December 11, 2016

Post-Election Reflection

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by Riad Mahmuti

Cesar Villarreal is a student in New York City who followed he election until the end. The outcome was not in Cesar’s favor, for he said, “Trump winning confused me; I don’t understand how people could vote for a person like him.”

Cesar was not a heavy Clinton supporter; he viewed the situation as a lose-lose, with Clinton being the better of two evils. He said, “I didn’t get out to vote because I was stuck in work, and even if I did, I didn’t want to vote for either one. I guess that’s what happens when people don’t get out and vote”.

Trump took the election away from Hillary early that night with surprising leads in states that past Democrates have been favored. It was a different outcome then people expected and/or wanted. Either way, Cesar finished off by saying, “He won, and we should accept the outcome. I believe that we need to respect the democratic process, and see where it goes from there.”

Skyrocketing Textbook Prices

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Image courtesy of Andrew Perez


by Andrew Perez

As student tuition continues to rise and haunt the economic lives of students, so does another unknown threat: textbooks. The prices of textbooks have skyrocketed and driven up the costs of higher education.

Here in John Jay, not all of the class textbooks professors require are available at the John Jay Library. Jared Mitchell, a senior at John Jay, spent $250 on textbooks. “I don’t use my textbooks often,” he said. “And I think teachers should choose the books with a student’s income in mind.” Jared smiled sarcastically and gave a deep breath. “If we’re paying a ton for tuition, the professors should be mindful of that. There should also be at least one reserve copy of each book requested by a professor available in the Sealy Library.”

According to the College Board, a student’s budget for textbooks and supplies are about $1,200 per year. In four years those costs can range anywhere around $4,800-$5,000. Textbooks are the unsung villain of a student’s economic life.

Janine Comodo, a junior at John Jay, said, “We need the PDF of textbooks to be leaked.” The prices of textbooks and the lack of use also haunts Janine. “I think that the prices of textbooks are unfair to students because we don’t utilize them the way we should.” Janine works full time and takes several of her classes online. “As college students, we have many responsibilities and bills to pay. The textbooks are very expensive, and it is putting us in debt.”

Students across John Jay widely agree that the prices of textbooks are absurd, and that professors do not use them enough to justify their prices.

Isaely Escarcega, a sophomore, bought ten textbooks, which cost $250 in total. “The problem is that we buy these textbooks and we don’t even use them. We pay too much to not use them enough.”

Although most professors require students to buy the latest version of a textbook there are a few professors who do not mind the older versions. Professor Dainius Remeza believes that if the skills and knowledge of the required subject has not changed much, then there is no need to buy the current version. “Some subjects require the latest, most up-to-date version, when new discoveries and technologies might significantly improve on existing knowledge or make earlier methods obsolete. You wouldn’t want your surgeon operating based on knowledge acquired from an early 1900s textbook.” Professor Remeza teaches a legal writing and legal method class in John Jay. “But in a class like Legal Writing, the skills we try to learn haven’t much changed since from the time I went to law school. So the text we use is the text I used at law school and the variations between the different editions aren’t significant.”  Professor Remeza also believes that the prices of textbooks are too much for students and that there is not enough consideration for them. Is the amount in controversy $500,000 or a million? The number grows as each edition is adjusted for inflation, but what we’re trying to learn–legal analysis and method, such as issue identification and distinguishing facts–these concepts remain the same. So I don’t ask students to pay $100 when they can get a practically identical textbook for $20.”

The deadline for tuition payment is a well-known choke hold to students. But so is the first day in class when students have been given their syllabus, and have to buy these textbooks. Textbook prices every year or so adds to the debt students go through for a continued academic education.

SAAC Ensures Student Athletes Have a Voice

Photo courtesy of Yesenia Colindres

Photo courtesy of Yesenia Colindres

by Yesenia Colindres 

Everyone’s voice deserves to be heard, which is why the Student Athlete-Advisory Committee at John Jay is committed to helping student athletes’ voices be heard by staff and executives. The Student Athlete-Advisory Committee (SAAC) sends one or two representatives from each team. Then the representatives meet with the committee and discuss any problems or concerns with each team or within the Athletics Department.

The Student Athletic-Advisory Committee promotes an exceptional student athlete experience. They try to help make student athletes feel like they can talk to Athletic Directors and other staff as well. The Committee also tries to build a strong relationship with one another and create a positive community.

The club aspect of SAAC was put into effect about a year ago and is now located in L2 in the New Building, in the area known as “Club Row.” The goal of the club is to try to bridge the gap between student athletes and non-student athletes. There’s a general belief that teams, especially in a school setting, tend to be inclusive and are even considered to be “cliquey.” SAAC is trying to change that image and help both groups to branch out and make new friendships and network with other people besides their teammates or their regular friends.

While building the bridge between the two groups could be a difficult task, SAAC President Jessica Jean (known to most as Jean) has many ideas and events to help bring student athletes and non-student athletes together. One idea is “fan vans,” which would help students that are looking to support and watch away games have a way to get to the game and back to the school. Fan vans would be especially helpful for sports like soccer and baseball, because their home games are never on campus but all the way at the fields on Randall’s Island. Another event is the annual potluck where students bring dishes representing either their background, culture, or simply just their favorite foods. SAAC sponsors coat drives and can drives, which are also great ways to meet new people. “You’re building those connections that last a lifetime because I’ve seen it happen from my freshman year to now,” Jean said. “It could be a little conversation or just giving your email and it can escalate into something bigger than that.”

Jean has seen a number of positive changes in SAAC throughout her four years as a student athlete and SAAC member. These changes include more students coming to meetings, involvement from coaches, and getting the club to be more open. The word is being spread by Jean that, “Even if your coach didn’t tell you to come, even if you’re not a freshman or a captain, it’s open to everyone,” you can also bring friends who aren’t student athletes because, “everyone is welcome here.” 

Student athletes have a positive reaction to SAAC’s efforts. Jennifer Pace, a senior and one of the captains of the softball team agreed it’s a great way to network and make new friends. She went on to say, “In the end you’re supporting the Athletic Department and giving back, and I feel that’s really important especially as D3 players.” Jennifer went to SAAC’s first meeting two weeks ago and described it as a general meeting. Items discussed include the potluck, can donations, getting support for sports from other athletes and how to get non-student athletes involved.

Sophomore Devika Prashad is a new member who joined because it seemed like a great way to represent athlete’s and have them all become “one big team.” She added that “It’s a great way to get involved with the community and services provided at John Jay.”

SAAC’s second meeting on October 5th was even more successful than the first one. According to Corey Berg, Assistant Athletics Director for Academic Success, Compliance, and Eligibility, attendance at the second meeting was doubled from the first meeting. Corey, along with her coworkers Gabby and Tony, as well as the Executive Board really want to help change the perception of SAAC. She also said that not only does the club strengthen the relationship between student athletes but it “strengthens our bond with the College and also gets others at John Jay more interested in what we’re doing on/in the court, field, range, and pool.” The club has their meetings and events planned out for this semester and hopes to collaborate with other groups on campus, making for an exciting and successful year for SAAC.

The next few meetings are scheduled for October 19th, November 2 and November 19th in Haaren Hall in room 431 during community hour.

Rupert Murdoch Takes his New Positions at Fox in Stride

Photo by Drew Feliciano

Photo by Drew Feliciano

By Drew Feliciano

Has the media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, taken Roger Ailes’ office at Fox News already? According to Bill Hemmer and Fox News, this is the case. On September 22nd, Bill Hemmer of Fox News decided to visit the City University of New York’s, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. After all the attendees filed into their seats, Mr. Hemmer started the event.

Mr. Hemmer discussed his past and answered questions from students regarding the media’s role during election cycles.

In one of his explanations, Mr. Hemmer touched upon the departure of Fox News’ former CEO, and founder, Roger Ailes. This is where Mr. Hemmer made his intriguing claim.

Mr. Hemmer stated that Rupert Murdoch had already taken Roger Ailes’ office at Fox News. Could Mr. Murdoch have already made this transition this quickly? It seems Mr. Hemmer’s claim rings true.

On July 21st, 2016, 21st Century Fox announced that Rupert Murdoch would become the new CEO and Chairman of Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel.

In a statement to Fox News, Rupert Murdoch praised the former CEO: Roger Ailes has made a remarkable contribution to our company and our country.  Roger shared my vision of a great and independent television organization and executed it brilliantly over 20 great years.”

What does this rapid, and substantial change mean for the American news powerhouse? Mr. Murdoch believes that with the support of the current management, Fox can continue their goal of providing news coverage to “every corner of the country.”

“To ensure continuity of all that is best about Fox News and what it stands for, I will take over as Chairman and acting CEO, with the support of our existing management team under Bill Shine, Jay Wallace and Mark Kranz,” said Murdoch.

Mr. Hemmer’s comment does not seem to be very surprising. In less than a month, it seems that Mr. Murdoch is using his new powers as CEO and Chairman to make changes to executive positions within the organization.

According to a report also released by Fox News, Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine were appointed as Co-Presidents of Fox News Channel, and Fox Business Network. During this announcement, Mr. Murdoch speaks very highly of the two new Co-Presidents. He sees them as extremely influential in the history of the networks, and views them as an integral part in the success of the organization well into the future.

“Jack was integral to the launch and success of FOX News nearly 20 years ago, and we’re delighted he’s returning to take on this additional role. As we continue to benefit from his strong leadership of Fox Television Stations, his strategic vision and deep knowledge of the cable news business will ensure continued growth of FOX News and FOX Business Network for generations to come,” said Murdoch

He added, “Bill Shine has developed and produced a signature primetime that has dominated the cable news landscape for 14 of his 20 years with FOX News. His leadership and keen eye for programming has played a fundamental role in the success of both FOX News and FOX Business Network.”

Time will only tell what type of changes, if any, that these speedy, and significant substitutions in management will have on Fox News Channel, and Fox Business Network.

“While this has been a time of great transition, there has never been a greater opportunity for Fox News and Fox Business to better serve and expand their audiences,” Mr. Murdoch stated.


Following the One in Furry Red

By: Pema Chozom

It was around 11 p.m. on a Friday night in Times Square and the lights continued to shimmer bright from the electronic billboards as the sounds of cars from 42nd street filled the air. Policemen moved to and from patrolling the area, and crowds of tourists filled the air with excitement. The individuals dressed as fictional characters such as; Iron Man, Elmo, The Cookie Monster and Mickey Mouse, hovered around and badgered the tourists for photos in front of the H&M building.

He placed his fuzzy red helm on one of the nearby tables; his face was flushed as he reached into the front pocket of his furry red costume, counting his earnings after what was probably a long night of nagging tourists for photos.

A petite male of Latino origin dressed, neck-to-toe, with a dirty matted Elmo costume sat on an open chair at the corner of 42nd street and Broadway. After a minute, he brushed his shaggy black hair back, picked up his helm from the table and wore it.

It was time to get to work. He jumped up and down a little to energize himself and made his way into the crowds of tourists. He walked around eagerly and moved towards a group of teenage girls, “Hey babe,” said the Elmo in a shaky accent, “want a picture?” The group of girls politely ignored the wannabe Elmo and made their way.

After nagging tourists for about five minutes, Elmo had a change in tactics. He moved towards a young family of four; the parents appeared to be in their early 30s and the son and daughter were probably in their pre-teens, were taking photos of each other near the corner of 43rd street and 7th Ave. As the father of the family was preparing to take a picture of his wife and kids, Elmo subtly moved in and stood behind the wife and two children. After seeing that the father of the family had taken a picture, Elmo announced, “five dollars for picture.”

The parents were shocked with disbelief to find themselves in such situation.

“I didn’t take a photo of you, you just walked into the picture,” said the Father of the family, slowly lowering his camera. “Yeah, we’re not paying for that!” said the wife, distraught.

Elmo walks towards the father of the family pointing at the camera, “I am in picture. Yes? Then you give me five dollars,” said Elmo in his furry red costume speaking with a shaky English accent switching from his forced, squeaky, high-pitched Elmo-like voice.

After a couple of minutes of arguing, the couple gave in and gave him five dollars. As the couple and their kids turned away with disgusted looks on their faces, Elmo took off his glove from one hand and stuck out his middle finger out at their direction as he mouthed some probable curse words, and quickly recoiled his hands, put on his gloves and went back to looking for more tourists to nag.

As he made his way towards his initial position, in front of the H&M building, a passerby whom looked in his early 20s offered him a high-five for his hilarious efforts to attain that five dollars.

“Good job,” said the passerby as he giggled with amusement.

A few minutes after mindlessly wandering around the area, he noticed a man suited in an Ironman costume and a woman in a Hello Kitty costume taking pictures with some tourists near the New York Police Stand in Times Square. The tourists; two female and a male, looking like they are in their late 20s, were posing for a photo with Iron Man and Hello Kitty when Elmo quickly rushed into the scene, photo-bombing the tourists and his costumed colleagues.

“Elmo just photo-bombed you,” said the male tourist, giggling at the hilarious situation they were in.

“Aw, Hi Elmo,” said the shorter female amongst the three.

Elmo replied with a squeaky, “Hi,” as he waved his hand over his shoulder. He leaned in towards the two women, slowly shoving his arms across their shoulders and, pushing Iron Man and Hello Kitty to the side. Iron Man and Hello Kitty moved to the side without a word and posed with Elmo and the girls for a few snaps.

The male from the three shook hands with the three characters and handed them each five dollar bills. He and his friends, thanked them and made his way. They were rather polite compared to the last group of tourists Elmo photo-bombed.

Elmo moved into the corner of 42nd street and Broadway, as he slowly removed his helm, revealing his flushed face and shaggy hair. He reached in his fluffy pocket, revealing a smartphone and some bills. As he counted his earnings, the woman dressed in the Hello Kitty costume stood next to him and greeted him. She took off her Hello Kitty helm and revealed a middle-aged woman of latino origin, flushed, and tired, with her hair tied back into a ponytail. They spoke in a vaguely Spanish dialect as she sat down on one of the open chairs in Times Square.

They sat down for a few minutes and stood up slowly, picking up their helms and making their way towards the front of the H&M building. They shook hands with the man wearing the Ironman costume, gave a heart-warming hug to a man wearing the Statue of Liberty costume, speaking loudly in Spanish.

They said their goodbyes and finally walked towards the subway station,with their furry helms in hand, ending the long night of nagging and photo-bombing tourists.

The Secret Lives of Bed-Stuy House Cats

By: Martin Joseph
In Bedford-Stuyvesant, small business owners are finding a new source of cheap labor within the homeless population. These workers are usually tasked with killing mice in basements and open lots. They happily work for $1.25 a day, as long as it is paid in cat food.

Hugo is an orange cat who works at La Bellaca, a bodega on the corner of Hancock and Tompkins. “He comes and goes” said Fernando, the owner of the store. Hugo kills mice and rats in exchange for one can of wet food a day, usually generic, and a warm place to sleep.
Hugo is not a pet, however according to Fernando ; he has no collar or permanent home. He can usually be found burying his feces next to any one of the trees within his territory on Hancock street between Marcy and Tompkins.

Fernando first met Hugo, “About a year ago”, when a romance between Fernando’s former feline employee resulted in a pregnancy. The small grey cat had been a family pet for years. She wore a collar and came to work with Fernando every day. Fernando offered the kittens to neighbors but sadly they were never born. In late February, the pregnant cat was with a broken neck. She had been struck by a car.

After her death, Hugo became Fernando’s main employee. He usually shows up three times a week in the mornings and works for an hour or so until returning to the streets. He rarely catches anything, but Fernando is satisfied with Hugo’s work. Fernando said, “the smell keeps them away.”
Hugo’s employment has been contested of late. A young cat named Demitry has been encroaching upon his territory. “He doesn’t like to be inside,” said Fernando about Demitry the cat. Fernando believes that Demitry may have been a house cat at one point but he chose a life on the streets. Demitry is larger and younger than Hugo and has begun challenging his territory. The ferocious feline refuses to be pet and will enforce that policy with a bite.

Tensions have been building for a some time now. Fernando suspects that Demitry has only recently come to the neighborhood. Hugo has defended his territory against Demitry on few unknown occasions. Hugo left uninjured every time but Demitry has lost the tip of his ear and shows scars on his face and shoulders. In a standoff which was witnessed on April 17th, Demitry backed down from a confrontation but the struggle is far from over. “He comes here sometimes,” said Fernando about the black cat.

Both Demitry and Hugo can be found in the middle of the block at various times. The trees, however appear to have been claimed by Hugo. Demitry usually slinks in the guitar, hiding under cars apparently biding his time. For now, Hugo is the alpha cat pf Hancock Street between Marcy and Tompkins. He is not old yet and appears to be in his prime ti the untrained eye but the day may eventually come when Demitry has his revenge , however Hugo has defended his throne thus far.

Cats can also be found working around the corner in an empty lot. Brothers Fred and George, work in the lot keeping rodents at bay. Their pay comes in the form of wet food served in a foil takeout container. The abandoned buildings provide graffiti artists, a canvas as well as a dry place for the cats to sleep. Though the fence is high and would be a prison for most humans, the cats can come and go as they please through the spaces in the fence. Neither Fred nor George have been seen outside of their fence due to the competition. Demitry has tried to take their jobs as well, but the brothers were witnessed repelling the invader late one April night.

Demitry appears to have an unpaid position in a construction site across the street from La Bellaca though this has yet to be confirmed. He sprints towards the site when he felt threatened and works his way between the wooden wall of the construction site and the iron bars of the neighbor’s place.

My Day As A Free Hugger

By: Stephanie Balcacer

What do a New York City police officer, a doorman, and a used car salesman all have in common? While this may sound like the beginning of a cliche joke, they all shared one thing: they each stepped forward to give out hugs on the open streets of New York City to a random free hugger; that hugger just so happened to be me.

As a native New Yorker, I have come to understand the rules of the city streets: never make eye contact with the guy who eyeballs you, carry your sharpest key in your hand as an easily fashionable weapon of defense, and when you’re walking you must always scowl as if someone has burnt your chicken dinner.

Despite knowing these cardinal rules, my day as a free hugger was quite ordinary. I stepped out of my house and minutes later I was bombarded by cars honking at me as the drivers sped away yelling “Free Hugs!” Although people had no problem freely exclaiming, and sometimes whispering under their breath as they breezed past me, “Free Hugs!,” they did not approach me unless I prompted them to.

Another observation I made: no one tells you how hard it is to put yourself out there when it comes to giving hugs. When I approached my first hug of the day, an elderly woman sitting solitary in her wheelchair under a medical building’s awning, I found this difficulty manifested itself in my heart hammering away at my chest. The irony of my fear weighed heavily on my mind, and I couldn’t allow myself to be terrified of this woman.

I pushed forward and asked if she wanted a hug; a pause followed, as I imagined her wondering, “Why is this flower crowned hippie with a sign tied around her neck talking to me? Does she want money? Is she homeless?” I had to repeat myself again. She eventually nodded and allowed me to give my first, and rather awkward by my own account, free hug of the day.

As I walked away from my first successful hug, it dawned on me that being a free hugger requires a lot more than what I had imagined. It means mentally preparing yourself to block out the doubts of how effective your own campaign will be. It means smiling consistently through rejections and allowing people to think you’ve lost your mind. A case for example: smiling often garnered one of two responses which were either a smile back or a look of concern specifically reserved for interventions. It’s a tough crowd out here in New York City.

With that in mind, I continued my free hug journey into the concrete jungle by taking a train over to Manhattan. Riding in the middle of a crowded train made it nearly impossible to avoid people staring at me and the glaring neon orange “Free Hugs” sign that hung lazily over my chest. Despite having an abundance of people around me, I only managed to snag three hugs on the subway and engaged in a discreet game of “Catch the Dodgey Eye Glance” with one man. He eventually gave in with a half smile; it was no hug, but I had to take what I could get. It seems the MTA really has done a number on the spirit of New Yorkers.

The next point of destination was John Jay College. The walk to class on 11th Avenue introduced me to a pair of burly guys standing in front of a bar drinking their cans of Coors Light.

“Free hugs? You giving free hugs?” one of the guys asked as he leaned casually against a car.

I gestured to him for a hug to which he replied, “Free hugs are here, but you gotta get a free drink with me in there.” He motioned his head over to the bar in front.

“Nah man, I’ve got class,” I said as I gave him a consolatory hug. While I walked away, I made a mental note to give free hugs next to bars in the near future if I wanted to get my drink on.

As I approached John Jay’s campus, a pair of construction workers called out for free hugs. After I gave one of them a hug, he had one simple request: “Don’t forget to send the college girls over to me for more free hugs.” Duly noted.

All these random encounters might have some people wondering: why she decide to sacrifice herself to the massive hub of 8 million people that is the city of New York? Simply intrigue. Free Huggers walk about freely in all their altruistic glory, but it’s debatable whether people bother to look into why they’re okay with placing themselves into the shark tank that is the city.

As it turns out, The Free Hugs Campaign began in 2004 as Juan Mann’s journey (the name is not a joke) of seeking a way to open up human lines of communication beyond the confines of technology. As the campaign’s official website puts it, “In this age of social dis-connectivity and lack of human contact, the effects of the Free Hugs Campaign [have become] phenomenal.”

It is a message that has the ability to resonate with many people who may feel isolated in a world where interactions are mainly executed through social media; it was one that I had to explore for myself.

The discovery I made was that the campaign moved well beyond the portal of technology to create connections. As Juan Mann said, “It’s two words, one idea. [Hugs] translate through so many different cultures and to so many different people and so many different places. It’s not a brand new idea.”

My walk around New York City echoed those sentiments, as I found myself being embraced by people from all walks of life. From the clean-cut doorman who beckoned me over for a hug to the somewhat criminally inclined ticket scalpers at Madison Square Garden, hugs were welcomed and warmly received as the universal sign of solidarity.

For Juan Mann, it is canon as a free hugger to always “Expect the unexpected. You go out thinking one thing, You just don’t know; you just don’t know what the city has in store.”

Being a free hugger for a day taught me how truly undervalued that piece of advice is. What did the city have in store for me?

During an order I was placing at a McDonald’s on 57th street, one of the managers in charge came out from behind the counter to give me an enthusiastic embrace.

“Free Hugs for you, free hugs for me!” he boomed. Unfortunately for him, McDonald’s policy requires free hugs to be exchanged under certain conditions. His supervisor came out to mildly reprimand him by exclaiming, “No, no free hugs until after 6 P.M.”; he waved her off and gave me a wink before departing for his duties. The Free Hugs campaign had no limits or boundaries binding it down.

As my day began to wind down, I added one final touch to my day as a campaigner; I wanted to make myself more available to people, so I decided that music was the best way to do it. I incorporated a wireless speaker into my journey and blasted music from 59th Street down to Herald Square. Was it not Madonna that said, “Music makes the people come together”?
I had plenty of looks that translated into annoyance, but it was all made up for by the moments when people joined me in my musical expedition; men clapped along to Pharrell’s “Happy” song, and a UPS guy cheered from the inside of his truck to “Move Your Feet” by Junior Senior. Not everyone was a part of it, yet somehow they were.

My final hug for the day was given to me by a noticeably tipsy man down in the Time Square’s shuttle hub. Although he did not understand the language of the sign I held, the smile I gave him was enough to produce an embrace. It was a reminder of something Juan Mann had mentioned: “The catch with free hugs is that it has the word free on it. It belongs to everyone, even if they don’t want it. It’s up to everyone else to decide how they will use it.”

I later came to understand that the man only spoke Spanish. Although I am a Spanish speaker myself, I’m not quite proficient in it. Despite this minor obstacle, it became my business, after a day of embracing all kinds of people, to make sure this man was included in this journey. It was the culmination of my days work in one person; it was finally understanding what the Free Hugs Campaign is really about.

As Juan Mann said, “Everyone is responsible; it isn’t just a solo project. This is a team effort. It requires everyone. We’ll always be a part of something. It’s just a matter of whether the something we’re a part of is the right thing.”

Stress and teens: How it’s affecting their everyday life

By: Alexandra Contreras

More and more teens are showing high levels of stress and health problems according to a study done by the American Psychological Association (APA). Today, many of them are facing health issues due to the constant stress that they are going through. The study showed that teens are overwhelmed or depressed because of their high stress levels. Eventually, this affects the way that they perform at school, work, and even at home.

So, why are teens getting so stressed out? The same study determined that at least 83% of teens think that school has a significant impact on their stress level. 10% of teens are increasingly receiving lower grades, but 40% admit to neglecting their responsibilities at home. Finally, 21% said the same for job and school-related duties.

APA also states that since teens are unaware of the negative impact that stress has on their mental as well as physical health, they ignore it. Many teens say and feel that stress has minimal to no influence on their lives, but the report shows that they experience the same symptoms as adults who suffer from high levels of stress. These symptoms include feeling nervous, tired, irritable, and anxious.

Dante Mendoza, a junior at John Jay, said that working and going to school is very stressful for him. He works two jobs and attends school full-time. His schedule includes classes in the morning, working part-time until nine at night, then going to his overnight security job.

“It got to the point where I had to pick between school and work. Unfortunately school was not paying my bills, so I had to take the semester off. It was tough because my plan was to always finish in four years, but things happen,” he said.

The same reports show that, for more than 1,000 teens, they show early stages of stress symptoms that can follow them through adulthood. The survey done by the APA states, “With teens mirroring adults’ high-stress lives, they are potentially setting themselves up for a future of chronic stress and chronic illness.”

In the long run, these high levels of stress in teens can make their immune systems weaker as well as exhaust their bodies. Viral infections are more easily attained, in addition to inflammation, which is known as the link to the development of cardiovascular disease.

According to Sharon Jayson, a writer for USA Today, and clinical psychologist Norman Anderson, stress that is usually seen in adults is now being seen in young adults. In response to this, things like “lack of sleep, lack of exercise, and poor eating habits” begin to happen.

“Stress affects our body in different ways,” said Marian Cortes, a social worker at St. Lawrence Community Health Center in the Bronx, New York. “Stress can produce a number of health issues including anxiety, insomnia, headaches and even muscle pain.”

In the APA study, when teens were asked how they respond to their increasing stress levels, the results varied only slightly. While 32% said that they cry and suffer from headaches, 30% have feelings of sadness and even depression. 26% have had changes in their sleeping patterns and 23% saw changes in their eating habits. Lastly, while 36% constantly feel tired, the same amount of teens actually have episodes of insomnia.

Although these statistics represent adolescents as a whole, females have been shown to have a higher stress levels than males. On a scale of 1 to 10, teen female stress levels averaged at a 5.1, while teen males were in the 4.1 region.

“I never had to work and go to school at the same time,” said Maury Mayen, a freshman at Bronx Community College. “It was okay once I started, but now it’s like I get overwhelmed fast and I don’t feel like I have time for anything. On my days off, I just want to sleep all day. When it’s a lot going on I randomly cry… honestly it’s a lot sometimes.”

According to the APA, in order to help these teens from continuing to suffer this way, we need to create opportunities in their everyday life. We also need to teach them about the dangers of stress and the healthy ways to deal with it. This will help them in the long run, so they don’t have to deal with shorter lifespans, a variety of illnesses, and health issues.

“We need to give them the skills to take control over their lives in healthy ways and allow them to grow into healthy adults,” said the APA.

Coffee Rivals

By: Jessica Enchauetegui

It’s late Tuesday evening in North Jersey. The local Dunkin Donuts parking lot is eerily empty and a lone worker can be seen slowly sweeping the store from the outside window. At first, one might assume that the level of inactivity at the popular franchise could be due to the fact that most people are only a few short hours away from going to sleep, and so their need for caffeine has finally subsided. However, just a couple blocks down, the Starbucks coffee house is an oasis for those who intend to burn the midnight oil, despite the fact that the store ironically closes long before its competitor (the local Dunkin Donuts is open 24-hours whereas Starbucks’ doors close by midnight without fail). The Starbucks is dimly lit, but there’s a certain brightness in the buzzing students and professionals propped up in front of their laptops having business meetings and study sessions. At this late hour, there is not one vacant seat available.

The locals unanimously agree that Starbucks is the pricier option of the two, so in this economy, why does it appear to be the more frequented location? The division becomes more apparent when discussing personal preferences.

James Betancourt, a long-time mailman and concierge, is no stranger to working long hours and he definitely depends on his coffee to get him through. He  admitted that he spends more money than he should on his daily coffee consumption, as his wife looked on in awe trying to tally up his numbers. “I have two cups in the morning, and maybe four more throughout the day. People in my building always bring me coffee throughout the day so it’s always there,” he said.

Betancourt said that he personally prefers Dunkin Donuts coffee to Starbucks. “I walked into a Starbucks once and asked for a medium coffee. The cashier had no idea what I was talking about, it was ridiculous,” he said. Coffee is becoming more of a culture, with many shops adopting their own lingo and endless flavor combinations being stirred into lattes. This complicating of a simple beverage might leave some consumers like Betancourt feeling alienated. Nonetheless, where you choose to buy your coffee has begun to indicate your social status to some degree.

Adam Soto, a 22-year-old New Jersey resident, also relies on coffee for his daily productivity. “If I could afford Starbucks, I would have it every day, but usually I have to make my coffee at home,” he said. Soto’s eyes opened wide as he explained that when he does visit a Starbucks, he likes to order a frappuccino. Catering to personal preferences even further, one could order something like an iced quad soy caramel macchiato. This beverage is simply espresso poured over milk with a caramel drizzle, with an extra espresso shot and a non-dairy option it will run you around $7.00 for a “venti,” which is the second to largest size. That could add up very quickly in a society that consumes several cups a day on average.

Arlenne Rodriguez is a recent college graduate going through the day to day grind searching for success. “When I got my job, I graduated from Dunkin Donuts to Starbucks,” she said. She explained that besides better quality coffee, there was some guilty pleasure in being able to spend a few extra dollars on something she loves so much. Rodriguez noted a correlation in being able to purchase her coffee at a more expensive coffee shop and her sense of overall success. “It seems silly, but it makes you feel like you’ve somehow moved up in the world,” she said.

Most coffee houses monopolize on the growing popularity of the beverage by building up their brands with specialized drinks and offering rewards programs for regular customers. There are seasonal and limited addition flavors, as well as merchandising that only aids in further advertisement for the giant corporations behind the scenes. Eli Gonzalez has been a barista at Starbucks for several years. He’s able to memorize most of his customer’s orders due to their consistent daily visits to his store, knowing what they are going to order before they even reach the register.

Gonzalez saw a familiar face in the crowded store. “Another one?”, he asked as he handed over the beverage. The customer hurriedly replied, “It’s that kind of day.” Gonzalez grinned and continued to build each unique drink with ease. He slid a cup of the popular caramel macchiato over to yet another one of his regulars. Something is different about the beverage, though, as the espresso is not sitting on top of the milk. “I know you always stir your macchiato, so when you want it stirred just ask them to make it ‘upside-down’,” he said to the customer.

It’s a strange world we live in. There are not enough hours in the day and our coffees can be ordered upside down. The patron smiles at their drink, there’s something special about someone knowing how you like your coffee.

Superheroing 101

By: Tariq Sims

On March 25th Batman V. Superman hit theaters and instantly caused chaos within the fanbase. Like its predecessor, Man of Steel, it features a darker version of Superman. After the events of Man of Steel, Superman is being held accountable by Batman for all the damage that has been caused since his first public appearance. Batman decides he must prepare to fight Superman, and if needed, kill him.

This has been an ongoing trend for years, taking a known superhero and reimagining them in a darker, more realistic light. It, and other superhero movies, helped to breathe new life into the dying medium of comic books.

So why do we like dark and edgy superheroes? 

The idea of darker and edgier superheroes stemmed from what is called The Dark Age of Comic Books. It began with Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore’s Watchmen, both published in 1986. These comics deconstructed the superhero genre that had been established at this point, and started to add more political and psychological statements and more graphic depictions of violence.

The most impactful idea to come from The Dark Age is that not all superheroes are the pictures of purity. They were starting to be shown as individuals with psychological issues and violent tendencies.

A lot of heroes have gotten a redesign, after The Dark Age rebooted them. One of those rebooted heroes was Batman. After The Dark Knight Returns, Batman was made a lot more serious, and the blue and light grey costume he wore was replaced with a black and darker grey one. Batman has still been well-received as a hero and had a squadron of fans.

“I liked him because he doesn’t have any powers and he’s always looking out for what’s best even if it’s at his expense,” Ieasha Galloway, a graduate of John Jay College of Criminal Justice said. “His trauma fuels him. He’s a hero because he doesn’t want others to experience what he’s been through.”

“Part of the allure of superheroes is that they give people a figure to look up to. A figure that, at the end of the day, ultimately prevails in what he or she is doing,” Jamel Burroughs, LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) and a licensed psychotherapist in New York, said. “The more psychologically damaged characters provide someone to relate to.”

Batman V Superman, and by extension, Man of Steel, has shown a drastically different Superman than any of the previous incarnations of Superman to hit the big screen. Throughout the movie, one of his biggest struggles was that he felt like he was outsider, since he is from another planet.

“He’s not perfect, and he struggles to do what he thinks is right and balance that with what other people think of him,” John Mooney, a 21 year old senior, said. “He has flaws and suffers emotionally because of it. Personally, I like it.”

Relating to a superhero is part of the reason why people like them. Viewers are made to see these heroes and heroines as the ideal individuals.

Superheroes also satisfy the idea of escapism. Escapism is something that exists to distract a person from any unwanted, unpleasant or unnerving thoughts, and provide an escape for them. A person read a comic, or saw a movie and now wants to imagine that they are that hero that they have seen, without the pressing issues in their own lives. It’s not just superheroes that have done this. Almost anything that a person can take an interest in can be a form of escapism, from stamp collecting to base jumping, from music to art. Some individuals with depression have used the idea of escapism to temporarily relieve their depression.

“Escapism is a form of coping, also known as avoidance coping,” Burroughs said. “With this, a person could take some negative stimuli from his or her life, and push it away by bringing their attention to anything that can be a distraction.”

Projection and hope are two reasons that people like superheroes, according to Galloway. “They want to believe that they and others out there who want to do good just for good. They want to believe that something greater can happen and sometimes they want to see themselves as the hero.”

Batman V Superman has brought back a trend stemming from Ancient Greek times, according to Mooney. “Like the Greeks before us, we like seeing our idols in their own flawed image. It shows that even super powered beings have similar emotions to us and how they struggle in situations make them more human.”

Richard Felipe, a 22 year old senior, thought that the escapist idea was something that superheroes represented. “Be it the personality, the body, the life they live, etcetera. You can imagine yourself as that hero”

The changing times have also changed things about heroes. Spider-Man’s alias is Peter Parker. When he was first introduced in Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962), he was a 15 year old high school student with a love for science. In 2016, Peter Parker now owns his own company.