Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Opinion: Misuse of mental illness terms insensitive
Nov13

Opinion: Misuse of mental illness terms insensitive

Mental illness in college aged students is at an all-time high. According to Chardon Chadron State College Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, 75 percent of all mental health issues begin by the age of 24, and one in four people in general suffer from mental illness. With mental health being such a prevalent issue among college aged students, it is important for students, professors, and community alike to comprehend and take seriously the severity of these conditions. People should not throw the terms around loosely and use them as slang, or a re-appropriation of words that identify a medical condition to convey a momentary feeling or situation. It is not uncommon to hear someone say: “Oh, I’m so depressed today” or “This test is giving me anxiety” or “Today, I’ve been so bipolar” or even, “Oh, I’m just OCD.” However, use of these terms outside the home can be mis-interpreted, and so they should be used with more care. I feel it is not appropriate to use the names of these illnesses without care, because it lessens the meaning of words that are really designated to encompass the severity and seriousness of a mental illnesses. Personally, hearing at least one of these phrases weekly makes my stomach turn, because when students and professors alike misuse and laugh off certain mental illnesses, it feels as though they are laughing off people who have really been affected by illness. According to the Preventing Suicide Among College Students by the New York Times in 2018, suicide attempts among college-aged students have increased. So with the severity of the issue being what it is, why should those without illness use medical terms for serious health issues as terms for day-to-day emotions? And so, it must be said that someone’s mental illness should not be someone else’s slang to use in expressing how they feel with every day events. For instance, anxiety is a nervous disorder characterized by apprehension, usually accompanied by panic attacks, according to Medical News Today. And yet, the word anxiety is often used to explain away or define nerves. According to the same source, depression is a mental condition characterized by severe despondency and dejection, often accompanied by feelings of inadequacy, guilt, and lack of energy, sleep, and appetite. But instead, people sometimes use the term to define someone who is simply sad. The list goes on and on with the misuse of terms that name mental illnesses, but is it that inconvenient to come up with a better expression that does not run the risk of demeaning anyone? Having a mental illness increases the risk of suicide,...

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Jam into a sequel
Oct10

Jam into a sequel

“Space Jam” is a sensitive subject for people who grew up watching it. Thankfully, nothing bad has happened in relation to the movie, but there have been mixed feelings about the making of a sequel. The sequel would feature Lebron James as the lead actor who would work with the Looney Tunes. “Space Jam” is a classic, and therefore, people who grew up watching it do not want it to be changed in fear of it being ruined. In the general storyline of “Space Jam,” the Looney Tunes are visited by aliens from the planet oddly named “Moron Mountain.” Moron Mountain is a planet that is a failing amusement park and they are looking for new attractions to boost their attendence. They have the idea to kidnap the Looney Tunes and force them to be the new attraction. Luckily, the Looney Tunes tricked the aliens into letting them have a chance to defend themselves. As they were sizing up their opponents, the Looney Tunes realized they were short in stature, so they challenged the aliens to a basketball game. The aliens cheated and stole the talent from NBA players. Because of this, the Looney Tunes got Michael Jordan out of retirement to help them. It was a very popular film at the time and it collected over 200 million dollars at the box office (boxofficemojo.com), and that does not include all of the “Space Jam” merchandise, shoe deals and home video revenue. This film came out over twenty years ago and you can still see “Space Jam” merchandise everywhere. You can still occasionally see the shoes that came from the movie (the Air Jordan 11 Space Jam). The merchandise sales are still going strong because of the nostalgia that it brings to so many people. Ryan Coogler and LeBron James saw an opportunity to ride on the coattails of the first film’s success. Previously stated, “Space Jam” is still going strong and they are trying to catch the wave before it crashes. It is a smart business move. When “Space Jam” was released in 1996, Michael Jordan was without a doubt the best player in the NBA and this is why he was chosen to save the Looney Tunes. It is a major principle of the movie. However, it is debatable on whether LeBron James is the best in the league right now and if he should be in the movie. You have to consider that LeBron James is getting older and he has not won an MVP award in six years. Whether or not LeBron James is the best in the league is debated constantly, and there are...

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Engaging with people
Aug29

Engaging with people

It is hard to remember what life was like before laptops were in our laps, cell phones were in our hands and “Google” was a mainstream word. Technology and media are here to stay, whether we like it or not. It is accurate to say that media has made life easier in a multitude of ways. However, has society succumbed to the convenience of and addiction to media to the point that it harms the engagement of meaningful relationships? According to Merriam-Webster, the word ‘engage’ means “to hold the attention of” or “to do or take part in.” Therefore, are we engaging with media, or has it just become mindless scrolling? The majority of media users would most likely agree that the first thing they do when they wake up is grab their phone and start scrolling. It is not something that most users have to even think about, because it has become a part of their morning routines as well as drinking coffee and brushing teeth. Many opponents of the social media craze believe that people are not really engaging with friends and family when communicating via text message or tagging/posting on social media. For the most part, I do not believe that people are really engaged with one another while communicating through social media sites, such as Facebook or Instagram. Media users are not truly communicating with another person through the ‘like’ button. Some people are more used to seeing their friend’s Bitmoji than their actual face. Too often at social events, people are busy communicating through social media rather than interacting with the people around them. The media has not only affected interpersonal communication, but attention spans as well. Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a conversation, smiling and nodding, yet not really knowing what is going on? Instead, have you been thinking about what you will name your future labradoodle and four kids or some other topic unrelated to the conversation? You are not alone. A recent study has shown that since the digital revolution, it has become increasingly more difficult for people to fight off distractions. Microsoft Corp. uncovered that the average attention span has dropped from twelve to eight seconds since 2000. At the first sign of an awkward silence, many people instinctively fumble for their phones to avoid silence’s piercing scream. According to a survey by Time, 77 percent of people between the ages of 18-24 said “when nothing is occupying my attention, the first thing I do is reach for my phone.” Unfortunately, it has become rare to see people sitting down for a meal together without their...

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Freshman year: Overcoming hardships
Aug29

Freshman year: Overcoming hardships

Freshman year of college is one of the most unique times in a young person’s life. For the first time, they are able to leave high school, move away from home and experience a sense of independence unlike ever before. However, this transition is not complete without its own set of challenges. Mental Health America addresses some of the top issues that college students face in their first year, including schoolwork, roommates, sleep issues and homesickness. It is no secret that college is harder than high school. The classes are more intense and the course material is more in-depth. Many students find that the pressure of college classes are unbearable at times compared to high school. Sophomore criminal justice major Benjamin McCauley says that college is more challenging because “it involves teaching yourself a lot of material, while in high school, a lot more is just given to you.” Before college, most students lived at home with their parents, and may not have had any experience living with a roommate. Sharing a small space with another person can be difficult, and in order to avoid conflict and maintain a good relationship, it is important for a student to establish rules and expectations for their dorm with their roommate. Mental Health America recommends that college students get at least eight or nine hours of sleep each night. For a student that wakes up at 8 a.m., this means going to bed at midnight or earlier, which many students find difficult when they need to finish homework or are spending time with friends. “The amount of sleep I get now is much less than what I got before…it has definitely affected me negatively because I wake up more tired,” sophomore finance major Steven Neaves said. By getting enough sleep, freshmen are able to boost their energy levels, stay healthy, maintain good grades, succeed in classes and participate in extracurricular activities. One of the most common issues that freshmen experience when starting college is homesickness. For most students living on campus, going to college means that they will be living away from home for the first time. Instead of coming home at the end of the day to their house, family and pets, they come home to a small dorm room and an unfamiliar roommate. One good way to combat homesickness is to keep in touch with family and friends from back home. Additionally, by joining a club or organization and reaching out to new people, a student can make new friends and gain a sense of belonging in their new environment. Freshman year of college can feel overwhelming at times, but...

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Poverty in the United States
Apr11

Poverty in the United States

When one thinks of poverty, they probably think about countries in the Middle East, Africa or Asia. They picture the commercials of starving children and how $3 can feed them for an entire week. When one thinks of poverty, they do not think of the United States. When people think of the United States, they think of the hustle and bustle of cities like Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. They think of the suburban lifestyle. They think of the “American Dream.” Even people who live in the United States don’t think of the poverty that surrounds us. But the harsh reality is that there are more than 43 million Americans living in poverty. That’s a lot of people in poverty. If you added the populations of California and Oklahoma, you would get around 43 million. It is unacceptable for a country that is as highly developed as America to have a poverty rate that is at nearly 13 percent. According to the CIA, the United States is ranked number 20 for highest gross domestic profit per capita. There are many countries in the world that ranked lower on the list in terms of GDP, yet they have a lower poverty rate. For instance, according to The World Factbook, countries such as Canada, Austria and Serbia have poverty rates that are all under 10 percent. If the United States ranks so high on lists when it comes to statistics regarding economy, why is it that the United States still has such a high poverty rate? According to a 2012 article in the New York Times, one of the greatest causes is because many Americans are working minimum wage jobs. These jobs don’t allow for a livable income for a single person, much less a single person with children. According to that same article, this has been a problem in the United States since the 1970s. America is one of the most developed countries in the world. Yet 13 percent of the population live under the poverty line. Many people are focused on giving charity to other countries. This can be helpful. However, those people focused on charity tend to forget that there are people in their own country that are suffering as well. For the U.S. to help other impoverished countries most effectively, they first need to help their home front. When the poverty rate in America is lowered, it will allow America to be an even more successful...

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Cheers to the London Studies Program:  Students share their experiences
Apr11

Cheers to the London Studies Program: Students share their experiences

Trips across the English countryside plus top-notch theatre performances and fish and chips galore: the London Studies Program has it all. In its 11th consecutive year, the program is the only semester-long study abroad program that UMHB offers, and for good reason: UMHB invests every dollar they receive from the participating students back into the program itself. Dr. David Holcomb has been the director of the London Studies Program since its inception in 2007. In choosing the location, Dr. Holcomb said, “London is a fantastic place for study abroad to begin with. It’s rich with history and culture. It’s a great place for multicultural and international study, so you’re getting exposed to lots of different types of people. And, you’re not having the same struggles with language you would have in other places.” Although British people speak English just like Americans, it is not to say that there are no struggles with language or culture. “Talking on the tube is weird,” said sophomore pre-med and biology major Kristopher Hurst about the London Underground transit system. “I can always spot American groups on the tube because they’re just loud.” The differences in culture led students on this trip to learn a lot about the world around them and about themselves. “I’ve learned a lot about myself socially since we’ve been living in an apartment with 12 girls,” sophomore audio art major Bronwyn Taff said. “I’ve definitely developed another layer of empathy.” Twenty-eight students have accompanied their professors to London this last semester, and have lived together, studied together, and traveled to other countries together. “The 28 of us have grown so much closer, and I didn’t think I would be this close to people after 3 months,” Hurst said. “I never thought I’d have friends from Hardin-Simmons or Howard Payne, but we’re such good friends now.” Being in a group of such a small size for three months is a unique environment for most of these students. Hurst learned more about opening up through his new friendships. “I’ve really learned that being vulnerable with people is good. I want that to be a staple of my personality; I want to be vulnerable and make a community of vulnerability with others.” Dr. Holcomb hopes for positive changes in the students he sends overseas. “I have seen students who have a narrow and provincial view of the world, who after spending a semester [in London], really become more sensitive to the world and want to become world citizens, and have a little more appreciation for other cultures,” he said. According to Hurst, his endeavor was successful. “I’m not stuck in what I...

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