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Last updateWed, 19 Feb 2020 2pm

Opinion

Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)

Op Ed to Previous Story: Why You Should Not Fear Studying Abroad

Being Afraid To Leave Your Comfort Zone Restricts You More Than You Realize


“Sometimes, we find ourselves in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, we find ourselves.” Our entire lives, we live in fear of death. It is the shadow that lurks behind us no matter what we do or where we are. 

Our lives are so fragile. So many people are dying to live, but simply not seizing the day. They are just living to die. It is often that we cling to what we know because that is what we are comfortable with- with comfortability, there is no unknown. Sure, that may be appealing to some. 

But is that a life you really want to live? Do you want to die, only having seen the comforts of your own home because you are scared of the unknown? Comfortability does not show us the true wonders of life and the world in which we live. It does not help us grow and find ourselves. In retrospect, it keeps us in the same place for the entirety of our lives. 

We were not born with roots. We are fortunate enough to live in a country where almost anything is possible. So many people are homesick for places that they do not know. Fear cannot stop you from living your life. With that being said, fear cannot stop you from studying abroad. 

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Through The Eyes of a Transfer Student

The parking lots are terrible, the traffic around school is terrible, and everyone already seems to know each other. This may not be surprising to you, but it is to me. 

No, I’m not antisocial. I’m just a transfer student. 

Now, I come from a small private college tucked away in the mountains of Southern Connecticut, so I’m pretty used to the small college deal. I was not expecting a state school feel at all and in fact I was expecting Monmouth to be slightly similar.

There are so many things that I should know about this school that all other juniors seem to know. Yet, I feel like more of a freshman than I did when I actually was one two years ago. 

For one, everyone already knows each other. They have found some type of niche where they fit in and have formed a group of people that they call friends. They recognize faces on campus and are comfortable in their surroundings. People have joined their sorority, fraternity, or some other organization. 

Where do I fit in? I left my old sorority and don’t want to join another one out of respect and while I’ve made attempts to get involved, after a semester I can only count my friends on one hand. People are not as welcoming as I had hoped. 

I was never anticipating anyone to roll out the welcome wagon or have a welcoming committee sing me to class. At this point, the “unwelcomeness” has actually formed another “clique.” For those who have not yet noticed, most of the transfer students seem to flock together—we are going through the same transition after all. 

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Texts Instead of Door Knocks: Is Dating a Thing of the Past?

textA walk along the beach, a picnic in the park, dinner and a movie. They may not be original dates, but they are definitely classic dates. But for generation Y, is dating a thing in the past? Do people go on legitimate dates like they used to? 

The idea of a date is moving towards “let’s hang out at my house with a bunch of friends” rather than “would you want to go out to dinner and then catch a movie after?” Guys and girls rarely take a walk along the beach or have picnics in the park. You are most likely to find a couple hanging out at a party and considering that a date. This world is losing its romance. 

The idea of dating has changed from dinner and a movie to ‘hanging out,’ and traditional dates are very hard to find in today’s society. If you ask your grandparents how they met and compare it to how you and your significant other have met, I guarantee you it will be completely different. 

Older generations have very romantic stories about when they first started “talking.” These older generations can talk for hours about how their first date was a picnic in the park or their first kiss was on a beach at sunset. With today’s generation, you will never find that. 

Our generation will tell our grandkids that they met their lover while at a college party and their first kiss was while they were hanging out at home or at a random bar. 

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Why Being In Love Can Be So Damn Stressful, But So Damn Worth It

I don’t know about you, but my idea of being in love has always been painted by those sappy rom-coms featuring Ryan Gosling, Gerard Butler, and Leonardo DiCaprio. I always imagined being constantly showered with love, flowers, chocolates, and gifts and being told that if I was a bird, he was a bird, a la The Notebook. 

I always pictured that I’d constantly be bombarded with so many love notes that, eventually, I’d have enough to wallpaper our entire house together, paralleling Butler’s love in P.S. I Love You. 

I envisioned that if we were on a sinking cruise ship, I’d get the final chunk of floating door frame, sprawl across it, and would eventually find my way to safety all in part due to my completely selfless hunk of a DiCaprio-esque man, just like in Titanic.

But that vision of love is a tad unrealistic. It is flawed which is why I curse movie directors and producers every single day for tainting my idea of love. Love is never as smooth and lovely and rainbow-y and unicorn-y as it is painted in the movies; but once you overcome the obstacles, it is the grandest of all prizes that one can possibly win.

You see, going from being single to being in a relationship is a life-altering transition, and only the most dedicated will survive. It’s almost as if you’re thrown into this Hunger Games arena of love – “May the odds be ever in your favor.” You have to channel your inner Katniss Everdeen and really fight for what you love, and who you love.

You go from completely focusing on yourself from an independent perspective, to now being totally submerged in a partnership. 

You have to now become selfless. You have to now become open. You have to now think in terms of not “I” anymore, but as a “we” and an “us.” 

Being in a relationship, I now not only worry about my own personal happiness, but my partner’s. Essentially, I’m not truly happy until I see that huge, glistening smile painted across my lover’s face. I now consider my partner when weighing huge life decisions, because, as you know, a partner shares these experiences with you. 

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Disney Princesses Prove Valid Life Lessons

Glass slippers, fairy godmothers, magic carpets, finding true love, and of course, happy endings are what fairy tales are all about, but is this the only element of Disney movies? Many see Disney films as “just a fairy tale” and “impossible” but what if there is a deeper meaning to Disney princess stories? What if Disney princesses  inspire those watching them? 

To begin, Cinderella, as everyone knows, is about a young girl who loses her father at a young age and ends up being forced to live with her stepfamily. Her stepmother and stepsisters are very unloving, bossy, and cold hearted. Cinderella is treated very unfairly, being forced to do her stepfamily’s laundry, cooking, cleaning, and all of their other chores. One of the many lessons from Disney’s Cinderella is to choose to remain kind and thoughtful. Instead of returning evil with evil, Cinderella chooses to be kind and thoughtful, even with the way she was being treated. Cinderella teaches viewers to remain acting kind and appropriately even if one is surrounded by evil and unfair behavior. 

Another lesson that can be taught by Disney’s Cinderella is to never give up and to hold onto your hope and dreams. Cinderella was forced to grow up in poverty while her stepfamily lived in riches. This story teaches viewers to enjoy the simple things in life. Cinderella never gave up hope and always had an optimistic attitude; Cinderella got her happy ending by holding onto hope. This teaches viewers that if you set your mind to something and never give up, one can achieve their goals and have their own happy ending.  

Aladdin tells the story of a young princess, Jasmine, who is being forced to get married by the age of sixteen. Jasmine only has a few days left to find a suitor to marry. She feels this is unfair and decides to run away. Jasmine is a wonderful role model for viewers. Jasmine knows she deserves to be treated equally. She does not let anyone push her around and she wants to decide her own fate and future. She wants to be herself and wants to decide for herself. Jasmine teaches viewers to stand up for themselves, to believe in oneself, and that everyone deserves to be treated equally. 

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Grades vs. Experience

What if everything you have done thus far in life suddenly didn’t matter anymore? What if someone told you, your college GPA and all of the classes you took amounted to absolutely nothing? What then?

It is up for debate that the grades you get in college actually matter in the real world. It’s great to have the satisfaction of being rewarded with excellent grades for schoolwork, but what about what you do outside of school? What if you’re so focused on your grades that there’s no time for an internship? 

In an article from USA Today, the four main reasons why your grades will not matter after college are discussed. One of the reasons is “grade inflation” making your GPA worth less than it actually is. The article points out that those select 4.0 students are not entirely uncommon. There are other schools with other students who also happen to do well. In fact, there are whole schools of people who consistently get great grades. It is because of this that grades become less valuable. 

Huffington Post argues in “Why Grades Don’t Really Matter That Much After All,” that grades have an effect on one’s self-esteem. They suggest that people are so focused on getting that top mark that students aren’t realizing that they’re getting something out of just taking the class. Regardless of the grade they get, it is more about the content they absorbed and how they can apply it in the real world.

Also in this place called “the real world,” there are people out there looking to hire college students. These same people want to hire someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. Now, let’s say that the employer is looking for a specific skill that you weren’t able to take a class in because of scheduling reasons, but you learned all about that same skill through doing an internship. In this same hypothetical situation, your competitor has only taken a class on this very specific skill, got an A, but has never had any out of class experience with this skill. Who’s getting hired? The one with the real life experience or the one whose only learned about it in school?

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Sia’s Music Madness Starring Shia LaBeouf and Maddie Ziegler

shia labeoufIrrelevance: every celebrity’s worst nightmare. Clearly, Shia LaBeouf can attest to that. The 29-year-old actor has been struggling with the transition from a popularly sought-out actor, to wearing a paper bag that reads, “I Am Not Famous Anymore;” a very natural and common response to feeling forgotten (or not). Though it may be hard to imagine why, this bold move certainly drew the attention of the media and its viewers, including singer and performer Sia.

Sia is an up-and-coming female pop artist, commonly known for her hit single, “Chandelier.”  Her latest music video, Elastic Heart, features two interestingly selected people, the “not-so-famous” LaBeouf, and 12-year-old and Dance Moms star, Maddie Ziegler. Though this is an interesting pair for a music video, it is not nearly as interesting as the setting of the video.

There are two things that negatively drew my attention: the concept and the visual. In this video, Sia places LaBeouf and Ziegler on opposite sides of a cage. The video opens with the two staring at each other with obvious hostility in their eyes. 

LaBeouf is wearing small, tight nude shorts, and Ziegler is wearing a nude leotard. Though it would not be my outfit of choice, the clothes are not what I find strange. Instead, I find it weird that the two are made up to look basically nude together. Keep in mind that LaBeouf is 29 and that Ziegler is 12. Knowing about this drastic age gap turns this video to a somewhat creepy scene and is hard to get past while watching.

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For the Love of Lectures: Please Stop the PowerPoint Presentations

We’ve all had that class before. Walking into the dark, ominous room, the only sign of life coming from a stream of fluorescent illumination out of a machine somewhere in the middle of the space, finding its home on a screen in front of the room.  The class where the only thing harder than retaining information is keeping your eyes open.  The class no one wants to go to.

I thought it would end in high school.  Being lead like cattle to a classroom where the teacher is too young to know better or too old to care, reading their pre-school year determined lessons word for word from Microsoft PowerPoint.  

This involves professors rarely adding their own input and leaves minimal opportunity for intellectual, interesting dialogue with students.

The fact is, it shouldn’t be happening in high school, or middle school for that matter.  What is even worse is that it is happening at esteemed universities.

Created in 1990, Microsoft PowerPoint has made itself a substantial impact on schools of all levels throughout the country.  And, when used properly, it can be a helpful tool in sparking discussion and providing an easy and “green” (which everyone loves) alternative to printing out notes for students to follow along on.  

However, it’s when teachers and professors become reliant on what is supposed to be a springboard for learning, can they hinder their students’ ability to take in information.

“I have never used PowerPoint and never will,” said Michael White, a seventh and eighth grade Language Arts teacher at Asbury Park Middle School in Asbury Park, New Jersey.  “If I’m not feeding off the students and they’re not feeding off of me, there can be no creative energy in the classroom.  A machine can’t create that energy.”

I know what you’re thinking, Michael White is my father. Well, yes, you’d be right.  However, he is also considered in high regard one of the best teachers in his field of Language Arts in the northeast region by some colleagues.

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Reality Television Series: Don’t Think Too Much Into Them

Reality shows are considered lazy, thoughtless TV and are usually filled with a bunch of ordinary people with no special talents. Even if you don’t watch reality shows, or want to admit you watch, everyone knows what each of them are about and what type of impact they are putting on today’s society, but is that impact really as bad as we think? Does this so-called “true TV” send positive messages to their audience, or do they influence viewers to follow in their footsteps?

In 2009, MTV got permission to film the pregnancies from six different teenage girls for 16 and Pregnant in hopes that it would allow viewers to learn from these girls mistakes and to be careful. They wanted their viewers to see what a struggle being a teen mom can be and wanted teens to wait to start a family until they were self-established. MTV also created a spin off series called Teen Mom. Both of these shows followed real life teenage girls throughout their pregnancy and showed viewers what it was really like to have a child.

Sure, these reality shows infamously presented the audience with these teenage girls who became “famous” and got paid a ton of money just because they were teen moms, but studies showed that teen pregnancy rates dropped enormously since the premiere of 16 and Pregnant. 

Both of these shows can be seen as “glamourizing” teen pregnancy, but statistics don’t lie. Shockingly, teenagers who watched these shows realized how much of a struggle being a teen mom really is. 

According to a CNN writer, Jacque Wilson, “Between 1991 and 2008, the rate dropped steadily at an average of about 2.5 percent a year. In the past four years, it had dropped even more dramatically at a rate of about 7.5 percent per year.” The decreased rate changed in 2009, which is when both 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom both premiered on MTV. Although parents may not like their children watching reality shows like 16 and Pregnant or Teen Mom, they may actually be sending a good message to their viewers. 

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Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Sends the Wrong Message

It goes without saying that the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is probably one of the biggest events to kick off the holiday season. Both men and women love watching all of the supermodels strut their stuff in their 2 million dollar bra and lingerie, but at what cost?

In an interview with Fox News, some of Victoria’s Secret’s most prestigious models talked about the dieting techniques they use to stay for the fashion show. Their answers varied from juice cleanses to portion control and one model was even said that she doesn’t do anything special to prepare for the event.

Ultimately, there is no natural beauty for these women. They work so hard to fit into ridiculous outfits they will only wear once in their life.Even worse: they are willing to do this to themselves multiple times.

Why starve yourself and go on crazy diets just for one night of fashion? More questionable is the example that is set for the young women and girls that watch this show. These models, and the people of Victoria’s Secret, are saying that it is okay to do whatever it takes to fit into a size two even if it means essentially cutting down on all of the food groups that sustain your life.

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Ugly Christmas Sweaters

The ugly Christmas sweater is becoming an omnipresent item of the holiday season. Many people are buying and borrowing tacky sweaters to wear to ugly Christmas sweater themed parties. Telltale signs of these unpleasant sweaters are cartoon snowmen with fuzzy pom poms for decoration, Christmas trees decorated with red and green felt applique, Santa with a fuzzy beard, and of course Rudolph with his bright red nose.

The garments are also usually itchy, too large or too small, and uncomfortable to wear. If they are so ugly and uncomfortable, why is there such a craze over ugly Christmas sweaters?

Well, if you have ever been invited to an ugly Christmas sweater party you would know that it is an entertaining tradition. You do not have to worry about dressing up or looking nice; you can basically look ridiculous for a night and fit in with everyone else.

Actually, the worse you look, the more popular you are at the party. The sweaters give the party a more fun atmosphere, than any other holiday party.

Your first step in attending one of these parties is obtaining an ugly sweater. One option is making your own garment. Taking a trip to the arts and crafts store to pick out silly decorations to put on your sweater is a fun tradition to do with friends.

You have pom poms, colored felt, bows, ornaments, ribbons, bells, candy canes, feathers, garland, beads, tinsel, lights and much more to choose from. Once you choose the décor, grab a glue gun or sewing kit and get to work. It’s all about making your sweater the most obnoxious garment at the party.

If you do not have time to craft your own ugly sweater, consignment and thrift stores are always an option to find something cheap and hideous.

But, if you do not want to spend money you could search through your parents or a grandparent’s drawers for sweaters that they think are, of course, beautiful.

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Contact Information

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

MAILING ADDRESS
The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey
07764

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu