You May See It As Problematic, But Rudolph Changed My Life

You May See It As Problematic, But Rudolph Changed My Life

Don't take away the most impactful story from my childhood just because you don't like what it says.

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Growing up, my absolute favorite Christmas tale and song was "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." I collected stuffed animals of Rudolph, got the Build-a-Bear, had a collection of the ornaments, and incessantly watched the VCR tape over and over until I'm sure my parents were completely done with it. So when I was scrolling through social media at the beginning of December, trying to get myself in the Christmas spirit, I was completely stunned by the fact that there was a social media campaign to keep radio stations from playing the song and CBS from airing the Christmas classic.

Apparently, people want to cancel this part of the Christmas tradition because of the messages they interpret within the tale, from a sexist characterization of Clarice to the bullying of Rudolph by the other reindeer to Blitzen trying to cover up Rudolph's shiny nose because it was different. As a kid, I never considered any of these readings when I was watching the movie, and as an adult today (and a communication and media major) I still don't see a lot of credibility in some of these arguments. But if I've learned anything as a Comm major, everyone is going to read a media text in his or her own way.

But as a kid, when I saw Rudolph, I saw someone who was different overcome the criticism that he got for being different. I saw a young reindeer who no one thought was good enough being given an opportunity to lead and be great, to be a hero. I saw an elf who didn't want to play by the rules and make toys just because it was the "normal" thing to do dare to be different and follow his dream of being a dentist. I saw an outcast snow-monster, cast out from society and misunderstood, be welcomed into a community to celebrate Christmas. I saw parents learn to accept their son for what he was, despite his physical oddities. I saw an island full of misfit toys learn to embrace their oddities, learn that they weren't made wrong, just made to be themselves. From Rudolph, I learned that I could be anything, overcome any difference, and follow my dreams.

And sure, not everyone is going to read this song this way. The claymation is dated, the song is old, and even some of the animated movies are well over a decade old. Some messages change with time. Some things are read differently over time. But you don't have the right assume that kids are going to read a story negatively just because you do as an adult. I can't guarantee they'll read it positively either. But we have to have faith in our kids that they can make a meaning from a text that will be impactful for them.

They are the ones that get to find themselves in the story. Sure, there is some bullying in the story. The other reindeer wouldn't let him play in their reindeer games after all. But exclusion is, unfortunately, a real problem that children will face in life. Shielding it from them in a claymation reindeer cartoon isn't going to keep it from happening to them in the real world. But giving a kid a chance to see themselves in Rudolph, to see themselves overcome exclusion and make new friends, could make all the difference.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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There Is No 'Right Way' To React To A Shooting

Everyone is different.

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After the shootings this year in New Zealand, Brazil, and close to home for some of us Aurora, people have been reacting in different ways. With some offering their thoughts and prayers, donating money to help pay for the funerals of the victims, fighting for action in regards to ending gun violence, candlelight vigils basically anything that can help them in this time of grief.

There is no right or wrong way to react to a shooting — everyone grieves in their own ways. We should not judge one another for how we grieve in a tragedy.

People have been saying that thoughts and prayers won't do anything. However, maybe it can be a comfort to some people—a way to let people know that they are thinking of them and that they care.

Sometimes people may want to donate money or blood to help out any survivors who may have suffered from blood loss or create GoFundMe accounts to either help out with medical expenses or to pay for the funerals of the victims or even start charities like Islamic Relief USA. Donating your time and money is a good way to help out because you are making a difference that is a form of action you are taking.

There is also grieving in the form of vigils. One example of a vigil is this guy who makes crosses every time there is some kind of tragedy. Vigils are often a good way to remember the victims, to pray for the healing of the survivors, to talk about what they were like as people.

Some people even want to take action by demanding that the laws change a good example of this would be March for Our Lives, which happened after the Parkland shooting last year. This march was fighting for gun control or should I say changes in the gun laws America currently has.

Some people also do acts of solidarity, for example, wearing a hijab like the prime minister of New Zealand did when she went to go visit the Christchurch shooting survivors. My community college had something a couple of years ago called Hijab Day to help show solidarity with our friends. I participated, and it was quite an experience—no one should ever be afraid to be who they are.

There is never a right or wrong way to react, and no one should ever criticize one another for how they react. It's not a test where there is a right or wrong answer—everyone is different and that is okay.

No one should ever have to be afraid to go to school, go to work, or go to their place of worship or wherever they decide to go. Whatever we decide to do to make a change, as long as we are taking some kind of action, is good enough for me.

Nothing ever gets done by sitting around and doing nothing, so whatever it is you do, get out there and do it. As long as you are showing support it doesn't matter how you show it.

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