The Facebook Blues

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(Photo from pixabay, found through creative commons)

I think we’ve all been there. Scrolling down our Facebook timeline, seeing all the cool things our friends are doing, seeing who they’re with, seeing things you weren’t invited to…and then comparing all the interesting pictures and amazing news to your own life that’s looking more and more boring with every click of your mouse. It can really suck.

There are many studies out now that actually suggest that Facebook makes us more sad and it makes us feel more alienated. Facebook has been proven to cause depression, isolation, jealously, and social tension. And I can very clearly see why.

I pretty much hate going on my Facebook. It seems like every status update is another one of my “acquaintances”  or best friends bragging about something incredible that they get to do or something really amazing that happened to them. Or I always see a post from that one friend who seemingly always has something awesome happening in her life. Every. Time.

In a perfect world, I would probably be happy for them. However, if you look at those great status updates when you’re life is not so hot, Facebook can start to get depressing.

It does for me personally, anyway. Facebook is the place where I see what all my friends were doing on Friday night without me. It’s the place where I see all the cool vacations my Facebook friends are going on while I’m stuck at home. It’s the place where I see all my college buddies getting cool internships or getting some huge award for something.

Now, I’m honestly all for sharing these accomplishments. I think it’s just important to remember not to compare your friends’ lives to ours when we’re scrolling through all of this.

We should remember that Facebook is very superficial. People put things on there hoping to get “likes.” They mostly only show the great things happening to them, not the day-by-day issues that every one is plagued with. You’re comparing your “lows” to everyone’s’ “highs” that they only post on Facebook.

You’re not seeing the whole picture. Just because your best friend got to travel to Mexico over Spring Break and her pictures look amazing, doesn’t mean that her life is any better than yours.

So, if you’re scrolling through your timeline and you see that 14 of your friends made the Dean’s List while you just flunked your Chemistry exam, don’t sweat it. That’s not the whole picture, and I can almost guarantee you that they have struggles too, maybe even some of the same ones you do. And just like you, they don’t post those things on Facebook.

Facebook is meant to be a fun way to connect with friends, don’t let it be just another negative aspect in your life. Remember, it’s not the whole story, and you’re doing just fine.

 

 

Reuse Reuse Reuse

Okay, so the video may be a bit cheesy, but the message is important.

In my Business Ethics class we were talking about the many problems plastic bags bring to our environment and our economy. I know personally I go through so many plastic bags, it’s actually pretty ridiculous. However, I do try to reuse them for other things such as garbage bags. But even then, the plastic bags still end up in the landfill.

Plastic bags are expensive to recycle, expensive to move to landfills (The state of California alone spends $25 million a year just for this), and expensive to clean up if they don’t make it to either one of those places (California spends $8.5 million/year to clean this up).

Every year, Americans use about 102.1 billion plastic bags and less than 1% of those are recycled. Plastic bags also can’t biodegrade, so they can spend up to 1,000 years in a landfill.

Obviously, this causes a huge problem for taxpayers as well as the environment. I think something needs to be done. I think it’s important for retailers to start encouraging their customers to bring in their own reusable bags.

Target provides a very good example for other retailers to follow. They give customers 5 cents back for every reusable bag they use. It doesn’t sound like much, but it can really add up. Also, you don’t get any money back for using plastic bags.

I think as a society we should place more emphasis on using these reusable bags and cutting back on how many plastic bags we use. I think plastic bag bans or bag taxes should be implemented wherever possible to encourage the use of reusable bags.

Also, I think retailers should have reusable bags readily available at checkouts so a customer can easily purchase one. To encourage the use even more, I think it might be cool if retailers offered discounts or coupons for bringing your own bags just like Target is doing.

Bottom line, I believe we need to start phasing out our good friend the plastic bag. It’s way too costly for the environment and for taxpayers to keep them around. Reusable bags should be our new best friend. It’s a small step to help reduce our waste and better our world for the future.

Sleep Deprived College Students

There’s obviously a lot of consequences if colleges students start losing too much sleep. And, it’s not news that most college students are sleep deprived. We’re supposed to be getting well over 8 hours of sleep a night. However, most of us are getting only 6 hours.

I can attest to this. I’ve gotten myself into a horrible cycle of taking naps in the afternoon (because I literally cannot make myself stay awake) and staying up til the early hours of the morning to finish all my homework. I think my personal record was staying up until 5 or 6am before going to bed for my class at 9:15am.

I feel the effects of sleep deprivation all the time. I frequently tell my friends it feels like I am tired to the bone. Also, I know a lot of my friends have messed up sleeping patterns, as well. I know I have gotten myself into some bad habits, but I can’t help thinking that maybe there’s something else going on.

The only reason I stay up late is because I have to finish all my homework before class. I don’t want my grades to slip. And yes, I should be doing my homework during the day. But think about it this way, most college students spend about 2-4 hours a day in class. We’re then told we should be spending this amount of time outside of class on each class.

I have four classes on Mondays and Wednesdays. I spend about 4 hours in those classes, so hypothetically, I should be spending 8-16 hours a day on those classes. So, I’m already in class for 4, then I have to do my homework for say 8. That’s 12 hours just on classes. And believe me, I have done homework for 8 hours in one day. I know school is a full-time job, which is fine…until you get to the other half of the problem.

College students are expected to go to class, study every day, get involved in extra-curricular activities (gotta build that resume!) , sometimes get a job, have a social life, find time to eat and exercise, and get over 8 hours of sleep a night? Nuh uh, that is not gonna happen, as much as I wish it could.

This is why I believe a lot of students are sleep deprived. We’re pulled in 6+ different directions and expected to juggle it all. No way, no how. Sleep is always the first to go. It’s just impossible for us to do all that studying while having a social life and 8+ hours of sleep a night.

The only way I have managed is by not participating in school activities (unfortunately). I just don’t have time with everything else going on. I feel like I always need to be doing homework.

I understand that’s just the way things are now, but I believe if college kids either had less homework or weren’t expected to do everything under the sun, then maybe we wouldn’t be falling asleep in class. Please, let us breathe.

 

 

Save the News

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Photo taken by Lindsay Beyer

Recently, I’ve been seeing a lot of articles and hearing a lot about how my generation is not hearing the news anymore. Apparently, we have no interest in hearing what’s going on around us. While not all of us ignore the news, the number of people who access the news has gone down dramatically over the years(pg 2).

Now, I have to admit, until this semester I didn’t care much about getting the news either. My major requires that I take a Reporting I class, and one of the assignments is to stay up to date on current events. Man, was I missing out.

I now have come to realize how important it is for my generation to know what’s going on in the world. Being informed on current events has not only made me more knowledgeable, but I’ve also been able to literally watch history happen. This is important stuff that most teens these days seem to be ignoring.

Take the Russia-Crimea debacle. History is happening right before our eyes and when I talk to my friends about it, most of them don’t know anything about what’s going on over there. Or when Malaysia Flight 370, disappeared without a trace, none of my friends had any idea what I was talking about when I first brought it up. That’s a bit scary.

We just aren’t interested in informing ourselves like we should be. We need to know what’s going on in the world not only because it is history, but we will be running the world one day and it’s important to be knowledgeable on all fronts. We must instill in ourselves the desire to be informed.

Paula Poindexter is interested in stopping this decline in readership in the Millennial Generation. She is hosting a “National News Engagement Day” in an attempt to get not only teenagers but also their parents interested in the news again. She has also created a Facebook page just for getting news to the Millennial Generation.

I think “National News Engagement Day” will be a perfect way to explain to this generation how important it is to be informed and how much of a purpose it can serve us in our every day lives. With everything go on in the world around us, it’s increasingly important to follow the news. We must be a more educated generation.

There’s several ways to easily get the news that are more “Millennial” friendly. There are Facebook pages as mentioned above, Tumblr blogs, Twitter accounts, and even new phone apps such as Paper which brings the news right to my media-savvy peers. I think once we help my generation take advantage of these tools, we can have a more informed generation, which is incredibly important for us now and in the future.

 

Pants Size – Just a Measurement

IMG_2077Photo taken and edited by me. (Click on it for better quality)

I’ve already talked about body image in one of my past posts and how much it influences girls around me, including myself. However, I would like to focus on pants size part of body image.

Let me explain. I remember when I was younger that I was obsessed with not only how thin I was, but also how small that size on my jeans was. I remember going shopping for jeans and hoping that I would fit into a smaller number, and praying that I didn’t have to go up a size.

I believe my mentality was like this because even as kids, my friends and I would compare jean sizes. It was just a dumb thing we did. I think it was mostly out of competition, but I never wanted to be bigger than any of them.

And it was always important to strive for that coveted size zero. I wanted this so badly because the fashion industry and the media conveyed a size zero as the ultimate pants size. If you were a size zero, you could get no better. I remember wishing I could slim down my hips and thighs enough to be able to squeeze into that size. I genuinely believed that if I did, I would be happier and feel more confident in myself.

Now, I’m a little bit older, and thankfully a little bit wiser. I’ve come to realize jean size doesn’t make you any different from anyone else, no matter what the number is. Sizes are just a way for us to measure what size of clothes we feel most comfortable in. It doesn’t make someone any better to be a smaller number. I know from shopping at Pacsun and American Eagle that even between stores my size is different, which further shows that it’s just a way to measure clothes, not bodies.

I finally was able to come to this realization more so in college when I really realized that girls come in all shapes and sizes, and jean size is no way to judge someone. I also realized the fashion industry portrays models in an unhealthy way, and that’s not something I should want for my body.

I know now that I will probably never be a size zero. And I’m perfectly okay with that because it’s just a number. It has nothing to do with me or my character. I think it’s important to remember that we must not get hung up on pants size, technically, that size is put in there just to help us. And sizes even vary at all stores.

Now if I’m shopping and I start agonizing over going up a size, I stop to remember that if I’m comfortable and feel healthy in my own size, then that’s the perfect one for me no matter what anyone else says.

College Rape Culture

(Video found through CreativeCommons, originally posted by The Rock Ethics Institute)

( more about the speaker, Jessica Valenti)

As a college student, I know that college campuses are a place where rape commonly occurs. With binge drinking and partying common, bad situations can happen quickly.

My college campus is very small, and it feels very safe to me. However, I worry about how they, as well as other college campuses, would handle a rape case.

In past college campus rape cases, many colleges have tried to belittle the victim or tried to cover up the case altogether. There ares some very good examples of this problem in this article.

In some cases, the victims reported the sexual assault and either never heard back from school officials or their suspect stayed on campus with minimal discipline. (Illustrated in this article)

My worry is that women college students are not protected enough if a rape does occur. As a college kid myself, I would be worried if I was ever raped that not only would my school not do anything, but that they might even blame me for the rape.

I think this has a lot to do with the rape culture in the United States. Ever since I was little, I’ve been told not to go out alone at night, not to leave my drink unattended, not to dress too provocatively, to use the buddy system, to keep myself out of bad situations, and to be wary around guys I do not know.

These are all great pieces of advice, but why are we not telling the guys not to rape, as well? We put so much focus on telling the girls how to protect themselves from dangerous situations, yet we aren’t reprimanding guys for raping as much as we should be, as illustrated in the top two articles.

I feel like if we put more emphasis on what a horrible crime rape is, if it’s consequences were as harsh as they should be, and if we taught guys that it is a very serious thing and they should never be taking advantage of a girl, then maybe I wouldn’t be afraid just to go out on a Friday night and have a good time.

I think college is a perfect place to better educate guys and girls alike about rape culture. We should have educational discussions, maybe even classes about sexual assault and how both guys and girls can avoid these situations. Campuses should have staff dedicated just to sexual assault so victims can feel comfortable talking about it.

Bottom line, college students need these resources. I shouldn’t be afraid of being taken advantage of. I shouldn’t be afraid that my case will be covered up or that my rapist will have very little consequences. Rape is a very serious thing, and I think we need to stop blaming the victim and start treating it as the horrible crime it is.

Save Tilikum

Blackfish is a documentary about the killer whales kept in captivity in various parts of the United States for entertainment purposes. The documentary focuses primarily on the whale named Tilikum, who is now responsible for at least three human deaths.

I watched this documentary and was absolutely shocked by what I saw. The killer whales are taken away from their families at a young age and transported to Seaworld to be trained to entertain. This is obviously not what a killer whale is meant to be doing.

I was at the Seaworld in Orlando where Tilikum currently lives. I remember watching the whale show and seeing him come out at the end to spray the audience. I was only in 6th grade, but even at that age I felt odd watching these animals locked in giant pools and forced to follow their trainer’s every command.

When I saw Tilikum, his dorsal fin was flopped over, and I distinctly remember the trainer telling us that it’s common for a killer whale’s dorsal fin to fold over like that and that nearly 25% of killer whales live like that in the wild. Blackfish told me this was a lie saying less than 1% of whales in the wild have that feature.

I also remember them telling us that the killer whale lives longer in captivity (about 25 years, or so they said). However, the killer whale’s life expectancy in the wild is closer to 90 years. Seaworld blatantly lies to every person that comes there. They are trying to cover up the fact that killer whales are much unhappier in captivity, so unhappy that they sometimes turn to killing.

This is where Tilikum really comes in. He is just one of the many whales locked up in Seaworld. He has killed two trainers in the past. He killed one trainer at Seaworld by pulling her into the water and scalping her. Seaworld blamed the trainer, saying if she was there with them today she would agree it was her fault for having her hair in such a long pony tail. Tilikum never grabbed her pony tail, he grabbed her arm. Another blatant lie by Seaworld.

Blackfish talked to real scientists who said that killer whales never attack humans in the wild. I strongly believe that Tilikum only attacked because not only was he ripped away from his family at a young age, but he was also repeatedly abused by the female killer whales at Seaworld. Not to mention, they leave him to swim by himself in a small pool. He is very isolated and very unhappy.

Killer whales are not meant to be kept in captivity. Seaworld should be shut down. The whales are clearly very unhappy. Watch Blackfish, and then let me know what you think about going back to Seaworld. I know I won’t step foot back in that park.

Here’s a really good article and blog on Tilikum’s life story if you’d like to know more without watching the movie.