Senior Love

[erika]College graduation can mean saying goodbye to late nights at the library, Saturday tailgates with friends and … your significant other? For graduating seniors, leaving college can lead to some pretty big relationship changes. Partners that were once down the street could end up across the country, or in Erika Huerta\’s case, across the ocean.
The medical technology senior has been dating Lucas Stump for over a year, after they met in the Army ROTC program at MSU. Stump, who graduated in May 2006 with a bachelor\’s degree in criminal justice, is now in the U.S. Army. Although he is currently stationed in Kentucky, he will be deployed to Iraq in August. \”We actually just kind of started going for runs together,\” Huerta said. \”I think I asked if anyone wanted to go for a run after an ROTC event, and he said he would.\” So after about nine runs together, the couple started to develop a relationship rooted in admiration and common ground. \”At first, I was like \’this doesn\’t seem promising\’ but I will give the relationship a chance,\” Huerta said. \”The more we hung out, the more I realized we had a lot of things in common.\”
Huerta is walking in graduation this May and will be completing her bachelor\’s degree for one more semester. Since Lucas left for Kentucky, their relationship has become long-distance with periodic visits, a change from when they spent as much time as possible when they first started dating. After finishing her degree, Huerta plans to go whereever the army leads and is uncertain what that means for her future with Stump. \”It\’s hard to say, we are thinking about getting married before he leaves [for Iraq],\” she said. \”I just don\’t want to make a wrong decision.\”
According to marriage and family therapist Tina Timm, this stage in a person\’s life can be one of the most challenging. \”Graduation can be one of the most awkward times in a person\’s life, but if a relationship is strong enough it can survive the competing needs,\” Timm said. \”A couple showing commitment to one another and to the relationship always makes things better. It means they are making joint decisions on how things affect both [people], not just one person.\” Timm is an assistant professor in the department of family and child ecology. She has experience in couple and family therapy, as well as sex and internal family systems therapy, training she feels may be in order to help couples deal with life issues. \”Getting therapy or self-help could be the reason why some marriages or relationships succeed or fail,\” she said.
However, earth science senior Kristin Bergeron said she will not let her relationship with MSU alum Dudley Delcamp get to that point. \”We are both very independent, and even though we want to be together we understand school comes first,\” Bergeron said. Bergeron and Delcamp have many things in common, one being that they both have a want to become teachers, and according to Bergeron this makes their relationship very strong. \”For us going into the same field, I really know that he understands what I need to do because he has been there before,\” she said. \”It also helps with the stress because we are going through the same exact thing.\” Bergeron is graduating in May and looks forward to staying local to do her student teaching internship next year. [kristin]
Delcamp graduated in May 2006, with a bachelor\’s in math and is currently pursuing student teaching at Gardner Middle School in Lansing. For the couple, this has made this past year pleasant. \”Even at this time in our lives, we both tend to be really busy, [but] we still make time for us to spend together,\” Bergeron said.
Delcamp feels that couples who do not realize this may be headed for disaster when graduation approaches. \”It seems to me most people break up because … they have no time to spend together anymore,\” said Delcamp. According to Timm, spending time together isn\’t so easy to do. \”In order for people to be able to invest time in both individuals\’ goals and careers, it takes collective creative problem solving.\” Timm advocates finding ways to incorporate your relationship into your personal life goals can be the best way to keep a relationship flourishing.
Timm also said understanding and communication are keys to any relationship and are the determinant of strength, especially at this time during young adulthood. \”Healthy communication can leave the state of many relationships worried or happy,\” Timm said. \”You can\’t talk too much, because it is the base for a secure relationship.\” Timm also feels that the most important part of that communication is the part of listening. \”Even when fighting or in casual conversation, both should be concerned and try to become better listeners. That\’s why people have two ears and one mouth.\”
For some, like Bergeron and Delcamp, graduation becomes a way to put these things into perspective. It serves as a way to test a relationship\’s strength. Graduates, like finance senior Mario Zillner feel that this change in his life will not affect his relationship but only make it stronger. Zillner feels that his relationship with Wayne State University psychology senior Krissell Stevenson will be unscathed after the changes graduation brings. \”Graduation won\’t affect our relationship immediately,\” he said. \”Maybe in the long run, [but] it\’s basically another test of our love. If we can get past this, then maybe we should be together,\” Zillner said. He and Stevenson met the summer of 2003 and began their relationship in the summer of 2004.
Zillner feels that although his efforts to keep a relationship alive have changed over the years, ultimately maintaining trust and being driven hold a relationship together. \”Growing up, a girl was happy if you took her to eat or to a movie,\” he said. \”Now things depend on our trust of each other.\” After graduation, Zillner plans to live in Chicago, and just received a position as an investment analyst with GE Commercial Finance, so he feels the already long distance relationship will not be affected. \”I don\’t think the distance is that significant really, even when I\’m in Chicago, its not that far away,\” he said. \”I\’ve definitely changed as a person due to this relationship, because I think it has motivated me to do well. My life now means more than just being single – I could actually share all parts of my life with somebody.\”

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Losing It

[guy]For a 21-year-old male college student, appearing older than your actual age could come with some bonuses – like purchasing alcohol without getting carded. But looking more like 30 years old when you\’re in your early 20s might mean something else, too: early hair loss.
Generally hair loss, clinically known as alopecia, has many different types and causes. These types of the disorder include: alopecia areata, which is temporary hair loss; androgenic alopecia, which is common male pattern hair loss, and telogen effluvium, which is temporary hair loss caused by stress.
Hair Woes
According to hair loss research conducted by specialists at HairLossHelp Inc., in Santa Monica, Calif., stress is directly linked as one of the causes of hair loss. HairLossHelp Inc. found that hair loss usually occurs three months after the stressful event has occurred and it may take three months after the stress period has ended for hair growth to resume. However the case of stress related hair loss or telogen effluvium can be worsened by other forms of hair loss such as androgenic alopecia.
With all the pressures of classes, exams, and jobs, college life is stressful enough without having to worry about losing your hair as a result. This was inevitably the case for political science senior Shakeya Lewis, whose full head of flowing black hair started thinning out over two years ago. \”With all the stress and problems I was going through at the time, my hair wasn\’t as nearly as long as it is now,\” said Lewis. Struggling to maintain her 15 credit class load with an over-active extracurricular life took its toll on Lewis and caused her to undergo enormous amounts of stress. \”I wore myself so thin that semester that it was ridiculous, and my hair bared the result of that decision.\”
After getting herself focused, restoring her gorgeous healthy hair to its crown and glory became a lengthy and important task for Lewis. \”After all the stuff I went through with school and everything else, my hair was so gone because I was so stressed out,\” said Lewis. Lewis then gave her hair, as well as her life, time to heal and grow healthy, without the stress and negative energy wearing her down.
Lewis is very close to the issues of hair loss, having six years of hair care experience, and may want to become a licensed cosmologist one day. She started out doing friends\’ hair in high school occasionally, and now she has five to seven clients a week. Lewis even has a fan group following on the website Facebook.com of over 30 college students, dedicated to her hair stylin\’ abilities.
Although there are many different products to help restore hair loss and medicate alopecia, there are very few that will work when stressed out about that huge research paper or midterm exam.
Terry Nelson, a cosmetologist for 18 years and currently at Styling Studio in Lansing, suggests that you relax, stay calm, and work on the issue that is at the root of the hair loss. She said relaxing yourself is the key to not only healthy hair but especially healthy living. “I found using aromatherapy helps people relax and soothes them when they\’re having a bad day, [and] takes their mind off of their problems,\” said Nelson.
Do You Like My Hat?
Experiencing hair loss at a young age can be an embarrassing or even traumatic experience for some people. According to Danny Martinez, cosmetologist/barber at Terry Cutz in Lansing, the emotional effects of early hair loss is different for women than it is for men. \”For a lot of women, unless they intentionally wear a short style, having long hair is attached to their pride and image,\” said Martinez. \”They may feel lacking or that having short hair is a shame. I think losing hair is easier for men because as long as it is unnoticeable, they don\’t care as much.\” Martinez, who has been a cosmetologist for 10 years and a barber for 24 years, is the former co-owner of Consolations Barber Shop in Lansing.
From a male perspective, there is also much emphasis placed on receding or thinning hair being a marker of getting older. While some worry over losing their hair (perhaps making it worse!), others accept their hairless futures. Journalism instructor Garry Gilbert realized at 25 years old that he would probably begin to lose his hair much like his father and grandfather before him. \”If you look at most of the men in my family, the Gilbert men all lost their hair really early on,\” said Gilbert. Gilbert was seemingly unconcerned with the thought of having a similar hair style to most of the men in his family. \”It didn\’t really bother me much; I never really considered hair implants or things of that sort.\”
Gilbert feels that many young men are embarrassed to talk about hair loss, especially male pattern baldness, which is the most common. He said there is too much emphasis put upon hair loss, when for many it is inevitable. \”I think that should not have much effect on who you are and your personality,\” said Gilbert.
Lewis feels that for women, hair loss can be emotional because our society uses hair as an indicator of beauty. \”Some women base beauty on how men respond to their image,\” she said. \”Some people feel that long hair is ingrained in a woman\’s make up.\” She feels that the image of anyone should be decided and based on what is best for that individual and not for society or pleasing a love interest. \”I think people need to do whatever they feel when it comes to their image, and not worry about the response,\” said Lewis. \”People are always going to talk anyway.\”
Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy Hair
Lewis feels that those who want healthy hair need to analyze their diet and lifestyle. \”The things you eat and drink could have an effect on many things – from how healthy, long or full your hair is, to the color your nails,\” said Lewis.
[apple]Does the old saying “you are what you eat†also speak to everything including whether you hair is as healthy as it could be? \”Having unhealthy hair could be [caused by] many different things,\” said Olin Health Center nutritionist Ronda Bokram. \”It could be stress, hereditary, medication side effects or even a thyroid condition, but it could also be your diet if you have poor nutrition or you are under eating,\” said Bokram. She also said the key to keeping healthy hair is having some fats in your diet and a variety of nutrients that consist of more than one food group.
It is not enough just to know whether you are going to experience baldness in ten years as a result of genetics or to even stay centered and stress-free. You must also know how to take care of your hair, and not let something like trying that new L\’Oreal Paris hair color, entice you into unnecessary baldness.
Maintenance, Please!
For interdisciplinary studies in social science junior Lizzie Solomon, her diet wasn\’t the problem; it was dying her hair and trying to keep up maintenance of it, which caused her hair to break off. Solomon, who decided to try something different her freshman year at MSU, dyed her naturally brown hair blonde. Then her golden locks started to thin. \”At first it didn\’t have an effect because my hair was still long, but by being in school it was hard to keep washing it and getting my hair done properly,\” said Solomon. \”So my hair started breaking off and I had to just cut it.\”
Martinez and Nelson both agree that maintenance is a very big issue in hair loss, and bigger than people may think. “Hair loss usually deals with more of how you care for it than anything else, it is all about how much wear and tear you put on it,\” said Nelson.
Martinez feels that it is more scientific and stems from hygiene within care. \”Whatever your condition, hygienic practices and cleanliness adds to whatever is wrong with your hair,\” said Martinez. \”Anything that is not cleaned properly turns to a fungus and with hair that leads to dry skin and flakiness and irritation of the scalp. If your hair is not sanitized properly and regularly, it causes flaking and stunts growth or results in loss.\”
Before blaming family genes for hair loss, consider possible alternative causes – you might actually be able to keep your hair thicker for longer. But then again, you might start getting carded.

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Up in Smoke

[hand]As the faint, stale aroma of previously-smoked cigarettes carries through dimly lit PT O’Malley’s, Jaclyn Finnerman tends the bar waiting for her next customers. Thinking it would be great to soak up the nightlife while getting paid well, Finnerman has only one small qualm about being a bartender: as a non-smoker, she fears the health risks of second-hand smoke. And in a college-town bar, there\’s plenty of it.
“All the smoking affects my sinuses and it can sometimes get hard to breathe in here, but after being here for a while you get used to it and I love working here,” Finnerman said.
Finnerman has adjusted to the poignant smells that fill P T O’Malley’s Bar and Grill. “It’s usually not a problem as long as the fans keep the circulation going on here,” Finnerman said.
But for those routinely surrounded by enough smoke to equal a pack-a-day nicotine habit, there can be some serious health risks. According to Olin’s Guide to Quit Smoking (http://www.healthed.msu.edu/smoking/), those who inhale smoke secondhand account for about 3,000 lung cancer deaths every year, most of which do not smoke at all.
Smoking has become just as synonymous with bars as alcohol, but the issue of second hand smoke raises the question – should non-smokers have to endure smoke in order to enjoy the bar?
Some legislators say no. In 2004, Gov. Jennifer Granholm increased the tax on tobacco from $2.00 a pack to $2.05 a pack. This is a part of a state-wide campaign to ban smoking in Michigan bars, restaurants, and other public places. Twenty-six states have now legally banned smoking in public work places, restaurants and bars, supporters hope to add Michigan to that increasing list of states.
Roberto Reyes, Jr., a professional writing and digital rhetoric senior, has been smoking since age 17, and feels that even though there may be individuals who do not smoke in public places, accommodating both is important. “I would say that the profits of businesses would be one of the first thoughts for legislatures, but given that most of the responses and smoking bans could actually cause local businesses to lose money, it\’s an odd situation,” Reyes said.
Lindsey Nichols, a waitress at The Post Bar, thinks the ban would be a positive step. Nichols is currently in the process of quitting smoking, and feels that working in a bar does not necessarily increase her craving for nicotine. “I would love to have a ban on smoking in bars because I think it would make it a lot healthier,” Nichols said.
Recently, Harvard University School of Public Health conducted a study dealing with tobacco products across different brand names (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nicotine/trends.pdf). The Harvard study found there has been an 11 percent increase in the level of nicotine in cigarettes from 1998 to 2005, making it more difficult than ever for users to quit.
Reyes said tobacco companies do not take into account the health risks of their products and how their decisions affect their customers. “I don\’t think [tobacco companies] consider the health risks – I think they consider the profit margins,\” Reyes said. \”One of the major things that folks who smoke realize is that this is not about health or about safety or welfare. It\’s fairly obvious that the cigarette companies care less about people and more about making money.\”
So are tobacco companies to blame?
Kara Anderson of the Adolescent Health Education Services through the Ingham County Health Department, said not exactly – the media is at fault, as well as vendors who sell to minors. “The media makes [smoking] look favorable,\” she said. \”I put responsibility on the sellers of cigarettes in our society who let underage people buy them,” Anderson said.
[wall]Adolescent Health Education Services, known formerly as Willow Plaza Teen Services, was started in 2005 as a peer education program for adolescents ages 11 to 21. The services work to promote awareness with young people on issues such as smoking cessation, teen pregnancy and abstinence.
Along with counseling, there are many different methods that have developed to aid people who want to quit smoking. Some of the most popular methods are Nicotine patches or gum, brand switching methods, using the gradual cutback or step process, or even a prescription drug called Zyban (Bupropion).
According to Anderson, after expressing a want and need to quit, one of the biggest reasons many are unsuccessful is a result of having no support system. “Anytime someone is trying to do something, there is a need for a support system,\” Anderson said. \”When you are trying to quit you don’t need others in your family or support system that aren’t ready.\”
Anderson said a program like Adolescent Health Education, which covers specific topics that help smokers learn about themselves and addiction – promotes three main goals. During the sessions you learn what addiction is, personal triggers, and also awareness and health advocacy. Anderson said the next step is following up and making sure participants develop that support system. “There is only so much that can be done in an hour session – that will not make people quit,” Anderson said.
Reyes believes there is a common misconception that smokers do not understand the health risks associated with smoking. “It\’s very easy to demonize smoking at the moment, especially since people seem to think that smokers haven\’t yet understood how dangerous it is,\” Reyes said. \”One thing people need to understand is that, yes, I am a smoker and I know it\’s horrible for me.\”
Anderson believes the health risks are not necessarily ignored, but that many young people think the harmful effects will not affect them. \”In our society, we have a tendency to gravitate to the perception that it feels good,” Anderson said.
However, students like chemical engineering freshman Princy Mathai understand that cigarettes are harmful and can become a “disgusting” habit. “Cigarettes smell gross and taste gross and when you inhale it, well at least in my case, it hurts my lungs and gives the rough feeling in my throat and disgusting after taste in my mouth,” Mathai said.
Instead, Mathai endorses a flavored tobacco smoking process called hookah. A hookah is a water pipe that consists of many different chambers, and according to Mathai results in “less irritation” to the smoker’s throat.
Donald McGrath, manager of Blue Midnight Hookah Lounge on Albert Avenue and a hookah smoker of six years, agrees that hookah is not only different than cigarettes but better.
“Shisha – which is the tobacco [used in hookah]- contains no tar and very little amounts of nicotine so it is not like smoking cigarettes at all,” McGrath said. He equates hookah’s popularity to a social phenomenon. “It is definitely a social thing, where more people smoke cigarettes because it’s a habit – hookah is more for fun,” McGrath said.
[face]According to Reyes, many focus on the negative aspects and health risks of smoking but to him, it serves as a social activity. “I\’ve met the majority of my friends through smoking and have kept them while smoking,\” he said. \”Smoking actually does create an atmosphere all of its own. It\’s sort of like a safe space for other smokers to converse. It\’s an interesting phenomenon when you look at it.\”

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