went around the Involvement Fair this past weekend and joined some clubs that we never even thought of as an option in prior years. We do not want an opportunity to slip through our hands, hence why we have decided it would be best to be as involved as we can be. There are still so many people to meet and so many ways to be involved.

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Take Advantage of MU: Advice from an Upperclassman

I still remember what it was like to step onto the campus of a "college" for the first time, the smell of freedom was stronger than ever, and I felt like the world was mine for the taking.

Now, looking back on that freshman, there are a few things I wish I could tell him. The first of which being, oh god why were you wearing that?! The second thing would be to take things a little more seriously. I don't mean, "don't have fun on weekends," rather, realize the time and opportunities you have in front of you and how fleeting they truly are. Here is what I think you need to do in order to take full advantage of college.

1. Get to know the campus

To be completely honest with you, I am not the type of person who walks into a situation and feels like they know what is going on. There is something beautiful about being lost, because that means at some point, you have to end up finding a way.

Getting to know the campus and what it's like to move from classroom to classroom, or knowing what it's like to walk across the arctic tundra that is Shadow Lawn in the dead of winter; is a vital part of college. Its moments like these where we have to remember what we heard as kids, "make sure you bundle up, it's cold outside!" We learn how to take care of ourselves and how to navigate the world around us.

2. Get to know the people

This is both a positive and negative experience. I have heard and actually have been guilty myself of saying the people of Monmouth are not the best sometimes. Realize this is the case any place you go.

Part of your challenge is to find the people that you can connect with and grow with during your time here. Yes, you will make mistakes. You will make enemies. That's all part of it, and that's something everyone has gone through. You will meet the best friends you have ever had, and share some of the most exciting memories with them. So yes, it's easy to say things like "everyone sucks," but finding the good in others and being open-minded will be some of your greatest assets to make it through. It also never hurts to smile!

3. Get to know you

This is probably the most important on this list, is the real reason you came to college. Let's put aside that degree ambition for a second and the super awesome job you're going to get after you walk across that stage.

Think about it. You are here because you want to see what you are made of. You want to have "the best four years of your life" and maybe do a little learning on the side. Most learning that you will use in life happens outside the classroom.

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Ten Commandments College Freshmen Should Follow

ten_commandments_college_freshmenThere are many things people don't tell you about college life. Some things are small, trivial matters that just annoy every upperclassman on campus. Other things can change your entire college career if you keep an open, focused mind. Here are ten helpful tips for our incoming peers.

1. Making new friends is good; walking around campus in a group of 10+ people is bothersome.

The excitement of meeting new people and making new friends can become overwhelming the first couple of weeks as a freshman. Be mindful that, although you like walking around in a pack with your new self-proclaimed college crew, large groups take up a fair amount of room and should be mindful of other people using the sidewalks and/or space around them.

2. College food isn't that great.

Granted most—if not all—freshman will have a meal plan their first year, don't go overboard with all the pizza, cheeseburgers, fries, and sandwiches that you desire. Try to maintain a conscious and healthy diet because the notorious "Freshman 15" is NOT a myth. Also, be aware of those late night greasy cravings that so many businesses around campus cater to. Do you really need that 12-piece Buffalo chicken order at 3am?

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Contact Information

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

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

Phone:(732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151