Last updateWed, 28 Oct 2020 1pm


Have Your Best Semester Yet at Monmouth

Best Semester at MUAccording to the Huffington Post, there are several ways to make the most of your college experience during any given semester. The first step is learning how to become optimistic rather than pessimistic. Rather than looking at the glass half empty, see it half full. Having a positive outlook will enable you to have the best attitude when facing any issue throughout the semester.

Take courses that excite you; have that one class that you look forward to every week. It is important to love what you study in college since you will most likely spend the rest of your life doing it, whether it is journalism, social work, or nursing.

Build a relationship with your professors and ask them for help when you need it. Don’t be afraid to get involved with campus life and events, even if you are a commuter.

Professor of communication, Claude Taylor, touches upon the role that others play in one’s college experience, “One of the best ways to make this semester the best semester is to connect with other students around campus and learn from each other.  There is a lot to be learned from the experiences and backgrounds of other people, and college is one of the few places people can come together in a safe space of respect to learn about each other and the world we live in.  There are such great memories to be made by making friends and talking to people.  It may be in class, out of class or by being involved in organizations, but the key is to make time to connect with others in a positive way,” said Taylor.

Lastly, for those who live on campus, do not be afraid to go off campus and explore, especially if you are from out of state. Every person has their own individual experience, but there are many ways to make this best semester of college yet.

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The Benefits of Blogging

Benefits of BloggingBlogging has been around for a while, but never with as much force and popularity as it has now.

According to Social Media Today, 23 percent of internet time is spent on blogs and social networks, 77 percent of internet users read blogs, and 53.3 percent of bloggers are between the ages of 21 and 35.

Blogging has come a long way since the term “blog” was first used in 1997. Now, there’s a blog for every industry. Most people would think The Huffington Post is a legitimate news media outlet like CNN or The New York Times, and while for the most part, it is a credible and newsworthy site, it is only a blog.

With the continued rise in social media and digital marketing, blogging has become a great way for people to network, promote a business or product, spread awareness about an issue, or report news.

With the rise of blogging and the many different paths one can take, there are a lot of benefits that can come from writing a blog. People that are shy and don’t like speaking in public places or are too nervous and self-conscious to state their opinions to someone else have tremendous success in finding their voice through blogging. It allows people to share their experiences and thoughts without the nasty looks or judgments that a lot of people give to those who speak up. People feel safer when all they have to do is type and post and let those who want to visit the page to read.

Whether you are interested in writing about news, sports, entertainment, or the environment, there are no parameters when it comes to blogging. The options are endless and the results are positive. A junior communication student, Niki Kuczborski, took Social Media in PR with Professor Mary Harris where each student was tasked with creating and maintaining a blog throughout the whole semester.

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Commuter Life @ Monmouth

MU Commuter LifeAs a freshman commuter, I was afraid that I would be missing out on the ‘college experience.’ How would I meet new people and make new friends? Ask any adult about their college experience and you will no doubt hear about road trips, midnight Dunkin’ Donuts runs (not as convenient as having a Dunkin’ in their Student Center), lifelong friendships, and some interesting roommate stories.

But how can I have these experiences as a commuter? How can I get involved with clubs and activities if they start around the time I am heading home? How will I master parking roulette, worrying about traffic patterns, and getting to class on time? These tasks are easier said than done; in order to overcome these tasks one must know three simple facts:

1) Take 8:30’s-

This is significant because finding a spot can take 10 minutes to half an hour depending on what time and what day. Fortunately, to make up for this, Monmouth University does have a valet system for commuters. Claudia Dimondo, a freshman communication and commuter student said, “Commuting has made me a better student by taking on responsibilities such as parking, tolls, and gas.”

2) You Must Leave your Comfort Zone-

Friends aren’t going to magically appear; you must get involved in activities and meet new people. I have made friends simply by being at the dining hall, through clubs and activities, and in class. These friendships can help develop one’s strengths and address


Dr. Vaughn Clay, Director of Off-Campus and Commuter Services said, “Even though time plays a large role in the lives of most commuter students, I encourage all commuters to find a way to get connected to life outside the classroom at Monmouth University.”

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‘Suck it Up’: Quit Complaining and Enjoy Life

“Life is tough, but so are you.”

It is crucial to remember just how tough you are; no matter what life may throw at you. Life is full of smiles and tears, celebrations and tribulations. It is easy to complain about life, especially when faced with so many hardships. However, once the complaining stops and you actually live your life, you can learn a lot.

A study conducted by Psychology Today proved that negative experiences and perspectives are more contagious than positive experiences and perspectives. In other words, our brains are more apt to focus on the negative rather than the positive. When we focus on all the negativity in our lives, it can lead to us complaining or feeling sorry for ourselves.

Personally, there have been plenty of times in my life where all I did was focus on the negative and complained about it. Two years ago, my father suddenly passed away. Shortly after that, I purchased my first brand new car. After a month of having my new car, I was a victim of a hit and run. Not too long after that, my best friend of seven years moved to upstate New York.  All I did was complain and think “Why me?” But life, becomes a lot more meaningful when you stop complaining and make it a point to recognize the good that can be found in each and every day that is spent above ground.

A sophomore communications student, Emily Blaser said, “I’ve done my fair share of complaining, but what I’ve realized is that all it does is set you back. You accomplish so much more when you stop complaining and just do the work!”

This is exceptionally true, especially for college students. It is easy to complain about assignments, oral presentations, and exams, but once the complaining stops, you can get all that work done and then some. Complaining only takes away from other things that we want to accomplish or enjoy.

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Celebrate VeganismVeganism has become an increasingly popular lifestyle throughout the younger generations. In the past five years, the number of vegans and vegetarians in the country has more than doubled surpassing sixteen million according to The vegan diet cuts out all animal products whether it be dairy, meat, eggs and even clothing products that use wool or leather.

There are many that do it for health purposes to help high cholesterol or digestive issues and others that do it to support animal rights. What people don’t realize is that high cholesterol and heart disease  are way more prevalent among people eating the American Standard Diet, which typically consists of meat, dairy, fat, and sugar, than among those following a vegan or even vegetarian diet.

Studies from the Harvard School of Public Health have shown that less red-meat consumption can lead to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease. Mary Harris, a Specialist Professor of Public Relations, switched to a vegan diet seven years ago, and even after having a vegan pregnancy she managed to lose weight and lower her cholesterol.

Harris works alongside chair and associate professor of the health and physical education Dr. Christopher Hirschler, running a vegan organization at Monmouth University called Plants for Peace. They host vegan potlucks on campus that are always open to the public and feature notable authors and vegan restaurant owners as speakers.

Senior music industry student, Huascar Holguin, has been vegan for about two years without ever looking back. He attended the vegan potluck and roundtable discussion this past Sunday and thought it was an amazing experience. “It was a very welcoming environment and exciting to be surrounded by others who share similar values. It is important to vegans and non-vegans alike to be exposed to this growing community and to show the world veganism isn’t just a phase, but an increasingly popular lifestyle,” said Holguin.

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Forever Young: Life Lessons from Teen Years

The drama, heartbreak, and struggles that occur during one’s teenage years all contribute to valuable life lessons. Later in life, an individual will find that what they learned during their adolescents will aid them in adulthood.

A valuable life lesson that many learn as a teen that is valuable to twenty-somethings is that your opinion of yourself is the only one that matters. It does not matter what others think about you. Many spend years of their lives worrying about what others think of them. The opinion of others does not matter; what matters is how you perceive yourself. Along with that, never let the opinions of others alter your view of yourself.

Kait Gravatt, a sophomore communication  student, shared the valuable life lesson that life does go on. “That bad exam grade will be okay, that friendship ending will be okay, that relationship ending will be okay. Do not dwell on your bad days too much because they will get better,” said Gravatt. Just as Rhiann Ellis quoted in her evocative book “After Life”, “The worst thing in the world can happen, but the next day the sun will come up. And you will eat your toast. And you will drink your tea.” In trying situations, it is necessary to remember that life goes on and tomorrow is a new day. 

Natalie Toro, a junior biology student has learned that self-love and self-respect are everything. Having self-love and self-respect enables her to realize that she deserves the best and therefore, she will never settle when it comes to her education, career, or love life. Self-love is the key to both confidence and success. The idea of self-love ties into a life lesson that senior Communication student Kayla Cardona has learned as a teen, which is that others cannot define who you are and it is always important to put your mental, physical, and spiritual health first. No matter where life takes us or what challenges we face, it is crucial to take care of ourselves and keep in mind what we deserve.

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Health Food Myths Debunked

Health Foods Myths DebunkedHealthy eating has made its way to the forefront of popular culture – organic produce lines grocery store shelves, avocado appears on any modern restaurant menu, every junk food has a fat-free alternative, and greens are cool enough to inspire Beyoncé to rock a “Kale” sweater in her “7/11” music video.

 The media has jumped on this bandwagon as well, advertising various products as “superfoods” and switching the focus of dieting from weight-loss to obtaining a healthier lifestyle. However, much of what the media claims are nutritious goldmines that will solve all your dietary problems, may not actually be the key that will unlock the door to a healthier you.

Barbara Baron, MS, RDN, CDN, a healthy eating consultant and adjunct nutrition professor, broke down the superfood phenomenon. She said, “So many foods are frequently touted as ‘superfoods’ – because they may be loaded with vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that may help promote health and reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases. This ‘superfood’ title may frequently be used by media because it sounds attractive, yet it is meaningless when we ignore the other food choices and overall lifestyle of an individual.”

True healthy eating requires a healthy lifestyle, not just the occasional superfood. Baron believes, rather than filling your fridge with kale and your cabinets with avocado, “It is better to build a superb eating plan with nutrient-rich foods and mindful eating habits. One that includes eating more fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, more fiber, and low-fat dairy foods, and being physically active daily.”

Another important aspect of healthy eating is portion control. No matter how nutritious a certain food can be, it loses its value when not consumed in moderation. Baron explained, “Avocados, while rich in key nutrients are concentrated with calories. One cup cubed is about 240 calories, as per USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference – therefore adding too much of this food can unknowingly also increase calorie intake.”

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No More Negative Nellies

Negative NelliesWe’ve all been there-that dark place where things just seem to keep going wrong. That time where one thing after another happens to you and it feels as if the world has turned against you and nothing seems to be going right; it’s happened to all of us, so don’t feel alone.

The beginning of a new year, as well as the beginning of a new semester both bring about feelings of renewal, change, and fear of staying in the same place you were the year or the semester before, but 2017 is the year to change all of that!

It is easier said than done, but, Dr. Andrew J. Lee, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services, shares recommendations on how to combat these negative thought patterns: “Often, negative thinking patterns result from unrealistic expectations that people place on themselves, such as ‘I’m a failure if I don’t get all A’s’ or ‘I am not good enough if I am not at the top of my class in every subject.’” Dr. Lee says.

“Once an individual notices and understands the negative thoughts, it is very helpful to be able to challenge one’s negative thinking using more objective and realistic metrics, and to stop placing so much pressure on themselves. For example, instead of calling oneself a failure for not getting straight A’s, it can be helpful to appreciate the amount of work they put in and to know that they are not a failure if they don’t achieve this unrealistic goal. Striving for excellence, as opposed to perfection, can help students decrease the pressure they place on themselves, and may consequently, decrease their levels of anxiety,” Lee continues.

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Less is MoreMost people would assume the more things you have the happier you will be, but some believe the exact opposite; they are called minimalists. Minimalism is the idea of prioritizing your life around the things you just want and the things you need. It is a tool, as Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, commonly known as “The Minimalists,” refer to it. This tool allows individuals to find freedom.

Millburn and Nicodemus have been traveling the world speaking about their experiences and teaching others how to apply this tool to their own life for over five years. The pair quit their high-paying corporate jobs, left their big houses and fancy cars, and transformed the way they lived.

They discuss how the idea of minimalism gets a little lost in translation. People tend to think it revolves solely around decluttering your car, house, or life from material possessions like a television, extra furniture, electronics, excess clothing, and more, but The Minimalists believe it’s much more than that. Minimalism isn’t just about getting rid of the possessions in your life, it’s about creating more opportunities for happiness and meaning.

The dynamic duo say by getting rid of the distractions and the things that aren’t directly important to your overall well-being; the electronics that waste precious time and keep us indoors, the media and advertising that influences our minds to think one way and purchase a specific product or service, the closets filled wall-to-wall with clothes you haven’t worn for months or years, you are creating more time and freedom for yourself, more experiences, and allowing more room for personal growth.

The whole point is to create a more meaningful and happy life using less and only things you truly need. People seem to be stuck in this cycle of growing up thinking money buys happiness and you need a well-paying job to buy that so-called “happiness” in the forms of houses, cars, and luxury clothes and accessories.

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Millennials in Need of Life Skills 101

Milennials Need Life SkillsAs Millennials, we might be experts on how to download apps or work the ‘interweb’ when compared to our grandparents or parents. More often than not, our elders might be fascinated by the tech-savvy Generation Y. But there are many basic skills that previous generations had that us twentysomethings do not.

The baby boomers might not be as in tune to social media and how to download the latest update on their iPhone, but there are many skills they mastered by the time they were our age that we have yet to acquire.

When many students leave home to go off and live on their own in the Monmouth dorms, there were probably many gaps in our knowledge of basic skills. Nicole Gallagher, a sophomore psychology student shares her experience of leaving home for the first time. “When I lived on campus my freshman year, I discovered that there were many basic life skills that I did not know how to do. Luckily, I had a meal plan, but if I did not I am not sure if I would have known how to cook for myself. It definitely made me realize that I need to start learning how to cook and take care of myself.”

 During that first week of practicing adulthood, there are many realizations to be had.

Cooking is not as easy and fun as Emeril made it seem with his signature catchphrase, ‘BAM’. Although, many of us college students love to post photos of food on our social media accounts. According to the Daily Mail Reporter, in reality, 30 percent of college students cannot boil an egg, but we can ace that midterm exam. Meaghan Wheeler, a senior secondary education and history student, said, “I feel as though we were not given the foundation that we deserved in high school to learn basic skills. Instead of learning how to write a check or what taxes and a mortgagee are we were too busy doing geometry.”

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De-Stress at Monmouth

Monmouth De StressStressed spelled backward is desserts, and for some, a sweet treat can be the perfect solution to help eliminate it. Before grabbing that candy bar or a pint of ice cream, take into consideration the many ways to relieve stress right here on campus.

An extremely helpful way to relieve stress is to receive guidance from Counseling and Psychological Services, which is located on the third floor of the Rebecca Stafford Student Center. From personal experience, psychological services has helped me tremendously in the past. At times, us students just need someone to talk to whether it is our stress surrounding an 18 credit semester or balancing both our social and academic lives. There are many different tools and exercises that professionals can teach clients to help them alleviate stress. 

On the Monmouth University homepage, if you navigate to resources and then click current students, you will see Counseling and Psychological Services listed under the health and wellness.

From there, you will find several different questionnaires. The wellness or the student stress questionnaire will help you to determine your stress level and if you need to seek out guidance from counseling and psychological services.

A second way to find stress relief here on campus could be found in becoming involved in the many campus clubs and organizations that Monmouth offers. Socializing and getting to know other students who may be going through similar struggles can be helpful. Writing is a great way to take a breather from homework or studying.

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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