Life Lesson #1: The Problem With Cell Phones

Life Lesson #1: The Problem With Cell Phones

What happened to phone calls and writing letters?

“Put that thing away before I throw it in the garbage,” said Choo, motioning toward the cell phone in my hand. I’m sitting with family on the porch and tried to sneak in a quick text but alas, Choo caught me. As a big believer in old-fashioned communication, Choo’s cell phone (an iPhone, nonetheless,) can most likely be found on a random shelf in her closet with 90 unopened texts and 30 voicemails that have yet to be listened to.

Choo always says that millennials lack proper communication skills because they are only familiar with conversing via iMessage. She’s not wrong. Nowadays, you’ll see couples out to dinner with their eyes glued to their phones, failing to communicate with their loved one sitting right in front of them. You’ll see children in the mall, not much older than 7 or 8, with 2 hands on their very own iPhone, slowly lagging behind Mom or Dad so that they can concentrate on the text that they're sending (probably the typical middle school conversation: “Hey, what’s up?” “Nothin’ much, wbu?” “Same.” “Cool.”) You’ll see people of all ages texting at the movie theater during the ENTIRE movie, with their brightness turned all the way up, most likely bothering every single person in the rows behind them.

These three scenarios may not seem all that strange to us because they have become the norm. You receive a text, you respond to it. What’s the harm in that? Now imagine if you didn’t have a phone. I know, hard to believe, but just imagine it. Let’s take a look at three new scenarios.

Scenario #1: You have dinner plans with your special someone. A romantic dinner at one of the most expensive restaurants in town. You don’t have a phone, but your special someone does. You’re at dinner and you spend maybe 10-15 minutes talking about your rough day at work, how you don’t get along with any of your coworkers, and how much of a mess it is. You’re pretty upset just talking about it. It takes you these 10 or so minutes to realize that, no, your date isn’t looking down at their menu, but checking Instagram or Facebook or texting a friend. Very annoying, right?

OK, scenario #2: You haven't spent time with one of your closest friends in a while, and you agree to go shopping at the mall together and catch up. Again, you don’t have a phone, but your friend does. Because you haven't seen them in a while, you are catching your friend up on what they've missed out on in your life. The subject gets a bit touchy and upsetting, and you look over at your friend only to find that they had been texting the entire time. Well, that’s rude. Maybe you not seeing your friend that often should stay that way. Finally, scenario #3: You go to see a movie with whomever, maybe even by yourself. You are so excited to see this movie and have been counting down the days for it to appear in theaters (Finding Dory…coming out June 17th perhaps?). The previews have come to an end and the movie is about to begin when the person sitting right in front of you reaches for their phone and starts texting. Okay, maybe they wanted to send one last text before the movie started. Wrong. They are texting throughout the entirety of the movie, with their iPhone’s brightness on full-blast.

“One day, those phones will kill you,” Choo often says (which is not totally untrue, a new U.S. study came out with ambiguous results on whether cell phone use might cause cancer). The obsession with cell phones has reached its nadir. What happened to phone calls and writing letters? I’ve started using these 2 traditional forms of correspondence with frequency and have come to better appreciate the meaning of communication. I wouldn't have been able to do so without the threats of cellular evil from my loving grandmother, Choo.

Cover Image Credit: Vator

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.

When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...


"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"


Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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