October 9, 2015

Men’s Do’s and Don’ts

By: Jenifer Valmon

Contributing Writer

For those of you who enjoyed the hot days of summer, withdrawals are likely on the way. No need to break out the box of tissues or shed tears for your favorite summer shorts, because fall is around the corner, and I’ve got just the right tips that can help revamp your wardrobe.

Nick Carvell, from the UK GQ magazine, reviewed the fall trends of 2014 in London.

According to Carvell, biker jackets and mankets (yes, mankets) are going to be this fall’s male trend. Mankets are the scarf/cape hybrid worn by Paul Galvin, an Irish soccer player and fashion columnist for the Irish Independent News- paper, as a sort of overcoat.

Corey Stokes, of www.complex.com, noticed trends in New York to be sweater layering and “techy, fleece outer wear.” Both Carvell and Stokes were able to agree that “scarfs that weigh as much as three babies,” also known as mankets, are going to be big for the fall.

But the question is: Who is wearing a manket in the “move or get run over” city of New York? If you need to stop the doors from closing when you’re about to miss your train, mankets can be the perfect accessory for the fashionable subway surfer.

If you live anywhere within the five boroughs and commute to class, biker jackets are the right pick for you. They are versatile and more practical for the active John Jay men.
Biker jackets can be worn as a casual piece with a pair of sneakers,denim pants and a white t-shirt, or it can be used to bring a little edge to a pair of slim trousers and a button down shirt. Either way, little effort is needed to put together a stylish outfit.

Black is always a safe color to choose but if you want go for other colors try to keep it neutral. Look for dark indigos, dustybrowns, and shades of hunter green. These colors will allow you to mix and match when creating the rest of your look. It will also make it easier to find the right layering pieces when the temperature drops.

Leather is ideal for longevity, since it wears very well and usually looks better with time, but nylon or cotton blends will do the job while being gentle to your budget.

Whether John Jay men will wear mankets or biker jackets, only time will tell. Whatever you choose, remember to make it work for you, regardless of your style. Don’t kill yourself to follow the trends and end up fashion road kill.

Graduates Receive Guidance

By: Rehana Sancho

Staff Writer

The CUNY welcome center holds an information session for undergraduates hoping to attend graduate programs. The information session offers students information on graduate programs, application process, financial aid, and tips for getting into graduate school.

The CUNY welcome center is located on 217 east 42 st. in Manhattan. The center holds numerous informational sessions such as, a graduate school 101 session, an international students graduate session, and a variety of master’s programs informational sessions.

The welcome center hopes to inform students as much as they can before students enter a graduate program.

According to CUNY’s graduate guide, CUNY is the “nation’s leading urban public university.” Gerry Martini, a CUNY graduate advisor and session host, explains to students before they enter graduate school that knowing and picking the right major is essential. Students aren’t allowed to switch majors as freely as they did in their undergraduate schools.

Martini explains the application process consists of an applicant statement, 2-3 letters of recommendation, an official transcript, and the required standardized test applicable to the degree.

He also warns that all programs expect their own applications. “Just because you qualify for one program doesn’t mean you will qualify for all,” explains Martini.

An application statement should be tailored towards the students perspective major. Martini advises, “no personal stories, the committee wants to know why you are good for their program.”

Students who are interested in a business major should highlight their business attributes, not just their perfect attendance record.

Letters of recommendation should be completed, preferably, by a professor who is in association with the degree of your interest. A professor in your field will know what appeals toward a panel of his peers, which is ultimately a plus for your recommendation letter.

Students will have to complete the standardized test that applies to their field. For most masters degrees you will have to complete the GRE, for a law program the LSAT, and for the medical program, the MCAT.

Getting a good grade on your standardize test can help if you don’t have the greatest GPA, or letters of recommendation, according to Martini.

CUNY students applying for a CUNY graduate program have some advantages. “Some of the graduate school’s professor are also professors in CUNY undergrad classes,” explains Martini. Having a professor write a recommendation that is al- ready known in the graduate system is a plus for a student.

The City University of New York Counseling Assistantship Program (CU- NYCAP) allows students, who have received a Bachelor’s degree from CUNY, to work part time on CUNY Campuses. Stu- dents are paid $10 per hour and can earn a total of $3,000 a semester.

Participants who work a total of 225 hours during the semester will earn tuition reimbursement for up to 6 credits.

CUNY also offers a Ph.D. fellowship for qualifying candidates to help financially with their programs. According to

CUNY, qualified Ph.D. students can receive a $25,000 stipend, free tuition, and low cost health insurance per year.

Jordan Swisher graduated from his undergrad several years ago but is looking into attending graduate school to receive a masters degree in English. Swisher ex- plains, “CUNY seems to be on par with other private graduate schools.”

Swisher expressed interest in that the CUNY Graduate programs are like “seven schools in one” making it an easier to add variety to his choice.

Martini explained, “CUNY English department is top ten in the country,” which is an added plus to attending a CUNY Graduate program.

Famous CUNY graduate alumni include Iyanla Vanzant, who graduated from CUNY Law in 1988 before she became an author, life coach and inspirational speaker, as well as Secretary of State/Joint Chief of Staff Collin Powell, who graduated from City College in 1958. New York Times published author, Hayden Herrera, who wrote the book Frida: A Biography of Frida, graduated from the CUNY graduate center with a Ph.D.

Ashley Venable, a Pace University graduate student and teacher for the Department of Education, is interested in CU- NY’s journalism program. “I love the fact that CUNY’s graduate classes are mostly at night, this way I can work and still have a large choice of night time classes.”

Graduate school requires a lot of planning. Swisher feels students should wait before joining because “real world experiences can help you when you apply for grad school”.

Are We Paying Too Much For Water?

By: Fifi Youssef


 A John Jay College student spends approximately $10,000 a semester in tuition, classes, student fees, books, metro cards, and lunch. The money spent each semester can easily increase as the price of a bottle of water increases in the John Jay College vending machines. 

With the price increase in water and healthy food, obesity rate increases too.

The obesity rate in 1990 was 9.3 percent, and by 2003 the percentage skyrocketed to 20.9 percent. By 2012 the rate reached 23.6 percent.

According to F as in Fat, a project of Trust for America’s Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson foundation, as of 2012, “Thirteen states now have adult obesity rates above 30 percent, 41 states have rates of at least 25 percent, and every state is above 20 percent.”

John Jay College of Criminal Justice can play a factor in these numbers, charging $1.75 for a bottle of water in the vending machines, and a dollar for a can of soda. This can change if John Jay lowers these prices.

By Christian Medina

By Christian Medina

“I think that it’s ridiculous, especially in schools. Obesity is becoming a huge epidemic among young people and children, so the least we can do is make water more affordable, or at least at a reasonable price,” said Dianna Sriskanda, a junior in English. “The fact that we can buy soda for a dollar, and not water, can often be a huge problem since we know all college students are broke.”

Sarah Dawud, a 22 year old John Jay student majoring in international criminal justice, thinks otherwise.”I think a person can spend the 2 dollars if they really wanted water and not sugary drinks; however, being that it is addicting, some people would rather drink that than drink water.”

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Standards, suggests that lower calorie drinks should be sold 20 cents less than high calorie drinks.

They require that, “water be stocked in at least 2 slots/buttons per machine; Require water and seltzer be placed at eye level, or in the highest selling position. High calorie beverages should be placed farthest from eye level, or in the lowest selling position.”

Water is on the lower level, while sodas are on the upper level.

Water is on the lower level, while sodas are on the upper level.

Sriskanda finds this issue can easily be changed. “I think that water can be changed easily, like outside of school Poland spring water is a dollar, and in school we have a brand that is two dollars. So I think that maybe we could switch brands.”

The reason behind selling Aquafina water is because CUNY signed a contract with Pepsi Cola to sell only products from the Pepsi Cola Company, and Aquafina is a Pepsi Cola brand.

John Jay currently has The Answer Group Vendings, vending the college, and selling water for $1.75. Manger Alan Gold said, “All CUNY colleges are dictating the prices Pepsi Cola has set.”

However, William Mandile from Champion Vending USA, vendors to 11 CUNY colleges and Fordham University, sells the Aquafina water for $1.60.

“You have a vendor who’s taking advantage,” Mandile said,“What they’ll do is in between semesters they’ll jack-up the prices when no one is looking.”

Mandile explained that the prices are set from the company themselves, and that The Answers Group has a reputation for raising prices. “That’s their m.o.,” Mandile said.

In defense, Gold expressed that these accusations are both, “inflammatory and false.”

Compared to The Answer Group, Champions Vending speaks with the college, and once an agreement has been reached they post a notice on each of the vending machines explaining the reason for the increase. These notices will be left for approximately 3 weeks.

Other than the prices of water, the cafeteria food prices are also not helping. A salad costs no less than  $4.95 plus tax,  fries are $3.00 and a slice of pizza costs no less than $2.50.

“I know it’s like that outside of school, but I didn’t know it was that way in school. I think it’s awful, like this definitely contributes to obesity and all the other diseases people have,” said Sriskanda.

She went on to express, “Like I didn’t know pizza was almost three dollars cause in school a bowl of fruit is $3.75. So to know all the fattening foods are cheaper is horrible. And it definitely influences what people eat.”

Dawud, on the other hand, finds that it’s fine in a sense, since it’s up to the individual. “You get what you pay for. Pizza is satisfying, unhealthy, greasy and cheesy, an eye catcher, cheap and most definitely satisfying, but a salad can be very boring even though it’s healthy.”

Sriskanda proposed an idea in helping students eat healthier and lowering the obesity rate.

“Maybe they could come up with a coupon system. At my old internship every time you purchased a healthy meal (like salad or sushi) you got this coupon, and once you had 5-6 coupons you got a meal. Each coupon would equal about a dollar so if you had five coupons you could get a meal that was five dollars, and you could only cash in if it covered the meal.”

She thinks it would work because the students would feel as if they were getting food for free and it’ll encourage them

“It all comes down to whether you are willing to pay a few more dollars for a salad and if you are committed to a healthy life-style. Some people buy pizza because it’s faster than waiting to pick out what salad you want,” Dawud said.

Th[Ink] About Your Future

By: Rehana Sancho


By Aruj Ali

By Aruj Ali

With celebrities like Lil Wayne, Rihanna, and Justin Bieber showing off their body art on places like their necks, arms, and faces, it is easy to see why young adults outside of Hollywood are increasingly turning towards the tattoo culture. However, students may be unaware of the long-term consequences of having a tattoo that may no longer appeal to the future you.

Although tattoos are seen as an artistic expression of one’s self,  should students be aware of the side effects of having a permanent ink on their skin? When a young adult decides to become tattooed, important factors like future career paths, placement of the tattoo, and understanding how the image they wish to portray in their early twenties may affect their future.

Scott Jones, developer of tattooinfo.net, a website that provides information for tattoo newbies/hopefuls, explains tattoos can be priced in various ways. Although some tattoo shops may have an average hourly rate of $80-100, or are based on the size, and placement, may all factor into the price.

Tattoos are expensive and priced at the discretion of the prospective artist. Artists should also have valid tattooing license, a book of previous work and sanitized work tools . Before getting a tattoo, try to be informed of the process and the removal.

Britney Debnam, a recent graduate of Sarah Lawrence University, came to John Jay to interview for a job with Teach for America. Debnam was modestly dressed in black stockings, a white shirt, and a black blazer to mask any visible tattoos. Debnam has five tattoos; three are visible and are about six inches in length. One is placed on her foot, which is why she can’t wear nude stockings.

Debnam says every one of her tattoos are “little photos” of her past, but she does regret a few of her tattoos because they were last minute decisions, based on temporary emotions.

Debnam feels like students who are thinking about getting a tattoo should think about where they will be in next few years and how having tattoos may affect them. Although she regrets a few, she’s still in love with her two white ink tattoos.

The tattoos are a question mark and a comma, a homage to her days as her school’s newspaper editor. Both tattoos  are  mostly invisible until you look closely.

Professor Alexander Long By Aruj Ali

Professor Alexander Long
By Aruj Ali

John Jay Career Counselor, Barbara Young, admits employers will not always ask you about a tattoo, but if they see one it will be noted. Young, a Baruch Alumna, who holds a master in Public Administration, says if you have a tattoo, do research on the company’s personal appearance policy.

Young advises doing research will prepare you for what the company is looking for in an employee. She tells students,”If you’re going for a job at MTV, tattoos aren’t a problem,” but to also be wise and do your research.

Young explains the purpose of an interview is to “assess the image” after reading someone’s resume. So knowing the company will give you a better understanding of what they expect. Young’s advice for tattooed students? Don’t offer information unless asked for information about the tattoo. This way you’re not drawing more attention toward the tattoo than necessary.

Jordy Frias, John Jay junior, feels students get tattoos because of social pressure, family members who have tattoos, friends, and celebrity influences. “Tattoos are a commitment,” Frias said and, “they prevent you from your choice of certain jobs like the State Troopers and NYPD.” According to the NYPD website, they prefer non-visible tattoos, but if you do have a tattoo you have to be prepared to explain their meaning.

If someone is faced with the decision to remove an unwanted tattoo, there are a few options. The safest way to remove a tattoo is through a doctor. One procedure requires surgery, and another is the laser removal, which is the most popular method.

According to WebMD, 50% of all people who get a tattoo will have it removed by the laser method. The laser method sounds like a bug zapper, it beams a laser at the inked area, breaking the color down, which will eventually be absorbed by the skin. Although this method is one of the most effective, not every one’s tattoo will be completely removed, some will just have a faded scar look to them.

CNN featured an article on their website called “How to safely get a tattoo removed.” Expert dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank  explains the minimum cost to have a small tattoo laser treatment ranges from 80- 100 dollars, and on average clients will have to have 5-12 treatments, maybe more depending on the coloring of the tattoo. Having a tattoo removed can cost you more than you initially paid to have it drawn on your skin.

By Aruj Ali

By Aruj Ali

An alternative to getting a conventional black or multi-colored tattoo would be to try a white ink tattoo. Debnam has two, a question mark, and a comma on her right hand in between her thumb and index finger. Although still noticeable if you look closely, it can be easily overlooked.

Debnam states that the white ink tattoo feels “more personal” to her because it’s only visible to her most of the time. Along with the white tattoo, she has another that says, “Ain’t I a woman,” a quote from female pioneer Sojourner Truth. Debnam explains that Truth, an abolitionist and activist for women’s rights, was one of her only female role models while she was a young girl, which is why that quote is special to her.

Frias tells students to ask themselves, “What is the meaning of this tattoo and is it my personal choice?” Young’s advice is to first, “Try a temporary tattoo, it can be removed.” This way you can see if a tattoo is right for you.  Debnam warns maybe, “wait until you know who you are before getting a tattoo because  corporate America likes conservative.

New Kicks Equal Big Bucks

By: Donna Razawi

No taxes. No one to answer to. A weekly based salary ranging from $80 to as much (or even more than) $1,300. Spending money to make money? Wanna know where to sign up?

Many boys starting from the age of 11 and 12, are finding the buying and reselling of sneakers and brand name clothing to be a growing business.

Some students mentioned the fact that girls are not as predominant in the business. Kiron Mitchell, or KJ, a sophomore at John Jay, claims girls are only a part of the business in order to impress their boyfriends not because of their own interest in sneakers.

“Guys sell, because they love sneakers and enjoy the whole process. We don’t see that too often with girls,” KJ said.

As the search for employment becomes difficult and many are searching for ways to make pocket money, teens are starting to build their own businesses by buying and selling. This strand of entrepreneurship is “easy money” and most find it enjoyable.

Timothy Campbell, a senior who started his business at 17, explained how he gets a hold of his sneakers.

“It’s not difficult to actually get the sneakers, you just need money and connections,” he said.

Connections grow when you stay in the business for a long time and you make friends who work at stores. Then you can find the exact day a sneaker drops or how many are being made. Connections are what give you the upper hand.

Jorge Morales, a junior, has waited in line for the release of the Jordan Retro 7 Olympic, “The Love of the Game” sneaker. He once camped out from Thursday 9 am until Friday at 12 pm. Luckily it was in August so he didn’t need to worry about the cold. However it did rain.

While some people call it crazy, Morales explained, “Not only do you get to say you scored the hottest shoe—something rare—but you make money.”

The shoe sold for $163.85, but Morales later sold them for $450.

Some students who sell on the side claim their salaries range based on the number of released sneakers. During the colder months from November to February, sneakers are released the most.

Due to the holiday season, stores know it’s the giving season. More kids have some extra pocket money to spend on new kicks. Some of John Jay’s students have earned as much as $1,000 on just one sale.

Sophomore Kevin Paz, currently unemployed, said the cheapest thing he’s ever sold was $80 for a hoodie, he pocketed an easy $40.

KJ isn’t new to the business. He started in the seventh grade and he keeps growing with it.

“It’s a lucrative business, you don’t have to pay taxes” he said.

Those who do buy and sell explain that the business is easy when you’re smart about it. They follow trends and keep updated on who’s wearing what. Rappers, fashions icons, and all-star athletes can make certain brands famous. Most follow the A$AP crew, Wiz Khalifa, and Kevin Durant.

The criteria for a “good” sneaker to sell is the brand, history, and hype. Certain brands can bring in more money:a limited quantity is sold so the rarity of the sneaker is important. Popular brands include Bape, Jordans, and Supreme.

However, Paz argued,  you must know your customer and what they want to buy. Some sneakers are produced with a purpose; they commemorate a championship or are designed by a popular artist or basketball player. The “hype” refers to the popularity of the sneaker, how many people want it and overall the shoe being popular.

Besides connections, the way to get the hottest sneakers is by waiting in lines and winning raffles. Another way is by using the social media outlets, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay in the loop as to what’s hot and who’s selling what. Facebook groups like “NYC Buying and Selling,” and hashtags such as “kicksonfire” help create traction.

Those who sell the sneakers don’t do it just for the money.

Ajay Pahuja, a sophomore at John Jay, got his first pair of sneakers at 12. His father bought them, and from there he started selling. There’s no one to teach you how to sell or what to buy, but rather you learn on your own by trial and error.

“You have to love this. There has to be a point where you just loved your shoes,” he said.

Since there are no punch cards and no hourly wage, buying and selling isn’t a job, but rather a lifestyle. There is no destined time for everything but rather, you go about your day and the work part comes in; when you hear your friends talk about a new sneaker, the way you dress, and what you see on Instagram.

Is Violence Ever Justified?

By: Joseph M. Gomez  

On a bright, crisp October afternoon in New Jersey, the heated rivalry between the New York Jets and the New England Patriots resumed for the 2013 NFL season.  There was no drama unfolding on the football field. However, an unscheduled event that took place in the MetLife stadium corridors that became the event highlight, one which would generated controversy and spark a heated debate.

In American society, social norms have dictated how men and women are supposed to conduct themselves.  Traditionally, men have been told to never lay a hand on a lady.  However, is it fair for a woman to strike a man first and for that man to hit her in return?

Kurt Paschke, a 38 year old man from Long Island was caught on tape punching 26 year old Jaclyn Nugent, a female, in the face.  Paschke, who was a part of a group of Jets fans got in a heated confrontation with a group of Patriots fans including Nugent.  In the end, four individuals including Paschke and Nugent were charged for their roles in the altercation, they also received lifetime bans from MetLife stadium.

Their argument turned physical while in the corridors of the stadium, where punches were thrown.  On the video tape, Nugent was observed running towards the back of Paschke, she threw some punches which led to Paschke turning around and throwing a punch with his right hand into the face of Nugent.

So then, was Kurt Paschke wrong for hitting a woman in the face?  In an interview with CNN, Paschke’s lawyer, Bruce Barket had this to say, “Even a quick review of the video and just talking to a couple witnesses, you can see Kurt was defending himself and (he) shouldn’t have been charged at all and certainly won’t be convicted.”

According to Paschke’s attorney, his client was justified in hitting Jaclyn Nugent because he did so in self-defense.  Theresa Show, 21, a senior at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice says, “No, biologically men are stronger than women, and I think it’s wrong if men would punch back.  She added, “I believe men tend to be stronger.”

Show’s rationale, which can be disputed, is not necessarily out of the mainstream.  The view that women are physically inferior to men is a view that has been maintained across different cultures, religions and ethnic groups.

Another troubling case involving violence between a man and a woman occurred on a winter day in February 2011.  Oscar Fuller, 36, got into a dispute over a parking spot with Lana Rosas, 26.  What would result thereafter would come to surprise not just those involved and their families, but the entire City of New York as well.

Rosas, a woman, was standing in the street holding a parking spot for a friend in the Manhattan neighborhood of Greenwich Village.  Fuller, who was in his car and looking to park tried to take the spot.  When the two met face to face, a war of would break out which then lead to violence.

According to Fuller, when Rosas started hitting him, he threw a punch, hitting her in the face and dropping her to the pavement.  Rosas was knocked into a coma because of the incident and her family maintains that it was the force of Fuller’s punch that was responsible for her comatose state. Fuller denies this claim, saying that it was her head landing on the pavement which caused the severe injury.

Fuller was charged with misdemeanor assault, rather than the more serious charge of felony assault for which he was acquitted of.  However, Fuller was sentenced to a year in jail.

Wai Chen, 21, a senior at John Jay had this to say, “If a girl hit me I would not get mad, I would not have the same anger if a guy hits me.”  Chen argues that he could take the punch of a female and laugh it off but if he were hit by man it’d be a whole other story.

While there are those who believe it is wrong to hit a woman under any circumstance, and who argue that it is either immoral to strike a woman or that a woman cannot sustain a physical assault from a man, there are those who feel otherwise.

Take for instance Ken Leon, 23, a junior at John Jay College.  Asked what he would do if he was attacked by a woman, Leon said, “I don’t think I’ll hit a girl, if it gets to the extent that she keeps hitting me, I’ll lay one on her.”  He went on to elaborate a little more on what he believes is fair, saying “They want to go to war, they want to have the same rights, why shouldn’t they be treated as us.”

A view such as the one Mr. Leon has might come under attack as being a belief that only men might have.  Bianca Almeida, 24, senior at John Jay seems to have some of the same thoughts when it comes to male/female violence.  She said, “This system is made to benefit the woman… unfortunately the whole system is on the woman’s side.”

Almeida, who trained in combined martial arts back in her home of Astoria, Queens when she was a teen recalled occasionally hitting one of the boys in her class.  She joked that the chief reason she bugged him was because he could not hit her back.

In the lobby of John Jay College’s North Hall building, during the school’s community hour as students swarmed in and out of the building sat Professor and Dr.  Olivera Jokic.  Dr. Jokic, a professor of Gender Studies at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, was sipping on a cup of coffee she purchased at the nearby school breakfast stand and had several things to say regarding the issue of man/female violence.

When asked whether a man is ever justified in hitting a woman professor Jokic shot the question right back saying, “What do you think?”  In making her point she said is the use of reciprocal violence ever right.

The professor, who has a PH.D and two master’s degrees, one from the University of Texas and the other from the University of Michigan continued, saying “If a woman gets raped, should she have the right to rape the person that raped her.”  She then began to question and analyze why it is we as a society value and often feel entitled to certain things, “Why do we value football, parking spots and violence?”

She also believes that our society rape culture, Jokic explained it as, “A rape culture is one that blames the victims of violence that happens to them.”  She added, “We distribute blame and talk responsibility that men and women are different, that they have different relations to their bodies.”

Culturally we have rules, some written and many others unwritten that say how it is men and women must conduct themselves.  Maybe the answer to a violent act should not be another violent act in return, maybe we should consider not laying our hands on anyone.


Muscle Memory

By: Qendresa Efendija



An Olympic diver, who has been out for an entire season, decides to enter the 1996 Olympics. It is a week before the games and she begins her training by closing her eyes for two hours everyday, visualizing herself jumping off the diving board. She enters the Olympics with a mental memory of her technique and leaves with a medal.

Stories of visual training float in the athletic world. For some athletes, their physical prowess compensates for a lack of mental focus. For others, developing rituals allows them to overcome a lack of physical ability.

Motor-memory, commonly referred to as muscle-memory, is teaching muscles how to repeat movements or techniques so that it becomes similar to a reflex.

Mickey Melendez, Athletic and Physical Education Counselor and NCAA Faculty Representative of John Jay College studied exercise science.

“Muscle memory is the idea that in order to give a skill permanence you would have to rehearse it numerous times,” Melendez said.

Melendez is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as a fitness specialist. He is a sports psychologist consultant for youth, interscholastic, college and professional athletes. Melendez claims that it’s tougher for division three athletes to develop muscle memory.

“This method requires luxury, time, and the facilities. Division three athletes have no time to develop skills. They have class, they have jobs, and they probably don’t get enough time in the gym,” Melendez said.

He recommends athletes work on the physiological skills and preparation more than the physical skills. “Thousands of people can teach you technique but only a few can teach you how to focus and how to handle the emotional process of the game”

Martina Hot is the captain of the John Jay College women’s volleyball team. Playing volleyball for eight years, she uses rituals to maintain her high performance level.

Hot’s volleyball statistics include 612 kills, 418 digs and 158 service aces.

Hot reveals that before serving the ball, she has to smack the ball three times then bounce it three times. Her teammates have also pointed out to her that before she serves she always takes a step back before approaching forward.

Hot says athletes keep themselves sane by creating superstitions. Many student athletes, such as Hot, have developed superstitions to what they say, “get their heads in the game.”

Kalyssa Daley, second baseman for the John Jay softball team, explains her rituals that she claims adjusts her technique. She first steps into the batters box with her right foot and touches her bat to the plate. Daley then swings her bat to her shoulder and adjusts her glasses with her shoulder three times.

“Being a good athlete means calming yourself down,” said Hot. “Whoever is mentally strong is going to succeed at the end of the day.”

Katelyn Davis, from the women’s soccer team, uses music to get herself pumped and mentally ready. Her superstitions include jumping and touching the top of the goalie bar before the start of a game.

Hot watches an inspirational video from former National Football League player Ray Lewis giving a pre-game speech to mentally prepare herself before games.

“You need two things. Confidence and preparation,” Hot said.

From Melendez’s perspective, athletes like Hot can develop muscle memory psychologically by using sports skills such as mental imagery or visualization.

“There’s two ways to visualize a perfectly executed technique. Visualize another person doing it, like highlights on television, or seeing as if you are doing it in the moment,” Melendez said.

He describes the research studies he witnessed where people were taught visualization skills.

“They’re sitting in their chair visualizing their routine and they start to twitch and their heart rate goes up,” Melendez said. “They start to sweat because in their mind, they are rehearsing their skill perfectly.”

Melendez, who still plays competitively today, was a student athlete playing ice hockey at the Division I level as an undergraduate student and still uses visualization skills.

“As a hockey player, which is very technique driven, I spend a lot of time thinking and visualizing myself playing the sport and then I am making all the right moves in the games- the key is to visualize using the correct form.”

Melendez explained that the brain does not know the difference from playing and visualizing. Part of muscle memory is making the neuro connections so that the muscles don’t need to think as much when making movements.

For example, Hot hears her volleyball coach Eder Matheller tell her to “stop thinking” and “just do it.” This is because the movements as an athlete should become instinctual and based off of muscle memory.

According to John Jay Men’s Soccer Coach, Nathan Bell, with a master’s degree in sports psychology, “The visualization part of muscle memory is key but you have to spend more time in the gym.”

Bell comes from a coaching background with the New York Red Bulls and his own soccer club in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

He explains how division three athletes resort to visualization skills. This system is learned by monitoring and seeing movements, which your body then replicates.

Bell explained that movements and techniques should be learned in a stress free environment in order to increase effectiveness of muscle memory. For some athletes, it is all about keeping a psychological order in their rituals.

One of the captains of the Men’s Basketball team at John Jay, Kendal Jordan, has been an athlete for 15 years.

Jordan’s rituals occur when he shoots his foul shots. He rotates the ball, takes a deep breath, bounces the ball twice, takes another deep breath, and then takes his shot. Jordan explains that he needed a technique that would buy him time to relax.

“If I take my time, it works every time.” Jordan confesses that if his technique fails him, then his mental state is brought down along with his performance.

Bell included that for players like Jordan, the younger an athlete starts to play, the easier it is to create a memorized movement.

“If you’re trying to learn a new skill at 20 rather than three years old, you will pick up on instruction much faster at 20 but your muscle memory will build much slower,” Bell said.

Jordan watches repeats of basketball games to mentally prepare himself to play. Before he plays, Jordan listens to music that he feels helps him focus.

Bell claims that when watching someone play, who plays similar to oneself, it teaches the body how to move in that way. He explains the technique he uses, called “modeling a professional.”

“One thing I did with my team is that I sent a YouTube clip of one specific professional player to each team member to watch before a game,” Bell said.

Coach Bell’s visualization techniques are focused on making the player a better athlete and increase their mental capacity to play at a higher level.

“Obviously these videos of professionals play at a higher level,” Bell said. “But for a team member who is very passionate, I gave them a professional who will inspire them and show them the technique at the same time.”

African-Americans Evolving in Comic Books

By Alex Guzman

Can you think of a comic book or graphic novel whose central character is black?  Have you ever read of a black superhero that is not merely a sidekick, or an irrelevant character? Last month “Heroes in Black: Race, Image, Ideology and the Evolution of Comics Scholarship” was an event held at the CUNY Graduate Center on 34th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan. Professor Jonathan W. Gray, an assistant professor of English at John Jay College lead this talk.

White characters, like Superman and Batman, are more prevalent in comics than black protagonists. There were differences in their upbringings and how they became superheroes, but almost all of them were white. Black superheroes, like Luke Cage, were not always painted in the best light. Even though Cage was the main character in his comic, he was born of the exploitation of black people in the film industry. He portrayed the archetype of the big buck.

“Early black characters faced moral quandaries [and were] placed under the gaze of white superheroes [and] popular culture,” Professor Gray said. Compared to the 1970’s, black characters now embody fewer stereotypes.

The African riots and the Black Panther movement heavily influenced Cage’s character when Luke Cage comics first came out. But after his disappearance for some time, he reappeared with the rise of Barack Obama as a state senator.

The new Luke Cage looked different from how he used to look in the 70’s, which gave off a less extremist image, according to Gray. His new costume helped him to better fit in as a member of society rather than being associated with a specific ethnic group. He was now integrated with the black working class, rather than the black power movement.

Gray quoted Scott Buktaman, who said that young scholars say that comics pay special attention to non-traditional superheroes. Gray also quotes Scott McCloud, who claims “universality of the cartoon image” as a “white, heteronormative, masculine subject.”

Gray spoke of neo-liberalism and the introduction of the first black comic book characters to appear on their own.

“In 1975, Marvel creates four iconic black characters,” Gray said. He speaks of the Black Panther, Storm, The Falcon and the aforementioned Luke Cage.

Gray remembered how, in one comic, The Falcon is fighting an enemy while Captain America watches. He claimed that this “endorses militant black masculinity, [which] mirrors and mimics that of the reader.”

Gray mentioned that many considered The Falcon who was the true hero of that comic. He explained how “this displacement of course is incomplete [because] The Falcon has never had his own comic book.”

Gray looked at his audience to read their reaction, and continued, “I began to see Superman as a punk, that Superman didn’t relate to replenishing the earth, like Huey Newton and other people did,” Gray said. “In essence, Superman is a phony and a fake. He never saved any black people in this country in any comic book stories.”

The last of Gray’s PowerPoint slides was of Luke Cage. In this interpretation, Cage was a more humanized multicultural member of society, and not so much a member of one ethnic group specifically, as he walked with his white wife, pushing his multiracial infant son in his stroller.

Professor Gray is teaching The African-American Experience: Comparative Racial Perspectives in the Spring 2014 semester.

New Vice President Elected to Student Council

By Melissa Kong

Staff Writer

Student Council-Chris Ferreiras


There’s a new vice president in town. On Oct. 2, John Jay’s Student Council elected Julio Torres as vice president to replace Salahdine Baroudi, who resigned early September.

Torres, 26 and a Global History Major, is a former active duty service member in the U.S  Army. He was the president of the John Jay Veterans Association, as well as a Senior class representative. To take up this new role, Torres had to resign from those positions mentioned above.

Though Torres already assumed the responsibilities as Student Council’s new vice president, the shift of the change has not yet been updated on the college Jay Stop website.

Torres joined Student Council because he felt he was the right man for the job saying there was a lot of work to do once there was a vacancy.

“I offered my experience and promised to do my best,” Torres said. “With my experience in the military I thought I could fill this role.”

In an email sent to the Sentinel, Baroudi explained the reasons for his resignation.

“Ultimately, what led to my resignation as the Vice President of Student Government was other responsibilities that, I felt, fell in more closer relation to my career interests.”

Baroudi later went on to reflect about his time serving as Student Council Vice President.

“I carefully considered my 2 years of working within Student Government, and the four to five month term as Vice President, and realized that I had completed a significant portion of my duties and objectives within the position,” said Baroudi.

As for Torres, he told the Sentinel of his broad agenda.

“My plans are to fill all committees available for student representation on campus, make changes to the Student Government Charter which will increase the efficiency of Student Governance within John Jay, assist the Student Council Representatives with their tasks and event planning, revise various reference material used by Student Government, formalize a John Jay homelessness initiative and have an ROTC information session,” said Torres.

One of the tasks that Baroudi had that still needs to be fulfilled is filling committee seats. The task is essential because it gives careful consideration to issues pertaining to college policies and other student related concerns on campus.

For Student Council’s President Clinton Dyer Jr. he stated, “I trusted in his ability,” he expressed that because of Baroudi 2 year Student Government experience, he had very high expectations.  One major expectation that Dyer had for the former Student Council Vice President was the fulfillment of committee seats which according to Dyer, Baroudi failed to do.

Though it isn’t ideal to have a student council member resign mid-semester,  Torres is optimistic about his new position.

“I hope to embody the Student Council motto of “Catalyst for Change,” said Torres.

“I hope to accomplish all of my plans while maintaining my GPA. I hope to assist homeless students of John Jay and replicate this effort throughout CUNY.”

Veterans at John Jay Explain The Pros and Cons of Service


By Simone Isaac

Staff Writer


Armed Forces 2


Tuition, sign-up bonuses and travel opportunities await those who join the military, but not everyone is suited for it said Welby Alcantara, John Jay’s Veterans Affairs Coordinator.

Alcantara, a Marine veteran, said the reasons vary as to why people join.”It is important to know one’s reason for joining the military.”

E4 specialist, Claudine Solomon, currently stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, said she joined the Army to provide for her family in a tough economy but does not plan to renew her contract.

“I was raised in Bed-Stuy,” said Latoya Clarke, 29.

Clarke joined the Army to show that good things can come from Bed-Stuy. After serving eight years on active duty, she is now a reservist recently deployed to Afghanistan.

Others join the Army so it can help them go to college.

32-year-old veteran Jason Spencer, a Jamaican immigrant, joined the National Guard because he wanted his college tuition paid. Horrified by post 9/11 rescue operations, he joined the US Army and served eight years receiving his citizenship in the process.

“I had feelings of patriotism after immigration,” said Yevgeny Gershman. A John Jay alum and Russian immigrant, Gershman enlisted with the National Guard before becoming an Army reservist.

Joseph Moore, a senior studying Security Management at John Jay, said that he joined the National Guard to protect his country post 9/11 because he, too, felt a sense of patriotism.

Adam Baumel, a sophomore and Political Science major also at John Jay, joined the U.S. Navy impulsively: “I wanted money for college, to see the world and to force me to grow up faster than I was in college,” he said.

Another benefit is traveling, a sentiment expressed by Moore and Alcantara. Spencer has been to Hawaii and Iraq.

Solomon said that salary is guaranteed twice a month despite sick leave absences.

“The basic salary sucks,” said Moore, “but the perks add up.” Benefits such as a monthly living stipend and free medical care add up to a better take-home salary.

A financial incentive, also known as a sign-up bonus, may be offered to join the military depending on the need of the service and the recruit’s specialty,  Alcantara and Gershman explained.

Low-interest-rate housing loans are available to military personnel, whether active, reservist or veteran. The Montgomery GI bill, established in 1944, provides tuition for college and graduate school for those who enlist. Spencer is now in college and Gershman has his Masters in Criminal Justice. Clarke can use her benefits to pay for her son’s college education or that of another family member.

Members indicated that one never leaves the service the same way he or she entered. Recruits learn discipline, loyalty, respect, sense of duty, courage, integrity, honor, and the determination to rise to leadership. Gershman attested that he lost his fear of public speaking.

Drawbacks to enlisting in the military can include emotional stresses from selfless service, for example, fear of death while deployed during wartime and separation from family for long periods of time. Baumel said that he missed both of his grandparents’ funerals and his best friend’s wedding due to military missions. Gershman said that one’s body belongs to the service. Vaccinations, including trial vaccines, are not optional.

Spencer, Clarke and Solomon said that they missed their children’s developing stages. These estranged relationships can remain for many years because sometimes the familial bonds are not repaired even after retirement.

While deployed, soldiers must develop a mental barrier to distance themselves from thoughts and memories of loved ones to keep themselves sharp on the battlefield.

The possibility for alcoholism, drug use, memory loss and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, are among other long term and potentially permanent effects of serving in the military. “My drinking increased when I returned, to numb the pain and cope with the insanity of war,” said Spencer.

However, these effects are dependent on several factors. One of which is the branch of the military one served in, for example, the Army, Coast Guard, Navy, Marine, National Guard, etc. Other factors include deployment, and whether the country is at war. Even the rank and specialty one has when enlisting is another factor- a surgeon will not be as easily exposed to combat action as a footman will.

Clarke and Spencer said civilians do not understand veterans, and readjusting to civilian life can be difficult. People seem to be so casual and care-free and don’t seem to understand the fragility of life. Spencer said, “Civilians don’t appreciate what they have because they have never walked in the shoes of military personnel or a veteran.”

All interviewees agree that one needs to be mentally and physically prepared, seize the opportunity if possible, prepare to be tested, remember that one’s body belongs to the service, and financial opportunities vary and can be generational.

Military personnel understand the emotional turmoil and trauma each may face. They support each other in various ways. Spencer primarily hires veterans in his restaurant.

Five of the seven interviewed emphatically said if they could go back in time, they would serve in the military. Moreover, they each gave words of advice.

“Go for it,” said Spencer. “Do as much as you can because you don’t know when you can check out.”

Gershman said to “consider motivation” and determine your preparedness to make the ultimate sacrifice of your life.

Baumel said to do research and carefully analyze what recruiters say.

Moore said to ask about experiences in the field, regardless of active duty, reservist or veteran. He said, “It is a lifestyle, it’s not a 9-5.”