Tag: Viewpoints

Thoughts You Have When You Take A Little

Miranda PrescottA&E Correspondent

It’s that time of the year again, people. The time of the year where window paint and streamers decorate cars of young women who have just been invited to join a strong sisterhood that aligns with her values.

That’s right. It’s Big-Little Week season.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the term, Big-Little Week is something primarily Greek organizations will do to shower their newest members with love and gifts. Here, the “Big” is an older member that is their to mentor the new member throughout the rest of their time in the organization. They remain anonymous until a specific reveal day, usually three or four days after gift-giving.

Considering the fact that, at the time this article goes live, I would have been revealed to my first sorority “little,” my second over two organizations, I figured I would let you in on how I prepared with three thoughts I had going into the week.

Keep in mind, if any of these sound like I am complaining, I am not. Getting a little is one of the most special times you could ask for in college. Is it a lot of work? Absolutely. But I would not trade it for the world.

  1.       I am probably a terrible liar.

I have not been that bad at it, honestly. I didn’t tell my first little I was his big until five months after I found out I was his big. Two weeks didn’t seem like that major of a deal, in hindsight. However, I believe I have been successful thus far. At the time of writing this, on the first day of our Big-Little Week, I am proud to say that I am “two for two” in this whole lying game. Typically, this is something I shouldn’t be proud of, but considering that I am the world’s worst at keeping secrets, it is a personal win.

  1.       I never want to see a paintbrush ever again.

With Big-Little Week, one of the main presents littles will get is hand-painted canvases. There’s usually 10 to 12 given throughout the week. This may also include more crafts which require, you guessed it, more painting. Fun fact: being left-handed and painting is not really the best combination. I can not tell you how many canvases I had to restart on because my hand kept smearing the paint. I will say though, I forgot how relaxing painting could be. That is, until my hand smeared the paint for the third time on the same one.

  1.       This is truly the best time of the year.

In this moment, I do not know how my little is going to react to their gifts. I have not given her anything yet at the time I am writing this article. However, with the excitement she has gotten with every anonymous text I send or post I make on the Instagram I created as her big, I can only imagine that this excitement will carry over for the rest of the week, and the rest of her time in college.

Relationships: The Undefined Complexity of College

Alyxxis Jones, A&E Correspondent

The life of a college student is anything but simple. Adding on a relationship to that creates complexity. For some, dating is just a priority, making things stressful. It is another block to put into an already packed schedule. Others seek the relief and comfort that a relationship provides. Dating becomes an escape from the stresses life throws. There are several pros and cons to relationship status in college. 

College is a breaking point for an individual. During this time, one discovers who they are and what they want to become. Going into it single is basically freedom. It’s control and independence of one’s own life. One may have more time for their work, school, religion, or social life. There’s no annoyances or expenses that another person brings. However, for the hopeless romantic, it can be lonely. Couples are put on display all over social media, television and other platforms. These influences push the desire to date. Truthfully, it’s hard to find the right one. It’s almost impossible to find someone that checks off every qualification. Without a significant other, there’s nobody to share life with. There’s no one to spoil or be spoiled by. Long nights of boredom, sitting on the couch watching other people’s romance. Many students workout at the campus gym. Some singles want to stay fit and feel healthy, as a form of self-love. 

A relationship is just another priority. It’s the downside of adding onto a busy schedule. One must learn how to balance things. This can become stressful. There won’t always be time to hangout. There are limitations. Sometimes more important priorities, such as school, work or a person’s religion will come first. Dating someone else is a package deal, even when their family, friends or personal interests are not enjoyable. Plus, going out on dates is expensive. Especially for college students that work part time and go to school full time. The last thing a student needs to worry about is resolving an argument with their other half. They can’t stay up talking all night when they have an exam the next morning. Also, in arguments, there has to be a compromise, people don’t always get what they want. The decisions a person makes have an effect on others. Unexpected things might happen. If a female gets pregnant, her future decisions are thrown off track. 

Adulting can be depressing. It’s even harder having to go through it alone. Many college students use apps like Tinder or Bumble to meet people. They want companionship, someone to rely on, talk to and spend time with. Having another person in one’s life makes it less stressful. Especially, in times of need. There is another person that can relate, offer advice or help with an issue. An individual is placed in new situations and surroundings; meeting their boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s friends and family. A future with that person is foreseen. Having someone is like a distraction from everything else. It’s a different perspective of life, rather than seeing everything one way. Being in a relationship can increase self-esteem. An individual might feel more comfortable in their own skin, knowing that someone loves them. 

Overall, it’s an individual’s decision on whether they want to be in a relationship or not in college. Students should excel in a healthy relationship. However, if the relationship hurts them, they should reevaluate their situation. Staying single helps favor less distractions and a tight schedule. Whereas, dating provides a resort from the stress of life.

Growing Up Autistic: I’m not crazy, just different

Taylor Mitchell, A&E Editor

Every year, I write an editorial for Autism Awareness month to attempt to help people understand Autism and Autistics just that little bit better. I am a high functioning autistic myself and try to use that as a way to help with what I can. Fair warning: this is a rough one and I am still not entirely sure I should be writing it. This article will include a discussion of my experiences as an autistic child, and admittedly there is a  bit of trauma and pain wrapped up in that. Yet I feel I should write it.03072019 Career Fair Headshots 11-Edit.jpg

First, let’s start with something that illustrates how growing up can be a little bit different. On March 31, 2016 the British National Autistic Society released a video titled “Can you make it to the end?” on its YouTube channel. The video simulates what a trip to a shopping mall can be like for a child with autism. The young boy in the video quickly begins to experience sensory overload from the many different sights and sounds in the mall, and despite his mother’s attempts to calm him, he begins to have a fit due to the flood of information. The last bit of the video features derisive looks from many onlookers before cutting to the child explaining that he is not naughty but just autistic. It’s a wonderful video in that it gives viewers a very good idea of what that kind of overload is truly like through the growing flashes of visuals and intense sound. It’s a horrible experience and its very hard to describe. The child’s functioning level is left unclear during most of the video, but the sensory overload he experiences can be experienced by several different parts of the spectrum. I have experienced them and I have seen others experience it. By allowing people to actually see what that is like is incredibly useful for people.

Something I also liked about the video is the phrase: “I am not naughty, I am autistic”. It’s a very true statement for me. Growing up, I experienced many episodes like the one shown in the video. Sometimes things would just become too much. It wasn’t always just sights and sounds, many times it was simply feelings I couldn’t control. My mind wasn’t ready for the rush of information and it lashed out when it couldn’t handle it. I would begin to fall apart, to lose control because in that moment there was nothing else I could do. It wasn’t a conscious choice, it was in fact in that moment a theft of choice. So how could it be called “naughty?”

The truth is, it’s not. It wasn’t willful bad behavior but rather an uncontrollable reaction. That being said, it is rarely perceived that way. I want to say now that I have had very helpful, understanding, and supportive teachers, therapist, case workers, and family members; but not everyone is this way. The video I have been discussing shows derisive looks from several mall patrons, several judgements made in moments of not understanding. I have experienced those looks and admittedly a bit worse.

More than once I had a fit like in the video during school. The lack of understanding from my peers caused me to be labeled as either a bad kid, crazy, or just a joke. This wasn’t just kids either, many teachers just looked on me as a bad kid who threw a fit for attention. That’s the difference, however, I was never doing it on purpose. It was something that was happening to me… Something scary that was hard to stop. I was laughed at, I was left alone. It got to the point some people told me I should be institutionalized, that the only place for me was a mental hospital.

Even at home, sometimes it was hard on my family to deal with me when I lost control. It was hard on them and hard on me. I have been talking to several people in the lead up of writing this, just to get my thoughts together, and when people ask me about this part of my life I can never get away from the fact that I felt ashamed of it all.

The thing is, I naturally want control, and it is difficult to forgive not having it. I think that for any readers on the spectrum that is what I am writing to tell you: sometimes there are things even about your own body and mind you can’t control. Learn to cope with it, catch your breath and find your center, but never, and I mean never, hate yourself for it. You aren’t crazy and you aren’t naughty, you are just autistic. You are different, but you have never been less.

For any readers not on the spectrum, I want to challenge you to remember that. Never assume a child is a bad kid just because they sometimes lose control when overwhelmed. Never be those people who look disapprovingly or just watch and laugh. I had many people who supported me through the years; honestly if it wasn’t for my grandmother, professor, and editors being very supportive I am not sure I could be writing this. Be like those people. The worst thing a child can feel, autistic or not, is alone.

Technology will continue to develop, whether we like it or not

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Breanna Hill, News Editor

Technology is growing and advancing at a rate nobody ever believed to be possible. Who knew that the strides that have been taken in the technological realm would be this remarkable in today’s age? Due to the intelligence of numerous inventors, the world is blessed with wonderful technological tools. Though there’s no flying cars in today’s time like there was once believed there would be, the world continues to make great strides towards a more technologically based world; whether that’s a positive or negative impact, it’s happening all around us, and it’s happening rapidly.

Society always craves a newer, faster, and overall better version of things—phones, computers, cars—hence the dire urge to continue advancing technology despite the growing concerns that tend to rise up from time to time.  The first thing that may come to mind when discussing the pros and cons of technological advancement tends to be robots. Robots are intended to make lives easier, and harder tasks simpler. A growing concern revolving around robots is the fear that the robots themselves will grow smarter than humans and eventually take over. It sounds silly, but more people believe it than you may think. There are numerous references and talk about robots taking over in hundreds of movies and television shows. Could it really happen? Who knows.

Robots are being invented and used for all sorts of reasons, one of them having to be cleaning up the Fukushima Daiichi facility (nuclear power plant) that was ruined and turned into nothing more than a radioactive sludge. In 2011 Japan had catastrophic events destroy the northeastern part of its country. Japan had to deal with the aftermath of not only an earthquake but a tsunami as well. One of the affected areas was the Fukushima Daiichi facility. The accident was rated a 7 on the INES scale. Humans cleaning this mess up was never an option due to the radiation they would be exposed to, thus the plan of sending in robots to clean it up came to be. How would the world deal with such a crisis if it wasn’t for the advancement of technology?

The development of robots is only one of the most well-known technological advances that have occurred recently. Another popular technological milestone would have to be self-driving cars. Who would’ve thought that we would have made it this far? There was talk and speculation going on for a number of years about the possibility of self-driving cars. In 2013 General Motors, BMW, Ford, Mercedes Benz and other automobile manufacturers began tinkering and playing around with the idea of creating self-driving cars. Google even launched a new program named Waymo to help regular people get around and get rid of the ‘everyday hassle’ of driving yourself. Of course, we all know about Tesla introducing the great self-driving capabilities and features.

How safe are self-driving cars? What are the statistics on accidents caused by such advanced automotive technology? A recent study shows that self-driving cars are involved in crashes five times more than conventional cars driven by actual people. The determined pros of self-driving cars is the robot aspect of it all. A number of people are guilty of picking up their phone while driving, or distracting themselves some other way when their main focus should be driving itself. The car is designed to not only focus solely on the road but detect things that people can’t do as easily. Self-driving cars will always be a controversial topic of discussion. Do the pros outweigh the cons, or vice-versa. Does it make life easier, or is it contributing to a larger number of car crashes?

Technology will never cease to advance. Brilliant minds will continue to invent. The world will continue to evolve and society will continue to want the bigger and better versions of things. Will the world benefit from the endless impacts that this technology is making on the world, or will it affect us negatively somehow?

Carter: Pell case is a reminder that power and influence shouldn’t affect sentencing

Photo Courtesy of AFP

Devin Carter, Staff Columnist

On March 12, 2019, former Catholic Church cardinal and Vatican chief financial officer, George Pell, was sentenced to serve six years in prison for the molestation of two young boys in 1996. I was outraged to hear this. The crimes for which he was convicted are, to me, among the most detestable acts that a human being could do. And the fact that Pell held such a powerful and influential position made my anger even greater, since it looked like yet another example of power and influence winning over law and order.
I do not think that I have to spend any time convincing you or anybody else that Pell’s crimes were hideous, nor do I think people will need convincing that people of power have a much easier time avoiding punishment than those who are powerless. Other factors, like the fact that he will be eligible for parole after less than four years, and that the judge considered things like Pell’s age and influence when he handed down the light sentence, makes this situation even more outrageous. I’m certain that many people who are reading this article are every bit as furious about the sentencing as I am.

And yet, while I was thinking about the entire situation, I was able to see a silver lining. And I would like to bring attention to my realization in the hope that others who feel similarly to myself can take at least a little amount of positivity away from all of this. This situation is undoubtedly yet another example of power winning over justice, but people like myself, who believe in the rule of law over all other things, can take some comfort from the fact that, despite the leniency, Pell was still given a prison sentence. And, although he may be able to walk free before some of us have graduated from college, he will still be listed as a sex offender for the rest of his life. In this situation, justice was still served, even though it may not have been to the degree it should have been.

But we can look back through history to find evil people who used their position to escape justice, and it is very likely that these instances will continue to happen until the end of time. It would not have been a shock to have seen Pell walk free, considering the position he once held. Hopefully, despite the light sentence, this case marks a turning point for how we deal with powerful people who break the law and commit horrid acts.

Maybe, just maybe, this will start a trend where we as a people can look world leaders in the face and show them that they are not above the law. I know this is not likely to happen, at least not all the time, but hopefully we will start seeing less people walk away freely, and more people being served justice.

With that being said, I am absolutely NOT ok with this sentencing. I may even go so far as to call it, in and of itself, an injustice. But maybe it would be asking too much, at this point, to ignore the influence and power that these individuals hold. It certainly should not be taken into account when it comes to the crimes they have committed, and in rendering appropriate punishments. And hopefully we can get to the point where there is complete impartiality in our courts, whether that is in the United States, Australia, or anywhere else.

But let’s not look at this as a loss. A man who was one of the top-ranking officials of the largest Christian denomination in the world is in prison because he broke the law. In the past, he probably would have gone free. We should always look to further justice, and we should be critical of this sentencing. But this is still a victory for those who believe in the sanctity of the law, and it should be viewed as such.