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Features

Volume 85 (Fall 2013 - Spring 2014)

“Humans of Monmouth” Features Everyday Students

taylor-smith_humans_of_muLook at the person sitting two tables over from you at the Rebecca Stafford Student Center, or the student in the back of the classroom whose name you can't seem to remember. What are their fears, aspirations, talents and passions? It is the goal of Taylor Smith, a freshman psychology and social work major, to find out.

Smith announced a new project through a Facebook page called "Humans of Monmouth." Modeled after the well-known "Humans of New York," this project will feature photos of every day students and unique captions that aim to define their personalities.

"Originally I was looking for a way to be interactive with the community without joining Greek life," said Smith. "As a freshman I wanted to get out there and interact with new people and get my name out there and just talk to people." Smith is currently the only person working on the project.

"Humans of New York" posts photos on their website (humansofnewyork.com) of average people in the city accompanied by brief interviews or quotes from those people. Examples include a father with his son describing how proud he is, and a young boy who claimed to be a knight when asked why he carried a toy sword.

While the University does not offer as diverse of a crowd as NYC in terms of age, professions and social status, Smith wants to start off small, catering solely to MU's campus, though talking to strangers outside of the University is tempting. "It's funny, now that I'm doing this, I'm recognizing people, even at home, at the store or something, or on the street and I just want to go and talk to them, but right now I'm just keeping it at Monmouth," said Smith. "I have seen people that I really want to go speak to and they're not from the school so I can't. Well, I can, but I'm not going to."

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“The 90s Are All That”

No matter what age you are, you were born in a definitive decade. Each period brought us something special. Whether it was from music and movies, or life changing discoveries or great world leaders, it all came from a specific decade. Amongst many of the students here at the University, the 1990s are a sheer favorite that most can connect with and wish to go back to for even just one day.

When speaking about the 90s, perhaps the biggest piece of nostalgia and definition came from the popular music that emerged. It was a new sound for the pop genre and it dominated the scene. The emergence of The Backstreet Boys and N*SYNC paved the way for boy bands everywhere, and a little girl from Louisiana, named Britney Spears showed everybody who the new pop princess was. They all gave us earworms that live on today and have become karaoke and dance favorites.

While the music erupted out of every speaker, people were flocking to the cinemas as well. Adventure movies flourished more than ever in the 90s. “Jurassic Park” and “Independence Day” are just two examples of movies that fired up big screens everywhere. People were getting lost in the imagination that sparked from the movies. Even Disney sprinkled their magic pixie dust and cemented the way for animation to flourish. Television was a staple too. “Friends” is still a beloved comedy show today, that sitcoms strive to emulate.

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Cherish the Little Things in Life

When we are little kids, everyone tries to stress the fact that that it’s the little things in life that matter the most. Saying thank you when someone does something nice for you, picking up something for someone when it falls, these are the kind of things that actually really matter to people. Of course, when we are younger, this theory seems absurd. What do you mean the “little things” are the best? I want to biggest scoop of ice cream they have. I want to go on the biggest rollercoaster ride, what do you mean I’m too small? Anything little can’t be anything good.

As we get older, we realize the smallest things can make someone’s day. I am particularly offended when people don’t hold the door open for me, especially when I am steps behind them, so when I walk through a door and people are around, I think nothing of standing and waiting for them to pass.

One day, a very stressed looking mother with a very young baby, was trying to balance pushing the stroller and carrying about six diaper bags and walking towards me. I held the door open and the woman actually stopped and put a bag down to thank me. She said she couldn’t believe how many people don’t do things like that for her and with a hard new job on her hands, she was pleasantly surprised by any small act of kindness. For the rest of the day, I felt like a better person for making this woman so happy.

When asked about what makes her better, Caitlyn Bahrenburg, a junior communication major, said, “My dog, Beau. He’s taught me how to be selfless, compassionate, and what it means to live for another person.”

Vincent Crincoli, a junior communication major and Dan Gunderman, a senior communication major, believe the television have made them better people. Crincoli said, “I think TV has made me a better person because it’s allowed me to empathize with people from other cultures and places in a way that I wouldn’t get to in real life.”

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Three, Two, One, Graduate!

Anxieties About Finding a Job or Continuing School After Senior Year

In another month, the Class of 2014 will be off at commencement exercises. With this special day also comes the reality of being able to secure a job after graduation or even graduate school.

Gina Crowell, a freshman communication major, noted, “It could be very difficult to secure a job immediately and while I am only a freshman here, I don’t quite know what this will be like.”  This is a very realistic situation.

Emily Henig, a junior communication major, said, “I am nervous about finding a job and will be doing an internship for my communication TV major next year.”

Henig added, “The career fairs held at the University allowed me to meet prospective employers and see what they had to offer.” This is an especially important day as it allows students to ask various questions about careers in their related fields after graduation and also help them refine their job search in the future.  There were many employers there in all different fields from accounting to journalism.

Many students have put as many as five to six years of hard work to get to this day.  This is a culmination of everything they have done from academic honor societies to president of a fraternity to fun times with new friends they have made over the years.

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One Hot Hobby: Small Cars, Big Obsession

When it comes to hobbies, some options are more affordable than others. For example, horseback riding and collecting classic cars are usually a little bit more expensive than stamp collecting or fishing. However, there is one popular hobby that could qualify under both of these categories. It starts out as a cheap way to have fun, but once you’re hooked, it can get much pricier. And all it takes to start this addiction is 97 cents.

In 1968, Mattel released a line of toy cars that were meant to compete with Matchbox, a line of model cars and trucks produced by Lesney Products, a British die-casting company (until Matchbox was bought by Mattel in 1997). These original 16 cars were called Hot Wheels and were intended as children’s play things. But today, Hot Wheels cars are much more than cheap trinkets kids drive in the sandbox. They are collector’s items coveted by the young, as well as the young at heart.

In a March 2013 article posted on ksl.com, author Jessica Ivins notes that, while sales of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars have begun to stall over the last few years, these brands still net Mattel around $1 billion annually. Speaking as someone who has a few hundred or so of these vehicles, I can safely say that there are many collectors out there who are trying to help shift sales back into high gear.

Eric Dougherty, a US Navy flight mechanic and someone who has also been collecting Hot Wheels since he was a child, knows a lot about the brand and their collectability.

“My parents started giving me Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars when I was one I believe,” Dougherty said. “I keep collecting them because I know some will gain value and also because I like so many different cars. I would like to own the real version of every Hot Wheels car that I have.”

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Let Me Show You How Country Feels

Country music has come to be very popular across campus recently, as it has been a hot topic throughout conversations and even club meetings.

Bryanna Recanzone, a sophomore health studies major, feels that part of this is because many of the topics discussed in the songs are very relatable to everyday life.  “It appeals to everyone and I happen to like it because it talks about love a lot of the time,” she said.

Bekah Varin,  a sophomore agrees.  “A lot of songs deal with relationships and other very important aspects of life which is why I also enjoy it.”  Some students are not quite sure why this has become such a fad.  Lena Kaplan feels “I am not sure why it has become a fad, but know it is very popular to hear about in conversations.”

Rachel Fox, a junior, said that there is a certain feel that country music has that makes it appealing to the college crowd.  “I think it is popular because it touches upon topics such as family, faith, and love... topics that many people can relate to,” she explained.

Fox continued, “Country music puts out a lot of feel-good songs about being young and carefree and about enjoying life in general.”

Country music has a special feeling where people can let loose and escape the issues they may be dealing with in their lives.  Gabi Meyer said that there is something unique within this style of music.  “I feel [like] it talks about things that everyone can relate to and also provides a party style feel when one listens to it in a group,” she said. Many of the singers in this genre are also very young, making it even more relatable.

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Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Our Cognitive Ability to See Movement in Pitch Black Conditions

Imagine being in a pitch black room wearing an industrial strength blindfold being clearly unable to see. Surely such conditions would not allow for any movements to be perceived due to the lack of light.

How is it then that when subjected to these conditions, cognitive experiment volunteers reported seeing movements? The answer lies in a cognitive study which suggests the mind is able to trick the eyes into perceiving motion that is truly unperceivable.

When subjected to situations in which we are unable to see, our eyes make rigid and jerky movements. This occurs due to the eyes’ inability to focus because of the deficiency or complete lack of light at the time. In the presence of light when we are able to focus on a moving target, our eyes produce smooth movements.

In order to record the eye movements of the experiment volunteers, computerized eye trackers were employed. This advanced technology was able to confirm the smooth eye movements of volunteers who claimed they were able to see movement in pitch black conditions.

Interestingly enough, not only do smooth eye movements detect motion, but because they only occur when our eyes are following a target, the volunteers were able to clearly follow their arms moving in front of them.

Siri Chintapalli, a sophomore biology major, said, “I feel that it is possible to see such movements in the dark because you instinctively know where all of your body parts are. That, combined with how many times you’ve seen your own arms, would allow for the illusion of seeing in the dark.”

The incidence of this illusion is seen in other instances as well. Often missing limbs or amputations induce an effect of a phantom limb. Phantom limb is described as the sensation that missing body parts or organs are still attached to the body and are continuing to move accordingly with normal body movements.

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Preparing for Battle: A Parking Lot Saga

Blinkers clicking furiously; tires screeching to a halt; horns honking nonstop. The yelling, the arguing; I can hear it already and I’m not even on campus yet.

Welcome to the modern day battlefield: the Monmouth University parking lot.

It’s like the scene in “Mean Girls” when Cady Heron imagines the cafeteria turning into a jungle in Africa, except instead of people running wild, it’s the machines that are animals, weighing 10 tons each and being driven by barbarians on the hunt for a good spot.

It’s survival of the fittest out here. The early risers, being better prepared, are guaranteed better spots, but still, there is always struggle. Not to mention, they’ve now eliminated more space for parking with the construction that is going on. As if the competition wasn’t high enough. It’s like cutting down the rainforest! Cutting into our natural resources, necessities.

And before the hunt even begins, a smooth drive to campus can’t even be promised. Our commutes consist of traffic, detours and lines at the local coffee shop, hoping there is enough time to grab a breakfast sandwich to go with that double espresso to get you through the day.

I’ve learned from past experience that I would end up in the overflow parking lot, sprinting to class if I arrive to campus with only 10 minutes to spare. So, I’ve just pulled onto campus with 20 minutes until class starts. The hunt is on.

I start circling, row after row, and not a spot is in sight. Really?! I got here early thinking that there would be spots galore. But of course not, the rush of students leaving the class that ends before mine hasn’t been let out yet. So I still circle, creeping slowly up and down each aisle. I feel like a lion trying to steal a cheetah’s kill.

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The Best Places on Campus to Rest Your Hiney

Walking into a restroom can sometimes be a risky gamble. You can either have a pleasant experience fully equipped with an attendant, or smell the foul odors courtesy of the person before you and the poor ventilation  can knock you 10 steps back before you brace yourself and force you to hold your breath for 30 seconds.

Restrooms are traditionally a place to privately take care of personal business, however, in college there’s more to it than that. They serve as a temporary escape, or a 10 minute vacation, without the sandy beaches. We go to restrooms to “tweet,” gossip about that cute boy or girl in class and use the mirror to make sure we look as good as we did when we left for school in the morning and don’t forget those bathroom “selfies.”

Because the restroom is such an important place and plays a colossal role of our daily lives, I have decided to outline the University’s premier restrooms and the ones you should avoid at all costs. This article exclusively considers publically accessible restrooms located in academic buildings, the Dining Hall and the Rebecca Stafford Student Center. After visiting the restrooms on the academic side of campus I didn’t have the stomach to research the restrooms in all of the dorms and suites.

WORST

5. Howard Hall - First Floor

Right outside of the 24-hour lab in Howard Hall are what feels like the smallest restrooms on campus. The single-person lavatories are so tiny inside that it is almost impossible to move without slamming into a wall. It makes even the most basic functions of a bathroom, like washing your hands or flushing, nearly impossible. These bathrooms lack the space that it needs to be considered a luxurious bathroom. Moreover, the vestibule that serves as a waiting area is constantly crowded with people anxiously waiting their turn to enter the jail-cell type restroom that it discourages students from attempting to wait in line. This restroom does serve its purpose for those students who need to take a quick leak while up all night studying or finishing their term papers.

4. Student Center – Third Floor

Although it is a cozy and decently sized restroom on the upper level of the Student Center, its downfall is that it’s the only one up there. The third floor of the Student Center is home to most of the club offices, as well as the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services. With so many offices and people that will be potentially fighting over toilet time, I find it strikingly odd that there is only one single-person restroom on that floor for both men and women. The poor ventilation does not help the cause either, because once there’s a lingering smell in these bathrooms don’t count on it going anywhere fast.

3. Edison Hall – Second Floor

When I walked into both the men’s and women’s restrooms, I was suddenly bombarded with childhood memories of my elementary school and the little boy’s room there. The paint colors used in my elementary school restrooms significantly resemble the paint used to color the stalls of the restrooms in Edison Hall. Both the women’s and men’s room are outlined with blue tile, which leads me to believe that they were both used as men’s rooms at one point. The women’s room did have a few amenities that were found nowhere else on campus: a TV tray table in case you want to cram for a test before class, and a wicker shelf that housed over 20 rolls of toilet paper and plenty of liquid soap. If you’re one of those people who constantly worries if there is enough toilet paper for you, this might be your go-to bathroom, although to me it reminds me of a facilities management storage closet with a complimentary bathroom.

2. Rechinitz Hall

If you have ever been in the new art building, you may have noticed that the floor plan is hard to navigate, which has a negative impact on the placement of the restrooms on the list. Trying to locate the bathrooms in Rechnitz Hall makes you feel like a mouse in a maze trying to get to the cheese; having to go upstairs, then downstairs, then through the Art Gallery, (if it is unlocked), then through a classroom mid-lecture and finally down a hallway. It is a complete burden, especially while doing the pee-pee dance the whole time. I would recommend avoiding the building as a whole, even if you need to use the restroom during class in Rechnitz Hall. It’s easier to just walk to Plangere or the Student Center than finding your way around the building, which is just as easy to navigate as a Jackson Pollock painting.

1. Magil Commons – Dining Hall

This is a no brainer. Hundreds, maybe thousands of students utilize the Dining Hall everyday, and a good majority of them use the bathroom either before or after their meal. There just isn’t enough manpower from facilities management or ARAMARK to keep it clean. Elizabeth Bennett, a senior, expressed her dissatisfaction with the restrooms by saying, “I just feel like they never are clean or they just seem like they’re [dirty] because they are so old and ugly.” If privacy is your thing, these restrooms are not for you. With so many people coming in and out, its not exactly discreet. Remember, what goes in, must come out and these restrooms look like yesterday’s dinner.

BEST:

5. So-Sweet-A-Cat Field

Although the “So-Sweet-A-Catbox,” the field hockey’s playing field, possesses every quality of a horrible restroom, it narrowly makes it to the best list. The restroom that undoubtedly bears a resemblance to an outhouse has a capacity of one at a time, and gets dirty really easily. But putting all the negatives aside, it is a score. If you are part of a team that practices there, field hockey namely, I’m sure you hold this bathroom in high regard. Prior to  building of the lavatory on the field, players coaches and spectators of games had to use Port-A-Pottys, which are infinitely worse than the current facility. This restroom makes the list because if you are in the area and need to “go,” it is the only place to do so in what feels like miles.

4. Guggenheim Library - Second & Third Floors

Countless late night study sessions equate to plenty of coffee; which ultimately means more bonding time with the bathroom. The Guggenheim Library has a bathroom on each of its levels, but the second and third floors seemed to be the roomiest. The best thing about the library is that you never have to worry about being interrupted due to the quiet policies that are always enforced, and there is no shortage of reading material to bring into the stalls with you. If you ever need a break from studying, especially with midterms approaching, the Guggenheim is your best bet.

3. Edison Hall – First Floor

What a difference a floor makes. If you’re ever in Edison Hall and need to use the bathroom it pays to take the trip to the first floor restrooms. The new state-of-the-art restrooms took me by surprise. With stainless steel stalls and automatic sinks and toilets, it makes for a relaxing environment. Admittedly, the women’s room is more impressive because it has eight stalls and is larger than the men’s room, however both of these restrooms make for great environments for those bathroom “selfies.” I’m sure Thomas Edison would be honored to take a number two here.

2. Wilson Hall – Basement

You would think that the older the building is, the more appalling the condition of the bathrooms are, right? Nope. Wilson Hall is home to easily the most elegant bathrooms I have ever seen; it is the ‘Royal Flush!’ They all emit feelings of peace and tranquility, but the ones in the basement appear like restrooms you would find in a high budget film from the 1980’s… “Annie” perhaps?

“The bathrooms in Wilson Hall’s basement ... Look straight out of Harry Potter,” said senior Zachary Werkmeister. He continued, “I have to go at night though so no babes see me.”

1. Magil Commons - Club Room

After four years it is time to reveal Monmouth’s best kept secret. Everyone uses the restrooms in the Dining Hall, but has anyone ever thought to go outside, down the ramp and use the restroom in the building adjacent to the Dining Hall? If you really needed to, you could find me in there twice a day, because it is hands down, my favorite place on campus to be. It is a gem because not too many people know about it. The Magill Commons Club Rooms are usually empty if there is not a conference or event going on, so it’s a safe bet that nobody will interrupt you. Occasionally, I play music loudly from my phone, or enjoy the silence, either way I can guarantee the restroom in Magil Commons is clean, well stocked and a perfect place to spend your free time, discreetly.

Overall, I am content with the fact that all of our buildings have a place where we are able to do what we have to do. While it is evident that some buildings are a tad worse than others, I have a complaint that extends to each and every bathroom; please, raise the toilet paper holders. I either hurt my hand reaching to get toilet paper, or constantly rip the paper, which annoys me to no end. If the toilet paper holders are more easily accessible, I will be happy with every restroom, no matter what it looks like.  Hopefully this list steers you clear of those low-end lavatories, and gives you a new place to flush your troubles, and other waste, away.

Before you Graduate...

Graduation is approaching quite quickly for most college students around the world. It is no different at the University. Time flies during college years. One minute you are entering your very first class and before you know it, you’re walking out of your very last class of undergraduate college. It’s a memorable time in your life, but what are some experiences that every University student should have before they graduate? As the unforgettable movie character Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

As a student, it is a given that the academic opportunities are great, but fun times are a must as well with friends, new people and more. One of the biggest must-do’s for any MU student is to go to the beach during their time here. It’s only a mile down the road and a nice way to relax. Plus, how many colleges can say that they are right by the beach? When the weather is warm and class ends, grab your sunscreen and head toward the coast.

Another popular outing near the University is to visit the nearby Pier Village. There are restaurants, boutiques, cafes and more for you to spend a day wandering through. The nightlife is equally as energizing as well. Come time for the warm weather and the social scene is bursting with even more vivacity. It is not uncommon to overhear students on campus asking others to “meet me at Pier”.

Having fun is a hefty part of the experience, but let’s not forget about the collegiate side as well. There are plenty of academic opportunities that truly can enhance your experience.

“Taking advantage of working with a faculty/staff member on a project or on research is a great idea,” said Jordan Levinson, a junior.

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English Second Language Support Service is in its First Year

Learning to understand a foreign language well enough to fit into a new social setting is difficult, so imagine having to master that language with enough proficiency to pass college courses and ace job interviews. Many international students still struggle with the English language, but some are overcoming the challenge through the University’s English Second Language (ESL) support service, a part of Tutoring and Writing Services in the Center for Student Success (CSS).

Dr. Charles Cotton, an adjunct political science professor, is a Master Tutor in Tutoring and Writing Services and instructs the ESL service that began last semester. Since the start of the program, Cotton tutors 10 international students over 12 hours a week, providing one-on-one assistance in learning proper English speech and writing.

Cotton said that the biggest challenge for many international students is un-learning the improper English that they may have been taught by other non-native English speakers. “[International students] have really kind of fallen into habits which they’ve become very accustomed to, which they considered to be fine or acceptable, and they might be acceptable talking with friends, but in terms of academic writing [they’re] not,” said Cotton.

Dorothy Cleary, Director of Tutoring and Writing Services, said that the number of international students who have come for help with writing and grammar has increased, contributing to the need for an ESL service. When Cotton applied for the open Master Tutor position, it all fell into place.

“This is an opportunity to give them one-on-one attention which they very much appreciate, and again, it’s all tutoring,” said Cleary.

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Contact Information

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

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

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