Last updateWed, 06 Dec 2017 12pm


Why You Need to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Comfort ZoneWhenever you want to try something, there is always that voice in the back of your head telling you to hold back. But, maybe it’s time to find experience in being uncomfortable.

Communication professor, Claude Taylor, explains, “Stepping out of your comfort zone can be a valuable way to learn more about yourself and stretch your mental and physical limits. Of course it can be scary, but the risk/reward benefits can be significant.” There is a lot to do to get out of your comfort zone, just grab a friend and start your adventure!

There’s so much you can do that you would have no idea about if you didn’t push yourself. Surround yourself with people who are willing to help you open up and be yourself. Lauren Niesz, junior English student shared, “Being someone who is introverted, I find it hard to get out of my comfort zone. But, I found a friend who helps me!” Using your friends is a great tool to help you ease yourself into trying something new. Neisz continued, “If she wasn’t so persistent on getting me to loosen up I wouldn’t be as happy as I am now.”

There are plenty of things that can help get you to loosen up and try new things, here are a few:

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Reasons Why It Is Important to Always Have Your Guard Up

Most people see having your guard up in a negative way. Specifically, when you see how it is portrayed in romantic comedies. The main characters are normally someone who has had their guard up their entire life and end up shutting people out. By the end of the movie, they meet someone that breaks their walls down and ultimately convinces them to lower guard.

 Constantly having your guard up may enable you to shut out people which hinders the formation of relationships with others and can seclude you from the rest of society. However, having your guard up around others can also be positive in certain situations. In most cases having your guard up is beneficial because you are not always award of the intentions of others. Ellen Brennan a senior education student said, “You can’t always trust people and you don’t know if everyone’s intentions are honorable, so keeping your guard up keeps you from getting hurt.” This is one of the main reasons why people want to have their guard up in the first place. They don’t want to get hurt.

 If you have just gotten out of a serious relationship where your significant other cheated and lied to you, the odds of you having your guard up when dating after that are pretty high. It’s a good idea to have your guard up because you never know who you can trust. Cristina Rauco, a senior creative writing student said, “It’s always better that you protect yourself before considering letting anyone else in.” Which is another reason why it is good to have your guard up, people are unpredictable.

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Valentine’s Day: Single Guys vs. Girls

Single Women V DayThe holiday that singles dread most is upon us. For those that lack a significant other on Valentine’s Day it may feel as if they will be #foreveralone. However, your mom usually pulls through by sending you your favorite candy or a cute stuffed teddy bear. Even spending time with your friends help you cope with the copious amounts of couples that are out and about on February 14. Just because you don’t have a bae does not mean that you can’t enjoy the holiday.

Communication professor, Shannon Hokanson gave her advice for single people on Valentine’s Day, “Don’t put too much energy into the holiday. It’s a little overblown. Take care of yourself.”

When single people are asked about their Valentine’s Day plans, they seem to not give much thought to their relationship status. Casey Labarre, a health studies student discussed her plans for Valentine’s Day this year, “I’m just going to hang with my friends, and have a good time. Who needs a boy, you know?”

Nick Bellomo, a student studying business, remarked “There’s other things to love in life; there’s nothing wrong with loving yourself.”

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Sweet Treats for Your Sweet This Valetine’s Day

Red Velvet CupcakesWith Valentine’s Day coming up this weekend, you probably will not be able to walk into a store without seeing a huge display of candy and boxes of chocolate. However, there are many more treats that you can make for this holiday whether it’s for a party or your significant other.

They say that the best way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, and what better way to do that than making them a delicious treat. Here are some Valentine’s Day treats that are perfect for showing them that you care.

Matt Marino, an adjunct professor, shared his favorite red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting recipe from celebrity chef, Paula Deen. Marino said, “It tastes delicious and is easy to make. It also makes enough for a number of people to have some.”

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Alternatives to a Gym Membership

Membership AlternativeWell, February is here, and for those who are doing their best to stick to that New Year’s resolution to lose weight and get fit, here are some new tips to honor it, without ever having to leave the house.

“Be the best version of yourself” is a well-known cliché one hears often, especially during the month of January. It seems that everyone everywhere is advertising to “lose the weight” or “get healthy.” The problem, however, lies not in where, but in how. Sure, it’s easy to join a gym, but as a fitness newcomer, it is tough out there making a plan to work out on your own.

With that in mind, February is right around that time when people begin to give up. The ambition that fueled you, that eye of the tiger has petered out, and you have found that the only marathon you are interested in is on Netflix. With frequent snowstorms and dropping temperatures, that gym membership has become less and less appealing. But there is a simple solution to get fit and healthy indoors, and it comes from a fellow student and fitness enthusiast. Meaghan Wheeler, a junior history education student, shared her workout philosophy, “Getting in a great work out from the comfort of your home requires 10 quick and simple exercises for three rotations!”

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Why It Is Important to Live in the Moment

Living In The MomentHave you ever noticed when you are in a restaurant that the people at the table next to you are all on their phones instead of talking to each other? It has become more difficult for people to engage in a conversation without becoming distracted by their phones. Our society has become inept of communicating with one another. It is important to not get into the habit of constantly being on your phone because you may begin to neglect what is occurring right in front of you.

There are preventative measures that will help you become present within your daily life rather than succumbing to the urge to check your phone. Mary Harris, specialist professor in communication, offers, “First, we need to be mindful and aware that the behavior of checking your phone can be a problem. Then, you need to commit to being together. Some fun things to do that allow you to all hang out without being on your phones are watching a movie, playing a board game, or just talking to one another. It all comes down to wanting to change and be in the moment rather than on your phones.”

Making it a rule when you are with your friends to put your phone away for a couple of hours combats the temptation of pulling it out of your pocket to see the latest posts on Instagram. Actual face-to-face communication helps to build relationships and make lifelong memories. However, in order to make these memories we must resist our desire to stare at our phone screen while we are with others.

It is also beneficial to remember that if you are surrounded by good company, there is no reason to go on your phone because you are with the people that matter to you. Victoria Nelli, a senior communication student, said, “My group of friends only use our phones to show each other things that we find interesting or funny. If I do go on my phone to look at Twitter they’ll tell me to stop and sometimes take my phone from me. However, normally when we all hang out, we don’t really look at our phones because we are all with each other. You should enjoy the friends or family that you’re with and not worry about other things that are going on.” Once you put your phones down, you begin to bond with the people that are around you.

Another way to ensure that you do not spend too much time on your phone is by deleting some of your social media apps. Erin Shevlin, a senior communication student, said, “Over winter break I deleted all of my social media, because I felt like everyone just constantly looks at it and relies on it. Especially during awkward situations, we always turn to our phones. I found that by deleting everything it allowed me to step back and be more in the moment.” This is an excellent way to help you live in the moment because most people are checking social media when they are on their phones. If you remove these apps, you will no longer have a need to check your phone constantly. 

It is important to live in the moment and not behind a cellphone screen. Limiting your cellphone activity allows you to become closer with those around you and fully immerse yourself in the moment. You will be able to experience new things and learn about the people you spend time with.

If you begin to think about what you are missing in the few minutes that you are staring at the screen of your phone, then maybe you will not check it as often. After all, life is too short to be living behind a screen.


How to Combat Cabin Fever

With winter weather finally setting in, it is difficult to think that the luxury of going outside without freezing will soon be gone. Cabin fever is a reality no one wants to face, and spending all that time indoors definitely takes its toll. With that in mind, there are many wonderful ways to keep warm and keep away the winter woes.

Being trapped indoors is less than ideal, and, let’s face it: it’s really easy to fall into a rut. But before starting that next season on Netflix, here are some other options that will keep one just as entertained if not more.

The first step towards combating cabin fever is having a positive outlook. By thinking of this well-deserved free time as a blessing instead of a curse, it is easier to look at what one can do as opposed to what one can’t.

A positive state of mind breeds creative thoughts; from there, finding ways to keep busy is simple. There are various ways to tackle cabin fever, and, depending on one’s interests, some may work better for others.

First, being constructive is a great way to keep busy. Exercise is a fantastic way to combat cabin fever. Endorphins resulting from a good workout can leave one in a positive mood for the rest of the day. Taking the time to exercise not only helps to form the best version of oneself, but easy indoor exercises like yoga, and the helpfulness of fitness Apps like Sworkit , make it possible to get in shape while confined to a small space.

If exercise seems too stressful (or painful), cleaning often kills time, and can improve ones mood when feeling down. Playing some music and cleaning up a space can really make the home a place to enjoy. Meaghan Wheeler, a junior, said, “I’ll go through my closet and clean out my clothes. It’s nice to start fresh and it passes the time.”

Another great way to be constructive at home is to cook a new recipe. Claude Taylor, Athletics Professor in Residence, said, “Pick recipes of stuff that you’ve never tried before that you’d like to try, and try to make it from scratch.” The process of cooking is time-consuming, and even has its own reward to reap when all is said and done.

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Winter Break: Expectations vs. Reality

Ah, winter break, an entire month for college students to relax and spend time at home after a long, grueling semester. You are like a rock star that has been constantly touring for months, and now you are taking a hiatus from your hectic schedule. Winter break allows you to take a breather from your daily dose of classes, papers, and exams.

Some students are lucky enough to escape the cold during their vacation. Natasha Brendli, a marketing student stated, “Winter break for me was to get out of New Jersey, the cold, and visit family in Florida. It was a time to relax and not think about school-work.”

However, there is no place like home for the holidays where you can relax, spend time with family and watch your favorite Netflix series, of course. Madison Bulger, a communication student said, “Winter break is a great time to catch-up on my favorite TV shows on Netflix.”

Not only is it a break for students, but it is a break for professors as well. Shannon Hokanson, lecturer in the communication department, described her winter break, “I spent it [winter break] getting my house purged… and spent a vast majority of the time here [at Monmouth University],” she continued. “I can’t tell you that I went on vacation or did anything fun, but it was very functional and deeply satisfying to do all that cleaning. I feel very semester-ready.”

At the beginning of winter vacation, it seems as if there is so much time that you will not even know what to do with it. But you do know that you will enjoy having your bedroom all to yourself, showering without flip flops, and eating your mom’s home-cooked meals rather than the shriveled-up vegetables from the dining hall. It really is the little things in life that make a college student happy.

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A Single’s Survival Guide to Cuffing Season

Bing Watch NetflixIt is evident that winter is now in full swing, but another not-so-obvious season that has transpired is “cuffing season.” For those of you that are unfamiliar with this term, it is used to describe the time during which singles are in search of a cuddle buddy to keep them warm as the temperature begins to drop.

In the beginning of September, both men and women construct a “line-up” of potential suitors. At this time, technology may become a source for some that are searching for their seasonal significant other.

Professor Warren Epstein, adjunct math professor, feels that online dating platforms have both positive and negative qualities: “Some people on these dating websites lie about themselves, but if they are honest it is then a good way to bring people together,” said Epstein.

Those that are successful in emotionally “cuffing” themselves to another will spend the subsequent months cuddling and broadcasting their fleeting relationship on social media.

This season proves to be pretty unbearable at times for those that have yet to be “cuffed,” but fear not, because I have some tips on how to survive the copious amounts of couples that will be surfacing around campus and across social media during these frigid winter months.

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The 5 Best Light Shows in New Jersey

The holiday season is in full swing and light shows are illuminating the Garden State this year. Amongst your holiday gift shopping, decking the halls, and tuning into ABC Family’s “25 days of Christmas,” I highly suggest you the find time to see these radiant light shows. Here are some of the most spectacular displays in NJ that are sure to put anyone in the holiday spirit:

1.Historic Smithville

Location: Smithville, NJ


See a display of 100 Christmas trees float along Lake Meone along with holiday music. Also, there is a variety of shops and restaurants in the area to go to after the show. Plus, the light show is free.

2. Cranbury Christmas Lights

Location: 128 North Main Street, Cranbury, NJ 08512


The Cranbury light show is known for their tree of lights that has more lights on it than the Rockefeller Center tree. Also, with a 120,000 light display, this is show is considered one of the best in the state. The display is free, but donations for charity are appreciated. Not only can you enjoy a light show, but you can also donate to those in need.

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Holiday Gift Ideas

With the holidays just around the corner, it is time to hit the stores and shop for your friends, family, and significant others. Sometimes it can be challenging trying to think of what to get them. Here are some ideas that will make the perfect gift this holiday season:

Drinkware- Beer mugs, thermoses, glasses, tumbler cups, and wine glasses could be a great gift for anyone. Buying someone a cup with their favorite quotes, movie or television characters on it or their favorite sport teams’ logo could be a great gift for anybody.

Kara Bradley, a senior communication student, said “One of my favorite items that I’m buying from Francesca’s, is a huge wine glass that can hold a whole bottle of wine.” Even novelty cups could be a great gift for people to add to their collections. You could even attach their favorite drink with the glass you choose to give them.

Movies- A great gift to give to people who love to watch movies and TV shows would be a popcorn bucket filled with their favorite movie candy, bags of popcorn, and a DVD set of their favorite show or a couple of their favorite movies. Speaking of candy, Claude Taylor, Athletics Professor-in-Residence, said, a great gift idea would be 30 days of classic candy. Buy one candy item for each day of the month.”

Trips- Taylor also said, “I.O.U. trips are a great gift that encourages quality time.” It could be doing a day trip of their favorite activities in the city or tickets to a zoo to see their favorite animals. Even getting them tickets to a concert to see their favorite artist or to see their favorite Broadway show could be the perfect gift to spend time with them doing and seeing the things they love.

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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