One Student Discusses Importance of Diversity at University
It is so close to graduation. As a senior, you look back at your years here and say, “Did I leave a legacy here? Did I make an impact on this community in West Long Branch, NJ?”
Personally, one of the things that find I myself looking for is the defining moment. What is that one experience that I have had that can define four years? I don’t know if it is possible, but there is one moment that I believe represents the things that I want to see changed here at MU.
Let me introduce a fact from collegeboard.com that I found interesting about the University.
Four percent of the students here at MU are black. Four percent seems like a small number, but when I saw two black students on the MU homepage when I was applying, I thought that the population percentage would in actuality be in the tens.
However, I am not voicing a gripe with the institution, but arguing a call to action for minority students who attend this university. Leave a legacy. And no, I am not referring to the bricks that you walk past every day on your way to class. Leave a legacy that people will remember for the rest of their lives.
Now what you all have been waiting for: the experience that I had that sums up my legacy here at MU. It happened last Friday. I was in story telling class with Professor Mary Carol Stunkel, and part of our class work requires us to go off campus and recite stories to children.
The school that we went to was the Hope Academy Charter School in Asbury Park, NJ. Last Friday, I told a story to a classroom full of excited second graders eager to hear what the visitor had to say, and it was a fulfilling experience. Seeing the children gasp when the man in the story disappeared or hearing their answers to why the person in the story was a selfish person did it for me.
The classroom was mixed with white children and children of color. But what left an indelible mark on my life is when the teacher approached me after I concluded my story and was exiting the classroom. She pulled me aside and said to me, “Out of all the years I had students from Monmouth University come to my classroom and tell stories to my students, you are the first person of color to do so. Not just black, of color.” That truly resonated with me because I can’t think of many things I was the first at doing, except being “me.” I was the first? It might not mean much to some people reading this, but I’m grateful that I could be the first person of color to represent MU in the classroom to those students.
It’s July of 2010. Alex had a bit too much to drink the night before and fell asleep next to the pool at his friend’s house without sunscreen on. He would later wake up with third degree sunburn from head to toe. He would be so dehydrated that he would require four IV’s of fluids at the hospital four days later and his knees would lock in a 90 degree angle as his muscles seize.
My fiancé now has scars all the way down his chest, arms and legs that make it look like his “nipples are crying.” All of this because he was irresponsible with his sun protection.
As the weather warms, we all look to shed the layers upon layers that the cold of winter forces us into. But before you put on your tanks and flip flops, make sure that your sun protection routine is up-to-date and that you have it down pat.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in New Jersey, up to 20 percent of residents have some form of melanoma of the skin. This condition, which can come in the form of basal cells, squamous cells or serious melanoma, can be skin cancer and requires removal of the area. It can even cause death if allowed to spread.
Skin cancer and melanoma can be easily prevented. The number one cause of skin cancer is the exposure to Ultra Violet rays, or UV Rays, which come most often from the sun. These rays can be blocked with sun protective factor (SPF). There are three top ways to increase your sun protection. Use sunscreen, seek shade and avoid indoor tanning.
First, use sunscreen. It’s what your mom told you every day all summer when you were running out of the house to hit the beach. “Don’t forget the sunscreen!” She was right. Sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 containing both UVA and UVB protection is vital to sun protection. And not just when you know that you are going to be in the sun a lot – always. Is it winter? Wear daily lotion with SPF in it. Cloudy out? Slather on that sunscreen, baby. The sun gets through the clouds and often is more intensified with the increased moisture in the air.
And what about how much you should put on? When applying sunscreen, put on a shot glass full of the gunk. I know you know how much goes into a shot glass. And while you’re putting it on, make sure you distribute it evenly and mindfully. Don’t slather it on like an angry child or you’ll look like a sunburned zebra.
It is even more important to wear sunscreen when you are somewhere where the sun’s rays are the strongest. Think about how hot the blacktop gets in the summer from the sun. Now think about your poor skin if you play basketball all day on that same blacktop. Other culprits that can cause sunburns are water, sand and snow, which reflect the sun’s rays onto your body.
When you know you’ll be somewhere with a high risk of sun exposure, maybe think about washing your clothes in a detergent that contains SPF as well. The UV rays can get through your clothing, and this will act as another barrier between you and the harm.
Regardless, remember to always put on your sunscreen first thing before you put your clothes on. As to not miss anywhere, re-apply every three hours or when you get out of the water, and put it on at least 20 minutes before you leave the house so the lotion has time to absorb.
Students Combat the Temptation to be Lazy During the Last Few Weeks of School
Final exams begin in three weeks. Summer break begins in four weeks. Graduation is in five weeks. With the semester’s close in sight, the anticipation of time off from school work, a new job and beach season slowly start to take precedence in students’ minds.
With distractions like these, it is accurate to assume that some, or many, college students may have a little bit of a struggle maintaining focus on school responsibilities.
As a senior graduating in May, I have quickly realized how difficult it is to evenly divide my attention between both school work and the many other distractions that come with the end of the semester. In fact, an even distribution is close to impossible at this point.
I have heard a lot of other seniors commenting on their nonchalant attitudes toward the remaining weeks of school. This has often been referred to as “senioritis”.
Every person can have his or her own definition of what senioritis really is. Merriam-Webster surprisingly documents it as an actual term with the following definition: “an ebbing motivation and effort by school seniors as evidenced by tardiness, absences and lower grades.”
According to Urban Dictionary, those with senioritis are prone to the following symptoms: laziness, an over-excessive wearing of sweat pants, a lack of studying, repeated absences and a generally dismissive attitude.
The only known cure is a phenomenon known as graduation. Here’s the thing with senioritis: I think it affects more than just seniors. Let me break it down by grade.
Seniors are almost guaranteed to contract this disease at any point between September and May. To their advantage, it is acceptable although definitely not encouraged by parents and teachers. I can most likely speak for many seniors when I say that the biggest struggles lie within our ability to focus.
Sometimes we choose to skip class, but even if we are present, we find it difficult to give the subject matter and the professor our full attention. From the list of symptoms above, I think we are most prone to the following: a lack of studying and a generally dismissive attitude.
Juniors like to think that it is acceptable when they claim that they have a case of senioritis. Sorry kids- that just won’t be tolerated. Although they have the best of both worlds, being upperclassmen and still having a year left to enjoy college, any lackadaisical attitude toward school cannot be excused.
However, putting in a lot of effort during the school year makes one exhausted come April. From the list of symptoms above, they are most prone to an excessive wearing of sweat pants and the occasional lack of studying (because studying was your routine Friday night activity).
So juniors, when you begin to slack off, just call it exhaustion. You will have your time as a senior, and then you can call it senioritis.
Sophomores may be the most stubborn class of them all. They are still rolling on the “we’re cooler than freshmen” high. Listen, you little rascals: you probably haven’t even declared a major yet, so the last thing you should be doing is choosing to slack off of your school work.
You have the next three years to get your act together, find some internships or volunteer work and make some good and interesting mistakes. Slacking off isn’t one of them.
From the list of symptoms above, sophomores are more likely to be prone to laziness, repeated absences and a generally dismissive attitude.
Avoid Feeling Self Conscious in a Swimsuit
As the semester soon comes to a close, warmer weather is on its way along with day trips to the beach, class outside, and of course the tease of summer vacation. While this time of year is supposed to be pleasurable, it also seems to create a type of dread for some people I know, specifically my female peers.
Almost like clockwork, every year girls will start their “summer diets” in order to look attractive in summer clothing. While I know that I have had my own fear of fitting into my bathing suits that have been crammed in the back of my closet for almost eight months, I have seen women’s desire to be attractive go overboard with crash dieting and excessive exercising.
Before you continue reading, I would like to say that there is nothing wrong with losing weight or exercising to stay healthy. Those who maintain a regular healthy lifestyle, I appreciate your commitment to eating right and exercising properly.
The main point I am trying to explain is the unhealthy dieting, which women and men in our country succumb to every day. Some people may think they are getting ahead by trying to lose weight in a short amount of time, but they may end up severely harming their bodies.
According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (NAANAD), out of 91 percent of college women surveyed, 86 percent reported having the starting symptoms of an eating disorder by age 20.
This quest for physical perfection does not just affect women. The NAANAD reported that an estimated 10-15 percent of people suffer from anorexia or bulimia. Even children as young as 11 are insecure about their bodies and desire to be thinner due to the media’s interpretation of the perfect physique. These issues affect over 24 million people of all ages, races and genders with dire consequences .
Those who struggle with bulimia can suffer from vocal cord damage, dental issues, insomnia, hair loss and damage to internal organs. Anorexia also has dangerous side effects such as kidney failure, fatigue, heart problems and paralysis. There are also major mental side effects including a higher risk of anxiety and depression as well as drug and alcohol abuse.
As a girl who has suffered with years of low self-esteem when it came to body image, I know that that skipping a meal, or spending a few extra hours at the gym can seem like a quick fix. However, it is a short burst of instant gratification with even shorter-term results.
Several times I would stand in front of the mirror cursing myself and hating my body. After a while I realized that there were so many other things that I could be doing rather than loathing myself because I did not look like a Victoria’s Secret model.
After having this epiphany, I did a little research and found out a surprisingly happy fact. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the average weight and size for an American woman 20 years and older is 166.2 pounds at roughly 5’ 3’’ tall. While the men’s average is 195.5 pounds at 5’ 7” tall.
If you are like me, when you left your home for college, you left a dear, beloved friend behind, your pet(s). I left my two cats Lucky and Maggie when I moved from my home in Montgomery, New Jersey to MU. Leaving them behind made it difficult to settle in at school my freshman year. Even though I begged my parents to let me take my cats with me, offering to pay the fines if and when I got caught, they still said “no,” so I moved into Cedar pet-less.
Currently, MU does not permit pets to live in the dorms or in off-campus housing, leaving us pet owners with no choice but to bid farewell to our furry companions until winter break. I know this might be farfetched, but what if pets were allowed to live with us at school?
By allowing pets to live on campus, both the University and the students would benefit alike. If MU turned an off-campus housing section into a pet-friendly residency, MU could charge a fee for a pet application to be approved by the Office of Residential Life, as well as monthly fees to cover the pet living in the dorm, extra cleaning accommodations, etc.
Eckerd College, located in St. Petersburg, Florida, has one of the oldest pets-in-residence programs in the nation, and is frequently sought by other colleges looking to implement its own pet policies. Eckerd College allows domestic animals in all housing complexes during the fall and spring terms as long as they are properly secured in a cage.
Permitted pets include dogs under 40 pounds, cats, ferrets, birds, hamsters, guinea pigs, rats, turtles, fish and non-venomous snakes under 6 feet long. Additionally, pets must be at least one year old. Eckerd College has a Pet Council to decide what pets are permitted to reside on campus. They also deal with all other issues and concerns regarding pets at Eckerd.
While it makes perfect sense to me, and it seems easy enough to create a pet-friendly dorm and to implement a Pet Council at MU, perhaps some of you need more convincing. Not only are animals fun to have, they also offer countless health benefits.