HCC Times https://hcctimes.org The Student Newspaper of Howard Community College Thu, 15 Aug 2019 15:46:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 Spreading Love in the HCC Neighborhood https://hcctimes.org/2019/spreading-love-in-the-hcc-neighborhood/ https://hcctimes.org/2019/spreading-love-in-the-hcc-neighborhood/#respond Wed, 14 Aug 2019 14:32:06 +0000 https://hcctimes.org/?p=790 If by chance you are of the misfortune to have never seen even a single episode of Fred Rogers’ 895 episode run on PBS, rest assured that it’s not yet too late to understand the spirt of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and to carry that forward in your own life. If you’re really looking to brush up, November 2019 will bring a re-telling of Rogers’ impact with the release of A Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood starring Tom Hanks. Rogers sparked in his audiences the compassion, integrity, and authenticity that lend to happy, healthy, and loving communities. Despite the show holding the target audience of children, the themes and takeaways are universally beneficial for all age groups, and it can even be argued that adults are in ways in more dire need of a re-education on the subject matter.

Pursuing higher education is for many a commitment to oneself, one’s family, and one’s community with the goal of becoming a more prepared, aware, and dedicated individual. This commitment, although noble in itself can be limiting at times. In the midst of pushing oneself to the edges of capacity with demanding projects, challenging concepts, and maxed out schedules, it is easy to forget the cement of the educational process Rogers so passionately preached over his long-standing career; love. Love is the base of the greatest human attributes from kindness, patience, and generosity. In the day to day hustle of it all, the education process can feel like a duty, an obligation, at times it can even feel like a never-ending sentence of books, deadlines, and assignments. It is so important to hold on to the truth that the captivating characters and guests in Rogers’ neighborhood came to know in their hearts. Mantras like “You are special”, “I like you just the way you are”, and “I am proud of you” are aimed at creating a sense of security and comfort in the viewers and it’s those words that are so needed as we climb the mountain of higher education.

Let Howard Community College be the neighborhood that Rogers’ envisioned for America. Treat your peers, your professors, and staff with the compassion that we all deserve. It’s easy to forget that sometimes the greatest learning comes through our interactions outside of the classroom. When patience arrives in the long line at the cafeteria to teach you to take a moment to breath and smile before blurting out your order. Or when faith arrives at the end of an exhausting tutoring session to remind you that you have what it takes to master the content. We are all capable of embodying these principles and if we can transform our campus with love, then it will only create a ripple effect to the communities beyond our campus lines.

Fred Rogers possessed the simple but powerful knowledge that love is the driving force to so much in this world of ours. In a time when our news is saturated with stories of violence, corruption, and competition, it’s up to the individuals to reclaim what really matters. I urge you to incorporate Fred’s mantras into your own self talk and just see how that makes you feel. It starts with love for yourself and quickly radiates to all those you cross paths with. When you have love for yourself, it is so much more natural to love your neighbor.

https://hcctimes.org/2019/spreading-love-in-the-hcc-neighborhood/feed/ 0
HCC Times Now Hiring https://hcctimes.org/2019/now-hiring/ https://hcctimes.org/2019/now-hiring/#respond Mon, 29 Jul 2019 15:11:37 +0000 https://hcctimes.org/?p=779 The HCC Times is looking for eager candidates to help lead the student paper of Howard Community College into the future. With a new website, faster pace, and and a growing group of writers, we need students who are willing to lead the charge to step up! If you enjoy writing, design, photography, and being a leader, check out our available roles below. There is no deadline for applications, but please follow the instructions on how to apply. All applications may be sent to newspaper@howardcc.edu

• Head of Editorial

The Head of Editorial will be the last stop for all copy-editing. You’ll receive articles as they come in, edit them accordingly, and directly publish them to the site.


Ability to use WordPress*
Excellent copy-editing skills – proof of editing required, test will be given
Exceptional communication
Passion for what you do and helping others create the best possible work they can
Availability to work in an office (15 hours per week minimum)

• Content Strategist

The Content Strategist will be the person behind-the-scenes making sure everyone is situated. Getting people things to write about, communicating with writers and letting them know who to contact, speaking to faculty if need be. You will also be the main point-of-contact if anyone needs to contact the HCC Times for something direct.


Ability to use WordPress*
Your communication skills must include understanding the weight your words carry, being able to quickly and calmly deal with situations and navigate wisely under stress.
A team leader mindset
Passion for what you do and helping others create the best possible work they can
Availability to work in an office (15 hours per week minimum)

• Design Coordinator

With the site, there are very few instances wherein design is needed outside what we currently have. What we would need is someone to create images for articles or take photos that would accompany those same articles. You do not need to work in the office for this role, but your pay is determined by your contributions.


Ability to use WordPress*
Ability to use Photoshop and/or Illustrator
Eye for “what looks good”
Able to work without much direct guidance
Passion for what you do and helping others create the best possible work they can

• Writers:

We are always looking for writers. Always. Writers can range from someone who has contributed to multiple school newspapers in the past to someone who wants to break the mold and start writing for the first time. If you are passionate and eager about the subject, write about it and contact us. All writers were be paired with a limited WordPress account so that you may preview how your posts will look. From there, you can submit articles for review before publishing.


Ability to use WordPress*
Undying passion for whatever it is you’re writing about
Ability to cohesively talk about one central topic
Decent ability to write and have it read well
Work well under-pressure and work extremely well with others

How to Apply:

For all the positions, the subject line needs to start with the role you are applying for. For example, if you are interested in the Head of Editorial job, the subject line of your email can be “Head of Editorial: John Doe Application”. Please be sure to do this as your email can otherwise quickly be lost. Please be sure to also attach a resume and the necessary files mentioned below.

For the Head of Editorial, please submit an article that either you have edited or one that you will edit (alongside the edited version as well). You will be given a editing test after we receive your application as well.

For the Content Strategist, your resume should be able to speak for itself, but if not, tell us why you think you’d be a good fit for the job. What have you done in the past that made you feel as if you’d be someone who can easily handle the job? Let us know.

For Design Coordinator/Photographer, let us know what your skills are in various programs and submit your portfolio or give us a few reasons why you think you’d be a great fit for the team and put it all in the email you send as an application.

ALL writers MUST submit some form of a writing sample. It cannot be something that has been submitted for a class. If you have a built portfolio, you may submit that as well. If you have no written in past, please write something on any topic you choose and submit that. You haven’t written in a long time, we strongly suggest you take the same route as your “writing voice” may have changed.

In short, all jobs need to have the proper subject in the email, a resume attached, hit all the requirements, and then also supply us with the needed documents directly above.

If you need more information, you may call the HCC Times at (443) 518.4280 or by stopping by the Office of Student Life currently located at CL 250, inside the library. You may also email newspaper@howardcc.edu if you have any questions.

*All positions will come with WordPress training. It’s not hard to use and is very intuitive, but if training is necessary, it will be given to those that need it. It is not a prerequisite of the job, but knowing how to use it will be integral to the work you do.

https://hcctimes.org/2019/now-hiring/feed/ 0
Toy Story 4 https://hcctimes.org/2019/toy-story-4/ https://hcctimes.org/2019/toy-story-4/#respond Mon, 15 Jul 2019 15:29:36 +0000 https://hcctimes.org/?p=772 Toy Story has followed millennials through various stages of life. From the initial debut in 1995, the characters grasped children’s hearts (and their parents’ wallets) making history as Pixar’s first full-length film and the first film to be made entirely with computer generated imagery. Audiences had a short 4 year wait until 1999 for the sequel Toy Story 2 release which was again met with raving praise. The third installment of the franchise which made its arrival in 2010 is by far a tough act to follow- with the title of Disney’s fourth highest ranking film in history at the time of its release.

Trailing by 9 years, the fourth film faces the challenge of being compared to the Oscar winning Toy Story 3. The third film in many ways felt conclusive and is adored by audiences nearly unanimously so the decision to revamp the storyline was met with uncertainty by many. With an underwhelming opening weekend, some believed a loss of interest in the franchise was to blame for lacking numbers, but it has been argued that despite missing the mark of anticipated box office figures- the film is nonetheless a success.

The fourth and speculated final installment of the Toy Story series manages to serve up some pretty serious takeaways, capturing the essence of what it means to be alive- the wonder, the freedom, and the angst of consciousness delivered in the form of the franchise’s newest member of Woody’s beloved toy crew – a newly sentient spork named Forky. Now crises of self are not completely unknown to the Toy Story crew with Buzz Lightyear facing the jarring reality that he is in fact a toy not an actual space ranger in the first feature film, but that hurdle pales in comparison to the feat of mental strength and soul-searching set upon the newest character.

The series has grown the cohort of toys through jealousy, abandonment, acceptance, and countless narrowly escaped toy deaths. The gang’s greatest feat by far was the act of coming to terms with their owner Andy aging out of the relationship, heading off to college and carefully passing the torch of ownership to the young Bonnie introduced in Toy Story 3. In a heart wrenching scene, the audience witnesses the acceptance in both the toys and Andy that their time has come to an end and a shift in purpose takes place at the closing of the third film. Toy Story 4 opens with all too familiar antics of the toys’ life in their newly adapted home of Bonnie’s room. There are plenty of call backs in the film with many taking place within the first few moments. It’s enough to shoot a Pixar buff to cloud 9 and back.

What sets the new film apart is the depth to the challenges placed on the toys. When Bonnie crudely crafts Forky on her first day of Kindergarten, she breathes life into that misguided utensil and he must come to terms that he is no longer trash- he is a toy alive, a toy born alongside a band of loyal and experienced toys that will not accept his innumerable attempts to return to the trash void of security. Woody takes on a new role in the fourth film, now wrangling the new favorite Forky with fervor that practically erases his jealous past that sparked the gang’s adventures early on. In a daring rescue mission along dark and risky road trip routes, Woody must help the confused Forky learn of his new purpose in life- all the while broadening his own life’s purpose. The beloved Bo Peep returns to the screen in a re-imagined role to reinforce the need for agency over one’s own life.

The philosophical undertones of the film can spark some pretty serious soul-searching for audiences of age to do so and for the younger viewers, the themes leave plenty of room to grow over time. With Keanu Reeves, Kegan-Michael Key, and Jordan Peele joining the already stellar cast with leads of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, the film stands to be appreciated by viewers old and young alike.

https://hcctimes.org/2019/toy-story-4/feed/ 0
Don’t Touch My Hair https://hcctimes.org/2019/dont-touch-my-hair/ https://hcctimes.org/2019/dont-touch-my-hair/#respond Wed, 19 Jun 2019 18:09:22 +0000 https://hcctimes.org/?p=767 “Is that your real hair?” asked Dorothy.

It was 2009.

Dorothy was a non-black Latina I grew up with. At first I wanted to cut her some slack for not being black and therefore excuse her lack of knowledge and decency.
However, I changed my mind and decided that since she grew up in Prince George’s County—a predominantly black and Latino area, despite current gentrification—Dorothy should have known better.
My ninth-grade classmates stared at me, expecting an answer as I stood frozen, completely unsure of what to say.

It was supposed to be my day.

After months of being natural, my hair was in need of a protective style: curly braids was that month’s choice.
My big sister was a magician with her hands and knew just how to disguise the braids so that my hair looked like it was full of curls, curls that could have been mine—and technically were. I had the receipts!

I said nothing to Dorothy, walking right past her and into homeroom. For years I looked back on that event and felt bad about the way I treated her: a girl who let me comb her silky, black hair in the sixth grade. I was convinced by this society that what she had was better. Years later, I have come to my senses and I am proud of my-2009-self. What I am not proud of is that in 2017 I still face the same questions, embarrassment, and circumstances of finding strange hands in her hair.

“[Hair] is a complex issue that deserves more attention,” says Dr. Joy Stephens, psychologist and assistant director in Mental Health Counseling and facilitator of the Women of Color Group at HCC. She started the group in order for women of color to connect outside of the classroom in a safe and inviting environment. “Unfortunately, hair is often the root of many microagressions, which prompted the desire to discuss Solange’s song, ‘Don’t Touch My Hair,’ in the context of racial identity development, intersectionality, as well as self-care,” she said.
What Stephens alludes to was the ‘Seat at the Table’ event held on October 18 in RCF 400. A discussion about the work of singer and creative Solange Knowles connected her songs to the real experiences that women of color face daily.

The coordinator of the event, Crystal Whitaker, an instructor in the Arts & Humanities Department, said that, “in terms of being comfortable with asking or even touching our hair, I think this stems from not seeing black women as women in those moments. The plight of the black woman has always been fighting the struggle of being property and being independent.”
This independence has been deemed a threat in history.

Historically, the Tignon Law of 1876 kept black women in colonial society from wearing immaculate hairstyles—with their real hair.
Interestingly, black women started wrapping their hair in lavish headdresses that made them stand out even more.

“There are such polarized assumptions about our very existence that it seems natural for someone to question who we are and what we possess,” says Whitaker. “I have been told to get a relaxer because my hair was too thick,” says Tey Harper, a New York-based actress. “I eventually got [a relaxer] to see what the hype was about—absolutely nothing.” Not only are people governing the hairstyles black women choose to wear, they are suggesting what they deem as solutions to a problem, which ultimately leads black women to damage their natural hair texture.

Tori Eley, a student at HCC, has experienced having foreign hands in her hair, all while being asked whether the hair belonged to her.

“There was a time I was in line in the cafe’ and a woman walked by and asked if my hair was real while running her fingers through it. I was immediately offended because I knew she asked only because I am African American and my hair is long” she said. “When I told her yes, she said, ‘Oh my, I know you have to be mixed with something,’” Eley added. But her encounter is just one example of how black women are constantly being challenged, whether our tresses are long, short, or thick.

Taylor Jackson, also a student, has faced similar microagressions. “Exotic beauty means strikingly unusual or to stand out and be beautiful, different or even mysterious,” Jackson said.
“As a black female it makes me feel liberated, confident, and makes me love myself even more when I have my identity questioned because no one but my sisters would understand,” she said.

Sister, we understand.

https://hcctimes.org/2019/dont-touch-my-hair/feed/ 0
Reunion https://hcctimes.org/2019/reunion/ https://hcctimes.org/2019/reunion/#respond Mon, 10 Jun 2019 16:25:59 +0000 https://hcctimes.org/?p=730 I was smarter than this. I knew what would happen, I knew exactly what would happen if I walked up the driveway and knocked on that same gray-green door which I had thought I would never see again. Despite having nowhere to go, it wasn’t hard to see or hear the news, the world’s reaction to a walking, breathing Jesus. I didn’t know if what the guy said was true or not, I didn’t know a lot of things, all I know is that one day I was awake, then I fell asleep, and then I woke up again. And this door, I distinctly remembered this door, this street, this house.

Of course the guy did say my memory would be a little foggy. He said a lot of things, and I still don’t really remember what they were. He said he was a great, um, magician? He said he was going to rule the world with his army of…I guess, things like me. There indeed were a lot of people up who looked like they would have been better off asleep, but as I stared at them and myself, I saw our sallow skin tighten, and our bony fingers polish themselves in the waning moonlight. I felt my hair grow back on my head and teeth grow and realign while the sorcerer supreme laughed on.

He said to us come, he waved for us to follow him. Yet none of us did. I think we were all still trying to figure out what had just happened. He yelled and stomped, I think trying to push one of the…girls? My eyes hadn’t quite been working that well then. He sighed and hmmphed, I think realizing this hadn’t gone the way he wanted. So he left us. We all just sat there for awhile, after a day or two some of us had remembered how to speak. We talked amongst ourselves, trying to figure who or what we were when we were rudely interrupted by the NOVEMBER 2018 SHORT STORY 11 Reunion screams of a few people. We turned and grunted and the screams turned into applause. A crowd of people led by none other than the one who had done this to us shushed the crowd and said to them, “See my power for what it is. I have revived those who had been faithful to me, see me as I am now, your lord and savior!” Further applause was broken only by a little girl, sniffling and holding the hand of a man who I could only assume to be her father who had somehow gotten ahead of the huge crowd. She held her hand out, trying to pull the reluctant man looking down towards a woman who had told me was Martha. We weren’t sure what a Martha was, but as the thin and still very pale and balding woman walked forward she seemed to be able to recall that meaning. Spurred by the tortured childs leaning, she seemed to be able to recall something else as well, something besides a Martha. She said to the small one, and the big one too, despite trying to not look at him as much as he tried to not look at her. “Eloise.” The man finally looked up, staring into Martha’s eyes, wetness clouding his own, and they both stood and stared for a while before the little girl broke free and hugged the Martha tight. At first she was shocked, then a little scared, then she hugged back. The girl yelled out loud, for everyone to hear, “Promise! Promise, Mommy! Promise you won’t leave us again!” Martha did not promise anything. She only took the hand of the man who was reluctant to grab it, to hold onto her again, to feel love, and to lose it and helped carry their burden out and away from the crowd.

The crowd dispersed searching for their own Marthas, I think however some were far less pleased with their findings. In fact a lot of people were…angry? Disgusted is what I think I mean, though angry could apply to that as well. They yelled and got violent, some brought matchsticks, others bats, and guns and then a team of men all in thick white carried a few of my friends out of the mish-mashed crowd with the people following them all while I hid waiting for the noise to just stop. I knew I had to get away from here, almost forgetting why, when I heard the magic man leading a new crowd to the other few who had escaped.

So I left, and walked until I could find something to hold onto, my own Eloise. As I walked I remembered small things, more words, some other names, and that Martha was a name. I figured out that noone would want me, a freak from beyond nature, but still I had to try, I wanted to try and live again, and that was when I found myself at the little brick house, with a grey green door, and a subaru parked in the driveway. I walked up to the door, knowing this would never work, that nothing would change, except my resentment towards this world which cast me out once, then threw me back in only to be thrown to the sharks. I knocked once, twice, three times, then rang the bell. A little jingle I used to do before, to remind them I was home. The door slowly opened, with a familiar face framing its entry, it was neither a smile or a whimper on their face just shock, and I struggled to say, struggled to remember…yes, I know now, I remember.


https://hcctimes.org/2019/reunion/feed/ 0
Dragon Diner https://hcctimes.org/2019/dragon-diner720/ https://hcctimes.org/2019/dragon-diner720/#respond Mon, 10 Jun 2019 16:06:45 +0000 https://hcctimes.org/?p=720 Here at Howard Community College, we place a strong focus on being a living, breathing, helpful community. Each and every day through various events, we collectively extend our hands not only to help our peers, but to support them as well. Recently, the Student Government Association held The Dragon Diner fundraiser for the campus community. The fundraiser was centered around helping raise money for United Way of Central Maryland through a diner aesthetic, selling hamburgers, hotdogs, shakes, and root beer floats.

United Way is a campaign that embraces the ideals of philanthropy and helpful attitudes to help make lives easier for those around us who may not have the same privileges as everyone else they interact with. From households with struggling parents, families that have more trouble making ends meet, and ones that aim to give and receive the best education they can possibly get, United Way bridges the community together to create an environment where everyone can lead and live a life of hope.

The event itself was a roaring success. The food, drinks all had prices ranging from $2 to $6 and the line to the Kittleman Room expanded almost all the way across the DH building. Money was being raised for a good cause, and even with the promise of food to supplement it, people would often times stop by to leave donations solely because of the cause it supported. The donations not only helped United Way in the efforts to help communities all across central Maryland, but it also helped the students here get food for their lunches, enjoy a fun and invigorating time within the Kittleman Room, and also feel as if they are a part of the community.

While the fundraiser may have appeared hectic, crowded, and in all sorts of disarray, it was all for a good cause with a good outcome. The line stretched further than imagined and people were eager to not only get the food, but give money they knew was going to an organization that helps the community itself. People were buying the Dragon Combo for $6 at a lightning pace – selling out within less than an hour. Shifts had to be made to the menu since the event ran out of cheeseburgers, fries, and eventually hamburgers, but everyone stayed in line and still felt an urge to give.

HCC thrives off its ability to not only help the community, but also function as one. Being a community doesn’t mean we’re simply just a group of people who share a common locale, but that we are a group of people who genuinely care for the next person. That through and through, people will try to make lives easier and enjoy the company of all those involved. The Dragon Diner event showcased that throughout its entirety. Running out of ice cream to make the shakes, running out of cheeseburgers and fries entirely, and even struggling to count all of the tickets handed out – the morale around the event never ran dry. In the end, the event raised over $1000 dollars for United Way and, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we couldn’t be more thankful to have given to such a wonderful cause.

https://hcctimes.org/2019/dragon-diner720/feed/ 0
Recycling Food Waste https://hcctimes.org/2019/recycling-food-waste/ https://hcctimes.org/2019/recycling-food-waste/#respond Sun, 02 Jun 2019 14:45:18 +0000 https://hcctimes.org/?p=597 Let’s start this off with a scary statistic. Studies show that Americans produce more than 30% of the world’s garbage. This might not sound too bad, until you realize that the American population is only 5% of the population of the entire Earth. How is that even possible?

It all comes down to the food products we have access to, which are not very limited. Most Americans do not struggle when it comes to grocery shopping, because everything is easily accessible. For example, America is one of the leading consumers of off-season produce; we can enjoy strawberries in the dead of winter. While the health risks of this are still in question, most people still eat out-of-season foods thanks to the convenience.

Due to this convenience factor, and the ease of access to grocery stores, food waste in America has increased significantly, because we tend to buy more food than we need. But that’s only the beginning. In most industrialized nations, less than 2% of food waste is recycled and used for other things. South Korea, a high contributor of food waste, has taken that statistic and flipped it right on its head. They went from only recycling 2% of their food waste to recycling 95% of it.

South Korea is filled with delicious food. Each meal is served with a variety of different side dishes and unsurprisingly, most people don’t finish all the food put in front of them. This leads to an increase in waste, specifically food. According to the World Economic Forum, an organization aiming to shape the world’s global, regional, and industry agendas, South Korea was one of the biggest contributors of food waste. In 1995, Korea only recycled 2% of their food waste. The citizens generated 1300kg of food waste each year. Wasting food began to hurt their economy, and their oceans, so the Korean government passed a few laws that forced people to recycle food scraps.

In 2005, their government passed a law that banned putting any food waste into landfills. In 2013, citizens were encouraged to place all their food waste into biodegradable bags and send off their waste to be recycled. These biodegradable bags are efficient and cost effective, only costing households $6 a month. In some apartments, the residents are charged for every pound of trash they send to landfills. The citizens of Korea are also encouraged to squeeze out excess moisture from their food waste, which decreases the cost in recycling. That’s not where it stops. In Seoul, the nation’s capital, there are over 6,000 high-tech automated bins that recycle food. This means that when they are on the go in the busy city life, they still have plenty of ways to recycle their food waste.

So where does all this recycled food waste go? Amazingly, the use of food waste as fertilizer has become a widespread practice, and it is also used as animal feed. The excess liquid from the food waste can be converted into biogas and bio-oil. Dry food waste helps make soil more fertile, allowing better farming. Composting, the decomposition of food waste, has allowed them to grow more produce, even within the city! This has allowed them to maintain many urban farms. Urban farms are in almost every corner of the bigger cities.They have urban farms between the alleys, on the rooftops of schools and businesses, and everywhere in-between. Not only have urban farms popped up in every corner, community gardens have also made their way into South Korea’s society. Many people have learned the secrets of composting food-waste and end up with the prettiest of gardens.

Food waste recycling has changed the lifestyle of many citizens for the better. It lessens the amount of trash sent to landfills, encourages citizens to use less packaging, and urges them to cook and order only what they can finish. South Korea is now one of the strongest food-waste recyclers throughout the nation.

We can do the same things that they have done, if not more. As one of the biggest contributors to food waste, isn’t it our responsibility to take action and make the world better? Food waste recycling doesn’t cost much and would decrease the amount we put in landfills daily. How hard would it be to scrape scraps into a biodegradable bag rather than the garbage? You can even donate food waste to local farms to use as animal feed. You can cook less food, and buy only what you need to buy from the store. Maybe save leftovers for the local homeless people.

You alone have the power to make the world a better place, believe it or not. It’s time to stop wasting our breath and take action! We can make the world a better place, because we can make a world of difference.

https://hcctimes.org/2019/recycling-food-waste/feed/ 0
The Daily Need for a Planner https://hcctimes.org/2019/the-daily-need-for-a-planner/ https://hcctimes.org/2019/the-daily-need-for-a-planner/#respond Sun, 26 May 2019 17:30:35 +0000 https://hcctimes.org/?p=654 During the first week of every January, I have always had countless lists of New Year’s resolutions popping up in my head. Then, I would write each one of them down on a piece of paper lest they lose a chance to be brought to fruition and permanently forgotten. Making a list of my dreams, regardless of how far I am away from the landing place, has been the principal method for me to launch and materialize the things hovering in my mind. So, this time again, I pulled out a new journal and began the process of forming my own small and big dreams for the year, all legible on the blank pages of my journal. I am sure this has been done by most people around New Years since all of us have a belief that planning out the whole year allows us to receive the welcomed presents at the end. But, ninety-nine percent of the time, many of our yearly goals seem inordinately vague, which in turn make us doubt if we will ever be able to get them accomplished this or even next year.

This should be the moment, however, we obliterate our fears getting in our way, but rather slicing each big goal into smaller pieces, so that we can place them nicely on multiple platters for each month of the year. This allows us to plan things ahead before our lives can get excessively hectic as the semester goes on. Sometimes, we are just too caught up in our study, work, social life, and many additional things happening all together in our lives that there seems to be no option but to leave the most exciting goals behind us. Where should I fit my hobbies into the schedule? What about traveling? Will I ever get breathing space for myself from studying?

While focusing on studying as part and full-time college students should be the priority, it is also essential to remind ourselves that there is a myriad of things in our lives outside of coursework that will help us to learn and become more creative, experienced, and intellectual. Paradoxically, spending some amount of time on our hobbies every day in lieu of having restless studying sessions makes us perform better in classes. That is, spare time is never time that is thrown away to the wastebasket but valuable time we should keep to live with a well balanced schedule. With this, I highly recommend that we pull out the planner now and catch a glimpse of today’s to-do list.

What are the things written down that mostly dominate your day? Remember, we are the ones who create the rules and bounds of our own plans within the planner itself. In order to accomplish this year’s goal, we have a monthly goal, and a weekly goal, and most importantly – a daily goal. Never be anxious looking towards the stack of assignments piled up in front of you. Instead, become a fan of keeping an agenda on a day-to-day basis; break down big projects and the amount of time that needs to be put in studying for exams until their finality arrives.

When having completed goals each day, you’ve already completed a part of your New Year’s resolution. As much as we are enthusiastic about creating a New Year’s resolution, what about we also view each day with a New Day’s resolution? With the effective use of a planner, at the end of this year, we will surely find the improved version of ourselves who have ultimately landed on the destination of our dreams, ready to embark on an unstoppable journey with another New Year’s resolution for 2020.

https://hcctimes.org/2019/the-daily-need-for-a-planner/feed/ 0
Our Time is Ours https://hcctimes.org/2019/our-time-is-ours/ https://hcctimes.org/2019/our-time-is-ours/#respond Sat, 25 May 2019 04:19:59 +0000 http://hcctimes.org/?p=584 How much time do you have left at HCC? Our perception of time has a dramatic effect on how we behave. Studies demonstrate that older people generally prefer to spend time with people they are close to, especially family, and pursue and enjoy immediate interests, while younger people express greater desire to adventure, explore, and discover new connections. Yet newer research reveals that these preferences shift not with age, but with perspective. Our awareness of time changes our priorities.

When elderly people were told to imagine they would live for another twenty years, they wanted to spend more time traveling and trying new things. Terminal AIDS patients in their twenties had the opposite tendency – knowing they had at best a few years to live, they wanted to stay close to the people most important to them.

When positive psychology tells us that the quality of our relationships is the number one predictor of long term health and happiness, we start to wonder – do dying people – the people most aware of their mortality, their finite allotment of time and life – have it right? Should we all be seeking to refine our closest relationships, cling to what we love while foregoing the enticements of growth and exploration? The answer is complicated.

Our proclivity for stretching in early life and contracting in later life likely has an evolutionary basis. Imagine living in a preagricultural community – the state our ancestors lived in for millions of years.

In such a community, younger, fitter, and faster people are the best suited to venture forth from the group’s mobile population center, seeking new sources of food and water. Facile, postpubescent youth are physiologically predisposed to exploration. Elders, on the other hand, are slower and more fragile, yet wise with experience. They are best suited to stay with the group, sharing their knowledge and being cared for in turn.

The now-popular theory of group evolution or group fitness founds itself in the idea that humans evolved to work together in communities and promote the longevity of their genetic pool.Perception is fickle. Even though ‘seeing is believing’ and thirty percent of our brains’ neurons are dedicated to vision, what we see is not, strictly speaking, true. Our brain interprets the constant cascade of electrical signals through our optic nerves and decides how to illustrate the most reasonable image it can conceive. To make this illustration, the brain pulls not only from our visual cortex, but also consults known patterns, experiences, memories, and our current physiological state. The result? Our illustrations are illusions. What we see is constructed, not captured.

An array of studies demonstrate this effect. We perceive hills to be steeper when we are wearing a heavy backpack. People appear to walk slower or faster depending whether we have been thinking about turtles or cheetahs.
We can assimilate false body parts that appear to be our own.

Often our perception is molded by events outside our control. The death of a loved one or surviving a near-death experience are common inflection points, after which people express greater gratitude for being alive and show greater appreciation for so-called ‘small things.’ Yet death is not the only reminder of finity. With the knowledge that I will be moving to the UK to attend University, I am acutely aware that my time among the people and places I know best is dwindling. Each opportunity, each day is rare and precious; my thoughts bend to connection, because I know my relationships will soon be stretched or severed by distance.

My window of opportunity to make a difference here is closing. But it takes a certain framework, a certain visible conclusion, to cease taking life for granted and recognize the unique and irreplaceable qualities of daily living. Morbid as it may seem to live with the end in mind, it is a perceptual trick that has been practiced for thousands of years by Stoic philosophers as a way to enlighten – to unburden.

Use your time well. Be a part of campus life. Volunteer. Attend an event. Sit outside; enjoy spring. Talk to people. Thank your teachers. Engage your peers. Advance the cause of kindness. Hold the door. Buy someone lunch. Write a note; let someone know they matter. Get outside your comfort zone. Strike up a conversation you wouldn’t normally have. Ask that special someone out. Control what you can control. Do all the things you could do, all the things you should. You may not get another opportunity. Whether moving across the ocean, across the street, or not at all, our time is not guaranteed. We have only here, only now.
You see, perceptual truth is in living with the awareness of mortality – the lie is pretending we aren’t. That awareness brings with it a single logical conclusion, another stoic tenet – enjoy life.

https://hcctimes.org/2019/our-time-is-ours/feed/ 0
The Big Event https://hcctimes.org/2019/the-big-event/ https://hcctimes.org/2019/the-big-event/#respond Fri, 24 May 2019 16:24:01 +0000 http://hcctimes.org/?p=570 “What does it really take to change a person’s life?” As Liz Murray’s question filled up the auditorium, all grew instantly silent. Sitting at the round tables scattered in the large vibrant room in Turf Valley Resort, attendees of the Big Event on April 9th 2019 featuring Liz Murray savored a taste of a delicious meal while waiting to listen to her journey to becoming a Harvard graduate from homeless. But, her story had more than just a successful life storynice ending. Liz shared how worthy she felt it was to keep going when having faced obstacles and that one should not be a bootstrapper trying to pick themselves up when in a rough life situation. Growing up in the Bronx, where high poverty and crimes were the norms, Liz Murray had countless time she wanted to give up on herself at any point. Raised by her parents, both of whom had severe drug addictions, she did not get to eat most of the time, had to knock on the neighbors’ door to beg for food, and had to confront with the inevitable childhood calamity: she became homeless just after she turned fifteen. It was the biggest moment she wanted to give up on herself, having lost both her mother and Arthur the same year. Arthur was her neighbor who always helped her grow with a belief that she would change people’s lives and that she needed to enroll at a school if she was going to be the one. Yet, she wasn’t sure. Ever since her mom was dying in a hospital in the Bronx, she had dropped out of high school and did not receive any proper education for a while.

Every day in her life involved hanging out with her crew who were also uncertain about their future, shoplifting food in markets, and facing the reality when people stopped answering the door. There was nothing else that was left to help Liz when her father also had to be in the shelter after mother’s death. Days and years passed, and yet she only had what-if lists that hovered in her heart: what if I went back to school? What if I made a visit to see mom more often when she was barely hanging on? What if I worked hard? What if… Liz’s mom had many dreams as well. Liz’s mom said she’d live in a beautiful house, get a degree, and make a good living one day. But not now. Later. Everything became later, Liz said. On the day she buried her mom in the cold box, she buried her dreams and what-ifs as well. She often went to Bobby’s house, one of her great friends, who offered her a good accommodation to stay away from the ferocious reality and to eat and sleep in a cozy environment. Despite the fact that she lost so much already in her life, she emphasized that she was grateful for having people who loved her with all their heart. But, she was aware that she couldn’t sleep in somebody’s house over the entirety of her life. So, she thought about her what-ifs that had been buried deep inside her heart waiting to be taken out. What if I went back to school…? With reverberating old message from Arthur, she decided to knock on the door of high school this time. Seeing her purple hair and pessimistic expression on her face, most educators doubted whether or not she could adapt in an environment that required her to be consistent in attendance. The more rejection she received, the more hope she saw that pushed herself not to give up – she turned down her friends luring her to join the pizza in their apartment instead of going for interviews. And, he credits her prep school for giving her an opportunity to change her life. A teacher named Perry, optimistic sunshine on his face, welcomed her on her first visit to the school and let her today​ take over the what-ifs of yesterday. With only one high school credit she had received in the past, she was now determined to make her dream, getting straight A’s on her transcript, come true. Without letting teachers know that she did not have a place to sleep, she began her grinding to finish every graduation requirement in a short amount of time, which was to be two years.

Although it was not an easy task done under the normal circumstances, she pushed herself for the sake of teachers who were waiting for her to come to classes, passionate to provide all knowledge that could satisfy her quenchless thirst to learn. Liz knew that this was not the opportunity she would catch if she gave up on the point where she did not know where to start from with what she had at that moment. Her will to completely change her life opened her other great opportunities. She managed to go onto a trip to Harvard with one of the top ten students of the school; leading her to ask the student she went with if it could be possible to get in, and, at which point Perry responded that it wasn’t impossible at all with the marvelous achievements she has made become to reality. With the belief that she could get there, her life completely changed when she won the New York Times scholarship by writing an essay on the topic of describing one’s experience of overcoming life obstacles. This brought Liz an acceptance to Harvard and support from her community who were willing to help her with subsidizing her education after her story was featured on the very first page of the publication. One did the laundry for her every semester of high school. Another sent her donation of food and clothes.

“We overlook the power that we have to be able to change the life of one another,” Liz powerfully stated. No one can achieve something only with their ability. It requires heartwarming support from the community they belong to, as once Liz gracefully allowed herself becoming a recipient of those services. With this, it has been her mission to come back to contribute services to make her story useful for other’s lives. This was the purpose of the 2019 Big Event brought by the Leadership Howard County – to strengthen our community by learning from the mistake Liz made in her life and turned into good after all. What Leadership Howard County does today matters, Liz stated. What we do today to bolster up those who feel the wall that separates them from society matters.

https://hcctimes.org/2019/the-big-event/feed/ 0