By RuAnne Walworth
Last updated: 04/14/13 6:03pm
Some say you are born a fan of a sports team and always will remain dedicated to them. I say you are born a fan of a sports team for the first few years of your life because you are too young to know the difference between the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks. After that, it is up to you to make a decision about your favorite sports teams.
Typically, most kids will follow in their parents’ footsteps and cheer on the same team, perhaps with the exception of a team or two, throughout their entire lives.
This is the case for me, at least. In hockey, for example, it has been ingrained in me to be a Red Wings fan for as long as I can remember — and I remain a fan to this day.
I also grew up in a family that has a great love for the Detroit Tigers. And don’t get me wrong, The Tigers are an amazing team, and I always will cheer them on … unless they are playing my favorite team — the Baltimore Orioles.
There is a key spark for people’s love of sports teams. For me, this spark happened 11 years ago when I saw the Orioles play in my first Major League Baseball game at Camden Yards.
Part of my love for the Orioles stemmed from my dad’s interest in the team at this time in my life. He gave me a signed baseball from Cal Ripken Jr., and I felt special knowing he signed it for me. Back then, I learned it’s more than a team’s statistics that earn lifelong fans. It’s the team’s kindness and humble attitude.
As corny as it might seem — and I know I am not the only person out there who has done this — I also used to base my favorite teams on their jersey colors and team mascot. This is where my love for the Baltimore Ravens came from when I was younger.
After all, purple is my favorite color and I loved the fact they had an Edgar Allan Poe reference for their mascot. Even something as simple as a mascot can be the foundation of someone’s love and interest for a team. Eventually, he or she might become more involved in player bios and team statistics to truly become a crazed sports fan.
So, maybe it’s a team’s quarterback that draws you in, the new draft picks, the clever mascot or a signed baseball. Regardless, you always will hold a curiosity as to what other teams are like and wonder why you have never been a fan of them before.
So, this baseball season, don’t limit yourself to the Detroit Tigers and the Lansing Lugnuts. See what else is out there and head to a Yankees game or even visit U.S. Cellular Field, the home of the White Sox. In the end, what really draws you in is the love for the game.
By RuAnne Walworth
Last updated: 04/10/13 6:44pm
Wouldn’t it be great if you had your own TV show where you were able to travel around and film anything of interest to you? Well, this is exactly what happened to Andrew Jenks, a 27-year-old who was given free reign of his show, World of Jenks featured on MTV.
The first time I was introduced to one of the episodes was in class. This particular episode featured a college-age girl living on the streets. Everyone has a story, and I was just as curious as Jenks to hear hers.
After running away from a horrible family situation with abusive, alcoholics for parents, Danielle Earls, who calls herself “Big D,” ventured out onto the streets with a smile on her face and a dog by her side. During her time on the streets, she always had a goal in her mind to eventually go to school. She wanted to become a social worker and help people who have been in her situation — to give back to those she took from.
This made me think — how many college students would be able to survive on the streets for even 24 hours without a single word of complaint?
We can hardly walk to class without complaining about a slow bus, the slightly burnt burger we had earlier at lunch and when our next English paper is due. Yet, this girl would give anything to have enough money to ride the bus, have a dorm to come back to, a cafeteria to eat in and a valued education.
We often learn the most valuable advice from people who have been through so much and often have little, such as this particular girl on the street. What will it take for us to understand the value of life as she does? Will it be a cold, hard slap in the face by reality that wakes us up?
We need to learn how to power through our struggles and accept that hardships are something people of all statures encounter on a daily basis.
We need to look at situations such as hers and understand how blessed we truly are. Instead of complaining that you missed your favorite TV show, be thankful you have a place to come home to. Instead of worrying about your next paper, be thankful you are fortunate enough to go to school.
We take too much for granted as a society. We need to remember our “first world problems” actually are not problems at all.
By RuAnne Walworth
Last updated: 04/09/13 6:26pm
I was very upset when my latest TV obsession, “The Walking Dead”, declared its mid-season finale last week. Featuring the ever-famous zombie apocalypse, this show has been growing in fame and popularity after three seasons of human-zombie interaction.
The story focuses on the hardships of living in dark times of loss, destruction and the unknown. Despite the sadness that spreads through the seasons, there always is a glimmer of hope to keep everyone going during the never-ending apocalypse.
But what keeps the viewers going each season? What entices us to devote our Sunday nights to this one TV show, desperate to find out if Daryl made it through to the next episode?
Perhaps it is the display of love and devotion among the tight-knit groups, but then again, we could achieve that same scenario on a show like “Survivor” or basically any show on SOAPnet.
I have come to the conclusion that the driving factor for these shows lies more with the unknown. Obviously, we don’t have live zombies in our world, they strictly are fictional. Yet, there is this constant fear and curiosity about what it would be like to experience a zombie apocalypse, or any encounter with a zombie for that matter.
Zombies officially have taken over our world. We have been introduced to games like “Call of Duty,” involving them for years now — but they are not just limited to video games.
Recently, you might have seen people walking — or might I say running — around campus with NERF guns. They are participating in MSU Humans vs. Zombies, a game in which teams of humans and zombies try to take each other out in order to win.
This mock human-zombie battle is just one of the ways we are making the idea of zombies come to life. MSU even has a zombie apocalypse survival class — attempting to turn our obsession with the unknown into a realistic future event.
In the end, we all ironically seem to be ignoring our worries about modern-day terrors and living instead in a fictional world where undead beings try to kill us.
At what point does this become ridiculous?
By RuAnne Walworth
Last updated: 04/07/13 5:00pm
There’s nothing worse than having papers, tests and projects accumulate at the end of a semester. With the spring semester ending in a few short weeks and summer just around the corner, everyone is anxious to be done with these stressors. Don’t get too excited, though. Not all professors share this same philosophy of ending the year on a non-stressful note.
What I have come to realize is many professors have their own timeline, their own schedule and their own opinions about what is stressful and what is an appropriate amount of material to present their students with during the course of the semester.
From my personal experience, many professors — especially when you begin to take the 300 and 400 level classes — love to load you with five or more books you reference maybe twice in the entirety of the class, one too many projects, weekly tests and seemingly endless papers you have to complete throughout the semester. What they seem to fail to realize is you not only have a social life, a job and maybe even play a sport, but also likely are taking four or five more classes on top of this particular one.
I don’t understand how professors find it so feasible to load their students with continuous course work and expect them to be able to complete everything with 100 percent effort. Yes, some assignments might have a few more hours spent on them than others because they might be worth more in the class itself. But what test or paper will suffer in another class because of your heavy workload?
College has become a system in which you pick and choose what you want to do well in — what you want to devote more of your time to.
You say your best grade at the moment is in history? Well, looks like your history paper will have to be a last-minute attempt so you can manage to finish your two English books, come up with questions for your in-class psychology discussion and still make time for your science study group.
College should not be this stressful on students or professors — we all know they don’t have a lot of time on their hands, either. So, professors: Please lighten your load near the end of the semester, for the benefit of everyone.
By Holly Baranowski
Last updated: 04/03/13 6:49pm
The New York Times recently published five stories debating whether social media activity should cost a person their job. The debate basically revolved around whether employers need to implement policies regarding social media activity so that employees could face consequences at work if they post something questionable online.
After reading the five articles, I can’t help but voice my own opinion on the topic.
As a frequent user of Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram, I’ve seen both pictures and statuses that are perfectly acceptable to be posted online, and some that probably should not leave a person’s phone. Ever.
This doesn’t change if you are a college student about to graduate and apply for jobs, or if you are a seasoned veteran at your place of employment. Posting something online comes with the implication that anyone can view it. The person viewing it can be an employer, and that is part of being on social media.
If you post pictures of yourself from last weekend’s crazy party, you are allowing the world to see them. If an employer stumbles across these photos, you can not blame anyone but yourself.
There also isn’t a difference between an employer hearing an employee talking badly about the company to another employee or on Facebook. The repercussions should be the same. If you really want your thoughts and voice to be private, write them in a diary.
I understand there are different degrees to which this can take place, but I think it’s too hard to determine where to draw the line.
Anything published online is fair game for the world to see, and people need to be careful when they decide what to share on social media.
Social media allows you to create an entire image of yourself online — make sure it is one you want people to see. Because they probably will.
By Holly Baranowski
Last updated: 04/02/13 6:38pm
Every morning, Monday through Friday, you can find me in Wells Hall struggling to learn the Chinese language so I hopefully can graduate with a useful minor. When I leave class, the last thing I want is some overly-religious man screaming to me and the rest of my college peers that we all will go to hell.
When the usual gang of religious preachers walks around the back of Wells Hall, sometimes up to a few times a week, they normally just have one person yelling to anyone who walks by.
When I walked out of class Monday morning, though, there were two men yelling and three children standing with them. All of them were holding large signs that said things such as, “Obey Jesus or burn in hell,” “Repent and believe in the gospel” and “Repent! Obey Jesus!”
This scene is something I’ve gotten used to during my two semesters of classes in Wells, but this time I was really upset by it. The children all looked to be under the age of six or seven years old, and the signs they were holding were almost bigger than they were. Not to mention it was a very cold and windy day to make small children stand outside.
If I had to take a guess, I would say the children had only a vague idea of why they were standing with those signs or what the words on the signs meant. I don’t feel it is right these parents have made their children take part in this.
I always have believed following any religion is a personal decision, not one made by your parents or random people behind Wells Hall. Pressing your views on others is not going solve any of the problems in our world. Especially if you’re trying to press your views on someone who is not old enough to understand.
To me, these children holding signs was a step too far.
My personal beliefs have been cultivated for many years by many different experiences, not a man telling me I would burn in hell if I don’t obey Jesus as I’m rushing to my next class.
By Holly Baranowski
Last updated: 04/01/13 6:02pm
When I began a routine Google search earlier today, something caught my eye near the bottom of the page. The link said “New! What’s that smell? Find out with Google Nose.” I proceeded to click on the link to see what Google Nose possibly could be.
The page featured a woman sniffing her cell phone, with the headline “Smelling is believing.”
Below the sniffing woman was a list of highlights of “Google Nose.”
Examples such as “Take a whiff: the Google Aromabase – 15M scentibytes” and “Don’t ask, don’t smell: For when you’re wary of your query – SafeSearch included” were listed.
There even was a video featured, which had a “product manager” and a “user experience designer” who spoke about why smelling is such an important experience once missing from Google.
At first I was baffled — how would you smell something on the page? When I continued to look through the page, I looked at my phone and realized the date — April 1.
As it hit me that this all was an April Fools’ Day joke, I couldn’t help but laugh. I came across another news story that discussed Google and their prank for 2013. Apparently Google is well-known for participating in April Fools’ Day.
I found out they also had released a video saying YouTube.com (which Google owns) would be closing the site for 10 years to review everything on the website in order to pick a winner for the most viral video. The ultimate video winner was said to be released in 2023 when YouTube would be returning online.
The fact that Google has the time and money to pull pranks such as these is almost concerning, but nonetheless entertaining. The jokes were in good humor, and I still laugh when I look on the page.
By Holly Baranowski
Last updated: 03/31/13 6:54pm
This weekend, I went home for Easter and spent Sunday morning walking up and down the Riverwalk near my hometown of Midland, Mich. As I was walking, I noticed the pavilions and historical landmarks near the end of the pier had been vandalized by what I would assume was local teenagers.
The poles that held up the pavilion had the paint scraped off them, and graffiti covered the railing, pavilion and peer. The signs explaining the historical significance of the area had been covered in sexual innuendos, and I couldn’t tell you how many random names and “RS HL=4EVER” covered the pier.
Graffiti is not something I ever have taken part in myself, although I’m aware how popular it is as a way for people to leave their mark on the world. It is no less common than writing in the bathroom stalls.
Even though some might argue it as an expression of art, as an art student myself, I think there are many other ways to leave your mark on the world. Destruction of public property is not only a crime, it is just plain disrespectful.
Last year, I worked as a stenographer for a nearby township’s Planning Commission. Not only did I learn a lot about local government, I also learned how much time, effort and planning it takes to build things such as a Riverwalk, which serves to make a town or city a better place for its citizens to live.
When I saw the destruction of the Riverwalk, I could feel the frustration that whoever put it in place also must feel. I know it took a lot of time to make it a beautiful place for people to enjoy and now it has just been ruined.
I’m not sure where or when graffiti began, but I believe there are certain places where it is not appropriate. Why would city officials continue to do nice things for the city if they anticipated it being vandalized?
These are just a few things to think about if you ever find yourself in a position where you have a spray paint can and a desire to vandalize.
By Holly Baranowski
Last updated: 03/28/13 7:56pm
This morning I stumbled across a ridiculous article. Ridiculous in the sense that I can’t believe what our world is coming to.
The article reported a story that has been making international headlines because of a Chinese mother who bought a $6.5 million apartment for her 2-year-old daughter in New York City.
I can’t remember much about my younger years, although I believe much of it revolved around Barney & Friends and Little Bear. I certainly didn’t have any investments in NYC.
The Chinese mother was reported to have picked a location on 57th Street because her daughter would be going to Columbia, NYU or maybe Harvard in the future. The building is 90 stories and includes an aquarium, a private concert hall and a library with a pool table.
This is not the most shocking news I have heard in regard to spoiled children, but this does rank high on the list.
Not only does this girl have 16 years until she will even be attending college, but also she could not possibly know what school she wants to attend or what her interests are.
People in China have been wondering where this woman got the money to purchase such a luxurious apartment, and comments have suggested she could be related to a corrupt government official.
Regardless of how she acquired the money to make such as purchase, this only serves as a reminder that the children in America are not the only ones being spoiled. Every parent wants the best for their child, but where do we draw the line?
Growing up, my parents gave my sister and I many nice gifts, but we always were expected to get a job when the time was right and be grateful for the things we were given. I think it can be hard for children to be thankful and willing to give back if they have grown up extremely spoiled.
I’m sure any parent wants the best for their child, but I think dropping $6.5 million on something they probably have no idea exists isn’t right.
By Holly Baranowski
Last updated: 03/27/13 5:54pm
Wednesday morning, my mom shared a story with me that was published in The New York Times. Even though the article was published last July, it could not be more relevant to my life today.
This article discussed what the author called “the busy trap.” This is the idea that people in America get so caught up in their schedules, they often forget to just take some time to themselves and relax, hence, “the busy trap.”
The article also talks about how being busy is something that almost is glorified. People brag about how busy they are as a way to show how important they must be. These same people get anxious or guilty when they aren’t busy and find something to do to fill the void.
What’s even worse is that this article describes me perfectly.
Like many college students, I find there aren’t enough hours in the day. I sometimes feel trapped within my daily schedule of class, work and Chinese homework. Even in high school, I dreaded a Saturday sitting by myself in my room. I needed to be doing something all the time.
In college, I dream for some time just to lay on the couch all afternoon, but as soon as that time appears, I run away from it. The last time I decided to take a nap, I crawled into bed only to be haunted by the guilt of what I should be doing instead.
Even after reading this article, I can see the problem, but not a solution. In order to keep up with all the other busy bees in this country, I also must maintain a schedule overflowing at the seams. Right?
It’s important to stay on top of work and school, but where do we draw the line? I’m not really sure what the answer is to this issue, but I suppose I can start by taking baby steps.
Being busy is pretty unavoidable in college, but I think figuring out how to relax now instead of later would be a good place to start.