Tag Archive | "student"

New Media Center at ComArtSci brings creative opportunities to students

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New Media Center at ComArtSci brings creative opportunities to students

rianna2A new media center to drive students’ ingenuity and inspire collaborative work is under construction in the Communication Arts and Sciences building at Michigan State University. According to ComArtSci Weekly, the college’s weekly newsletter for students, this new space will include a newsroom, motion capture lab and a game design studio.

The space was temporarily up and running on Nov. 8 to cover the 2016 Presidential Election. MSU has famously covered elections at the College of Communication Arts and Sciences in the past, including the 2012 election.

Prabu David, dean of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, shared the story behind the creation of the space.

“The inspiration came for (the media center) when I was in Los Angeles,” David said. “One of our alums runs a major ad agency. When I walked into this building, it was beautiful. You could see all kinds of young people working on creative projects. There was a certain buzz. The very moment I stepped in, I thought, ‘We should capture this.’”

Lucinda Davenport, director of the School of Journalism, said that a typical day in the newsroom will be full of activity because the student-produced TV news programs will be shot there, students will be doing photo shoots, making videos, creating voiceovers for radio and activities of all different types.

“There is a space in this room for almost every process of the story to happen to completion,” Davenport said.Troy Hale, a film and broadcast news professor at MSU, supported the idea of creating the media center’s newsroom. His vision for the space stemmed from the excitement and energy of 200 students and faculty working together four years ago during the previous “MI First Election.”

“I said to (Lucinda Davenport), ‘We need to have this everyday,’” Hale said.

Hale said that other than covering the November election, the newsroom will be used by classes to develop a daily news cast that will incorporate all mediums: print, online, broadcast and radio by January 2017.

According to David, a student will be able to sit in front of an anchor desk, turn the probiotic camera and lights on and stream live.

According to Hale, anchor, teleprompter and performance training will be necessary to get students ready for the newsroom.

“Students and professors will step up what they’re doing,” Hale said. “If you work in a new environment, you will work up to that level.” 

Stacey Fox, transdisciplinary artist in residence, was the force behind the addition of a motion-capture studio in the media center.

Fox said the College of Communication Arts and Sciences will be offering a motion capture class, open to all MSU students in Spring 2017, that would be great for actors, dancers, athletes, animators and others. Motion capture is proving to have an increasing presence at the college and the space will allow for versatile opportunities to learn.  

rianna1According to Fox, the motion capture studio coming to ComArtSci is unique. Unlike other systems, the equipment will be markerless, meaning that students won’t need to put on special suits or white markers on their joints to help the camera capture their movements. The system can also capture students exactly the way they look in 3D or take their movements and put that on any character. The equipment can also motion capture a student and put them into any environment.

Fox believes motion capture technology has a vital role in journalism because students can be motion captured in the studio and then put on the lawn of the White House, the United Nations Convention or the scene of a hurricane.

“We can – in real time, live – motion capture you and put you into any virtual reality environment. For news, let’s say we have the virtual reality environment of a storm scene. We can capture a student journalist and put them in that scene like they’re there in real time,” Fox said.

Students can also recreate moments in history through virtual reality. If Barack Obama came to the studio, for example, students could archive his voice and motion. Years later, another student can put on goggles and have a conversation with Obama as if they had been there with him. Fox said this is the concept of immersive journalism, where immersive environments are created and viewed by the public.

Fox believes that the media center will provide students with access to state of the art technology and the opportunity to experience what the professional industry workflow of a newsroom is like before they go out into the real world.

David spoke about how journalism is in dire need of new models and the millennials of this college generation are going to find them with their familiarity of multimedia.

The dean believes students can gain skills in the new space including journalism, television, radio, social media, interactive design, animation and game design.

“We do so much good work in our classrooms but it’s all hidden behind brick walls. We’re tearing down the walls and creating this beautiful environment,” said David. “You see the great work being done in the classrooms, the technology that students have access to, the innovative ideas of the future.”

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MSU student will spend summer in Rwanda ‘empowering’ women

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MSU student will spend summer in Rwanda ‘empowering’ women

Espoir Tuyisenge, nicknamed Esp (pronounced Es · pee), is a soft spoken, kind and intuitive 22-year-old from Rwanda who loves coffee. Esp came to the United States in 2013 to double major in food industry management and agriculture business management at Michigan State University. This summer, Esp will be in Rwanda conducting a project focusing on the production of coffee and its inclusion of women. 

Espoir Tuyisenge is a sophomore at Michigan State University. He is a double major in food industry management and agriculture business management.

Espoir Tuyisenge is a sophomore at Michigan State University. He is a double major in food industry management and agriculture business management. Photo: Ben Muir.

“Rwanda depends on agriculture as the main source of income,” Esp said.And coffee is the big industry that fuels the economy.”

Coffee in Rwanda differs from coffee in the United States, however. In the U.S., coffee is predominantly a consumption-based entity, and many drinkers have become alienated from the product. Whereas in Rwanda, coffee is a competitive business. Farmers in Rwanda produce the beans that will later be exported to other countries for sale. But the actual drink is not popular among the people, Esp said.

“I’m pretty sure 90 percent of people back in Rwanda don’t even drink coffee. It’s because Rwanda doesn’t process the coffee itself, but rather it produces green beans. Then the beans are sent to American outlets like Starbucks to produce the finest coffee,” Esp said. “And people in Rwanda can’t afford it. They just sell their beans.”

Women in Rwanda are at the forefront of coffee farming. Esp said women do the majority of the work involved with producing the beans, but when it comes to finances, men are the sole proprietors of coffee revenue.

Esp said the mixture of Rwanda’s culture and lack of education and organization in women has formed a negative mantra, creating a significant gender inequality within the nation. Subsequently conditioning women to believe that they are second to men in business enterprises.

This has made women unaware of the international coffee market size, Esp said. It is massive capitalism with billions of dollars allocated to people all over the world, and many Rwandan women pay little attention to what’s happening outside of Rwanda’s borders because they are accustomed to acting selfless.

Most of them are in rural areas, so if we don’t talk to them, they will have no idea what’s going on, Esp said. “All they do is farm and feed their children.”

Esp will be on a team that will work with 5,000 Rwandan women. The team will begin by interviewing women one-on-one to gauge their thought process on why many are negated.

Along with his studies, Esp works part-time at the MSU Union.

Along with his studies, Esp works part-time at the MSU Union. Photo: Ben Muir.

The goal of the interviews is to determine the barriers women face that are hindering them of being more of an integral part of coffee distribution management. The hypothesis is that women will be reluctant at first.

Esp’s concern is that women have become too immersed in mediocrity, and Rwanda’s culture is responsible for making women content with a low-class lifestyle.

“We want to ask ‘What is your aspiration?’” Esp said. “Do you want to just stay in the realm of feeding your family?”

Following the interviews, the training stage of the project will begin. The team will work alongside Rwandan women to encourage them to speak out, and conjunctively understand the culture that has developed this one-sided business mindset.

It should be noted that Esp is not going to Rwanda to act as a savior to its people. By using ethnography and objective observations, Esp and his team will draw conclusions that will further Michigan State’s research in the agricultural field.

“The goal at the end is to empower women in corporate farming,” Esp said. “To make them feel they are able to compete at the same level as men, and they are able to move from base-farming to international production of their own premier coffee.”

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Trilingual, Bilingual and American

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Trilingual, Bilingual and American

LanguageLandon cafeteria is where I met Amin, a North African native who shared his booth with me as the cafeteria quickly became over capacitated.

Amin, without a prompt, dove into how many languages – three, to be exact — he is fluent in. I lifted my head from my lunch to see why a stranger was gloating about his multi-lingual traits. He proceeded to ask me, like we had been friends forever, three questions.

Amin: What does trilingual mean?

Me: Fluent in three languages.

Amin: Yes, what does bilingual mean?

Me: Fluent in two languages.

Amin: Yes, what does unilingual mean?

Me: Fluent in a single language.

Amin: No, it means American.

Naturally, I reacted with a joyful laugh, and said something like ‘so true.’

But then I had a moment to reflect on his humor, or lack thereof, while back in line for seconds.

Was that the perception of Americans? Was speaking one language, even in rhetoric manner, really that shameful?

After that encounter with Amin, whom has remained a close friend, I was inspired to discover if learning an alternate language was profitable to one’s future.

Clearly, adding any language to your arsenal will prove viable, but is it necessary to spend thousands of dollars, let alone put in the time? Two years ago, I ultimately decided against the extra workload.  

My plan was to get a journalism degree as swiftly as possible, then begin my career. Signing up for a French, German or Spanish class sounded like unwarranted stress, effort.

Now, I’m kicking myself for making those excuses. A second language is critical for any area of study, and would turn heads in all job interviews.  

Derek Wallbank is the First Word breaking news team leader at Bloomberg News, one of the largest, most prolific media organizations in the world. Wallbank says potential applicants who are bilingual are not only a higher priority, but filling into positions faster and getting paid sooner, also. Wallbank went on to list just a few languages that are an asset in business situations.

“Arabic, Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, and German are all extremely helpful,” Wallbank said. “If it’s something you really want to do, there is no harm in starting whenever. Dual languages are huge for us.”  

Opting out of a second language will not render a student jobless, however. Jeffery Hogan, the editor at The County Press in Lapeer Michigan speaks English only, and has progressed substantially. Hogan did say that, if he had done anything differently, it would have been to study Spanish. But he did further say that sticking to your native language will not be the death of your career.

An additional language can come in handy not just for the future, but while attending college as well.

Any student with aspirations to study abroad should consider taking courses on the predominant language spoken in the country of choice. Getting a cultural leg-up prior to an international trip will surely make the experience more dynamic. Preparations include, but are not limited to, taking classes, studying online, utilizing a tutor, or listening to a podcast.

By the time the student returns from an international voyage, along with the preceding education, he or she will be practically fluent.   

If learning a new language doesn’t suit you, then I advise you to become mindful of the scores of extracurricular opportunities Michigan State offers.  

As you’re walking to class, take five minutes to recognize the fliers on the walls eliciting volunteers, hiring interns or promoting school clubs. Those seemingly trivial opportunities will be advantageous to building a resume. Not to mention make the Spartan experience more fulfilling.

Michigan State has a driven faculty that want to help all students become involved. The earlier a student takes advantage of after school opportunities, the quicker he or she will be primed for life after MSU.




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MSU on-campus housing sign-up approaches, students discuss pros and cons

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MSU on-campus housing sign-up approaches, students discuss pros and cons

October is here. The leaves are falling and the date to sign up for on-campus housing next year is quickly approaching on Oct. 26.

Where will you live next year?

There are 27 dorms and five neighborhoods to choose from on the campus of Michigan State University. Each is unique, whether for its cafeteria, location or room size. 

Brody Neighborhood has the biggest dorms on campus, but that 12 x 12 foot room might not make up for the fact that it is the furthest neighborhood from the core of campus.

Dorms also offer a variety of bathroom styles. The options range from suite-style, meaning that you and your roommate share a bathroom with your suitemates, to community-style, meaning that you share a bathroom with everyone on your floor. 

Hubbard Hall on the campus of Michigan State University.

Hubbard Hall on the campus of Michigan State University.

Arguably the best part about having a suite-style bathroom is the partial privacy that it allows. However, you must clean it yourself. If your dorm has a community-style bathroom, they get cleaned for you. North, Brody and River Trail Neighborhoods have community-style bathrooms. The other dorms on campus are suite-style.

If you’re a freshman, you’re probably well-acquainted with the idea that first-year students must live in the dorms. However, many students choose to stay in the dorms past their freshman year.

Sabrina Benny, a zoology freshman, said that the opportunity to meet new people has her considering a second year in the dorms.

“There’s always someone to talk to,” said Benny. “The cons of living in dorms, I would say, is that a lot of cooperation goes into it. Also, there’s not a lot of space.”

Lanbert Lau, business freshman, said that he likes the dorms because the resident assistant is really nice and they help him with a lot.

“The cons are the water,” he said with a laugh.

According to Lau, the water in the dorms tastes bad. Although Michigan State University’s well water probably doesn’t appeal to everyone, a purified water station is placed in the lobbies of dorms to provide a solution for this problem.

Mechanical engineering freshman Yutong Thang said that he likes that he has a living room in his dorm.

“Since I live in Akers, I have a living room and I like the extra space,” he said.

The dorms in Akers Hall are set up as quad suites with a living room and bathroom built into them. There is closet space along the walls in the bedrooms.

There are 10 resident dining halls on campus and each comes with unique options. You can purchase a platinum, gold or silver dining meal plan. The variations between the three is the amount of guest passes and Spartan Cash you get per semester. The Platinum dining plan comes with eight guest passes and $300 of Spartan Cash per semester. Each dining plan allows for unlimited access to the dining halls on campus.

Shawna Riley, a freshman studying animal science, said that location is the best thing about the dorms.

“Everything’s around you. I work in the cafeteria and the classes I take are right in my dorm,” Riley said.  

Katherine Ramp, a freshman zoology student, said that one of the reasons that she doesn’t enjoy living in the dorms is that there’s always the potential of not getting along with your roommate.

“That’s my current struggle. We don’t have the same interests,” said Ramp.

Instead of going in blind for a roommate, students can try RoomSync, a Facebook app that helps students find a roommate through a series of questionnaires. It has been proven to reduce roommate conflicts and increase group interactivity, according to their website.

Although this information may be reaching some freshman too late, it is one way to try to find a better living situation for next year.

Animal science sophomore Stephanie Gums doesn’t believe that there are any bad things about living in the dorms.

“I love being around people. There’s always someone to either help you with your homework or hang out with you,” said Gums.

Zinqian Yang, sophomore accounting student, appreciates that the dorms are close to the school facilities and lecture halls. He also loves that he doesn’t have to cook. However, Yang said that one of the problems he has encountered while living in dorms is finding parking.

“The parking lot is not in front of the building and I have to walk a long way to get to the lot,” said Yang.

To sign up to live in the dorms, students are instructed to visit liveon.msu.edu to find out their designated time to sign up online. Emails will be sent out after Oct. 26.

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Hot & Healthy April: Grilled Chicken Breast with Avocado Salsa

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Hot & Healthy April: Grilled Chicken Breast with Avocado Salsa

Let the avocado salsa sit for a while to add flavor

We’ve finally made it to summer again. After all the classes, projects and finals, why not relax by making yourself a nice meal? Okay so for a lot of you this doesn’t sound relaxing, but maybe tuck this recipe aside and make it sometime after you de-stress. It’s a great meal to kick off summer.

Unlike last month’s dish, I did this one all by myself and I didn’t screw anything up. That means it’s pretty easy, because even after months of cooking food I’m still not the greatest. But if you can chop things up and grill some chicken, you will be just fine.

The ingredients you need are:

1 cup halved grape tomatoes

1/2 cup vertically sliced red onion

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

3/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 avocados, peeled and diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped

2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons dark brown sugar

4 chicken breasts

Just a word of warning before you chop anything: do not, I repeat, DO NOT chop jalapeños without some sort of glove on. Jalapeño oil stays on your fingers for a very long time and I ended up getting it in my eyes. The CIA could invent a new form of torture called “jalapeño contacts,” I’m telling you. So do your best to avoid that issue all together.

That being said, the first part is easy. Combine the first nine ingredients into a large bowl and mix them up. Let this sit for a while so you get the best possible flavoring.

Grill the chicken breasts while coating them with the soy sauce-brown sugar mixture.

Next, mix together the soy sauce and the brown sugar until the brown sugar is dissolved. Put the chicken breasts on the grill and brush them with the soy sauce-brown sugar mixture as they cook. I used a George Foreman-type grill to grill my chicken breasts, but I’m sure cooking them on a real grill would be better (even though the George Foreman is a lean mean fat-reducing grilling machine, but whatever). I ended up making more of the sauce and adding it to the chicken, just to add more flavor.When those are grilled, you’re done! It’s really that easy, and this meal turns out to be healthy and tastes really fresh.I ended up making this meal for a bunch of my best friends, and I have to say that food tastes better with people you love. More than anything else while writing this column, I’ve learned that cooking isn’t all about making something delicious, but about the joy that is created when you finally finish cooking a dish, the laughter that comes when you fail and the conversation that happens over a good plate of food. So have a good summer MSU, and thanks for great times, bad dishes, good friends and good food.

Bon appetit!

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The Controversy Behind “Tiger Moms”

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The Controversy Behind “Tiger Moms”

By Courtney Rivette

What are your favorite memories about being a kid? Attending sleepovers, having play dates, being in a school play, chilling out with TV or computer games? Yale professor Amy Chua’s children were allowed to do none of these things. A self-proclaimed “Tiger Mom,” Chua has written a memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, that has brought extreme parenting styles into the public eye.

Chua has received much criticism for her extreme Chinese parenting approach where she pushed her children to be the best. Her children couldn’t choose their own extracurricular activities, get any grade less than an “A,” not be the number one student in every subject except gym and drama or play any instrument other than the piano or violin. Despite the long list of banned activities, Chua’s children grew up to be successful – one of her daughters was recently admitted to Harvard.

As the book continues to fuel controversy throughout the nation, an MSU professor is researching the effects of strict parenting styles on mental health.

Photo Credit: Jenna Chabot

Desiree Boalian Qin, an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, has been researching the effects of different parenting styles on Chinese-American students as compared to their white counterparts, and has found that Chinese-American students often suffer from mental health problems.

Qin’s Research

Qin’s research was conducted in a variety of high achieving and prestigious high schools located on the East Coast using a mixed-method study of surveys and in-depth interviews. The study included both Asian-American and European-American students.

“They all do very well educationally, but we do find that when parents pester their kids a lot and when they have a lot of conflicts at home about education, then children feel more alienated from their parents,” Qin said. “That in turn will lead to higher levels of depression and lower levels of self-esteem and more anxiety reported by the Chinese students.”

Qin said she was surprised to learn that education created conflicts between some of the students and parents in the schools she studied.

“They already beat 90 percent of their peers to get into the school, they were already the best students, high achieving, doing great, and I was surprised that education was such a big conflict and issue at home,” Qin said. “In general, students in these schools sleep four or five hours a night and each time they get their GPA they calculate it to the tenth decimal point. There is so much competition in the school and so much stress. It is such a pressure cooker environment – they get pressure from their parents and from their teachers.”

Qin’s work was modeled on the idea of the “model minority”, a term that refers to a minority – ethnic, racial, or religious – whose members achieve a higher degree of success than the population average. Success is typically measured in income, education, and related factors such as low crime rate and high family stability. In the United States, the model minority is often associated with the Asian culture and its high educational achievement.

“A lot of these kids, Chinese American and other Asian American kids, their mental health is ignored because we focus so much on their achievement,” Qin said. “There is this façade that everything is going well; they are performing so well educationally, therefore, everything at home and their mental health must be great too. It is assumed that if you are doing well academically then you must be feeling good, and in my own research I find that is not always the case.”

Qin & Chua’s Ideas on Parenting

Despite connections drawn by the media between Chua’s book and Qin’s research, Qin said that they really don’t relate.

“My research has nothing to do with professor Chua’s book,” Qin said. “I’m sure she is a brilliant law professor, but the book is purely anecdotal about one mother raising two children. It is not research or based on anything scientific, therefore, it is very difficult to challenge.”

Qin was born in a small village in northern China and and came to the United States when she was 24 years old. She did her doctorate studies at Harvard Graduate School of Education and did two years of post-doctoral work at New York University and Columbia. She began working at MSU in 2006.

Qin received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English from Heilongjiang University in China. She often tutored students on the side and noticed students struggling with a wide spectrum of negative emotions, including sadness, anxiety, anger, depression and guilt.

“I felt at the time there was a psychological struggle, although there wasn’t a lot of research or counselors and psychologists working with youth in China during that time,” Qin said. “I think that really led me to my interest in working with youth and families and working with mental health.”

Western vs. Chinese Parenting

Chua’s book has sparked debate about the positive and negative effects of both “Chinese” and “Western” parenting.  Loosely defined, Western parents are said to be more lenient and relaxed in their parenting methods whereas Chinese parents are said to be more strict and demanding of academic success.  Chua and Qin, both Chinese mothers, have differing views on the subject.

“In a lot of ways it is impossible to categorize ‘Western parenting’ and ‘Chinese parenting’ because parenting varies so much and depends on a variety of factors,” Qin said. “I’m a mother of two girls, and parenting is one of the hardest things I have ever done – you have to be consistent, and it takes a lot of work. I think all parents are in the same boat in that we all want the same things for our children, and I do think that the debate or controversy generated by Amy Chua’s book at least got us to talk about parenting.”

According to a Time magazine interview, Chua said that Western parents are often more concerned with their children’s “psyches and self-esteem” whereas Chinese immigrant parents “assume strength rather than fragility” in their children.

“It’s much less deferring to the child’s wishes,” Chua said in the interview. “The westerners want to respect their child’s individuality and to pursue their passion and to provide positive reinforcement. The Chinese are much more comfortable overriding their children’s preferences.”

Qin agrees the Chinese parents usually do have higher expectations for their children.

“I think that if you look at research, Chinese parents generally have higher expectations than other parents,” Qin said. “But, I know plenty of Chinese parents who are very lenient and very democratic, and I have also known many American parents who are very strict, very involved, and really expecting a lot from their kids.”

Qin worries that some people will look to the book as a parenting guide when they see that Chua’s oldest daughter was accepted to Harvard. She said she hope that it doesn’t encourage parents to push their children to be successful regardless of the costs.

“I think some of the findings from our research projects do send a cautionary note against this whole idea that you can push your child to succeed academically at all costs, and encouraging parents to do that,” Qin said. “I think that can be misleading and very damaging for children and their mental health.”

Nan Ma, a first-year business graduate student from China has seen the negative effects that Qin describes – she has a friend in China who suffered from mental health problems which Ma believes are a result of strict parenting.

“She is a very outstanding student, very successful academically and she got the number one position in the national entrance examination,” Ma said.

The entrance exam is an extremely difficult and competitive test that all Chinese students planning to enroll in college must take. Ma said that many students spend all of their time studying for the test, and then find themselves lost when they get to the university level because learning is structured in a different way.

“She enrolled in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, which is a very hard school for mainland students to get into,” Ma said. “She suffered from mental health problems during her first year in the university and dropped out. This included a suicide attempt.”

Ma said she has an idea of what led to the all of the stress.

“I know her father is a university teacher and he is very smart, but didn’t achieve all of the accomplishments he wanted,” Ma said. “I think he put all of his expectations on her. Her father is very strict and he prevented her from having contact with friends or having social events. She really didn’t have many friends.”

Although Qin’s research is based only on Chinese-American immigrant parents, Ma said that tiger parents are common in China.

“The style of the tiger mom is very common in China, but it is just an extreme example and not all parents behave like that,” Ma said. “It is true that parents usually have very high expectations of their children. Normally parents live a very hard life themselves and they give everything to their children; they want their children to pay them back with their academic success.”

Chinese students spend more time in school than American students, Ma said. She described her school day starting at 5:30 a.m. and ending around 9:30 p.m. with short breaks for lunch and dinner throughout the day. She said the atmosphere was much different when she went to college in China and when she came to America.

Ma grew up in East China, between Beijing and Shanghai. She said she grew up in a “relatively loose environment.”

“My parents are also university professors and they have very high expectations for me, but they never pushed me,” she said.

When it came time to choose a college major, Ma said her parents let her decide what she wanted.

“My mom is an accounting professor and she wanted me to choose economics or accounting as my major,” Ma explained. “She thought it was a better major to find a job or future career and also said she could help me. But, I liked journalism at that time and they didn’t push me. I still chose journalism.

“Some parents won’t let their children make their own choices,” she added.

Qin had similar things to say regarding students from Chinese families entering college.

“They get to college, they are doing something their parents want them to do, they are in a major their parents chose for them and they may not be that interested or passionate about it,” Qin said.

The Future

The results of Qin’s research suggest that both Chinese and Western parents have room to improve in the area of mental health. Qin said she wants to make parents, teachers, counselors and other school staff members aware of challenges kids face, particularly those with immigrant backgrounds.

“Instead of just saying ‘Okay, they are really great, we don’t need to do anything to help them,’ I think my work is trying to say ‘No, even though these kids are high achieving they still need support,’” Qin said. “There are things the school can do to support the kids better and there are things that parents can do better to really pay more attention to their mental health.”

The results of Qin’s research will be published later this year and she already has ideas for what she wants to do next.

“I look forward to doing this type of study in Asia, in China, and in other places looking at high achieving kids, their mental health, and parenting,” she said.

Ma also has ideas for her future parenting methods.

“I definitely won’t be a tiger mom,” Ma said. “I think my personality is quite easy-going and I think if I have kids they should be very independent. I would tell them what are relatively good study methods for them to get better scores, but I won’t push them.”

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High School Relationships Surviving College

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High School Relationships Surviving College

Unless you’re watching one of the “Twilight” movies or listening to a Taylor Swift song, you probably think the idea of having a very serious relationship while in high school is only slightly less realistic than having one in middle school.

Even less realistic is the idea of taking a high school relationship and transitioning into college. Many people claim that by the time you take your fist mid-term exam in college, your high school relationship will be over. Wanting to meet new people and try new things are often the motivations behind these break ups.

Not all love is lost for college relationships. There are college students that believe it can work and have made it work.

Kelcie Ebbitt and boyfriend Jeff Cain.

Elementary education senior Kelcie Ebbitt has been with her high school sweetheart, Jeff Cain, for almost four years. Ebbitt said that the transition to college didn’t hurt their relationship; it strengthened it.

“If anything, college has given us more opportunity to get to know each other,” she said. “We have come so far since high school, and staying strong has never been an issue for the two of us. We have been able to support each other through things such as changing majors, not getting or getting jobs and just generally experiencing life together.”

Cain, a physics and materials science and engineering senior, said that it was easier to maintain his relationship while in college in comparison to high school.

“The freedom that comes with college translated to more freedom in our relationship,” said Cain. “We can see each other whenever we want to and for however long we want to.”

One thing to keep in mind is that Ebbitt and Cain both go to the same college, which is a very important factor in maintaining their relationship and a luxury that many college relationships don’t have.

“Distance can be an issue depending on the newness of the relationship and whether the couple has established intimacies and commitments,” said Dennis Martell, health education services coordinator for Olin Health Center. “Before, you were able to see this person everyday, and now you may be lucky to see him/her once a month.”

Martell said trying to find a balance between academics, new friends, old friends, a partner, family and extracurricular activities is only part of the difficulty of this type of transition.

Martell, who has expertise in student health issues such as student wellness, student transition to college and sexual behavior, said distance between couples can potentially cause relationship-ending problems.

Jenna Otting and her boyfriend Scott.

Jenna Otting, a communications junior with a specialization in public relations and health promotions, is familiar with the problems that Martell described. She has been with her boyfriend, Scott, for nearly three years; however, her boyfriend is a full year in college below her and he goes to a college a few hours away.

“My boyfriend and I do not attend the same college,” said Otting. “I think this makes a big impact because when we went to the same high school, we were able to hang out almost every day. It’s really strange to switch so suddenly to seeing each other once a month.”

Martell said that many people transitioning into college relationships face obstacles because the experience is different than what they’re used to at home. “The individual going to college tends to be going through many transitions that tend to impact relationships that existed before they chose to go,” Martell said. He/she may not have the same views, beliefs, values, thoughts or opinions as before. This can cause conflict with the other partner.”

Even with these obstacles, Otting remained optimistic.

“This isn’t always a bad thing,” said Otting. “It gives you space and helps you meet new people by you not always having one another to fall back on. It also forces you to make an effort which reinforces that you truly care about one another. If you are committed enough to your relationship and stay positive, it can work out just fine.”

Martell said that while relationship experts don’t exactly know what makes a relationship last, what they do know and believe is that overall relationships that can endure tremendous transitions have something going for them and usually will last longer.

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