Distraction Magazine Fall 2023

Page 1


magazine of the students of

the university of miami

fall 2023

BACK TO THE FUTURE Fashion in the year 3000


Escape your comfort zone


The food hall for a culinary quest

OVERSTIMULATED The student Adderall epidemic


magazine of the students of

the university of miami

fall 2023

Fashion in the year 3000


The student Adderall epidemic


Escape your comfort zone


The food hall for a culinary quest


magazine of the students of

the university of miami

fall 2023

Julia & Henry’s The food hall for a culinary quest


The student Adderall epidemic


Escape your comfort zone


Fashion in the year 3000


magazine of the students of

the university of miami

fall 2023



Escape your comfort zone


The student Adderall epidemic

BACK TO THE FUTURE Fashion in the year 3000


The food hall for a culinary quest

WHEN: We will begin taking portraits on Oct. 23 - Nov. 3, 2023 from 10am-6pm. We will open up extra days if there is a continuous demand for portraits WHERE: Portraits will be taken in the Whitten UC Lower Lobby. *Portraits on Oct 26 and 27 will be taken in the Ibis Office in the Shalala Student Center, suite 200 THINGS TO REMEMBER: A $25 sitting fee is required. Attire is business casual. Graduation regalia is provided for the photo HOW TO BOOK: Scan the QR code below, or visit our website. Our school code is 136



fall 2023


Sue Sylvester


Editor-in-Chief_Lizzie Kristal Managing Editor_Sal Puma Executive Editors_Matt Jiménez & Andrew McCleskey Photo Directors_Sharron Lou & Valeria Barbaglio Assistant Photo Directors_Ethan Dosa & Cecilia Intriago Assistant Art Directors_Marita Gavioti, Julia Gomez & Aden LaLonde Illustration Director_Rachel Farinas Mad Hatter Public Relations Director_Lex Kondratenko Business Director_Jordan Browning Fashion Directors_Chloe Hatcher & Paris Friefeld Assistant Digital Editor_Jamie Moses The Guide Editor_Caleigh Russo Sexy Rick and Morty Happening Editor_Tamia McLean What the Fork Editor_Julia Hecht Special Section Editor_Brittani Mays Health & Wellness Editor_Veronika Valia Fashion Editor_Amanda Mohamad Faculty Adviser_Randy Stano Supporting Faculty_Tsitsi Wakhisi

The nurse from the Blink 182 Enema of the State album cover

magazine is produced four times per year, ABOUT US The twice a semester. City Graphics and Bellack

Miami printed 2,000 copies of the magazine on 8.5 x 11 inch, 60-pound coated text paper 4/4. The entire magazine is printed four-color and perfect bound. Most text is nine-point Minion Pro with 9.8 points of leading set ragged with a combination of bold, medium and italic. All pages were designed using Adobe Creative Suite CC software InDesign with photographs and artwork handled in Photoshop and Illustrator. For additional information, visit distractionmagazine. com. Questions and comments can be sent to 1330 Miller Drive, Student Media Suite 202A, Coral Gables, FL, 33146, dropped into SSC Student Media Suite Suite 200 or emailed to distraction305@gmail.com. All articles, photographs and illustrations are copyrighted by the University of Miami.

DISTRACTIONMAGAZINE.COM Executive Digital Editor_Amanda Mohamad Assistant Digital Editor_Jamie Moses

CONTRIBUTERS Ariella Green, writer Izzy Lemus, writer Kaya Langley, writer Victoria Fondeur, writer Cyro Asseo de Choch, writer Camila Ortiz, writer Isabella Popadiuk, writer Caitlin Coote, writer Tatenda Mukurazhizha, writer Olivia Reyzabal Roig, writer Charlotte Carl, writer Belen Duran, writer Mariaregina Mendoza, writer Sabrina Catalán, writer Steven Calcutt, writer Mary Gorski, writer & designer Melanie Bergunker, designer Quinn Templewood, designer Nicole Smittcamp, designer Isabella Sosa, designer Gaelle Charlet, designer Charlotte DeAngelis, designer Laurie Vuong, designer Savannah Villegas, designer Kelsie Bernard, photographer

Roxie & Velma duo


it comes to contributors, we’re not WE LIKE YOU When picky. Whether you’ve found your niche

in a biology book, you’re notorious for doing “nothing” at the comm or business school or you’re halfway into your college career and still wave that “undeclared major” flag, we want to hear what you have to say. Distraction is an extracurricular/volunteer operation made for students, by students, and covers the full spectrum of student life here at The U. If you want to get involved or have any questions, comments or concerns email us at distraction305@gmail.com.

Letter from the




oday is a memory of tomorrow. Fall is a memory of winter. 2023 is a memory of 2024. But how long can this cycle last? Distraction has a habit of celebrating the good, but for this issue’s special section, “Dystopia,” we’re exploring the possibility of a darker future: one that may not exist. “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” aren’t just entertainment — they illustrate cautionary tales for us to tread around. By raising awareness about polarizing news, surveillance capitalism and the challenges AI bring, we hope to hand you a tool. Use it to take careful steps forward. And, of course, we put a Distraction-esque spin on it. I hope these pages lend you focused immersion as you flip through their jagged edges and deep hues. With the determination my staff presented in assembling this issue, I’m certain they could survive the impending apocalypse.

For a sarcastic rant about Miami’s unique culture

something about soflo page_08

For a dive into the increase in tuition

bills, bills, bills page_21

For the scoop on Adderall addiction in students

overstimulated page_50 roid rage page_53

For yet another gym-bro story


You’ll transcend the boundaries of today with the fashion shoot: “Back to the Future.”

“Overstimulated” confronts the addiction many students have with Adderall.

Tingle your taste buds with Miami’s new market-style restaurant, “Julia & Henry’s.”

“FeMENinity” pushes the boundaries of male fashion with pearls and frills.

photo_cecilia intriago.

photo_valeria barbaglio.

photo_valeria barbaglio.

photo_sharron lou.



table of

happening the guide 4_start to finish 6_something about soflo 8_shooting your shot 10_behind the scenes

dystopia 32_big brother is watching 36_through the looking glass 40_fake news 43_what apocalypse character are you? 44_in plain sight 46_la vie en rose 2


12_de-influencing 15_something fishy 18_messi madness 20_bills, bills, bills

what the fork 24_julia & henry’s 27_squashed 30_no tricks, all treats

health & wellness 50_overstimulated 53_roid rage 56_mind over matter 58_weapon of choice

fashion 60_all cap 62_back to the future 68_feMENinity 72_the canes’ dreamhouse

lo u.

rr on

Welcome a sh to your o_ t o ph roadmap — from the how-to’s to the best-of’s, The Guide covers it all. Learn the best ways to finish your first and last semesters at UM. Up your Instagram game with a photography lesson for dummies. Relate to the satirical honesty of what it’s like to live in SoFlo. We’ll explore the curiosities you never knew you had, and whatever you’re looking for, let us guide you.



START “Out with the old and in with the new.” This phrase takes on a new meaning for University of Miami students beginning their first and last semesters. reshmen begin college, challenged to build a brand-new life to last the next four years. Meanwhile, seniors look back on the life they created for themselves, a bittersweet moment because they have to leave it behind so soon. If you’re worried what the future might hold, here’s some ways to make the most of your time here at the U. words_caleigh russo. photo_ethan dosa. design_melanie bergunker.

Even though freshmen and senior years are entirely different chapters of your life, they share one thing in common: both have pressing questions about the uncertainty to come. Whether you’re experiencing your first or your last semester, we can help you either begin or end the college chapter of your life on a high note.

First Semester

In August 2023, Julia Kovalsick, a first-year majoring in undeclared business, moved into a single at Mahoney Residenctial College. Kovalsick is among many first-year students adjusting to college-life in a vibrant residential community. Since move-in week, Kovalsick has been slowly but surely acclimating to UM, going out of her way to meet people on her floor because she lives in a single. “I have become close with the people on my floor,” said Kovalsick. “I keep meeting new people that are on different floors, so I get to mix and mingle.” Katelyn Mitterway, another first-year majoring in undeclared business, also lives in Mahoney. Mitterway, who lives in a double with a roommate she met on the “UM Class of ’27” Facebook group, has had some issues adjusting to sharing a space with virtual strangers but has found a way to make the most out of the cramped space. “It is a little bit rough sharing such a small place between four of us,” said Mitterway. “We make it work, though. I wouldn’t change my dorm room and suite for the world; maybe get more storage.” Nevertheless, both Kovalsick and Mitterway said they enjoy the options of the Stanford and Mahoney dining halls. While Mitterway said her favorite Mahoney dining hall dish is the barbecue



The Guide

tofu, Kovalsick raved about the grilled cheeses and ice cream machine. On the weekends, with plenty of free time to enjoy Miami, firstyear students can explore all that Miami’s fine dining scene has to offer. Oliver Dreyfuss, a first-year accounting and finance major, has become an avid fan of the Sushi Sake located near campus. “The best restaurant I have been to is Sushi Sake,” said Dreyfuss. “I ordered a crunchy roll and miso soup, which did not disappoint.” Dreyfuss also mentioned that his sister, who is a current junior at UM, advised he should visit Lulu’s and Greenstreet Cafe in Coconut Grove with friends. Mitterway echoed similar sentiments and admitted she hopes to get out there and try new restaurants in the area before her first semester ends. “I have spoken to many students before coming here and have heard great things about Paperfish, Lulu, Greenstreet Café, Madruga Bakery and Raw Juice,” said Mitterway. “Miami locals know the true must-go-to spots,” she said. Per recommendations from people on her dorm floor, Mitterway said she and her friends plan on getting sushi from Paperfish. The most crucial factor in deciding a dining destination is word-of-mouth recommendation, which goes way further than any Yelp review for these first years. Kovalsick agrees and takes note of the restaurants recommended to her by classmates and friends. “Word-of-mouth recommendation is very important to me as Miami is a big place to explore,” said Kovalsick, who hopes to find places to eat she would not have discovered otherwise. “I want to go to places that people I share interests with enjoy.” While Mitterway, Dreyfuss and Kovalsick are navigating their first year — from finding friends to dorm life, many others are counting down the days until they walk out of the Watsco Center with their college degree in hand. At orientation, Sebastian the Ibis welcomes incoming first-year students, holding up the ‘U’ and handing out high fives.

FINISH Last Semester

“It’s very bittersweet to think about how my time of lasts is approaching: my last class at Dooly, my last time fighting for a spot in the Red lot, my last Market Wednesday, and my last time meeting my friends at the Rat,” said Laura Caram, a senior double majoring in international studies and English. Among those students in their final semester of college is Leticia Milesi-Halle, a senior majoring in electronic media and creative advertising who also serves as the social media creative director for UM’s student consultancy firm, Orange Umbrella. She said she recommends first-years join clubs that specialize in their interests. I cherish the sorority I was in,” said MilesiHalle, “But I’ve learned many significant lessons and met some of my lifelong best friends from the extracurriculars I’ve done.” “Get involved and speak up,” said Caram, urging first-years to get involved in extracurricular activities to make friends and find their passions. “Whether that be in Greek life, a club or even in class, become a part of something you love to meet like-minded people.” Caram says her biggest challenge at UM has been managing a sleep schedule and social life while maintaining a GPA and performing well at her job. “It becomes extremely stressful trying to stay on top of everything. Remind yourself that you are only a student in your late teens or early 20s and not a superhero. This is the prime time in your life to face and manage these challenges,” said Caram. Another senior, Roxy Shafiezadeh, a double major in accounting and business technology, acquired her second major her senior year and is currently enrolled in nine classes. “I picked my major on a whim and honestly stuck with it because I got into an accelerated master’s program,” said Shafiezadeh. “Majoring in something you’re passionate about is extremely important, and I am a firm believer in following your passions,” said Caram, currently applying to graduate programs in the United Kingdom. Initially majoring in political science during her first year at UM, Caram said she realized her true passion lay in international affairs and diplomacy. Between graduate school applications, Caram says she spends as much time with her friends as possible before she graduates, whether making charcuterie boards and watching “The Bachelor” or having a night on the town in Brickell. “It is so important for me to hang out with the

people who have made these past three years so special because the truth is that I don’t know when we’ll all be in the same place again,” said Caram. “My Saturdays vary by the week, but one thing that always remains the same is spending time with my friends,” said Milesi-Halle. Whether hanging out with them at their apartment, going to the beach with them, getting brunch or going to a lounge at night, MilesiHalle said she reserves the weekends for plans with her best friends. “Don’t stress yourself out thinking that you have to have your life together by the end of the first semester,” said Caram to current freshmen. “It takes time to find yourself, and that is more than okay.” The promise of a fresh start poses a plethora of exciting opportunities and daunting challenges for seniors and first-years alike. While seniors pay homage to the lessons they learned at the U, they can also impart the wisdom of first-year students who now wear their shoes from the past eight semesters.

Bucket List • Snap a photo with Sebastian the Ibis • Finish a pitcher of beer at the Rathskeller • Walk through one of the fountains on campus • Climb a tree near Lake Osceola • Attend a free movie screening at the Cosford Cinema • Take a fitness class at the Herbert Wellness Center • Spend a weekend down in the Florida Keys • Stand on top of a table at Sandbar • Submit a photo to @redcupcanes for Finally Friday




SOFLO Florida, commonly referred to as the sweaty underarm of the U.S., is known for its far-from-average ways of life. No matter where you go, everything is just a bit peculiar. Is that just part of the charm? Who knows. But South Florida has a specific spunk that makes it a spectacle. Whether you’re fresh off the plane from the Northeast or a SoFlo local, take some time to read up on the local way of life. By the time you’re finished, not only will you be better equipped to survive South Florida, but we will also let you pawn off these jokes as your own in social situations — free of charge. words_sal puma. design_quinn templewood.

If you’re not familiar with the Miami area, it can be a tough transition regardless of where you come from. Miami can be a shock to your senses if you’re from the middle of nowhere. Even if you are from a bustling city, Miami has far too many quirks in comparison with other metropolitan areas. Wherever you’re from, you have probably heard of the infamous “Florida man” stereotype. Essentially, it’s a running joke based on the many different news reports covering wild crimes committed in Florida has. Don’t believe me? Type “Florida Man” plus your birthdate in the Google search bar. The state is weird, and here at the University of Miami, we find ourselves in our own pocket of the outlandishness. We might not have as many swamps or rednecks as Northern Florida, but what SoFlo lacks in sun-drenched charisma, we make up for in exotic charm.



The Guide

The Melting Pot

Much like New York City, South Florida is a melting pot of cultures. However, the pot was left to rot in a hot minivan whose entire floor was covered in crumbs and old fastfood containers. While Northerners come down here to flee from the cold weather and catch a break from the uptight energy, people from the Caribbean flee their own countries for the chance at a better life, if you could even consider the U.S. as better. That’s just scratching the surface. It’s gotten to a point where different groups have created small communities around South Florida, making them almost an extension of where they came from. Doral — better known as “Doralzuela” — has the largest concentration of Venezuelans in the U.S., while Little Santo Domingo and Little Havana are both named after the respective cities their most of their populations originate from. It’s little slices of different countries all within

driving distance. It’s like Epcot but, instead of magic, there’s traffic and one too many people on the road who shouldn’t be legally allowed to operate a motor vehicle. South Florida’s real kicker is the tourist destinations, with Brickell and Wynwood being two of the best examples. Surrounded by smaller communities, these two lively neighborhoods pride themselves on being staples of SoFlo culture. We hate to break it to them: they’re not. Their residents often fall into one of the major transplant subgroups: Northerners. We get it. they’re loud, obnoxious and make themselves comfortable real quick. They’re like the friend who comes over to your house uninvited, raiding your pantry as they overstay their welcome. It’s areas such as these where tristate girlies flock to for a spontaneous Tuesday night outing, because who said you can only go out on the weekend? Everyone knows to get a

feel for the rich culture and history of South Florida, you need to go and drop upwards of a grand at Sexy Fish and tell everyone about it. What’s the point of going to an aesthetic, overpriced restaurant if you don’t excessively post about it on Instagram? Despite the diversity in the SoFlo community, there is some semblance of peace. It’s like the residents are all siblings, constantly picking at each other on the same boat until the end of time, even if said boat is some shady promoter’s yacht.

parking lot or stranded altogether. At least Inter Miami is garnering a lot of new fans now that Messi has joined its ranks. These teams have dedicated fan bases who will swear by these teams until death, even when they suck. ’Canes fans showed up to every football last season practically knowing the team would get creamed each time. Messi is a great addition to the soccer team and all, but it’s like putting makeup on a pig. Just because it looks nice does not mean it will do anything substantial.

Soccer is back: Inter Miami has gained much traction since forward Lionel Messi joined the team in July 2023.

The Environment

The weather down here can be described as what it might feel like to be a forgotten PB&J in a kid’s lunchbox. It’s wet and moist, and God only knows what might happen next. Ways of Life You can never trust the If you thought the people of SoFlo were forecast because rain or shine, “loco,” what we do down here will blow it anything is possible. The weather all out of the water. What people in South here can be equated to having a sister: it Florida do, or, in some cases never do, is what can be a beautiful sunny day with a sudden gives the region its distinguishable charm. five-minute tropical storm that passes by It seems everyone down here just like nothing happened. Once you forget loves to talk, and with all that talking your umbrella at home, you never comes the “regional dialect” of make that mistake again. SoFlo. Spanglish runs rampant in Even the hurricanes we Miami and has been adopted by get follow the same metric. both English and Spanish speakers. In 2022, we had classes Whether it’s a local who’s been around canceled and businesses Spanglish for most of their life, or a girl shut down in preparation from Atlantic City, N.J. who has only spent for Ian, but it was no one year down here, seemingly everyone has different than a normal found their own way to incorporate common Miami rainstorm. We’ve had Miami slang such as “pero like,” “oye” and stronger winds on a random “irregardless” into their everyday vernacular. Wednesday, but we didn’t miss To get around, there are some forms class for that. of public transport, but they don’t always The weather has become such cut it, even if Miami-Dade County swears a laughable event that hurricane parties are they’ll make it better. So if you’re trying to go something people dream of attending. For anywhere, then driving — on rare occasions a time, Publix got in on the joke, selling when you’re not sitting in dead-stop traffic — Hurricane themed cakes so people would is your best bet to get anywhere relatively on come into their store for something time. But there are exceptions. besides a pub-sub. However, getting behind the Our basketball team wheel here isn’t for the faint of is not called the heart. Driving on U.S. 1 is akin Miami Heat for FLOR IDA to Formula One and Mario nothing; the Kart having a hellish baby. With heat is its own US blatant disregard for the rules antagonistic of the road being an everyday monster entirely. occurrence, people continuously What’s even better switch lanes as if no one else is how people deal existed. Don’t even worry about using with it. Trying to dress your blinker because it’s like Florida cars in perfect accordance with don’t have them installed. Whichever driving the weather here is hard, so people school all these Floridians attended, we tend to go all in with what they’re would like to speak to your manager. wearing. A swimsuit with the idea of We all take our sports very seriously here. a cover-up to class, or a sweat-stained The Dolphins and Hurricanes both play at Balenciaga long sleeve and pants in 90 F the sequestered Hard Rock Stadium, where weather. It’s as if everyone’s Sims were let you are guaranteed to either get lost in the loose on the streets of Coral Gables.

Iguanas are to Florida what rats are to New York — roaming the streets like they own them. Be sure they don’t fall on you from the trees when it gets chilly.

At the end of the day, minus Miami being underwater in 50 years, South Florida is not changing anytime soon, so you can either take it or leave it. Come the winter months, just remember to rub the warm weather in everyone’s faces when you go back home, it’s part of the fun.







Aperture, ISO, exposure — so many words and so little knowledge about what they mean. Using an actual camera is a little more complicated than pressing a button on your phone. Sure, you can set it to automatic, but that’s considered cheating. If you want to get the most out of your camera and make your photos look professional, consider this your simple guide: “Cameras for Dummies.” words_jamie moses. photo_valeria barbaglio. design_marita gavioti.


he most enticing part of camera work is that you do not need prior experience. You can learn everything relatively quickly, cultivatingw amazing pieces and make longlasting connections in the field; it all starts with learning to use a camera. Through YouTube demonstrations and classes at the University of Miami, you can learn the ins and outs of digital photography. Maybe you even have a camera-savvy friend who can teach you. Whichever avenue you choose to take, there are many ways to seek guidance and learn the initial steps. Ethan Robbins, a senior majoring in creative advertising, has a great deal of experience in the film industry, even working with ESPN and UM’s athletics department over his academic career.



The Guide

The most essential first step to camera usage is deciding which camera to use. For the most basic and introductory experience, Robbins said he recommended the Canon Rebel. “The Rebel is useful for body and lensbased photography that allows you to focus on your shot. All you have to do is point the camera and it does the work for you,” said Robbins. The camera is also comparatively cheap: refurbished Rebels typically cost somewhere in the $300 range, and a completely new Rebel stands at around $550. Ryan Novak, a junior majoring in motion pictures, recommended the Sony A7iii, which is commonly used in UM film classes. Novak, a filmmaker himself, recently won the award for Best Intro Film at the 2022 ’Canes Film Festival, not to be confused with the one in France, for his film “Clouds on the Horizon,” which he wrote, produced, directed and edited. Novak said the best camera on the market for both photo and video purposes is the Sony A7iii. “This camera is one of the best cameras that works fifty-fifty [just as well] with videography and photography,” said Novak. After figuring out your camera of choice, it’s time to figure out how to get your best quality shot, which can be obtained through multiple practices.

Figuring out your ideal shutter speed is a good place to start. The shutter speed refers to the number of frames being clicked per second. Typically, you want to aim to shoot with a shutter speed of either 1/50 or 1/60. However, it depends on whether you’re adhering to the motion picture standard, which is 24 frames per second, or the broadcast standard, which is 30 frames per second. If your aim is to decrease shutter speed, shoot closer to 1/100 and for a more crystal clear look, adjust it to 1/1000. Adjusting the aperture, or camera opening, is another essential task, as this dictates the focus of your shot. This is dependent on your depth of field, pertaining to whether you want a narrow depth or not. You adjust the aperture of your camera by adjusting the part of the camera called the iris to choose the amount of light let into the camera with units known as “f-stops,” which is the lens focal length divided by the diameter of the entrance pupil of the aperture. Fancy. A lower aperture sits around f1.8–2.4, and an f22 means the image is more focused and less narrow in depth. In correlation with the aperture strategy, Novak said he recommends getting a prime lens for your camera. This lens has a set length with no zoom features, which allows you to focus on shooting your image over getting lost in deciding the depth. “I strictly use the 35mm, that’s what’s

Need a place to start? UM’s Photography Club provides a way to improve skills for students of all experience levels. And you can network with other students who share a love of photography.

Tips and Tricks Rule of Thirds Place your subject in the left-orright-third of an image and leave the other thirds of your shot more open to create a clear, flattering result. Zebra Feature This is a setting on your camera that pulls up “zebra” striped lines that help determine exposure levels. Adobe Resources The Adobe Creative Cloud is free with tuition at the University of Miami and allows you to access applications such as Adobe Lightroom and Premier.

worked best for me in my experience,” said Novak. The following important technique is to work with the camera’s white balance. This tool can be set to determine how colors are processed through the camera’s image to ensure the shot is correctly lit and colored. UM professor Edmund Talavera gave input on the struggles students face in the while learning the craft of camera work. Above all, he mentioned the importance of having a strong storyline. “There is a reason even large multimillion-dollar films are bad: scriptwriting is hard. If you don’t have a great story, no fancy equipment will save your film,” said Talavera. The professor, who also serves as the faculty director of the annual Canes Film Festival, also recommended amateur film makers pay attention to the lens and clarity of an image, as it takes importance over the type of camera you use, and that beginner cameras can create incredible pieces. Now that you have some techniques down, it’s time to try them out — who knows, you may just end up creating a lifechanging piece and win an award of your own.



Back to the Future For anyone who has ever seen the episode of Spongebob with Squidward screaming “chrome” will know exactly what we were going for with this photoshoot. The future is bright, shiny and colorless. Herding a group of campus eboys into the studio for this session was a surprisingly easy feat, though — all we had to do was give them attention and a Redbull. And at the end of the day, we were able to pull together a futuristic fashion line that would make even my kitchen’s aluminum foil jealous.

Overstimulated Taping a bunch of pill bottles to a model’s face may seem bizarre, and that’s because it is. But when someone is writing a piece on Adderall addiction, you need to think outside the box when trying to capture what addiction looks like. Granted, it doesn’t look like this, but you get the point. This is supposed to show how addiction makes you blind to the dangers you’re exposing yourself to and, trust me, our model couldn’t see a thing.

On Polaroid There’s nothing like a little film to make you feel nostalgic. Thanks to our managing editor, Sal, for grabbing his Polaroid camera and snapping some shots. If we could caption these, we’d say “deadline warriors” for the hours we spend in the suite. Lizzie threw a love hand sign, Matt had his paparazzi moment, Andrew and Sharron show the love and Sal slaves over his first infographic in Adobe.


lo u.

rr on

Happening a sh tackles today’s o_ t o ph hot topics and inspiring innovators. Toss your Olaplex and Ugg slippers for the cleanse called de-influencing. Think twice before buying those aquarium tickets, because something fishy might be going on. Florida finally got some optimism in sports when Messi joined Miami CF. And finally, buy your lottery tickets because UM’s tuition is on the rise.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 11

DEINFLUENCING Have you ever looked around your home and thought you had too much junk sitting around? Can you recall when you purchased those items? After answering these questions, you might brush off your responses as nothing to worry about. Maybe you’ll experience fleeting guilt about using your credit card on an Amazon or SHEIN haul one too many times. However, with climate change predictions quickly becoming reality, ignorance won’t provide bliss for much longer.

12 DISTRACTION Happening

words_andrew mccleskey. photo_sharron lou & valeria barbaglio. design_nicole smittcamp.

Current Reality

Back in late January of this year, TikTok creator @sadgrlswag uploaded a video aiming to “de-influence” viewers and prevent them from buying products seemingly every social media influencer owns — Olaplex, the Charlotte Tilbury Liquid Highlighter Wand, the Dyson Airwrap, the Stanley Cup, UGG Mini Booties and all those other fads. Within those following days, “deinfluencing” became a topic of conversation across the platform and many other TikTok users called on their peers and audiences to reduce their levels of consumption and live more minimally. Nevertheless, to understand why “deinfluencing” became popular, one must acknowledge how online shopping has affected domestic and international markets. Dr. Haoluan Wang, an assistant professor of sustainable economics at the University of Miami, explains online shopping services have allowed for the price of goods to drop and the quantity of goods to increase. “Online shopping platforms, such as Amazon, not only make goods more accessible to consumers but also bring down costs,” said Wang. “These two factors combined will incentivize consumers to purchase more goods given the same purchasing power, even for something that may not be useful or necessary for our daily lives.” Following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, prices for goods have spiked across the U.S. and abroad. According to The World Bank’s Global Database of Inflation, the inflation rate in the U.S. rose from 1.2 percent to eight percent between 2019 and 2022. Other data points from The World Bank’s study revealed Americans are now devoting majority of their paychecks toward essential goods such as food and energy. Will inflation force Americans to keep their wallets in their pockets? Wang predicts shifts in consumer spending may curtail our collective levels of consumption. “With everything becoming more expensive, considering our salaries have not increased proportionally, people are becoming more careful about how to spend their money,” said Wang. “Inflation will, to some extent, discourage people from ‘unnecessary’ shopping if they have more important things they need to spend money on, such as mortgages.” So if Americans must spend more money on the basics, how are users on TikTok and other social media platforms affording

those overpriced items such as the $600 the average person in high-income countries Dyson Airwrap anyways? The truth is most disposed 1,177 pounds of waste during 2019. of us can’t, yet we choose to do so because Fitzpatrick believes hyperactive of the perceived elevation in social status consumerism in the United States granted through purchasing certain items. contributes to the destruction of the Earth’s Researchers from the University of Granada ecosystem, yet our government fails to act in Spain published a study in 2022 analyzing due to capitalistic motivation and societal the psychological mechanisms behind status disconnect. item consumption. “The production of most consumer They found status anxiety, or concerns goods requires factories that heavily utilize and fears about one’s relative position in fossil fuels as energy, leading to the release the socioeconomic hierarchy, can spur of harmful greenhouse gasses into our individuals to buy status items such as atmosphere which directly causes global designer handbags, expensive jewelry and warming,” said Fitzpatrick. “However, our luxury clothing, even during economic nation tends to value business and revenue turmoil. Furthermore, they discovered higher over environmental sustainability. People levels of economic inequality contribute to see the products that they buy every day, increases in status item sales. however they rarely see direct, concrete Isabelle Fitzpatrick, a junior majoring in impacts of climate change.” public relations and journalism and minoring Even though we want to believe climate in environmental science, argues that even change is not as bad as it seems, the though spending by upper-class individuals clock is ticking to prevent its detrimental can maintain company profit lines during effects. Every year, the United Nations’ times of inflation, the working class may struggle to keep their heads above water in Inflation will, to some extent, discourage the face of increased prices. people from ‘unnecessary’ shopping if “The current they have more important things they surge in inflation is need to spend money on. creating a larger gap in consumer behavior Dr. Haoluan Wang, Assistant Professor between different socioeconomic classes. Upper class individuals who don’t have to worry about supporting Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change themselves financially are likely to stimulate releases a comprehensive study on the an inflated economy,” said Fitzpatrick. current state of the Earth’s climate. Last year’s “However, lower class individuals are finding report proposed that to prevent average it harder and harder to survive, as inflated global temperature rise from exceeding 3 F, prices leave them living from paycheck to countries would have to halve their emissions paycheck.” by 2030 and reduce them to zero by 2050. If governments do not rapidly decarbonize their economies over the next Poor Mother Nature decade, long periods of drought, rainfall or At this point, you may be asking yourself why wildfires may become the new normal for you should even care about how much and communities living in climate change-prone often you buy things. If you have the money, areas. Increased exposure to climate hazards it’s your right to spend it. Right? Scientific will increase deaths associated with heat as research heavily disagrees. well as diseases originating from food, water In 2022, UNICEF Office of Research and other transmitters of disease such as released a report which found that if animals and insects. every person on Earth consumed at the Dr. Eduardo Elena, an associate professor consumption rate of the average American, of the history of consumption, echoes the industries would need the resources of five worries of most contemporary climate Earths to sustain the global population’s scientists and believes we have reached a demand. Furthermore, their research showed turning point in climate change’s progression.

The average American only wears 20 percent of the clothes in their wardrobe 80 percent of the time. Long story short, you probably have way more clothes than you think you do.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 13

“The present-day debates about [overconsumption] reflect the fact that today we are surrounded by a lot more stuff and a lot more people than ever before. We have realized the collective impact is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore,” said Elena. “Especially for younger people, because they have realized they’re going to be around to see the consequences. There is something particular about our current moment.”

Where Do We Go from Here?

The essential question remains: how do we make a difference? Unfortunately, most governments have not made serious legislative efforts to mitigate the effects of manmade climate change or to reduce their country’s annual carbon emissions. Simone David, a junior majoring in psychology and criminology, contends that U.S. corporations may fight off attempts to shift the country’s economy towards greener business practices because of the cost associated with making such changes. “Our nation has not strived to reduce our consumption of goods in hopes of mitigating the effects of climate change because corporations see it as an expense that causes them to lose money,” said David. “Corporations may lobby against policies that would force them to be more environmentally conscious, such as stricter caps on greenhouse gas emissions and other similar laws.” Consequently, the burden of saving the planet falls primarily on the people, especially those living in the wealthiest of the world’s nations. To create tangible societal change, we must work together to encourage those around us to live more minimally and sustainably, one person at a time. So next time you’re about to blow hundreds of dollars on your growing digital shopping cart, think about whether you want the next generation of people to live with our mistakes.

The 48-hour Rule A common tactic employed by minimalists, called the 48-hour rule, may help you make smarter decisions as a consumer. When making a purchase decision, whether it be in-store or online, give yourself 48 hours to critically think about the purchase and decide whether you need the product, whether you can afford the item and if it’s worth the cost. After 48 hours, if you still find yourself wanting to make the purchase, then have at it.

Think About the Bigger Picture “Our current modes of consumption discourage us from asking where the stuff comes from, how it was made, what are the materials in the things we consume and what was the energy used,” said Elena. “The different steps of the supply and production chains have a higher carbon footprint than most people would think. Not to mention, there is a significant growth in the trash stream associated with all the cardboard boxes that things come in.”

Done with the clutter? Need to make some much-needed space in your closet? Consider donating to a thrift store to empty your closet sustainably. Goodwill is a great go-to option for accessibility.

14 DISTRACTION Happening

Local Miami SeaQuarium in Miami, Fl. sees 500 thousand people flocking to see the sea creature spectacle each year. The exhibit pictured here is one of their most picturesque, located in the indoor portion.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 15

As humans, we are innately curious about the world around us, especially in regard to what exactly inhabits our seas. Aquariums have allowed us to peak into the mysterious world of oceans, which many of us may never deeply experience. However, the creatures we flock to see live in tanks resembling glass cubicles — inhumane homes for living, breathing creatures. Concerned visitors and even activists have sounded the alarms for years, so why aren’t we listening? words_ariella green. photo_lizzie kristal. design_aden lalonde.


ack when you were a child, SeaWorld might have seemed like one of the greatest places on Earth. Guests of all ages are welcomed into the park to view all types of fishes and mammals without having to take an expensive trip down to the bottom of the ocean to see animals you would otherwise never see. With the bonus of 17 attractions, SeaWorld Orlando is a fun, family-friendly destination that attracts hundreds of thousands of families every year. Nevertheless, the park appears to have a couple skeletons in its closet. If you have been to SeaWorld Orlando, it is possible you visited Tilikum the Orca, who has the reputation of the “Killer Whale” for the three deaths he had caused in his lifetime. In Nov. 1983, at age two, Tilikum was taken away from his family near Iceland and was kept at the Hafnarfjörður Marine Zoo for a year until he was later transferred to Sealand of the Pacific, a now-closed public aquarium located in British Columbia, Canada. In 1992, Tilikum was transferred to SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla., where he lived out the remainder of his life until Jan. 2017. During his time at SeaWorld, Tilikum was responsible for the deaths of three trainers: Keltie Byrne, Daniel P. Dukes and Dawn Brancheau. Tilikum is not the only orca from SeaWorld to have harmed employees. Another orca, named Lolita, who passed away in Aug. 2023, shared a similar experience to Tilikum at the Miami Seaquarium. In 1970, at the age of four, she was captured and purchased by the organization for $6,000 — approximately $47,271 today. Lolita spent her life in a tiny tank with a depth of 20 feet. She and other orcas spent their days swimming aimlessly or floating in their tanks to cope with the small enclosure they inhabited. Most, if not all, the animals you will see at an aquarium have been captured and separated from their families as babies. These animals can grow lonely and depressed from social isolation and, as they stir in their tank, they may end up acting out on those feelings. Regina Asmutis-Silva, the Executive Director of North America for the Whales

16 DISTRACTION Happening

& Dolphin Conservation, explained the routine schedule these animals are held to each day. She supposes the monotony of daily weigh-ins, vet checks, training sessions and performances may not be the best for ocean creatures. “[The daily schedules of aquarium animals] are very specific to the needs of humans, not the needs of the animals held in captivity,” said Silva. “These animals are meant to swim hundreds of miles a day. They’re not getting the exposure to the right kind of tidal cycles.” Asmutis-Silvia also brought to attention the lack of stimulating activities for captured animals. She compared it to a music analogy of how children will listen to different types of music from their parents and, therefore, learn new things and act in certain ways different to their folks. Captured orcas are mentally stunted and cannot acquire the skills necessary for life in the ocean. Lily Morgan, a junior majoring in marine biology and ecology at the University of Miami, aspires to work in the marine industry. Through a series of family trips to the Keys, Morgan fell in love with the ocean and everything that comes with marine biology. However, after learning about institutions like the Miami Seaquarium, Morgan was saddened at how these large mammals are mistreated by being kept in inhabitable tanks. Nevertheless, she still sees value in rehabilitative centers staffed with trainers who tend and care for the creatures. “It’s obviously very cool that we can see these animals up close and I believe that if the animal is in captivity for rehabilitation purposes, then that is okay. If it is a rescue facility and they let you go and see their animals, I don’t see the issue,” said Morgan. Deborah Giles, the director of science and research at the Wild Orca, a Washingtonbased nonprofit organization that works to save killer whales from extinction, believes the organization has the

capability to transform the lives of ocean animals who genuinely need human intervention. However, she acknowledges the history of harm SeaWorld and other aquariums have created as a direct result of their practices. “SeaWorld does good work with regards to stranded animals [from their] marine mammal stranding arm. That does fantastic work,” said Giles. “I wish they would have come to that conclusion a long time ago and stopped breeding and showing their animals decades ago. It was a different time. People had different ideas of moral right or wrong.” Still not really getting it? Suppose you looked at the situation from a human’s perspective. During the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, people across the world were forced to stay at home and, in some cases, were isolated from their families. But these animals are on lockdowns 24/7 with no light at the end of the tunnel and seemingly no escape.

Living in an inhabitable tank often causes fish to overeat and underexercise, causing aquatic obesity

Taste of the Sea So what should you do if you want to get up close and personal with all the animals and plants the ocean has to offer? Here are some alternatives to visiting your local aquarium that will still allow you to peak into the wonderful world of the ocean blue.

Aquariums attempt to simulate similar scenery, lighting and food for the aquatic animals as their natural habitats, but it can only go so far. No matter the effort, the amount of space and freedom sea creatures get in the ocean can’t be recreated.

Snorkeling: If you’re interested in experiencing marine animals first hand, snorkeling is a great option, especially for those who have no desire to swim with the sharks. Biscayne National Park conducts daily snorkeling tours which take visitors across the bay — all for the low price of $35. Scuba Diving: If you’re really trying to immerse yourself in the ocean blue, scuba diving will allow you to explore much further depths than snorkeling. The university has an official scuba club, with dues standing at $75 per academic year and $50 per academic semester. If you don’t know how to scuba dive, you’re in good hands, as the club offers an indepth training program for beginners. Marine Animal Webcams: Yes, these do in fact exist. Don’t ask us why. Through simply typing in phrases such as “live underwater webcams” into your search engine, you can access live streams of marine animals from around the world and watch them swim around in real time, all from the comfort of your own home.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 17

Messi Madness Argentine soccer forward Lionel Messi made international news this past summer when he confirmed rumors about signing with Inter Miami, marking the first time Messi has played for a U.S. soccer club. The deal has come to symbolize a new start for the team and for major league sports in the city. The global icon is actively paving the way for renewed interest in soccer in the States, bringing along his fame, talent and alleged craving for pub-subs. words_izzy lemus. photo_ethan dosa. design_julia gomez.

In the world of sports, few names shine as brightly as Lionel Messi’s. After appearing in five world cups across a 16-year period, the relentless Argentine soccer player has finally earned his new title of World Cup champion following Argentina’s victory over France in the 2022 World Cup, which was held in the blazing desert of Qatar. Despite this colossal win, years of highly competitive professional soccer is what truly granted Lionel Messi his global fame. Due to his exceptional performances in the European clubs FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, news outlets across the world have routinely referred to him as the greatest player of all time. While he is a star player, his fame goes beyond the boundaries of sports. Many fans view Messi as a global icon, inspiring millions with his skills, humility and love for the game. So what is a global soccer icon doing signing with Inter Miami? Why now? On June 7, 2023, Lionel Messi publicly announced he would sign with Inter Miami, turning down the multimillion dollar offer made by the Saudi Professional League Team, Al-Hilal. To say the soccer world was in shock is an understatement.

Al-Hilal has gained recent success both domestically and internationally, having earned four league titles in the last seven years and an AFC Champions League title. To further add to their reputation, Al-Hilal recently acquired the globally renowned Brazilian soccer forward Neymar, attracting him with a $300 million contract. However, these accolades and a $500 million contract were not enough for Messi. “I came here to play and to keep enjoying soccer, which is what I loved my whole life, and I chose this place because of all those things,” Messi explained to CNN reporters after an away game against Philadelphia. Team captain of the University of Miami women’s soccer team, Melissa Dagenais, suggests why Messi might have choosen Miami as his final destination. “I assume he was looking for a place where he can thrive on and off the field, a place where he knows he will be appreciated and supported by the fans,” said Dagenais. Inter Miami CF was founded in 2018 under the guidance and

The game is on in a match against Atlanta The starting goalkeeper, United on Sep. 16. Inter Miami CF lost in a tough Drake Callender is ready to protect the game 5-2 and is currently standing at number 14 in the goal during a game. Callender has a 70% success rate, as stated on the Miami CF website. Eastern conference.

18 DISTRACTION Happening

Inter Miami teammates bring it in for a huddle to plan their next attack against Atlanta United. Atlanta out-shot Miami by 16 to 10 with six to three shots on target.

ownership of the now-retired British right winger David Beckham, who is a soccer legend in his own right. Since its inception, Inter Miami has encountered a fair share of struggles. The club made its Major League Soccer debut in 2020, yet fell short of the grand expectations set for its inaugural season. In their first season, the team finished in 10th place in the Eastern Conference and failed to secure a spot in the playoffs due to a surplus of injured players and tactical issues. Inter Miami struggled, and the challenges faced on the field quickly translated into challenges faced with fans of the club. With a stadium located more than 30 miles north of downtown Miami and a brand new team struggling to make their mark, hope for Inter Miami was dwindling. The team was left wounded — until Messi arrived. Welcoming a new player to a team is bound to alter dynamics on the field. Luckily for Inter Miami, this is just what they needed. Messi’s contribution to the team has already created a motivation for them to find plenty of success in their 2023 season. Drake Callender, the starting goalkeeper for Inter Miami, described his team as a “ticking time bomb,” waiting for their opportunity to finally prove their ability. “Having one of the worst records in the league, our team was in flight or fight mode, and we had a lot to prove,” said Callender. “Yes, he had many contributions to our team on the field, but he was joining a team who was hungry and desperate for a win. The greatest player of all time joined a team that had everything to prove.” Kayley Sullivan, the assistant coach of UM’s women’s soccer team, had a similar experience. She describes player changes on a team similarly to Callender who spoke on Inter Miami’s variety of talent. “Any time a team changes by a single member, you have a new team,” she shared. “[It] requires deliberate planning and consistency,” said Sullivan. “Everyone contributes in their own unique way,” she added. Additionally, of Messi to Inter Miami CF has done more than just enhance the team’s stats. His presence alone in the United States has the potential to inspire a new generation of soccer players. In addition, Messi holds the power to elevate the popular sport to new heights in the country, and even more so in Miami, a city known for its immense diversity and passionate sports culture. The enduring Latin American influence on the city’s culture and residents’ undying love for the Miami Heat can describe Miami in a nutshell. Fortunately, the locals

have quickly embraced the soccer legend and reignited their deep-running pride in Miami athletics. “Having Messi in Miami has been really exciting and has drawn a lot more attention to soccer in America,” said Julia Edwards, UM’s second women’s soccer team captain. “I hope that the fan base continues to grow.” It’s inspiring to see junior soccer teams thrive throughout the city, and particularly moving to see our very own UM soccer players feel enthused by this new addition to our home.

Messi dribbles the ball in warmups, ready to take on the opponents. The star is ranked as the number one soccer player in the world.


MESSI SPOTTED Despite the overwhelming soccer enthusiasm for this promising season, nothing exceeds the excitement of local sightings of Messi. He has quickly taken it upon himself to explore his new home base. He has been spotted roaming around Miami Beach, dining with his wife in small cafes in Pembroke Pines, and even shopping in the produce aisle of our local South Miami Publix. So if you find yourself at your local grocery store in Miami, keep your eyes peeled, since you never know which worldwide champion you might encounter amidst the produce and pub-subs.

photo_jared lennon.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 19

The rising cost of tuition has put many students in financial cuffs. Tuition is too expensive and transferring delays grauation, so now what?


The budget of college students has become a running gag across media nowadays, consisting of cheap caffeine, ramen bricks and overpriced textbooks. Sure it can be comical, but at the end of the day, students aren’t alright. With tuition rising while wages and financial aid stay the same, many students are having to choose between school, work and sleep. Will tuition continue to skyrocket, or does it have a limit? words_cyro asseo de choch, camila ortiz, isabella popadiuk & communitywire. illustration_savannah villegas. design_lizzie kristal.


miles, 600 hundred minutes and $150: That’s how many miles, time and money Jet Porter spends every week commuting roundtrip from Margate in Broward County to the Coral Gables campus. Porter, a junior double majoring in marine science and biology, moved further away from campus this school year after they were priced out of the Coral Gables area and unable to secure on-campus housing. “The commuting life is a little bit tough, especially with as long a commute as I have because that’s time that I have to spend focused on driving,” Porter said. “I can’t get that back. So that’s time I could be using homework, catching up on sleep or eating dinner.” It didn’t help that the University of Miami’s average cost of attendance rose by $10 thousand between the current academic year and the previous one. Porter and other students say they are grappling to find ways, including moving further away for affordable housing and working longer hours, to meet escalating costs. “It definitely wears on you to have to try to work full time hours and do school full time, especially when I have to afford gas to come here,” Porter said. “So, I have to make sure I’m working, which means school is a priority, but work is also a priority, which means sleep and other stuff isn’t necessarily my first priority.” Porter is not alone in finding ways to cope with the increased cost of attendance at UM and the general cost of living in South Florida. Bella Kimbel, a junior double majoring in chemistry and health sciences, is a teaching assistant and head lifeguard at the university. She had to pick up another teaching section, meaning an extra eight hours of work each week, to keep up with the rising cost of living. “I have been fully drained, exhausted,” Kimbel said. “I have been struggling to find time to sleep because it is almost impossible to be able to do school and work and have enough sleep.” The shock for students set in when the university announced last semester that it was raising tuition and fees for the 2023–24 academic year, jumping to $59,940, nearly $3,000 more than the previous year. The total cost of attendance currently sits at a whopping $88,440 for undergraduate oncampus students. “If you’re not part of a higher income bracket, it can feel like you’re drowning while you’re trying to just get through and do your degree,” Porter said. Tuition at UM has been slowly but surely increasing for years. Data from the Wayback Machine show that undergraduate tuition and fees went from $47,004 in 2017 to $58,104 in 2023, and the tuition increase is 23.62 percent over the past seven years. UM’s soaring tuition costs reflect a nationwide trend based on several factors, industry analysts say. These factors include

inflation, the expansion of on-campus facilities and housing, as well as changes to funding models. This year’s 2023 U.S. News and World Report university rankings showed UM falling from number 55 to 67 among private and public universities. However, UM moved up from number 37 to 36 this year among private universities. The College Board’s 2022 annual survey, “Trends in College Pricing and Student Aid” notes stark differences between tuition hikes at private universities and public universities. According to the study, average estimated budgets, which include tuition and fees, room and board, allowances for books, transportation and other personal expenses, for full-time undergraduate students ranged from $19,230 for public two-year in-district students and $27,940 for public four-year instate students to $45,240 for public four-year out-of-state students and $57,570 for private nonprofit four-year students. However, between 2012–13 and 2022–23, average inflation-adjusted tuition and fees declined by four percent at public two-year colleges, declined by one percent at public four-year institutions and increased by six percent at private nonprofit four-year institutions. When asked to be interviewed about the rising cost of tuition, UM administration responded with an email statement from John Haller, vice president for enrollment management and new student strategies. Haller emphasized the university’s commitment to “enrolling a diverse group of high-achieving and motivated students.” He highlighted that as of fall 2021, the university had reached the goal of meeting 100 percent of the total demonstrated financial need by awarding increased need-based financial aid, “allowing all admitted students the opportunity to complete their university education, regardless of socioeconomic status.” “I wish that they had scaled financially to the cost of rising tuition because, although I came in with a really good scholarship package and I felt like I was able to afford the university every year, that kind of affordability benchmark kind of gets a little bit further away from me,” said Porter. Their now long commute to campus illustrates how Miami has become one of the most unaffordable cities across the U.S. Sofia Alberto, a leasing consultant at Related Group based in Miami, said South Florida’s housing market changed postpandemic, mainly because people came from other higher-income states, such as New York and California. “The reason why the market went up so quickly was because they were coming and buying houses cash down, $40 thousand over offer, then because of lack of houses for South Floridians to buy and lack of places for us to live, that drove up rental rates because people were willing to pay above offer and above everything,” Alberto said. “It is a dramatic

increase. I have never seen anything like it in almost seven years of working.” Alberto said the rent applicants in Midtown Miami must have an income of about $115 thousand to $125 thousand per year to get the approval. It is not sustainable for a regular working-class resident from Miami and less so for a college student Freelance writer, Jack Flynn, said the value of money has decreased while prices have increased, and students cannot afford what the market is demanding. “Students cannot even afford food. as studies have shown that between 20 percent and 55 percent of students fall into food insecurity, while the U.S. average is 12 percent,” Flynn wrote in a June 2023 post for Zippia, an online platform to help job-seekers make career choices. To help students cope, the Student Financial Assistance Office offers resources, including the Money Management Program, to help students understand college costs and financial aid options. Student Government president Niles “Even the professors themselves are out of touch with what’s going on and the fact that not everybody can afford to just go to school.” Bella Kimbel, UM Junior

Niseem, who initially had difficulties with his financial aid package his freshman year, said he identifies with students who are coping with the additional financial burden. “I am one of them, even as the student body president,” Niseem said, adding that he does not fault the university. He said he believes his situation will work out. “It is what it is,” he said. “That’s just how life goes.” While there may be no straightforward solution to help students that are struggling to cover the increasing costs, students offer advice on how the university could help students manage. “The university should supply bedding and cooking supplies in the dorms for the new Centennial Village or Mahoney Pearson or Lakeside” said senior Michael Muela. “Students are already spending enough money,” said Muela, adding that he and his family had to take out more loans than usual this year. “So, I would say if all of that stuff is already included in the dorms, it would be a significant decrease in the cost.”

CommunityWire.Miami is the news service of the graduate journalism program of the School of Communication at the University of Miami.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 21

BREAKING THE BANK COLLEGE TUITION BY THE NUMBERS So has the cost of furthering your education gotten out of control? Is attending the U actually more expensive than years past? Don’t worry, we’ve searched through the archives and retrieved the numbers for you. And you just might be shocked. words_andrew mccleskey. design_lizzie kristal.

UM’s cost increased

Cost of Attendance in 2023–24

in the last year

$39,692 $79,054 $79,450 $85,967 $86,000

13.97% is $2,500 less than UM


is $3,000 more than UM

UM costs over


FSU’s tuition

is $9,000 less than UM



Florida State University Emory University Harvard University Columbia University Tulane University

$88,440 University of Miami $90,222 New York University $90,921 University of Southern California $91,290 Northwestern University

How UM Cost of Attendance Has Grown in the Last Five Years Total Price in U.S. Dollars

The cost of attendance is a hefty sum of fees. Most of it comes from tuition, room and board, and miscellaneous fees. But what are these “miscellaneous fees?” Some of the funds maintain campus facilities, such as the Shalala Student Center, Lakeside Village and the Herbert Wellness Center, while others finance student organizations — including our magazine. The athletics department also relies on these funds for operational purposes. We might hate paying them, but miscellaneous fees give life to the U.

$77,596 $73,712

Sources: The University of Miami Factbook, The Wayback Machine, and universities’ admissions websites.




22 DISTRACTION Happening


Estimated cost of attendance at UM per year includes the sum of room and board, tuition and miscellaneous fees. While steadily increasing, there has been a clear spike in the last year.

What’s included?

19– 20



20 20


21– 20

Academic School Year



22 20

4 –2

23 20

lo u.

rr on

What the a sh Fork is a o_ t o ph foodie’s paradise, stuffed with mouthwatering recipes and hiddengem restaurants. Check out the newest hotspot, Julia and Henry’s, for an upscale food hall experience. Pumpkin spice lattes aren’t the only squash-based recipes to get in the autumn spirit. And for anyone with a sweet tooth, we have your candy-curiosities covered. We are serving up the latest dishes, so grab a plate and dig in.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 23

Julia & Henry’s Located at ​​200 E Flagler St. in Miami, the 26-concept food hall, Julia & Henry’s, has taken over what was originally a Walgreens drug store.

Choosing where to eat with friends can often be a difficult task, especially if it’s last minute. Everyone has different tastes and dietary restrictions, so then what? Julia & Henry’s, which opened this year in downtown Miami, solves this predicament. With over two dozen dining vendors to choose from, there truly is something for everyone. Get over there for the upbeat vibes. Your taste buds will thank you later. words_caitlin coote, tatenda mukurazhizha, olivia reyzabal roig & communitywire. photo_valeria barbaglio. design_julia gomez.


symphony of flavors, some live music and handcrafted cocktails, Julia & Henry’s is a culinary adventure that offers an all-in-one experience conveniently located under one roof in downtown Miami. “It’s such a great place to grab a meal with friends because there is literally something for everyone and it is super easy to order your food from different places at the same time and enjoy it all together,” said Taylor Dutil, a junior marketing major who recently visited Julia & Henry’s for the very first time. Located at 200 E Flagler St., South Florida’s newest food hall represents the city’s perpetual

24 DISTRACTION What the Fork

effort to reinvent its economic and cultural landscape. Julia & Henry’s opened in June, occupying the former historic Walgreens building. Constructed in 1936, the landmark building was modeled after cruise ships with their curved decks and multilevel design in a style known as streamline moderne. It was Walgreens’ largest store at the time, and featured an impressive 88foot soda fountain counter on the ground floor. When Walgreens left after several decades, the Cuban department chain, La Época, occupied the space from 2005 to 2016. Two years later, Stambul Development acquired the property and redeveloped it.

Pastries from L’Artisane Bakery, the first French Vegan Bakery and Restaurant in the United States, is located on the ground floor of Julia & Henry’s.

Since the building is on the National Register of Historic Places, in order to preserve its cultural importance and significance to the city, Stambul opted to repurpose the building instead of demolishing it in favor of a more modern design. The restaurant pays homage to Miami’s founders, Julia Tuttle and Henry Flagler. “It’s surprising because I think the outside doesn’t really match the inside,” said Mona Latif, a Julia & Henry’s patron. “It has historical context to it.” Historical context aside, Henry and Julia’s offers a spectacular showcase of modern design. The venue is a three-floor structure with plenty of offer —transparent floors, a sleek glass elevator and a soaring central atrium around which 26 dining experiences. “My first impression was that it was very visually appealing, with the super cool bar in the center and bright colors everywhere,” Dutil said. The ground floor features market-style restaurants perfect for a casual lunch. The mezzanine floor is the setting for live performances, a books and records store and a children’s play area. International flavors and craft cocktails are located on the balcony floor. Each restaurant has a unique curation, offering a variety of options from finger foods to full meals. Are you ever in the mood for Italian, but once you get to the restaurant you change your mind and want Japanese? Julia & Henry’s provides a space for those with fickle palatte to seek out a different eating experience within the same building. Some of the currently available cuisine includes Latin American, Japanese, Italian, Halal and even fusion dining experiences such as Peruvian-Cantonese. The bucatini gricia pasta at Battubelin on the mezzanine floor is a favorite among customers, as well as La Latina’s selection of Venezuelan cuisine on the ground floor.

“Food halls are a great thing for Miami,” said Juan Rozo, a downtown area resident and patron of Julia & Henry’s. “It kind of speaks to what Miami is bringing out to the table in the culinary world,” said Rozo, who has been in the food industry for the past 15 years. “It could be playful, but it also can be really high end,” he added. In line with the standard food hall setup, Julia & Henry’s gives customers the option to order food for either dine-in or takeout. When you visit your preferred vendor, you can make your selection and complete your payment, after which you will receive a text message alert when your food is ready. If you choose to dine in, servers are on hand to bring your meal directly to your table for added convenience. Menu prices cater to a range of customers, from students to business executives. For those on a budget, Cicchetti, a Venetian-themed eatery on the ground floor, offers a selection of charcuterie and cheeses and bologna tapas priced at $5. If you’re looking to splurge, you can check out Osso Meats — also on the ground floor — and treat yourself to the porterhouse steak for a light price of $98. “While it is not cheap, it is also not expensive, with the average check ranging from $15 to $20,” said Marlon Dilangu, assistant manager at Julia & Henry’s. “This makes the restaurant accessible to any budget and allows for a great night out.” The food hall also includes an entertainment center with DJs and live music on different days with a bar and “sound room” called Jolene, located in the basement, rumored to be the former illegal liquor stock tunnel of the infamous mobster Al Capone. The owners of Club Space, one of Miami’s biggest nightclubs, have teamed up with Bar Lab Hospitality to launch a new underground experience in a basement. The 1970s-themed soundbar invites local talent to DJ alongside top global artists, fusing local music culture with international beats. With such a variety of options available at Julia & Henry’s, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and confused when visiting for the first time. While it has gained some recent popularity, the food hall has received thumbs down from some online reviewers who say the place is too crowded, busy and noisy.

Tacos from Tacotomia, an authentic Mexican concept, debuted at Julia & Henry’s for the first time.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 25

“It definitely was not for me, it kind of feels like it was taking away from the Miami identity,” said Tyler Gallant, residential loan underwriter at First Republic Bank. “I don’t want Miami to turn into New York.” Gallant, who recently received his master’s degree from UM, visited the establishment soon after it first opened. “I like simplicity, I like variety, but not a crazy amount of options,” said the former UM student. Operated by the Miami-based King Goose Hospitality, Julia & Henry’s is one of many projects on Flagler Street meant to develop the area to attract more tourism but to also boost the local economy by creating more jobs. Future plans include the addition of a fourth and fifth floor, which will be transformed into dedicated studios for music recording and podcast creation. On its way is the rooftop restaurant Torno Subito by Massimo Bottura, who also owns the famed three-starred Michelin restaurant Modena, Italy. “It’s a new life for downtown,” said Daniel Martínez, a sous chef at Sankuay. “You have a very safe place for walking now.” To localize the eatery, staff members have considered how to add elements to their establishment to make its own unique identity. “I think about the concept, I think about the neighborhood; it’s very important,” said Dayan Gonzalez, beverage manager at Julia & Henry’s. “With crafted spirits that we have in Miami right now, with the fruit from Miami, I try to combine all these ingredients to make people happy.”

CommunityWire.Miami is the news service of the graduate journalism program of the School of Communication at the University of Miami.

Choose from any of the ten craft cocktails offered at The Lasseter, which sits on Julia & Henry’s balcony level. Try the Guayaba Collins for a fruity twist.

The Restaurants by Floor Ground Floor Cicchetti: Venetian tapas Epicurean: New American J Wong: Cevicheria L’Artisane Bakery: French vegan bakery La Latina: Venezuelan arepas Luncheria: Cuban cuisine OMG Brigadeiros: Brazilian chocolates Osso: butcher shop Papa: air-fried French fries Puffles: Hong Kong egg waffles Yann Couvreur: French patisserie La Época: wine bar

Mezzanine Floor Battubelin: Italian pizza and Pasta Fookem’s Fabulous: artisanal key lime pies

26 DISTRACTION What the Fork

Frank: gourmet hot dogs June: burgers Michy’s Chicken Shack: chicken sandwiches RŌZU: poke bowls Tacotomia: Mexican taqueria Boxelder: craft beer bar

Balcony Achar: Bengali street food Baklava Bakery: Lebanese bakery Hitchihaika: Japanese gyoza Mensch: Jewish diaspora Argentine food Palmar: Asian street food Sankuay: PeruvianCantonese chifa Shimuja: ramen Yabai: Japanese handrolls The Lasseter: Craft cocktails bar



When Starbucks announces the release of their fall flavors, it does something to the air. Something about that pumpkin spice changes people fundamentally. While many love a good pumpkin spice latte or a warm apple pie, there are some fall flavors that get left out of the hype. Squash, the broader category that includes pumpkin, can be used in a bunch of fall staples due to its unique savory taste. So let’s shed some light on the little lumpy guys for once. words_kaya langley. photo_kelsie bernard. design_marita gavioti.

Pumpkin adds a natural sweetness and moisture to fall baked goods, like these cupcakes.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 27


t seems as if autumn is the one time of year where students are eager to whip out the cookware. The season unleashes the inner chef in everyone as autumn-inspired dishes flood our timelines. Fall staples, like pumpkin and squash, are indispensable; the two fruits are remarkably versatile with endless dishes deriving from them every season. Need some inspiration for an upcoming autumn feast? Here are three squash and pumpkin infused recipes that are sure to charm up your dinner table this season.

Perfect Pumpkin Cupcakes Cupcakes are the ideal mini-but-mighty dessert. Their simplicity and size is great for small gatherings. Mix the ingredients, pop ‘em in the oven and voila — a scrumptious fall snack.

These pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting look even better with a festive fall garnish. Try brown sugar for an easy fix.

Directions 1.

Ingredients • • • • • • • • • • • • •

1 cup canola oil 4 large eggs ¾ tsp salt 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda 1 tbsp vanilla 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice 2 tsp ground ginger 1 tsp ground cinnamon 2 cups flour 1 can pumpkin puree ½ cup granulated sugar 1 cup brown sugar

Optional cream cheese frosting: • 2/3 cup softened butter • 8 ounces cream cheese • 1 tsp vanilla extract • 1/8 tsp salt • 4 cups sifted powdered sugar

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

For the frosting: 1.

2. 3. 4. 5.

28 DISTRACTION What the Fork

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 muffin pans with paper liners. In a large bowl, sift the sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, brown sugar, pumpkin puree, eggs and vanilla. Combine the pumpkin mixture and the flour mixture. Stir until fully blended. Fill the liners 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 20 minutes. Test for readiness by inserting a toothpick in the center of a cupcake. Repeat until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool and enjoy.

Using a standard mixer, beat butter until smooth. Medium speed is recommended. Add cream cheese and beat on same speed until creamy. Make sure to scrape sides of the bowl. Beat in salt and vanilla. Sift powdered sugar in a separate bowl. On low speed, add the powdered sugar to the mixer. Once fully combined, increase speed. Using a piping bag, or Ziploc with one corner cut off, pipe frosting over cupcakes. Decorate as you please.

Calabaza Squash Calabaza, also known as the “West Indian Pumpkin” is the ideal recipe for those craving an Autumn twist on Miami’s Caribbean fusion.

Ingredients • • • • • • • • •

½ calabaza, cut into 1 inch strips 1 tbsp fresh lime juice 1 tbsp rice vinegar ½ tbsp honey 1 small clove garlic, minced 2 ½–3 tbsp canola oil Pinch of salt or kosher salt ⅛ tsp cumin Handful fresh cilantro, chopped

Ingredients • • • • •

1 medium butternut squash, peeled into one inch cubes 2 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice ½ tsp salt 2 tsp pure maple syrup

Directions 1. 2. 3.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk ingredients in a small bowl to create the dressing. Don’t mix in cilantro; reserve for before serving cooked squash. 4. Cut squash in half, vertically. 5. Remove seeds from each half. You can save them; roast them for a light, healthy snack later. 6. Slice half the squash into one inch pieces. Keep the skin on while peeling for seamless cutting. 7. Brush a light amount of dressing over each side of squash. Place on the parchment paper. Sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. 8. Place in oven and roast 20–25 minutes. Inserting a toothpick or fork to test completion. If it comes out clean and the squash is soft, it’s ready. 9. Transfer squash to a plate. 10. Add cilantro to dressing, then spoon over the warm squash. Sprinkle a bit of finishing salt or kosher salt and serve. Don’t be afraid to get creative with the seasoning. Add rosemary to bring a sage-herbal flavor or spice it up with chili powder.

Spiced Maple-Glazed Roasted Squash

Calling all sweet tooth enthusiasts: this final recipe is sure to satisfy all cravings and serves as the ultimate Thanksgiving desert.

Directions 1. 2.


Preheat oven to 425 F. Divide cubed butternut squash across two baking sheets. Sprinkle olive oil, pumpkin pie spice and salt over the squash on the two baking sheets. Toss coated squash to fully coat. Spread squash cubes evenly out on the baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven to flip and toss squash. Bake for an additional 10–15 minutes, or until squash is toasted and caramelized. Remove from oven and toss with maple syrup before serving.

Not a maple-syrup lover? No problem. Swap syrup for brown sugar for an equally sweet treat. Seasoned squash is a solid alternative to some other sickeninglysweet Thanksgiving desserts. Try switching up the seasonings from sweet to savory.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 29

No Tricks

All Treats As a kid, one of the toughest decisions was what candy to grab when trick-ortreating. With all the fun sized candies calling your name, it was common to reach for your favorite — chocolate bars, sugary bites and nutty belights. So, has your childhood candy endured the test of time, or has your taste matured with you? words&design_sal puma.

Student Candy Favorites We had 62 Univeristy of Miami students fill out a form asking them for their candy of choice. Here are their choices, where do you fall?

M&Ms 13.2%

Reese’s Cups 15.8%

Other 2.8% KitKats 25.2%

Twix 23.5%

Sour Patch Kids 19.5% Source: Google form sent out to the UM students

30 DISTRACTION What the Fork

rr on

lo u.

Each sunrise is a sh one day closer o_ t o ph to the end of the world. This issue’s special section, Dystopia, investigates modern-day horrors that are fragmenting the human race — and some ways to live peacefully among the chaos. Keep an eye out with a dive into surveillance capitalism. Peer into the future with some accurate predictions. Decipher fake from fact in the news you consume. We hope you have your weapon-of-choice ready.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 31


WATCHING How Did We Get Here? There’s somebody watching you right Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s — the early days of Silicon now. That’s right. Right now. They’ve been Valley — tech start-ups and budding social media platforms could not figure out how to generate earnings from their newlywatching you and they will continue to founded digital services. At the time, Silicon Valley executives and engineers alike considered data entered into search engines, watch you. But who even are they? Many which reveal information about one’s hobbies, of us may fear the interests and preferences, as waste material with no practical application. It would not be idea of unwarranted long before Silicon Valley would realize the power this residual data could have. The early leaders at Google originally despised advertising and hoped to keep surveillance by advertisements off their platform. However, the company began to feel pressure from initial investors to increase profit margins over the course of the early the United States 2000s. Consequently, Google’s engineers started to develop behavioral models government. However, that could predict whether or not certain users would actively click it’s your Alexa, on digital advertisements. Pujan Patel, a senior majoring Google and iPhone you need to fear. U.S. in political science and sociology, technology and social media companies attributes the rise of predictive models for advertising purposes to already gather vast amounts of the decisions of Google’s pioneers. “Google set the stage for this kind information regarding the inner workings of behavior,” said Patel. “In 2004, of your daily life every time you use their Google launched their email service, Gmail, which shortly thereafter products and services. All for one simple goal: increasing profits. Even though they Tread lightly on your phone. Without taking the might see you reading this, at least they’ll correct precautions, search engines will continue to take know the gig is up. words_andrew mccleskey & sal puma. illustration_rachel farinas. design_gaelle charlet.


note of everything you search.

generated controversy by scanning consumers’ emails and then feeding back personalized advertising.” By the late 2000s and early 2010s, residual behavioral data became the quintessential material for profit-generating ventures online. Thus, surveillance capitalism, which is the monetization of data captured through observing people’s behaviors online While search engine and offline, was born. companies are openly honest Professor Narine Weldon, a full-time lecturer at the about selling consumer data, University of Miami School of Law and a professor of there is strong potential for data ethics and technology at the College of Engineering, to be used for other purposes argues that the sale of information relating than we don’t know about. to users’ online behavior has truly become the prevailing profit model for the majority of current technology, business and social media conglomerates. “Companies have created and profited from the attention or engagement economy where your data and key swipes are the actual product,” said Professor Weldon. “Companies learn about us through what we research online, what sites we look up, how often and how long we engage and then use that data to sell to advertisers, pollsters and market researchers.”

What’s the Big Deal?

At this point, you may be wondering why you should even care in the first place. Does it really matter if companies use data to make predictions for advertisers and marketers? Is it even a problem? Not necessarily. However, issues arise when apparent online convenience discourages individuals from complaining about, noticing or “Companies have created questioning the use of their data. To add insult to injury, Silicon Valley attempts to and profited from the mask the data collection and transaction attention or engagement processes with public claims of prioritizing the privacy of individuals who use their economy where your data products and services. Patel contends that and key swipes are the most people lack the essential knowledge about companies’ usage of behavioral data actual product.” to comprehend the far-reaching influence of Narine Weldon, Professor surveillance capitalist behaviors. “Many individuals who don’t keep up with current events in the tech sphere may not even fully understand the amount and kind of data companies retain from them,” said Patel. “It may be shocking to some to see the profile cultivated on

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 33

themselves by these platforms and who has access can be even scarier to think about.” Furthermore, social media corporations and other digital service providers create elaborate terms and conditions that leave little room for negotiation on the user’s end. Essentially, individuals who do not provide their consent lose access to the entirety of the product or service in question. Professor Weldon believes most Americans ignore service agreements that could help individuals gain some understanding of what happens to their data and who is responsible for its use. “Most social media users don’t read privacy notices or terms of service. In the United States, we tend to accept all cookies on a site so we can just get to what we want to see,” said Weldon. “We don’t have as strong of a privacy culture as citizens in the rest of the world.”

Maybe it’s Not All Bad?

Nevertheless, some may argue that surveillance capitalism simply represents the natural evolution of advertising and marketing strategies in a digital world where technological advancements occur as fast as the blink of an eye, especially with the advancement of AI. If demand exists for access to behavioral data, shouldn’t social media platforms and other technology firms have the right to sell it? Professor Carlos Erban, a lecturer of digital marketing “We don’t have at the UM’s Herbert Business School, asserts that advertisers have historically inserted themselves into as strong of a popular media used by the majority of consumers.

privacy culture as citizens in the rest of the world.”

Narine Weldon, Professor

Cherry-Picked Ads When companies create an ad campaign, they can choose to have their ads appear to a target demographic. It can be as general as “athletic” or “goth,” to even as specific as “middleaged mother who lives in suburbia and likes coffee.” If your recent online actions resemble the market they’re going for, websites like Google and other online retailers will push their marketing on you. It doesn’t stop there: your recent data is compared with your past data to pick out certain patterns. For example, they look at specific brands you favor, if there is a time you usually shop, how willing you are to go to different websites. The algorithm goes deeper and can possibly predict what you might buy next. If you bought plane tickets, you might get hotel offers in the area, and if you were searching up how to deal with pregnancy, you might start to get some ads for baby clothes. How are they allowed to do this? Well, it’s usually placed somewhere in that long block of text next to the “accept cookies” button that you blindly click. You’re not signing your life away, but it allows them to create, keep and cultivate that digital footprint of yours to further personalize your ads and digital experience.


Data Protection for Dummies Considering all this information, you may find yourself wondering how you can protect yourself when using the internet. Here are some tips to ensure your data remains secure when surfing the web and out of the hands of advertisers.

1 2 3 4

Browse in Incognito mode — When browsing in Incognito mode, no browsing history is recorded, nor can websites retain cookies left behind by your activity in Incognito mode.

In Erban’s view, the internet has become the newest in a long line of media utilized by businesses for Change your privacy settings — Through consumer marketing and other forms of research. simply adjusting your privacy settings, “What people see and what you can prevent websites from tracking people interact with, advertisers are aspects of your online usage such as your always going to be there. In the past, daily activity or your location. [advertisers] used to call this ‘eyeballs,’” said Erban. “There are always going Download a VPN — A VPN, or a virtual to be new things, probably new things private network, encrypts all of your we haven’t even thought of, where activity on the internet in an anonymous advertisers are going to pop up.” channel that websites cannot track. Using Furthermore, all industries possess their own sets of ethical dilemmas and a VPN goes a step beyond browsing issues. No industry can simultaneously in Incognito mode and allows you to provide 100 percent benefit completely hide your virtual identity to both consumers and laborers. For example, most Remove unused applications and Online clothing brands such U.S. consumers engage extensions — Applications and extensions as Shein, Fashion Nova and Pretty in fast fashion without can track your online activity, even if Little Thing have been revealed thinking twice about the you have not used them in days, weeks to be fast fashion brands. Besides child laborers who allegedly their extremely low prices, and months. By deleting applications make the garments because customers have received clothes and extensions you don’t frequently use, consumers benefit from the with messages such as “help me” low costs associated with you can reduce the number of platforms stitched into the tag. fast fashion items. attempting to track you. Using the same logic, one could assume that most Americans do not mind being constantly tracked online because they see benefit in having access to targeted advertisements designed specifically for them and hope to avoid irrelevant digital content. Erban echoes similar sentiments and explains a trade-off exists when choosing virtual anonymity. “There is always the possibility of having bad actors using data for the wrong reasons. You can use Incognito mode and change all of your privacy settings to ensure your data is not tracked,” said Erban. “But that doesn’t mean you’re going to get zero advertising, just completely irrelevant advertising. If I’m going to get advertising anyways, I might as well get advertising that is relevant to me.”

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 35


through the looking glass

These days, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the present — from commercial rocket ship launches to new strains of Coronavirus to every TV show from the ’90s and 2000s being rebooted. It gets overwhelming, so picturing the world at the next turn of the century brings up images where we drive our flying cars in a virtual-reality Metaverse existence. While there are no crystal balls to show an accurate snapshot of the world to come in 2100, we asked around for some educated guesses to get a better insight as to what some think the future will look like. words_caleigh russo. photo_sharron lou. design_laurie vuong & lizzie kristal.

Fashion It was not long ago that society considered what the year 2023 would look like, and while many visions came true, we are still decades away technologically from accomplishing others — flying cars anyone?

When futuristic fashion comes to mind, what does that mean? While there is always the distinct possibility that future generations will dress in the bold, retrofuturistic garments depicted in sci-fi films, odds are what’s old will become new again. After all, fashion trends are cyclic and follow a 20-year rule, meaning the trends we see now will be reborn in 20 years. Does Y2K make sense now? “A lot of trends from the early 2000s will be coming back,” said Olivia Sayegh, a junior majoring in exercise

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 37

physiology. “A lot of what we are seeing now 2012, renamed Facebook to Meta in 2021. is a lot of Y2K fashion being trendy again,” Including platforms like Facebook, Threads, added Sayegh, who said she predicted her Instagram and WhatsApp, Meta plans to take grandchildren will wear low-rise jeans and social media from two-dimensional screens baby tees in 2100. to a virtual reality, immersive experience. “Hopefully, fashion trends will transition “If we’re lucky, V.R. into being more environmentally conscious,” experiences will help said Vivian Brunke, another junior majoring in exercise physiology. us to empathize with While Brunke also said she sees many Y2K others very different fashion trends resurrecting every 20 years, from ourselves,” said she hopes to see clothes made using more UM philosophy professor Richard Chappell. minimalist, environmentally sustainable Given its ability to expose us to people and materials. places we would not meet or see in our day-to-day lives, V.R. experiences pose the Transportation opportunity to provide people with more While the future may not forecast flying perspective. cars and intercontinental teleportation, steady technological advancements suggest Politics innovations and enhancements shall be made While ideas such as the Metaverse provide for more cruise-worthy cars and possibly a insight into the future of digital media, one faster jet-setting. cannot help but wonder what the political Will Carello, a junior majoring in landscape will look like in years to come. Will international studies, said, “I think the the relevant issues still be pressing in 2100, entire world will be and what problems will arise in the future? mostly using electric Carello, who is on the pre-law track, vehicles, especially commented on the issues he foresees dominating the news cycle since they are rapidly headlines in 2100. “I think politics will focus growing right now.” mostly on climate change and civil wars over Carello also forecasted the growth of public natural resources by 2100.” transportation because he believed people will “Some political issues I see being most opt for more environmentally friendly modes relevant are climate change, abortion, right of transportation. to healthcare and gun control,” said Brunke. “I think faster planes will be the difference “As much as it pains me to say, I think politics in transportation,” added Sayegh, who said she will unfortunately become more polarized.” believes that flying cars are too futuristic for Chappell seemed to agree saying, this and next century. “Growing polarization is an obvious concern. The increasing tendency to dunk on those we disagree with rather than trying to Communication understand or reason with them strikes me as Social media is a large part of life today, with an unfortunate development.” endless scrolling and liking projected to Chappell, whose effective altruism in continue as digital media assume new forms. philosophy course at UM strives to get While Gen Z will likely watch these new students thinking about trade-offs between social media take flight within their lifetimes, different types of values and their causes the question remains as to which social of major world issues, said he believes media platforms will survive the test of time. moral and ethical “TikTok will continue to be pretty huge,” disagreements will said Carello. “Our attention spans seem to keep shortening with each not disappear. passing generation, so it makes sense that “To reduce short videos would remain popular,” he overall conflict, added. we’re either going to need to stop sharing our “Given how consistently people have personal views and values in common spaces, used it since it was created, I think Instagram or learn to better tolerate those whose views will still be relevant,” said Sayegh, citing the and values differ from our own. I vote for the platform’s steady increase from 110 million latter.” users in 2013 to 2.2 billion in 2022. Only time can tell what the world will “Unless [Mark] Zuckerberg makes a look like in 2100. However, we can each do major mistake, I see Instagram lasting and our parts to make the world a great place for still being relevant in the future,” said Burke. future generations because what we do today Zuckerberg, the creator and CEO of Meta, will impact tomorrow. who purchased Instagram for $1 billion in


It’s not easy to predict what social platforms will stay relevant in the future. While Facebook has stayed popular since its creation back in 2004 and Instagram in 2010, others such as MySpace declined in usage within a few years.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 39


FAKE NEWS Just like articles, broadcast news platforms have fallen victim to sharing fake news with their viewers, especially when reporting large scandals.

When an eyecatching headline appears on your phone, like a moth to a flame, you scan what it’s about. If it’s as shocking as you thought, chances are you’ll share it with some friends and family. We’re quick to spread information, but sometimes we never take a moment to discern if that story was factually accurate. Fake news is rampant nowadays, on social media and even on television. So what can we do to stop the misinformation?

words_charlotte carl, belen duran, mariaregina mendoza & communitywire. illustration_rachel farinas. design_charlotte deangelis.


KE NEWS FAKE NEWS FAKE NEWS FAKE NEWS WS FAKE NEWS FAKE NEWS FAKE NEWS FAKE N KE NEWS FAKE NEWS FAKE NEWS FAKE NEWS In the early hours of Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023, Donald news most of the time. The online survey of roughly 94 Trump Jr. uploaded a brief post to X that read as follows: thousand adults was conducted in 46 global markets, “I’m sad to announce, my father Donald Trump has including the U.S. passed away. I will be running for president in 2024.” School of Communication professors Bruce Garrison The post was shocking, alarming and … fake. Although and Yanfang Wu also have researched public confidence it was up for less than an hour, the post from the former in news sources. According to their research, The Wall president’s son was reshared more than a thousand times. Street Journal is the source most trusted by any and all Come to find out, Trump, Jr.’s social media account, which sides of the political spectrum. has more than 10.4 million followers, had been hacked. “False news or half-truths affects knowledge,” said News outlets — from cable giants Fox, CNN and Hilda E. Garcia, vice president MSNBC to local news stations to the BBC — reported the for digital local news at Televisa hoax throughout the day. The senior Trump, who takes Univision Inc. in Miami. credit for inventing the term “fake news,” quickly took to his Truth Social platform to Defining fake news depends announce that he was not dead. a lot on who is defining it, While the Trump fake-news item was expeditiously discredited, hundreds of but a review of definitions deliberately misleading or false reports circulate and recirculate on fake news sites, offered by journalism scholars alternative-fact statements and elsewhere on the social media sphere. and practitioners says fake news is intentionally created News for Views to manipulate people’s Maya Brady, a senior in the School of Communication, understanding of real said the constant bombardment of fake news is frustrating. facts, events and statements. It is designed to spread false “You think you are educating yourself on one thing or information and deceive the public. reading something at school, and a year later or a day later These false reports can do more than just deceive. People you can find that it’s not true,” said will go to crazy lengths for a cause they support — and an Brady. untrue story can lead to unwarranted outcomes. Brady is not alone in her During the 2016 presidential election campaign, fake frustration. The public’s trust of news was circulated regarding a pedophilia ring that involved people at the highest the news has fallen to an all-time levels of the Democratic Party, which was allegedly operating out of a Washington, low. Earlier this year, the Reuters D.C. pizza restaurant — crazy, Institute for the Study of Journalism In response, a man was arrested after firing a rifle inside the restaurant. The released their “2023 Digital News attacker later said he wanted to “self-investigate” the news reports. Report.” According to the study, in “Fake news can have “real-world consequences,” said the United States, only 32 percent Hillary Clinton at a Capitol Hill ceremony a month after losing to Trump. “It’s of those surveyed say they trust imperative that leaders from the private sector and the public sector step up to

Media Literacy 101 In the age of misinformation and disinformation, the skill of media literacy, or the ability to critically analyze media and determine the accuracy and credibility, has become more important than ever. So, how exactly do you become media literate anyways? Let us here at Distraction walk you through some of our tips and tricks.

1 2

thing. Trust your gut and question the accuracy, reliability and fairness of any given article, TV program or social media post. Looking up other media on the same subject will help you answer these pressing questions.


Verify the outside sources — Although we like to think anyone called upon to speak on any given subject would not intentionally deceive audiences, sometimes sources present information in a biased manner. Other times, the cited individual or study may provide information that is simply inaccurate. To verify sources, look up the information and compare with other publications.


Think critically — Have you ever read or watched something and felt as if you weren’t being told the entire truth? Chances are, you probably aren’t. And that’s okay, healthy skepticism is a good

Consume a wider range of media — In the digital age, many of us exist in virtual echo chambers where information presented to us solely affirms or upholds our current beliefs. Through consuming multiple forms of media from differing outlets and publications, you can develop a clearer and more thorough understanding of the world around you. Keep an eye out for obvious red flags — When consuming digital news outlets, there are some elements, such as excessive advertising, lowquality graphics, typos or no author, that may mean the source is not reliable or accurate. If you come across a site with any of these features, you may want to click out.


protect our democracy and innocent lives.” making it difficult for audiences to understand the importance Fact-checking outlets, such as snopes.com and of the story, the impact, or the way it affects people. factcheck.org, emerged in the ‘90s and several more have “So many of them just replicate the same story in every formed to help the public determine fact from fake. single outlet and almost with the same headline,” Garcia said. “Have 84 members of Congress been arrested for drunk “There is no way to offer the context. Context for me is key, driving in the last year? Have seven been arrested for to make the difference between a good or a bad journalist, fraud?” That question was posed to factcheck.org in 2009. between a good media outlet or a bad one. People don’t FactCheck.Org website continues to discredit a number know the real story, the causes or the of statements, videos and memes, including President consequences.” Biden wrongly claiming to have visited New York City a Gina Presson, a lecturer in day after 9/11, an Instagram post that claimed “over 1,000 children were missing” in broadcast journalism and writing the wildfires in Maui, and social media posts that claimed the Biden administration in the School of Communication, opened floodgates along Arizona’s border fencing to allow illegal immigration. said news audiences do not always distinguish between reporters and Social Media Scams commentators. Social media platforms have played a “We have not done a good job as an industry of clarifying when significant role in the rapid spread of fake someone is a commentator,” Presson said. “They are not meant to be news. Respondents in Garrison and Wu’s objective journalists.” 2023 study said they most often consumed Presson is also a veteran T.V. reporter, producer and anchor in Dallas, and trusted fake news shared on social Tampa, Virginia and North Carolina. In her experience, she media by their friends and family that were noted that newsrooms, especially those with overworked of like minds. journalists, will be incorporating more artificial intelligence Brady, the UM senior, said she consults into their operations, which could lead to the dissemination of traditional media such as The Washington Post, The inaccurate news. New York Times and CNN, but cited Instagram and “I think that it will affect news if people choose to take the TikTok as two of her primary news sources. Her easy way out and generate too much of a story out of artificial preferences are reflected in the Reuters report, which intelligence,” Presson said. “If we use it for the right purposes, we said TikTok is the fastest growing social network can harness the power of artificial intelligence without sacrificing used by 18 to 24 year olds. the quality of what we are doing.” Garcia raises a red flag for students and others Miguel Ramirez, an anchor at Telemundo Wisconsin, said it is who rely heavily on social media as their primary difficult to compete with new technology “that can create, make news source. She said social media algorithms create up and generate an atmosphere that does not exist. It is very a bubble for audiences to reinforce their ideas and perfect that people fall for it,” he said. beliefs. To distinguish fact from fiction, researchers and newsroom Whenever individuals come across information professionals recommend confirming stories on multiple news that supports their existing worldview, it strengthens platforms and checking the sources of articles themselves. their biases and can make them more vulnerable to News audiences can take responsibility for their own misinformation, she and other journalists say. consumption by verifying information before sharing it and being “You just learn about one way to think, one mindful of their own biases, said Trevor Green, the director of reality,” Garcia said. “In this sense, beliefs are above graduate studies in journalism and media management at UM. the facts, above discussions, debates and smart Green also highlighted that when consuming deliberation.” news in social media, readers have to do more investigating and look at a second source. In The Field “These social media apps make it very easy Apart from fake news outlets and falsified statements by public officials because they have templates set up to automatically to intentionally mislead or confuse the public, several other factors give it this professional look,” Green said. “It’s even adversely impact the delivery of news, researchers say. more immediate and faster.” Fake news should not become a catch-all phrase to explain media Guiselle Arciniega, a graduate student in bad habits such as sloppy reporting and the rush to publish the School of Communication, said fake news without sufficient fact-checking. These and other factors also dissemination could be tackled if journalists keep contribute to reader confusion and distrust. in mind why they are journalists. Garcia, who received her master’s degree in “I think it’s really bad to give fake information to people,” communications in 2005 from UM, has worked in several Arciniega said. “We are supposed to be helping our community broadcast and newspaper markets. Some notable locations are make the best decisions.” Mexico, Los Angeles and New York. So, next time you’re reading an article, take the time to She said broadcast outlets, especially those that are analyze the piece and really ask yourself: is this fact or crap? functioning on tighter budgets, repeat the same stories,

CommunityWire.Miami is the news service of the graduate journalism program of the School of Communication at the University of Miami.


e s p y l a c o p A t a h ? u o Y e r a W r e t c a r a Ch

Most of us love using TikTok filters and spend hours scouring the depths of the platform for new ones. And we’ve got a new one to add to your repertoire. While most TikTok filters might tell you what animal you are or what country you look like you’re from, this one is special. Scan the QR code below and find out what character in the apocalypse you would be. Come on, you know you want to — for your own sake. filter_sal puma. words_andrew mccleskey. design_aden lalonde.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 43


Phones, computers, tablets, T.V.s, schools, grocery stores and even modern fridges all have one thing in common: cameras. These days, it feels like we’re always being watched. Well, you’re not crazy. With cameras everywhere, people have less privacy than ever, and governments are all too keen to get in on the action. But there is a way to fight back. With crazy patterns and seemingly random makeup, there are people who dedicate their time to fooling facial recognition technology with . . . fashion. words&photo_matt jiménez. design_charlotte deangelis.

You don’t need to go under the knife to shield yourself from face recognition technology. Abstract and colorful makeup do the trick.

You can also throw it back to pandemic times and wear a medical mask as protection.


Cameras seem to coat the public: on street efficiency. [And] in the medical field, facial corners, in stores, in banks and, of course, in recognition can help in patient identification and our own pockets. And while many use them medical management,” said León Espinosa. for innocent reasons, be it capturing sunsets or However, there are drawbacks and grave heartwarming moments, others have a more vulnerabilities which can be exploited. Apart sinister use in mind — control. As we venture from the typical concerns surrounding privacy, further into the digital age, we wade deeper there can also be harmful biases affecting certain into uncharted waters. While governments are populations — after all, algorithms are coded by becoming more tech-savvy and using modern humans, who can unknowingly insert their own innovations to police and control the rights prejudices into them. of citizens, who knew fashionistas would be “Facial recognition algorithms can leading the charge to protect our privacy and exhibit bias, leading to misidentification, combat AI with some strange styles? particularly among people of color and other At its core, anti-surveillance fashion is aimed at doing exactly what it sounds like: underrepresented groups. This can result in hindering the efforts of malevolent actors unjust consequences, such as wrongful arrests,” in their quest for mass surveillance. Facial León Espinosa said. recognition cameras are increasingly used by In fact, this has already occurred. Police governments at all levels to track citizens and departments in Florida have few limitations keep profiles on them, causing concern among regarding when and how they can utilize facial many that our days of anonymity are nearing recognition databases when conducting law their dreaded end. enforcement, and they have access to tens However, clothing brands are popping of millions of images of Floridians. South up which seek to combat the misuse of facial Florida police departments in particular have recognition, employing creative patterns experienced serious failures while using this and motifs to fool the tech that’s increasingly technology. used to keep us in line. As the great fashion According to the Pulitzer Center, about 80 teacher and historian Amanda Hallay-Heath percent of image scans by the Broward County often remarked, “Fashion’s not an island, it’s a Sheriff ’s Office and almost 60 percent by the response.” Palm Beach County Sheriff ’s Office involved There aren’t many established brands Black citizens, far exceeding each county’s dedicating themselves to this cause, but there respective Black populations and arrest rates. In fact, a study by the National Institute are people innovating specific fashion pieces of Standards and Technology found that Black and makeup styles in this space. For example, people are misidentified at higher rates than the DIY camera-shy hoodie, which uses people of other races. 12 high-powered infrared LEDs, as well as It’s no surprise, then, that concerns regarding Incognito, the gold-plated facial jewelry piece mass surveillance run deep in our culture which covers the wearer’s cheekbones and part and are only growing. From the “assigned FBI of their forehead. agent” memes that peaked during quarantine to Anti-surveillance makeup styles are also growing societal paranoia over TikTok, worry emerging as a way to combat camera. They over the formation of a surveillance state is utilize bright, vivid colors and geometric spreading. Junior microbiology major Olivia elements designed to break up the symmetry Martínez is particularly worried about the of the human face, hindering facial recognition misuse of artificial intelligence. softwares from detecting the user. “I don’t particularly care if a camera is Moreover, anti-surveillance clothing and watching me while I’m walking out in public, makeup also have the added bonus of allowing but I feel like the government should be more the wearer to still be recognizable to their transparent about what they’re doing with our human peers in public, meaning it cannot data, and I feel like there should be a way to be misused by potential criminals who wish prevent abuse of AI,” said Martínez. to hide; these techniques only render them Others, like senior biology major Bingwei undetectable to AI, not eyes and brains. Tang, are more apathetic. Tang calls for more It’s important to understand how facial transparency from corporations and governing recognition algorithms operate in the first place. bodies about the use of AI, but does not believe Maikel León Espinosa, a business technology the technology will necessarily bring about an professor at UM, explains this technology in Orwellian dystopia. layman’s terms. “I don’t really care too much about AI or “Facial recognition technology works by what anyone uses it for, as long as it doesn’t affect analyzing and identifying unique patterns and me. I think the government should be more features in a person’s face. Facial recognition technology can vary in complexity and transparent about [how it uses AI], but it doesn’t accuracy depending on the specific algorithms really matter to me if a camera recognizes my and hardware used. Advanced systems may face.” incorporate machine learning and deep neural Notwithstanding the advancements of AI and networks,” he said. facial recognition, anti-surveillance strategies Typically, facial recognition can be beneficial evolve and advance to combat each technological to society and individuals. “Facial recognition innovation, as well as public pressure on can enhance security measures by verifying governments to ban or restrict such algorithms. individuals’ identities. [It] can streamline user Only time will tell which side prevails in this authentication and authorization processes. 21st century struggle. Businesses can use facial recognition … [to personalize] experiences and [improve]

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 45

La Vie en Rose Watching your favorite feel-good movies and T.V. shows or listening to soft-toned songs can help put you in the mood to romanticize.

Time Will Tell

While the term “romanticize your life” has only gained traction on social media over the past few years, the concept of romanticization is nothing new. Caroline Val, a senior majoring in journalism and political science, said she started to notice herself romanticizing in her middle school years, believing the cause to be alternative musicians who entered the limelight during the early and mid-2010s. “I feel a close connection to the music I listen to, and that year stays in my mind as a pivotal moment when artists like Lana Del Rey, Lorde and The Neighbourhood got massive followings,” said Val. “That was most of what I would listen to, and their moody tracks about everything from teenage angst to wanting to escape the everyday stress.” Another early 2010s staple that Val mentioned contributed to her romanticizing was the microblogging website Tumblr. “Even though I wasn’t on [Tumblr], I remember the chokehold it had on my friends and the Internet. I honestly didn’t download social media until I started high school,” said Val. “If anything, I don’t romanticize my life through social media that much. I do it on my own time when I’m alone and without influence,” she said. Most current college students spent a chunk of their high school years facing peak pandemic boredom. For junior political science and history major Kelly Brennan, it was during the heights of COVID-19 that romanticizing life became more than a trend, but a way to cope with the loneliness of both her parents working and attending online school, unable to see her friends in-person. “During that time, I would watch my favorite YouTubers’ productive morning routines or cooking videos, which really inspired me,” Brennan said. When COVID-19 left “I decided I wanted the world stuck in their to work on myself homes, people found the during that time, and silver lining in the ability to

work and learn from home, appreciating the little things in life we take for granted.


During the opening moments of the classic 1986 film, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the character famously said “Life moves pretty fast — if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Gen Z has taken Bueller’s famous words and adapted them into a newfound appreciation of basic, daily occurrences. Romanticizing life has become increasingly popular over social media for its aesthetic charm. Its mental health and mindfulness benefits make romanticizing more than a shortlived internet trend. words_amanda mohamad. photo_ethan dosa. design_isabella sosa.

“Life is not a filter.” Bethenny Frenkel, TikTok Influencer

romanticizing my life was a huge component. I would copy everyday habits and implement them in a way that worked for me.”

Location: La-La Land

While influencers flood our For-You-Pages by romanticizing their lives through their content, some voices online are attempting to break our collective delusion. Television personality, author and entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel spoke against the trend in a TikTok video posted to her account @bethennyfrankel on Aug. 26, 2023. In the video, Frankel added text-to-read “Public service announcement for women on this app in their 20s,” where she described what she sees from young women in their TikTok videos, including traveling the world, constantly looking attractive and overall having a perfect life, to which she said, “That’s not the twenties I experienced.” “My twenties were being bloated, breaking out, frizzy hair, drinking, regretting drinking, being depressed, binge eating, starving, not knowing what I wanted to do with my life, bouncing checks, having insufficient funds and starting the cycle all over again. Life is not a filter,” the star said in the video, which has since amassed over 100 thousand likes and over 900 thousand views. But romanticizing your life does not revolve around what you see on your explore pages. Just like everyone has their own idea of what they consider fun, romanticizing can be as creative or straightforward as you desire, depending on the task. However, romanticizing your life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. Jordan Coello, a UM ’Canes success adviser with a background in clinical psychology, believes individuals Romanticizing your future can help you get through difficult tasks, such as studying for a big exam or job hunting.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 47

need to be aware of whether or not they’re romanticizing their lives as a means to avoid the the endless responsibilities of everyday life. “Being able to stay mindful, in the present moment and to savor experiences are all great tools to help someone make the most of the small things. In doing so, the person maximizes their experience of positive affect,” said Coello. “Like most skills, there is a fine line between helpful and hurtful for the same activity. In this case, I can imagine the practice becoming problematic if it starts leading to avoidance. That is, engaging in these activities at the expense of other tasks that need to be done.” Assistant philosophy professor Aleksandra Hernández, who focuses on the philosophy of emotions, finds romanticization to be a natural part of human nature. Hernández argues what we even romanticize in the first place speaks to the norms and standards set in place by a given society. Nevertheless, Hernández echoes similar sentiments Social media to Coello and sees the influencers have gained potential for harm. millions of followers with “Social media amps up TikTok videos and Instagram our tendency to romanticize Reels by making aesthetically others’ lives, but I also think pleasing videos of their that romanticizing has been daily lives whether, they are around for as long as people traveling the world or just had siblings and friends and taking their dog for a walk. were part of communities that admired individuals who possessed certain virtues and character traits, such as beauty, courage or moral fortitude,” she said. “[Eventually], we may find ourselves trapped in a cycle of dissatisfaction and envy. I guess the question does not merely concern the practice of romanticizing the lives of others but what aspects of others’ lives we romanticize. This tells us a lot about what our society values.”

Romanticizing at the U You do not need to be an Instagram model making millions a year to romanticize your life. Here are some tips for romanticizing that will undoubtedly spice up “the plot”: 1.

Need some help getting in the romanticizing mood? We got you covered. Check out our Spotify playlist here.


2. 3.


No phone for the first hour after waking up and the last half-hour before bed. Set those screen limits. We’ll wait for you. Coffee and reading or journaling when you first wake up. We recommend “The Five-Minute Journal,” which you can buy for $22.49 on Amazon. Find time to put effort into your appearance. While this may seem overwhelming with a busy college schedule, choosing at least one thing a day to enhance yourself physically can add mental clarity. Whether it’s doing all steps of your 10-step skincare routine, putting on a cohesive outfit or trying out some fun makeup, all we can say is fake it till you make it. Have a consistent nighttime routine. Even if going to bed at the same time every night proves difficult, try to give yourself some time to truly rewind and relax by lighting soft-scented candles, drinking herbal tea and putting on some cute jammies.

lo u.

rr on

a sh o_ t o ph

This section is your sanctuary to refuel your body and mind. Workouts, mental health, beauty, oh my! Explore what’s becoming a common college recreational drug: Adderall. Tread lightly in the gym because steroid usage is more common than you might think. Play tricks on your mind with the underestimated placebo effect. Keep flipping for the best tips on tending to your health.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 49


Health & Wellness

m i ulat t s r e e v d


Adderall addiction is a real issue in the United States, and part of the larger issue of prescription drug abuse. If you think you’re addicted, call the Florida Public Health Department’s helpline at 850-487-2929.

In times of academic crisis, some turn to a quiet nook in the library and some snacks, while some blast their “One Direction Top Hits Playlist” in hopes of cranking out that essay. However, as we grow up, we start seeking out adult solutions to adult problems. On college campuses across the country, some perceive taking a pill as the “adult solution” to tight deadlines and heavy workloads. Normally used to hinder hyperactivity, some college students use Adderall to help them hunker down. But can popping this pill produce more harm than good? words_veronika valia. design&photo_valeria barbaglio.


ou may have heard that Western doctors “push pills.” Everyone knows the visit to the doctor’s office all too well: the nurse taking your weight and blood pressure, and the doctor visiting you for 10 minutes max. Then you get prescribed a pill that can supposedly solve all your dreaded problems. The practice of prescribing amphetamines has been used in American medicine since the 1920s, but grew most popular in the 1930s, where it was used to elevate mood, create a rapid increase in energy and increase awareness of surroundings. During World War II, the U.S. military gave soldiers Benzedrine, the first true amphetamine commonly known as “go pills” to soldiers to amp them up for battle. After the war, another amphetamine, Obetrol, was highly popular among women to help them stay thin due to the drug’s appetitesuppressing effects. However, in the 1970s, the Food and Drug Administration stepped in with strict regulations, and the drug plummeted in popularity. Over 20 years later, however, a pharmaceutical executive Roger Griggs decided to tweak Obetrol into a new drug: Adderall. He aimed to target it at a new market, patients with narcolepsy and ADHD, which is arguably the most under-diagnosed and under-treated of all psychiatric disorders, although some would say the exact opposite. For patients with a legitimate diagnosis of ADHD, amphetamines like Adderall can produce a calming effect. When Adderall works the way it should, it triggers neurotransmitters in the prefrontal cortex, the part of brain responsible for executive functioning, and subsequently improves one’s concentration and focus. According to Adrian Millman, M.D., there are a couple of different theories with regard to why this is the case. “Part of the hyperactivity in ADHD is due to mental boredom, and ticks and twitches are ways of people with this disorder trying

to stop themselves from falling asleep. Using a stimulant helps them become and remain more awake,” said Millman. The drug then triggers dopamine in the basal ganglia, which keeps you calm and alleviates hyperactivity and impulsivity. Dr. Nicholas Sikaczowski, a psychiatrist from Peace Behavioral Health here in Miami explains that people with ADHD have a dopamine shortage, and for people without ADHD “they would still get increased dopamine release, but since they don’t have the dopamine deficit,they are more likely to have side effects.” He continues, explaining that “Since [Adderall] has similar neurochemical effects as cocaine, just less euphoria, as it is working largely on similar molecules.” As a patient is screened for ADHD, most psychiatrists simultaneously screen patients for mood disorders before prescribing a drug like Adderall. For a patient with bipolar disorder, this drug may trigger a manic episode or psychosis. Then why do most students that take Adderall without a prescription?

tuition and all that is a little bit more difficult. So I [sold Adderall] on top of working a couple of other jobs,” said the anonymous dealer. When asked how much money this student made, they divulged that their Adderall selling income was “anywhere from the low-end of $100–200 a month to upward of $1,000.” But how is it possible that campus dealers don’t get caught? How do they keep it under wraps? “The way that I go about new clients is kind of iffy. I started doing it on my floor freshman year, so it was mostly people I met in person on the floor or people who were friends with people on the floor,” said the dealer. When asked about what kind of people the seller’s clients are, they explain there is a wide range, probably because Adderall usage is so normalized at UM. However, Some students have turned to selling pills as a way to make money, and business students are among the top buyers.

Peer Prescriptions

Even though most scientific studies have found that Adderall usage can derail individuals who don’t have ADHD, this reality simply doesn’t tie into most students’ experiences. According to most students, Adderall “works,” and the market for the drug is increasing at the speed of light. Because of this, some students take advantage of the opportunity in a different way: dealing. According to an anonymous student at the University of Miami who is prescribed Adderall for their ADHD, most students at UM do not buy it off the streets. This same student chooses to sell his medication for a variety of reasons. “The reason I sell [Adderall] is because I come from a household where income is on the low-end, and affording things like rent and food and

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 51

many different reasons cause students to turn to Adderall: the most common being schoolwork. “I get a lot of procrastinators,” the dealer said. “Which is how I operate anyway, so there’s no judgment there. [I get] a lot of business school kids.” They added that a lot of people turn to Adderall during times of intense stress or burnout — such as exam week — to give them the final push they need to cross the finish line.

Instead of turning to Adderall to crank out your last-minute essay, try building some healthy, long-term habits that will allow you to better concentrate on your work. If you’re still struggling despite this, consider asking your psychiatrist for an ADD evaluation to see if you really do need a prescription.

A Versatile Vice

Adderall is a little more than the “study drug” as lot of people see it as. The dealer explained that he gets a lot of people who are so-called “preppier” and “fraternity or sorority type people.” An anonymous girl in a sorority, who is a junior year of high school. frequent Adderall user, is addicted to the way “I started taking it to suppress my the drug makes her feel when going out. appetite,” she said. In fact, she ended up She said that on Adderall, she becomes losing 60 pounds in four months. As part “more of a present person” and more invested of taking this extremely high dosage, she in conversations. “I don’t care. I’m active and recounts how she felt “very hyper, out of social and having a good time.” control and twitchy. My heart felt like it As we all know, most social events in was almost cramping and beating out of my university involve alcohol, and when asked chest.” Aside from becoming an academic if she had ever experienced mixing the weapon at first, consistent Adderall usage is a two, she advised others to go forward with slippery slope. caution regarding this particular brew. She “All stimulants are addictive,” said explains that when mixed with low doses of Millman. “In the traditional way they Adderall, the alcohol’s sedative effects tend to increase dopamine, and that feeling may overpower the mind and body but, at higher lead to addiction, but for other people they doses, she explains that she either wouldn’t find themselves more productive, better in even be getting drunk or, on the flip side, relationships and this leads to unhealthy may black out in five minutes and vomit. habit forming.” Dr. Sikaczowski explains Millman further why this is. “Adderall, since explained that, almost it is a stimulant, inhibits, ironically, Adderall usage some of the feeling of being runs even more rampant drunk or intoxicated. Since in graduate degree it lasts shorter than alcohol, programs, such as medical someone can feel like they’re school. They release not intoxicated, and when He recounts that the Adderall wears off, they “there were certainly dopamine, and can hit a wall and pass out a bunch of my med that feeling may in the street.” This may school peers who got lead to addiction. also translate to “blacking questionable diagnoses of out.” Simply put, they can ADHD during their time Adrian Millman, M.D. go from not feeling very of study.” He notes that intoxicated, to being very medical students tend to intoxicated. have a lot of confidence He also explains that and, because they are when people die of stimulants, it is usually so knowledgeable on the effects of this because of dehydration from alchohol mixed drug, they can go about taking them more with a stimulant like Adderall. So tread with responsibly and without any risks, avoiding caution. habit forming addiction. “Which couldn’t be Rewinding to the effects of low doses more wrong,” he added. versus high doses, she explained her experience with the two. “[At] low doses, Running Off Reserves I am awake. I feel like I have had a cup Because the drug is being abused more and of coffee and am more focused,” she said. more, there have been multiple regulations She explains the sensation as feeling “very put in place regarding how one can obtain centered.” However, at higher doses, the the drug. effects can be unpleasant. For reference, the According to the student dealer who average Adderall dose is 20 mg but at one is prescribed the drug, “[people used to point, this female student was taking 70 mg at be prescribed Adderall] through primary once, in part because of her eating disorder, care, but now you have to see a psychiatrist, which spurred her Adderall use during her be evaluated, and then they fill out the

52 DISTRACTION Health & Wellness

prescription. But if you get it prescribed in a different state, you can’t have it filled in Florida because it is a controlled substance.” As appealing as it may seem making upwards of $1000 a month, “the punishments are the reasons I stopped,” the dealer said. “According to the statute of limitations, I think I can be punished for it 3 years after I’ve done it. It’s a large fine and potential expulsion from the university, but I don’t think there is any jail time associated with it,” said the dealer. However, under federal law, one could face up to 20 years in prison. Irrespective of Adderall abuse in the U.S., the global Adderall shortage for those with genuine need for the medication is not something to be ignored. Due to the shortage, many street dealers have stopped selling, as they need the drug for themselves. In more severe cases, they’ve had to dial down their prescription and take it less than the prescribed amount, in fear of running out during times of need. But is Adderall truly as dangerous as it seems? Does the drug have the potential to be fatal? According to Millman who works in the emergency room, becoming “critically ill from abusing Adderall is uncommon in the ER” and he has never seen a case of Adderall toxicity. Furthermore, at UM, most students would say that Adderall usage is typically seen as safe. According to the anonymous sorority girl, if someone overhears another discussing their Adderall usage, the most common reaction isn’t disgust or judgment. The usual response is instead, “Want to share?”

ROID RAGE Turning to steroids can seem like a quick, easy way to get the Greek God bod’, but many young men start taking them without considering all the potential risks associated with them, such as balding, male breasts and loss of fertility. Remember that the next time you say you want to look like Zeus.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 53

Cycling, stacking, pyramiding and plateauing — sounds like a game of Jenga. These are all terms that describe techniques of steroid usage, something that has become normalized in the gym community. Unreachable male body standards set the stage for a network of anabolic steroids, and UM students are hardly exempt. Juicing might not be as glamorous as it looks, especially in the long-run. words,photo&design_lizzie kristal.


erformance-enhancing drugs fall under a wide umbrella, but the run-of-the-mill steroids that gym culture uses fall under the anabolicandrogenic steroid category, otherwise called the AASs. Beyond the AASs, there’s also growth hormones, thyroid hormones, diuretics and other PEDs that can be used for athletic purposes. Some are taken topically, orally or are injected. Yes, it’s a little more complicated than just “test” and “tren.” “There exists numerous types of anabolic agents and, therefore, different mechanisms of action exist,” said Dr. Brian Biagioli, the Graduate Program Director for Strength and Conditioning in the Department of Kinesiology and Sport Science at the University of Miami. “Lipid-based steroids, like commonly prescribed [testosterone] cypionate, build mass and promote recovery through standard M-tor pathways or the body’s natural process of testosterone interaction with muscle cell receptors.”

Who Wants Some?

Simply put, common steroids massively improve the muscle recovery process. There are others that target metabolism and fat oxidation, like human growth hormone and clenbuterol. But how did they become so normalized? AASs were introduced as a therapy drug in the early 1900s, but eventually weaved its way into the athletic world in the 1950s, according to the National Center for Biotechnology After years of athletic experimentation, the drugs finally found their way into the streets during the ’80s. The American College of Sports Medicine initially claimed steroids didn’t help with muscle growth, and it took them 10 years to redact that statement — how did that get mixed up? In the present day, steroid use in gyms is relatively common. According to a meta-

54 DISTRACTION Health & Wellness

analysis by NCBI, about three percent of young men in Western countries have admitted to using steroids. Though steroid usage among women is present, it’s not nearly as common as men, mostly due to societal perceptions of each genders’ “ideal” bodies. Reasons for usage, specifically for aesthetic purposes, comes down to only a couple possibilities. “There’s the very basic reason of, ‘I want to be a pro bodybuilder, so I need to take steroids to get there,’” said an anonymous 19-year-old student who is taking testosterone and looking to compete in bodybuilding. “In IFBB, it’s about as close to 100 percent as you can get to everyone being on steroids. Except for the very few genetic freaks. Everyone on a pro stage is taking gear. That’s without a doubt.” Competitive bodybuilding is a field where steroid usage is normalized. Not healthy, but normalized. And what about those who just want to look shredded and use steroids to achieve that? “It’s a sense of insecurity that breeds this hasty decision making that you see. Unfortunately, really a lot of guys are doing [it] and women, too,” said the 19 year old. “It’s a very permanent decision. And that’s something most people do not realize when they make that decision.”

Side Effects

The safety of PEDs, especially AASs, are often called into question. “Under a physician’s supervision [steroids are safe],” said Biagioli. “Many people who take steroids have body dysmorphia, so they become mentally addicted to the use and the high dosages promote negative side effects.” A steroid cycle may only last weeks, but its effects can linger much longer.

model is not on steroids.

Biagioli lists some of their possible effects: “Hypertension, enlarged heart, acne, personality disorders and liver damage. Death is usually associated with heart attacks,” he said. There are even more side effects based on sex, such as loss of fertility in men, libido, male breasts, irregular menstrual cycles in women, deepening voice in women and many more. As if these symptoms weren’t bad enough, the behavioral effects just pile on. In a meta-analysis by NCBI, aggression was found to increase while taking steroids. Some even experience mania, grandiose and psychotic delusions. Depressive episodes are common as well, especially after stopping dosages and entering withdrawal. It’s quite the idiosyncratic process, especially since extensive studies on AAS effects would be unethical.

“It’s not a one-size-fits-all dosage, unfortunately. Everybody’s different,” said the anonymous 19 year old. “Obviously, some people can blast quite a bit of gear and come completely off and continue producing [testosterone] naturally. Some people can take a very small amount and be completely shut off for the rest of their life. So it’s a lottery ticket that you have to roll.” The aspiring bodybuilder has experienced a couple cycles of testosterone himself. “My experience has been overall pleasant, but definitely with learning curves,” said the anonymous 19 year old. “You can read as much as you want. You can look at as many studies as you want. You can talk to as many pros, as many coaches as you want. You can talk to some of the most educated people in the world, but you will never have a genuine grasp of what it’s like until you actually decide to do it,” he added. It would be lying to say taking steroids was all bad. Beyond the physical perks of steroids, it can even change your confidence levels in addition. “If I’m going to be completely honest, you feel like ‘the man,’” said the 19 year old. “You’re physiologically more ‘man’ than everyone else in every room that you step in, unless you’re in a room full of guys on steroids. Emotionally, mentally and even physically, you can genuinely feel that difference.” The confidence boost, the body changes and more is exactly how users fall into an addictive cycle. That’s right — cocaine isn’t Miami’s only addictive drug. “Almost every person I know [who uses steroids], including myself, has done another cycle after their first; they’re the most addicting drugs you can take,” said another anonymous male University of Miami alum who dabbled in steroids for aesthetic purposes.

Reaching your aesthetic goals takes patience and hard work, regardless of whether you take steroids or not.

Changed for Good

Even for those who decide to try a cycle, steroids aren’t the golden ticket to a six-pack. “[Steroids] 100 percent aid quite a bit. I don’t think anyone’s going to argue that, but at the end of the day, you still need to sleep, you still need to eat, you still need to train hard and you still need to do cardio,” said the anonymous 19 year old. “You still need to have a relatively stress-free life. You can take all the steroids in the world, but if your cortisol is through the roof, you won’t make much progress.” A lot of people who choose to take steroids for body-image related reasons don’t do as much research as they should. Getting a trusting coach who will guide you through bloodwork and unexpected reactions is key. Even then, thinking about long-term effects is pretty rare. Since AASs suppress the HPT axis and thus the hormones, testosterone levels are often low after cycling. “After an unpredictable amount of cycles, you’ll have no option than to go on TRT [testosterone-replacement therapy],” said the anonymous UM alum. “It’s significantly healthier, but you have to be comfortable with the idea that you’ll be injecting for the rest of your life.” The 19-year-old bodybuilder mentioned a similar dilemma: “I have accepted that for the rest of my life, at the very least, I will have to take a TRT dose … more for health and mental reasons than anything.” TRT is supplementing testosterone that your body is not naturally producing enough of, usually at much lower dosages than bodybuilders take. Many older men are prescribed TRT as well. “You might be able to recover most of your testosterone — being young, running a proper cycle and TRT, but it will never be back to 100 percent,” said the UM alum. “Years after cycling, I still have lower [testosterone] than when I was natural.” He even mentioned that he knows many UM students who take steroids but aren’t open about it because they look natural. So yeah, taking steroids will likely make you look more muscular and will boost your confidence, but it comes with a lot of baggage many hasty users haven’t fully considered. “When you’re 35, 40, 55 with a family, you may have different priorities in life than to be sub seven percent body fat,” said the UM alum. “Even two years from now, 90 percent of ‘gym bros’ will have different priorities when they graduate.”

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 55

While we know from decades worth of psychological and medical research that the mind can consciously play tricks on itself, the mind is just as capable of playing tricks on the body. Nevertheless, these “tricks” aren’t always inherently harmful. In fact, the placebo effect can contribute significantly to one’s mental clarity and stamina for tasks both big and small. But where does one draw the line between benefit and harm? Find out how to use placebo as a tool, but tread lightly. Let us guide you through all things placebo. words_veronika valia. photo_valeria barbaglio. design_laurie vuong.

“Mind over matter” is University of Miami sophomore, Will Charlop, said he a phrase most of us are recently used his version of the placebo effect to combat his used to hearing. We probably first heard this “dad advice” as exhaustion, and frequently does so when staying up late children, encouraging us to finish strong in the track meet, completing assignments. push through hours of reading, study to earn that A and “The way I talked to myself about how tired I was made more. Venturing into adulthood, many students can attest to a big difference. Even if it was 1 or 2 a.m., [which is] not that the fact that this concept has been ingrained into our heads late, if I told myself that I was too exhausted, I couldn’t do it,” since we sat at the kitchen table, doing times tables and crying. said Charlop. “It was 3 a.m., and I ended up not being that tired But can the mind truly overpower the body? Can we really do because I told myself I could do more work. Even though it was anything we set our minds to? later, I felt more awake.” For a long time, the idea of the placebo effect was thought But can placebos and mind games save one from emotional of by health professionals and researchers as a myth. In simple distress? A student who wishes to remain anonymous detailed a terms, the placebo effect is when a person’s physical or mental recent experience they had while high on edibles. health appears to improve after undergoing a placebo. “Walking down the corridor of my apartment complex, I Common examples of this are sugar pills, inert injections suddenly felt very claustrophobic, as if the corridor stretched on and even some allegedly therapeutic tactics. It is easy to believe forever,” they said. “I was starting to panic. However, I managed that if the “treatment” realistically shouldn’t do anything, no to get it under control by reminding myself that I would get to perception of results will come from it. However, that might the elevator shortly — that it wouldn’t last forever. Each step of not be the case. Studies done around the world, most notably the journey, I felt time was moving super slowly, and I had to by Harvard Medical School, show that this phenomenon may constantly tell myself I wasn’t high.” have the same healing powers as a lot of traditional medicine According to the student, telling themself they weren’t techniques, in which the brain can convince the body that a high didn’t exactly work. You can’t become un-drunk or unplacebo treatment is authentic. high through positive affirmations. However, you may be able The placebo effect involves a reaction in the brain that to shut off the warning alarms going off in your head. triggers the release of chemical substances, such as endorphins Buck agreed and mentioned there is no way to fully combat and dopamine. This can then affect regions of the brain that are the effects of a substance or a feeling such as being uncomfortably related to mood, behavior and self-awareness which can yield full after eating a hefty Thanksgiving dinner, but there are ways therapeutic benefits. to escape “panic mode.” However, for placebo to work on a biological level, one must “There have also been instances where I’ve taken magnesium wholeheartedly believe that a certain treatment will yield certain before bed, and I’ve noticed that I immediately feel sleepier,” results. It is about creating a stronger bond between the brain Charlop said. He recognizes that, in reality, he shouldn’t feel and body. that way so soon, as the medication wouldn’t have been given According to Dr. Rick Buck, M.D., “[The] effectiveness of enough time to fully absorb into his bloodstream and produce the placebo depends on that person’s susceptibility to believe a the calming effect. placebo would work.” On the flip side, while resorting to the placebo might bring The placebo effect doesn’t only pertain to medicine. For some benefits, it is not the healthiest habit. If you are seriously instance, athletes may perform better after drinking some hurting, trying to bite down and trying to stomach the pain Gatorade, or students may feel more centered and focused is fine for a brief moment, though you shouldn’t let it go when carrying around a crystal in their pocket. Some adults unchecked for long. College students love to procrastinate, even believe that expensive wine may get you drunker than but when it comes to your well-being, don’t let it get lost with cheap ones — take note. all of your other forgotten assignments. You might be able to fake it until you make it when you’re just slightly under the weather. But when it comes to a physical condition that cannot be ignored, such as exhaustion or being under the influence of drugs and alcohol, how much can the mind really do?

56 DISTRACTION Health & Wellness



The way you think can have a real impact on your life and its outcomes, but it’s not a superpower, either. So no, convincing yourself that you’re a millionaire won’t get you out of Red Roads.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 57

Weapon of Choice Our generation has seen many apocalyptic environments: Walmart on Black Friday, Fyre Festival, “The Hunger Games,” a frat house — but exactly how prepared do you think you are for a real-life zombie apocalypse? To save you the stress of having to choose a weapon for the impending apocalypse, we have compiled staff recommendations for some weapons of choice. words&design_mary gorski.

AK-47 and Jack Daniels

Extension Cord

As seen by Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, drinking can make any grim situation more enjoyable. Just picture this: you’re trapped in an abandoned building, the weather is gloomy and your demise is imminent. You look out and see a crowd of zombies approaching and, instead of backing down, you forge onward confidently with your AK-47. Why? Because you are halfway through a bottle of Jack Daniels. You might even be on your fourth Jack and Coke — if you have that kind of luxury — and have drunkenly convinced yourself you have the aim of a sniper. You might die in the end, but at least you had a good time.

An extension cord as a weapon is definitely a debatable choice, and maybe it is the right one for you. It’s a weapon for all of those inspired by George López’s performance in “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl.” As a tool, extension cords have many pros: they are very long, they conduct electricity and the heavy-duty ones are weatherproof. As a weapon, there is even more versatility. It can double as a rope, and you can even bind someone with it. And if you get one with a big block of outlets at the end, now you mean business. We recommend swinging one around like a cowboy would a lasso: the wilder, the better.

Machete Any type of knife is an ideal weapon of choice; however a machete sounds cooler. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, notable UM alum, is always fashioning one in his fantasy adventure films, so it must be effective. If you are unsure of your ability to shoot a gun and know your hand-to-hand combat skills are useless, this weapon is for you. In some cases, brandishing a machete is enough to scare off any potential attacker but, if not, you should have no problem getting a couple deadly swipes in. Also, if you find yourself in the position of having to cut a sandwich or chop some fruit mid-apocalypse, you are all set.

Water Gun filled with Mad Dog Plutonium No. 9 Hot Sauce and Rubbing Alcohol While a water gun seems like an unassuming choice, the addition of Mad Dog Plutonium No. 9 Hot Sauce makes it the deadliest on the list. With a rating of nine million on the Scoville scale, compared to a Carolina Reaper’s 2.2 million, it is no shock that bottles of this hot sauce come with disclaimers stating that consensual consumption means one relinquishes the right to sue. The hot sauce is sold as a solid, so dissolving it in rubbing alcohol is a logical solution that adds to the overall essence of this weapon. The only con of this otherwise badass weapon would be lack of range, unless you invest in a Nerf Super Soaker, which gives you about 50 feet of shooting range. You might feel like a Mad Max extra, but if used right, you might just survive the apocalypse. The U.S. military has a defense strategy against a potential zombie apocalypse: CONOP 8888. Yes, really; it was created in 2011 as a critical thinking exercise for junior officers, and avoided the political risks of using a real country as an example.

58 DISTRACTION Health & Wellness

lo u.

rr on

a sh o_ t o ph

Fashion is showcasing the best in style, perfect for those looking to make a statement. Snap-it-back with an inside look at the culture of baseball hats. Grab your metallic accessories and sunglasses for the best futuristic lookbook. Don’t overestimate the power of pearls and frills on men. This section plunges into the cultural significance of today’s trends.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 59



Living in a fashion capital, University of Miami students often find new ways to turn heads. Lately, there has been a craze around hats. This works perfectly for strolling around campus on hot, sunny days, keeping the sweat contained while you’re camping out at Hard Rock Stadium. Whether you own one baseball cap or 60 unique snapbacks, congratulations — you’re officially part of the hat-head culture club. words_sabrina catalán, steven calcutt & communitywire. design_laurie vuong. photo_cecilia intriago.


The trendy snapback hat was inspired by an adjustable strap of a backpack. Bet hip-hop doesn’t know that.

Pre Snapbacks

In ancient culture, hats have represented the ranking of rulers, freedom and decoration before making a splash into the world of fashion. When baseball emerged in the United States during the early 1800s, rules and uniforms were informal. There was no specific “baseball cap” at first. Players wore straw boater hats or pillbox hats — anything to keep the sun out of their eyes. However, by the 20th century, baseball hats morphed into having the longer bills, vertical fronts and team logo stitching that we know today.

Style on Top

With every scroll on your phone, the next trend is moments from finding its way into your wardrobe. Instagram and TikTok fashion influencers oftentimes dictate the “best looks” that have you shopping on every website you can to capture the same essence in an outfit. Depending on her activities for the day, junior Melanie Martínez references different fashion influencers for her everyday looks. Some of her favorites are gym influencers who style baseball caps for any gender. “I wear hats for fashion at the gym,” said Martínez. “It keeps the hair out of my eyes when I run. It keeps it out of my face when I’m looking down.” Martínez frequently exercises while wearing her reliable, blue Adidas hat because she can adjust it in the back. Depending on the intensity of her workouts, she can make the hat tighter, so it fits perfectly on her head and doesn’t fly off. She likes to shop for her hats in person, not online. She wants to make sure the fit is right and examine the quality when adding to her carefully picked hat collection, which currently stands at five hats. Martínez is excited to see her friends joining in on the hat trend. They love wearing hats to UM games to show off their school spirit while staying trendy, and of course, keeping cool in the insurmountable Hard Rock Stadium heat. A popular hat brand is New Era, an innovative fashion business with high-quality designs. Hats can be bought directly from the manufacturer but are also sold at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Lids and Foot Locker — all stores found within three miles of campus. Prices range from $30 to $45. Some girls favor ALO caps because of their simplicity and athletic look. ALO Yoga is a brand similar to Lululemon, but with more variety in their items, such as sweat sets and tanks in different styles. The online store offers neutral colors, including black, gray and white hats for $58 each. If baseball hats aren’t your style, there are still a variety of options you could look at. While not the most comfortable choice for running across campus when you have back-to-back classes, beanie hats can be a fun indoor staple for your wardrobe. Amazon offers reliable brands such as Carhartt, which sell knit-cuffed beanies for $20 and less.

For our beachgoers, straw sun hats or bucket hats paired with beachwear create a tropical look perfectly suited for South Florida.

One for the Road

When it’s time to say “ciao” to a beautiful home or vacation spot, people usually itch for a keepsake. In this sense, sometimes hats are purchased and worn for memories. Sophomore Jake Baum packed his bags and flew from the West Coast to study communication at the U and, for a little nostalgia, he slipped a snapback into his suitcase. “I wear hats that have sentimental meaning to me, like the hat I’m wearing now is from wrestling championships back in California,” Baum said, recalling the high school celebration. A proud ’Cane, Baum also owns several Miami hats. Nonetheless, growing up in Los Angeles, he loves to rep’ Dodgers baseball caps everywhere.

Bucket hats are all the rage. Spice it up with different textures and patterns.

The More, The Merrier

A true hat fan, Patrick Burnett, a senior at the University of Central Florida, proudly owns nearly 100 hats, many from local ballparks across Florida and several MLB stadiums. He acquires them from team stores mostly, even though he uses Facebook Marketplace and eBay when he wants some throwbacks, paying roughly $80. He gathers hats wherever he goes; he doesn’t think of his hobby as an expensive one since he mostly relies on thrift stores and vintage fairs. “I’ve definitely spent a few months of rent on hats,” Burnett said. “But I don’t regret it at all because all of my hats have a meaning to me, whether it was a cool style for one of my teams or it represents a fun time I had.” He notices more popularity in throwback hats, especially those sporting original logos, not just reproductions of them. It’s part of his “dad hat” style. Students wear hats because they have something to say. Some may call this a fashion statement, but it’s also known as being free and confident. People use hats to represent their personality, values and culture. When it comes to hats, the stage is all yours. For years, University of Miami graduate student Alexander Waddington lived in Puerto Rico. He’s thankful for the friendships he made while on the island. He wears a hat to remember this time in his life. “Here in Florida, I wear a giant wide brim hat with the Puerto Rican flag on it,” Waddington said. “It looks like a farmer’s hat. I like that it has the Puerto Rican flag on it. It’s representation mixed with being super convenient.” Now, we urge you: grab a hat, go out and show off your style. Whether you’re covering up a bad hair day or just looking to add some flair to your hair, hats are more than fashion. Here in Miami, they’re a lifestyle.

Play around with knits and fuzz for a unique twist on caps.

The Staples Oversized fedora: This wide brim hat promises a dapper edge to elevate any look. Crochet bucket hat: These granny square hats artistically accomplish trendy. Baseball cap: What can we say? Some things never go out of style. CommunityWire.Miami is the news service of the graduate journalism program of the School of Communication at the University of Miami.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 61

For ages, humans have obsessed over the future — ­ what society will look like and, most importantly what we will wear. During the ‘50s and ‘60s, people thought our fashion would be intergalactic, metallic and robotic. Most of us don’t walk around in clothes that could be worn on a spaceship. But here at Distraction, we’re going back to the future.

words_chloe hatcher & paris friefeld. photo_cecilia intriago & valeria barbaglio. design_julia gomez & lizzie kristal.


DETAILS & DETAILS The key aspects of an outfit are details, details and details. They add more than you think. The addition of rings, bracelets, watches, necklaces, sunglasses, belts, bags and gems can transform your outfit and your confidence.

CINCH IT Belts are great additions no matter the outfit — even dresses. They can add a pop of color, flare or pull-together pieces that may otherwise not go together. Thick or thin, colorful or neutral, bedazzled or simple, belts are a great adjunct. They cinch, accessorize and layer.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 63


SHADY BUSINESS Sunglasses and metallic-looking pieces will transform any look. Small details like these silver shades, a belt with metal accents and the logo cutout ruffling the shirt complement the futuristic attitude of the ‘fit.

SLEEK IN SILVER Jewelry can bring an outfit from basic to badass. This silver piece is stackable and adjustable. Try layering with multiple necklaces next time to see how much you can elevate your look.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 65

CHIC SLEEVES Puffer sleeves can revamp a plain black shirt into a fashion-forward outfit. Try adding curves and dimensions to a sleek outfit. Incorporating texture and value on the top or bottom with pants are valuable additions to a wardrobe.

STYLE THE STRANDS Styling your hair to compliment your outfit or styling your outfit to compliment your hair is crucial. Hairstyles can throw off or optimize a look. If you’re going for a more playful look, try some movement in your hair with curls. With a more futuristic-looking look, pin-straight hair is perfect.


SHINE FORWARD Metallic silvers and rhinestones galore are all the rage. This addition to the futuristic look adds just the right amount of spunk and looks amazing on everyone. We all know that accessories make or break an outfit. These metallic glasses absolutely make this iconic look.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 67




The normalization of feminine male fashion allows men to break free from the gender binary of fashion.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 69

attitude of the wearer that has changed,” Zu Grau said. “Prominent men wearing atypical outfits confidently in public is inspiring. Those clothes might not be particularly feminine but, feature little, gender non-conforming touches that make us look twice, and that keeps us engaged. The confidence of presenting this, not just on the red carpet but in daily life as well, is what I see as a shift in recent years and what keeps me hoping for a more all-inclusive fashion future.” One great way of mixing up your style is to start thrifting. Zu Grau was raised in communist East Germany and recalls wearing donated women’s clothing, as more women’s clothes were donated than men’s. Without even realizing, these stereotypically feminine garments began to bring Zu Grau confidence and joy. Zu Grau posits that the increasing popularity of thrift stores may encourage more men to incorporate feminine pieces into their wardrobes. “Secondhand clothing stores are particularly great for that. It is often impossible to segregate clothing strictly into men’s and women’s, and therefore one gets exposed to a broad variety of styles,” said Zu Grau. “The positive environmental aspect of reusing clothes instead of buying new is a plus.” Mainstream brands like Zara and Urban Outfitters steer in the direction of gender fluidity with their menswear. Tight tanks, textured vests and flashy accessories allow men to test out different looks to see what makes them most confident. It’s 2023 after all, meaning social media definitely holds the lead role in why this trend has grown so immensely. Social media users have shared their personal journeys with wardrobe experimentation and have allowed men’s femininity to become more normalized. Freshman architecture student at University of Miami, Christian Ramos, noticed that before people had begun posting feminine fashion content, men didn’t feel they could be as free with the way they dress. “I think it’s cool because it’s allowing men to be more comfortable in their own skin, and experiment with their own styles, different materials, different fabrics, colors,” Ramos said. “Now we are giving a man a different look, a different definition.” A great amount of influence stems from ’70s musicians like Freddie Mercury, David Bowie and Elton John, who were pioneers in the emergence of this style and continue to influence this generation’s style choices. Who doesn’t love a giant pair of sunglasses? 2023 UM alum Jaden Kim has noticed the influence of both Western and Eastern musicians on the feminine-male fashion movement. “You look at stuff like K-Pop and it’s feminine, but it’s still very cool,” Kim said. “It’s not like a weak feminine, it’s like a very comfortable, strong [and] cool beauty.” Men of all sexualities are now breaking down the typical gender binary of fashion and are embracing this shift in culture. The feminization of male fashion opens many doors for men to experiment with style, without feeling the pressure to dress a certain way and to even take a stand against the boundaries of gender. The shift from “macho-masculine” to “fem-masculine” really brings forth the versatility of gender, not only in clothes but also in confidence and the perception of beauty. When in doubt, stick to black and white or all black for a sleek look. Additionally, a simple buttonup shirt can create a sexy “old money” look.


Male fashion is quickly evolving. Today, it’s not uncommon to see men wear pearl necklaces, softer tones and cohesive outfits as they stray from the typical gender binary. For some, that may mean frills and lace , and for others, it might mean using different patterns and accessories. From your favorite movie stars to the everyday college student, feminine male fashion is taking over, and Distraction says it’s here to stay. words_victoria fondeur. photo_sharron lou. design_lizzie kristal.

Pearls are a great touch to make any outfit more feminine. They simultaneously class-up and soften any look.

I t’s not just smaller companies that are embracing femininity. Even huge fashion houses like Prada truly take this to heart when creating lines such as the summer 2023 menswear line. Through mixing rigid suit patterns with more delicate striped patterns and bright colors, as well as pairing garments with heeled boots, they’ve have shown that even they’re getting the memo. A manager for Christian Dior, who asked to be identified as Nicole for this article, has worked in the luxury retail business for over 18 years with various brands. She argues feminine male fashion has taken off because the industry has historically embraced risk when creating new collections. “Fashion is always evolving, so you do have to keep up with what people want,” said Nicole. “Fashion takes those risks, maybe something that they thought would work didn’t, and they [had to] try something else.” Many luxury brands are a prominent source of inspiration for the budding feminine male fashion movement. More and more celebrities have been rocking feminine Gucci looks since actor Jared Leto starred in the 2021 film “House of Gucci.” Since the ’80s, Gucci has often played around with men’s fashion. The fall 1995 ready-towear line included fitted velvet men’s suits that did not shy away from color, and other shows throughout the decade

Patterned shirts are a playful and fun addition to your closet. They spice up an otherwise plain outfit while expressing individuality.

blended flare-fitted pants with large bowties. Nicole credits Gucci as one of the first luxury fashion brands to enter the feminine male fashion space. “I would say Gucci [has been the most influential to this shift]. [When] Alessandro [Michele] took over Gucci and did something different for the house, they were open to it,” said Nicole. “[Consumers] were buying the things [that] were made, both men and women.” Pop star Harry Styles’ Vogue cover shoot in 2020 arguably put feminine male fashion at the center of pop culture. With a huge fan base, Styles made himself a modern-day trailblazer in fashion, expression and sexuality. Through the Met Gala and other star-studded events, other male celebrities have followed suit. From Evan Mock’s 19thcentury inspired corseted suit to Pedro Pascal’s bright red trench coat, Hollywood’s biggest stars are embracing this revolution in many ways. Fashion designer Fäde Zu Grau entered the luxury fashion industry when he first appeared on the reality show “Project Runway” for season 13 and subsequently “Project Runway All-Stars” for season five. Zu Grau feels that celebrities like Billy Porter, Timothée Chalamet and Harry Styles are important to continue this progression in men’s fashion that currently combats a lot of negativity. “I think it is not a particular piece of clothing but the

Men with purses are style icons — breaking gender stereotypes, incorporating convenience and accessorizing to elevate an outfit.

Fall 2023 DISTRACTION 71

Last Distraction

The Canes’

DREAMHOUSE Ever since UM alumni and friends announced the construction of a new stadium, students have been raving about what exactly the ‘Canes new home should look like. Even though the stadium will already include 65,000 seats, a retractable roof and cooling technology, some ‘Canes fans are left wanting more. Here at Distraction, we have a couple ideas — from a visitors’ cage to a brand new iteration of The Wharf. words&design_sal puma.






1 2

Tailgate T.V. Park Sometimes half the struggle of our football games is making your way to the stadium. That’s why in our dream stadium we would install a massive T.V. outside for all the fans that want to keep the tailgate festivities going. The Wharf 2.0 Who said we had to part with this classic bar forever. Instead we can give it a new home. A little change from cramped stadium seating, to cramped standing room.

Rock Tower 3 Hard One of the biggest problems at the U is the low

amount of campus housing. So why not kill two birds with one stone and build a tower for extra space.


The Visitors’ Cage

order to make it known whose house this is we’ve 4 In decided to implement “The Cage.” All fans of the visiting team will be forced to sit within the barred seating section. Complete with uncomfortable benches and in direct sunlight to make the game experience as horrible as possible.


Scooter1: Hard Rock Stadium recently added a F1 track around it, but who says they get to have all the fun. We know our football team loves their scooters. So we may as well turn it into a source of entertainment for the rest of us. May the best racer win.

WHEN: We will begin taking portraits on Oct. 23 - Nov. 3, 2023 from 10am-6pm. We will open up extra days if there is a continuous demand for portraits WHERE: Portraits will be taken in the Whitten UC Lower Lobby. *Portraits on Oct 26 and 27 will be taken in the Ibis Office in the Shalala Student Center, suite 200 THINGS TO REMEMBER: A $25 sitting fee is required. Attire is business casual. Graduation regalia is provided for the photo HOW TO BOOK: Scan the QR code below, or visit our website. Our school code is 136



e s n c a a pe? d e e N

www.distractionmagazine.com @distractionmag @distractionmag

Join our award-winning staff. We’re always accepting writers, designers, photographers, videographers, PR pros and business-savvy sales reps. However you’d like to get into the swing of things, we have room for you. Send an email to distraction305@gmail.com for more information. illustration_marita gavioti.

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.