To Be or Not to Be...That is the Question

posted Apr 5, 2020, 6:38 AM by Sierra Tufts-Sicard

Being stuck inside during this unprecedented outbreak of Covid-19 has left me with an overabundance of time to think about the choices I’ve made during my academic career. 


From the fourth grade until my sophomore year of high school I was certain that I would go to college to become a wildlife biologist so that I could work in Africa with the conservationists working to preserve Africa’s big cats. Then, chemistry happened and plans changed. 


I’d always been interested in writing stories and reading, so the logical next step was to focus on taking as many English and creative writing classes I could to be prepared for being an English/Creative Writing major in college. So, I became an English major in the Creative Writing concentration with a Professional Writing minor here at Arcadia. 


During Spring Break, however, I had a lot of time to find new shows to binge-watch and I stumbled upon the Animal Planet app and began watching The Zoo which takes viewers behind the scenes at the Bronx zoo to show how the animals are cared for and the breeding programs that are in place to repopulate endangered species in the wild. The more I watched it, the more I questioned why I didn’t stick with my desire to work with animals. Just watching the zookeepers interact with the big cats filled me with a sense of joy and knowledge that I would likely be happy to do that for the rest of my life. So, I began to research zoology degrees. 


Eventually, I had so many tabs open in Safari that I couldn’t even remember where I started. I was determined to tell my mother that I was changing colleges and majors so that I could spend my life working with big cats. Then, something happened that made me realize why I am majoring in creative writing. 


I closed all of my search tabs and as I was about to close my laptop I noticed that there was a blank space on my desktop where a folder should be. My heart dropped when I realized that the folder missing contained every document I ever created while working my novel. I thought it was gone since I, for some reason, never thought to back up those files. I began frantically searching through every folder on my computer hoping that I accidentally moved it without realizing I did. Just as I was about to give up, I opened a folder with information for another novel idea I was playing around with. There was my missing folder. 


Now, I am still an English/Creative Writing major and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sometimes losing something, or thinking you’ve lost something, is exactly what you need to remind you why you made the decisions you have. 

Mental Health in the Athletics Community

posted Apr 2, 2020, 5:20 PM by Anna Intartaglia

As my basketball season has recently come to an end, I stumbled upon an important topic in between my postseason recovery and the start of “grind szn”. I was watching an Ohio State basketball game, the announcers were discussing how the team had lost many players that year due to injury, as well as one player (DJ Carton) taking time off for “mental health” and “personal reasons”. I was immediately confronted with the conflicting societal standard of how mental health is typically approached in the athletics community. The player with the mental health issue stuck out compared to the ankle and knee problems. Which although seems like no big deal, is actually a huge problem. 

Victoria Garrick, a former USC volleyball player is a huge advocate for athletes and mental health. In June of 2017, she gave a Ted Talk about her experience with these problems and how she dealt with them. 

Going back to the Ohio State team, Garrick explains the situation perfectly, of how hard it is for athletes to temporarily leave their team for the benefit of their mental health:

 “I could easily get the day off for a physical injury because I’m limping, you can see my ankle swelling. But for an athlete to say ‘I’ve been feeling depressed this week’ or ‘I’m having insomnia because of my anxiety’ you’re just looked down upon...When the trainer can see that you’re injured they make you sit out because they can see that your physical health is at stake. But when no one can see your mental health, it’s just up to you to decide.” 

She notes that the stigma behind mental health has an association with being weak, and the last thing that athletes want is for their teammates, coaches, school, family, trainers, and every single other person who helped them get to that point, to think that they’re weak. The more time they rest, the more time their competition has to surpass them. The weaker their coaches think they are, the less that they will play in games. The decision, to an athlete, seems to ultimately come down to what they value more, their mental health or trying not to let their team down. 

The fact that Garrick is willing to talk about her struggles so openly to create more awareness for athletes like Carton to make the decision he did represents how they are truly great role models. They are two amazing examples of how the athletic community, specifically the NCAA, needs to be aware and more willing to address the mental health issues that its athletes are having. They are public figures that I think all athletes should look up to. Placing themselves in the spotlight of fighting mental health in athletics, and forcing people to talk about it because no one wants to. Especially coming from such prestigious athletic schools as USC and Ohio State. 

But this problem isn’t just among major division one schools. Mental health needs to be emphasized more in all athletic teams around the country, division one, two and three alike. In order to practice what I preach I am willing to acknowledge that I have come face to face with these problems. I never found myself comfortable enough with this issue to take the time that I needed, and it definitely took a toll on me. As athletes, we all fear being called weak, or letting our team down. Overall, I think it is just so important that people, especially athletes, become willing to talk about mental health and the effects that it has. We need to all start looking at people like Garrick and Carton as strong role models for the athletic community, and strong voices who advocate for more provisions by the NCAA to address mental health. Overall, we need to treat mental health issues the same way that we treat physical injuries. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean that it’s not there.

For anyone interested, here is a link to the Ted Talk! I would really recommend watching it!

Heartbreak Weather Album Review

posted Mar 22, 2020, 9:20 AM by Marc Raffa

“Heartbreak Weather”, the sophomore album of former One Direction member Niall Horan was recently released on March 13th. As someone who lives and breathes music, I love to immersify myself in each new release that I’m interested in.
It debuted at number one on the iTunes Charts almost instantaneously after its drop. The album was introduced by three singles--the first one being a sultry and new age blend of rock/pop influences titled “Nice To Meet Ya.” Horan led fans to believe that this era was going to be more edgy than his debut singer/songwriter “Flicker.” The second single from the album gave fans a taste of the ex-boyband’s softer and more heartfelt side with “Put A Little Love on Me”, a ballad talking about the feelings one goes through after a breakup and how complex the simplicity of love truly is. The latest single protruding before the album’s highly anticipated release was the poppy “No Judgment”, a message from Horan to his fans that their relationship is a safe space for flaws and insecurities to be celebrated and embraced.
The album starts off with the title track, “Heartbreak Weather,” which is a light and optimistic song perfect for putting the windows down and driving through the dewy spring weather. The album falls into some more rock influenced tunes that consist of deeper bass sounds and Horan channeling his inner Elvis Presley in the tracks, “Black and White”, “Small Talk”, and “New Angel.” Once Horan has told the story of the fun and anticipating parts of a new relationship, he starts painting the picture of one starting to go sour, where communication is lost and trust is nowhere to be found. He sings about his lover hurting him by setting standards far too high for him to live up to in the honest and raw, “Bend the Rules.” The album concludes with two tracks reminiscing on the no longer fruitful relationship, “San Francisco” and “Still,” both being memory books on the good times they shared and Horan pleading for what might be a try at the relationship again realizing how in love he was. The album tells a chronological story of all the things that come with heartbreak and the many facets that make the human experience a beautifully heart-wrenching story to be told.

Is Philosophy The Answer?

posted Mar 18, 2020, 5:57 AM by Angel Rodriguez   [ updated Mar 20, 2020, 9:41 AM by Daniel Pieczkolon ]

I am a passionate person who always pursues becoming a writer. Writing is more than just a piece of paper and a pen; it is capturing images and emotions with an original meaning. However, my first philosophy class reinforced my perception about things that, as a writer, I had already noticed but did not have an explanation for.

What are we here for? What is the meaning of life? 

These are not easy questions to answer….

The truth is that we don’t have an answer for them. These are common questions that philosophy addresses. Philosophy may be one of the subjects that most relates to reality. Through philosophy, humankind can change its perception of morality, purpose, truth, and even develop a critical thinking process. 

Philosophy has existed since ancient times and transcended with its doctrine. Some philosophical quotes that we still practice could be…

“I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.”-John Stuart Mill

“The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”-Socrates

“The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.” Confucius

Millions of philosophical quotes relate to life and reality and can be analyzed to look for answers, but more than looking for answers we should search for a new life perception that involves putting our feet on the ground and living life like it is our last day. That makes philosophy special and part of my studies at Arcadia University. I chose philosophy as a minor, but I still think that philosophy chose me.

Pressure as a Psychology Major

posted Mar 1, 2020, 7:52 PM by Devon Guertse

Freshman year, I came to Arcadia as a Biology major hoping to become an Orthodontist in the future. Having braces practically all of middle school and high school made me appreciate a nice smile when I see one. Quickly, I realized that the career path I had manifested in my head was not something I wanted to pursue any longer. Don’t get me wrong, it was an easy decision to switch majors and I knew I would be happier in Psychology until you find out that job seeking isn’t as easy as it seems. There are constant pressures as a Psychology major to pursue further education or you’ll be “jobless” or “wasting your major.” This year, the fear of not using my major or finding a job I am passionate about is coming full circle with the constant talk of grad school and internships. At times, it is easy to feel like you should have chosen a different pathway and may feel regret.

Having the reminder that counselors play important roles in people’s lives and are motivated to help relieves the pressure. Psychology majors can do an array of different things: criminal justice, social work, they can deal with children, adults, and the elderly. The possibilities that are available to Psychology majors are endless. My dream now is to become a Speech-Language Pathologist to help children get back on track in school and in life. Although it might take me longer to achieve the career I am ultimately working towards, I try to accept the fact that working hard will help me to have a job that I love and want to grow with.

On Feeling Burnt Out

posted Feb 23, 2020, 3:13 PM by Rikki Rosenthal   [ updated Feb 28, 2020, 10:56 AM by Daniel Pieczkolon ]

As the six week mark of the spring semester passes by, I can’t help but feel a sense of dread in the air. All of my peers have expressed their unpleasant feelings at this point in the semester and it would be negligent of me to leave my own unpleasant feelings unacknowledged. From experience, I can say that the first six weeks of any semester are always the most difficult; however, this semester feels different. At 42 days in, we are all feeling burnt out. From what I have gathered, we have all seemed to taken on a little too much this time around and we don’t know how to cope with this overwhelming sense of responsibility.

So how does one stay on top of their work while simultaneously giving themselves a break? That’s a good question. While I may not have all the answers, the one thing I can say for sure is to utilize your time wisely. I have fallen subject to Netflix binges and YouTube holes myself, but procrastinating will only make your life more difficult. Instead, use those distractions as a reward for getting work done.

Yes we all deserve a break sometimes but being aware of your procrastination habits is the key to breaking them. I have this app called “Forest” which helps me manage my screen time in an effective and sustainable way. Essentially, it is a productivity app which allows you to earn credits by not using your phone. Each credit “plants a tree” and you can use those credits to plant real trees around the world. If by chance, you do pick up your phone, the app will give you a warning that your tree will die unless you open the app within 30 seconds. I know this technique may not work for everyone but it has helped me tremendously.

Using the reward system for Netflix and other distractions as well as social gatherings will help you prioritize your school work and hopefully help with the overwhelming sense of dread we all feel at the six week mark. Make sure to take care of yourself and allow yourself to have a break when you do work productively. While school work is important, nothing is as important as your mental health. So take care of yourself. You deserve it.

In Conversation With Angel Rodriguez, February 14, 2020 - Arcadia University, the Library

posted Feb 17, 2020, 6:02 AM by Claire Griffin

1. In conversation about Going to Community College

Claire: So on the recording I have to ask you if this is okay to be recording.

Angel: Yeah that’s fine, I consent.

Claire: Okay awesome, So Angel, What’s your last name?

Angel: Rodriguez

Claire: Okay cool, let’s start with where you’re from?

Angel: Dominican Republic

Claire: And how long have you lived here?

Angel: About 8 years

Claire: How old were you when you moved here?

Angel: Hmm 17, almost 18

Claire: So were you finishing high school?

Angel: No I didn’t do high school over here, I went to college, well there’s a program, I used to live in New York, and there’s a program that is called Clip, that is about English immersion, English as a second language. Basically I did a couple of semesters there and then I moved to New Jersey. In New Jersey I did an associate degree in English and liberal arts. Then I moved here and I applied for Arcadia and this is my second semester here.

Claire: Okay and what made you decide to continue school after getting your associates?

Angel: I guess opportunity, because I’m the first one from my family to go to college, or at least to complete an associate, yea so I feel proud to say that and I like writing, writing poetry very much. Basically that’s why, that’s my passion, that’s why I go to school.

Claire: Yea! So what’s your major here?

Angel: Creative Writing with a minor in Philosophy.
And what about you?

Claire: I’m a global media major and a french minor. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do for a while, but in the U.S. when you’re in high school and you’re getting towards the end, everything is about what college you’re going to. People are always asking what four year university you want to go to, you know community college is not very encouraged, or doing anything else isn’t encouraged. But I didn’t really want to go to a four year university right away because they’re really expensive and I didn’t know what I wanted to do yet…

Angel: Right why spend all that money!

Claire: Yea, I didn’t know yet, so I thought I might as well try some other stuff first. So I lived in Ireland for three months doing a leadership program. Then I just worked for the rest of the year, saving up money to travel more. My sister lives in Paris so I visited her, then I did a year at community college in Philadelphia and then I applied here so I'm a transfer student, I’m 21. The year I did at community college I did a program called the Honors Program, which was originally for adults re-entering college, so I really liked learning with people that were all different ages.

Angel: Yea I would say, people from community college, like that experience has brought different kinds of people to meet, it’s amazing. I spent two years in community college…

Claire: Was that in New Jersey?

Angel: Yea it’s called Huxton county community college and basically you meet people from all over the world. I think that’s the beauty of community college.

Claire: Can you tell me more about your experience at community college… or education in general…?

Angel: Okay, so basically how I started writing, I began writing just because in the program in New York, there was a competition for New York University, a writing competition, and the professor, I actually remember, James, he told us to write something, and then I wrote a poem and he sent it in, and I was one of the winners, and basically since then, I think that’s my path, that’s my passion, I want to do writing. And that’s one of the reasons I began to study, because I said to myself, I have the talent but I probably don’t have the knowledge. And I began writing and now I'm going to college. At Huxton, it helped me to develop my English and also better communication. I ended up being, what do you call this thing when you have really good grades, good gpa…?

Claire: Uh like being in good standing?

Angel: Yes, good standing, the Dean's List, oh yes the Dean's List, I was on the Dean's list I had a very good GPA, and when I moved here, I wanted to keep studying.

2. In conversation about Languages and Education

Claire: And then, were there any teachers or professors at community college, or here, or in New York, that stood out and helped you a lot?

Angel: Yea, Professor Anderson, she’s a history professor, at the community college, and she’s African American, and African Americans have so much to say, in writing, because of the experience they have here. She encouraged me to keep going, because when you do ESL, and in community college, you feel like you’re stuck, like you’re not going to move forward…

Claire: Yea can you tell me more about that?

Angel: Yea, it’s like there’s a bar, and you don’t see it, and you just think you’re going to stay here and struggle, and I feel like for people who are learning English, or the language of any country where they want to get an education, I think the language, when they are starting, when they have a lot of studying to do to go forward, I think that’s the most difficult part. It’s not like just going to school in your home country, it’s way difficult because you don’t know if you’re doing the right things. You really have to focus on it, you don’t know if you’re right or wrong. I think that’s the most difficult part for us.

Claire: And so what’s your first language?

Angel: Spanish

Claire: Spanish, and in class I heard you reading some French from the poem we read?

Angel: No, well it’s easy because of my Spanish…

Claire: Right they’re very similar…

Angel: Right like Italian, French, and Spanish, are easy to learn when you know one, at least in sound and pronunciation, it’s almost the same, and part of my mom’s family is from Haiti too, so I know a little bit of French.

Claire: Ah yea, I am a French minor, and this semester my French teacher is Haitian which is cool because last semester my teacher was American, this semester I have a native French speaker, which is really cool.

3. In conversation about Writing and Modern Love

Claire: When you write, do you write for yourself or mostly for school assignments or other people?

Angel: Both, for myself, for school, for other people, like one of my poems is in the last issue of Quiddity.

Claire: Oh yes that’s awesome!

Angel: I don’t like to say it… *is slightly bashful*

Claire: No you should say it! It’s exciting to get published even in your school's small Lit Mag.

Angel: Yea so I write for that kind of thing too. And I also write for myself, cause I feel like writing on paper is the best way to get stress out, and I do that too, I feel alive when I do that. And the good thing about writing is that you have so much to say, and that’s the only place I feel like you can produce all the emotions you want to.

Claire: Yes! I 100% agree, I’m very into writing as well, but I mostly journal for myself, mostly just to get stress out, but I was just writing a letter for my boyfriend *laughs*.

Angel: That’s pretty cool,

Claire: Yea I was like it’s Valentine’s Day and no one writes letters anymore and I think it’s really cool to read words that are written just for you.

Angel: Yea, I do that for my girlfriend too, cause yea it’s beautiful, and if you think about our society with our phones, people forget that kind of stuff, and maybe it’s a bit melodramatic, but it’s cool, it’s cute you know?

Claire: Yea! Like my birthday just passed and I got all these birthday wishes on my facebook and instagram, but I got maybe 3 birthday cards from older relatives, and you know I wish I got more birthday cards, it’s more sincere, I wish more people wrote down what they wanted to say.

Angel: Right rather than just posting it on your wall.

Claire: So when you write for yourself, do you mostly write in English or Spanish? Or both?

Angel: Yea both, I do write in Spanish and English, sometimes I combine both of them. But the funny part is I know more English language rules rather than Spanish…

Claire: Right cause when you’re learning a language you have to get down all the grammar and sentence structures or it won’t make sense, It’s different when it’s your first language and you learned as a baby from the people around you.

Angel: Yeah that's the funny part, when I write in English, it’s more correct.

Claire: So my next question was gonna be, do you write differently when you’re writing in English and Spanish. Either the content, or how you write?

Angel: I would say when I write poetry, the sound and the rhyme in Spanish is much better, just because it’s my first language, and because I can read and write so well in Spanish, it sounds way better, especially in sound and rhyme. But in terms of content, I think English is different for me. Like I mostly write poetry in Spanish, like sad depressing, love poetry, always something about love. *laughs*

And in English I go for a lot of different topics and I play around with words more.

4. In conversation about Cities and Culture

Claire: So how is going to school here different, or I guess it’s really different because here you’re in college…

Angel: Yea I never went to college in the Dominican Republic, just high school, but I will tell you, when I went to Huxton County Community College there were a lot of differences from Arcadia, there’s way more white people here, I don’t see as much diversity, like that was my first impression about Arcadia University.

Claire: yes, yup.

Angel: Yea it’s interesting it was a change.

Claire: Yea it is interesting, I’ve lived in Jenkintown my whole life and it’s extremely close to Philadelphia, but it’s very white, and a lot of my peers were very sheltered and they thought Philly was so dangerous, like there’s a lot of parents, who’ll say “Be really careful when you’re going into the city” or ask me if I feel safe doing that.

Angel: Yea because it’s so different to them.

Claire: Yea they just don’t know.

Angel: Yea, I was watching something on youtube, talking about how people push each other to get on the train in the city, and people don’t really care cause they’re in a rush and there’s a lot of people but you can’t do that here. Just the diversity of people can be really interesting.

Claire: When I start driving in the city I’m a totally different driver, you have to be ruthless driving in Philly. Yea I think life in the city can be really different, I’ve always had a bit of both, with my siblings living in the city, having friends in the city and obviously going to community college in the city, and it always felt very different from being at home in a very small, very homogeneous suburb.

Angel: Yea! The best thing about the city though is the restaurants.

Claire: yea do you know the food trucks around Community College of Philly? There’s so many food trucks, like one for every culture and you just don’t get that around here.

Angel: Yea, When I lived in New York I would go to so many different restaurants, like this one restaurant, the food was from Guinea, it was an African restaurant, what was interesting, is the food is so different but you get to have that culture, I go every time I visit New York.

5. In conversation about Arcadia and Perfection

Claire: Why did you choose Arcadia, and what have you liked about it so far?

Angel: I chose it because not too many schools have the creative writing program, so because of that, but I didn’t know it was expensive honestly. But what I really like and don’t like at the same time, is the amount of homework they give you, it’s tough it’s a lot of things to keep your grades...kinda tough but at the same time it’s good because you feel like you’re working for something. And the people, I like the people, everyone is really nice, really welcoming, which is nice. At the beginning I felt weird, cause I used to go to community college, and see different kinds of people, and I felt like I didn’t belong here, but then at the same time I realized it’s just another school, with different kinds of people because of where it’s located. And I learned that, I like the system, we have parking lots, which is good, and it’s beautiful. I also like the philosophy department, because the people there are really smart.

Claire: So how many classes are you taking right now and what are they?

Angel: Three classes, Interpretive literature II, the one we have together; Editing and Publishing, and Asian Philosophy.

Claire: What has been your favorite class to take or stuff to learn about?

Angel: I would say Philosophy. We just finished reading this book, It’s about karma and reincarnation in Hinduism and it’s about how you achieve perfection, and there’s a lot of flaws in the book but yea it’s philosophy, but it’s really interesting because at least they give you a key for how to achieve perfection after death and they explain how karma works, so like we’re living in this circle of reincarnation, being reborn and reborn until you realize how we are able to escape from this cycle, and the idea is that when you realize how to leave the attachment of physical things, like you shouldn’t worry about hunger or death or any of that and that way you’re able to achieve escape. But that makes no sense, because how are you going to think that if you’re hungry, like you need food to survive...but it’s interesting.

Claire: Do you think perfection is something we should strive for?

Angel: I would say no, I would say happiness for me is perfection, and it’s almost impossible, because you will have moments of happiness, but you won’t be totally happy in your life everyday, I would say try to achieve and enjoy those moments that you truly feel happy and try to remember those moments, and that way you will be able to live a better life.

6. In conversation about Learning and Moving Forward

Angel: Oh let me tell you this interesting fact. I know how to fix cars, not too many people know that. But the good thing is I taught myself, I got my tools and yea…

Claire: oh that’s awesome, So you’re kind of a self taught man…

Angel: Yea well I like learning

Claire: yea me too, so you got yourself into writing, you taught yourself how to work with cars, is there anything else you’ve taught yourself or learned?

Angel: I guess it’s just not being afraid, I mean what else…

Claire: Well you learned how to navigate American colleges…

Angel: Yea I learned how to snake through...haha

Claire: I mean there’s so much shit to take care of all the time and stay on top of, it’s even hard for American kids, learning how to get through school and college is complicated.

Angel: Yea… What about you? Is there something you learned? Something else you do?

Claire: Oh uh yea, this summer I taught myself how to use a film camera… so the older cameras that use film, they’re not digital, I bought one at a flea market...

Angel: Oh yea I like to go to those…

Claire: Yea so I bought it and I took it home and I learned how to use it, and now I’m taking a film class and which is super fun cause I’m learning how to process the film and use the darkroom…

Angel: Oh like the old fashioned way and everything!

Claire: Yes

Angel: Yea I’m a little older than you so I remember a little better when those were popular.

Claire: Yea I’m really into photography, it’s never been the number one thing I’ve thought to go for. I want to work in sustainable fashion, right now the clothing industry is the second biggest polluter in the world behind the oil company.

Angel: Oh really wow I didn’t know that.

Claire: Yea I went to Paris to visit my sister during fashion week and had all these incredible moments, realizing I wanted to get into fashion, and then I learned that information about the pollution that week and I was kind of stuck about it. I remember being outside Virgil Abloh’s first Louis Vuitton show and it being this huge moment for the fashion industry and I just remember being really moved. So I chose Arcadia, because within the global media major you can choose a concentration, and one of the options was fashion studies, so I came here so I could take classes in a lot of areas and not just fashion designing. But yea I just wanted to have the opportunity to learn how to change the industry because it needs to change and communications and media is gonna be a huge part of that.

Angel: Wow that’s pretty interesting,
How long have you been studying here?

Claire: This is my second semester.

Angel: Yea I’m almost finished I just need a couple more credits, and getting into classes has been tough, because there’s lots of people who are graduating and I don’t have the same credits they do, I have been struggling with that here. So basically one of the reasons I’m minoring in Philosophy, is that, so that I can manage more classes that I want to take.

Claire: So what do you plan to do when you finish?

Angel: Well I don’t know...well I was thinking of doing an internship, something with video gaming, cause I like video games too and video games have storytelling, and because I’m majoring in creative writing I want to go for that. But basically my degree is something personal for me, something I'm achieving for myself.

Claire: That’s really cool, I think a lot of people only get the degree for the job they want and then they don’t end up studying all the other stuff they like learning about.

Angel: I feel like if you do whatever you like to do, if you love it, it’s going to get you money…

Claire: I agree, if you have passion for something it makes you want to work really hard.

Angel: Yea there is an article about the 10 thousand hours rule…

Claire: Yes. I think that a lot of Americans feel like they need a college degree to be considered educated, and I don't think that's the case and it’s just so much money, but then I think, like 100-120 years ago girls didn’t go to school.

Angel: Woah that’s so true.

Claire: Yea and for you, you’re the first person in your family to do this, so I think learning is something we take for granted sometimes.

Angel: Yea and you know at least here we have financial aid and loans and stuff because in Dominican Republic you have to pay out of your pocket and it’s expensive and with the minimum wage, you’re not going to be able to pay for school, so on those terms, I’m really grateful that I get to study over here, because I wouldn't be in school if I wasn’t here I think.

Claire: Yea there’s so many places in the world where so many people still don’t have the opportunity to go to school…

Angel: Yea I think in a lot of countries that really affects the culture, not having education opportunities.

Claire: Yea for sure.

Book Review

posted Feb 13, 2020, 11:15 AM by Chris Peterson

I have never written a book review but this book requires one. The novel “I’m Thinking of Ending Things”, written by Iain Reid, is the quickest read of a book I have ever read. Every time I picked up the book, I had no intention of putting it down. As a commuter who takes a lengthy subway trip, reading books on the subway makes the time go by way faster. Unfortunately for me, it only took me two subway trips to finish this book.

Iain Reid’s debut novel is a psychological thriller/horror novel with suspense on every page. It is one of the stranger novels I have ever read and it is also very hard to discuss it without spoiling anything really. The beginning of the book is an introduction to the characters and then it just unravels from there. Once you finish the book, you will have to take a moment and just realize what just happened at the end, yes, it’s that crazy of an ending. When I finished the book on the subway, I closed the book, looked around the subway and at all of the other people on it and just said “What?” aloud. I got a few glances from the other commuters but I did not care at all, for I just read the strangest books of my reading career. It took some time for me to figure out what actually happened at the end of the novel. A few forums later on the ending, I understood what had happened.

When you read this book, which I highly suggest you do, do not be afraid to read forums after you have finished it. You may pick up on some things that you did not catch while reading it. I know I did not discuss the novel much in this blog but I just need whoever is reading this, to go out and “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” and then you will understand why I did not explain more. Happy reading and I hope you enjoy the novel!


posted Feb 2, 2020, 6:03 PM by Martha Boe

Homesick. It’s a word we hear a lot, it’s why people go home from college on the weekends to hug their mothers and pet their dogs. You’d have to be insane to leave that security right off the bat, bite the bullet and move across the country to a state where you know no one. That would be my biggest hurdle right now. Leaving the Seattle area to come to Arcadia was easily the most impactful decision of my high school career. I had lived my whole conscious life in the same small town about 45 minutes away from the space needle. My whole world was weekend trips to Portland and adventures in the city. Study dates after school in the library, coffee runs at 7 pm that led to the constant strung out caffeine haze that got me and my friends through high school. Pretty much everyone I knew was going to a west coast college. UW, Western and CWU were commonplace in our conversations. Until of course they ground to a halt when one aspiring idiot would say “you guys have to fly out and see me in Philly” and listen to the crickets chirp.

Going from seeing the same 9 people on a daily basis to being surrounded by strangers for the first time in my life was jarring to say the least. It was terrifying of course, but ended up being exactly what I needed. Growing up in the same place with the same people is lovely. It gives a strong sense of stability and self, but that might’ve worked a little too well. By the time I graduated high school I was so stuck in the idea of who I should be that I didn’t even know which way was up. Because of the lack of new people and places in my life I hadn’t been able to grow in the ways I maybe should’ve. Granted I chose to quit my safe little life cold turkey, but the sentiment stands. Coming to Pennsylvania was the dawn of a new era for me.

The concept of reinventing yourself when you get to college is not a new one, but it is an essential one. What do you do if you feel trapped in who you are? Change it. I showed up to freshman orientation with blue hair and a whole lot of determination to be myself, unencumbered by the stale reputations that have followed me since I was 13 and I got that bad haircut. I thought to myself, “well this is it. I can keep quiet and see how it goes or I can take the risk, put my personality out there, see what sticks and possibly be the happiest I’ve ever been”. I had already taken the huge cross country risk, why stop then?

That crazy transition happened last year and still has me reeling. The majority of the most important people in my life are a plane ride and a 3 hour time difference away, but I’m feeling better than I ever have. However scary this still foreign new place is to me and however much I miss the west coast, the ways Pennsylvania has helped me grow into my own are countless.

Interview with Robert Rubin

posted Jan 27, 2020, 5:25 AM by Mikayla Raggi

I am the youngest grandchild of Robert (Bob) Rubin, who is a 95-year-old World War II veteran who served from 1942 to 1946. He was born and raised in Philadelphia with his eight older siblings, by Jewish-Russian parents who immigrated to Ellis Island. Following the war, Bob attended Temple University on a GI bill to obtain his degree in education. At Temple, he met his beloved wife, Barbara, and they were married for 69 years. The interview took place in my home in Montgomeryville, PA, on January 22, 2020.

Interviewer: Tell me how you ended up in the war, what years you fought, where you served, and what branch/unit you were in.

Bob: Okay. In 1942 they passed a law, that permitted drafting young men. You couldn’t say “no” once you were drafted. So I was drafted at the age of 19 on April 21st, 1942, and went to Indiana for basic training. After about 6 months, we went to a camp on the east coast to await the old Queen Mary ship, which had been remodeled to hold a lot of soldiers.

Interviewer: What unit were you in?

Bob: The army unit I was in was called Headquarters 12th Port, attached to the 1st Army

Interviewer: When did you actually leave America to start fighting in the war?

Bob: So on Christmas day 1942, we boarded the Queen Mary, about 30,000 of us, and set sail for great Britain. It was a scary trip, because there were no lights on. The ship was kept completely dark because of the U-boats. The Germans had so many U-boats torpedo-ing American ships that were trying to bring supplies. Since there were so many soldiers on board Queen Mary, they took every precaution to keep us safe. So we sailed down to London.

Interviewer: And what happened when you got to Europe? What did you see?

Bob: Well, our position was, once the early waves of soldiers of D-day felt the beach-head was safe, then we were to come in to feed them and supply them with ammunition. That was our mission.

Interviewer: You ended up in France eventually, correct?

Bob: Well yes. So after about a week in London was when we got word that we could head to the beach front in France and start setting up the trucks to feed the troops.

Interviewer: What was it like when you got to the beach, just 7 days after D-day?

Bob: When I got to the beach, they were still cleaning up bodies. Oh bodies everywhere. Even a week later there were still so many. What happened was, the 101st airborne division, was told by Ike that they had to go early in the morning, fly over the channel to France, over the high-ridge where the German soldiers were manning machine guns, and they were to take them out, so that the first waves of the army would have a safe arrival on the beach. What happened was it was a very cloudy day. And the helicopters carrying the 101st flew too far in, and many of them got caught in trees or captured by Germans. So that was a bad mistake that permitted too many soldiers to be killed.

Interviewer: Did you ever see any of the concentration camps? (We are Jewish, so this question was particularly interesting for me to hear his answer to.)

Bob: Yeah. That was later in the war though. First, we hiked all the way to St. Lo. St. Lo is a city in France, and there the soldiers were able to rest up, eat, nap, and recuperate. We stayed there for a while, because there was no rush. But after a few months, it was time to continue on front St. Lo to Belgium. On the way to Belgium, we got an order to “dig in.”

Interviewer: What does that mean?

Bob: You dig a foxhole, and you stay in it, so you don’t get shot. To protect yourself. Evidently Hitler has decided as a last resort, to send a Panzer division, to push the soldiers back to the channel. So we were told a Panzer division was on its way and to remain in a foxhole. And sure enough the division of German tanks came through, and their goal was to push the soldiers into the water, like they did to the British. But it didn’t happen. Because the 8th Airforce was also stationed in England, and they came to assist. They sent B-24s, medium sized bombers and they did such a great job. They dropped their bombs right on tanks and you could see the Germans coming out with their hands up. And then they became prisoners of course.

Interviewer: Wow, that sounds like quite the battle. Were you there to see all of this happen? The Panzer division, the B-24s, the Germans surrendering?

Bob: Oh yeah, yeah. It was quite something. Now, we took them back to France where we had somewhere to hold prisoners, but we didn’t kill them, we didn’t shoot them. Now that was the Battle of the Bulge.

Interviewer: When did you make your way to the camps?

Bob: Well at this point we had taken down Hitler’s last resort. So we could head towards Germany and towards the camps. We didn’t go into Germany because Russia had that part, but when we got to the Western border the concentration camp prisoners came in those outfits that looked like pajamas, and they were given choices between ships to Israel, even though is was really Palestine at that point, or ships to America.

Interviewer: What was it like to see these people? What interactions did you have with them?

Bob: I didn’t really do much here except to talk to them occasionally. They were so excited, so happy, so grateful. The sight was frightening though. You’ve never seen such thin people before.

Interviewer: So you got to speak to some of them directly?

Bob: Yes I got to talk to them. We fed them too. And you know as a Jew it was just terrible to see. But I was happy we were able to put smiles on their faces.

Interviewer: Was there a lot of death at the camps at the point when you got there?

Bob: Extreme numbers of dead bodies. More than you could imagine.

Interviewer: When did you get out of the war?

Bob: 1946. I was 23 then.

Interviewer: Do you think that being in the war changed you at all?

Bob: I don’t know, at age 19 or 20 you know, you’re so young you don’t know too much. You havn’t lived long enough. I don’t think I was aware of the scope of this thing and how big it was. You see we were living through it, not looking back on it like we do now. So I was just doing my job like a lot of other young 19-year-olds. I needed to serve my time so I could go to college for free, and at the time I didn’t think much of it. But now of course I know it was a big part of history.

Interviewer: Well thank you so much for doing this interview with me, I really appreciate it.

Bob: Oh sure.

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