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Opinion

Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)

MU Surf Refines Competition

Competition. It is a term that follows most, if not all activities. Competition is a way to understand who is the best. The Broncos won the Super Bowl and are regarded as the best team in football. The same can be said for the Golden State Warriors after their championship run last year. However, asking who is the “best” surfer will not offer the same clear-cut answer.

From a young age, competitive surfers enter contests in order to qualify for competition in the World Surfing League (WSL). The WSL aims to give the world of surfing their very own Peyton Manning or Stephen Curry. However, in the surfing industry, contests are not the only way to make a living. Freesurfers make up the other half of the surfing world. These surfers choose not to compete and instead gain exposure and sponsorships through photos, video edits and surfing films.

Whichever side you fall into, the tough question still exists, “Who is the best surfer in the world?” Adriano DeSouza tallied the most points on the World Championship tour last year, however that may not make him the best surfer... Can we deny the Craig Andersons and the Asher Paceys of the world their shot at being the best? It’s a tough call.

Sophomore student-surfer, John Waldron offered his opinion, “Adriano rips, but a world title doesn’t mean he’s the best. Freesurfers go for broke every time they take off on a wave because they don’t have to worry about scores and judges.” Waldron continued, “Competitive surfing works if it remains unique. As soon as surfing becomes football, I’m out.”

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Commuting: The Best Of Both Worlds

With a love large enough to say, “If I could live here, I would,” many of us commuters still choose not to live on campus at Monmouth. My love for Monmouth is completely indescribable; I cannot imagine myself as happy as I am anywhere else. The desire to spend all the time I have at MU makes others question my choice to commute to school.

At least three out of the five weekdays you can find me eating all three of my meals at school (yes, if you were wondering, that means I have 8:30 a.m. classes every day of the week, so breakfast on campus is a must!) and you’ll most likely see my face on campus on the weekends too. I genuinely cannot get enough of our beautiful campus. So this urges many of my friends and family to question this choice to commute.

“You are on campus for 12 hours a day anyway, you might as well live there,” is a comment I get quite a bit. It would be much more convenient given all the things I am involved with on campus for me to live here, but I find that commuting, aside from being cheaper, is a more liberating college experience. Not that you can’t have a car when you live on campus, but I truly feel as though I have a lot more freedom being a commuter. It really prepares you for the future—time management is very important to handle when you commute. This is a skill that commuting does nothing, but enhance. This skill, then translates to a greater understanding of real adult responsibilities.

Now, this doesn’t mean that time management and responsibility aren’t enhanced when living on campus, but the levels of each are different for each student. It is very difficult to compare and contrast a resident student and a commuter student because they both have a different set of needs and there are benefits and handicaps to both lifestyles. But, speaking from a commuter standpoint, I can only give positive reviews for commuting to MU.

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Summertime & The Living’s (Finally) Easy

Summer is only a few weeks away and even if you don’t have anything planned, it’s better than school work and studying for finals. After classes end it’s great to have a few weeks off to relax, especially after the stress of finals. With more than three months off from school, there’s a lot you can do with your free time.

If you’re lucky enough, you might be able to get an internship over the summer. Although working through the summer might not be the most fun, it’s a great opportunity to make some extra money. Being able to work in an area that interests you is great, especially when you don’t have school work to worry about. You might not be relaxing on the beach or having a break like it seems like everyone else has, but it is a great experience.

The summer time is perfect to take a vacation. Not being in school gives you a lot of free time to plan a trip. There are no classes to miss during the summer time so you can take a longer more relaxing vacation. You can come back and not have to worry about any work that’s due or what you missed in classes. Of course, with the weather in the summer, even a staycation at the jersey shore could be the perfect place.

The beach is a destination that everyone would like to get to at least once over the summer. It’s a great place to socialize with friends, tan, swim, and just relax. There are free beaches, or if you can’t find a free beach, there are always beaches with free parking. If you can get a few friends together and split the cost of parking, it could make for a cheap day of fun.

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The Struggle of Picking Classes

Sometimes the most stressful things at the end of the semester are not finals, but scheduling your classes for next semester, especially here at Monmouth. Making the perfect schedule and also getting all the credits you need to graduate is close to impossible. There are so many stipulations we have when we’re creating our schedules for the upcoming semester, and it’s hard to apply them all to one schedule. Making your “perfect” schedule is easier said than done, especially when the classes you need to take aren’t scheduled at the ideal time or with that professor who has the highest rating on Ratemyprofessor.com.

Monmouth requires 128 credits to graduate as an undergrad, as opposed to other schools that only require 120 credits. If we, students at Monmouth, come in with no credits, we’ll have to take more than the standard 15 credits at least one semester to graduate in four years. There’s always the option of summer classes, but we all know that those can get expensive. So, we’re stuck cramming our schedules with enough credits (and still trying to get a day off).

It’s stressful when all of your friends are talking about when their registration time is and you feel like your registration is a million years later. Opening your email from the registrar that tells you when your time to register is such a nerve-racking ordeal. Are you going to have to be late to class so you can register? Do you have to wake up early? Do you have to register during another class? Should you just skip class to register? It feels like the time you do get to register is always the most inconvenient.

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Is A College Degree Worth It?

College Degree Worth ItA college education is a colossal investment, but many have begun to question its worth.

In today’s world, landing a job is a difficult feat. Back in the day, a college degree was your ticket to a well-paying job. Recent studies have revealed that most college students will not receive a return on their college investment until they are middle-aged. Many have not seen their college tuition dollars reimbursed into their paychecks because they are working minimum wage jobs due to their inability to find a position after graduation. The barista at your local Starbucks might have a business degree, but due to their lack of experience within their field of study, they cannot land a job. Nearly half of college graduates are underemployed and working jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree.

Exactly six months after you moved the tassel from right to left and proudly walked off the stage with your diploma in hand, your gift from the government finds its way to you in the form of federal loans. Your government federal loan payments begin with an average interest rate of 4.29 percent and up. Once your decades of payments begin you may ask the question, “Was my education worth the cost?”

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Mother Should I Trust The Government?

Quite recently, it has been discovered that the government has easy, convenient access to the private lives of basically all citizens of the United States. There is said to be a massive building in Utah where the government monitors everyone’s social media, webcams, cell phone text messages, calls and other data. While there is much speculation and debate on the subject, the government should have every right to peer into any individual’s Internet use, or private cell phone information.

To start off, it is well known that there is a sizable party against the National Security Agency (commonly referred to as NSA) being able to access to United States citizen’s personal information. There is a very negative connotation that comes with a government viewing conversations and information. A lot of people relate it to George Orwell’s famous ‘Big Brother’ character in his novel 1984. Some might argue that this is an outrage and an invasion of privacy. However, I find all these uncertainties and fears are ridiculous. The only people that should be worried are the people that are involved in any kind of suspicious activity; people who are abiding by the law should have nothing to hide. Ben Franklin once said, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety,” and while it may have been relevant and true in the seventeen hundreds, it is not now. We live in an entirely different day and age with all our technology and advancements. The people are not giving up their liberty, and the safety is permanent, not temporary anymore.

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But First... Let Me Take A Selfie

Mona Lisa SelfieA “selfie” is defined as a picture of yourself, typically taken by yourself. They date back centuries when great leaders of our world had their self-portraits painted. Nowadays, our self-portraits have taken on a different form and have become quite an epidemic. Candid photos, duck faces, bathroom mirror pictures, and many other poses that are taken with a front-camera are regularly strung across our feeds on a variety of social media platforms. Wherever you go, there are constantly people using their front camera to snap a picture of their “good face day.” Millennials have been renamed the “selfie generation” due to the high level of narcissism that is present within our society.

Selfies have been deemed responsible for more deaths than shark attacks. This may be due to the fact that most individuals take pictures of themselves while driving or even walking across the street. It really is just that important to get that perfect snap of your face while swerving in and out of traffic or almost getting hit by a car.

Personally, I do not have an issue with selfies in moderation. Taking a picture of yourself when you have a good hair day, at an event, or even on a holiday is more than acceptable. However, I feel that when people are constantly posting pictures of themselves it becomes an issue. If a person’s Instagram consists only of pictures of themselves, their selfie privileges should be revoked.

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Construction Disruption

Campus ConstructionMonmouth’s picturesque campus is one of its bestselling points and most desirable characteristics for perspective and current students alike. But now with the massive construction happening between Howard Hall and Edison Hall, it seems like Monmouth gets uglier the further you walk down towards Pollak Theater. I completely understand that half of what I see on Monmouth’s beautiful campus had to be built at some point, but I wish this current construction weren’t happening while I am here. To be blunt—the construction is an eyesore that a simple “Pardon our appearance while we renovate” sign doesn’t excuse.

It isn’t just the sight of the construction that is leaving a bad taste in my mouth; it’s the dangers of the construction, the noise, and the impedance on my travels from class to class. Construction is a dangerous job for the workers themselves, but it is also dangerous for those of us traveling around it. The various construction vehicles roaming around the south side of campus count on you, the traveling student, to watch where you’re walking. They don’t have a huge regard for people walking around them.

The noise is also starting to ware on me. I have had many classes in Howard Hall since the start of the construction and the noise of the construction itself, while I understand it is wholly unavoidable, is very loud. Furthermore, the noise of just the workers in general can be distracting. For example, I was in class one day and I heard a worker turn on a radio and, while the song that came on was good, was distracting me from paying any attention in my class.

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Is Chivalry Dead?

The best and most common way to describe chivalry is Noah Calhoun from Nicholas Spark’s The Notebook. Noah would move mountains for Allie Hamilton. A real man totally devoted to making a woman feel that she is cared for. A man who would not let his man hood feel threatened over proclaiming he loves a girl.

The more time goes on, the more rare acts of chivalry have become. It begins to make us ponder, has chivalry become nonexistent?

In some essences of the word, yes, chivalry is dead. Its technical definition being ‘the medieval knightly system with its religious, moral, and social code.’ The more urban definition refers to chivalry as morally treating someone with utter respect. No longer is it common for men to chivalrously court women in these long drawn out theatrics of affection. Honestly, to some extent I think that is good thing. I mean why do we as women think we are entitled to be the only ones whom chivalry should be directed at?

Watching my friends in mature relationships, I see a give and take in the romance. On one occasion someone will be romantic, and the other will put on the romance on the next occasion. In today’s society chivalry is no longer a one way street.

While back in the day, a man would be the one to put the effort into the relationship, while a woman accepted the chivalry. It is now much more evenly distributed. I think this is in part due to woman’s newfound independence and the popular feminist movements.

No longer is the man the only one in a relationship bringing in money, therefore giving him the power to be chivalrous. Now a woman brings home her own paycheck and can afford acts of chivalrous. The male does not always have to get the bill anymore.

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Spring Break

The week before spring break everyone is sitting in class thinking of what to do when you finally do not have school work due the next day, and actually have some time to breathe. But what do you really do with your time off? Day dreaming during class about everything that you’re going to do during break is much different than what actually happens when you are finally at home. It’s easy to picture yourself on a beach somewhere, soaking up the sun while you are sitting in a class. You might want to do everything, or you might want to do nothing. Regardless, things don’t always turn out the way you planned.

Expectation: You will see all your friends from home that you haven’t seen since winter break. A whole week off from school means you will have more than enough time to catch up with your friends you haven’t seen since the beginning of the semester.

Reality: Your friends probably don’t have the same time off as you. Your friends that don’t go to Monmouth probably don’t have the same week off of school as we do. And honestly, what are the chances that you really want to get out of bed and leave your house?

Expectation: You’ll take at least one day of your break to do the work your professor assigned you (even though you are supposed to be on a break from school).

Reality: You totally forget about all that was assigned over break until Sunday night. Just as you are about to fall asleep you’ll remember those assignments you got over a week ago and have to rush to get everything together before your Monday morning classes.

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The Conflict of Being a Vegan... But Loving Bacon

Veggie HeartA group of crossfitting vegans walk into a bar—which lifestyle choice do they tell you about first?

Well, it can go one of two ways:

1. The more hardcore crossfitter will preach about how alcohol is “totally going to sabotage my morning workout swell.”                

2. The more hardcore vegan lets everyone in the bar know “I can’t eat THAT because I’m a vegan.”

Just the mention of crossfit is guaranteed to make eyes roll, but the vegan answer is more in depth.

The latter of the two responses can be received as standoffish or aloof, even if it’s delivered in a chirpy manner. Onlookers are often confused as to why anyone would openly reject a commonly accepted food and suggest a different, healthier, choice.

Simply put, it’s a combination of laziness, peer pressure and personal drive that often determines why people choose a nonvegan path.

I did the whole vegan thing for 12 months—it was great removing dairy and meat from my diet, I had a lot more energy and I was in better shape. But sometimes life gets in the way.

Commuting from work to an internship and school makes it tough to stay true to hardcore veganism. Cost of healthy foods can be outrageous, and convenience of less healthy options throughout a busy day makes it almost unrealistic (thanks a lot, Jersey Mike’s).

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Does Age Matter In a Relationship?

Does Age MatterForming relationships and dating is a common part of life. It’s a natural proclivity to want to share happiness with someone else. That is one of the many functions of human interaction on Maslow’s hierarchy of what people need as they grow into adulthood. When I think of what is the appropriate age to be in a relationship, I think of someone who is mature enough to understand what they are stepping into and what they will potentially have to do in order to keep the relationship healthy. So to answer the question of does age matter in a relationship? My answer is yes. The worst thing that can happen is a minor in a relationship with a legal adult. That can lead to problems, we see it happen on a daily basis.

Age should be an important factor in a relationship because people never stop learning. Life to me is a learning curve, and you are always learning something new about yourself even as you grow older. It is possible for a younger person to be more adept and mature than an older person. I can name plenty of young people who are more mature than Donald Trump, for instance. I also think that “maturity” is like a raft in a vast ocean full of unknown experiences. Explaining my analogy, you can be mature a person, but still not have the experience to know what it takes to make a relationship work. There can be a certain innocence when young people enter a relationship because they are in love and so many exuberate feelings, especially if it’s your first real relationship. Everyone has worn those rose-tinted glasses before and sometimes being naïve can lead to unhealthy relationships. Experience is the counter-argument for age in my opinion. With experience, you gain intuition and with intuition you gain a better understanding of what makes a relationship healthy and what makes your partner of choice someone who is compatible. That way you can meet each other’s needs.

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Balancing It All

Maintain a high GPA, attend all of your classes, work so that you can spend your money when you go out, keep your room clean, pay your bills –sounds like a piece of cake, right? This life of a typical Monmouth University student calls it the norm – and finding a balance between it all can be extremely stressful.

When I began at Monmouth as a transfer student over a year ago, I had already tried to “balance” my life. Working 30 hours a week, going to school, and trying to maintain a social life was hard. Coming to Monmouth, it was even more difficult.

Many students nowadays, college students in general, are feeling the same way. There are such high expectations for us –get good grades, keep your GPA high so you can move out after college, get a job, keep your job until you can afford everything you want, but I have something to say about that: why? Why stress yourself out when you still have your college experience.

Our generation has been exposed to a new sort of college environment. When our parents went to school, there was far less pressure and far more partying. Now, college is something that really can actually determine the rest of our lives which is an intimidating thought.

My advice to all of you is this: if you do not need to work, do not. Or if you do decide to work for some extra spending money, just take it easy on the hours.Coming from someone who is a workaholic, this is big. However, I feel that because of the fact that I missed out on so much of my time here a Monmouth because I was working so hard at my low-paying job. You do not want to look back at your college experience and just remember slaving away! So I stress to you: enjoy your time here and really work on finding that balance! Your time here will fly by before you know it!

Want to know what to do in the meantime?

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The Importance of Traveling

Traveling is a great way to expand your view on the world, and if you have the opportunity to travel, you should take it.

Being at Monmouth, it’s easy to forget that there’s a whole other world outside of our little niche. The surroundings we’re used to at Monmouth can feel like it has it all. There are shops, restaurants, and having our own beach doesn’t hurt. Unfortunately, Monmouth doesn’t have everything. There’s a lot that you can learn when you’re outside of your niche. It might not seem like it, but people who live even a few hours away live a different lifestyle than we do.

When you’re traveling you’re learning. When you visit new places, you’re learning the history of them, which seems like a much better lesson than a history class. The lessons you learn when you travel are a whole different learning experience because you’re making yourself familiar with a new environment.

Traveling is a good way to mature. You might find yourself in a new culture when you arrive in an unfamiliar place, and it is important to be respectful of these peoples’ cultures.

When preparing to go somewhere, a lot of planning and coordination goes into your trip. Organizing a trip can help you learn new responsibilities because you’re responsible for yourself and catering towards your own desires. If it’s also a good way to test your responsibilities. You are out on your own, and you are totally responsible for yourself and all of your needs.

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Are Best Friends Our True Soul Mates?

Friends SoulmatesYou’re walking up the endless flights of stairs of Wilson Hall to get to your first class of your freshman year at Monmouth University and you finally get to room 312. You bond with the student sitting next to you (“Oh my God, I am so out of breath from those stairs”) and you two keep talking. Soon enough, the next thing you know, the two of you are inseparable. When you are not together, people wonder where the other is. The second you’re not together, you’re snapchatting and texting each other that you miss each other—it can be seen as pathetic, but you know it’s true!

Many people don’t believe in the concept of soul mates because they limit themselves to thinking purely of romantic relationships, but I am here to convince you that you’re thinking too narrowly. Open up your mind to the idea that a soul mate can be a non-romantic relationship. I truly believe that your soul mate can be your best friend. As a generation that has placed more and more emphasis on hooking up, getting into relationships seems to be more difficult. And, as we get older, we start to focus on finding “the one” and settling down.

We start to pressure ourselves into thinking that the perfect one doesn’t exist. What we fail to see is the one person that truly has been your soul mate throughout your search for “the one” –your best friend.

Things that you would imagine your significant other “soul mate” doing are things that your best friend already does for you! Your best friend is always there for you when your search for “the one” ends up dry. S/he is there when you’re crying your eyes out and cursing the boy or girl who broke your heart. Your bestie is the one who is there for you with unconditional love.

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“Love Yourself,” They Said

Contouring Before AfterI’m not sure if it is just me, but does anyone remember when we were told to love ourselves and the way we look? We were told not to worry because no one is perfect. We were told to own what we have and be proud! I can’t be the only one confused by the contradictory message being thrown at us from these contouring and other new makeup trends attempting to achieve this previously said ‘impossible perfection’.

Contouring is a new makeup trend which creates an illusion of sculpted cheekbones and chiseled chins by enhancing them with bronzer and dark makeup in the shadows. It’s almost scary to see the layering and blending steps of the ‘clown like’ makeup that must be applied to the face. There is also a new trend of thick, perfect eyebrows, in which you more or less draw in most of your eyebrow. I would like to clarify that I am not in the slightest against makeup; there’s nothing wrong with a little highlight here and there. However, this attempting to sculpt yourself into a different person thing is starting to make every day feel like Halloween.

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Is Donald Trump Making America a Joke?

These days, if you turn the TV to any news station and wait about 15 minutes, you’re guaranteed to hear the name Donald Trump. The current presidential candidate has captivated the world of politics, but I think it’s an area that he should stay far, far away from.

The upcoming 2016 election is anything but a sleeper. America is full of great political figures, however, almost none of them are actually running. Is it a joke? Not really. A satirical reflection of American culture reflected by both the Democratic and Republican parties? Maybe. Let’s take a look at our current candidates:

Democrats:

- Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, NY

- U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, VT

- Rocky De La Fuente, CA

Republicans:

- Dr. Ben Carson, FL

- U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, TX

- Gov. John Kasich, OH

- U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, FL

- Businessman Donald Trump, NY

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The Challenges of Being a Starbucks Barista

Starbucks BaristaWhether you work for Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, or Rook, baristas know what it’s like to handle people who want “their” coffee. If you took a look behind the counter, you’d realize it’s not as easy as one might think to work in a coffee shop. It’s not simply pouring coffee from a pot and handing it off—that’s a really insulting assumption. Everything is complicated, whether you’re cleaning, making drinks, calling the line or working the register. Baristas are excellent multi-taskers, and I pity the person who thinks it’s a brainless activity to work in a coffee shop.

It will be two years in June that I’ve been a barista at my local Starbucks. In that time, I’ve learned the ins and outs of the job. For example, let’s talk about steaming milk. You probably think that one could just stick the milk under the steamer and walk away, but this is a misconception. Depending on what drink you are serving, there is an individual countdown of how long you need to hold that pitcher while keeping the steam wand just so, before you can place the pitcher down to steam until it’s the appropriate temperature. There is a huge difference between making a latte and a cappuccino, but most people do not know the distinction. Often, customers don’t even know what they want to order, and rely on their baristas for a recommendation.

Instead of ordering blindly, I suggest that you at least know flavors you like. We have all been stuck in line behind the person that has never been to a coffee shop and requires 15 minutes of guidance before placing an order. As baristas, we sigh and cringe inside, try to smile and do our job. We are here to educate. That line out the door isn’t our concern; each individual is our concern.

People get really angry about waiting on a long line, sometimes getting out of the line and cutting everyone else just to yell. But baristas are people too, and it’s a very self- centered perspective to think that we exist solely to make coffee. Dealing with impatient costumers is one of the many challenging aspects of the job. Is it really fair to go and scream when you don’t receive your drink immediately? Again, we’re people too. It kills me when some says that we’re not paying attention, or not taking enough care when fulfilling an order. It’s impossible to get across to every customer that you care about his or her order. Yes, we make your coffee and yes, we sell you our pastries or bagels, but we’re not there to be your perception of the overly peppy salesman, the one that looks more like enslaved happiness. We are respectable people who work in a job that requires us to politely and properly do our jobs and not be overly hyped work-monkeys.

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Is ‘Dating’ Still A Thing?

Online DatingHookup culture, love it or hate it, it seems as though it is here to stay. I rarely hear of anyone actually asking someone on a date anymore, but I have faith that there are some people out there that still have date nights and actual conversations about life. So many of us ~romantics~ find it hard to catch up with this hookup culture.

It seems a lot like people aren’t “asked out” anymore, but instead they are DMed, direct messaged, or swiped right on Tinder for an implied hook up. There is something so impersonal about the way that boys and girls today get together. It isn’t the cheesy romantic comedy pickup line or the simple “hi” in person. Instead it’s the creeping around social media and dating apps.

Honestly, I think that DMs and dating apps are just excuses to avoid person-to-person conversations. Sometimes, yes, it is easier to DM someone because you can really think about what your responses will be, but isn’t that the best part of getting to know someone? Seeing whom they really are when they have no time to plan out what to say.

Furthermore, it seems like our generation doesn’t like to label things anymore. If you’re hooking up, it’s nothing to anyone. If you’re hooking up and hanging out it seems like you’re just “talking.” But, what does that even mean? What it means is that you’re not labeling anything because you’re keeping your options open. Again, with hookup culture, we aren’t limiting ourselves to just one person to spend time with. Therefore, we donned the potential partners in our lives as someone we are just “talking” with.

Avoiding labels gets us into some tricky situations. If you’re “talking” with someone does that mean that you can’t hookup with other people, or is that cheating? Would the person you’re “talking” to get upset about that or are they hooking up with other people too? And if they are, are you okay with that, or do you want something more from them? All of these questions, which are just scratching the surface of all the confusion, float in your head when you’re in a just “talking” relationship (a “relationship” like a connection you make on Linkedin, clearly not a holding hands relationship).

Wouldn’t it just be easier to ask someone on a date and give a real relationship a whirl? I feel like it is easier to know if you like someone for who they really are if you spend more personal time with them. You waste less time getting to know someone than you do trying to figure out what your “relationship” is.

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Lives of Reason Review

Former MU Professors Collaborate To Write An Enjoyable Play

Kenneth Stunkel and Robert Rechnitz, both retired Monmouth University history and literature professors, respectively, have lent their refined sensibilities to spoofing the intellectual scene in a witty and humorous play.

The play, which is titled Lives of Reason, is set at a party thrown by the English Department of the fictional Livingston College (though several of the fictitious professors eerily mirror Monmouth scholars) amid a power struggle between professors to be dean of the school. The intellectuals are all too representative. The old scholar, the Marxist poet, and the post-modern deconstructionist all serve as the targets of the play’s acerb witticisms. The real heart of the show is the tempestuous Ilona who is unhappily married to one of the English teachers yet in love with an old flame, Matthew Livingston, whose father happened to have founded the college. Ilona represents riotous affairs and all the enflamed sexual power and insatiable lusts (“I’m on fire,” Ilona says, “It feels like there’s fire under my skin”) the English professors cannot fathom.

The only character to appreciate David Hume’s “Reason is a slave of the passions” maxim, Ilona punctures Ivory Tower pompousness with ease. The post-modern English professor is quickly dismissed: “it takes a semester or two to explain what he does.” Unfortunately, not all of her lines are so barbed. Self-pity and indulgence mixed with men, liquor, and firearms hasten Ilona’s downfall, but the most unpardonable sin is her stilted dialogue. The Ilona character is also overwrought, swiftly lapsing into maudlin speech where profound insights were probably intended. The difference between brazen hussy and alluring femme fatale is perhaps a matter of degree if not sensibility, (male sensibility that is) but this writer was leaning toward the former by the end of the show.

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MU Bookstore: Y U Expensive?

It’s time for a new semester and you have almost everything you need. You’ve pushed it off for as long as you can, but you can’t avoid them: textbooks.

Semester after semester, students are required to buy their own textbooks with little or no help from the University. Furthermore, these aren’t your cheap textbooks: students are encouraged to purchase books from the bookstore, where prices are so high that students would rather wait and order their books to be shipped almost a week after classes begin.

Why is it that the University requires us to not only pay for classes, which as we all know are extremely expensive to begin with, but we have to pay for textbooks and supplies, too? I do not think that it is at all fair that we have to pay for textbooks, especially since we don’t even receive a discount when we buy them from the University bookstore. Furthermore, some classes require that the students pays for supplies as well.

When the semester ends and we finally go to sell our books back, the bookstore won’t even take it for half the price. For example, last year I bought a $200 textbook and the University bookstore only gave me $50 for it, while some of my books weren’t even accepted.

As much as students would like, the bookstore will not budge its prices (if that were the case, I don’t think I would be writing this article.) So, here are some great places to get textbooks if you don’t want to deal with the skyrocketing prices of the bookstore.

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Mattel Introduces New Figure for Barbie Doll

New BarbiesSince 1959 Barbie has been known her as the doll who was tall, blonde, skinny, and essentially the definition of perfect. Barbie literally has it all. There is not one package of accessories I can think of that doesn’t exist. There is everything from Malibu Barbie to President Barbie; is there anything she can’t do? This figure is someone that most young girls have wanted to be because she has always had the freedom to be whatever she wanted to be.

Barbie has obviously played a role in the way young girls view their bodies. No matter the age, girls are concerned with their weight, and having a Barbie doll with an unrealistic body doesn’t help. Barbie’s image isn’t the only thing that would influence girls to think their bodies aren’t “normal.”

When you look back to Slumber Party Barbie, she came with a scale set to 110 pounds. She also came with a book about how to lose weight and the only thing written in it was “DON’T EAT!” It’s very true that a Barbie doll acts as a role model to many young girls. This was sending the wrong message to girls, telling encouraging them not to eat and providing them the “perfect” weight. There have even been lawsuits against Mattel, the company that makes Barbie, because of the image they are presenting to girls to be a standard.

When playing with their dolls, children create their own fantasy world and for many, Barbie is the main character. I think it is about time Barbie dolls started looking like the kids who play with them. If they don’t look like this ideal figure, they could become unsure of their own bodies.

Just recently the Barbie doll has had a major transformation. After over 50 years of her signature look, new looks have been introduced. The Mattel Company decided that they were going to allow Barbie’s look to be more versatile. There are over 33 new dolls, and Mattel is calling it an evolution.

I think the changes made to Barbie dolls is going to have a great impact on young girls and the way they view themselves. I know when I was growing up and playing with dolls, I wanted to live that kind of fantasy life. She could do anything she wanted, which made me think I could do anything I wanted.

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Here Comes Valentine’s Day!

Keep an eye out for Cupid’s arrow because Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Love it or hate it, the Valentine’s Day season has begun. The debate continues every year that questions that validity of the holiday. Is it purely a “Hallmark holiday” or is it a legitimate holiday?

My personal take on this question is that Valentine’s Day technically is the feast day of St. Valentine, that doesn’t make it a legitimate “holiday.” Christian churches celebrate many saints’ feast days, but we do not consider any of them legitimate holidays. For example, even one of Catholicism’s most beloved saints, St. Francis of Assisi, doesn’t have his own widely celebrated holiday. The average person doesn’t even know who St. Valentine was and why he is affiliated with Valentine’s Day (including myself!), besides the obvious affiliation of his name.

So, a brief history: St. Valentine was a priest when the emperor, Claudius, was persecuting the church and preventing marriages. St. Valentine married couples in secret because of his strong belief in love and marriage. Valentine’s last written note before his execution was supposedly signed “from Your Valentine.” This is where we get the tradition of love and notes/valentines associated with the holiday.

Most every saint has an equally beautiful and heartwarming story, but it seems that the consumer industry has taken St. Valentine’s story/feast day and turned it into a huge “holiday.” Before Valentine’s Day was the holiday it is now, there weren’t any holidays devoted to love. The only way couples celebrated their love was through personal anniversaries, so, the consumer industry decided to profit off of everyone who was in love at the same time. So, Valentine’s Day was born.

And, as with any holiday, comes the decoration and gift overload. I think it was the week before the spring semester began that I started seeing the Valentine’s Day decorations and candy out in Walgreens. Then the commercials and ads start pestering you to buy your Valentine’s Day gifts. And, of course, nothing is cheap! I think that the price tag consumerism puts on holidays is a bit disheartening and makes holidays feel less genuine.

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Is Steven Avery Innocent or Not?

Making a Murderer is a documentary series that has been getting a lot of attention recently. This 10-episode series focuses on the conviction of a Wisconsin man, Steven Avery. The Netflix original series became available this December, and since then it has had a lot of people talking.

The series begins with Avery being released from prison after a wrongful conviction of 18 years. After this, Avery began a $36 million civil suit filed against Manitowoc County. While in the middle of this, news came out about the death of Teresa Halbach, a local woman. Avery instantly become a suspect in the case and later police found signs that pointed to Avery committing the crime. The show goes in depth analyzing the court case surrounding the death of Halbach.

The show consists of actual court footage and interviews with almost everyone involved in the case. As the viewer you are presented with both sides of the story, allowing you to form your own opinion on whether you think Avery is innocent or not. The most important evidence is that the body of Halbach was found on Avery’s property. Opposed to this, there are many instances where it looks like some blood evidence could have been planted on the scene.

There are a lot of loose ends in this case, which gives the viewer so much room to form his or her own opinion. While the police evidence looks like it could prove Avery guilty, the opposing side shows there is a possibility some of the evidence could have been tampered with. Avery is also not able to provide a good alibi. Besides the evidence making Avery look guilty, there are some people saying they saw him do it. His nephew Brandon also made a confession to the police saying that he was there when Avery killed Halbach.

After watching the series, most viewers have expressed that they do not think Avery is guilty, and some have even gone as far as making petitions to get him a retrial and possibly out of jail. I just do not think there is enough evidence that proves Avery did not do it. Yes, I agree that there is some evidence presented by the police that doesn’t add up. I do not think Avery has enough evidence to support that he is innocent, especially with inconsistent confessions from his family. I think the documentary focuses a lot on the police and that they could have planted evidence in this case in order to prove Steven to be guilty. Although there is nothing right about the police planting evidence, there is nothing that can prove Avery had nothing to do with the murder.

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The Family You Love to Hate

Kardashian GirlsThere’s nothing better than spending a lazy Sunday binge-watching your favorite shows. Netflix slyly asks if you’re still watching and without any shame you click continue and move to season six of your favorite show, because you’re a champion.

There’s a lot of guilty pleasures that come with binge- watching, especially in particular genres. Reality television stole my heart from a young age as I was horribly influenced by crappy shows on MTV like The Real World or The Challenge, and now I just can’t get enough of indulging myself in other people’s lives. Cue Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

Whether you love them or you hate them, the Kardashians are a household name. America as a whole can probably agree they are a family famous for absolutely nothing of true value and somehow found a way to turn that into a net worth of close to 100 million dollars. That’s pretty impressive and all of us cynical people are jealous of their luxorious lifestyles. I know I am.

I started out like one of you, hating the Kardashians for their fame and fortune. One day I stumbled upon E! Network and found myself laughing harder at a show than I had in a long time. First of all, Scott Disick is actually hilarious and always calls the family out for acting spoiled. Second of all, if you can’t find a way to laugh at all the first world problems encountered in an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. From Kim losing her $60,000 earrings in the ocean in Bora Bora, to not being able to agree where the family should vacation next, to the group of women trying to figure out if they have enough money to afford their own private jet, it’s sure to give you a nice laugh. Here I am, a broke college student, struggling to afford anything that would be remotely fun and this family potentially has the money to finance a private jet. Kourtney deserves at least some credit considering she’s the only sister with a college degree, which came from University of Arizona, while Kendall and Kylie graduating high school actually made breaking news.

While the family is most famous for their sarcastic attitudes and nude photo shoots, the sisters have accomplished a decent amount of success outside of the show. Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe are all business owners of their clothing store DASH, which expanded to two other locations after the show’s launch. The women also had a child-clothing store called Smooch, which was closed to expand DASH to Miami and New York.

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The 2016 Oscars Cause Controversy

The Oscars 2016What’s with the lack of diversity amongst the 2016 Oscar Nominees? This has been a question that many people have been asking since the list of the 2016 Oscar nominees was announced two weeks ago. All 20 nominations in the Best Acting categories went to white actors or actresses. The recent news has some black actors like Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith boycotting the ceremony because of the lack of diversity. Others like director Spike Lee have also refused to go to the ceremony due to the way the Academy has voted. I’m sure this will also put Chris Rock, who is the host of this year’s Oscars in an awkward situation, but he is a comedian, so he will laugh it off and most likely make a joke out of this controversial debate.

I do understand why the Oscars is such a big deal for artists in Hollywood. It is the crowning achievement an actor, director or screen writer can get. This stamp of recognition that once you are at least nominated, you’ve made it amongst the elite in show business. You will be mentioned in the likes of all the great actors, directors etc. past and present. It seems like a validation, but when you look at the history of the Oscars, the odds have not been in favor of people of color. For all the white actors that have won Oscars, only a small margin of people of color have won the award: Hattie McDaniel, Sidney Poitier, Rita Moreno, Louis Gossett Jr., Denzel Washington, and Morgan Freeman to name a few. Halle Berry was the first black actress to win Best Actress in 2002.

For an awards show that has been in vogue since 1929, it is questionable and a bit ridiculous that it took until the new millennium to give a black actress an Oscar. I feel like black artists have become the most outspoken because racial issues in this country have always been between black vs. white, but I have yet to see Asian actors or Indian actors win either. I think it is a diversity issue that the members of the Academy have not addressed in full.

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New Year, New Me?

Year 2016Let’s have some real talk about new years resolutions. People make new years resolutions every single new year. There are some common ones such as losing weight, saving money, eating healthier, etc. The great thing about these new years resolutions is that they are always very positive.

At first, most people start out strong with their new years resolutions—*new year, new me*— but, after some time, people lose motivation. It is around this time in the new year that this starts to happen. But, it doesn’t have to happen to you! While you really can’t be a “new you,” there is a definite possibility for you to better the old you. It is important not to forget in your “new you” who you really are.

Don’t make ridiculous new years resolutions that you can’t follow through on. You should be realistic in your resolutions. Just because it is a new year, doesn’t mean that the “old you” who couldn’t run a mile in four minutes, can run a marathon the next day as the “new you.”

I think that is the biggest mistake when it comes to new years resolutions. Instead of trying to alter your appearance all at once, I might suggest that you work on strengthening your mind also. For example, I am terrified of the dentist, so, every year I make it my new years resolution to schedule my dentist cleanings for the year.

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Tackling Depression in the Media

Owen Wilson. Demi Lovato. Gwyneth Paltrow. Brooke Shields.

What do all of these celebrities have in common? All have struggled with depression and all have been open about it.

Depression is defined by the U.S. National Library of Medicine as “a state of mood of low aversion or activity that affects a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings, and sense of well-being.”

More and more, celebrities like Lovato and Paltrow have stepped forward with this issue. It is probably wise to say that it has had a positive effect on fans and the public eye and that being in the public eye itself makes managing depression more so a positive thing than a negative one.

For one, it helps those who cannot speak for themselves. Fans of these celebrities often look to them as role models. When they come out as having a mental health issue, it shows that they too are human and makes them relatable.

Being in the public eye also creates awareness about the subject. Depression is not something that is a light topic, but with public figures starting to speak about it, it creates more awareness about the topic. When Lovato came out as bipolar and depressed, immediately the press picked up the story about her going to rehab and soon after, she shared her story. Between interviews on ABC and even writing her own memoir, Lovato has provided more awareness about depression and mental illness than ever before.

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Papers Vs. Exams

Papers and ExamsThere are so many different pros and cons to having your final exam be an essay you write at home or having it be a traditional exam you take at school. In a way the two are almost incomparable because they are in such different leagues, but it is worth taking a look at the way they measure up.

Essays:

Pros-

Wiggle Room—with writing an essay, it seems as though professors can be more lenient with grading. There is more wiggle room for you to get a better grade when writing an essay because it is a more subjective way of assessing knowledge.

More Time—if you are assigned the essay in advance, you know exactly when it is due and you usually have multiple days to complete it. Therefore, it is easier to get the essay exactly how you want it.

Don’t Have to Come in on Final Day—for many professors, if they assign an essay as the final assessment in lieu of an actual exam, they won’t make you come in for the scheduled examination period. And, if they do make you come in, it is usually just to hand the essay in and say goodbye!

Cons-

Time Consuming—writing an essay is a time consuming process, so if you are a perfectionist, this make take a chunk out of your studying time for other courses.

More Pressure for Perfection—yes, having more time is both a blessing and a curse. You do have more time to get the essay done, so professors are expecting a spotless essay.

Second-Guessing—when you are given more time to do things, you may end up second-guessing your essay topics or evidence choices within the paper. When writing a final essay, you may be more inclined to change your topic various times, mostly because you have that luxury of extra time.

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Preparing for Finals

Finals GraphIt’s that time of the year again - something that every college student dreads: finals. It’s that point in the semester that makes you question all of your life decisions and wonder why you ever chose the path of going to college. Although finals can be described as an accurate depiction of the underworld, if you prepare for finals the right way, you may be able to walk out them alive, and with a decent grade.

Here are a few ways to prepare for finals:

Get Organized - One good way to start preparing for your finals is to get organized. Sit down and write out each final you have and what it covers.

“For some of my classes, I don’t have a final. As for the finals I do have, some of my finals are cumulative and some only cover specific chapters. I like to sit down, look at my class schedule, list which classes I have a final for and what I need to cover for each of those finals. For instance, my communication ethics class final is based on the entire semester but my public relations final is based on just the last three chapters from the textbook,” said Madison Dorn, a junior communication major.

By getting organized you are preparing yourself for what you need to do, so that you aren’t scrambling when time is running out.

Outline Your Material - Once you have compiled a list of what you need to study for each final and how much time you need to spend studying, it is time to actually outline those materials so you can begin studying. One of the best ways to study is to make an outline. As you read over your textbook, class notes, and handouts, write a brief summary for each topic. Highlight the areas in your outline that were most troublesome. When you have finished with all the material, you will have an outline you can review and make flash cards out of.

Start Early - Start the studying process as early as possible before it’s too late. What’s difficult about finals is that you have multiple tests that cover multiple areas. Once you have compiled a list of what you need to study for each final, how much time you need to spend studying and outlined your materials, it is time to actually study. The sooner you start studying, the better. You are going to be covering a lot of material and you need to give your brain time to process all of that material. Do not leave studying until the last minute, it’ll only be harder for you to memorize and understand everything.

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Invisible Illnesses, Not Invisible Symptoms

According to Molly’s Fund, a charity that supports invisible illnesses, “Invisible disabilities are chronic illnesses and conditions that significantly impair normal activities of daily living. In the United States, 96 percent of people with chronic medical conditions show no outward signs of their illness, and 10 percent experience symptoms that are considered disabling.”

Invisible illnesses like anxiety, depression, ADHD, and chronic pain are very present in many people, but you often wouldn’t know by looking at someone – or even talking to them. They are diseases that run under the surface, and are often hard for people to understand. These invisible illnesses are tough – not just for the people that have it, also for the people that stick with them – while they’re going through it. Invisible illnesses are emotionally taxing on both ends because it can be difficult to open up about. How do we introduce the topic when we meet someone new? Do we even introduce the topic at all?

There are things to remember when approaching the topic of invisible illnesses. Having anxiety, depression, or ADD/ADHD is physically demanding at times, and obviously even more mentally demanding most of the time. When you have a mental disease, emotional needs can change daily, even every few hours. Here are some things to understand about invisible illnesses:

“But you don’t look depressed? You look fine.”

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When Books Turn Into Movies: Should You Be Excited or Weary?

TPeter Lannisterhe last film in The Hunger Games trilogy, “Mockingjay: Part 2” just hit theaters on Nov. 16. Based off the bestselling book series by Suzanne Collins, Katniss Everdeen is the fierce heroine played by Jennifer Lawrence in the film adaptations. The movies have garnered a lot of attention and soared in popularity since the first movie was released in 2012.

Strong female heroines are the kind of characters that are in demand right now, but as someone who has read the book series, I was very surprised to see that there was no opposition to the casting of Lawrence. In the books, Katniss is described as a 16-year old girl who has straight black hair, gray eyes and olive skin. Sounds like Katniss has features in common with a Native American Indian, doesn’t it?  Jennifer Lawrence is beautiful and a great actress, but does not fit this description. Even though she died her hair a darker color, I still can’t help feel that the casting was off. I remember the uproar over the young black actress (Amandla Stenberg) casted as Rue. It was disappointing to see the double standard of views when Jennifer Lawrence does not look anything like the book description of Katniss.  For the record, I thought Stenberg made an excellent Rue by the way.

Shouldn’t physical appearance matter just as much as acting talents when you are casting for a movie based off a book? I think casting directors should try to remain as true to the books as possible. When I read books, I like to be able to envision a character on screen the way I see them on page. It definitely makes me feel more appreciative that the casting director of studios go out of their way to cast an actor/actress that look, move, and interpret a character just like the books.

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The Introverted/Extroverted Dichotomy

Part of anyone’s personality is his/her tendency to be either introverted or extroverted. Not to say that people cannot possess qualities of both.

According to the Myers Brigg Foundation, extroverted people are usually seen as outgoing, are comfortable and like working in groups, have a lot of friends and acquaintances, and are more action-oriented than an introvert. Introverts, on the other hand, according to the same foundation, are seen as more reserved or reflective, are more comfortable doing things on his/her own, prefer to know a small amount of people very well, and sometimes think too much about things and end up missing out.

Both personality types are very different, but a person does not have to be purely extroverted or purely introverted. For example, I would identify myself more as being introverted, but that does not meant that I am comfortable being alone. I like to have my few close friends around me whenever I can. The same can be true for extroverts. Just because you are an extrovert does not mean that you love group work. I have a friend who is an extrovert who hates group work. If you ask me, we are all a mix of both. But, yes, there is usually one type that takes the majority of a personality.

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Almost to the Finish Line

Almost to Finish LineWake up, go to class, attend extra-curricular meetings, work an on-campus job, call my off-campus job to tell them I’ll be running a little late, do homework, go to sleep, repeat for the next four days. This constant running from place to place has become a normal routine in my chaotic life. I wonder so much of the time, why do I do this to myself? Working one less job wouldn’t hurt me and I could always cut back on the extra-curricular activities.

But no. I am woman, I can do it all. On top of that, I can even have a social life. At least, that’s what I tell myself when I’m awake at 2 am finishing a homework assignment that I didn’t have time to do during normal human hours.

As a college senior with any hope of having a successful future after graduation, I am constantly torn between writing that five page paper and eating a meal that isn’t either cooked in a microwave or cereal. As much as I enjoy Frosted Flakes, sometimes real food is just top priority.

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Staycation, All I Ever Wanted

StaycationWhen I was little there were few things I looked forward to more than the family vacation. Every summer we would go out of state, often going to Myrtle Beach, SC or Fort Myers, FL. For such a wide eyed kid as me it seemed like we would never run out of places to explore. Compared to places like Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, or the majestic beaches of FL, Monmouth County seemed dull by comparison. Even today I enjoy going out to see the world beyond NJ, but as I grew older I began to realize that these extravagant journeys were not always feasible- they simply cost far too much. Last summer it got even worse: air fare soared to prices that neither my family nor I myself were comfortable with. So we drove all the way to FL. Those two days stuck in a car with my grumpy family were not fun.

The world beyond our state’s borders is an exciting one, but contrary to my childhood biases Monmouth County is actually quite far from boring. Let’s face it, we’re not in NY, but we aren’t in one of those giant rectangular states in the Midwest that no one can remember anything about either. Enter the staycation, which is in essence giving up faraway landmarks in favor of more local hot spots. Monmouth is a county with a lot of history behind it, as well as a lot of things to see and do. Granted some of these depend on the season, but nevertheless none are really worth not doing at least once.

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College vs. High School

Going from college to high school can be difficult for some, but to say the least, it is a progression for everyone. There are several things like time management, academic independence, and living situations that are very different between college and high school that take some adjusting.

Time management changes drastically in college because of the independence that comes with college. High school is an environment where you don’t have a lot of privileges, but college is your world of freedom, which can be dangerous. In high school there are clocks and bells everywhere, guiding you from one class period to another and no two classrooms are that far apart. But in college, if you are late there is a good chance you could not be allowed into class. There is no one there to remind you that you have to go to class and complete your assignments – that is your job for yourself. You must manage your time and sometimes sprint all the way across campus within a short period to make it to your next class on time, there are no bells or clocks, and each professor goes by his or her own time.

Academic independence from high school to college dramatically changes as well. In high school students are usually given a guideline to make sure you are on the path to graduate, your grades are being maintained, and your school and personal life are balanced. In college, students meet with an academic adviser once a semester, but the burden to take the right classes and be on track to graduate is entirely in your hands. If you are not on top of your academic audit, where your credits are and if they are on track with graduating on time, you can be in trouble. When you are in high school you are also living with your parents, who are usually there to help guide you, and be really annoying about your assignments. When I was in high school I played three sports, so all my assignments were written in weekly format and posted on the fridge so my parents could monitor my school life and athletic career. Now, my parents just try to make sure I get to class every day.

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Coming Soon to a Kid Near You

Retro TVRemember when you would go home after elementary school and directly sit in front of the television for the next few hours? For many, this was their daily ritual. For most of us as well, our parents would join. Today, however, this isn’t true.

Children’s television today is completely different than what the “90’s kid” generation grew up with.

For one, when we grew up, most of us were watching with our parents. Our childhood shows, like Nicktoons such as “Hey Arnold”, “SpongeBob Squarepants”, “Ren and Stimpy”, or “The Fairly Oddparents” included references that kids wouldn’t understand but adults totally did.

Today, kid’s television is dumbed down. Due to the fact that fewer parents are watching television with their kids, media companies have caught on. Cartoons contain fewer references for adults, and contain more straightforward humor for kids.

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The Many Genres of Gifts

Gift GenresAs the holidays are creeping up on us, I thought we could discuss gifts. There are so many different types of gifts to give someone. There’s the sentimental gift, the extravagant gift, the homemade gift, etc. You can even combine these few categories; you have an extravagant sentimental gift or even a sentimental homemade gift.

There are different levels of how personal each type of gift can be. Yes, a homemade gift is most likely the most personal gift you can give, but it doesn’t mean that buying an extravagant gift can’t be personal. Homemade gifts can be very thoughtful, especially if it comes from a child. But, as we get older, homemade gifts aren’t really that common. It would be a little awkward to give a friend, say, a tissue paper flower as a birthday gift.

But, on the other hand, if you are artistically talented, a homemade gift could be absolutely spectacular! It could also be quite a bit cheaper. Personally, I am still on the tissue paper flower level, but I would love to get a gift from someone who is very into art.

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Beauty is Pain

Beauty Pain“Pain is beauty and beauty is pain” is an old saying often used to explain the trouble women goes through to maintain their looks. Compared to men, women spend a greater amount of time and money on their appearances. Between makeup, nail care, hair care, and clothing (just to name a few), you’re looking at a lengthy daily routine and an empty wallet for the average woman.

In August, Cosmopolitan published an article about Kim Kardashian’s daytime makeup routine, which costs over $1,700 in products and hours worth of time. Kim Kardashian may seem like an extreme case, but she’s actually not far off from the average woman. In 2013, InStyle reported that women spend upwards of $15,000 on beauty products in their lifetime, and in 2012, Jezebel noted that the cost of the average woman’s health and personal hygiene upkeep totaled over $2000 per year.

The debate if it’s more expensive to be a woman has been argued before. As a woman, I thought about what I spend on myself monthly. First, I wrote down everything I buy for myself: Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, dry shampoo, face wash, Clarisonic, tea tree oil, razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, Chi serum, rose water, glycerin, body lotion, face lotion, primer, foundation, blush, highlighter, eye shadow, eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, lip gloss, eyebrow palette, eyebrow gel, hairspray, perfume, manicure, pedicure, makeup setting spray, nail polish, and makeup brushes. And then I thought…well shoot.

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The Odyssey at MU

As a college student, finding content online that comes from a fellow college student’s point of view is golden. College students understand what their peers have to deal with on a day to day basis. This is what makes The Odyssey Online so great. It is a website that has articles written by college students from all across the United States. To top things off, they have articles on virtually every topic. So no matter what you are interested in, it is virtually a guarantee you will find an article of interest.

Do you ever feel like you are the only one who deals with certain problems as a college students? Well you certainly are not and it is always nice to read about people with similar issues. Usually those types of articles are done with a comedic tone, making you feel a little better about your problem. Whether it is something like “Things You think About When You Are Late for Class” or “How to Stay Awake in Anthropology,” the writers totally understand where you are coming from because they are living it too.

It is more than just the typical college life that is talked about at the Odyssey Online. Maybe there is a big news story that you are really intrigued by. So would you rather hear about it from the point of view of some politician you do not know on TV, or read about it from a fellow college peer? Personally I would rather take it from the perspective of someone I think I can relate to.

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So You Didn’t Cheat, but You Did

The meaning of dating has changed so many times that it’s hard to keep track anymore. Millennia’s have stretched the term ‘dating’ to the furthest contexts, to the point where “Netflix and chill” could even be considered a first date these days. Imagine explaining “Netflix and chill” to your grandparents who lived in a time where dating meant actually going on dates. Dating as in getting picked up at the front door, going to the movie theatre, actually watching the movie, kissing goodnight on the porch, and waiting for a call saying he had a good time. Back when there were no cell phones, relationships started with actual attraction and communication in person rather than scrolling through Tinder and hoping a hook up turns into more. The way we fall in love and fall out of love has changed so drastically over the years that it only makes sense that cheating has as well.

The problem with cheating is that no one knows what cheating means anymore. There’s no universal decision about what constitutes as cheating. Many people would consider having sex with someone else to be cheating, but obviously there are many different forms of physically cheating. Even flirting crosses some type of line despite the fact that there’s no physical boundary being passed. The act of physically cheating on someone is discussed so often that emotional cheating is often unheard of. Maybe your boyfriend or girlfriend didn’t have sex, make out, or even kiss someone else, but they’ve been thinking about someone else since they met him or her. What does that count as? It’s emotionally cheating.

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...Already?

Santa TurkeyChristmas is my favorite holiday—hands down. I am guilty of listening to Michael Bublé’s Christmas album all year round. But just because I listen to this all year round doesn’t mean that I am totally okay with how early Christmas is advertised in ads, stores, etc. My rule of thumb, if you will, is that it is okay for Christmas to be advertised and generally thought about after the first day you put your heat on. For me that day was Oct. 17. When you first smell and feel that heat kick on, that’s when it really starts to feel like the Christmas/holiday season is beginning. I am guilty for being overly enthusiastic about the holiday season, but it does make me upset that we glaze over Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is also one of my favorite holidays (okay, I just love holidays in general). Thanksgiving to me is the epitome of family. Yes, Christmas is about family too, but sometimes buying and giving gifts get in the way of what is really important. Thanksgiving has no gift-giving element; therefore, Thanksgiving is much more focused on the family. So, when stores and commercials start to advertise for Christmas at the end of Oct., I feel like they don’t even give Thanksgiving a chance to be popular, which is a shame if you ask me.

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Modern Day Role Models

When I was a little girl growing up in the 90s there were many positive role models. I remember cuddling in front of the TV to watch Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Sister, Sister. Melissa Joan Hart and Tia and Tamera Mowry were the kinds of girls I wanted to emulate. They were brave, smart, funny and caring, but not without their awkward or vulnerable moments like every young girl has to endure at one point or another in their life. The most important thing is that I could relate to them and learn lessons about growing up. This makes me disappointed when I look at the scarcity of positive role models on television for young girls and boys today.

Parents back in the 90’s did not have to worry too much about their children being exposed to a Disney child star turning into Miley Cyrus. I often wonder how “Hannah Montana” fans feel about Miley Cyrus now. If Cyrus “twerking” on a man her age was not shocking enough then maybe her recent onstage spat with Nicki Minaj at the MTV Movie Awards was. There were children that looked up to her as a role model and it must be difficult to read all the salacious news about her now. 

Today, the reality is very different than it was 10 or 15 years ago. This digital age of media has made it more accessible for kids to be caught up in the latest popular trends and celebrities. Back in the 90’s when shows like “Smart Guy”, “Captain Planet” and “Harriet the Spy” were about children trying to make a difference in their community, today we have “Toddlers in Tiaras” about self-entitled princesses. Who can forget “Honey Boo Boo?” I still can’t believe how popular that reality show was. Today we idolize anyone or anything that makes it into the first headlines of Entertainment Tonight or E! News. It is very discouraging to see.

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If Life Were an 80’s Movie

80s MovieI am a sucker for a great 80’s movie—okay, an 80s movie directed by John Hughes. My friends are definitely sick of me saying, “I wish my life was an 80s movie,” but, I’m not kidding. The plot lines, the characters, and, of course, the music leaves the audience in such a state of hope and whimsy. Movies such as Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, etc. are timeless, but they’re also movies that I, personally, base some life lessons off of. They all have such beautiful messages.

It always brings me back to Olive Penderghast’s comment in the movie Easy A: “Whatever happened to chivalry?...I want Jake from Sixteen Candles waiting outside the church for me…Just once I want my life to be like an 80’s movie, preferably one with a really awesome musical number for no apparent reason. But no, no, John Hughes did not direct my life.”
In a time of sexual freedom, these movies from the 1980’s were surprisingly chivalric. That’s the first desirable trait of living in an 80s movie: true chivalry. Yes. Sixteen Candles—my favorite. Jake Ryan, besides being a beautiful specimen of the human race, is the most adorable and determined future/hopeful boyfriend to Samantha Baker.

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What Happened to Reading for Fun?

ReadingThe 21st century is full of technology to keep us busy. You can relax while watching a movie on Netflix or scroll through Twitter to easily pass the ongoing hours of the day. It’s rare to see someone just lounging around with a book in hand. Paperbacks have gone by the wayside only to be upstaged by the glow of a small screen.

As a child however, everyone used to read all the time, at least I did. It was really the only form of entertainment when you had just one television and one computer in the house, and your older siblings and parents always got first priority.

So books were really the best form of entertainment for our generation when we were kids. I guess I stopped reading when I got my first iPhone in freshman year of high school. Who needed books when you could have games and social media and could be in contact with your friends 24/7? It was this whole new world that had opened up, and every teenager wanted to explore it immediately. Everything was at your fingertips and it was this amazing new technological masterpiece.

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On Vs. Off Campus Living

When it comes to living off campus and commuting, it should be broken down into two categories: living with parents and commuting from home or renting a place off campus nearby. Since coming to Monmouth, I’ve done both and there’s a lot to say about the pros and cons of each. Residential life, however, also has its perks. Which is better? You decide.

1. When you live at home with your parents, you can almost always count on a home cooked meal and your laundry done: Living with your parents (most of the time) means that (hopefully) you have dinner made for you and your house cleaned. While you may have to help out along the way, it is nice not to have to worry about it from time to time.

2. Traffic: Living off campus and on campus brings different parking issues. While living on campus entails walking to class from the dorms in the rain or the snow, which is difficult at times, commuting entails the struggle of traffic – often Cedar Ave is backed up both ways, or traffic can make us late to class.

3. Parking: Just like traffic, residential life is more favorable. Residential life enables students to park in spots closer to their buildings, while commuters must struggle to find spots in a crowded parking lot. This, again, causes problems when it makes students late for class, and they must settle for the valet parking that the school offers.

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Are You Seeing Anyone?

Seeing AnyoneExpectations for finding a significant other come in many different forms from a variety of people in your life. There is always the ideal significant other that others see for you: your friends have theirs for you, your family has theirs, society has its, and then there is yours—the most important one.  

In my life I have always had the support of my parents no matter what, so it is the same for significant others. I’ve never been in a serious relationship, so I can’t say I know for sure that they’re truly okay with anything, but I have a feeling they seriously would be. I think my biggest critic would be my big brother, because as much as we may hate each other at times, we want the best for each other. We are both overachievers, so finding a significant other will be hard for us: high standards. If I come up with anything less than the star of a sports team or a boy with a bright future in a lucrative job market, he’s going to judge. But I don’t blame him because honestly I would do the same to him.

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College: Expectations vs. Reality

Expectation RealityAs a new school year begins, expectations run high amongst students, especially freshmen. Students begin to envision a new semester with nothing but perfect days ahead. Does college really live up to these expectations? Or are the standards too high? Social media, movies, TV shows, and all those people telling you it’ll be the best four years of your life can create very unrealistic ideas when imagining what your college experience will be like.

Yes, you will have tons of freedom and no parents present to tell you what you can and cannot do; yes, there will plenty of fun parties to go to and yes they are themed. Your time on campus will definitely be enjoyable and life changing, but you should always have a realistic approach to what it will actually be like. Here are some of the expectations about college versus the reality of what it is really like:

Expectation: Your dorm will look like it came from PINK or Pottery Barn Teen.

Reality: You will see a bed with risers to make room for the boxes of Ramen Noodles under there, with bulky, mismatched, awfully colored furniture. And, maybe a few Beyoncé posters.

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Realistic Accounts of Senior Year from an Actual Senior

SeniorsGoing into senior year is basically the same as going into freshmen year. You’re a naïve student who thinks the world is right at your fingertips. Everyone you’ve ever talked to tells you how easy senior year is, and you believe them. This is going to be the best year ever, you tell yourself as you move into your off-campus apartment or house for the final time. I worked really hard last year and took extra classes just so I only had to take eight classes this year. It’s going to be so easy.

Okay, no. You were wrong. So very wrong. Yes, you only took four classes this semester, but you took the four hardest classes you possibly could’ve taken all at once. Throw in the fact that two out of the four classes are writing intensives (thanks Monmouth, the only school that finds this necessary) and you should literally just give up, especially considering one of them is your thesis.

Because Monmouth is the school where leaders look forward, we’re all involved in some extracurricular activity. Whether you’re an athlete, a member of Greek life, or a member of a club on campus, you have to be on the executive board to make yourself somewhat stand out amongst the other desperate seniors looking for a job. That’s approximately another 15 plus hours a week to add on to the endless hours of homework you’ve been doing.

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All About Fall

Jack o LanternIt’s that time of year again. The leaves are starting to change color, college is back in session, the comfy sweaters are breaking out, and the air is becoming cool and crisp. Fall is by far my all time favorite season for a number of reasons. 

First, pumpkin everything! Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin picking, I could go on and on. I absolutely love sipping on a pumpkin spiced latte while sitting in an early morning class, or picking my own pumpkin to bring home and carve into a Jack-O-Lantern for my front porch. The best part is that because pumpkins are only around in the fall, it makes it special. I would love to have pumpkin all year round, but then it wouldn’t be as fun to go pumpkin picking or pumpkin coffee wouldn’t be as delicious. Having it limited to a specific time makes pumpkin that much better. 

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Weighing the Pros and Cons of 8:30 Classes

Lecture Hall SleepingWhen making my schedule at Monmouth for the first time I was sure I wanted to try the evening classes and sleep in like any incoming freshman would want. But to my surprise, it was my days with the 8:30am classes that were the best days. Of course there are some pros and cons to every situation; for 8:30am courses here is what I came up with:

Pros-

1. Parking—If you are a commuter like I am, you will know that the absolute best part about 8:30am classes is the parking situation. You can basically park in absolutely any lot and spot that you want. Parking is such a struggle, and with the current freshman class commuter body being larger than usual, parking has been especially tough this fall semester. 

2. Your Day is Shorter—It may seem like it would suck to have just one 8:30am class on one day, but, personally I loved that. Your day is so much shorter than everyone else’s. Think about it.  By the time you finish your day, the majority of students are only just starting. And, if you only have that one class in a day, think about all of the on-campus errands you need to run that you can get done afterward. And it always leaves time to go out for breakfast…Did someone mention Turning Point? You can feel accomplished because you’re already done with classes for the day (or for a while at least). 

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Chivalry Isn’t Dead...Yet

An Opinion on How Hook Up Culture May Hinder the Dating Process

ChivalryAn Opinion on How Hook Up Culture May Hinder the Dating Process

He was a boy. She was a girl. Can I make it anymore obvious? All Avril Lavigne references aside, what happens next? For college student these days, we all know what happens.

They hang out, “Netflix and chill,” and things happen. And then they never speak to each other again. Or, they continue to “Netflix and chill” and do so until someone wants more.

This, my fellow students, is called hookup culture, and it’s happening around all types of colleges and universities. Coming from someone who has been to two different universities in a small matter of time, I can tell you hookup culture is big anywhere you go. It makes sense, though – we’re only in college for four years and this is the best time of our life – so we shouldn’t commit to anything serious, right?

Wrong. Hookup culture is destroying the way traditional dating has shaped us socially.

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Marriage Equality Ruling Brings Positivity

Rainbow FlagOn June 26 2015, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage around the country, meaning that regardless of state laws, same-sex couples could marry in all states.

Previous to the ruling, same-sex marriage was legal in 38 states, as well as the territory of Guam and the District of Columbia. The public response to the unions has been becoming increasingly more and more positive.

The ruling passed with a five to four vote, with four judges voting against it and five voting in support of it. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, one of the most liberal members of the court, and one who was widely outspoken about same-sex marriage, was the deciding vote. Justice Kennedy was the author of all three of the Supreme Court’s previous gay rights landmarks, such as when he struck down a federal law that would deny benefits to same sex couples in the United States v. Windsor two years ago.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Steven G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagen joined Justice Kennedy in voting for the majority opinion. Justices Samuel A. Alito, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Chief Justice John G. Roberts voted against the ruling. 

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The Best Nicknames in the MLB

Shoeless Joe JacksonThis list is dedicated to the greatest MLB nicknames. Some of these ballplayers made their debut in 1886 while others remain on the diamond today. Some may not be the most creative such as Mordecai Brown but some may have interesting explanations such as Walter Johnson. Whatever the case, here are the top 20 nicknames in professional baseball. 

1.) Ted Williams 

“The Splendid Splinter”

Arguably the best hitter of all time, Williams received his nickname because he was tall and thin like a splinter.

2.) George Ruth 

“Babe”

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Contact Information

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

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