Opinions

Participate in creating a safer Halloween

By Alexa Wyszkowski
Layout Editor

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Photo courtesy of: Fare

Halloween should be a fun holiday for all. Pick out a costume. Purchase some candy. Give out the candy to kids or be the kids to go get the candy. Or even indulge and  eat some candy. It’s a Happy Halloween indeed, unless one can’t eat the candy.

The point of trick or treating is to gather with family and friends, dress up and go around collecting candy. Halloween may seem like the best day of the year to most kids, unless you are a kid who has life threatening food allergies, food intolerances, eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), celiac disease, food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome (FPIES), feeding tubes, or is on a special diet. Kids with various conditions like these may not be able to have candy and may feel left out while trick-or-treating.

Halloween  can also cause stress for the parents of these children, especially those with food allergies, as Halloween candy does not always have ingredient labels, the miniature versions of the candies may contain different ingredients and with all the handling of candy there are more chances of cross-contact. With all the risk involved there is a lot of uncertainty if the candy is safe or not for the child to handle or eat. If a child were to eat a candy that contained their allergen, they could have an allergic reaction, which could potentially lead to death.

In 2014 Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) created the Teal Pumpkin Project, a program designed for the kids who may not be able to have candy, but should still be able to feel safe and included while trick or treating. Households can participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project and show their support of food allergy awareness by providing non-candy treats and displaying a pumpkin painted teal or a free printable teal pumpkin sign from FARE’s website. By having a teal pumpkin displayed it tells families that there are safe non-food treats available. Non-food treats could include items such as stickers, pencils, glow sticks, or small toys. Candy can still be given out, as that is tradition, but keep the candy in a separate bowl from the non-food treats. Be sure to give all kids the choice of either candy or non-food treats.

Families can also add their home to FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project map online, so other families can plan to visit the houses that will definitely have safe non-food treats. By participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project you are creating a safer and happier Halloween for all. For more resources and information, visit foodallergy.org.

‘Army of Darkness’ a fit film for Halloween

By Francis Valanzola
Acting Entertainment Editor

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PHOTO COURTESY OF PINTEREST

What makes a good horror movie? Demons? Suspense? Or an ancient book that causes the main character to get a goddamn chainsaw hand! That’s right. What’s up, Youngtown readers? It’s Halloween season, and you know what anniversary it commemorates? Well, for those of you in the realm of pop culture, you’d know it’s the anniversary of the premiere of the pilot of Ash vs. Evil Dead. So, to commemorate this, your pop culturist has taken it upon himself to review the first movie to include the iconic use of word “Deadites,” “Army of Darkness.” Created by Sam Raimi in 1993, this end to the three movie arc in the Evil Dead franchise starring Bruce Campbell, that would later be rebooted, as a movie, and a television series, actually had a budget of 11 million, and surpassed it at 25.5 million USD. The gist of the movie is after summoning demons from the Necronomicon Ex Mortis or Book of the Dead, and lopping his hand, which was possessed, off at the wrist, Ashley “Ash” J. Williams is sent to medieval times, is mistaken for a Red Army soldier, and is kidnapped by Lord Arthur. When he finally proves his true self as the warrior from the prophecy, his mission is to get the book that started the whole mess, state the phrase from the 1951 version of The Day The Earth Stood Still, klaatu barada nikto, face off against an army of Deadites, including an evil doppelganger of himself, and get back to his own time. This movie is amazing. The use of practical effects is, I’ll admit, a bit dated, but it gets better with age. I actually recommend this to any newcomers to the Evil Dead franchise, since it gives you a recap of the events in the beginning, and gives you a clear name for the possessed form of the humans: “Deadites”. Overall, I give this a 8.5 out of 10. It’s okay, but not perfect.

The Youngtown Way Back When

By Dr. Noel Robinson
Professor Emerita, 1970-2011

I was a member of the English department from 1970, the third year the school opened, until 2011 when I retired. My very earliest memories of the Youngtown center on Professor Mary Hires, the first adviser. Mary was a diminutive blond, always smiling and a firehouse of energy. She had come to the English department from California where she had taught for a number of years and had far more experience than many of us. She was completely devoted to the Youngtown. No matter what time I left campus, she was always in her office, chain-smoking, surrounded by the Youngtown students, plugging away to put out the best Youngtown possible.

Honestly, I don’t recall much about the intervening years until I took over as adviser in 1997 and began teaching journalism as coordinator of the program. I continued to advise the Youngtown for 10 years and greatly enjoyed it although it was hard work. The most difficult task for me was learning to use the publication software to get the paper into print. Not only did I have to learn QuarkXPress, but I had to be able to teach it in my editing and publication design class.

Student Augustine Adda, editor of the paper, was an incredible help to me. Augustine was an amazing young man, incredibly intelligent, a voracious reader and thrilled to be enrolled at CCM. He arrived from Ghana, where he was actually a prince of his tribe, and adapted very well to life as a college student here. He very patiently taught me the software, and, believe me, it was no easy job. After a semester or so, I was finally comfortable with Quark. In later years, we switched to Adobe InDesign, so there was another learning curve for that.

For many years, Campus Life hired Wilma Martin, a professional technical editor, to help teach the publication software and to help with the layout of the Youngtown. While I was adviser, every other Friday beginning about 2 p.m. the Youngtown staff, Wilma, and I would gather in the journalism classroom and computer lab to lay out the paper.  Many Friday evenings, it was as late as 7 or 8 p.m. when the hard-working young editors and writers would finally put the paper to bed.

The quality of the articles and the overall Youngtown itself had been good for years, but it got even better when I received permission from the vice president to require all students in the journalism classes to work a few hours during the semester on the paper and to submit articles. The requirement was included in the course descriptions for the classes. Beginning then, for each edition of the paper, there were quality articles and usually enough students showing up to help the editors with the layout and design.

In the late 1990’s I also began encouraging my students to submit the Youngtown for the Columbia Scholastic Press Awards and for the New Jersey Press Association awards. Over the years, I am proud to say, we did very well. The paper itself was recognized by both groups with highest honors a number of times. I was even happier when individual students received awards, and there were many. How terrific that the Youngtown has continued to be an award-winning student newspaper in recent years, too.

Of course, my fondest memories of the Youngtown center on the outstanding students who wrote for it and/or worked on publication. Chief among those are the super-dedicated editors. Here are just a handful, and I know for sure I’m leaving others out.

When the tragedy of 9 /11 struck, our Youngtown staff hit the ground running under editor Will Hagerty.  They sought out local angles, including the story of a daughter of an employee who barely escaped with her life. It’s not easy to churn out a good quality edition under pressure of a deadline. Will had the additional obligation of being asked to address remarks at a college-wide observance of the tragedy.

Mindy Drexel, who is still a friend, was editor or managing editor for five semesters and did an outstanding job both as a writer and in layout and design, which she loved. Under her leadership, the paper achieved Gold Medal status from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. Mindy herself received four first-place awards from the NJ Press Association and a number of other students were recognized also.

Like a number of other students who were serious about journalism, Mindy is now pursuing a career in journalism or communications.  She served as a copy production editor at the Record and Herald News and is now returning to graduate school.

Students Diego Ortiz and Shawn Aiken, also very memorable editors, both always loved writing and in recent years have been pursuing writing other than journalism. Brendan Kuty, who always could make everyone laugh or smile, now has his dream job covering the Yankees for NJ.com. Dave Danzis is also a mighty happy camper. He was a reporter at the New Jersey Herald for a number of years where he was recognized with a number of prestigious awards and is now a reporter for the Press of Atlantic City.

Although the Youngtown always involved very hard work for both me and the editors in the 10 years I served as adviser, it was an incredibly rewarding experience, and I believe for the students. At a community college where students are only with us for two years, it’s not usually possible for professors to get to know students as well as I did my Youngtown editors. That was one of the best parts of the work.

Also, I know that the Youngtown students firmly believed in the importance of what they were doing, reporting on events in and outside the college, covering sports, writing opinion pieces and editorials, all to keep their fellow students informed and to foster a sense of community.  In our current environment, good journalism is more important than it’s ever been.

Congratulations on the 50th anniversary of the Youngtown, and keep up the good work!

One Year Gone: How I lived since my suicide attempt

By Lindsey Tess Medwin
Contributing Writer

You’d like to say that it was an immediate wake-up call. That things immediately took an upward turn because you realized how “valuable” your life was and “how lucky” you were to be alive. But that isn’t true. In fact, life got a hell of a lot worse after. Intensive therapy almost everyday for hours. Labeled with conditions you barely understand and prescribed a cocktail of medications you can hardly pronounce the names of. Learning coping skills and mindfulness and all these other therapeutic ways to deal with your problems and past.

You try to kill yourself and all the sudden the world expects you to devote every second of everyday to wanting to live when just a week earlier you made a clear decision to die.


The transition back to reality is far from easy. You expect so much out of yourself and, mindlessly, expect a lot of those around you. Especially those who are closest.


But for some reason- you do it. You drag yourself out of bed and swallow your morning meds. You ignore the voices in your head telling you to give up and that there’s no point. You fight through the crippling anxiety that stopped you from going to work, seeing your friends and even leaving house most days. You just go.

And at first you don’t do it for yourself. You can’t even really explain why you’re doing it. Maybe it’s for your friends or for the loved ones around you because you don’t want to let them down again. Maybe it’s to pass the time since you can’t work or go to school. Maybe it’s because you have nothing left to lose.

It’s never easy and it’s definitely never something you’re prepared for. Talking about the darkest parts of your soul and memories for the first time in your entire life and opening up about things you’ve pushed down for years. That’s never easy.

And yet, you start to find some type of comfort in it. Despite sitting at a table surrounded by strangers, opening up seems safe. There truly is a lack of judgement and a universal upstanding for the pain and suffering you all share. And for the first time in your entire life, you stop feeling so alone.

As the weeks and months go by, you start to develop a sense of self again. And though you are miles away from where you want to be, the fact that you want to be anywhere and have some sort of drive again gives you so much relief. You want to be a better you. A healthier, happier, successful you. You want to be alive.

The journey isn’t over though.

The transition back to reality is far from easy. You expect so much out of yourself and, mindlessly, expect a lot of those around you. Especially those who are closest. You develop an unhealthy dependency and attachment and it makes you question where your happiness is really derived from. You are so caught up in the idea of having hope again and the eagerness for things to go back to normal, that you overlook the toxicity still surrounding you.

Eventually you realize it’s this remaining element of darkness that is holding you both back from true happiness and prosperity.

And while you do your best to prepare as the survivor you are, no one could ever be ready for the person you loved to leave you.

But by that point you’ve come too far. So, with the comfort, care and concern of those around you, who immediately come through, you let go of the shock and sadness and begin working to overcome this.

And it’s during this time of desperation and vulnerability that you realize who’s there for you when you really need it.

And you accept that you always be grateful to this heartbreaking loss, for it gifted you the greatest friend you’ll ever know.

And soon after, you take a chance on an opportunity that gifts you stability. And while that’s all it was initially, this opportunity also surrounds you with an incredible group of people you never expected to love so deeply.

And from there, you really start to grow.

You are no longer consumed with your anxiety or depression or post-traumatic-stress-disorder. You are no longer fixated on survival. You are no longer seeking approval from partners or from your past.

You’re finally at peace.

And while there is so much more for you to learn, that’s all you could really ask for.

And suddenly, it’s been a year since your suicide attempt. And you can honestly say you have never been happier.

Before transferring out, consider your purpose in college

By Elena Hooper
Opinion Editor

As the semester begins to draw to a close and the promise hot, sunny days, pool parties, and lazy afternoons on the porch keep us hopeful during the dreary fog of spring, I’m sure quite a few of us are already gearing up to take summer classes or even transfer to a four-year school. Summer if often a time to get the small stuff done, like Gen. Ed. classes or transcript reviews, so that the bigger, more important moves in our educational career can run smoothly. What many of you might not stop to consider what is actually quite a pivotal question; Why, exactly, are you going to college? You may think you know the answer to that, but have you really given it a proper thought? I’d like to explain why pondering this question is actually worth your time and a crucial deciding factor to your future and life satisfaction.

In American society for at least forty years now, it’s customary that when we reach the end of our time in high school, we begin our search for colleges, far and wide, that provide a plethora of degree programs that we’re not sure if we’re even interested in to begin with. Most of us barely make up our minds about how we feel about ourselves and yet are essentially thrust into a situation that is completely beyond the maturity we’re capable of and out of our emotional and executive functioning depth. But we do it because it is our condition, and we make do, and a good portion of us come out on the other side relatively unscathed.

It would be easy to overlook our real motivations for pursuing a college degree as it is programmed into us from a very young age. We often see it as a means to an end and as the narrow path that leads us from one stage of life to another. It’s seen as normal and in some cases, even obligatory, to go to college in the United States, and those who do not participate are often seen as slackers.

Now I’m sure there are many people who go to college because they want to and they thrive in such an academic environment, but the opposite is true for many as well. There are often many people who feel a sense of duty to go to college, despite having little interest in it, and struggle semester after semester to keep their grades high enough so that they are not expelled, even if they put a sufficient amount of work into their studies.

The truth of the matter is: college is not easy, and it’s meant to be that way. For many hundreds of years, university was attended by the elite and only the elite who were pursuing the study of the arts and sciences. It was meant to be a rigorous endeavor that tested your mind and your values. It was meant to challenge you as much as possible and to expose you  many different perspectives. When one attended university, it was because he was in the pursuit of knowledge; he was there to learn. He was there to understand. Much of that, I believe, has been lost now in recent years due to the urgency and necessity placed on us to get that “perfect” white collar job. To that I say: nonsense. College is not a means to an end. It is meant to be an experience of knowledge where the process of it all outweighs the end product. But people cease to really learn or understand anything if they are only there to take a test. If they only want to memorize and not actually comprehend the information they’re being taught. This is not completely college students’ fault, however, as the education we received prior to coming to university was constructed the same way. Information itself has little value, only your ability to spit it back out for a test is what matters, and that is a truly poisonous idea.

So if the current state of postsecondary education is frustrating you like it’s frustrating me, you might be itching for a solution. Truthfully, the ideal solution would be for our overall culture to realign its values and work ethic with what people are capable of, not what we force them to do, but that’s going to take much longer to fix itself than the smaller decisions I’m going to suggest one could make. This may worry you as you’ve probably been told many times that the only way to have a happy life is if you go to college. This is also nonsense, you’ll just have to do a little digging.

For those who find themselves in a constant struggle with their postsecondary education and can’t seem to feel secure in a college environment no matter how hard they try, it might be time to reconsider the path your on. It might be difficult to accept that if you’ve been to a few different universities already or have been at the two-year level for quite awhile now, then university might not be for you, and that’s okay. So if that is the case, you might be wondering what your options are. You might be surprised at just how many careers are out there that don’t require a four-year degree. For example, construction and building inspectors made an approximate median annual salary of $59,000 but only need a high school diploma or equivalent and five years of work in a related occupation, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics which says that the field is expected to grow 10 percent by 2026. Also, elevator inspectors and repairers made an approximate median annual salary of $79,000 in a field expected to grow. But these are only a few examples of the wide array of careers you have to choose from.

Keep in mind that the foundation from which you build your career should be based on strong skills you have, not what you’re passionate about, and not what’s going to make you the most money. It may turn out that your passion is also a strong skill you have that can be easily marketable, but that is often not the case. True satisfaction in career comes from what you’re good at, but you should also enjoy what you do in the process. And if you struggle to identify what skills you have, then there are plenty of legitimate online quizzes to choose from that can help you in that process, or for even better results, you can even see career counselors including those at CCM’s Office of Career Services in CH 203. There are many two-year degrees, certification programs, apprenticeships, and vocational and technical programs that utilize the skills of those who may not have a knack for the scholarly but for the practical and hands-on. It is just as honest of a living than if you pursued a four, six, or even eight-year degree.

Now of course there are many people who pursue the scholarly, who pursue the white collar jobs, because they genuinely want to and it’s what they’re good at. There are also many people who come from poor or immigrant families who go to university to have a better life than what their parents had, and that is also valid. But where it becomes a problem is when people feel an obligation to go to university instead of a motivation. They don’t feel any reason to be there other than it’s what they’ve been told to do, but there is nothing wrong with not liking a university environment as it’s a very difficult environment for people to be in. It’s supposed to be like that.

So as the summer draws near, remember to really get in tune with yourself. Ask yourself what you want out of a university education, if anything at all. Are you there (or going there) because it’s a comfortable environment for you? Because you enjoy the challenge and the results you get from those challenges? Or are you going because it’s what you were told to do? Because it’s what everyone does? Or just because you want to make a lot of money? If your answers are the latter four, then maybe it’s time to look into other options. If you’ve been struggling for a while now to make ends meet in your university career and you feel like you’ve reached a dead end, just know that there is hope for a better future; it’s just not there. There’s just as much value in a career that’s vocational or technical as there is in an educated one. Being honest with what you want is much more likely to guarantee you satisfaction in life than trying to please others expectations.

Not functioning well in an academic environment doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with you, or that you’re stupid, it just means that it’s not right for you, and you can find happiness and security in a career that doesn’t require such education. It’s true that you won’t make as much income than if you did have a university education, but if the only place you derive satisfaction from in life is how much money you make, then you will always feel dissatisfied. You’re not going to find joy in life by being complacent or from being able to own a mansion with a fancy car but from how productive and useful you feel and feeling like you’re working to your highest potential. Utilizing our skills and feeling like we’re making a difference, no matter how prestigious the job, is what’s important. A university education is not the only way to feel that, so I want you to consider this very important question: Why do you want to go to university?

Opinion: Peter Rabbit’ hints at our society’s larger allergy ignorance problem

By Alexa Wyszkowski
Layout Editor

Sony has apologized after receiving well-deserved criticism by the food allergy awareness community since February when one of its animated movies premiered mocking allergic individuals.

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Photo Courtesy of: Facebook

The Tale of Peter Rabbit, a story that originated from the famous writer, illustrator, and scientist, Beatrix Potter, was recently turned into the “children’s” movie Peter Rabbit released Friday, Feb. 9, and on the same day, there were already complaints.

In the movie, there are two scenes involving food allergies; the first is where the lead character Peter Rabbit, played by James Corden, is mocking the other main character Mr. McGregor, played by Domhnall Gleeson, about his allergy to blackberries, saying that allergies are made up for attention. The second is where Peter and his family are intentionally throwing Mr. McGregor’s food allergens at him, aiming for his mouth to kill him. The organization Kids with Food Allergies, a division of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, posted immediately on their website and Facebook page about how the movie makes light of food allergies, emphasizing food allergy bullying, saying that the movie does not show the serious danger of allergic reactions. Another organization, Food Allergy Research and Education posted a parental advisement statement stating that the scene where the character is targeted with his allergens in the movie may be upsetting for children to watch.

When Mr. McGregor experiences a reaction, in this twisted version of a classic storybook tale, Peter and his family want Mr. McGregor’s garden themselves, and believed their only way to get the garden is to kill off Mr. McGregor. At the same time, Mr. McGregor wants to get rid of the rabbits and threatens to kill and eat them. As they battle back and forth, the scenes become more violent but somehow still seem to have a comical feel to them until Sony Pictures simply goes too far. When Peter and his family start to pelt Mr. McGregor with blackberries, one of the rabbits states it’s a “clever idea” and they encourage each other to aim for his mouth. Once they get a blackberry into his mouth he then has an allergic reaction. As a result, Mr. McGregor’s throat starts to close up, he kneels to the ground, and then pulls out an Epi-Pen and stabs himself in the front of r his upper leg. Then he gets up several seconds later, acting perfectly fine, where in reality he should have been taken to the hospital for further treatment.

According to Food Allergy Research and Education, food allergies are a life-threatening medical condition that affect about 15 million Americans. One out of 13 children have a food allergy. Any person can develop one at any point in their lifetime. Food allergies are caused within the immune system, instead of protecting the body from harmful bacteria and viruses the immune system overreacts to a food protein. Every time the body is exposed to the food protein, an allergic reaction occurs which can range from mild, to severe, to life threatening. An allergic reaction that is life-threatening is called Anaphylaxis, which can include symptoms such as difficulty breathing and reduced blood pressure. A person experiencing Anaphylaxis must be given Epinephrine, which is used to help reverse the symptoms.  Once administered, that person must taken to a hospital immediately for additional medical assistance. A delay of just 30 minutes could result in death. To prevent any type of allergic reaction, people with food allergies should avoid their allergens and carry Epinephrine, which is commonly known and sold as an Epipen.

Children and adults that live with food allergies may often have anxiety about having an allergic reaction, and many times are left out of common activities due to fear and misunderstanding by those around them. By having Peter target and attack Mr. McGregor with his food allergens in this movie, children may now be even more scared that others may use their food allergy against them. During Mr. McGregor’s reaction, he stabs himself in the wrong place for the Epipen to work properly; it must be administered in the middle of the outer thigh and held for ten seconds. Since Mr. McGregor seemed fine after his allergic reaction, the seriousness of the situation is not explained, and others may not realize that by exposing someone’s allergen to them, they could potentially kill them.

Harshly, this type of harassment is not exclusive to fictional movies. According to the Washington Post, three girls in Pennsylvania planned an attack during school on another girl allergic to pineapple. The girls knew about her allergy, put pineapple juice on their hands and then high fived the girl who was allergic during the lunch period. The girl had a reaction and had to go to the hospital for treatment. The three girls who took part in this attack are facing criminal charges since not only were they bullies, but they physically harmed the girl and could have even killed her. The kind of cruelty in the movie mirrors that of instances like this, and when marketed toward children, it can create misunderstanding of an important issue to an impressionable audience.

In an earlier scene, Mr. McGregor mentions his allergy to another character when he is offered a drink with blackberries in it. Peter responds to Mr. McGregor’s comment as if having food allergies is just an excuse or made up for attention, when really it is a serious, life threatening condition. When Peter later uses this information against Mr. McGregor, the end result is extremely vicious and very similar to the case with the girl allergic to pineapple. Those with food allergies should be able to feel safe about sharing their condition, so in case of an allergic reaction, others will have the knowledge to help them, not hurt them.

Sony Pictures released an apology on Monday, Feb. 12 saying, “Food allergies are a serious issue. Our film should not have made light of ‘Peter Rabbit’s’ arch nemesis, Mr. McGregor, being allergic to blackberries, even in a cartoonish, slapstick way. We sincerely regret not being more aware and sensitive to this issue, and we truly apologize.” The next day, Food Allergy Research and Education released another statement saying, “We are appreciative that Sony Pictures issued an apology for the ‘Peter Rabbit’ scene. But we call on all filmmakers and screenwriters to work with food allergy advocates to treat food allergies responsibly, realistically and sensitively in entertainment media.” As a result of the movie, the members of the food allergy community sincerely hope that people learn and understand that food allergies should be taken seriously and not be used as a way to purposefully harm someone.

Opinion: Don’t let your desire for productivity prevent you from self-care

By Elena Hooper
Opinion Editor

As college students, I’m sure we’re no strangers to experiencing stress and anxiety. With the multitude of responsibilities that many of us take on like school, a job, family matters, and social relationships, we’re often left feeling burnt out, on edge, and like we have absolutely no time for ourselves. And sometimes, we can get a high from being so busy since we feel like we’re being productive all the time. It can give us a sense of purpose and make us feel like we’re striving for our goals, giving us a better future.

Often, this idea comes from the culture that surrounds us, and it’s no secret that the U.S. has a very strenuous work ethic. We get caught up in this idea from a young age that any idle moment is time wasted, and time wasted wastes out potential and can ultimately make us failures. This then causes us to want to spend every free moment doing something that we deem as “productive” so that we may fit this work ethic mold to make ourselves feel good and to receive praise from our peers, friends, and family. But at what cost?

According to a 2015 study by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 85 percent of college students report feeling overwhelmed by their responsibilities within the past year. On its website, the ADAA says, “College students can easily feel anxious trying to balance school, work, friends and family while also trying to figure out the rest of their lives. Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health problems on college campuses.”

You see, when we subscribe to this very strenuous work ethic, we are also subscribing to the idea that time to ourselves is time wasted. We often feel that we need to jump on every opportunity to do something, anything, as long as it feels “productive.” This can be a very harmful idea to embrace as this suggests that time to ourselves is not productive. But to think even deeper about the concept of being “productive,” the work ethic would suggest that we need to be productive as much as possible at all times and to forgo relaxation in favor of production since relaxation is seen as having no real “production” value.

The issue with this is that there’s a heavy emphasis on production and very little emphasis on comfort. Often, we are expected to be as productive as possible while needing as little comfort as possible, but trying to circumvent comfort to go straight to production ends up leaving a lot of people feeling like they’ve failed. You see, if you’re not comforted first, then being productive is out of the question. Trying to push yourself to be creative, imaginative, engineering, or visionary is not going to happen without a stable support system of people and activities you feel safe and secure in. You need to feel safe and content before you can do anything great, and trying to forgo this comfort in favor of productivity will more likely than not leave you miserable and drained. Comfort has to be the foundation on which we stand to give us support and understanding, two things which very few people can achieve much without.

Desiring time to ourselves can feel shameful for us since the culture we live in dictates that we must want to seize every opportunity we can to be out doing something, making something of ourselves. But what if we’re just too tired? What if we need some peace and quiet? What if we’re just naturally introverted? All of these things are often unacceptable to the people around us, and at the very least, not understood. We are often told that we just need to “do something,” and we’ll feel better, or we’re just not pushing ourselves hard enough, or we’re just being too sensitive. All of these ideas discredit the very real turmoil many people feel from anxiety and stress caused by this cultural norm. Not taking these feelings seriously can leave many people feeling isolated.

So how can this issue be solved? For one thing,  people should open to the idea of unapologetic self care and start to realize that having time to yourself and treating yourself with care and sensitivity is okay and that self care is a vital part of having stable mental health. For those still struggling to be open and honest about their need for self care and maybe need some help figuring out where to start; beginning with what self care habits work for you is a good place. Some examples of self care include taking baths, listening to music, going for walks, journaling, collaging, and having one-on-one time with a close friend (not a large group of friends).

Not all of these will work for everyone; the key is finding what works for you and that could be anything you like. Also, learn to be firmer with your boundaries; if you know you’ve already reached your maximum capacity for work and socializing for that day or week, don’t be afraid to say no to things or people that try to overreach that boundary. If at that moment you know all that you need is time to yourself, take assurance in the fact that there will always be a next time and that those in your life that truly understand your situation will stick around. But if at any time you feel that your anxiety and stress is too much to handle is making you feel out of control or is significantly affecting your life in any way, please make sure to seek professional help if you can. You don’t have to go through something that difficult alone.

Learning to accept that we all have thresholds for stress and listening to our bodies and minds when we’ve reached those thresholds is crucial for our mental health. Saying no to things when we know we’ve reached our limit is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of a healthy and balanced mind. Knowing how to take care of ourselves and allowing time for that can lead us to living more productive and stable lives. We can educate ourselves on the subject and learn to become better advocates for ourselves and other people who need it. We can’t be productive members of society without first being comforted members of society.

Seven fun, creative ways to spend Valentine’s Day

By Michelle Mardis
Contributor

Valentine’s Day is about celebrating your loved ones. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a significant other on Valentine’s Day to have fun. Here are some ways that you can have fun while single or in a relationship on Valentine’s Day.

  1. The Five Dollar Date
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Photo courtesy of Facebook

Take your friends to the dollar store. Everyone gets to pick out five things, and when you’re done, you make a date out of it! This can be a fun time to create memories with your friends without having to overthink about impressing someone. A piece of your personality will show with this fun idea for you and your friends.

If you are in a relationship, take this time to get to know the other person. Trust me, you can learn a lot of things about a person based on what they choose. It may seem surprising, but it’s a fun and quirky way to get to know a person.

2.The Build-A-Bear Date

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Photo courtesy of Facebook

Make a bear with your friends! You can even personalize it by adding a voice, heartbeat and/or a scent. You and your friends will feel like you are reliving childhood with your new furry friend! There are so many options to choose from, and this will make lasting memories.

In a relationship and want a personalized date? Look no further; this date idea will allow you to get to know how well your personalities match. Are you looking for someone who wants to do quirky dates with you or someone more serious? This date will show what side your significant other is on.

3.The Typical Dinner and a Movie Date

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Photo courtesy of Facebook

Have you and your friends been dying to see that new movie that just came out? Make it a group outing with a nice dinner on the side. There is no harm in going to dinner and a movie with some good friends.

In a relationship? I highly recommend avoiding this date as a first one. Half of the date will lack getting to know one another since you will be sitting in a quiet theater. Maybe use this as a second or third date if things went well on the first.

4..The Roller Skating Date

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Photo courtesy of Facebook

You and your friends will laugh together when one of you falls (which is bound to happen). This is a fun way to create memories with your friends that will last a lifetime. It’s not only inexpensive but fun as well. Most places give you two hours of open skate per session.

Get to know your significant other by watching each other fail to skate or skate to impress. You will be able to really get to know each other through skating. This is a chance to be vulnerable around your significant other. By trying something new, you are showing an adventurous side.

5. The Bowling Date

Are you the competitive type? If so, this is the time for you to shine. Having your friends join you for some competitive fun can be both exhausting and a great time. Create funny names on the computer that will show your score and just lay back and have fun.

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Photo courtesy of Facebook

In a relationship and looking for something both active and fun to do? Bowling is one of the best dates for those active couples. It’s a nice time to talk and spend time together without many distractions. Many bowling places also have laser tag so you would be getting a two in one date.

6. The Disney/Brand Themed Date

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Photo courtesy of Facebook

You can replace Disney with anything you’d like. This is kind of like the dollar store date except you will have a specific theme to it. Go to Party City and have all of your friends pitch in for a few things related to your theme and throw a party. Have each person in your friend group invite one to two people and enjoy Valentine’s Day with friends.

As for a date, find something that you are both passionate about and create a night out of it. Head over to party city and pick out some themed items, such as a Disney tablecloth, and make a sweet date out of it. For example, you could use the Disney tablecloth to set up a romantic dinner or decorate your room. There are so many possibilities for this date.

7. The Stay-at-Home Date

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Photo courtesy of Facebook

Invite your friends over and enjoy a night of movies, popcorn, and fun. You can play games just like you did when you were younger. It is a great way to reconnect with old friends.

Do you not have a lot of money to go out? If this is the case, stay in and cuddle up with your loved one. You can enjoy a candle-lit dinner or even watch a movie together.

Valentine’s Day is about appreciating the loved ones in your life. We can turn Valentine’s Day into a day to remember by picking the right people to spend it with. That right person does not have to be a significant other. I hope everyone has a happy and fun Valentine’s Day!

SATIRE: Academic advisors admit some students should just give up

By John Dumm
Satire Editor

Dean Patrick Starr, as part of a schedule of miscellaneous do-goodery, hosted a Spring Semester Advisory Event in the County College of Morris student lounge Wednesday, Jan. 10, looking to grant guidance and approval for the course selections of late registrants for the semester and ensure the smooth re-integration of the entire student body into academic life as per normal.

In a brutal, if not surprising, turn of events, the event failed miserably, opening with Starr attempting to demonstrate course-curation on a sample WebAdvisor account, leading to mass panic and depression within the conference room as he found that literally every course offered by CCM had already been filled.

In the wake of this event, advisory staff were consulted to compile a more thorough and well-researched plan for dodging the potential embarrassment and anomie associated with a skipped semester

Advisor Apera Osunniyi (Art Futurology) recommends students take advantage of this period of relatively light obligations and clear scheduling by taking a step back, re-evaluating the stressors in their lives, and seeking more fulfilling ways to occupy themselves, such as auditing literally every class that sounds remotely interesting, usually by pretending to be the delinquent guy who never shows up and spends every class asleep. Advisor Eric Manny (Applied Eschatology) suggests an advanced technique, similar to the above; students unable to enroll in classes at CCM itself should take advantage of our generous degree transferability programs, usually intended to be enacted after you complete your two-year CCM tenure, yes, but with sufficient abuse of either special pleading, nepotism, or the advanced (and recurring) CompSci technique of “Reverse Buellering” yourself into class registries, you can complete your degree at Rutgers University and take it with you when you go to Rutgers earlier that year, shaving up to six months off your Ph. D run and breaking the event flag for graduation, letting you collect infinite associate’s degrees in your starting field. Exploit only works for degrees that lead to doctorates in Theoretical Physics.

For freshmen and other young students who cannot speedrun their degrees at Rutgers et al., Manny recommends attempting to re-integrate in your old high school, leveraging your Legitimate College Experience to get placements in AP classes and “educationally slingshot” into a scholarship qualification, or another college entirely, such as Rutgers, the only school that hasn’t patched Sloppy Bureaucratic Time Travel.

Advisor Anderson Graham (Militarized Psychiatry) takes a more traditional approach to unofficial collegiate education: apprenticing yourself to a native denizen of the Game Room, learning their trade directly (Graham recommends a Guilty Gear player) and either offering to help them take notes and study in class, rummaging through their notebook when they’re in the bathroom, or devoting your entire being to video games and winning their brain and/or soul from them in a Shadow Duel. Graham recommends you not think too hard about the existential fate of the Gameroomer banished to a timeless umbral prison realm in this process. The Philosophy department has published reams of workable arguments that game room residents are not technically real people, and cannot feel pain.

Advisor Aidan Fitzgerald (High-Energy Industrial Sociology) has come forth as promoting perhaps the most practical and responsible response thus far, and has offered to elaborate personally.

“It is of course absolutely, literally vital to the CCM community that you stay enrolled in at least some classes so you at least have an illusion of … productivity,” said Fitzgerald, insisting to Youngtown reporters that they deliberately emphasize the pause with ellipses. “Just about everyone on campus is a valued member of the community who contributes to overall campus thrival both academically and socially, no matter how much they may believe otherwise about themselves. However, certain factions on campus: campus security, the theatre department, the LGBT Ministry, the shadow government supposedly run by the Student Government Association but in actuality engineered entirely by SEGO, have compiled criteria for named exceptions to the above statement. Absolute annoyances with no real academic future and a known track record of student and staff harassment et cetera, that nonetheless managed to clog up the class system anyway!”

Fitzgerald proceeded to insist we make editorial note of his pushing his glasses up and steepling his fingers before he proceeded.

“If someone were to find a way to remove these elements, they could detoxify the school’s social pool and bump the waitlists on mostly engineering courses in one fell swoop,” Fitzgerald said. “And, of course, if you happen to be on the waitlists at the time.”

At the Youngtown editing team’s behest, he added a disclaimer against the reprehensible act of actually harming fellow students for personal gain.

“Now, of course, the consequences for actually committing murder are catastrophic, Fitzgerald said. “However, all is not lost. SEGO has connections to the Game Room, and the Game Room itself is inhabited by people more like the Predator than actual people, per se. They’ll aid your righteous quest for character slots in exchange for literal sandwiches, and have dedicated so much of their memory to the muscular pretzelling required by old-school fighting games that they are mentally incapable of ratting you out!”

Strive toward your own college goals, not someone else’s

By Elena Hooper

Opinion Editor

As we college students feel that they are caught in a whirlwind, unable to find stable ground, we rush through our lives day in and day out, hoping to achieve some nebulous end goal, propelled forward by this sense of urgency to race to the finish line of college when many of us don’t really even know what we’d do with the prize. This is a largely unaddressed problem that affects us more than we’d like to admit. It’s through no fault of our own though as we may feel pressure from outside entities such as our high school teachers, our friends, or maybe even our own parents to follow the cookie cutter model of getting a secondary education. We put such high expectations on ourselves and push ourselves to achieve this goal that we sometimes run ourselves into the ground, taking our eyes off the real prize that college has to offer to us.

When we think of the ideal college education, we normally think of the four-year run, whether we start out in community college or not. We may also consider years of post-graduate education, but that’s not always in the cards for everyone’s career paths. But what is it about that four year plan that has us so transfixed? Why do we break our backs trying to fit this arbitrary expectation when we’re not even sure of what we’d like to do with this achievement when we reach the end? When we’re so focused to doing “what everyone else is doing,” we often forget about the real purpose of college and what it can actually offered to us.

Rushing through college just to meet a non-existent deadline stifles our potential to really learn, grow, and become intelligent, critically thinking adults. High school definitely doesn’t teach us these important skills; college is the opportune time to hone and perfect them, but even with this gracious opportunity, we can sometimes squander our potential as we only see the finish line, not what it takes to get there. We just want results and have very little interest in the process of learning and getting good at something, which is arguably the most important part. The aim of college is to get you out of that mode of static thinking and into fluid thinking, which allows for much more growth and learning potential, and how can you possibly do that if all you want to know is the answer to a question so you can pass the test, even if you don’t understand it at all?

If I haven’t completely sold you the idea that learning is important, let me put it this way. If you want to have successful, happy life, you’re not going to achieve that if you’re close-minded. And I don’t mean close-minded in the liberal against conservative sense. What I mean is someone who has no curiosity, no self-starting attitude, no initiative. A person without these traits is someone who follows, who does what they’re told, and doesn’t ask questions. While you may be comfortable living like this, it is very unlikely that you’ll truly be satisfied or have many opportunities to move up in the world. And if you want to be truly satisfied, start paying attention now while you’re still in college because this is the best opportunity for development of these traits that you will ever have.

Now is the time to be expanding your mind, indulge in your curiosities, and ask any and every question. If you want to have a truly happy and satisfied life, consider taking the road less traveled. Many more doors are open to those who open themselves to more possibilities. Many more opportunities present themselves to people who seek them. And what’s the rush anyway? It’s very common now for young adults to struggle with their direction in life. Why would you want to run a race if you don’t even know why you’re running?