Last updateWed, 19 Feb 2020 2pm


Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)

Here Comes Valentine’s Day!

0203 page 05Keep an eye out for Cupid’s arrow because Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Love it or hate it, the Valentine’s Day season has begun. The debate continues every year that questions that validity of the holiday. Is it purely a “Hallmark holiday” or is it a legitimate holiday?

My personal take on this question is that Valentine’s Day technically is the feast day of St. Valentine, that doesn’t make it a legitimate “holiday.” Christian churches celebrate many saints’ feast days, but we do not consider any of them legitimate holidays. For example, even one of Catholicism’s most beloved saints, St. Francis of Assisi, doesn’t have his own widely celebrated holiday. The average person doesn’t even know who St. Valentine was and why he is affiliated with Valentine’s Day (including myself!), besides the obvious affiliation of his name.

So, a brief history: St. Valentine was a priest when the emperor, Claudius, was persecuting the church and preventing marriages. St. Valentine married couples in secret because of his strong belief in love and marriage. Valentine’s last written note before his execution was supposedly signed “from Your Valentine.” This is where we get the tradition of love and notes/valentines associated with the holiday.

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Is Steven Avery Innocent or Not?

Making a Murderer is a documentary series that has been getting a lot of attention recently. This 10-episode series focuses on the conviction of a Wisconsin man, Steven Avery. The Netflix original series became available this December, and since then it has had a lot of people talking.

The series begins with Avery being released from prison after a wrongful conviction of 18 years. After this, Avery began a $36 million civil suit filed against Manitowoc County. While in the middle of this, news came out about the death of Teresa Halbach, a local woman. Avery instantly become a suspect in the case and later police found signs that pointed to Avery committing the crime. The show goes in depth analyzing the court case surrounding the death of Halbach.

The show consists of actual court footage and interviews with almost everyone involved in the case. As the viewer you are presented with both sides of the story, allowing you to form your own opinion on whether you think Avery is innocent or not. The most important evidence is that the body of Halbach was found on Avery’s property. Opposed to this, there are many instances where it looks like some blood evidence could have been planted on the scene.

There are a lot of loose ends in this case, which gives the viewer so much room to form his or her own opinion. While the police evidence looks like it could prove Avery guilty, the opposing side shows there is a possibility some of the evidence could have been tampered with. Avery is also not able to provide a good alibi. Besides the evidence making Avery look guilty, there are some people saying they saw him do it. His nephew Brandon also made a confession to the police saying that he was there when Avery killed Halbach.

After watching the series, most viewers have expressed that they do not think Avery is guilty, and some have even gone as far as making petitions to get him a retrial and possibly out of jail. I just do not think there is enough evidence that proves Avery did not do it. Yes, I agree that there is some evidence presented by the police that doesn’t add up. I do not think Avery has enough evidence to support that he is innocent, especially with inconsistent confessions from his family. I think the documentary focuses a lot on the police and that they could have planted evidence in this case in order to prove Steven to be guilty. Although there is nothing right about the police planting evidence, there is nothing that can prove Avery had nothing to do with the murder.

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The Family You Love to Hate

Kardashian GirlsThere’s nothing better than spending a lazy Sunday binge-watching your favorite shows. Netflix slyly asks if you’re still watching and without any shame you click continue and move to season six of your favorite show, because you’re a champion.

There’s a lot of guilty pleasures that come with binge- watching, especially in particular genres. Reality television stole my heart from a young age as I was horribly influenced by crappy shows on MTV like The Real World or The Challenge, and now I just can’t get enough of indulging myself in other people’s lives. Cue Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

Whether you love them or you hate them, the Kardashians are a household name. America as a whole can probably agree they are a family famous for absolutely nothing of true value and somehow found a way to turn that into a net worth of close to 100 million dollars. That’s pretty impressive and all of us cynical people are jealous of their luxorious lifestyles. I know I am.

I started out like one of you, hating the Kardashians for their fame and fortune. One day I stumbled upon E! Network and found myself laughing harder at a show than I had in a long time. First of all, Scott Disick is actually hilarious and always calls the family out for acting spoiled. Second of all, if you can’t find a way to laugh at all the first world problems encountered in an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. From Kim losing her $60,000 earrings in the ocean in Bora Bora, to not being able to agree where the family should vacation next, to the group of women trying to figure out if they have enough money to afford their own private jet, it’s sure to give you a nice laugh. Here I am, a broke college student, struggling to afford anything that would be remotely fun and this family potentially has the money to finance a private jet. Kourtney deserves at least some credit considering she’s the only sister with a college degree, which came from University of Arizona, while Kendall and Kylie graduating high school actually made breaking news.

While the family is most famous for their sarcastic attitudes and nude photo shoots, the sisters have accomplished a decent amount of success outside of the show. Kourtney, Kim, and Khloe are all business owners of their clothing store DASH, which expanded to two other locations after the show’s launch. The women also had a child-clothing store called Smooch, which was closed to expand DASH to Miami and New York.

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The 2016 Oscars Cause Controversy

The Oscars 2016What’s with the lack of diversity amongst the 2016 Oscar Nominees? This has been a question that many people have been asking since the list of the 2016 Oscar nominees was announced two weeks ago. All 20 nominations in the Best Acting categories went to white actors or actresses. The recent news has some black actors like Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith boycotting the ceremony because of the lack of diversity. Others like director Spike Lee have also refused to go to the ceremony due to the way the Academy has voted. I’m sure this will also put Chris Rock, who is the host of this year’s Oscars in an awkward situation, but he is a comedian, so he will laugh it off and most likely make a joke out of this controversial debate.

I do understand why the Oscars is such a big deal for artists in Hollywood. It is the crowning achievement an actor, director or screen writer can get. This stamp of recognition that once you are at least nominated, you’ve made it amongst the elite in show business. You will be mentioned in the likes of all the great actors, directors etc. past and present. It seems like a validation, but when you look at the history of the Oscars, the odds have not been in favor of people of color. For all the white actors that have won Oscars, only a small margin of people of color have won the award: Hattie McDaniel, Sidney Poitier, Rita Moreno, Louis Gossett Jr., Denzel Washington, and Morgan Freeman to name a few. Halle Berry was the first black actress to win Best Actress in 2002.

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New Year, New Me?

Year 2016Let’s have some real talk about new years resolutions. People make new years resolutions every single new year. There are some common ones such as losing weight, saving money, eating healthier, etc. The great thing about these new years resolutions is that they are always very positive.

At first, most people start out strong with their new years resolutions—*new year, new me*— but, after some time, people lose motivation. It is around this time in the new year that this starts to happen. But, it doesn’t have to happen to you! While you really can’t be a “new you,” there is a definite possibility for you to better the old you. It is important not to forget in your “new you” who you really are.

Don’t make ridiculous new years resolutions that you can’t follow through on. You should be realistic in your resolutions. Just because it is a new year, doesn’t mean that the “old you” who couldn’t run a mile in four minutes, can run a marathon the next day as the “new you.”

I think that is the biggest mistake when it comes to new years resolutions. Instead of trying to alter your appearance all at once, I might suggest that you work on strengthening your mind also. For example, I am terrified of the dentist, so, every year I make it my new years resolution to schedule my dentist cleanings for the year.

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Tackling Depression in the Media

Owen Wilson. Demi Lovato. Gwyneth Paltrow. Brooke Shields.

What do all of these celebrities have in common? All have struggled with depression and all have been open about it.

Depression is defined by the U.S. National Library of Medicine as “a state of mood of low aversion or activity that affects a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings, and sense of well-being.”

More and more, celebrities like Lovato and Paltrow have stepped forward with this issue. It is probably wise to say that it has had a positive effect on fans and the public eye and that being in the public eye itself makes managing depression more so a positive thing than a negative one.

For one, it helps those who cannot speak for themselves. Fans of these celebrities often look to them as role models. When they come out as having a mental health issue, it shows that they too are human and makes them relatable.

Being in the public eye also creates awareness about the subject. Depression is not something that is a light topic, but with public figures starting to speak about it, it creates more awareness about the topic. When Lovato came out as bipolar and depressed, immediately the press picked up the story about her going to rehab and soon after, she shared her story. Between interviews on ABC and even writing her own memoir, Lovato has provided more awareness about depression and mental illness than ever before.

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Papers Vs. Exams

Papers and ExamsThere are so many different pros and cons to having your final exam be an essay you write at home or having it be a traditional exam you take at school. In a way the two are almost incomparable because they are in such different leagues, but it is worth taking a look at the way they measure up.



Wiggle Room—with writing an essay, it seems as though professors can be more lenient with grading. There is more wiggle room for you to get a better grade when writing an essay because it is a more subjective way of assessing knowledge.

More Time—if you are assigned the essay in advance, you know exactly when it is due and you usually have multiple days to complete it. Therefore, it is easier to get the essay exactly how you want it.

Don’t Have to Come in on Final Day—for many professors, if they assign an essay as the final assessment in lieu of an actual exam, they won’t make you come in for the scheduled examination period. And, if they do make you come in, it is usually just to hand the essay in and say goodbye!

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Preparing for Finals

Finals GraphIt’s that time of the year again - something that every college student dreads: finals. It’s that point in the semester that makes you question all of your life decisions and wonder why you ever chose the path of going to college. Although finals can be described as an accurate depiction of the underworld, if you prepare for finals the right way, you may be able to walk out them alive, and with a decent grade.

Here are a few ways to prepare for finals:

Get Organized - One good way to start preparing for your finals is to get organized. Sit down and write out each final you have and what it covers.

“For some of my classes, I don’t have a final. As for the finals I do have, some of my finals are cumulative and some only cover specific chapters. I like to sit down, look at my class schedule, list which classes I have a final for and what I need to cover for each of those finals. For instance, my communication ethics class final is based on the entire semester but my public relations final is based on just the last three chapters from the textbook,” said Madison Dorn, a junior communication major.

By getting organized you are preparing yourself for what you need to do, so that you aren’t scrambling when time is running out.

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Invisible Illnesses, Not Invisible Symptoms

According to Molly’s Fund, a charity that supports invisible illnesses, “Invisible disabilities are chronic illnesses and conditions that significantly impair normal activities of daily living. In the United States, 96 percent of people with chronic medical conditions show no outward signs of their illness, and 10 percent experience symptoms that are considered disabling.”

Invisible illnesses like anxiety, depression, ADHD, and chronic pain are very present in many people, but you often wouldn’t know by looking at someone – or even talking to them. They are diseases that run under the surface, and are often hard for people to understand. These invisible illnesses are tough – not just for the people that have it, also for the people that stick with them – while they’re going through it. Invisible illnesses are emotionally taxing on both ends because it can be difficult to open up about. How do we introduce the topic when we meet someone new? Do we even introduce the topic at all?

There are things to remember when approaching the topic of invisible illnesses. Having anxiety, depression, or ADD/ADHD is physically demanding at times, and obviously even more mentally demanding most of the time. When you have a mental disease, emotional needs can change daily, even every few hours. Here are some things to understand about invisible illnesses:

“But you don’t look depressed? You look fine.”

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When Books Turn Into Movies: Should You Be Excited or Weary?

TPeter Lannisterhe last film in The Hunger Games trilogy, “Mockingjay: Part 2” just hit theaters on Nov. 16. Based off the bestselling book series by Suzanne Collins, Katniss Everdeen is the fierce heroine played by Jennifer Lawrence in the film adaptations. The movies have garnered a lot of attention and soared in popularity since the first movie was released in 2012.

Strong female heroines are the kind of characters that are in demand right now, but as someone who has read the book series, I was very surprised to see that there was no opposition to the casting of Lawrence. In the books, Katniss is described as a 16-year old girl who has straight black hair, gray eyes and olive skin. Sounds like Katniss has features in common with a Native American Indian, doesn’t it?  Jennifer Lawrence is beautiful and a great actress, but does not fit this description. Even though she died her hair a darker color, I still can’t help feel that the casting was off. I remember the uproar over the young black actress (Amandla Stenberg) casted as Rue. It was disappointing to see the double standard of views when Jennifer Lawrence does not look anything like the book description of Katniss.  For the record, I thought Stenberg made an excellent Rue by the way.

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The Introverted/Extroverted Dichotomy

Part of anyone’s personality is his/her tendency to be either introverted or extroverted. Not to say that people cannot possess qualities of both.

According to the Myers Brigg Foundation, extroverted people are usually seen as outgoing, are comfortable and like working in groups, have a lot of friends and acquaintances, and are more action-oriented than an introvert. Introverts, on the other hand, according to the same foundation, are seen as more reserved or reflective, are more comfortable doing things on his/her own, prefer to know a small amount of people very well, and sometimes think too much about things and end up missing out.

Both personality types are very different, but a person does not have to be purely extroverted or purely introverted. For example, I would identify myself more as being introverted, but that does not meant that I am comfortable being alone. I like to have my few close friends around me whenever I can. The same can be true for extroverts. Just because you are an extrovert does not mean that you love group work. I have a friend who is an extrovert who hates group work. If you ask me, we are all a mix of both. But, yes, there is usually one type that takes the majority of a personality.

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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
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu