Saturday, December 20, 2014  
The Charger Bulletin

The issue with final exams

by The Charger Bulletin | December 10, 2014

Finals should be a thing of the past. Coming from a college student, I’m sure no one is surprised by my opinion and many students would probably agree with it. But unlike the majority, I don’t have an issue with final exams because I am lazy, or I don’t want to study, or I have officially checked out of this semester; I have an issue with them because they are unfair.

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The semester starts in August and finishes in December. This is over three months of hard work and dedication that students put in towards receiving an A, and it can all be taken away because of a final. I understand that professors want to test us to see how much we have learned throughout the course, but having one test at the end that counts for a higher percentage of your grade than the others makes absolutely no sense, especially if it is a cumulative final.

Why should one test count for more than another if the same amount of studying is put into both? Why should one test count for more than a research paper, which required hours of outside research and critical thinking skills? It shouldn’t.

Our grades should be determined by how well we performed all semester long, not how well we perform for two hours on a particular day. To have a final count for more than all the other work we put in all semester is not acceptable.

Perhaps an even bigger reason that finals are not fair is because everyone performs differently on tests. I am lucky; I have a very good memory so tests have never been an issue for me—I can get by with only a few hours of studying and still remember all the information I need to pass the test. But everyone is different and everyone excels at different things; for people like me, tests are our forte, but for others, they might be better at writing or public speaking. If finals are going to continue to haunt us, I think there should at least be an option of what kind of test we are forced to take.

Instead of only giving out one form of the test, professors should ask students if they would rather substitute in a speech or a paper instead of filling in a scantron sheet. It upsets me when I see people who put in much more time studying for a test than I did still get a lower grade simply because their memory isn’t as strong. If the ultimate goal is to be taught something, we should be able to show what we have learned in any way we please, not just the one that is most convenient for them to correct.

Finals are too black and white to actually prove anything substantial about a student’s ability to learn. For the most part, it is either you got the answer right or you got the answer wrong, especially with multiple-choice finals, with which it’s really just a guessing game. They don’t show the effort a student actually puts in, the amount of sleep that is lost trying to memorize pointless facts, or how a student will take what they’ve learned and use it in the real world.

To me, whether a student showed up for class everyday, or if they participated in discussions, or if they put a lot of thought into their papers should determine if they receive an A or not, not how well they did on the final test of the semester.

There are two options: abolish final tests all together or keep them, but offer different options for formatting, and please, make them weighted equivalently to the rest of the work we do all semester; that is the only fair way.

What is the point of Yik Yak?

by Samantha Higgins | December 10, 2014

Over the last few months the mobile app Yik Yak has been gaining a lot of popularity. Because of this, a few weeks ago, I decided to download it and see what all the hype was. However, I have been left with the same confusion and misunderstanding I had beforehand, so I still ask—what exactly is the point of Yik Yak?

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In the time that I have had it, all I have seen it used for is cyberbullying (because hiding behind anonymous technology makes those who do it so cool), complaining about something UNH related (class, roommates, professors, Bartels, etc.), reposting things from Tumblr/Twitter/Facebook or whatever other social media site (because we all lack originality these days), and people wanting to “cuddle” (with anonymous strangers, mind you).

I have had the app for about six or seven weeks now, and in that time only once was it remotely interesting or did it give me any information that I would not have otherwise had (whoever warned Sheffield of the fire drill—thank you).

With all the Yaks being so similar, why is it so popular? Why do so many people think that if they anonymously post about the “cute girl with the hat” that’s in line in front of them at FoD they will get something in return? This app is making our generation hide behind technology even more than we already were! We are given a false sense of confidence by being anonymous and that gives some people the feeling of safety to open up about feeling alone or depressed (which I am happy to see so many people refer them to the proper services on campus—gives me hope), but then others hide behind it as a reason to act like complete and utter jerks to each other by calling people out, and completely cyberbullying someone. By the time we are in college, we should know that it is unacceptable, inappropriate, rude and immature to do so.

Now Yik Yak is even in the news for people making bomb threats to their schools through the app. It’s like people have literally lost all of their sense! Just because the app says it is “anonymous” doesn’t mean that you cannot be tracked! Who comes up with these ideas and doesn’t foresee that in this day and age something terrible will occur?

The app has potential to be an aid for people looking for things to do on campus, or who want to join clubs or events happening. Instead, it is used to target and harass people, cause terror on some campuses where people think they can make threats, and be boring and repetitive.

So, even after reading about it, and talking to some students, I am still stuck in the same place as I was prior to downloading, and after downloading—can someone please tell me why Yik Yak is so popular?

Where is winter?

by Courtney Brooks | December 10, 2014

Call me crazy, but I am more than disappointed in the weather that this winter—if we can even call it winter—has brought this year so far. In years past, I have memories of snow days well before Thanksgiving, but this year, sadly, it seems a white Christmas may be out of reach. It is already December and aside from a few flakes here and there, snow has yet to make an appearance.

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Wishing for colder weather and a snowstorm might not be common among New Englanders, but for me, it is the main reason I enjoy living on the east coast. Unlike the sunny states of Florida and California, in Connecticut we pride ourselves on having four seasons. However, as years go on, thanks to our good friend Global Warming, winters are growing shorter and shorter and it is my biggest fear that eventually, they will disappear all together. Just the other day it was 60 degrees out; when people would normally be all bundled up they were instead wearing t-shirts and flip-flops. It is ridiculous!

This is extremely upsetting to people who wait all year round for winter to come. Sure, summer is fun and exciting and fall is beautiful, but nothing compares to a cozy night by the fireside that winter can offer. Winter has always been my favorite season; it is quiet, peaceful, and really brings families together. Whereas in the warmer months, we tend to spend a lot of time outside doing our own activities, but during winter we get to appreciate those relaxing nights in, watching movies, drinking hot chocolate and spending time with one another.

This year, those nights have been far and few between. Winter forces people to slow down from their hectic lifestyles and cancel plans to stay in during a snowstorm. This December though, people are still living their lives fast as ever because we haven’t had any snow to slow us down… our winter coats are still hanging up in the closet and our hats and mittens have yet to see the light of day. I can’t help but feel sorry for the children of today’s generation who are missing out on making life lasting memories. I remember being a kid and putting on layer after layer of thermals and sweaters and coats and snow pants and having the best time outside, enjoying the snow. We would build igloos and snowmen and have snowball fights and then run inside and watch a Christmas movie. It is always said that children today are too caught up on technology to really enjoy the great outdoors, but this season, I can’t blame them; getting all bundled up to go out and play in the grass doesn’t appeal to me either.

You don’t really know what you have until it’s gone, so I never knew how much winter meant to me until it was nonexistent this year. I keep hoping that Mother Nature is just being fashionably late, but as time goes on and temperatures remain the same, I am beginning to worry more and more. Could this really be the year without a white winter?

5 tips to conquer finals week (without turning into Amanda Bynes)

by Gabby Nowicki | December 10, 2014

Gabby-bw

It’s the worst time of the semester –– Finals Week.

Work starts to pile up, grade calculations are done in abundance, and your brain starts to pour out your ears.
The gym empties and the library fills. Students are seen sprawled across campus in tears of despair and exhaustion. But follow these quick tips I’ve compiled and you might be able to make it out alive.

1. Sleep, nap, repeat.
During this time, your brain needs rest more than ever. Studies have shown that those who study some, sleep, and then study more do better on exams than those who pull an all-nighter. Your brain does not retain information when under stress or sleep deprived so it is best to get at least four to five hours of sleep and then start to study again. Other studies have shown that students that pull an all-nighter before an exam have lower GPAs than those who study and sleep.

2. Take a break!
Studying straight for hours on end will not benefit you. Many students use cramming to prepare for their exams, as do I occasionally. We have all fallen victim to the “I haven’t paid attention at all so I need to learn an entire semesters worth of information in the next 12 hours.” Studies show that it is best to space out your material by studying and reviewing 30 to 40 minutes a day, the week before the test.

If you find that you must cram, do it right. Take breaks every few half hours. Reward and motivate yourself. Allow ten minutes on social media for every concept that you fully grasp. Try switching topics every couple hours to give your brain a fresh look at the material. Shower! Clean! Watch a show! Just do something other than study straight for 12 hours.
Taking a small break(s) throughout your study session will give you and your brain time to recuperate and make the cramming more successful.

3. Eat! (Good food…)
Food is fuel for the body. It gives your cells the energy to carry you throughout daily tasks. But eat bad food and your body will backfire. This is especially true for finals week. I know we all binge occasionally and need that candy bar or bag of chips, but please limit yourself! You will perform so much better on finals if you feed your body the proper nutrition.
Oily fish, such as salmon; eggs, fruits, vegetables, peanut butter and even coffee in limited amounts are all food that should be in your diet during finals week. These foods have omega 3s, protein, antioxidants and important vitamins that all help keep you focused and energized. Processed foods will only do the opposite. The morning of the exam, make sure to eat a breakfast with some of these foods to start the day off right and give you success on the exam!

4. Cry.
It’s okay to cry. Stress does that. Let it out. Sob in the shower, library, car, or sidewalk. Vent to your roommates, friends, parents. Throw that textbook (please not your computer). Have a quick mental breakdown; it’s fine. But as soon as you are done hating the world, find positivity! Remind yourself that you can do this! Take it day by day, hour by hour, and minute by minute. Find humor in the fact that you just had a screaming match with your roommate over whose final exam schedule is worse. You only do college once (hopefully) so enjoy the hell week and make the best of it!

5. Visualize the finish line.
When you’re done and have taken your last final, you’re free. No obligations. Done. No more (Unless you are taking an intersession course in which I am sorry). Go home. Lay on the couch. Cuddle your pets. Relax. This is what you have to look forward to for a whole month! You just have to make it through this week and then FREEDOM.

More fun facts to keep in mind:

-Chewing gum while studying and then taking the exam will improve concentration and help you remember material!
-Working out before or during study helps your brain retains the information easier and you can lose weight!
-Drink water and stay hydrated… When you do drink coffee, it can dehydrate you but water will give you more life!
-Be there for your fellow roommates and friends, they are going through it too. Stick together and support each other!
-Follow these quick tips and you’ll find finals week is a little less like hell and more like purgatory.
-Just stay positive and remember you are so close to vacation. Holidays are right around the corner! Hang in there my friends! We can do it! We will survive!

 

Are RAs really necessary?

by The Charger Bulletin | December 3, 2014

By Anonymous

With all the recent changes being made at the University of New Haven, one that should be taken into consideration is the need, or lack thereof, of residential assistants, more commonly known as RAs.

RAs are fellow UNH students whose purpose is to monitor our on campus residential halls by enforcing campus policies and restricting access to who goes in and out of the dorms. Although for freshmen, RAs play an important role in their transition to college life, for us upper classmen, they are not all that necessary.

For freshmen who are living on their own for the first time, RAs are crucial. They serve as a mentor to freshmen in many ways, doing everything from helping them find their classes to setting them up for registration and answering any questions about campus they might have.

They are the one you go to when you’re locked out of your dorm room at 2 a.m. or who intervene when you’re having problems with your roommate. They are also the one who keeps you safe, even if that means having to write you up when they feel you have crossed the line, with alcohol, drugs or any other threat to your well-being.

Freshmen need this, they need some type of authority figure to keep everything under control since they no longer are getting that from their parents. If RAs were strictly implemented into residential halls for freshmen only, no change would be needed, but that is not the case.

By sophomore, junior and senior year, we finally get the hang of things. We have figured out college life and are well adjusted. We don’t have questions about campus we once had and we have realized the importance of always making sure you have your key before you leave the room; therefore, we no longer need RAs. As we get older, we are given more responsibility and freedom but having an RA only limits that. To make matters worse, most of the RAs during these years of college are the same age as the students they are given authority over. It is extremely awkward and a little irritating when your room is inspected or you are being written up by someone who is the same age as you and undoubtedly doing the same things as you in their free time.

Some RAs have also been known to abuse their power. This does not go for every single RA because most of them are great and do their job to the best of their abilities, treating students very respectfully.

But there are some who use their authority to intimidate residents and make their lives miserable.

I had the unfortunate luck of experiencing one of these power hungry RAs in the past, and it was horrible. Whereas some RAs take the time to get to know their residents, the first thing this RA said was, “First off, I am not and never will be your friend.” As a transfer student, her attitude did not give me high hopes of making friends at UNH easily, but thankfully the rest of the campus proved to be much friendlier.

This RA also conducted random searches of my room looking for contraband and going through my refrigerator whenever she pleased, hoping to find a reason to write me up. She succeeded a few times, until I finally met with her superior, a residential director, and found out everything she was doing was against the rules. After that, her searches stopped but her attitude worsened, ignoring my existence every chance she got. I came to find out, this RA was so hard on me because she had a problem with someone I had made friends with early on in the year, so she spent the rest of the year trying to make me extremely uncomfortable. RAs such as this one should not be given the privilege of having authority over anyone.

The purpose of this is not to prove that RAs are a bad thing, because they are not. It is just to show that they are really only needed for freshmen. Upper classmen are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves without having someone who is the same age as them watching over them, acting as a superior. Also, campus is small and the older we get, the more people we know. It becomes impossible not to mix business with pleasure and as a result, situations like the one I experienced can become a problem.

Christmas comes early in college

by Samantha Higgins | December 3, 2014

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I know everyone is annoyed that Christmas tends to cast a shadow over Thanksgiving, however I am a participant of that.

I am that person you all hate, the one who puts Christmas music on the day after Halloween (and sometimes even before). I start decorating around the same time, and I have already watched at least a dozen Christmas movies on Netflix. But I don’t ignore Thanksgiving: in fact I put some things up for Thanksgiving as well. I just think that, as a college student who lives here the majority of my time, I get the short end of the stick when it comes to Christmas cheer, celebration, and the whole holiday season magic.

Growing up, I didn’t have those magical holidays with family like you see in movies that have resulted in making me an obsessive Christmas freak. I just think that this time of year is beautiful. You have the leaves falling, the chilly weather and cute hats and scarves that come with it, and then two holidays practically back to back that are meant to bring families together. Add on the snow, the excitement of the end of one year, and the beginning of another, and overall the season is full of joy!

If you live at home or commute, you have the opportunity to see all the lights hung on houses and the trees in the windows; you get to go to the stores and see the Christmas decorations, and you can watch Christmas movies with your family. You get the opportunity to decorate your house in December and other Christmas traditions. However, as a full-time resident of UNH, I go home for Thanksgiving and see all of the Thanksgiving decorations, then I have to come back to school and focus on final exams and papers for all of my classes.

By the time I get home for Winter Break, everything to prepare for Christmas at my house is already done. The tree is picked out and decorated by the rest of my family, the lights have been hung outside, and the stockings are ready for Santa to stuff. So I miss out on all of that magic. Therefore, I make up for it by starting the Christmas season early and trying to bring as much magic to my dorm as possible—which isn’t easy on a college campus.

Being away at college ruins the Christmas season. You lose out on vital, quality family time and finals ruin the first half of December, literally cutting out half the Christmas spirit anyone could have even bothered to muster up—because we all know it gets harder not to be a Scrooge as you get older.

So I think, instead of hating on people who start celebrating Christmas early, everyone should try to join in, be a kid for a day! Watch the Polar Express and drink hot chocolate with marshmallows while you make some paper snowflakes to hang around your room; don’t let finals ruin your Christmas spirit!

Great movies to watch with your conservative friends

by Kaitlin Mahar | December 3, 2014

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As someone with many conservative friends and family members, I, of all people, know how difficult it can be to get those in your life to watch a movie that they don’t find completely and utterly offensive and devoid of all moral character. However, having been surrounded by family and friends who consist primarily of Catholic Republicans for most of my life, I like to think I know a thing or two about finding movies appropriate for a fun movie night in that your conservative friends will never forget.

Ted: Frequently referred to as America’s answer to The King’s Speech, Ted tells the heartwarming story of a boy and his beloved teddy bear. This fictionalized story of the childhood and early adulthood of the late Senator Ted Kennedy will certainly leave your friends speechless. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and your friends will certainly never stop talking about it.

Magic Mike: Everybody’s heard of Harry Houdini, but few have heard of the mastermind behind many of his tricks. Magic Mike tells the story of the magician who lived in Houdini’s shadow for years, acting as a ghost writer of sorts for the tricks that made Houdini a star. With stunts that will take your breath away, it’s safe to say that anyone who watches this movie will never be the same.

Brokeback Mountain: Everyone is familiar with the Greek myth of Sisyphus, the Greek man condemned by the gods to roll a rock uphill for eternity. However, this classic myth is reimagined in a truly thought-provoking way through the interpretation of the myth as an American Western. It’s no wonder it took home three Oscars and has been recognized by several notable Christian organizations over the years.

50 Shades of Grey: Although not yet released, this film is sure to be well-known in the world of prestigious film festivals, such as Cannes and Sundance, and will most certainly generate some commentary from film critics as well. Moviegoers are thrown into the mysterious, private lives of some of the most fascinating people in the world: those who suffer from color blindness. Few people realize the plight of those who see nothing but gray their entire lives, and the struggle to contain oneself while watching such a touching film is sure to be genuinely difficult at times.

Give some of these films a try—your friends will not only be impressed with your uncanny ability to choose films of creative and moral substance, but they’ll also most likely trust you to make the choice for every movie night in the future. Enjoy!

25 Days of Christmas

by Courtney Brooks | December 3, 2014

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It’s that time of year again—the best time if you ask me! Dec. 1 marks the start of ABC Family’s annual 25 Days of Christmas countdown, where each night they play our holiday favorites, building anticipation until Christmas finally arrives.

These are the top three must see Christmas movies this year:

1.The Grinch Who Stole Christmas: This should go without saying, but the Grinch is a Christmas classic! With Jim Carrey playing the Christmas hating Grinch and little Cindy Lou Who doing her absolute best to crown him the King of Christmas, it is hilarious and adorable for every family to watch. While the Grinch continuously tries to ruin Christmas in Whoville, Cindy Lou Who struggles with growing up and losing the Christmas Spirit, something we can all relate too. Have no fear though, the ending completely captures the true meaning of Christmas and you will find yourself wishing you too could be a Who!

2.Christmas Cupid: This is an ABC Family original movie and is a modern day remake of A Christmas Carol. The gorgeous Christina Milian is career obsessed and losing the Christmas spirit when one of her clients, played by Pretty Little Liar’s Ashley Benson, dies and revisits her as a ghost, showing her the past, present and future. Add in the dreamy Chad Michael Murray as a lead role and, despite a few rather cheesy lines, you will be re-watching this movie for years to come.

3.The Year Without a Santa Clause: This movie will put you in an instant time warp to when you were a child. Filmed in 1974, this movie has stuck around for decades and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In case you have forgotten, this movie is about the year Santa didn’t feel there was enough Christmas spirit so he wanted to take a year off. Santa’s elves, Jingle and Jangle Bell, set out to save Christmas, but after a run in with the Heat Miser and Snow Miser, they find it more difficult than they thought. Although it is a children’s movie, it has some catchy tunes and successfully reminds us of the importance of the Christmas Spirit.

This time of year can get extremely stressful with classes winding down and papers and finals coming up. Don’t forget to enjoy the Christmas season and destress with these fun Christmas movies. ABC Family offers 25 days of them, so take a few hours here and there to relax and enjoy the best time of the year!

A gamer’s guide to holiday shopping

by The Charger Bulletin | December 3, 2014

By Ricky Key
Contributing Writer
rkey1@unh.newhaven.edu

‘Tis the season to game! The holidays are the best times to be a video game player. Video game companies tend to release their most anticipated games in the fall and early winter because sales increase due to the holidays.

With games such as Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Destiny, Halo: The Master Chief Edition, Far Cry 4, NBA 2K15, FIFA 15, Assassins Creed Unity, Super Smash Bros, and Grand Theft Auto V all being released so closely together, a gamer becomes very indecisive!

The top three games that I feel are a must get this season are Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Destiny and Halo: The Master Chief Edition.

Call of Duty is always an anticipated game every year. Gamers like me love the type of games called shooters, meaning the objective is to be basically shoot as many people as you can. Call of Duty is an exceptional shooter game because it offers story mode and online play, which makes you feel like you are a part of the army, especially with all of the different gun and uniform customizations you can do.

Destiny is made by Bungie, the same makers of Halo, and is another shooter game, with the objective to protect the universe from different alien forces. The best thing about this game is that there’s always something to do; the makers said that they have enough video game content for the game to run for the next ten years, so I highly recommend this game!

Last but not least is the Halo: Master Chief Edition. Halo was one of the first games to gain respect of people who enjoy shooter games. This Halo comes with all of the previous Halos, so if you grew up playing Halo, you’ll love this fully remastered edition for the Xbox One; it’s like a blast from your past but even better.

Overall, the holiday season is a blessing and a curse with the release of so many video games: you don’t know what one to get first. Have no fear, stores will help you figure it out by having special deals like buy one get one free or buy one get one half off!

An honest outlook on Greek Life

by Courtney Brooks | November 19, 2014

I have never considered myself a sorority type of girl; I am an introvert by nature, so the idea of being surrounded by a group of 30 plus girls made my anxiety go through the roof. And, after the horrifying pledging experiences I watched my friends go through at the university I attended prior to the University of New Haven, I had a bad taste in my mouth about Greek life altogether. However, after one of my best friends recently joined one of UNH’s very own sororities and shared her experience with me, my opinion on them has changed drastically.

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When my friend first told me she was going to rush, I am ashamed to say that I was completely unsupportive. I tried to convince her not to, saying it would be a waste of time and unnecessary stress that she didn’t need or deserve. She told me that she wanted to join because she wanted to be part of the bond that she saw all the sisters sharing and I, ignorantly, equated that to “paying for friends.” I thought if these girls really wanted to be friends with her, they would do so regardless of if she joined their organization or not.

What I failed to realize was that the whole process of joining a sorority was part of that bonding experience. As the weeks progressed, I expected my friend to be getting tired and annoyed of the process, but instead, she was falling in love with it and growing happier and more confident everyday. When I asked her about it she said, “This is one of the best experiences because not only did I get to meet the new members of my class, but I got to really know and appreciate the sisters of the sorority in a way I never thought I would.” She also described that, for the first time, she felt she could be truly herself without worrying about anyone judging her because she knew she had the support of so many great people behind her.

Admitting you are wrong is never an easy thing to do, but this is one of those times where I completely “put my foot in my mouth,” so to speak. Everything I ever said or thought about Greek life has been proven wrong through my friend’s experiences. It seems to me that at UNH, being part of a sorority isn’t just getting to wear your cute letters on a t-shirt or hoodie; it’s getting to be part of a supportive organization and building a bond with people who have the same values as you.

If you have thought about joining one but are too afraid or hesitant to take that next step, take my friend’s word that it will be the best experience of your life. I have watched her completely transform in a short amount of time thanks to her sorority and you could be next… who knows, maybe I will be right beside you!

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