Category Archives: Opinion

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.

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

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.

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/

Fearless Girl

On the eve of International Women’s Day, March 8, a new statue was installed on the Bowling Green in New York state. It is a bronze statue of a young girl defiantly standing across from the famous Charging Bull statue that is one of New York’s most famous landmarks. The new statue of the young girl is called Fearless Girl, and it is there in support of all women everywhere who are standing up and fighting for women’s equality.

The statue and its placement speak volumes about its intent and the impact it is meant to have. The statue is of a child and of a girl, both of which have been stereotyped as weak, partly due to sexism. But this isn’t a weak girl or a weak image. The young girl has her hands on her hips, her feet firmly planted, and she is prepared and ready to face, and win against, whatever comes her way. This is especially significant because she is in front of the Charging Bull statue. Bulls have long since been depicted as powerful male figures. They’re a symbol of strength and testosterone, the epitome of masculinity and manliness. They are extremely powerful and dangerous animals, and this young girl is ready to take it on in nothing more than a dress.

fearless girl
“On the eve of International Women’s Day, March 8, a new statue was installed on the Bowling Green in New York state. It is a bronze statue of a young girl defiantly standing across from the famous Charging Bull statue” Photo from: http://wtop.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/APTOPIX_Fearless_Girl_Wall_Street_11525-727×485.jpg

It’s great symbolism, and it sends a great message across. We live in a world where women still do not have true equality and where there is a great imbalance of power between men and women, with men in the more powerful position. But not only are women ready to fight, they are prepared to win. And they can and they will. They will also do it while still being women, while staying true to who they are and not becoming something else entirely. Hence, the young girl is in a dress, something that is traditionally feminine ( not that a woman has to be feminine to be a woman, they can be masculine and be a woman). Women are prepared, they are ready, they will fight (against great odds), and they will win. That’s what this is saying.

The statue will only be around for a short while. It was installed as a temporary fixture but its stay has already been extended past the original time period. There is a petition to make it a permanent part of the city, and it is gaining support.

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.

Global Climate Change

Most people are probably enjoying the warm and sunny weather that Radford University has been having lately. Temperatures in 60’s and 70’s, a nice bright sun to keep you warm, a cool breeze every now and again; it’s great weather for sitting on Heth lawn and relaxing. In fact, that’s what many people have been doing. We’ve had quite a few people in shorts and t-shirts (or even just shorts) outside enjoying the weather and playing games; they’ve been all over campus. The only problem is that it’s the middle of February, and the weather should be freezing with ice and snow, not warm like it’s the middle of spring. The unusual weather is due to the effects of global climate change, which is becoming a bigger and bigger problem.

climate change
“The unusual weather is due to the effects of global climate change, which is becoming a bigger and bigger problem.” Photo from: https://www.cdc.gov

Some people do not believe that this drastic change in climate is even real, despite the amount of evidence for it (1). Firstly, we need to get rid of a common misconception and frequently made argument against climate change. There is a difference between climate and weather. The weather is whether or not it is sunny or rainy outside, or warm or cold, on that specific day, while climate is part of the specific environment of an area. If you are in a desert then you have very hot temperatures, and if you are in the Artic then you have very cold temperatures. The issue is that these temperatures are steadily increasing to the point that these environments are becoming uninhabitable.

A particularly cold day or cold season does not mean that climate change is a hoax; some of the gasses that we have added to the atmosphere have created an ozone hole over the South Pole, causing that part of the stratosphere to become colder. This colder stratosphere causes faster winds that reach as far as the equator which then affect tropical circulation and rainfall (2).

Global climate change is due to the increasing emissions of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere. These gasses absorb and hold onto the heat that we receive from the sun, so the more we put into the atmosphere, the warmer our planet gets. This is a real problem; glacial ice is melting and subsequently causing sea levels to rise. This means landmasses that are close to the sea level will be wiped out. Environments are getting destroyed due to the increasing climates and sea levels. We are hurting ourselves by ignoring this issue, and something needs to be done soon before it is too late.

  1. https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
  2. https://climate.nasa.gov/faq/

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

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?

 

 

Geology: More Than Just Rocks

One of the fields of study offered here at Radford University is geology, the study of the Earth. This major tends to be boiled down to just looking at rocks, and while that is part of what geologists do, there is so much more to it. By just looking at rocks, they can learn what the environment used to be like in a specific area, if there are any dangerous activities going on, and they can find out how suitable the land is for any number of uses, such as construction. Geologists do many things and provide a great many services to society, not all of which will be mentioned in this article as there’s too many to list. Geology isn’t an outdated field and geologist isn’t an outdated profession; these people provide a great deal to the world.

geology
“One of the fields of study offered here at Radford University is geology, the study of the Earth. This major tends to be boiled down to just looking at rocks, and while that is part of what geologists do, there is so much more to it.” photo from: http://www.radford.edu/content/csat/home/geology/resources/galleries/little-river/jcr%3Acontent/par/gallery/items/galleryitem_3/largeimage.img.jpg/1424466406855.jpg

For an example with some real world impacts, take the events at Yosemite Park several years ago. The park had built a visitor’s center on top of a cliff, and down below it were some camping grounds and hiking trails. The grounds had to deal with frequent falling rocks that injured and killed people. However, nothing was being done about it because no one knew why rocks were falling from the cliff face. A graduate student and a professor here at Radford University went to the park to investigate. They found that the visitor’s center was pumping its waste water into the rocks beneath it and this was causing an erosion of the cliff face and a loosening of the rocks. Because the graduate student and the professor discovered this and reported it, people became aware of the danger and they were able to avoid that area of the park. These geologists helped save more people from becoming injured or killed.

Geology is a big field with lots of different branches that many people can and do go into. Geologists have a profound effect on the world, and many do their job without much thanks. Geology is an important field and we would have a lot of serious problems without it.

Spring Break: Is Florida Really the Best Place?

Every year, spring break rolls around, and every year, the most popular thing to do is go to Florida for the week. And what’s not to love about sun, sand, and surf? But is it really all that it is cracked up to be?

One of the problems with going to Florida for spring break is that everyone goes there. It becomes an extremely crowded place where you have to fight for every step you take. It seems a little ridiculous to have to deal with massive overcrowding when you’re trying to relax. Then there is the drive to Florida. Obviously, it differs depending on where you are, but here in Virginia, it is roughly a 10 to 12-hour drive just to get to Florida, and the time increases the further south you go into the state. Now some people like road trips, and some people don’t, but I cannot imagine anyone enjoying being in a crowded car on crowded highways for 10 to 12 hours.

beach week
“One of the problems with going to Florida for spring break is that everyone goes there. It becomes an extremely crowded place where you have to fight for every step you take.” Photo from: https://www.washingtonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/bethany-beach-delaware_featured-994×559.jpg

I am not trying to say that Florida and going to the beach cannot be fun. Being able to relax on sunny shores and swimming and playing in the ocean is a great way to spend your time. There are also great places to eat down in Florida and, of course, plenty of fresh seafood. There’s a reason why Florida is such a popular place to go, and this is a well-earned title. However, I do not think it’s all it’s cracked up to be.

Probably sooner rather than later, people tend to run out of things to do. There’s only so much beach sitting and ocean swimming you can do. And I can’t help but wonder if part of the reason everyone goes to Florida is because that’s just the thing to do. Everyone else is going to the beach, so why shouldn’t you? But, then again, not everyone enjoys the same things and if people have fun going to Florida and the beach, then why not? It’s spring break; do whatever you’ll enjoy doing.

Respectful Communication is Key

For most of us in college, we tend to avoid talking with our professors and instructors for one reason or another. And they don’t usually have conversations with us unless we directly approach them. For some, talking to an instructor is no big deal, but for others, it can be frightening, anxiety inducing or anywhere in between. Whatever the case, it’s important for both the instructor and the student to maintain a respectful manner.

If either the student or the instructor becomes disrespectful toward one another then major issues can arise. There does not always need to be blatant disrespect or animosity to cause problems in the classroom. Passive aggressive remarks or responses can create

Teacher talking with young student in the classroom
“For some, talking to an instructor is no big deal, but for others, it can be frightening, anxiety inducing or anywhere in between.” Photo from: http://cdn.hercampus.com/s3fs-public/2014/09/28/Student-Professor-Talking-Office-Hours.jpg

bigger problems than direct hostility. Passive aggressiveness is just pettiness; it shows a flippant attitude and a complete disregard for the other person. A student shouldn’t treat an instructor this way, and an instructor shouldn’t treat a student that way either. Doing so opens up hostility between the two people involved and the situation can, and often does, dissolve from there.

If an instructor is disrespectful toward a student then they have failed as a teacher; it is their job to be patient, and they should be willing to work with students to help them understand the material. It does not benefit anyone if an instructor disregards a student’s questions or concerns. And it’s just the same for the student; they have to be willing to meet the instructor halfway. They should make sure they try to resolve their problem or misunderstanding before approaching the instructor, so they don’t waste their time. However, they also run the risk of being seen as lazy for not approaching the instructor early on. Both the instructor and the student should do their best to maintain a professional and respectful relationship. Otherwise, the entire classroom environment falls apart.

A Push for Wind Turbines

Most of our sources for power are fossil fuels, like oil and natural gas. But those are finite resources that are going to run out sooner rather than later, and the use and recovery of them causes environmental harm. Soon it will be time to start looking into other sources of power, new sources of electricity. One of the best methods is to use natural, renewable energy sources. The most famous one is solar power, in which the heat and energy that comes from the sun’s rays is harvested and converted into electricity. However, there is also another method that can help supplement our demand for energy: wind power and wind turbines.

wind turbine
“Soon it will be time to start looking into other sources of power, new sources of electricity. One of the best methods is to use natural, renewable energy sources.” Photo from: http://s3.amazonaws.com/digitaltrends-uploads-prod/2016/03/Wind-turbines.jpg

The use of wind power and wind turbines has been on the rise in recent years and for good reason. One study shows that if used effectively, wind turbines can generate far more power than we currently use (1). Wind turbines have a lot of potential to generate the power that we need and use in our day to day lives. For example, one of the largest wind turbines out there generates enough electricity to power 600 U.S. homes (2).

However, there are a few drawbacks to the use of wind turbines. If there is no wind, there is no electricity being generated, but this problem can be solved by using other renewable energy sources in tandem with wind power. This is not a problem with a single, one size fits all solution.

The wind turbines could also be dangerous to flying animals like birds and bats. Another complaint is that wind turbines are noisy and ugly, though these problems are superficial and a small price to pay for clean, renewable energy (in fact, you have to wonder why they are even a concern at all).

All in all, the benefits outweigh the costs and we can work towards lessening or even removing whatever drawbacks may come with wind power.

  1. https://www.insidescience.org/news/studies-show-wind-powers-massive-potential
  2. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/wind-power/

Stress Levels and Mental Health in College Students

College students usually get stressed when they have major tests in their classes. And it seems that stress levels spike when midterms and finals are approaching. However, most students feel stressed almost all of the time. It is said that one out of five students say they feel stressed most of the time (1). Stress can cause other mental health issues like anxiety disorders and depression. Stress, along with these other mental health disorders, has major effects on students’ day to day lives, and even their future.

It is said that stress is a precursor to anxiety or depression disorders. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health Illness, almost two-thirds of students drop out of school due to mental health reasons (1). Suicidal thoughts may be involved with these disorders. And 95 percent of suicides committed by students are related to anxiety and depression (1).

stressed student
“Stress, along with these other mental health disorders, has major effects on students’ day to day lives, and even their future.” Photo from: http://www.autismafter16.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/article_large/article-images/iStock_000010063963Small_0.jpg

Stress, anxiety and depression levels in students have risen dramatically since the 1980s (2). This means that there is also an increase in those going to their university’s mental health centers, if they are provided. According to Boston University statistics, in the 2014-2015 school year, students seeking psychiatric evaluation went from 120 students to 134, and those coming in because of a crisis increased from 647 students to 906 students (3). It’s happening all over the country. The Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors found that 73.1 percent of counseling center directors reported an increase in the severity of student mental health concerns (3).

Radford University has a Student Counseling Services office located in the basement of Tyler Hall. They offer individual, couple and group psychotherapy, medication evaluations and management, professional consultations and other services (4). Their offices are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and their phone number is (540)-831-5226.

Mental health is one of the things that college students should take care of, especially in times of great stress. So, if you or someone you know is going through a rough patch, definitely try to make an appointment with the Counseling services; it could help you before things get too bad.

1 – http://stress.lovetoknow.com/Statistics_on_College_Student_Stress 2 – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/theory-knowledge/201402/the-college-student-mental-health-crisis  3 – http://www.bu.edu/today/2016/mental-health-college-students/  4 – http://www.radford.edu/content/student-counseling/home.html

College Means Nothing

College is stupid. I am so tired of how professors love to assign us homework over break as if we don’t have a personal life like they do. Every single time that I get assigned homework during break, they expect us to do it even though we could be on a cruise or on a trip somewhere. Then, professors end up assigning us so much homework that we have a lack of sleep, and they get mad that we aren’t engaged in class. How do they expect us to engage when we were up studying all night for a test on something that will mean nothing for our career?

head on desk
“Professors end up assigning us so much homework that we have a lack of sleep, and they get mad that we aren’t engaged in class.” photo from: https://az616578.vo.msecnd.net/files/2016/04/25/635972142007383479732958830_1026x760.jpg

Honestly, I don’t think I’m getting my money’s worth when it comes to class. We are stuck in these buildings that smell like trash and are covered in black mold. Every time I see how much I have paid to go to college, it basically gives me a heart attack. Especially when it comes to textbooks. I swear, every time I see the amount of money I need to pay for my textbooks I think, “These pages better be made out of gold.” College tuition is already expensive enough as it is. Why do we need to pay for textbooks that we will never use again? Plus, if people do end up getting a refund check from the university, they spend it on trips to Cancun or Florida. But some of us are not that rich and have to actually use it to pay rent. College means nothing. It is just bragging rights. Personally, I believe that real life experience is more valuable than sitting behind a desk all day. Plus, as an added bonus, experience is free. But that’s my opinion. I’m in college so you know I’m right.

Customer Service Troubles

The customer service industry is a demanding work environment with a lot of stress involved. It’s not easy helping to take care of countless people all day or night, whether you’re preparing and serving food, working in retail, or acting as the receptionist at a help desk. But the job isn’t made any easier when customers are difficult or unreasonable.

tired cashier
“It’s not easy helping to take care of countless people all day or night, whether you’re preparing and serving food, working in retail, or acting as the receptionist at a help desk.” Photo from: www.adjuster.com

It may seem like the obvious thing to do, but many people do not seem to realize that they should treat the people who serve them with respect, not like they are beneath them. Contrary to popular belief, customer service employees are not paid to make the customer happy or take care of their every need, nor do they do or say things to spite a customer or make their life more difficult. For example, a cashier or waiter/waitress that says a customer can’t add something to their order or make a substitution is not trying to make the customer upset or ruin their meal; often times it is just the store’s policy. Not to mention that a customer should probably come into the place of service with a little foreknowledge and/or common sense.

The issue is not when a customer genuinely does not know what a specific product is (regardless of what it may be) and asks a simple question like “how does this taste?” or “where is this located?” The problem is when a customer does something like complain (or harass or yell) to an employee when they don’t get what they want after they asked for/ purchased something else. An example of this is when someone at a grocery store wants a discount on an item because it is similar to an item on sale and they harass the cashier because they can’t give them what they want ( they do not have the authority to do so; they couldn’t if they wanted to). Another example is when a customer is at a Starbucks and asks for something off the “secret menu” and then gets upset at the baristas because they say they do not know what the customer is talking about. This is because the “secret menu” does not exist. The menu usually just consists of drinks made up on the internet that you can technically get at a Starbucks, but one would have to tell the baristas how to make it and hope they are willing to work with you. The baristas are not obligated to do whatever you want or automatically know what you are talking about if you ask for something off the secret menu.

The simple fact of the matter is that people need to make more of an effort to treat people who work in customer service like human beings. These are actual people who deserve as much respect as anyone else and they are not there to take the abuse of others, nor are they obligated to meet the every whim of whoever walks in. They are hired to take food orders, help a customer purchase their items, prepare their food, or provide basic assistance like information (admittedly, they must do this politely and respectfully but a customer should treat them with the same courtesy), and nothing else. Customer service employees work hard to make our lives easier and it is time we returned the favor.