Opinion: GOP Debate Synopsis

Meredith Crockett

Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, we can all agree that the most recent GOP, Republican debates were one thing: madness. Together with Donald Trump’s all too frequent racist, sexist, and narcissistic remarks, Rand Paul’s quarrels with Governor Christie, Ben Carson’s futile but persistent interjections, all combined with the general arrogance of the Republican candidates, at times the debates were downright unbearable, unless you viewed it as SNL-like satire. The questions were just as you would expect, hot topic social, political and economic issues (ISIS, gun control, gay marriage, national security, privacy etc.) phrased in a manner that make the Republicans trigger-happy and quick to spill irrational, emotion filled answers that either didn’t address the problem or offered no real solution to the issue at hand. The general population was able to get little to no real, relevant information from the candidates because somehow those who had a legitimate, serious rhyme or reason to be debating were “Trumped” as it were, by the one real take-away from the debates: Donald Trump. If you were to ask the average American about the debates my guess is that close to all of them would have something to say about Trump. Though he had absolutely nothing relevant or good to say, in an instant he became the face for the Republican Party. What became abundantly clear throughout the debates is this: Trump is their puppet. He has been trained through years of greed, selfish ambition, multiple marriages, many TV shows, and billions of dollars to be the most controversial man in our popular culture. But the question I have is this: Why are we allowing this man, this hated man, to lead the Republican Party and attempt to become the next great leader of our nation when so many others (Marco Rubio, Chris Christie, Scott Walker ect.) have clear, precise, and logical plans to change our country? This unfortunately is why our GOP is falling into the depths of no return. Instead of shutting Trump down and building up those qualified, true candidates, the Republican Party hasn’t budged financially or through media and unfortunately this is causing the GOP to remain stagnant. And a stand still is the last thing our common American Republican at home wants. Our nation needs a true, sane Republican voice to balance out our Congress and White House. This is where you and I as voters and participants of a democracy come in. We need to show the GOP where our votes and voices matter. Whether through social media or pledges to fund, we need to put our time, money and voices where it counts by becoming informed voters on the issues and candidates that can and will change our country. Be looking ahead as we reach full fledge debating season and keep your eyes peeled for those who are ready to put their best foot forward for America.

Note: similar analysis of the Democratic debates will be provided once they occur.

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A pleasant walk*

Young Koh

There are many ways to go about it.

It’s life. We often don’t even know what to do about it. We try to get creative about it and move along, plan as things go. These plans don’t always work. Life likes to shove lemons down our throats, so we have to show life how our gastric fluids are even more acidic. Rejections aren’t the newest things we have ever faced. Colleges will shut their doors in our faces. And they won’t lose any sleep over it, either.

But this is altogether a different matter, isn’t it?

It does seem rather strange that you are to take on a rather heavy social burden in such a candid manner. Financially, prom will burn a hole through your pocket no matter how you try to cut corners (don’t). Then there’s also the part about getting a date. Socially, it’s just another event. Ask a friend! It will all be fine and dandy, just teenagers fooling around in a mature setting. Right? Wrong. Who you ask and why you ask have much deeper-reaching meanings and intentions than people make it seem (and you’d possibly lose sleep over it). You wouldn’t ask someone if you don’t even remotely want that person with you. Whatever you do with regards to this event will therefore be watched closely by the Girls’ Syndicate. With everything out in the open, there is little freedom as to what juvenile jokes you can pull off.

The reality is that prom embodies what seems to be a ritualistic entrance into the adult social interaction. It’s dipping your proverbial social toe into the pool of complicated mannerisms that you are expected to follow. There are expectations to be fulfilled: prom, “promposals”, tuxes, cars- they all come to symbolize some form of growing up. You are doing these things by yourself and you have to make decisions of certain actions that may or may not be very stupid decisions. But they are all requirements that make up this much less welcoming face of prom

Which way will you go about it?

*Prom is short for promenade, which means a walk or a stroll in French

Why rush?

Kathleen Hager

Have you ever thought about how people don’t ask what you’re doing after high school anymore, but they ask you where you’re going to college? We grow up with the expectations of going the college route to earn a good degree, to get a good job, to be constantly working to have money, but no time to really enjoy life. Our lifestyle compared to that of the 17th century, when the only expectations was to marry and grow food, is very different. In our society today, we are more efficient and more effective in things such as food production and technological development, but back then, they just enjoyed life and did what needed to be done in order to live. Being successful is never a bad thing, but often times we get so caught up in being the best we can that we leave no room to enjoy the beautiful things in life.

Another example of our busy, rushing lives is the simple activity of driving. Why do people feel the need to constantly ride each other’s tail? It’s because they are in such a rush to get wherever they are going instead of just taking their time. It would be much more logical to just leave your house a couple minutes early. That way your drive is much more enjoyable, but also, you don’t have to be a nuisance to those who do drive the speed limit and are enjoying their day.

I encourage you all to consider these things and take a day off to enjoy creation and take it easy!

English class

Young Koh

Of all the classes that the common student dislikes, English class seems to get the worst of it. We understand that there is some educational value in reading the works of dead authors, but such an understanding still can’t keep us awake as we stare blankly at Marc Antony’s speech while our teacher spoon feeds us the translation of what Shakespeare is trying to express. Why can’t we simply have a more vernacular way or understanding these great works? Instead of “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks…” why can’t we have “Oh dang I see dat hot gurl up there”? Is there any importance in interpreting these works, or would it be the same to simply know the basic meaning and move on?

This process of interpretation infuriates us, but the fact that we have been required to do it to a certain degree in our middle-through-high school careers should ring a bell that it is an important process to master. Understanding the meaning and deeper meaning (and sometimes, the even-deeper meaning) of text is a skill we exercise daily as we communicate each other. In fact, the argument can be very easily made that our daily conversations are no less complicated to interpret than the dusty, hundred year old essays we have to read in class. For instance, “literally” holds a colloquial meaning for “figuratively,” and “fine” is often read as a thinly veiled expression of sorrow. Communication, be it verbal or textual, is a process by which we exchange ideas with each other. Even when it is unintended, the author of a hundred-year-old essay is conveying an idea to you. Communication loses its meaning when we can’t understand each other, and that is why the practice of interpretation is a very important part of our education. If we all speak only in the most literal terms, then gone are the days of artful and subtle flirting. We convey meaning through irony, through metaphor, through hyperbole, through all these devices without consciously thinking about it. The understanding of these devices and the mastery in their use allows for very dramatic story telling and even more effective flirting. As you read Shakespeare, try to appreciate the fact that it may be the most vulgar and violent thing you will ever read in your high school career. Even as we get knee-deep into the not understanding of Thoreau, the beauty of his excessive and complex language is in the practice of understanding of something harder than omg/lol. (Also, when you understand the essay, it is actually a very keen observation of life.)

As we continue our lives, we inevitably interact with other individuals along the way. How we handle that interaction will play a deciding role in deciding where we go in life. English class is disliked because it is boring and sometimes difficult, but also essential because it helps us to better handle that interaction.

Applying to college is a bestselling YA dystopian novel

Mia Zanzucchi

Photos: Wikipedia, Hypable.com

Photos: Wikipedia, Hypable.com

Required reading or watching for this article: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Divergent by Veronica Roth.

“You chose us, now we choose you,” says Theo James’ character Four in the movie adaptation of Veronica Roth’s Divergent. And that’s also what colleges will say to you during your senior year.

It all starts off innocently enough. I remember being a sophomore and getting my first recruitment letter from a school I had never heard of – Case Western or Emory, if I remember correctly. It was exciting at first, just like the choosing ceremony in Roth’s Divergent. I enjoyed sifting through the colorful pamphlets displaying, in some cases, well-groomed campus quads, pseudo-diversity and students with unrealistically huge grins. But by the middle of my junior year, my mailbox was being aggressively stuffed with letters, postcards, books and stickers every single day and I was growing weary.

By fall break this year, I had chosen the schools I wanted to apply to. Part one completed, Four.

Depending on the school, filling out the college applications themselves are as intense as training for the Hunger Games or being initiated into your Divergent faction. Maybe, like a career, you’ve been preparing for this your whole life. Or maybe you’re the female heroine thrown into the middle of this, struggling to find your footing.

The applications are long and hard and seem to be defined by one number: your training score, I mean your ACT score. But like in The Hunger Games, your numerical score may not define overall success. Sometimes, a competitor has a hidden strength like “club founder” or “I rescue puppies and kittens and volunteer my time at a retirement home, taking said puppies and kitties to go play there.” Maybe you’re from District 12, but you still have a decent SAT score. You just never know.

Soon you’re done with your apps, and you might get invited for an interview. So there you are, seated with all of the other applicants. Though it makes you feel mildly savage, you can’t help but channel your inner girl (or guy) on fire, sizing up your competition – the other tributes in this passive Hunger Games.

However, the real fighting takes place in an office miles away. It’s not physical and you never see it, but let me help you imagine it.

Our scene begins in the shadows of a college – maybe it’s Asbury, maybe it’s UK, maybe it’s Harvard. High above, a lone admissions officer scans the competitors. They’ve been piling up since the early fall, but now it’s finally time. A bell rings and the cage doors confining the applicants are raised. They lunge, brandishing resumes and sports awards, shouting cheesy lines at each other: “it changed me for the better!”

One competitor – that’s you – pauses to contemplate their strange, new surroundings. The battle is almost over now; admission decisions will come out soon… Why couldn’t it be you? “We both know they have to have a victor. Yes, they have to have a victor. Without a victor, the whole thing would blow up,” as Suzanne Collins puts it in The Hunger Games.

For the West Jessamine Class of 2014, the battles have been won. But let this serve as a warning to underclassmen, especially juniors. Be resilient like Katniss, dauntless like Tris and you should probably eat lots of comfort food like me.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

(Ironically, Veronica Roth wrote Divergent while at Northwestern University, a school that put me through this exact ordeal.)

Monday Fundays

Judianne Speach

Those snow days sure were good to us. There’s nothing like the feeling of waking up, glancing at a text from a five-digit number and falling back asleep. Unfortunately, those days are over. It’s time to deal with getting out of bed before noon, hour-long lectures and worst of all, Mondays.

Monday is the most dreaded day of the week because the concept of reality sinks back in. Saturday and Sunday are liberating days where we tend to forget about all homework and really anything important. Maybe you relax, watch hours of Netflix, sleep, party, stare at the wall… And then Monday comes along. Whatever it is you do, whatever happiness and freedom you get to experience, is shattered into a million pieces as soon as your alarm goes off. Sure, you can hit snooze nine times and pretend like it’s not happening. You can crawl into the shower for 20 minutes, getting lost in the rejuvenation of hot water. But that results in panic, wearing whatever is on the floor, grabbing a Pop Tart as you sprint out the door and awkwardly walking in late to class.

I was going to extensively give you tips on how to overcome Mondays, but when I looked up ideas on Google (since we all do that), I about laughed. There were ideas like “Wake up with a positive attitude,” “Wake up earlier than you normally would,” “Don’t sleep in too late over the weekend…” Like that’s going to happen. This is Monday we’re talking about. So I’m going to keep this short and practical.

Next Monday, don’t hit the snooze button. Just don’t. It’s evil. Instead, set your alarm to a really loud song that you hate and put it across the room. You’ll want to get out of bed, trust me. Also, try to get out the door at a decent time so you make it to school on time and you’re not flustered. Lastly, don’t let your day be ruined by the fact that it’s the start of the week. Four more mornings and you’ve reached the weekend. One seventh of our lives are a Monday, so by learning to deal with them, one seventh of our lives can be that much better.

Eh, who am I kidding? Just try to make it through the day without hurting anyone.

A look into bilingualism and myths surrounding

Stefanos Delipoglou

Many times we look at another culture and wish we could experience their lifestyle. Not just as a tourist, no, but as a member of this foreign group. We want to communicate with them and experience all that they do so we can learn more. Many seek to learn a language to effectively comprehend another group while others shy away from learning a new language. Many, unfortunately, are fearful of the effects of learning a language. However, there are more than a few common myths around bilingualism.

To start off, many people believe that bilingual individuals, specifically those who learn at a younger age, are weaker intellectually than their mono-linguistic peers. This is not the case. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. By knowing more than one language, people are actually able to tackle a problem more efficiently. How is that? Well, as you’d expect (hopefully), languages are structured differently from each other. The most common example is a “backwards” use of noun and then adjective in other languages. While speaking another language, individuals have to think of these seemingly subtle differences in a given conversation. This, of course, leads them to be more careful and calculating in other aspects of life. So in the end, these individuals may be better off in the long run when compared with a tunnel-vision view of their friends who only speak English.

Many people think that once they reach a certain age, they immediately lose the ability to learn a language. They may even say they’re “an old dog that can’t learn new tricks.” (This is an English metaphor; don’t try to use it in another language). Again, this is simply a myth, sort of. It is, statistically speaking, more difficult for an adult to learn a language, but it doesn’t become impossible. A child raised in a house of two (or more) languages will adapt quickly because, hey, they’re trying to learn the world anyway. Adults are a little more stuck in their ways, but they’re not as senile, broken and unteachable as they claim. A second (or 10th) language will only help you in the end. Personally, I wish I had fully learned Greek to be able to speak with my grandparents. I can’t say I believe it’d make me worse off, but I was just lazy. It’s not too late to start learning a new language. Why not begin while it’s easier to expand your mind?

Knowledge for its own sake: A worthy pastime

David Madill

In the past, an enquiring mind was persecuted and ignored. Despite the fact that these minds are the foundation of our modern life, this trend still continues. Artists, athletes and musicians are glorified because they pursue their callings-art, sports and music-for their own sakes. Why then, since the beginning of modern science, has the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake been looked down upon.
From an early age, to love to learn is to be different. To work in excess of one’s schoolwork is to label oneself an outcast. While other children learn to play piano or shoot a basketball, one who learns algebra in elementary school is called socially deficient, a nerd and a geek.

This continues into high school, where schools all over America are doing away with the class ranking system while a resounding victory over a rival football team is celebrated.

Why the hypocrisy? Why is a victory in a physical sport more important than an intellectual feat? Yet these same schools proclaim their “pursuit of academic excellence.”

For centuries, intellectual excellence has been looked down upon. Just ask Galileo, Aristotle or Socrates. Their work, now the foundations of modern science, was the cause of their exile, persecution and even death. Yet we hold them in high esteem today.

So I urge you: look around and find those who push themselves past the boundaries of normal schoolwork. If you are one of those people, don’t stop!

Harvard graduate and news writer, Leonid Fridman, was right when he said, “America needs its nerds”. They are the future, not only for this generation and this country, but also for generations to come and for the whole world.

The problem with “flawless”

Olivia Mohr

People need to step into the real world.

Let’s face it: when we see a model in an advertisement saying something along the lines of, “you’ll look like this if you buy this,” is that what they really look like? No. The real them is hidden beneath layers of makeup, Photoshop and airbrushing. Yet we constantly see girls feeling insecure about themselves because they don’t look like they just stepped off the cover of a magazine. A lot of what advertisers show is humanly impossible, yet that’s what’s considered beautiful.

Advertising uses human idealism to sell a product. The danger behind this phenomenon? People are never satisfied with what they have and who they are.

We all know about Hollywood’s obsession with looks and publicity. Hollywood stars hide behind a Façade, making themselves seem like something totally different than who they really are.

Sadly, we see that in the real world, too. The influence of the media leads us to believe that we have to become something we’re not in order to be accepted. Not only that, but people feel like they need to completely change their image to get attention. (Miley Cyrus, anyone?)

In the real world, like in Hollywood, all people seem to want is attention, and they don’t care if it’s from doing the right thing or the wrong thing. They think as long as people are paying attention to them, they’ll feel good about themselves. That’s shallow, and that’s wrong. If you’re always putting on a show, you’ll never be happy.

People can become so obsessed with their appearance and getting attention that it becomes their life, and since none of it is real, their life isn’t either.

Though this might sound cheesy, just be yourself, and don’t worry about what other people might think.

On a different note, the media minimizes matters that are actually really serious like drug and alcohol abuse. Hollywood glamorizes them, or even makes them out to be comical when, in reality, they destroy people’s lives. Addiction is not a joke. Everything is fun and games… until you have to pay the consequences. Yet Hollywood makes the lives of drug and alcohol abusers seem flawless, letting people think that’s what they have to do to “fit in” or “be cool.”

We live in a world lacking discipline. So many people are impulsive and don’t think about what will happen after the fact. It might feel great while you’re doing it, but is that temporary pleasure worth a lifetime of regret and misery?

What the media makes out to be glamorous and flawless can really be deceiving, and it’s scary how much people can be swayed by it. What’s important to realize is the problem with “flawless.”

The maze

Young Koh

Again and again, you are thrown into a maze. You have to get out of it, or the Letter might be altered. Given less than an hour, you have to make it out of this maze or face the consequences. Dashing past the colors, the movements and most importantly, all the NAMES. With every step you take, you risk your ability to turn back. But you aren’t planning on even looking back; no, that’s a mere distraction. You have to consistently make perilous calls, and with each step, you find yourself at another junction. You can hear the sighs of relief from your fellows on the other side, and you are not about to let them enjoy the freedom themselves.

Twenty minutes.

Footsteps thunders behind you as a multitude of others try to catch up to you. Time is running out, and you see a quick turn to the Outside. It’s risky, but it might just work… and you hit dead end. A wall of darkness was erected before you, and the path is closed behind you. This cannot be, you say to yourself, but it is there. It is the Block, the near-impenetrable barrier between yourself and the finishing point.

Ten minutes.

You aren’t out of tricks just quite yet, however. Again and again, you slam yourself against the wall. You summon your minions of memories, old sayings, and they are brought to life against the malicious obstruction.

Five minutes.

Your mind is working more furiously than ever. The countless minions you have summoned lie dead next to you, but more keep responding to your call. You can feel the darkness waning, and the wall is weakening, but you are almost out of time.

Three minutes.

You cannot waste another moment locked in this meaningless duel, and with the last remnants of your mind, you channel all your experiences against the block. It first shudders, and finally, with a sigh, it collapses. You cross the finish line, weary and wounded.

Time’s up.

Author’s note: this is just a WAY cooler way of looking at writing blocks and essays, and hey, who says it can’t ever be interesting?