Last updateSat, 28 Mar 2020 1pm


Inner Peace: What Is It and How Can We Attain It?

Inner PeacePeace. A simple word, yet with so much depth. What does this word mean to you? What comes to mind first when asked this question.

I asked myself what peace meant to me and I hesitated at first and then something came to me: presence. When you stop your mind from running from you and take a minute to get back down to earth, peace occurs naturally. That feeling of serenity and trust in the universe is enough to stop violence.

Harmonious solutions present themselves, clear perspectives become apparent, and positive transaction is a side effect. All of this can happen when the mind is quiet and turmoil has settled. I’ve learned this first hand because I have struggled with overthinking from a young age. I saw two different paths as I began experiencing these mental obstacles and I started to figure out why peace was being taken from me.

My mind would time travel into experiences that I had already had and to experiences that had never happened to me before. I lost the ability to find my center and it came out in negative thoughts, and bad moods. It has ruined friendships.

When I found peace once again it was amplified and apparent in all areas of my life. While I still struggle with maintaining a peaceful lifestyle due to the turbulence in my mind, I have realized that peace to me is the sound of my breath and the feeling of my heart beating in my chest. Peace is gratitude for the things that I do have and the things that I no longer have.

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The Climates, They Are A Changin'

Climates ChangingDoesn’t it baffle you that people on this Earth do not believe in climate change? The cause of the many drastic changes our planet has been facing for years and is affecting every area of the planet.

Climate change is the altering of the Earth’s climate through an increase in temperature and precipitation, glacier and snow cover shrinking, ocean warming, rising and acidification, increase in wildfires due to droughts and rising temperature, etc. This is all primarily due to greenhouse gas emissions from human activities involving the combustion of fossil fuels.

When hearing about the shrinking of glaciers, I always picture a polar bear stranded on a tiny and thin piece of ice. It’s very saddening to see polar bears in their disappearing natural habitat. Polar bears and other wildlife dependent on glaciers are at risk for endangerment as glaciers continue to shrink. Animals are being forced out of their natural habitats and if they cannot find a new place to properly relocate, they will die.

The rising temperatures due to global warming is affecting the area around Monmouth University. The summers in this area will become warmer and the winters will too, therefore, a decrease in snowfall. As a Texas native, I am used to the heat but hopefully, this area will not see summers with 100+ degrees. The winters also could fluctuate with having warmer and colder days. Climate change has brought new extreme temperatures, new record highs and lows.

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The Jumpsuit Project: Life After Incarceration

default article imageWe are all given a name at birth. Sherrill Rolland had to fight to get his name back. This is his journey. This is his remarkable story that I had the opportunity to witness and learn from, in more ways than one.

On Jan. 29, the University hosted a visit with Rolland, a man who spent ten months in prison for someone else’s mistake. Lies, trust issues, openness towards individuals, proximity issues, and new habits throughout a day-to-day basis were just some new obstacles Rolland has said he faced.  I could not even imagine.

In 2013, Rolland was attending graduate classes when a warrant was set out for his arrest in Washington, D.C.  Rolland explained that for nine months he fought to prove his innocence.

In late October, his trial was conducted and ultimately resulted in him being found guilty, incarcerating him for a year and thirty days. With good behavior he was released after ten months. He later asked for a retrial, and faced a new challenge ahead of him.

Now he has a record. A record that should have been someone else’s consequence. He now had to explain himself. Rolland said, “It is an experience I cannot depress or hide…I then accepted this way of my life, and these are the hurdles I will face with a record.”

Even after exonerating his name, being granted a bill of innocence, obstacles were still present.

We all have qualities and hobbies that we are passionate about.  Being the expressive and independent person I am, I don’t even want to think about having that right taken away.  Rolland’s passion was art.

Rolland said that being incarcerated restricted his value system. He felt as if he no longer had “a sense of safety on campus” and questioned if he ”should even be [t]here.”

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The Power of Boycotting

default article imageWe’ve all learned that boycotting is a peaceful alternative to violent protesting, meant to have the same memorable, change-inducing impact violence has, but without the violence. Peaceful protests are what individuals have been practicing in order to compromise civil issues without the unnecessary brutality. It has been used in circumstances that most of us have been taught during class, such as the Montgomery Bus Boycott which further propelled the movement against segregation, or the refusal to purchase British goods during the American Revolution.

We can even recall boycotting moments in more modern times, but, how efficient actually is boycotting?

Throughout history we see the effects of these boycotts, like with the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which started in December of 1955, and continued on until December of 1956, but finally came to resolution in November 1956. During this time, Rosa Parks was arrested, Claudette Colvin was arrested, and Martin Luther King, Jr., emerged; all wh ich had to occur in order to emphasize and make it nationally clear the intentions of this protest. Case in point, boycotts can be efficient in their purpose, but the magnitude in the efforts dedicated to the cause determines the impact of said boycott.

After all, how strong is an argument without the support of those who benefit from it?

In 2016, Colin Kaepernick knelt during the American national anthem, a clear message of his protest and fight against the still existing racism in America, and police brutality. Nike used his name to be the face of a campaign, for which those who protest Kaepernick’s stance boycotted Nike products and even set fire to them. Even President of the United States Donald Trump said that those who protest the national anthem should be fired from ever playing again in the NFL.

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Not so "Sweet Victory"

default article image“The winner takes all...” Those are the first lyrics of David Glen Eisley and Bob Kulick’s smash-hit rock ballad “Sweet Victory”. Fans of the song including myself, however, felt robbed when the tune was played for fewer seconds than the time it took for the referee to throw the flag in the Rams versus Saints game.

“Sweet Victory” was a gem of nostalgia on Stephen Hillenburg’s television show SpongeBob SquarePants, where the six-limbed artiste with the least talent, Squidward Tentacles, realized his dream of achieving musical fame by conducting the half-time show.

Naturally, when the Twitter page for Mercedes-Benz Stadium posted a GIF of SpongeBob dancing in the episode “Band Geeks”, rumors began to spread that Squidward’s day of glory would resurface in the hands of the NFL. Maroon 5 added fuel to the fire by publishing a short teaser video featuring SpongeBob on their Twitter page.

Would Maroon 5 pay tribute to Eisley and Kulic’s musical achievement? Would the half-time show give fans of football, and fans of being a child if they had the privilege, something to bond over in a moment of remembrance for a passing cartoon legend? Those were some questions we began to ask ourselves as the media began to buzz over the possibility of the rock ballad making a comeback.

Imagine my surprise when, after singer Adam Levine’s guitar solo, the stadium just barely glowed the color red -- the same color as Squidward and Friends’ band uniforms. Imagine my surprise when the Bikini Bottom Super Band appeared on the giant stadium screen...only to be shot down by a meteor containing Travis Scott.

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A Single Valentine's Day

Single Valentines DayI am the eternally single friend. I look around and see everyone in seemingly happy relationships and always feel like I am constantly exposed to public displays of affection between people around campus.

I joke about being “forever alone” on a daily basis when my friends tell me about dates they’ve been on or the new guy they matched with on Bumble. February is centered around Valentine’s Day and while I’m not in a serious relationship at the moment, I don’t feel like this month should be spent moping around. I’m spending my February celebrating the love I have for myself.

It can seem a little overplayed lately, the concept of self-love. You see posts on social media talking about not needing anyone else and appreciating who you are before loving another person. But just because you see it everywhere, that doesn’t make it any less true.

I have a marquee lightbox in my dorm that I changed to say “Love yourself” as a reminder every morning this month. I really focus on thinking of things I personally love about myself, whether that be my creativity or the fact that I give my whole heart to the people in my life whom I love. You shouldn’t have to hear it come from someone else’s mouth for you to believe it. At the end of the day, it all comes down to how you see yourself. Everyone else should not be the validating factor in your happiness.

Society has a way of making us feel as though we are nobody without somebody. The media advertises happy couples all the time, whether that be in movies, on television or even on social media. I am constantly scrolling through my feed and seeing posts about anniversaries and this month, particularly tomorrow, I’m sure I’ll see pictures of presents or dinner dates. You walk into stores and see companies capitalizing on giant teddy bears and boxes of chocolates that people always wish for. I know I’ve definitely been envious of the people who are lucky enough to be spoiled by someone. But who’s to say we can’t spoil ourselves?

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Plastic Straws

default article imageWhat is small, plastic, and comes with almost everything we drink? A straw. You cannot sit down at a restaurant and order a drink without being handed a plastic straw. What most people do not realize is that this small object that we use every day is a major environmental hazard.

The plastic straw and its environmental impact are a huge concern today. According to the Freedonia Group, a market research firm, “In 2017, Americans used about 390 million plastic straws each day.”

The abundance of plastic straws in the ocean is polluting the water and killing marine life. According to Strawless Ocean, a movement against plastic pollution, “Straws are among the top 10 items found during beach clean ups and can do so much harm to seabirds, turtles and other marine creatures.” Strawless Ocean also stated, “By the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.”

Some people may think it is okay to use a plastic straw if they recycle it afterwards. But, according to Strawless Ocean, most plastic straws are too lightweight to make it through the mechanical recycling sorter and get disposed instead as garbage. On Get Green Now, it states that it takes up to 200 years for a plastic straw to decompose. The solution to plastic straws invading the ocean is not simply recycling, an ineffective solution.

The best solution to plastic straw pollution is to stop using plastic straws and use straw alternatives.  There are numerous alternatives to the plastic straw: paper, glass, steel, silicone, bamboo, and metal straws.

Gourmet Dining on campus sells steel reusable straws for $2.00 in the student center, the dining hall, and the cafe in Plangere. I have purchased about ten reusable straws from Gourmet Dining with my declining dollars and keep one in my backpack for when I get drinks on and off campus. Amazon is also a great place to buy reusable straws and many come with cleaning brushes.

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What’s the best study spot on campus?

Best Study StopsStudying is probably the single most annoying part of college. Yeah, 8:30’s are a pain, and don’t even get me started on the tuition. But to force me to sit alone for hours on end and memorize material from class, let alone doing so when I’m surrounded by all my roommates and opportunities to have fun, is just borderline torture. So it presents the question, where is the best place to study?

Some people may say the library is the obvious choice. It provides students with the quiet atmosphere they need in order to really concentrate on what they’re studying. There are multiple computers for those quick glances at PowerPoints professors post on ecampus and printers readily available for people who prefer to print out their study guides rather than be hunched over a laptop screen for hours. As much as it helps to have all of this around, I find the lingering feeling of stress from nearby students affects the way I study whenever I’m there. Sometimes silence can be too loud and the sound of someone incessantly clicking their pen drives me bananas. So it’s a hard pass on the library. 

I used to be a strong believer in my dorm room being the best place to study. Yes, while being in a comfortable environment seems to be more inviting, it can also lead to major procrastination. The amount of times I’ve found myself falling asleep in bed rather than reading that chapter that’s definitely going to be on the next exam is a little embarrassing. It’s also very tempting to go join in on the fun when you hear your roommates laughing from down the hall. So I’ve learned the dorm isn’t really a great study space, either. 

I never really thought the student center would be a good space to study until last year. Whenever I heard people were going to do their schoolwork there, I just imagined a loud hum of chatter taking over the small space upstairs. Even worse, I imagined people sitting in the lower level, the one where people go to eat their meals in between classes, and never being able to hear myself think. Come to find out, if you time it just right, the student center is actually the best place to go.

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New year, New Books

New Year New BooksIt’s that lovely time of year again. I know what you all are thinking, so just calm down a few notches. It’s pretty safe to say, that, we all couldn’t be more excited for another 14 week semester.

Another 70, torturously lengthy, and extremely, but fantastically, exhausting days. And to top off this beautiful, new semester happening in our lives, what better way to add to it than ripping a handful of hundreds from your bank account?

What’s better than logging on to your bank app, only to have a couple of tears fall, and a hint of a mental breakdown going on inside your head, looking at the minuscule 20 bucks you have left in your account?

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m talking about books. Purchasing textbooks for these thrilling classes of ours. And, if you’re the lucky clover out of the bunch that isn’t affected by this amazing issue, well then please stop reading and go away. I say that with my whole heart and a smile on my face.

According to CollegeBoard, on average, between just 2018 and 2019, so far, a public four-Year, in-state, and on-campus student is spending a whopping, $1,160.00 on books and supplies, yearly.  Now, I understand it’s wholeheartedly our choice to be attending a University, and working towards our degree. But that’s just it. We are working towards our degree. A lot of us are working.

We are full time students. Trying to put ourselves through school, with a part time job on the side. Some of us have internships. Some are juggling sports, and with sports, comes equipment. Some have clubs, and with that comes attending events. How are we getting to school?

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Perks of Hybrid Classes

default article imageDoes anyone else look for hybrid classes to take when making their schedules? I know that I do! But are these half in-class/half-online classes meant for everyone?

First, hybrids are great for your schedule. You only meet once a week for an hour and twenty minutes here at Monmouth so this makes them more convenient than a three-hour class, which also meet once a week. This gives you more time during the week to have to yourself to do homework, study, or dedicate to working or your social life.

Also, with hybrid classes you have a lot of freedom to complete work on your own. If you are typically someone who would rather just work by yourself and do homework in your free time than constantly be in class and participate or be involved in group work, hybrids are probably best for you. Personally, I am very independent when it comes to completing my work so this aspect of hybrids is beneficial for me.

Lastly, in a lot of hybrid classes that I have taken in the past, professors assign documentaries or movies to watch and respond to on eCampus on days that we do not meet in class. This allowed me to delve deeper into the topic of what we were learning and help me understand it better through visual examples.

Usually in classes that meet twice a week, there is no time to watch documentaries or movies because they are too long and take away from class time. Hybrids give the class opportunities to go further into subjects through assigning these films on the days they do not meet in person.

On the other hand, hybrids are not for some people. Since the class only meets once a week, there is more out-of-class work assigned. This results in a heavier than usual amount of homework to complete. Those who would prefer to meet in class the extra day and have a lighter load of homework, generally would probably not like a hybrid class in their schedule.

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Senior Semester

default article imageIt seems that no matter what we do in life, we always wish away the time. We hold countdowns for just about every occasion, whether that be a vacation, a holiday, or in my case, a graduation.

 Just like that, I’m in my final semester as an undergrad and I definitely have a lot of mixed emotions about it.

When I first came to Monmouth University as a bright eyed freshman, I didn’t know how to feel. It was the first time I was living alone and I felt as though all of this new found responsibility was dumped onto me. Juggling everything was a challenge at first and all I wanted was to go home for break. So while I enjoyed the friendships I found and hung out just as much as (though admittedly maybe more than) I studied, I was also wishing away the time and counting down the days.

What a habit that turned into. I found that every time I came back to school, I wanted to be on break and every time I went home, I just wanted to be with my roommates again. So the cycle continued and now here I am three and a half years later, practically staring graduation dead in the eyes. Looking back on it, the countdowns were a mistake, which is exactly why this semester is going to be different.

I want to make the final months of my undergrad experience ones I can vividly remember years after I walk across that stage. I’m not going to let myself wish away anything, from the painfully boring lectures I sit through during classes in Plangere to the nights I spend in my apartment gossiping with my roommates about anything and everything. None of the senior class should. We all should want to soak up every experience that Monmouth has to offer us in our final months because before we all know it, it will be gone.

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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