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Features

Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)

Risky Business: When Drinking Goes Too Far

teendrinkingParties are one of the most famous college stereotypes – movies like '21 and Over', 'Animal House', and 'Old School' have left an image in our minds of drunken students, getting into all sorts of trouble. However, it's this sort of trouble that, while sometimes portrayed as humorous on-screen, may end badly in real life. Deaths from drunk driving are all too common, as is alcohol poisoning. In a world where the rules are suddenly removed, and almost all supervision seems to vanish, especially at night. This also makes it harder to gauge when too much alcohol is too much.

Drinking underage is risky enough. The brain's frontal lobe – the part that controls decision making – is not fully formed until 21 years old, and underage drinking can slow or damage its development. It is because of this that laws have been established that restrict drinking to the age of 21, so that the brain's development is allowed to work in its normal patterns.

According to patients.aan.com, "The problem for teens is that white matter doesn't reach its full density in the prefrontal cortex—the area responsible for judgment, decision-making, and impulse control—until age 25 or 30. And that lack of white matter is one reason teenagers are more likely to engage in risky behaviors."

However, even drinking at 21 and above can be risky. There's no set amount on how much is too much, what might leave one person mildly intoxicated could leave another too drunk to stand.

According to safety officer Jim McColgan, he and the others who share his job "aren't about getting people caught or lying in wait for them to come in drunk," but they instead focus on making sure that people are safe. They sit in the lobbies of buildings until five in the morning, their eyes peeled for anyone who might be putting themselves at risk. When drunk, it's possible that people may pass out, and if they vomit, it's entirely possible that they may choke on it.

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National Suicide Prevention Month: What Our Generation Can Do

psychiatristSuicide. The word enough can send a shiver down your back. While it may seem like a far away term that you only see on Law and Order, it is a very real problem in our world. September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and the question stands: How can our generation stop this terrible self-murder?

Suicide is a tragic epidemic that takes over 39,000 people a year, according to Dr. John Draper, director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Huffington Post reported that "there are more people dying each year in the U.S. by suicide than there are people dying in car accidents." The world was stunned by the recent suicide of beloved actor Robin Williams, and the outpour of social media reactions caused people to really look into mental illness and the realities of it.

Draper shared that "A friend of mine told me that he loves working in suicide prevention because it reminds him of the reasons that life is worth living. And most of the time, those reasons are about having meaningful connections with others. There is something we can all do to promote that in our lives and in the lives of others around us".

A shocking study done in Boston showed that more than 50 percent of college students have felt suicidal. This statistic brings this problem close to home. "Suicidal crises are a common occurrence on college campuses," contended Chris Brownson, director of the University of Texas Counseling and Mental Health Center in Austin. A recent annual national survey conducted by the American College Health Association showed that 30 percent of college students reported feeling "so depressed that it was difficult to function" at some point of time during the past year. Despite these numbers, many students think depression and anxiety are issues not commonly faced on campuses. David Drum, a psychologist from the University of Texas, pointed out that "[Most people in university environments] only see the high-profiles examples, but they don't see the everyday anguish students are going through".

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Wake Up! The College Student Morning Routine

If there’s one thing that almost all college students can agree on, it’s that waking up in the morning is terrible, especially when you’re facing an 8:30 am class. There’s nothing worse than being jolted awake by a blaring alarm, and the earlier the alarm needs to be, the more intolerable it seems. Morning routines – dragging oneself out of bed, getting ready for the day, and going off to class – can range from being a mild annoyance to the worst part of the day. To get a clearer picture of what mornings can be like, several students shared their morning routines and how they spend the beginning of their day.

Several students have said that the only way that they can wake up in the morning is with the assistance of an alarm – or two, or three, or even four. Liz Roderick, a freshman psychology major, said that she needs two alarms – one with the actual time she needs to be awake, and one that goes off fifteen minutes in advance.

“This way, I can just sit in bed for that extra few minutes if I want, depending on how lazy I’m feeling.” Roderick adds.

In case of Liz’s roommate Katharine Dix, a freshman political science major, it’s at least three or four alarms to get her out of bed on time, and for some students the number can be even higher, including alarms set to just go off at fifteen-minute intervals. The earlier the class, the more alarms seem to be needed – there’s no feeling in the world worse than looking at your clock and realizing that your first class starts in ten minutes.

However, outside of the amount of alarms set, there seems to be little variation in morning routines, whether male or female, freshman or senior. After all, everyone has the same basic list of things to do – get dressed, brush teeth, grab breakfast if there’s time, cram in one last round of studying or finish off one last procrastinated assignment, and then make it to class on time. It’s that last step that can effect a morning just as much as the time of your class – getting to Bey Hall, for example, at the far end of campus, is almost double the distance of Wilson.

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The Truth Behind The Fairy Tale: The Wicked World of Disney Stories

Walt Disney created a cartoon empire that has been admired since he introduced the world to Mickey Mouse in 1928. While it is nearly impossible for many to think of The Walt Disney Company in a poor light, most of their famous films have very dark roots.

Released in November of 1987, “The Little Mermaid” tells a tale of a mermaid princess named Ariel who falls in love with a human prince named Eric. In the end, the two live happily ever after, as most Disney princesses do. The original story, written by Hans Christian Andersen, was adapted by The Walt Disney Company and while the story began in the same fashion, not much else aligned. The little mermaid does save the prince from a shipwreck and she does seek out a sea witch to exchange her voice for legs.

Essentially, every other element of Andersen’s tale was changed by The Walt Disney Company to appeal to their target audience. In Andersen’s version, the little mermaid must die if she fails at making the prince fall in love with her while in Disney’s version, she simply changes back into a mermaid. There is also a catch to gaining the legs: Andersen’s little mermaid has the unpleasant sensation of stepping on shards of glass when she walks.

Much like the Disney rendition, the prince is involved in a wedding ceremony with another woman. In Andersen’s tale, the prince ends up marrying the other woman. Under the impression that she has failed, the little mermaid is then told there is a loophole to her immediate death. Senior English major Rachel Fox said that she is most diturb by this original tale.

‘The Little Mermaid’ while a classic is hardly true to Andersen’s tale. If she kills the prince with a knife and lets his blood drip on her feet, she can live. If she does not kill the prince, the sea witch kills her,” Fox said. Unable to murder the prince, the little mermaid is commits suicide by jumping into the ocean at which point she turns to sea foam.

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Crushing With Confidence: A Romantic Approach

How many times have you found yourself somewhere on campus locking eyes with that cute guy or girl across the room? It’s not something we plan for, it just happens. All of these thoughts begin to run through your mind: What’s his/her name? Does he/she think I am attractive? What is his/her major? Is he/she going to come over and talk to me?

Suddenly this person appears everywhere on campus and curiosity strikes. Seeing that person is just not enough anymore and you realize you are now crushing on a complete stranger.

So now you think, how can I get to know that person? People make decisions every day based on what they want. If someone catches your eye and has been running through your mind, you have a decision to make. To step out of your comfort zone and contact that person or to let it go and tell yourself if it is meant to be, it will be.

I know that when I decide to make myself uncomfortable by taking a risk, I first contemplate the best way to make a connection with a person. So many people say, I’d rather have a face-to-face interaction with the guy or girl I like. But can we follow through with that?

We live in a world of technology and we can’t always bring ourselves face to face with something we desire, even when we want to. Or maybe the timing just is not right. Or maybe no one has time in college.

As college students we are more inclined to search for an easy way out, especially when we are stressed out with a million other things, and that cute guy you saw in the student center cannot be one of them.  Therefore, the approach is the defining matter in a situation like this. Or is there even going to be an approach?

“Depending on time constraints, sometimes you have to take a leap of faith if it’s something that you think could be awesome.” said Ryan Kelly, senior political science major.

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The Generation of #BeastMode

I recently read a statistic saying that within the next 10 years or so, 85 percent of the United States will be overweight. I’m leaving out the fact that I read this while eating a large bowl of pasta. I questioned this a little, because in the next 10 years my generation will be in their 30s and because our generation is obsessed with going to the gym. It’s not just our generation either. Even when I go to the school gym, there are professors and other adults running on the treadmills.

If we are all so into the gym craze now, will that die out as we get older, or will my generation and the other gym goers of today be able to lower the future obesity rate of the United States?

While I was in high school, I don’t recall too many people spending hours at the gym until about senior year. This could either be because a huge gym opened in my town and offered dirt-cheap prices in the beginning, or because people wanted to look good in their prom outfits. Regardless, the gym craze had started, and I was definitely a part of it. I would go from school to work to the gym without skipping a beat. Students and teachers alike flocked to this gym. But then, I started college. I realized the true beauty of fried Mac and Cheese at 2 am. I had three swipes a day at the dining hall. The gym slipped away from me and I happily waved goodbye.

I watched, via social media, as people at home keep on grinding at the gym, while I ate ice cream waffles for dinner. I couldn’t understand it. How could they pick the gym over fried food? Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels? What about bread and pasta and potatoes? Was I the only person in my graduating class that didn’t have a relationship with a local gym?  What was the sudden craze to no longer be skinny, but to be muscular and fit?

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15New Study Asks: Can We Train Our Brains to Eat Healthier?

Untitled-1Are we capable of actually training our brains to choose healthier food options? Researchers from Tufts University in Massachusetts have presented promising research suggesting the possibility of just that.

Why is it that we are always so tempted to choose the pizza and soda option over perhaps a salad? Why is it so easy for us to munch away on a bag of chips instead of cutting up some fruit? Beyond the simpler explanation that unhealthier foods tend to appeal more to our sense of taste lies the more complex and often nebulous mechanisms of the human brain.

Certain regions of the brain have been designated part of the 'pleasure center' of the brain, namely the limbic system, which involves our emotions and desires. The use of functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, has shown stimulation of the limbic system when an individual consumes unhealthy food.

The researchers of Tufts University observing this effect chose to manipulate the cause that eventually leads to the stimulation of the brain's pleasure centers. They were successful in conditioning the brains of eight variable subjects to become stimulated with the idea of healthier food. The researchers accomplished this by subjecting the variable individuals to an intervention involving a strict diet particularly high in protein and fiber.

Following this intervention, the pleasure centers of the variable subjects' brains showed little to no change when presented with the idea of less healthy food. The extent of the conditioning was such that a number of the variable subjects reported having cravings for the healthier food options.

Jen Zuczek, a junior chemistry major, said, "I found it interesting to learn that a person can train their brain to find healthy food options more appealing by just a simple change in diet."

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Inside The Biggest Celebrity Hacking Scandal in History

grayApple-iPhone-4-logo-silhouetteThe Internet blew up when the biggest celebrity hacking scandal in history occurred recently. Over 100 celebrities' iCloud accounts were hacked, revealing scandalous photos of starlets like Jennifer Lawrence, Ariana Grande, and Kate Upton. While some of these celebrities have denied the photos were real, others spoke out,

Jennifer Lawrence's rep stated, "This is a flagrant violation of privacy. The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos,"

This scandal has started a wildfire of comments, with celebrities coming to the victims' defense. Emma Watson, though not involved in the photo leak, took to Twitter to offer her support, "Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated on social media is reading the accompanying comments that show such a lack of empathy".

Many people believe these starlets should never have taken such intimate photos in the first place.

"It's their freedom of expression, anyone should be able to take pictures of themselves and trust that no one will hack into their phone," disagrees Samantha Marella, a sophomore Marketing major.

"I feel really badly for the celebrities who were violated because we should not live in a society where people are actively trying to invade people's privacy."

Some websites, like E! and Vox, have come to the womens' defense, saying the scandal is about the fact that "women in pop culture are under attack" and reflects how "society treats women in the public eye". Yet others have lashed out.

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A Realistic Attempt at a Week of Positivity

happy_face_As a nation, every time we turn on the news or go onto social media sites, terror, war and disease fill our screens. Rarely is there a story majorly publicized about happiness or good deeds. Even when there are stories of love and hope, people suddenly forget about them when something terrible happens. In a world surrounded by and focused on negativity, it would do people good to find the positives in life.

After I put some deep thought into this concept, I decided that I should spend my week trying to be more positive as well. Don't laugh, Mom and Dad. If you know me, you will know that I might not always be the most positive person. My family and friends may even call me cynical, but I'd like to think of myself as just being realistic. There is nothing I like more than seeing pictures and videos that "restore faith in humanity," so I figured I would give positivity a go, and took my friends on the trip with me.

Alyssa Healy, a junior health studies major said, "I always try and make sure to smile at people and go out of my way to say hi. Giving people compliments and saying hello really does make people happy, it really is the little things," says Alyssa Healy, a Junior Health Studies major.

"If someone is struggling with something, I try to help them as much as I can and always just try to believe that everything happens for a reason."

Chrissy DiLiberti, a senior communication major, made an effort to stay positive at work throughout the week. "My waitressing job can be hectic and customers can be rude a lot of the time, but I realized smiling through it helps."

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Romantic Comedies Ask: What is “Love Actually?”

romantic_comediesYou're at a Starbucks, ordering your mocha-frappa-latte-chino concoction with sweet caramel drizzled on the frothy foam. The man in front of you is yelling to the barista about how he can taste the whole milk in his latte-mcfrapp drink, when he had originally asked for skim. As the arrogant whole milk tasting customer exits the coffee shop, he drops a 20-dollar bill on the floor which you pick up and put in the tip jar. "Karma's a b***h," you say to the barista as a smile caresses your face.

This is the moment right before you meet the love of your life. Sounds like the start of a romantic comedy, doesn't it? If you're familiar with the movie Monster In-Law featuring Jennifer Lopez you'd know that it's the scene right before she bumps into the love of her life, Michael Vartan.

Romantic comedies can come in all different shapes and sizes. They can have really complex story lines, like He's Just Not That Into You, or really traditional ones, like Clueless. Robert Scott, Specialist Professor in the Communication Department has taught a class for an entire semester dedicated to the films that capture our hearts, make us laugh, and inspire us to find true love—a class dedicated to romantic comedies.

"Romantic comedies, my interpretation of them, are anything that's romantic and has comedic elements, that's a 'rom-com'," said Scott.

It seems simple, but rom-com plots twist and turn to the developing relationships in the movie and need to be taken into consideration. But is dating really as easy as romantic comedies make it seem?

Twenty-somethings' today are looking for relationships, especially college women. In a study conducted by Lisa Daily, Dating Expert and Author of Stop Getting Dumped, most relationships form after six to eight dates. Yet in the "hook-up culture" of college, going on six to eight dates seems to be a stretch according to Daily's study.

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A Look Through The Camera Lens

painted-ladyHer Tumblr page is overflowing with photographs of animals of different species, diverse landscapes, uniquely captured human moments and ordinary objects. What do these photos have in common? Jordan Richards is in every single one of them. While her golden-green eyes may not be the subject of every shot, they are the lenses through which these pieces of art were created.

Jordan, 20, a junior at Arcadia University in Glenside, PA prefers to stay behind the camera, capturing the images she sees in front of her. Growing up in a household full of art projects crafted by her mother in pursuit of a Master of Fine Arts (MFA), Jordan was exposed to art at a young age. She enjoyed the art classes that her elementary and middle school had to offer and finally discovered photography at age 14.

"As silly as it sounds, it was all because of an online forum I was a part of. On that forum, there was a group for photographers. I looked through everything that those people did and decided I wanted to do it too, and I have been doing it ever since," Jordan explained.

Jordan's mother Christine Richards recalls the day she realized her daughter was truly passionate about photography.

"Jordan started her photography obsession in the eighth grade when she stole my birthday present," said Christine. "That year was her brother's senior year and he was playing football. I wanted to get some really good pictures so I asked for a really good camera... and I haven't seen it since... at least in my hands I haven't. It was the best present I ever asked for."

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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