Last updateFri, 08 May 2020 6pm


‘Cool’ Story Bro

feature3From the time that we first begin to interact with others, we become acutely aware of what is supposedly ‘cool’ and what is not. Still today, as students in college, we pride ourselves on the notion of being the coolest, the most popular, and the best liked by our peers. But what exactly does it mean to be cool?

In today’s society, t here s eem to be many variables that play into the definition of the word, but regardless of the ambiguity of its meaning, it is a widely acknowledged term that everyone strives to be perceived as.

If you search for the definition of cool in the dictionary, Merriam- Webster considers it to be slang and defines it as “fashionable, hip.” This vague explanation of the word is an example of the fact that we, as a society, create what we take to be cool.

Dr. Johanna Foster, sociology professor, explained, “In sociology, we would say that ‘cool’ is a social construct, meaning that in every society, and within smaller groups in that society, people in interaction with others define the standards of ‘cool.’”

As a society, we depend on one another when it comes to almost all things, and defining what’s considered to be “cool” is no exception. We decide whether or not the people that we interact with, as well as ourselves, make the cut when it comes to what’s “in” in today’s world. These standards of “cool” continuously change, which makes it even more difficult to properly and elaborately define the term.

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Local Paleontologist Harbors Ancient History

feature4On the outside, the yellow, bungalow- style home looks innocent enough, just like any other house on the block. A passerby would have no idea that this home was a time portal. Much more than meets the eye, this house brings you back millions of years into an archaic landscape filled with relics of inconceivable but true species now absent from the ecosystem.

The house’s resident is Ralph Johnson, an older gentleman with perhaps more hair on his chin than his head, who curates a paleontological research museum in his basement. There are more than 20,000 catalogued specimens from extinct creatures that live, once again, in this Long Branch residence. It is home to: a 30 pound piece of leg bone from a dinosaur that weighed eight or ten tons; remains from ammonites, which are relatives of squid that lived in coiled shells and traveled in schools; shells so well preserved that even after 75 million years the mother of pearl is as iridescent and shiny as ever.

Like the home’s exterior, the living room is inconspicuous with its plush carpets and chairs with velour cushions as well as glass and ceramic figures resting on tabletops. A fancy dining room sits adjacent, seemingly more for show than for use. It is the descent down the short staircase that transports you and makes you forget that you’re in Long Branch in the 21st century.

The sloped ceiling above the stairs is concave and even Ralph, at no more than five-and-a-half feet tall, needs to bend awkwardly to fit beneath. A sign above deters creationists from entering.

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Put Procrastination Off Until Later

procrastinationThe art of procrastination lies somewhere in between the confidence we have in ourselves and the anxiety we face to perform. Depending on the difficulty of the assignment or project, whether it is work related or personal, time is the main factor hindering efficiency. Time represents the amount of hours or minutes or days spent working towards a goal, and for the start of finals week, time is something we usually put off. Be- cause of the confidence we have in performing to the deadline, we normally work better under stress.

“I usually procrastinate when I have a lot of work to do and I put it off because it is too much to take on,” said senior Samantha LaRocca.

If we as students are putting off assignments to the very last minute, we develop stress which initiates the release of adrenaline. And depending on where we as individuals fall within the ‘Fight or Flight’ response, we generally experience both phases.

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Black Friday Madness

featuresBlack Friday: the infamous day after Thanksgiving holiday; a day that appeals to many Americans yet raises feelings of intimidation and frustration.

It marks the start of the holiday shopping season, businesses open shop early, close later and offer promotions. It has been recorded as the busiest shopping day of the year since 2005.

The appellation is quite ironic: cold weather lines, no guarantees, sleep deprivation, etc. So when factoring in your sanity, time, uncertainty and the price of your purchases, does it all add up to be worth the troubles?

Some would say that highly items are not worth freezing their toes off, but Senior, Greg Sentara disagrees. He spent his outside of a local Target to take home a 32-inch Apex LCD TV for only $147. “It was way worth desperately needed a TV. Now I’ve got a nice one that’ll last me years,” said Sentara. For him the reward was well worth the wait.

Unfortunately for sophomore, Benjamin Rickks, his Black Friday experience does not share a happy ending. “I bought some TV on impulse at Walmart. I mean it was only $78 and looked so nice. I’ve had nothing but problems after one month.”

Ben fell victim to the common one-off model strategy. Basically, distributors will strip down a well-known model and sell the partially gutted product for far less money. Commonly used by retailers, the one-off model poses as a real bargain, but more often times than not.

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Educators from High School to College

Untitled-2Almost all of us have a favorite teacher from high school or even a professor from here at the University who is looked at as a friend or mentor.

There are some major differences in the way these relation- ships are viewed. “One of my communication professors used to work at places such as Walt Disney World and they really allowed me the chance to see what working in the field is like at a professional level,” said Rebecca Zidik, a sophomore.

Hearing about real life experience from professors often enlightens students to see the world differently than they may have viewed it in the past and could even inspire them to change their major if a high interest arises in a particular subject.

Over fall break, many students have returned to their home town high schools to visit favorite teachers. One major difference is that these teachers know their student on a more personal level and of ten stay in touch with them after graduation.

“I am real close friends with my high school Spanish teacher and it was really cool to see him both at my high school’s homecoming and here at Monmouth at a soccer game. He was also my soccer coach and inspired me to go far,” said sophomore Rachel Fox. More of the education process is geared towards individual styles in high school and a structured learning environment help to foster some of these close relationships.

Some teachers even will go the extra mile according to freshman Briana Lieberman, “One of my teachers still keeps in touch with me through phone an email while I a away at MU.” This is vastly different from a relationship with a professor.

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The Count Down to Winter Break Begins

Count DownThanksgiving break has come and gone, but have students really gotten back into school mode? “No way,” said freshman Sarah McGrail. “Definitely not,” sophomore Caroline Keating agreed. Between the unavoidable and completely unexpected two-week break caused by Hurricane Sandy, the four-day Thanksgiving weekend shortly after, and the current anticipation for winter break in just three short weeks, the last thing on students’ minds right now is their schoolwork.

Over the past few weeks, it has become increasingly difficult to return to the normalcy that once enabled students to focus on their work. Though it has not been the fault of the University, for President Gaffney could not have possibly handled the situation any better, it seems that Sandy is mostly to blame for the lack of focus on the students’ part. “I used to have a good work ethic before the hurricane hit, but after all that time off it’s been hard for me to get my work done. It felt like the semester was almost over by the time we got back,” McGrail further explained.

Although students usually have some what of a difficult time getting back into the swing of things after the usual short Thanksgiving break, the extra two weeks off from the hurricane this semester have made it even more difficult. Many students were unsure of whether or not certain projects and homework assignments were supposed to be handed in on their original due dates, or whether or not deadlines had been extended. The loss of power statewide made it almost impossible to contact professors with questions, or even access the Internet to check eCampus or WebAdvisor.

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A New Meaning for Thanksgiving

oceanportIn the wake of Hurricane Sandy, many who live by the shore have lost everything. Freshman Samantha Barnwell, who lives in Oceanport, knows that despite having lost her home due to the storm, that it is important to be thankful for what we have, appreciate one another and to share the joys of past fond memories. Barnwell has lived in Monmouth County for all of her life and is very thankful to be from the area. “Growing up in Monmouth County meant so much to me. My dad grew up here with his family so it is very special to me. I remember building snowmen in my front yard in the winters, hunting for Easter eggs in my backyard, amazing fun filled summers in Lavallette, and playing in the leaves that my dad raked in the fall. I have spent 18 years in Monmouth County and I am proud to be from here,” said Barnwell.

Just a couple of weeks ago, mother nature changed everything when the raft of the hurricane’s power destroyed the Barnwell family home and everything in it. The meaning of “it can’t happen to me” quickly changed to a tragic reality. The entire family came together during this time to help and support one another during and after this major disaster, something that she will be forever thankful for.

Of equal importance is that the holiday season is about not only giving to family and friends, but also to those in need. This year, many are right here in the Monmouth County area looking to rebuild and begin again. Something as simple as making a monetary donation for a family’s Thanksgiving meal goes a long way to help those in need this season.

Barnwell has learned the lesson of appreciation well. “First I learned that material objects don’t matter. I am so thankful that my family was not harmed in this storm. Maybe our home is gone, but we still have each other,” said Barnwell.

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Until Divorce Do Us Part

divorce-decreeLife has that funny way of throwing things at you when you least expect them. From the positives of a new-found love to a highend job promotion, to the contrasting negatives of a car accident or a sudden death, all are surprises that capture individuals day by day.

What happens, though, when that very surprise isn’t much of a surprise at all and you see it looming overhead far before it decides to strike? Or better yet what if that sudden curveball is one that sticks with you, refusing to leave no matter how hard you will it to?

For more and more people in this age that very thing is occurring, grasping them in a suffocating clutch and affecting more than merely them, but those around them as well. The name of their unforeseen marvel? Divorce.

At this point, everyone has heard the stories; how divorce rates are higher than ever and about how half of the marriages who complete the glitzy, happy ever-after wedding ceremony will end in a court room. It’s not an ideal position to be in, it isn’t grand, and it most certainly is not something worth exploiting for personal gainthough as some television dramas will tell you is a foolish claim, get rich quick and all that.

However, as much as we know about the sad reality of the escalating rates in marriage separations, we as a society have become desensitized to them entirely, something that sophomore Victoria Hammil notes from personal experience.

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Young Kids Facing Grown-up Illnesses

kids--illnessesAre kids growing up too fast? Dr. Michelle Fowers says too many are.

“I think all the time about kids with grown-up illnesses,” says Fowers, a pediatrician at Baylor Medical Center in Irving, Texas.

Societal pressures, poor nutrition, and inadequate or too narrowly focused exercise are causing serious health problems for kids, experts say. These problems include obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, repetitive stress injuries, anxiety, depression, Type 2 diabetes and eating disorders many of them striking at younger ages than they did a generation ago.

“There are so many things that make kids grow up faster than they should,” Fowers says. She cites exposure to inappropriate material on television and online, marketers who encourage them to dress or act older than they are, pressures to compete in organized activities before they’re emotionally or physically ready.

That’s why she advises parents to slow childhood down by limiting screen time and eating and playing together as a family. It’s advice she follows herself as a mother of a 4-year-old girl and 7-year-old boy. “You have to allow time for them to be kids,” she says. “You try to make your home a stable and emotionally safe place where your child feels loved and can get away from the pressures of the world. You need to offer healthy foods and schedule family time to go outside and play or to run around the house and goof off. I think there’s a lot of creativity that comes with unstructured play.”

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Remaining Calm is the Ticket

features_copWith the holidays upon us, drivers have to be more cautious with icy road conditions, snow removal and turbulent winds. But say you look in the rearview mirror and the dreadful red and blue flashing lights are signaling you to pull over? A wave of panic advances, your palms become instant sweat pools and you have forgotten the proper protocol from your junior year Driver’s Education class. Fret not, despite your ironic “keep calm and carry on” tee.

Patrolman Officer Vaccaro of Ocean Township Police Department notes that your first step should be to, “Pull into a well lit area, off to the right side of the roadway, clearly out of the traffic lane.” After which your window should be fully rolled down with the engine off. If it’s night time, the interior light should be turned on as well. After eight years of service, Vaccaro adds that drivers are most commonly forgetting this step, which adds further suspicion to the situation.

Once stopped keep flashers on and remember the 10 and 2 rule, where you first learned to place your hands on the steering wheel. Placing hands in this position signals that you have control and are respectful to the patrolling officer.

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Superstorm Sandy’s Unprecedented Impact

aftermathsandyIn the last few weeks, a new page was written in the history books of the Jersey Shore, marked under the shadows of wreckage and havoc from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Though only a category one hurricane, Sandy devastated the homes of tens of thousands of people in the tri-state area, leaving unprecedented damage Superstorm Sandy’s Unprecedented Impact across the shorefronts.

Atlantic City, known for its boardwalk, beaches, and blackjack, became an extension of the Atlantic Ocean as seaweed and debris circulated the kneedeep murky water, covering the shorefront streets and beyond. The property damage there was pretty extensive, according to Mayor Lorenzo Langford who said in an article in CNN, “I’m happy to report that the human damage, if you will, has been minimal.”

Governor Christie said he saw the damage left behind by Hurricane Sandy as “overwhelming” according to CNN.

“We will rebuild it. No question in my mind, we’ll rebuild it,” Christie said. “But for those of us who are my age, it won’t be the same. It will be different because many of the iconic things that made it what it was are now gone and washed in to the ocean.”

“I think many of us underestimated the damage this storm would cause,” said Paula Burns-Ricciardi, history professor. In all my years, I have never seen a storm of this magnitude followed within days by a snowstorm and I am heartsick over the damage Sandy has done to so many people and to our treasured landscape. I am impressed, however, at how this tragic event has moved people to come together to help one another.”

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Contact Information

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

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

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151