Drowned in your laughter

By Michael Stewart

Feeling something meaningful is one of the most personal experiences in a person’s life.  It’s tough to truly express how fully meaningful something is.  No amount of talking, no matter the level of intoxication, can truly let someone else in on the individual intricacies that make us feel the way we do.

As any rabid Grateful Dead fan- née “Dead-Head”-will tell you, you cannot simply dip a toe into the water of Grateful Dead fandom.  I can attest to this point.  I did not grow up in a Grateful Dead loving household.  My dad is a huge fan of classic rock, but cannot stand Jerry Garcia or the Grateful Dead.  As a result, I was not indoctrinated into the church of Jerry until I got to the eighth grade.

There was no special moment that made me fall under the spell binding melodies that the Dead belt out.  No weird Uncle got me high and put on old 78 records of Wake of the Flood, while moaning, “This is the way music is supposed to be heard, man.”  I was simply surfing YouTube, as I did a lot of nights, and I happened upon a psychedelic mix.  Naturally, I clicked on it.

It was not the first time I had heard music by the Grateful Dead before.  I had heard songs, but never a full album all the way through.  The psychedelic mix took me to the full album video of American Beauty.  I am not and have never been a big sleeper, but I knew when I got to the end of the album that I would not be sleeping the rest of the night, for I had many more albums to listen to.

From that point on I was a Dead-Head.  I’ve listened to every album at least twice, and the music relaxes me more than maybe anything else on earth. While I was going through chemotherapy infusions for lymphoma, I would put my headphones in and listen to the Dead while pretending to be asleep so no one would talk to me.  That calmed me incredibly as I faced intense adversity.

I’ve been through a lot of stuff with the Grateful Dead pumping through my head all the while, but I’ve never had a desire to see them live.  In my opinion, the Grateful Dead will never be the Grateful Dead again without Jerry Garcia, and he died in 1995. I will never go see Dead & Company in concert, despite opportunities to do so.

I think the best way I can relate this is through anecdotal television.  In the most recent season of BoJack Horseman one of the characters, Diane Ngyuen, is given a large gift by her husband Mr. Peanutbutter; a dog. (Great show, trust me.) The gift is a “Belle Room” which is like Belle’s library in Beauty and the Beast.  Ngyuen had mentioned to Mr. Peanutbutter that she wanted this as a child, and he then surprises her by having one put in their new house.  She is upset at this because having this thing almost destroys her memory of its grandeur as a child because now she has to live in it every day.  I feel the same way about the Dead.  If I were to see them now, as old men singing out of key, it would shatter my love and connection to the music that I have had for so long.

Stewart is a multimedia journalism senior

Rising to Great Heights

By Michael Bauldrick

As the end of the semester draws closer so does the urgency of graduating students to search for and obtain a position in today’s competitive job market.  While most worry about the content or formatting in their resume, a rather LARGE minority of job seekers have the added pressure of being victims of HEIGHTISM.

This unspoken issue has limited job seekers and more specifically, public relations practitioners since the inception of the industry.  As we go further into detail, we will see how human resource departments around the country and the entire world unknowingly discriminate.

It is exactly like it sounds. While racism and sexism are similar in nature, heightism is discrimination against individuals based on their height.  As we all know, height is an uncontrollable factor based on our genes that cannot be altered or changed.

Most job recruiters for companies will say that they are looking for the best applicant to fill the position. But does the best person tend to always be the tallest applicant?  The simple answer is yes.  This unconscious-thought is known as the Halo Effect.    This cognitive bias was developed by psychologist Edward Thorndike during the 1920’s.  The theory states that we tend to associate certain traits with other specific unrelated traits.     Our animal brain convinces us that people who are taller are more trustworthy, confident and believable.

A study developed by researchers at Ohio State University discovered that a person who is 6 feet tall is estimated to make $100,000 dollars more than a person who is 5 foot 4 inches, and this is accounting for gender and race.  This may also extend towards mental barriers as well.  A Princeton study showed that taller individuals tended to score higher on grade school tests.  This may be related to the fact that people who have maximized their genetic potential(height) received better nutrients in their diets that fostered proper brain growth.  It also should be known that in all United States presidential elections, only on four occasions has the shorter candidate won.

While it will be next to impossible to completely eliminate heightism, we can do our best to avoid it by learning about why we naturally think in a way that places people at a disadvantage when in fact they deserve a fair shake.

Bauldrick is a public relations senior

Don’t Cry Over Rotten Tomatoes

By John Wagoner

As story after story comes out on movie studio executives fearful of summer box office numbers, they all seem to have a common thread: Rotten Tomatoes. The movie review aggregation site has become the benchmark of movie quality for potential movie goers. Find your movie rated “Fresh” or even “Certified Fresh,” and you have the potential to exceed profit expectations; a la Wonder Woman and Spider-Man: Homecoming this summer.

Both films rated “Certified Fresh” earning a 92 percent and 93 percent, respectively, and each film grossed over $100 million. Leave that tomato out in the sun too long and you’ll end with some truly “Rotten” produce the likes of Paramount’s Baywatch and Universal’s reboot The Mummy. Each film scored below 20 percent on the coveted “Tomatometer” and either hemorrhaged money ($95 million dollar loss for The Mummy) or underperformed in the case of Baywatch.

Studio executives are taking this site seriously. 20th Century Fox commissioned a study in 2015 entitled “Rotten Tomatoes and Box Office,” forewarning of the power of the internet and sites like Rotten Tomatoes. The report was much more reasonable than some have been. It read as more of a preparatory document for movie studios to handle the change in the way people decide on going to movies or not. Jon Penn of the National Research Group said of the way the site is disrupting the promotional formula: “Rotten Tomatoes is like the truth serum on the entire [promotional] campaign.”

This is an incredibly rational way to go about handling a new technology disrupting the industry. Instead of immediately denying its accuracy to blindly defend their movies, movie studios should utilize the data Rotten Tomatoes offers, and determine the type of movies the site’s users are interested in seeing. Analyze the characteristics of these films, the high points critics praise in these films and the low points they critique and adjust future plans accordingly.

As the 20th Century Fox report stated, “Many Millennials and even Gen Xers now vet every single purchase through the internet, whether it’s restaurants, video games, make-up, consumer electronics, or movies.” Movie studios should get ahead of the curve, instead of denying the curve is even valid.

The root of the frustration behind Rotten Tomatoes is born out of a fear for the end of an era for the film industries. Summer has long been an institution for movie studios to pump out Michael Bay-esque, CGI-packed, action movies devoid of a story, and rake in the profits. I am surely as guilty as anyone else of being sucked into going to see a summer movie, just based on the over-produced trailer featuring eight of the 25 explosions in the movie. Before sites like Rotten Tomatoes, I had no convenient way to vet the quality of the movie other than word of mouth or digging through critics’ reviews. This site brings both of those together in a great way, and this is clearly scaring Tinsel Town. No longer can it hide behind a flashy trailer or puff piece reviews by critics who just want their name and a blurb on the poster, Hollywood is being forced to put out quality movies that people want to see.

Rotten Tomatoes may not be perfect, and everything on the internet should be taken with a grain of salt, but this is a start. Moviegoers deserve a dependable way to validate the hype they see in promotional materials and Rotten Tomatoes is that way for the foreseeable future. Hollywood need focus on planting a garden of fresh tomatoes instead of convincing people they aren’t rotten.

A Simple Assignment Brings Self-Awareness

By Anna Frazier

It’s Tuesday. I wake up; go to my classes; babysit; go for a run; make dinner; go to a meeting; drive home; catch up with my roommates; sit down at my desk; open up my backpack; and pull out my planner, already knowing what I have to do.

This writing assignment has been in the back of my head since I arrived to class this morning. I’ve dreaded the moment I have to sit down and start writing since I wrote down the assignment in my planner. But it’s not writing that I resent. It’s the freedom that sends my mind into a frenzy. Once my thoughts are flowing and my mind drifts away into my own thoughts, I am set. I am as type-A as they come: I thrive on routine, deadlines, and detailed instruction. Yet here I am, forced into creativity and freedom. These are two of my favorite words that on a day-to-day basis I struggle to make time for.

I open up my notebook and my eyes are immediately drawn to those big scripted letters I use when I write down something meaningful. “One of the biggest obstacles to writing is learning to relax,” it read. “Okay, Anna. You need to relax. What can you do to relax?” I ask myself. First, I grab a fluffy pillow from my bed and place it behind the small of my back. “There that will help”, I reassure myself. And back to the paper I go. Nothing. Now all I’m reminded of is how badly my back aches after a long day of running around with a 10 pound bag on my back. “I need to clear my mind”, I think. So I put on my barely worn new running shoes, grab my headphones, and hit the pavement.

Running is the answer to most of the questions and challenges I face. I run to find answers, to forget about the list of things I have to do, and to escape the high stress and pressure of life. I come back feeling refreshed, energized, and much sweatier. “What else can I do to relax? I asked myself”. I am really just looking for another excuse to avoid writing. So I strip off my damp clothing, turn on my favorite Spotify playlist and hop in the shower.

I apply all of my favorite natural soaps, essential oils, lotions, and perfume. I spend about 10 minutes flossing and brushing my teeth—because I am that much of a perfectionist. Then feeling even more refreshed and relaxed than I initially thought possible, I head back to my desk. I turn on my lavender diffuser, light my favorite surf wax candle, and exhale deeply. I am ready to write. And ever since I read that quote in my notebook, I’d been planning what I was going to write about.

It never fails to amaze me how even the simplest of assignments has the ability to teach me more about who I am. I am a planner; structure keeps me going.  I am a doer; I am happiest when I’m busy. I am a doodler; I have a creative mind and am easily inspired. I am a runner; I appreciate the little things like the ability of the human body and the beauty in the world around me. I love smells; I believe in the power of healing through comfort. I love music; it speaks to me spiritually and allows me to connect with my emotions.

At times, I am too stubborn and too much of a perfectionist. I have many flaws and many areas that I need to work on. Putting more time and energy into caring for myself, learning to let go, and taking a step back to relax, are just a few of them. But with each intimidating assignment I am given an opportunity to explore myself. It never fails to amaze me how even the simplest of assignments has the ability to teach me more about the person I want to be.

Frazier is a public relations senior

Seeing Myself Among the Roses

By Grace McKenna

My friends and I huddle together on the plush couch in our living room. We are intelligent, hopeful, fiercely independent women at the cusp of adulthood. Yet, we choose to spend two precious hours every Monday night camped around a glaring TV watching ABC’s “The Bachelor.”

For those unfamiliar with the notorious series, “The Bachelor” and its spinoff “The Bachelorette” are the parents of reality dating television. A “Bachelor” or “Bachelorette” travels the world with a harem of eligible contestants. On intensely choreographed dates, the contestants talk about approximately nothing for a total of 10 to 15 minutes.

Despite its flaws and absurdities, the show’s popularity grows with every new batch of singles. According to CNN, ratings went up 15 percent among adults 18-34 last season alone. My twentysomething friends, along with every woman of our generation, are the prime market for entrapment by “The Bachelor.”  

The show promotes a fake, sexist form of romance. I know this, my friends know this and the producers of the show know this. Still, we fall into the world of roses and romance season after season. We watch in agony when our favorite contestants are cut and we shed tears of joy when the show’s leading man gets down on one knee.

The key to the “The Bachelor’s” popularity lies in understanding the world outside the show. Though the scripts and situations are reductive at best and insulting at worst, they magnify the situations young women deal with daily.

Take the contestant Dean from the most recent season of “The Bachelorette,” for example. Dean represents an almost comically familiar trope. He was damaged – a young guy struggling with his family whose puppy dog eyes cried out, “Save me!”

Dean’s boyish charm captivated Rachel, the season’s “Bachelorette.” She wholeheartedly wanted to save him until she realized he wasn’t ready to commit. Watching the season unfold, one of my closest friends noticed similarities between Dean and a boy she was seeing.

Dean’s reassurances were so familiar, his insecurities so predictable, that we found ourselves glancing at each other constantly, jokes springing from our mouths. We desperately tried to make light of Rachel’s obvious mistakes, because they hit so close to home.

At that point, any sane person would probably change the channel and go about her life. She would try to forget the ghostly feeling of déjà vu that the show’s characters invoke.

But that’s the crux of how “The Bachelor” lures you into its web. It becomes addictive as we search for simple answers to infinitely complex problems. The show takes our experience as young women and boils it down to its essence.

The simplicity is appealing, but it removes all the zest from life. If real love is chicken soup for the soul, then “The Bachelor” is broth. It may sustain you, but it isn’t nearly as good.

As much as my friends daydream about simple romances, we know from experience that life and love are much more complicated. But in those two hours on Monday nights, we still seek solace in the abyss of that horrible and wonderful show. We watch fervently, hoping our favorite woman, a manifestation of ourselves, finds her happy ending.

“The Bachelor” is a communal experience, a rallying cry from our generation that we know what love looks like and can make fun of the utter lack of it. In “The Bachelor,” we have a medium for understanding that life, college and love are messy. As we navigate the rocky landscape of modern romance, “The Bachelor” is a potent reminder that in real reality nothing is by the script.

McKenna is a broadcast journalism junior

Putting Clutter In Its Place

By Larissa Johnson

When I get ready in the morning, I have to see and hold a piece of clothing before I discard it for another day. When I study or do homework, I spread 10 books and piles of paper around myself on the floor. When I cook, I can’t help but seem to get every single dish I own dirty. Even when I’m backpacking, I somehow manage to make my tent messy.

Regardless of what I seem to do, my apartment inevitably fills up with a thin layer of shirts, notebooks and whatever random stuff I’m handed on campus.

Almost every list of “how to get organized” or “how to get your life in order” starts out by telling you essentially not to have so many things or to just put them away, as if I didn’t know the solution to having a messy room was to clean it.

Part of my problem is time — I’m usually gone from about 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and cleaning is at the bottom of my priorities when I come home exhausted with hours of work still to do.

Deeper than that, though, is that I simply don’t prioritize having a clean living space. I restrict dirty dishes to the dishwasher or sink, but that’s about the only rule. Because I’m so rarely home, I like to think, messiness doesn’t actually affect me.

But I’ve noticed a trend, both while in college and at home. My room is always messiest when I have the most going on in my life and feel overwhelmed with schoolwork or other pressures. And having to search for the shoes I want, a textbook for the next class or my keys wastes time and causes stress.

Clutter and messy rooms have been shown to cause claustrophobia and anxiety, and may contribute to depression. In fact, there’s a documented depression-clutter cycle, where messiness and depression feed into each other. People feel guilt for letting messes get out of control and often struggle with how to even begin tackling the problem.

But is mess always bad?

Having a cluttered bathroom counter works well for me because everything I use on a daily basis is visible and within reach. Maybe messiness has its time and place.

Culturally, we grow up equating messy rooms with punishment and accusations of laziness. But two separate studies, one at University of Minnesota and another at Northwestern University, found a correlation between messy rooms and creative thought.

Steve Jobs, known for his sleek designs and innovative thinking, had an incredibly messy desk and home. Many other famous thinkers, from Albert Einstein to Mark Zuckerberg, are known for their cluttered workspaces.

I choose to think that those Star Wars pajama pants crumpled in the corner are an inspiration, and spreading my homework out everywhere helps me complete it faster.

Is there some optimal point of messiness, then, where I can get this creative boost while still being able to find my keys?

A possible solution is the concept of “organized messiness,” where clutter is allowed under certain parameters. So clothing clutter only belongs in the bedroom, and school clutter only belongs near the desk. This concept explains why I like my cluttered bathroom but get stressed by my keys not being in their place.

Implementing this organized chaos feels like a balancing act, but more of a wide, steady plank than a high wire; it’s a manageable challenge. Perhaps accepting that my natural state is just a bit out of order will help me stress less. The dishwasher can wait for another day.

Johnson is a multimedia journalism senior

The Time I Dyed My Hair Red

By Lexi Hill

My hair has always been my best feature. I can remember being as young as six years old, sitting on the floor of my mom’s bedroom while she played with my hair for hours. When I was that age, my hair was a soft, creamy blonde, cut just above my collar bone. I’d turn around and ask incessantly when we’d be done, screaming, “I don’t even care what it looks like!” And every time, my mom would grab my shoulders and tell me to sit back down while grabbing an enormous bow, “Just one last finishing touch to keep the wispy pieces out of your face.”  

Years later, I’d sometimes find myself back on the floor of my mom’s room while she played with my hair. Instead of picking which bow I’d sport that day, though, we would debate how I’d wear my hair for movie dates, or school dances and eventually high school graduation. Although those nights on the floor are some of my favorite childhood memories, they were also the beginning of a long, complicated relationship between my appearance and relative self worth.

So, yes, my hair has always been my best feature. Simultaneously, though, it was also my greatest insecurity. There are studies that show how a young girl’s self worth is derived from how she perceives herself to be; oftentimes dependent on the answers to questions like, “Am I fat in this outfit?” or “Why doesn’t my hair look like my friend’s?” Growing up my thoughts were always a fury of those questions, comparing myself to everyone from friends to celebrities, and even random women walking down the street. It turns out those nights on the floor primed me for the constant fixation I’d soon live with surrounding beauty, but more specifically hair.

The first time I changed my hair was in fifth grade. I walked into the salon, with a smirk from ear to ear, basking in the satisfaction of convincing my mom to let me get a few face-framing highlights. I had decided on carmel highlights in the hopes to add some dimension and lightness to my now dark brunette hair. Walking into school the next day, I felt a confidence I hadn’t felt since my days on the bedroom floor while my mom did my hair. I was hooked.

Soon enough that new hair confidence would fade and after a few weeks, I’d make another hair appointment. I’d go from a white-blonde to dark, chocolate brunette then back again. I’d cut six inches off my hair, then show up with extensions in my hair several weeks later. I was hooked on the attention I’d receive with every new hair look.

I kept doing this throughout high school, until one day I walked out of the salon feeling worse than I had before. I made an appointment with a new colorist, and asked for warm, blonde lowlights. I waited in the chair under the heat the same as any other time. I enjoyed the massage she gave while washing the color out of my hair. Only this time, when she spun the chair around, my eyes met my newly colored cherry red hair. My heart dropped, my eyes swelled, I couldn’t believe the mistake she had made.

When I think back to that appointment, I can’t help but laugh a little bit. What felt like the end of the world then, is merely just a bump in the road now. It did teach me one of the most important life lessons I’ve received, though. Before that experience I based my entire self worth on my hair. After that experience, I realized I’m more than just a girl with good hair.

Hill is a multimedia journalism senior

My Summer With Marie

By Zoe Gertz

I read the email lying in bed eating Ben & Jerry’s. “I would love to offer you the position,” it said.

I was 19, finishing my sophomore year at the University of South Carolina, and a nervous wreck. I spent weeks applying, emailing and occasionally LinkedIn stalking potential internship employers to no avail. “Thank you for your interest, unfortunately the position has been filled,” or “the team has decided to forgo interns this summer.” I had almost accepted defeat. Then, one email changed everything.

“I would love to offer you the position.” I reread those words over and over until my eyes stung. Leaping out of bed, spilling ice cream all over the sheets, I fumbled to find my phone. Squealing and dancing around the room, I called my parents to share the news.

I was moving to New York City to intern for Marie Claire Magazine. First, I scrambled to find what was left of student housing. Similar to the produce aisle on Sunday evening, options were slim. By minor miracle, Marymount Manhattan College had one unassigned room that would quickly become my home for the summer.

I spent five days in Maryland before hopping on the Marc train from Baltimore to Penn Station. It was not until that minute, boarding the train with two oversized suitcases and a backpack that I began to stress. I did not know anyone. I had never ridden the subway. I was alone.

Three hours later, I found myself hailing a cab in 100-degree heat. It was too late to turn back now; I was ready. Right? Amidst the taxi’s honking and the sea of people walking, I watched the city unfold before me. The madness distracted my nerves and I smiled to myself. Before I could blink, I arrived at my final destination. I checked in and broke a sweat lugging my belongings upstairs. With a deep breath and overwhelming sense of gratitude, I unpacked and crawled into bed hoping to get some sleep before my first day.

I considered the idea that this had all been a dream until I walked through the doors of Hearst Tower. As I approached the front desk and gave my boss’s extension, I could not help but feel like I had just been cast in “The Devil Wears Prada.

Among the statuesque employees and clientele gliding up and down the escalators, I watched a young woman sprinting up the stairs with four garment bags in hand. She looked sweaty, flustered and out of breath. Little did I know that would very soon, be me.

There were hurried introductions and cell phones pinging like church bells. The energy was palpable. I felt a little drunk with excitement. No more nerves, just awe. Suddenly, my boss Taylor told me to “make a run” across town. The garment was needed on set in an hour. No time to spare. I had no idea how to get there, where I was going or who to find once I got there, but I went for it.

New Yorkers were surprisingly helpful and seemed to recognize a lost intern at first glance. “You need the subway honey,” an older woman said. After a lesson in subway navigation, I made it to set and dropped off the monstrous garment bags within the hour.

I returned to the office soaked in sweat, with hanger indentations permanently engraved in my hands and blisters the size of quarters on both feet. Feeling like I had just run the Boston Marathon in heels, I assumed everyone would sing my praises; I had delivered the highly coveted garment bags just in time!

No praise. Cue change out of heels into the flip-flops I had tucked into my purse. Taylor issued errand number two; “the editor in chief is about to go on live television with coffee all over her shirt. Run this blazer to her now!” And so I went.

That’s how it went for three months. It was exhilarating, exhausting, frustrating, frightening, all-consuming fashion madness and I would do it all over again. Maybe…

Gertz is a public relations senior

Feeling the Romance in Venice

My body shook forward. We had landed. Even with my terrible fear of flights, landing in Milan seemed almost worse than another few hours in the air back to Dublin. I convinced myself to calm down and grabbed my duffel from under the seat before climbing out of the plane into the Milan airport.

Luckily, the customs line was long, which gave me time to compose myself. This was on my bucket list, I wanted to do it, but did I want to do it in these circumstances?

As soon as I got my passport stamped, my heart raced. He had been texting me, so I knew he was right outside waiting for me. I took a deep breath, and walked out.

He greeted me with a huge hug, big smile, and my personal favorite, Italian spaghetti carbonara. It seemed nice, but I knew he just missed the “us” we were a month ago, when we booked Valentine’s Day in Italy together.

I immediately went to the bathroom, probably half out of trying to avoid the awkwardness. We took the bus to Milan’s city center, to truly begin the adventure.

Gordon had taken it upon himself to plan the entire weekend, which I quickly realized was not a great idea.

We walked into our hotel, got our keys and made our way to the room for the night. The room was worse than any of the hostels I had previously stayed in. There was a balcony, which did have a cool view of Milan, but awkwardly had a stairwell with a large Italian “Do Not Enter” sign and the leftovers of past guests’ cigarette breaks. The walls were covered in what looked like kick marks, the bathroom tub had a large ring and the bedding hairs.

With this situation, I quickly booked a different hotel. To my dismay, as soon as we checked into the new hotel, we were quickly greeted with the assumed “Mr. & Mrs.,” which, when it’s your ex, can really eek you out, especially when you booked separate beds.

The next day was bright and early as we took a train to the real bucket list item: Venice.

When we checked in, we once again got the “Mr. & Mrs.,” which again, was uncomfortable and strange given we’d ordered a room with two separate beds. Either way, this was only the beginning. Gordon had taken it under his wing to plan Venice while we were dating, so the romance had just begun.

Luckily, Venice has multiple museums and bell towers which offer a platonic alternative to the other many romantic activities that fill the half sunken city. After visiting these, we had to face the facts and go on the romantic activities Gordon had planned.

A wine tasting, gondola ride and intimate meals were all on list, and all ended up being pretty fun. Although we felt a little awkward during a few moments, we made the most out of the authentic meals, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and tried to form a true friendship.

It was weird, but when your only friend on the continent is your ex, chances are you will probably make a friendship work.

The rest of the trip had a mixture of poor planning and awkwardly romantic activities, which honestly, is to be expected when a 21 year-old  is planning the weekend, but we made the most out of it. Even after spending our Valentine’s Day in the most romantic city in the world as exes, we have maintained a friendship, and I appreciate the effort he did make towards making the weekend special. Plus, it’s a funny story when you tell people you went to Venice on Valentine’s Day with your ex.

A Food Enthusiast and What Became of Her

By Lacey Brown

I grew up watching my mom and grandma cook all the time. It was the most fascinating thing seeing them turn individual ingredients into a masterpiece.Neither of them were professional chefs by any means but they knew their way around a ladle, that’s for sure.

I assumed that my role would be the same, making meals every day that were hearty and delicious.  That’s what the woman always does or so I assumed.

Our society has normalized the gender roles of women being at the forefront of domesticity, such as being in the kitchen. My grandma always said “the best way to catch a man is to catch his stomach.” Why is that though? Haven’t we evolved enough to realize that in order to be a any kind of successful person (male or female) you have to be “domestic” and take care of yourself? I digress because I know this isn’t the topic at hand but it does make you think.

Fast forward to my more formative years, my mom was working overtime. Between her church obligations and full time job, I was often left to fend for myself. I either had to cook for myself or run out and buy fast food. It’s pretty obvious which one the 16-year-old me picked. Food was just fuel at this point, not something I felt especially passionate about. My appreciation for the concept and nostalgia of food began to dwindle and all I cared about was eating out and eating a ton. The American ideal of huge portions and no self control was alive and well with me.

It seemed as if everyone I knew also felt this way. If you have a few dollars what does it matter if you spend it on a meal or two. It doesn’t matter where you get it from or why you’re eating it.

When I moved away from home to go to college, a switch flipped. I realized that eating that way was going to cause (at the most) an early funeral. High profile people like Chrissy Teigen and Oprah Winfrey started selling cookbooks all about your well being.  The Food Network started coming out with more and more programming. Try not to get hungry thinking about those shows. The world around me started to appreciate food as a way of life again and I couldn’t wait to be a part of it.

Now I don’t mind spending the money going out because I am trying new places in my city and supporting small businesses. I don’t mind staying home and trying a new recipe to share with my friends and family. I am also doing my best to turn my love of food into a measurable and profitable hobby.

I started a food Instagram account (@dropthebeet__) because I remembered how food brings us together emotionally and physically. Food Instagram accounts used to be just for the fans but they now have an exponential amount of reach. Partnerships and giveaways have become more popular. This account has also helped me network with people all over the country who have the same interest in food as I do. People who I would have never met if I hadn’t liked a photo of their Boba tea.

My interest in food does have a basic level of “we all need it to survive” quality. That interest was revived with the increase in people eating at home and returning to their kitchens. With the rise of businesses like Blue Apron and HelloFresh, eating at home is fun again when you can cook like the professionals. I have reached a higher level of understanding. The complexities of food vary of course whether that be an article about a new technique or visiting a restaurant that claims having the best chicken wings in the world.  Either way this young woman is ready to continue taking on the food world, one taco at a time.

Brown is a senior public relations major