Last updateSat, 28 Mar 2020 1pm


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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Halloween: Dorm Decorations

Halloween Dorm DecorationsMuch to my hometown friend’s shock (I’m from Long Branch), I choose to live on campus here at Monmouth.  Though I wouldn’t change anything about the life I’ve built in the dorms, the plain white walls can be a bit daunting at first.

It’s for this exact reason that I take every opportunity to decorate my dorm room, holidays and all. 

My basic decorations that I have up year round consist of fairy lights, hand painted canvas signs from over the years, my lucky bamboo plant (appropriately named Rocky Bamboo-a), and a neon sign which includes interchangeable letters that can be used to form any phrase of your choosing.

I also have a dry erase calendar that I have displayed on my desk. While I love how cozy I’ve managed to make my once empty dorm room, the interior design addict in me always finds any excuse to switch out decorations in accordance to holidays. Lucky for me, October presents the prefect opportunity.

I could easily decide to decorate for Halloween with hanging bats and fake blood. However, truth be told, I’m a complete chicken and not the biggest Halloween fanatic. So I end up just decorating for the overall season of Fall. It’s cute, easy and ultimately saves me money when I can easily reuse the same theme for the Halloween and Thanksgiving months. Realistically, as much as I adore the opportunity to decorate, my wallet won’t allow it. 

As a fan of do it yourself (DIY) projects, I typically make a lot of my decorations. Pinterest is my best friend, though I’m sure anyone who walks into my dorm on a daily basis could guess that based off of the gallery wall of canvases that I’ve made myself and the meticulously crafted glitter key holder I have by my door.

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Consequences of Counting Calories

default article imageDo you stare at the food labels thinking about how many calories you have consumed already today? In today’s society, we have become so obsessed with this idea of “the perfect body.”

We tend to constantly compare ourselves to people we see on social media or in advertisements. The tall, thin, perfect body is constantly being shoved down our throats because we tend to only be shown one type of body.

This problem does not only affect one gender, as there are social standards that are created between both males and females. Counting calories is unhealthy because it creates a person to become obsessed over the numbers they are putting into their bodies rather than just focusing on the nutritional value of food.

The intent of calorie counting can be simply because someone wants to lose weight. However, when counting every calorie you enter into your body, it is easy to become obsessed with the action. This can do way more harm than good because the amount of calories that are in foods do not solely signify the nutrition value of that specific food.

For example, there are foods with healthy fats and higher calorie intake than other foods that may be processed but have less calories.

Eating healthy and living a balanced lifestyle is important. Wanting to live a healthier lifestyle is a good goal to strive for. However, healthy eating should come from the correct food you put into your body. Food acts as fuel to keep your body running and it is important to be conscious of the foods you are putting into it. Counting calories can become an exhausting process, always being hyper aware of the calorie content of food.

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Becoming Strong Beyond Physical Limits

default article imageWhen we think about the definition of “strength,” our minds automatically resort to superheroes.

Everyone who is strong has muscles and everyone who is strong is indestructible. Rarely do we give enough credit to those who contain elements of the word strength that don’t have to do with physical boundaries.

Growing up my family thought my father was superman, as most of us do. My definition and understanding of the word strength was shallow. I figured that strength only consisted of tangible qualities, until I grew up and became informed by experience.

Physical strength is the most obvious element of the word. Being physically strong is important. We all know that we need to stay fit and healthy so that we can carry on with our daily tasks. Having an active lifestyle and always trying to improve our bodies is crucial for a long and happy life, that’s a given.

Not only is it important for us to have this kind of strength in the physical world, but it helps our bodies endure the mental battles that we face. There is a connection between the mind and body that is undeniable. When we are stressed, when we are sad, when we are feeling lost, our bodies pick up on those signals.

By staying physically strong, we can prevent ourselves from getting sick from daily mental stressors. When we exercise, our body releases endorphins that can boost our mood. It can allow us to use our stress or anger and put it towards something positive: bettering out bodies.

Diving a little deeper into the meaning of strength, I have found much more than just physical features. There is a mental component which is thought based. The evolution of mental strength is unique to each individual, which is a similarity of physical strength.

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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