World’s best cup of coffee
Apr26

World’s best cup of coffee

Published in the April 26, 2017 issue of The Bells People like to joke that coffee is the lifeblood of a college student. Everyone acts as though we run on caffeine And in all fairness, we play into the stereotype quite often. The problem is that when most students choose to go, they choose more often than not to visit a corporate coffee chain. And why shouldn’t they? We have one on campus, and off-campus – they are everywhere. They are convenient, they work fairly quickly, and the atmosphere usually makes it worth hanging out for a while. But there are better options, like visiting local coffee places or ordering beans online and making your own. Most of my experience with coffee has either been at Starbucks, when I was around junior high age, or at a shop at home where I worked for nearly three years. I am not exaggerating when I say that the owner of the shop hated each and every one of the giants that dominate the coffee industry. He did research into some of the larger brands, and found some issues with how they treat their product. One of the facts about coffee that most people do not know is that it goes stale but not “bad.” It loses most of its taste, but does not expire. Ideally though, when you make coffee, your beans were roasted less than a month beforehand. At most of the big-name places, coffee can be sitting around for up to six months. And more often than not, the coffee is over-roasted. This one is less avoidable. Big companies have to make sure they provide all of their stores with beans that will end up tasting the same when they are made into drinks, and they have to do it in bulk. But that causes issues for small shops, because customers come in expecting that what they ask for in more mainstream shops will taste the same there. And it makes them angry when they get the wrong roast or blend, which just drives them back to the bigger chains. Cups cause a bigger issue than you might think as well. You cannot walk into a small shop and ask for a size that you would get elsewhere. Just use the terms “small,” “medium” or “large,” please. If a company uses other sizes, they are likely branded and unusable by other companies. Small, local places lack all the drama of a larger brand. The names of the drinks are straightforward, the sizes make sense, and the employees are usually friendlier. They generally have the same kind of atmosphere, where...

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Nintendo Switch console new  favorite for gamers everywhere
Mar29

Nintendo Switch console new favorite for gamers everywhere

Published in the March 29, 2017 issue of The Bells At a first glance, the new Nintendo console isn’t much to look at. A small, tablet-like screen, and a docking station with ports for an AC adapter and and HDMI cable. But what this small, unassuming console is hiding can only be described as breathtaking. It costs $300 for the console itself, and a majority of the games will cost $60. The release titles included Bomberman, a puzzle-based game, 1-2 Switch, a multiplayer game that consists of many different minigames, and Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, an RPG that includes both puzzles and action. Immediately upon turning it on, the system walks you through setup; time zone, user profile information, standard setup actions. All of it is very user-friendly. It asks for you to connect to the internet, but that’s mostly to provide access to things like the help center and the Nintendo store. All in all, the console is very easy to navigate and to use. In the interest of full disclosure, I was excited about the Switch from the time it was announced that Nintendo was working on a new console, at that time under the codename NX. I checked up for new information on it weekly. Similarly, Breath of the Wild caused a great deal of excitement for me, because I’ve played the series for years. I have never been let down by one of the Legend of Zelda titles. From the minute I booted the game up I was impressed. The graphics were simply amazing. There was a level of detail that none of the previous titles could deliver. And as with any game, there was a segment that served as a tutorial for the controls and an introduction to the story. Breath of the Wild had a tutorial like no other game I’ve ever played. The map size alone was comparable to some other games I’ve played, and the controls were easy to handle. The one complaint I even come close to having is that controlling the camera angle took some getting used to. I refuse to give any spoilers for the game, but I can tell you that there is just so much to do. Whether it’s side quests or the main storyline, there are all kinds of things to keep you busy. I took two weeks to beat the main story, and I could have taken longer if I had done more in the way of the side action to begin with. I can’t say enough about the Switch. It’s amazing. And the upcoming titles are something to be excited...

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Tablets vs. textbooks:what should schools use?
Mar08

Tablets vs. textbooks:what should schools use?

Published in the March 8, 2017 issue of The Bells It seems that educational systems have been pushing for more tablet use in the classroom over the use of a textbook in recent years. Although this is not a new topic, the controversy is still an ongoing question of how this might benefit students in the educational realm. Its highest effects have been in the high school area. My biggest concern is how the dependency on tablets will affect students when they get to college. As I sat in the second row of my dual credit British Literature class during my senior year of high school, the class began to review the reading assignment. Dr. Caddell, my literature professor who had a passion for books, stood up and spoke out about this controversial topic. While he was speaking, the principal rolled a huge cart full of iPads into the classrooom. Dr. Caddell, very confused by the interruption, asked what was going on, and the response was that our books were being replaced with the tablets so we could read from them and not have to waste money on getting new books each year. It seems logical from an economic stand point to use tablets, but to my professor it was more than that. She was worried about the future education of the students. Most, if not all, the students in the class were in there because they were moving onto higher education. She stood up and said that these kids needed to know the feeling of a book in their hands, to carry the weight, to know what it’s like to read from worn pages and flip them, not to just swipe right. College was going to be no different. I was in complete agreement with her claim. Being a book nerd myself, I love the smell of new books, walking through Barnes and Noble and feeling the new pages and smelling it like it was hot off the press. I also love the weight that it had, the story it told, and the richness of the character’s background and timeline in my hand. In the educational world, it is said that everyone learns differently, and that is true. I believe forcing students to read from tablets rather than a book might be beneficial for some. They will like the feel of the technology in their hands. It might even help them feel more comfortable with reading the material because the tablet is their comfort zone. However, I do not believe it will help them later on in college. College is about getting out of your comfort zone, meeting...

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New residence hall in the plans, PAC update
Mar08

New residence hall in the plans, PAC update

Published in the March 8, 2017 issue of The Bells According to a press release published on Feb. 16, UMHB officially announced the approval by the Board of Trustees to build a new residence hall by the fall 2018 semester. The new building will reside on the north side of campus, between Hardy Hall and Crusader Way. The plans also includes a new green space between Hardy, the new building, and Burt Hall, effectively extending the Quad. The building will be three stories tall and be approximately 46,000 square feet. The building itself will contain rooms for up to 214 students. In a similar fashion to Beall, the building will be constructed so that floors and wings can be closed to one gender, allowing for men and women to reside there at the same time. It also allows for more versatility, so that they can change the ratio of male and female rooms as demanded by the numbers of each in the incoming freshmen classes. “I feel it will be good for the university to provide more of a variety of housing for freshman,” said freshman English major and SGA freshman class chaplain, Lindsey Conklin. “Overall, this new residence building will impact the UMHB community in very positive ways by giving the freshmen classes more housing options and a great new place to live as they start the next chapter of their adult lives.” In an email from university president, Dr. Randy O’ Rear on Feb. 13, he said that the new building will allow “major renovation” of Stribling Hall after the Spring 2018 semester. Neither the email nor the release mention the nature of the renovations. In other news discussing construction on campus, construction on the performing arts center is in the final stages of construction.The final project from the 2011 Campus Master Plan is expected to be completed and usable before the fall semester. O’ Rear’s email also mentions that fundraising is being done to put the the new projects in motion.The school has managed to collect three fifths of its side of a 5 million grant. The deadline for the grant is Aug. 31, 2017, and will allow the Performing Arts Center to be fully funded upon its opening. “I think the addition of the performing arts center is very exciting because it will accommodate for the growing music program here at UMHB,” said freshman psychology major, and saxophone player for the University’s Wind Ensemble Rachel Clemons. “It will be great for recruiting music majors and for encouraging non-music majors to be a part of the music program as well.” Another project approved in the February...

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Manage finances wisely
Feb22

Manage finances wisely

Published in the February 22, 2017 issue of The Bells Tax season can be kind of a pain, but there’s one great reason to just get it over with– the refund check. When that money comes back to you all at once, it’s one of the greatest feelings in the world. It’s basically a paycheck made up of the money that was taken out of your other paychecks all year. But this extra paycheck makes us want to go out and use it, because it feels like extra money. It’s more than natural to take a stance like “I haven’t needed it all year, so why wouldn’t I spend it now?” Truth is, you need to treat it like any other paycheck. If you believe in tithing, 10 percent comes off the top and goes to your tithe. The next 10 percent you put away and pretend like it doesn’t exist. Call it a rainy day fund or emergency money. The rest of it is more discretionary, and here are a few ways you can put it to use. 1. Hold on to it. There’s still nothing forcing you to spend it right away. You never know when something new is going to come up, be it a movie, game or book that you’re going to need a little spending money for. 2. Spend some of it on something you really want. Most refunds are big enough for you to go out and buy yourself something you’ve been eyeballing for a while and still have some to spare. 3. Treat yo’ self. The view that a refund is entirely disposable income may be wrong, but it’s still your money and you’re an adult. You get to make your own decisions. Go out with friends, on a date, or spend a little money on yourself. It’s not something college students get to do incredibly often. 4. Invest some of it. Maybe you don’t know anything about investments, but someone you know probably does. You can ask a parent, grandparent, teacher, or someone you know who can help you make a wise investment. It’s a better idea than just blowing all of it, and it still leaves you some room to spend a...

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