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Volume III | Fall 2018

The Champion Standard Miami’s skating dynasty strives for everyday excellence page 22 By Audrey Davis

Volume III | Fall 2018

Editor-in-Chief Megan Zahneis Art Director Arthur Newberry Photo Editor Heather McCowan Editorial Staff Maya Fenter, Chloe Murdock, Riley Steiner Deputy Art Director Abbie Klinker Business Manager Beatrice Newberry

cover photo by Bo Brueck

Illustrators Kat Holleran, Connor Wells Web Director Chloe Murdock Head of Student Media Jack Evans Faculty Advisor James Tobin Business Advisor Fred Reeder Distributor WDJ Inc. - Bill Dedden

PROSE Arthur Newberry


Letter from the Art Director

CĂŠilĂ­ Doyle


On the Job

Duard Headley


Personal History

Chloe Murdock


Real-life Fairy Godmothers

Anna Minton


The Woman at Table 9

Audrey Davis


The Champion Standard

Maya Fenter


World View

Mackenzie Rossero


The Making of a Real Italian

Julia Plant


The Summer I Learned How to Live


Mentioned in Passing


For Your Amusement

POETRY Emily Dattilo Laura Dudones

15 53

The Ribbon we cannot untie To the people in power

from the Art Director

“Art as Journalism” by Mr. Fish

I. Over the years at Miami there has been an effort to renovate and homogenize much of the campus. Some of it has been good— like the clustering of student orgs in the upper half of the new student center; other things not so much— like the increased use of online modules for teaching and discussion. On the surface, the campus may not appear warm to aberrant and outspoken individuals. It’s true, enrollment in the humanities has been steeply declining since the 2008 financial crisis. And it’s also true that Miami’s enrollment in the arts or media-related majors has not experienced any ‘Trump Bump.’ But evidence of an engaged new generation can be found in weeknight guest lectures, at nationally recognized student fashion shows, or in conversations in Chinese cafes instead of bars. Activities required not by professors but by a yearning for something beyond the suggested college-to-career path. All over campus, students are discovering new ways to express themselves. II. For this issue I wanted to make sure the stories you read are first and foremost legible. Publications like The New York Times Magazine have a tendency to overwhelm the reader with glitz and design without utility. Taking cues from The Guardian Weekly, we put the work of our writers and photo-documentarians before aesthetics. I hope you read the stories clearly and revisit them eagerly. III. Begun as an off-shoot of our campus’ weekly paper, this magazine is quite aberrant in the age of declining print readership. It is a hard fact that what we do wouldn’t be possible without the support of our readers and the unwavering dedication of Ms. Megan Z. This summer, Zahneis, TMSM’s editor-in-chief, was awarded The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Award for Young Journalists as the top intern. For the peanut

gallery, that means she got one of these: . For everyone else, it means the public has another truthteller and protector. As a news editor, her writers may have called her too tough a critic. But Megan has led these first three issues with remarkable altruism and a spirit of collaboration. Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t let you know that our magazine is hoping to grow. The Student’s newsroom is hiring artists, designers, photographers, monographers, cartoonists, poets, performers, dissidents and anyone with a passion for our campus community. Finding your voice, striving for something great. The stories in Issue III are warm to the aberrant and individual. I hope they inspire you to express yourself in ways the university has never seen before. We’ll try our best to report on it. Thanks for reading & best of luck to Maya, Heather, Abbie & the rest of the editorial staff

Arthur Newberry

photo by Heather McCowan 2




Discover all of the Study Abroad experiences that College of Creative Arts has to offer.

Woman at work

On the Job

Steinkeller server stays resilient in the face of reality By Céilí Doyle


photos by Heather McCowan

he clinking of silverware echoes over the din of chatter below High Street. Students, families of residents and a handful of professors crowd the tables of Steinkeller for Steak Night. Kelly Smith struts into the dining room, carrying a layer of napkins to roll silverware. After a few minutes, she heads over to the bar and flags down Mike, who is managing tonight. “I’m gonna run real fast, but I’ll be back,” she says. “Is that cool?” Mike nods and makes a smoking motion with his pointer and middle fingers, and then winks. “Well, I’m not really gonna run,” Kelly adds. Ten minutes later, the dim light reflects off her as she comes back from her smoke break. Her short hair is meticulously straightened down the sides of her face. Her dark eyeliner is striking and slightly intimidating, but she

wears a smile as she places a set of water glasses at one of the booths. “Hey guys, how are you?”



ince she was 14, work has been the only constant in Kelly’s turbulent life. She worked at her father’s KFC on Route 27 on and off for 16 years, 12 of them as manager, until it closed. During high school, Kelly also worked at a nursing home and a rec center before starting at an ambulance billing company, Medicount Management, that put her through two years of college. Afterwards, she did a one-year stint in human resources at Holiday Inn in Hamilton and managed a porn store between Oxford and Millville.



But while she tried to escape Oxford years ago, she’s always been pulled back — like a rubber band being stretched, only to come snapping back to its original form. “This place is like a black hole,” Kelly says with a laugh. Yet she is comfortable with what she knows and who she knows, and at 39 years old, Kelly feels relatively stable. But despite working her entire life, Kelly has no savings. ***



t various points throughout her 20s, Kelly owned multiple cars, apartments and a house on land contract. The work seemed to be paying off. But eventually, she would be forced to return to Oxford — and her roots in the restaurant business. First she served at Dakota’s (now Scotty’s Brewhouse), Left Field Tavern, Corner Bar and, as of a year and a half ago, Steinkeller. Now she lives with her precocious 11-yearold son, Conner, and her parents, Phillip and Marilyn, juggling the demands and responsibilities of raising a child and taking care of aging parents on her own. As a single mom with a young kid, living in her childhood home, Kelly wishes she could leave Oxford on a daily basis.



always knew I was an addict,” Kelly says matter-of-factly. “I knew it when I was hiding my lunch money when I was seven to buy nose spray.” She would graduate from nose spray to a variety of pills to Oxycontin — some meth on and off, and heroin only as an afterthought. Kelly’s addiction fed off her twin sister Karisa’s. Drugs — and the escapism they provided — were a means of functioning throughout high school and into early adulthood. “When we started doing stuff, it was more of a functional thing,” Kelly says. “See, bad things happened to us when we were kids.” In 1984, a man Kelly knew while her family briefly lived in Maryland raped her. But at only six years old, she was deemed too young to testify against him in a court of law. “I can talk about things — like this — like I’m talking about the weather,” Kelly says. “It’s insane. I trust too many people. I can live in denial and I refuse to see any bad qualities in most people.” Back in Oxford, both Kelly and Karisa were for several years abused by a man who worked for their father’s KFC while growing up. While both sisters turned to drugs to cope, their means of financing their addiction were vastly different. Karisa attached herself to men to stay high, and Kelly found work. “I believe you get what you get out of the world, and she believe[d] the whole world was out to get her,” Kelly says. This past September, after spending a year and a half in and out of the hospital and seven years on methadone, Karisa was placed on life support following several major organ failures. She died shortly thereafter.

“I believe you get what you get out of the world.”


elly moved out of her parents’ home at 17, got her own apartment and graduated from Talawanda High School a year later. She attended Miami University for two years while Medicount Management paid for her school. Any additional money she made went to paying for drugs. But when the company changed ownership, Kelly found herself out of a job. Without help financing her education, Kelly left school and started working at the Holiday Inn to help support her addiction. She has trouble remembering the three years after leaving Medicount Management and before meeting her husband, Dwain, when she was 25. “Dwain was never really an addict,” Kelly says. “He didn’t understand addiction.” But he enabled Kelly’s.



wain always had pain pills. At first, Kelly thought he was selling them, but he had cancer: Multiple myeloma, which is extremely rare in white males under 40. He told no one — least of all Kelly, who wouldn’t discover the truth until after they had their son, Conner, three years later. His omission was mainly a combination of pride and a desire to keep his loved ones shielded from his pain — and because, before Conner, Kelly didn’t have much will to live. “I took eight to 10 Oxy’s a day,” Kelly said. “And I just wouldn’t die. I didn’t find out I was pregnant with Conner until I was six

months along and I still felt very unsure... How was I going to take care of a child if I couldn’t even take care of myself?” Conner’s impending birth registered an growing sense of responsibility in Dwain. He set up a baby room and encouraged Kelly to stop using. “I am the reason that I continued when I knew I had a problem,” Kelly said. “I still used three times after Conner was born, but the honest answer for why I stopped is that I just wouldn’t die.” But eventually, she stopped. She discovered the truth about Dwain’s cancer and realized she needed to make a change. “I said to myself, ‘Conner’s already going to lose his dad. He doesn’t need to lose me, too.’” On June 6, 2007, Kelly used for the last time, and for two years she, Dwain and Conner lived a relatively calm life in Hamilton. Then Dwain got really sick. “I thought I could save him, maybe because I didn’t think I could save myself,” Kelly said. She quit working, moved her family back to Oxford and became Dwain’s full-time caretaker. “I couldn’t leave the house,” she said. “I’d go to the bus stop and [Dwain would] scream and then I’d be forced to come back. For five years I didn’t see anyone but my husband and son. I just took care of Dwain.” She still wakes up at 4 a.m. some mornings, her internal alarm clock preparing her to get up and administer medicine to a ghost. After Dwain’s death, Kelly lay in bed for two months, but Conner still had to go to school and eat, and the disability checks stopped coming. So Kelly went back to work.



“I thought I could save him, maybe because I didn’t think I could save myself.”


elly and her co-workers at Steinkeller have become a family. “Kelly’s my Oxford mom,” Miami graduate and Steinkeller co-worker Katie “Leen” Baldwin said. “If I need anything, she takes care of it, and it’s not just me. Kids who work at Stein’s, people who have worked at Left Field Tavern, just everybody in general.” Leen thinks the world of Kelly, but would rarely admit that to her face. The two tease one another often and sometimes butt heads. But in the end, Leen knows she can rely on Kelly for support when she needs it. “She’s strong, she’s opinionated, she’s also super warm, protective, hardworking and she also likes to have a good time,” Leen said. Pat Otto, who used to manage at Steinkeller, knew of Kelly for several years. But it wasn’t until they started working together last year that he got to know her on a deeper level. One night, a woman left Pat a $3 tip on a $70 bill, and Pat furiously reported the injustice to Kelly. Kelly had little sympathy for Pat. “‘When I was in the 11th grade, this lady tried to jump through the drive-thru window at KFC and stab me because she didn’t like the way she was being served,’” Pat recalls Kelly snapping back at him. He remembers being dumbfounded, but also weirdly comforted. “I guess I’ll just take my $3 and be happy 8


I’m alive and that Kelly was there to reassure me,” Pat remembers thinking. Kelly takes care of people, Pat said. “The amount of respect I have for her…” Pat began. “There’s so much I can learn from her and see the way she is and how that can be parallel in my own life.”



fter finishing her shift, Kelly climbs down the flight of stairs connecting Steinkeller to Circle Bar and lays claim to a barstool next to her best friends, Sarah “Swillis” Willis and Sarah Stevens. Conner is asleep in the care of Kelly’s parents at home, and Kelly is at ease in the dim lighting of Circle Bar. “I’ve got really great friends,” Kelly says. “They’d be the family I’d choose. My best friends are a hospice nurse and a surgical care nurse. And I care deeply about the kids I work with — when they leave, I feel like I’m losing my own kids.” Someone asks Kelly and the Sarahs about their upcoming vacation to Florida, which was the first vacation Kelly has taken in decades. “I’m still too terrified to think about it. Don’t bring it up,” Kelly says that night with a laugh and a swig of her drink. “I haven’t bought a bathing suit in 20 years!” But the woman behind the dark eyeliner and the wide-eyed laugh doesn’t seem too terrified of anything at all. In fact, she seems to be in her element — surrounded by her friends, the family she chose.

Same place, new person

Personal History

Illustrations by Connor Wells

The Monumental Difference Between Freshman and Sophomore Year By Duard Headley

I should’ve brought my scarf. The early October air is sharp. It plunges daggers of chilled wind into me as I step out of Collins Hall. It’s 8:27 in the morning and I have three minutes to get from East Quad to McGuffey Hall. Impossible. I should just go back to bed. I don’t ever speak to anyone in this class, and sleep sounds really, really good. I could just turn around, head back upstairs and— No. I’ve skipped this class twice in the past two weeks, as well as several others. If I don’t go, I’ll feel like crap for the rest of the day. I push off my bike and race off onto the sidewalk,

wincing as the increased speed amplifies the already biting wind. I move through the day in a haze, speaking as little as possible and rushing back to the sanctuary of my dorm as soon as I can. I’ve checked my phone 15 times since I left the dorm, hoping desperately that one of my friends will text me, pull me away from this place that feels so foreign and whisk me back to thoughts of home. For the 16th time, I slide my phone out of my pocket. No notifications. It’s been two months since I watched my mother’s black Acura fade into the distance. Nearly 60 days



since I hugged my family goodbye and turned to face college with cautious optimism. As those days ticked by, that optimism has faltered. In its place, desperation and resignation take turns suffocating me. Why can’t I talk to people? Why is it so hard to make friends? It’s their fault. No one here is as good as the people back home. They’re all weird and shallow, and it’s their fault for not wanting to be friends with me. No, no, it isn’t. It’s me. I’m awkward and overly formal. I speak like a 50-year-old man and I have no idea how to connect with anyone. I’ll never be able to fit in here. It’s all my fault. Day after day, thoughts like these muddle my mind. I know I’m making it harder for myself. I know that if I’d just chill out a little and not try to rush friendships, things would come more easily. But that doesn’t stop my mind from conjuring clouds of non-stop 10

negativity. I spend my days hiding behind a false smile in classes where I speak to no one. I try my hardest to look cool, calm and collected. Even though I’m sitting alone, it’s obviously because I want to. Look at how confident I look. The nights are harder. Huddled in the darkness, the smile abandons me. Clenching my pillow against my chest, I curl tightly into a ball, swaddled in my sheets. Tears stream down my face, and I stifle a sob so as not to wake my roommate. Homesickness wraps itself around me. Daylight stings my eyes as I drift through the streets of Oxford. Beaten and battered from days of unease and discomfort, I switch on autopilot, settling into a hazy, vapid routine of talking to as few people as possible until I can rush back to my dorm and take shelter from the overwhelming world around me. Day after day, I wake up, and for the briefest of moments, I have no idea


where I am. In the instant after opening my eyes, I feel like a child at summer camp: In an unfamiliar place surrounded by people I don’t know. Only, unlike a camper, I won’t be returning home at the end of the week. This is my home now, and that thought hurts. These were my first few months at Miami University. But as the days ticked by slowly, new routines slowly emerged from the unfamiliarity. Gritting my teeth and powering through the supreme awkwardness of new social interactions, I forged friendships. Although they were new and unstable and unfamiliar, they were there. Weekly Wednesday movie nights became something that I looked forward to. Cozy, quiet and comfortable, the event, hosted by a few people in my dorm, drew me closer and closer to the people who would become good friends. The weekly event served as a lighthouse, cutting through the gloom of my days and guiding me towards shore. Through repeated dinners, get-togethers and lots of movie nights, acquaintances morphed into friends. Where there was once only stunted, ice-breaker dialogue, inside jokes and personal connections began to grow. I also began to find places where I felt comfortable — study nooks, coffee shops and club meeting rooms. Random rooms and obscure areas changed, little-by-little, into relaxing locales. While maybe not as familiar as my hometown, Miami was beginning to grow on me. *** Damn, I really brought my scarf.



It’s October again, nearly 365 days since my rush to make it to class on that chilly morning of freshman year. Once more, the brisk fall breeze urges me to huddle deeper in the too-light jacket I threw on when running out the door. Although I’m headed to class again, this time I’m not walking alone. On the way down into the lobby of Hillcrest Hall, I bumped into my friend Theo. I’d left my backpack in the lobby to go and grab the woefully

The roads and fields that once felt so alien now fill my head with memories. thin jacket, and when I came back they were there, waiting for me. “I saw your dorky backpack and figured I’d wait and walk with you,” Theo said, nudging my multi-colored bag with their toe. As I reached my class, I strode into a room full of people I knew, faces I’d seen many times before. Classmates called to me, welcoming me into the room. Afterward, while cutting across campus to my favorite study spot in the wings of Armstrong, I ran into three acquaintances at three different points on my walk, striking up friendly conversation with each before whistling my way back towards the student center. It’s hard to believe this is the same place I nervously navigated only a year ago. Sitting in Cafe Lux, gratefully sipping a chai tea latte, I find myself smiling, just as I did so many times during my first months on campus. But this time, the grin on my face isn’t forced. And behind the grin, my thoughts aren’t numbingly negative. I’m happy to be here. Gradually, Miami is becoming my new home. Even the air feels different. As abstract and cliche as that sounds, whenever I step outside, I can actually feel the difference. As a first-year student, the air was bitter. Another facet of a foreign and inhospitable world, it stung my lungs. Just being here, just breathing, hurt. But now, even on bad days, the air is clear. Surrounded by familiar folks and habits, I can breathe easy. These things seem small, entirely ordinary. But they represent a monumental shift in atmosphere, indicators

of the difference between this year and last. Physically, nothing has changed. The red-brick buildings stand in the same spots they did a year ago. The bars and restaurants of Uptown continue their business as usual. Classrooms fill and empty with swells of students, rushing in and out like the tide, just as they did when I was new to campus.

But change has occurred. The roads and fields that once felt so alien now fill my head with memories, of nights spent roaming the darkened campus with friends and walks across the soccer pitch, humming along to the familiar, slightly out-oftune songs from the bell tower. Time has done its work. As the hands of the clock whirled around and around, they blew away the lingering feelings of loneliness and doubt. Through routine and repetition, a place that once instilled only negative emotions has become a place that I can call my home. My experience certainly isn’t universal. I’m sure that some people settle into college life with ease, while others are hurting even more than I was. But to every Miamian who is struggling to stay afloat in a sea of unfamiliarity, I say this: No matter how cold and painful those chilly mornings seem, with time, patience and persistence, the weather is bound to change for the better.


Real-life fairy godmothers University housekeepers wield bathroom cleaner, not wands By Chloe Murdock A student once approached Vonda Reynolds with an odd question: Did Vonda want a cat? “No,” Vonda said, confused, and continued cleaning the common rooms and restrooms of the former Mary Lyons Hall. Vonda, a building and grounds assistant, later found out the student’s boyfriend had given her a kitten for her birthday. The cat was not allowed in the dorm, and the student had until 6 p.m. the next day to get rid of it. Resident assistants had called local animal shelters. None would take the cat. Later in the day, Vonda ran into the student again. This time, the girl was in tears. It was midterm week, and the student couldn’t study for exams because she had yet to find a home for the cat. She begged Vonda to help: She knew no one in the building, but Vonda knew everyone. It was a good point. “I’ll see you at five o’clock,” Vonda said. Vonda already had two cats and didn’t need anoth12


er, but she showed up at 5 p.m. anyway to pick up the cat. She gave it to her niece, who named the cat Whalen and still shares pictures of the cat with the student. Vonda’s friend and fellow building and grounds assistant, Helen Hackney, has her own story of helping a student find a new home for a pet— in her case, the student’s dad wouldn’t let him keep it at home while the student was away in college. As Vonda says, she and Helen “are some good housekeepers.” They don’t have to take care of displaced pets or students, but they find themselves doing it anyway. Vonda and Helen are in a unique position to come across students, their messes and the occasional odd request. They are fairy godmothers with Cinderella’s job, cleaning the restrooms and common areas of their assigned building for the year while occasionally tending to students’ emotional needs. When Vonda first started working at Miami, she had been instructed not to interact with students. The university’s stance on this has flipped back-and-forth over the years since.

Illustration by Connor Wells

They don’t have to, but they do it anyway. However, Vonda tends to develop bonds with the few students she sees most regularly in Stonebridge Hall, like the pre-med major who practically lived in a study room inside the basement of Stonebridge Hall last year. Vonda would pass the study room around the time that students started waking up for their 8:30 a.m. classes and see the student through the glass, still working after huddling over her laptop and books all

night. The student perked up when she saw Vonda, and they would chat. This year, Vonda sees Melina Slye, a sophomore studying psychology and neuroscience, most often. During the first week of classes this semester, Melina ran into Vonda almost every day around 10 a.m. before Melina added an 8:30 course to her schedule. “I notice I don’t see her as much and I think, ‘I wonder how Vonda’s doing,’” Melina said. But they still chat when Vonda runs into Melina in common rooms, typically when Melina is doing statistics homework. Vonda hopes to meet Melina’s mother, who visits often. Building and grounds assistants don’t expect most students to remember them after they move into a different hall or an apartment the next year. But sometimes they do remember. That was the case for Vonda’s mother, Barb Mitchell, who also worked at Miami. Greg Abbas hadn’t yet earned his doctorate in 1991. He was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and assisted with biochemistry research in THE MIAMI STUDENT MAGAZINE, FALL 2018


Hughes Hall. Two doors away from the lab where Greg often worked late nights, Barb Mitchell could be found relaxing in the staff break room for a quick break during her night shift cleaning Hughes. Greg juggled his classes, extracurriculars and research, but didn’t have a lot of time for a social life. He had been craving social interaction when he first struck up a conversation with Barb and her coworker in the staff break room. It became habit to stop by and talk about his classes, her work, their families, their travels, their friends — everything about their lives outside of Hughes Hall. Barb kept asking about why Greg didn’t have a girlfriend, and for a long time he deflected the question. Eventually, he told her why: He’s gay. Greg said it was difficult to come out to most people in the ’90s, but had a feeling that telling Barb would be fine. “She needed to know. She deserved to know,” Greg said. At first Barb was surprised, then confused. Like Greg did before he realized he was gay, Barb had “perceptions and misconceptions” about gay people. Eventually, she came to a conclusion.

Most people just want to do their job, collect their paycheck and go home. “She said, ‘I don’t care what ya are, I just love who ya are,’” Greg said. “That’s just who Barb is.” After Greg graduated and left for medical school, he and Barb stayed in touch. She visited him once during his residency in Lexington, Ky., and he caught up with her in Hamilton, Ohio, for a chat over a meal in town. Greg became Dr. Abbas, while Barb retired in 1995 and later became a grandmother. As years went by, they heard less and less from each other, but still stay in contact through holiday cards, text messaging and Facebook likes. Once, Vonda went Uptown to eat with a friend, and students bombarded their table to say hello. A woman who didn’t know Vonda and her friend approached them, asking if they were famous. 14


“Oh, honey, we ain’t nobody. We’re just housekeepers,” Vonda said. The woman laughed. Vonda asked who she was. The woman mentioned her sister had attended Miami. To the woman’s surprise, Vonda immediately named the woman’s sister, who had lived in a dorm Vonda had worked in years ago. *** Most people just want to do their job, collect their paycheck and go home. It’s an understandable mindset. But Vonda and Helen sometimes can’t help but reach out to students — if not to hear their deepest secret, then at least to say hi. That connection helps the day go by more quickly. Sometimes students don’t return their greetings until midway through the school year, but that doesn’t deter them. “I like my job, first of all. But if I came in here every day and did not interact with anybody, it would be horrible,” Helen said. Helen has worked the morning shift in Beechwoods Hall for three years. Before that, she exclusively worked the night shift for 10 years — cleaning in Bell Tower Place, then in Shriver Hall and Armstrong Student Center. Vonda has worked in various residence halls. For a time, she cleaned academic buildings but switched back to residence halls so she could spend more time with her son, who was young at the time but is now 16 years old. Residents of Stonebridge Hall see Vonda regularly, while residents of Beechwoods Hall see Helen on a daily basis. It’s rare for students to see them sitting, but what students do notice is that Vonda is short, and Helen is tall. Vonda’s hair courses in waves down the sides of her head, while Helen’s flows straight. As fullfledged adults who’ve earned jobs and wrinkles, they are easy to tell apart from students. *** Both Vonda and Helen have seen their fair share of messes: Eggs stuck to the kitchenette ceiling. Furniture carried out onto the lawn. Beer cans in urinals. Furniture turned upside down. A wad of spit on the floor every day for a week until Helen sent a picture to her boss, who sent out an email and the spitting stopped. Sometimes Vonda and Helen find students in messes that are not part of the job description and are not so easy to clean up. This is where they sometimes step in as fairy godmother. Helen once came across a student who was crying, distraught, overwhelmed. Helen asked her if she was OK, and the student said she was dealing with something her parents did. Helen stepped in: “Parents make mistakes. We don’t get a handbook for parenting.” Helen’s words calmed her. Vonda remembers a Mary Lyons Hall RA from her first year working on campus. The RA always had her

door open — sometimes with desserts — and waited for Vonda to come around the corner. One day, Vonda ran into the RA, who was tearful and red-faced. Vonda consoled her — “This moment will pass. This moment will not last.” It was just what the girl needed when she didn’t have her family around. When it was time for students to move out at the end of Vonda’s first year, the mother of the Mary Lyons RA was in surgery and not able to help move the student out of the dorm. Vonda pulled up her own truck to the building and helped the RA load up her belongings. She had already met the girl’s parents by the time Vonda attended her graduation party. Vonda couldn’t stop crying when she left Miami. Then, on social media, Vonda watched the former RA move to Texas and unfold into full-fledged adulthood. The RA became a schoolteacher, got married and had kids, a future she could not have imagined when Vonda had run into her when she was just a tearful college student. Sometimes, Helen and Vonda’s acts of kindness fall short of fairy godmother status. They worry about students who keep to themselves, but they can only do so much. Vonda remembers when her colleagues who

Sometimes, their acts of kindness fall short of fairy godmother status. worked the night shift had to clean out and pack up the room of a student who’d died unexpectedly, then wait for a parent to pick up his things. And Helen recalls working at Bell Tower Place six years ago, when workers could get a free meal after working a certain number of hours per night. One of her coworkers was a student who heavily relied on that free meal to get by. Sometimes when the student hadn’t eaten anything that day, Helen would pay for a meal for her. After her junior year, the student was forced to leave Miami — she could no longer afford to attend college. Students inevitably leave Miami. Helen and Vonda remain.


the ribbon we cannot untie

Emily Dattilo

a new chapter unfolds or are we not all walking stories ? disappearing seconds like scintillating snowflakes as they brush the ground the same, but different life penned streaming through the ghostly past that shimmers silently through the present steadily looking on into the future days and chapters page past monotonously not until later when we’ve forgotten the beginning returning to reread to reimagine what went before attempting to change what we cannot in our minds the past can be shifted, slanted snowflakes melted so long ago words on torn pages fading as memories do flipping back the picture is different now composed of the good and inevitably what we’ve tried to forget old times bound in sentimental ribbon that we cannot anymore untie


The Woman at Table 9

A summer waiting tables in a nursing home By Anna Minton

I honestly thought I hated my job. I am not much of a “people person,” nor do I have any spectacular culinary talents. So I’m not really sure what possessed me to work as a waitress and chef’s assistant in a nursing home. Maybe it was the pay, or the flexible hours. Or maybe it was the opportunity to play an important role in bettering someone’s day. Nah. It was the pay. Illustrations by Arthur Newberry



However, I didn’t realize how much someone could truly despise their job until I spoke with one of the nurses. As I was living out the height of luxury, carrying plates of cubed steak and mashed potatoes to individuals who had forgotten what a potato was, I made a comment about how depressing it was to see these people so confused. The nurse sitting next to me decided to respond with the following sentiment: “It’s only sad if you think of them as people.”’ Now, again, I am not much of a “people person,” but even I know that is, simply put, a very crappy thing for a personal health care professional to say about their patients. These people had clearly lived full lives. The idea that the terms “patients” and “people” were not one and the same left a sour taste in my mouth. We were working at a nursing home, a place where it was our job to make these residents feel like people again. And this nurse was doing just the opposite. It was this strong desire to prove this woman wrong that urged me to start sitting down and talking to the residents. I wanted to learn about their lives. The more I could discover, the more I could distinguish them from the objects that the nurse had labeled them as. She was wrong — these people weren’t just a task to complete, they were human beings, and I was determined to prove it. So, in between orders of Diet Cokes and a lot of cottage cheese, I started writing down the lives of those I waited on. This is what I found:


Table 3: Chicken salad on a bun and a Diet Coke The first person I talked to was a broad-shouldered man who always sat at the large table in the center of the main dining room, and had served in World War II. Some days he said he was in the Navy, and other days he said he was part of the Air Force. I found that to be the case with a lot of the residents: While the majority of their stories stayed the same, small (or somewhat large) details seemed to vary depending on their mood, what time of the day it was or even how fast I was able to bring them their soup. In any case, this man had fiery stories of wartime glory — bullets whizzing past his ears, screams of his fellow soldiers as they ran into battle. When I asked how he was doing, he claimed to be better than the day he almost got blown up. Every now and then, he would get a distant look in his eyes. One time, when I asked him what he was thinking about, he simply said, “Almost dying, but then I didn’t.” Most people would assume that living through such horror stories would leave a person bitter and angry, but that wasn’t true of the man at Table 3. Never have I seen a person more passionate and dedicated to his country.


He managed to scream the word “American!” in every conversation he had, no matter how little relevance the word had. He spoke of his time in the military with fondness, as if he wanted to go back. Even though he had lost his leg in battle, he claimed he would do it again in a heartbeat. “We are the reason you all are here today,” he would lecture me as I handed him his food. “I’m more proud of this than anything — more than being a family man, more than being a father, I am an American. American!” Just in case I didn’t believe him, he lifted up his pant leg to show me his prosthetic leg, the red and white stripes of the U.S. flag printed all across his plastic limb. American, indeed. Table 6: Hamburger, tomato soup and a lemonade Another resident I waited on was a small woman who always wore the same pair of sparkly gray tennis shoes. She had a sharp wit, and always teased whomever was waiting on her table. This woman saw that, unlike most of the nurses, I was actually talking to residents, and she promptly decided

that I would become her new best friend. She was notorious in the dining hall for frustrating other residents. Due to her advanced dementia, it was common for this woman to ask about her husband multiple times a day. To this day, I still have no idea where or who her husband was, but according to my boss, I was supposed to tell her that her husband would come to visit her the next morning. Sometimes, the conversations we had were lighter. She often reminded me not to do any more cartwheels down the hallway. I decided not to remind her that I have the coordination of a 2-hourold giraffe and no ability whatsoever to do a cartwheel. Most days, though, we spoke about her husband and when he would be coming back. One day, this woman seemed particularly alert. She began to ask me about my education, and revealed to me that she used to be a professor at Ohio University. She told me stories of taking her students to Italy every year and all the incredible adventures she had there. Her stories shocked me, and I could not believe that the woman many residents saw as “barely there” had such incredible and intelligent stories. Maybe 10 minutes after our conversation, she asked me for my name, and if I knew where her husband was. Table 1: Two Reuben sandwiches, both with a side of cottage cheese and Table 13: Cheeseburger with onions and Swiss cheese only, root beer float In the dining room, it was common for residents to sit together and mingle. The same group of women always sat together and played cards, and a group

Maybe ten minutes after our conversation, she asked me for my name.

of men always sat at the bar to watch whatever golf tournament was on TV. Sometimes, however, more intimate relationships emerged, which was originally the case at Table 13. The man and woman at Table 13 met at the nursing home. They were inseparable and always held hands when they were eating. Other than that, they kept the PDA minimal, like shy and awkward middle school children on their first date. The man of the table was absolutely smitten with “his gal,” as he called her, and she seemed to be just as happy. The drama started to happen when Mr. Table 13 left for a week, to spend time with his family. His poor “gal” was left alone and, in a surprising turn of events, decided to take comfort in the arms of someone else. Cue the gasps. While her boy toy was gone, this woman found herself a frequent visitor at Table 1, and bonded with a gentleman there over their shared love of cottage cheese. Soon, the two of them would sneak off to the hallway, and some of my colleagues caught them in some compromising situations. Even after Mr. Table 13 got back, this woman still chose to stay with Table 1. When I asked her about that, she told me something that still haunts me to this day. According to her, Table 1 had a bigger dick than Table 13. Table 9: Grilled ham and cheese sandwich, a tall iced tea with no ice and a straw; on Sundays, a scoop of butter pecan ice cream I don’t believe I have ever met a more adorable human being than the lady who sat at Table 9. Every day, she would have me walk her back to the kitchen so she could thank the chef and give him a kiss on the cheek. This



was often her greeting — to friends and strangers alike. She always had to have one pink piece in her outfit, whether it was her scarf, her pink bedazzled cane or the pink birthday tiara she wore every other day. When it actually was her birthday, she acted just like the princess she was. She wanted a glass of rosé, and when I told her all we had was pinot noir and pinot grigio, she asked for some white wine with a drop of pink lemonade powder. She called it her “makeshift sangria” and declared that it was the “best damn drink” that I ever made her. One day, she brought her makeup bag to the table. Once the rest of the dining room had slowed down, she asked me if I would help her with her makeup. She explained that she used to be a model in St. Louis, and often taught other models how to do their makeup. However, when she tried to explain to her nurses how to help her put on her makeup, they wouldn’t listen to her. “You have good eyes, so I’ll take your help,” she told me, unloading all her supplies. “But I’ll have to teach you how to fix eyebrows. And those lips too.” It was this daily ritual that brought us closer together. She told me about her grandchildren and greatgrandchildren, and she specifically told me which ones were her favorites. She explained why she never dated again after she left her husband, simply whispering to her eyeshadow palette, “Once you’ve had the best, you won’t settle for anything else.” She is a 97-year-old ray of sunshine, with the confidence, empathy and “star power,” as she calls it, of Reese Witherspoon. Or at least, that’s what she hopes. “That ‘Legally Blonde’ lady is as cute as a button,” she would often tell me. “I want to be her when I grow up.”



Memory Care Rooms 141 and 142: Daily special, coffee and orange juice every morning In the back of the building, there is a blocked-off door that requires a passcode to enter. Inside is the wing called the Memory Care Unit. This section of the building is set apart for residents whose disabilities require a 24-hour nurse, or, more commonly, residents who suffer so badly from dementia that they are unable to function with the rest of society. I worked with people who had forgotten the name of the food they were eating, where their rooms were, or even that they were in a nursing home in the first place. One woman would often come up to me, trying to communicate, maybe trying to ask for more food. I had trouble understanding her, however, because she had forgotten how to talk. The only way she could let me know that she was hungry was by clapping her hands and pointing to her stomach while growling at me the whole time. Two people who also confused me were the residents of Rooms 141 and 142. The man and the woman who lived in those rooms seemed to have no impairing mental issues. Sure, they forgot what day of the week it was every now and then, but so do I. So either I have super-early-onset dementia, or they were fine. In fact, they seemed to realize that they were the only two residents in the wing who still had themselves together, and they migrated towards each other. Every morning, the man would come up to me and ask for two cups of decaf coffee and one glass of orange juice. The lady in Room 142 was too pretty to have to get up, he said, and he wanted to take care of her. They interacted with each other

The real miracle was that every day, they came back to each other. like shy children, holding hands and giggling in the hallways. During meals, he would save her a seat and cut her food up for her. She wiped his face when he forgot to and always sought me out after lunch so that I could fix her hair. “He told me I was the most beautiful woman he has ever seen,” she would tell me, every day at noon on the dot. “Do you think that means he likes me?” And every night, the man from Room 141 would muster up his courage and ask her if he could kiss her good night. Each day was like new for them, and I got to see them fall for each other over a three-month saga. One day, I decided to ask one of the nurses what would happen when the two lovebirds wanted to take things further. They were obviously smitten with each other, and they seemed capable of handling themselves, so why continue to keep them in separate rooms? This was when the nurse told me that the residents of Rooms 141 and 142 had actually been married for over 60 years. They had children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren together, and they hadn’t spoken to their family in months. When their family did visit, it wouldn’t really make a difference — both of the residents would be plagued with a

mind-numbing sense of guilt at their ability to not remember the so-called “strangers” that were visiting them. They had not been able to remember each other for the past 10 years. The real miracle was that every day, they came back to each other. Every day, he saw her sitting in her room and brought her coffee and orange juice. They talked over meals of carefullycut-up food, and spent the day getting to know the person they had started a family with so many years ago. And at the end of every day, when they had fallen in love with each other again, their minds were wiped clean for the next day. They acted like each day was the first day they met, each smile was

the first smile, each kiss the first kiss. Because it was. And it would never be anything more than that. After I found this out, I was cleaning up from dinner when the man from Room 141 came up to me and asked what I used to think was a cute and innocent question. “I think she likes me, don’t you?” he

said with a grin. “I think she might let me kiss her goodnight tonight!” After this encounter, I asked to be taken off the Memory Care staff. *** When I left for school at the end of the summer, I didn’t imagine there would be much of a spectacle. I was just one of many servers in the building, and while I liked to think that I had connected with some of the residents, I didn’t think my questions or attention were anything special. I was surprised when a lot of the residents I had spoken with came to say goodbye on my last day. I was met with tears, which I had no idea how to handle, and lots of cheek-pinching. Turns out, I either look a lot like 20 different ladies’ granddaughters, or I should meet 20 other ladies’ grandsons. I refused to let myself fall victim to the emotions until the woman from Table 9 held my hand and asked if she could come “bar-hopping” with me at school one weekend. The sheer idea of this hot-pink queen strutting up to Brick Street Bar with her bedazzled cane was enough to bring me to tears. Was I excited to leave my notepad and half-apron behind? Of course I was. If I never had to have another conversation about whether or not the Jell-O was too “soupy,” I would be a happy girl. But what I would miss were the people whose stories I got to learn. And after I clocked out of my last shift, I gave a copy of all my notes of the stories I got to hear to that nurse who told me how easy it was to think of these residents as less than people. And if I also convinced some of the residents to throw their mashed potatoes at her, oh well. She had it coming.



The Champion S Miami’s skating dynasty strives for everyday excellence

n Standard by Audrey Davis

Photos by Heather McCowan, Bo Brueck and Emily Brustoski THE MIAMI STUDENT MAGAZINE, FALL 2018



t’s just before 6:30 on a freezing October morning. Miami University’s campus is eerily quiet — no cars on the streets, no students hurrying down the sidewalks to get to class. The lobby of the Goggin Ice Center is empty, too, but the lights are on and today’s hits play on the radio throughout the building.

Bo Brueck

At exactly 6:45, girls clad in athletic gear enter the lobby from the locker room, balancing on ice skates, the blades protected by plastic covers. No one says anything as they organize into four groups of four. In each group, three “bases” work together to lift a fourth girl, the “flyer,” above their heads. After a few minutes of practicing

lifts in the lobby, the members of Miami’s senior synchronized skating team hit the ice. The 20 girls on the team circle the practice rink, wearing various combinations of black leggings and Miami shirts topped with vests or warm-up jackets. Many have the red, white and blue Team USA emblem on the back.

Heather McCowan

At the elite level where Miami’s team operates, synchronized skating is a complicated amalgam of teams. Today, there are two teams: senior and collegiate, but until two years ago, a third team at the junior level also existed. The collegiate team competes against other schools’ synchro teams while the senior team represents Team USA and competes against other skating clubs, both nationally and internationally. Miami’s senior team is one of five teams at their level recognized under Team USA — teams selected by the Synchronized Management Subcommittee to represent the United States at international competitions. Adrian College in Michigan is the only other school in the nation to have a senior-level team. The rest are local skating clubs not affiliated with universities or colleges. As the early-morning practice

continues, the girls work on progressively harder techniques, from spins to putting their lifts on ice to music. One group goes first as the rest of the girls watch. They skate, moving closer together until they’re close enough to lift their flyer in the air. They rotate across the ice as one unit. As soon as their flyer is lowered to the ground, everyone claps at their success. The music restarts, and the next group tries the same lift. As each group finishes, they convene on the side of the rink and discuss their stunts. “Did that feel better?” assistant coach Lee Ann Shoker asks. “No…” one of the bases says. “Well, it looked better!” Both Lee Ann and head coach Carla DeGirolamo stand on the ice with the girls, skates and all.


arla DeGirolamo started skating as a five-year-old girl in Cleveland and eventually became a student-athlete at Miami. She was on Miami’s senior team for four years from 1999 to 2003 and served as team captain for two of those. Now, she’s in her 10th year as head coach of the program and was an assistant coach for six years before that. When building her team, Carla looks for girls with both strong technical and performance skills. But, she said, there’s also a little bit of an intangible that comes into play. There’s a spark that hits her when she sees some girls skate. She looks for the girls with an inner fire in their skating and a passion for what they’re doing. She looks for the girls who don’t hold anything back.



Bo Brueck


arah Haugh began skating when she was eight years old. She had tried just about every sport when she was little, but there was something about skating that was different. She started with freestyle — solo skating with jumps and spins — but solo ice dance is what she loved most and continued into high school. She wanted to keep skating when she got to college, but wasn’t sure how. Sarah fell in love with Miami University during a visit for Make It Miami. She knew the school had a synchronized skating program, but there was one problem: She had never done synchro before. She decided to give it a try anyway. It might give her a chance to be a member of Team USA if she made the senior team, something Sarah has dreamed her whole life. Wow, senior team, Sarah thought. That would be incredible.

Bo Brueck

During her first year at Miami in 2015, she didn’t really think it was possible. In fact, she thought the idea was almost ridiculous. Tryouts began, and Sarah skated alongside girls who’d been skating synchro their whole lives. As the week of tryouts came to an end, Sarah didn’t know what to expect. One day after taking a nap, she woke up, checked her email and saw Carla’s name. “The emails always start off in a way that makes you think you didn’t make the team,” Sarah said. First of all, we’d like to thank everyone who tried out, the email began. Shoot, I don’t think I made it, Sarah thought. But she read a little further. We would like to congratulate you on a spot on the junior team! She was so excited that she sprinted to her friend’s dorm to tell her the news.

The skaters try out every year for a spot on the team, and every year, each receive an email. Sarah can recall every moment each of those emails arrived. There was the time sophomore year when she was at another skater’s house with a few other girls, and they all got the email at the same time. All of the girls went off to a different room in the house. Sarah ran into someone’s bedroom, opened the email and collapsed on the floor. She was going to be a cross-skater and skate on both the junior and collegiate teams. This meant she would have almost double the practices. Last year as a junior, she was, once again, with a group of skaters when they all opened their emails privately. And again, Sarah had made the team. But this time, she started crying as she realized she had made the senior team. Her dream had come true. She was Team USA.




ailey Styzinski’s journey to skating began when she was just two years old. And she hated it. Her parents would give her coaches Starbursts, and every time Bailey skated across the rink, she got to put a candy in her pocket. By the time she was five, she had joined a club synchro team and started to enjoy the sport. She loved the idea of being part of something bigger than herself. Around the age of seven, Bailey had to choose between skating and everything else she was involved in. She knew skating was her favorite activity, but she really had to stop and tell herself, Okay, this is it. At one of her first big competitions, she saw the Miami skating team compete. She knew that day she wanted to be a skater at Miami. She hung posters all over her wall of her favorite Miami 28

Bo Brueck

skaters. “I just always knew Miami was my dream for skating, at least,” Bailey said. “But I had to fall in love with it academically, as well.” She came to Miami as an engineering major, but soon realized she hated engineering. Now in her junior year, she triple majors in professional writing, strategic communications and media and culture. When tryouts for the synchro team came around before the start of her first year, she was ready. The tryouts are intense and mentally draining, with skating and off-ice conditioning. The coaches test everything from how the girls use their facial expressions to perform to how well they can skate and what kind of athlete they are. New members and the most experienced skaters are all mixed in together. Everyone tries out for a spot every year.


“All these girls on the senior team, I had looked up to since I was in high school,” Bailey said. “You have to be the best of the best to come here.” Bailey looked around and wondered, How the heck am I gonna make the team? Like Sarah, when Bailey got her email, she was around other skaters. They were all staying on the third floor of MacCracken Hall. Everyone got the notification on their phones at the same time. Bailey found an empty corridor, opened the email and took a deep breath. She had earned a swing position on the senior team, meaning she would share her spot with another girl and wasn’t guaranteed to compete. The first thing she did was call her private coach back home and then, of course, her mother. Bailey has made the senior team every year since.


iami’s synchronized skaters are some of the best in the nation. They live the Champion Standard — a concept Carla encourages the team’s members to apply to every aspect of their lives. Being the best student, the best athlete, the best sister and the best daughter. Before performing their routines, the girls always say, “Win the day.” But they’re not only thinking about winning competitions, they’re thinking about being the best person they can be every single day. And that, they hope, translates into championships, Bailey said. To do this, Bailey said it’s important to compartmentalize and focus on one thing at a time — always giving everything she has to everything she’s doing in every moment. Being a student-athlete is about athletics, about academics, about how you conduct yourself in everyday life, Carla said. “Being a champion is who we are, more so than something we train for,” she added.

“Being a champion is who we are, more so than something we train for.” Everything the team does has to be at the highest level. The things the girls do off the ice impact what they do on the ice. “If we’re working for excellence in all areas of our being, it’s just what we come to expect. It’s that holistic approach to life and training and how that all works together,” Carla said. ***

Bo Brueck

This year the senior team has six competitions, four in the U.S. and two abroad. The ultimate goal is to qualify for Worlds in Helsinki, Finland in April. The process of creating the “programs,” or routines, began long before the team arrived in August. Carla and the other coaches sort through notebooks and notebooks of ideas

— most of which get crossed out — until they have a program that will best highlight the team’s skills. The senior team skates two programs each season. The short program lasts two minutes and 50 seconds, while the free, or long, program lasts four minutes. Before the team arrives for their first practice, the programs are rough outlines. Then Carla lets things grow with the team. It’s a fluid process, she said. This year, the short program is set to a remix of Destiny Child’s “Survivor.” It’s strong, aggressive, and powerful, Carla said. “Those are the things we wanted to have the team show this year,” she added. “I think it’s something the athletes really connect with.” Carla told the girls to think about what the song means to them individually. “This is for anyone who’s ever told you that you couldn’t do something,” she told them. “This is for anyone who’s ever challenged you and made you feel you’re not good enough.” The message resonated with a lot of the girls, especially those who were part of the program last year. We are survivors, Sarah thought. We have been through a lot, but we’re still here. We’re still skating. We’re still thriving and doing the best we can. The free program is a tango which Carla said is strong and powerful but in a different way than the short


program. It’s longer with a more feminine quality and more complex choreography. They have more freedom to highlight their creativity. The girls based the tango on visions they discussed for the program. Sarah said she pictures being in a lounge with girls dancing and people smoking cigars or having a scotch. Just vibing. The lifts are in the long program. This year, they’re working on a creative lift where it looks like one girl is walking on stairs through the rest of the team. They also added more partner elements like in a traditional tango. It’s a combination of sharp and smooth movements. *** It’s now 7:12 a.m. The girls have been on the ice for less than 30 minutes, but it’s time to do a full runthrough of their long program. They all remove their jackets and toss them onto the wall of the rink. Sarah, co-captain of the team, rallies the girls. They huddle in a circle, hands in. “All right, ladies, win the day on three!” “One, two, three, WIN THE DAY!” The girls skate to the center of the ice and hit their first formation. They freeze until the music begins, transforming into intense tango dancers on ice. Their faces are controlled. They all


The girls are on the ice, in the dance studio or in the weight room at least four hours a day during the school year. stare straight ahead, looking to where the judges would typically be seated. Carla and Lee Ann whoop with every successful pass across the ice. At one point, the team splits into two rows that intersect while the girls are spinning. Some narrowly avoid elbows to the stomach. When the song ends, the girls skate back to the wall, the cold air turning their heavy breathing to puffs of steam. “That intersection was fast! Everyone had room,” Carla says. “It was great! Good work.” The girls catch their breaths and head over to the TV at the other side of the rink. They watch a recording of their runthrough. Carla pauses the video to interject her thoughts. She has a friendly tone, almost soft-spoken, but she gets her message across. “Let’s run it again,” she says.


n her 16 years on the coaching staff, Carla has seen the program become more demanding. There’s more lifting, vaulting, jumping, spinning and pair skating elements than there were when she was a skater. The schedule has shifted even more as the team pushes toward its goal of competing in an eventual Olympics. When Carla first started coaching, the team’s competition season began in January. This year, their first competition was the first weekend in November. The skaters are used to the annoying fact most people will never realize their sport demands the same dedication and skill required of any athlete, Bailey said. They think, OK, skaters. They’re just skaters. Growing up, Bailey didn’t even see herself as an athlete. “That’s how society portrays it,” she said. “But we’re doing cardio and lifting weights. Synchronized skating has become such an athletic sport.” It’s physically demanding. The girls are on the ice, in the dance studio or in the weight room at least four hours a day during the school year. Sarah wakes up between 5:30 and 6 a.m. every single week day, no matter what. The morning begins with practice, either on or off ice, depending on the day. After practice, Sarah goes to her 8:30 class. Once she gets through her day of classes, she’s either back at the rink or headed to weight training at the Gross

Emily Brustoski

Student-Athlete Development Center. After that, she’ll usually make her way to Kofenya or attend a meeting for one of the medical clubs she’s involved in. Somewhere in between all of that, she tries to find time to eat, shower and change her clothes every once in a while, Sarah joked. And maybe take a nap if she can fit it in. That’s the best part of her day sometimes: A nap. She doesn’t get to sleep much, and she drinks a lot of coffee, but she’s learned to make use of what little time she does have. You can always find skaters at King Library or Kofenya. Always, Sarah said. “I have to spend a lot of time just plugging in my headphones and drowning everything else out, so I can focus on what I need to do in my free time,” Sarah said. “It causes me more anxiety if I didn’t finish homework or something like that, so I will always give up sleep over not doing work.” Sarah majors in kinesiology, nutrition

The schedule has shifted even more as the team pushes toward its goal of competing in an eventual Olympics.

and pre-med. Between classes and skating, she also has to find time to apply for medical school. This year, she’s been trying to take in every moment and take more time for herself, despite the stress. “I just don’t want to miss anything,” she said. “I don’t want it to fly by. I don’t want to blink and for it to be over.” As lame as it sounds, Sarah said, she’s trying to do things like going outside more and drinking tea. “I’ve been using a lot of face masks, lighting a lot of candles in my room and just being more at peace than I have been in the past. It’s a lot, and it’s hard to manage, but I think it’s also made me a lot stronger.” A lot of students don’t really care if they have a five-minute break, Bailey said. “But if I have a five-minute break, I’m taking my textbook out,” she said. “I can’t stress time management enough.” This semester, Bailey is taking 20 credit hours on top of working multiple jobs, coaching and working as a secretary in the classics department. Meals are eaten on the go, and often include a lot of snacks and protein bars. If she has a slow day at work, Bailey tries to set aside 20 minutes for herself when she’s not focusing on schoolwork or skating. On the weekends, she likes to have fun. “We’re skaters, we can have fun sometimes,” she said, laughing. But she also knows it’s OK to sit in her house and do nothing.




hen Sarah first joined the team, the coaches told the girls if someone falls, you have to keep moving. “Because you do,” Sarah said. “You have to keep skating the program.” She tries to block it out and not pay attention. But, she said, “You still have to be aware that it happened because it could affect you for further parts in the program.” When it does happen, though, it’s every skater for herself, she said. The skaters have to let the teammate who fell get back into the routine and trust she’ll do so as soon as possible. Falls and collisions are just part of the sport. Unlike in solo skating, synchronized skaters are always close to one another. 32

Heather McCowan

The girls have to know exactly what direction to go and how they’re going to move. You have to be able to sense it, Sarah said. “I think a lot of times, what we do looks simple because we’ve been skating for 10-plus years,” she said. Lifts, especially, take a lot of strength and practice. The coaches are very particular about how the team executes a new lift. They have to figure out the timing between the three bases, be strong enough to lift the flyer above their bodies while also gliding across the ice and rotating. In the end, the lift should look effortless — that’s the goal. *** Carla skates out to the center of the rink. She doesn’t just tell the girls what


to do; she does it along with them. She demonstrates the footwork, giving tips with each step across the ice she takes. She asks a group to come out to the ice and link arms. They have to move in complete synchronization — if one slips up, the chain will be broken. After each group has gone over that section, Carla calls everyone back to the center. “All right, let’s do it again,” Carla says. “I’ll film it.” While working on the intersection, two girls bump into one another. Carla glides across the ice to see what went wrong. “Nothing like getting punched in the stomach at 7 a.m.,” one girl says, rolling her eyes. “OK, one more time,” Carla says. They run through the intersection over and over until they’ve gotten both coaches’ approvals.


arlier in the semester, Sarah was reflecting with a friend about her time on the skating team. She almost started crying, thinking about how far she’d come. Her first year, she was a swing on the junior team, so like Bailey, she shared her spot and wasn’t guaranteed to compete. “I was essentially the bottom of the totem pole.” Sarah looked around at everyone in the program and thought, This girl’s better than me. There’s no way I’m going to ever make senior over her. “I just…” she took a deep breath. “If someone told me I would be here senior year, my freshman year, I would have told them they were crazy.” Her sophomore year, she wasn’t

“I thought people would tell me I was crazy, but I must not have been, because here I am.” even sure she’d still be part of the program. But she continued working, living the champion standard. She completely dedicated herself to the sport and tried to maintain a positive attitude. “This has been a dream of mine since freshman year to be where I am now, but it was in the back of my mind,” she said. She kept that dream to herself, embarrassed to even tell anyone about it. “I thought people would tell me I was crazy, but I must not have been, because here I am.”

The arena starts to fill with natural light around 8 a.m., just as the sun begins to rise. The girls have 15 minutes left of practice. Carla plays the first 30 seconds of the “Survivor” remix over and over. The song starts. They run through the beginning. Carla stops the music. They start again. They won’t make it to the full run-through of their short program today — that’ll have to wait for tomorrow. At 8:15, the girls put their blade covers back on and head to the locker room to get ready for the long day ahead.



World View

On the Outside Looking In A Korean adoptee’s attempts to reconcile nature, nurture and preconceived notions. by Maya Fenter


Illustrations by Arthur Newberry

hen I was 9 years old, I dressed up as Nancy Drew for Halloween. I slid on a pair of white stockings under my skirt, slipped a baby pink cardigan over my white shirt and pulled my hair back in a headband. I carried around a plastic magnifying glass and a notebook. Nancy Drew had been my idol since I got the first six books in the series for Christmas one year. My dad would kneel on the floor next to my bed and he and I would read the books together before I went to sleep. In the minutes before our Halloween party began, my fourth-grade classroom buzzed with kids sizing up each other’s costumes. “Who are you supposed to be?” one of my friends asked me. “Nancy Drew,” I beamed, holding up my magnifying glass. Coincidentally, she was also Nancy Drew. A blonde one. A white one. “Nancy Drew doesn’t have black hair,” she said. I knew this beforehand, but I didn’t think it mattered. I was unaware at the time that I had to do more than dress

the part to dress up as a character for Halloween. I had to look the part, too. I spent the Halloween party in a less cheery mood, but I don’t think my 9-year-old self completely understood why. That was the first and last year that I went as a specific character for Halloween. Before and after that, I always dressed up as generic characters — a tennis player, a fairy, one of the three little pigs. I felt like nonspecific characters were all I had to choose from. I wasn’t wrong. Now, 11 years later, I’m not quite as preoccupied with being critiqued for dressing up as a white character. Now, as a junior in college, I’m more preoccupied with being mistaken for something I’m not. One morning during my first year at Miami, I put in an order for an omelet at Bell Tower. It was quiet, with only a few students mulling around. I knew I wouldn’t have a problem getting a table, so I lingered by the egg counter, waiting for my omelet. A cook emerged from the back. He didn’t see that I had already ordered something. I tend to glance around my

surroundings when I have nothing else to do. Maybe it makes me look like I’m lost. “Welcome,” he said to me, slightly louder and more slowly than was necessary. I could sense he thought that I didn’t speak English well. “I’m just waiting for my omelet,” I told him. He gave me a quick nod and walked away. This was a few months into my first year, and one of the first times I realized that here, being Asian can come with the assumption that you are an international student. And I hate that. And I hate that I hate that. What is so bad about being an international student? Why do I get nervous going to new places alone, and in any other situations where I could potentially look lost or like I don’t belong? Why do I feel the need to assert my ability to speak English when I talk to a stranger? Why do I emphasize the fact that I’ve lived in the Chicago suburbs for practically my whole life when I tell people that I was born in Korea? As a junior, I’m still not quite sure.



But what I have come to know is that for a lot of people, my race is the only thing they know about me. And for a lot of them, that’s all they feel they need to know.


hen I was an 8-monthold infant, someone helped me onto a flight to the United States from South Korea. My adoptive parents picked me up at the airport, balloon bouquet in tow, and drove me to their — now my — home in the Chicago suburbs. Growing up, when people asked me about Chicago-style hot dogs or deepdish pizza or whether I was a Sox or Cubs fan, I would shrug. Who cares? My parents had only moved to Chicago a few years before they adopted me. My dad was born and raised in Long Island, New York, and my mom lived in Malaysia until moving to the United States for college. But since coming to Miami, I’ve become a little more outwardly enthusiastic about deep-dish pizza and the Cubs’ World Series win in 2016 (their first in 98 years, thanks to the Indians blowing a 3-1 lead). Chicago culture is what I grew up with. It’s something that I can relate to. It’s something I can belong to. My family celebrates Christmas like they do in the movies — Christmas tree in the living room, opening gifts in pajamas, making pancakes for breakfast. None of us have any religious connection to the holiday, but we’ve celebrated every year. Then in January or February, my parents hand me a small red envelope filled with money for Chinese New Year. Growing up, my parents hosted a handful of birthday parties for me, at the pool, the ice rink and in our own backyard, though all my dad had for his childhood birthdays was cake from a box and my mom’s family barely acknowledged birthdays at all. The mom who critiqued crab Rangoon for being inauthentic Chinese food also took me to McDonald’s as a child to get Happy Meals. Whenever we order green beans at our favorite Chinese restaurant back home, my mom teases the way my dad 36

For a lot of people, my race is the only thing they know about me. And for a lot of them, that’s all they feel they need to know. ate green beans growing up — mushy, cooked to death, from a can. For a while after first moving to the U.S., this was how she thought Americans ate vegetables. To this day, I’m not sure she’s been completely convinced otherwise. I had a reputation in my elementary school classes for being good at math, and I’m still not sure if that was attributed to my skin color or my having taken honors math from the third


grade onwards. I still think it’s strange that people wear shoes in their house or don’t own a rice cooker. “White people,” I’ll say, shaking my head in feigned disapproval whenever my white friends can’t handle their spicy food. There are certain instances where I find myself latching on to and identifying with these Asian stereotypes.

They’re small things, but they’re things that make me feel like I’m a part of something bigger than myself. Other times, not so much. The few unfortunate times that I’ve been catcalled by someone driving by, the thing they usually call out is my race (not that the comments regarding my ass are any better), as if that’s all there is to me. Back in elementary school, kids at lunch would press their fingers to the outside corners of their eyes and tug back, making their eyes into thin lines. That’s when I became aware that I didn’t look like my other classmates. That’s when I learned vaguely what race was and what it meant. That’s when I learned to hate my eyes. Earlier this year, I was assembling a bulletin board for Miami’s Confucius Institute for work. A faculty member who was passing by began talking to me in what I assume was Mandarin. He said a handful of sentences before pausing, presumably because it was my turn to chime in. “Oh, I, uh…only speak English,” I said sheepishly. My eight years of Spanish classes would beg to differ, but I’d rather lie than incorrectly guess the language he was speaking. “Ah, I see,” he said, chuckling a bit. “Are you Korean?” “Yes,” I answer. “You look Korean,” he said, smiling. I give him a weak smile in return. For how many times people have told me this, I still haven’t quite figured out how to respond. Thanks? At least I can look the part. Maybe that makes up for the fact that I can’t speak the part, too. I’ve never been met with blatant disapproval or anger for needing to be spoken to in English, but there’s usually a sense of discomfort. On my end, there’s shame. I feel like I’m letting someone down, but whether that person is me, the person I’m talking to or Korea as a whole, I’m not sure. I feel like a false advertisement, an imposter, like I mislead people about who I really am, even though I’m not even sure of that myself. Where do I belong as an Asian American, if not in history classes or

television shows? Where do I belong as someone with black hair, a bridgeless nose and monolids, if not with the Chinese international students? Where do I belong as someone who grew up in the Chicago suburbs, as a native English speaker, if not with the rest of society? I want to deviate from the culture that my physical appearance associates me with, but stay true to it at the same time. By being culturally “white,” I feel as though I’m cheating on my Korean-ness — or, rather, invalidating it, pretending like it doesn’t exist, like it doesn’t matter. But by being too Korean, or even simply too “not white,” I place myself in a type of social exile from the majority of the peers around me. I feel as though I’m inviting people to stereotype me, to wonder if I’m rich or if I’m going to be a doctor or eat everything with chopsticks. I’m caught between two worlds, both of which reject me for reasons that are, for the most part, beyond my control. It’s confusing. And it’s lonely.


y mom and I went to see “Crazy Rich Asians” this past summer. We both enjoyed it. There were tears. After the movie, my mom gushed about this one scene where the main characters are eating street food in Singapore. They showed dishes from her childhood. It reminded her of home. And she was happy that her home was getting some visibility in mainstream pop culture. For me, the connection was only skin-deep — seeing people who look like me on a movie screen would have been a big help growing up, and even at 20 years old, I’m overjoyed to see it. But at 20 years old, I’ve come to realize that identity entails more than just physical appearance, and there was something missing that the all-Asian cast couldn’t give me. I know how to say “hello” in Korean. I’ve tried bulgogi and kimchi, two Korean food staples. I can identify the South Korean flag. The extent of my Korean-ness is

comprised of things virtually anyone could do. I may be Korean by blood and by appearance, but culturally, I’m no more Korean than the average white person. Just a few days after the release of “Crazy Rich Asians,” Netflix released a movie adaptation of the young-adult novel “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” Having read all three books in the series in high school, I was pretty excited to see the charming and admittedly kind of cheesy tale come to life. But one of my favorite parts of the story is that the main character is a Korean-American girl from a white father and Korean mother who goes to school with students of various races. She isn’t defined by being an overachiever or overly quiet, which are two common depictions of Asian characters in the media. It seems like such a simple concept. But watching that movie was the first time I can remember seeing my reality reflected on screen. I only caught pieces of the Winter Olympics during my sophomore year, but from the beginning, the idea that they were being held in South Korea excited me. Whenever I saw a name with the Korean flag beside it, I felt some type of loyalty toward them. I don’t tend to be super partial when spectating sports (Miami hockey being the exception), but when I happened to see a Korean athlete or team competing, I’d root for them. My only connection to the Korean athletes is that they represent the country that I was born in. It’s somehow both superficial and meaningful in ways that I don’t completely understand. I hope to go back someday. Despite having no memory of the few months I lived there, there’s still something about South Korea that screams “home” to me. There’s some affinity that I have toward it, the place where I’m from. I’m not sure when I’ll go there. And when I do, I’m not sure if I’ll feel like I fit in as a Korean or stand out as an American. Maybe it’ll be a bit of both. I suppose “a bit of both” is just who I am. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing.




The making of a real Italian


y dad was always told that his maternal grandfather, James Pacific, died young in a hunting accident. It took his mother, Anita Pacific, years to admit that James wasn’t a hunter and that the fatal hunting accident involved the police, not deer. My great-grandfather was an Italian immigrant living near Pittsburgh, Pa. He was killed by the police in the late 1940s because of his associations with the Italian mafia. 38

by Mackenzie Rossero I didn’t find out about the mafia connections until recently. It isn’t something that is often talked about, and it isn’t something to be proud of, but it is definitely interesting. “It’s so attenuated from our life that it doesn’t bother me,” explained my dad. “It just makes for entertaining stories around the dinner table.” I’ve done some basic calculations, and I’m pretty sure I come in at about 45% Italian, all on my dad’s side. James was one of my dad’s three full-


blooded Italian grandparents. When I was younger and realized I wasn’t as Italian as my dad was, I was crushed. But since I spent last summer in Florence, Italy, there have been some redeeming moments. Growing up, I could count on one hand the number of times someone pronounced my last name correctly on the first try. But in Italy, I didn’t have to coach people through the pronunciation of “Rossero.” I thought I was used to explaining “rho-SARE-oh”

to other people, until the refreshing moment when I suddenly didn’t have to. People in Florence treated me like an Italian. With my long, dark hair and the trademark Italian no-nonsense expression that I adopted while there, I almost seemed to fit in. It felt like I fit in, anyway. I’m hesitant to say for sure, because who knows what those real Italians thought. See, there it is. “Real Italians.” Who qualifies for that? I remember calling my dad during my walk to class one day and mentioning how the “real Italians” walked too leisurely. Before he could comment, I clarified, “You know, the ones who live here.” What would he think when I told him that sometimes I think I prefer American-Italian food over the authentic stuff? That sometimes I could really just go for some Alfredo sauce, or the meat pepperoni, not the peppers? Is this the difference between a “fake Italian” and a “real” one? When asked if he considers himself a “real Italian,” my dad’s answer is immediate: “Oh, yeah.” To him, you don’t have to be born in Italy to be Italian. But you do need to have a large portion of Italian blood. For example, my dad considers me Italian, though he probably won’t think that about my children. My mom is a jumble of things – German, Native American, Irish. Her heritage is comprised of so many little scattered pieces that she doesn’t feel any particular allegiance to anything but her American roots. But she feels a hell of an allegiance to those roots. My mom never lets us miss fireworks on the Fourth of July. She uses patriotic dish towels. She subconsciously touches her heart when she talks about the United States. When my mom’s kindergarten students neglect to stand up for the flag during the Pledge of Allegiance, she asks them, “Do you live in the United States? Would you rather live somewhere where they don’t have our freedoms?”

It felt like I fit in, anyway. I’m hesitant to say for sure, because who knows what those real Italians thought. When they only mumble during “America the Beautiful,” she chides them and reminds them, “People died so you could sing that song.” When I was about to leave for Florence, my mom was wracked with worry that I would somehow end up in a horrible situation like Amanda Knox, the American exchange student accused of murdering her roommate while spending a year abroad in Italy. The first time it came up, my parents and I were standing in our kitchen in Hinckley, Ohio, a tiny Cleveland suburb. My mom stood at the sink, and my dad sat on a stool opposite her, leaning on the granite countertop. I shuffled along the slick, hardwood floors in my socks, sliding back and forth. Bruno Mars’ voice pulsed from a speaker in the corner – there is always music in our kitchen. My mom glanced over at me and began refolding the dish towel next to her. She looked at me again, but this time, my gaze caught hers and she had to speak.

“You know,” my mom began, “you have to be careful [in Italy]. Take your mace everywhere. You’ll be in another country, and people don’t always like Americans.” This phrase immediately caught my dad’s attention. His head jerked up, and he threw his hands in the air, exclaiming, “She’ll be fine! She’s Italian!” A laugh escaped my mom’s mouth. She thought my dad’s Italian pride was cute. She exaggerated an eye roll, but her shoulders relaxed, and she tossed the dish towel down. “She’s American.” As it turned out, the only people who targeted me for my Americanness were the overeager salesmen who peppered me in the street, and that only happened when I was carrying enough luggage to give me away. Besides, I think it can be argued that this pertains simply to tourists, not exclusively Americans. Regardless, stereotypes exist, and the variety of Europeans in Florence held many beliefs about people from



the U.S. At one point, a British bartender told me that she always thought that Americans were “fat, stupid and spoke dumb English” – until she met one. There are plenty of American students and tourists in Florence, and we weren’t hard to find. At the beginning of my trip, that was comforting. But toward the end, it didn’t feel like enough. On one of those last days, I found myself wanting to be home in America for reasons beyond missing my family, boyfriend and dogs. It was July 4, and I wanted to be at home to celebrate Independence Day. Because that wasn’t an option, some friends and I opted for the next best thing: Lunch at an American diner. The place, named simply “The Diner,” was owned by a British man and marketed to the American students studying in Florence. This was my second visit, but my two friends were dedicated regulars. I ordered chicken nuggets, which dulled my intense craving for chicken fingers, and a vanilla milkshake because it met my daily gelato criteria and felt patriotic. As my friends and I sat in this mock diner, surrounded by American license plates and listening to American pop music, I couldn’t help smiling. I was eight days away from being home. As we unstuck our thighs from the vinyl chairs and got up to leave, we passed the British owner hanging a celebratory American flag. “Happy Independence Day,” he said, in his English accent. “Even if it’s from us.” I chuckled at the irony as I exited the diner. The world around me shifted as the close-but-not-quite copy of stereotypical America faded behind me, and I stepped back onto the Italian cobblestones. I’m not a “fake Italian.” My family came from this beautiful country. I have roots here, and I’m proud of that. But I’m not a “real Italian” either. Those Italians don’t just have Italian roots – they have Italian trunks, leaves and branches, too. Mine are American, and I think I prefer it that way. 40



The summer I learned how to live

By Julia Plant

Illustration by Kat Holleran

I’m not superstitious — not even religious, really. But sometimes I’m sentimental enough to believe some things happen for a reason. I believe this summer happened for a reason. *** My phone lights up as I sit down for dinner in a crowded New York City restaurant in the middle of January. The caller ID shines brightly in the dimly-lit room: Clark, Colorado. It takes me a second to realize why I’m receiving a phone call from so far away — and then it hits me. Shit. I hesitate before walking out of the restaurant to answer the call from Vista Verde Ranch. I pick up the phone and am warmly congratulated by Zach, the man in charge of human resources at Vista Verde, on being hired as a children’s supervisor at the guest ranch in northwest

Colorado. I’d applied to work at the ranch on a whim in August, five months prior to my trip to NYC. I had vacationed at the ranch four times before with my mom and brother. Families from all over the world visit to enjoy a classic all-American western experience — horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, the whole thing. Staff members dress in cowboy boots and 10-gallon hats every day, and the guests live like cowboys for a week. Back on the phone, I thank Zach and tell him I need some time to think about it. But I know before I even end the call that I can’t take this job. I’m in the middle of my J-term class in New York with Miami’s NYC Media trip. I’ve spent the week networking with prominent journalism-school alumni, learning how to turn my degree into careers like theirs. Each journalist I’ve met emphasized

the most important step in succeeding in this field: Experience. They’ve convinced me that I need an internship – fast. I have to be in New York this summer, building up my resumé, creating a network of people. But I got the job at Vista Verde. I frantically call my mom. “I just got hired at the ranch,” I say. “But I can’t do it. I need an internship.” She tells me I can say no, but warns against it. “I would give anything to be your age and spend a summer in Colorado,” she says. “I think you need this. Wouldn’t you rather look back and say you had an experience like this rather than an internship you hated?” I find myself at a crossroads. My mom is right — it would be such an incredible, unique experience to move out west for a summer. I probably wouldn’t have an opportunity like this again. But I’ve been preparing for an in-



Spending time on Steamboat Lake was a weekly occurrence at Vista Verde. ternship my entire college career. I’ve taken at least 18 credit hours every semester just to ensure I can triple-major in journalism, media and culture, and Spanish. I’ve stayed up into the early hours of the morning countless times to balance school and the extracurriculars I’ve packed my resume with. I’ve called my mom crying a few times a semester, worried I chose the wrong majors, stressed that I wasn’t going to get a job. I often compare myself to my friends in the Farmer School of Business, who usually have their internships locked down before October. I find myself lurking on LinkedIn, measuring my accomplishments against those of others in my major. Working at a ranch would add nothing to my LinkedIn profile. And I don’t necessarily love the outdoors. Horses kind of freak me out, and I’m not a very athletic person. I’ve never been away from home for more than two months, and I would only know a few people on the staff from my visits in years past. In my head, the answer is simple: Turn down the offer. Professionally, 42

choosing to work on the ranch makes no sense. And, if I’m really honest with myself, moving to Colorado terrifies me. But while it scares me, a small part of me is excited by the thrill of taking a risk and doing something completely out of the ordinary. I sit on the offer for a day, asking for advice from friends and family amidst my busy schedule in the city. My close friends all tell me to do it, that it’s the last time I’ll have the chance to do something crazy, something out of the ordinary like this. *** The next evening, I’m in the bathroom of a law firm in Manhattan, brushing my hair before attending an alumni networking event. I feel my phone buzz to see the ranch calling me back, waiting for my answer. The call came faster than I’d anticipated. Without thinking, I answer the phone and tell Zach that I’ll accept the position. I wish there was more of a reason to why I did it, but there’s not. Maybe a


part of me knew deep down that I needed a change, an escape from the competitive world of networking and the stress of having the perfect internship. A small part of me is happy that I’m taking a risk, following my mom’s advice. But I have a knot in my stomach, convinced I’m ruining any chance I have at making it as a journalist, that I’m tainting my perfectly-manicured resumé. *** By the time I returned from New York for the spring semester, I was positive I made the wrong decision: I couldn’t go to Vista Verde. For the entirety of second semester, I tried to slow down time, dreading the idea of moving so far away to a place where I knew so few people. All my friends looked forward to internships in cities across the country or exciting studyabroad trips. I was too afraid to admit the embarrassment I felt about working on a horse ranch. But of course, May eventually came, and before I knew it, I was stepping onto a plane headed for the Rocky Mountains, cowboy hat in hand.

I convinced myself to board that plane to Colorado because I desperately needed a change. The second semester of my sophomore year was tougher than I anticipated. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression the week after I returned from New York. Back at Miami, I focused hard on “fixing” myself, curing the mental illness. To do this, I tried to perfectly balance schoolwork, multiple extracurriculars and somewhat of a social life. It was a daily battle. I left no time to focus on myself. I spent countless late nights in the architecture library before heading back to MacCracken Hall to get ready to go to Brick with friends. I did this multiple nights a week, never giving myself the chance to slow down. I convinced myself that I needed this social time, that this counted as a break, even though it was a strict part of my schedule. During my downtime, I found myself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. I became caught up in a toxic cycle of comparisons and self-doubt as I clicked through pictures of dozens of beautiful girls at Miami with thousands of likes. I convinced myself I wasn’t pretty enough. I didn’t have the right clothes, didn’t go to the right parties. But I pretended everything was fine. I was sick with a cold for nearly three months, never allowing my body the chance to catch up. The lifestyle I’d created for myself became overwhelming, and the only escape route I found was the end of the semester. Once May came, I dreaded moving to the ranch just a tiny bit less, if only because it would mean a change of pace, a step back from Miami for a little while. *** Two days after finals week at the end of my sophomore year, after two connecting flights and three hours in the air, I clung to my cowboy hat in the airport as I met the Vista Verde staff member who would drive me to the ranch. We drove for an hour through the winding roads of northwest Colorado until we finally reached the place that would, for the next three months, be my home. Vista Verde is tucked away in the Rocky Mountains in a town called Clark, which has a population of two people per square mile. It’s an upscale, luxury guest ranch sitting on 560 acres

Up at Five. Plant and her coworkers celebrate the end of the summer on the ranch with a ride before work. in the Yampa Valley. Guests come from all over the world to spend a week immersing themselves in nature and disconnecting from the real world. I checked my phone as we pulled into the property’s mile-long driveway. No service — not a single bar. After settling in and connecting to the unstable Wi-Fi, I figured I’d at least get minimal access to the internet. I tried refreshing Instagram. The gray wheel at the top of my screen spun and spun for two minutes before the first photo loaded. My impatience took over and I gave up on checking the rest of my feed, realizing I was basically disconnected for the summer. This was quite the wake-up call from

my life back at Miami, where the first thing I usually do when I wake up is check my phone. It’s also the last thing I do before bed. I check my email during my walks between classes, headphones in. My first few weeks without constant access to my phone were frustrating. During my downtime, I wanted to check social media, Snapchat my friends and catch up with the outside world. I didn’t know what to do with myself during moments of idleness. Simply walking from place to place on the ranch without my phone was a strange feeling. But I slowly began to let go in a way I didn’t think I could before.



Each night, I sat on the porch of my cabin with friends as I looked at the mountains, reflecting on my day. It’s such a simple concept, but just having the chance to think without looking down at my phone every minute was foreign territory. Along with limited access to our phones, we had absolutely no access to parties or the drinking culture that is so ingrained into life at Miami. At Miami, many of my friendships came from going out and drinking together – especially friendships in my sorority. With these friends, I skipped the awkward small-talk stage and used alcohol as a way of easing the often-unavoidable discomfort I felt when meeting new people. In Colorado, this wasn’t an option. I spent the first few weeks in that all-too-familiar stage of not really knowing what to say to my co-workers. All the time. We often sat in silence between meetings, searching for something we could chat about. But we spent over eight hours a day together, and slowly, with lots of time together in such a secluded place, we began to develop lasting relationships. Every day after work, three of the other kids’ supervisors, Aaron, Erinn, Max, and I stayed in our building and played Bananagrams, sometimes for up to an hour at a time. We laughed as we argued over what counted as an actual Scrabble word. “‘Xi’ is totally a word,” Aaron would yell. We played games like “The 36 Questions That Lead to Love,” forcing ourselves to become closer through hardto-answer questions like “What is your greatest fear?” Within just a month, I’d told my friends on the ranch about my anxiety and depression, opening up about my insecurities. I’d never told anyone but my mom about this before. It was so relieving to have a group of people who knew even the darkest parts of me. At night, we played in intense foosball tournaments. My co-worker Cawood and I went for walks down the driveway in the Colorado sunset and watched movies on actual DVDs as a nightly routine. Without the distraction of social media and the outside world, I formed a genuine relationship with her. I know so much about her life outside the ranch — we covered everything. Although we were only together for three months, 44

Maybe I’d simply never cared to pay attention to the people different than me before. she knows more about me than most of my friends back home. I doubt that would’ve happened if we had regular access to our phones. One brisk Tuesday afternoon after work, Cawood and I decided to run down to the main lodge to grab coffee. We went on an evening walk to take pictures of the horses and square-danced in our weekly barn dance. By the end of the night, when the rest of our co-workers were going to bed, we were bouncing off the walls, still so energized by our afternoon caffeine. We grabbed all the blankets from our staff housing and laid them out under the stars. We stayed up for hours talking about life on the ranch — how it was so different, so much more special and real than anything we’d ever experienced. “Jules,” she told me, “I honestly can’t picture going back to school after this. I’m a different person now … How am I expected to just leave all this when August comes?” “We’re not going to talk about August,” I told her. The end of our time at the ranch became a forbidden subject. *** My friends in Colorado were so different than my friends at Miami. Being in a sorority, I tend to surround myself with people who are similar to me. A lot of us look the same, have the same interests and are from the Midwest. When I’m at school, I’ve never thought about becoming friends with people who are too different from me. It’s easy to stick


to what I know. But there was no one too similar to me on the ranch. My best friends came from all over — Atlanta, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York City. Many of the guests traveled from countries outside the United States —Singapore, England and the United Arab Emirates. I thought about how similar everyone at Miami is — white, upper-class, preppy kids who don’t seem to care about much except next weekend’s parties. But with time, of course, it all made sense. Miami actually is diverse — maybe I’d simply never cared to pay attention to the people different than me before. *** As a kids’ supervisor, I watched the families’ children during the day while the adults did their own activities. Every day was different. We taught the kids how to ride horses, played countless games of Slamwich and duck-duckgoose, hiked through the mountains and tried to help them gain an appreciation for the outdoors. In the beginning, I struggled to establish my authority with the kids. Their ages ranged from 4 years old to 13, and it was important to me that I be both their supervisor and friend. I was afraid to tell them no. If they asked for extra snacks or to sit out of certain activities, I always caved out of a fear that they wouldn’t like me. But with a new batch of kids every week, saying no became easy, and my confidence

I’m tired, I let myself rest, and when I’m stressed, I find ways to relax. Before, I used to push myself to go to every social event, worried that I’d be missing out if I stayed in. This year, I cherish the nights I stay in to catch up on homework or simply allow myself to spend time alone. I don’t pressure myself professionally in the ways I used to, like stalking my peers on LinkedIn. I met so many people on the ranch who were there to work after graduating from college. They didn’t have future plans and weren’t sure what they wanted to do, but they were happy. That’s what I want. I don’t need to have a concrete plan for myself right now, or ever. The academic environment at Miami makes it really hard to accept that, but I want to do what makes me happy. Sure, Vista may not have added to my experience in the journalistic world, but it made me happy. Our undergraduate culture stresses internships to a fault. I felt like the most rebellious, non-traditional student ever by choosing to work on a ranch rather than working Monday through Friday in an office. It took a while, but I found out there are different ways to live outside of the path that Miami culture seems to have carved out for us. Wading headwaters. The kids’ counselors at Vista Verde often took a dip after work, unwinding in the Yampa Valley. steadily increased. The more I said no and established my authority with them, I began to see them look up to me as a role model instead of just another friend on the ranch. Halfway through the summer, during our weekly pool party, a 7-yearold guest, Bella, motioned for me to lean down so she could whisper something in my ear. “Don’t tell anyone, but you’re the nicest person I’ve met,” she told me with a giggle. If Bella had met me in the middle of March this past year, I’m not sure that she’d feel the same way. *** The Tuesday night barn dance is an integral part of the Vista Verde experience. When I came to the ranch as a guest, my brother and I avoided it every year. I hate dancing. My lanky arms and legs don’t mix well with any sort of smooth dance moves. I was petrified of the fact that I’d be required to attend the barn dances every week during the summer.

During job orientation, I learned the two-step and some pretty complicated line dances that we shared with guests. I was embarrassed and wanted to hide during every barn dance, just as I had as a guest. But as the summer went on, I focused on practicing these dances after work with my friends for weeks, and it became something we all looked forward to. I can’t say that I became a better dancer as the summer went on, but I cared less what people thought about my dancing. The crippling anxiety about who was watching me disappeared by August. *** Coming back to campus in August was hard. I left Colorado on Monday morning and was back in Oxford by Tuesday. I felt the same knot in my stomach when I left the ranch on my last day as I did when I left for the ranch back in May. Readjusting to Miami culture has been a challenge, but a good one. I’m a new person after my summer in Colorado. I pay attention to myself now; when

*** Sometimes I find myself daydreaming about the ranch, wishing I could focus not on homework but on tacking up horses. I often think back on that conversation with Cawood, laying on our pile of blankets and looking up at the stars. That night, returning to the real world seemed so distant. We thought it would never happen. Cawood flew to Oxford to visit me last weekend. We spent three days catching up and reminiscing about our time in Clark together. On Saturday night, we made banana bread in my kitchen while I forced her to listen to “Georgia Peaches,” a song we listened to probably 100 times over the summer. We attempted to do the line dance we learned to that song, laughing as we realized how many of the steps we’d already forgotten. “Do you ever worry that we won’t ever see our friends from the ranch again?” I asked her when we were done dancing. “Oh my god, Julia, no,” she told me, almost brushing off the question. “Why do you think I’m here? I’m going to force you all to be in my life forever, whether you like it or not.”

Mentioned in passing Illustrations by Arthur Newberry

An awkward AirDrop accident Julia Arwine

It’s about 2 p.m. in Bell Tower Place dining hall, during the listless period between the lunch and dinner rush. The tables are dotted with students having a late afternoon meal. Conversation is muted. Then, a disturbance: A photo is publicly AirDropped to everyone in the dining hall with an Apple device, including me. “‘Gary’ would like to share a photo,” the pop-up window above the photo reads. It looks, to put it indelicately, like a picture of a man’s ass. Without even blinking, I press “Decline,” unfazed. It’s been one of those days. But not everyone is as jaded as I am; at the high table next to me, a girl gasps and shows the picture to her two friends. They laugh in scandalized tones. The sound carries in the near-empty room. “Should I accept?” the girl asks. After a brief deliberation, she decides not to. After that, it seems the disturbance will pass, a mere ripple in the lazy afternoon. But a few minutes later, a boy in long baggy basketball shorts and a gray T-shirt gets up from a nearby table, where he sits with his two friends, and approaches the girls. “Hey,” he says. “I heard you guys talking about that photo.” “Are you Gary?” says the girl who received it. “Yeah, I didn’t accept it.” There is a slight mocking edge to her voice. 46

Gary laughs, before explaining that his name is actually John, and that it was actually just a picture of his knees pressed together. He had meant to send it to everyone in the large lecture class he had just left, but it hadn’t gone through until now. He tells them that he’s a freshman. “Yeah, that makes sense,” the same girl says. There is more than an edge of mocking in that. But John doesn’t seem to notice. The conversation carries on, and the girls — all of them sophomores — don’t turn him away. They make small talk. John, I overhear with some amusement, is from Springboro, Ohio — my hometown. The girls laugh at his jokes and sympathize with his grievances about his tiny, unclean dorm. The girl who first spoke to John, with dark hair in a ponytail, continues to do most of the talking than the other two — one blonde, and one with glasses. After a few minutes, John crosses his arms on the high table and leans in. I begin to wonder if I am witnessing the


boldest sober attempt at picking up girls that I have ever seen. The girl in glasses makes eye contact with me as I try to watch surreptitiously, and I quickly look away. I’ve finished my food, but now I’m intrigued; it’s clear this boy is angling for something. I take out my computer and pretend to do homework, settling in for the long haul and trying my best to look utterly uninterested in my surroundings. Conversation continues. Ten minutes pass. Fifteen. John’s friends at the table he left behind look over at him every now and then. The girl with the ponytail doesn’t seem to be mocking him anymore. The girls extend an invitation for him to come study with them at the library. But John has somewhere else to be after this. At one point, John brings up the fact that one of his friends has a skateboard. Would they like to ride it? Sure, they say, and he goes back to his table to fetch the other boys. “This is so fucking funny,” the blonde girl says while he’s gone, and I wonder if they’re stringing him along after all. But then John and his friends return, introductions are made, and they all leave together. I wait a minute before packing up my stuff and trailing after them, wondering how this will end. No numbers have yet been exchanged. Outside, I find that one of the girls has left. The other two are testing out John’s friend’s skateboard on the street that runs past Bell Tower’s entrance. I loiter as discreetly as I can, pretending to stare at my phone. But that can only be convincing for so long, and I have a class starting soon. Reluctantly, I start to meander away. As I pass them, both girls say they have to go. They bid the boys cheery farewells, and I wonder if perhaps they always intended this to be merely a lunchtime diversion. They haven’t exchanged Snapchats or given contact information or made much of any indication that they ever want to talk to the boys again. But then, as I walk away, I hear it: The girl with the ponytail, walking backwards down the sidewalk, shouts her number back at John.

Coloring and chatting Emily Dattilo

Names changed to protect privacy. Jessica colors the page neatly, a yellow crayon held purposefully in her hand, transforming the black-and-white outlines into waves of primary colors. On the table in front of her lies a coloring page with boys and girls dressed as scientists, teachers and police officers. Jessica takes a few minutes to warm up after learning I’m her mentor, but once she starts talking, her voice grows animated and excited. Jessica tells me she’s pretty shy and doesn’t like raising her hand in class or participating in group activities. Her eyes tell me that she’s seen a lot in her 11 years. She tells me her arm brace is from a cartwheel gone wrong. Her brown hair brushes her shoulders and her face is inquisitive. Her quiet demeanor contrasts with the small smiles that occasionally peek out. In between trading fun facts, she smiles and says she should color the policeman’s face green. I know she’s kidding because her personality resembles her coloring strategy: Logical, but with bright colors and everything staying inside the lines. With a giggle, she trades the green crayon for yellow. She rattles off a list of her talents and interests. “I can really be whatever I want to be when I grow up, I’m good at a lot of things,” she says. We talk about her best friend Alyssa, who’s sitting right behind us with another mentor. We talk about how she’s technically an only THE MIAMI STUDENT MAGAZINE, FALL 2018


Mentioned in passing child, but has a mess of half-siblings. We talk about her younger sister and how they don’t get along (they share a room that she has now divided in half) and we talk about pets. Jessica says she has both cats and dogs. She says the cats at her dad’s house make her sneeze. “Are the dogs at your mom’s house then?” I ask, without really thinking. “I don’t know where my mom is,” Jessica says to her coloring page. “I live with my great-aunt. She’s my guardian.” She speaks nonchalantly, simply stating a fact. I take a deep breath, thankful my comment didn’t upset her. The leaders of the mentor program said these kids come from lower-income households, often with a string of siblings, not enough attention and difficult home lives. The mentor program provides a couple hours where life is uncomplicated and organized. The schedule is predictable, the snacks are kid-friendly — we typically have goldfish crackers, fruit snacks and Pringles — and the environment is positive and supportive. The first day of the mentor program, I’d watched a sea of children walk off the school bus, looking just like any other elementary school kids. Hair tied in ponytails, vibrant graphic t-shirts, gym shoes and grins. One little girl showed up in unicorn slippers. Underneath those little glasses, braces and big smiles, what most of these kids experience is anything but typical. Yet despite the difficult circumstances, most of them still behave like your average kid. Jessica peppers me with questions about college. She wants to know how many classes I take, when I get to go home, what my major is. She even asks how much time I have for “socializing.” I glance at her for a second to see if her thoughtfully posed question is serious — I haven’t ever heard a fifth grader use the word “socializing” — but her curious expression tells me she’s completely in earnest. I answer all of her questions before the conversation turns back to her sister. As Jessica colors the lab coat of a smiling boy, I ask her why they don’t get along very well. “She stretches out my clothes,” Jessica says, pointing to her leggings. “This is the one pair I have because she steals my clothes all the time.” Jessica is organized and responsible, but her younger sister is the polar opposite. And they share a room. We take a break from coloring because the program leaders tell the kids to jot down a short list of expectations between the mentors 48

and “buddies” for the year. Jessica thinks of several immediately and goes back to coloring. But when the leader asks the kids to share, her body language shifts. Her confidence and carefree chatting disappears, and she no longer seems engaged. “Jessica, you can do it,” I tell her. “We’ve got some good ideas on this list.” With hesitation, she stretches her hand into the air and shares an answer. I smile back at her, completely relating to the fear of public speaking, but knowing it helps to get over that fear a little at a time. I’m thinking about how much this girl and I have in common, how similar our personalities are and how much I can do to help her. I’m not sure if she’s comfortable with me yet, and I figure it’ll take us a couple weeks to get there. But Jessica surprises me. A few minutes later, she declares happily, “I like you,” while coloring the kitten next to the teacher yellow with red stripes.


A win and a loss Ben Deeter

Names and some minor details changed to protect privacy. Grant and Sarah had been on the rocks for quite some time. The problem was that only Grant knew this. Several weeks ago, he’d laid out the entire relationship in a line graph on a napkin at Mac and Joe’s. His friends wondered how he and Sarah were doing, since some of them held the two as the pinnacle of what a relationship could be. “Here’s where the relationship started,” Grant said, placing his pen near the top left of the graph. “Then it curved up like this for a while. But then it dropped, climbed back up, but it never got back to that initial high.” This peak-and-valley pattern repeated, and the final graph descended like stairs across the length of the napkin. Grant then complemented his drawing with tales of a summer of phone calls and visits that had worn him down and stressed him out. To Grant’s friends, Sarah always seemed like one of those people who is “always right.” Grant confirmed this, and his face bore a history of argument after argument about nothing. “So I was planning on breaking up with her after I got back from Ethics Bowl Nationals in a few weeks. But, she bought a plane ticket and a hotel room for Nationals.” Grant’s friends sat back with their eyes ready to pop out into the bar food in front of them. “Fuck,” said one friend, with emphasis on the “u.” “So,” Grant said, looking from friend to friend. “How bad of a guy do I want to be?” **** He now sits in the center of a gymnasium that belongs to the host university, but more resembles a high school gym that hasn’t been updated in a few decades. Next to him is Abby, one of his Ethics Bowl teammates. Before this trip, he hadn’t talked with her all that much. But they had become fast friends after a conversation between preparation sessions the previous night in the hotel fitness center. An announcement from the presiding judge comes over the speaker, signaling the

intermission of the final round of Ethics Bowl Nationals. Grant and Abby spring from their seats to strategize with the rest of the team. The coaches seated behind them can only watch. Tournament rules say the team can only talk to people listed on the roster for the round. They can’t even have their phones on them. Grant had given his phone to Sarah, who sits in the bleachers behind him. At least until she starts walking toward him with his phone in hand. “I need to get into your phone,” she says. It’s the first time she’s made such a request in the year they’ve dated. “Give me your passcode.” “I can’t talk to you right now,” Grant says, fearful she, and he by proxy, may get Miami disqualified. He turns back to his team without further discussion. Sarah returns to her seat sans passcode. An hour and a half later, the round is over. Grant stands behind his teammates, all of whom now stare at the man standing at the microphone. The tournament representative has just named everyone on the Miami team AllAmericans by virtue of reaching the final round. Grant can’t care less about that, though. He, along with everyone else, wants to know what the seven judges thought of the round. “And the final deciding ballot, by two points, has determined our national champion…Miami University.” The RedHawks jump from their seats and explode. Fists pump, faces contort into grins and tears of joy flow down cheeks. Grant lifts his teammate Mandy off her feet midhug. His mentors behind him embrace one another and shout variations of “YES!” This is probably the greatest moment of his life. He turns to find Sarah walking toward him. Her face doesn’t say “I’m so proud and happy for you!” so much as it says “Hey, congratulations. Can we talk?” The two step to the side. Grant’s face hasn’t lost the smile, and his chest heaves from the gravity of the moment. Sarah’s face cycles between anger, disappointment and feigned happiness. “I need you to know that I’m uncomfortable with the relationships you have with some of the people on this team,” she says. “And I’m especially hurt by your relationship with Abby.” The elation melts from Grant’s face. It’s replaced with raised eyebrows and a slight frown. He got to have the greatest moment of his life for about 60 seconds.

Mentioned in passing

An uncanny resemblance Julia Plant

My mom sits in the wooden chairs outside Bodega, her long blond hair covering her face as she hunches over her iPhone. She’s wearing the red reading glasses she reluctantly bought at Kroger and squints while she texts using only her right pointer finger. I approach her from behind, embracing her in a tight hug around her shoulders. It’s only been about a month since I last saw her, but she asked me earlier this week if she could drive the two hours from Indianapolis to get lunch. She’d told me that seeing me and my brother is her “vitamin P,” referring to Prozac. I notice the name at the top of her iMessage conversation before she can hide her screen. Sam. She puts away her phone before turning her attention to me. About a year ago, she and Sam were introduced by a mutual friend. They got engaged after two months of dating. Last month, she called me, crying, to say she was calling it off with him. I knew I couldn’t get my hopes up, though. I’d gotten the same call twice before — there was no way she would actually go through with this. *** “So, you’re still texting him,” I say as we sit down at our small booth inside Bodega. I can’t stand Sam. She’d tried to hide his manipulative ways, verbal abuse and narcissistic personality throughout their relationship, but we all knew. Her best 50

friends, kids, sisters-in-law —everyone told her to end it. But Sam could always trick her into coming back to him. “I know, doll,” she says, sighing. “But I’ve been too dramatic with all this. I don’t think I can just cut off everything all at once.” “Actually, you can,” I say with a sarcastic laugh. After three almost-break-ups with him, I don’t hold back. She explains that he’s made more of an effort now that she’s expressed her concerns. Since she’d tried to end things a month ago, she can really see a change in him. “OK, but this has happened before. You know he’s just doing it to get you back.” I ask if she’s kicked him out of the house yet. “Well, yes,” she says. “He actually did something a little surprising yesterday.” She pauses and lowers her voice, as if he might hear us from Indianapolis. “He put an offer on a house a block away from ours,” she nearly whispers. I gasp, and my hand covers my mouth. “NO,” I say. She nods, looking surprised herself. “He says if we can’t live together, he still wants to take care of me and be in my life,” she says. “That’s stalker-ish!” I say. Her eyes scan the room and she gives me a warning look


that I’ve seen countless times. She wants me to lower my voice, to not cause a scene. “That’s psychotic,” I say in a slightly quieter voice. “You need a restraining order.” She laughs, agreeing that the whole situation is ridiculous. But she finds his purchase sweet, almost endearing. I think it’s creepy. “No,” I say. I’m not laughing. “We need to move immediately. You know who he reminds me of?” “Oh gosh, doll … who?” “Brett Kavanaugh. I couldn’t stop thinking of Sam when I watched the hearing last week.” “Really, doll? Oh, Brett’s scummy,” she says. My mom doesn’t pay much attention to the news, but I always try to keep her up to date, calling her often with the scoop on important things like this. I tell her that she needs to watch it, that she’s going to freak out. “Oh, you’ve got to show me,” she says. We head back to my house. *** We lie side-by-side in the full-sized bed in my small bedroom. I put my computer on my lap and search “Brett Kavanaugh hearing highlights,” hoping that she’ll see it, too.

My mom gasps and shakes her head throughout the six-minute video. “No,” she whispers repeatedly as she watches Kavanaugh try to defend himself against sexual assault allegations before the Senate. At one point, a senator asks Kavanaugh if his drinking has ever resulted in memory loss. “You’re asking me about blackout. I don’t know, have you?” he responds. “Oh my god. That’s Sam,” my mom said out loud. “Look how angry he is — that’s so Sam.” She laughs, but she’s not kidding. “Just wait until you see the SNL skit,” I tell her. She can’t stop laughing during the cold open starring Matt Damon as Kavanaugh. Damon exaggerates Kavanaugh’s unappealing mannerisms, slamming his hands down on the table, sniffing over and over again and yelling at the cast that resembles the Senate. My mom claps her hands together and folds over laughing. She swings her head back up and hits it against my headboard with a bang. But she still can’t stop laughing. The video comes to an end. “Gosh, doll, that’s scary. He’s Sam. Oh, I’ve got to get out of this.” She’s said this countless times before, but at least I’ve convinced her for the moment.



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For your Amusement

Have you been keeping up with this semester’s news? We’ve crammed facts from the school year’s top stories into this crossword.

3. E-scooter company ____ distributed free helmets Uptown as part of its Oxford launch. 6. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s multi-part The Sex ____ ACROSS 1. Miami University recent- video series was criticized ly unveiled a memorial to heavily by one Miami student who participated. ____ near Wells Hall.



7. The retirement of Mike Curme brought new dean of students Kimberly ____ to Oxford this summer. 9. Miami’s ____ ____ team clinched its second consecutive MAC championship in November. 10. “Saturday Night Live” cast member Cecily ____ took the stage for a set at Wilks Theater Oct. 25 as part of MAP’s Comedy Series. 11. Former Miami student and onetime professorial candidate Jennifer Donnelly alleged an incomplete investigation by the university’s ____ (acronym) in her case of sexual assault by an architecture professor. 13. Name of the junior who was named the inaugural Hockey Commissioners’ Association National Goaltender of the Month for October. 17. The Crawfords’ oft-used mode of transportation

Crossword by Megan Zahneis Cartoon by Arthur Newberry

18. Sara Carruthers bested fellow Miami alumna ____ Vaughn on Election Day to win a seat in the Ohio House of Representatives. 19. Former Miami professor Kevin ____ will be tried in Kansas City in January for attempting to hire a 14-yearold sex worker. DOWN 1. What the editorial board hopes you did on Nov. 6. 2. Miami’s theatre department hosted ____es of Miami, a performance written and directed entirely by students and alumni. 3. Miami’s football team defeated Ohio University in the ____ of the Bricks in November. 4. Republican challenger who met Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown in a lively U.S. Senate debate at Hall Auditorium ahead of Election Day. 5. “Sister Survivors” Jordyn Wieber and Rachael ____ discussed the #MeToo movement and their experiences with sexual assault as part of the university lecture series. 8. Improperly-parked e-scooters on campus are likely to be ____ by MUPD. 9. Inclusion or Janus 12. “Oxford ____” is the name of one local community-based scavenger hunt. 14. Relation of Michael Dantley to the College of Education, Health and Society 15. An alumnus of ____ visited campus in October to give a lecture and award scholarships to two senior STEM students. 16. Not Florida


Laura Dudones

to the people in power at Miami University

and those who continue to ignore the campus sexual assault problem: what is happening

is this how you best serve your people?

brush it off sweep it under the rug

is this the way to support your community? then the fear of a bad image will have you say nothing could be done and we did our best but we will fix it now

august 30. september 6. september 17. september 21. september 23. september 23. september 29. october 2. october 4. october 16. october 20. november 1. november 18. another report. never to be talked about again.

and the foundation will need to be rebuilt from scratch and the apologies will pile up but apologies don’t erase the trauma and wounds of the past now is the time yesterday was the time last month was the time last year was the time

stand up

don’t let them see the scars of those who have been violated the months spent in therapy the nights spent in tears instead of sleep the days spent continuously asking why

make it look like everything is excellent

STOP ignoring it

don’t let anyone see their pain because even though this place is falling apart even if someone could fix the problems what if it looks bad? let them suffer in silence forget the hardships they are facing it cannot it will not be addressed until it is forced until the public demands an answer

speak out

STOP letting it slip through the cracks and under the radar

STOP pretending like everything is okay because it’s not and it’s our responsibility to change that

it’s on

it’s on me it’s on you




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