A Montanan's Outlook

Small State to Big City, Here it Is

Author: Mari (page 1 of 6)

My America Pictures

“My America”: The ‘I Voted’ sticker, iconic for general election days in the United States, mixed with the subtle hint of drug culture as well.

“My America”: Crocs, Pixar, Vines, The Office, and the rest of the accumulation of stickers on a college student’s favorite piece of technology: the Mac Book

“My America”: Beer. Is there anything more American?

The Roommate Problem Final

Scavenger hunts, snowball fights, football games – College Culture is composed of so many things that make the college experience unique. Though students everywhere experience this Culture differently, there are some things that are included in College Culture in most places; roommates are one.

Roommates can be great, and awful. Blind draws can find a student their best friend, and analytical choices can make a students’ greatest enemy.

Sheri Hineman, the Director of Residence Life at Morningside College, has had years of experience with college students and roommates. Hineman believes that there are both positives and negatives in this aspect of College Culture.

“I think having a roommate helps you communicate with someone whom you haven’t grown up with. They make you feel not as lonely and isolated,” Hineman said.

Hineman believes that roommates are one of the reasons that more students stay in school. Without them, she believes the loneliness would impact students to where they wouldn’t leave their rooms or build connections with other people.

“Meeting someone different, who could be socially different, different ethnic background, race, upbringing…gives you somebody outside your social circle to talk,” Hineman also said about the benefits of roommates.

Though roommates offer potential friendships and bonds, there are also negatives that play into this aspect of the culture of college.

“It can be difficult to get to know someone. You both have to put in effort to build a relationship,” Hineman commented.

Alyssa Miller agreed with Hineman on her position on the benefits of a roommate.

“They can add support and friendship, especially in the beginning. You start talking before school starts so you start creating that connection,” Miller commented. Though Miller agreed with this position, she also realized that roommates sometimes don’t work out.

College relationships begin with roommates, but sometimes “you get a dud,” as stated by Hineman, which Miller discovered her freshman year.

Miller went through three different roommates within her first ninety days of college. Her original roommate was never in the room and tended to party, and the next two switched quickly. Caitlin Makovicka was the roommate that stuck.

Miller spoke of the stress of constantly changing roommates and how it felt to finally become settled.

“She was in the room every night. That’s where the friendship-roommate thing came into play. Your room has to feel like a safe space, so changing to Caitlin made it that way while still having someone in the room,” Miller said.

Haley Lampe also spoke about having the option to pick your roommate, and how that changed the culture associated with roommates in college.

“I already knew what I was getting myself into,” Lampe commented, “I was more anxious to begin the year when I didn’t know.”

Roommates that begin as strangers are common, and choosing your roommate changes College Culture. Students that pick their roommates have already made connections, but they must continue to work with another person in order to live in cooperation.

No matter what, roommates are the necessary evil of college. They change everyday life of a student.

“I had to change how I interacted in my own room,” Alex Badger said. “I had to start to be considerate of the other person at all times”

Adjusting to a roommate can be stressful. Sleep schedules don’t always match up, friends sometimes stay over too late, and arguments can break out between the students.

Badger says that sleeping with white noise is a ‘no-go’ with his current roommate, and that figuring out how sleep in dead silence has been a constant struggle.

“I have to adjust most everything in my day accordingly. He sleeps at a different time than me. He goes to bed at midnight, while I go to bed at one or later.”

Challenges with when to turn off lights, how long to allow Playstation screens to glow, and talking too loud on cell phones add to the roommate culture in college.

Roommates create different experiences for each person, but they are a common aspect of College Culture. Roommates create friendships, facilitate certain issues, and force students to learn give-and-take.

Without roommates, College Culture would be different and without roommates the college experience would be missing one crucial aspect.

The Roommate Problem

College Culture – with a capital C – is different for every student and campus. As culture is different for people depending on religion or ethnicity, it is different for students.

Scavenger hunts, snowball fights, football games – College Culture is composed of so many things that make the college experience unique. Though students everywhere experience this Culture differently, there is one thing that makes College Culture in most places: Roommates.

Roommates can be great, and awful. Blind draws can find a student their best friend, and analytical choices can make a students’ greatest enemy.

Roommates are the necessary evil of college. They change everyday life of a student.

“I had to change how I interacted in my own room,” Alex Badger said. “I had to start to be considerate of the other person at all times.”

Adjusting to a roommate can be stressful. Sleep schedules don’t always match up, friends sometimes stay over too late, and arguments can break out between the students.

Badger says that sleeping with white noise is a ‘no-go’ with his current roommate, and that figuring out how sleep in dead silence has been a constant struggle.

“I have to adjust most everything in my day accordingly. He sleeps at a different time than me. He goes to bed at midnight, while I go to bed at one or later.”

Challenges with when to turn off lights, how long to allow Playstation screens to glow, and talking too loud on cell phones add to the roommate culture in college.

[I want to also talk about being able to choose roommates, how adjusting to roommates can affect college life, and I want to conduct more interviews.]

My Morningside

Lewis Hall is what makes Morningside special to me. It is where I live, basically, and where I study. Three flights of stairs ain’t got nothing on my favorite place on campus. This is My Morningside.

Cultural Article Sketch

Culture: Roommates

Roommates are a college guarantee. If you move onto campus from a different city, or town, or even just to get away from your parents, you will most likely be assigned a roommate. Morningside fills out a questionnaire in order to match up roommates with people that are similar to them.

For this article, I can talk to my roommate now about what it was like to be able to choose a roommate for the second year on campus. I can discuss the implications of roommates with an RA, such as Tessa Renze or Dylan Ferguson or Bailey Powers. I can talk to Alyssa Miller about having to change roommates in the middle of a semester.

Bad roommates, good roommates, silent, loud, messy, clean, all types of roommates change a person’s college experience.

Sharing your room, but more importantly your life, with a stranger is hard. This is how college usually starts. I want to discuss the relationships that roommates have, and how this can change how a person interacts and participates in school. I also want to talk about the idea that after college you don’t usually have roommates, or you do only because it is cheaper.

Non-Fiction Text Review for Hella Nation

Evan Wright’s book Hella Nation centers around Wright’s experiences with unique groups of people around the country. Wright’s purpose in writing this book was to find what he considered to be the “lost tribes of America” and report on their unique lifestyles.

Wright uses his skills as a reporter to infiltrate into the lives of these outsiders and tries to understand their nature and their actions. The book is about his experiences with groups ranging from sex workers/taxi-dance halls to Hollywood directors.

Evan Wright is an American-born writer who has worked for Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone reporting on subcultures. He graduated from John Hopkins University and Vassar College. His first writing gig was interviewing a South African Political leader, though the job did not pay.

After his stints in non-paying jobs, Wright was able to begin his career of immersion reporting. While immersing himself into the lives of different subcultures, he began to write long features based on what he experienced.

This experience led him to be able to immerse himself into the cultures for the book Hella Nation. His career in journalism prepared him for his authorship and gave his book a more real, tangible feeling to it.

Wright wrote Hella Nation in order to display the subcultures of the United States in their raw state. He wrote this book to introduce to his readers the differences in American life and the complexities of those in what are sometimes deemed “countercultures.”

Wright’s book is meant to make the reader think. He has specifically designed the book to lay out different ‘characters’ chapter by chapter that explores untamed portions of American life.

Wright used multiple different tactics in order to write this book. Most importantly, and most often, he used methods of participating and observation. Within the first chapter of the book, Wright makes it clear that the story of the Fifth Platoon Delta Company was told through his perspective and observations.

Wright immersed himself into the surroundings of the people he wrote about, and then he watched them. He listened to their vernacular and described their hygiene. Everything from the way their hair was parted to the amount of alcohol they consumed a day to their amount of times they could say ‘fuck’ in a day was recorded.

In the chapter “Dancing With a Stranger,” Wright uses participation to understand his subjects best. He chooses to dance with the ladies in each taxi-club in order to learn about who they are as people and who they are as clients.

This is one of the spots where Wright’s participation becomes crucial to understanding the people of the story. In order to learn about each taxi-club, Wright must interact with females from each spot. This leads to his direct participation.

These two methods, along with brief interviews from people in the subcultures or outside sources, make up the majority of the book. This creates subjectivity in the story because these characters and experiences become a part of Wright’s life.

Personally, I enjoyed the set-up of the book. Each chapter was a new story dedicated to a new group which kept the book interesting. My favorite chapter is still “Dance With a Stranger” because it was interesting to hear about the different levels of dancing and intimacy that are offered for money in certain cities.

This book has caused me to think a little deeper about unique cultures within American. Even though they “don’t fit in,” they are what help make America different. They are the groups that set America apart.  

Sing-Songy Final

I looked down into my lap and traced the outlines of the flowers on my dress with my pointer finger. My legs were crossed at the heels and pushed under my metal chair, along with my backpack. My heels dug into the fabric of the pack but I didn’t notice.

Amy Jackson was sitting to my left looking at the itinerary for the celebration. I lifted my eyes from my dress to her. The white lace of her outfit made her eyes pop. They looked fierce, outlined in black eyeliner and touched by bronzer. They sparkled as she scanned the paper in her hands.

Her hair was brushed behind her ears and it only fell to the nape of her neck. She was able to make her pixie cut look sophisticated without much effort.

“Hey, look. It’s you,” she said as she pointed to my name. It fell under Tyler Nordstrom and Anna Zetterland’s and was preceded with Lyrics written by. I stared at where she was pointing.

 

Today has been a very bad day,

Scrounging and scouring and lying in wait.

Running and scrambling, searching for a way

by dreaming and panicking, staying up late.

The night sky, twinkling and rolling

while the thoughts in my head are painfully scrolling

Attacking and splattering,

Ripping and shredding.

Today has been a very bad day.

 

Yesterday was a very bad day

with blood-stained thoughts and dreams.

Infiltrated by fear that just won’t go away

and painstaking acuteness it seemed.

Blinded and battered,

pushed until my heart shattered.

Seeing and screaming that

everything is beyond dreaming.

Yesterday was a very bad day.

 

Tomorrow will be a different day

where this deafening silence will finally be broken,

where the world will finally pay

and words will not be left unspoken.

I will finally sleep a dreamless sleep

and the world, with all my secrets, will keep

living and loving,

uncrippling and forgiving

because tomorrow,

oh tomorrow,

tomorrow will be a different, maybe better, day.

 

My lips tugged into a small smile.

“Yeah, it is. Tyler said that he and Anna are really excited,” I said.

“Have you heard it yet?”

“No, I haven’t. Anna asked if I wanted to hear it yesterday but I wanted to be surprised with everyone else.” My eyes darted to the piano in the corner of the room and back to Amy. “I’m nervous, but I know that they’ll make it sound amazing no matter what.”

I folded my hands in my lap and kneaded them together. I pulled my right thumb down between both hands and folded it into my palms. I chewed on the corner of my bottom lip.

“Mari!” I heard from behind me. I looked over my shoulder and my lips turned down at the corners. “Mari, this is your poem on the back.”

I sighed with relief as I turned and realized it was only Professor Triezenberg. My smile returned. She was perched on the very edge of her seat, leaning forward while sweeping her fingers down the words I had written a year earlier.

“Yes,” I chuckled, “Tyler and Anna are going to perform it today.”

“I didn’t realize you liked to write poetry,” she said. I merely smiled and nodded my head and turned around. Not many people knew my interest in poetry.

Professor Werden walked to the podium and began to announce the winners of that year’s Kiosk prizes. I sat glassy-eyed as we heard the champions read their pieces to the audience. One-by-one they took the stage, and one-by-one they left.

I shook my head and the room came back into focus as I heard my name.

“I was reading through the poetry selections for this year’s Kiosk and Mari Pizzini’s poem just grabbed my attention,” Anna was saying. I looked up and waved as everyone turned in my direction. My cheeks reddened.

“Her poem is written on the back of the brochure if you want to follow along as I sing. I hope you enjoy,” Anna finished. Her smile was almost as bright as the plastic-y gemstones that covered her knee-length skirt.

She stepped back so she was in line with the piano and turned to nod at Tyler, who was sitting on the piano bench. He dipped his head down and ran his fingers across the keys, coming to a stop at Middle C. Then he played.

Our song flowed with key after key, and Anna’s voice soon joined the serenade. With each word, my head moved slowly towards my hands in my lap.

Painfully scrolling brought my hand to my cheek. Bloodstained thoughts and dreams broke my heart again. A tear streaked down my cheek and my neck, landing in my lap. I brushed it away as I remembered when I had first written the words that were being sung.

My paper had been wrinkled and tearstained. Drop after drop had flowed onto the lined page that day in January of 2017. I couldn’t stop the tears, and I couldn’t stop the words.

I squeezed my eyes shut, tightly, as Anna continued to sing. I wanted to remember this piece without thinking of Julie’s face.

My heart was up there with Anna and every word showed it more plainly to our attentive audience.

I spread my fingers through my bangs. Poetry had always been my way out, and music had always been my way of connecting with other people. Here I am, letting other people hear my pain.

Creation had always been important to me, to my family, to my friends, and to most people in my life. It had always been a way of communicating pain and hope.

Abby Koch described creation as her “mental relief” and it shows who we are today. Who people are and who they become. I sat watching Tyler as his hands drifted over the keys and how Anna’s eyes slowly closed as she sang each note.

Creation can’t be just for me. It has to be for someone else. Our song was for everyone in the room. My eyes drifted from chair to chair, landing on Amy, and Christina, and Leslie.

This song was for Julie. For the pain she felt and the pain she left when she died. This was my creation. This was my mental relief.    

Anna’s voice trailed off as she sang tomorrow, and my breathing hitched as Tyler echoed her words with his keys. I sighed out as the music died, and lifted my head.

There was nothing more I could give. No more strength, no more hope, no more pain. I had laid it out one-by-one, A-B-C, key after key after key.

I smiled.

Kate and Leopold: A Review

Kate and Leopold has tugs at more than just a single genre. With its elements of time, history, and romance, Kate and Leopold works to send the viewer through time and through the present. The film is rated PG-13 because of brief strong language, and parents should accompany children while watching, even though the story itself is nothing vulgar. The storyline is quite common and should be no concern for many children. Personally, the movie became dull during its mid-section, and my attention was difficult to keep. Its characters of 21st century Kate and 19th century Leopold did not capture my attention.

The movie revolves around the lives of Kate, living in New York in the 21st century, and Leopold, who lives in New York in 1876. Kate’s ex-boyfriend Stuart finds a hole in the space-time continuum and travels back in time in search for his great-great-grandfather, Leopold, who eventually invented the elevator. Leopold ends up following Stuart back to the present day, where he meets Kate. Their story continues around the idea that Leopold must return, and Kate must stay.  

Kate and Leopold does not fit the common bill associated with ‘RomCom,’ but more sets itself apart with Science Fiction tendencies and Historical Background. Though it is, obviously, meant to be a Romantic Comedy, Kate and Leopold extends beyond that. It mixes romance with time travel, and the 21st century with that of the 19th. Meg Ryan (You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seatle) and Hugh Jackman (The Wolverine and Logan) work together to create a unique romantic connection between two characters of different realities.

As most ‘RomComs’ recently, the acting was mildly flaky and the story was cliche. In the end, the guy and the girl ended up together. Released in 2001, many ‘RomCom’ storylines had been used, and I believe that James Mangold, the director, was trying to work with storylines that would be new and exciting by introducing the concept of time travel and an inter-dimension relationship. It seemed very Thor-like, romantics wise. The girl fell in love with the guy who wasn’t from her world and who was (technically) over 100 years older than her.

Though I did not necessarily appreciate the acting, I did enjoy the concept of the story. Mixing what I would deem to be an absurd idea with that of common 21st-century life gave the story meaning. In general, it made the movie more comedic in the idea that what was happening was most likely impossible.

I enjoy both romance/comedy, and science fiction, but I am not sure I have ever seen them try to mix together in a way such as this. I would suggest this film to anyone who does not take their films too seriously, anyone who enjoys corny romance, and anyone who loves odd connections of science fiction.

Overall, I would give this film a 2.5 out of 4 stars because of its creativity in the plot. Kate and Leopold attempts to make ‘RomComs’ more interesting and different than their average connotations.

Sing-Songy

I looked down into my lap and traced the outlines of the flowers on my dress with my pointer finger. My legs were crossed at the heels and pushed under my metal chair, along with my backpack. My heels dug into the fabric of the pack but I didn’t notice.

Amy Jackson was sitting to my left looking at the itinerary for the celebration. I lifted my eyes from my dress to her. The white lace of her outfit made her eyes look fierce. They sparkled as she scanned the paper in her hands.

Her hair was brushed behind her ears and it only fell to the nape of her neck. She was able to make her pixie cut look sophisticated without much effort.

“Hey, look. It’s you,” she said as she pointed to my name. It fell under Tyler Nordstrom and Anna Zetterland’s and was preceded with Lyrics written by. I stared at where she was pointing.

My lips tugged into a small smile.

“Yeah, it is. Tyler said that he and Anna are really excited,” I said.

“Have you heard it yet?”

“No, I haven’t. Anna asked if I wanted to hear it yesterday but I wanted to be surprised with everyone else.” My eyes darted to the piano in the corner of the room and back to Amy. “I’m nervous, but I know that they’ll make it sound amazing no matter what.”

I folded my hands in my lap and started kneading them together. I pulled my right thumb down between both hands and folded it into my palms. I chewed on the corner of my bottom lip.

“Mari!” I heard from behind me. I looked behind my shoulder and my lips turned down at the corners. “Mari, this is your poem on the back.”

I sighed with relief as I turned and realized it was only Professor Triezenberg. My smile returned. She was perched on the very edge of her seat, leaning forward while sweeping her fingers down the words I had written a year earlier.

“Yes,” I chuckled, “Tyler and Anna are going to perform it today.”

“I didn’t realize you liked to write poetry,” she said. I merely smiled and nodded my head and turned around. Not many people knew my interest in poetry.

Professor Werden walked to the podium and began to announce the winners of that year’s Kiosk prizes. I sat glassy-eyed as we heard the champions read their pieces to the audience. One-by-one they took the stage, and one-by-one they left.

I shook my head and the room came back into focus as I heard my name.

“I was reading through the poetry selections for this year’s Kiosk and Mari Pizzini’s poem just grabbed my attention,” Anna was saying. I looked up and waved as everyone turned in my direction. My cheeks reddened.

“Her poem is written on the back of the brochure if you want to follow along as I sing. I hope you enjoy,” Anna finished. Her smile was almost as bright as the plastic-y gemstones that covered her knee-length skirt.

She stepped back so she was in line with the piano and turned to nod at Tyler, who was sitting on the piano bench. He dipped his head down and ran his fingers across the keys, coming to a stop at Middle C. Then he played.

Their song flowed with key after key, and Anna’s voice soon joined the serenade. With each word, my head moved slowly towards my hands in my lap.

Painfully scrolling brought my hand to my cheek. Bloodstained thoughts and dreams broke my heart again. A tear streaked down my cheek and my neck, landing in my lap.

I squeezed my eyes shut, tightly, as Anna continued to sing. My heart was up there with her and every word showed it more plainly to our attentive audience. Her voice died off as she sang tomorrow, and my breathing hitched as Tyler echoed her words with his keys. I sighed out as the music died, and lifted my head. I met Anna’s eyes and smiled.

Confidence

Indianapolis in the summer of 2016 was hot. In the middle of July, temperatures were hitting over 100 degrees and being packed in a warehouse building with 3,500 of my ‘closest friends’ wasn’t helping the heat.

I looked around at the lines surrounding me. Everyone wanted to meet the pros from Storm and parents were swarming around their kids while fussing over their hair and skirts. Practice was in less than two hours. I stepped sideways to avoid being sideswiped by a fussing parent and bumped into the side of my mom.

“Well,” she said as she caught her balance, ” who do you want to talk to first? What was that one college you said Tommy liked?”

“Morningside,” I replied. My head was swiveling from left to right as I looked down the rows of tables. They each had banners with their school colors fluttering from the white plastic. I had no idea what the coach looked like or the college mascot or the colors. I just knew they had a team and I wanted to bowl.

“There!” I said and pointed to the right. The maroon and white banner was hanging about halfway down the line of tables. I grabbed my mom’s hand and pulled her behind me as I bee-lined for the table.

I walked up to the table and looked at the man behind it. The skin around his eyes was rough and wrinkled and he had a beard that wasn’t necessarily well-kept but didn’t look like an accident either.

“Hi, my name is Mari Pizzini and I want to bowl for your program,” I said. I stuck my hand out towards him and he grabbed it in a loose handshake. He eyed me warily. I smiled back at him, “I have been researching your program for the last couple of months. You’re new. I want to bowl somewhere and I want to help the team.”

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