College is a new, exciting, and possibly shocking time in any ones life. This blog is for incoming and current college students to open their minds and begin the discussion of things they may experience in college and that will hopefully continue. With advice, thoughts, and superheroes, it is going to be a pretty good time!
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The Great, Yet Lesser Known Heroes

Everyone knows of Superman, Spider-man, Batman, etc. but there are some great superheroes that seem to be left in the shadows of these comic book giants, well today I want to shed some light on some of these incredible, but lesser known characters. Here are five characters from the DC and Marvel Universes that have a lot going for them, but just can’t seem to make into the superhero mainstream.

Etrigan the Demon

The first big appearance of this character, outside of the comic books, was in the animated TV show, Justice League Unlimited, that ran from 2004 to 2006, and did they portray him well! The thing about Etrigan is he isn’t like most characters. Etrigan is a demon, obviously, who has bound himself to a human named Jason Blood. While he is a demon, he more than not allies himself with the forces of good. During the fight for Camelot against Morgaine le Fey, Merlin summoned Etrigan when Camelot was about to fall. When it was certain that the castle was doomed, Merlin sent Etrigan away and bound him with a human named Jason Blood. However it was not until centuries later that Blood stumbled upon the tomb of Merlin and read a poem upon the crypt. Blood is a Gotham resident, often found teaming up with the Dark Knight to fight crime (even before teaming up with Etrigan.) Etrigan is such an interesting character because DC is able to have a story line that focuses upon Etrigan and Jason Blood, two very different people, but two very interesting stories.

The Question

Watergate, the JFK assassination, 911, and any other event in history that has a conspiracy behind it, this guy eats up for breakfast. While Batman may be the World’s greatest detective, Question is the World’s greatest P.I. and conspiracy theorist. Created by the one and only Steve Ditko (co-creator of Spider-man). Vic Sage was an investigative journalist whose career went big when he became an on air news reporter. Not long after he began to investigate a Dr. Twain who had been working on a artificial skin called Pseudoderm. It was meant to be like New Skin (you know the liquid band-aid stuff) except it was toxic if it got into an open wound. Knowing that he could not face Dr. Twain on his own, he worked with one of Dr. Twain’s co-creators of the Pseudoderm, Aristotle Rodor, who suggested that he use a mask of Pseudoderm to hide his famous face. After stopping Twain and reporting his illegal activities on air as Vic Sage, Sage thought this disguise would be useful for future investigations. What makes Question so different from other superheroes of the Silver Age is that he is ruthless in his methods. However, while he may (kind of look) look like Rorschach, of the Watchmen, and act like him too, he found that, after trying to emulate Rorschach he gets his ass kicked! Therefore, he concludes that Rorschach sucks! (Obviously that is up to debate!) If you are a fan of a guy who looks for conspiracies and will do anything to find the answer, this is the superhero for you!


Megan Gwynn, aka Pixie, was born in a small mining town, one in which her father was killed during a mining accident. It is later discovered that he was not actually his father, but the villainous Mastermind, making Pixie to be the the half-sister of Lady Mastermind and Mastermind II. Megan was a very cheerful student at Xavier’s School who had always had an easy time making connections and getting along with her classmates and peers. As the name suggest, Pixie has a pair of insect-like wings which allow her to fly. She allows possesses “pixie dust” which created hallucinations to whomever comes in contact with it. What makes Pixie such an interesting character isn’t her powers (obviously) but instead, her intertwining with Illyana (also known as Magik), the younger sister of Colossus. Due to Darkchilde persona, Magik used a spell to immobilize Pixie, since she had the most innocent soul. While this process was interrupted, Pixie gained the ability to use magic, such as teleportation (which insistently was taught to her by Magik). She also gains a powerful weapon known as a Soulsword (the glowing pink thingy in the picture) that she uses in her various battles against the enemies of the X-men and Magik on many different occasions. This ability, through dark magic, lead to a dark time for Pixie in San Francisco, but you’ll have to read more about this in a future post!


Marvel has done something incredible with this character. We have seen Christian heroes, Jewish heroes, atheist heroes, heroes that had no religion because the world in which they came from did not have any, but no hero (to my knowledge) has been of the Muslim faith. I have got to say that is awesome. Sooraya Qadir, also known as Dust, maybe one of the first superheroes to come from Afghanistan. It reopens the idea that anyone can be a superhero, no matter what your background is. Sooraya was born into the slave markets of Afghanistan, a very unlikely beginning for most superheroes. She has the ability to turn her body into a large cloud of dust, as well as control sand around her. She first learned of her powers when a slaver attempted to take off her traditional garbs, known as a niqab. She is a currently a member of the Young X-men and a student at Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. She is a very quiet and nervous girl, which I can understand from being held as a slave for a majority of your childhood! Funny note, she is roommates with Surge (you will read about her next) who often is ridiculed and questioned her for wearing the traditional garments of her faith. Personalities will class I guess. But the greatest part about her is the fact that she is a rare example of a positive Muslim character, something that would be very fortunate to see in the comic book worlds: more acceptance of others.


There are good students in Xavier’s School who are “goodie goods” and there are some who are trouble kids, and THEN there are some who have found themselves in dark situation to deal with their mutant powers. Noriko Ashida, aka Surge, is the last type of person. Born in Japan, she was forced to rely upon acquiring prescription drugs illegally to reduce her highly accelerated mutant brain. As a child she ran away from home when her father refused to accept her genetic mutation. Since then she has had problems with authority and finds herself rebelling against it when she finds necessary. She has the ability to constantly absorb electricity, from the air, lights, fixtures, etc. She cannot control when or how much electricity she absorbs, therefore she must wear special gauntlets that help regulate her electrical intake. If she takes in too much electricity, it causes a mental overload (which is why she was initially taking illegally obtained prescription drugs) and she speaks too quickly as well as being unable to think straight or concentrate. Not only can she absorb electricity, but she can also release it in forms of electric blasts/channels that travel at lightning speed (pun intended). She is kind of like a Japanese Wolverine with boobs…and she can shot lightning from her hands! But personality wise, she is definitely like Wolverine! Ya know, clashing with peers and superiors, doesn’t do well with orders, etc.

What Harry Potter and Emma Watson have taught us


With the recent, and rather incredible, speech delivered to the UN General Assembly by Emma Watson, I decided that this blog post was going to be about Harry Potter. Now, I have to admit, I have not read all of the Harry Potter books (I know, I know…I plan to remedy that very soon). But what I am talking about is something that is clearly present in the Harry Potter series. The Harry Potter series focuses on several ideas that we could all learn from as a society, nation, and world. Those ideas are reliability, friendship, and equality.

That is what Harry Potter has been teaching kids, and adults, that in life you need to be accountable and people need to be able to rely upon you. Being reliable means so many different things, but the biggest things are that you will be there for someone when you say you will and that you can be counted on when things get rough. Think about it: Hermione and Ron were there for Harry when he needed them, and he for them, Dumbledore was a guiding force for Harry throughout all of his years at Hogwarts, and, no matter how dark the times seemed, Ron, Harry, and Hermione never gave up on one another. They fought for each other every day, they cared about each other. They were there for the good and for the bad.

And that is where friendship comes in. For Harry, Ron, and Hermione, their friendship is what got them through a lot of their difficulties in school. They had each other for support and knew that they would be there when need be. They did not use their friendship as a bargaining chip or just for their own personal gain. Their friendship was genuine. Now I am not saying that you are friends with someone because you get something out of it, but there are always some friendships that start with such beginnings. But the friendships that last for years, the ones that you cherish are like Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s. It is reciprocal, it is fair, and there is a sense of love embedded in it. Harry Potter taught us how to be friends with others and how important friendship is, because without friends, going on an adventure to defeat He Who Must Not Be Named would not be as much fun.

But above all, I think the thing that Harry Potter has taught us is that everyone is equal. The books did not pigeon hole who people were or what they could do. They did not say that “to be a man you have to be big and buff and boss people around.” Rather they said, “a man stands up for his friends and what he believes is right, even if others think he is wrong.” They did not say that women can only do certain things. Hermione was one of the greatest witches at Hogwarts; Professor McGonagall was not limited because she was a woman, having the second highest job next to Dumbledore. The Harry Potter series spoke equality, but they were not naïve in thinking that all welcome in equality. Slytherin was the peak of pigeon holing and telling others what they could or could not do. And I think J.K. Rowling had them for a reason. It wasn’t just to have a group of stuck up, jerks who housed the Dark Lord Voldemort.  I think they were there because not the entire world is going to accept equality, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try. It means that we fight harder for equality, both for men and women. There will always be Slytherins in the world, but there are so many more Gryffindors, Hufflepuffs, and Ravenclaws who want to see the world change for the better.

Emma Watson in her speech, on Sunday, said eloquently, “Feminism, by definition, is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunity….Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation: Gender equality is your issue too.”  Equality is not just a women’s issue. It is not something that can be tucked away in a drawer and never spoken of. Equality is an issue that affects all of humanity. We can either slink back or pretend that everything will get better on its own, or we can make a stand and say enough is enough.

Watch the full video here:

So why talk about Harry Potter, reliability, friendship, and equality? What does that have to do with college? To tell you the truth, when I first started writing this I was a little unsure what the point was, but now it is clear to me. In college, you are going to be relied upon and you will rely on others. You will have friends who are there for you; some may only be there for a semester, others for your entire career and beyond. And the biggest, in my opinion, is that equality is not something that you work on after you are out of college, it is something that you fight for now.  Remember what Harry Potter has taught us, and if you are like me and still have a few books to read, well let’s get on that.

Time Management

Written by Luke Jacobs, Sophmore, Economics

Today’s Post is about Time Management, which is ironic, seeing as I didn’t manage my time very well today and now I’m writing this at the wee hours of the morning. This isn’t the first time this has happened, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I’m also I’m fairly certain we’ve all been in situations similar to this one and you know what I’m talking about. Maybe you forgot you had an assignment, or it took you longer than expected to finish your Calc. homework, or maybe you got the dates wrong and thought it was due 22/9 and not 9/22 (which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense now, but it did at the time!) Or you just didn’t feel like doing it. Whatever the reason, time is still one of the hardest things to manage, right next to Lindsay Lohan’s PR, and a pack of rowdy sloths. However if you count yourself amongst the time-managerial adapt, and are questioning me right now, saying something along the lines of, “Whatever do you mean? I have no such problems managing my time.” Well, then I tip my hat to you good sir, you clearly know something I don’t. Regardless, I think I speak for all of us when I say I wish there were more hours in a day. There’s a lot going on that we have to fit in 24 hours! An average student has to go to class, go to work, and do homework. Twitter, Facebook, Intagram, and Tinder have to be crammed in there somewhere too, so it’s no wonder it’s a small miracle when we go to bed early.

However, time management, like a lot of other things, is just a skill that can be improved. Which brings us to the big question and the main topic for today: How do we improve our Time Management? We all like to make the best use of our time, that’s for sure, but are we managing it the best? Our time likes to be filled with activities that we are passionate about, whether that be the outdoors, Netflix, or my personal favorites, Youtube and books. Either option being a sure-fire way to waste most of your day away. Basically, it comes down to the age-old question: does ye do what ye wants or what ye needs to do? Or more specifically: how do we prioritize our time? We make lists, keep planners up to date, and organize almost everything. Yet, when it comes down to crunch time, we almost always chose the option that will be more fun and good ol’ procrastination comes into the equation. It’s no secret that procrastination is to time management what bowl cuts were to my 6th grade street cred. (it ruins it, just fyi) So how do you beat back procrastination/bad hair cuts and use your time wisely? Well, the easy fix would be to tell yourself that cleaning the dishes really is fun (If that actually works for you, then I’m jealous). In reality, the remainder of us are left with dirty dishes and still poorly managed time.
For most of us, time management comes with the connotation of some kind of unpleasant activity (the management part of time management). That’s why we procrastinate. It gives us enjoyment to be doing something we like, rather than being done with something we don’t. How do we fix that? To be honest, I don’t think we can. But I do think we can use it as an advantage. Set a system of goals and rewards for yourself, form good habits, and most of all, don’t be afraid to start! When managing your time, allow for short breaks in your routine to recharge your batteries (Emphasis on short!). If a morning routine of study, breakfast, and then class works for you, keep on workin’ it! Lastly, don’t be intimidated by the first step! It’s always difficult to begin, but once you start, it’s surprising how easy it is to continue. It doesn’t take too long until you are finished, looking back and wondering, why didn’t I start sooner?
So what are you waiting for?
Go Get ‘Em!

College is just another step in life, and unfortunately, we are often hurt throughout life. We face struggles, deal with heartaches, and sometimes do not want to move on. However, in 60 seconds, this man gives some deep insight into dealing with that pain and hurt. 

Harry Potter Through the Lense of a College Paper

Written by Breanna Totzke, Senior, Teaching Communication Arts and Literature

The genre of children’s fantasy literature has been said to follow a pattern where the main character or characters start in a world of reality, go to a world of fantasy, and return to their original world.  This circular structure is telling the reader that the characters return to their reality the same as when they left for the fantasy world.  But this cannot be true because once these characters gain knowledge of another world their reality becomes a dual reality.  The circular structure is altered because the characters start in their own world of reality, enter the world of fantasy, but they return with a new found knowledge of this new world that is out there.  The characters return to their new reality, one that contains both worlds, a dual reality.  Examples of this new structure can be found in multiple children’s fantasy books.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling is a prime example of how the characters understand and use their knowledge of this other world in their dual reality.  The circular structure of the past is altered when the characters cross over from their reality to fantasy; these characters can never return the same as they were before, their reality is now a dual reality.

Hermione Granger is a good example of a character that experiences this new structure from the beginning.  She grew up in a Muggle home and had no knowledge of another world until her letter from Hogwarts came.  She says so at the Welcoming Feast in the Great Hall at Hogwarts that “it was ever such a surprise when I got my letter” (105).  Hermione enters the magical world from the Muggle world, her reality, with no previous knowledge and is eager to learn all she can about this new world.  Because of her reality, she enters the magical world not understanding taboos and customs of the wizarding community.  But as she adapts to this fantasy world she starts calling Voldemort “You-Know-Who” (260).  This signifies the blending of her two worlds into one.  And when Hermione and Harry are facing Professor Snape’s protection test she uses skills from her experiences from the Muggle world in the world of fantasy.  She knows that “the greatest wizards haven’t got an ounce of logic” (285), but she does because of her Muggle upbringing.  This is where her two worlds become completely blended together to form her dual reality.  When she returns to her parent’s home for the summer she has this knowledge of another world that will affect her.  Hermione is an example of a character that experienced the discovery of the magical world and then had it result in creating her dual reality.

Another example of characters being affected by this new structure is the Dursleys.  They are living a dual reality from the beginning of the novel because they are already aware of the magical world.  Right away the reader is clued in that the Dursley’s “[have] a secret, and their greatest fear [is] that somebody would discover it.”  This family is an example of how having a dual reality, the knowledge of another world, can negatively affect someone.  They choose to have fear at the very idea of this other world because it is not considered “normal.”  The moments before Harry comes to live with the Dursleys are filled with odd events that are “normal” in the magical world.  If Mr. Dursley was paying attention to what was happening around him, “fear [would have] flooded him” (4) because he knows the signs of the magical world.  His family cannot stand differences; they believe that they are better than the other world.  When Harry comes to live with the Dursleys they decide that they would do everything they could to keep the magical world hidden from Harry.  They choose this from their previous experience with the fantasy world and their resulting dual reality.  Past experiences with the magical world that Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia include being exposed to Petunia’s sister Lily and her husband James Potter, Harry’s parents.  Vernon and Petunia’s only view of the magical world is negative because Lily “went and got herself blown up” (53) since she and he husband were “mixed up with [those] wizarding types” (56).  Instead of realizing that bad people are going to be in any world someone is in, Vernon and Petunia associate Lily and James’s death to the magical world and they learn to fear the “abnormal” (53). 

As Harry grows, Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia punish him for anything that is out of the ordinary because of their fear of the magical world.  Multiple times before Harry finds out he is a wizard, strange events happen around and to him including: growing his hair “back so quickly” (24), shrinking sweaters (24), “sitting on a chimney” (25), and dreaming of flying motorcycles (25).  When the letters from Hogwarts start coming Vernon tells Petunia “I’m not having one in the house!” and he goes on further saying that he would “stamp out that dangerous nonsense” (36).  Their knowledge of the other world results in a negative reaction.  Since the Dusley family has such a negative reaction to the magical world Harry is being punished because of their fear.  They attempt to keep Harry from encountering the magical world and keep him in reality only. 

A final example of a character going through this new structure is Harry Potter.  What the Dursleys do not know is that Harry is already living a dual reality because he was born to magical parents Harry entered the magical world right away.  But since he was taken away from the magical world at such a young age his reality has a pinch of dual reality from the start.  This is noticeable from the dreams he has including “a flying motorcycle” and Harry has the feeling he has “had the same dream before” (19).  When in all actuality he lived that dream because Hagrid brought him to the Dursley’s house on a motorcycle.  He thinks that this memory is a dream which makes his dual reality become his reality.  Harry takes this new world as his reality and takes the magical world as the other world.  He even considers the magical world as a new world because Harry notices that many of his classmates “had come from Muggle families…like him” (134).  And right away when Hagrid tells him that he is a wizard Harry does not believe him saying “I’m a what?” (51).  Even though Harry starts the novel in a dual reality, he is really starting in the same reality as other Muggle characters.  Harry returns to his dual reality more confident than before he learned of this other world.  He is not affected negatively by the knowledge of the magical world.  Harry is better off because he knows of this other world.  His dual reality results in happier person who knows how the world works.  He realizes that not every person will have the same knowledge that he does, but he can use what he knows to make his life better. 

The characters of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone show the new circular structure.  Hermione, the Dursleys, and Harry all go through the structure where they start in their reality, go to fantasy, and end up in a dual reality.  They all have different understandings of their resulting dual realities since they all have different experiences of the magical world.  But there is no denying that they return the same as when they left.  They all gain something new from their experience that they bring back to their previous reality.  The significance of this reading of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is that it alters our reading of this novel and other children’s fantasy literature.  The reader becomes aware that the characters know of both worlds once they return to a dual reality.  This new structure is not only applicable to Harry Potter, but to many other children’s fantasy also can fit this too.  Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit also fits this structure.  This altered structure helps the reader understand the text better because the reader can understand the characters better.  Since the reader can see what the characters are experiences it connects the reader closer to the text.  The new structure of reality, to fantasy, to dual reality allows for a better understanding of the characters’ experience.

How Will You Lead? Sith or Jedi?

I saw this picture a few days ago and it reminded me of Star Wars. How in the world did I get Star Wars in my head from this image? Well, these two ideals of leadership, the leader and the boss, reflect the two side of the Force: Sith and Jedi. While both Orders are searching to bring order to the Galaxy, they both have differing ways of achieving that goal. The Code of the Sith is as follows:

Peace is a lie, there is only passion.

Through passion, I gain strength.

Through strength, I gain power.

Through power, I gain victory.

Through victory, my chains are broken.

The Force shall free me.

They believe in actions, that your emotions will make you powerful and bring you to victory. However, just because they are men and women of action does not mean they do not appreciate the power of words. As Darth Bane once said, “I am not a man of words. But I respect the power of words, for that is what transformed me. The words of the Sith Code. Others had heard them, contemplated them, and so on. But I understood them, and they changed me. For what was I before I heard those words? Nothing.

What gives the Sith such a negative viewing from the public are a few things. The first is the way in which they secure power. They have slunk in the shadows, using fear and intimidation to force those weaker than them to submit to their will. This has been seen when Darth Vader and those of the Empire ordered for the destruction of Alderaa. Another thing that gives the Sith such a negative public perspective is ‘the rule of two’. Created by Darth Bane during the slaughtering of the Sith at the hands of their own brotheren, Darth Bane made it so there could only be a master and an apprentice, keeping the jealousy of the Sith at bay and avoiding extinction. But while those who use the Darkside of the Force are seen as villains, they, like the Jedi, seek peace and order in the galaxy. The biggest difference is that, like a boss, they wish to lead it.

The Jedi, heroes of the Republic, were originally monks; peacekeepers. Before the Clone Wars they were diplomats between planets and disagreeing parties. As the Clone Wars continued, they became generals of the Army of the Republic, fighting and leading the troops of the Clone Army against the separatists. What makes them so different from the Sith are their core ideas. The Sith believe emotions: anger, hatred, physical and emotional connects, makes someone more powerful. They are able to use those emotions to feed their power. Jedis have a much different ideology. They believe the only way to be strong, to be one with the force, they must remove themselves from all emotions and attachments for they lead to dark and evil places. As Yoda once said, “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Suffering leads to the Darkside.” The code of the Jedi Order reflects the opposite ideals of the Sith:

There is no emotion, there is peace.

There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.

There is no passion, there is serenity.

There is no chaos, there is harmony.

There is no death, there is the Force.

Now in no way am I saying that you need to be emotionless or removed from anything to be a good leader, nor am I saying that those who use their emotions and passionate are bad leaders.

One is not better than the other. Those who are consumed only by their emotions often get lost in those emotions, misguided and frustrated. However, those who are passionate are some of the most driven people in existence. Those who have removed emotion, who have removed themselves from all possessions are peaceful, calm, but can can they lead? (Now that my intentions are not to stereotype or pigeon hole.)

So here is my thought, a great leader, not a boss, is one who is passionate about those they work with and the things they want to accomplish. They are also able to remove themselves when frustrations and difficulties arise, keeping calm and able to give orders when needed. But what a leader does that a boss does not…a leader is in the trenches with those they are working with. They do not stand above those they work with, but they still direct others. They are decisive and direct. While a leader does not boss, they also do not sit on their hands and wait for others to take action. They, as the word describes, lead!

So whose footsteps will you follow behind? Sith or Jedi? Choose wisely!!


Live Life Like the X-Men

In 1963 the world was introduced to the X-Men, a group of super-powered heroes who worked together to save the world from various forces of evil. However, what made these heroes different than any others before them is that they were born with them, rather than being bitten by a radioactive spider, being exposed to gamma radiation, or even being an alien from a far away planet, the X-Men were humans with some kind of genetic mutation. Thus, they were given the name “Mutants.”

As the X-Men and Mutants continued to grow and became more popular, especially in the 80s, a new struggle for the X-Men arose: being hated by non-Mutants. These issues within the comics mainly arose to mirror the problems that members of the LGBT community were experiencing. Like the X-Men, they were being ostracized and hated because they were born “different”. But the X-Men did not just relate to member of the LGBT community, but everyone who was different and everyone who had been an outcast in some way or another.

So why is this important? Why should you care about the X-Men in college? I want you to think about Professor Xavier. He took in mutants that the rest of the world had thrown away. Not only was he a mutant, but he was also crippled and none of his students saw him as anything other than their mentor and teacher! When you go to college, you are going to meet an array of different people from different backgrounds, beliefs, and ideals. To you they may seem different and strange, maybe even “mutant.”

When you meet these new and different people, learn from them, and respect them. While you may not agree with them, always remember to respect them. I know this is rather elementary, maybe already known to you. But it is important to remember. College is a time to meet new people, form new idea, and find out who you are. In some aspect, we are all mutants. We are all different and outcasts in some form or another and that is good. As long as we accept that and accept others for who they are. That there is the true message of the X-Men.

Wolverine, Cyclops, Rogue, Jean Gray, Gambit, Nightcrawler, Beast, Storm, all of them are X-Men, all different and individual, and all special. They all had their own motives and hopes. They have their own ambitions and dreams! They are all unique. Same goes for you and everyone you will meet in college! Live life like one of the X-Men, accepting of all and unique to yourself!

I was nominated by Rachel Schornak. I have nominated Susan Schornak, Morgan Croft, and the Office for Students in Transition at UMD. You have 24 hours to complete the challenge. If you don’t do it, please donate to the ALS Foundation at If you do the challenge, you can also donate! Every bit helps make a difference!

What Pushes You to Succeed?

Like any superhero who is fighting for someone or something, giving them grit, what makes you fight on? What pushes you forward to succeed? Remembering why you wish to excel and accomplish so many things helps to make it possible. Also, keep this in mind: “You must aim high, not in what you are going to do at some future date, but in what you are going to make yourself do to-day. Otherwise, working is just a waste of time.” ~ Edgar Degas

The W Curve According to Wolverine and Spidey

Whenever I hear or learn about the W curve, it reminds me of Spider-man and Wolverine. This post is a compare/contrast of these two characters. Why?! Because no two college students are the same! Your experience will be different from your roommates, from the guy sitting in front of you in class, to, well, anyone at your college campus! I know I have talked about Spidey a lot recently, but he makes my point! Wolverine is new to this discussion and I am glad I can involve him.  The W curve doesn’t just relate to college. You will go through the steps of the W curve through almost every aspect of your life. Your first job, buying a home, traveling, having kids, it all relates back to the W curve.

The W curve begins with the Honeymoon stage. For the first time in your life, you will be on your own. No one will be telling you when to go to bed, what to eat, if you should go to class or not, all the decisions are yours! You are free to be your own person, and that is awesome! Like Spider-man, who was ecstatic, confused but ecstatic, he did all he could to feel the freedom and rush of having his new powers! As will you. You will test your limits and boundaries, discover who you are.

But, the Honeymoon stage cannot last forever. For some, the honeymoon stage lasts for a couple weeks, others a couple months, and for some they never experience the honeymoon stage, but rather go straight to the Cultural Shock stage! The latter of the three reminds me of Wolverine. Looking past Wolverine’s time in Weapon X (when he was experimented on) or his time in the Canadian Wilderness, but rather when he became a resident of Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and a member of the X-men. He has hit by culture shock hardcore! Being in a place such as that, it was new, disorienting, and something he was unfamiliar with. Spider-man also was affected by Cultural Shock when Uncle Ben died and he began to fight crime. Entering into this new terrain can be frightening and after the Honeymoon stage, after being away from the familiarity of your hometown and family, the cultural workings of college can be stifling. But here is the thing about the W curve…none of the stages last forever!

After a while, after meeting friends, getting involved, doing well in your classes, the next stage of the W curve occurs: Initial Adjustment. Everyone goes through it sooner or later, even superheroes. Spider-man and Wolverine both acclimated to their new lives and responsibilities. It takes time and effort. It isn’t the type of thing that will shift overnight. It would be cool if it did, but it doesn’t happen that way. Easiest way to adjust to college or any new experience? Get involved, ask for help, and know that you are not alone!!!  There are so many people around you who are going through the same thing. You have friends, family, and other loved ones who want to see you succeed. Spidey and Wolverine had their own support systems which made the adjustment easier (Aunt May and MJ for Spider-man and the X-men/Professor X for Wolverine.) Don’t think you have to do it on your own.

Of course, with any W, after the first up there is a second down. The mental isolation stage. This is when you feel the most alone, and in my personal opinion, this is the hardest part about the W curve. You start wondering “Is college for me?” “Would I be happier doing something else?” The thoughts that you are the only person who feels this way, that no one understands the stress and strain you under. (For most people this occurs right after Thanksgiving Break). Everyone goes through some degree of this isolation. Peter Parker gave up being Spider-man at one point because he couldn’t stand being the only person that knew he was Spider-man and Wolverine, well Wolverine always found a way to isolate himself from others, there were just times in which it was worse. Like all the stages before, this too will end. How?! Talk to family, talk to friends, make sure you are INVOLVED!!! I cannot state that enough! Getting involved makes all of this so much easier! And don’t be afraid to ask for help or even take time for yourself if need be.

And of course, the W curve does come to an end with Acceptance and Integration. By the end of all of it, you will feel like a member of the community, a part of the bigger group! Whether it be a part of the group, the campus, the team, or whatever you have been involved with. You may even begin to call your campus home. For some, this can take just a semester to feel accepted and integrated into the community, for others it can take the entire academic year. Why is there such a difference? Those who get involved earlier and stay involved are able to acclimate to their new accommodations easier than those that do not! So even more than just talking about Wolverine and Spider-man and the W curve, the biggest thing I can say is GET INVOLVED!!!


The 3 F’s of Life

When I was five I started liking superheroes, not in the reading comic books kind of sense, I actually didn’t pick up a comic book until I was 13. No, at 5 I started liking superheroes because a friend of mine liked superheroes. I could not tell you his name, because I do not remember it for the life of me. My parents could probably tell you, but again, that is beside the point. When I was five I started liking superheroes because a friend of mine liked superheroes and he had a Spider-Man costume.

So you have to be asking yourself, is this blog post about peer pressure and how you shouldn’t give into it?! Not at all, people are going to influence you for your entire life, it’s how the world works. What this blog post is about is simply why I like Spider-Man. I have made some allusions towards Spider-man in previous posts, but haven’t done one just on him.

So why do I like Spider-man? Well Spider-Man was the first superhero I ever liked, but as I got older and started reading comics the web-head grew on me. Peter Parker was 15 when he was bitten by a radioactive spider, giving him the abilities to become Spider-Man. And at 13, I really connected to him. He was like any teenage kid. He had his problems at school, he struggled with girls, and he wasn’t like other superheroes who were rich and/or successful. He was just a kid from Queens.

As I grew older I found that I could still connect with Spider-Man because, like myself, he had experienced the 3 F’s. What are the 3 F’s you ask?! It is something that everyone experience at some point in their life, most experience it in college. The 3 F’s are Fear, Failure, and Falling. There are so many instances in which Spider-Man lived through the fears, failures, and fallings of life. He has found himself disappointed, hurt, and on the ground. He could have given up, told the world he had had enough and stay on the ground as he mended his wounds. But rather, the got back up and told those who wished to strike him down,”I will not disappear into the night, hide from my fears and my advisories.” When his family was threatened, when his friends left his side, when Gwen Stacy died and his marriage with Mary Jane was irradiated, he found himself back on his feet for he could not, would not give up.

When you come to college, even later in life, you will experience the 3 F’s. In high school there were many safety nets to keep you from feeling disappointment, fear, and pain. Some of you may have experienced failing a class, some of you have have had a failed relationship, and some of you may have never failed, never fallen, never feared. You had parents, teachers, advisors, and friends by your side helping you to stay on your feet. But now that you are entering college, many of those safety nets are being taken away, making it more inevitable that you may fear, fail, and fall. You will still have professors, advisors, friends, and family who will support you along the way, but their job is not to keep you on your feet, but help you back up when you need it.

The 3 F’s are not something that we want you to experience to be cruel or humiliate you. The point of failing, fearing, and falling is not there to say “you failed”. The point of the 3 F’s, the reason I bring it up today is not to talk about what happens during the 3 F’s, but what you do after. These moments are what my father would call character building moments. When you fail, when you fear, when you fall, (I say when because they will happen) you have a choice. You can either lay in the dirt and wait for someone to pick you up, or you can get back on your feet and face the next challenge that approaches, while remembering the lessons you learned from the last.

The 3 F’s do not just pertain to classes, but work, relationships, friendships, internships, and more. You may never fail a class in your entire college career, you might fail a test, but college is more than just classes and grades. It is about the things you learn in and outside of the classroom, while also growing as an individual from the successes and failures you insure.

The Unbalance in the World and How to Straighten it

For the past month or so I have been watching Buffy: The Vampire Slayer with my fiance. This is my first time watching it through (probably her twentieth) and if you have never seen Buffy, let me give you a little heads up…the first season sucks, but it gets a lot better after that!! It is a lot like the newer seasons of Doctor Who! But I am not writing this to write about why you should or should not watch Buffy, or Doctor Who for that matter. What I want to focus on is something that I noticed while watching Buffy. (And yes, this does count as a superhero!! There is not only at TV show, but also a comic book series, therefore, she is a superhero…lawyered!)

So what have I noticed while watching Buffy? Unbalance. What do I mean by that? Like many students, she has school, work (we will call her slaying vampires and demons to be work), and the want to hang out with friends. However, because she has put her focus so much on her work and wanting to hang out with friends and puts her education on the back burner, however she has such great potential.

Thus, she is unbalanced. It is kind of like the college triangle. I don’t know if you have ever heard or seen it, but here it is. The way it works is simple: when it comes between good grades, a social life, or enough sleep, you can only pick two. Because Buffy is so focused on her work and have a social life, she has chosen her two. But this is what I have come to learn…you really do not need to choose two! College, life, anything you do, you do not need to choose only a certain number of things because someone has said that is how it works. Whether referring to college, work, or life, you can make it work. It is all about looking at your priorities and what you find to be important. Just looking at college, if you want to get good grade, have a social life, and get enough sleep, you can make it work. All that it means is that there are certain things that you may have to give up. Maybe you cannot party every day of the weekend, maybe you only get six hours of sleep rather than eight. The point is, you make sacrifices, you do what you need to do to get the things you want to get done.

The point is, the triangle means nothing. It is more like this: pick what you need, pick what is important to you and what you want and need and then go get it. Don’t let someone else tell you that you cannot have all that you want, because that is horse crap! Yes, you may have to sacrifice sometime and some things, but that does not mean that you have to give up anything that you want and/or need. So go forth and accomplish all that you want, make the world a better place and have a wonderful time in college. While Buffy is very unbalanced, that does not mean that you have to be or even give up anything that you want. But hey, Buffy the Vampire Slayer still is a good show, so she does have that going for her!

The Psychos of Arkham


So I have decided that this blog post should be about Batman, since the new Ben Afflack Batman photos have just been release. However, instead of focusing on Batman, I am going to talk about his villains. . Batman’s villains are unlike any others. The villains that Superman, Spider-man, or even the X-men fight for world or universal domination, power, fame, respect, or mainly to kill the heroes we love. While most of Batman’s villains are searching for the same things, what drives them is what makes them so interesting. With this blog post I want to talk about the push, the urge, the motivation the villains of Batman have within their own psychotic minds. Think about it…Mr. Freeze, obsessed with saving his wife, Nora; Killer Croc considers himself and looks to be more animal than man; Two-Face, a man who is fixated with the odds as well as perfect symmetry that with every decision he makes he feels obliged to flip a coin to seal the fates of others; and of course the kicker of them all…The Joker! There is too much to say about the Jokers psychosis to even begin…

With every other superhero, Marvel or DC, the hero beats up the bad guy and than takes them to jail. It is only with the Batman that his villains (super or not) are taken to an asylum. So what does that say about the villains of Batman? They have something more than wanting to be rich or famous or powerful that drives them (though that is an added perk). What makes them commit the crimes they do is the fact that they feel that they have to, they are forced into this life because it is the only thing that makes sense to them, and everything else is arbitrary. Take the Riddler for example; the Riddler, also known as Edward Nigma is fixated with riddles, puzzles and word games (as his name suggests). Why do all of his crimes revolve around riddles, puzzles, and word games? Because he is trying to prove that he is the intellectual superior to the “World’s Greatest Detective”. He thrives on trying to outwit the Batman, making his crimes ever so flamboyant and ridiculous just to do so. As many of you know, he is not a psychopath, but does suffer from an intense obsessive compulsion which is why he is so fixated on riddles and outsmarting Batman. He is such a smart guy, with an IQ of 187. Imagine if he was able to focus his intelligence and energy into controlling Gotham, he could have it done in a matter of hours and no one (except Batman) could stop him. Or how about the Arnold Wesker, the man “behind” Scarface? The thing that makes him such an interesting villain is we never really know if Wesker is the one controlling Scarface or if the puppet is the one calling the shots. Why we don’t know who is in charge is because Arnold suffers from multiple personality disorder, putting his aggressive tendencies within Scarface as Arnold is a very passive and submissive man. With a character like Arnold/Scarface it is difficult to know who is the real threat is.


Not only does Batman have to deal with villains who are mentally imbalanced  but also with villains who understand the human psyche and love to exploit it. Dr. Crane, aka Scarecrow, THRIVES on exploiting the fears of others and studying them. He uses the fears of others to get what he wants, whether it be power, wealth, or just knowledge. Crane, one of Batman’s very intelligent enemies, having a PhD in psychology allows him to access the mind of his advisories. He knows how to manipulate the human mind so well that he actually had two men commit suicide just by using his words, so imagine the power and terror he can cause with a bunch of fear gas!! The other doctor who uses his intelligence and knowledge of the human psyche is Dr. Hugo Strange. Lead psychologist at Arkham Asylum, Dr. Strange is just as his name suggests…strange! He is probably the smartest guy in all of Gotham (besides Batman). Why do I say that? Well he is one of the few villains to be able to deduce the secret identity of  Batman as Bruce Wayne. Not only is he smart, but he is manipulative; capable of convincing the inmates of Arkham to do his dirty work, playing to their weaknesses. He works with them and uses his mastery of psychology to convince them to do his dirty work as he stands in the background, playing puppet master. He sees through the petty gang wars that many of the other super criminals felt obliged to fight, bringing them together for a single goal again and again…attempt to kill Batman. I LOVE these types of villains, the ones that use the human mind for their own advantage instead of using all muscle or cheap tricks to get the job done.

Looking back at what I have just written it seems as though I am breaking my word a little when I said I wouldn’t focus my energy on single characters, but instead on the whole picture, so let’s see if we can’t get back to that. Let’s look at the complicated relationships that Batman has with several of his villains, characters that he struggles to deal with every time he encounters them: Two-Face, Catwoman, and Ra’s al Ghul.  While this isn’t quite so much about the psychotic state of the characters, these three have just as much of an interesting relationship with the Dark Knight as the “loonies”. These three have an interesting connection with Batman, mostly because of their connections with Bruce Wayne. Take Ra’s al Ghul for a moment. In Chrisopher Nolan’s Batman Begins Nolan presents the idea that it was Ra’s that taught him the skills to become Batman. While this was not the origin story of the comics, it is one that follows with their morals, for both men want the same thing: peace in Gotham…but they differ on how to achieve that peace. Ra’s al Ghul wants to achieve peace by killing over 1/3, if not more, of Gotham’s population, something Batman cannot bring himself to do or be apart of. Another great connection with the richest man in Gotham is Harvey Dent, Gotham’s DA and hopeful future…a future that is soon lost when he is scarred into Two-Face. Harvey Dent was one of the few allies Batman had, one that the Dark Knight cherished greatly, but once he became Two-Face, Dent was one of his greatest and most vicious enemies. What makes Two-Face such a formidable villains is the fact that he has split personality, flipping between DA Harvey Dent and crime boss Two-Face (as seen in Batman: Arkham City).

Of course, my favorite of the three was saved for last…Catwoman! Now she makes every relationship in comic books and Hollywood seem simple. One of the best known Antiheroes, Catwoman teeters back and forth between assisting Batman defeat the villains of Gotham and joining them herself. To make matters even more complicated her and Batman/Bruce have had an one off relationship for years. Obviously it makes it difficult to fight and send your lover away when she is breaking the law…therefore making yet another relationship of Batman’s that much more complicated.

While there are so many other characters of Batman that I haven’t talked about in this blog. Many of them deserved praise and recognition and did not receive it, but who knows, maybe they will be brought forth in the near future. I know this had nothing to do with college or the struggles that you may face in college or afterwards, but I think it is important to look at what drives a person, what makes them tick. What makes you tick? What do you want to get out of life (probably not as twisted or strange as Batman’s villains), what do you want to accomplish?!