The Marist Circle

This page is an archive of my stories for the Marist College Student Newspaper – The Circle

Circle “Onion Edition”: ‘Rotunda Construction Workers Caught Not Working’

Poughkeepsie, NY—In the 5 month long construction quagmire that is, the resurfacing of the iconic Rotunda-attached to the student center at Marist College, a student discovered an inconvenient truth behind the progress of the project.

Conor Zoch, a senior communications major at Marist was walking by the construction project on his way to class when he made a shocking observation.

“I looked up and just saw a construction worker banging a wrench on one of those steel beams!” Zoch says. Turns out he didn’t stop there, he yelled up and asked the laborer what he was doing, to which the man replied, “I’m banging on this pole.”

The honesty from the Marist contract laborer is a breath of fresh air from an otherwise stale project advancement on the face of Marist.

Richard Fitzwell, of Fishkill, NY is the construction worker seen making a racket in the rotunda rafters. He had this to say, “I’m sorry you guys had to find out like this, we’ve actually been done with the project for three and a half weeks, but were on commission until January, so most of my day is spent banging wrenches on support beams, and flapping sheets of aluminum behind the fence.”

The company behind the project—Dullard Industries, had no comments on the allegations, and plans to unveil the new rotunda in time for students to go home for winter break.

Circle Spring 2013

Study Abroad Fall 2013 Rejection Rumors.

This semester, Marist saw the most applications for study abroad programs for the fall 2013 semester than it has ever seen before.  With that large number of applicants, comes a larger number of rejections.  It goes without saying, that rejection is a part of life, especially at such a competitive institution like Marist.  However, this semester’s admission process is coming under heavy fire from students on both sides of the acceptance letter. The Fall 2013 study abroad application deadline was March 1.  However, this deadline is perhaps not exactly a deadline after all, seeing that MIP’s admissions are rolling, and applications are essentially reviewed on a first come, first serve basis. 

Marist offers a number of great programs, but perhaps one of its defining attractions is its international program.  Not many schools can offer a freshman year of College in Florence, Italy, or study abroad options in six different continents.  Students can bask in the Mediterranean sun in Madrid, dive into the culture of Cuba, explore the African frontier, study in Southeast Asia, or maybe live the life ‘down undah’ in Australia.  It is for these reasons that so many Marist students choose to go abroad at least once during their four years here.

This semester, Marist saw the most applications for study abroad programs for the fall 2013 semester than it has ever seen before.  With that large number of applicants, comes a larger number of rejections.  It goes without saying, that rejection is a part of life, especially at such a competitive institution like Marist.  However, this semester’s admission process is coming under heavy fire from students on both sides of the acceptance letter. The Fall 2013 study abroad application deadline was March 1.

However, this deadline is perhaps not exactly a deadline after all, seeing that MIP’s admissions are rolling, and applications are essentially reviewed on a first come, first serve basis. So what does this mean for the very-qualified applicant who submits his or her application only a couple days before the deadline, compared to an average student who submitted weeks or months before?  Dean of International Programs, John Peters said, “If it (the application) is submitted early, then it is looked at early… Applications are reviewed as they are completed, completing the application early means it is looked at early, and a decision is made earlier.”  This means that any application that is submitted close to the deadline, is being seen after all the applications before it have been reviewed first.

The biggest problem with this system is that, as long as the application fits the minimum requirements, which is often times only a 2.8 GPA, it can very likely be accepted over a later application with perhaps better credentials.

Sophomore Psychology Major Steve Neer, applied February 21 for the Developmental Program that is offered in Uganda for the Fall 2013 semester.  He was wait-listed due to a ‘large amount of applicants this year’.  The minimum required GPA for that program is a 2.8, which Steve far exceeds with a 3.55.  “I applied about 10 days before the deadline, but I really didn’t think it mattered, since I was above most of the requirements, got a great letter of recommendation from my advisor, and I applied to such a small program.”  Apparently it did matter, and as a result Steve is left out of an opportunity of a lifetime.  These situations beg the question why there is a deadline at all, if the time of submission weighs so much into the decision process.

Stories like Steve’s stem from the rumor that roughly 100 students were denied this semester alone.  MIP sends about 200 students abroad per semester, so if this statement is true, MIP had about 33% of its students rejected.  However, Dean Peters denied that claim without question, and implied quite the contrary, that this semester’s application term went relatively smoothly.

Assistant coordinator of Marist International Programs’ James Morrow-Polio, further added to that assertion, saying that “the majority (of applicants) were able to go for the fall, and if they didn’t get accepted into one of the fall programs they were deferred to the spring.”  So in fact, the retention rate of this semester’s class was good, even considering that MIP received twice as many applications than it usually does.

So maybe the Marist International Program did a satisfactory job in this semester’s class, that is until you ask students involved in the study abroad program where they are living next year? Many students have been put through the ringer regarding their housing situation next year.  The Marist International Program, claims and guarantees housing to students upon returning from study abroad programs. However, this is not nearly the case this year.

Sophomore Business Major, Jaclyn Sanderson knows first-hand the problems with the Marist housing crisis of 2013.  Jaclyn was initially wait-listed for the Florence undergraduate program, and told that she was most likely not going abroad next semester due to the large amount of applicants.  She deferred to the spring 2014 semester, and began looking for her housing options with her current roommates.  That is until about a week later, where she received an email saying she did indeed get accepted into the Florence Fall 2013 program.

“They said I would be able to go to Florence next year, but I would have to live off-campus for the rest of my years at Marist, because they couldn’t guarantee on-campus housing to me when I got back.”  Jaclyn is just one of many students who have been tossed around by the systems in place at an overwhelmed housing department.

So who is to blame for this huge amount of disgruntled students?  Is it Marist International Program, The Housing Department, or simply just the nature of the business?  Housing has a hard enough time fitting the students that are already in the country onto campus, so maybe we should cut them a break for letting a few seep through the cracks.  And Marist International isn’t exactly at fault for anything they did regarding admission to study abroad.  They clearly say on their website in bold red letters, “Apply early to secure your spot on the program!”

With the growing Marist student body, along with a more than positive international experience radiating from past study abroad participants, it is no wonder why there was such a large number of applicants.  That being said, it doesn’t change the attitude felt by the student body involved in this game of oppression.  Bottom-line, students’ housing and academic futures should be handled more efficiently, to avoid these negative reactions to such a positive program.


Summer 2013 Music Festival Preview

And so it begins.  We have officially embarked on Summer 2013 music festival pre-season.  It’s time to start training and preparing for the rigorous road ahead of hazy stage hopping, and musty underarms.

With the successful and even groundbreaking 2012 festival season (Tupac Hologram Performance at Coachella), 2013 is set to be even better.  For college students who want a plethora of mainstream and underground music, Governor’s Ball, and Bonnaroo prove to be always saturated with college students, and should be any young adult’s destination at least once during their four years of financially aided partying.  Festival season can be a very overwhelming time, so to not get misguided and stressed out about which festival is going to be “the” festival to go to this year, consider the lineups.

Governors ball has already released their killer schedule which includes; such headliners as Kanye West, Kings of Leon, and Guns N’ Roses.  Other big names on the docket are, Nas, Kendrick Lamar, The Lumineers, Pretty Lights, The XX, Thievory Corporation, Beach House, Bloc Party, Alt J, and Erykah Badu.  The Gov Ball never disappoints, and with this lineup as well as many more great artists, I don’t expect them to fall short.  Governors Ball has always been a popular destination for Marist students because it’s a great atmosphere and right in New York City’s Randall Island.

The festival will run from June 7-9 with Kanye West, Kings of Leon, and Guns N’ Roses headlining each one of the days.  On top of those three monsters topping off each night of the festival, don’t forget to check out the other stages and events set up, like their infamous silent disco.  For those of you who don’t know, the silent disco is essentially exactly as it sounds; hundreds of people wearing headphones, dancing to music being played by live DJ’s!  Definitely a bizarre sight to see from the outside looking in, but a dance off with friends while listening to crystal clear music is definitely something to look forward to.

If Governors Ball didn’t get you amped enough for festival season, look no further than the next most reasonable festival destination, Manchester, Tennessee.  Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival has been throwing down since 2002, and is on almost any festivalgoer’s’ bucket list.  The long awaited 2013 Bonnaroo lineup was finally announced February 19, and it just might be the best lineup of the summer.  Paul McCartney, Mumford and Sons, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, ZZ Top, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Bjork, Wilco, Nas, Pretty Lights, R. Kelly, Wu-Tang Clan, Daniel Tosh, The Lumineers, Passion Pit, Kendrick Lamar, ASAP Rocky and that’s not even the half of it.

Daniel Tosh will be performing all weekend as well as emcee for the festival “Weird Al Yankovich”.  If you’re still not completely ready to make the trip, consider that the whole event is being hosted by the man, the myth, the legend, Neil Patrick Harris.   Yes folks NPH will be facilitating the entire festival in all his hosting glory.  Tickets go on sale Saturday February 23, and I’m already saving money for tickets and gas money to road trip down to Manchester.  This Bonnaroo is sure to be one festival of legendary status.  With established rock gods like Paul McCartney, Tom Petty & The Heart Breakers, and ZZ Top, as well as many up and coming artists in attendance, this Festival will prove to be more than just a love fest in a muddy field in nowhere Tennessee.  It is a reunion of musical giants and eager upstarts of epic proportions.

Governors Ball and Bonnaroo are the largest festivals that are within reasonable driving distance for the Marist demographic.  So I leave it up to you to decide which festival you make an effort to get to, unless you do both obviously.  Governors ball is great because it’s a relaxed festival atmosphere, with all the hustle and bustle of New York cities finest food trucks and restaurants.  It’s the best of both worlds, and you don’t have 80,000 sweaty hippies crawling around in a music-drunken haze.  If the latter life is for you, then I would suggest making the trip down to Manchester, Tennessee, it will be well worth the drive.  After looking at a lot of major festival lineups, as far as musical diversity and talent go, Bonnaroo has the best collection of performers in my book.

Don’t forget to check out all the other great festivals that are closest to you.  In the meantime, pack your summer clothes and save the dates for these two great destinations, because they are sure to make a great trip this summer.

Circle Spring 2013 “Paleo Challenge”

We tend to get bored with the food that we eat. Were constantly bombarded with thumbnail advertisements for the “NEW” diet, the one that will change our lives forever. Well, maybe the diet we were looking for all along has existed since the dawn of time.  The Paleo diet is, gaining a strong cult following as of late, and is soon to be “all the rage”.  The truth is, this diet underscores the biology of mans existence.  The idea behind the Paleo diet is to consume foods that fit our genetic makeup as humans.  It is based on eating foods that our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have eaten during the Paleolithic era.

The Paleo diet consists of foods that essentially only a caveman would have available to them.  It is a strict high protein low carbohydrate diet consisting of fresh meats, fish, seafood, vegetables, fruit, eggs, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils (olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut).  This means that you can’t eat cereal grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar, potatoes, salt, refined vegetable oils, or any type of processed food. The biology behind the diet aims at making your metabolism as efficient as possible.  The Paleo diet has garnered recent attention because of its many health benefits that aid in reducing the amount of chronic illness and diseases that are common in today’s western world.

Eastern cultures eat less processed foods than western cultures do, and as a result have significantly less health problems.  The Paleo diet preaches a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, chronic degenerative diseases, weight problems, athletic performance, etc.  But you’re a Marist College student, and your wondering how you can do this extreme diet, and why you should?  Well for one it significantly improves skin complexion and acne, it will increase your libido, improve sleep, and overall healthful awareness.

OK, now you’re interested, but the logistics of maintaining this diet in a college eating schedule, with cafeteria food options that are for the most part out of your hands, is making you weary.  To start, you are allowed three non-Paleo meals a weak, which I would recommend using for your late night Pleasant-Ridge runs on the weekend.  If you live off campus it is even easier, you can cook your own meals and monitor what you’re eating.  Cooking lots of fresh meats with olive oil and herbs is an easy way to get your protein, and large mixed salads with olive oil and lemon dressing will soon become your best friend.  On campus, you still have options. The salad / fruit bar will be your go-to, as well any meat that is not fried or battered.

I know the cafeteria situation sounds a little bleak, but it is possible.  I gave the Paleo diet a test run at the end of spring semester 2012 going into the summer. When you start the diet, the program tells you to pound a whole cup of water every morning upon waking up.  The trick to beginning any diet where you feel like you’re eating less, is over-hydration.  Also, meat takes twice as much water to digest than most foods, so it is important to drink a lot of water to keep up with the increased meat that you will be eating, otherwise your intestines will look like Swiss cheese.

My experience with the Paleo diet was very good.  I ate only lean meats, mixed greens salads, fruits and lots of trail mix as a snack.  The diet is difficult at first, and you will have a lot of cravings, for salty things, bread, and cheese, or at least I did.  After about 2 weeks however, you begin to feel the effects.

The smaller sized meals slimmed me down, while also maintaining my muscle mass.  I felt fuller longer, and had sustained energy without as many calories.  By the time I was about a month in my endurance was like one of those Aztecs from the movie apocolypto who runs through the jungle during the entire movie.  My skin cleared up, I felt healthier, and more in tune with my body.

The downside to the diet comes if you’re an athlete with a rigorous training schedule.  The beginning of the regimen calls for fasting during the day and large meals every night.  This means that if your exercising regularly, the workouts will feel as though you’re going to pass out any minute.  Fortunately after about a week you begin to eat regularly and your energy comes back.  The only reason I ended the diet, is because I needed to gain bulk and more body mass for sports.

The Paleo diet does a great job of making you lean, and healthy.  You grow to fit the frame of your body well, and your body becomes a metabolizing machine.  Unfortunately my love for contact sport sent me back down the road to eating massive American meals, and fulfilling my lust for breaded chicken sandwiches with cheese and processed sauce. So take this as it is, but what this phenomenon really boils down to is returning back to the essentials.  If there is one diet to rule them all, this is the one

“The Legend Of The New Jersey Devil” 

Mythology is a transcendent form of mystery and storytelling.  We are all familiar with the traditional myths of Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and The Loch-Ness Monster, but those mythological creatures exist in realms far away from places we call home.  These legends are great, but how do they affect a Marist College student? What about the myth of the New Jersey Devil?  No, I’m not talking about the NHL hockey team from the great state of New Jersey.  I’m talking about the legend of THE New Jersey Devil.

For those of you who don’t know about this mythological creature, it is a two legged, cloven-hoofed creature, with large bat like wings who roams the Pine Barrens region of southern New Jersey.  There are many variations of the jersey devil, but they all have similar traits, and just like any good joke, a myth always has its root to truth.

According to the New Jersey Historical Society, most tellers of the legend trace it back to the early 1700’s, when Deborah Leeds invoked the devil during a very difficult and painful labor.  It is widely accepted, that Mrs. Leeds had given birth to twelve children, and when she found out she was pregnant with a thirteenth, she said “may it be a devil”.  Others believe it was a family curse put on the thirteenth child.   One version even says the child was born a monster and Mrs. Leeds cared for it until her death, upon where it flew off into the swamps.

Most versions don’t have the devil harming anyone.  The Sightings range from the creature emerging from the woods attempting to steal chickens and other small animals, to Long Island fisherman saying they saw the creature serenading a mermaid.  I hate to say it, but I don’t feel at all comfortable with the latter.

The most notable sightings come from Trenton councilman E.P Weeden in 1909, who awoke in the middle of the night to flapping wings outside his window, and cloven hoof prints in the snow.  Also, in 1978 two teenage boys ice-skating near the Pine Barrens, caught a strong smell of dead fish, and saw two red eyes staring at them.  Of course they didn’t stay to make sure it actually was the demonic beast, but still claimed they had encountered said New Jersey Devil.  Regardless of how legitimate these sightings are, and the reputation the Jersey Devil has around the state, it is definitely one of the most underrated mythological creatures I’ve ever heard of.

Most mythological creatures are derived from some unpopulated, constantly foggy, dream-like environment, three oceans north, in a land far far away.  To have an actual devil, right in metropolitan New Jersey is unreal?  That is a legend that I would go “Blaire-Witch-Project” on.  The fact that there is a potential devil right in Marist’s backyard is something special, and I think it’s safe to say that the New Jersey Devil’s Hockey team really lucked out with their mascot.  Realistically, the legend is probably just a deformed child born from a mother who had 12-too-many kids at a time where deformed children were seen as a sign from the devil.  Either way you look at it, the Jersey devil will always have a place on my list of great mythological creatures.

“So what do guys really mean when they say…?”

Lifestyles Section Experiment:

It’s pretty clear that guys and girls communicate in different ways.  Especially at Marist, trying to read a text past three AM can be like trying to read hieroglyphics from 30 yards away.  Regardless of the context, text communicating between the opposite sex, is way harder than it sounds.  Not to mention the disconnect guys and girls have when it comes to digital vernacular.  Girls have a hard enough time trying to genuinely understand guys in person, so imagine how difficult it is to understand what a guy is really trying to say in a five-word text message. Interpreting the meaning of texts is filled with enough jargon they could write a book about it.  But they don’t, so luckily we have the circle to enlighten Marist on what guys really mean to say in their misconstrued texts.  It’s no ‘cosmo’, but who wants to pay five dollars to hear a 54 year old female marriage counselor explain the thought process of a man anyway.  That’s like me writing a blog about what to expect in your third trimester.

I digress.  First of all, the context of the conversation is as important to the situation as what’s actually being said.  The basic foundation for interpreting texts as accurately as possible can be found in three simple steps.

One, understand what time it is; this is crucial in terms of contextual understanding.   For example, saying “Hey” at 12:00 PM can mean something completely different than saying “Hey” at 12:00AM.  Saying “Hey” as a classic afternoon conversation starter could simply mean just that.  But if you get the H-Bomb anywhere in the late PM’s or early AM’s, best believe it comes included with a little extra incentive than just a nightcap conversation before bed.  The second step is ‘Know Your Man’.  If you’re texting someone you just met, or someone who is new to you, play things a little more conservative.  Middle School health class always said not to judge or stereotype people, but they also said that if you had sex, you would get syphilis…and die.

Point is, if you want to fully understand what he’s saying to you, pigeon hole that kid until you have a solid idea of what he’s about. Is he a jock, artsy, bro-tastic, shallow, deep, poetic, brutish, hipster, other?  Gather what you can about this kid; give him generic responses to force him to open up so you can get an idea of what his personality is like.  If you know him, then you can skip this step and move onto the third and final process of the text-interpreting system.  Which is, “Find out his basic goal or incentive for texting you”.  This may sound extremely ignorant, but at the core of every text message is some form of motivation for doing so, otherwise he wouldn’t be texting you in the first place.  Consider, is this text a conversation starter? Is it a booty call? Is it just to stay in touch? Think about how far you want the conversation to go.

So now you have the three basic steps to guide you through your boy’s texts. Lets review the basic phrases men say that sometimes need a second glance.  If you get a text saying “Wat r u doing?” by itself without an introductory text saying “Hey” or “wats up?” it can mean a few things.  Again, keep in mind the time of day.  A “Wat r u doing” in the middle of the day on a weekday, could be either a very direct question, a proposition to meet up or walk to class, an inquisition to find out where you, the list goes on.  But, if you get this text after 8 PM, especially on a weekend, the possibilities narrow to a specific goal most likely benefitting him.  If you encounter the text “Wanna do something Later?”,  this is most often associated with an activity or place to hang out where you can hook up.

It does NOT mean, go to get something to eat or hang out in public, unless he specifies otherwise.  “Wanting to do something Later” is much different from asking “Wat r u doing, or wat r u doing later”.  Those are more specific, and contain a more specific motive.  The more vague the text, the more he is trying to beat around a subject, and you should then refer to your three previous steps.

This is the 21st century college-mating dance.  Similarly, “Lets chill later tonight” also implies romantic actions, however notice that it is more specific, than “wanna do something?”  By communicating the act of “Chilling” he implies that his intentions involve hanging out and possible exchanging in some conversation rather than just a booty call.  Another nice thing to hear from a guy on a Saturday night is “Can’t wait to see you later tonight”.  Don’t get freaked out if you think this comes on as too up front.  If you get this text while you’re getting ready to go out, it usually means he plans on seeing you out and might like you.

Now that you have the big phrases covered pay attention to the small things he says to not get the wrong idea.  Girls often use singular words like “Fine, K, Good, Ok, Alright, Night…” as deep metaphors for resentment in the decision coming from the other side of the phone.  Understand that when a guy says these words, they don’t always mean they are upset with you.

Men are notoriously lazy.  For him, the less words the better, especially when ending a conversation.  So if you get a conversation ender with any of the aforementioned phrases, don’t fear, its probably just because he’s too lazy to type a better more lengthy response.  Other conversation ending remarks up for misinterpretation include “Go have fun with your friends”, or “k ttyl” (talk to you later for the layman).  When did these once genuine goodbyes turn into hidden messages of guilt and attitude?  Just keep in mind ladies, that maybe, just maybe, that guy on the other side of that mobile device is actually telling you to go have fun with your friends, and he is planning on talking to you later.

However depending on the guy, and the conversation these theories could be null and void and he might in fact be showing you some sort of attitude.  However, these are minority cases.

Now your set to text clear-headed with your man and not be confused by his intentions.  Remember the three steps to male-text-interpreting.  What time is it? Who am I talking to? What does he want from me? Best of luck.

Review: Sons of Anarchy Season 6 Episode 1

Sons of Anarchy is never shy for the dramatic, but the opening episode of season 6 couldn’t have been more earth shattering.  Tig drowning a porn producer in a bathtub of piss is kind of par for the course, but we also saw Otto get raped, Tara beat the crap out of someone in prison, Lyla got beaten…again, Loric apparently has a recreational heroin habit and likes to get naked in front of mirrors, and an ominously Jax-looking little boy shot up a seminary school.  Sons of Anarchy officially has no limits, and I love it.

The episode starts with its unmistakable montage of Jax’s morally ambiguous monologue serving as background noise for shots of his sons, Gemma, and the crew riding through some stretch of northern California desert.  A relatively peaceful opening, until you see Otto getting raped in a solitary confinement cell at county, and  new-villain Loric comes in to talk to Otto (except that Otto can’t talk…no tongue) about his sister’s funeral service and the confirmation that Otto will continue to get raped as long as he’s alive in prison.

Unfortunately we also found out that August still wants Tig for the loss of Damon Pope and Jax agrees.  Of course you would like to hope Jax has some sort of secret plan for keeping Tig alive, but the future looks grim for poor Tig Traeger, and I see a possible foreshadowing of his demise during his Otis Redding moment as he sings “Sittin on the Dock of the Bay” watching that cage full of dead Iranian sink under water.

Then we see Tara who is struggling in prison and is waiting for bail and won’t let Jax see her “Like this”, I don’t know if she means in a prison jumpsuit or her short haircut?  Either way, she looks battered and seems to have lost all the innocence she once had when Jax fell in love with her.

The show re-opened a wound not yet completely healed when Lyla showed up burned and beaten crying for Opie whom we all still sorely miss.  Meanwhile, Loric is continually weaseling his way into the troubles of SAMCRO as he talks to Clay and Tara in county.  He essentially reaches victory over Clay by saving his life by giving him solitary confinement, and Clay being the selfish monster that he is takes the bribe and is now in Loric’s Pocket.  Loric also tricks Tara into admitting a felony that she forged documents to talk to Otto and brought him an outside object, just to prove that he is pretty much in control of Tara’s fate, which is scary in itself.

We also saw our fan favorite character Juice still struggling with his heavy guilt of treasonous club actions and helping frame clay. Juice: “I love you brother.” Chibs: “I know”. Juice lets Chibs beat the crap out of him in the garage.  By this point in the episode I’ve seen about a full episodes’ worth of shooting (shootout in the porn studio-warehouse-dungeon). Screwing (Also in porn studio-warehouse-dungeon). Secretive subplots (Jax giving up Tig, Bobby moving into a new place without an oven and circling different areas on a map of Nevada-sketchy, Loric’s devious plans to manipulate Clay and Tara) Body-dumping (Tig). And more prostitutes.

I hope I’m not the only one who thought the episode was over when Tig was sitting on the dock of the bay and Clay opts out of general occupancy.  On any other day with all of these events happening, Curt Sutter and I would spiritually shake hands, I would thank him for another great episode and be on my way.  But wait there’s more!  The episode continues and we get an interesting look into Loric’s life and find out that he is a casual or maybe not so casual heroin user, and proceeds to push off into nothingness, naked in front of a mirror.  Ah, so the villain does have a weakness?

But wait there’s even more!  That little blonde kid that kind of resembles Jax, that is somehow related to Nero’s crew enters the courtyard of what we presume to be his catholic school and rolls up his sleeves to write more in his journal. This is where we see the scars from cutting his wrists.  Cue the sinister music…oh wait, no cue the church bells and birds chirping in the back ground.  Wait wats going on, these are conflicting signals?  He just whipped out a KG-9 the same type of gun SAMCRO gave to Nero’s crew.  Nooooooooo!!!  We then helplessly watch this boy walk into the school, see his notebook of writing (with great handwriting) and violent pictures, hear screaming, gunfire, and blood spattering on the windows.  Mind sufficiently blown.  To top it all off, Jax caves and has sex with Collette and we get our daily dose of Jax’s naked ass.

An intense episode to say the least.  I would be crazy to try and predict where this season will go, but here it goes.  Tig is definitely on the watch list for next major character to die.  I hope that Juice is somewhat recovered from his mental instability but we don’t know for sure.  Tara is suddenly a badass, Clay is a rat and will do rat things for Loric the heroin addict.  I think Bobby is trying to go nomad with his questions, and circling of locations in nomad territory.  I think Nero will play a bigger role in helping Jax but I also think at some point they will have a serious altercation regarding differing opinions and or Gemma.  Finally the school massacre will most definitely come back to haunt SAMCRO, and will most likely bring about a new threat from some sort of antagonizing law figure.  Overall, great episode and can’t wait to see the second one.

Marist Circle: Opinion: Teen Mom 2 

In case you’ve been living under a rock, or just have more important things to do than watch the downward spirals of adolescent girls, chronicling their less-than-prudent pregnancies on MTV; Jenelle Evans is pregnant again.  The reason this story is making headlines comes from the recent, and painfully face-covering life-choices made by the Teen mom and the people around her.

Jenelle’s immediate family tree is more like a thick patch of brier.  Flimsy branches, covered in thorns of envy, neglect, substance abuse, estranged husbands and an unfortunate consistency to repeat the process.  Sprinkle in some fledgling rose buds (those being the miracle of a healthy son Jace, and soon to be second child), and you have the immediate family lineage of the oh-so-popular Jenelle Evans and her revolving significant others.

She recently had an abortion and is pregnant again, but her troubles speak to a larger issue that transcends Jenelle completely.  First, take a look at Jenelle’s recent past.

In 2009 Jenelle, had her first child Jace with a man who is out of the picture.  In 2010 she lost custody of Jace to her mother.  In 2012 she married Courtland Rogers whom she had a miscarriage with, and subsequently the two split up when he went to prison for heroin possession.  While he was in jail, she found that she was pregnant with his child. Without telling her husband anything, she had an abortion, and the very same day met her new boyfriend Nathan Griffith on a dating website.  She is currently pregnant with Griffith’s child, and is expecting sometime in June of 2014.

Roger’s was released from prison to learn from a commercial for the upcoming season of Teen Mom 2, that his wife’s child was aborted.  “It would be selfish to Jace (her son) if I had another child” the 21-year-old said in a trailer for the upcoming season of TM2. “I decided that I am going to get an abortion.”

It looks like Jenelle has finally gained some discretion, since having that miscarriage while Jace was in her mother’s custody.  You also have to look past the other child she is planning to have with Griffith.  Maybe if the pregnancy is planned it is not selfish to her son that she still doesn’t have custody over.

Before this article becomes a scathing review of a young woman whose story is unfortunately not so different from many other single mothers throughout the U.S and rest of the world; the ubiquitous force to blame here, is a media driven culture that magnifies the horrors of these poor girls’ lives. Jenelle is not a villain, but a victim.

A critical retrospective, would think that there is something horribly wrong with a mainstream television show that exploits the naivety of young women, going through cataclysmic life-changing events.

This is From TM2’s facebook page: “The show follows the stories of four girls from the second season of ’16 and Pregnant’ and documents the challenges of their first years of motherhood. Each episode interweaves stories of four teenage girls who are navigating the bumpy terrain of adolescence, growing pains, and coming of age – all while facing the responsibility of being a young mother.”

The message is clear, and oddly philanthropic on the surface, but the reality behind this reality show, is a national stage that puts a white-hot critical spotlight on the girls’ most vulnerable moments of their young lives.

Coming of age at the hands of greedy television producers, whose ultimatum is to create a storyline that will attract maximum viewership; is like putting an egg in a giant incubator filled with artificial light, and barbed wire. Then have rich television producers throw incentives at it to jump up and down, because an egg has never done that before, and hope that it will hatch a perfectly normal chicken with no subliminal scar tissue.

Over-the-top, maybe?  However, we are a nation that became engulfed in The Hunger Games, as if it were some great distance away, yet millions of people turn on TM2 every week, to see which girls’ life took an unexpected turn for better or worse.

We put these girls through the ringer, when all they need to be put through is education and maternity leave.

Instead, recent news has surfaced, that Jenelle is drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana during her current pregnancy, with the overwhelming consent of her husband.

RadarOnline reported on February 14, 2014, that a source said, ‘She told me that if she doesn’t have weed she will throw up due to her pregnancy,’. The Same report claims that her boyfriend encourages her to take shots of fireball to ease the stress.

Jenelle has been battling substance abuse for nearly her entirety on the show, and it can be said that she would have abuse problems regardless of the show.  However, some of the other contestants have also had issues with miscarriage, and you don’t need to be a doctor to deduce that the stress of being on TM2 is not conducive to child development

Jenelle Evans’ story is getting a lot of flack now because it is recent, but the trend among these teen mom stars is not a glorifying one, no matter how glorified they may seem at times. Farrah Abraham clearly didn’t have a seamless transition away from the show.  And it is difficult to say if any of these girls will, especially Jenelle and her child(ren).

One thing is for certain, the evolution of reality shows, represents a grim truth about what sparks the human spirit.  If TM2 doesn’t disturb you enough, watch the show ‘Jail’ on Spike.  It is exactly how it sounds.

As for the upcoming fifth season of Teen Mom 2, and the underlying theme of contraceptive therapy; may the odds be ever in your favor.

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