Why Pomping for Homecoming Needs to Stop

Why Pomping for Homecoming Needs to Stop

This HOCO tradition needs a drastic update

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Three weeks ago, I was going to write a passionate and researched letter to my campus' Panhellenic Council to advocate against future pomping for Homecoming. But I'm not so sure what to do now, because I can see the merits in pomping, too.

You see, the Homecoming (affectionately shortened to HOCO at my campus) season is upon us, and what that means for Fraternity and Sorority Life members (and other hard-working student organizations) is the infamous pomping season is upon us, too.

Pomping is the act of working with thousands of small sheets of tissue-like paper to create parade floats for the HOCO parade... which is before the big HOCO football game.

Pomping is a many part process. First, one has to make the tissue paper into a shape that can be glued onto the wooden slates that will make the parade float.

That means I would either ball up the thin tissue paper OR wrap the tissue paper around a pencil, then glue the tissue paper in such a way it holds the shape of a pencil. The second part of pomping is applying the tissue paper (ball pomp or pencil pomp) to the float.

This requires so much gorilla glue, our sorority house smells like it for a day or so after the parade.

The tissue paper costs thousands of dollars to order, the hours it takes to prepare and place the pomp on the parade float is excessive, and usually, people attempt to pull consecutive all-nighters Monday through Friday during HOCO week to make sure that float looks gorgeous at 6 a.m. Saturday morning.

"Why?" I have asked myself many times these past three years as my palms get itchy and red from balling up tissue paper for two hours straight.

"What was the point?" I asked myself sophomore year as I watched some cackling (yes, they were cackling, probably delirious from lack of sleep and patience) sorority sisters tear apart the float right after we paraded it proudly in front of our family and friends... even took pictures of it to post on Instagram and Twitter.

Surely we could use the money to paint more banners instead and have more walking parade floats. If we did that, we could use the extra budget money to donate to a canned food drive, a sock drive, a "back to school, help the teachers have enough tissue boxers for the upcoming cold season" drive... something to give more back to our local community.

Then we could spend less time pomping and more time studying for Midterms and get a full eight hours of sleep the night before the parade.

Even as I type these words, I realize the logic in my statements. I realize that fraternity boys wouldn't have to stress out about finding a trailer for the float or concern themselves with constructing it the week or so before the parade. I realize that sorority house Moms wouldn't have to clean up tissue paper accidentally glued to dining room floors (or heaven forbid, the carpet on the grand staircase). But then I think about some other facts that must be accounted for.

Having parades with intricate floats is a Homecoming tradition at most college campuses. It does impress, for at least thirty to forty-five minutes, the children, older family members, and the alumni who come to see the parade. It impresses me to see what other people can do artistically with wood, chicken wire, and thousands of tiny papers colored maroon, white, gold, black and brown. For example, someone created a football stadium last year for their float, and I thought it was the coolest thing.

Then I think about all the community that is built when 100+ people are crammed into a sorority house's basement as they listen to country music and share stories. When I was the New Member Educator for my sorority sophomore year, I took a poll with my girls at the end. A lot of them referenced Homecoming as one of their favorite activities, which I did not expect.

One doesn't expect people to like a task similar to what sweatshop workers do... especially if the location is a basement with little ventilation. But about 40% of my girls said that was the time they felt they belonged in the sorority... and honestly, I've felt that way, too.

I want to have the same feelings of gratefulness I experienced when I heard that two fraternity boys ended up sleeping on our couches because they had been pomping for fourteen hours straight... And YES I liked seeing those overly rambunctious fraternity boys step up and buy about 290 girls and boys pizza at 11 p.m. on the infamous "Pomp Night" to keep our morale up. I want memories like that, but I want them made in a less-pomp-filled environment.

If I had it my way, each sorority and fraternity would have two walking parade floats (dancing, music, a cute banner) and a car float (when just the car, like a convertible or truck, would do, is decorated). All of the money from each fraternity and sorority usually spent on pomping would automatically be donated to their specific philanthropies or an all FSL community chosen organization. If I had it my way, the fraternity and sorority homecoming pairings would have a dinner or another event to replace "Pomp Night" (the night before the parade). Maybe they could play yard games, eat some barbecue, quiz each other on their organizations' histories... basically, anything to have clean, sober fun while volunteered groups prepare the walking floats and paint the banners for the parade.

And this would be my compromise if people still really wanted to pomp. If I had it my way, two all FSL parade floats could be created - one for the boys, and one for the girls. Then, the die-hard pompers from each sorority and fraternity could volunteer (instead of being mandated to do it) to pomp as much as their hearts pleased.

I think I will write a letter to the Panhellenic Council after all, because I think we can have it both ways. I know the FSL community can bond with each other while doing a better job at spending our money on the right resources.

I only hope I'm not the only one who thinks that the FSL HOCO traditions can be improved for all parties involved.

Did I mention that if I had it my way, a lot of money from each fraternity and sorority pairing would be spent on buying candy and other goodies for the parade watchers (like koozies for their beverages)? (insert winky face)

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So, You Want To Be A Nurse?

You're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

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To the college freshman who just decided on nursing,

I know why you want to be a nurse.

Nurses are important. Nursing seems fun and exciting, and you don't think you'll ever be bored. The media glorifies navy blue scrubs and stethoscopes draped around your neck, and you can't go anywhere without hearing about the guaranteed job placement. You passed AP biology and can name every single bone in the human body. Blood, urine, feces, salvia -- you can handle all of it with a straight face. So, you think that's what being a nurse is all about, right? Wrong.

You can search but you won't find the true meaning of becoming a nurse until you are in the depths of nursing school and the only thing getting you through is knowing that in a few months, you'll be able to sign the letters "BSN" after your name...

You can know every nursing intervention, but you won't find the true meaning of nursing until you sit beside an elderly patient and know that nothing in this world can save her, and all there's left for you to do is hold her hand and keep her comfortable until she dies.

You'll hear that one of our biggest jobs is being an advocate for our patients, but you won't understand until one day, in the middle of your routine physical assessment, you find the hidden, multi-colored bruises on the 3-year-old that won't even look you in the eyes. Your heart will drop to your feet and you'll swear that you will not sleep until you know that he is safe.

You'll learn that we love people when they're vulnerable, but you won't learn that until you have to give a bed bath to the middle-aged man who just had a stroke and can't bathe himself. You'll try to hide how awkward you feel because you're young enough to be his child, but as you try to make him feel as comfortable as possible, you'll learn more about dignity at that moment than some people learn in an entire lifetime.

Every class will teach you about empathy, but you won't truly feel empathy until you have to care for your first prisoner in the hospital. The guards surrounding his room will scare the life out of you, and you'll spend your day knowing that he could've raped, murdered, or hurt people. But, you'll walk into that room, put your fears aside, and remind yourself that he is a human being still, and it's your job to care, regardless of what he did.

Each nurse you meet will beam with pride when they tell you that we've won "Most Trusted Profession" for seventeen years in a row, but you won't feel that trustworthy. In fact, you're going to feel like you know nothing sometimes. But when you have to hold the sobbing, single mother who just received a positive breast cancer diagnosis, you'll feel it. Amid her sobs of wondering what she will do with her kids and how she's ever going to pay for treatment, she will look at you like you have all of the answers that she needs, and you'll learn why we've won that award so many times.

You'll read on Facebook about the nurses who forget to eat and pee during their 12-hour shifts and swear that you won't forget about those things. But one day you'll leave the hospital after an entire shift of trying to get your dying patient to eat anything and you'll realize that you haven't had food since 6:30 A.M. and you, too, will be one of those nurses who put everything else above themselves.

Too often we think of nursing as the medicine and the procedures and the IV pumps. We think of the shots and the bedpans and the baths. We think all the lab values and the blood levels that we have to memorize. We think it's all about the organs and the diseases. We think of the hospitals and the weekends and the holidays that we have to miss.

But, you're going to find that nursing isn't really about the medicine or the assessments. Being a nurse is so much more than anything that you can learn in school. Textbooks can't teach you compassion, and no amount of lecture time will teach you what it truly means to be a nurse.

So, you think you want to be a nurse?

Go for it. Study. Cry. Learn everything. Stay up late. Miss out on things. Give it absolutely everything that you have.

Because I promise you that the decision to dedicate your life to saving others is worth every sleepless night, failed test, or bad day that you're going to encounter during these next four years. Just keep holding on.

Sincerely,

The nursing student with just one year left.

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5 Reasons Why I Love Being a Psychology Major

By learning about others, you can also learn more about yourself.

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I have always grown up interested in people: what they do, why, and what makes them who they are. We are all created the same way, but from the moment after birth, we all undergo drastically different experiences. Some people were born into wealthy families, ones that never worried about money, while others were born into the lower class who struggled to simply put food on the table. Some individuals grew up in extremely religious households, while others did not. None of us have the same life experience; your friend, neighbor, or stranger you just passed have all seen different things that have shaped you all in unique ways. For me, Psychology is the field that helps us not only better understand each other, but also, ourselves. So here are 5 reasons why I love being a psychology major:

1. Both NATURE & NURTURE make a person.

No one thing is responsible for you being you. Psychologists and scientists use to argue over whether an individual is a result of genetics (nature) or from their environment (nurture); typically, implying home environment or parenting. Today we don't understand this concept as an either/or debate but as a combination of both. Yes, there are genes and biological factors which make individuals more likely to behave a certain way, genes which may indicate certain psychological disorders or predispositions; however, without a particular environment, these genes may never activate within an individual. One example is the "warrior gene", MAOA, which is linked to higher aggression in individuals; furthermore, it is often a predictor of psychopathy. Many individuals may have this gene; however, if the environment they were raised does not activate this gene, its effects may be negligible. Simply having a gene does not mean it will cause behavior or trait, only that it is possible.

2. One's perception of a situation is critical.

In psychology, the objective reality of a situation is not usually the main concern, but actually how one perceives or understands that situation. For example, a woman sent to rehab for self-medicating her chronic pain will see her situation vastly different than from a doctor. A doctor would likely see her self-medication as a drug problem, but the woman may understand the problem as chronic pain. Health Psychology particularly aims at understanding one's perceptions of health and aiding to correct unhealthy or risky behaviors. One's perception is just as important as reality because it will dictate individuals' behaviors. If we understand how we perceive our health, safety, or other obstacles in life can help to correct behaviors or find better solutions.

3. I am aware of the cognitive biases all around us.

Psychology connects to many fields, particularly neuroscience. Learning how the brain works, which parts of the brain process which functions, and the behaviors that result allow us to better understand an individual's decision in a certain situation. It can also tell us how the brain can be fooled in cognitive biases. Simply how a question is framed, or what an individual is primed with, can affect one's decision-making abilities; one kind of cognitive bias is the Framing Effect. When asked the same question, but framed as either a gain or a loss, individuals tend to make drastically different decisions. Our brain, specifically the amygdala, tends to avoid certain losses and uncertain gains. Understanding the brain and underlying psychology can help us be more informed, and make decisions not influenced by others.

4. I understand the power of conformity.

The power of conformity is strong; I mean, who doesn't want to belong? Psychology brings awareness to the impact of one's situation on our behavior, studied thoroughly in Social Psychology, but also how other individuals can. Psychologist Asch created a study where single participants had to determine if line A, B, or C was the same length as the example, in a room of confederates who said the wrong answer. The results of the study showed that the majority of participants went along with whatever answer the confederates all gave, even when the participant knew the Confederates' answers were incorrect. It can be hard to go against the crowd. An issue that psychology brings to light; however, I believe psychology gives us the tools to understand the pressure and break away from it. Psychology gives us power (knowledge) to combat issues like conformity.

5. I learn more and more about myself.

By studying how the brain works, you, in turn, are learning about how your own body functions. In Personality Psychology, you gain a better understanding of where your traits came from and how you may be influenced in situations (i.e. are you likely to try new foods and experiences? Are you a person high on openness?). While learning about the power of the situation and one's subjective construal (or perception) on a situation, you can potentially see through the stereotypes, cognitive biases, and incorrect assumptions made by individuals every day. By learning about other people, and why they behave a certain way, we can better understand ourselves.

Psychology is a field of many fields. Whether you prefer to do psychological research or finding out the secrets of our minds, or you rather be hands-on, by assisting in behavioral modification or therapies, psychologists help people in many different ways. This field not only helps you to learn about others but also yourself. A field which will open your eyes and mind to the misconceptions or assumptions we may make on a daily basis, and understand how that can influence our behavior.

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