We will never forget Mac Miller.

Mac Miller playing live at a 2015 show in New York City.

It began as an ordinary Friday afternoon. My roommate and I were discussing our plans for the weekend ahead of us, and listening to some music. The date was September 7th, 2018. Little did I know at the time, I will never forget that day. As I sat in my bed waiting for plans, my roommate received a phone call. As he answered his phone, I hoped that we were being invited to a party for the night to come. Suddenly, my roommate yelled into the phone in disbelief, “you are lying, there is no way Mac Miller is dead!” My heart dropped as I heard those words come from his mouth. Praying it was Twitter nonsense, I rushed to the internet to see if the accusation was true. Within seconds of typing “Mac Miller” into the Google search bar, my prayers were shattered. “Mac Miller dead at 26 of apparent drug overdose” read title at the top of the screen. It was a story posted by TMZ just 20 minutes prior. I felt no need to hold back my tears on that day, my heart was broken. The world had lost yet another legend.
According to an article by Rolling Stone, Mac Miller’s death was the result of an accidental overdose. He was by found in his California home by a friend, alone in his bedroom, in a prayer position. A toxicology report released by the L.A. County Coroner’s office found a combination of alcohol, cocaine and Fentanyl in his system at the time of his death. Fentanyl was also the drug which took the lives of famous musicians Prince, Tom Petty, and Lil Peep. So what is this mystery drug wreaking havoc amongst industry legends?

According to the DEA, Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine. It’s presence has been increasingly relevant on the streets of cities with problematic heroin usage. Dealers are adding Fentanyl to heroin and other opioids in order to make them stronger. The problem is, Fentanyl is so potent that it’s usage often results in overdose. Last year, the National Institute of Drug Abuse reported that nearly 30,000 drug overdoses were related to the use of Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids. But how did Mac Miller come in contact with a drug commonly found in heroin?

Mac Miller was exposed to Fentanyl through the use of cocaine. Fentanyl is almost impossible to locate when added to a powder or a pill. Therefore, Mac Miller had no idea he was using enough drugs to end his life. Even though his death took me, and millions of other people by surprise, his use of drugs was evident throughout his entire career. In 2014, Miller released a surprise mixtape called FACES. I was sixteen years old, and when I listened to this tape for the first time, I thought it would be the last project he would ever release. His songs referenced a crippling dependency to drugs, depression, and the possibility of dying young. One lyric I remember vividly from a song entitled “Malibu” is, “I might die before I detox.” Majority of the album felt like a subtle goodbye to all of his fans.

However, in September of 2015, Miller dropped his third full-length album, GOOD:AM. The following year, in September of 2016, Miller released yet another full-length album called The Divine Feminine. Both albums focused on much more positive aspects of life than FACES had. Suddenly, Mac Miller had discovered an entirely new sound, opened himself up to an brand new fanbase, and morphed bad habits into a positive lifestyle. In 2016, Miller was in a serious relationship with mega pop-star Ariana Grande. This relationship put Mac Miller under a spotlight he had not seen since his early days of fame. All seemed well for Mac Miller. As a dedicated fan, I could not have been happier for the success of an artist I had listened to throughout his darkest days. During his GOOD:AM tour I went to both of his New York shows. I am beyond thankful that I was blessed with the opportunity to see him perform before he passed away.

Mac Miller shows were smaller during his GOOD:AM tour. I was less than 50 feet from the stage.

Earlier this year, Grande announced her and Miller had broken up. Soon after news broke of their split, Miller was arrested for DUI after crashing his Mercedes into a utility pole. Many blame the DUI on their break-up. However, Miller says “he needed the wake up call.” Despite this downfall, Miller came back swinging with the early August release of Swimming, his fifth album. When I first heard Swimming, all of my worries about his condition were swept away. He appeared happy, his style sounded perfected, he seemed comfortable, and appeared determined to be the best artists he could possibly be. I was excited, and inspired by who he was becoming. And then, just as soon as it came, all of that hope was gone. I truly feel as if a piece of who I am, died with Mac Miller that day. It doesn’t matter to me how ridiculous that sounds. His music and his passion influenced who I have become.

After news of his death broke the surface, hundreds of celebrities payed tribute on Social Media. Some of these celebrities include fellow hip-hop artists such as J. Cole, Jaden Smith, and Chance the Rapper:

Ariana Grande, who was engaged to another man at the time of Mac Miller’s death, took to Instagram to pay respect to her former Love:

Mac Miller was the most influential individual in my life. His struggles helped me discover my passion as he guided me through my own hardships. His words kept my head up when it felt to heavy to hold up on my own. His music kept me company on the long nights when I felt all alone in the world. Mac Miller inspired me to keep going no matter what, and I know for certain that i’m not alone when I say this. Malcom James McCormick as he was born, died way too young. But for many fans, the mark he made on our lives will never fade away, and his powerful message of love and positivity will live forever with his music. May he rest in peace.

Check out this video I made while putting together this story: https://youtu.be/JM8pMxcig8A

Inevitable Existence.

Written By. James Gappa

Since the popularity of the internet took off in the late 1990’s, the way that we interact with one another has evolved alongside technology. According to an article written by Drew Hendricks (2013), early forms of social media websites such as Six Degrees began popping up in 1997, and by 1999 blogging became a popular trend. In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg launched “The Facebook” as it was originally called according to an article by Sarah Phillips (2007) from The Guardian. Originally designed as website exclusively for Ivy League students to communicate, it became a worldwide sensation by 2006 when it opened up to anyone with an email address. Today, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are a significant part of people’s lives, from all age groups. However, the most popular social media sites were originally developed for College students to communicate with one another. It has been almost 15 years since the development of Facebook. How are college students using social media after all of this time?
As a young boy in middle school, I began using Facebook when its popularity was still young. Now, I am a junior in college and I still use Social Media. I am not alone either, according to an article by Riley Griffin (2015) in the Huffington Post, 98% of college students actively use social media. You don’t need percentages to understand the amount of students who log on to these websites every day. Look around, most people don’t even walk without looking at their phone nowadays. As I sit in lectures I can see students sitting in front of me sending Snapchats as the Professor teaches. Late nights in Oswego dorm halls are filled with party-ready girls and boys taking pictures with each other for Instagram. And every day I read a few tweets saying “can’t stand this professor” or “ready to drop out.” Sometimes, my opinions on the use of social media can become confusing. As someone whose future career may partially rely on the use of social media, I understand the benefits and the ways that it helps us. However, I often fear that we are too reliant on social media to provide us with the entertainment and information that we need every day.
Beyond entertainment and information, I believe people get addicted to how social media makes them feel. People become thirsty for likes, follows, or friends, and it becomes a real concern in everyday life. For example, I don’t remember the last time I went out with a bunch of friends without everyone using their phones. Often times, I’ll see tables filled with friends who aren’t even talking, they’re all staring at their screens ignoring one another. Often, I am one of those friends, sitting at that table. Staring across at my “friends” waiting for someone to make eye contact so I may break the silence. Personally, I feel as if social media has removed the significance behind small and large moments. There are 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year, and X amount of time that each of us are alive. So, often I worry that the amount of time that myself and others have used online will be regretful one day.
Before going away to college, my expectations for college life were just like many other teenagers expectations. Huge parties, making a bunch of new friends, goofing off on campus, basically the most memorable years of your life. While most of my expectations have somewhat come true, they are much less fulfilling than I had hoped. I believe this could be from the pervasiveness of social media in our interactions. One day, while sitting in an afternoon lecture for a Mass Media course, a student made a comment about college life and social media to my professor. I am unsure of the student’s name, but he had said, “Imagine how fun living here would be if we didn’t have social media at all, we would have to talk to each other.” I heard what he said, and I did imagine it.
Classic beliefs about college life don’t include how social media has affected it. Movies we grew up watching like “American Pie” didn’t have plots surrounding Facebook drama or Instagram likes. When our parents went to college, they weren’t starting new relationships by swiping left or right on Tinder. People were interacting face to face or they were hardly interacting at all. Sometimes, I wish I was able to experience this idea of inevitable face-to-face interaction. As someone who will one day need to use social media to have a fulfilling career, I recognize its own inevitability to remain in existence. However, I love nothing more than the connection and relationship human beings can have with each other, and I fear for its stability.

Sheldon Hall, a trip back in time:

 

  

The State University of New York at Oswego was founded in 1861 as a Primary Teachers’ Training school by Edward Austin Sheldon according to the Universities website. The school moved it’s location from the City of Oswego to it’s current Lakeside home after the completion of the building now known as Sheldon Hall. Today, the campus is home to over 8,000 students and 58 buildings for academics, residencies, and athletics. Sheldon Hall is a symbol of the schools long lasting legacy of innovation.

These photographs were chosen in order to portray the historical architecture of Sheldon Hall. The green hue of the copper statue and clock tower of Sheldon Hall exemplify the decades of educational success that have passed. The massive columns that guide your entry into the building feel reminiscent of ancient Roman architecture, expressing a sort of importance and power as you walk through the doors. It’s as if you step back into time when approaching Sheldon Hall. It has become a symbol of SUNY Oswego’s success and notoriety in the SUNY system.