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According to results of a study published in a recent issue of PLOS P.L.O.S. One, people who ate hot red chili peppers at least once a month over the course of the study’s six years reduced their risk of dying by 13 percent compared to those who did not eat them. This is thought to be largely due to capsaicin, the chemical that makes food spicy. Capsaicin has a number of health benefits: It helps fight inflammation that can cause a heart attack; causes metabolism to increase, which helps burn calories; and can inhibit certain signals sent from your nerve cells to your brain, deadening the sensation of pain. Capsaicin also helps to regulate blood sugar levels, which is helpful for those with type 2 diabetes. Spicy foods like hot peppers also cause the brain to produce hormones such as serotonin, which help maintain mood balance. Hot chili peppers are also full of good nutrients, such as vitamins A and C, and vital minerals.
Source: PLOS P.L.O.S. One
Another Reason to Exercise
A new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology warns that sitting too much makes you age a lot faster. The researchers found that study participants who sat for more than 10 hours a day and got less than 40 minutes of physical activity daily had shorter telomeres. (Telomeres are caps on the end of DNA D.N.A. strands that protect chromosomes from deterioration.) Although telomeres naturally shorten with age, certain factors such as smoking and obesity can accelerate the process. The good news is that participants who sat for more than 10 hours and exercised for at least 30 minutes a day did not experience shorter telomere length.
Smiling can also retrain your brain. Our brains are naturally inclined to be alert for danger, but smiling helps the brain move to a more positive space and remain there longer. Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, writes that making smiling a part of our everyday practice can help create “happiness loops” that encourage more positive-thinking patterns.
Going on a job interview? In a 2009 study it was shown that subjects looking at photographs of people with neutral or smiling expressions were much more likely to think that the smiling people were likable, condentconfident, conscientious, and stable. Recent studies have also shown that smiling makes a person more approachable and perceived to be a better leader and more trustworthy.
Apparently, yes! According to a recent study published in Psychological Science, even faking or forcing a smile reduces stress and makes you happier. In this study, research subjects put chopsticks in their mouths to produce one of three facial expressions: neutral, a standard smile, or a big smile. Half of the participants were instructed to smile, and the other half received no instructions related to smiling. After performing a series of “stressful, multitasking activities” while researchers monitored heart rates, the subjects who were instructed to smile had lower heart rate levels and less stress after the activities. Surprisingly, even those who were not instructed to smile, but had their mouths forced into a smile by the chopsticks felt more content and less stressed than the neutral expression subjects.
During my first year at Syracuse University, I took SOC S.O.C. 101 Introduction to Sociology, taught by Professor Gokhan Savas. In this class, we were introduced to the term perspective through a piece of paper—one side marked in writing facing him while the other side was blank facing the class. Professor Savas held up the piece of paper and asked us what we saw. When we told him that it was white and blank, he said that he believed it was not blank, but instead marked up with writing. Professor Savas then explained that we all have different perspectives in life and that we must understand that what we personally see and comprehend is not always the same as what others see. Like that piece of paper, there are multiple ways of looking at and understanding a situation.
Keep in mind, skin cancer isn’t the only repercussion, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AADA.A.D.), which says every time you get a tan, you prematurely age your skin. In other words, in about 10 years, you’ll have wrinkles to remind you of all the sunscreen-free fun in the sun you are enjoying now.
Just because you may have a darker skin tone, you aren’t exempt from the damages of the sun. According to the American Skin Association (ASAA.S.A.), darker skin tones contain more of the pigment melanin, but it will only protect to a certain extent. So, no matter what your skin color may be—fair-skinned, dark-skinned, or somewhere in between— you need to wear sunscreen.
Wear an SPF of at Least 30:
According to the AADA.A.D., everyone should wear a water-resistant sunscreen with at least SPF S.P.F. 30 and apply at least 30 minutes before going out. Sunscreen absorbs or reects reflects the sun’s rays, and the SPF S.P.F. number indicates how long you will be protected before you should re-apply it. To know when to reapply, consider how long you can bask in the sun until you start to burn. For example, people with fair skin may burn in as little as 20 minutes of sun exposure. If they apply SPF S.P.F. 30, they will be protected for approximately 450 minutes (7.5 hours).
Stay away from Tanning:
According to the ASAA.S.A., 63 percent of teens think they look better when they have a tan. Tanning beds, tanning oils—even spraying cooking spray on the body while sunbathing—are some of the insane measures people take to bronze their skin. The ASA A.S.A. says, “There is no such thing as a healthy tan, according to dermatologists, who look at a tan and see it as a sign of injury.” Tanning is essentially cooking your body’s largest organ: the skin. So, every time you let your skin bake under the sun, think about the wrinkles you’ll face later.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDAU.S.D.A.), grains are an important source of many nutrients. These include fiber, protein, several B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate), and minerals (iron, magnesium, and selenium). Research studies have shown that whole grains as part of a healthy diet may help reduce blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDAF.D.A.), to be called a whole-grain food, the food must contain all three of these components in the same proportion as in nature, even if the grain has been processed or rened refined (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled, and/or cooked).
When grains are processed and rened—the refined—the most common practice for making breads, cereals, pastas, and ours—the bran and germ are removed. As a result, grains become less nutritious, losing up to 25 percent of their original protein content, as well as other essential nutrients. Manufacturers may later fortify the product by adding vitamins, minerals, and fiber during processing, but a naturally whole grain is a healthier choice.
As consumers have become more health-conscious, “made with whole grains” has become a huge draw in grocery stores, and the market is expected to grow to an estimated $46.2 billion by 2022. Unfortunately, being made with whole grains does not mean that the product is made only with whole grains. In reality, there could be few whole grains in the product. And words such as stoneground, cracked wheat, multigrain, or seven-grain are also misleading. These terms indicate nothing about whether the grains are whole or renedrefined.
Check labels carefully
The Center for Science in the Public Interest is trying to get the FDA F.D.A. to address the misleading information, but what can you do to make sure you are getting the real thing?
Fatigue and lethargy begin to develop, and you consider giving into the weight of your eyelids by resting for an hour or powering through the weariness with caffeine. While seven to eight hours are ideal, some sleep is always better than none, especially when preparing for an exam. According to the Harvard Medical School, sleep contributes to the consolidation of memory, which is critical for learning new information. The learning parts of the brain are stimulated during REM sleep, a stage of deep sleep. One REM cycle is 20 minutes, so it would be advantageous to utilize a small amount of time during an all-nighter for some shut-eye. Turning to coffee instead will leave you with increased feelings of anxiety, making it more difficult to concentrate. A small nap and water will benet benefit the body and your grades far more than coffee and some last-minute ash cards ever will.
At Amen Clinics, special brain scans called SPECT scans have revealed the blood ow flow patterns among sleep-deprived brains. A lack of sleep lowers blood ow flow in the body, leading to reduced blood ow flow in regions of the brain and causing impairments in cognitive abilities and behavior. According to a study from the University of California at Berkeley, the prefrontal cortex becomes impaired with a lack of sleep because blood flow to that area is significantly reduced. You find yourself reading questions over and over again; you may even write your name wrong. This is because of the decreased blood flow.
The results are in
You may feel condentconfident, but after looking at your exam score, that confidence is shattered. What happened was that the lack of sleep impaired your abilities to function. Brown Medical School has discovered a positive correlation between the amount of sleep you get and your grades. You may not realize, but your focus and decision-making abilities decline without sleep. So is the all-nighter even worth it?
Gaming consoles such as Wii and Xbox 360 Kinect have games with workouts and exercises to follow along while tracking your weight, body mass index, and body fat. C.B.S. CBS News names its top 10 fitness video games at cbsnews.com. Wii Fit Plus is a sequel to the bestseller Wii Fit; this one comes with a game controller called the Wii Balance Board. Besides controlling the activities onscreen, it helps to keep track of weight and body mass index. Players can customize their routines, ranging from relaxed to extreme intense workout. The Plus has added the option to include strength training exercises, yoga activities, and balance mini games. Another game is Your Shape: Fitness Evolved for the Xbox 360 Kinect. This game instructs you through intense exercises and workouts to improve cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and strength. The Kinect device measures body size depending on age, weight, and exercise habits. Both video games can help you lose weight or get in shape and are great alternatives to the gym.
With the influence of social media, challenges have circulated across the Internet, inspiring various people to partake. Popular platforms include Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and websites such as Popsugar. They usually do not require any equipment, just an open space big enough for some movement. Usually, each challenge lasts about a month and focuses on one muscle group. You can extend the challenge and do multiple challenges at one time. The 21-Day Arm Challenge or the 30-Day Butt challenge are some of many. Each day of the challenge presents the participant with a new set of exercises to complete. At the end of the challenge, one should see improvement in the targeted muscles.
Fad is Bad
Understanding Why Fad Diets Should Be Left In The Dust
By Sheridan Casey Duff, Freshman, Undecided, The College of Arts and Sciences
People these days often turn to fad diets for quick weight loss. These dieting techniques are misleading and unhealthy. According to UPMC.com, a fad diet is a diet that promises quick weight loss using unhealthy and unbalanced dieting tactics. Fad diets are targeted at people who want to lose weight quickly without exercise. They are hard to follow on a long-term basis, and the weight loss is only temporary. Some common fad diets are The Juice Cleanse, 21 Day Challenge, Werewolf Diet, and even a Cookie Diet.
All of these diets encompass similar qualities that make them unhealthy. First, in many fad diets the promise of quick weight loss is met with the loss of water weight, which many mistake to be a fat loss. This leads to dehydration, a second aw in the fad dieting system. This weight is gained back upon rehydrating and can have harmful effects on your digestive system and other parts of your body. Some of these harmful effects include a nutritional deficiency, which leads to loss of muscle and hair, and an altered metabolism, or slowing of metabolism, which leads to weight gain.
Stefanie Schwartz, a nutritionist at Nutritionally Yours, a self-owned company in Chappaqua, New York, was asked if she would suggest a fad diet to one of her clients. Schwartz said, “Most fad diets have no redeemable value, as one will eventually go off and probably gain all the weight back and more…or simply not even lose what they think they have. Some fad diets are dangerous if they are based on herbal supplement and should never be used.”
Schwartz emphasizes that when you try to lose weight, make sure it is in a balanced, timely manner so that you don’t cut out all your favorite foods. Don’t see it as a diet; see it as a lifestyle change. This is the most effective long-term way to stick to eating healthy while also feeling and seeing the results.
The proper way to lose weight is to eat a balanced diet and increase amount of exercise. This means eating all food groups and not excluding any, although one shouldn’t eat the same amount of each food group. To lose weight, one should increase vegetable and protein intake while decreasing fat and carbohydrate intake. It is also important to exercise when attempting to lose weight. Intense cardio workouts are the best way to lose weight and burn fat. Weight training will help to gain muscle, if this is also desired. Before losing weight, one should do research, make a plan, and possibly see a nutritionist. Losing weight is a great thing as long as it is done right!
Natural as a Lifestyle
Natural Ingredients Versus Synthetic Products
By Renata Husted, Senior, Public Health, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics
Most people are aware of the negative effects of synthetic dyes, flavors, and preservatives. Perhaps that bag of sh-shaped gummy candy with red dye #40 listed as the third ingredient is not the best snack for you. But what many people may not know is that harmful ingredients creep beyond the food realm, moving into the world of beauty and health products. Just as we don’t want formaldehyde in our maraschino cherries, we also don’t want it in our body washes or eye shadows. And although it may not be that easy to skip out on colorful candy, steering clear of unhealthy personal products can be much simpler.
Some of the most common harmful chemicals found in personal care items are called parabens. These chemicals, while approved by the Food and Drug Administration, have long been subject to studies linking them to cancer, reproductive system issues, endocrine disruption, and developmental issues. These studies raise valid concerns over the use of harsh chemicals, despite the F.D.A. dismissing the findings because of the small sample sizes used. And beauty and personal care products that do not contain parabens or artificial colorings/dyes are produced in more sustainable methods that are often vegan and cruelty-free. In other words, all-natural products are better for all living creatures and the world we live in.
Here are some common all-natural items that can be whipped up with ingredients you probably already have at home.
Apple Cider Vinegar Sore Throat Solution
Skip the menthol-laden cough drops; they only soothe a scratchy throat. Instead, let this honey apple solution fight the source of that sore throat while also preventing new ones.
Mix 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, one cup of warm water, and two tablespoons of honey. Drink slowly while still warm. Repeat up to 4 times a day while symptoms persist.
Chamomile Face Cleanser
Chamomile is a natural soothing agent that is great for sensitive skin. The olive oil adds a touch of moisture without being too heavy.
1/4 cup castile soap
1/4 cup brewed chamomile tea
3/4 teaspoon olive oil
8 drops essential oil (lavender works well for dry skin; tea tree for oily skin)
Coconut Oil Body/Lip Scrub
Scrub away dead skin while simultaneously moisturizing it with this simple mix. In addition, you can skip manufactured lipsticks that often contain lead, a neurotoxin that has been linked to several fertility and developmental difficulties, according to Safecosmetics. org.
Mix one part sugar, two parts coconut oil, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
Add beet root powder, all-natural food coloring, or cinnamon for a soft pigment lip color.
Natural Mint Toothpaste
For about 63 cents a batch, this toothpaste efficiently cleans teeth and freshens breath without the addition of triclosan, a common antibacterial chemical found in dental products that has been linked to cancer and disruption of the endocrine system.
2/3 cups of baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
10 to 15 drops of peppermint essential oil
Water to desired consistency
Shea Butter Deodorant
Deodorants are one of the most common personal items that contain parabens and other harmful ingredients. Aluminum especially warrants concern because it has been linked to long- term problems such as Alzheimer’s disease.
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
3 tablespoons of baking soda
2 tablespoons of shea butter
2 tablespoons of organic cornstarch
Favorite essential oils for scent
Melt coconut oil and shea butter until liquid, add baking soda and cornstarch. Mix and add essential oils. Store in glass jar or old deodorant stick for easier application.
Make-Your-Own-Scent Room Freshener
Scents such as Island Breeze and Springtime Blossom come with more than just a cool name. These commercialized air fresheners often contain damaging chemicals, such as various forms of phthalates. The Natural Resources Defense Council says phthalates are known to cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects, and reproductive problems.
Fill up a spray bottle with water and add a few drops of essential oil. Which oil you choose depends on the mood you want to set. Use these for an invigorating mood: peppermint, lemon, tea tree oil, jasmine, or rosemary. For a more relaxing environment: lavender, rose, ylang ylang, or bergamot. Try mixing scents for a twist.
Learn to Ride a Horse for Credit
Broadening Your College Learning Experience Beyond Academics
By Alexandra Ruiz, Senior, Writing and Rhetoric, The College of Arts and Sciences
Growing up in New York City means my experience with nature in general was next to none. Outside of pets, squirrels, lots of pigeons, and radioactive sewer rats, New York City has very few animals. I really wanted to go outside of my comfort zone to learn about something I could never get back home, so I signed up for a horseback riding class offered at a nearby stable through the University. College is meant for first experiences, and even those of us who hail from big cities are faced with our fair share of them.
I remember that the whole time leading up to the first day of class I just couldn’t wait for the moment I would ride a horse for the first time. I was not at all concerned about having signed up for something so foreign to me. I kept researching everything so that I would be familiar with some of the terms and know what to expect. When the first day of class finally arrived and we went into the stables, I got really nervous. What if I was really bad? What if the horse didn’t like me? But before I could panic too much, our teacher, Ellen, explained to us that the horses were all familiar with new and inexperienced riders, so we had nothing to worry about.
When I met Jet, I finally realized just how big horses are. Every part of him at any point was taller than me. I wasn’t even sure how I was going to be able to get on him! Truthfully, I was afraid because he was so large, but it turns out that I had nothing to fear. He looked at me in what can only be described as an inquisitive way. His ears flicked forward as I approached slowly and let him see the brush in my hand. He moved forward and smelled my hand and the brush together and, as anticlimactically as possible, went back to eating his hay as I brushed him.
I tried to be as confident and firm as possible. Our instructor told us to be try to be calm and self-assured because horses have a good sense of what you are feeling. Even though I was really nervous on the inside, I walked around him calmly and always let him know where I was so as not to startle him.
I learned quickly that Jet is a fussy horse. If I brushed too hard, he let me know by fidgeting his hind legs. If he was uncomfortable, he would neigh at me and shake his head. Most horses really love getting a good brush down, but not Jet. He prefers a soft, worn-out curry comb and a gentle touch. I learned to listen to him, pay attention, and make sure that taking care of him and helping him trust me were the top priorities every day.
The relationship between horse and rider is not simply physical. It is more than just getting on the horse and riding—it is a meeting of the minds. You must be as aware of your horse’s feelings as he or she is of yours. The relationship is beautiful. Horses bond emotionally with their rider; they are playful and they always know how you are feeling. Sometimes they pay more attention to you than you pay attention to yourself. I could be having a terrible day and as soon as I was with Jet, my day significantly improved.
Riding taught me a great many lessons. Apart from empathy, it taught me determination because I failed a lot before I succeeded. It took me a long time to even get Jet to canter (a three-beat gait between a slow trot and a fast gallop) with me after I learned how to trot with him, and I still have much room for improvement with my canter.
When we ride together, I am sharing my goals with him and we work well as a team. I lead with my whole body because he can sense how much effort I am putting in. It’s more than just my hands and legs leading him. He can tell where I want to go because he can feel where my shoulders move above him, even though my shoulders aren’t touching him. I look to where I want to go, and he feels it.
It’s a team effort. At the end of a lesson, the best feeling is dismounting and knowing that both of us worked hard. Jet and I both are breathing hard. He’ll nuzzle my pocket and ask for his mint by trying to eat my jacket. I know he worked hard to help me because he is my partner, and it always brings a smile to my face to see him enjoy his reward.
These are all lessons we can use in our everyday lives. Other people can tell how much effort, or lack thereof, we put into everything because that is exactly how much we will get out. How much attention, care, and empathy we put into other people—and horses—is how much they will put into us. We should all strive to work together and see each other succeed. Be happy about that success, because we all understand the effort it takes to get the reward.
For more information, visit Tanglewood Riding Center
You're More Beautiful Than the Media Says You Are
How the Media Has Distorted Our Perceptions of Beauty
By Meaghan Linhart, Sophomore, Public Health, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics
Physical appearance unfortunately tends to be a priority for young adults, especially college students. Come time for the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, millions watch the tall, thin models strut in diamond-encrusted lingerie, and many young women experience unwarranted feelings of self-deprecation.
Many times, girls will consider themselves overweight when, from a medical perspective, most of these girls are a normal healthy weight. Society has distorted our perception of beauty into something that is unattainable and imprecise. Drastic measures to achieve these perfect bodies, such as cinching your waist, are the opposite of true beauty and health. Despite what the media and celebrities such as the Kardashians may be enforcing, attaining a Victoria’s Secret angel appearance is nearly impossible if you aren’t genetically eligible for such a body type.
What the media portrays isn’t always true or healthy.
Celebrities and models everywhere are being Photoshopped to alter our perception of a healthy body. Henry Field, a professor of computer science at Dartmouth, told A.B.C. News that the Photoshopped images presented in the media are evolving into the “Barbie doll model” of what a woman should look like— enhanced breast size, diminished waistline, and elongated legs.
Photo manipulation has reached measures so unrealistic that celebrities have been expressing anger at their own modied photos. Singer and actress Zendaya recently tweeted a before-and-after photo of herself, appalled that her image was heavily modied.
“I was shocked when I found my 19-year-old hips and torso were quite manipulated,” the star tweeted. Photoshopping has reached an all-time high, and plastic surgeries are being performed to achieve this idea of beauty which the media has presented us. However, what we see in the media should not be perceived as normal or beautiful, because most times it is just the opposite.
It’s no surprise that the media is the culprit of another unhealthy trend—waist trainers. Corsets worn for a few hours a day to narrow the waist are incredibly damaging to the body. All the Kardashians use waist trainers. Even the fitness accounts on Instagram feature waist trainers, leaving impressionable youth in the dark about the detrimental effects of this product.
“I never actually imagined that these corsets would do that,” said Dr. Mehmet Oz after seeing an X-ray revealing the ribs pushing on the body’s liver.
The celebrity-driven trend is not just a harmless accessory; it actually comes with a plethora of internal problems. And the effects of these corsets are not permanent, according to Dr. Andrew Miller, a plastic surgeon. Miller told Yahoo Health, “Eventually you’re just going to return to the way you were.”
Waist trainers are a trend that needs to be thrown in the trash because decreased breathing, strained organs, and acid reflux are simply not worth a temporarily slim waist. Next time you see an Instagram post about a waist trainer, ask yourself: do you think crushed ribs, squished organs, or constricted breathing are healthy? Do yourself a favor, and unfollow that account.
While the media may declare that weighing less than 110 pounds is attractive, medicine will tell you otherwise. A healthy body weight isn’t solely represented by the number on the scale. It is something that is healthy for your body type and height and is “based on your body mass index (B.M.I.) and the size of your waist,” according to webmd.com.
While stepping on a scale can inform you of your weight, determining how much you should weigh isn’t that simple. Your body’s bone mass, muscle and fat composition, height, and other factors influence that number on the scale we all dread looking at. Stop being afraid of this number, because your B.M.I. is a much more valid indicator of health.
According to webmd.com, a B.M.I. between 18.5 and 24.8 is considered normal. Rush University Medical Center provides a B.M.I. calculator that can help you see if you are healthy.
What the media portrays as beauty oftentimes isn’t even real, and the measures taken to get to this falsified goal are often extremely unhealthy. It may be hard to feel satised with your image with all these unrealistic portrayals of what it means to be thin, but consider your B.M.I., height-to-weight ratio, and lifestyle habits next time you feel guilty about your body image.
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S.U. Provides Numerous Opportunities to Help Empower Students
By Angela Kim, 5th year, Industrial and Interaction Design, College of Visual and Performing Arts: School of Design
With the education that we receive at Syracuse University, we have a responsibility as students: a duty to take our knowledge and skills that are gained during our time here and apply them to our current and future lives. We will all end up on different paths. However, we all share and hold the accountability for achieving greatness with the degrees we will receive. As S.U. students, we are privileged to enjoy rights, freedoms, and resources that a lot of students in this world do not have. It is up to us to figure out how we use them.
What does empowerment mean to you? The online Oxford Dictionaries defines empowerment as:
- Authority or power given to someone to do something
- The process of becoming stronger and more condent, especially in controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights
This meaning is two-fold—enabling empowerment and becoming empowered. Diana Tracy— speaker, trainer, and author of Ten Steps to Empowerment—claimed that “empowerment basically is a good sound relationship. What we have seen so far is the autocratic form of power and the employee is powerless. But real power to an organization comes from empowering people.”
Empowerment at S.U.
The education and the degree that we receive as S.U. students cover the first part of the definition of empowerment: enablement. The second definition touches upon the actions of oneself: “controlling one’s life and claiming one’s rights,” as the Oxford Dictionaries define it. How many times have you ignored the countless number of emails, newsletters, and listservs we all receive every week? A lot of these emails contain valuable information that could help us grow and enhance our future careers.
The opportunities are sitting right in front of us at S.U.; all we need to do is just go out and catch them. As a fifth-year student who has traveled to conflict areas like Jordan and Greece, I feel extremely blessed to have so many support systems that helped me get out of my extreme depression and anxiety and helped me grow to become a stronger and independent human, such as Emma Dovi (my case manager at Office of Student Assistance) and Kizzy Walker (my therapist at S.U. Counseling Center).
Empathetic people like Patricia Hennigan (senior assistant director at Financial Aid) helped enable me to pursue my dreams and goals by assisting me with my finances. Brilliant creative minds like Linda Dickerson Hartstock (executive director of S.U.’s Blackstone Launchpad and Whitman School of Management professor), James Fathers (director of The School of Design), and Bekir Kelceoglu (my industrial design thesis professor) shared with me their tools, skills, and knowledge to help me grow as an industrial designer, entrepreneur, and a better human being.
We can’t make change immediately. However, if we all come together and collaborate and help each other grow mentally, physically, and spiritually, then maybe this change can be accomplished sooner than if we work individually
Here Are Some Resources on Campus that are available to help empower students:
- Office of Student Assistance
- Office of Student Engagement
- Counseling Center
- Career Services
- Blackstone Launchpad
- L.G.B.T. Resource Center
- Slutzker Center for International Services
- Division of Student Affairs
- Intramural sports
For more, check out Syracuse University's Services and Support page.
Expectations After Graduation: The Pressure is Now on
The Challenges of Paving Your Way to Success
By Renata Husted, Senior, Public Health, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics
As soon as the tassels move from right to left and the caps are thrown in the air, it seems the newest college graduates are expected to enter the real world with their whole lives figured out.
This could mean having a job lined up, knowing their true passions, and understanding what a 401(k) is. As if the term real world wasn’t daunting enough.
We were groomed for these expectations since we first set foot on campus. Think of the daily emails from Career Services and Orange Link, advisors pushing us to find summer internships, and the emphasis on networking, networking, networking. We were told this is what it takes to be successful in the real world. But these immense expectations restrict our view of success. Surely life presents other fulfilling opportunities.
“I feel like I should already have a job lined up for after graduation,” says Aaliyah Gatlin, a Falk College senior majoring in social work. “I always feel the pressure to be reaping the financial benet that is expected of a college graduate, especially from a university with the prestigious reputation that Syracuse University has. It honestly makes me feel anxious and suffocated.”
This pressure distracts us from understanding that success does not always equate with wealth. Success should be dened at the individual level. For many students that takes time to figure out.
Angela Duckworth understands how long it takes to find your passion. She wrote about this in The New York Times under the headline “Graduating and Looking for Your Passion? Just Be Patient.” She says, “As a psychologist who studies world-class achievers, I can say the reality of following your passion is not very romantic. It takes time to develop a direction that feels so in-the-bones right that you never want to veer from it.”
What is important after graduation?
“There are many things that I want to do after I graduate that aren’t career-based,” says Gatlin. “So, the assumption that I am just going to jump into the workforce makes me feel like I am in the wrong for not wanting to do that just yet.”
Gatlin, headed back to her hometown of Los Angeles after graduation, is excited to be a director of a summer camp instead of pursuing a career in social work right away. She says that this gap in her career path is an opportunity to explore and have fun.
Gatlin summarized the advice S.U. professor Tracey Marchese gave her about the lack of a model path after college:
“Be careful of the ‘shoulds’ in your life—meaning that whenever you find yourself thinking about what you ‘should’ be doing or what you ‘should’ want, sometimes the voice saying these things is not your own. Do what you want to do and don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s, because it is unique.”
Duckworth knows each graduate has a personal path to follow. She writes, “It took a fair bit of job swapping before I knew that psychological research would become my long-term career.”
She has three suggestions for developing passion: move toward what interests you, seek purpose, and finish strong.
David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics
The Division of Undergraduate Studies, and Enrollment and the Student Experience
White Hall, Syracuse New York 13244
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