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Opinion

Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)

Just go to Sleep Already! Why Napping is Great

How great do you feel after you wake up from a nap? Do you feel refreshed? Do you feel like you can function again? Don’t you just feel awesome? Well you should.

A study reveals that napping during the day after an uneasy sleep from the previous night, can actually be beneficial to your health according to an article published in New York Magazine. According to the article, the study consisted of 11 participants that engaged in this sleep deprivation experiment. The individuals were allowed two hours of sleep one night and the following day they were allowed two 30-minute naps to help recover from their lack of sleep. The study found that those who took the naps found themselves sleeping much better than the previous night and their stress hormones were at a healthy level.

Though the study only consisted of 11 people, it reveals a lot about how we function as human beings. It serves as a reminder that we are not machines and we need to take the time to take care of ourselves.

College is a place where the term “all-nighter” is used quite frequently in everyday conversation. We live in an environment where it is socially acceptable to deprive ourselves of sleep to get important things done and that’s not healthy. What’s even better is that people actually brag about how much they didn’t sleep because they were too busy doing work. How is that okay? 

It’s not. Plain and simple. How is it fair to stay up all night working on a class assignment that will most likely never be relevant to your life after the fact? And, yes, I understand professors do not encourage this behavior, but many professors don’t do anything to prevent it from happening either. It’s not that our educators are conspiring against us, but if they expect anything to get done something has to be sacrificed. More often than not, sleep is probably sacrificed the most in our lives and we don’t even realize it. 

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Ringling Brothers Plan to Remove Elephants from Circus

elephantsIf you are on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and see a picture of an elephant, I can almost guarantee you it is because of me. If we’re ‘friends’ or ‘followers,’ you must know I have been overly obsessed with elephants and the symbolization they embody. That’s why when I heard about The Ringling Brothers deciding to phase the elephants out of “The Greatest Show On Earth,” I was insanely thrilled. 

I read up on the articles and could not believe how many mixed reviews on the decision. Decades of treating an endangered species as actual show animals, leaving them in cages, and shipping them off from location to location, is finally coming to an end and people are actually complaining? 

One-hundred and forty-five years of this to be exact. It doesn’t exactly add up. Reading some of the negative comments had me a little skeptical as well, and really got me thinking. Except, unlike those seemingly upset and aggravated over the fact they will no longer see the elephants parading around at the circus, I am pretty upset and aggravated at The Ringling Brothers.

I cannot lie: the circus is part of the reason I have loved elephants since I was young. They look absolutely adorable with their headpieces on and the women who accompany them look like they are having a legitimately amazing time. I am fully aware that elephants are some of the smartest animals known to man. They can even identify different languages.   For a long time, I believed that this intelligence was the sole reason these magnificent elephants were able to put on such amazing performances. 

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The Classroom Matters

We greatly appreciate the thoughts that The Outlook staff writer, Katherine Jaffe, shared in her opinion piece titled, “What Really Matters: GPA or Activities?” Three main points framed Ms. Jaffe’s opinion: 1) grades should not define students; 2) grades are unimportant because of grade inflation; and 3) hands-on and work experiences are more valuable than classroom learning. As educators and administrators from two different content areas, we felt compelled to respond and offer some of our unified thoughts. There are no easy answers to questions regarding the relationship among grades, classroom learning, and out-of-class experiences. To be worthwhile, experiences both within and outside the classroom have to be transformative for students. We have seen students transformed through course readings, lectures, class activities, written assignments, and educational experiences outside the classroom. There is no one best method of learning for all students, which means that professors must provide a diversity of opportunities within their classes for students to learn in a variety of ways. There are many ways to encourage students to think in new ways about issues with which they are familiar (what sociologists call “making the familiar strange”), and to think about issues that they have never considered. 

Regardless of the subject, a strong classroom experience should help students expand their abilities to answer serious questions in innovative and creative ways based on evidence that can help improve upon the worlds in which we all live – not just for themselves, but for others as well. To present classroom learning and experiential learning as separate and unrelated entities creates a false and harmful dichotomy. The two need to be connected – and indeed are often connected – in most university missions and realities. Furthermore, one of the concerns we share about project-based learning is that professors who do not have experience with such modes of education may require professional development to be able to execute such endeavors with a high level of competency and confidence.  But we also recognize that given the current technologies, there are so many innovative ways to bring project-based and group learning into our classrooms. Unfortunately, many students are uncomfortable with the grading of group work. 

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If You Could Live in a Different Decade, Would You?

I’ve always been the first one to say that I would LOVE to go back and be a 1950s housewife with the white picket fence, golden retriever, and perfect cooking skills in the suburbs. But I never really gave any thought about the reasons why. I should learn to love the era in which I live. So many of us complain and wish we could live in the 1920s, 1950s, etc., but I don’t think that any of us have actually thought about what that entailed. 

It wasn’t until I heard someone say, “If I could go back in time, I would just go back to yesterday. We have it so good in the world we live in today.” This got me thinking. So many of the things that we would list as “necessities” in our lives, we wouldn’t even have access to in the 20s, 50s, etc. 

For example, admit it: you can’t live without your phone. But it isn’t just the phone we can’t live without. It’s the social media platforms, texting, Internet, and email that we wouldn’t be able to part with. Wi-Fi is king nowadays, but in prior eras, phones were landlines and Internet was only in its earliest stages of development, if that! It’s not just our technological advances that make the world we live in today so much more convenient than that of the earlier eras, it is our social advancement too. 

So, why would I want to live in the 50s? Or even the 20s? Especially when we are so lucky and blessed to be living in the era we live in today.

Part of the reason we are all so intrigued by these eras is because of popular decade depictions such as The Great Gatsby and Grease. Books and films such as these make those eras look only desirable and glamorous. Who wouldn’t want to be Daisy in The Great Gatsby? She is loved by the hopelessly romantic, (and did I mention rich), Jay Gatsby, (played by Leo Dicaprio, of course)? And to live a life full of luxury and frivolous spending? Sign me up for that! The 1920s seem simply fabulous through the eyes of Daisy Buchanan. 

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Why We Need to Travel to Find our “Happy Place”

travel“Travel far enough, you meet yourself,” the British author, David Mitchell, once advised this to the world. To be honest, this quote couldn’t sum up my latest travel experience anymore perfectly than I could. I met my better, happier self. Because of this, I now know that traveling has the power to change you as a human being.

I have always had wanderlust. Unfortunately, I have never studied abroad. I’ve traveled a decent amount for vacations, mostly on the east coast. As a kid, I experienced going out of the country in Canada, Aruba and Mexico. I have always had an urge to see the unfamiliar. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve lived in the same town my whole life.

Since I chose my college major, I’ve thought that whatever I end up doing, I want to be able to travel for my career. As I reach a terribly confusing time in my life, the urge to see the world is the greatest it’s ever been. I attribute this to my recent trip to Los Angeles with The Outlook for the Associated Collegiate Press National College Journalism Convention. 

The people I met, the scenery I experienced and the overwhelming positive energy I felt during my stay in Los Angeles still has me in awe of the happiness which I am capable of. At this stage in life, I thought I’ve experienced a decent amount. As it turns out, there is so much more out there for me to reach.

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Shopaholics Anonymous

Step one is admitting you have a problem, right? Well, my name is Lauren Niesz and I am a shopaholic. I get high off not only the idea of saving money, but spending it too! I don’t think I have purchased something that wasn’t on sale. 

I might be wearing a Kate Spade bag and donning Coach shoes, but, honey, I can assure you that I did not pay full price for them. This feeling of euphoria that I get when I purchase things for myself is indescribable. 

Many students are probably experiencing the same exact thing when they head over to the mall or shopping center.

Being a college student, I am constantly engulfed in mass amounts of classwork and homework. My stress levels are through the roof! So, to manage this, I often engage in retail therapy. My love for shopping comes through when I need to relieve this stress.

I always thought that retail therapy worked for me because shopping/bargain hunting simply made me happy. 

Well, according to a study done by the University of Michigan, the happiness factor isn’t the only positive psychological impact shopping has on one’s mind. 

The main reason that many of us experience anxiety is because we have a loss of control in certain situations and their outcomes. 

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Your 20s: The Time to Make Yourself or Break Yourself

Throughout life, we hit these milestones that are often looked forward to. We begin as young tots when we look forward to turning 13 because we’ll officially be a ‘teenager.’ Then there is 17, the year we get behind the wheel and cause our parents more gray hair. 

Some say 18 is a big year because you’re a legal adult, whatever that means because nothing changed for me when I turned 18 except for the fact that I was that much closer to my 20s. 

As a young female, growing up in my teens all I did was adore older girls who were in their 20s. In my eyes, these girls were fresh out of college, pursuing their careers, getting cocktails with their friends and looking glamorous through it all. I couldn’t wait to enter this phase of my life. Becoming of legal age to drink only added to the anticipation. 

My mother, an independent, saavy, strong woman always instilled in me that one’s 20s are their make it or break it years. Adding to my mother’s mantra, I say your 20s are also your selfish years. Don’t worry, I say selfish in the nicest way possible but we’ll get to that later. 

As the years went on and I got closer to crossing that line from my teen years into my 20s, my mother wised me up on the years to come. Yes, your 20s are like an experimental phase as your exploring, trying new things and figuring yourself out. 

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Sports Illustrated: Beyond Size 10 and Beautiful

Robyn Lawley Shawn Johnsons The Body Department1

The media has always given the public a very clear image of beauty since the beginning of time.

The image created for our viewing pleasure is normally of a smaller woman, preferably sample size, with light skin and a perfect complex and a perfectly proportioned body. At least that’s what we’ve been seeing, up until now.

Recently, Sports Illustrated hired a “plus size” model, Robyn Lawley, in their annual Swimsuit Issue. Lawley is an Australian model who happens to be a size 12, the requirement for a plus size model is that they be “beyond size 10,” according to an article in USA Today

On the topic of Sports Illustrated featuring a plus sized model, New York Magazine stated that this is the first time in the publication’s history where they will be featuring a model who is “beyond sample size,” which traditionally is around a size 2.

This is a major turnaround for the world of modeling and entertainment. Having a plus sized model featured in a magazine known for sexualizing women has actually done something positive. It is making the average woman feel sexy.

Plus size model, Ashley Graham, who has appeared in a Calvin Klein ad in Sports Illustrated, told CNN that “the average American woman is size 12-14,” and strongly emphasized the point that “women want to see themselves in magazines.”

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Modelling World Makes Positive Move Towards Showcasing Disabilities

disabilities modelingThis year the fashion industry has made significant moves for representation equality during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC. To begin, mega-retailer Macy’s premiered last week with their “Go Red for Women” campaign on the catwalk, showcasing a line of clothing (all stunning red dresses) in the first-ever collaboration to fight against heart disease in women, backed by The American Heart Association.  “Macy’s has brought awareness [of heart disease] to consumers across America and has raised $46 million for the cause,” goredforwomen.org stated. 

It is only appropriate that the American Heart Association had a part in kicking off this year’s show, because shortly after fashion week began things started to look a bit…different. 

On Feb. 12, 2015, a new campaign was launched on the runway. Role Models Not Runway Models by designer Carrie Hammer set the stage by showcasing her line modeled by people with disabilities. This included American Horror Story actress Jamie Brewer, who is now, remarkably, the first model with Down syndrome to strut down the runway during Fashion Week. 

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Live Like Peter Pan

tinkerbell silhoutteThis month marks the 62nd anniversary of Disney’s release of Peter Pan. I believe we all need to be like Peter Pan. No, not exactly Walt Disney’s Peter Pan. I am talking about the cocky little bastard Peter Pan that J.M. Barrie created in 1904. Peter embodies enough confidence to inspire thousands and does whatever he wants, no matter who is watching.

As we grow up, we tend to lose our confidence and our untroubled way of life. We no longer can approach a random person in the middle of a park and ask if they would like to be friends. While at my age, the park setting may be altered to a bar or party setting, the case remains the same. We no longer have the self-assurance nor the carefree sense of nature to approach a complete stranger. It is of my observation that we have become far too concerned with the thought of being judged to release our carefree, confident side.

One of my favorite quotes comes from PJ Hogan’s 2003 adaptation of Peter Pan. Wendy begins to discuss the topic of love with Peter, and he responds, “Why do you spoil everything? We have fun, don’t we?” 

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Declining Dollar$ Lose Value by Restricting Solely to On-Campus Use

Monmouth University currently has “declining dollars” available for students in their meal plans. Declining dollars can be used at a few areas on campus including Java City, the Student Center, Convenience Store, Jersey Mike’s, and Shadow’s. Different meal plans give different amounts of declining dollars. 

According to the University’s website, the Carte Blanche meal plan includes $50 worth of declining dollars, the 225-meal plan includes $90 worth of declining dollars, the 195-meal plan includes $95 worth of declining dollars, and the 105 meal plan includes $170 worth of declining dollars. 

What if Monmouth University developed a plan where declining dollars could be used at participating local businesses in West Long Branch such as Scala’s, Surf Taco, and Top It Frozen Yogurt? 

Many of these specific businesses already do offer a student discount, for example, Surf Taco gives students a 10 percent discount on their food purchase with a Monmouth ID. This is quite a deal for college kids looking to switch it up and eat off-campus on a budget. However, collaborating even furthermore by incorporating the University’s declining dollars within these local businesses could be even more beneficial to many students.

Steven’s Institute of Technology is a university located in Hoboken, NJ, that has implemented a plan similar to this where students can use “duckbills” at participating local businesses. 

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Monmouth University
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Email: outlook@monmouth.edu