Last updateThu, 02 Apr 2020 1pm


Realistic Meal Prep

Meal PrepMeal prep. You see the hashtags all over Twitter, Instagram and Facebook along with beautiful pictures of appetizing meals that claim to require little to no effort. Hah. How many times have I convinced myself that I would adopt that #mealprep lifestyle only to abandon it shortly after chopping just one vegetable? More times than I can recall, thats for sure.

Here’s the thing, I love to cook and the kitchen is my happy place, so spending a good chunk of my time in the kitchen to prepare the thing I love most in life, food, sounds like a no brainer...right? Wrong.

Being a college student is time-consuming enough, on top of also having a part-time job, all the while trying to maintain a somewhat active social life. You all get it, life has a way of just getting in the way sometimes.

Side note: I am so the type of person to make myself a peanut butter sandwich for dinner on a night that I have absolutely no obligations, yet when I have three papers due, a research assignment and two exams to study for, I suddenly become Julia Child and whip up a freaking four-course Michelin worthy meal. Procrastination strikes at the strangest times...

Back to business: As I was saying, I’m too busy (lazy) to be an intense meal-prepper, but it’s ok! If you find yourself in a similar situation, find out how to make meal prepping work for you. Even if it just means throwing a yogurt and a granola bar into your lunch box (I can’t be the only one who still uses a lunchbox, right?) the night before, so be it! Sure, technically you just threw packaged items into a bag, but alas, in doing so you are now prepared for your next meal, how simple was that!

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Guatemala: Do's and Don'ts

Guatemala Do DontAccording to the Institute of International Education 2017 Open Doors report, 325,339 American students earned academic credit while studying abroad in 2015/16. Another 23,125 U.S. students were involved in non-credit work including internships and volunteer programs abroad.

After a recent credit-bearing, service learning experience in Guatemala with Chris Hirschler, Ph. D. and eight Monmouth University students, I’ve learned that there are many things to consider when embarking on travel associated with an international service-learning course.

Guatemala Public Health (HE 376), involved extensive research and preparation in order to successfully serve people in Guatemala. We served in homes (where we built bunk beds for families and assembled water filters), public hospitals, a women’s domestic violence shelter (Nuevos Horizontes/New Horizons). We cleaned up garbage, distributed water and other items to hospital patients, fed starving animals, and gave health lessons. We also spent time experiencing the local culture through food and conversations, listened to medical and animal lectures, hiked Pacaya Volcano, and enjoyed luxuries like swimming pools, hot tubs, and spas. The following advice comes from my own experience and the perceptions of others based on conversations and interviews.

DO research your opportunities. Find out what is available in terms of destination(s), the goals and objectives, length of travel, supervising faculty, size of the group that will travel, requirements to enroll and travel, the cost of the trip, including obtaining a passport and acquiring the necessary vaccinations.

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Falling in Love with Food

Love With FoodI realized something quite recently and it has made me re-consider my whole relationship with food. My newfound view on life may lead me to become morbidly obese, but so be it, I’ll be smiling bite after bite.

Ok, I’m being a bit dramatic but in all seriousness, the minute you learn to see food as fuel and not as a punishment or something to feel guilty about, life gets a whole lot easier, less stressful and much tastier.

I’ve always been one to treat myself from time to time, but for the most part ever since I was old enough to realize that what I put into my body actually matters and that no matter how confident I may feel, body image is a common thing to struggle with. For this reason, I have been very wary of which foods I choose to consume, and which ones to turn a blind eye to.

In no way am I the vision of health, yes I can pig out on ice cream and desserts and indulge at dinner here and there, but for a while I was letting my desire to achieve a “perfect body” outweigh my need to self-love.

I remember a time back when I was 14 or 15 and I was counting calories. Yes, you read that right. At a time when my metabolism was faster than Usain Bolt, I was concerned with whether or not my breakfast cereal or peanut butter and jelly was going to make me fat. I became so obsessed with tracking my daily calorie intake that eating was no longer an enjoy-able experience for me, but one that required careful thought and calculations, and if you know me, you know I despise anything to do with simple addition or subtraction.

Anyway, I eventually realized that all my fussing over calories, carbs, and cholesterol would get me nowhere in life and I decided that rather than obsess over food, I would learn to love it and find a balance between nourishment and indulgence! I am thankful that I never let my silly calorie concerns get out of hand, as I know that these types of obsessions can turn into eating disorders and self-esteem issues.

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Finding Motivation on Social Media

default article imageIt’s no secret that people spend an absurd amount of time on social media. Love it or hate it, most people find themselves scrolling down their Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn timeline and looking at Snapchats a lot more than they would like to admit.

These social media platforms give a sense of pressure of needing to do more with your life. I find myself feeling the need to improve my life after spending time on social media. Although there are sometimes negative ideas surrounding this topic, the effect of social media can in fact be positive.

People on social media are constantly sharing personal information such as job offers, pregnancies, grades, and travels. When you see a post about someone earning a job promotion on LinkedIn for example, you will probably begin to think about your own career and where you stand.

Seeing other people flourish in their careers on social media can have a positive impact on your own. Seeing competition will make you want to work that much harder. LinkedIn is also an app that allows users to share inspiring stories about becoming successful and how to be better person over all. Spending time on this app allows people to learn ways to better their life in and out of the workplace.

The same holds true with Instagram. I follow a lot of accounts that I feel motivate and inspire me to live a better life. Fitness accounts can push you to get up off the couch and become more active.

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Living with the 'Rents

default article imageWhen I say that I’m a senior and I’m a commuter, oftentimes, people think I am living with a group of friends, or maybe I’ve ventured off on my own. But, when I follow that up with, “No, I still live at home,” I’m usually left with an, “Oh that’s cool,” with a tone of voice that matches the very uncool.

There are upsides and downsides to living at home, just like living anywhere would have its pros and cons, minus the issues of paying rent; the only difference being if I get into a fight with one of my roommates, I really won’t hear the end of it.

I’ve obviously lived with my parents since before day one, but, as any kid, I ‘hated’ them at times when I was a moody teenager, and as I got older, I realized, it’s going to be hard to finally move out because of the bond I’ve created with them over the years.

Living with your parents can cause some major headaches; I am one of the main caregivers in my home which means if I have the opportunity to be home, then I am going to go home 100 percent. Dedicating enough time to work, my internship, home, classes, and other organizations I’m affiliated with means that I have to explain to my parents I won’t be home all the time or that I can’t leave campus at the drop of a hat.

For me, I live in a house with my mom, dad, grandma, and my aunt and uncle. It’s easy to lose sight of how simple it is to live on your own when all you’ve ever experienced is a full house--cue theme music now.

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Sweet Potato Tater Tots

Sweet Potato Tater TotsEveryone has a favorite food.  Whether you are an animated bunny who loves carrots, a sailorman who loves spinach, or a monster who loves cookies, you have one.  I remember where, when, and how I discovered mine.  I have been awaiting the mouthwatering taste of them ever since and today I found them again.  I knew I would soon get the opportunity to eat those delicious sweet potato tater tots yet again.   

Before the day I had initially discovered my new favorite food, I had a dream the night before, and in my dream a wizard had come to me and said, “Tomorrow you will find something that you love.”  I woke up and thought to myself what this something could be.  I pondered on it for a while.  Could I find the love of my life today?  How about I find a new song that speaks to me? What if I find a neat rock?  I would have accepted any of these answers, but the result was far better than any of those things could have ever been.  I found my sweet potato tater tots. 

I was on campus here at Monmouth University and I was beginning to become hungry.  This was, of course, a result of me taking too long sitting up in bed wondering what that wizard had meant, but I needed sustenance.  I decided to go to the one place where no one could ever be disappointed.  I moseyed on down to the Dining Hall. 

Once I entered the Dining Hall I could immediately smell an aroma that I had never smelled before.  After I swiped my way in, I journeyed out to discover what that sweet scent sauntering in the air was. 

I then found my seat.  I normally like to sit at the picnic tables that are in the eating area.  It has all the fun of eating outside, but from the comfort and safety of inside.  Once I did this, I began my quest to find out what that smell was.

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Breaking Up Over Text

default article imageBreakups are never easy. They’re usually extremely messy and complicated. Sometimes there is that one outlier and a breakup is clean, simple and easy. In a society whose communication is centered on technology, is it okay to breakup over text?

The answer is no; unless in an extreme circumstance and I’ll tell you why. Once you are in a relationship with somebody, you have dedicated a substantial amount of time to be with them. Nowadays we talk to the person we want to date for a minimum of a month, then start dating and then use the label of boyfriend/girlfriend.

Sometimes this process takes even longer and can go up to six months. Once you have invested this amount of time in a person you want everything to go smoothly but once there is the elephant in the room and you need to breakup do it face to face. To me, breaking up with someone over text is cowardice.

You never get to fully confront the person you have been with and they never get anything more than a “We’re over” text. Also, if we’re being honest here most people would not reply back if they asked, “Oh Why?” We would leave them on read an only a few brave souls would reply. Talking face to face to your past significant other gives them the chance to ask “Why?” and we are forced to sit there and tell them why it did not work out. We get a chance to tell them the reasons why we are truly upset.

 A text to break up with someone is also just plain disrespectful. You’re basically telling your past significant other that you don’t want to go out of your way or make time to really break up with them even though, you put in months and months or maybe even years of hard work to be with them.

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The Spring Break Blues

Spring Break BluesSpring break is said to be when the tan lines may fade, but the memories last forever. Under normal circumstances I would chuck my laptop across the room for having just taken the time to type out that ridiculous quote, however, spring break is over and I’ve got all the feels.

We look forward to this glorious seven day period in which we are free from the grips of higher education and can do as we please, for once! Unless of course your professors assigned work over break… (you know who you are!) Whether you chose to jet off to some tropical island with your friends in search of sun, sand and cheap booze, or you successfully binge-watched your way through Netflix’s library, we can all agree that spring break was both a blessing and a curse.

The first thing I did when I cracked open my new 2018 agenda was create a countdown for break. No matter how many assignments I had piling up, emails I needed to respond to, or whatever other responsibilities life was throwing my way, I knew that as long as I kept my eye on the prize, the prize being March 10- March 16, that I could muster up enough grit to power through my priorities.

Week after week I would look to my countdown as a sort of light at the end of the tunnel, something to bring me back down to earth as I proclaimed for the 17th time that day, “I am so over this semester!”

There is one thing about spring break that they don’t prepare you for: the aftermath. And I’m not just talking about the memories (or lack thereof) and the depleted funds in your bank account. I am talking about the emptiness, people! Those seven days, 168 hours of sweet, sweet freedom and utter bliss are gone, and now all you are left with is a bad sunburn and a beer gut.

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Siblings By Blood, Friends By Choice

Sibiling By BloodGrowing up with an older brother meant growing up with a best friend. Although he is two years older, it seems as if we are twins; we have the same mannerisms, the same personality, we understand each other like no one else does, and some even say that we look alike. I even followed his footsteps in becoming a Monmouth Hawk, since we always knew our university would be the perfect fit for the both of us.

We are, however, pursuing different academic majors and focusing on different interests, which helps us constantly learn from each other. Although we exhibit an abundance of similarities, we are polar opposites in some areas; I’m more creative while he’s more logical, and I’m more sensitive while he’s more stoic.

Ever since we were kids, we’ve been notorious for bickering about the most trivial matters and then laughing about a completely different subject five minutes later. Our childhood consisted of fighting over the TV remote, the leftovers in the fridge, and of course who would use the shower first; things that we still argue about now, especially since we are older. But the number of fights we’ve had just can’t compare to the number of inside jokes.

Growing up, I almost never got bored because I always had someone to play video games with, someone to watch movies with, and someone to play sports outside with. Although he’s my only sibling, there’s never a dull moment in our household. We never fail to make each other laugh, and we can sense when we need it the most. I wouldn’t give up the memories we share together for anything.

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have another sibling. Would we still be as close as we are now? Now, I realize that my brother is the only one I need, and I would not give that up for anything. Now, I realize to never take my brother for granted because he’s the only one who will never leave my side. In fifty years, we’ll still be crying of laughter over a frivolous inside joke. It’s the small things like that which makes a sibling relationship so meaningful.

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Professors Respond to School Shooting

default article imageIn the 1950’s and ‘60’s, school children across the country learned to defend themselves against a potential nuclear strike by climbing under their desks. Fortunately, that threat never materialized. Today’s school children are not so lucky; they are under attack.  

Like their predecessors, today’s children are also taught to hide under their desks in case of attack. Unlike the 50s and 60s, invasions from gun wielding intruders has become an ever-present reality. A Washington Post analysis has reported “over 150,000 students attending at least 170 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.”

In the hours and days that follow one of these tragedies, we are unified as a nation in our feelings of outrage, shock, disgust, fear, and intense sorrow for our children, their teachers, and the school staff. Unfortunately, our shared sense of loss has not led to the prevention of school shootings. 

This is in stark contrast to the measures taken to stop airline hijackings in the 1970s. After it became clear that terrorists were determined to use hijacking as a political platform, a concerted effort was made to solve the problem, and today airline hijackings are rare occurrences. Schools should be as safe as airports. We owe that to our children.

However, there is widespread disagreement concerning how to prevent school shootings, whether it be through increased school security, addressing mental health issues, or prohibiting easy access to guns. As Deans of Education and Social Work, we believe a comprehensive approach to the problem is needed. 

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Today's Technology

default article imageIt’s been 2018 for about two months now and I am in awe of how “futuristic” our everyday lives are becoming. What once was thought as space-age technology is now a reality, and it doesn’t look like it is going to stop any time soon. The other day I was babysitting and the little girl was showing me her new iPhone X (because all 5th graders need one, right?) and how she no longer needs to physically type in a passcode, but rather her phone unlocks based on facial-recognition technology.

My jaw was on the floor, yet this 11 year-old thought nothing of it, now I know how our parents and grandparents must feel each time we show them some new flashy feature that our phones and computers are capable of. At what point does this influx of innovations become too much? Have we surpassed the point of no return?

Throughout this semester, in each one of my classes we have been discussing the effects that technology and the ever-present stream of media has on our environment and society. Each discussion sheds a light on just how addicted our culture has become and how it is changing the very social fabric of humankind. When you think of it, we’ve adopted a whole new language and set of rules on how we communicate with one another.

Ten years ago if you asked someone to “follow” you or “link up” they would look at you like you had ten heads! And let’s not forget how crucial and convenient the introduction of emoji’s have become. As fun as these little text graphics can be, deciphering what they mean can be just as nerve racking as deciding whether someone is angry with you based on their choice of a period over an exclamation in a text.

I know I sound ridiculous, but I know that so many of you have been in the same boat trying to decide how to respond to a cold shouldered “k.”

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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