Dating at Assumption: Big Fish, Small Pond

October 30, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Love

i spy young love

i spy young love

I want to start this off by reminding you that Assumption is a SMALL school, therefore dating can sometimes make you feel like you’re back in high school – playing hard to get or trying desperately to impress the guy or girl you’ve got your eye on. Let’s face it, at a school where the girl/boy ratio is nearly 70:30, the pickings are slim. Now, you may be thinking this is great for the guys but not for the girls, but it doesn’t really sway in favor of either gender. Since there is such a small group of men on campus, girls tend to date a guy, and get to know their friend group in the process, and then when something goes wrong, every guy that girl’s ex boyfriend knew of knew of is totally off limits and seemingly unattractive. Do you see where I’m going with this vicious cycle of dating at Assco?

Now don’t get me wrong, dating isn’t IMPOSSIBLE here, and I have actually heard numerous stories of couples who met freshman year and stuck it out to get married in the on campus chapel a couple of years later. Of course, these instances are rare, but they do happen. I’m just trying to say that dating at a small school can be difficult, especially if you’re one of those people who are extremely awkward around an ex or one night stand…prepare to see them almost everyday, in class or walking about campus.

I have honestly never noticed if there were many couples on campus, and I would have to say there’s a lot more “hooking up” than actually dating. It’s college, so I’m not surprised. I haven’t seen many dates “in progress” on campus, besides the awkward “Charlie’s” dates and excessive PDA in the library, but you mostly hear of people going on dates to the various restaurants on Shrewsbury street. If you hear that a “couple in the works” had dinner at Via or the Sole they’re probably pretty serious or on the verge of being “official”.

This topic of dating in general goes a lot further than Assumption itself though, and it has a lot more to do with our generation. I’ve noticed boys don’t really do much to “swoon” girls these days. For example I saw a boy on campus the other day hit the handicapped button on the door to open it for his girlfriend rather than just opening the door himself (how romantic). Our generation is so reliant on social media and other platforms to connect that we sometimes forget what our human emotions are, which is probably why we find it hard to make meaningful relationships with a significant other. Now, I’m not trying to say that our generation is lost, or lazy or that boys suck. Us “twentysomethings” are teetering off the edge of a place where it’s acceptable to get incoherently drunk at 11am and we are just steps away from walking into an office at 7am with a mile long list of responsibilities. We’re in a weird gray space, which makes dating hard.

So, I’m not saying dating is horrific at Assumption, but I’m also not saying you will find your soulmate here and live happily ever after. College won’t last forever, so have fun, and if you meet someone worth getting to know along the way, just see where it goes.

10 Signs You’ve Partied A Little Too Hard This Semester

October 29, 2014 in Academics, Campus Life, Health

Last Night Was Probably A Little Too Wild

Last Night Was Probably A Little Too Wild

You’re supposed to have fun and let loose at parties; that’s the goal. I can appreciate a good party as much as the next person, but some people really go overboard. Here are the Top Ten Signs You’ve Partied A Little Too Hard (hopefully you’ll keep some of these in mind while party-hopping during Halloweekend!):

1. You don’t remember what happened last night, or the night before, or the night before. This is a huge red flag! If you black out this often, you’re putting yourself in incredible danger. Not only are you making it easier for someone to take advantage of you (and this applies to guys AND girls), but it’s also harder for you to run away if something happens when you’re intoxicated.

2. You’re falling behind on your homework. You came to school to learn. No one likes homework. I feel your pain. But homework comes first. If drinking gets in the way of you fulfilling this responsibility, or any other responsibilities for that matter, you need to re-evaluate.

3. You’ve gone home with random strangers on multiple occasions. Words can’t even describe how dangerous this is. If your drinking causes you to trust strangers who could quite possibly take advantage of you, you have a serious problem.

4. You’re friends are genuinely worried about you. It says a lot if the first thing that your friends say when they talk about you is how worried they are about your habits. They know something that you don’t seem to understand and you might want to head the concern. They only say it because they care.

5. You find that, every time something bad happens to you, you turn to partying. This is a really bad idea. Drunkenness is not the answer to all of your problems. Here’s my advice: If ever you feel the need to turn to alcohol to numb the pain, don’t. My recommendation: Talk to someone and see how you feel afterward. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much better you feel.

6. Your friends have to carry you home after every party. This isn’t fair to you because you’re putting yourself in danger of being taken advantage of. This isn’t fair to your friends because they have to carry you night after night. And guess what: They’re fed up with it whether they tell you that or not.

7. It’s Monday night, and somehow you’ve found a party. First of all, what? Who does this? No one has time to party on Monday night! Second, stop. Just stop.

8. Every Monday, you skip your early classes because you’re too hungover to get to class. This is incredibly irresponsible and how do you expect to learn if you don’t go to class. Also, if you’re a few decimal points away from the next letter grade up, your professor might not be as apt to help you out if they haven’t seen your face in class since the first day, assuming you went to that.

9. Or, you’ve schedule only late classes on Monday to give your hangover some time to go away. This is a little more responsible than the last point, but still not good. If you’ve done this, you’ve subconsciously admitted that you have a problem and this is your answer to it. Please find another solution.

10. Your GPA is on a strong downward trend. As mentioned above, you are in school to learn. If your grade is dropping sharply, you’re putting yourself at risk for academic probation, loss of a merit scholarship, and possibly getting kicked out of school. If you are at risk for any of these, it’s time to seek help.

Whatever the case, drinking is serious. If any of these resonate with you, it’s definitely time to seek help. Don’t let this get more out of control than it already is.

The College Truth About Staying Healthy

October 28, 2014 in Campus Life

Now I know from personal experience that a lot of people thought that the freshman 15 was only a myth. I thought to myself I’ve had the same eating habits for my entire life, college couldn’t possibly change that. Well newsflash people, the myth is real. You need to go out of your way in order to stay your starting weight while going through the four years.

First of all lets talk about the dining halls. Everything is pretty much free (not really, but you can deal with paying that off later in life). When I first walked into the one near my dorm freshman year I was amazed that I could pick whatever I wanted simply by swiping my card. You can have a crazy meal that’s inclusive of cereal, coffee, chocolate milk, waffles and eggs to start off your morning. And I mean every morning. From there they switch over to lunch. Anything your heart desires between all the dining hall: sushi, chicken fingers, tacos, bread sticks, greasy pizza and jumbo wraps. Not only can you have these things, but you can have as much as you please (and did I say unlimited fries). I would say the thing that really got me was the available deserts. Oh, you just ate a pound of fried chicken and waffle fries, go have an ice cream cone! When you are too lazy to venture to one of these halls, you have limited choices in the dorms. My vending machine was my best friend, and ramen gets old fast.

So what do I suggest? Go out of your way to make a conscious effort to replace one greasy meal a day with a salad. Replace that waffle with an apple. They are so many choices for the juice selection. Ditch the chocolate milk, guys!

Try to stay active. If you are constantly lounging around in your dorm letting the food digest, you are looking at the fast track of having to buy new track pants…yeah. Nearly every college has a great gym available for the public, and if it does cost money, it is seriously worth it! Not to mention that working out is a great hangover cure. Oh, did I mention alcohol yet?

Drinking will seal the deal on your already debatable tight yoga pants. I never thought that beer bellies were a real thing, but my stomach will tell you otherwise. Look at it this way, the average calorie intake per day is about 1,700 calories. If a beer has about 200, and you have 6 on top of the breakfast lunch and dinner you devour everyday… that shit will catch up with you. Now I’m not saying you should beat yourself up over it, but don’t make it a habit because it is a hard one to break.

All in all, the habits you need to start in college are the same ones that you should continue throughout adulthood. That includes working out, making healthy choices, and accepting that that guy with the massive beer belly could be you. Put down the cookie and pick up the damn apple.

Advice on Being a Creative Writing Major

October 28, 2014 in Academics

Advice on Being a Creative Writing Major

Well, everyone has to choose a major in their lifetime of college. This major solely depends on how you feel your studies should go at your choice of college. Whether it is business or the arts, this will help (or not) shape your future career. I’ve known people who have broken the mold of their major to go on to do something completely different, so it’s really up to you as a person where you want to go with your life. However, I can give those tips on becoming a Creative Writing major!

What’s Different About This Major:

Depending on the school of your choice, the Creative Writing major might be a little different. Here at the University of Redlands, the Creative Writing major is offered as part of the English major, so English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. At other schools, Creative Writing may be in its own category completely. It’ll be good to check, considering where the emphasis may lie on how much you read vs. how much your write.

Most classes are designated into workshops. At Redlands, we like to have our once a week, 3 hour long workshops, while others may be hour and a half over two days. Personally, spreading out the time has not been as effective as having a three-hour workshop. However, it is nice to be able to spend more time out of class doing work.

This brings me to my next point. Sometimes, you’re not going to see a Creative Writing major out in the open. This makes sense, considering their work load consists of reading and writing. It’s very hard to accomplish these two tasks when people are around. The creative juices in most Creative Writing majors stem from deep inner thought, some privacy, and quiet. Those who can work around other people I applaud you, it’s extremely difficult to get a cohesive story when you’re friends are yelling about the world.

Is This Major For You?

I’m unsure. Most people that go into the Creative Writing major want to be a novel writer, but in actuality, it’s all about who is teaching the classes you’re writing for. At Redlands, it’s treated more like a graduate school program than an undergraduate program. There are workshops that allow you to get feedback from day 1 about the best of your work. This also develops the toughness of your skin when dealing with artistic people who may have a lot to say about your work. Novel writing can be accomplished through any other means, but most of the time, we’re reading novels written by published authors, not completed work by the students. If you want to write novels, you may have to do that in your own time. But, if you really enjoy the art of writing, the creative process behind it all, then you may want to check it out. This is no ordinary English major, this is focused centrally on the process of writing, where to go for publishing work, and making it in the world as a writer. It’s realistic and faculty shouldn’t be afraid to tell you what the low down is. Be careful, the Creative Writing major is not for the faint of heart, but it is for those who are passionate about furthering their work.

Queer Sphere: The Collapse of the Romantic Fairytale

October 25, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Love

Mother: “It was a simpler time! Women would wait for the man to ask her out to the movies or the diner, the man would knock on the door and have the awkward two-minute meet-and-greet with the woman’s parents, and marriage was expected if the couple lasted into the college years. There was less technology to enable scandal and less social justice to muddle to gender roles.”

As my mother makes clear, romances in the early ‘70s were drastically different to those prevalent within modern society. She made it clear that women had fewer obligations, that cliché film portrayals were the realities, and that gender roles defined the course of actions that both individuals would have to take. Those dissimilarities have proven to be difficult—as I’ve seen with most, if not all, of my college friends’ relationships. However, I hold a slightly extended pessimistic perspective than my mother because of my sexual orientation. In my case, not only has technology ruined the fairy tale promise, not only do gender roles muddle the dating process, but the gay identity stirs up a melting pot of additional stresses!

Sorry, mom, I think I have it worse.

Grindr: The Collapse of the Romantic Fairytale

To be blunt, Grindr is a hook-up app and nothing more. To make the argument that Grindr is a network through which an individual can meet other gay-identifying individuals is both to be naïve and to miss the point of the one-photo-reveals-all tactic. Unlike its more PG-13 cousin, Tinder, Grindr only allows user to upload one image. This image, along with a short blurb and a few details about one’s level of masculinity and body image, are all that one is able to offer about oneself. As such, the app perpetuates racial idolization, body shaming, and vanity. When someone starts a chat with me, it isn’t to learn more about my major (unless the guy finds LGBT Studies kinky) or my likes or dislikes (unless it’s about my bedroom preferences). The romantic ideals of a guy bumping into me at a café and asking me about the novel in my hands have died at the hands of hookups-in-the-palm-of-my-hands. Again, sorry, mom, but I win this one.

Body Shaming: The Ramifications of the Six Pack Ideal

As an obese child turned average-weight college student, I can personally attest to the detrimental psychological and physical ramifications of body shaming. Anything related to “plus sized models” to “overeating” to “maybe you shouldn’t eat that bag of Cheetos” is a trigger. Having grown up watching pornography and hyper sexualized male portrayals in Hollywood films, I was deceived into believing that six-pack bodies were the ultimate ideal. Because porn perpetuates these types of bodies, other gay men have also fallen into this trap, and pursue these body types accordingly. It’s difficult to not have a six-pack, or to be tall, or to have a refined jawline and still feel good about one’s body image. It’s tough to score a date when one doesn’t fit this idolized aesthetic. That’s another point for me, mother!

Media Representations (Or the lack thereof)

It’s tough enough to think about who has to pay for the meal in a heterosexual relationship. Now, imagine having two men dating. Absent the absurd notion that one man in the “man” and one man is the “woman,” who does what in the relationship? Media is just now beginning to represent all forms of queer relationships—ranging from polyamorous, to internalized-homophobic, to binary-fitting, to non-conforming. We’re just now beginning to see all forms of “who does what” and “how does one do this.” It’s a fickle subject to discuss gender roles in a homosexual relationship, and even more difficult with college students—18 to 22 year olds who, presumably, have just come out and have never been in a queer relationship before. By now I think the winner of this battle has been revealed—sorry, mom!

It’s difficult to date in a queer sphere dominated by dating apps that perpetuate body shaming and aesthetic-preferences. It’s difficult to start what is, presumably, your first queer relationship when the world is still not fully comfortable with who you are. It’s always going to be difficult, but it’s always going to be worth it in the end. Stay strong!

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