Last updateWed, 21 Feb 2018 2pm


Why You Should be Taking More Time for Yourself

More Time for YourselfBright-eyed and smiling young adults decked out in college apparel walking off to class is a picturesque scene of college to many high-school seniors and hopeful parents when thinking about future collegiate years. On the surface, higher education looks as fun and easy as sitting in lecture halls, dining in the student center and hanging out in cinderblock dorms.

However, there’s more to the story than what tour guides and college pamphlets will let you in on. Amongst all the club meetings, Greek events and sports games, students are met with an underlying sense of stress, anxiety and depression, as self-care isn’t at the top of everyone’s daily to-do lists.

While being in college gives young adults the opportunity to meet new people and discover life passions, it can also be a vulnerable and unstable period. Students find themselves overwhelmed with stress as the pressure to study, write papers, and accomplish numerous daily tasks becomes exhausting.

College students are more involved than ever; being a full-time student, working part time and being involved in clubs on campus creates insane amounts of stress and pressure, and for many it is difficult to find the right balance.

With heavy involvement and busy workloads, many college students are neglecting necessary self-care precautions to maintain their mental health. As mental health issues and concerns are on the rise for college campuses, it is important for students to put self-care on their priority list and take action to ensure they aren’t letting their busy schedules consume their lives.

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Is the Media Biased?

How to Stay Media Literate During the Election

Media Biased“Is there a bias in the media? Yes. Is the media biased against Donald Trump? No,” stated Matthew Lawrence, a specialist professor of communication.

Trump, on the other hand, told the audience at a rally in Pennsylvania earlier this month, “This crooked media. They are worse than [Hillary Clinton] is. I’m letting you, they are so dishonest.” Is the media biased? And how much of an effect does the media have on our perception of this presidential election? The key to this question lies in becoming media literate, or learning the ability to access, analyze, and evaluate media and employ critical thinking abilities towards media consumption.

The job of the press is to report the news, and to avoid bias. This gets muddled when publications endorse a candidate. As I write this article, Clinton has been endorsed by 178 newspapers, and Trump has been endorsed by 4. “In this ongoing election the media has been completely biased,” stated John Maurer, a junior communication student. “Reporters are biased and are giving their opinions instead of doing their job.”

Eleanor Novek, a professor of communication, pointed out that journalists have always been sharing their opinions on elections. “Some journalists try to be as objective as they can be, other news organizations take a position so they let you know right from the start that they are biased,” Novek explained. “Political humor and political satire goes back to the origin of newspapers. People made fun of leaders, rulers, or anybody who was running for office… This is nothing new.”

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Lions, Tigers and Clowns, Oh My: Inside the Clown Phenomenen

penn state clown huntWhat can only be described as a bad scene from an overrated horror film has begun taking the stage in neighborhoods throughout the U.S., causing commotion and resurfacing childhood fears for many. Clowns are sweeping the nation and causing mass hysteria for concerned parents, college campuses and those with a fear of clowns.

Menacing clowns have been terrorizing the streets in dozens of cities throughout the past couple of weeks, and as Halloween approaches, this frenzy has skyrocketed.

While this phenomenon seems to have ignited overnight, the clown that started this national craze was from Greenville, SC as he gained the presses attention trying to lure a child into the woods. The buzz this unsettling story created led to many following in the footsteps of the South Carolina predator, with hopes to get their own sixty seconds of fame.

Claude Taylor, professor of communication and transformative learning, shared his opinion on how this bizarre incident snowballed into a nationwide trend. “Sometimes what happens with contagions like this one, is that people see something on TV that gets attention and they want to emulate it themselves,” Taylor explained. “For me, what I’m seeing is an extension of the prank phenomenon where people want to get in on a rush. Teenagers are tired of watching others do it online, and want to up the ante and do it for themselves. Unfortunately, people are not thinking about the consequences of their actions in the heat of this trend, and its extraordinarily dangerous.”

The frequent clown sightings have instilled such a strong fear in college students that pepper spray sales have gone through the roof, and many are ready to fight back. With clowns roaming the streets at night, some residential college students are taking precautions to a whole new level. Penn State University recently bombarded the streets on a “clown hunt” in hopes to scare away the clowns seen on their campus.

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The Power of Celebrities and Social Media

anti Trump campaignSocial media is more prevalent than ever, with apps like Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook being refreshed constantly on everyone’s phones. These apps offer breaking news and a quick way to skim through what’s going on in the world— and also a huge focus on celebrities, which gives them a vessel for them to voice their opinions. We’re seeing a lot of this now with the upcoming elections; celebrities are voicing their opinions in hopes to influence their audiences to vote for one candidate or another. Just because someone is famous, does that give them the right to influence people, especially Monmouth students? This is a question many students have trouble answering. Fame puts someone in the spotlight, but not because of their insights on politics or social issues. Just because they have a platform and a widespread audience, they are not necessarily the most informed source. The control and power they have over people can be either positive or negative; it is up to the individuals to decide how they perceive what they hear.

When a celebrity talks about their views on a certain topic or situation, their fans can be biased, and follow their favorite singer, athlete, or actor blindly. Shannon Newby, a senior sociology student, said, “I think when celebrities voice their opinion and promote specific things it persuades us more to either buy what they’re trying to sell, or believe what they say, rather than coming from someone who isn’t very well known.”

Newby continued, “Someone who is more famous I feel like we assume they have lots of experience that has clearly made them very successful making them influential on us.” Because these public figures are in magazines, get paid millions, and have huge fan followings, people tend to think celebrities, actors, and actresses are reliable sources.

Angelo Sceppaguercio, a senior finance and real estate student, said, “Celebrities are icons, and the way they are portraying themselves has a lot to do with what students say and believe. They influence the minds of young adults who listen to social media and not the truth. Half of the student population can’t even name what parties are fighting for what.”

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From the Battlefield to the Classroom: Being a Student in the Military

cesarMost college students feel like they have enough problems to warrant all the stress in the world—balancing classes, activities, jobs, and maintaining relationships; however, there is a population of Monmouth students who balance more than the average student could imagine: serving our country at the same time.

Cesar Monterroso, a sophomore criminal justice student, is a prime example of someone leading a life of schoolwork, and a life in the military. He is a member of the United States Reserve, as a Flying Chief for the KC-10A Extender at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in South New Jersey. “I wanted to join and serve my country, but I also wanted the flexibility of being in the reserves to attend college at the same time,” explained Monterroso. “I joined with the mentality of eventually bettering myself down the road. I also loved being around aircrafts growing up, and even today I am still mesmerized when I walk up to the [aircraft], so it was a win-win situation.”

Another student involved in the military is Samuel Herrara, a senior computer science student, who is also a United States Marine. “My dad was in the Navy when I was young, so I was raised on a Naval Base in South Carolina. My dad is my hero and my greatest influence to be in the military,” Herrara said. “He raised me in a strict military manner, so the military lifestyle is all I ever knew. I specifically chose the Marine Corps because I remember as a young boy I would read about the legacy of the Corps, and I just knew I belonged in the greatest fighting force in the world.”

Being a college student and a member of a military branch are two extremely different ways of life. George M. Kapalka, Ph.D., a professor of professional counseling, explained the differences in the lifestyles, “It is a different mindset. In the military, direction is given ‘from the top’ – it is expected that the commanding officers have most (if not all) the answers and give instructions to those under their directions, and those commands are to be followed precisely and completely,”

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Why You Shouldn’t Underestimate Women’s Magazines

obamaWith the current election cycle, everything and everyone seems to be focused on politics. The candidates cover the front pages of newspapers, fill radio broadcasts and news programs, and dominate social media feeds. Now, even women’s magazines – typically seen as ‘fluff’ news – are coming into the political field.

Women’s magazines are now filled with political content, usually interviews with important figures in the election such as Ivanka Trump, Chelsea Clinton, and Hillary Clinton herself.

“I think it’s an important outlet that typically gets ignored,” said Christina Caliendo, a junior music student. “I don’t read a lot of women’s magazines but when there’s a particularly interesting interview I’ll pick it up.”

Those involved in the elections have also been publishing their own words in women’s magazines. Hillary Clinton herself wrote a piece for The Toast, a publication that closed in July. She focused on the importance of women’s spaces in media and in other fields. Katy Tur, a reporter who covered Donald Trump’s campaign for NBC, wrote in Marie Claire about her experience working with him – which often included harassment.

“Trump called me naïve,” she wrote. “He told me I didn’t know what I was talking about. He shamed me when I stumbled on a question. And when the cameras shut off, he was furious. He didn’t like my questions, which were direct, or my tone, which was conversational.”

Trump also insulted and shamed Tur on national television, called her names during interviews, and announced on Twitter that she “should be fired for dishonest reporting”. All of this, and more, was covered in her piece for Marie Claire. It was shared about 30,500 times via Facebook and Twitter, according to the site; it received much less attention than typical election coverage.

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The Pumpkin Spice Phenomenon: Do You Really Love it?

starbucks coffee flickr urban bohemianIt’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, the air has grown crisp, and the days keep getting shorter – yes, the pumpkin spice season is upon us. Every year, when September strikes, the notorious spice makes its debut to once again provide warm, comforting flavors to the masses. Though it may seem like no human being on the planet can resist this autumnal favorite, it might actually be the media who harbors the true obsession. Do people truly love pumpkin spice, or is the media just telling us we do?

While some may choose to parade their love of pumpkin with pride, others prefer to quietly give in to the overarching trend. Toting his own warm cup of pumpkin spice coffee, senior English student, Michael Mottola said, “I don't get super hype about pumpkin spice's inevitable arrival in fall, it's just like any other seasonal event, but I always do like pumpkin spice stuff when it comes around.”

Others at Monmouth have yet to hop on the pumpkin spice train. Senior communication student Emma Gepner admitted she doesn’t quite understand all of the pumpkin hysteria. She said, “Personally, I'm not a fan of pumpkin spice coffee. I'm all for the traditional pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, but other than that, I could really do without it in my food.”

When it comes to pumpkin spice, we’re paying for much more than flavor alone. Deanna Shoemaker, Ph.D., an associate professor of communication, said, “Whether people love or hate all things pumpkin spice, I think marketers know how tap our desires and perceived needs to sell, sell, sell. We as consumers buy into a feeling generated by cultural traditions that advertisers amplify in order to sell products. Pumpkin spice as a flavor, a color, or a smell is framed as an expression of the beauty of the fall season, the coziness of hot drinks and sweaters, a fire, so on.  That association generates profits.”

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The Importance of Classes that Think Outside the Box: Creating a Culture of Peace

class in circle small wide picStudents do not really know what to expect on the first day of classes, or throughout the semester. Everyone has experienced the typical routine: write a few papers, be up all hours of the night to study for exams, and stay at desk in the classroom, barely raising your hand and participating. How sad is that— not learning, not growing, and not becoming involved. Well, surprise; there is a course that can change your life for the better, for years to come.

Creating A Culture of Peace is a course that is the exact opposite of many classes that a student has taken here at Monmouth University, which makes it extremely unique and life-altering. Eleanor Novek, a professor of communication, teaches this class, which has received positive results and relationships after the students have completed these credits. "The class was developed out of my volunteer work with the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP)," Novek explained. "AVP is a nonprofit group that offers conflict resolution programs in community groups and prisons. Through games, exercises, and shared experiences, it develops the communication skills and attitudes people need to solve conflicts peacefully.

 It is a class that is set up in a circle, having the students and Novek looking at each other, and interacting on a conversational level, so anyone can speak about any topic at any given time. Each individual is given a name for the class, making it more friendly and comfortable. The student has to use an adjective that describes them that starts with the same letter as their name.  Novek recalled, " In the class, everything we do builds a community of trust and sharing. Students journal about topics as far-reaching as early experiences of violence, holding grudges, and random acts of kindness. Each one chooses a positive name they use all semester. At the end of the semester we didn't want to leave!"

Ayse Yasas, a senior communication student who went by Amazing Ayse, said “This class wasn’t like any other class I’ve ever taken in the best way possible, and it’s probably one of my favorites of all time. It felt like a small community of peace and togetherness, and I became friends with people that I would never normally talk to. It’s also the only class that taught lessons that I could use in everyday life and genuinely made me think about my actions everyday to actively be a better person and keep the peace with people.” How amazing is that? A class that really makes an individual think about their everyday life, and change.

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The Trophy Generation is #Adulting

adultingEvery so often, a new catchy phrase or saying will enter the vocabulary of hundreds of millennials, college students and teenagers nationwide. Words like “yolo” find their way into daily conversations without a second thought. Recently, “adulting” has become the new thing to say when talking about responsibilities like going to work, paying bills or simply growing up. This generation of college students and recent grads have begun glorifying everyday tasks and occurrences that come with growing up by using the term “adulting.” This notion and the ideas associated with it allude to the idea that everyday responsibilities are trendy, and that college students want to be celebrated for going about everyday tasks.

Many people use the term jokingly to talk about their daily tasks to give them a fun spin on something otherwise boring and commonplace. While the word has struck up some controversy, many twenty-something’s enjoy using it in a laughable manner. Senior business student Stephanie Merlis explained why she enjoys using this word: “It’s a fun word to use because it’s almost comical in the sense that seniors in college are ‘adulting’ as we begin to search for paid internships and full time jobs, but really we aren’t in the adult world yet.” 

Perhaps college students and recent grads use this idea to help distance them from those who are fully immersed in the adult world. Merlis continued, “I have an internship now but I’m still working towards getting my degree, so in a sense I’m not an adult. I don’t work 9-5 or have benefits and 2 weeks of paid vacation time. So I like using the term because I can connect with those in the real world, without actually becoming a part of it myself.” 

While some find the phrase to be comical and harmless, others blatantly disagree. Junior nursing student, Shaheen Grajeda rejects this notion of adulting, having stated “I really dislike hearing people use this term all the time, especially over stupid things. My friends will go grocery shopping or pay bills and say ‘I hate adulting,’ or ‘I can’t adult today,’ and it’s frustrating because these are just everyday occurrences. She continued, “I think in a sense it glorifies the idea of growing up, because people use it as to show off that they can do things on their own.”

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How Businesses Get Away with Lying to Us

brands top global brands v3There are 10 corporations that control just about every product you own. Kraft, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Nestle, Proctor and Gamble, General Mills, Kellogg’s, Mars, Unilever, and Johnson & Johnson are the sole organizations responsible for marketing and distributing what the general public views as the products of hundreds of other companies. These 10 corporations basically run the entire market—and we blindly allow them to, without doubting the ethics of these huge businesses swallowing up everything in their paths.

Recently, a study from JAMA International Medicine revealed one of the secrets of a group aligned with big sugary drink and candy businesses, the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF). Dr. Cristin Kearns dug through boxes of letters in Harvard library’s basement to reveal that two of Harvard’s researchers were paid off by a group called the SRF to counter research that linked sugar to coronary disease. This unethical incident may have occurred 40 years ago, but this is not a trend that is buried in the past. John Maurer, junior communication student, said “Businesses that have been around for a while and have a lot of money can be suspicious. Having money means you can do powerful things.”

In 2012, Coca Cola provided $1.5 million dollars to Global Energy Balance Network, a group aiming to spread the message that people should focus less on counting calories, and focus solely on exercise. Another big corporation, Nestle, saw this donation as a way to take a dig at the competition, telling the New York Times that the agenda of Coca-Cola was clearly to get researchers to deflect attention from dietary intake by confusing the science to the public.

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The Truth About Following Your Passion

Following Your PassionEveryone has heard the phrase "If you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life." We all want a life filled with doing what we love, but we also want a life where our wallets are filled with money.  Unfortunately for the current generation of college graduates, the fear of not being able to afford to live on your own and start your own family is very real, and plays a big role in what these students major in and how they plan their future.

People tend to be worried that they will be miserable if they are stuck working a job that they do not love, but they are also worried that what they love will not be able to provide a steady living for them.

Ryan Tetro, an instructor of political science and sociology, just began his full-time position as a professor this fall, after working as an adjunct professor and a full time attorney. Tetro is a Monmouth graduate and always believed during his time here that law was something he wanted to practice as a career. Tetro reached out to his old advisor Dr. Joseph Patten,an associate professor of political science and sociology.

"I emailed him [Patten] in the fall of 2014 and told him I didn't love what I was doing and asked him if there was anything else I could do,” Tetro explained.  "He had always given me great advice when I was a student here, and told me I should consider teaching."

Tetro began teaching as an adjunct professor here at Monmouth in the fall of 2015. He still worked at his firm, but was always excited to come to class and see his american government students. "I had a Tuesday and Friday morning class that fall and I swear I was never more excited for the weekend to end so I could go back to my class on Tuesday!" Tetro remembered.

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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