The Origins of Sneaker Culture
It all started in the early 1917 with the first basketball sneaker being the Converse All Star Chuck Taylor’s. That Chuck Taylor was the first athlete to have a pair shoes named after him, but sneakers weren’t widely affordable for everyone until the 1920s. At first sneakers weren’t as popular as they are today with the name being mostly linked to criminals and delinquents. What was associated with strictly athletic use and the shoe of choice for those in the lower ranks in society, started to become a tool of cultural expression in big major cities. In the 70s cities such as New York started to see the rise of basketball communities and hip hop which took sneakers and turned them into more than just on court footwear.
The real birth of the “modern era sneaker culture” was in 1984, according to The Atlantic. Michael Jordan, who is considered by many to be the greatest basketball player of all time, signed an endorsement deal with Nike that year. The start of Air Jordan craze would go into full effect as MJ solidified himself as the best player in the league. The late 80s presented new designs and styles that showed more practical appeal. The beginning of hip hop music’s rise to the mainstream saw rappers start to grab a hold of the sneaker culture, often adding the shoe brands they were wearing all throughout their lyrics. This no more evident with than the famous rap group Run DMC’s song “My Adidas” which was released in 1986. Sneaker culture had a thumb print on everyday life.
Sneaker Culture Today
Today the business of sneakers has become more than a billion dollar industry. The two most popular sneaker brands Nike and Adidas generated a combined $31.4 billion in footwear revenue in the past year according Statista. But even though Nike and Adidas dominate the sneaker business they don’t fully dominate the culture, brands like puma, Vans, Converse, and Jordan are also very popular today. High end designer brands with brands like Gucci and Balenciaga also beginning to influence the game with their sneakers.
A new phenomenon in the culture has been the ideas of collecting sneakers, buying and reselling sneakers and going to sneaker conventions. The idea of buying and reselling sneakers has given people outside of sneaker companies to make money too. Apps such as the G.O.A.T app, StockX have given people the opportunity to sell their sneakers on a bigger market. Then there are those who collect sneakers and take part in Sneaker Con (which is similar to Comic Con but for sneakers). The present state of sneaker culture has produced a group of sneaker fanatics labelled as, “sneaker heads.”
The biggest change in the culture has to be the change in the major influencers and people with sneaker deals. What used to be only exclusive to athletes has now been afforded to musicians and other prominent figures in pop culture. People such as Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Pusha T, Drake, Travis Scott, Pharrell Williams, Dj Khaled all have custom signature shoes. The influencers outside of sports are now the main ones driving the culture, with shoes like Yeezy by Kanye West, and Adidas NMD by Pharrell Williams becoming more and more popular.
Sneaker Culture from my Eyes
Growing up in New York City, sneakers have always been a big part of my childhood and continues to be a big part of my life today. I went to public school all throughout my life and up until my freshman year in high school I had to wear a uniform, and the only clothing item I had to differentiate myself was my sneakers. That’s where my love and appreciation for sneakers started. Going to Foot Locker a week before school started and picking out a pair of sneakers was always the best feeling.
The business of sneakers has been both beneficial and annoying from my view. All the sneakers I want and am not able to get for retail often resell for hundreds of dollars, but on the other hand the reselling aspect has also put money in my pockets too. In my eyes the sneaker culture has been tainted by the whole business part, sneakers prices keep going up and being able to get certain shoes have become more difficult.
My love for the culture all started in the seventh grade when my mother bought me my first pair Nike Kobe’s. They were a pair of Kobe 6s that were black, white and varsity red that at the time sold for $130, those were my grails that started my love of the kobe shoeline.
When I was younger my shoe collection was strictly Kobe’s and other shoes made for basketball performance, but over time like the sneaker culture my shoe closet evolved. Now my closet is is filled with all different types of sneakers to match my different moods and vibes. Today you can find a pairs of Vans high and low, Converses, Kobe’s, Yeezy’s and other sneakers that come in and out of my rotation.
The one thing that really fascinates me about sneakers are the details often incorporated into the design and how they tell a story. Another thing that is beautiful about the current state of sneaker culture is how everyone has their own style and preference when it comes to sneakers. I went around and asked friends what they liked about shoes and what their favorite sneakers are of all time.
Walker Wolfson said, “Honestly I have way too much sneakers, I have at least 20 plus pairs just sitting at home, but my favorite pair has to be the Jordan 11s just a classic.”
While my roommate Jeremy Fernandez shared a totally different opinion. He went on to say, “I’m retired but my sneaker collection not bad but i appreciate the more exclusive Nike ball kicks like KDs and LeBrons.” He shared his favorite sneakers of all time being, “either the KD 4s or the 5s.”
The difference between Walker’s and Jeremy’s preference in sneakers only goes to show how sneakers can help people express and set themselves apart. Sneaker culture helps unite people with different styles and backgrounds, and whether you are a “sneaker head” or not we all have sneakers and we all contribute to the culture somehow.
Check out the video about my current rotation of sneakers below.
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.
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:
I dont know what to say Mac Miller took me on my second tour ever. But beyond helping me launch my career he was one of the sweetest guys I ever knew. Great man. I loved him for real. Im completely broken. God bless him.
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) September 7, 2018
Long Live Mac Miller, Rest In Peace We Love You
— Jaden Smith (@officialjaden) September 7, 2018
This is a message for anybody in this game that’s going through something. If you don’t feel right, if you feel you have a substance problem, if you need a ear to vent to. If you uncomfortable talking to people around you. Please reach out to me.
— J. Cole (@JColeNC) September 7, 2018
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:
View this post on Instagram
i adored you from the day i met you when i was nineteen and i always will. i can’t believe you aren’t here anymore. i really can’t wrap my head around it. we talked about this. so many times. i’m so mad, i’m so sad i don’t know what to do. you were my dearest friend. for so long. above anything else. i’m so sorry i couldn’t fix or take your pain away. i really wanted to. the kindest, sweetest soul with demons he never deserved. i hope you’re okay now. rest.
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
Mental Health… Suicide… why are these things not talked about more? It is so common and an epidemic, but we only seem to discuss it when a celebrity takes their own life. It affects us is some way, whether directly, or someone you know, has dealt with mental illness.
We share just about everything, from what we ate today, to pictures of our cats and dogs. But when it comes to discussing our feelings, we elect to keep them to ourselves. The comparison often made says that mental health should be treated the same as physical health. If someone breaks their arm, there’s no question that they are going to seek medical attention and they will be properly treated. When it comes to mental health, the patient may be too insecure to seek attention, and discuss their feelings. In the United States, 1 in every 5 teens suffer or have experienced at some point a mental disorder severe enough to affect every-day activities, according to LiveScience.com. As said, the tough part is to get the patient to open up about how they are feeling.
Grace Maxon-Clarke is an academic planning counselor at SUNY Oswego, but is also a SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) certified counselor. When asked why mental health and suicide isn’t talked about as much as it should, she made an interesting comparison. Grace said “it reminds me of the Disney movie Frozen. This girl has this magical power of turning things to ice, but her father tells her to conceal it, don’t show it… I think people don’t want to be labeled over something they can’t control.”
SAVE is an organization that attempts to educate the public on suicide and provide outlets for those struggling with any mental disorder. Their mission statement: SAVE focuses its efforts and resources on six main program areas: Public Awareness, Education, Training and Consulting, Grief Support, Products & Resources, and Research and Innovation; via SAVE.org. It’s organizations like SAVE that attempt to make it easier for someone to come forward with their feelings, and give them an opportunity to receive support.
Events like the Stride to SAVE Lives hosted as SUNY Oswego are designed to support the cause not only financially, but to show compassion to those who have lost a friend or family member due to suicide and those struggling with mental disorders. The event is held annually in September, and features guest speakers to discuss their own experiences, and how they try to make a difference going forward.
Via: SAVE on Facebook
Depression as well as all mental disorders are not always obvious. That being said, it is important that we not only check up on our friends and family that may be going through a tough time, but to also check on those who appear to be doing well. Everyone in the photo above were very successful, famous people; but we are unable to see inside their mind to know what they may be going through on the inside. Paying close attention to one’s behavior can sometimes be the difference in getting them the help they need.
Signs to be aware of are isolation; if someone is avoiding their friends or no longer doing the things they used to love to do, do not be afraid to ask how they are doing. Another sign that should be taken very seriously is if the person is self-harming in any way, even if the person brushes it off by saying something like “it was only a one-time thing” or “it didn’t mean anything.” No matter what the case, something drove them to harm themselves, and you should feel comfortable telling a professional or talk with them about support options.
Also if someone is continuously overindulging in alcohol or using drugs frequently, that can be a sign that they are facing something mentally. The examples of artist, Mac Miller and Layne Staley the former lead singer of Alice in Chains who both died from overdoses. Both of which were extremely famous and successful, but were noted to suffer from depression. The two turned to drugs as a coping mechanism and paid the ultimate price of losing their life. While under the influence of drugs or alcohol people can also act on impulse which can cause their actions to be unpredictable.
Grace Maxon-Clarke mentioned that if anyone ever threatens to take their own life she does not take it lightly. The person may be upset with you for getting other people involved but you should always err on the side of caution. Life is too valuable to not be taken seriously.
Jodi, whose husband wasn’t diagnosed with bipolar disorder until he was 38 describes living with the high high’s and low low’s as challenging, saying “when your loved one is in a ‘depressive’ state, you worry about thoughts of suicide. With bipolar, the ‘high’ state often leads to agitated outbursts, so you feel as though you have to walk on eggshells.”
While none of these “outbursts” are violent in any way, it can create a tense environment. Her husband is properly medicated, and has had the help he needed to live an even keeled life. When asked about her role in support she responded: “When my husband was going through depression, I felt my role was support him… remind him how much he is loved by his family and friends, and he has so much to live for.” Jodi did the right thing when telling me she “would encourage friends to reach out to him throughout the day when I couldn’t be with him” as well as “create a positive routine to help cope with his feelings.”
Suicide is a permanent action to a temporary feeling. No matter how low you ever see yourself, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. After Jodi’s husband got out of his depressed state, she says that “he has a completely different outlook on life.” There is too much to live for, things do get better, and you can get back to feeling the way you should.
If you, or anyone you know has thoughts of self-harm or suicide call the suicide hotline at: 1-800-273-8255 or reach out to any counselor or friend.
Alex Willis 12/05/18
College life home and dorming away
I have never been away from home for an extended period of time in my life. This is my first semester here at SUNY Oswego and it was a bit of a difficult task to adjust to this new life that I have chosen to be a part of. I had to give up most of the things I love to do which I can only do at home. I’m essentially in college right now just to pass the time and get a degree for something I’m interested in, not to get a job after and if I graduate. It is also a good back up plan just to have a degree in case I could use it in the future. While I am going for this education it is also giving me more time to find out what career path I want to get into in the near future. I am trying to figure out what I really am passionate about while I’m in college, but when I went away to school I realized that I gave up everything I loved which was back at home for me.
When I first arrived here at SUNY Oswego, I wasn’t really overwhelmed with pressure that I would be away from the place I call home on Long Island, to this new home up here. I wasn’t nervous at all I knew I could handle it, but I was faced with the question, is coming here worth it? After a bitter 3 three years of going to a community college and progressing nowhere with a college degree, I felt it was a time for a change in my life. I decided to try and go away to college for a semester or two too see a change of scenery in my life for once. I did know of the things I would be giving up in order to go here, but I felt I needed to take a chance and let it happen, but I think I made a mistake.
Back at home I have a 7 year old sister and a now 1 year old brother. For the past few months that I have been here I have been thinking that maybe it wasn’t worth coming up here. I will only get one chance to watch my little siblings grow up, I can always get a college degree. I say this because life is so un-expecting and anything can happen at any time. I want to be able to watch these grow up, as for when I was home with my sister it was amazing to see her grow up so fast and I want to be able to do the same with my brother. I watched my sister age so fast and I know the same will happen to my brother cause time moves so fast.
Back at home doing the things I loved were so much easier. I had all my game systems with me, the newer ones connected to the big TV and the older to the smaller TV. Up here I only have my PS4, and am limited to the games I want to play which I cant on the newer systems. I don’t have my car up here so I can’t go for drives which I love to do and to grab something to eat different. It’s even more easier to just watch a movie at home, here I don’t have access to my movie collection. I guess I can say I know whats important to me now that I don’t have them now.
Me and my uncle recently spoke about how when he went away to college for a year and came back because he didn’t like it and how it wasn’t for him. He told me “When I left it was around the time you (me) were about 3 years old and it was hard for me to leave you and not watch you grow up for a time being. I came home after that year because going away for school wasn’t for me”. I feel the same way as my uncle as going away for school just isn’t for me, even if the degree I’m going for is only offered here at SUNY Oswego.
My mother also has said “Alex it’s just for a year and then you will be back home to take online courses”. I knew a year is just a short time, but so much can happen in that time. My brother will be going through the time of his life where he will realize the world around him, start talking and developing more, and me being up here I am missing out on that wonderful part of his life. At this point I just want to get college done and over with, and sadly I know if I come home it will delay my graduation time further than it I want it to be.
Frequent talks with my grandmother who I live with at home, she can tell in my voice that I am not enjoying myself here. She knows all that I gave up and understands why I want to come home. “I can tell you’re not enjoying it up there, maybe we can find a way for you to stay home once you come back in December.
Up here at Oswego, college life is actually pretty involved and fun compared to when I was at my community college, but that fun isn’t the fun I want. I like to have my alone time, its hard when I share a room with someone. I like doing the things I’m used to and being with my friends that I have known for years. I have just been torn with decisions on what is worth more at this point in my life, but I think the last couple of months here have helped me with that decision. I think in all I did need this experience of going away, cause now I know what is truly important to me.
They say that money can’t buy you happiness but, what if you won the lottery? On October 19th 2018, the Mega Millions made national headlines because of a new record setting jackpot reached 1 billion dollars. It makes you ponder what one would do if they won that jackpot. I went around the Campus of SUNY Oswego asking multiple members of the community one simple question, what would you do if you won the lottery?
Graduating this semester Lyndsey Becker said that she would go straight to the Bahamas. “With all the work and stress I put into to graduate early I deserve to relax” is what Becker told me. She is currently looking for a job after graduation and said that the market is tough and competitive, winning the lottery will definitely get that pressure of searching for a job off her shoulders. “After this semester I have no time to relax I need a job, winning the lottery would be an escape from life.”
Sophomore Joseph Brennan said if he won he would keep a low profile, “I don’t want people to know I won. I think my friends and family will act differently towards me.” Brennan explained that he would not know how to interact with his family and friends and prefer to be distant from the winnings. Unfortunately for Brennan, he cannot keep a low profile around his friends and family, if you win the lottery in the state of New York you must reveal your identity when you accept the winnings. According to ABC.com, Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio and South Carolina are the only states that give lottery winners the option to remain anonymous.
The assistant hall director of cayuga hall, Chelsea Fearon said that if she won she would move her fiancé to Oswego. Fearon explain why she would, “Since I accepted this position it has been hard on both sides, long distance sucks.” Currently her fiancé is living in the west coast, and they have made plans to get married in the summer of 2019. “Winning the lottery would make life so easy, we can be together again, the money will help with cost of the wedding, the honeymoon, a house but, that’s just a dream, you know?” Fearon said quickly coming back down to earth.
“If I won the lottery I would give it all away and keep nothing” is what Emily Emmons told me. Emmons wants nothing to do with the money. Emmons explained to me that “Once you win people will start asking for favors, people who I barely even know will approach me, I don’t want to keep it, I’m scared that it might change me.” Emmons wants to be true to herself and thinks that having millions of dollars will cause her to make terrible decisions and change her personality. “You know the saying, more money more problems and I definitely don’t need any more problems in my life right now” Emmons said in a serious tone.
Marquel Jeffries gave me the quickest response when I asked him the question, without thinking he said “I have to give back to my community back home.” Jeffries holds the position as the director of diversity and inclusion on campus, community development holds a special spot in his heart. The Buffalo native believes that anybody who makes a significant amount of money should give back. Jeffries told me passionately that “You have to go to your roots and give back, you have to nourish the community that raised you to create a giving cycle.” Jeffries is no stranger when it comes to giving back to his community, three years ago he created the F.R.A.N.C.S Scholarship for musicians to help them expand their dreams while going through school.
Winning the lottery can be a blessing and/or a curse. People fear that winning the lottery will not make their life better but more difficult. People who might have similar thoughts as Brennan and Emmons fear that their relationships with family and friends will change and become toxic. In the other hand winning the lottery can give people the opportunity for them to live their most desirable lifestyle. The concern of time and money would disappear once someone wins the lottery. You get the chance to pay away loans and bills, spend more time with family and friends, visit new places, experience new things, and make a difference in the world.
“Florida Fraternity Sued Over Intimate Videos Shared on Facebook”, “15 Syracuse Students Suspended Over Fraternity Videos That Ignited Campus Protests”, “Colleges and State Laws Clamping Down on Fraternities” (NY Times). All of these were headlines from the NY Times in the past year. Though these are only a few examples, almost every headline about sororities and fraternities sheds a very negative light. There are very few stories out there about the great experience members of Greek organizations have, the amazing relationships formed, or the skills that these members gain over their years in Greek life. There are over 9 million Greek members nationally across the United States (NJIT). These members do over 850,000 hours of volunteer work annually, however, there are never national articles written about this fact (NJIT). Although there are very tragic incidents that occur with Greek organization members, these do not tell the whole story, they are only a very small part of being in a Greek organization that the vast majority of members never experience. The majority of members who are a part of Greek Organizations say that being apart of their organization played a key role in their life and has changed them as people.
Here at SUNY Oswego there are 13 fraternities and 10 sororities (SUNY Oswego Website). Members of these organizations share experience and build lifelong relationships with the other members of their organizations. Each and every member of the Greek organizations here at Oswego has been changed in some way by being a part of our Greek community. Over the course of the past few weeks I have reached out to several SUNY Oswego students who are involved in a Greek organizations to ask about their experiences with Greek life and how it has changed them. I asked each person a series of three questions, the first being how has Greek life changed you as a person? The second question was what leadership skills has being in Greek life given to you? The third was what positive impact has Greek life had on your life? Each person I interviewed had a unique experience with Greek life and a variety of things that their organization has brought to them. When asked the question how has Greek life changed you, senior Keri O’Brien of Delta Phi Epsilon answered with; “Greek life has changed me as a person by making me more confident and happy with myself. I now have so many friends and people that lift me up and make me comfortable in my own skin.” Being a part of a Greek organization gives you a group of people who you can always count on and always know are there for you, and help you have the confidence in yourself to do anything you set your mind too. Sophomore Rianne Hoffman of Sigma Delta Tau also shared this opinion, her answer to how Greek life has changed her was, and “Greek life has made me a much more confident and personable individual. It has allowed me to make connections with people involved and not involved in Greek life.” Samantha Basset, a sophomore of Phi Sigma Sigma, shared that “Greek life has changed me as a person because it has given me courage to put myself out there and step out of my comfort zone. It has helped me be more outgoing in my job, the classroom, and my social life.” The life skills and over all experience of being in a Greek organization effects who you are as a person overall and effects every aspect of your life, and changes you for the better.
Greek life also has a huge impact on leadership skills and development. When asked what leadership skills has being in Greek life given you, senior Nick Derbabian of Sigma Tau Chi said, “The biggest piece from Greek life has been my leadership development. I had the privilege to be my chapter President for two years. The sense of accomplishment and recognition from so many people, I know that I did a good job and am going to use the skills I learned in my future job.” The leadership skills learned from Greek life carry over into all aspects, senior Michael Urban of Zeta Beta Tau also agreed, he said, “For leadership skills that I’ve learned from being Greek life, I would have to say the two major ones are being professional and being able to speak in front of a group of people.” Senior Keri O’Brian, stated, “Greek life has made me a more friendly, outgoing, and confident leader. From all of the interactions and positions I’ve held, I have learned how to deal with multiple different individuals from various backgrounds, ages, and areas. Holding leadership positions within my own chapter, nationally, and for Greek Council I’ve learned a lot about time management and planning ahead. Being in leadership positions within our community has given me the ability to practice and use the skills that I have learned about in classes. Being in Greek life pushes you to your full potential.” Being given real life opportunities to practice leadership skills is one of the unique opportunities that Greek life gives its members.
The final question posed to the interviewees was what positive impact has Greek life had on your life. Michael Civisca, a senior of Delta Sigma Phi, says “Greek life has had nothing but a positive impact on my life. I had nothing but amazing memories, Greek life has equipped me with a numerous amount of valuable skills that will help me further my success in the future.” One thing that was stressed by almost every person I interviewed was that Greek life brought them not only life long friendships but also relationships that will help them in the future. Senior Nick Derbabian says, “Relationships. I can’t even imagine my life without this community. I didn’t think this is how my college career was going to go but I’m so thankful that I decided to join an organization. Being Greek is now a part of me, and I have the ability to carry that out forever.” Keri O’Brien also shared how her relationships with other Greek organization members have helped her further her career, she says, “I actually gained an internship this past summer from an alumni from my chapter (my big sister actually). From Greek life I have gained so many professional contacts and network connections. As a result of networking with alumni, I am more likely to be hired right after graduation.”
Being apart of something bigger than yourself, representing a larger, in some cases nation wide, community gives you a greater responsibility to make those other members of your organization and your Greek community proud to have you in their mix. Being a member of a Greek organization gives you skills that carry over into classes, jobs, and every other aspect of your life. After completing these interviews, and based on personal experience, I can safely say that Greek life changes you, in almost every aspect of your life.
SUNY Oswego Website – https://www.oswego.edu/point/fraternity-and-sorority-life
Around 9am my parents came into my room to wake me up so we were not late for the train. I got dressed and put on my Rangers sweatshirt. I had to wear my military appreciation jersey to the game too because the Rangers had not lost when I wore the jersey to Madison Square Garden. Since my dad had his superstitions too, he did not wear a jersey because he was undefeated at the garden this year without a jersey.
We drove a half hour to Harriman, New York to the train station to catch the 10:29 train to Secaucus, New Jersey. We arrived in New Jersey around 11:25 and we rushed through the station to catch our connecting train to the city. The train to New York Penn Station came at 11:30 and we were in the city by 11:45.
After we ate lunch at Chick-Fil-A, we decided to walk around Times Square Bryant Park, Macy’s, and the NHL store to kill time.
We went back to the garden around 4pm which is when the players start coming to the arena. I decided to stand where I knew a few players come in through to get to the locker room. There were already a few other people there waiting for players. A few people had pictures they wanted signed, others had jerseys, and some just wanted pictures. While I was waiting, I talked to a few people about the season and what the thought of the new coaching staff. One person I talked to, James, was an avid Rangers fan just like myself. He told me, “The Rangers could be a playoff team based on the way they had been playing recently.” They had been playing really well and took everyone by surprise since they are supposed to be rebuilding. I continued my conversation with James about the team, and when we were talking, his friend Devin jumped in while we were talking about the coach. He continued to say, “I was skeptical in the beginning about bringing in a college coach, but to see what he has done with this team and the young players in the time he has been here is amazing. ” Our conversation continued on for a little while more until the players started to come. While standing outside, I met Marc Staal, Brendan Smith, and Ryan Strome. It was a cool experience being able to interact with the players before the game, and even getting a picture or two.
After meeting with a few players, I headed inside with my parents to wait in line to get into the garden. We got in line about 5:30, but the doors do not open until 6. While waiting in line, my parents and I talked about school and sports to pass the time. Once 6pm hit, the doors opened and the people waiting in line rushed in. While my parents usually walk around on the lower bowl of the garden, I go to section 119 to watch warmups. While waiting for warmups, I talked to a dad with his kid. Like me when I was younger, the kid was taking in the whole arena and atmosphere around him. We started talking about the garden and he told me, “Nothing compares to Madison Square Garden when it comes to the atmosphere. When you walk into the garden it is like walking into a piece of history. You see the banners in the rafters from previous teams and their achievements, players who have retired, and also remembering what the old garden looked like before it was renovated.”
After warmups end, I head to the upper bowl to get some food and find my seat. Since it was Rangers vs Islanders, the crowd was 65 percent Rangers fans and 35 percent Islanders fans. You can look around and see some blue and orange, but the majority of the garden was still blue and red.
The game started at approximately 7:10 and you can tell from the drop of the puck that it was going to be an exciting game. Not even 30 seconds into the game the Rangers score to take the lead. The garden erupts and I jump to my feet immediately. Three minutes later the Rangers score again and then one more time less than five minutes after the second goal. After the first period it was 3-0 Rangers and I was pretty happy, but I was also nervous since there was still so much time left in the game.
Both teams had chances to score in the beginning of the second period, but neither team could find the back of the net. About halfway through the second, Cody McLeod of the Rangers and Ross Johnston of the Islanders dropped their gloves and fans got to see their first and only fight of the night. The Rangers scored another goal late in the second and the period ended with the Rangers ahead 4-0.
The third starts and the fans are still battling between “Let’s go Rangers!” and “Let’s go Islanders!” chants. My dad and I were getting excited since the game was coming to an end and the Rangers were still up by four. With less than four minutes to go in the game, Chris Kreider scores to make it 5-0. The garden goes wild since it is now 5-0 and there was only a slight chance of the Islanders coming back.
The Rangers won the game 5-0 and it was the first time in over two years that they beaten the Islanders. My parents and I were both really happy with the outcome and we are ready to get back to the garden to experience this atmosphere very soon..
I work in a daycare called Kidz Korner, which means I am around babies pretty much all the time (except for when I am in school). But being around babies all day is not the same as being a mom. There is a difference between working with kids and being a mom, and that is what I wanted to see today – what it’s like to really be a mom and get the first-hand experience.
This is my co-worker and best friend Bre and her (at the time) three-month-old baby, Claire! Since Bre had Claire, she always seems stressed about almost everything, if its food, breastfeeding, money, work, sleep… you name it, she’s stressed about it. An article written by Michelle Reyes explains the struggles of being a young mom and she mentions how it’s a hard, but fulfilling journey, and so for that and many other reasons, Bre was the perfect person to follow around for a day and see what it’s like to be in her shoes.
Before following Bre and Claire (who is now nine months old) around for a day, I wanted to prepare myself on what I was going to ask her and why she does things the way she does because every mom is different and raises their child differently.
I woke up on Friday, November 23, 2018, at approximately 7 a.m. because I know Claire wakes up early and I wanted to be there for the whole day. Claire woke up earlier then I did so when I got to Bre’s she was already awake. Bre had a whole day planned out of shopping and running errands. I started off by giving Claire a bottle at around 8 a.m.; Claire is usually breastfed but since I am taking care of her for the day Bre pumped some and had milk prepared for when I was coming.
Bre began talking about life as a mom while Claire ate. The first thing I asked her what a typical day off is like for her and Claire, especially since I was doing this on a day off with her. “We wake up in the morning, sometimes 5:30, but today was better and she woke up around 6:30, but then I feed her and get her changed and dressed, she usually eats breakfast after that which is baby food, then we play after that. Around 9 and 9:30 she goes down for her first nap, she’ll usually sleep 45 mins to an hour, then when she gets up she eats and has lunch, and then we play some more, and then she takes her second nap around 2, and then we play some more and eat some more and have dinner, and then we play some more, and have a tubby and get ready for nighttime and that’s pretty much it.” But Bre said since I’m with her all day we’re gonna be busier and do more things than just “play and sleep all day.”
After I had to change her, and normally people don’t like changing diapers, but working in a daycare it doesn’t phase me anymore. After I changed Claire we did exactly what happens next… we take a nap, well I didn’t, Claire did. I got to put her to sleep, which wasn’t hard at all, she seemed rather tired after eating. I put her in her crib, put her humidifier on and rocked her back and she fell right asleep. After Claire fell asleep Bre began talking about pumping and breastfeeding because there is a lot of controversy about it.
According to Mamava, a mom based website, “In 2018 breastfeeding in public became legal in all 50 states after Utah and Idaho passed laws protecting a mother’s right to breastfeed in public,” but there has been speculations and opinions about people breastfeeding in public, and whether they should do it or not and whether they feel comfortable enough to do it. Bre has faced many problems with breastfeeding but thinks it’s better than using formula. “Most of the time I don’t react to the pump, so that means I have to have my child with me pretty much all day every day,” Bre said. “I don’t use a cover when I’m out because my daughter won’t eat with one over her, she feels covered, it’s just like eating with a blanket over your head.” As for breastfeeding in public, Bre explains how she feels about it “I do try to respect people when we’re out in public, I try to do it as nonchalantly as possible, and I always wear a nursing tank top that unclips at the top so I’m pretty much always covered.”
After we talked, Claire decided to wake up around 10:15-ish, and we had to run errands. I had to drive with Claire which is terrifying, I was so cautious and nervous. I have never driven with a baby before, and you never realize how aware you become when there is an infant in your backseat. I made sure I went the speed limit because I was afraid to go anywhere above it. I found myself looking in the rear view mirror a lot because I just wanted to make sure she was safe, even though I was being as cautious as I could be. We had to go grocery shopping and Bre wanted to go to a store to check out winter clothes for Claire. Walking around with a baby in stores is pretty fun, she didn’t fuss or cry I held her a lot of the time but I also put her in carts to see how she did, and she loved it. She just looked around a lot taking in where we were.
As we got back from the store and got back to Bre’s I played more with Claire and gave her some snacks, I wanted Bre to rest so I had Claire along for a while and let Bre take a nap. I read her some books she had, like counting and ABC books, and she played with her toys which were sensory toys that included songs. She is also starting to talk so I tried to get her to say some words but the only thing she said was “eh” and “ah.” She also enjoys moving and touching things she’s not supposed to so I had to keep her in the living room.
After about an hour she started getting cranky, so I put her down for her nap and this time she wasn’t really having it, Claire started crying but she eventually cried herself to sleep. I woke Bre up because I didn’t want to be alone while she and the baby slept, so I woke her up as well so we could talk more about being a mom.
I know Bre personally struggles with being a single mom and not getting any help, her family helps her but she also tries to do a lot on her own. “I mean… I say I’m a single mom, which I technically am, but I only say that because my boyfriend Brian is never around to help with Claire, and never makes an effort to help me or even play with her.” “It’s hard, let me tell you, it’s really hard. I recently had to join WIC because I just wasn’t making enough and he wasn’t helping, it’s sad to think about but I had to do it.” WIC is a nutritional program for woman, infants, and children. “WIC provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk,” according to United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service.
Working at the daycare with Bre, she makes a little bit over minimum wage which isn’t much more than I make and once she gets her paycheck she immediately has to pay for daycare which is $200 a week and then has to buy her groceries and food. “I don’t make enough money at the daycare, but I don’t know where else to go. At the daycare, I’m allowed to feed her on the clock, and if I get another job I wouldn’t be able to even feed her and formula is just way too much,” Bre said.
On average, according to the Bureau of the Census, 44% of WIC mothers lived in families with monthly incomes of less than $1,000, and about 792,000 mothers in the U.S. are on WIC. Being close with Bre, I know she struggles and being on WIC has helped her, but I try to tell her all the time that she should move in with her mother, who has offered to help multiple times.
After Claire woke up from her second nap I woke her up and fed her-her bottle. It was later in the afternoon and Bres boyfriend, Brian came home. While I was there he didn’t talk much, and I was happy because I wanted to see how he was with Claire. After I fed her, she started crawling around and playing, and Brian was in his bedroom with the door closed playing video games. Which was interesting to see, and also sad to see.
“I’m busy, I am always working.” He said. “I work every day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and sometimes even later, it’s hard to find time to be with Claire because when I’m home she’s sleeping most of the time.”
A little while passes and I was able to feed her dinner and then after I gave Claire a bath. It was honestly adorable and she loved every second of her bath. We brought in some toys so she could play with them in the bath, she was splashing in the water and making a huge mess but it was adorable.
After the bath, I fed Claire another bottle so she could go to bed, and while I was feeding her, she fell asleep in my arms and I put her in the crib.
After Claire fell asleep I just wanted to sit down with Bre and talk to her without Claire. I wanted to end the night on some happy questions about just being a mom and what she loves most about it. “Claire is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Even though I come into work exhausted some days because she only slept 4 hours, I’m still so happy.” “Even though I have my struggles and bad days, I mean it’s all worth it in the end because my goal is to make her happy.” While she was saying this I could tell she was genuine, I have personally witnessed her have breakdowns, and have listened to many of her personal problems and have always been there for her when she needed me.
Working in a daycare I’m with babies roughly eight and a half hours a day, five days a week, and I thought I would understand what it’s like to be a mom, but I was wrong. Being a mom is so much more than eat, sleep and play. It’s only getting three hours of sleep, working eight hour days, cleaning and cooking after long days, caring for your baby and so much more. Following Bre around for the day opened my eyes to what it’s really like to be a mother. I learned about the ups and downs, and being around children at a daycare is completely different from being around children in their homes. I am so happy I got to experience not only the challenges of being a mom but the heart-warming experiences also.
So many people(including myself) have had to “come out” to everyone they love because it’s the norm for everyone to automatically just assume you’re straight. The questions I asked in the interviews are questions I asked myself after coming out and before coming out. I was incredibly scared to come out to my family because my dad is homophobic and my mom is religious. Afterwards I immediately regretted coming out and sometimes still wish I never had just because of the negative reaction I received from my parents. However, every time I came out to a friend I always got a positive reception and I love coming out to new people I meet. It’s such an integral part of who I am and I love telling people about that part of me. So then I felt that the questions I ask myself I should ask other members of the LGBT community. These are three members of the LGBT community that I have had the pleasure to interview about their “coming out stories” or lack thereof.
The first person I interviewed is my friend and RA, Zo. He identifies as a straight trans male. For the full interview refer back to J’s Jams podcast.
Were you scared to come out to your family? If so then who in particular?
Zo: “Actually I was very scared…I was scared coming out to all of them. I didn’t have to come out to my dad’s side of the family but like my stepdad, my mom, my brothers..Eventually I did and it took some years.. It was either fifth or sixth grade I came out to my brother as a lesbian. I officially came out to my school as a lesbian in seventh grade. Then I came out to my family as non-binary in tenth grade, then came out as trans in 12th grade.. When I came out as trans I had never seen my brother cry like he did so that was scary. My mom is still not very happy about it but it’s still scary when I have to be like..hey, they kinda just sweep it under the rug.”
Are you happy that you came out or do you regret it?
Zo: “ That is a really good question.. “I’m happy I eventually came out to myself, I was struggling with that and sometimes when I come back to college from my family and I’m like did I make the right decision? Is this really who I am? Because they kinda ingrain it in your head so much that this isn’t who you are and like stop pretending you’re someone you’re not. And so you start thinking, is this really who I am? Like did I make the right decision for myself? But I’m happy I came out to myself. I’m happy I came out to my friends, I have supporting friends who are pretty cool with me and I have a wonderful girlfriend who is also very supportive of me. But my family I wish I had.. I regret that I do not um.. I don’t regret.. But i’m not happy with myself that I don’t constantly come out to them because you do have to come out to people on a daily basis. I’m not on testosterone or anything so I don’t pass as well as most people. But coming out to my family I do wish I’d say it more often like this is who I am.”
The next person I interviewed is my friend and teammate Gina who identifies as a lesbian woman. For the full interview refer back to the J’s Jams podcast.
Would you say it was easier to come out to your family or your friends?
Gina: “ It was definitely much easier to come out to my friends then my family. Actually my best friend since fifth grade, we came out together to each other. We were playing Pokemon Go at the pier from Rochester where I live at 2am and he’s like “I have to tell you something” and I was like What’s up? He just told me “I’m gay” and I was like oh cool! I’m gay too! Then we sat there for a good three hours just talking about feelings and how we are gonna tell our parents and everything. So yeah it was easier to come out to my friend than my parents.”
The third and final person I interviewed was my good friend Alaces who identifies as a bisexual woman. For the full interview refer back to J’s Jams podcast.
Were you scared to come out to your family? If so then who in particular?
Alaces: “Well actually I’ve never came out to my family before. I’ve come out to my friends but never my family.”
Oh! Were you scared to come out to your friends then?
Alaces: “ I feel like I wasn’t scared to come out to my friends probably cause we all are like I guess the same generation. These ideas are easier to accept with my friend group. My main group of friends at the time were my group of guy friends from middle school. Which were all guys, me, and another girl. After I came out to them it was just like “oh she’s one of the guys I guess. She can also look at girls and think oh they’re cute too!” And I was like “I guess”. Then they came to me more for their girl problems like they didn’t care.”
Why would you say that you haven’t came out to your family?
Alaces: “ I feel like my family is from a different world than I am. For one thing my mom is an immigrant, she’s from the Philippines. In Filipino culture it’s not that its discriminatory against gays but I feel like it’s not a common thing for them to see. I see gay characters, my mom has a gay best friend. It’s like why should I be scared of coming out to that? But the idea, I don’t think she wants it to hit close to home I guess. Like why’s it gotta be my daughter? Like not like she would be mad about it but like why my daughter? Like why not someone else. And my stepdad, VERY christian background which scares the crap out of me. So I feel like I’ve talked about a lot of stuff with my stepdad before. I don’t know why it feels like it’s hard to come out to them. But I can already feel like the cross being shoved down my throat.”