Monthly Archives: February 2017

Learning to be Grateful

By Bobbie Brinkley

She cares. The words she speaks are sincere. If she wants something, she doesn’t expect for it to land right there in her hands. She knows the value of hard work. Nothing should come the easy way, but the way in which you appreciate something and deserve it because you put the time and work in. Create your own path. Be a person who is grateful for the life you have. Grateful is a word that gets tossed around, but are people actually grateful for the life they have?

To her, being grateful is saying thank you more times than you’re welcome. Waking up: tired, sick, emotionally distraught, but realizing you actually woke up, whereas many others, may not have woken up that same morning. Learn the value from appreciating what you have. Help others. Spend an extra 2 hours on a project to do a better job than you think you can. Strive to be a better you. Answer the phone for 10 minutes during the busiest part of your day to talk with your mom. Signs of being grateful are shown in a variety of ways, in different forms.

Over the last few years, while getting older and going through college, she’s noticed how many people surrounding her most of the time expect a certain kind of life without thinking they need to appreciate their own or work for what they have or want. She has lived through and seen others struggle and not be as fortunate. Her mother who lived in a tent at one point in her life, while having to care for her sister and mother, didn’t have the chance to go to college. Being her daughter, she saw first-hand the opportunities she had, that her mother and many others didn’t have. When people don’t realize or appreciate what they have, it hurts her. Whatever someone is complaining about, someone else is probably begging for. No matter how you look at it, glamourous or not, it makes her happy when people are content and happy with how things are.

 

Brinkley is a broadcast journalism junior

Going for a Hike

By Nicholas Spano

A hike can give you adventurous memories that will last a lifetime. My five senses happened with all that nature provided me during a hike that I took with my friends. As we got out of the car we headed up the mountain and came across our first sense with a path covered in rocks and dirt. Just a couple feet ahead was a sign that had arrows pointing to the left 10 miles and to the right it was half the distance to the peak. As we hurried up the mountain, I heard the animals such as the birds chirping up in the trees and the squirrels chasing one another causing the leaves to crunch heightened my senses. As we climbed higher in elevation we became parched and breathing was much harder. The sugary blue Gatorade and crunchy filled peanut butter bars were gobbled down quickly adding a boost of energy to my body. I felt the wind run through my sweat filled face and hair as I touched the rocks to sit on top of the mountain. Reaching the top of the mountain meant that we achieved our goal and were awarded a red and orange filled Carolina sunset that covered miles of land.

Spano is a public relations senior

Coking Pizza While Changing

By Sally Strickland

While trying on clothes in the dressing room, there is often the makings of a pizza pie. A trace of cheese is found on the thighs. A bit of rising dough pops out from the pants someone hoped would fit. Perhaps a blemish as red as a pepperoni sits searing on the face. All of a sudden, everyone has the passion of an Italian pizzeria owner when studying her dish. Before the sauce is stirred, this pizza needs some work. Too much here, maybe not enough there. Scrutiny is the only companion locked inside the small room that is now an oven, with good or bad lighting depending on the cook’s opinion.

The body is a messy dish when looked at through the eyes of perfection. Campaigns have been launched to debunk this distaste with which people view themselves, and offer an open forum of representation when it comes to body types. Plus-size models have snagged magazine covers reserved for the waif. Anti-Photoshop advertising is attempting to show real bodies. Unfortunately, these efforts are still falling short.

The portrayal of beautiful bodies for decades in industrialized countries with the ability to produce mass media has been thin and fit with clear skin. This strong rooted imagery is not diminished in the current beauty climate. For every single plus-size magazine cover, there are 11 other monthly issues disputing it. For every Instagram picture a celebrity shares braving her stretch marks and acne for fans, she shares a hundred more photos showing her enviable body and professionally covered face. Voices call out from skinny celebrities on social media to love all bodies and be comfortable. Optical interpretation reveals a different emotion. How inspiring it is to look flawless like this photo and be told to spread body love.

The labels of body types and representation have created categories, and categories equal separation. A larger frame strutting a bikini down the beach is looked at by spectators as brave and confident or a bad choice in swimwear. Put a desirable figure in the same situation and it is appreciated without excuses. It is clear that despite the effort of positive messages, the perfect body still reigns from a lack of other examples in the media.   

  Reinforcement is key when sending messages to the public. Knowing the wonders and capabilities of programs like Photoshop gives comfort to some when flipping through magazines and advertising. This comfort is lost when the same material is rampant in every form of media available from television to advertising. Sectioning the few outliers into something outside of the normal, such as plus-size or untouched, offers a moment of inspiration quickly reversed by what is more prominently displayed. There are not enough mass produced images to enforce the truth. The truth in mass media is that there is still a normal body type and it is still sought after and desired by the general public. The pizza has yet to be put in the oven and baked to perfection.

The reality of life is that flatbreads are not the truth. There are often fuller ingredients. When baking this pizza, undivided attention from media is required to avoid burning it. Cooking the pizza with extra dough, cheese and pepperoni as they come makes an interesting flavor. The sauce may be thick or thin, but the taste is all the same.

Strickland is a broadcast journalism senior

The Love of Hunting

By Ashlyn Bowers

Imagine opening the back door and seeing whitetail bucks herding through the yard. Across the field, long beard turkeys start strutting and gobbling for the hens’ attention. Mallard and greenhead ducks begin swarming the tree tops that are lining the river. The huntress reaches cautiously for her gun, making sure of the alignment and brings home dinner for her family.

After receiving hate messages upon threats on all social media accounts, a woman can’t process why it is ethically acceptable to propogate such harassment in retaliation for a picture with a long awaited eight-point buck. It is impossible to understand the cruelty that is put into such hate from someone who doesn’t understand the reasons behind hunting. It’s been a way of life from the very beginning, especially in the small towns of Newberry County. In fact, because of the amount of hunters in her hometown, the subject of hunting should be offered as an elective in the local high schools.

Hunting is about the journey. The feeling of opening day compares to a kid who’s too excited to sleep on Christmas Eve. Walking through the woods on a crisp fall morning in hopes of seeing the buck that’s been on the trail camera for weeks will inspire a night owl to become an early bird. The quietness of the woods lingers in the deer stand as she takes in the serene moment. The vibrant sunrise eases over the fog showcasing a field of shimmering dew. Just after day break, deer begin trickling from the woods. Easing her binoculars up, antlers are seen plowing through the branches of the trees.

It’s about the text message that she sends her daddy after she drops the buck dead in his tracks. She begins thanking the good Lord for the animal He’s allowing her to harvest while patiently waiting for her daddy and granddaddy to arrive at the stand. The adrenaline continues to race through her body as she climbs down from the stand, jumping into the arms of her family filling their ears with squeals of excitement. The feeling of joy comes across her face as she sends her boyfriend the bragging picture documenting the result of her morning.

It’s about maintaining a balanced wild life and providing organic, hormone-free food. Venison is none other than a lean source of protein, unlike the grocery store, plastic-wrapped pieces of meat. It’s about knowing where the food on her table comes from and the satisfaction of going into the woods and harvesting it herself. Hunting for food is healthier, safer and more ethical than the torment that other animals must endure through meat factories.

Hunting is about the appreciation of life and the value of a wild animal. The experience forces her to slow down and enjoy the moment even through the nasty comments she receives. It’s about being thankful for family traditions. The knowledge of tracking a deer, gun safety and the proper way to shoot an animal without ruining the meat is the certification for residency in her hometown. The hate she receives from anti-hunters does not compare to the bliss she receives from an early morning spent in the woods. If the only thing that’s taken away from a hunt is gratitude, it’s a success.

Now, pass the deer steak this way.

Bowers is a mass communications major 

A Life in Eight Months

By Hannah Treece

Eight months.

I guess in the grand scheme of things, eight months really isn’t that long. If you live to be 70 years old, you’ve gone through 840 months. But eight months was all it took for you to leave a lasting impression on my life.

June, we adopted you because you were the runt of the litter, the tiniest of all your brothers and sisters, and also the sweetest. You just lay down on my lap at the Humane Society and stayed snuggled up the whole ride home.

July, the runt temperament didn’t last too long. As soon as you warmed up to us and realized you were home for good, your inner craziness came out. There wasn’t a person or thing in sight that didn’t feel the wrath of your puppy teeth. Furniture gone, shoes destroyed, even a little blood (mine) drawn. And yet, we were all obsessed, you were the cutest little fur ball there ever was.

August, we knew the summer was coming to an end, which meant I had to leave you to get back to school; it was the hardest goodbye I’ve said yet in my four years. It’s only a 2-hour drive, but not having you in my lap every morning as I did quiet time, or not having you to trip me up on our runs was hard.

September, Mom sent me a picture of you standing where we would sit every morning, looking around for me. So naturally I found the solution of every millennial, I made you an Instagram account. I badgered Mom daily to send me adorable pictures of your crazy adventures to post for all 17 of your followers to see.

October, I got to go home for fall break, a whole weekend of snuggles and selfies. You had gotten so big, and frankly a little weird looking. You were a cross between Dobby the house elf and a Pterodactyl, and I had never seen a cuter dog. We went apple picking and you ate an apple, and my hand holding the apple, and I couldn’t even be mad because you looked were so happy

November, Thanksgiving came. It was your new favorite holiday because you were snuck human food all day. Your ambitiously athletic owners also forced you on a 10-mile hike; you’ve never been more exhausted. That picture was your first double-digit likes on Instagram, a real milestone even if you had no clue.

December, all of the family and friends are back, and you could not have been happier. On Christmas morning, you got your own stocking and presents, but you liked the wrapping paper and bows far more than the $15 raw hide we got you.

January, you got more out of breath than normal playing at the dog park one day, and by the time the night rolled around you were so short of breath you couldn’t even lie down. The emergency vet said you had congestive heart disease, but you came home a few days later so full of energy, no one would ever know you were sick.

One week ago. I was walking out of class; my phone rang, it was Dad calling, and I just knew.

Dany, you were the most loving, energetic and joyful dog I’ve ever known. My heart still aches at the loss of you; you deserved years and only got months. But those eight months were all it took for you to have a lasting impression on my life.

Eight months.

Treece is a broadcast journalism senior

Waking up With Maryland Boy

By Alana Bremner

Nausea pulls her out of her sleep. Why did she drink so much? She props herself up on her elbows and stares at the wall until the feeling subsides. She sees her small Burberry bag open on the floor. Frantically, she checks its contents. Phone. License. Debit card. No cash. Waking up with cash is rare when after a few drinks you think it’s vital to generously tip every bartender that hands you a weak vodka soda. At least she didn’t lose anything. The Maryland flag hanging from the wall catches her eye. The gaudy colors of the flag offend her, and it makes her dislike the strange boy asleep next to her in bed.

Maryland Boy shifts, and she wonders if he’s awake. She dreads the inevitable interaction that is about to take place. They’ll spend an awkward half-hour together scrolling vigorously through their phones to avoid conversation. The few words they’ll exchange will only be to exclaim how drunk they were the night before: a disclaimer. They’ll never touch. Neither of them will ever indicate that they have any memory of what happened just a few hours ago. Eventually, when it becomes clear that none of her friends are going to respond to her text messages, she’ll ask him for a ride home. He’ll say yes. He’ll throw her an oversized t-shirt with his fraternity letters plastered on the back, and they’ll be on their way. She’ll never speak to Maryland Boy again. At least she got a shirt, right?

This is the new normal in college. Two people drunkenly meet in a bar or at a house party. They have mutual friends. Maybe they’ve seen each other around before. They stumble home together. They hook up. They never speak again. Not only do they never speak again, but they do everything in their power to avoid each other. The thought of an encounter is uncomfortable. Blatantly ignoring the other person’s presence or avoiding a situation altogether is easier than a cordial conversation. They will never get to know each other. Their relationship will never blossom into everlasting love or end with a blowout fight where inanimate objects are smashed. They will remain strangers. This is the hookup culture that is so prevalent on American college campuses today.

Hookup culture has inspired countless media stories and research studies. The questions surrounding the topic are infinite, and the answers are often unclear. Why is hookup culture thriving? Are young adults benefiting from it, or is it hurting them? Who, if anyone, is to blame? What are the implications? And, maybe most importantly, when does it stop?

Hookup culture emphasizes being casual, nonchalant and carefree. Effort is not expected and is often viewed as desperate. Romance and love are no longer goals, and a relationship is no longer the endgame. So, when does the cycle break? Maybe hookup culture is left behind with college. Maybe, faced with death or conversation, two people will be forced to get to know each other and they will fall in love. Or maybe young adults will be waking up next to Maryland Boys for the rest of their lives.

Bremner is a senior studying public relations

Growing up in Black and White America

By Sydney Bugg

One of the most fascinating things about major cities in America is that they host different worlds within miles of each other. Crime, excessive wealth, neighborhoods with no diversity and slum-like poverty all in one radius. For me this isolation of worlds proved itself growing up in metro Atlanta.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the world of my first choice. When my parents moved they didn’t know they’d be placing me in an environment where I’d be the only black girl from the time I entered until the time I exited my elementary school.

In my early developmental years, I was the embodiment of the phrase “fake it till you make it” by adapting and masking parts of who I was in order to minimize teasing.

Luckily when it came time to move on to middle and high school, I finally came into contact with people who I could be myself around. (Many of my former classmates redistricted out of the same schools for being too “dangerous”.) I made friends with people who had parents or a parent just trying to make it like mine.

I’d finally escaped the environment where people made you feel less fortunate over trivial matters like the fact that your mother didn’t stay at home full-time and she wasn’t able to attend this month’s PTA meeting. But I also saw the dark side beyond my small problems.

 

In high school when independence came along, I immersed myself in environments that others would probably drop their jaw at or never link me to. Even though my parents specifically moved where they did so I wouldn’t have to experience shootings, drugs and other things I found myself in those areas. Not out of wild rebellion, but simply because that’s where some of my friends were.

 

I know I’m privileged enough to know better than embracing the negatives associated with certain neighborhoods. The fact that I got to go to college and many of my other friends didn’t is elitist in itself. But still I’m hurt by the fact that they’re written off by society.

My experiences being genuinely immersed in two different worlds somewhat qualifies me to say America still has and always did have a race problem.  These experiences give me the capability to truly understand people beyond my immediate demographic and social circles. This is a skill many people claim to have, but don’t which in some ways is worse than those who flat out encourage separatism.

The point is that now when I go back to the Georgia, I look forward to the fact that I’m returning to an overall great city. One that’s today nicknamed “Black Hollywood.” One where I am privileged enough to be accepted and sometimes even the majority in places other than “the hood.” When I really go home, to the world I grew up in, I really only look forward to the physical confinements of my house and family.

Sometimes around town I run into some of the people who –without realizing it– hurt me, or get calls from old elementary school friends to hang out. I don’t hold anything against them, but I can’t help but wonder if I really accomplished anything in showing them kindness and serving as an example of a “smart black person.”

Like so many people of different racial backgrounds, I hid certain parts of myself and sat back idly while certain people classified me as “one of the good ones”, making it easy for them to check off the black friend box (which somehow has become sufficient in arguments against being racist) and go back to viewing other large masses of my race disparagingly.

I don’t know what the solution to America’s race problem is, but I do know that we have to start holding each other accountable and not apologize for harmless aspects of our existence that are unaccepted by society.

Black Lives Matter, Too.

By Anya Middleton

February 1st marked the first day of Black History month, a month full of reflection for all that is black. For the past few years, an organization and movement named #BlackLivesMatter has set a trend across not only the United States but the world as well. #BlackLivesMatter has been a controversial group because it is always met with the valid question of “Well don’t all lives matter?” Yes, of course all lives matter but the purpose of #BlackLivesMatter is to draw attention to the injustices that the black community faces on a daily basis.

What is most important to realize is that when one proclaims that #BlackLivesMatter he is not saying all lives do not matter, just that black lives matter too. Look at it this way, when one tells his mom that he loves her, does that mean he doesn’t love his dad too? No, it is just the time to recognize the love that he has for his mother. The same logic applies to the #BlackLivesMatter movement but it seems to be extremely hard for many people to grasp onto that.

#BlackLivesMatter was formed because of the unfair treatment that black people have been faced with for years on end. For some odd reason, when a white person kills a black person he does not face the same repercussions that a black person would face if the roles were reversed. The punishment for murder should be imprisonment however that is too often not the case in white-on-black crime. These reoccurring instances of murders walking free have left the black community to feel as if they do not matter, #BlackLivesMatter’s point is to reinforce that they do.

Another popular argument against #BlackLivesMatter is the rate of black-on-black crime. Undoubtedly, black people have to stop killing one another and place more value on our lives. The difference is however, when a black man kills another black man he will face incarceration without a question. The same cannot be said for white-on-black crime.

This Black History month, instead of responding to #BlackLivesMatter with all lives matter, take some time to really reflect on the treatment of black Americans in our country. Ask yourself why the same value isn’t put on black lives as everyone else? Realize that yes all lives matter, and black lives are a part of that as well.

 

Middleton is a Junior Public Relations major

Flashback to 1971

By Grant Hensley

For the past four years of my college life there has been a massive amount of underage tickets handed out and most of them were for some unwarranted reason.

Almost every developed country in the world has set the drinking age at 18, and yet the United States still maintains that one must be 21 to drink alcohol legally. With all of the controversy and practical new laws being enacted to make highways and roads safer, there are plenty of reasons to revisit the drinking age.

Laws were made in all states that made it illegal for anyone under 21 to purchase and drink alcohol in 1980s. These laws were directed toward decreasing the amount of traffic deaths that occurred due to younger drivers. Although this approach has dramatically decreased the amount of deaths caused by drunk drivers, it still leaves out all the negatives and positives that could occur if the drinking age is 19, instead.

As someone who has seen and the effects of alcohol since late high school, I do not see the problem being stopping young adults from obtaining alcohol. It’s more of a question of how we should educate and go about showing young individuals the right way to use alcohol. Underage kids have always found ways to find alcohol. Whether it be stealing from their parents or attending a party where alcohol is available. After these underage drinkers get exposed to alcohol, some will handle it. But the majority will have trouble with problem drinking. Some will even be a part of one of these deadly drunk driving accidents.

Even though DUI’s and drinking tickets have greatly discouraged many underage drinkers from driving, there are always those few who will break the law, endangering themselves and the lives of others. Putting the legal limit at 19, would stop most of the high school kids from drinking. Most kids not only would have to wait another year to be legal, but also law enforcement resources could be focused on better applications of the law rather than less trivial drinking tickets.

Many well-developed countries have realized for some time that drinking is not the issue; but what is taught and to the next generation about alcohol makes the biggest impact. So, instead of continuing to waste time and resources on giving tickets to a 20 years, 11 month old, the United States should lower to drinking age to 19 and then the country could concentrate on showing the next generation how to practice safe and constructive drinking.

Hensley is a senior public relations major student

Searching for Plan A

By Sterling Hopkins

“What do you want to do after graduation?” is the most popular question I encounter these days and like clockwork, I tactfully respond, “I would like to pursue a career in corporate communications.” People seem to find that response much more impressive than one of my actual desires to never work a day in my post-grad life while traveling the world.

Yes. That is a dream of mine and yes, I am aware of how unrealistic it is.

Do not get me wrong. Despite my current confusion, I am fortunate to have options. I always have. Right out of high school, I was hired by a company that allowed me to work fewer hours and get paid just as much, if not more than my peers. It also provided me with benefits, a 401(k) plan, paid time off, and the opportunity to grow into the corporate communications role I effortlessly fall back on when questioned about my future.

In a 2014 article for Forbes magazine, Kathryn Dill wrote that a college degree is traditionally stressed as the most direct path to a future that is financially secure. However, I beg to differ. My first job was and still is not a bad gig that I am grateful for.

However, four years of higher education, several self-help books and a few SuperSoul Sunday episodes later, I realize that I need more than just a job. I need more than great hours, a fancy retirement plan and PTO that I never remember to schedule. I can also do away with the added pressure of seeking to impress those who constantly inquire about my future endeavors.

The more I think about it, the more I understand what it really all comes down to. I am responsible for leading a life I am comfortable with and proud of. Not one that is merely offered to me or expected of me. I am not ready to settle for my Plan B and I need to take the time to discover what serves as the middle ground for me.

How can I put my education to good use while also doing something I love? What could I possibly pursue that will not feel like a task but rather a fulfilling experience and ultimately lead to my purpose? That will be my Plan A and whatever that is, it is what I want to do after graduation. I do not have that figured out quite yet and I am O.K. with that. After all, no one has it completely all together.

Hopkins is a senior public relations major