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!
Background Illustrations provided by:

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.

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!

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!!!


In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night

I am sure that most people know Green Lantern and the Green Lantern Corp, or at least GL from Ryan Reynold’s depiction of the character in the movie Green Lantern (which we won’t be talking about because it is an awful movie.) But while many people may know about Green Lantern and the Green Lantern Corp, what they may not know is that there is a slew of other Corps in the DC Universe, varying in meaning and message. To be exact, there are nine Corps in total, including the Green Lanterns. These Corps are as follows: Orange, Indigo, Red, Yellow, Violet, White, Black, Blue, and of course, Green. And as each Corp has a different color, they also have different ideals that empower them.


Orange: The Corp of Greed, those who seek power for themselves and only themselves. The orange light of avarice will be discovered and manipulated by a being whose greed knows no bounds” Because of the nature of greed, Due to the nature of greed, only one being can wield the Orange Ring at once, any more would cause infighting among the Corps members, as they’d be unable to share the power.

The Oath of the Orange Lantern Corp: This power is mine, this is my light. Be it in bright of day, or black of night. I lay claim to all that falls within my sight, To take what I want, That is my right!

Indigo: While some people might argue that indigo is just another shade of blue or purple, in this area, indigo is its own entity. Those of the Indigo Lantern Corp are actually members of an indigenous tribe of nomads. The ideology that empowers these nomads is that of compassion. The Psychology of Superheroes, describes compassion as being able to have empathy for someone while maintaining enough distance to understand their motivations.

The Oath of the Indigo Lantern Corp: *Note: This is a fan translation* In sorrowful day, in misfortunate night, We help those, who need our might, with the Lantern power of Abin Sur, we rid your misery…with compassionate might!

Red: Rage, that is what gives those who follow the Red Lantern Corp power. Geoff Johns describes the Red Lantern Corps as likely being “the most violent of the Corps […] based on violent reaction driven by emotional eruption – rage – instead of any clear-cut plan of war.” Those filled with rage are unable to think clearly, unable to think intelligently, that the only thing that remains is an animalistic sense surging through them. (Interesting enough, some of the characters from the Red Lantern Corp were based off of characters from the movie 28 Days Later).  

The Red Lantern Corp Oath: With blood and rage of crimson red, ripped from a corpse so freshly dead, together with our hellish hate, we’ll burn you all—That is your fate!

Yellow/Sinestro: Originally a member of the Green Lantern Corp, Sinestro founded the Yellow Lantern Corp. Based on fear, the Sinestro Corp is the archenemies of the Green Lantern Corp. They believe that fear is more powerful than willpower. Many of the main villains of the DC universe are members of the Yellow Lantern Corp, from Mongul, Cyborg-Superman, and even Scarecrow, believing that fear is their greatest way to control others.

The Yellow Lantern Corp Oath: In blackest day, in brightest night, beware your fears made into light. Let those who try to stop what’s right, burn like his powers…Sinestro’s might!

Violet: The power that emanates from the Violet Lantern Corps’ rings is that of love. This is not the sappy, Disney fantasized, ‘true love’. The love of the Violet Lantern, is the idea of what keeps a married couple together for 50 years. Love is one of the strongest emotions that feeds off of the wearers state of mind.

The Violet Lantern Corp: For Hearts Long Lost. And Full of Fright. For Those Alone In Blackest Night. Accept Our Ring and Join Our Fight — Love Conquers All — With Violet Light!

White: Those who are members of the White Lantern Corp follow the ideals of life. They get power from when the wearer embraces life, given them more power. However, the power from the white ring is unable to bring those from the dead back to life.

*Currently no oath for the White Lantern Corp*

Black: The Black Lantern Corp is one of the few Corps that can actually be considered to be the antagonists of the Green Lantern Universe. Why? Because they are the masters of death. They are given power by the death and demise of those around them. (Which is probably one of the creepiest things in comic books…or in the DC Universe at least)

The Black Lantern Oath: The Blackest Night falls from the skies. The darkness grows as all light dies. We crave your hearts and your demise. By my black hand… The dead shall rise!

Blue: The Flash was a member of the Blue Lantern Corp, and there is one thing I know about Barry Allen (the true identity of the Flash) he is empowered by hope, the same thing that empowers the Blue Lantern Corp. When all things seem impossible, he and the others of the Blue Lanterns, fight through with hope to get them through their darkest days. They were created to bring hope to the future in the light of so much destruction, when good faces overwhelming odds.

The Blue Lantern Oath: In fearful day, in raging night, with strong hearts full, our souls ignite. When all seems lost in the War of Light, look to the stars, for hope burns bright!

Green: The Green Lantern Corp, home of many heroes in the DC Universe, such as Hal Jordan and Jon Stewart. Like all of the Corps, the Green Lanterns are fueled by a great emotion: will power. They are powered by the Green Lantern and the Guardians of Oa. The Green Lanterns are intergalactical peacekeepers, each one being based on a different planet across the universe. What makes this Corp different from the others is that, instead of the Corp selecting its members, the ring chooses the wearer.

The Green Lantern Oath: In brightest day, in blackest night, No evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, Beware my power, Green Lantern’s light!!!

Okay, so I know that was kind of long, but it was worth it in the end! So looking past what these Corps stand for, what their message is, the question must be asked, like I have asked so many times before, why does it matter? What is the point? The point is this: there are so many different emotions, so many different ideals that we often do not stop to think about what it means. That is what this entire blog has been about, making people stop and think about what they think and why!

Like the Lantern Corps, people allow different emotions and ideals to lead their lives, even if they don’t think so. There are those who come to college, telling themselves they will work hard, study vigorously to succeed (willpower). There are others who study for a test because they are afraid of failing the test and the class (fear). There are those who wish to live their lives to the fullest because they are afraid of death (death). There are those who use compassion in their everyday lives to help them forward (compassion).   

Now none of these ideals are better than the other, they all lead people throughout their lives. For some people, many of these ideals are brash, corrupt, and even immoral. To others, the more brash ideals get the job done that others may not. But this is not about good and bad, best and worse, it is about what works for each individual. Many people follow a variety of these ideals, not just one. However, just knowing what ideals directs one life is not enough. Asking why is the most important thing. Do me a favor: take a moment to think about what emotions and ideals you let direct your lives and why!

So while you may not wear a power ring or speak an oath, the ideals of the Lantern Corps are applicable to our everyday lives. Just remember to ask the questions that so many people brush over, never really thinking about.

Take A Moment to Smell the Roses

I’m not sure what is going on in the world. What do I mean by this? I just heard about a man from Florida who stopped at a gas station, next to an SUV filled with teenage boys playing their rap music at a very high volume. The man asked them to turn down the music, which they did, only to return it to its normal level. Therefore, in his frustration, the man proceeding to fire at the SUV, killing a 17 year old boy inside. The SUV drove away, as the man continued to fire at it. He was arrested, but was not sentenced for killing the boy, but rather for shooting at a moving vehicle. Another man shot at a car full of teenage girls who had egged his car as a Halloween prank, killing one of them. Now my point is not to depress you as you read this, my point of bringing up all of these horrific acts is to ask a question: how have we come to this? How have we come to the point in which we are so angry, so cruel to one another that if someone goes against us, they must be “punished.”  

It is as though we need some catastrophic event to bring us together, to allow us to be respectful with one another. I remember my Dad telling, after 9/11, telling me how people around each other would be courteous in every aspect of their day. When driving, people were not honking, forcing their way to their destination. People were not always angry with one another, not in a rush. It’s terrible that it takes something so terrible as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, Irene, or Sandy to bring us together.

Now again, my point isn’t to make you feel terrible, or to say that the world an awful place filled with awful people. My point is to make you start asking those tough questions, to make you stop and think about what is going on in our lives. We are so focused on go, go, go, “it’s all about me” type mentality that we stop to ask the questions, “WHY?!” We are so caught up in the hustle and bustle of our busy lives that we think everyone is in our way, that everyone else is the problem.

So how does this connect to superheroes and college? Like any superhero, or college student, there are those moments when we can rush in “guns blazing” or we can take a step back and take a moment to think about the decisions that are before you. Think about Spider-man. After his Uncle Ben was killed, Peter Parker hunted down the man who killed him, got the revenge he thought he deserved. In the end, after killing Ben’s murderer, all he got wa pain and heartache, regret for the decision that he had made.

So this is what I ask of you, that I want you to think about as you go through your days: take a moment to slow down, smell the roses, as they say. I’m not saying that you can’t be angry or get frustrated at those around you. There are days when people just aren’t thinking straight, but don’t go around blindly as so many in our society do. Think about the decisions and choices you are making. And please, do not think that I am speaking down to you, that I think I am so much better than you. I am still the guy who screams at people as I am driving! I too am trying to figure this out. My point in writing this is to get the conversations started and to have you stop for a moment and think!


What Should We Call it….

College is one of the few times in your life, if one of the only, in which you will be with such a large amount of people of the same age group as yourself. While you all may be in the same age range, everyone you meet in college, yourself included, are different and unique. You will be exposed to new ideas, new cultures and ways of looking at the world. You will be challenged, forced to consider where you stand on social and moral issues, and it may be difficult. You will meet people of different race, sexual orientation, and ideals. The people you meet in college will help to shape who you will become as a person, if you let them. But here is the thing, when you get to college you have to make a choice. Are you going to accept people for who they are or are you going to judge them and believe that because they are different that makes them bad?

Joss Whedon, director of such blockbuster hits as The Avengers and Toy Story, has brought up a new idea of recognizing and showing equality, something that we all should strive for in college and afterwards.

Now I’m not saying that you are a genderist by showing this video. The point is to make you think! While you may not consider yourself to be a racist or a sexist or any other negative ist word there is, the question you have to ask yourself is do you accept everyone for who they are? When you are in college and after, will you continue to accept people for who they are or will you judge them because they do not fit into the boxes that society considers to be “correct?” These are questions you must ask yourself, because while college may be the largest congregation of people in the same age range as yourself, it will not be the last time you will be around a diverse range of people.