Last updateWed, 17 Apr 2019 4pm


Lovely Leaves

Lovely LeavesWhenever people talk about what their favorite season is, I get a few weird looks when I say Fall. Not only does my birthday fall around this time (Oct. 15), but it’s the start of the holiday season. What I love most about the Fall though is the way the leaves on the trees transform into gorgeous shades of yellow, orange and red.

Nothing beats the scenery of driving down Route 18 in the middle of November and watching all the different vibrant colors popping out at you. I remember when I was little I used to love looking out my window and being able to pick out all of the different colors rushing by. Maybe it’s because I love art so much that the colors the leaves have to show off is just about the coolest thing that Mother nature has to offer us. 

Being a student at Monmouth University, you’re always told that the campus is beautiful. Sure, the flowers in Erlanger Garden can’t be rivaled by any other Spring scenery, but have you ever stopped to look at the trees during the Fall? I don’t think I’ve ever seen such brightly colored leaves until I came to Monmouth. It’s really tempting to have an entire nature photoshoot on the way to class, but if I end up being late, I don’t think my professors would appreciate the excuse that the leaves were too pretty.

Some people may believe that the leaves are more just a nuisance than anything else. After all, once they’re done showing off on the tree branches, they do end up falling on the ground. We all know Monmouth; someone is responsible for cleaning up all the leaves littering the ground. I can see how it can be a bit of a pain to rake up these little pieces of nature, but at the end of the day, aren’t you appreciative of the scenery they provided you with while they were still in their prime?

A lot of girls my age have their dream weddings planned to a tee. From the dress to the ring and flowers, Pinterest boards everywhere are full of fairytale wedding plans. I’ve surprisingly never been one of these girls to plan my wedding that extensively, but I do know I want a Fall wedding.

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Present Sense

default article imageGrowing up as the youngest of five prevented me from ever being a big sister. With that being said, I never really had the opportunity to watch a child grow or become exposed to things for the first time. Luckily, I have been blessed with three nieces and a nephew, all of them under the age of ten. This has given me a new perspective on life. All four of them experience each moment fully. There is no worrying about the future or contemplating the past because they are so young and innocent.

As we grow up and experience both positive and negative situations, we begin to lose some of our innocence. Things aren’t as exciting and gratitude for the little things in life may lessen; completely normal. But, it’s important to realize that if we completely lose touch with the present moment, then we can completely lose touch with ourselves and what makes us feel happy.

At our age, the past and the future is what consumes most of our thoughts. Whether it was your freshman year that ruined your GPA or your worries about what homework is due next week, we are constantly looking for the answers to the never ending “what if’s” that our mind tortures us with. It doesn’t help that our phones have become an extension of ourselves and most of us can’t even go through a class period without looking at what is going on somewhere else, myself included.

But what we don’t realize is that what we are doing is escaping the present moment. We’ve allowed ourselves to ruminate in our own minds over things that we cannot control. Unlike children, we have created an intangible world with our thoughts and experiences which can create anxiety and stress. According to Garden of Life, the percentage of millennials diagnosed with anxiety has doubled from the baby boomer generation. I feel a large portion of this is due to our inability to stay grounded and present.

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Weekend Escapes

default article imageDo you ever feel like you need to get away and just escape all the realties of the world?

Whether it is the piles of work that seem to never get smaller, no matter how much work you are doing, or the drama in your social circle; getting away is a good thing.

For me my escape is home. Home is Baltimore, Maryland, which is about a three-and-a-half-hour drive. It was important to find a school that was within driving distance to my house because for me family is everything.

However, going home does not always have to be the final destination of weekend getaways. When people think of vacations they often think of lavish trips that are almost unaffordable especially to college students. Think of different activities that make you happy. If hiking is something you enjoy look up local trails near campus.

At Monmouth University we are lucky that the beach is within a mile from campus. When you are feeling stressed, try walking along the ocean side just listening to the waves as they crash on the sand.

Stress is a very real feeling. Especially being in college we all feel the pressure to constantly perform. Whether it is in the classroom or socially there are always expectations that we feel need to be met. According to the article Health Benefits of Weekend Getaways researchers from the University of Illinois found that taking breaks such as a weekend get away can help to improve productivity and focus in the long run. This “always on the go” mentality that has been engrained in our brains since we were little can help to hinder our mental health.

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Seasonal Change: A Mood

default article imageI was in awe of the beauty around me. The sky was a crystal clear blue, the sun was beaming down upon me, and the trees showing their newly changed leaves.

A slight breeze in the air helped some of the leaves to take flight and flurry across my windshield as I drove along. This is magnificent, I thought to myself.

Suddenly, my moment of bliss was overtaken by the realization that in a matter of time, all of this beauty right before my eyes, would soon be replaced. In its place would be bare trees, gloomy, gray skies, and freezing temperatures with a biting wind to match. My heart was heavy and all I could think of was John Snow saying “Winter is Coming.”

It’s not that I hate winter, in fact, I love it because winter means snow, and snow means that I get to go skiing! Winter also means bundling up in your coziest sweaters, downing hot chocolate one after the other, and eating your way through the holiday season.

The only problem is that once the holidays are over, everything feels sort of blah, and the only thing to look forward to is the promise of warm weather.

Nothing hits harder than daylight saving time. The shift in time and shorter days can really mess with you. Once the sun starts going down, my mood gets dragged down along with it. This, my friends, is called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD (how fitting?) for short. Seasonal affective disorder, also referred to as seasonal depression, is a mood disorder and occurs when someone experiences a shift in their mood around the same time each year. 

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Moments that Make Life Worth Living

default article imageMy spirit was low, my energy was drained, and the list of negative things that had been happening to me could go on long enough to bore someone.

It was a Friday night and my mom had tickets to an Eagles concert at the Prudential Center. “Ughhhh,” I thought to myself, “This is the last thing I feel like doing.”

I was not in the mood to smile or to find that bubbly personality within myself. Despite all of it, I got out of bed, threw on some music, jumped in the shower and I got ready, knowing I wasn’t going to let my mom down.

What I didn’t know was that I was getting ready for a concert that was going to awaken me. Live and authentic music echoed through the arena causing my mind to stop and my heart to take over.

After all, my mind needed a break from overthinking my break up and all of the things I could have done differently to prevent the situation. I deserved a break and a few moments of peace and serenity. The concert did just that for me.

I woke up the next morning after seeing the Eagles perform with a rejuvenated soul. I woke up with a sense of happiness and purity. I woke up with a purpose and an understanding of who I am and what I was put on this earth for. I can’t remember the last time I felt that way and I know everyone can identify with that feeling. Like who am I? What are the reasons for my struggles, for the mistakes that are heart breaking? For the lessons that were learned the hard way?

You just sit and wonder why. But, at that Eagles concert, I had a spiritual emergence within myself; I realized something. There’s no “why did that happen to me,” And there’s no “what’s going to happen?” It’s just “I am here now; this moment is the only thing that I need.”

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No-Shave November?

default article imageWe are just at the beginning at No-Shave November and over the few years of popularity, we have seen men grow out their beards for a cause.

 With the years gone by though it seems like many men have forgotten the true meaning of no shave November and have turned it into a simple societal trend. What does it truly mean?

The official No-Shave November movement encourages men (and women) to donate the money they would have otherwise spent on shaving-related products and services to the American Cancer Society. If you are planning to donate, or just have fun with it, in the end there are two sides, beard lovers and people who have had enough with them.

Many women find a man with a beard to be even more attractive then when they were without one. The wearer of the beard makes them appear masculine, rustic, rugged, and giving a touch of lumberjack vibes. But beard-haters think the complete opposite.

When it comes to it, they say they are unkept, itchy, germ infested, and just overall distasteful. Yet, this gives a younger, baby face view. Personally speaking, I’m with the women who are suckers for a beard! Not saying that you have to have one, it’s just a plus.

Having upkept facial hair makes it all the better. It still makes your face a clean, rugged view to it.

Walking around campus, there are a few guys that do rock the bearded look as well as many others that support the clean shaven. There are also the men who are in the middle who prefer stubble better, but that’s even more less.

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The Dentist: Love

Dentist LoveDear dentist hater, I think that your real problem was with your orthodontist. You were correct in saying that for those that only had to go in for an annual cleaning, the dentist is not a horror destination.

I love going to the dentist. I love that fresh clean feeling. It may be weird, but I love the feeling of the hygienist scraping the plaque off of my lower teeth. I was always fascinated by the sucking power of that little tool.

 Their spinning, round toothbrush is unlike any other. It polished those teeth up so nice and smooth. Whenever I leave the dentist office I just keep running my tongue over my teeth to feel their smoothness. 

Perhaps my favorite thing about the dentist office is the little sink next to your chair. When I was little and the dentist or hygienist would leave me alone in the room, I would press the button to make the bowl fill with water. A rush went through me when I pushed the button because I wanted the water to be gone before the adult came back. I did not want to be caught.

On my last visit to the dentist, I told that hygienist what I used to do and she replied with, “Oh, we know that all the little kids do that.”

Sure, maybe I love the dentist because I never had any cavities that needed to be drilled or filled, but that does not mean that I had good teeth. My teeth were horrible. They looked like a bad ear of corn. The gap in between my two front teeth was so big that I could fit pretzel rod in the gap.

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The Dentist: Hate

default article imageIf you like going to the dentist, please just know I’m judging you. Yes, I do understand it’s a necessity (especially after the candy consumption from Halloween last week), but that doesn’t mean I want to go. To be honest, I’d rather go through midterms week five times over before going to the dentist. Hear me out though, I have my reasons. 

I think the level of hatred people have for the dentist is based off of the amount of work you’ve had to get done on your teeth. If you just go in for normal cleanings, get handed a new toothbrush and sent on your way, I’m willing to bet the only thing you hate about the dentist is the slap on the wrist you get for not flossing well enough. Oh how I wish it was that simple for me.

I was born with an unfortunate set of teeth as well as an overbite that demolished any chance of getting a halfway decent picture of my profile. I had to get braces in elementary school, Mara braces in middle school and in high school, I found out that I still had two baby teeth. Yes, you read that right. No, my adult teeth that were supposed to push them out just never happened to exist. Yes, I will have to get implants to replace them one day.      

Besides my unfortunate luck with my teeth, I also happen to have unfortunate luck with dentists. My orthodontist I went to for my braces was an extremely unforgiving, bitter old woman who always seemed to be in a rush. There was specifically one incident when she chipped a boy’s tooth when taking his braces off. Because she was always in such a rush, she constantly cut my gums and had no remorse for my cries of protest. She even applied the Mara braces without telling my mom and I what she was planning on doing.

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Burrito or Bowl?

Burrito or BowlWhich Mexican food chain builds the best burrito? The best bowl?

Tacos are out of the question. Those are for children, and my Dad. The man loves a good taco. Whenever we go to Chipotle, my mom and I order bowls and then my dad shows up at the register with a variety taco basket.

It all started with Moe’s Southwest Grill. I would get burritos at Moe’s every Monday with my friends as part of Moe Mondays. Plus you get free, unlimited chips! Who doesn’t like free chips?

I am grateful for all of those nights at Moe’s, but I have moved on. There are other Mexican style chains that have higher quality ingredients, but no free chips. That is ok, I will bring my own chips in my purse.

Back to burritos. The first time I had Chipotle, I hated it. I hated the cilantro in the rice and I thought the chips were weird. Then I gave Chipotle another try. I was in love with it, but not with the burrito, with the bowl. You get so much more with the bowl and it costs about the same. Actually, you could ask for a tortilla on the side and made two good-sized burritos out of the bowl. I get both rice, both beans, veggies, chicken, corn salsa, cheese, and lettuce.

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Living in Suburbia

default article imageWhile some people prefer the fast-paced city life, I’m one who prefers the quiet nature of suburbia. A step outside of my house means solitude.

I get to hear the chirping of birds rather than the disturbing sounds of traffic. I am fortunate that I live close enough to New York City to visit when I please, yet able to come back home and enjoy the blissfully quiet life I was meant to live.

People argue that suburbia is boring and lonely, but I would have to disagree. The quietness gives me time to focus on myself and collect my thoughts.

The reserved suburbs offer the perfect opportunities for reading and writing in pure silence, giving me the inspiration I need to grow as a writer.

The abundance of nature gives off relaxing, peaceful vibes. There is so much beauty in the simple things, and you have to be really lucky to see it.

The scenery outside my door has a way of boosting a certain type of creativity that can’t be found anywhere else. I love waking up in the morning to the deer eating the grass and prancing along on my lawn. Living on a treelined street and seeing nothing but green can be mesmerizing.

In the fall, I have the luxury of going apple and pumpkin picking close to home. Living ten minutes away from the local farm has its perks; I get to enjoy the freshly picked fruits and vegetables, the freshly baked goods hot out of the oven, and the delicious homemade jams any time my heart desires.

In the winter, when the freshly fallen snow lays on the grass and the trees, it’s like I’m looking at a painting. The tranquility and beauty that stems from the sparkling snow cannot be compared to the slushy streets of the city.

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The Lost Art of Thank You Cards

Art of Thank You CardsI’ve got a whole lot to be thankful for. I’ve never known anything but the feeling of being showered with love and support from the people I am lucky to call my family and friends. I’ve never been without a hot meal or a roof over my head, and for that I am eternally grateful.

So, how does one quantify or put into words how thankful they are?

I hear you groaning, thinking to yourself “She better not say what I think she’s about to say.” Oh you bet I’m going to say it: a thank you card.

I know, I know, I too groan at my own exclamation, as thank you cards are the bane of my existence. Nevertheless, I believe that the simple, yet tedious, task has the ability to brighten someone’s day. It really is that easy.

Growing up, my mother was adamant about writing thank you cards. As much as I loved celebrating birthdays and holidays, nothing soured the mood like thinking of all the cards I would have to write. Oh, and let’s not forget about all the hand cramps I would suffer through just to thank Aunt Gladys for the socks she knitted me.

Not only was my dear mother adamant about the cards, but she also insisted that we handwrite them, none of those fill in the blank cards I received after almost every birthday party. Nope, true pen to paper cards detailing how thankful I was, how much I couldn’t wait to play with my new toy or show off my new socks, and then a dramatic farewell about how I couldn’t wait to see them again so that I could thank them in person. And if there was white space, like at the top or side of the card, you bet I drew a picture further depicting my love and gratitude. Let me tell you, these cards were a true work of art, yet I just always saw them as a pain in my butt.

Not once did I ever think that anyone actually appreciated my cards.  I always assumed that whoever received one likely tossed it in the trash after reading it. This however, was not the case.

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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