Summer Vacation?

Summer break is a myth during your college years.

Millennials have many expectations to live up to. Instead of laying in the sun they’re working and taking summer classes to get ahead.

Surprisingly many students actually want to take summer classes.

They really aren’t putting their books down and replacing it with a drink. Instead, their pushing themselves to strive further in their career by taking online classes or staying behind at school and taking on-campus classes.

Student Alaina Gladstone decided to stay behind in her Morgantown home during summer 2016 to take classes for her Accounting major.

“It kept me in a school mode which helped me with fall semester. I saved money because I didn’t have to stay here an extra year. I was more productive and partied less.”

Other benefits for taking summer classes are that it keeps your mind active. You have smaller more personable classes which can help a student learn the content better.

Online classes allow students to get the work done on their own time, and it’s for sure easier.

The only downside with taking summer courses are time consumption away from fun and it costs a whole ton of money. It can be expensive taking courses for out-of-state students but, it sure is worth it if you want to get head.

If you decide not to take classes, you may want or need to work a part-time job.

 35% of millennials reported that they worked every day of their vacations.

“The opportunities I can get are worth more than sunbathing for 30 days. It’ll help me in the long run,” says student Julie Vogel.

Let’s face it, you’re working, your parents are working so you just don’t have the time to go on a vacation.

As stated in my previous post, 8 in 10 college students experience high levels of stress, and so vacations are beneficial to a student’s health yet, we are not really relaxing during our long summer break.

The students that are working may save up to take a friend vacation to maybe have a week to enjoy themselves. However, 59% of millennials reported being “vacation shamed” for taking or planning their vacations. This prevented millennials from taking time off to actually enjoy their break. Why?

We are young, and this is probably the only opportunity we’re going to get to travel yet, our youth has traveled as far as their family members home. And so we feel pressured to make money for opportunities to travel and have leisure time yet feel ashamed asking for days off.

“If I ask for a day off at the Hospital, they don’t like to fill in the shifts, says Vogel. “I’ll have to make my reasoning for my day off seem more important in order for them to actually give the time off.”

You are the decider of your future. Whether you’re working, vacationing, or taking classes, you will succeed in your future. Hopefully you find some time within your busy lives to take a break, lay down on the hot sandy beach, and appreciate the life you have.

Thank you: This is my final blog post and I just want to thank all of my readers for a wonderful semester. You have seen my growth in writing and given me that outside support. I’m so thankful for your comments and responses to my posts. It wasn’t easy coming up with a semesters worth of content but I did it and you made me feel that my writing was influential and inspiring to others. Maybe in the future you will see my writing on a blog or a newspaper. Until then, have a great life.





Unrealistic Expectations of the Summer Body

Summer is around the corner and people are freaking out.

They are simply unprepared to reveal their “summer body.

But what about your “always body?”

Body image: The perception we have of our bodies, as well as how we perceive others perceptions of our bodies.

58% of college-aged girl feel pressured to be a certain weight.

The idea that you have to be “skinny” and or “fit” to look good for the summer can make a women feel insecure which can lead to eating disorders and have body dissatisfaction.

Physical health doesn’t suddenly become needed for summer, health should always be a part of your everyday life.  Yet, when summer is around the corner students flock to the gym and start dieting. This doesn’t mix well since finals are coming up which involves long hours of studying and less sleep. This combination is asking for your body to crash.

The Media has a strong Influence on how women should look in general.

With summer, magazines associate their flawless bikini models with quotes such as “bikini body detox,” “best bikini body,” and “flat abs fast.”

80% of women say the images of women in the media makes them feel insecure.

I’m going to say this once, and only once, media photos for magazines, ads, maybe even Instagram does not even look like the person in the photo in reality. ­

Be aware of this, take it in, accept it. Even the prettiest and most glamorous people in the world don’t even look like their photos.

That’s the issue. Our youth looks up to these celebrities and wants to be like them, have their lifestyle, have their bodies, look like them.  It’s unrealistic.

Women understand that their bodies will never be as perfect as these “idol celebrities” which results in plastic surgery.

1 in 5 women said they’re planning or considering plastic surgery.

I decided to figure out which celebrities have a strong influence on why women feel so insecure and want to change their bodies.

Student Carly Greer says it’s the Kardashians.

“Society as a whole has changed body image views. Going from thinking skinny was the best way to be to now a little more meat on your bones is considered hot and I definitely think the Kardashians had a lot to do with it. To see people so famous, so beautiful, and so unapologetic about who they are has changed the way we see beauty. On the other hand of that I think they’ve also caused a lot of girls to think plastic surgery is the only way to be beautiful and feel good about yourselves because we’ve watched them morph into these beautiful human beings right before our eyes, so seeing that it’s hard to not wonder what you could do to yourself to make yourself “better,” says Greer.

Health should always be a priority 365 days a year, not just when it’s summertime.

It’s important to understand our bodies and how to work with it. We are all born different and develop different body types. Nobody is perfect, and it’s nearly impossible to naturally work your body into a celebrity body type. You shouldn’t have to try to look like anyone else, you are perfect just the way you are.


The Dreaded Task: Internships

You went to college, you got a degree, and now you hope to get a job. But is that enough? NO!

Before you can even get a well-paying job, you need to have an internship to show that you have experience in your job field.

 The problem: Finding an internship that works for you.

95% of employers said experience is a factor in hiring.

Employers also see their internship programs are a beneficial path for hiring entry-level candidates.

In simpler terms, join a company internship and eventually climb the ladder and get a job with them.

Internships prepare you for what a paying job Is like. Yes, you are at the bottom of the chain but you have to start somewhere.

Paid internships are preferred but unpaid is okay as well.

Interns are usually required 20-40 hours a week which leaves little time for interns to have a part-time job thus they have no money, just experience.

If you still aren’t convinced getting an internship during college will benefit your future, listen to what a few West Virginia alumni have to say.

Diane Jeanty graduated in 2014 with a B.A. in Journalism.

She has interned at places such as The Huffington Post, PBS and NPR.

Today she is a Social Media Producer for WNYC Radio in New York.

Although, some of her internships were not her favorite or the best experience, she would have never been considered for the job she has today without the experience from these internships.

“If it wasn’t for my internship experience I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today,” says Jeanty. “The relationships I made during each internship I still have to this day and that can go a long way in this industry.”

Jeanty has gotten jobs just by keeping connections with the people she has met while interning.

For her, it was more than just experience, but also friendships.

Alumni Tariq Walcott graduated in 2016 with a B.S. in Athletic Coaching Education. He is now in Washington State coaching.

“From my internship experiences, I learned and grew as a coach, learned many things about the job and increased my confidence,” says Walcott. “

 Biggest challenge?

I always wanted to do more and progress but had to know my role in the staff,” adds Walcott.

 Without internships?

Walcott says, “I would probably not be at the high level coaching position I’m in.”

Personally, having a Social Media Marketing internship locally for the Morgantown area has helped me figure out where I want to go next. I was able to prove to my boss that I have the experience and skills to help work on a professional website and other social media platforms.

Getting an internship means you have to get out of your comfort zone and branch out to professionals. I now have connections to other professionals though this internship. I would never have gotten the experience or knowledge with this field if I didn’t take the risk and apply.

It’s simple as that, take an hour out of your day, apply, and see where life takes you.

Some very helpful websites for your search are:

Internship Queen: This website has categories for all types of careers. This helps you narrow down to what your preferred internship choice is and location.

 Indeed: Another job seeking sight. You simply put your location and with what job you would like to find and thousands of choices come up.

Linkedin: The Business Facebook. You have your own profile In which you have a professional resume. You can connect with friends and professionals whom you know. You can also job search on there as well.


A New Wave: Solar Energy

Researchers of the West Virginia University Division of Science and Research are working on new ways to turn solar energy into fuel.
This may seem easy and done but, the debate between renewable energy and fossil fuels is long from over.

According to the Solar Industries Association, 3.4 MW of solar energy  installed in West Virginia ranks the state 42nd in the country in installed solar capacity. There is enough solar energy installed in the state to power 300 homes.

Solar energy, and power has benefits. It saves money, it helps the environment through clean energy, and it helps reduce dependence on foreign energy (exporting and importing fossil fuels).

Researcher Botong Liu explains why solar energy is so important.

“The sun is expected to burn for the next 4 billion years while fossil fuels will last at most for another 200-300 years depending on whether new reserves are found,” says Liu. “Consuming solar energy itself does not produce greenhouse gas emissions while fossil fuel consumption produces greenhouse gases associated with climate change.”

Liu and fellow researcher Joeseph Bright explained that they are transferring chemicals through an electrical current (photovoltaic) by using sunlight in this instance which is how they get these solar cells. They move the carriers from one spot to another (catalyze) to get a reaction.

“We are using solar energy to directly generate chemical fuels or other useful chemicals that take significant amounts of energy to create using different materials (known as photocatalysts) to harvest solar energy and catalyze chemical reactions to form fuels,” says Bright. “This simultaneously harvests the solar energy and stores the energy for future use from consuming the fuels. The fuels can be transported to where they’re needed in a similar manner to existing gasoline and natural gas infrastructure.”

West Virginia is a coal based state. Changing a resident’s opinion on solar energy is not going to be easy especially because fossil fuels provide an income for some of these families.

Patrick Large, student president of the Energy Land Management Association at WVU doesn’t think West Virginia residents will advocate for solar energy as much as these residents do for fossil fuels.

“I was interning in southern West Virginia last summer and we needed to drill on this woman’s land which means we had to pretty much own her property. Her family and her were completely against us drilling in her land, cursing us out, being extremely rude,” says Lange. “So my boss offered her a check for a million dollars and she let us drill. Money had a factor for sure in that situation.”

The United States is the number 2 exporter of oil and gas in all the countries in Europe.

If this project eventually becomes a reality, the foreign relations could deteriorate.

“Companies overall typically have been kind of mute in this regard. To the best of my knowledge, companies don’t openly oppose this kind of research and actually do some of their own renewable energy research,” explains Bright. “However, they likely will be the first in line to license any patents for this technology if it becomes economically feasible long-term.”







Why the Big Deal Over Leggings?

A few days ago a United Airlines controversial issue erupted the internet.
Two young girls about 10-years-old, were denied airplane entry due to their leggings breaking the Airline’s dress code. The two had a special pass and with that special privilege comes a strict, professional dress code. They were forced to put a dress over their clothes to prevent their leggings from showing too much. Other regular passengers were not checked for leggings or any other dress code violations.

According to the United Airlines rules on their dress code, Rule 21 states that they have the right to refuse to transport people not properly clothed. This vague rule adds to the confusion of who decides what is appropriate and what is not.

“For a leisure plane ride I don’t think that should be a thing but, for a business yes,” says Forever 21 manager of Morgantown mall Jaye Dyre.

Why does it matter?

“I think it’s because they are representing the airline so they want you to look nicer since they have that special pass. My uncle is a pilot so when we fly for free we have to look nice” says Junior Emma Slaney.

There are strict requirements of what is professional and what is not but, leisure attire such as leggings should not cause such a huge controversy.

“I’ve had to have people either buy an outfit or change because they had a short shirt on (crop top) and leggings and it was too inappropriate to wear,” says Dyre.

Who defines inappropriate?

West Virginia University does not have a dress code. However, majority of high schools and middle schools across the nation have a dress code on particular items including leggings.

The debate blew up in 2014 when an Illinois middle school banned leggings and yoga pants.

Of a 2009 article from the Daily Athenaeum discussing WVU’s lack of a dress code, they reported that it is more of an embarrassment for students to be walking around having inappropriate sayings on their clothing than anything else. Although it is an outdated article, there is no talk of a legging issue, simply proving that at a certain age, it just stops mattering.

“I guess it’s just weird to me because more people’s jeans are just as tight as leggings,” says Senior Lydia Walters. “What’s more alarming, 10-year-old girls wearing leggings or men looking at them as sex objects because of it.”

Junior Carly Greer responds:

“As a female of any age if the pants are not showing any part of your body in a sexual manner, then you should be allowed to wear them,” says Greer. “I could understand if the pants were see through but, if they’re just regular leggings I don’t think it’s fair that a female shouldn’t be able to wear them. They have been part of our clothing culture for the past 5 years and if people haven’t gotten used to them by now, that should be on them.”


Pop-Up Event Promotes Student Art and Film

Earlier today at the Media Innovation Center, the final pop up event promoting the West Virginia Mountaineer Short Film Festival occurred.

So far, as stated in my previous post, there has not been this particular film festival due to lack of interest and staff. This method has brought more awareness of the event in hopes of a huge turnout.

Art work was put on display for the event as well as a virtual reality (VR) system.

The virtual reality appeared on the main screen in the Innovation Center as students flocked curious as to what they would see.

This was the most popular part of the event. We got to see what students using VR saw which was engaging and funny to watch.

The film festival is more than films, it’s a way to engage students and town residents to art from all over the world.

We asked students a few questions about how they feel about films.

What’s your favorite movie and why?

What’s your favorite genre?

What is your favorite way to watch movies?

The film festival is this weekend, March 24th-26th.

The festival schedule is now posted so you can pick and choose times and days when you want to watch.

The winners for the films are going to be announced Saturday.

We are hoping for a full house at this years event.

See you there! #ThinkFilm



Midterm Stress

Are you experiencing “Post-Spring Break Stress disorder?” Me too.

Every day, as students we face many challenges. And those challenges can lead to stressful and uncomfortable situations.

We are so close to the end of the semester. Literally a month and a half. It seems as if it’s dragging on and we are drowning in course work.

Although stress seems… stressful, there can be a positive outcome with dealing with stress.

The negative effects of stress effect mental, emotional, and physical health.

Some symptoms are sleeping problems, anxiety, overeating, lack of motivation.

And a person should not embrace these negative effects but instead work on ways to relieve those symptoms.

One way is going to the gym. Instead of eating the stress away, take an hour out of your day and workout.

72% of Millennials say they exercise once a week or more. That is more than Boomers and Matures.

So we’re doing something right. We are taking physical health into consideration.

Working out actually gives a person energy. Instead of living off caffeine to stay focused, you can stay aware due to your endorphins giving you a natural high.

“I feel great after I hit the gym. Like I just did something to better myself. I feel more motivated and have energy to get things done,” says student Leslie Rodriguez. “When I’m not working out I feel lazy and guilty.”

A not-so-new fad is mindfulness (meditation/yoga).

Mindfulness is energy that helps us recognize the happiness that is already in our lives.

I got started with mindfulness last year because of WVU. I would attend the yoga classes at the rec. center. I loved it and began practicing it on my own. I soon discovered an app called “Stop, Breathe & Think.” This app has meditation and also offers yoga lessons. When ready to begin, you choose five feelings you have that day and that is categorized into options to help relieve those feelings. The lessons are very short, about 10 minutes and through the words of these experts, I am able to relax and reflect on myself for the day. When done, I open my eyes ready to face the world, understanding my feelings and how to embrace them.

I was able to contact a yoga expert in the Virginia, D.C. area. I asked her a few questions about stress relating to millennials and the benefits of yoga. Her name is Vivian Bell. Here’s what she had to say.

How can yoga help relieve stress?

“Yoga can help you temporarily unplug from the fast-paced outside world, by helping you connect to the present moment and what’s going on inside of you. The yoga teachings will allow you to feel more balanced, supported and grounded.”

Why it is beneficial for your mental, physical, and emotional health?

“By combining breath, movement and meditation the nervous system is able to let go and regain a sense of general wellness and support. This leads to a better feeling of vitality and aliveness whether you are doing warrior poses, downdog or a seated meditation.”

Do you think it helps millennials succeed in school?

“Yoga can help anyone including millennials concerned about learning and performing well in school. It can provide you with practical teachings to help you feel more focused, creative and energized. It can help you feel more confident in dealing with that special project, presentation or deadline that you have been procrastinating.”

Reading also helps relieve stress. It can distract you from reality and transform you into a new world.

In a study done at the University of Sussex, according to neuropsychologist Dr. David Lewis, reading reduced stress levels by 68%.

The month of April is Stress Awareness Month.  And they are offering free stress relieving E books. What better way to relieve stress than to read about relieving stress?

There is a way for everyone to relieve stress. Truth is, we are always going to be stressed about something at any point of every day.  Whether it be working out, reading, or mindfulness, relieving stress is simply good for the soul. And I always say this because it’s true, that we are human. Nobody is perfect and as humans we try to make the best out of our time and part of being human is dealing hardships every day.