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Features

Volume 85 (Fall 2013 - Spring 2014)

Facebook Friendships are Not Face-to-Face

In the ever growing world of electronics, social media sites such as Facebook are becoming a popular way of meeting new people, especially before the first year of entering college.

Freshman Sarah Curtelli said that there are both advantages and disadvantages to having met her roommate on Facebook. “An advantage was that when I got accepted to Monmouth and got my roommate information, I was able to find my roommate and get to know her. We mainly talked about what to bring and got to know each other a bit,” said Curtelli.

She added, “A disadvantage was we never met face-to-face until move in day and that did cause slight tensions and took us more time to get along.”

This is becoming more of a trend now than it was a few years ago since links to University pages are mailed to students upon their acceptance into the University.

Even with recommendations that students should call their roommates to get to know them better, many just search the class webpage.

Junior Eryn Siddall believes that there are a few reasons as to why this is the case when it comes to finding roommates. “I think the initial reaction of every freshman is to friend as many freshmen as possible before the school year starts,” said Siddall.

Siddall added, “Then once you actually start going to school you either casually say ‘hi’ to the people you recognize from Facebook or don’t even acknowledge their presence at all.”

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Retail Therapy: Lightening Your Stress and Your Wallet

With malls coming in almost every shape, size and website it can be so easy to spend more money than you realize.  An article from MSN Money stated that five percent of Americans suffer from compulsive shopping.  However, it can be hard to see the blurred line between shopping for necessity compared to emotional shopping, also known as “retail therapy.” This can be easily addicting for anyone, especially college students.

“You get more confidence and feel better when you have bought something new,” explained sophomore Rachel Gale. “You look forward to wearing it, and it gives you a little boost that from the down feeling you had before.”

According to the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, people who suffer from compulsive shopping or spending often spend money when they are experiencing negative feelings such as disappointment, anger or fear.

Compulsive shoppers also have spending habits that cause arguments with others and leave them with thousands of dollars of debt. Many feel lost without credit cards or think excessively about money. The big danger that comes from this type of uncontrolled spending is the euphoric rush that keeps people digging deeper into their pockets until there is nothing left.

Specialist professor of communication, Kristine Simoes said she indulges in retail therapy. “There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t say, ‘I’ve had a really bad day and I need to get something right now,’” said Simoes.

“I do notice that when I was having a bad day or boy problems, me and my friends would say ‘Let’s go shopping.’  Then I would end up spending money that I did not have,” said sophomore Alexa Burger.  “It’s almost like a present to myself, which doesn’t really make sense.  I was spending my money, but I would think ‘I want this necklace because it’s pretty, and I had a bad day so I deserve it.’”

With 85 percent of women in the United States making or influencing the major purchasing decisions in their household according to an article on thenextweb.com, the stereotype that only women like to shop has circulated through all forms of media.

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How Can I Help You?

A Retail Worker’s Perspective

For as long as I can remember, my parents have been telling me to save my money so I could one day put it towards something big and expensive. Seeing how I would only get large amounts of money for my birthday and Christmas, I decided at a very young age that I wanted a job. I pictured working as something glamorous, like working would suddenly make me mature and responsible.

I was about 12 when I announced that I wanted to work at Hollister Co., because “that’s where all my clothes are from, Mom.” Of course, I couldn’t work when I was 12 but couldn’t wait until the day I could start. Boy, was I wrong.

When I was 14 I got my first job at an ice cream shop, not exactly glamorous but not exactly strenuous work either. I worked there until the shop closed down and I was sucked into the wonderful, sometimes scary world we call retail. I figured it wouldn’t be too bad because I considered myself a pretty friendly person and I loved the thought of being surrounding by clothes.

Once I started working though, I realized it was much harder than I anticipated and I quickly learned the number one rule of retail: “The customer is always right.” The more I talked to my friends and peers about retail work, the more I found how many people felt the same way as I did.

Junior Michelle Schuler agreed that retail work is definitely harder than it looks. “I worked at Hollister Co., and I was only a seasonal worker but I thought it was terrible. I didn’t like folding clothes for hours or greeting people at the door saying, ‘hey, what’s up?’ and usually not even getting a response. Working at the register wasn’t bad because you got to interact with people but working on the floor was hard work,” said Schuler.

Associate professor of communication, Deanna Shoemaker, shared the benefits of her retail experience. “I gained greater customer service skills and the ability to handle conflict management in the workplace,” she said.

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Polio Outbreak Marks Syrian Aid Crisis

A cluster of polio cases has been reported in Syria for the first time since 1999, threatening to further destabilize the war-torn country and surrounding regions. Ten of the 22 polio cases analyzed tested positive for poliovirus type one, but the origin of the virus itself has remained undetermined according to the World Health Organization.

Since the beginnings of the uprisings in March 2011, about 110,000 casualties have been documented by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, over 40,000 of whom are civilians including 5,800 children and 3,900 women.

The advent of polio, if not addressed with immediate action, will pose dire consequences for the populace as a whole as it faces a civil war that continues to exacerbate.

“The large-scale implications of an outbreak like this could be huge,” said Dr. Maryanne Rhett, assistant professor of history.

She added, “Unlike influenza after World War One, of course, people around the world are largely vaccinated against Polio, but with regions like Syria offering the instability of war and places like the pockets in the United States where anti-vaccine sentiment has been increasingly common, the ability for diseases we had once thought eradicated to return becomes disturbingly possible.”

Representing one of the most dreaded diseases of the 20th century, poliomyelitis, known commonly as polio, results from the infection of the poliovirus which is specific to humans.

Even though a majority of polio infections are asymptomatic, if the virus enters the bloodstream, then such affected individuals may exhibit a range of symptoms including paralysis, severe pain, muscular atrophy, and breathing and sleeping problems such as sleep apnea. 

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Halloween Before the Candy Consumption Craze

Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain. This festival celebrated the end of the harvest season for Gaelic culture and functioned as a time to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter.

According to halloweenhistory.org, Samhain, which took place on Oct. 31 was also believed to be a time when the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped, allowing the deceased to come back to life and cause havoc on the living. This caused consequences such as sickness or damaged crops.

In order to fend off these spirits, the Gaelic people would wear masks and costumes, attempting to mimic evil spirits or appease them.

Adam Heinrich, professor of anthropology, commented on the Celtic festival. “If you look at drawings of the old costumes and masks they used to wear, they are actually quite terrifying. The people believed these masks acted as a disguise that would protect them from any evil spirits that wished to cause them harm,” said Heinrich.

He added that the first Jack- O-Lanterns were not made from pumpkins. “The Gaelic people did not have access to pumpkins so they carved faces on the ends of turnips.”

Halloweenhistory.org explained that the custom of trick-or-treating goes back to the middle ages resembling the practice of “souling,” when poor folks would go door to door on Hallomas (Nov. 1) receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (Nov. 2). This custom originated in Ireland and Britain, but similar practices have been found as far as Italy. 

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Halloween is Back from the Dead in NJ

For many children, two years have passed since there was a typical Halloween due to nature’s fury.  A snow storm the first year followed by the terror of Superstorm Sandy last year put a damper on trick-or-treaters.

Freshman Jenn Urmston said one year she was able to celebrate the day twice in a row.  “Well, it was kind of funny actually. The year that it snowed they cancelled Halloween in my town, but rescheduled it for the next day. My neighborhood decided to celebrate it on Halloween, and then the next day we went to other neighborhoods. So we actually ended up having two Halloweens!”

She continued, “I’m so excited for Halloween to be back this year. The weather didn’t cooperate the past few years. I’m hoping it holds out this time.”

Freshman Lexy Snyder feels the same way.  “I love Halloween and can’t wait to go out this year.”

For Sophomore Jennifer Young, Halloween this year will be both a time of excitement and sadness as she was also directly impacted by Superstom Sandy.  Her house in North Jersey sustained moderate to severe damage.  While she is happy for Halloween to be back, she feels it more important to reflect that she and her family came together during this difficult time for NJ.

“Sandy really hit hard for me considering I personally know people that fell victim to the hurricane’s destruction.  It was tough being without power for nine days as well as not being able to go anywhere considering gas was in extremely high demand.  I clearly remember waiting on line at the gas station for two hours to get gas with my friend and we thought that was like waiting no time at all,” said Young.  

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Faith, Trust and Pixie Dust

“Time goes too fast,” they said when I started high school. “Stop trying to grow up,” my parents told me the first time I stayed out too late. Looking back, I wish I had listened and embraced my youth, but at the time all I could think about was driving that old car just over the speed limit, or getting into that “R” rated movie. To be able to hand over my ID and say, “one ticket please,” with the confidence of a twenty-something professional career woman was the dream, and I thought I was living it.

In reality, my so-called career was scooping ice cream at a stand by the beach and praying I passed my algebra test, although the middle aged woman at the ticket counter didn’t have to know that. For all she knew I loved the violent and profane movie I just paid ten dollars to watch, and didn’t secretly wish I saw the latest Disney movie instead.

Now that I am more than halfway through college, I’ve realized that those old tales of princes and princesses, and witches and fairies are one of the few things that have remained consistent throughout my life. The grown-ups who told me with stern intent not to get old have grown old themselves; friends who I swore I would talk to everyday are talking to new friends. Now it seems when I talk to them over breaks from school, that every sentence starts with, “remember that time,” or “when we used to.”

Freshman Grant Zaitchick said he stays youthful when interacting with his friends. “I let all formalities go, and have the weirdest laughs when I truly know the person I am with. Aside from that, I still love cartoons aside from the current generation Cartoon Network.”

He added, “On the Disney note, my favorite movie is Brother Bear, because it teaches to love everyone and everything, no matter what form they may take.”

Our relationships are narrated in past tense as we talk over lunch while checking our watches to make sure we’re not late for our next appointments. 

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Cochlear Implants Let the Hearing Impaired Listen to the Music

Cochlear implants, first employed in the 1950s, aim to provide profoundly deaf and hard of hearing patients with a method of auditory functionality.

The disruption of air waves in the environment enter the ear, which is structured so that these air waves travel down the auditory canal and cause the small bones and cilia of the ear to vibrate. These pulsations continue past the tympanic membrane, better known as the eardrum, and into the inner ear where a spiral structure called the cochlea is situated.

The cochlea contains fluid and thousands of cilia which move, stimulated by the vibrations and enough movement sends a signal down the attached auditory nerve which connects to the brain. The cilia work together while each hair  The brain is then able to interpret the original disruption of air waves as a sound and it then goes on to further decipher the meaning of that sound.

Many cases of chronic and temporary deafness involve patients suffering from damage to the tympanic membrane or the cochlea. Damage to the cochlea has a wide array of culprits, however it is primarily due to extensive exposure to loud noise. Such damage destroys the tiny hairs within the cochlea which unfortunately do not regenerate. Therefore, the damage is permanent and varying degrees of hearing is lost according to the amount of hair cells damaged.

While hearing aids work to amplify sounds, they can only function according to the amount of cilia within the cochlea and therefore, prove inefficient in more severe hearing loss injuries. Cochlear implants therefore prove useful as they are structured with parts that essentially take the place of the hair cells and work to detect, transmit, and interpret sound waves.

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What Are You So Scared Of?

You’re home alone and you’re watching American Horror Story. The room is dark with the exception of the television and you start hearing noises from behind you, getting closer and closer. As this happens you see a dark shadow getting closer and closer.

Your muscles tighten, heart races, and your breath quickens.

Next thing you know you realize it’s your dog that can’t see and keeps bumping into walls because of how dark the room is.

This sensation is called fear. Your body initiates a fight or flight response that is so pivotal in any person’s survival, even though there was no actual danger at all. However there are multiple questions pertaining to figuring out how the nuts and bolts of fear works. What exactly is fear? Why do our bodies react this way when we become scared? And how can we develop ways in order to conquer it?

Professor Jamie Goodwin of the psychology department said, “What becomes problematic is when our fear reactions are exaggerated and/or misapplied. Overwhelming fear can be paralyzing, and responding to public speaking the way one would respond to a charging mountain lion is not helpful or adaptive.”

Fear is a chain reaction that occurs in the brain that begins with a tense stimulus and ends with the release of chemicals that cause an increased heartbeat, quickened breathing, and tight muscles according to Dr. Rajiv Desai, an M.D. who is working in India.

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Deck the Walls

Holiday decorations fill the shelves all the year round, but specifically in fall and winter, the stores begin to overload with products. Some repeated from past years and others have new products in hopes of gaining more consumers. However, it comes to a point where the amount of holiday items that are for sale, and the timing of when they are put out in the store seems to be ridiculous to some while others it seems to be not enough time.

It seems as though it would be ridiculous to think about some holidays such as Christmas and Hanukkah in months as early as October, but on the other hand some people already have their minds on New Year’s Eve and Day plans and started buying decorations and planning for that.

Dr. Eleanor Novek, associate professor of communication said, “It seems that every holiday is now associated with certain types of products instead of religious or civic meaning. Thanksgiving is about Butterball turkeys instead of giving thanks. Mother’s Day is about flowers or jewelry instead of expressing appreciation for a family member. Christmas is almost entirely about buying too many things, and hardly about faith at all.”

There seems to be a blurred area in how holidays are forming to be such huge gatherings. Whether it be through the stores and corporations releasing holiday decorations months before that holiday comes around or that people have simply formed their own holidays to be so commercialized, at any time right now, consumers can find the products and gifts that they would need in a heartbeat. Then again, who doesn’t love the holidays?

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Staying Close to Those You Love Most

College is a time to create yourself as a new person or further develop your personality through new friendships, new activities and most importantly, new classes. It can be a challenge to stay close to old friends from home or even family. Some students even find themselves balancing a long distance relationship. However, it is possible to stay close to loved ones throughout college.

Junior Sarah Turner said, “I miss my family a lot so I do everything I can to stay in touch from Skype to phone calls. It is just nice to hear my family and friends’ voices.” Turner believes relationships are always changing, even when you arrive back home for the first time.

“As you go through college you change and grow up so when you go home things are different,” Turner said. “My relationship with my parents has evolved a lot since I have gotten used to independence at school.”

Dr. Rebecca Sanford, associate professor of communication, commented on students living awway from home for the first time. “Students are gaining a sense of autonomy and independence. They’re becoming increasingly able to navigate the world on their own,” said Sanford. “But at the same time it changes the roles at home, so we have to renegotiate those roles.”

When you return home to finally catch up with old friends, Turner said, “It is easy to reconnect with them because you have so much catching up to do.”

Sophomore Danielle Rivera believes staying close to high school friends can be a bit more challenging. “A lot of my old friendships have been replaced with new ones since I’m so far away,” she said. “ However, when my best friend from high school and I are home, we make it a priority to talk at least once a week just to keep in touch, and when we are home things still feel the same.” 

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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