By RJ Wolcott
Last updated: 3 hours ago
As eager freshmen pounce on MSU’s vibrant campus for summer orientation, thoughts of debauchery-filled parties and popularity dance in their imaginations. College traditionally represents freedom and an opportunity for reshaping one’s image.
The ability to enter a situation in which you completely can manipulate the impressions of others is something incredibly rare, and going away to school might be one of the last chances students have to morph from a nerdy loner to the social butterfly they’ve always aspired to be.
And yet, most stumble before they’re able to get a solid footing. It isn’t necessarily their fault, though. Many fail to understand being a freshman, as cool as it might seem when compared to life in high school, actually represents the lowest rung on the proverbial totem poll.
The long and short of it is as much as incoming students relish college life, they also must cloak their earnest nature from those around them. Being a freshman is great — acting like one is not. As such, here are some tips to help our newest Spartans become acclimated to life here in East Lansing without immediately revealing themselves as the delicate flowers they are.
1. Keep high school where it belongs — back home
This shouldn’t be misinterpreted as an endorsement of abandoning what helped you become the person you are today.
Instead, understand it’s college, and no one — not even your new best friends on your floor — cares about high school. They all just have escaped the vacuous, banal and hypersuperficial institution known as secondary education. The last thing people need is to be transformed back to that time, and you should instead strive to create new memories.
With this, I advise avoiding high school clothes such as letterman jackets and other similar attire. Nothing says clinging to the former glory days like representing No One Cares High School each and every day.
2. Be courteous
This is a general rule for being the best human being you can be, but it needs to be mentioned here as well. Walking on the wrong side of the sidewalk or biking hastily to class while disregarding traffic signs sits on the trivial end of the spectrum.
Meanwhile, things such as trashing the cafeteria because you believe someone is being paid to pick it up instantly will label you as the spoiled, selfish adolescent that you, in fact, are and will bring you nothing but ill will and malicious looks.
3. Get involved
Believe me, after being here for three years, I think being involved on campus has been the best part of college. MSU is a massive place — so massive, in fact, you are bound to find a group of people with similar interests as yourself. Love fashion? There’s a club for that. Adore League of Legends?
You bet there is a group of people who love it just as much as you.
I cannot stress this point enough: success and fulfillment, personally, emotionally and socially, lies just outside of one’s comfort zone. So get out there, make friends and become the person you’ve always known you are.
By Katie Adbilla
Last updated: 9 hours ago
This past weekend, I took a road trip to adventure in my own hometown.
Growing up in Metro Detroit, I’ve always found the nature of the different neighborhoods both interesting and simultaneously calming. Although it might not always be the safest idea, venturing into a new part of town can be the best aid to boredom or solace amid grief. But among the many spaces within the Detroit area, there is one place I always will cherish and think fondly of: the Heidelberg Project.
Wedged into one of the more run-down parts of Detroit’s east side, the project consists of public art made out of abandoned houses and vacant lot space. The artist, Tyree Guyton, typically spends his afternoons meandering around the project talking to people walking past. Within an area many would find forbidding or unsafe, the Heidelberg Project appears nearly untouchable.
While walking throughout the project on Friday, a woman called out to me from her porch.
“Hi! Wanna sign my house?”
I looked up, wondering if I’d heard her correctly. There she sat on her chair, equipped with a stack of markers, a money jar and a smile. She explained, saying she referred to her house as the “YellowHouse GuestBook,” and had recruited passersby to sign it for years. In exchange for the signatures of strangers, she asked one small favor: $1 to help raise money for her son.
I grabbed a teal marker from the plastic bag, anxious as to what I wanted my legacy on the house to consist of. We could write our names, the date, an encouraging message — anything we wanted, she said. Looking up and down at the mustard yellow sides of the house, I was in awe of the dozens of signatures — and I was in awe of the woman and her spirit.
If I asked my mother if strangers could bless our home with their signatures, she would most likely have a small stroke. For this woman to offer up her home, often a subject of pride to many families, as a personal graffiti space for complete strangers, is an incredibly open-minded action of kindness.
While it might be eccentric, it shows the great deal of importance she places on her community in every aspect of her life. She has made her home into an ever-growing yearbook, and even though I had just met her, I felt at home in her presence.
Through this experience, I’ve found that the easiest way to make people feel at home is to give them space to express themselves in any way they wish to. We could all take a few lessons from her: how to be welcoming, how to be open-minded. But most importantly, she taught me, and undoubtedly many others, that everyone has needs that must be fulfilled, whether the responsibility is placed in the hands of a loving friend or within the arms of a stranger.
By Michael Kransz
Last updated: 06/12/13 6:46pm
The American flag draped across my wall is not ironic, not laughable; it is the voice of millions past, present and future sewn into a cohesive boom that shakes the prairies, the forests, the mountains and the cities of this vast land.
Quiet. The echo is recorded, stored and scrutinized till kingdom come, and free speech is not free, it is implications and ill intent. Your grandmother, your neighbors and those who speak little English represent a clear and present danger to our freedoms and should be treated as such until they are hooded and taken away or meet their natural end.
Through traitorous whistle-blowers shedding light on patriotic snoops such as the NSA, the people have seen the shark fin circling beneath us, eyeing first the more delicious prey.
We breathed life into the beast with our fears and granted it autonomy, unaccountability and the resulting recklessness.
Now it grows more plump by the year, slinking in our shadows, naming the undesirables and carving them up like a Christmas ham.
Or maybe not.
Maybe the weasels operate on borrowed time, clawing as great a grip possible and fretting that morning the sleeping giant awakes and its voice dispels this perversion of trust.
One thing is certain: there will be no good and no evil in their status quo, only those armed with daggers up their sleeves, because does not the government represent the people?
By Derek Kim
Last updated: 06/09/13 7:21pm
North Korean and South Korean officials held their first government-level talks in years today in Panmunjom, an abandoned village that straddles the Demilitarized Zone.
On Friday, Pyongyang also reconnected a hotline with South Korea it disconnected amidst the rising tensions in the past few months.
As a South Korea native, I am glad to hear news of decreasing tensions, however, it was a separate meeting that brought me hope this past weekend — and no Korean was present.
These on-and-off talks has been a driveling pattern of the divided Koreas for decades. I already can foreshadow the events that will emanate: in a couple months, Kim Jong-un will proclaim more bellicose rhetoric, South Korea and the U.S. will be forced to increase its military presence, North Korea will test another missile and the Korean peninsula will repeat its folly.
Real promise of potential unification came in Rancho Mirage, Calif., as President Barack Obama met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss a range of issues, including suppressing the DPRK’s nuclear ambitions.
China is the key to the future of the Korean peninsula.
The cold, hard truth is (and it hurts for me to say this), the Republic of Korea is not strong enough to accomplish unification on its own. China is a geographically large, economic power, South Korea only has the latter quality.
For the Kim dictatorship to topple, China must be the leading partaker.
The majority of the DPRK’s humanitarian aid is from the Chinese government. President Jinping’s administration is one of Kim Jong-un’s only allies. Without Chinese support, North Korea’s future rests on sinking sand.
Just as these two nations emerged from the work of outside parties, thus will be the same for its future — unified or separated.
By Michael Koury
Last updated: 06/05/13 6:54pm
In a new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, while looking at your Facebook profile for five minutes helps boost your self-esteem, it also can lead to a decrease in motivation.
According to the study of 159 U.S. college students, Catalina Toma, who wrote the study, said “the increase in self-worth and self-integrity induced by Facebook profile exposure was shown to backfire by reducing users’ motivation to perform well in subsequent cognitive tasks of moderate difficulty.”
This, by all means, isn’t that surprising. Who doesn’t get a sense of self-worth after seeing all the likes on the post you made of Louis C.K.’s stand-up or about the new dress you got from the store. It makes you think people really care about what you think.
On the flip side, I don’t believe looking at your profile leads to a decrease in motivation to do anything. It does waste your time to do anything of remote importance, but I don’t think it will reduce my motivation.
But going on your Facebook profile can’t be a bigger waste of time than doing a study about how people look at their Facebook profile and then overanalyzing it.
By Holly Baranowski
Last updated: 06/02/13 7:07pm
With more than 160 inmates at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, conditions inside the prison camp are spiraling out of control. There appears to be no end in sight to the conflicts that arise daily between the American troops and the detainees, according to an article on CNN.
Not only does each day bring the American troops guarding the detainees an obscene amount of physical and verbal abuse, many of the detainees have been embarking on a hunger strike since February that is threatening their lives. Many of these detainees are being force-fed to keep them alive.
In addition to refusing food, the detainees physically and verbally abuse the American troops guarding them. One female guard told CNN that the prisoners call her profane names on a daily basis, as well as throw feces at her through the boxes that food is passed through in the cells.
I can see both sides to this conflict. One one hand, there is the issue of finding where to put the prisoners if the prison camp were to be closed. On the other hand, if kept open, the struggle between the prisoners and American guards will only progress. The answer to this conflict isn’t going to be a one-step solution, but something needs to be done.
President Obama recently said that the prison camp needs to be closed, but has yet to act on this statement. He promised to close the prison when he was elected for the first time, but Congress disabled him from doing so.
Hopefully the national attention being received on this matter will encourage the nation’s leaders to make a much-needed decision about this. The conditions that have been made apparent within this prison camp are inhumane and startling.
By Michael Gerstein
Last updated: 05/29/13 6:58pm
Coming in on the left is candidate A, backed by political heavyweights C, D and E.
And on the right is candidate B, “business leader” and champion of “your freedom,” protecting your right to ingest banal and empty slogans whenever you like.
Get ready folks! The spectacle has barely begun. And there’s no shortage of empty slogans to support. This fight isn’t for the lighthearted; no this is serious business. And blood will be shed. So keep your eyes open and try not to eat anything before watching the Great Pandering Contest of 2014: the gubernatorial fight.
They’ve both got their perks! And their wallets are even wider than their mouths (which have to be pretty big after spewing a lifetime of verbal bile). But bile tastes good, doesn’t it? Think about one of our favorite sayings: “support the troops.” That’s always a good one. Like any good PR campaign, you get people repeating mindless slogans instead of focusing on the real issue, as Noam Chomsky aptly stated.
Do you support our policy? That’s the real question, Chomsky says. And it’s the one they don’t want you asking. Instead, turn on the TV, kick your feet up, crack a beer open and listen.
“I’m business leader,” says candidate B, *plus 10 points. We need someone who knows how to make a good profit as our political leader, right?
But wait! “I’m for education and the workers!” says candidate A. Ah yes. An uppercut! The liberal pandering. My favorite.
Only time (well, that and campaign “donations”) will tell who becomes Michigan’s next Great Leader.
“Come on sweethearts,” they both say, peering out into the great American Corporate Abyss.
And in pours the money. So what do you prefer, Chevy or Ford?
By Michael Koury
Last updated: 05/27/13 7:48pm
Sometimes I find myself in a particularly bad mood. I know this happens to a lot of people every day, and this day was no different. And I couldn’t quite seem to get out of this funk.
Then I turned on the TV and saw something that instantly turned my day around and made it completely better: puppies.
It turns out introducing puppies into your life can make it a whole lot better.
Who would’ve thunk it?
But while watching two puppy Labradors play with each other, I got to thinking, why don’t we introduce puppies into conflicts to solve and melt everybody involved’s hearts?
There is no way you can convince me that by throwing some puppy German shepherds on the Congressional floor we can’t get the Republicans and Democrats to stop fighting with each other and solve the sequester.
They won’t even remember why they began fighting in the first place!
Puppies are the universal sign for joy. Nobody can resist smiling when a puppy is around them.
So why not take it up a notch and put some puppies in the Middle East to bring down all the tension? I’m sure Afghanistan wouldn’t be too mad at us if we gave them a wiener dog to hold?
Who isn’t happy and laughing when holding a wiener dog? You name me one person and I’ll name you a liar.
By Julia Nagy
Last updated: 05/22/13 7:26pm
After Tuesday’s Senate hearings, it looks like Apple may be rotten at the core.
Apple CEO Tim Cook denied allegations that the company is avoiding billions of dollars in taxes by rearranging profits to foreign affiliates. However, following the law and following the law using loopholes are two different concepts.
Now whether the allegations lawmakers have made, accusing Apple of avoiding taxes on at least $74 billion in profits between 2009 and 2012 are true remains uncertain, although Cook didn’t openly deny some of those allegations. But setting up “ghost” subsidiaries in Ireland, as Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., described it, seems a bit out of touch with a company so fervently defending its American image.
“We pay all the taxes we owe, every single dollar. We don’t depend on tax gimmicks,” Cook said in the hearing, arguing the outdated tax code, and not the company’s practices, were to blame.
Well, essentially sheltering your money overseas from U.S. taxes is a gimmick, and the oldest trick in the book at that. If you earn a majority of your revenue in this country, 37.9 percent in the Americas, and are selling yourself as a loyal American brand, then you should be paying the taxes. It’s pretty simple: stop the gimmicks, stop the greed, stop taking advantage of the system.
While there’s always room for reform in taxes, claiming the system is so outdated is not a viable excuse for shifting your profits overseas to avoid the 35 percent corporate tax rate in the U.S. One could argue getting arrested for stealing an iPod out of someone’s purse is outdated, but that doesn’t absolve one of that action.
But I guess when you’re a multibillion dollar corporation, the rules are bit different.
By Michael Koury
Last updated: 05/20/13 7:53pm
It was announced today Yahoo bought the social networking and blogging site Tumblr in a billion-dollar acquisition.
Yahoo will pay $1.1 billion for the site in an effort to reach out to a younger generation of Internet users, most of whom might not have known Yahoo is a search engine website.
The move is a risky one, as Yahoo is buying a company that never has posted a profit, according to Reuters.com.
And the purchase isn’t sitting well with users of Tumblr, who worry Yahoo will make changes to the site.
In response, Yahoo said the two companies will operate separately and made a “promise not to screw it up,” which, while sounding like a headline for an article in The Onion, is an actual quote from the company.
It’s time for Yahoo to sit back and realize this might be a big mistake. While the move is a gutsy one, the chance it will pay off is slim.
Yahoo is one of the most well-known websites in the world, but it’s overpaying with this deal. And by all means, it looks a little desperate on its part.
And you have to know you lost the Internet battle when I turned to Google to provide me with this information.
The only advice I could give to Yahoo is to make sure you still have your receipt after this purchase and to see if the Internet has a 30-day return policy.