Opinions

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?

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Through ending DACA, Trump wants to deport me from the only country I have ever known

By Erika Calle
Contributor

“Trump expected to announce end to Obama’s DACA program: The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an American immigration policy that allowed some individuals who entered the country without their consent as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation which would allow these kids to be eligible for work permits, driver’s licenses, and to continue their educations to have careers. It may all coming to an end. What is next for the Dreamers?”

As I heard the reporter announce this, my heart dropped from shock. I myself am a Dreamer, and hearing this unexpected news, I started to wonder to myself, “What’s next? What am I going to do now? Is there anything I could do at all?”

In fact, there is. I have to be patient to make the right choices so that I won’t be so affected by this decision. My parents brought me to this country when I was six years old for a chance to have a better life than they had.  Now, all of a sudden at age 18, the only chance of me having a better life seems to be coming to an end.

Coming to the United States has given me nothing but positive outcomes. It has definitely changed my life for the better; in the U.S., DACA has only expanded the opportunities I had. Education, for one, is way more advanced. It gave me the opportunity to learn day-to-day knowledge, not only book-related but real-life scenarios. The job opportunity in this country is almost infinite; I can find just about any job that would help me gain a better work ethic.

Also, I have learned how to be more reliable within the work environment. The opportunity to stay in the U.S. has opened many doors, not only for myself, but for my family as well. It is rough living in a country where certain individuals don’t want immigrants to succeed in life. One would think they should be able to relate—having parents or being parents themselves, they should know that parents only want the best for their kids, as did my parents, who brought me to this country only wanting the best for me.

Education in the U.S. can’t be compared to that of my homeland, Ecuador. What is being taught in schools is much more advanced and reliable. Not that education in Ecuador or any other country isn’t reliable, but in the U.S., it is definitely backed up with more evidence, and the information is more credible. I was given the opportunity to start from the beginning; in first grade, I was able to learn English very well. This is an opportunity that many immigrants do not have. Being bilingual in the U.S. is a great advantage that I have; it definitely opens many more doors for me, compared with those who only know one language.

In addition, I learned the history of the U.S. and that “E Pluribus Unum” was established as the country’s official motto. It is Latin for “Out of many, one.” Initially, the term referred to the separate states forming into one Union, but it has expanded to signify many and various nationalities each bringing their strengths and customs and uniting into one culture to, let’s say, “make America great.” Immigration isn’t anything new to the United States. Whether it was immigration from Ireland in the 1840s and 1850s, from China in the 1860s and 1870s, or from Eastern Europe at the turn of the century, America has been and will continue to be a country of immigrants. It is the immigrants who have come to make America, have helped America prosper into what it is today, and can help it realize what it can become. It is the education that these immigrants have received and continue to receive that has made them the people who help America succeed as a whole. Education is a gift we immigrants receive, hoping to be able to use it in life for whatever career we choose to pursue. I myself will do my best to use it responsibly, such as many past immigrants did before me.

When my parents used to tell me, “You can become anything you want; work hard and believe in yourself,” I used to laugh it off and tell myself they were saying it so that I would do well in school and get a good job that paid well so that I could help them out. As I got older, I realized they weren’t just saying it; they actually meant it. After my education, having the opportunity to have a great job that I enjoy and that pays well is astounding. Once I turned 16 and I could work, I immediately applied to many jobs, not caring what the positions were. I wanted to make money for myself so that I did not have to keep asking my parents. I knew I didn’t want to receive something I had not earned. I have had three jobs ever since; most of the time, I work two at once. It is a lot managing two jobs and school at the same time, but it is a sacrifice I have to make to help out at home with bills and also, of course, to start becoming more independent myself. It is not only at school where I learn valuable lessons but also at my workplace. As I learn more life lessons and skills, they help out on a day-to-day basis. I learned how to manage my money more efficiently and how to treat other people, whether they are bosses, employees, or co-workers. I have also learned to act professionally and to never let any situation bring me down because, at the end of the day, I will get through it, and tomorrow is another day to become more successful if I work hard and put my mind to it.

Many kids who came or were brought here by their parents at a young age can relate when I say, “We don’t know any other life than the one we have in this country.” It is not our fault that our parents brought us into this country wanting us to have a better education and to become important in life. I was always told by my parents to be the better version of myself. I never quite understood it until I was about 10 years old. I realized it meant to always push myself to be better. Nothing in life is too hard. I have to believe in myself to get where I want to be, and I can achieve any goal I have in mind. I was given the opportunity to have and create a life in this country by my parents, and DACA helped by opening many doors for me and many other immigrants. Before DACA, I was just a dreamer, but when the law passed, I could actually act on my dreams and make them come true. Now it all may come to an end as Trump attempts to end DACA. However, that will not stop me or others in my situation to create better futures. Every day is a new day, and we will continue to fight to have equal opportunities because we are all the same, in the same country, trying to become the better versions of ourselves.

Five class registration tips from a CCM graduate

By Gina N. Fico
Staff Writer

It is that time already: registration for the spring 2018 semester. Registration can be a stressful time for many students for various reasons. Anticipation for graduation and work conflicts are leading concerns for students while selecting classes. The five following tips will help students to have a more fulfilling experience at County College of Morris.

  1. Choose how many days a week works best for you.

I cannot explain enough how going to CCM less than five days a week has benefited my college experience. Some students work better by getting all their classes done by only coming to campus two or three times a week. It makes going to school seem less mundane and provides them with more time to catch up with their studies and/or work. However, other students may find these long days tiring and may benefit from spreading their classes throughout the week. Whatever works for you, pursue it. It will really help with your outlook on school.

  1. Keep in mind certain courses are available only in certain semesters.

I graduated as a journalism student in spring after starting in fall 2014, and now, I am back for a media technology certificate. There were two classes in the journalism program that I remember having to take in certain semesters. Advanced journalism only ran in the fall, and editing and publication design only ran in the spring. It is important to be aware of this especially for students who have plans for gradation for a certain date. Make sure to keep in contact with your advisor about this this issue.

  1. Don’t wait too long.

I understand this one is very cliche, and you will hear it over and over again. But you can’t have a list of class registration tips without it. You wouldn’t believe how quickly classes, especially high demand classes like the remedial writing skills class, fill up. Get to signing up for classes as quickly as you can, and always keep in mind there is a deadline. Understand what this deadline means to avoid an extra charge or worst being denied to sign up for classes for the semester.

  1. Build strong relations with your advisor

Advisors are available to provide students with answers for selecting the right classes for the upcoming semester. Don’t fall in into the habit of just getting cleared by your advisor. Ask questions, and find out what classes will benefit you the most academically and eventually, professionally, and keep up to date on understanding transfer plans. It is also important to have good communication skills with your advisor about any stress or concerns you have about upcoming classes you are required to take.

  1. Don’t race your degree completion

It is always rewarding to quickly move on to the next planned chapters of life. However, do not stress yourself about finishing your degree in a certain amount of time. Remember to always to keep in mind the quality over quantity rule with education. If you cannot handle a heavy course load for any reason, limit yourself to how many classes you plan on taking. Don’t feel pressured to keep up with your classmates or friends to finish a degree.

I hope these five tips will ease the experience of registration. It can be difficult and frustrating at times, but these five aspects have helped me select the right classes and get the most out of my education at CCM. I wish all CCM student the best for the spring 2018 semester.

Halfway through fall semester, cafe changes still cause unnecessary issues

By Brian Schnell
Features Editor

Two months have passed since County College of Morris drastically altered its cafeteria selections for higher prices and less variety, and many students have taken notice.

In late August, CCM replaced hot food selections in the Student Center and Quiznos in the Cohen Cafe with vending machines and a Chartwells monopoly.

Some students have said that the machines, namely the DigiTouch digital screen machines are dispensing the wrong items. Several of the machines have been reported to just take money and give nothing in return, just like that annoying ex we all have.

Mike Prestano, a music recording major at CCM, said that he had money refunded by the bookstore a few times when the DigiTouch machine incorrectly charged him. He said that a machine had accepted his payment and dispensed no food.

“It authorized my payment, and nothing happened, so that was pretty shitty,” Prestano said.

“I’d rather have the cafe back,” said graphic design major Julio Martinez III. “The pizza, mac n’ cheese, and pasta were better.”

Many students wish for the old cafe to be returned as the new vending machines seem to be a total bust.

“A myriad of problems,” said liberal arts major Zachary Pryer.

Vice President of Business and Finance Karen VanDerhoof did not respond to a request for comment.

It seems that despite the optimistic change in Cohen Cafe’s food selection options, there is no real hope in recapturing the sales of the previous semesters from the students. There is much agreement between students that as time goes on, the demand for the food in the cafe is lessening. The current demand seems to be too high for the cafe to handle even. Often, this results in a nasty bottleneck in the cafe as people wait for their food to be made during peak times, but during non peak times one can see lukewarm burgers, cold onion rings, and tater tots with a questionable taste.

The most outrage appears to be coming from students who become aware that the chicken tenders were removed from the cafe yet still are unable to believe that there is still a slowdown in the ability to consistently pump out good edible food.

“I’m disappointed; the chicken tenders were kind of a snack to eat since the burgers are too much and just eating fries sucks,” said Igor Ramos, a  business administration major.

The Cohen Cafe appears to be slowly removing options in an effort to keep up with the demand, yet by doing so the demand is driven down even further. Many students have expressed concern over this. The soups appear to be slowly vanishing into thin air as well as some sandwich options being removed, almost in favor of the expensive build-your-own system for salads. All of this without a notice or explanation. This drives many students towards the burgers, which in themselves cause a back up in preparation, causing a bigger bottleneck than multiple closed lanes on a highway.

The process of ordering food in the cafe could also use for a streamlining update. The cafe is always out of some sort of asian sauce or part of a secret formula, and students do not find this out until it’s too late and they are hassled by cafe staff to quickly change their order. This a major problem as a cafe should not be consistently running out of food multiple times each day, causing a back up and a lapse in the management of the crowds and overall demand.

Add in that there is barely one register open for students to pay for their food also shows that the cafe cannot keep up with the demand. Even when there is a massive line, the second register is usually not utilized. It seems as though the second register is more of a display item than a functioning cash register. Due to the huge crowd and backlog of people pooling in hopes of checking out and paying within that day, many students just walk through between the cash registers without paying for the food.

When the cafe is unable to handle the demand caused by the students, the students will go else where for food, which in turn will decrease the demand and lead to more and more problems. When this is added to the fact that affordable, better tasting, less sketchy. And better prepared food is available within walking distance, let alone a short drive, it’s the final backlogged, poorly prepared, lukewarm, disgusting nail in the cafe’s metaphorical coffin.

Keep hallows in All Hallow’s Eve

Why Halloween should still matter in the age of reason

By Elena Hopper

Opinion Editor

While the merry times of Pagan fire festivals have come and gone, remnants of their spirits remain in modern holidays and celebrations. Since it’s commonplace to celebrate Easter, Christmas, and Halloween, it’s not often that we stop to think about where these holidays have their origins. Some of us may not understand why we bother celebrating these holidays to begin with and would rather spend our time doing seemingly more important things. It’s true that the roots of these holidays have been washed out and largely forgotten, so it’s not that surprising that some people grumble when they are expected to shell out money for gifts for a holiday that seems completely arbitrary to them. But when you delve into the history, we can see that ancient people celebrated these days for very different reasons.

Since this isn’t a history textbook, I’ll spare you the dry and boring details of Pagan holidays and instead focus on what comprises my main point. I also want to focus on just one Pagan holiday for the sake of simplicity and what better one to talk about than the one that’s in our midst. Many of us know Halloween as that special time of year to dress up in cheap, itchy costumes and guzzle copious amount of candy and alcohol. While most people have a good time together despite the itchy costumes and drunken slobber, we don’t often think about why we’re doing any of this in the first place. This leads people to eventual disinterest in the holiday as the annual motions of the celebration can become repetitive and seem meaningless. But when you look back into this holiday’s misty past, a much richer story unfolds.

Samhain (pronounced “sow-en”) or better known today as Halloween, is an ancient celebration that predates the spread of Christianity in the Middle Ages, before anyone in these Celtic Pagan communities were literate. Since there are very few written documents about Paganism existing before Christian missionaries documented their observations of these communities, many of these Celtic Pagan communities’ organic history has been lost to due to the lack of documentation that comes with illiteracy. Learning the ways in which these societies conducted themselves was almost strictly through oral tradition.

Now, you may be wondering why I’m giving you this information since I did say this wouldn’t be a history lesson. Well, I wanted to give some context to life these people living. It was life of mystery and magic; many things were unknown to them, and they lived in a world of superstition and mysticism. That’s what these festivals were born out of, the desire to celebrate and venerate the spirits that were believed to walk the earth again on Samhain night. Bonfires were burned, feasts were served, and communities made happy memories together. The harvest season was in full bloom and abundance was celebrated to the fullest extent. But that excited air of magic and wonder that these festivals carried has been largely diluted by the dawn of modern science. Since science has disproven or largely discredited these supernatural beliefs, it’s no wonder that people are becoming more and more disinterested in celebrating such a holiday.

We need these holidays in modern life, despite their magic being largely diminished. Even in the skeptical age, the superstition  and mysticism of this holiday can still be experienced and that the importance of experiencing these things is still relevant. Modern science has taken the fun out of a lot of things, even though we are much more knowledgeable about the world, which is also quite important, so we should strive to put the magic back in a holiday like Halloween. It was a time about celebrating life with family and friends and the life of those who have passed on. It was a time to feast and rejoice, to dance wildly around the fire and to make lasting memories with loved ones.

While we know now that there are no vampires prowling the woods or ghosts wandering the graveyard, it’s still fun to experience those fictitious specters in a modern way and, to understand what they mean, and celebrate them in our own way. I don’t think we should let the stark reveal of modern science stop us from reveling in the mystery of an ancient past. So instead of sitting on the couch on Halloween night, shoveling candy into your mouth, maybe make dinner for your family, go to a graveyard, light some candles, and maybe meditate on the idea that we might not know everything there is to know, that maybe looking to the past is just as important as looking to the future, that maybe it’s alright that you get a little spooked when you walk by that patch of dark woods on a moonlit night. You might actually enjoy it.

CCM’s revamped website brings mobility, easier navigation

By Tyler Barth

Contributor

A month has passed since County College of Morris’ website was revamped; replacing the previous site, which was launched in May 2009, the new site is, from the get-go, much easier to access on mobile.

The prior site was created during a time when mobile devices were generally unable or simply were not used to access major sites, and as such, did not resize properly. Additionally, the prior site was very slow on mobile devices, and it crashed frequently.

The revamped site fixes the load times and resizing issues on account of actually having a mobile version instead of simply being the browser version on a mobile device, and it sure shows. Colorful and bright, CCM’s revamped website is easy to navigate for all incoming freshmen or transfers with clear links and charts. The link for online application, for example, is now a large button instead of a standard hotlink.

Looking around the site a little further, the site has also been much more spread out. The folded list containing the course catalog, disability services, the library, and such other subcategories has been removed and replaced with a sidebar that shows all of the available subcategories at once. Even the search bar is easier to find, being all across the top instead of just in a small corner.

While the revamped site seems to have definitely been built with mobile in mind, the site does function very well on desktop. The mobile site and the desktop site actually look identical, but according to computer science and game development major Jeremy McArthur, who helped work on the revamped site, they were both built separately.

“We used a lot of the same pages and information,” McArthur said. “But everything has to be transferred over and revised and recoded.”

As stated in the prior issue, work on the revamped website commenced in the summer of 2016 and took about a year, with the website being launched Monday, Sept. 25.

After a survey by Youngtown, it appears students agree to an extent. 30 students in the student lounge, Cohen Cafe, study room at Sheffield Hall, and Student Community Center cafeteria were asked what they thought of the site; six said it was a “major improvement” over the old site; eight said it was an “improvement;” 14 said it was “about the same,” and two said it was “worse.” One common praise was the aesthetics, and one common criticism was that the site was “confusing.”

This all said, there are some possible alterations to be made. The icons for student email, Blackboard, and WebAdvisor, though they are now toward the middle of the page instead of the bottom, are still quite small, and location of the sidebar under which the subcategories are listed is not immediately obvious. Yet all in all, the revamped CCM website is an excellent modernization to what is slowly becoming a very modern college.

Again, anyone who is still confused about the revamped site and its features has been asked to contact the Technology Help Desk, which will send them a brief tutorial video on what the site has to offer.

SATIRE: Students annex abandoned A&P

Uprising over new vending machines led to destruction of Student Center

By John Dumm
Contributor

The Student Community Center cafeteria has been named a demilitarized zone by the department of public safety because almost no human has stepped foot in there since the fall semester began. The only known human activity occurred when approximately 40 students have been estimated to have taken part in a spontaneous act of vandalism Wednesday, August 30 upon discovery of vending machines completely replacing hot meal options there, according to a public safety report.

As of July 2017, the Student Community Center cafeteria has been closed down for renovations, with no word from either staff or summer students on plans for the renovation inspiring rioting and spiking depression diagnosis rates as of August 30, as renovation seems to have ceased with the cafeteria in a completely inoperable, presumably condemned state.

“The place is completely dead, nothing but chairs anymore,” reports psychology student, CCM culinary economist, and noted chair enthusiast Matthew Bristol. “They walled up the debris from the last good eatery on campus, slapped down about seven vending machines, didn’t even bother filling them all — really, it’s an impressively, extravagantly, horrible remodel. It took genuine effort to disrespect the memory of the A-Caf this badly.”

A postmortem survey of the accessibility, affordability, and public knowledge of alternative restaurants reveals dire news and solid cause for the student exodus that has been rounding the rumor mills since the fall student influx.

“It’s like the architects got confused and figured the game room was a ritual-crafted portal to the Ledgewood Mall,” Bristol said. “The Cohen Cafe rework was by all reports a success, clean aesthetic, same friendly staff, new burgers, but the new burgers are the only viable option, and they cost eight bucks a pop- that’s just under eight individual dollar menu items at the Ledgewood chain restaurants, and about the price of a full meal at most of the Ledgewood specialties and the A&P district restaurants. That’s eight burgers per burger, people. If we’re getting gouged that hard, I want the option to order my meat medium rare. Or at the very least with an egg on it, or some other ridiculous, obtuse ingredient.”

Moe Che Sanders, a student who spends most of his time on campus in the video game room, said that he was baffled by what looks like deliberate support of the proto-socialist game room commune that has sprung up since the change.

“They’re even doing promotional discounts for Ledgewood restaurants, which is I suppose a direct subsidy to any students using this as an ersatz lab course in the Economics of Smuggling 101,” said Sanders, who insists that he is a smuggling major despite no such a program existing.

With regards to the A&P district restaurants: China City, Cluck U Chicken, and Scalici’s Pizzeria as of last survey their cheap prices, relatively high-quality food, and convenient location three minutes from Parking Lot One has sparked an almost total shift in the eating habits of all three main demographics of the SCC, Game Room, Pong Room, and Chair Enthusiasts, respectively.

“An actual relocation of the SCC is obviously completely unfeasible,” said frequent Ping Pong Room occupant Lizzy Pierre, toting a complex locational survey helpfully compiled by anonymous business and architecture students as part of an organized complaint to the dean. “Half the value of the place is that it’s an average ten-minute walk from every classroom on campus, and Lot One is already beyond feasible walking distance of the school’s main commuter hub- which is, paradoxically, the current SCC. Nonetheless, the A&P block is so close by car and fulfills so many of the community’s demands- Chinese food, Sportsbar food, Pizza food, there’s a card game shop down the way- next to, I think, a Thai food place and another pizza food- that the SCC regulars have established a kind of forward base there. The A&P itself, is, of course, derelict, which is where this ridiculous relocation idea came from.”

Pierre advises students affected by the teardown to pool their resources with the rest of the SCC community’s attempts to cope, contributing to the bizarre merchant commune formed around people with large cars and open schedules, contacting the musical theater department about their night-bombing and hostage raids on the culinary classrooms behind the primary conference room, or even just joining a support group and going on a diet now that Frosties are expensive again.

COLUMN: President’s Corner

Dr. Anthony Iacono
College President

It’s finally here. Another academic year to grow intellectually, cultivate new experiences, meet new people, and move forward in life. With all of the enthusiasm and encouragement I can muster, I urge you to get involved! After all, it’s your educational experience. This is your year. Make it your best by going above and beyond each and every day. I challenge you to expand your horizons and get more out of your educational experience by doing 10 simple things. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Ten is a lot. Ten is too much. Ten is not simple. Ten might even seem overwhelming. Continue reading, however, and you will see that 10 is entirely possible.

  1.       Meet your professors. They are extraordinary. Even a brief meeting to introduce yourself personally and to learn more about their work will enhance your CCM experience. I am continuously excited about their scholarly research and practices.  I know you will be too once you learn more about them. Many are highly recognized in their fields for their cutting-edge research, publications, and conference presentations.  They are active participants in the arts, creating breathtaking paintings, sculptures, and pushing the boundaries of photography. They compose original musical selections, including symphonies, and share their talent locally and globally. They are recognized vocalists, actors, dancers, poets, novelists, and playwrights. They are recognized industry leaders in fashion and design and engaged in innovative partnerships with organizations like NASA and the Department of Homeland Security. And, for the direct benefit of students, they are endlessly busy forging productive relationships with businesses, law enforcement agencies, healthcare organizations, and other colleges and universities.
  2.       Make a least one new friend among our staff members. Visit the Office of Campus Life, the Learning Resource Center library, the Tutoring Center, an academic office, Accessibility Services, the Testing Center, or any other office. You will find our staff are eager to help you get the most out of your CCM experience.
  3.       Enjoy a coffee or meal at any of our student eateries. The food is terrific, and the selections are better than ever!  If you’re lucky, you might even meet superstar food services employee Derrick Turner, a CCM alum who is so nice that some of our students and employees have dubbed him “the ambassador of CCM.” Trust me. He has an uncanny ability for improving everyone’s day.
  4.       Go somewhere new. Attend a CCM play, concert, dance recital, art show, sporting event, or any other engagement you have never attended in the past. Attend a Legacy Project lecture, visit the Longo Planetarium, or participate in a campus social activity that is new to you. Remember, it’s all about getting involved and expanding your horizons.
  5.       Do something new. Join a club or an honor society. Consider auditioning for a play or trying out for an athletic team. Long after graduation, you will likely find that these kinds of involvement will benefit you in many wonderful ways. Remember, getting involved allows you to not only expand your horizons but it also helps you build a network. It’s never too early to build a network of support for your CCM years and beyond.
  6.       Talk to me. Stop by my office, grab me on the sidewalk, chat with me at a campus sporting event, or simply say hello at a performing or visual arts show. Join me for lunch in the Cohen Café or chat with me over coffee at Starbucks. Consider attending one of my student focus groups. They are designed for you to share your thoughts and ideas. Follow me on Twitter @CCMProud where I feature all things CCM, including your accomplishments.
  7.       Talk to your classmates, and make new friends. Be the one who reaches out to others and extends an invitation to form a study group, attend a campus event, or create a new club; the Office of Campus Life is highly supportive and encourages your leadership.
  8.       Be the person who accepts the invitation – see #7.  Remember, our campus is a great place for a first meeting.
  9.       Read at least one really good book this fall. If you need a good recommendation, ask a professor, a librarian, someone in Campus Life, or your advisors. Ask me. I love to read.
  10.   Volunteer your time and talent this year. Whether you give one hour a year or an hour a day, helping others is a rewarding and easy way to make the world a little better. If you’re not sure how to get involved as a volunteer just ask someone in Campus Life. Many of our clubs involve volunteerism and getting involved is easier than you might think.

Getting the most out of your educational experience requires focus, adaptability, sacrifice, a willingness to try new things and an openness to new ideas. It takes hard work and dedication. Your best efforts, however, will almost certainly yield rewards that can last a lifetime.  When it comes to being a student, why settle for surviving when you could be thriving! Thank you for choosing CCM. I look forward to working with you!

Truth requires equal scrutiny for all extremes

By Elena Hooper
Opinion Editor

It’s no secret that the culture and society we live in is becoming steadily more progressive by the year. While the election in the past year has disheartened many and has taken us steps many back in terms of progressive government, the majority of progressives in this country still have not abandoned their progressive ideals. In many respects, it’s been for the better. Gay marriage is now legal. The number of educated young people is higher than it’s ever been (with even more women than men pursuing an undergrad). Career paths have been opened to both sexes that they were not able to pursue before, such as a female welder or a male nurse. Equal pay for both sexes, just to name a few. But within the past five years or so, with popular spearheads of the liberal movement like Anita Sarkeesian, Hillary Clinton, and celebrities such as Beyonce and Madonna, liberalism has taken a very self-centered turn and has become much more focused on the insecure needs of individuals who follow the movement and their desire to be accepted regardless of their shortcomings instead of fighting for political justice. Many who are part of the liberal movement have become much more focused on body image and identity, two things that are highly personal and have nothing to do with political progression. And because many who are part of this movement are overly concerned with their personal image and identity issues, it’s now seems to have become everyone else’s problem and is blamed, not on their own views of themselves, but mysterious outside forces whose existence is questionable.

But this progression has reached a point where it’s no longer leading us up a mountain to victory, but driving itself and anyone who associates with it off a steep cliff. I say this because I have a feeling that some who may have read the previous sentence before the last where I made a remark about the equal pay between men and women may have become frustrated, maybe even offended. “But that’s not true!” some may cry. “A woman makes 77 cents to a man’s dollar. Her salary is more than 20 percent lower than a man’s just because of her gender. How can you say we have equal pay?” While many people believe this statistic, it’s been proven many times to be a complete myth along with a few other widely regurgitated “facts”. Many liberals argue that women making 77 percent of men’s incomes on average is evidence of a sexist economy and therefore, a generally sexist western culture. However, this statistic does not take into account variables such as careers and degrees that women are more likely to pursue.

The gender pay gap myth has been debunked by numerous economic studies, a credible one being from the Foundation for Economic Education, and when the data is looked at more closely, it’s evident that there is a different story to be told. What the data actually represents is the median salary of women working full time divided by the median salary of men working full time. These numbers do not take into account occupation, education, or hours worked per week. When you consider these variables, you will find that the “gap” is largely influenced by choice. Women, on average, are more likely to pursue jobs and careers that are not particularly high earning like child care or public education while men are more likely to pursue high earning careers like careers in STEM. Women are also more likely to work part time and be less willing to work overtime when in a full time job. They are also not as likely to take big risks when it comes to career decisions and prefer stability. These are all choices women make about their careers, and even if it may be influenced by social expectations, they have almost nothing to do with the decisions made by employers and companies and certainly has nothing to do with what the liberal collective likes to call the “wretched patriarchy”.

Yes. The patriarchy, that boogeyman in the closet that liberals want everyone to fear so that their ideology will gain favor and thus more power in society. And while there’s nothing wrong with wanting your ideology heard, it’s completely different when you use your ideology as a force to control others with for your own ego stroking and validation. This is the case in many of the situations where such statistics are brought up. They are used to scare women and brainwash them into thinking that they’re more oppressed than they actually are, and those who believe that they are not oppressed to begin with are ostracized and verbally abused, sometimes even physically attacked. For example, popular political YouTuber Lauren Southern was covering a free speech rally and the University of Toronto for her channel. Southern is outspoken against fourth wave feminism and the radical left collective and an avid supporter of free speech. At this rally, she had numerous encounters with people on the radical left who shouted obscenities at her and would refuse to talk when she would question them about the event, until finally a man she was questioning (but I’m pretty sure the fellow went by some other sparkly gender identity) punched her directly in the face. All because she didn’t share the same radical opinion as them, even though Southern is not a conservative in the least. I don’t know about you, but I think type of behavior should at least raise some questions. But apparently, it’s done the opposite in many places in our country, especially on college campuses.

This very vocal group of people have single handedly dominated the conversation on identity politics and social issues on many of our country’s more progressive campuses. With each passing year, campus after campus has submitted to this vitriolic ideology in order to please its growing popularity. It’s taken over many classrooms where civil discourse was meant to educate, but now has many students putting their fingers in their ears not wanting to be offended. It’s even found its way into our own campus, unbeknownst to many of its students.

Have any who may be reading heard of the Women’s Center at CCM? I’m sure many were confused by that question as I was, too. It’s a curious situation, too. There’s been further investigation done by our Editor-in-Chief Brett Friedensohn on another article, and he’s uncovered some interesting information. It turns out that CCM’s Women’s Center is not even technically part of the school. The school allows them to use office space but is state funded and geared towards women in the community, not on the college campus. And even though the claim is that the department is open mostly for women in the outside community, the Women’s Center has its own page on the CCM website and calls itself “The Women’s Center at CCM,” as well as using grants from the state made out to the school, an annual one of approximately $130,000 to be exact. On top of that, the school gives them supplies and free HR support. When questioned about the exact reasoning behind this odd arrangement, Dr. Bette Simmons, vice president of student development and enrollment management, stated that one of the main purposes of having this arrangement is to make draw more people to the college. To make the college appear humanitarian, giving the college a specific image to draw in more revenue. It’s no coincidence that the desire for the college to have this image coincides with our current social and political climate. Many colleges have now adopted this image because they know it’s profitable. The demand for “equity” and ridiculous accommodations for all groups of people (some whose legitimacy is questionable, but that’s a discussion for another day) has many campuses in a death grip, “give us what we want or we’ll make you look bad.” This ideology has the power that it does because it’s become extremely popular, especially among young college-aged people, and while there are fewer people in this collective that will enact physical violence on others, there’s still an alarmingly large number of people who accept this ideology and dismiss the more extreme actions without question.

The behaviors of some of the subgroups within this collective border on a cult mentality, and it’s become incredibly dangerous to the safety of our free speech and our social discourse. “But wait!” they cry again. “Our ideas are trying to improve society. We’re trying to create a safe environment for people of all races, sexualities, and genders to live in. We’re trying to protect the marginalized against those who oppress them, like the alt-right. How can you say that our ideas threaten free speech?” While those efforts are admirable and liberal ideas have improved society in the past, thought policing is still thought policing. Censorship is still censorship. Propaganda is still propaganda. And it happens on both radical sides of the political spectrum. No matter what the ideology is, these actions are used when the party in question wants to exercise control over people’s actions and thoughts, silence opposing ideas, and keep those who follow ignorant by feeding them false information about the world around them. This is all done when the organization wants to gain power for personal gain, often monetary and/or social.

Neither radical side wants to admit to this since both will always claim that they “just want to make the world a better place” (yes, even Neo-Nazis are technically trying to make the world a better place), but really the majority of their beliefs are centered around self-interest, egotistical gratification, and insecurity. They fear the majority of what the world has to offer, so they feel much safer in their confined little bubble with people who parrot each other’s ideas. Many of these people just want to feel important and accepted in some group and can often get addicted to the power it gives them. Yes, the radical left and the alt-right have two very different ideas in mind for what they want for the world, but upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that they are both rotten to the core.

Now I do want to make one thing clear: I am by no means a conservative, or even a centrist for that matter. I’m actually quite a left-leaning person, most likely a progressive, but I can still see things wrong with how people on the left treat others. It’s just as wrong as if a conservative person did the same thing. It’s not about what your goal is; it’s about why you’re pursuing it, and it’s about time those on the radical left were exposed for their selfish and trivial interests since there’s been plenty of exposing done to right wing. Maybe they’re not the only problem.

Misconceptions concerning Muslims

BY JANNAT SHEIKH
Features Writer

There are many people, including a few County College of Morris students, who are understandably unaware of true Islamic beliefs. Misrepresentation of Islam, the second largest religion in the world after Christianity, are spreading rather than being corrected.

Furthermore, Islam is the fastest growing religion according to Pew Research Center, a “nonpartisan fact tank.” There are approximately 1.6 billion Muslims. The number of Muslims is predicted to exceed the number of Christians by the end of this century if the current demographic trends of Muslims continue to increase.

“I feel like there are a lot of misconceptions about Islam,” said Rachel Miller, a psychology major at CCM. “People should be more open to understanding [Islam] the way they are open to understanding most other religions.”

Miller said that she respects Islam just as any other religion in the world. She believes that Muslims, the followers of Islam, should be respected like everyone else.

Of course, some common falsities of Islam continue to create confusion. A couple of the misconceptions are regarding Jesus and his importance in Islam and the impact of feminism in Islam.

In fact, Jesus is considered to be a prophet in Islam. Unlike Christianity, Jesus is not believed to be God’s son in Islam. Some people think that Muslims do not accept Jesus, however, Muslims believe him to be a messenger of God.

In addition, one of the ways these misconceptions can be erased, or at least decreased, is by spreading knowledge and the truth.

“Islam has such a negative connotation in the media these days, and it’s a shame,” said Christine Quigley, a liberal arts major at CCM. “I feel that it is such a peaceful religion.”

Quigley said that she learned about Islam in her middle school world history class. The knowledge she gained led her to view Islam as she said she views every other religion, with respect.

Dr. Milton Bennett’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS) helps explain the significance of moving from ethnocentrism (believing one’s own beliefs and values are superior) to ethnorelativism. One who is ethnorelative would be open to and respectful towards other religions and cultures. Becoming ethnorelative is the last “step” to Bennett’s DMIS.

“The first thing I think of when I hear the word Islam is Muslim women,” Quigley said. “A lot of people think that Muslim women are oppressed because of how the media portrays them, and I learned that Islam actually preaches feminism. I think people fail to recognize the strength and capacity of Muslim women.”

Approximately six-in-ten Muslim American women say they wear the headcover, or hijab, at least sometime according to Pew Research Center. Some people mistake the hijab for oppression while many view the hijab as a symbol of feminism.

All in all, the fact is that Islam is growing, and the number of Muslims are increasing. There are approximately 3.3 million Muslims of all ages in the U.S. as of 2015 according to a survey done by Pew Research Center.

“I think people need more knowledge about the religion of Islam,” said Muhammad Bilal Ahmad, a business administration major at CCM. “It is not a religion of hate and racism. It is the religion of peace.”

Ahmad said that some people have asked him strange questions in the past regarding his religion, Islam. He has gotten questions such as, “Are all Muslims terrorists?” Even though this question was asked in a joking manner, it was disrespectful toward Ahmad.

Nearly half of the Muslims in America fault their own Islamic leaders for the lack of condemning extremism, according to Pew Research Center. Approximately 48 percent of Muslim Americans say Muslims leaders have not done enough.

In any case, knowing the facts and spreading knowledge is key. As said by Martin Luther King Jr., “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”