From The Voice That Rocked The Boat - A Message To UNH And Writers Everywhere

From The Voice That Rocked The Boat - A Message To UNH And Writers Everywhere

All it takes is just one person – one person to speak up and spark a chain reaction and reach hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people.
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Last week, I wrote an article exposing the University of New Hampshire’s poor expenditure of alum and longtime librarian Robert Morin's generous donation on a new $1 million video scoreboard for the football stadium. After sharing my article throughout the UNH community, it quickly went viral. In just one week, the post was shared approximately 7,200 times on various social media platforms, and received 30,000 page views.

Response to the article was mixed, some people called me a hypocrite, challenged my logic, and defended the administration's decision. Backlash is something that every writer should be prepared for. But the vast majority of the UNH community - including faculty, students, fellow alumni, and even prospective parents of potential future students - thanked me for writing the article and bringing light to the issue. And now the article and the problem that it addresses has extended much farther than just the UNH community.

My post was referenced and quoted in stories written for USA Today, New York Magazine, Inside Higher Ed, NPR, Portland Press, The Washington Post, and many more. I talked about the article on the radio show Attitude with Arnie Arnesen, and was contacted by the Boston Globe and Boston.com with requests for interviews to include in their own stories.

All of this was made possible by Odyssey - the online content platform for millennial voices. Odyssey doesn’t give millennials a voice, it gives us a microphone so our voices can be heard, to which I am extremely grateful. Since joining Odyssey in July, I have worked with an extremely talented group of writers and editors who encourage and support each other every week. Odyssey makes each and every voice feel valued. And the extensive outreach and press that my article achieved exemplifies just how powerful each voice can be. All it takes is just one person – one person to speak up and spark a chain reaction and reach hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people. Chances are that if something touches your heart, then it probably touches the hearts of many others too.

The first step to changing all the injustices in the world is to speak up and protest them. So write your heart out. Be heard. Make waves. Even if it’s exhausting, even if there’s backlash – keep fighting for what you believe in. That old saying still rings true today - “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Ideas can change the world. It won’t happen all at once. It’ll be slow, and you may not see results right away, but don’t think for even a second that your voice doesn’t matter.

The University of New Hampshire released a statement last Friday announcing that they still planned to move forward with their original plan to use $1 million of Morin’s money to buy a scoreboard for the new football stadium. As I told Boston.com, I think their decision to move forward with this, even after the outcry from their own community (and how far the criticism has extended outside the community), shows that they clearly don’t value the voices and opinions of the UNH community. It further dishonors the memory and spirit of Robert Morin. After emailing my article to the entire administration and President Mark Huddleston, I received an email from an administrator offering to meet with me to "answer my questions and discuss my concerns," but it's pretty clear that they don't care about the concerns of their own alumni, students or faculty.

CBS Boston reported that even New Hampshire governor Maggie Hassan said that the purchase of the new scoreboard was “concerning and perplexing.” The governor went on to say, “There were much more appropriate uses for these funds – such as the library and career center that received part of the donation, the new science building that the university wants or holding down the cost of tuition…I strongly encourage the university's leadership to be more thoughtful when determining how to use donations such as this”

Despite the fact that UNH is moving forward with this heinous decision, the response that my article received, and the press that it attracted to this issue, has doubtlessly put the university administration on its toes. They know now that the UNH community is watching, and we won’t idly sit around as they misuse donor’s money. The pressure is on, UNH administration. The whole nation is talking, so you might want to listen up.

Cover Image Credit: pcwallart

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I'd Rather Be Single Than Settle: Here Is Why Being Picky Is Okay.

They're on their best behavior when you're dating.
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Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying. What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense. I've heard it all, "He was cute, why didn't you like him?" "You didn't even give him a chance!" "You pay too much attention to the little things!"

What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous; however, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.

So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?

Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...

1. Wants to know my friends.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do. I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well. Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.

This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.

3. How they talk about other women.

THIS IS CRUCIAL FOR FINDING A NICE GUY. It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault. If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs." Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.

Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.

4. Phone etiquette.

If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him. If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it. He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.

To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush. Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling. :)

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It's Time For You High Schoolers To Invest Your Time Into Your Careers

It may seem too early to specialize, but there will be a point where it's too late.

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If you're in high school, odds are you're approached by friends, family and more family about your plans after. For many of us, this can mean college. From convincing a college to admit you to convincing them to foot your entire tuition bill, you need to be marketable.

You should start with writing out your resume. Write it specifically oriented towards your career path. My resume, for example, is music themed. If you are anything like younger me, you might have a couple things that fit. I had marching band, concert band, honor band. But the majority might be things you signed up for to round yourself out.

A candidate too well rounded is directionless.

My participation in science club was fun, I will admit. But it didn't do much for me. It didn't teach me leadership, nor cooperation nor did it help with my career path.

High school is a lot more limited a time to both express and market yourself than you might think. Before I knew it, I was sitting in my junior year without much to my musical name.

If you have an extra curricular that you participate in because you enjoy it, you don't have to drop it. If you have developed as a person or as a leader, then it might even be something you can include in your list.

I just want to caution people from getting into the same situation I was in. I spent the first three years essentially of high school to feel out different areas, and this was too much time.

Productive uses of your after school time should be things you talk about when you say what sets you apart from other students in your field. And yes, this means you have to utilize tools outside of your school offerings most of the time.

When I go to apply for college and for musical internships, I plan on listing my participation in Atlanta CV (professional drum corps in DCA), high school marching band and marching band leadership, MAYWE (Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble, an auditioned honor band), GYSO (Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra), AYWS (Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony), Youth Bands of Atlanta, county honor band, jazz band, twice state applicant for Governor's Honors Program Music, JanFest music at UGA, the Academy of Science, Research and Medicine (Biotechnology certification and science fair), math bowl and HOSA - Future Health Professionals.

When I go to apply for college and for musical internships, I plan on listing the most relevant activities as well as the ones I've chosen to regardless stick with. Relevant activities in regard to my music major include honor ensembles and marching activities.

My most applicable activities for music include marching bands. I am a contracted baritone marcher of Atlanta CV Drum and Bugle Corps as well as trombone marcher and two year Trombone/Baritone Section Leader for the Pride of Paulding marching band. These show relevancy because these organizations provide rapport as well as the marching activity in itself shows another level of musical capability.

My honor ensembles are relevant likewise because they show higher musical skill and provide some legitimacy to your path. I have been involved in Metropolitan Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble, county honor band, jazz band and I was also a Two-Time State Applicant to the Governor's Honors Program.

I plan to also be with the Symphony of the Georgia Youth Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Youth Wind Ensemble, Youth Bands of Atlanta and JanFest at UGA. Auditions are coming up for each of these and I hope to be considered for membership. These would round out my music application by showing versatility (via orchestra along with wind ensembles) and more time dedication. Both universities and employers value this level of hard work.

Of course, even I on my soapbox have some activities I've stuck with despite it not being directly related to music. Despite this, you can make them relevant by touting your experience with it. I've been an officer and competitor for our chapter of HOSA - Future Health Professionals despite not going into healthcare and I've been certified in Biotechnology through my school The Academy of Science, Research and Medicine despite not going into STEM.

My experiences in biotechnology and healthcare have provided me a round academic experience, more high rigor classes and leadership opportunities. I was co-treasurer of our HOSA chapter and my Magnet school gave me access to more AP classes and the biotechnology classes. Anything can be useful, but the extent is determined by its relevancy.

The vast majority of my activities are both outside of the school and directly related to my career path. Activities such as these can make any student automatically more competitive than an equally academically-standing student.

Finding these activities involve a combination of involving teachers and mentors in your career field as well as self research. Luckily for me, I was able to fairly quickly compile a list of Honor Bands to audition for due to the abundance in the area. My directors also named a few. Most areas should have something at least tangentially-related to your specialization.

Some opportunities require knowing the right people and being in the right place at the right time. For example, my involvement in one of my most valuable activity assets, Atlanta CV, was a result of knowing a guy that knew a guy that knew about an opening for the right instrument halfway through spring training.

What I hope readers gain from my story is to start early. I've found myself struggling to meet the market's standards in the last year of high school immediately before applying for college. Specializing would have been more effective a tad bit longer term and I hope others take my heed.

Moving on from high school can be an intimidating process. It's hard to find the right college, and even harder to convince them they want you. Harder still is convincing them to pay for your education. But all this can be made easier by specializing and becoming marketable.

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