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Opinion

Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)

To Go, or Not to Go to Class? That is the Question

How often do you find yourself sitting in a classroom and thinking, "Wow this is what I woke up for?" Lectures are not always fun, or easy to remain awake through. We've all had those classes, mainly electives or graduation requirements, which feel like nothing more than a waste of time, credits, money, and most importantly, sleep. I understand the University has certain requirements a student must fulfill so that he/she is considered well-rounded enough when entering the real world- or at least that's their excuse for stocking us with unnecessary courses.

My purpose in writing this, however, is to question the theory behind attendance policies. As college students, do we truly need to attend class, or would it be possible to pass without attendance being a factor?

Back in high school, one's attendance record was significant. You either recieved perfect attendance or, on the contrary, absence letters threatening your eligibility for graduation. I was threatened to repeat my junior year due to absences, though they were mostly medically excused, and my grades were on point.

It made no sense to me that the administration wanted to keep me from graduating on time because of a tally of 17 absences. Regardless of the number of missed school days, I managed to ace all my classes. After a long battle they forgave my absences and I was able to move on with my academic life. Still, was all that stress and constant back and forth calling and paperwork necessary? I think not.

I thought once I got to college the rules would change and I would finally have the freedom to attend class as I chose. I mean I am paying for it, right? Wrong.

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Dr. Duckett’s Course: No More Climate Change Skepticism

Ah, the holidays. Famous singer Andy Williams described them in his legendary song, "It's the most wonderful time of the year." The "holidays" usually refer to a period in the United States of America that ranges from around Thanksgiving to New Year's Day, that is filled with food, shopping, and gatherings of families across the country.

The dinner tables on holidays like Christmas are supposed to be filled with joyous conversation, laughs, and catching up with one another, but the mood of the table can change swiftly when one certain topic is brought up: politics.

Even the closest of families can have differing ideological and political views, which can quickly cause conflict at the dinner table. More recently, one of the most discussed and debated topics is climate change.

In simple terms, climate change means exactly what it sounds like: the changes in the climate. Weather patterns and temperatures are often the most talked about examples of climate change. Like most subjects, there are believers and non-believers about climate change. In a general view, the typical political categorization of believers and non-believers of climate change are liberals and conservatives, respectively. But there are conservatives, like myself, who do believe that the climate is changing. As much as you may not want to believe it due to your political allegiance or religious views, the fact is this: the climate is change is real and an immediate threat to our society.

Before taking Dr. Catherine Duckett's (Associate Dean of the School of Science) Climate Science course, I was a climate change skeptic. I thought that there were changes happening in the climate, but I was not sure of the magnitude of sudden change or overall risks if the climate continues to change at the current rate.

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November is National Marrow Awareness Month: Why College Kids Should Care

bone-marrow-factWe all know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. There are walks to raise money for research taking place across and the color pink has become just as popular in October as orange and black. Because of initiatives like these, public awareness about this horrible disease has greatly increased and we're closer than ever to finding a cure and saving even more lives. There's also another cancer fighting initiative coming up in November that could also save people's lives and all it takes to help is a cotton swab.

November has been designated National Marrow Awareness Month to raise public awareness about fighting diseases like Leukemia and Lymphoma and the importance of registering as a bone marrow donor.

Someone in my family battled Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) which is what really opened my eyes to how devastating these blood cancers can be and how much being a marrow donor can help. AML is type of leukemia that, according to Cancer.gov, causes "the bone marrow makes abnormal myeloblasts (a type of white blood cell), red blood cells, or platelets."

My aunt's niece, 13-year-old Hayli Hough, just beat AML. She was diagnosed in August of 2013 and after four rounds of chemotherapy, the cancer was gone. Unfortunately, she relapsed this past April and following two more bouts with chemo, the decision was made to get Hayli a bone marrow transplant. Since the procedure, she is doing great. Hayli was recently released from the hospital and no longer requires 24-hour doctor care. The cancer is gone for the second time. This transplant saved her life.

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American Dream Myth: Tuition Costs Suppress Overall Success

This is not an article that is going to slam Monmouth or any other college or university for having high tuition costs. This is not an article that is going to complain about where my tuition money goes or what I believe it is spent on. This is, instead, an article expressing my beliefs on the fact that something needs to be done about the rising tuition costs in America.

By now, everyone in the world knows that Germany is offering all German citizens, and people from anywhere else in the world, a free college education. It is a revolutionary idea and to most people in America, even myself, it seems unfathomable.

Of course, there are many differences in German universities and American universities. All those extra amenities like gyms, sports teams, career services, advisors, etc. offered at American schools are not offered at German universities. The classes, even the higher-level classes, are all lecture style and offer a midterm and final and are mostly pass fail.

Both experiences are very different but the main point is ANYONE in Germany can go to college. Rich or poor, you can afford to better educate yourself. In America, we know there is a problem with income inequality. People who sit on and below the poverty line have almost no way of moving up because today, most decent paying careers require a degree.

I feel so blessed to know that I am able to afford a higher education, but at the same time know how unfair it is to so many people in America who simply cannot afford it. The American dream seems to be dying. It is so unrealistic to simply work hard and move up in America. I think the government should look at Germany as an example and use it as a way to help Americans.

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Five Old Fashioned Values Gen-Y Should Live By

Generation Y: the "Millennials", "Generation Me", and the "Instant Gratification Generation." Yup, that's us. In a world with social media obsessions, high speed technological development, and much of what we desire readily available right at our fingertips, I hate to break it to you but we sort of live up to it.

I get it, naturally, times change. With the times, so do people, habits and values. And I mean call me old fashioned, but I think we in Generation Me could take some serious lessons from the humbler, more patient and conservative generations that came before us.

Whether it is in relationships, work ethic or attitude, here are five old fashioned values I think we should try to keep alive today and maybe the world will be a little bit better off for it.

1. You can't always get what you want.

Spoiler alert; things in life are not always going to go exactly the way you imaged or according to your perfectly thought out and formulated plans. And that is okay. Often today, it seems our generation is a bit spoiled. We are used to getting necessities quickly, easily, and exactly how we want them thanks to technology, fast food chains, and other advances in convenience.

What I think we tend to forget is that lessons are not learned in getting what we want, but rather when we don't. When we do not get what we want we learn to adapt, grow and see another perspective. We may know what we want, but not what we need and sometimes life gives us just that.

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Halloween Costumes: Lots of Money, Barely Any Material

dallas-costumeAs a favorite holiday of both children and adults approaches, it is only right to speak about the well-known facts: Halloween is your chance to be anyone you have ever wanted to be with a judgment-free card as your encouragement.

It is not only about the opportunity to be someone fictional and unreal, to pretend for a night to have powers or be the "baddest" superhero around, it is about the confidence boost a piece of polyester gives each and every one of us.

The minute we put a costume on, we are no longer the nerd that sits in the front row of science class, or the jock that is barely passing his classes. We are not the weird hipster who is always on his guitar, or the pothead who's secretly a genius. On Halloween, we become our alter egos. In most cases, that alter ego is confident, cool, and untouchable-able to do anything and everything his/her heart desires.

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Now is the Time More Than Ever That You Should be Doing AC

ac"America's favorite playground," "Monopoly City," or the gleaming "city-by-the-sea." Call it what you like, I as well as many others, have fallen in love with Atlantic City and made many fond memories in our little South Jersey treasure.

Fortunately, for those of us who are fond of AC, the city has almost always thrived. From being a famously rebellious place where all bets were off and all alcohol was available during the prohibition, to the wild success of the real estate along the coast with large casinos, clubs and the boardwalk in recent times, we knew our little playground was safe and sound.

But on the other hand, unfortunately, in the past couple of years the economy and success in Atlantic City has been steadily declining and plummeting to dangerous new lows.

With big name casinos such as Showboat, Trump Plaza and Revel closing its doors, it is obvious the city could be in trouble.

The main reason for this slump is likely that other states are opening smaller solo casinos and legalizing online gambling, eliminating the need to make the trip to AC entirely. To me, Atlantic City just has something more going for it than other casino rivals like Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun; it has heart.

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Rule Out Location When Rooting for Out-of-State Sports Teams

When it comes to deciding on a sports team to pull for, most people tend to make their decision based on the area they live in. In this part of Jersey, that tends to mean seeing a lot of "Big Blue" decals on cars or fans decked out in green pulling for the "J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!"

Yes, many people root for teams that play in or around the state they are from. But there are quite a few fans, myself included, who believe "location, location, location" is best served for real estate investors. We rely on other factors when choosing what team to pull for.

When it comes to baseball, embarrassing as it might be, I'm a Mets fan. Yes the "Amazin' Mets" have not lived up to that nickname in quite some time, but you have to stand by your team. While it may seem like I made this decision based on the fact that the Mets are a local team, that's not the case. My grandmother was a die-hard fan of the New York Metropolitans. Because of that my dad and the rest of his family are Mets fans and because of that, my brother and I have been fans of the team since we were kids. Whether they're "amazin'" or not, win or lose, we both bleed orange and blue.

That's how it is with the NHL too. My dad has always been a New York Islanders fans because when he was following hockey, there was no New Jersey Devils franchise. Back then, when you hated the Rangers, the Flyers and the Penguins, the only logical choice was to pull for the Isles. While I don't really mind the Devils, when it comes to teams like the Mets and the Islanders, I feel almost like it's a family tradition to take up a rooting interest in these local underdogs.

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Social Media? More Like Anti-Social Media For This Generation

phoneNow I admit it, I am on my iPhone just as much as everyone else; I check Facebook almost every hour, I am constantly updating photos to my Instagram account, and I am always checking Twitter to see what my favorite celebrities are up to, but how much is this really helping my social skills? Sure, it is called social media for a reason. It helps you keep in touch with your family, friends, celebrity icons, and even your favorite department stores and brands, but what many people don't think about, is how social media is ruining our generation.

Everywhere you look, someone is always on a phone. Take a look around you. Next time you are out to dinner with your family, walking to class, in your doctor's waiting room, I guarantee you will see at least one person on a phone. This is what our generation has come to. No matter where you turn, someone is always on a phone.

This is affecting people's social lives. People do not interact with others like they used to. Some people even use their mobile devices and social media as a form of comfort.

Dr. Michele Van Volkom, a lecturer of psychology, said, "Based on recent research conducted by myself and my co-authors, I cannot say just yet if our communication is 'ruine,' "but it had definitely changed."

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Veganism Health Hype Is Overrated

Many people who consider themselves to be "vegan" have been very misinformed as to exactly what being a true vegan means and are potentially putting themselves at risk.

Since the food trend started about a year ago, people have been giving up all animal products and by-products in order to maintain a healthier lifestyle. What these people do not realize is that they're not actually vegan, they just have a vegan diet.

According to The Vegan Society, veganism defines as "a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to animals for food, clothing or any other purpose."

So what does this mean for the "vegans" out there? Basically, they are not exactly what they make themselves out to be. Yes, their diet is free of anything animal related, but what about the rest of their daily lives?

Part of living like a vegan involves making sure every aspect of your life is free of any form of animal "exploitation." You may be wondering why I put quotes around "exploitation." Well, let's just say I didn't know that wearing wool could make a sheep feel exploited. I apologize to you, sheep.

Thankfully, the animal rights advocates over at PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has provided the vegan version of "What Not to Wear" on their website. Every article of clothing you could possibly imagine wearing, minus underwear and bras for some reason, is highlighted on this mini fashion tutorial. So if you're thinking of becoming a vegan, it might be best to get rid of those cute leather boots and fancy wool coat.

While veganism preaches that we should feel guilty about "exploiting" animals in our daily lives, it fails to discuss the health risks that come with being a vegan. It is very gracious of those who choose to be vegan to be kind to the animals of the world, but what about them?

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Appreciate Your Internship

Internships have become a major part of the college experience. Here at Monmouth, students cannot graduate unless they complete at least one of them and gain some experience working in their respective fields.

At first, I saw this as nothing more than an inconvenience; something else school-related I had to complete that would only eat up more of my free time. And it's not even going to pay, so what's the point? But after completing my first internship this summer, I see how valuable these experiences can be.

As a communication major, I initially thought about interning at a place like the Asbury Park Press or the Star Ledger. But after meeting with John Morano, a professor of communication and advisor to The Outlook, he suggested I look into working at the New Egypt Speedway as well. As a big race fan, this was the first place I applied.

I started on the night of one of the biggest races of the year; the night when the World of Outlaws 410 sprint car series came to town. My duties involved answering phones and putting wristbands on drivers and fans at the pit entrance.

Initially, I really couldn't see what this had to do with my major, but after performing these jobs on a more regular basis, I realized how much my communication skills had improved. To say that I'm quiet would be a serious understatement, but having to deal with the public on a regular basis really helped me become more outgoing; something that journalists and public relations professionals need to succeed.

Speaking of public relations, I had taken a few classes surrounding this field at Monmouth, even though my main focus has been on journalism. When I got to New Egypt Speedway, however, I really got a good taste of how important grassroots public relations campaigns can be.

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Contact Information

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The Outlook
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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