Picking Classes With or Without an Advisor: Which Is Better?

picking classes
“Some people like having the advising meetings, but others would rather do without them. So the question becomes: which is better, meeting with an advisor or not?” Photo from: https://blogs.sjsu.edu/mysjsu/files/2013/10/sjsu-student-picking-classes-26z640c.png

As April approaches, we are getting closer and closer to picking our new class schedule for the upcoming semester. Many of us are in different places in our college careers and in different majors and/or concentrations. Some of us are graduating seniors who do not need to worry about picking a new class schedule. However, most of us have at least another semester to go and now have another thing to worry about, at least for a short while. We also all have to go and speak with our advisor, if for nothing else to get the required pin number to register. Some people like having the advising meetings, but others would rather do without them. So the question becomes: which is better, meeting with an advisor or not?

There are pros and cons to both sides. If we went without the advising meeting then we could all just get our pin numbers via email and go about our day. Many of us are very busy and do not have much time to spare for extra meetings. Forgoing an advising meeting is, admittedly, quicker, easier, and more convenient. Also, once a person reaches a certain point in their college career, they know what classes to take. At this point, it’s mostly a matter of deciding when to take their classes, something they do at their discretion.

However, it is also very helpful to meet with an advisor simply because they typically know things about the class you will be taking that you wouldn’t know. There is also the case of the same class being taught by multiple teachers. An advisor may have some insight on some of the teachers and be able to tell you which one would work well with you. The biggest issue most college students run into with picking classes is that they simply don’t know what they are getting into most of the time. Our advisors are the best resource we have available to get the inside scoop on our unknown classes.

Society’s Robot – Chapter 4

“You did what?” Rogue asks as I habitually bite my chapped lips. The question seems rough, but not as bad as being slapped. If Zach weren’t opposed to hitting his servants, I know that would have been the case.

“I didn’t mean to let it happen. It just kind of… did.”

I try explaining the situation while Rogue finishes washing the dishes. I express why I had declined Zach’s offer; I need to keep my distance for a while.

“Cassie, you can’t do that. You know exactly what will happen if any of the women coming to the house find out about this.”

I nod my head. The peculiar understanding of a 21-year-old career-servant. In my first home, the grandson caught me crying – I missed my Mother Ester and my friends. He began using it against me. One servant fell in love with her master, and female suitors throughout the home made her life hell, all because she was love-struck. The men are rough, but the women know how we tick. We are one and the same, most of us.

“Why are there so many women around here?” I ask Rogue, wanting to clear my mind of the situation.

“Old man Addison told his son to find a woman to start a life with–” Just then, Rogue is interrupted by John.

“Now Zach doesn’t think his father knows his son well enough to find him the perfect woman.” I nod my head while John continues. “And besides, most women here flirt with Zach but at the end of the night, come to Rogue to satisfy their needs.”

I only reply with a light smile and eye-roll. Rogue is a typical blonde haired, blue eyed man. His eyes are the only captivating part of his body; they can trap you, kill you on the spot.

“Too bad I like guys more than ladies,” is Rogue’s only quick-witted reply.

I have learned that Rogue got his nickname because of his tendency to sleep with any man when given the offer. Rogue is a known rebel among the servants. I feel empathy towards him – he had fallen in love but was given to another household before he could say anything.

“So, what is this I hear about Cassie being mad at Zach?” John asks.

“It was an accident, okay? I didn’t mean for it to happen.” I pick my nails with purpose, thinking more about my knowledge of Rogue.
Rogue is only 27, but far more serious than John who is in his late 30s. John is a trouble maker and takes the role of an annoying older brother. He has black hair, cut and spiked to imitate a younger look. We can all tell his age by his lavender eyes, the way they are dulled by years of experience.

“Don’t worry Cass. I’m just throwing shots ‘cause I’m bored,” he reassures me before he jumps onto the counter, lightly bumping my left shoulder. I smile kindly, returning the favor.

“Cassie, can I see you for a second?” I hear Zach calling me from the adjacent room. I follow his voice and find him, arms crossed, leaning against an antique mahogany table.

“Yes, sir?” He looks at me as he did when we met, pacing around me.

mansion
“In my first home, the grandson caught me crying – I missed my Mother Ester and my friends. He began using it against me. One servant fell in love with her master, and female suitors throughout the home made her life hell, all because she was love-struck.”

“I have a dinner to go to, and I need a date. The women my father handpicked know nothing of me or what I do, but you do.” He gives me a sincere chuckle and looks directly into my eyes. “You know far more than an average servant, let alone a 21-year-old servant.” I nod my head, understanding my knowledge comes from reading and experience.

Zach’s family owned a photography business that he ran away from to pursue the New York dream. He travels the world now. He never had a necessity to learn about the family business, but he took it on as a hobby. Zach knows everything to know about photography.

“What’s your favorite color, Cassie?”

Confused as to why this is important, I only answer with, “Midnight blue, sir.”

He nods his head, still pacing. 

“Do you know now to dance?”

Mother Ester had taught all the girls, but it has been so long since I have even been asked to dance. “I haven’t for some time, sir.”

“Well, I guess I’ll be seeing you once a night for the next few days to improve your skills.”

Hiding my emotions from Zach is difficult, particularly with the beads of sweat streaming down my cheeks, leaving a trail of anxiety. The company at the dinner would much rather see me be beaten than join their high-class society.

“Do you understand, Cassie?” Zach still has his arms crossed.

“I understand, sir.” I continue to count the wooden floor tiles, biting my cheek.

“Good, I’ll see you tomorrow morning then. Good night.”

I watch as he walks up the grand staircase to his room. Concentrating on Zach’s posture as he strides, I am startled by a pair of arms hugging my shoulders.

“Don’t worry kid, everything will be fine. Most of the dinners Zach goes to are only five hours long. He usually only stays for two of them, just long enough to eat and talk and show he is alive,” John says, with his arms still around me.

I return the hug, an impulsive decision only because of my need for the affection, but pull away quickly.

“Good night, John.” I walk upstairs to my room.

Passing Zach’s room to get to my own, I can hear him arguing with someone. I just bite my lip and keep up the pace, fighting the urge to spy. I strip off my dress, put on my pajamas, and lay in bed. Laying down, looking at the stateliness of my room, I think about how this week will be different. I must fake every feeling to get through this dinner, being in his world for only a few hours. The thought of being in his world shakes me to my core. Being in a world where people only care for themselves seems so cold and empty.

Will History Repeat Itself?

There have been a number of concerns since Donald Trump took office a little over two months ago. Various activist groups and minorities have been voicing their concerns about Trump’s attitude towards his new position and the effect his policies and his beliefs could have. And while there are definitely more immediate concerns with Trump’s policy making, there are many who are concerned with the long-term effects and potential results of a Trump presidency.

One of the more famous people voicing their concerns is George Takei, an actor who is most famous for his role as Sulu on Star Trek. He has said the current political climate looks similar to the time leading up to the mass internment of Japanese Americans in America during World War II.

George Takei arrives at the Premiere of "Bridegroom" at The Samuel Goldwyn Theatre on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
“He has said the current political climate looks similar to the time leading up to the mass internment of Japanese Americans in America during World War II.” Photo from: http://instinctmagazine.com/sites/instinctmagazine.com/files/images/blog_posts/Nigel%20Campbell/2015/10/14/george%20takei.jpg

George Takei was one of the many Japanese Americans who were unjustly placed in internment camps during WWII, and he fears that similar events many happen to people of the Islamic faith. He is concerned that the similar rhetoric used against Japanese Americans is now being applied to Muslims in America. People would say that a person of Japanese ancestry was an enemy of the state, just because they were Japanese, and now people are calling anyone of Islamic faith a terrorist (1).

At the rate things are going, will we end up having another national crime where we wrongly incarcerate an entire group of people because of baseless and bigoted fears? Trump has already issued a travel ban against Islamic countries and he did it within the first week of his presidency. What will happen two or three or four years down the road? We’ve already gone down this road before and it was a national embarrassment and an inexcusable act of mass discrimination. We need to make sure history does not repeat itself.

  1. http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/18/opinions/george-takei-japanese-american-internment-day-of-remembrance/index.html

Ode To A Desk Doodle

The smudged and abstract set of jaws
Hangs half open with the weight of teeth.
The crude body curls into a cruder spiral
Perhaps a tail, perhaps a shape undefined,
Tightening in on itself until it smears
Into shady gray. Already the decay starts.

You will not last. Your time is short,
A distraction made in minutes and set
To die a careless death in days.
Permanence is a flight of fancy to you,
Immortality a concept impossible to grasp.
A sweep of a hand could wipe you away,
Without even a memory left to hold you.

Were you worth something? Did you
Provide to the hand that so callously,
Thoughtlessly carved you into the world
Some small fraction of amusement?
Some minuscule joy? Or were you
Made and abandoned in the same
Tiny shard of time, a work orphaned
Before it could even hope to be art?

A hand hovers over you
But you do not have eyes
To see it with. Hold your breath
And wait as I consider you.

But I do not wipe you away.
You exist, for some time more
Is that a kindness
Or a curse?

(Inspired by Ode to a Grecian Urn)

eSports vs. Regular Sports

eSports should be just as respected as traditional sports. eSports athletes put just as much effort into their training as any Olympic athlete.  To compete at the highest level, eSports players practice hours a day.  They do training drills and scrimmage matches to perfect their techniques and strategies. In team eSports, watching your opponent’s past match footage gives each team a vital edge going into the big games.  Even ESPN is taking notice of the growing popularity of eSports.  If ESPN is treating eSports with respect, you should too.

eSports are competitions of skill conducted through video games.  Nearly any game can allow people to compete, but the most successful eSports games are ones that have high skill caps and reward both great strategy and great physical execution of that strategy.  eSports are a combination of physical and mental competition in the same way traditional sports are.

video games
“To compete at the highest level, eSports players practice hours a day. They do training drills and scrimmage matches to perfect their techniques and strategies.” Photo from: http://www.hindustantimes.com/rf/image_size_640x362/HT/p2/2016/04/26/Pictures/_18efe1c0-0bbc-11e6-9193-d7b8f3a11d8b.jpg

eSports are not only solo sports.  There are team based games that require as much precision and coordination as the best basketball teams.  This does not detract from the achievements of solo eSports athletes.  Many dominant fighting game competitors put in as many hours as the grandmasters of fencing.

eSports also have the advantage of accessibility.  In many cases, there are many more opportunities to play eSports at high levels than there are for more traditional sports. Many of us do not have the privilege of living in a family that can afford the costly sports training needed to compete in the highest levels of sports.  The eSports community is full of stories of teenage prodigies discovering the game that takes them all the way to the top of the competition. Barrios Gonzales from Chile, and Leonardo Perez of Mexico came from poor families, but are now making a large amount of money playing Super Smash Bros. in America. The low barrier to entry can make players’ dreams a reality.

One challenge to eSports’ growing popularity is the complexity of the games.  It is often more difficult to explain to a newbie what the rules of a game are than it is in traditional sports.  Most eSports are more complicated than putting the ball in the place, but this may change as the next generation of game designers build games with spectators in mind.  As eSports become easier to watch their popularity is sure to grow.

eSports are a growing industry.  They will never totally replace traditional sports, but that is okay.  There is a place for both in the spectrum of entertainment options.  All achievements that push the boundaries of human possibility should be recognized.

10 Things That Happen When You Join a Sorority

You’d be surprised.

Joining a sorority is one of the best things that has happened to me since I have been at Radford University. Having a group of girls that you share the same interests with and can always go to when you need good counsel is such a blessing. There are so many stereotypes that surround sorority girls and what happens when you join a sorority. I don’t know about some of them, like that whole “paying for your friends” thing, but I can tell you about a couple things that do happen when you join a sorority.

  1. You gain a family.

No matter how big or how small your sorority is, the more you spend time with your sisters, the closer you get and the less they feel like friends and more like family.

  1. Letters become a part of your wardrobe.

Okay, okay, admit it; letters and leggings are so much more comfortable than jeans and a blouse. Letters are the best thing to wear because you can be comfortable and rep the best organization around all at the same time.

  1. You find your “twin.”

There is always that one person who you have everything in common with. Your favorite show, favorite food, favorite store—it’s all the same! And it’s awesome, because now you know that you’re not the only person who likes the person that everybody else hates in that TV show.

  1. Hugging is not even a thought anymore.
sorority
“Letters and leggings are so much more comfortable than jeans and a blouse” Photo from: http://cdn.hercampus.com/s3fs-public/2016/06/29/635960100406462189883087294_Chi-O-Sorority-Racist-Snapchat-Photos.jpg

What do you do when you see a sister? Is that even a question? You hug them! There’s no other way to greet them than with a warm embrace.

  1. You never have to eat a meal alone.

It seemed like when I joined my sorority that I always saw my sisters in the cafeteria. It’s wonderful never having to worry about sitting alone. Sharing a meal with sisters is like sharing a meal with family.

  1. Their family is your family.

You can not help but be emotionally invested when you hear that one of your sister’s little sisters or brothers are going to prom or getting their license. Or when their parents got a raise at their job, because you know that they deserve it—even if you don’t know them.

  1. You can ugly cry and no one will judge you.

Whether you’re trying to deal with the passing of a family member or that boy that broke your heart, you know that no sister will judge you, no matter how “Kim Kardashian” the cry is.

  1. You begin to like the things your sisters like.

Monkey see, monkey do. It is hard not to pick up the habits of the people you’re around. But that’s okay, because I know around my sisters, I can only pick up good habits, like being more kind-hearted or having more patience.

  1. Nothing can break the bond of your pledge class.

After going through the recruitment process and the pledge process, you can not help but feel closer to all your pledge sisters. There is a bond that is made when you spend almost every hour of every day with people.

  1. There is always someone there for you.

No matter, the time, the place, or the day, there is always going to be someone there for you. There is a bond that you all share. Even if people do not get it, or they judge you for being in a sorority, that’s okay. It is different being on the inside than seeing it from the outside. You do not have to worry about judgment, or what your sisters may say, because a sister is a sister, and they are always going to be there for you and with you, no matter what.

Call Me When You’re Sober

Fiddling with a small lighter in his hand,
Sliding his fingers through his ghastly white hair.
His cigarette rests on a shiny red ring which graces
His harsh, red lips.
He is lost, struggling to find himself –
His purpose.
Brown eyes gazing upon the dark road,
He finds himself lighting his fifth cigarette.

Hand resting on the leather gear shift,
So begins the long drive down the highway.
Accompanied by her best friend Captain Morgan
And his favorite chemical –
Acid.
Electric pumpkin hair blows in the breeze.
Down the 20 she drives,
In no search for a destination,
Only herself.

Chance encounters happen every day,
Opposites attract, as do similarities.
Clashing and meshing,
Like a puzzle piece.
That girl, that boy,
Fit perfectly.

needles
“Their bodies unable to carry the weight of love, Addiction setting in.” Photo from: http://www.treatment4addiction.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/drugneedles.jpg

Days spent,
An opener on a bottle cap,
Cold ones drunk,
Injections into the veins,
Munchies and a craving for shitty Mexican food.
Telling stories of adventures
Thought to have happened,
But now never will.
Eyes redder than the blood
Flowing through their veins.
Bags under their eyes –
A lighter color than their lungs after the first pack.

They tried finding themselves,
But only found each other.
Their bodies unable to carry the weight of love,
Addiction setting in.
Destruction of themselves,
Their love for the substances
Tearing them apart from the inside and out.
Maybe if they had met,
They wouldn’t have turned to the poison for love.

Getting a Job in Trump’s Presidency

For many graduating college students, President Trump’s federal hiring freeze is near devastating. From hopeful criminal justice majors to ambitious outdoor recreation majors, their potential job pool is diminishing. Also, certain majors at universities require you to earn and complete an internship before you can receive a degree.

President Trump offered advice, writing, “In carrying out this memorandum, I ask that you seek efficient use of existing personnel and funds to improve public services and the delivery of these services.” To cushion the blow, he adds “Accordingly, this memorandum does not prohibit making reallocations to meet the highest priority needs and to ensure that essential services are not interrupted and national security is not affected.”

job listings
“He [President Trump] promised during his campaign to create jobs. Where is that promise now?” Photo from: http://acrl.ala.org/residency/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/job-hunting.jpg
Richard Delehanty, a senior at Radford majoring in parks and tourism, has been personally affected by this presidential memorandum. To complete his degree, Richard needs to complete an internship. While researching job opportunities at local state parks, he had many employers say they weren’t hiring due to the federal hiring freeze. Richard, disgruntled by the lack of respect for job security, points out “He [President Trump] promised during his campaign to create jobs. Where is that promise now? These are American people who work for these agencies. He has collectively told a group of people their jobs aren’t worth it. Your skills are irrelevant as are your jobs. For what in exchange? It’s bullshit.”

Richard highlighted the importance of these jobs, saying, “It’s obvious our environment is in a state of crisis. This is no debate, only an agenda that doesn’t account for other’s health and safety. Parks are relying on volunteer work. Without the necessary manpower, they will inevitably deteriorate. Most parks hire the bulk of their workers during the summer, when in demand from tourism and daily maintenance. During my work for New Jersey Palisades Park a few years ago, I had to rebuild an entire trail because of natural deterioration. Without the help of my coworkers and I, the trail would have been impassable. If these parks can’t cope, they will close temporarily. With no one to monitor and maintain the parks, vandals and poachers are free to roam. Park animals are accustomed to humans, leaving them most vulnerable to hunters. The lack of security due to the hiring freeze will be taken advantage of, killing protected wildlife and plant-life. We have left our world in such a disastrous state, and we must preserve what we can. As beings of the same planet, we cannot continue to take and take. I happen to like this planet.”

The need for these jobs as well as many similar ones is clear. To preserve the beauty of nature and the American lifestyle, call your representative. Express your grief until something is done. We are told from grade school that we are the future. Take your role seriously.

To find your representative’s contact information, enter your zip code into this website:

http://www.whoismyrepresentative.com/

Resolutions

Resolutions on lined yellow paper–

One–
Eat more dairy, fruits, vegetables.
Ate six bags of nacho Doritos.

Two–
Exercise and walk more.
I sit in a dark room
And stare at a screen–
Hours pass me by.

Three–
Keep up my GPA.
I missed class last week
And no regrets.

Four–
Stay focused.
Was I doing something?

Five–
Destress when necessary.
I could ram my head
Against the hard wall.

notebook
“Three– Keep up my GPA. I missed class last week And no regrets.” Photo from: https://images.ttcdn.co/media/products/137120-77ea30e7eaf14dabb8ad98155345dc62/s/winzydesign/yellow-black-and-white-chevron-single-section-hardback-soft-spine-blank-journal-notebook-0.jpeg

Six–
Be friendlier.
It is so lonely to cry.

Seven–
Do things I love.
Shut down computer
And restart.

Eight–
Keep things tidy.
A thick layer of dust
Blankets my shelf.

Nine–
Stay organized.
I’ve lost my mind
Somewhere between
Route 460 and I-95.

Ten–
Be Myself.
Who’s that?

Senior Photo

graduation cap
“I look at the girl in the photo, Innocent and young. I don’t remember her” Photo from: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51QFfuJyTbL._UX385_.jpg

Could this have been me–
This girl seated here
Before a blue backdrop,
Hair parted to the side
And a headband like a tiara,
Shiny, youth-blue eyes,
Skin smooth, cheeks rosy?
She has a smile
With brace-straightened teeth;
Eighteen
And starting life.
Months after graduation
I sat in the studio.
A straight-haired woman
Placed my arms
Across ebony folds of fabric.
I can hear the flash of light
And feel the stiffness of my arms.
I look at the girl in the photo,
Innocent and young.
I don’t remember her
Face, her
Hands, her–
Do I know her?
Is she still me?
Can I recollect that girl
Forgotten?
Should I let her stay behind?

How Much Will That College Degree Actually Help?

Nowadays it is pretty normal and almost expected for people to go to college. It is just what is done, and those who either go straight into the workforce or the military are the outliers (not that there is anything wrong with that). This is a pretty significant change from the generation of most college student’s parents. It used to be that you could go straight into the workforce without worrying about college; in fact, most people did and got along fine. However, it seems that everyone needs a college degree to get any job beyond basic retail or the fast food industry. But does a degree really help?

Almost any medium or high-level job requires at least a basic four-year degree to even be considered, which is a large part of the problem. A bachelor’s degree has become the new status quo, and it is the minimum requirement. Going to a basic four-year college is no longer enough to stand out. It’s expected that you have at least that much if you are even going to consider applying for a job. This has made finding a job, stable employment, and most importantly financial security much more difficult. This is extremely concerning for most college students because of the massive debt that they rack up just to get those four-year degrees.

job app
“Many employers want several years worth of work experience as a minimum requirement. It is extremely hard to get work experience when you are in college.” Photo from: http://allthatglitterspawn.com

Another issue is that for most starting positions, many employers want several years worth of work experience as a minimum requirement. It is extremely hard to get work experience when you are in college. Any college student will tell you that they are already extremely busy with their school work. Many will tell you that they aren’t able to have a job and still manage their school workload. And yet, we are expected, at a minimum, to have this work experience along with our four-year degree straight out of college.

A college degree is always a good thing to have, but recently it seems like students have to go above and beyond just to stand a chance. You either have to pursue even higher levels of education (and rack up more debt) or somehow manage to work at least a part-time job within your field of study while juggling an ever-increasing workload from school, which is not easy (and in fact a quite daunting) task.

Why “Fake News” is Dangerous

It’s been no secret that one of Donald Trump’s issues has been his frequent conflict with the press. If a report is brought to his attention that criticizes him or disagrees with his viewpoints, then he has been known to call it fake news or suppress it if it is from a federal source. For example, Trump has placed a gag order on the EPA and the USDA, effectively silencing them (1). This is extremely dangerous and should be cause for a great deal of alarm.

What Trump is doing is blatantly interfering with 1st amendment rights and the freedom of speech. The purpose of a gag order is to keep certain government agencies from revealing sensitive information that could potentially cause America to suffer in terms of bodily harm. The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture do not have that sort of information, not when they are releasing reports on things like global climate change and global warming.

EPA
“Trump has placed a gag order on the EPA and the USDA, effectively silencing them.” Photo from: https://confluence.journalism.wisc.edu

However, the reports that have been released, like the ones that say global climate change is real and that we should do something about it, directly go against Trump’s agenda and his claim that “global warming is a hoax invented by the Chinese.” Trump doesn’t like it and he doesn’t want to hear it, so he abuses his power to restrict the voices of the EPA and the USDA. How long before he begins to do the same to news organizations he doesn’t like and calls “fake news”? Trump has already shown that he does not mind abusing his power to get what he wants or twisting things around to suit his needs. The gag orders he has placed on these federal agencies may only be the beginning, and he may soon go after any organization (or anyone) who disagrees with him. These are the first steps towards a dictatorship.

  1. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/trump-administration-restricts-news-from-federal-scientists-at-usda-epa/

White Privilege: It’s Real and It’s a Problem

I want to start this article by saying that this is my opinion and my personal understanding on the topic of white privilege. I am a white man, so I have a pretty limited view and understanding of the nature of white privilege and how it works (that’s one of the benefits of it by the way – being blissfully unaware of it). This is not a report or professional article that breaks the issue down with facts and statistics, but my understanding of what is a very real problem.

White privilege means receiving preferred or special treatment and certain allowances simply for being white (Caucasian). Typically speaking, no one is going to look at me, as a white man, and think that I’m a thug, or that I am going to steal from a store or hurt someone. I am given the benefit of the doubt, regardless of the situation. I also get to be blissfully ignorant of the many troubling issues that are still occurring today in America and around the world, like racism. I can be unaware of the systematic racism that happens every day because it does not happen to me. Which is the most harmful part of white privilege, in my opinion.

It’s easy to believe that racism does not happen as often as it really does or that it isn’t as bad as it actually is because I’m not experiencing it. My white privilege means I don’t have to worry about the cop down the street or in the car behind me arresting or killing me. I can safely believe that they will protect me. African Americans don’t have that belief; they have to worry about potentially being killed just for being black.

white privilege
“White privilege means receiving preferred or special treatment and certain allowances simply for being white (Caucasian).” Photo from: https://az616578.vo.msecnd.net

White privilege is when a white person does something illegal and faces no consequences or less severe consequences, while a black person is faced with very harsh consequences (like, you know, death) for committing a similar crime. White privilege is when a white man goes out and does something like rape and kill a woman and gets called things like “mentally ill”, “a child”, or even “a victim” or any other qualifier meant to make a person have sympathy for him. When a black person steals something, they get called “thug”, or a “criminal.” And when the accused is an actual child they get treated like or called a man, heaving more responsibility and judgment upon them.

If you don’t believe this, go online and look up crime reports and stories. Look at their specific diction and the difference between white offenders and black offenders. Replace the white offender with someone who is African American or Middle Eastern and see if your perceptions and feelings change. Look up the cases Allen Peters and Jaquavias Sturgis, of Brock Turner and Cory Batey, of Chase Legleitner and Lamar Lloyd, to name a few. White privilege is the fact that I, as a white man, don’t have a literal terrorist group like the KKK bent on the extermination and/or enslavement of my race.

The simple fact of the matter is that as a white person, I, and every other white person, have it better than people of color, at least from a social standpoint, if not many others. We are given the benefit of the doubt in almost every situation. We have not had to deal with years of systematic oppression and enslavement. We don’t have slurs thrown at us, and there are no people who are happy to hurt or kill us. And all white people don’t have to spend one moment acknowledging that all of this happens, and they don’t have to worry about it happening to them. That’s white privilege.

Taking a Break with a Gap Year

The idea of taking a break either between high school and college or just after college isn’t a very popular or well-known one here in the U.S., but it is common practice in places like Europe and Australia. There it is known as taking a gap year, though it isn’t always an actual year. Students will take a break between high school and college to travel around, usually for about a semester.

travel gap year
“Very few people have the financial means to take a semester or a year off and travel around.” Photo from: https://az616578.vo.msecnd.net

The whole idea behind taking a gap year is to give students a chance to relax after all those years of schooling and to increase their maturity and self-awareness. There have actually been studies that have shown an increase in these factors, along with a fluency in a foreign language, greater self-confidence, and an overall increase in G.P.A.’s (1). Overall, it’s considered a pretty great idea, so why don’t we do it here in the U.S.?

The biggest issue is, obviously, money. Very few people have the financial means to take a semester or a year off and travel around. In fact, most people can barely afford to go to college, much less put it off for several months of soul searching. You have to consider the cost of basic necessities like food and water and places to stay, especially when you do not have any source of personal income. If someone does decide to travel then they usually have to rely on money given to them by relatives for their gap year.

Another issue is simply the timing of it. Many people get acceptance letters in the summer between the end of high school and the following fall semester of college and most cannot really afford to turn them down for fear they might not get in again. Not to mention the fast pace and ever-changing nature of the U.S. education system and economy. A semester off can ruin a person’s chances for a college education or a stable job or career.

While a gap year may be a good idea with several great benefits, it is not yet a feasible option for students in America. It is something we will have to work towards if we want it to happen.

  1. http://www.americangap.org/benefits.php

Humans of Radford University

I had a black live-in nanny when I was growing up. That’s like extremely racist to a lot of people, but it wasn’t like The Help. It wasn’t like a 1950s-60s kind of thing. She worked with my mom and they were friends, and she did other jobs, but she was a nanny when she could be. For a while, I didn’t know it wasn’t normal to have a nanny because she was like my second mom; she was like family. So it was never strange to think, “I grew up with a black nanny in a white family.” That’s a lot of stereotypes that didn’t actually become stereotypes. So I’m not a fan of the whole “stereotypes exist ‘cause they’re true.” No, they don’t. Stereotypes exist because people have predetermined biases towards certain types of people that they don’t want to associate with. But I don’t believe in basically any stereotypes. I’ll still make fun of a white girl in the line at Starbucks who wants to order the most complicated thing on the menu. I’ll still tease people like that. But I don’t believe black people are more predestined to break the law or anything. No, it’s ‘cause the law is literally targeting them at all times, and these people aren’t given the same opportunities in life ever. You try growing up in the inner city and stuff like that and see if you come out okay. And people do come out okay, but that’s through a lot of perseverance and personal growth and that’s more of a miracle story than anything that happens in white suburbia. I’m prone to getting into Facebook fights with my relatives which I’ve been told repeatedly by my parents to please not do, because we do have to see them on Thanksgiving. But I had an uncle who got up in arms over the whole Kaepernick not standing for the anthem thing, and so he made this post about it and I commented on it, and he started saying how black people aren’t oppressed in this country anymore, and I’m like “Well, they are.” I think if I had taken it out of the Facebook chat and put it in a Word document it probably would have been a solid three pages of statistics of  what it is like to grow up black in America and stuff from the fact that you get pulled over for traffic violations like 70% more often even though you commit traffic violations at the exact same rate as white people, and you go to jail way more often even if you commit the same crime, and you go to jail for longer.  I threw like three or four pages of statistics at him and he pulled the “I had a black friend growing up” card. He’s like “I work with people of diverse ethnicities every day.” He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. So I pulled out the 2010 Census of Salt Lake City and Utah as a whole, which says the entire state, is 98.7% white people. So I wrote back and said, “I know you live in Utah, so statistically speaking you probably forget other races exist, but they do, so you don’t get to be the authority on whether or not someone is still oppressed in this country.”

 

My Cat Voted for Trump

I come home from classes on Friday afternoon, looking forward to a weekend of pizza and my Playstation 4. I grab the mail and I see it . . . something that should not be in my mail. I unlock my front door, walk inside, and close the door.

Shadow is sitting on the couch, watching something on Netflix. From what is happening on the screen, I deduce that Shadow is not watching something from her “Kids” profile.

“Shadow, what are you watching?”

I Spit On Your Grave. It’s hi-larious.”

“It is not hilarious. I actually feel kind of sick looking at it.”

“Is so. Besides, she deserves it. Stupid, educated libtard.”

I decide not to tell the cat what happens at the end of the movie. If she keeps watching, at least I’ll be rewarded with profound schadenfreude.

“Shadow, can you tell me what this is?” I ask, holding up the newsletter from the mail.

“That’s Stormfront. It’s free so I signed up for it online.”

I’m speechless.

cat trump
“I am suddenly glad that I had Shadow spayed.” Photo from: https://politicalshop.com

“You’re welcome,” Shadow adds.

“Why?”

“I’m helping make America great again.”

“By subscribing to a racist newsletter?”

“Get over it; she lost.”

I am suddenly glad that I had Shadow spayed.

“Anyhow, Trump is gonna get rid of all of the Chihuahuas next.”

“What? Oh – because they’re ‘from Mexico’?”

“Exactly.”

“Shadow, you do know that you’re a Bombay, right?  Your breed is from Thailand.”

The cat looks irate. I move in for the kill.

“Also, what are you going to do when Stormfront realizes that you are a black cat?  Or are those just ‘alternative facts’?”

“I don’t see color,” she says stiffly, and she stalks off to shit on my pillow.

Shadow is an asshole because she’s a cat. What’s your excuse?

 

 

10 Slow Songs We Should All Listen To in the Shower

We all know that listening to music while showering is one of the best things ever. If you don’t already do it, you should start now. With that being said, here are 10 slow songs you should listen to the next time you hop in to get clean.

  1. “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri

I am not just putting this on the list because it was in the last Twilight movie. This song’s beautiful words make you fall in love with anyone, even your imaginary boyfriend. No judgment here.

  1. “Gravity” by John Mayer

John Mayer can make any song sound good. Heck, he could be singing the ABC’s and I’d still be attracted to him. It’s like he’s right there with you. Maybe wait until you’ve got a towel wrapped around you first.

  1. “Tenerife Sea” by Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran is another beautiful soul that would sound good singing anything. All of his songs make me feel like he is singing to me. This song is full of beautiful compliments and no girl can pass up a good compliment. He makes me feel like he’d do anything for me. But I don’t know him, so…

  1. “Over My Head (Cable Car)” by The Fray
singing in the shower
“Here are 10 slow songs you should listen to the next time you hop in to get clean.” Photo from: http://az616578.vo.msecnd.net

This song is one of those songs that every decent person has listened to at some time during their sad, lonely existence.

  1. “You Are Your Mother’s Child” by Conor Oberst

This song is a diamond in the rough. The best songs are always the ones you have to search for. This song is acoustic, but it is hard to completely decipher the words. However, it has a unique melody that anyone can tap their foot to. Just don’t tap too much and fall in the shower.

  1. “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” by The Script

This is a great song with a great melody. I don’t mind a good drummer either.

  1. “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane

Besides the fact that the song was in “Winnie the Pooh,” it gives off a very positive vibe that can change my mood from sad to happy.

  1. “Look After You” by The Fray

This is another song that is really popular, but it deserves to be. It’s more of a romantic song that is meant to be shared between two people.

  1. “Hoppipolla” by Sigur Ros

As you can probably tell by the name and artist, this song is not in English. Although I don’t understand the words, my vivid imagination does. I envision two people searching for each other, and at the end of the song, they finally find one another.

  1. “In My Veins” by Andrew Belle

This is another diamond in the rough with a great melody to back up the slow tempo. Every small part contributes to the overall sound of this beautiful piece.