Humanities are for Pre-meds, Too

March 22, 2016

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Premed majors have it tough. Freshman year, we begin with a workload that involves adjusting to college, learning to live away from home, and for many of us who breezed through high school, having to study like never before just to maintain an A or a B average. Besides studying the subjects in our major, like Bio 111 or General Chemistry, we end up taking classes that are part of the core curriculum, stuff like English composition, history, or music appreciation. While we take these classes, I often hear my classmates complaining about having other classes outside their major, and I’m just as guilty of this behavior as they are. But over the course of freshman year and sophomore year, I’ve grown used to this process and actually enjoyed having the diversity so much that I believe that every pre-med major should add a minor in the field of humanities.

My first encounter with humanities at MC was during the Honors Program. At first, the program was incredibly hard to adapt to for me. The content was hard, and the professors really expected a lot of you. However, I couldn’t really complain about the difficulty knowing I had elected to take a harder set of classes. Today, I definitely think that staying in Honors was the best thing I could’ve done for myself at MC. I think it was such a good decision because it gave me an appreciation for the humanities without any room to complain about having to take classes outside my major. I learned a lot about various aspects of literature, tons about the history of world civilizations, and how to finally write like a college student. Since then, I’ve added a history minor. In all of this, I discovered something crucial to growing up and being an adult.

Once we graduate from college and from medical school and move into the world as doctors, we can’t have conversations with people around us about biology, chemistry, and the human body. We have to be able to talk to our peers in life about other things that they might be familiar with. I’ve found that studying the humanities has provided me with the ability to always have a topic for conversations. More importantly, when meeting people of high repute or position, it’s given me the chance to seem much more well-rounded and intelligent. It lets me talk to them about things they have an interest in while allowing me to present them with information that shows them what I know. I guess an easy way to describe it would be to say that it makes me seem cultured. This is great for interviews, social events like dinner parties, or even making yourself a little more interesting on dates.

Besides the long term benefits, there are clear short term benefits to adding a humanities minor. The best one for me is usually that I get to give my brain a break from science. After a long day of studying for Cell Biology or Organic Chemistry, taking a moment to read for my history classes is refreshing. I don’t feel guilty about not being productive because I’m getting work done that’s providing my brain with change. This new input of information not related to my major subject provides the brain with a break and some scientists even claim that it makes studying the original subject more effective. Having a minor completely removed from the field of science also makes your medical school application much more interesting as it shows that you are unique and simultaneously shows schools that you are able to handle two totally different topics well which is a trait well desired in doctors. These short term benefits aren’t all academic either. People all around us use humanities to make arguments. Politicians, the media, and ordinary people use history and literature; the media uses these every day to support their arguments. Having a grasp on any subject in the humanities field means that we are more likely to understand what these people around us are saying, and it makes sure that we can hold them accountable in case they misuse the information they present.

I believe that having a minor in the field of humanities is truly crucial to pre-med majors. It makes us unique, prepares us for a life full of conversation with people who aren’t science majors, and makes us well-rounded individuals. It distinguishes us when it comes time for medical schools and shows them that we can handle the pressure of being in the medical field while maintaining other interests. Humanities also give us the ability to distinguish when certain events, facts, or ideas are being used incorrectly in arguments presented to us throughout our lives. These benefits are indispensable, and for these reasons, every pre-med major should add a humanities minor.

Srimadhav Nallani, Contributing Writer

this article appeared in Vol. 97, Issue 10 of The Mississippi Collegian

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The Beauty of Sociology

March 22, 2016

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Sociology may be the most interesting subject possible for intellectual study. No, studying about the id, organic solidarity, or Marxism for a three hour credit does not entail too much excitement. However, simply look at the people surrounding you at any given point of the day, analyze their interactions, and you, friend, have become a sociologist. By taking just a moment to really contemplate socializing, or the process of engaging in society as a functional member, one will quickly realize that such interactions consists of innumerable layers of intricacy and well organized mechanics.

Take, as  a common example, the school cafeteria. Most students of Mississippi College enter the cafeteria to eat at least once throughout the day. Many people walk into the caf at the same time, choose the same food, sit at the same table, talk to the same people, and finish their food at the same pace every single day. Others, however, have no such internal regulators. They eat whenever, whatever, and with whomever they like. Each case results from social “norms” which  have been subconsciously programmed within people’s minds over the course of years to act and think a certain way. Someone from Delta farmland may have grown up eating breakfast with their family at 7:30 every morning before spending the day working, and thus continue the same habit into adulthood. Someone from urban Houston, however, may have lived their entire life  eating “on the fly,” and would experience no such organization. As another example, look to the comparisons between introverts and extroverts. Some people (such as myself) love nothing more than a good book and a steaming cup of dark coffee to spend their Friday afternoon. Others could never even imagine studying in the library with less than ten of their closest friends in a room.

Each disposition, however pronounced, comes from years of very specific interactions and subsequent responses, and these personality traits affect daily life in an infinite number of ways. This process closely parallels the Butterfly Effect, which, according to the almighty Google, “is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.” Essentially, one tiny stimulus can, over time, increase to have significant magnitude, given the proper circumstances. One person may have a bad experience with a friend in the first grade, and therefore come decide to hide away from all social interaction fifteen years later. Someone else, on the other hand, may feel euphoria from a teacher congratulating them for making friends in kindergarten, and thus be addicted to the same interaction once in college. Each situation is just as extreme as the other, but just as likely. Such observations make up the study of social interaction.

You may never truly understand the intricacy of daily life without a proper understanding of how you respond to certain situations, and also how others respond to similar situations. By taking such observations into account, we may flow through society with much greater ease and avoid many of the common blunders that most people face when socializing with others.

-Taylor Lemoine, Contributing Writer

this article appeared in Vol. 97, Issue 10 of The Mississippi Collegian

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Don’t Like Where We Are? It’s Your Fault.

March 1, 2016

America is currently rife with people complaining about the current plight of the GOP. It seems incomprehensible to them that the current leader in most polls would be Donald Trump, former reality TV star, billionaire, and serial cheater.  Conservative America is up in arms about the turn of events, having fully expected that Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or Jeb Bush would be leading the pack at this point in the election.  However, that hasn’t proved to be the case.  Over and over, Donald Trump has insulted minorities, proved his own staggering ignorance, and made incredibly petty and personal attacks against his opponents, specifically those on his own ticket.  On paper, it seems like these decisions would earn him a spot near the bottom of the ticket, yet over the last nine months, he has risen to the top. There are few rational explanations for this occurrence.  This has been one of the first Presidential elections in which money hasn’t bought success.  In the New Hampshire primary, Jeb Bush spent over $55 million dollars on his campaign, while his opponent Donald Trump spent less than $5 million and won the state by a wide margin.  Over all, Bush has raised $156.7 million dollars through his own supporters and through Super-PACs, while Trump has raised a “mere” $27 million.  The argument can be made that this only proves what a lackluster and unimpressive candidate Bush always was; it also proves that for the first time in a long time, money isn’t buying votes.  Since 1960, there has only been three Presidential elections in which the candidate that spent the most lost.  That being said, in each of those three elections, the spending margins were separated by mere millions.  

This still doesn’t come close to explaining why Trump has risen, almost inexplicably, to the top of every poll and winning almost every caucus.  However, there is a very simple explanation—it’s our fault.  For every American who stands in an office corner or on a park bench complaining about the current look of the Presidential election, you’ll find an American who was unwilling to support a candidate when the time called for it.  You’ll find an American who sat back and let the debates happen and let the stage set itself.  You see, as the GOP was inundated with candidates in August of 2015, there was no clear front-runner.  Americans sat on their couches at home and watched as Donald Trump announced his candidacy for POTUS and then subsequently watched him trounce his opponents in the following two debates. They laughed about it in the days following, with no one truly expecting to have Trump land a spot in the final five candidates remaining.  The American people didn’t pick a candidate, and so they were picked for them.  One by one, giants of intellect like Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Chris Christie, Rand Paul and now Jeb Bush have dropped out of the race.  The American people are coming to face the fact that their best choices are two men who couldn’t make it through a single term in the senate, or Donald Trump.  

It’s no wonder Americans are panicking… we have definitely made poor decisions to get here, but the end isn’t lost.  Conservative America needs to unite and back a candidate—any candidate at this point, or we will continue to have lackluster turnout and media frenzy. It’s all up to those who can vote, and (un)fortunately for America, that’s all of us.  

-Hannah Richards, Reporter

this article appeared in Vol. 97, Issue 9 of The Mississippi Collegian

Project Potter: You’re Not a Wizard, Continental

March 1, 2016

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photo courtesy of Governor Phil Bryant

Feb. 4 was an exciting day at the State Capitol building; even the Mississippi Economic Council showed up for the occasion handing out stickers to lawmakers that said “Let’s do it.” In this case, the “it” was an economic incentive bill that included a $254,000,000 check and millions of dollars of tax breaks to two unnamed corporations. The Chairman of the House Ways and Means committee Jeff Smith said, perhaps less hyperbolic than we think, that he would be “shot” if he named the corporations in the bills. This special session of the Legislature convened by the Governor met at 8 a.m. and concluded a little after 1 p.m.  The Mississippi House of Representatives Ways and Means committee and its Senate counterpart, the Senate Finance committee, discussed this economic incentive bill which included giving $243,000,000 to a corporation to build a tire plant in Hinds County, known as Project Potter. On top of the money the state would give for the tire plant, Hinds County would contribute an additional $20,000,000. Taking the advice of Governor Phil Bryant and Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves most of the legislators were happy to vote for the bill with most of them not even reading the 200 page bill.

Only six Legislators voted against this bill. After the bill passed through the House by 10:00 a.m. it got a myriad a questions in the Senate Finance Committee from Senator Hob Bryan. He asked a particularly poignant question during the debate in his committee: “Is there any amount of money we will not pay someone to come and put something in Mississippi? Are there any parameters?” It appears as though there is no amount of money too great to bring jobs to the state. It was even unknown by the state economist how much all the tax breaks would cost the state. The ramifications of this project were ignored by the vast majority of the state legislature.  Two-time District 1 congressional candidate and leader of the Mississippi Libertarian party Danny Bedwell has been an outspoken critic of the deal  and thought the “legislators  ran on platforms of transparency… slipped this through without any chance to review it by the public.”  Later on that day, it would actually be announced which company the state was giving this money to: Continental Tire Corporation.

It was discovered that Clinton would play host of this venture, prompting wide praise and the raising of Continental Tire’s banner all around the city. While bringing many jobs to the state it seems as though this deal, in the opinion of this writer, is bad for Mississippi. Governor Phil Bryant has described Mississippi as a “hunter” state. Scanning the globe and searching for corporations to lure to our multimillion dollar proverbial salt lick. Instead of investing in Mississippi businesses, recent Mississippi College graduate and former House of Representatives candidate Wesley Wilson believes that “to give this multimillion dollar corporation such an unfair advantage not only contradicts the free market, but is a slap in the face to every taxpayer.” Taxpayers will in fact bear the brunt of this job making plan, with each job costing taxpayers $78,000 according to the Jackson Free Press.

It would be wiser and more advantageous for Mississippi to invest in business already in the state. Hinds County should not be giving $20,000,000 to any corporation when there’s a boil water notice almost every other day in the county, and the roads are nearly impassable in some places. Mississippi needs to invest in its own citizens and infrastructure before giving out millions of dollars to corporations. Millennials are leaving the state in droves; perhaps the money would be better spent in finding jobs for college graduates. At the end of the day, handing millions of dollars to corporations in exchange for a handful of jobs to go on politician’s political resume is not helpful to the state. Continental Tire is not a magical fix-all for the economic problems in Hinds County. If legislators wish to be fiscally conservative, maybe they should seek to stop funding corporate welfare.

-Jerry Ainsworth, Contributing Writer

this article appeared in Vol. 97, Issue 9 of The Mississippi Collegian

I am More than I Appear to Be

February 1, 2016

“I can do it. I am more than I appear to be.”

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photo courtesy of Anais Eliseeva

These words were swirling through my mind while I was waiting for the test books and answer sheets to be handed out by the test administration staff. I was quite nervous because it happened to be one of the most important days in my life. The preparation for the test took almost six months, and after that period of time I was absolutely sure that I wanted to study abroad. Suddenly, my thoughts were interrupted by the voice of a supervisor: “Good morning. Today you are going to take the SAT.”

I, as a current international student at Mississippi College, can say with certainty that the most important and critical part of the studying-in-another-country journey is actually making the decision. It is necessary to weigh carefully all the advantages and disadvantages of the decision and to assess your abilities and your emotional state. If you have decided that you are ready for the challenges and that you are willing to work hard in order to achieve success, then go ahead! This path is definitely for you. At this point in my own journey, the emotional support from my relatives and friends really helped me. My family was constantly making me confident that I could and I would reach my goal. I believe that every single one of us needs support while making such significant decisions that may change our whole life.

Then, once all of the required exams for admission are successfully passed and the invitation to the university of your dreams is received, you finally get on the plane. As for me, that exact moment remains bright in my memory. Overwhelming emotions just drove me crazy in a good way. On the one hand, I was afraid of leaving my old life behind, but on the other hand,  I realized that lots of new and interesting things were awaiting me! You should never forget, as author Sarah Dessen said, that “The further you go, the more you have to be proud of.”

That’s easy to say, but the first month in unfamiliar surroundings is the most difficult. Most foreign students are experiencing culture shock during the first couple of weeks in a new country. The different people, different culture, and different language affect the emotional state of an international student. Sometimes, it may even seem that you are completely alone because you are cut off from the world in which you lived before. However, universities often provide help for the foreign students. For example, MC gives international students an opportunity to improve their English skills and to make an American friend with the Conversation Partner service. So keep your head up and move forward. After all, new people mean new friends, a new culture creates new experiences, and practice of a foreign language will benefit every person.

In addition to the cultural shock, problems with studying may occur during the first month. For the majority of foreign students, it can be difficult to switch to a completely different system of education and a different language in a small period of time. These students may feel anxious and more pressure while adapting to the new atmosphere. To be honest, my grades for the first tests were so bad that I was ashamed of speaking about my studying process. There were moments when I seriously wanted to quit and go all the way back home. For situations like struggling to keep up with your classes, tutoring services are available at MC. Despite these difficulties, I continued to work hard, because I knew that there is no turning back. I wanted to meet the expectations that were put on me. I wanted my parents to be proud of their daughter.

After some time of hard work in a stressful situation, everything abruptly changed. I grew accustomed to the new country, made some friends, and achieved pretty good results in studying. Sometimes I even was pleasantly surprised by my high performance! Of course I realize that I need to continue to work hard in order to maintain this achieved level, but now these efforts have nothing to do with the stress that I experienced in the beginning. Studying abroad has become a pleasure for me. Now I understand that the struggle was worth it.

Therefore, do not be afraid to change something in your lives. If you are not an international student already, but you really want to become one – do not stop there. There is nothing wrong with getting out of your comfort zone, trying to do your best to go get an education abroad, and getting important experience and knowledge.

-Anais Eliseeva, Contributing Writer

this article appeared in Vol. 97, Issue 7 of The Mississippi Collegian

 

Setting Limits

February 1, 2016

Some professors make their students work unnecessarily hard. Sometimes it seems so difficult that it’s impossible. They might have a grading scale that makes getting an A more difficult, there might be no extra credit opportunities, or they might expect you to know the class material even better than they do. The class takes so much time out of your schedule, and not just because of required homework or assignments. No, the stuff that really takes all the time from your schedule is simply studying for it! If you don’t study for that one class every day for most of your day, then don’t bother taking the class at all because you will fail. The worst part is that you also have to take time for other stuff, too, like jobs, extracurricular activities, and volunteer work. And let’s not forget about the fact that you have other classes, too. How can it possibly be done? You have to spend every waking moment working to not fall behind on anything and get all of your work done. It is extremely stressful, and the stress just ends up making it even harder to work. You’ve reached your limit.

But do you really know what your limit is? How much can you really take before it’s over? Sometimes, we think that we’ve reached our limit when we’ve only just started. You can’t focus; that means it’s time to stop. You’re emotionally drained; you can’t keep working now. Honestly, that may just be you giving up. That may just be you losing the will to continue working. That may just be you getting in your own way. You tell yourself that you can’t go on anymore and that this is all that you can take, when in reality, maybe you could go on. Maybe you can take more than this. Maybe you aren’t as tired as you think you are. Maybe you’re not done yet.

If you go into your work without holding yourself back, then maybe the work won’t be as crazy as it seems. Maybe it will actually be a possible feat. Maybe you can do it! Stressing yourself out and telling yourself that you can’t do it doesn’t help anything. It just holds you back from unleashing your full potential. When you confront an obstacle with a can-do attitude, the stress that you felt before will be gone, allowing you the energy to do so much more. No matter how difficult outside factors (such as demanding professors) make it, you can do it. You just have to believe in yourself.

-Crislyn Cole, Opinions Editor

this article appeared in Vol. 97, Issue 7 of The Mississippi Collegian

Miss Collegian – Going home for summer

Dear Miss Collegian,

Right now, I’m kind of freaking out about going back home for the summer. Home life isn’t the greatest and I’ve gotten so used to being away from home this year. Right now, I love being independent and I’m afraid that when I go back home that my parents will bother me about my plans after graduation or that they’ll try to dictate what I can and cannot do. Since I’ve been at college, I haven’t had to tell my parents when/where I’m going all the time, and I’m not sure I can get used to that again this summer. How can I be expected to act the same as I did at home when I’ve changed as a person and become more of an adult since I’ve been away at MC?

-Don’t Want to Leave MC


Dear Don’t Want to Leave MC,

I don’t think you should be expected to act the same when you go home. Going to college changes you and gives you a lot more freedom than you had back at home. I think your parents will understand and will give you the freedom you have gained since being away, and if not, I would suggest sitting down with them and discussing what worries you and explaining to them the ways you have changed and what you expect when you are home. I’m sure they know exactly what you are going through and how they felt their first summer back at home after college, so don’t be too hard on them!

Have a great summer,

Miss Collegian

River Journeys

-Abbie Walker, Editor

This past weekend my church college group went on an outdoor retreat. Between the hours of splashing in canoes, singing songs around a campfire, and laughing to our hearts’ content, we also talked a lot about our journeys—where we have been and where we are now. We discussed how our lives are like rivers that start out one way, twist around, fork, etc. Each of us ended up drawing a picture of what our river journey would look like, and surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly), a lot of our rivers had commonalities in that there were periods of rapids, rocks, or other treacheries that depicted difficult or devastating times in our lives. Some rivers went off the straight path but circled round again; some dropped off in waterfalls but continued past fields of flowers later on.

As my time at MC comes to a close, I think about how college has shaped my own river journey. I guess I could describe it as a period of small rapids. It’s been a fun, crazy, exciting time, but it’s also been really challenging. A lot of old wounds have been reopened and a lot of tears shed. Some things have spun me around and left me disoriented. But I’ve learned a lot about life and the Lord through the experience. So I’ve decided to impart some last minute advice that I wish I’d had a better understanding of earlier.

  1. We are all on the river journey of life. All of us have hard times that we go through, and we should embrace that. It’s OK to not be OK. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with the right people and share your struggles. Chances are those people have been or are going through a rough patch as well. Your story about a time when the Lord got you through a dark tunnel could be the hope that someone needs to push forward. There were times I was hesitant about sharing personal things with others, but I’ve also witnessed the Lord work in people’s lives because I did. Sometimes we see the effects, sometimes we don’t; but it’s definitely worth it. Let’s encourage each other because we all need to hear that we are not alone.
  1. Even when the craziness of uncertainty makes you dizzy and you can’t seem to find solid ground, the Lord is there. He’s got your back. I can’t tell you all the plans I had before and during college that have either been altered or completely changed. Sometimes it’s painful to see a desire taken away, but God really does have your best interest at heart. However, that truth can sometimes be hard to swallow. I’ve learned that it’s all right to complain to God. Sometimes we are afraid of angering Him, but nothing can change His love for us. Those times where I was practically wrestling with the Lord about decisions or plans that changed were the times where I learned the most from Him. Seek after Him, TALK to Him, argue with Him if you have to (He can take it), and He will direct your steps. We can spend our entire lives planning things, but the only thing that remains true and prevails is the Lord. He is our solid rock to grab onto when the crazy current threatens to pull us under.
  1. Joy is your life vest. The truth is, life is going to suck at times. Parents will get divorced; loved ones will be lost; heartache is inevitable. The only way we can really get through this life and be able to do what we are called to do is by having Joy. While happiness is something that is dependent upon one’s circumstances, Joy is an underlying peace that remains constant, and true Joy ONLY comes from the Lord. And that Joy spurs us onward to do amazing things and handle whatever gets thrown our way. If you feel like your situations are drowning you, latch on to Jesus and the supernatural, unexplainable Joy that He gives. Nothing else will be able to fill the hole in our hearts.

While the river journey analogy may be slightly cheesy, I think it speaks a lot about life. Sometimes it’s smooth; sometimes it’s a Class 4 rapid. Sometimes the river forks and we end up down a path we didn’t expect to take. Sometimes we hit rocks or capsize. But if I leave you with nothing else, know that the Lord is good. His love is unchanging and lifesaving.

Life is an adventure. Learn from where you are. Meet challenges head on. Trust in the Lord to direct your path. Only He knows what’s waiting around the river bend, but I’m glad I don’t have to face the next rapid alone.

America’s Excessive Military Spending

-Andy O’Brien, Assistant Editor

Last week, the House of Representatives passed a $3.8 trillion budget for the next fiscal year. The plan calls for raising military spending from $523 billion to over $600 billion. Meanwhile, some estimates say that the total U.S. government debt will reach $21.7 trillion by the end of fiscal year 2015.

America has long had the world’s most formidable armed forces. A study by the International Institute for Strategic Studies found that the U.S. spent $581 billion on military expenditures in 2014, which was the most of any country. Next was China, coming in at $129 billion. Only six countries in the world spend more than $50 billion on defense annually.

Despite the spending disparity, the American people are still hesitant about demilitarization. Our paranoia veils the reality that we spend four and a half times the amount of any other nation on our military. If wars were won by the dollar, the U.S. could defeat all other top-ten defense spenders combined, and still have over $15 billion remaining. America’s defenses are well equipped to take on any threat.

And lately, we haven’t been threatened enough to justify all of our spending. During the Cold War, we were involved in an arms race that demanded mammoth spending and constant innovation. The world is in a different place now. Although we have less than friendly relations with some nations, we are not in direct contention with a world superpower the way that we were with Russia. It’s time the American people realize that our military might, although impressive, is also excessive.

America doesn’t need to raise defense spending. Here at home, we have a myriad of problems facing our own people today. The American Institutes for Research found that in 2013, there were 2.5 million homeless children in the U.S. The same year, 69 percent of college seniors graduated with student loan debt. The average amount owed was over $28,000. As usual, there are more problems than money to solve them. Unfortunately, we consistently allot money to places where there are not problems that the American people face.

By attempting to increase the military budget over $77 billion, the government is reassigning about $240 per year from each citizen. If I were asked, I would never approve this.

I’m proud to be an American, and I am grateful for all the men and women who fight to protect my freedom. However, when defense spending is about $1,900 per citizen annually, I have a problem. I would rather see that money feed a child who goes to sleep hungry at night, or help pay the medical bills of a struggling senior citizen. I would rather see that money take care of our veterans, who notoriously struggle through unemployment and homelessness after their military days are over.

America is a great place to live, and the safety and security that we have because of countless brave men and women is a cause worth supporting. However, I believe that we should use our taxpayer’s money to address problems stateside before we spend any more billions of dollars fighting less consequential battles overseas.

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