Category Archives: Columns

Chose Your Own Day To Start Your Resolutions

by Analisa Novak

I’ll never forget Super Bowl Sunday 2014, I single handily finished an entire pizza, a 2-liter Pepsi and some nachos. I was only a little over a ,month into my New Year’s resolution to loose weight and I gave up. It wasn’t the first time and like many New Year’s resolutions it happened around the start of February.

After gorging my face in more than 5,000 calories, I noticed I was an absolute mess. I went to the bathroom and wanted all of the food out of my system, so I attempted to make myself throw up. Before I could, I leaned in the toilet bowl and yelled, “What am I doing?” Then, I decided it didn’t matter if it was Feb. 3rd and  I failed at keeping up with my public New Year’s resolution. This was about my mental and physical health.

After that day, I found a diet that worked for me and began to heal the damage done to my body and mind, by focusing energy on myself. I no longer looked at the calendar, I didn’t weigh myself weekly and I didn’t compare myself to my friends. I made myself uncomfortable and forced myself to see at 22 I was unhealthier than people twice my age. I went to gym and dealt with judgmental glances. I purposely left my money at home so the temptation of the vending machine at work wouldn’t faze me. Soon after the weight slowly trickled off, but I didn’t allow myself to be content. To my surprise making a New Year’s resolution wasn’t the key to loosing weight, consistency was.

Two years, 95 pounds and 10 pants sizes later I feel I repaired my body physically and mentally. I shudder at the thought of how I would look and my health state, if I gave up at the start of February, two years ago.

If you’re in a similar situation and giving up on weight loss goals, I advise to figure out why you are doing this. Is it because of pressure to look good for someone or because you publically posted on Jan. 1st you would loose weight.

If those are the reasons then I hate to tell you, you wont be able to maintain consistency. Forget it’s been a month since you said you were going to loose weight and haven’t. Examine your health, how you feel about yourself and dig into why you’re unhappy with your weight. Consider January a test month and make February where you really work on yourself, without pressure of starting this race with everyone else. Jan. 1st is overrated, find your own day to start and finish for the most important person, yourself.

The Importance of Making Sure Children are Vaccinated

by Jacqueline Stoughton

I’m at the awkward stage in life where half my friends are having babies, while the other half are at the peak of their party days.

Although I’d say I’ve definitely grown up from my own days of weekend party binges freshman and sophomore year, I’m not quite at the point in my life where I want or am anywhere near ready to have a child.

However, the debate around whether or not children should be vaccinated or not is a no brainer. My friends who are parents may argue, “You’re not a parent so you don’t understand.” Simply because I’m not a parent doesn’t mean I haven’t done research on the subject.

This was, and still is, a huge political debate I’ve followed and gained enough knowledge from various sources of research to produce a creditable opinion.

To all my friends with babies and toddlers – please vaccinate your children. I recognize all the cons that come with vaccinations, but this is one of those cases when the pros greatly outweigh the cons.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), all vaccines cause serious side effects that can be life-threatening in some cases. The National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) said vaccines may be linked to learning disabilities, asthma, autism, diabetes, chronic inflammation and others.

The most common side effect of vaccines is anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction. This only effects one in one million children. Just like surgeries, just like any other cold medicines, including Advil – there’s a risk. Realistically, there’s a risk in everything we do, take, eat and drink.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, child vaccines are 90 to 99 percent effective. The CDC estimates about 723,000 American children were saved from death by a disease and 322 million childhood illnesses were prevented by vaccines between 1994 to 2014. The measles vaccine alone, has decreased childhood deaths from measles by 74 percent.

So yes there is a risk, but there’s always a risk. The benefits of being vaccinated, I think, is beyond worth the risk.

Another popular arguing point are the harmful ingredients included in these vaccines. Dangerous components such as mercury, aluminum, formaldehyde, egg and yeast proteins are used. All of which, I agree, have the potential to be medically harmful.

The biggest misconception and the biggest thing parents don’t realize is these ingredients have the potential to be harmful – it’s all in how they are used. These ingredients are never distributed in large quantities that would make the vaccine truly harmful.

According to Paul Offit, M.D., young children are exposed to more harmful bacteria and viruses in a day by participating in normal activities, than they would be by receiving proper vaccinations.

You’re not putting your child in any more danger by providing them with vaccinations. If anything, you’re putting them in more medical danger by not vaccinating them.

Everyone has their own opinion of “what’s best for their child” when it comes to the vaccine debate and it’s difficult to change a mother’s mind when it involves her children. However, the only way to give children their best chance at a healthy, long life, is to make sure they receive all vaccinations.

When your child inevitably gets a disease that turns into something more serious and could have been easily prevented, or when your child is the cause of a measles outbreak at school – you’ll be regretting your initial anti-vaccine decision.

’90s Kids, Defined

by Sheridan Cyr

For my 21st birthday that took place over break, I took the train to spend the day in New York City. Though effortless, traveling the route there was tedious. I turned to my phone for some relief, maintaining this feeling hanging over me that I was officially an adult and that in a way I was traveling away from my youth.

I saw a post on Facebook that has resonated with me and picked at my brain each day since. It was a screenshot of a Tumblr post with numerous responses. It began with, “A ’90s kid? You mean a sad adult?” followed by, “70,000 people have reblogged this but no one is trying to defend themselves,” and “There is nothing to defend.”

Someone responded with an exact explanation as to why a whole generation of people feel this inevitable pain lingering in just about everything that they do. They said that our generation is one of nostalgia. Because so many technological advancements occurred in such a short period of time, we still can remember what life was like before this craze and craving of technology.

The rapid development we have had to endure is an experience so unique, and because so much has happened since our childhood, it makes our youth seem extremely far away and out of reach. Things like phone cords, Gameboys, dial-up internet and much more are just about obsolete, and with it, our childhood.

Without all of the technology, more of our youth was spent actively in comparison to children in the present day. A direct quote from the post itself: “We grew up knowing of skateboards, jump rope, street hockey, playgrounds, butterfly collecting, etc. Slowly technology took over our lives and now there are hardly kids playing outside in the summer.”

Another user added a heartbreaking thought to the post: we were the last generation to grow up with “those bright promises” of “work hard, go to college, and you’ll have a successful life.” Those hopes were slashed during the recession a few years ago when we watched our families struggle to put food on the table and dress their children. We saw our parents who, in our youthful eyes, worked hard but did not reap the benefits.

The post finished off, hitting home hard, saying, “So 90s kids aren’t just nostalgic… we’re bitter. And we ache for those days when we could still think that the world was boundless and full of the opportunities we were promised since the first day of kindergarten.”

A Senior’s Sage Advice for New Students

by Jacqueline Stoughton

For the past two semesters, I’ve utilized my weekly columns here to discuss current events in politics. I still intend to continue that theme throughout this next semester – but since these are my last 13 weeks writing for this paper, I wanted to branch out to some other topics of importance to me during slow political news weeks. Mostly, I didn’t want to waste a column talking about Donald Trump.

The beginning of my last semester has caused me to do a lot of reflection over my past three and a half years at Central Connecticut. All the things I’ve experienced, learned and the people I’ve met along the way have made an impact in getting me to where I am today.

For new freshman just starting this semester, transfer students and those returning freshman who didn’t quite get into the groove of college-life right away (like myself), here’s the best advice I can give you that took me three years to learn – basically everything I wish someone told me when I was an incoming freshman.

Get involved: I know a lot of people say this to new college students, and if you’re anything like me you probably just think to yourself, “don’t tell me what to do.” Seriously, get involved. Take advantage of the club fair and find something you’re interested in. Find a club related to your major, that’ll only benefit you more when it comes time to search for jobs and internships. My freshman year, I applied to be an orientation leader. Even though that was never something I desired to do again (I’m not a fan of “ice breakers”), I made a lot of friends and faculty connections that stayed without, throughout the rest of college.

Cool it on the partying: I understand that’s probably the most exciting part of college, but three years later you’ll regret the weekend long party binges. I was that freshman who always had a Solo cup in her hand, so I get it. Freshman have a tendency to make embarrassing mistakes at parties, not because they’re freshman, but because they’re still young with lower tolerances. In no way do I condone underage drinking, but it’d be irresponsible if we didn’t recognize this as something that is going to happen at colleges, regardless of how illegal it is. My advice, don’t try and keep up with your friends. How you feel the following morning is sure to teach you the “pace yourself” lesson pretty well. Keep a water bottle in your bag. Alternating between an alcoholic drink and water will prevent a hangover and getting sick the following morning. Alcohol also makes you incredibly dehydrated, which leads to that nauseous feeling. Finally, just always be safe and use your common sense. Never drive or get in a car with someone who’s been drinking. Even if you think you’re okay to drive, you’re probably not. Getting home quicker is never worth risking your own life and the life of others.

A side note, the “freshman 15” is real and probably results from heavy alcohol consumption more than anything. Yes, beer, vodka and all that other good stuff will make you fat. So don’t feel like you need to go out every weekend. You’re wallet and health will thank you. Believe it or not, there is more to college than just parties.

You basically have a free gym membership, use it: This is something I never understood, why students still spend their money on a gym membership, when there’s four gyms on campus they can go to with all the same equipment available, without having to sacrifice more of the limited funds most college students have. Also, take advantage of the fitness classes CCSU offers. You can do anything from cycling, yoga and zumba all free for students! This is something I definitely wish I did more often, it was usually on the bottom of my very long to-do list, unfortunately.

Perfect the balancing act: This is probably the most important thing I can say to any new college student and a skill I’m glad I was able to develop since it’ll be something I’ll utilize for the rest of my life. Balance all your responsibilities well, while still making time for yourself. Learn how to keep class a priority since that’s what you’re at school for, yet be sure to schedule time to be involved with clubs and other on-campus events. Never neglect being healthful and try to fit in a social life. If you’re able to balance everything successfully, you’ll be having the college experience you hoped for. Never bite off more than you can chew, wanting to do it all can get very overwhelming, very quickly.

Finally and most importantly, always enjoy every second of your years in college, never take anything for granted and experience as much as possible. These four years go by a lot quicker than you think they will.

Republican Reputation Seriously at Risk During this Election

by Jacqueline Stoughton

This new set of Republican candidates have sent the reputation of the party to the lowest it’s probably ever been. With no hope of redemption for this election, hopefully the GOP can learn from their mistakes and get back to being the party they once were.

It’s been figures such as Donald Trump and Ted Cruz who have been the major catalysts into the demise of the Republican Party. Especially Trump, their outrageous comments during interviews and debates, policy proposals and negative outlook on the current state of America, have all played into the image of the GOP.

“John McCain was a conservative, but he was well within, you know, the mainstream of not just the Republican Party but without out political dialogue,” said President Barack Obama to Politico reporter Glenn Thrush during an interview for the online news sites “Off Message” podcast. “[Voters will have to judge] the degree to which the Republican rhetoric and Republican vision has moved, not just to the right, but has moved to a place that is unrecognizable.”

The way the president describes the GOP as being in an unrecognizable place is an incredibly accurate statement. In past elections, never has the GOP candidates received so much media attention due to their outlandish actions – which is why it’s shocking to most educated voters to see Trump always ahead at the polls, not to mention a terrifying future to think about.

I will be shocked if a Republican ends up winning the presidency, quite frankly I don’t see that happening at this rate. Noam Chomsky, noted MIT professor and political critic, said in a statement to the Huffington Post this week, the GOP has become extreme in their rhetoric and policies lately since they now pose a “serious danger to human survival.”

“The Republican Party has drifted off the rails,” said Chomsky. “It’s become what the respected conservative political analysis Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein call ‘a radical insurgency’ that has pretty much abandoned parliamentary politics.”

In a sense this is true when thinking about Trump’s influence over the image of the Republican Party. He has tarnished their reputation almost beyond repair. This is mainly due to his lack of political experience and knowledge. He is able to run for office not because he’s a smart and effective political leader, but solely because he has the financial means to carry out a successful campaign accompanied by a celebrity image. It should be an unwritten rule that one shouldn’t bother to waste time and money to run for public office, when you don’t actually know what you’re doing or even what to do for the entire country’s best interest.

In his Huffington Post interview, Chomsky went on to advise voters planning to participate in the upcoming election to cast their votes “strategically.” He explained using the analogy that the United States is a “business party” where the Republican and Democrat Parties are “factions” with small differences between them. The differences, he said, make “a huge difference in systems of enormous power.”

“I’ve always counseled strategic voting,” said Chomsky. “Meaning, in a swing state, or swing congressional district, or swing school board, if there is a significant enough difference to matter, vote for the better candidate – or sometimes the least bad.”

Voting for the “least bad” candidate will most likely be left to strategy votes and will have to be utilized this upcoming election season.

Oscar Nominees Leave Out Color

by Analisa Novak

There is something wrong with Hollywood when not a single black actor or actress are nominated for the most prestigious awards of the industry.

On Jan. 14 the academy announced the nominees for the 88th Oscars ceremony. Of the top nominees, not a single black actor or actress was nominated. While this is disheartening, the worst part is there were some very strong actors who could have been contenders for these categories. Will Smith, who was selected by the Hollywood Foreign Press as a Best Actor contender for the Golden Globes, was completely shut out. Michael B. Jordan, who portrayed the heart and determination of a boxer in the movie “Creed,” saw his white costar Sylvester Stallone get nominated instead. Idris Elba, who played an African warlord in “Beast of No Nation,” didn’t get a single nomination. “Straight Outta Compton,” a movie about a black rap group, did receive a nomination for its screenplay — the writer happens to be white.

Do you see where the outrage lies? Jada Pinkett Smith, actress and wife of Will Smith, is calling for a boycott of the awards. She spoke on the issue this past Martin Luther King Jr. Day. “Today is Martin Luther King’s birthday, and I can’t help but ask the question: Is it time that people of color recognize how much power and influence that we have amassed, that we no longer need to ask to be invited anywhere?”

In an interesting twist, the host of the 88th Oscars ceremony happens to be black comedian Chris Rock, which raised the points Smith and director Spike Lee have mentioned. How does the academy request black stars to entertain during the show, but refuse to acknowledge them as actors? They are invited to walk the red carpet, to present and perform, but not as potential recipients for awards acknowledging their work.

Even more upsetting, looking at past black Oscar recipients, the winners were awarded for their portrayals of slaves, maids or persons with psychosis. There are only 10 black women who have won the Academy Award for Best Actress.

It doesn’t just impact actors. It also crosses over to the directing and producing. Five films produced by African Americans have been nominated for Best Picture, “12 Years a Slave” being the only one to ever win the award.

Why in the glamorous city of Hollywood are we seeing problems that plague towns like Ferguson and Chicago? The answer is simple – because these issues aren’t going away. If history has taught anything of racial dominance, it’s that it’s only stopped when we all unite and say, “no more.”

Gun Control will Never Improve as Long as GOP Refuses to Keep an Open Mind

by Jacqueline Stoughton

The New York Times made history last week when they made the bold decision to run an editorial criticizing politicians for how they’ve been handling gun violence, or lack thereof with their inability to create any revised gun laws, on the front page.

Following this monumental move by the Times, something they haven’t done in almost a century, Republican presidential candidates including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Donald Trump have denounced The New York Times’ editorial. Further proving why gun control will never be improved in this country without the cooperation and compromise by Republicans, or the use of executive order.

“Let me tell the editors of the Times something: you don’t stop the bad guys by taking away our guns. You stop the bad guys by using our guns,” said Cruz to a crowd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

In a direct statement to POLITICO, Christie admitted, he “didn’t read” the editorial, but described it as a “liberal clap-trap.”

“The fact is that what happened in San Bernardino had nothing to do with gun control and they know it and they just want to try and exploit it for their point of view,” said Christie. “That’s their right as a newspaper.”

During his campaign rally in Spencer, Iowa, POLITICO asked Donald Trump his opinion of the remarks made in the Times editorial. “If you look at what happened in California, they didn’t have guns, they were slaughtered. They could’ve protected themselves if they had guns.”

He continued to express his strong belief that people everywhere should own a gun for their own personal protection.

I thought The New York Times perfectly explained what exactly needs to be done if we wish to see a decline in gun violence in this country. I said similar statements in past columns, that the only way to see change would be if we revise the Second Amendment and create more solid gun control laws. But the strong, ignorant, disagreements made by Republicans and those who are pro-guns are making this compromise seem like an impossible task.

What gun supporters need to realize is, we don’t want to take away your Second Amendment rights. That isn’t the goal or even the focus. But a change needs to be made in who gets access to guns, the process of applying for ownership and what types of guns an average citizen should be allowed to have in their home and how many.

No one needs multiple guns in their home. No one needs assault weapons in their home that are designed to be used in combat. A simple handgun will suffice. If we have to have a gun then that’s all you need. There’s only so much we can do, because if someone wants to kill and get a hold of a weapon, they’ll find a way. But, drastic changes such as what The New York Times and myself have suggested will be a significant step towards change.

The Show Must Go On

by Sheridan Cyr

Due to the recent events in Paris, many fashion companies who had plans for conferences, black-tie dinners, exhibitions, celebrations and other business-related outings decided to cancel their events. Part of this decision kept safety in mind, the other part was to simply allow for some time for Paris, as well as the rest of the world, to recover.

A Nov. 18th New York Times article wrote, “Some may assert that gatherings honoring how we adorn our bodies have no place in the current conversation, that such discussions should occur only in abashed whispers, that anything smacking of aesthetics is somehow disrespectful of the horror attached to current events.”

Sounds like a good idea, right? Courteous, respectful, rational. It only seems right to let the city heal before returning to what could be considered by some as frivolous or materialistic fashion.

Wrong. What some are failing to consider is that the fashion industry equates jobs as well as revenue for Paris. Heritage and national identity are hindered in this decision to cancel.

In France, approximately 165,000 people are employed by the fashion industry, according to the NYT article, whether it be seamstresses, designers, models, etc. The NYT article explained that according to Euromonitor, the French luxury goods industry had sales of $25 billion last year. The taxes paired with that amount of sales can help with much of Paris’ recovery from the attacks.

Products of fashion figureheads such as Dior and Chanel can be found worldwide. However, shopping streets such as Avenue Montaigne and Rue St.-Honoré are tourist attractions comparable to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre in Paris. Consumers could easily purchase their products closer to home, yet they make purchases in the city similar to souvenirs of the culture of France. Fashion is a huge part of the city’s heritage.

The city’s decision to block off entry is very well-intentioned, but is also keeping out tourism revenue, and in turn taxes that could assist in rebuilding the city. The NYT article fittingly said, “If we turn away from the luxury and fashion industries at a time like this because they are not ‘serious,’ then we contribute to the goals of those who attacked France.”

The attackers wanted to instill fear into citizens of the city and to the whole world, and it’s working. By choosing to cancel these events, we are allowing the terrorists to win, as well as hindering potential healing within the city by cutting its revenue to a fraction of what it could be.

The attacks on the city were horrifically tragic, there is no downplaying that, but the world must keep spinning. Any movement is better than stagnancy in a tragedy like this.

A Global Fight

by Christopher Marinelli

Over 147 national leaders along with 195 representatives will be attending the COP21 United Nations Climate Conference in Paris to reach an agreement on how to address climate change. President Obama is a strong advocate to reducing the global footprint of the world’s second largest carbon contributor the United States and has the support of two-thirds of American citizens, according to The New York Times.

This meeting comes after several months of environmental awareness efforts by President Obama, such as his documentation of Alaska and several interviews engaged with VICE on the global warming issues.

The main goal to be reached is an international binding agreement that will hold each nation accountable to reducing greenhouse gas and carbon emissions. Negotiations will take place on how and who will pay for these financial commitments to reducing green house gases.

The U.S. has committed its proposal of reducing its green house gases in an extensive review. Parts of this include the Clean Power Plan, a proposal to increase guidelines that would reduce power sector levels to below 2005 standards by 2030.

Other plans include new standards for heavy-duty engines and vehicles, methods in reducing methane levels, and a goal with the Department of Energy by 3 billion metric tons by 2030.

It is especially important for our generation of college students to not only be conscious of our environmental impact, but also to start committing to our own sustainable practices.

Simple practices such as reusable coffee cups, reusable water bottles, and recycling paper instead of throwing them out along with a number of other things could make a big difference. It just takes everyone to commit and as a collective society we can make a difference.

The global leaders ranging from third world countries to world super powers have become aware of the impact we have on climate change. As the people of the countries these leaders represent, it is of utmost importance for us to commit to reducing our carbon footprints as well.


Domestic Terrorism in Colorado

by Jacqueline Stoughton

The country was shocked again following the news of a shooting at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood leaving three dead and nine seriously injured.

Robert Lewis Dear, 57, is the main suspect as the perpetrator of the fatal shooting and is currently being held without bail in Colorado Springs jail. New reports from CNN claimed Dear made comments to investigators about “baby parts” during interviews and also expressed anti-abortion and anti-government views.

More information is now coming to light during this active investigation, including the discovery of propane tanks found near Dear’s car, authorities believe he was trying to shoot them to cause an explosion.

Many political figures have commented on the shooting. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said it’s a “crime against women,” while Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said it’s “a tragedy that is beyond speech.”

Many others are also considering this to be an act of domestic terrorism, which they are right to do so.

“What he did is domestic terrorism, and what he did is absolutely abominable, especially to us in the pro-life movement, because there’s nothing about any of us that would condone or in any way look the other way on something like this,” said former Alaskan Governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, to CNN. “There’s no legitimizing, there’s no rationalizing. It was mass murder. It was absolutely unfathomable. And there’s no excuse for killing other people, whether it’s happening inside the Planned Parenthood headquarters, inside their clinics where many millions of babies die, or whether it’s people attacking Planned Parenthood.”

Although Huckabee is absolutely correct to say this is domestic terrorism. Anything premeditated to execute a mass murder to this extent is domestic terrorism and the reasons and beliefs why is irrelevant because there’s no excuse or legitimate reason why this should ever happen.

However, pro-life extremists do play a role in this. Obviously this man is very brainwashed into believed their terrible, false accusations against Planned Parenthood and why pro-life is the only choice.

I am 100 percent pro-choice. I can list all the reasons why it should always be an option to get an abortion, such as various financial reason, if you’re not ready or able to give that child a proper home, various health reasons and not all of us are okay with having our rapists’ child. But none of these reason mean anything except for one – it’s my body and I can do what I want with it. No one else should ever have any authority over what a woman can or can’t do with her body, especially a man.

When men can get pregnant and have to deal with all the stress, mentally, physically and emotionally that comes along with it, then maybe we can talk. But until they’re able to relate at all, they should keep their thoughts, opinions and beliefs to themselves and stop preaching about issues that will never directly effect them.

Everyone has their own personal beliefs and opinions when it comes to being either pro-life or pro-choice. But that’s just it, they’re personal. We need to learn not to force our beliefs onto others, especially when it comes to something that has genuinely helped other people. Accept that, and move on – and maybe the world would be a little bit better if everyone wasn’t so concerned with what others are doing and the personal decisions they’re making. It’s nobody else’s business and nobody else’s concern.