Tag Archive | "Sex & Health"

Hooked on hooking up: the damages of hookup culture

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Hooked on hooking up: the damages of hookup culture

Red solo cups litter the ground as young hormonal-infused 20-year-olds shuffle into a house with strobe lights filling every dark corner of the bigger rooms. Students attempt to avoid the spills of sticky unknown substances as they make their way past groups of party goers.

Hazy conversations and nameless interactions fill the air from the front door to the bathroom line, where dozens of kids look to relieve themselves for the third time of the night. But none of this late night conversing compares to the kind of physical foreplay going on in the basement.

A man dressed in a flannel and khakis, eager for the night to go somewhere exciting, spots a girl wearing high wasted shorts and a crop top. She is alone and clearly not dancing with anyone… this is his opportunity. He inches behind her and slowly moves his hips with hers. It takes just one ambitious sway from the man against his female counterpart’s waist before they are in sync, linked together for the next couple of songs.

“Casual hookups are such a big part of the social part of college,” said sophomore Will Reider.

Well known to incoming freshmen, hookup culture holds heavy weight in the social pressures that accompany students enrolled at universities.

“It’s an inevitable part of college as well as our generation,” Rieder said. “People go out, knowing they aren’t going to find a boyfriend or girlfriend, just have some fun.”

The concept of dating changes from high school to college—suddenly relationships are stressful, taking up time and keeping people from the “college experience.” Hooking up can provide an opportunity to fill the void for physical pleasure while rooting out the issue of emotional commitment.

“There is a lot more dishonesty when it comes to hooking up,” Rieder said. “People will say or do anything to get with someone. If you want to go out with someone, you need to be honest and some people don’t want that.”

So why does the mentality of sexual freedom change so much when welcome week rolls around? Stephanie Amada, a faculty member in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric and American Cultures at Michigan State University, has conducted extensive research on hookup culture and its enablers and consequences.

“Alcohol is the obvious one, [hookup culture] wouldn’t exist without it,” Amada said. “I believe a vast majority of hooking up takes place when it’s present.”

This liquid courage is a common trend among late-teen and early 20 year olds.

Amada said she believes alcohol provides people with the bravery to approach someone they think is cute.

“Some drink it intentionally so when they find themselves in the process, it’s okay,” said Amada. “They feel less inhibited and use it as an excuse.”

In addition to alcohol, Amada believes there to be a much bigger less obvious influence surrounding the lives of sexually active students.

“The media is the biggest one,” said Amada. “A lot of TV shows give the message that [hookup culture] is the norm and expected kind of behavior.”

Amada also finds the availability of tools such as plan B and condoms seem to be emphasizing what the media and alcohol already say is okay. Universities may not want to promote the culture, but they still retain a responsibility to reiterate practicing safe sex. It’s almost like posting on every dorm room: “Don’t do it, but if you do, use these.”

“They’re everywhere, ever-present,” said Amada. “They are being given the message it’s okay because of how readily available.”

A common theme that trails many random sexual crusades students embark upon is the promise of anonymity. When two kids meet up on the dance floor, this is very likely a spontaneous meeting between two unknown parties.

“Remaining anonymous is important for people hooking up,” said sophomore Alicia Geniac. “No one has to know. People can get drunk at parties, hook up then go home without ever knowing the person.”

Geniac also noted a darker side to a students attempt to remain unknown in their endeavors.

“Risk is created with people meeting on Tinder,” she said.

The smartphone application has been a contributing factor for anonymous hookups. After making an account featuring only their first name and five of their favorite self-flattering photos, users can swipe right or left on profiles of the preferred gender they are interested in meeting.

There aren’t many assumptions that can be drawn from ones profile besides their looks and the short bio they have the option of writing. If two people both show a mutual interest in one another, they can become “matched” and a message thread opens where they can get to know each other further.

“A barrier is created that I don’t think people mind having,” said Geniac. “It makes it easier and there are fewer pressures for it to go anywhere. But it’s still very dangerous.”

This barrier has led to ample opportunity for anyone seeking out an exclusively physical relationship. For some, the consequences are minor after a hook up.

“One of my frat brothers had been with a girl the night before when we saw him walking around the house,” said Rieder. “He looked like he had been attacked by a vampire just be looking at the purple bruise on the side of his neck.”

Facing the uglier side of this culture, there are plenty of chances for these kinds of engagements to make a student regret everything they had done in the recent past.

“There was a first year student who got pregnant by the first two weeks of college,” said Amada. “She had been with three different guys and therefore didn’t know who the father was.”

In truth, many don’t consider a potential pregnancy or colorful hickey being the result of the night. Students in the heat of passion, wrapped up in each other with alcohol buzzing in their brains and promiscuous thoughts traveling their minds, there isn’t much else teenagers are going to consider.

“We have become a more openly sexualized generation,” said Geniac. “Now people are more shy about asking people on dates, less about physical activity. It’s coming first, the physical activity is more common, less get to knowing.”

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Mono — What is it and how to identify it

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Mono — What is it and how to identify it


Mononucleosis is commonly nicknamed the “kissing disease” on college campuses. As it turns out, the name isn’t that far from the truth.

“I always hear about people who say they got mono in college,” said human development and family studies freshman Claire Lynch.

The seemingly elusive illness is transmitted through the exchanging of saliva – which includes sharing drinks, eating utensils, lipstick or lip gloss—and yes, even kissing. Its symptoms vary in commonality from person-to-person, making it difficult to identify.

“Typical symptoms of infectious Mononucleosis include fever, sore throat, swollen lymph glands in neck and fatigue,” said Dr. Suman Kashyap, Associate Director of Clinical Affairs from Olin Health Center at Michigan State University.

Kashyap said mono is most common in young adults starting at age fifteen. The illness can be erratic on a college campus where the average age group ranges from 17 to early twenties.

The earliest indicators include fever, nausea or loss of appetite and headaches. The appearance of these symptoms ranges from four to six weeks after initial exposure, according to a brochure from the American College Health Association, which is given to students at Olin Health Center following a diagnosis of mono.

Michigan State senior Lauren Starr has been experiencing symptoms of mono for about five weeks. She described the illness in one word—exhausting.

“My worst symptoms have been my extreme exhaustion and fatigue as well as the symptoms I experienced just after getting diagnosed, which included a persistent fever, sore throat, and swollen glands in my neck and spleen,” said Starr.

Starr said that mono has kept her from carrying out her normal routine. Her biggest battle—not being able to be physically active.

“I have not been able to work out which is something that I am used to doing every day,” Starr said. “There is potential for the spleen to rupture if it is hit or aggravated when someone has mono, which can be life threatening if it were to rupture.”

Dr. Kashyap reinforced Starr’s statement, saying it is a physician’s recommendation to wait at least four to six weeks after initial diagnosis before continuing with normal physical activity.

When it comes to a full recovery, not many medications are able to combat the illness—it takes more than a simple prescription to recover.

“Maintenance of adequate fluids and nutrition is important,” Dr. Kashyap said. “It is advised to get extra rest, but bed rest is unnecessary. Some medications may be required only if complications develop.”

Olin Health Center sees an average of 180 to 200 cases of mono in a year. It doesn’t occur more frequently in one season over another, so transmission of the illness can occur year-round.

According to the American College Health Association, if you have symptoms that are similar to those stated above, it might not mean you have mono, but it is encouraged to see a health care professional to be evaluated.

“Mono has affected every aspect of my life and I can’t wait until I am back to normal health,” said Starr.

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Hot and Healthy September: The perfect breakfast scramble

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Hot and Healthy September: The perfect breakfast scramble

It’s been proven that there is no better way to start your day than with a solid breakfast. It will help you pay attention better, give you more energy and help you kick the rest of your day in the butt. But there are so many breakfast options—the fried egg, the burrito, the omelet…what do you choose?

Chop your potatoes into even cubes

Most likely if you’ve made a scramble, you tried to make an omelet and you screwed up. At this point, I’ve screwed up enough times to know that I should just go straight for the scramble. It makes an extremely filling breakfast that will make you start your day feeling like you can do anything (except for maybe flipping an omelet).

Ingredients in a scramble are up to you (or up to what you have in your fridge). I usually just stick with the basics:

1 potato (leave the skin on)
2 Oz Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage
2 eggs
Shredded cheese
Frank’s Red Hot Original (optional)

Begin by cutting the potato into cubes. Then put the cubes in a frying pan with some olive oil. Add a little bit more than a quarter-sized drop of oil so that the potatoes will get nice and crispy. Stir those around, put them on a medium heat and cover with a lid.

Potatoes before they’re cooked and after. Add salt and pepper to season as well.

The lid will help heat the potatoes up faster. You will want to stir them every once in a while so that they don’t burn, but leave the lid on as much as possible. Once they turn from a clear color to a more opaque white, they are done and you can move on. But don’t be stingy with this—good potatoes can take about 10 minutes to cook. And there is nothing worse than crunchy potatoes in a scramble.

Next, add your sausage to the pan and cook it until it’s brown. Try to break it up into pieces that are similar to the sizes of your potatoes.

After that, add in the eggs and stir until they’re cooked. Turn off the heat and mix in some shredded cheese, and your scramble is complete.

This scramble is best served with Frank’s Red Hot on top and accompanied by a cup of coffee and a glass of orange juice. You can also add any sort of vegetable or meat to spice it up.

But no matter what, this breakfast will leave you ready to tackle whatever the day has in store and maybe even train you so some day, you can flip that omelet.

Bon appétit!

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College hookup culture leads to vague relationship statuses

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College hookup culture leads to vague relationship statuses

College students’ social lives include more hookups and casual hangouts than official dates. With new technology and vague terminology, it’s difficult to define what dating is on college campuses today.

“I thought things would be different in college—more responsible and mature—and it’s not,” said Megan Haugh, Michigan State University international relations major. “I feel like it’s just creating a society where it’s easier to hook up with random people.”

The term hookup can encompass anything from kissing to sex, according to the journal article Sexual Hookup Culture: A Review. Students talking to each other about hooking up leave the listener to interpret the word how they will; therefore people never really know how far their acquaintance went with their hookup.

Other vague terminology such as “hanging out” can have different meanings for different people.

“One guy last year kept saying, ‘You want to hang out?’ and I was like, ‘Are we dating? Is this a thing right now?’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah, we’re sort of together, I guess.’ That’s so weird. You can’t just assume we’re dating,” Haugh said.

Many people think the word date implies a committed relationship, but if there is no clear communication, others are left confused.

Hooking up has become the normal relationship on campus, according to the journal article Hooking Up in Young Adulthood. Some college campuses even host relationship seminars to discuss the topic. Beatty Cohan, a psychotherapist, author and radio host, has given a presentation called “Rate Your Mate BEFORE It’s Too Late.”

Cohan said in an interview that she encourages women to set rules and parameters because they have a stake in what happens.

“If some guy came up to me and said, ‘Would you like to hang out?’ I would say ‘I would very much like to see you, but I would appreciate if you called me several days in advance, and I’d love to go out on a date,” Cohan said.

In that interaction, the dynamic is changed, and the asker now knows what the other person wants is a date.

“How else is the guy going to know that this casual hookup isn’t working, if all the girls are going along with it?” Cohan said.

Cohan said she doesn’t place all the responsibility for starting relationships on men; she is a strong advocate in women taking risks and initiating conversations with people they don’t know.

“We have to put ourselves out there; no one’s going to find us sitting in a dorm room,” Cohan said.

Haugh said she regards herself as old-fashioned—she would prefer that boys ask her out.

“Honestly, if a guy comes up to me face-to-face and asked me out, I’d always say yes to the first date. I actually feel like guys expect girls to ask them out now,” Haugh said.

Generations who experienced casual dating in their youth are sometimes confused by the lack of casual dating.

“I told my mom not to be surprised if I don’t get married. I’ll give her a grand-puppy,” Haugh said.

Although marriage rates are at historic lows, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cohan said she thinks people should stop looking at statistics and focus on their own relationships.

“You look at statistics that start with ‘everybody’s miserable,’ but that’s not true,” Cohan said. “ I think that even though larger culture certainly has changed and is changing, there’s no reason why you can’t find the things that are important to you in a relationship with someone.”

Many students rely heavily on texting, social media and dating apps to get to know their potential romantic interests. Years ago, people had to go on dates to find out a person’s favorite movie or where they went to college. Now, if their privacy settings aren’t strict, a quick search on Google or Facebook can reveal the desired information.

Joseph Walther, a telecommunication, information studies and media professor at Michigan State University, said people romanticize or reject others based on their social media profiles.

“People tend to present themselves online in pretty idealized ways. Sometimes they get an intense spiral of attraction that way,” Walther said.

Although there are a number of studies that suggest people lie online, Walther said none of those studies have demonstrated that people lie more online than they would offline. Walter said that people just display favorable aspects of themselves—like they would in a job interview. He said that people are able to make messages more attractive via texting and chatting.

“Nothing is an accident when you send it. I think you get a lot of uncontrolled communication when you meet face-to-face, and sometimes that can be a disappointment,” Walther said.

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Stay healthier during this winter’s cold months

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Stay healthier during this winter’s cold months

You probably already know you should get a flu shot, stay home when you’re sick and bundle in layers for your long trek to class in the snow. But here’s a few more things you could be doing to fight off winter’s nasty side effects and make you healthier during the cold.

Limit hot showers

Sorry folks–we know cooler temperatures can make long showers in the hottest water you can get sound extra appealing, but the short-term comfort can lead to long-term dry skin. Extremely hot water can strip away your skin’s natural oils, making it feel dry and flakey. Dry skin leads to cracked skin. That being said…


Dry skin is one of the biggest pet peeves for many people during the winter months (those days with a 20 degree wind chill don’t exactly bode well for healthy skin). If you feel like your skin is taking a beating every time you step outside, it’s time to moisturize. The two places most likely to become a hassle are your hands and face, but consider getting separate lotions. Some body lotions are too heavy for the delicate skin on your face, which can lead to breakouts. And if you’re not a fan of cracked, bleeding lips, it’s time for you to make lip balm your best friend.

Wash your hands. Please.

Stocking up on hand sanitizer to stay healthy? Then you’ll really want to add a hand lotion to the mix. Antibacterials are great for fighting cold and flu germs, but it can dry out your hands like crazy. Good old soap and water is sometimes more effective when it comes to staying healthy.

Speaking of cold and flu…

At the risk of sounding like a nagging mother, you should really be drinking water. And yes, we’re talking a few glasses a day. You may not be as thirsty as you are in the warmer months, but staying hydrated helps you ward off illness and makes you look better physically (it helps you look less tired and have better skin). You may already know that alcohol dehydrates you, but coffee and tea (anything with caffeine, really) have the same effect, so try to have a glass of water with every glass of your favorite pick-me-up.

Use a humidifier.

The cold air outside wreaks havoc on your skin, but the heat indoors can make waking up with a dry, sore throat a common occurrence even when you aren’t sick. Solution? Consider using a humidifier. It adds moisture back into the air, which keeps you feeling hydrated and more alert. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and quiet enough that you’ll hardly notice them when you’re sleeping.

Static, shmatic.

Good news – your skin isn’t the only part of your appearance that can take a hit during the winter. Hair has a tendency to dry out, frizz and face more static than a balloon in a science experiment. Much like your skin, the way you take care of your hair can make a huge difference. If you can manage, try to cut back on heat-treating your hair with straighteners and blow dryers (they’re bad for your hair year round anyway). In the colder months hair gets weaker, meaning brittle hair is more likely to split or break. Consider using a deep conditioning treatment to restore natural oils and moisture, and try to cover hair with a hat or scarf out in chilly temperatures.

Don’t let the weather overwhelm you.

Stress levels, along with anxiety and depression, skyrocket in the winter months. Mental health is just as important as physical health, so if you find constant snow and grey skies seeming to drain you of energy or you feel like you’re suffering form cabin fever, make time to exercise. Whether in a gym, with friends, or in a class, staying active gives you more energy and can significantly improve your mood. Similarly, making an effort to not go overboard on comfort foods is wise – they’ll make you tired and can result in weight gain, neither of which do much for stress.

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An exploration of online dating

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An exploration of online dating

The Internet cracks me up.

The same piece of technology that drove us to seclusion has us desperately begging on our hands and knees to help aid our search for companionship. There are nearly 54,250,000 single people in the U.S. and 41,250,000 of those singles have attempted online dating, and only 20% of online daters wind up in relationships. Even more astonishingly, the online dating industry annually rakes in a whopping $1,249,000,000.

Yeah, that’s right—online dating corporations have found a way to capitalize on our fear of loneliness. Genius.

Over the past month I signed up for several online dating apps popular among young adults to see what all the hype was about. Could a computer really match me with my potential “soul mate”?

It actually made me feel a more disconnected from myself, and in turn, disinterested in the women that I had been matched with. Now, I don’t want to lead you to believe that I’m too “good” for online dating, or that it is not a useful tool, because Lord knows I need as much help as I can get in the dating department. The whole thing just made me feel a little phony.

The girls on the receiving end cannot smell the overflowing garbage in my apartment, or witness the mound of dishes in the sink accompanied by the dozens of empty beer cans scattered around. But, I can tell you what they do see: a carefully constructed collage of my most flattering pictures conjoined with a calculated description of my best qualities, all in order to prostitute an idealistic version of myself via the internet.

Tinder, one of the most popular dating platforms for college students, allows users to flip through pictures of singles in the area for potential hookups.

Tinder on an iPhone

Based on the persons looks, mutual friends, and shared likes on Facebook you rate them in a “hot or not” fashion with the click of a “like” or “nope” button. When someone also finds you attractive, Tinder alerts you of your new match where the two of you can start a conversation; mind you, both parties have the same goal in mind—sex.

A wise man by the name of Jack Kerouac once said, “Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk.”

Kerouac might as well have just been talking about Tinder. The hookup app is essentially a way to window shop for sexual partners with little indication of the individual’s true character or personality. On the other hand, if you are just looking for a quick roll in the hay, Tinder is the app for you.

Some of the more serious dating sites like OK Cupid are pretty good as long as you are honest and you know what you want out of the people you are matched with.

Ok Cupid asks you a series of personal questions, and based on your responses you are matched with people on a friend vs. enemy percentage. If you find someone interesting, message him or her and see what comes of it. They might be someone worth spending some time with.

The most absurd dating app on the market right now is called Carrot Dating. It is basically a sugar daddy/momma dating app. When a user stumbles across someone that is attractive, he or she may bribe that person with material objects. The more expensive the bribe the more likely he or she will go on a date with you.

Simple enough, right? Check out founder Brandon Wade’s explain of his app in more detail. It is offensive and unsettlingly hilarious. He compares women to dogs…

Don’t let my cynicisms get you down about online dating. It might actually be the future—just look at the movie “Her”. We might all end up dating our computers for a while. I just hope that online dating evolves to include more personality and less accepting bribes.

So if you’re into it, give it a shot—if it works for you, great. I sincerely wish you the best of luck on your cyber dating endeavors, but for now, I’m going to stay in the real world.

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Hot and Healthy December: Tortilla Soup

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Hot and Healthy December: Tortilla Soup

My biggest problems cooking for myself are as follows:

  1. I’m busy and don’t have time to cook.
  2. When I’m not busy, I’m lazy. Pizza rolls, egg sandwiches, and bagels are not an uncommon dinner.

However, turns out that when I actually have time to cook, I can successfully make foods such as this soup.  Mom’s tortilla soup was a favorite meal of mine growing up and while I didn’t make it just like hers, I think I came pretty darn close.


Heart healthy tortilla soup. Photo: Alex Tekip

Heart Healthy Tortilla Soup


  • 1 can (16 oz.) fat-free refried beans
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) low-fat or fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 can (5 oz.) 94 percent fat-free chunk chicken, drained or broiled chicken breast (or  do what I did just rip apart a store-bought rotisserie chicken, it’s a little nasty but it’s easy…plus it leaves you with leftovers)
  • 1 can (11oz.) whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) black or navy beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ cup chunky salsa OR 1 can of diced tomatoes (or even a combination of both)
  • 1 package of taco seasoning
  • 2 cups (1 bag) light shredded cheese
  • Tortilla chips 

Although I was initially scared by the list of ingredients, it proved to be highly unintimidating. Plus the preparation that followed was super quick and much easier than I thought.

  1. Combine the first seven ingredients in an appropriately sized pot.
  2. Bring the soup to a boil over medium height stirring until the refried beans have completely melted and mixed with all of the other ingredients.
  3. Turn the heat to low and let the soup simmer for 10 minutes. Be sure to check on the soup and stir it occasionally during this time.
  4. Add 1 cup (1/2 the bag) of shredded cheese into the soup and stir until melted.
  5. To serve, crush a handful or tortilla chips and places them at the bottom of the bowl. Pour soup into bowl and sprinkle some shredded cheese on top if desired.

I had only intended on making this dinner to share with one of my friends, but a bunch unexpectedly showed up and to my surprise, everyone ended up loving the soup! One friend told me he was bummed I didn’t leave any extra for him and the other two told me they couldn’t stop talking about how good it was…three days after I had made it. I felt like a real chef, if only for a day. Heart healthy tortilla soup is not only a quick and easy dinner, but also a great way to impress friends. Heat, re-heat, and enjoy!

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Feeling tired? More sleep may help college students succeed

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Feeling tired? More sleep may help college students succeed

With all-nighters and the tendency to have irregular sleep schedules, college students are not getting the sleep that they need to do their best. But experts say the amount of sleep a college student should get each night is mostly related to their class workload.

Clinical psychologist Michael Breus, who has studied sleep disorders for 14 years, said that college students need 10 hours of sleep on average, but notes there really is no true estimate for the amount of sleep a student needs due because it depends on individual factors.


“The big thing for college students is keeping the schedule the same,” he said.

Breus said what students do not realize is that sleeping in on weekends is actually unhealthy and creates a feeling of jetlag during the week.

“The internal biological clock needs to be the same,” he said. “If you wake up at 7 a.m. during the week, you need to wake up at 7 a.m. on the weekend.”

Breus said if students are waking up early on the weekdays for class and sleeping in on the weekends, the brain loses a sense of pattern that establishes when it needs to sleep.

Loss of patterns can have consequences, like failure to store what students may spend hours studying into their memory.

“One of the things we know is in fact that memory in particular is affected by REM, which is the stage of sleep we move short term memory to long term memory,” Breus said.

He said if a student doesn’t get any sleep at all, there is no time to store the studied information, rendering all-nighters useless.

But for students, cramming before a test may trump a good nights sleep.

“I can tell you, I pulled an all-nighter for my bio exam last semester and took a nap for half an hour before and got a 4.0,” said pre-nursing sophomore Katherine Armstrong. “But no sleep at all is no good because I have fallen asleep during a test.”

Economics sophomore Grant Chen said he is a night owl, and usually gets about six to seven hours a sleep a night and still functions properly in school.

“I don’t generally study past midnight and generally, I don’t stay up late to study,” Chen said.

Chen said if he does stay up late, he takes a nap during the day to catch up on sleep.

Chen said he does not believe less sleep directly affects college students’ academics in a negative way. In fact, he said he believes more sleep could be harmful.

“Some people can’t get up for class,” he said. “My roommate misses his classes and sleeps all day.”

Breus said that those students who are getting too much sleep could experience health issues.

He said a person’s age and overall health, however, are probably the other two most significant factors to determine how much sleep a person needs per night.

“Not enough sleep can lower the immune system,” Breus said. “We know sleep deprivation stresses the immune system. Sleep affects every organ in the body.”

Breus said relaxing before going to bed is needed for the body to get the appropriate benefits of sleep.

“People should understand it is like slowly pulling your foot off the gas and putting it on the brake,” Breus said. “You have to allow the body to wind down before sleep.”

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Coffee purchases spiking on campus

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Coffee purchases spiking on campus

A piercing whirring sound permeates the buzz of hushed voices every so often.  A pleasant aroma wafts through the still air, and beside many of the books or laptops that occupy most tables, a tall white disposable cup sits.

This is the typical scene at the MSU Student Union.  The screeching noise is the sound of a barista steaming milk.  The sweet aroma is that of ground coffee beans.  And the tall white cup is the characteristic container of lattes from Biggby Coffee.

A similar scene can be found in Wells Hall, where there is a popular Starbucks, as well as nearly any other location on campus that serves coffee.

College students’ increasing consumption of specialty coffee can be attributed to convenience, the necessity for an energy boost, the atmosphere of coffee shops, and also an element of indulgence, according to two baristas and an expert on consumer behavior.

Starbucks supervisor and MSU junior Emily Kaip said that at the Wells Hall location, the busiest time of day is when people are in class and on campus.

“Definitely in the morning starting around nine, and probably up until about three o’clock,” Kaip said.

The location of these two shops on campus is a major component of the convenience students depend on, considering that they do not have to stray far from their classes to acquire a latte of their choice.

Kaip said she agreed that likely the greatest factor influencing students’ decision to purchase specialty coffee is convenience, but offered a different perspective as to why.

“I don’t have a coffee machine at home – coffee machines can be kind of expensive,” she said.  “Also, you’re brewing a whole pot, and if you’re the only one drinking it, you would not need ten cups.”


On the other hand, MSU junior Athena Smith said that she purchases coffee if she is tired or for exams.

“I wasn’t a big coffee drinker to begin with in high school, and then once I came to college I drank more,” Smith said.

Smith said she typically only drinks coffee to stay up and keep studying, a phenomenon Ayalla Ruvio, an MSU marketing professor and expert in consumer behavior, said is the notion of caffeine to boost your performance – at least for the short-term.

It is this shared notion that causes coffee shops like Starbucks and Biggby, according to Kaip, to see drastic spikes in their numbers of customers during stressful school weeks such as midterms and exams.

“For the closing shift, it’s usually pretty dead,” said Biggby barista and fifth-year student at MSU Michelle Cusick.  “But when midterms and finals and stuff come – that’s when you get a lot of people, because they’re here studying at the Union and are pulling late nights.”

But Ruvio revealed that based on basic human nature, another reason students are likely to be found near coffee shops while studying for exams is so that they can reward themselves for some of the hardest work they will do all semester.

Ruvio said that during exam week, it’s almost as if students “get more value for the same price” for their cup of coffee, as it both makes them more productive and rewards them for their studying efforts.

“There’s a lot of rational decision-making that needs to be done by students to survive their college years,” Ruvio said.  “But we all have the need to splurge every once in a while, to indulge ourselves, to pamper, to reward our hard work.”

Nonetheless, most people – especially college students – can’t afford to treat themselves by purchasing the latest Gucci purse, Ruvio said.

“We have to really focus on things that we can afford that still will give us that feeling of pampering,” she said.  “And coffee is a really great option…It’s here, and it’s available, and it’s trendy, and it tastes good,” she said.

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Hot & Healthy: December — Tomato and Eggs Brunch Bake

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Hot & Healthy: December — Tomato and Eggs Brunch Bake

Cookies, candy, cakes, and pies seem to be everywhere during the busy holiday season, so I decided to bring you a recipe that you don’t have to count as a holiday food splurge. The holidays are a time to spend with family and friends and relax before the start of a new year, but for some Americans it can be the season of gaining rather than giving. In fact, most Americans gain one to 10 pounds during the time between Thanksgiving and New Years – while this might not seem significant, it can add up.

This may seem scary, but you can still enjoy your favorite holiday treats without gaining a pound.  Here’s my holiday survival guide ultimate tip: selectively splurge.  When sweet and savory unhealthy foods are thrown at you from every direction, taking second and third helpings of them all will obviously lead to weight gain overtime; however, trying just one of everything and saving seconds and thirds for those few really tasty treats you dream about all year will leave you in the same shape you started the holidays with.


My recipe this month, tomato and egg brunch bake, won’t break your holiday calorie bank.  And more importantly, it is actually healthy and starting your day with a brunch like this will fill you up, give you the nutrients you need to get through the stress of the holiday season.  And even more importantly it tastes great.

This brunch dish is simple and would be a great dish to pass for family gatherings.  For me, Christmas morning breakfast is my favorite meal of the holidays.  My family gathers at my grandparents house for homemade quiche, coffee cake, and sweet rolls on Christmas morning and it has always been my favorite part of the day.  This baked egg and tomato dish would be the perfect healthy addition, and it’s even red and green.

What are you favorite holiday meals? Comment and share with TBG! Happy Holidays and good luck with finals!



4 ripe vine tomatoes

Olive Oil

4 organic eggs

parsley/basil/chives/ oregano

optional: veggies of your choice. (I added bell pepper and mushrooms)

parmesan cheese 


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) Chop tomatoes into wedges. Chop additional vegetable add ons and herbs.

3) Spread out vegetables in a fairly shallow oven-safe casserole dish.

4) Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

5) Place in oven and bake for 40 minutes.

6) Remove from oven, sprinkle herbs and once cool enough create four spaces in the vegetables to crack eggs into.

7)  Cover with tin foil and place back into oven for about 6 to 9 minutes or until eggs are cooked to your liking.

8) Remove from oven and serve on warm toast, bagels, or ciabatta bread with a green side salad.

recipe adapted from BBC Good Food


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