By Fiona Rose Beyerle

Entering university gives many students the opportunity to do something they have not been able to do before: pick classes that interest them.  Although this can be daunting considering how few electives you can take, especially in majors that often require a lot of classes, consider taking a class you most likely have not considered before, I recommend Art History: the study of art movements, and works across time in relation to society, history and politics.  Taking Art History classes can be a special way to expand your horizons academically and in life.  Personally, taking Art History classes has taught me to dig deeper into how things are, such as why buildings look a certain way, why people want to portray themselves a certain way, and why we should pay attention.  

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

How Does Art History Relate to my STEM Major? 

Art is the intersection of science and math.  As a biology major, I take a lot of physics, calculus, chemistry, biology, etc. As unrelated as the subjects seem at first, science and math have influenced art for centuries (Fibonacci sequence anyone?!).  Having a background knowledge in math and science has given me new appreciation for several works of art.  On top of that, Art History provides me with an excellent education in skills you do not necessarily get to practice in a STEM course such as writing, visual analysis and creativity.  These skills will no doubt prove to be an asset to your STEM education as it can help you stand out among your peers as a well-rounded person.

What do you do in Art History classes? 

Generally, Art History courses are organized by movements such as Impressionism, Baroque, Classicism, etc.  You will then study key artists, pieces and history surrounding the time period and region where it primarily took place.  The best way that I have ever heard Art History classes described was by a friend’s sister.  Art History class was, to her, “like going to a museum every day”.  As beautiful as it is to look at a class this way, I find this to be incredibly true.  Art History gives you the opportunity to analyze and discuss art works every day, which isn’t very prevalent in other courses.  As far as the workload goes, you will generally write a few papers, have lots and lots of reading, and have a few exams.  However, as long as you do the readings and plan out your essays ahead of time, Art History classes are generally quite manageable, and can be a nice way to balance out a STEM heavy schedule. 

Photo by Deeana Creates on Pexels.com

Why is Art History Important?

There is so much more to Art History than just looking at paintings in old museums.  Art History is crucial for learning about historical events and cultures, and provides a framework to be able to think critically about the endless amounts of images we see every day, from ads to art itself.  By studying Art History, you will not only gain skills valuable for the workplace, but also be able to look at your own coursework in a new way itself.  

Where do I begin learning about Art History?

If you are interested in taking an Art History class but are not too sure yet if you want to dedicate a few months of your life taking a class, I recommend looking into Khan Academy’s Art History lessons.  These videos and articles provide an excellent starting structure for those desiring to begin learning about Art History.  From there, I would recommend starting with an Art History survey class to gain an overview into the Art History world.  Learning Art History can be a fun way to familiarize yourself with the art and architecture around us and gain new appreciation for the world!  

By Sumner Lewis

Every summer I’ve experienced has a soundtrack that goes with it. Whether it’s Dog Days Are Over during the summer of 2011 or Golden Boy during Summer 2017, there has always been a summer theme song. Pop radio also participates in the “song of the summer” phenomenon, anxiously waiting to see which song will go viral with the masses. 

Even though most of us in Summer 2020 aren’t doing what we originally planned, the summer still deserves an awesome soundtrack. I’ve discovered a new sound in my Spotify mixes during my time spent alone at home and, may I say, they’re all bops. Here are my picks:

Album:

~how i’m feeling~ by Lauv

Lauv’s sophomore album is the equivalent of a deep breath for your ears. The entire album is easy to listen to, fun, and hits those seldom discussed emotions everyone feels. He teams up with multiple artists for duets including Alessia Cara on Canada and Anne-Marie on fuck, i’m lonely

Two standout songs off the album are Modern Loneliness and Billy. Billy is a buoyant song where the protagonist leaves behind a past where he was bullied, taking that negative energy to fuel him to strive for better things in life. The beat behind it is infectious, and paired with the dual level of synths underneath, it makes for a song that is often stuck in one’s head.

Modern Loneliness is the final song on the album and serves as a thesis statement for the intersection of Lauv’s internal feelings and how the current generation interacts with each other. The song begins morosely, just Lauv and a piano reflecting on how he’s become the person he is. It gets an uplifting injection of guitar after the first chorus, opening up into an enveloping sound by the second. He, and the gang vocals behind him, very aptly state that the current generation is “never alone, but always depressed.” The song is comforting, reflective, and saddening for the listener and the artist alike.

Artist:

Quinn XCII

Quinn XCII has been a mainstay of my summer listening. His orchestrations are diverse: in a single song, he has soaring strings incorporated with a pan flute as the main percussive beat and even adds accents from a harp. The acoustic instruments blend seamlessly into the otherwise electronic landscape of Flare Guns

If musical experimentation isn’t your cup of tea, try Stacy, the lead single off his newest album A Letter To My Younger Self. The gentle keys draw you in for a peaceful yet intriguing listening experience. Notice the multiple guitar effects to create layers under the poppy drums and back vocals. The sound is enveloping and fun, as with the rest of Quinn XCII’s music. 

His music is beautiful. Above and below the surface, there is so much depth to his songs. One can listen actively or passively and still gain value because of how well constructed his songs are, but I suggest truly listening in to the extra touches that are meticulously placed throughout every song.

Song:

Level of Concern by Twenty One Pilots

Twenty One Pilots is pretty well-known across the radio waves. I haven’t been the largest fan of their music post-Blurryface, but Level of Concern is a certified quarantine bop. 

The song is written during and for the experience of quarantine. The overall story of the lyrics don’t seem cohesive, but separate bits make sense. Musically, each part of the song effortlessly melts into the next. The electric guitars set a static chord progression throughout except for the bridge. The piano leading the bridge into the final chorus is the aural version of twinkling stars. Listen for similar piano notes during the second chorus to tie the song together.

Playlist:

Playlist Radio

This playlist is Spotify specific because it’s automatically generated by them. It has the perfect spread of good summer vibes from Bryce Vine to AJR, The Band CAMINO, and PEABOD. 

The lead song the playlist is based off of, Playlist by Kid Quill, is a jubilant nod to the club music of the early 2000’s. If you need a theme song for your socially distant beach trip, this is the song you should be blasting. The three chord repetition in the keys keeps a peppy thread throughout the song, leading into the outro which samples OutKast’s So Fresh, So Clean and Nelly’s Ride Wit Me among others.

Other notable songs on the playlist include 100 Bad Days by AJR and La La Land by Bryce Vine. The throbbing bass uniquely creates almost a ‘negative soundscape’ during the verse of La La Land under the light guitars which is contrasted by the full sound of the chorus. The song is done with tact, ensuring the chorus does not accost the listener, then returning to the bass line of the verse in anticipation of the bridge.

If you’re wondering why a pop/rock band such as AJR belongs on a playlist with easy summer hip hop jams, look no further than the first fifteen seconds of 100 Bad Days. The synths throughout the song seamlessly integrate it with the rest of the playlist. The horns and the bass in the swell of the chorus remind the listener of the previous song on the playlist, La La Land, proving that good vibes are not confined to a single genre.

The playlist rounds itself out with the complex sound of Jon Bellion. Stupid Deep acts as an equalizer that calms the listener from some of the more sprightly songs, while still maintaining the simple, positive energy that this playlist invokes. 

Most of these songs aren’t within a genre I would normally listen to. My music taste mainly focuses around alternative rock, musicals, and male British singer/songwriters. However, I love all these new music finds, and I’ve discovered that they aren’t too far away from music I already listen to. It juxtaposes Summer 2020: even though I’m not doing what I originally planned, I’ve still found happiness in the different and unusual. With this new music, let’s all find the silver lining in our lives and listen to some good vibes.

By Catherine Duffy

Sending a quick “on my way” text, checking a notification or changing the song on our phones while driving is something most of us can unfortunately admit to having done in the past. But what kind of risks do these behaviors evoke? Between having lost people in my life due to collisions and having experienced a rear-end collision myself just two weeks ago, I vowed long ago to never use my phone while driving. But how can we convince other drivers, notably those in the younger demographic, to leave their devices aside while driving? Does it really take a tragedy to show phone users just how distracting these behaviors can be? If we put our phone away while commuting, the National Safety Council might have 1.6 million less crashes to report annually.

Back in July, my friend and I were hit from behind at full speed. Strangely enough, the crash occurred in broad daylight, on a straight road as we stopped for a pedestrian. It was clear to us the driver of the other vehicle must have been distracted in some way. Though using one’s phone remains the most common distraction, behaviors such as eating and self-grooming can be just as dangerous. In Saskatchewan in Canada, where I live, using your phone while driving or driving without “due care” poses a $580 ticket and four demerits on one’s license. Should this person reoffend, their second charge will be $1400 and their car will be impounded for a week (SGI).

So with such serious charges, why does the use of phones while driving remain such a big issue? I decided to do some research into the matter and used the Canadian Automobile Association’s website as my main source.

CAA shared in 2018 that phone use while driving remains one of the biggest threats to the safety of Canadians. This point is further justified by the National Collision Database’s statistics that share that 310 deaths and 32.213 injuries occur every year in Canada simply because of the use of phones while driving. As my high school driving instructor once said, all of these could be avoided and lives would be saved if everyone committed to putting their phones away while on the road. Many of you reading this might already know how dangerous this can be. CBC news reported in 2014 that though 95 % of drivers surveyed know and have been taught the dangers of using your phone on the road, 73 % of people still admit to having done it. So why can’t people resist the urge of sending a quick text?

CAA reports that phone addiction may be to blame. 93 % of phone users continue their use on the road to “stay connected” while another 28% have anxiety and worry about “missing out” should they put their phone away on their journey between point A and point B. 25 % are so confident in their driving that they don’t believe the use of phones will affect their driving skills. Another 14 % are anxious to keep their friends waiting on an answer and 6 % of phone users simply blame their addiction to texting.

Though I am sure that a great portion of the younger population are guilty of phone use, older adults have their fair share of distractions on the road as well. The CAA shares that GPS is the most distracting task while driving and even devices deemed “safer” such as hands-free systems are still involved in 26 % of all vehicle crashes. 

So next time you wish to answer a friend’s text, or share a quick photo of your drive home, remember you’re raising your risks of a crash by 23 times. Though it’s been said in millions of anti-phone use campaigns, I’ll be cliché and say it one more time: is sending a text really worth your life?

Works Cited:

CAA National. (n.d.). Distracted Driving. Retrieved July 30th, 2020, from https://www.caa.ca/distracted-driving/statistics/

SGI. (n.d.). Distracted driving penalties. Retrieved July 25, 2020, from https://www.sgi.sk.ca/distracted-driving-penalties

Images source: Pexels

An Athlete’s Guide to Self-Sufficiency and Mental Resilience

With Angelo Rossetti

by Abigail Roth and Angelo Rossetti

Lockdown has undoubtedly been a difficult time for everyone, especially those who have been prohibited from doing what they love. Athletes, specifically, and those who enjoy sports just for fun, have been unable to join together with their teammates and friends, and have had to put their athletic development and goals on hold. Now, as athletic centers begin to open and gatherings are increasingly permitted across the U.S., sports lovers will be able to get back out there and work on their skills. It is during this time of reopening that I was able to speak with the greatest influence in my athletic endeavors, tennis instructor and author extraordinaire, Angelo Rossetti. An inspirational man on and off the court, Angelo has been developing a teaching method that helps athletes get in the best mental shape to perform on the court, field, or track. He has named it The 3-2-1 Method, and it encourages an athlete to self-coach as they work on different tasks, promoting mental and emotional resiliency. I asked him about his new book, Tennacity: The Tenacious Mindset On & Off the Court, and how his methods can be applicable to people like you and me who are looking to get back out and play. 

Q: Hi there, Angelo. Tell me a bit about yourself. 

A: I was certified over 25 years ago as a United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) Elite as well as a Professional Tennis Registry (PTR) and United States Tennis Association (USTA) High Performance & Mental Skills certified teaching professional. I am a 2X Guinness World Records™ titleholder of two different tennis titles; the Longest Tennis Rally (25,944 strokes lasting 14 hours and 31 minutes) and the Longest Tennis Volley Rally (30,576 volleys lasting 5 hours and 28 minutes), both of which acted as fundraisers for charity. I studied to be a Dale Carnegie instructor, as I wanted to learn and teach the best ways to learn! I was elected in 2017 as one of the youngest Presidents of USTA Connecticut (2018-2020). I was a Division 1 player at the University of Connecticut, where I earned a B.S. degree in Sports Science with a concentration in Sports Marketing. I have been awarded multiple prestigious awards by the USTA; the one I am most proud of is the 2005 USTA Sportsmanship Award. In 2007, my identical twin brother, Ettore, and I were ranked #1 in New England Men’s Open Doubles and I was top 10 in singles. One of my other proud accomplishments was earning the National 2016 USPTA Lessons for Life Award by helping raise over $112,000 for the nonprofit organization Save the Children. I’ve coached women’s teams and captained and played on 5.0 and Open USTA men’s teams. I have a passion for speaking, having done so five times at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, RI, as well as at the Connecticut Invention Convention at UConn’s Gampel Pavilion. I am philanthropic-minded and still raise money for causes I care about, most recently helping to generate close to 3,000 petition signatures and going on a media tour to help save UConn tennis. I have coached not only tennis but basketball, soccer, and lacrosse. I live in Hamden with my wife and two children, a daughter, Madison (Maddie) and son, Andrew (Andy). I have a passion for caring for and inspiring people at every age, on and off the court. I believe strongly in the 4 Gs: Get a Dream, Goal Set, Goal Get, and Give Back, which leads to success in tennis and in life. I love sharing ideas via the written word.

Q: What is the 3-2-1 Method and how did you come up with it? How has it been helpful to you as a coach during lessons? 

A: The 3-2-1 method is a way to learn quicker, more effectively, from the inside out rather than the outside in. It allows the student to be more aware of what’s happening so that they can coach themselves in matches. It was originally inspired by Tim Gallwey, author of the Inner Game of Tennis, and then crystallized while getting to know and hit with Sean Brawley, who was mentored by Tim. I have read the Inner Game of Tennis several times as the mental aspect was the strongest part of my game according to my coach and teammates when I played at UConn. I  was interested in learning and teaching others to be mentally strong and resilient, especially under pressure. Mental strength and emotional resilience is something extremely important now with the “new normal” of dealing with COVID-19.

The key to coaching or teaching athletes is having them learn to “control the controllables;” which leads to stronger skill acquisition and retention. What’s important is not doing everything right but focusing on the right things. But what are the right things? If someone isn’t aware of something, then it doesn’t exist in their mind’s eye. Just like a magician uses misdirection to set the audience up for their trick, we as tennis coaches must have our players avoid the pitfalls of focusing on the wrong things, that is, technique or the result. 

As an example, let’s discuss the point of contact (P.O.C.), or the placement of the tennis ball on the strings of the racquet. When you hit the ball on the sweet spot call out “3.” When you hit the ball just off the center of the sweet spot call out “2.” When you hit the ball on any part of the frame then call out “1”. I make players promise that they won’t use the result (whether the ball was hit in the net or out) as a bias for their number. A solid 3 hit into the bottom of the net is still a 3. The two goals are the accuracy of awareness and improvement of the number of point-of-contact hits. If you hit the frame and call out “3,” then something needs to be adjusted and if you hit the sweet spot and call out “1,” something was awry as well. Over time you want to get more 3s and 2s, and less 2s and 1s. Every hit should have a number called out to ensure that the player is focused on every shot. Have them call it out as soon as they know. This is helpful because the sooner you know the quality of your shot in competition, the earlier your anticipation, which helps with improved preparation for your next shot. Try not to have the players call it out too early; that is, guess. Also, try not to have them call it out too late; that is, delayed awareness or reaction. 

You are removing opinion and replacing it with fact and perception. A “1” shot isn’t bad; it just is a “1” or it just is, what it is. Keep in mind that you are not correcting if the number is incorrect. This is not about “fixing” anything; nothing is broken. It is about a sense of being, mindfulness, fine-tuning, refining and honing your awareness. Not correcting, refining. Not fixing, fine-tuning. Remove “good,” “bad,” “wrong,” or “right.” It just is what it is.

Next, ask these crucial questions:

1. Was it easy or difficult to call out the number?

2. Did you remember to always call out the number?

3. How were you able to call out the number? (visual, auditory,

or kinesthetic awareness)

4. Were the numbers increasing over time? If they did, they improved.

The beautiful thing about this method is that you can apply 3-2-1 to any shot, strategy, or circumstance. Your game, whatever it may be, will improve once you refine your awareness. In addition, you aren’t focusing on the many things that would be negative distractions; who is watching you, what the score is, how poorly your doubles partner is playing, if your opponent is being coached, bad line calls, etc. In other words, if you focus on 3-2-1, you can’t focus on the negative things that would deteriorate your game. This gradually removes counter-productive emotions and replaces them with logical thinking and fact.

Q: Tell me a bit about tennacity.org and your book! How and when did you decide to focus on these projects? 

A: Over ten years ago I told my brother Ettore that I wanted to write a book. He said,  “Well if you set a world record first, then you can write your book.” We set the U.S. record for the longest tennis rally in 2007 but it wasn’t until August of 2008 when we set our second record did I know that a book was inevitable. It took me a while to make the commitment to it but once I did it took me about four years to finish my book, Tennacity: The Tenacious Mindset On & Off the Court, which is available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble. I would like to give thanks, also, to USA Olympic Gold Medalist Laura Wilkinson, whose course, “The Confident Competitor” helped me get over the last hurdle toward publishing the book. I also purposely started a blog, www.tennacity.org, to force myself to regularly put my thoughts, insights, and inspirations into writing. I wrote about one new article per month, which typically represented a new chapter in the book. I will be launching an online course named after the book that will stem from the blog, so definitely check it out!

Q: In these strange coronavirus times, how can athletes stay mentally sharp and strong even when they may not be able to get out and play/practice? 

A: Athletes can journal every day to be aware of what they are thinking. Monitoring positive self-talk and rephrasing negative, counter-productive thoughts to positive ones is key to strengthening any athlete’s mental game. I actually created the “10 Coronavirus Controllables” (below) to help athletes with being both positive and productive during these challenging times. I believe that people should focus on improving themselves and comparing themselves with only themselves. You won’t have time to worry about others, but rather, you’ll stay focused on being the best that you can be on the field or court and off.

The 10 Coronavirus Controllables

#1. BE AWARE OF WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL

Ask yourself when you start to feel anxious or worried “Is there something that I can do RIGHT NOW to remedy this?” If not, then it’s an uncontrollable. It is what it is, shift your focus to your controllables.

#2. CONTROL YOUR CONTROLLABLES

Once you know what your controllables are, control them. You can control your attitude, effort, grit, resilience, joy, and being present. Be aware of the world around you but don’t control others. Focus on controlling what you can – YOU.

#3. PROCRASTINATE YOUR WORRY

Use natural procrastination to your advantage. Put off your worry of your uncontrollables to a future date … and maybe that date will never come.

#4. BE PRODUCTIVE

If you can structure your day you’ll be in a better mindset. Small successes and accomplishments will lead to positive energy and emotions. Create daily routines and stick to a daily schedule, even though it may be drastically different than what it was in the past.

#5. PRACTICE GRATITUDE & FORGIVENESS

It’s scientifically proven that expressing gratitude puts you in a better mindset. Come up with at least one specific thing that you are grateful for and write it down or act on it like sending a thank you note, checking up on someone, or just being thoughtful. Life is too short to hold grudges or worry about what people think of you. Forgive others for something that may be festering. It will not only make them feel better but it will make you feel better.

#6. BE EMPATHETIC

Ask others how you can help them. This is a great way to hone your listening skills. Be PRESENT for others and for yourself. The best way to help yourself is to help others. We are all in this together. Together we make each other better.

#7. READ MORE

This is the ideal time to finish the book you’re on or pick up a new book to dive into. Time block at least 10 minutes per day for reading or listening to audiobooks or podcasts.

#8. MAKE JOURNALING A HABIT

Having a daily journal can help with jotting down ideas, inspirational quotes, reflections, how you can reinvent yourself and how to become a better and stronger you. Even if it’s using it as a way to meditate, reflect, or express gratitude, journaling is a positive habit to continue to develop.

#9. REFOCUS

You can be aware of what’s going on with COVID-19 but don’t focus on it (unless you are a doctor or healthcare professional). Focus on your purpose and what’s really important to you now more than ever, even if you have to reinvent yourself. Become the best YOU that you can be.

#10. FIND YOUR JOY – LIVE ON PURPOSE WITH PURPOSE

Stay focused on what’s unique about you. Double-down on your purpose and inspire others in the process. Reflect on how your purpose in life helps others. Be present to allow yourself to enjoy every moment, no matter how difficult.

10 CORONAVIRUS CONTROLLABLES

© 2020 Angelo A. Rossetti, http://www.tennacity.org. For additional helpful information see Control My

Controllables During Competition on page 129 of the book TENNACITY: The Tenacious Mindset

Q: How can athletes become involved with you and your coaching methods? How can they stay in touch/be updated, etc.? 

A: The best way is to visit www.tennacity.org or find me on social media. Web: www.Tennacity.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Please feel free to email angelo@tennacity.org with suggestions, feedback, or your own inspirational stories. I welcome your goals, success stories, inspirational quotes, or challenges.

By Fiona Rose Beyerle

Perhaps the best PBS Kids show on air in the early 2000’s was Arthur.  Who could not love the fun characters, cute storylines and life lessons taught on Arthur?  Although each character had their own unique personality, they all showed us what true friendship was, while going to the Sugar Bowl after school or hanging out in the treehouse.  Even though they do not age in the show, it is fun to imagine what Arthur characters would pursue in college.  After all, if this bunch survived being in Mr. Ratburn’s class, they would definitely survive university. 

Arthur: Sociology

As the protagonist, we saw a lot of Arthur’s inner thoughts about everything going on in Elwood city.  Almost all of the show’s intros are him introducing the big question of the episode and analyzing interactions among the characters.  On top of his sociology degree, Arthur would likely keep up his piano skills by minoring in Music. 

Buster: Video Game Design

Buster was the quirky friend who would definitely be the guy at college parties trying to convince you of his alien spotting stories.  Besides that however, Buster was a huge video game fan.  Combined with his knowledge of video games and fun personality, Buster would study video game design to create all the wackiest video games to be on the market. 

Muffy: Business

We all know how much Muffy loves money.  During college, Muffy would study business in preparation to take over her dad’s business: Crosswire Motors.  Muffy would also be that person who gets an iced coffee every single day on the way to class.

Francine: Sports Medicine

Francine was always putting the other characters in their place in any sporting event.  While studying sports medicine, Francine would also play on the university soccer team and be a well-known athlete on campus. 

The Brain: Physics

Although The Brain would be incredible at almost any STEM major, physics takes the cake.  The Brain was always doing science experiments, solving math problems and reading about science.  As a physics major, he would do undergraduate research and publish a ton of scientific papers, on top of being president of the physics club.  The Brain is also definitely the person who would ruin the curve for the rest of the class.

Fern: English (concentration in Poetry)

Fern was quiet, but you always knew when she said something, it would be important.  It would be difficult to picture Fern as anything besides an English major, with an emphasis in poetry.  Some may remember the episode when Fern wrote poems which Muffy essentially forced her to sell as “Fernlets.”  Fern did not care about selling her poetry, it came from the heart and was a way to express herself authentically.  As an English major, Fern would also get a chance to study some of her favorite authors like Agatha Christie and Mary Shelley. 

Sue Ellen: International Relations

Sue Ellen was a world traveler and not afraid to take the road less traveled.  She always stood up for what she believed in and did not care about what others thought.  As a lover of traveling, Sue Ellen would choose a degree in International Relations, after a long gap year traveling and volunteering at animal shelters of course.  With her degree in International Relations, she would be ready to fight for human rights, the environment and many other key issues the world faces.

George: Psychology

George may not have been in every episode, but he is definitely one of the most memorable characters on the show, especially due to added entertainment by his ventriloquist dummy, Wally.  George was extremely thoughtful and was always there to help his friends.  As a psychology major, George would be taking the first step to becoming a licensed therapist and helping others.   

Thank you to PBS Kids and Marc Brown for creating such a fun show to watch growing up and for teaching us that having fun isn’t hard when you have a library card (if you know, you know). 

By Sumner Lewis

Dating is, in the simplest term, weird. It’s exhausting, exhilarating, confusing, and so much more. I’m a freshly 21-year-old woman and I am filled with questions; it’s overwhelming.

Why does the world focus on the ideal romance instead of a solid partnership? The everyday love and respect that makes up a good partnership doesn’t sell books or movies. Therefore, all we are fed through the media is the thrill of a new relationship: the honeymoon period. 

It’s the all-encompassing bliss that lasts anywhere between 6 months and a year at the beginning of a relationship. Once it wears away, the real life of the relationship begins and people typically either fall into a routine or fight and part ways.

Romance stories still have an audience (myself included) even if they do not fully reflect reality. They keep us on the edge of our seats, comfort us, and give us something to aspire to. Those of us who haven’t experienced running into the love of our lives at a coffee shop eat it up. 

Why do people believe that the right person “fixes” someone? People don’t fix other people; people fix themselves. Maybe someone comes along who helps them or inadvertently teaches them a lesson, but it’s the person in question doing the work to better themselves. 

A good partner can inspire someone to be the best person they can be. They can question comfort zones or destructive behavior. But it is up to the person to change themselves, and only if they want to. It also isn’t only romantic partners who can inspire change. It could be a friend, boss, therapist, parent, or anyone. Romantic partners don’t have the monopoly on inspiring self-improvement.

What is up with the sentiment that people become “whole” when they are with the right person? Comedian Daniel Sloss has an incredible monologue during his Jigsaw stand-up special that has broken up multiple couples. It makes the viewer assess their relationships and where they want to be in life. He uses an analogy where the core of one’s being is a jigsaw puzzle. 

No one has the image of what the puzzle is supposed to look like, so we start out with the edges: simple things that make up who we are such as family, friends, hobbies, etc. Once the edges are in place, most people think that the missing middle piece is a partner. They’ll be complete once they get that perfect person.

People believe this so much that they try to jam just anyone into that middle spot when their piece is the wrong shape. When it doesn’t fit, one has to acquiesce and change some part of their edge pieces, the foundation of who they are as a person, in order to fit that ‘perfect’ partner into their lives and finally be whole.

I don’t necessarily buy into the idea that a partner will be the center of my jigsaw puzzle. My future spouse won’t define who I am as a person, nor will they ‘complete’ me. I am already whole.

What’s the goal of dating? Society dictates that dating leads to a relationship, which leads to marriage. Using the transitive property, the goal of dating must be to find someone to marry.

Choosing who you are going to legally tie yourself to is a huge life decision. It’s not just about love; you have to think about who would be a good parent to your possible future children, who you can stand to cohabitate with. Are they good with finances? That question answers whether or not you’ll get a joint account together. If you do get a joint account, do they have student debt that you’ll now be paying off too?

The first couple of dates can test compatibility through similar likes, dislikes, and how easily you settle on an activity or restaurant. After that, time together should obviously be enjoyable, but it should also be spent exploring shared values and how you could feasibly live life together.

What about casual dates and official relationships? I don’t see the point of dating someone I won’t marry, but I also want diverse dating experiences so I can form my own first-hand opinions of relationships. Also, going on dates is super fun. You get to know new people, share experiences, and learn about what you do and don’t want in a future partner.

I enjoy the casual date and getting to know a person. I just don’t think I want to be in an official relationship until I’m sure that I’m vetting them for marriage. 

Entering an official relationship is a big decision to make. You have to want a life with the person you’re entering it with, not just to have them in your life. You have to want to do the work with them, to be a team against the problems in the world. It’s significant to be committed to someone even if there isn’t a legal document binding you together. No matter your age, having a significant other should be treated with gravity.

Why am I asking these questions? I have unpopular opinions about how we view dating as a society. I prefer to be a realist about it: whoever you marry will set the course for the rest of your life, and who you date will wind up being who you marry. 

Date smart. Figure out what you do and don’t want in a relationship and then only date those who fit the bill. In my case, it’s important to me that my spouse is also Jewish, so I only seriously date Jewish guys. Remember that your values and who you are as a person should not be compromised for anyone. A spouse should complement you (and compliment you, because we all love some good positive reinforcement).

It does seem daunting to be looking for a spouse in your early twenties. But if you analyze your dating life early, there might be less heartbreak involved in the future. I hope you find what you’re looking for out there in the dating world. I know someday I will.

by Eleanor Kelman

I recently listened to a talk by Dr. Michael J. Breus, also known as “the Sleep Doctor,” in which he discussed the science of sleep. He was one of the featured speakers on an externship I (and thousands of other people trapped in limbo between school and not being able to find work) have been participating in, and his talk really resonated with me in a way few talks do. Typically, when I listen to a presentation I’m constantly fidgeting and attempting to keep myself from multitasking–well, distracting myself by scrolling through my Instagram feed or perusing Reddit forums. Listening to Dr. Breus speak was different. I was fully, wholeheartedly engaged in what he was telling me to do to improve my sleep schedule, and not once did I think about turning on my phone. I was so surprised at my own sustained focus that I attempted to figure out why I was able to pay attention for the full hour.

Maybe it was just his manner of speaking, but that’s never really been much of a factor for me. Other than once falling asleep while a beautiful voice slowly lulled me into dreamland while discussing the rather un-dreamlike topic of physics, I’ve never noticed the tone of voice in talks. Perhaps he was just a wonderful orator in general? Well, yes, but even the most passionate of speakers can still make me lose focus (of absolutely no fault of their own, mind you!). No, I finally came to the conclusion that what he was talking about was simply so fascinating and pertinent to me.

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[My newest idol… who also looks quite a bit like one of my favorite college professors?]

Sleep has been a point of contention for me for a long time. I sustained myself on a solid 4-5 hours during weekdays in high school, which led to a lot of dozing off in class and some lunch hours devoted to a quick power nap. In college, my quality of sleep improved ever-so-slightly but still negligibly. A roommate freshman year took to letting her alarm sound for two hours straight every morning, which always gave me a very rude awakening with zero reprieve. I never established a true sleep routine, even during my sophomore year while living with my boyfriend at the time who turned off the lights at midnight each night (while I toiled away on the computer next to him). Senior year I made a valiant effort to go to bed at the same time every night, but that was squandered by two suitemates who would be up yelling and playing music until two or three in the morning much to my chagrin. I never really got that coveted “sleep schedule” thing down pat.

I no longer had any excuse once quarantine started due to the fact that my house is a couple hundred decibels quieter at 9pm than my suite on campus was at 3am, but I still managed to finagle an excuse or two in there. I was going to bed at around 12 am and waking up around 8am to 8:30am depending on how many times I hit snooze, but I still couldn’t shake that desire to get up earlier and truly spend the morning being productive. I am certainly my most productive prior to lunchtime so I wanted to prioritize that time. Unfortunately, a lack of drive got in the way of those well-laid plans, but I still continuously wished I could be a bit better in a number of regards. From drinking caffeine at 8pm to rolling out of bed at a snail’s pace, I kept avoiding achieving my personal goals of maintaining a true sleep schedule and becoming a certifiable morning person.

Listening to Dr. Breus’s presentation lit a fire under me so to speak. I suppose it wasn’t actually the presentation at all, but hearing someone else say, “Do this thing,” made me want to do that thing, the thing I had been putting off for so long because it was solely a “me” thing. I dove in headfirst.

Instead of trying the recommended method of moving your alarm back 15 minutes every week until you reach your desired wake-up time, I went all in and jumped it to 7am and figured I would deal with the jetlag later. I also ended up setting two alarms: a digital alarm clock and my phone. With this, I had to jump out of bed to turn off the second alarm after the first one sounded. In addition, I made a pledge to myself to not just lie back down and fall asleep. I spend the first couple of minutes every morning in a hazy stupor but I allow myself to go back to sleep if I’m still tired half an hour after I wake up. Interestingly, I’m no longer tired by that point.

Returning to the Sleep Doctor, I’m supposed to fall asleep at 11:10pm to wake up at 7am every night. While I do attempt to fall asleep at 11pm, I ensure that I’m up and making my bed at 7am no matter when I fall asleep–thankfully, it’s never crossed 12:30am, a terribly late bedtime for me now that I’ve ascended to being a grandma. I’ve also stopped drinking a latte too early in the morning, which is an easier task than expected because I’ve replaced it with chugging water while I work out (I need to drink a concerning amount of water during the summer).

Who knew that presentations could be useful outside of getting participation credit for a class?

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[Herbal teas have replaced my nightly latte habit, a worthy companion to my bedtime routine.]

I won’t pretend that I’m not browsing the web at night or that I no longer engage in any unsavory nighttime habit, especially as nearly every night I’m on a video call with a friend, but I’ve been able to do just enough to achieve a goal I never thought really possible for me. On a very small level, waking up at 7am and not bemoaning my situation is amazing. It has represented for me such strong discipline that allows everything else to fall into place once I’ve gotten out of bed and started to get moving. On top of that, I can finally say with utmost certainty that I know I’m getting enough sleep, something I couldn’t say without crossing my fingers behind my back for most of my life.

Sleep may be for the weak, but I’ve got a real weakness for it.

 

 

By Catherine Duffy

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an event like no other for the present population. The three-month isolation period changed life as we know it as plans were cancelled and a new way of life surfaced. But did everyone have the same general experience? It is known that there are two big personality types in our world: the introverts and the extroverts. Some people even identify as a mixture of both. The quarantine has allowed these two personality types to peer into the other’s way of life. What unique emotional changes have introverts and extroverts experienced in 2020? 

Merriam Webster defines an extrovert as “a gregarious and unreserved person” whereas an introvert is known as “a reserved or shy person who enjoys spending time alone”.

The beginning of isolation back in March provided a major life change to extroverts around the world. The social beings began to feel trapped knowing that seeing friends and family was officially against the law, and that social calls to cafes were strictly prohibited. Social media and video calls filled their days at home and helped them put their social energy to use.

While staying at home reading books and making puzzles made the extroverts stir crazy, the introverts were extremely delighted. There was so much time to recharge now that time alone was just part of every day routine. New solitary hobbies were adopted and their anxieties may have begun to vanish. As an introvert myself, I discovered that I had much more energy to call friends and family at the end of the day having had so much quiet time to recharge on my own. 

While the extroverts counting down the days to freedom, the introverts may have taken every as a blessing. The social anxieties of big group gatherings, presentations and hours of interacting with others as they worked became a thing of the past.

Now that many restrictions have been lifted, a bit of the opposite has happened. Extroverts rejoice as they return to work. They have been finally granted the opportunity to socialize and talk to their hearts content once again. Introverts, on the contrary, have been reintroduced to the stress and social anxiety they knew before the quarantine.

Though this year has been filled with disappointment and tragedy, it seems as though both introverts and extroverts have gained insight into the other’s way of life. Whether it be being forced inside or forced to return to the outside world again, perhaps both personalities have gained a certain appreciation for the other’s routines as they have had the opportunity to explore them. Perhaps with this new insight, both personalities will be able to live in harmony, or at least show understanding when the other isn’t emotionally content.

By Fiona Rose Beyerle

To be honest –  and I hate to say this – but I hate a lot of female movie characters.  You read that right.  Too often, especially in mainstream movies is a female character portrayed as less intelligent, less interesting and less likeable than her male scene partner.  This girl is often painted as what has been coined as a “manic pixie dream girl” which is a character you can find in many films as the female who is unique yet exists as a source of inspiration for the struggling male lead lost in the world.  This is not to say this character herself is not memorable, however, there can and should be so much more to these characters.  

Here are four films in which I find to have incredible female characters that are not existing to please males. Instead, they will make you think “I want to be like her.” 

  1. The Lure (2015)

Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska

Language: Polish

Where to Watch: Kanopy, Youtube, Google Play, Vudu, iTunes

Why This Film Stands Out: This film is utterly insane, and that is what makes it exceptional.  This is the kind of film you see and keep thinking about.  Two carnivorous mermaids named Silver and Golden wash up on a beach and start working in a nightclub with their new musician friends.  Golden and Silver both face different challenges as they juggle life on land, love, friendship and getting what they need.  Combining horror and musical numbers, this film is entertaining beyond measure.  I guarantee you have never seen anything like this as on top of all that, it takes place in an alternative 1980’s Poland.  Give this one a watch for sure.  

  1. Level 16 (2018)

Director: Danishka Esterhazy

Language: English

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, Youtube, Google Play, Hulu, Sling TV, Showtime

Why This Film Stands Out:  There are many sci-fi films out there, but few where females take the lead, especially young females.  I am not talking about young-adult dystopian novels because those place a huge focus on romance. When living in a dystopian society, it seems like dealing with relationship problems would be the last thing you would want to stress about.  This particular film takes place in a girls’ boarding school (or so that is what the girls are told).  When Vivien moves up to the final level of the program, she and another girl, Sophia, team up to figure out the disturbing truth and attempt to save the others.  While this film is chilling, it brings up interesting questions for the future of science in society and delivers two female heroines at the same time.  Love it. 

  1. Leave No Trace (2018) 

Director: Debra Granik 

Language: English 

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime, Youtube, Google Play and Vudu 

Why This Film Stands Out: Tom and her father Will, a war veteran with mental health issues, live in isolation in the middle of a forest in Oregon, only entering town occasionally.  When a mistake gives their secret life away, they are forced to reevaluate their lives and their relationship as father and daughter.  Tom is an incredibly powerful character and holds her own against her father.  You will be touched by these characters and their story.  

  1. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) 

Director: Ana Lily Amirpour 

Language: Persian 

Where to Watch: Kanopy, Amazon Prime, Youtube, Google Play, Vudu, iTunes, Sling TV

Why This Film Stands Out: Three Words: Skateboarding.  Vampire.  Girl.  I kid you not, this is the main character in this film.  Identified only as The Girl, this chador-wearing mythical character skates around an Iranian ghost-town killing men who treat women poorly. This film blends elements of different genres and clearly succeeds in this amazing film that is beyond worth watching.  There is not a lot of dialogue in the film, but instead the story is delivered primarily through unpredictable visuals and is coated with a killer soundtrack.  

Now it’s your turn – who are your favourite female movie characters? Let us know in the comments!

by Nicole Mattson

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(A record player plays a tune).

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has canceled or postponed all of the upcoming concerts we all have been looking forward to. If you are stumped on what to listen to next after you have grown tired of repeatedly listening to your playlists, try listening to instrumental music. Most bands from the 1970s are known for their phenomenal chemistry between the singer, guitar, drums, keyboard, and even cowbell. That being said, it can be eccentric to take the singer out of the equation. You can find underlying meanings in how the instruments are played, which can help you understand the bands’ music and dynamic even more than before. Instrumental music gives you, the listener, room to think more creatively and make the song your own: how does the song make you feel? What does it remind you of? The options are endless. In times when it feels like the pandemic will never end, listening to different types of music can help you relax, which is a crucial part of taking care of yourself.

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(A guitar and band setup sits on a stage).

It is also interesting to look through instrumental music since many songs are not well-known. If you are tired of listening to the same Fleetwood Mac album over and over again, try listening to some instrumental versions! You can chill out to all the songs listed below, or you can pick and choose certain songs based on your mood.

If you are feeling strong:

 

  • “Pali Gap” by Jimi Hendrix 

 

Rainbow Bridge, posthumously in 1971

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJ7AttIb-kc

“Pali Gap” was released posthumously in Rainbow Bridge in 1971, after Jimi Hendrix’s death the previous year. One of the more powerful songs on this list, how could you resist listening to Hendrix’s moving guitar solo? This song is perfect for both loosening up as well as doing something you enjoy.

If you are feeling groovy:

 

  • “What a Shame” by Fleetwood Mac

 

Future Games, 1971

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DcfbD_NuNo

Fleetwood Mac… there is not much to say about them except that they are one of the grooviest bands of all time. This song was released before Stevie Nicks joined, but it’s still worth listening to since it is instrumental. “What a Shame” is an easy listen, since it will make you feel good about yourself.

If you are feeling bored:

 

  •  “One of These Days” by Pink Floyd

 

Meddle, 1971

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48PJGVf4xqk

You all know the saying, “only boring people get bored”. Sometimes being bored is inevitable, since there are limited options for things to do during the pandemic. “One of These Days” starts off repetitive and a little dull, but escalates into something great. Hopefully, it will put you out of any boredom you may be experiencing.

If you are feeling candid:

 

  • “Do You Know What?” By Sly and the Family Stone

 

There’s a Riot Goin’ On!, 1971

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIuCZhxTBx4

According to Oliver Wang in their article, “Sly and the Family Stone: 20 Essential Songs” published March 15, 2016, on rollingstone.com, “Greil Marcus famously wrote that There’s a Riot Goin’ On! ‘was no fun. It was slow, hard to hear, and it isn’t celebrating anything.’ In short, ‘It was not groovy.’” So, while you can still chill out to this song, it’s important to note that it was created in a time of change when being honest was more important than ever. If you’re feeling outspoken, you should listen to this “Do You Know What?”, as well as the other songs in There’s a Riot Goin’ On! such as “Family Affair”.

If you need a pick-me-up:

 

  • “Daybreaker” by Electric Light Orchestra

 

On the Third Day, 1973

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaJNjYmpeWY

Electric Light Orchestra’s music is known to put people in a better mood; honestly, who wouldn’t feel better after listening to “Mr. Blue Sky?” Even without lyrics, ELO’s music can still make you feel happier. The addition of the violin in this song is phenomenal and can make you feel some type of way.

If you are feeling nostalgic:

 

  • “Lipstick Traces” by UFO

 

Phenomenon, 1974

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQJgWIaP7UU

The wailing guitar in this song is begging for you to reminisce about your past; perhaps this includes your life before the world shut down. “Lipstick Traces” encourages you to think deeper about yourself and what you’ve been through, and how you can improve your life post-pandemic.

If you are feeling inspired:

  • “Intermezzo No. 1” by Abba

Released in 1975

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6kShipYwCk

Intermezzo No. 1 is one of the more upbeat songs on this list. Like ELO, Abba’s music guarantees it will put a smile on your face. You could cook, paint, or just walk around the house listening to this song.

Bonus song: If you have wanderlust:

 

  • “Bron Yr Aur” by Led Zeppelin

 

Physical Graffiti, 1975 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKge6Ay9O4E

Are you tired of listening to “Stairway to Heaven” over and over again? Put on “Bron Yr Aur” and drive around for a little bit. Even driving is a good way to take a break from things happening in your life, and an excuse to leave your house. This song is nice to listen to on a road trip. Even if you can’t travel anywhere due to the pandemic, going somewhere like a park could be a fun adventure.