A Deeper Look: The Last of Us – Loss and Second Chances

By Andrew Wheeler ~ Assistant Opinion Editor

The Last Of Us HD Wallpaper | Background Image | 1920x1080
(Promotional box art for The Last of Us, by NaughtyDog/Sony)

People may all be very distinct from one another, but one fear I would be pressed to believe we don’t all share is the thought of losing someone we love. 

While some may write off The Last of Us as simply another zombie apocalypse-type story, the reality is really more focused on a theme of learning to cope with death and push forward. We watch protagonist Joel lose his beloved daughter mere minutes into the experience, and from then on, we continue to get hit with the pressures of this apocalyptic world. The setting may seem fantastical, but the themes at the heart of the narrative are very real. 


The Met Gala 2021 Reveals Controversial Aspects of American Culture.

By Em Maxey ~ Staff Writer

The Met Gala, also known as the fashion industry’s version of the Oscars, was not stopped by COVID-19 this year. American independence was the theme for this year’s event, showcasing some artist’s concept of what American pride can really look like. This prompt revealed some of the most controversial aspects of American culture, good or bad. 

Picture of Nikkie de Jager at Met Gala 2021. Photo was retrieved from People.com


Nerd Factor: PSA in the Brain

By Michael Robinson ~ PhD

Schoolhouse Rock' On Disney+: Still The Best Way To Teach Kids History
School House Rock Logo. Image from https://decider.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Schoohouse-Rock-.jpg?quality=80&strip=all&w=646&h=431&crop=1

Recently, I learned about an assignment in my son’s civics class. He must memorize the Preamble to the Constitution.  “I can’t say it,” I said, “I can only sing it.” In fact, the very second that he mentioned the subject, the song had popped unbidden into my head. It was another example of a highly successful earworm from the good people who made School House Rock! 

Back in my childhood, Saturday morning television belonged to kids. We could not wait to watch hours of cartoons and live-action shows. Peppered in among the programs were a number of public service announcements, small segments designed to help young people learn important information and demonstrate that the networks were not just money-grubbing entities trying to lure us to commercials for toys and cereal. I am always amazed at how deeply some of those items are buried in my brain. 

“The Preamble” is not one of School House Rock!’s best tunes. It eschews the more upbeat jazzy sounds of “Conjunction Junction” or manic frenzy of “Ready or Not Here I Come” in favor of a folksier solemnity. It works though. That thing is etched so deeply into my brain that I have to work hard not to sing the Preamble.


College Life: The Walk

By Rylee McDonal ~ Copy Editor

Forget the gym: Why a brisk walk is a really great workout | ACTIVE
A lady walking. Image from https://www.active.com/walking/articles/forget-the-gym-why-a-brisk-walk-is-a-really-great-workout-4064

Walking is something we overlook. It gets us from point A to point B. If there is something across the room, we walk to go get it. When we need to get to class, we walk to get there. We do not associate real significance with the act of walking. 

However, there are few moments and few milestones in our lives that are associated with this act. We learn to walk as babies before we start to run. We walk down the aisle to get married. We walk across the stage for a diploma or an award. For myself and others, we walk to enter into Greek Life.

The week of September 10, 2021, I rushed the fraternity, Sigma Nu. Being the person I am, I was anxious beyond belief. I had already missed two days of rush week to attend to my duties as part of the school newspaper, and felt I may not fit in with this new crowd. Thankfully, I was wrong. The week continued and I was invited to their Knighthood dinner. It was very relaxing and reassuring to be around people I could relate to.


Cook With Me: Blackened Fish Tacos with Creamy Avocado Sauce

Hunter Epperson ~ Copy Desk Chief

Photo of blackened fish tacos with avocado sauce. Photo retrieved from FoodieCrush.com by Hunter Epperson Sept. 9. 

I am obsessed with the recipes on FoodieCrush.com. If you are looking for a quick and easy college student-budget friendly recipe, well this is for you!

Prep Time: 10 Minutes 

Cook Time: 15 Minutes 

Total Time: 25 Minutes 


Mystic Magic: Stone-Cold Facts About Crystals

Em Maxey ~ Staff Writer

One of the most commonly growing practices in the United States is the usage of healing crystals. People are drawn to the beauty and energy these gems hold, but what are the limitations of this newly popular obsession? 

To be crystal clear, gemstones and crystals are not rocks. Crystals, atomically, are minerals. The major difference between minerals and rocks is the anatomic structure. 

Minerals are made of three dimensional patterns that are repeated throughout the inorganic solid. Rocks are typically irregular anatomically. 

To understand the modern context, it is important to have a grasp on the history of crystals.  This practice is believed to date back 30,000 years ago to the first usage of baltic amber amulets. This was about the time that humans had first emerged on the American continents. The reminiscence of amber beads was found in Britain 10,000 years ago. 


Historic Hysterics #6: LA Is Under Attack

Alyson Draper ~ Web Editor

A picture of an unknown object hovering over Los Angeles. Photo retrieved from the-wanderling.com by Alyson Draper. 

Everybody is aware of Pearl Harbor. Everybody knows about how that thrusted the United States (U.S.) into WWII and the ultimate feelings of having to constantly be at war. But I’m not talking about serious stuff like that. 

In true Historic Hysterics fashion, I will be looking at something strange that happened in Los Angeles in 1942. A full on battle was fought in the skies over the city that night, but what the army was fighting against remains to be highly contested. On February 24th, 1942, the buildings went dark and the sky lit up with anti-air shells, all firing at… something. 


It Is Okay To Put Yourself First Sometimes.

Hunter Epperson ~ Copy Desk Chief

Self-Care: Small & Powerful Ways to Celebrate You – Cleveland Clinic
Treat yo’ self. Image from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/try-these-small-powerful-ways-to-celebrate-you/

College students face many mental illnesses associated with mental burnout such as anxiety and depression

Some common signs of mental burnout can include mental exhaustion, a sense of dread about work, frequent feelings of cynicism, frequent feelings of anger, and/or frequent feelings of irritability. 

As humans, we tend to overextend ourselves by trying to help others or be involved in organizations, work, or other activities which consume our time.

As a consequence, we often forget to include ourselves or put ourselves first which means our health and wellness becomes impacted.


Nerd Factor: Fantasy Island Gets Creepy

Michael Robinson ~ PhD

Image from: https://www.hulu.com/series/fantasy-island-fee4965d-96a7-42b9-9ed2-1acf20ef8aa1

Guests are once again going to Fantasy Island. The newest iteration of the popular franchise, which began in the 1970s and returned briefly in the late 1990s, continues a familiar format. Guests come to the Island with fantasies to fulfill but often leave having learned unexpected lessons along with way. 

In its current form, the Island, capitalized here because it is treated on the new show as having magical powers and undefined intentions all its own, is run by Elena Roarke and her new assistant Ruby. The location of the tropical paradise is not revealed. I’ve always suspected that it’s somewhere near the islands on Lost and Gilligan’s Island myself, part of some incredible archipelago. 

A recent episode raised some questions for me though. At first, “Twice in a Lifetime” seemed like a fairly standard installment of the series. A guest named Nisha sought to discover her life partner, choosing from a fun-loving but not so ambitious boyfriend (Josh) or the serious future doctor (Savin) with whom her parents were trying to arrange a marriage. A second plot unexpectedly involved Javier, the pilot who flies guests to the Island on his seaplane, spending personal time with Elena Roarke. More on that in a moment.


Breaking the Stigma: Suicide

By Em Maxey ~ Staff Writer

September is National Suicide Prevention Month | GUIDE, Inc.
Suicide Prevention Month Poster. Image from https://guideinc.org/2020/09/01/september-is-national-suicide-prevention-month/

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. As a survivor of  losing a family member to suicide, and falling victim to suicidal tendencies, this subject is close to my heart. There are several stigmas that society holds around suicide. I do not have a large enough word count to refute them all.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. In 2019 in the U.S., men were more than three times as likely to commit suicide than women. It is believed by 93% of adults that suicide can be prevented. 427 suicides in 2019 were children under the age of 15. There were 1.38 million suicide attempts in 2019. Click here for more national statistics.

703,000 people die annually via suicide worldwide. In 2019, over one in a hundred deaths were the result of suicide. Men are twice as likely to commit suicide than women globally. Find these global statistics and more here.

We, as a community, society, and population need to do better to start a conversation. Science shows that speaking up about sexual health education helps people perform safe sex; so then why do we believe that not talking about suicide will fix suicide rates? 


Watch with Me: Free Guy

By Andrew Wheeler ~ Assistant Opinion Editor

Free Guy Director On Making A Fun Movie For Gamers And Non-Gamers And Ryan  Reynolds On Keeping The Film "Authentic" - The Illuminerdi
Free Guy promotional poster. Image from https://www.theilluminerdi.com/2021/08/04/free-guy-shawn-levy-reynolds/

There’s a certain expectation surrounding movies based on video game properties, as companies all too often try to maximize profits without actually caring for the source material. When it was announced that Ryan Reynolds would be headlining Free Guy, a film with its own identity on top of numerous video game inspirations and elements, many were skeptical despite the charm he brings to projects. I was skeptical too, but I am happy to report that this movie is an exception to this concern.


Marijuana & Sport Policy

By William Deitz ~ Guest Writer

No marijuana in Ocean City | | pressofatlanticcity.com
No Weed. Image from https://pressofatlanticcity.com/no-marijuana-in-ocean-city/pdf_2cbede0c-6444-5903-9b41-ede908f0d6e4.html

The University of Lynchburg has a drug policy that lines up with federal law. The policy prohibits possession, use, manufacture, cultivation, and distribution of any controlled substance prohibited by federal, state, and local laws. Interestingly, this creates a situation where certain drugs may be legal under state law but still against school policy. 

Of course, in Virginia, where marijuana was determined to be legal in certain quantities, there is no legal reason to have a moratorium on marijuana on the basis of purely state law. Federal law, however, still prohibits marijuana despite many states legalizing the substance which is the schools official reason for not allowing it. 


Mystic Magic: Cultural Appropriation vs. Appreciation 

Em Maxey ~ News Editor

3 Ways Not To Culturally Appropriate This Halloween - Bad Halloween Costumes
Very, very bad Halloween costumes. Image from https://www.marieclaire.com/beauty/a12768736/cultural-appropriation-halloween/

Being a culturally aware individual is a crucial part of becoming a gear in a diverse society. Recently, the talk about cultural appropriation has become popular. With access to unlimited resources and information on unique cultures and traditions, it is easy to become overwhelmed. Often, I find inspiration in different cultures for my own practice. Before I engage in a new practice, I have to stop and ask myself the following things: (1) is this a closed practice, (2) do I fully understand the history of this practice, (3) am I performing this practice accurately without misrepresentation or misunderstanding, and (4) have I been invited to participate in this practice. 


Historic Hysterics #5: Exploding Grandma

The following article contains graphic images. Read at own risk.

Alyson Draper ~ Web Editor

Image from https://www.tampabay.com/news/florida/2019/10/17/spontaneous-combustion-in-st-petersburg-the-curious-case-of-mary-reeser/

Another Historic Hysterics set in Florida? Yep. This state usually has some of the strangest stories from across a wide spectrum of spookiness. This week we’ll be looking at a story of spontaneous human combustion, where an old lady goes out in a blaze of glory. There are some graphic images, so be warned. 

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