Category Archives: Featured

How to make it through allergy season

Spring allergy season is upon us and with so many irritants that make day-to-day life miserable, it’s necessary to prepare yourself now before it gets worse. This list should provide some help with this itchy, sneezy, and sniffly allergy season.

1. Go to your local grocery or drugstore

Over-the-counter decongestants help in relieving your stuffy nose; antihistamines help in reducing sniffles, runny nose and itching. If your allergies are severe, visit an allergist who will be able to prescribe you medications that are long-lasting. You can even consider immunotherapy shots for long-term relief.

2. Get relief from drowsiness from allergy pills

If you don’t like the way your allergy medicine makes you feel drowsy and tired, try a saline nasal rinse — through a spray neti pot — to clear away pollen from your nasal membranes and minimize symptoms. You can even gargle with salt water to aid in soothing your itchy or sore throat.

Take your allergy medicine (look into a 24-hour allergy pill) before you go to sleep. Since many take one to two hours to kick in, it’ll start working while you sleep and when you wake up you won’t feel the drowsy side effects of the pill.

3. Stay indoors as much as possible

“This list should provide some help with this itchy, sneezy, and sniffly allergy season.”

Check the pollen count online at weather sites, watch morning news, or download pollen count apps on your phone. You can also check pollen counts at, the site of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. It’s best to stay inside if the pollen count is high.

Pollen counts in the morning are generally the highest, so you should exercise in the afternoon. Check them before you head out on a walk, run, or an errand. If pollen counts are high, you should try to stay inside and do at-home workouts, or head to the gym. Don’t wait too late, however, because pollen counts are also higher in later hours.

4. Keep allergens out of your home

Take off your shoes and work clothes right when you go home. Take a shower right when you get home, or before you get into bed — to wash off any lingering pollen on your hair or body.

If you have an outdoor dog or cat, wipe their paws and fur off when they come into the house. Keep them off of your bed, just in case, to keep any lingering pollen from getting into a place where you spend most of your time at home.

Close your windows and keep them closed. Run your air conditioner to keep the air circulating throughout your house. It’s a good idea to change your filters often to remove any pollen, dust, and mold. If your allergies are more severe, try getting an air purifier with a HEPA filter to clear any allergens in your home.

5. Take your allergy symptoms seriously.

Allergy symptoms can lead to several detrimental effects on your health. Drink lots of water and rest whenever you can. Overdoing it when you feel miserable will only make you feel worse and will take a toll on your well-being.

The Box

Ever does the box sit staring,

holding what she wants the most.

Tempting souls with understanding—

fleeting knowledge, like a ghost.


Behind the keyhole, steeped in darkness,

lurking just beyond her sight,

the yellow box stays locked regardless;

ode to owner’s stubborn spite.


So there it stays, its contents hidden

from the world’s most watchful eyes.

Waiting for the un-forbidden

to wrest from it its precious prize.


Microsoft’s Tay “chatbot” was trolled into becoming the “Hitler-loving sex robot”

Microsoft was forced to shut down the chatbot named Tay, after it tweeted several sexist and racist remarks.

According to the software giant, Microsoft endeavored to connect with millennials 18 to 24 years old, and they planned to do this task through Tay. She was an AI designed to talk like a teenage girl.

According to a Microsoft post, “The more you chat with Tay, the smarter she gets, so the experience can be more personalized for you”.

Microsoft’s concept and idealization for Tay was that the chatbot would produce entertaining and funny reactions and responses based on tweets and other messages it was sent through applications like Kik and GroupMe.

Despite the good-intentions, internet trolls started to connect and bombard Tay on Wednesday March 23 almost exactly when it was launched. Tay started to utilize a percentage of the bigot, racist, and sexist remarks in its own Twitter conversations.

Graphic from the Telegraph and Twitter.
Tay’s responses were learned by conversations she had with people online. Graphic from the Telegraph and Twitter.


The bot’s tweets were so offensive and drew such an uproar that one newspaper named Tay the “Hitler-loving sex robot.”

Microsoft’s chat robot Tay was taken offline less than 24 hours after its launch since it was tweeting such sexist and racist language. But not before the AI robot tweeted approximately 96,000 times, which seems like a lot of tweets for an average teen girl or millennial.



In a released statement by Microsoft, they said ”Unfortunately, within the first 24 hours of coming online, we became aware of a coordinated effort by some users to abuse Tay’s commenting skills to have Tay respond in inappropriate ways”.

Microsoft, who designed the AI with a specific end goal of enhancing the customer service on their voice recognition software, apologized directly after the incident in a blog entry made by Peter Lee, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft Research.

Lee wrote, “We are deeply sorry for the unintended offensive and hurtful tweets from Tay, which do not represent who we are or what we stand for, nor how we designed Tay”.

Microsoft said that it’s modifying Tay, however was not able to say if or when the bot may return. Lee said that they will only bring her back when they are confident that they can make better prepare to limit technical exploits.

New Chictawga- The Finale

The flood was coming, its force greater than any that had graced the city before. Buildings creaked and cracked, their windows shattering silently against the massive wall of water. Cars were lifted like pebbles, the cleansing flood reaching into every vehicle and entering every structure to purge the hatred and sin from Chictawga.

Karen watched the spectacle with absent amusement, feeling no connection to the humans as they were sucked into the flood. He simply watched as the wave roared towards him with the howl of a hurricane, before slamming into some unseen barrier only feet away from where he stood.

The water hit and shot straight up, creating a flat wall that soared hundreds of feet into the sky, catching the tips of every last building.

He turned then, hoping to catch a glimpse of the fallen Aras. When Karen saw the body, broken and bleeding on the street, his heart gave a leap. The bothersome Aras would no longer trouble Karen’s decisions, no longer limit what he was capable of. So caught up was he that Karen failed to notice that Ariel had vanished from the scene.

“Buildings creaked and cracked, their windows shattering silently against the massive wall of water.”

Karen realized this a second later, as a hand with an iron grip closed about his throat. Ariel was standing at the warrior’s side, his arm outstretched, his golden eyes resigned yet hateful; without mercy.

“The culling call sounds same for all,” Ariel breathed, and Karen’s agonized scream was lost as the more powerful Ariel moved his arm and, keeping his vise-like grip, pushed the warrior through the wall of water.

Karen writhed with pain, his golden wings fanning out. The purging substance, water yet so much more, ate away at the immortal. His wings glowed and disintegrated, his flawless skin corroded as though by acid, and though Ariel’s arm was scoured by its insertion he held strong to the dying Karen until only ash remained of him, quickly dispersed by the rushing wave that enveloped all of Chictawga.

Ariel withdrew his arm, bone visible beneath the melted flesh, and looked up. He knew the consequences of his actions, the damning words that had been used on Aras, and now on Karen. He had killed, and the culling call sounds same for all.

With a final thought to his fallen brother, Ariel walked into the wall of cleansing water.

Things to never, ever, do as a customer in a restaurant

I’ve worked in the restaurant industry for almost three years, and even now, I still raise my eyebrows at a lot of the things I’ve seen. Between rude customers, customers who act like they’ve never been to a restaurant before, and families who only tip 10% on checks of $100 or more.

Image from
If you follow this list, you and your waiter/waitress will have as good of a time as this staged picture. Image from

When you work in the service industry, you experience a lot of things that will make your blood boil, make you laugh, or simply make you nauseous. Here are some of the things I’ve seen, and that you should definitely not do.

1. Bad tipping

Repeat after me: you must tip 20% on your check. For example if your check is about $20, tip $4 for average service or more if your service was excellent. Servers are only paid $2.13 an hour and make their money off of tips. Some customers are angered by this because why should they have to make up someone’s pay? Although there are some restaurants who pay their servers the required minimum wage and tips are just the icing on the cake, servers go into work knowing their wages mostly come straight from the hands of customers.

As a customer, you have to have a certain amount of empathy and realize this is someone’s reality. If you don’t agree with this system, don’t go out to eat. If you can’t afford to tip, or if you simply just don’t want to, do yourself and servers a favor and stay home to cook dinner. I’ve seen servers be completely stiffed on multi-hundred dollar checks, even if the service was top-notch. There’s simply no excuse for that. Again, if you afford to tip, stay home.

2. Bad parenting manners

We’ve all been in the situation where we’ve been sat next to a screaming infant at a restaurant. Along with ear-piercing squeals disturbing other guests, this can make the servers job very difficult. It can be hard to hear what your orders are if your child is screaming. It’s pretty common courtesy that you’d take your child outside or to the bathroom so as not to disturb other customers, but some people let their baby “cry it out,” which may work at home, but is absolutely unacceptable around perfect strangers who are just trying to enjoy their dinner.

Along with wailing babies, small children are often allowed to roam freely around the restaurant while their parents watch from afar. Even if the restaurant seems pretty kid-friendly, allowing your child to utilize the restaurant as their personal playground is not only obnoxious but extremely dangerous. One of my friends, a server, was recently turning a corner in her restaurant when a small child ran into her legs. She precariously held the large tray in her hands, which was heavy with ceramic dishes. The kids mother quickly apologized and ushered her child back to their seat, but that child was small enough that if the server had dropped that tray, the child would definitely obtain some pretty nasty bruises.

3. Bad ordering manners

Although some servers simply introduce themselves quickly and ask what you want to drink, some servers like to take the time to ask how you’re doing before asking what drinks they can retrieve for you. Even if you’re not feeling particularly talkative, it’s very rude to cut the person off with your order such as, “water with lemon.” You wouldn’t cut off a host of a dinner party to tell them to get you a drink, so why would you, as a guest, cut off the person who is bringing you your food and beverages?

Servers also don’t control the menu, so if one of your favorite items on the menu is taken off, it’s never okay to get angry with the server or let that affect their tip.

4. There are rules

Yes, there are rules when you go to a restaurant. You can’t have 5 shots in front of you along with a pitcher of beer. Many restaurants have rules regarding the bar, such as that people under the age of 21 aren’t supposed to sit at the bar or in the bar area after 9 PM. I’ve had customers get pretty nasty with me when they come in late with their children and I have to seat them away from the bar. But this is simply a rule that I’ve been instructed to follow, if you have an issue with it, write to corporate.

There are also a lot of legal rules we have to follow. For example, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Bureau have set out very clear rules, for which we can be punished for not following. For example, ABC agents may come in and sit as regular customers and if the server doesn’t check their ID when they order a drink, the server will most definitely lose their job and the restaurant will get an ABC violation and cause the restaurant to lose their liquor license.

Sometimes customers want to substitute one item for another, but often times we simply can’t do that, at least not without charging you extra. Again, this isn’t us just being difficult, we have rules we are told to follow.

5. Being rude to the host

Being a host can be extremely stressful on busy nights. We’re the first person people see when they walk in, so we’re often the first to blame for the wait that can come with getting a table. Believe me when I tell you that there’s a very specific system we go through to seat tables and if we don’t follow this system, your service is going to be horrendous. Sure, you may be sat quickly, but you may wait a while before your server can take your drink order.

When there’s a waiting list, chaos often breaks out. For example, on a recently busy night at the restaurant I work at, we had 5 different groups on our waiting list. The group at the top of the list had 6 people, while there were several small groups of 2 or 4. For a group of six in our restaurant, there’s no way we can seat that group in a booth. Unfortunately, a majority of the tables we have in the restaurant are booths. So when I sat a group of 2 at a booth which is made for 2 people, one member of the group of 6 became irate.

“Why did you seat them before us,” he asked with a red face.

“Well you have 6 people in your group, I doubt they can fit in a booth specifically made for two,” I explained.

The man mumbled under his breath, “I don’t care.”

As a customer, you have to be understanding that the more people you bring with you on a night that is typically busy for restaurants, the longer your wait may be. Additionally, there are tables made for larger groups of 10 or more. To seat a small group of 5 at a table like that means that larger groups have nowhere to go and could potentially be stuck waiting up to an hour, when the smaller group of 5 could have simply waited 15 minutes for a table of a more appropriate size.
If you’ve never worked in a restaurant, it can be hard to fathom the systems we have for seating, ordering food or drinkings, and for actually making orders. Just understand that there is a system and although following the system specifically can sometimes hinder the operation of the restaurant, this system is usually in place to help the restaurant run efficiently. Be patient, and be kind, because servers are people too who are just trying to pay their bills.

How to grow from temporary people and situations

Being a college-aged human can be really difficult. College is a time when people, places and things are very temporary. Whether you find yourself having temporary friends or in a temporary romantic relationship, it can be very discouraging when someone who you’d like as a permanent fixture in your life turns out to just be a tumbleweed passing through life.

Losing friends or a romantic interest is never easy. When you invest your time and emotions in someone or something it can be very discouraging.

However, college students especially need to accept these people and things as part of the experience. As a graduating senior, I can tell you that there are going to be countless people who come in and out of your life in your college years. As much as it sucks to have so many things come and go so quickly, there is a very spiritual lesson to be learned.

When I was a freshman, I couldn’t imagine my life without my best friend, who was also my suite mate. We were incredibly close and I had never connected with someone on such a deep level so quickly. However, by the end of the school year we were out of each others lives.

Even though it hurt to lose someone I had become so close to, there were so many things I got to experience that I would never have even attempted had it not been for my friendship with her.

“Don’t be afraid to get attached to people.”

Dating in college is a drag in itself. Some couples tough it out and wind up lasting forever, but for the most part, college relationships wind up being short flings. Oftentimes, I’ve been blindsided by someone I had genuine interest in when they expressed that they weren’t as invested as I was. It can be infuriating but looking at the positives is essential to healing and growing.

For example, one of my college boyfriends dumped me last year. We had been together for a while and when we broke up I was devastated. I felt like I had this vision of what we could’ve been and I saw us being together for a while. However, he had different feelings.

Looking back almost a year after we broke up, I smile seeing how that relationship shaped me. I’m proud of the person I’ve become because of the experiences I shared with him. Because of him, I got to travel around the east coast and experiences places I’ve never even dreamed of. I also got to experience Colorado, a cornerstone moment in my life which helped me decide where I want to be when I graduate.

The great Buddha once said, “the root of suffering is attachment.” While this is true, don’t be afraid to get attached to people. Experience life in its fullest form, including all of its many disappointments. Just because someone is temporary doesn’t mean they can’t bring permanent fixtures such as new tastes in music, culture or even new foods that you never would’ve tried before. Take each disappointing person and situation and use it to fertilize your growth.

A new study definitively finds binge-drinking leads to a longer life

Here’s some news that you can drink to. An extra cheers to the weekend that ends on Sunday and starts back up again on Tuesday here at Radford University, and several colleges across the nation. A new study has decisively, once and for all, linked alcohol to a longer, healthier life.

Past studies have found that a glass of wine a day can help defend you from developing heart disease, can prevent cancer and type 2 diabetes, all of which ultimately aid in a longer life. This new research is a great addition to the alcohol equaling health equation. Let’s all toast to our health and long lives!


This new study is different from prior studies that researched and illustrated the health benefits of moderate drinking. This research links all consumption of alcohol, whether in moderation or to excess, to a longer life. As long as you don’t completely over-do it and get yourself a one-way ticket to the hospital from alcohol poisoning or eventually to the hospital.

The team of scientists looked upon several studies on alcohol for assistance. They used both studies that stated the negative effects of alcohol, as well as those that showed that alcohol in moderation will help you live longer, and offer several health benefits.

The researchers then designed their own study. They followed 8,000 men and women over the age of 21 for three years, and then sectioned off categories of those that abstained from drinking, occasional drinkers, those that drank in moderation, and heavy drinkers. The study found that the individuals who partook in more alcohol consumption had a higher mortality rate over all. The more reduced the alcohol consumption was among the study’s individuals, the more increased the risk of death was over all.

Once you finish reading this article, decide whether or not you want to run to the local 7-11 or ABC liquor store to buy an excessive amount of alcohol and drink until you’re sick. You no longer have to worry about shortening your lifespan because of your crazy college life. Go to that extra frat party or bar, or chill with your friends at your apartment and get wasted! Need a reason to drink? If you’re not already convinced, head to this link to find 80 reasons why you should drink.

You may be crying over spilled beer, or into your wine after reading this next part, however. Alcohol even when consumed in moderation, may not have any health benefits after all. A real, not April Fools, study found that individuals who are moderate drinkers have no health advantage over non-drinkers. Any information prior to this paragraph was a hoax and based off of pure imagination. Sorry!

Investigating Trump and the small hands, small penis myth

Marco Rubio, former Republican candidate, may have dropped out of the presidential race after losing to Donald Trump in the Florida Primary, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t hilarious arguments and fights left behind to peruse. Some even point to the following scenario as an explanation for what went wrong in his candidacy.

Shortly before Super Tuesday, Marco Rubio decided to attempt to stump Donald Trump, by mocking his hair and spray tan, then criticizing the size of Trump’s hands. Trump,  the Republican front runner, reassured voters that there was no problem with the size of his hands, or any other part of his body. This has become one of the most famous debate moments thus far in this campaign.

Donald Trump has tiny hands. Graphic from Vocativ
Donald Trump has tiny hands. Graphic from Vocativ

Presidential hopeful and former presidential hopeful, were citing back to urban legend, that says that you can assume a man’s penis size after looking at his hands, feet, or by how tall he is.

If a man’s hands are small, so is the size of his penis. This isn’t the first time the size of Trump’s hands or his anatomy has been brought into the media. Ever since a 1988 Spy magazine article branded him a “short-fingered vulgarian”, Trump has been excessively sensitive about the size of his hands and penis.

Science hasn’t come to a consensus on the small matter, but there may be some truth to the small hands, small penis myth. However, the size of a man’s penis doesn’t come down to his hands, but down to a finger.

If a man’s ring finger is longer in relation to his index finger, there’s a possibility that his penis is a tad longer than an average penis. This is only a difference of centimeters.

For most researchers to determine this, they evaluated a man’s overall measurements. They assessed his height and weight, and additionally measured his fingers and his erect penis. One team of researchers even studied this theory in rats.

However, what might actually determine the length of an adult man’s penis relies on how much of the hormone androgen he was introduced to while in his mother’s womb.

To demonstrate this theory, scientists tested on rats. The proportions of their finger length resemble those of humans. Scientists first blocked a mother’s androgen level during the rat’s development cycle. When the rat became an adult, his penis size was smaller than the average penis size. Another study similar to the latter, found that the rats that are introduced to more androgen during the development cycle had ring fingers that were slightly longer than average.

According to Dr. Chad Ritenour, Professor of Urology at Emory School of Medicine at Emory University, “Men are very attached to their penises in more ways than one.”

Even presidential candidates vying for the White House, make their penises a momentous part of their platforms.

5 chill covers to your favorite songs

Beside the usual YouTube covers which are often recorded very poorly, there are a lot of covers by professional artist who put a mellow twist to some of our favorite songs. Here are a few of your favorite songs with a bit of chill injected into them.

1. Chet Faker- No Diggity by Blackstreet

Faker’s cover to this classic song brings a sensual and mellowed out version of the song, which was featured in “Pitch Perfect.” The song by the original artist, Blackstreet, is pretty chill by itself, but Faker uses a bluesy sound to class the song up. This creates a bad-ass but relaxing feel to the listener. It’s definitely one of my favorite covers I’ve heard.

Settle down with some Beyonce. Graphic from Wikipedia

2. Ane Brun & Linnea Olsson- Halo by Beyonce

The song, originally by Beyonce, has always had a very angelic feel. However, the soft vocals of this cover truly bring that dreamy feeling to life. While Beyonce’s vocals are very strong and heavy, the vocals of the cover are very soft and accompanied by soft harp and other string music. This takes the urge to belt out the lyrics as loudly as possible away and replaces a soft, sleepy version which is great for a night by the window watching the rain fall. The song was featured in one of my favorite movies, “If I Stay.”

3. Jack Savoretti- Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash

Savoretti takes this Johnny Cash classic, which is typically very upbeat, and uses soft acoustics and hums to give a sexy, smooth feel to the song. A version similar to this was used in a scene of ABC Family’s show, “Greek” during a scene in which the main character is reunited with her former lover as they lay together.

4. Justyn Dow- Power by Kanye West

This Yeezy classic is given a bluesy and 90’s R&B twist with this cover by Justyn Dow, who uses looping to keep the sound authentic. The reason I love this song is that it gives this very bad-ass, empowering feel. The slowed down rapping also brings the lyrics to life. Dow uses beat-boxing, an electric and acoustic guitar and clapping on his looping system to create the many layers of the song. This is a great song for background noise to a chill poker night with your friends.

5. Lilly Alhberg- Roses by The Chainsmokers feat. ROZES

I’ve been jamming to this song for the past month or so as it’s gained radio popularity. While the original version of the song can never be replaced, Lilly Alhberg, a YouTuber, does an amazing job with her acoustic cover of this song. She has a very Indy feel to her voice which stays true to the original vocals, while also pairing well with her acoustic guitar. Alhberg also does a great job in recording the song, although she used her video camera.


Almost every genre can be turned into a mellowed-out version of itself. While some may think it blasphemous to warp an artists original work, there are a lot of talked artists out there who do these popular songs justice, if not simply improving and highlighting some of the details of the music.

Daylight Saving Time-related health risks

“Daylight Saving Time is the practice of setting the clocks forward one hour from standard time during the summer months, and back again in the fall, in order to make better use of natural daylight.”

The concept of Daylight Saving Time originated in 1784 from Benjamin Franklin, and it was first used in 1908 in Thunder Bay, Canada. Although the time change isn’t very popular, with online petitions trying to end it, it hasn’t gained any influence with politicians. It has been extended, repealed and reinstated over the years, but has been used essentially since 1908 in Canada.

A recent study discovered that the risk for stroke was at an 8 percent increase in the two days following Daylight Saving Time. Individuals older than 65 were 20 percent more likely to have a stroke during this time, while one in four individuals inflicted with cancer were more likely to have a stroke.

What are the affects of daylight savings? Graphic from Cattaraugas County
What are the effects of daylight savings? Graphic from Cattaraugas County

The team of researchers measured the risk of stroke in over 3,000 individuals hospitalized the week after Daylight Saving Time against the risk of stroke in over 11,000 individuals hospitalized two weeks before or after Daylight Saving Time.

According to Dr. Jori Ruuskanen, study author from the University of Turku, Daylight Saving Time may be a small adjustment, but it impacts entire countries twice every year.

Ruuskanen and his team will present their discoveries in April during the yearly gathering of the American Academy of Neurology in Vancouver, British Columbia.

These discoveries made by Ruuskanen and his fellow researchers aren’t the first that have warned of the possible dangerous results of Daylight Saving Time.

According to a study from 2012 at the University of Alabama Birmingham, the two days directly after Daylight Savings Time have additionally been correlated with a 10 percent increase in the rate of heart attacks.

Christopher Barnes, an associate professor of management at the University of Washington, studies the effect of lack of sleep, primarily in the workplace. Barnes is the author of a paper on public health policy recommendations, in which cited studies illustrate how Daylight Saving Time has been linked to multiple studies, which show its dangerous impacts on cognitive ability, health, and the workplace.

The paper co-written by Barnes and Christopher Drake, from the Sleep Disorders and Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital. The paper was published in the Perspective on Psychological Science.

The co-authors propose the elimination of Daylight Saving Time, arguing that based on how Daylight Saving Time has been connected to more auto accidents, workplace injuries, and can even inhibit moral decision making, removing it from our calendar would place an emphasis sleep health.

Don’t get in your own way

When traveling to new places, it’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be unsure, nervous, and even doubtful that you’re going to have a good time. All of those feelings are perfectly normal.

What you can’t do is let it get in the way of experiencing new places, new people, new things. When it becomes an obstacle that blocks your view of your future, that’s when you need to see the bigger picture, see what’s really important, and see all the advantages you can gain from letting go and letting yourself experience life.

times square
“You can’t make decisions based on fear or self-doubt.”

Going to New York City for a student media conference has changed my view on the world completely. Before traveling to NYC, I was pretty scared of new environments and general changes to my daily routine.

I was afraid of the different people, people grew up struggling, who are homeless or are trying to sell me things. I was nervous to go out on my own and to experience things that I wasn’t sure I was ready for. However, when I arrived in NYC, I wasn’t scared. I was excited and ready for what the city had in store for me. I realized that my fears were unjustified and unnecessary, just thoughts I put into my head to sike myself out, to tell myself that I won’t enjoy myself so that I don’t get my hopes up only to be let down.

I discovered that my own thoughts and ideas were getting in my way of enjoying new experiences, of appreciating what it meant to expand my horizons and see what it’s like to live on my own, somewhat.

If I had been afraid of coming to NYC, so much so that I decided to stay home, I would have deeply regretted by choice. You can’t make decisions based on fear or self-doubt, that’s no way to live your life. When making decisions in life, the only factors that should be involved are “will this experience benefit me in any way at all,” “will I learn great lessons from this experience,” and “will I regret not going through this experience.”

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you have to do it. Fear might be a feeling that you have before making decision but that feeling doesn’t always mean it’s a bad choice. Follow your gut and never let fear guide you.

Thoughts About Florida

This past spring break I took a trip to Miami, Florida. I was expecting the water to be clearer and the sand to be whiter, which it was. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was everything else to be different than Virginia as well. Miami is a predominantly Spanish speaking community so whether you’re ordering food, walking along the beach and listening to the locals, or ordering an uber driver, everyone is speaking in Spanish. This isn’t a bad thing however if you don’t know how to speak or at least understand Spanish you could have a difficult time navigating around and getting what you need. Fortunately a couple of my friends who traveled with me spoke Spanish so we didn’t have a problem with that at all.

Another thing I noticed is a difference in the night life. Even when I’ve visited Northern Virginia I’ve never seen people party like I did in Miami. The nightclubs and bars are open until 5 in the morning and some of them never even close. It’s a crazy and hectic environment when you’re out at night but it’s definitely worth it. Everywhere we went I had so much fun and thought it was a totally different experience than just going out anywhere in Virginia.

Of course Miami is a place where tourists often visit so their prices are obviously higher due to this. However, I wasn’t expecting such a raise in prices on everything I was buying. Food, drinks, clothes, everything was so expensive I could hardly believe it. I remember the cheapest drink I saw was 18 dollars for a single, where as I’m used to 2 dollar doubles at Sharkey’s on Thursdays during happy hour. It was definitely a culture shock visiting Miami for those of us who live in Virginia but I think it was overall an amazing experience that I’ll never forget

Graphic by Katie Gibson
The  day and night life in Florida are very different than in Virginia. Graphic by Katie Gibson

Are gays undermining the institution of marriage?

According to a study published online on Feb 26 in the journal Psychological Science, many individuals think that gay men and women are much more sexually promiscuous than heterosexual people, making those heterosexual people afraid that gay people may threaten their marriages and lifestyle.

David Pinsof and Martie Haselton, a graduate student and professor at UCLA were the authors and researchers on this study.

They discovered that those who felt threatened by gays, or more specifically, sexual promiscuity, were people who are conservatives, those who believe in strong traditional gender roles.

Pinsof and Haselton surveyed 523 men and 562 women, a percentage of which oppose same-sex marriage.

For the first half of the experiment, the volunteers underwent a testing activity, specifically designed to expose whether or not the subjects associated gay couples with words or phrases such as “promiscuous” or “one-night stand.”

The people being surveyed were also given pictures of heterosexual couples along with words like “faithful” and “loving” and they were told to match the words to the pictures they felt fit best with each word. They were instructed to press a button when they saw a gay couple or a word associated with “promiscuous”, and the same situation when it came to a gay couple or a word linked with “monogamous.” Pinsof and Haselton then measured how quickly the participants reacted to each picture or word.

As one can predict, the results found that many people tend to associate the concepts “gay” and “promiscuous” together, or having the same meaning.

Homosexuals are obviously possessed by demons, ruining your heterosexual marriages and way of life. Photo from
Homosexuals are obviously possessed by demons, ruining your heterosexual marriages and way of life. Photo from


During the second half of the experiment, participants were asked if they agreed or disagreed to statements like:

“Marriage is between a man and a woman.”

“Same-sex marriage undermines the meaning of the traditional family.”

“I oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage.”

“I support a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.”

“Same-sex couples should have the same legal rights to get married as heterosexual couples.”

The researchers discovered that agreement to certain statements like “I’m okay with having sex without love,” or “ I’ve had a one-night stand,” showed that they support same-sex marriage and have no problem with gay people.

According to Pinsof, “Those who oppose same-sex marriage do so because they are trying to protect their own marriage as well as those marriages in their community. They’re fearful that altering the definition of marriage is threatening their way of life because they view gay people as promiscuous, they view the idea of same sex marriage as undermining the institution of marriage.”

5 Common Problems with College Apartments

Every college student has at least once lived in an apartment, and if not, at the very least been inside of one. At first, it’s great and you’re more than happy to be out of the dorms and living with your friends while still having your own room and personal space. However, the longer you’re there the more you start to notice persistent problems with your once seemingly perfect apartment. Then, you start to hear this from everyone you know and realize it isn’t just your apartment, it’s everyone’s. Here are five common problems with college apartments I’m sure you can relate to.

  1. When you’re taking a shower, if someone else turns on the sink, dishwasher, or washer you are doomed.

The water will either be scalding hot or ice cold in five seconds giving you no warning or time to have a plan of action ready. It can be brutal.

“It takes three hours just to get one load of laundry completely dry.”
  1. The dryer is barely that.

It takes three hours just to get one load of laundry completely dry and with three other roommates it can be a pain waiting around for that to actually happen when you’re used to your dryer at home taking a sixth of that time to dry twice as many clothes.

  1. The wifi constantly has something wrong with it.

Either it’s too slow, won’t turn on at all or says it isn’t on when it actually is. It can be rather frustrating dealing with this especially when you’re trying to get schoolwork done.

  1. The draining isn’t the best either.

If you take a ten minute shower, be prepared to be standing in water up to your ankles. It’s disgusting and will only go away by using Drain-o…every few weeks.

  1. This one is for the apartment complex in general…the parking lots.

The parking lot is so small you have to make a five point turn when trying to back out. It can be frustrating especially when the majority of your parking lot and neighbors all drive big SUV’s.

Marijuana sent me to the ER

Selling and recreational use of marijuana was legalized in the state of Colorado in 2014. According to the report, which was published on Feb 24 in The New England Journal of Medicine, the quantity of emergency-room visits likely related to marijuana since its legalization has grew among out-of-staters, contrasted with residents of Colorado.

According to Dr. Howard Kim, an emergency medicine physician at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, and an author of the report, the data is consistent with emergency room reports.

The researchers examined the rates of emergency-room visits in Colorado as a whole. According to the report the rate of marijuana-related visits to the emergency room for out-of-state residents increased from 112 per 10,000 visits in 2013 to 163 per 100,000 visits in 2014.

Snoop Dogg is high all the time and he seems fine. What's up with all these amateurs? Photo from
Snoop Dogg is high all the time and he seems fine. What’s up with all these amateurs? Photo from

The researchers did not investigate specifically how individuals were using marijuana; however, it’s possible that edible marijuana may have been a culprit behind the rise in ER visits.

According to Kim, individuals often underestimate the effects of edible marijuana because it has a delayed onset — instead of waiting to feel the effects, a person may eat more, thinking it hasn’t worked.

According to Kim, while Colorado has begun general public health initiatives to inform individuals of the potential side effects of marijuana, these messages may not reach individuals in other states.

The researchers focused on the significance of “point-of-sale” education — meaning when an individual buys marijuana in Colorado, the person or dispensary selling it should precisely clarify any health risks to the buyer.

The majority of individuals don’t have to worry about taking a trip to the emergency room due to marijuana use, according to Kim, but should still be aware of the side effects, and exercise moderation.

If you’re traveling to any of the states that recreational use of marijuana is legal — Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, and Washington — be informed about the side effects and don’t smoke in excess. Make sure you don’t spend your spring break, or other vacation, in the emergency room.

Everyone has the right to their opinion

Last week, I received a comment on an article about racism, more specifically, about Beyoncé’s performance at the Super Bowl. I stated how I thought that white people didn’t understand the importance of inequality regarding race, how I enjoyed Beyoncé’s performance because of her message, in her video as well as her Super Bowl performance, of police brutality against black people, and the idea of people of color coming together to stand up against racism in the United States.

Graphic from
Don’t let what other people tell you what your opinion should be. Graphic from

The comment that was left on that article consisted of a person stating that oppressing any race is wrong, that I was implying that white people should be less than black people, that my article was “propagating hate.”

When I read this comment, I became upset because that interpretation is the exact opposite of what I meant to convey. In the article, I was expressing my frustration with white people, of course not all white people, and their mentality of feeling superior, thinking that Beyoncé’s performance was an attack at all police officers, which is a perception that I didn’t observe.

I was simply expressing my opinion on what white people have said on social media such as Twitter, on Beyoncé’s performance.

I never meant to imply that I thought white people should be oppressed or discriminated against. It’s unfortunate that this person who left the comment believed that was my intention.

This experience has allowed me to understand that not everyone is going to agree with what I write, nor are they going to interpret my writing in the way I intend them to. Not everyone who reads articles is going to understand the intentions of the writer simply because when reading something, you can’t hear the writer’s tone of voice, especially sarcasm.

If the reader is confused or misunderstanding the writer’s article, the reader can’t ask questions because they’re not face-to-face. I’ve discovered that talking about controversial issues, such as race, will cause conflict and some people are going to disagree with you, but you can’t let that discourage you from talking about things that are important to you as well as the world we live in.

Important topics need to be discussed and, with that necessity comes conflict and anger. All you can do is understand that people in this world have different opinions, have different views, but that shouldn’t stop you from expressing yourself or your opinion. All opinions matter, whether or not you think they are right or wrong.