Spring 2016 • 18th May 2016
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
Lowry, Vitale selected for '16 NFL Draft
Lauren Place “I make noise…” reads Okkyoung Lee’s twitter bio, and right she is. Lee’s avant-garde, experimental cello improvisation literally shook the structure of the Mary and Leigh Block Museum earlier this May. The performance was in conjunction with Charlotte Moorman’s “A Feast of Astonishments” exhibition, which has inhabited the Block for the past few months. The two cellists share elements of post-modern style, which includes no restrictions in technique, tone or pitch, but Lee’s nondescript black sweater and jeans departs from the wild, eccentric outfits, or full nudity, of Charlotte Moorman. Lee also stated that she has more of an international influence, drawing from Korean traditional and popular music as well as Western classical and jazz. Ghil, her recently released solo album, was produced in collaboration with Norwegian noise musician Lasse
Two Northwestern players, Dean Lowry and Dan Vitale, were selected in the 2016 NFL Draft. Lowry was picked in the fourth round by the Green Bay Packers, and Vitale was selected in the sixth by the Buccaneers. In addition to the two players drafted, Traveon Henry and Deonte Gibson both penned unrestricted free agent contracts. Henry will be reunited with Vitale in Tampa, while Gibson will head to the Detroit Lions. Will these players have the opportunity to play in their rookie season? Last year Ibraheim Campbell and Trevor Siemian, who were drafted in 2015, barely got any playing time. How will this year’s players fit with their respective teams?
Dean Lowry, DE Green Bay Packers
With the 138th pick in the NFL Draft, the Packers selected Lowry. The Rockford, Illinois native was a Bears fan in his youth and will now play for its rival. President and CEO of the Packers, Mark Murphy, was the former athletic director at Northwestern and has always kept a close eye on prospects coming out of Evanston. Lowry, one of three defensive linemen prospects who were over 6 feet 6 inches and 290 pounds, is one of the more physically gifted prospects. The other two, DeForest Buckner and Chris Jones, were picked in the top forty. Lowry’s biggest limitation is his arm length, 30.5 inches, which is comparatively short for a man of his size. The Packers run a 3-4 defensive scheme, and I peg Lowry as a 3-technique defensive end. Lowry is a better run-stuffer than he is a pass-rusher, and with his high motor, he could push offensive lineman into the backfield and disrupt plays. Lowry will need to take on multiple blockers to open holes for experienced pass rushers like Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers. I do not see Lowry becoming a 5-technique defensive end because of his short arms, which will pose a problem against lengthy offensive tackles. The Packers have multiple solid defensive ends on their roster, so right now I predict Lowry being on the third string. He will get limited snaps but still be in the defensive front rotation. I don’t predict much production coming from Lowry during his rookie season, though he possesses many physical traits that will allow him to fulfill his potential.
Cello performance shatters conventions
Continued on page 5
Dan Vitale. (Credit: Brian Spurlock, USA Today Sports)
Dan Vitale, FB
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Vitale was selected 197th overall in the NFL Draft, and I’m quite excited about this selection. As many Northwestern fans know, Vitale was a “superback” in Evanston, not a fullback or tight-end. Superbacks have the ability to positon themselves in multiple locations, in a variety of formations. Vitale could be used in the backfield, slot or line up as a tight-end. I envision the Bucs using him as a true fullback who lines up in the backfield. Tampa already has two tight ends who were successful last season, and there is no fullback on the roster after the team did not resign Jorvorskie Lane in the offseason. The Buccaneers are one of the youngest teams in the NFL with a deadly offense. Jameis Winston will salivate when he witnesses all of Vitale’s skills. Vitale’s run blocking will need to improve, but he is already one of the best receiving fullbacks in the NFL. The Buccaneers’ new head coach, Dirk Koetter, utilizes the fullback position often, so I expect Vitale to get playing time early in his career. He will also be used on special teams, with his speed and strength combination being a perfect fit. Versatility is Vitale’s best asset, and it will be exciting to see all of the different ways the coaching staff utilizes him.
(Credit: Luke Vogelstang)
Bridging cultural divides…3
Northwestern's tuition increase…3
When music creates political change…4
Captain America dominates box office…5
Searching for answers online…6
From the Editor:
The editor-in-chief role, at the intersection of journalism and leadership, never fails to teach me important skills, like group communication and member recruitment. Like muscles, these skills need to be exercised constantly. I grow so much from the classes that I take at Northwestern, whether it’s a strategic communication class or a straightforward grammar course, because I can apply what I learn to my non-academic life. It’s exciting to see these concepts being put into practice, so that I can improve in real-time. One major lesson I’ve learned this past spring is that working with writers is so much more than just enforcing deadlines and checking in with them. Being an editor means extending yourself to them as a resource and adapting your editing to fit their own writing style. At the end of the day, the writer’s voice should still shine through clearly. The editor’s role is simply to make their arguments easier to understand. Whether you’re meeting the writer face-to-face at Norris or working remotely with Microsoft Word’s phenomenal “Track Changes” feature, editing should be a twoway conversation, because it always helps to have a second pair of eyes to play devil’s advocate or ask the questions you never thought of asking. Spring quarter saw the return of the Game of Thrones Roundtable Reviews, published weekly by Managing Editor Adam Shimer and his twin brother David at Yale. The TV show’s popularity helps generate buzz around their analyses, and the recurring nature of the episodes keeps the dialogue going, week by week. This quarter's print issue reflects the unique makeup of The Chronicle's unique writing community, which comprises friends of friends, as well as people who are just overall interested in writing.
Beating the stigma…7 Perspectives on Northwestern: A freshman's take…8
A call to remember…8
Pranav Dhingra recaps his freshman year, discussing expectations he had going into fall quarter, and how they evolved as he went through his first few weeks of school. Meanwhile, former EIC and graduating senior Anthony Settipani looks back on his undergraduate experience, examining how the university treats its students and addresses scandals such as vandalism and sexual assault, which can quickly spark heated conversations on campus. This pair of articles takes two very different approaches to the Northwestern experience, one evaluating campus social life through a fresh lens, the other a poetic assessment of the university’s questionable priorities. As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, two writers - Courtney Chatterton and Managing Editor Ananya Agrawal - have based their articles around mental health issues. Of course, this topic doesn’t warrant conversation solely because of the occasion; mental health, which is relevant to all of our lives, deserves recognition and awareness year round. Chatterton’s article is a perfect starting point to discuss the stigma surrounding mental health, while Agrawal’s highlights online resources for mental health support, for Northwestern students who aren’t satisfied with the extent of university support. Looking forward, I’m incredibly optimistic for what the summer and fall have in store for The Northwestern Chronicle. I’m proud to announce that we will be working on a freshman print issue, to be out in the fall. This unique issue will target incoming freshmen, supplementing their college experience with resources about campus opportunities, secrets and tips to take advantage of their first year. The content will be rich with experiences that the writers have all had as freshmen, which is probably the best part. It’s an issue put together by students, explicitly for the students. Catherine Zhang Editor-in-Chief
Spring 2016 Staff
Catherine Zhang | Editor-In-Chief, President Ananya Agrawal | Managing Editor Adam Shimer | Managing Editor Shreya Goel | Secretary Luke McDougald | Tech Administrator Allison Bryski | Copy Editor Pranav Dhingra | Copy Editor
Anthony Settipani Baani Singh Courtney Chatterton Jake Leshem
Koby Weisman Lauren Price Pranav Dhingra Spring 2016 Executive Board
Opinion Bridging cultural divides Lauren Place Lauren Lee Place was born in Dallas, TX, raised in Tampa, FL, and graduated from an international school in Montezuma, NM. She is of Caucasian-American and Korean descent and studies Comparative Literature in the Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences. When I think of Northwestern’s social setting, I think of the cafeteria scene from the classic movie Mean Girls. “Here, you’ve got your freshmen, ROTC guys, preps, JV jocks, Asian nerds, cool Asians, Varsity jocks…” This sort of social polarization is all too common across U.S. high schools, but I was shocked to see the distinct divide between international students at Northwestern, especially amongst their specific localities. Graduating from an international boarding school with 80+ nations represented, I was drawn to Northwestern partially for the high international student population. Forming friendships and learning people’s perspectives from vastly different cultures, nations, and socioeconomic statuses than mine was a challenging, yet invaluable experience. At Northwestern, however, I learned about exclusive cultural organizations and the distinctions between people from country X, and X-Americans (hyphenated-americans, as some call them). I formed fleeting friendships with students, who now exclusively spend time with others from their native country. Disheartened with this disconnect, I voiced my experience to my parents and learned that this phenomenon is not exclusive to Northwestern University. My second cousins, of Korean nationality, returned to Seoul with their American Bachelor’s degrees and worse English than they had before. Their mother was perplexed and furious, saying, how do you spend four years at a U.S. university and forget your English? Because their workload consisted mainly of quantitative subjects and they immersed themselves in a community of people who spoke their native language, English was really only necessary to complete a Chipotle order. I became increasingly critical of the divide after hearing about this abysmal study abroad experience. Was it a fault in the university’s international student orientation? Could I create programming in the Northwestern International Student’s Association to help others branch out or assimilate? Maybe these programs could be improved, but my friend from
Suzhou, China pointed out my American assumption that there is an obligation to branch out or assimilate in the first place. In the end, my international high school experience proved to be very skewed. The application process filtered students based on dedication to intercultural interest and personal challenge. I had failed to recognize that not all international students on U.S. college campuses possess or prioritize these values. Many are motivated to come here for the prestigious degree and career opportunities available post-graduation; more often than not, they pay a steeper price for their education, which only heightens the academic pressure. In addition, if they are planning on returning home to work or fail to secure a US work visa, it is smarter to form friendships with those from their home country. These friendships may be longer-lasting due to proximity, and also provide an incredible professional network. There is also absolutely nothing wrong with surrounding yourself with people from your home country. It is wonderfully comforting to have a group where there is a familiar sense of humor, no lapses in lingual ability or unknown pop culture references. On coming to Northwestern, freshman Pranav Dhingra remembers, “I wanted to have a totally different experience from back home, so I chose to have an American roommate rather than an Indian or Singaporean one.” Still, at the end of his first year, he finds himself with many close friends from these regions. “There’s a certain charm to them that I missed during fall quarter,” he said. We as Americans should take a less critical view towards internationals. Instead of condemning them for being exclusive, we should seek to understand the challenges of studying in a foreign environment and the positives of forming friendships with people from a common culture or country. Many of us are unconsciously guilty of the same exclusivity, having friends from one niche interest group. Your friend group is a very personal choice, and there should be no responsibility to venture outside of your comfort zone. Still, my personal philosophy is that the most meaningful friendships are formed with those who bring new, differing perspectives to your life. This following year, I hope to establish a more inclusive environment in Northwestern’s International Student Association and continue to strike up conversation with random strangers in dining halls.
3 Spring 2016 • thenorthwesternchronicle.com • @NUChronicle
Northwestern's tuition increase: The College Cost Crisis Shreya Goel Northwestern tuition including room and board increased 3.7% for the 2016-2017 academic year, bringing the total bill to $50,424. Northwestern News reports that this increase is in line with that of other peer research universities, which averaged a 3.9% increase. The College Cost Crisis, as it is being called, is the burden borne by millennials as national student debt loans reach a staggering $1.2 trillion, an increase of around 70% since 2011. A contributing factor to this is almost certainly the 11% average increase in tuition for private four-year colleges. Northwestern has the eighth largest endowment in the country, which returned 2.5% as the fiscal year ended August 31, 2015, growing to a total of $10.8 billion. Northwestern’s president Morton Schapiro announced that the university would work to eliminate loans for incoming first-year students. The key priorities include enabling “low and middleincome families and first-generation college students to attend Northwestern,” Schapiro said. The Debt Cap Scholarship will be awarded to all incoming freshman and returning undergraduate students with loans greater than $20,000. The university will also increase funding for research opportunities, unpaid internships, study abroad, assistance for law graduates, aid for medical students and scholarships for business students. Total aid to undergraduates will increase 5.9% to $161 million in the following academic year, while the number of admitted student fell from 4187 in the Class of 2019 to 3750 in the Class of 2020. In further efforts to improve access to education, Northwestern established the Chicago Star Scholars Program that will provide financial assistance for students from City Colleges of Chicago to attend Northwestern for two years. This follows efforts to increase enrollment of students graduating from the Chicago Public Schools along with the university’s Good Neighbor, Great University program that provides funding to students from Chicago and Evanston high schools. Northwestern also has several construction plans on the books, including for the lab and collaborative spaces in Mudd Library and the new Kellogg building on the lake, as well as the renovation of Bobb Hall. While I’m sure students would appreciate more Mudd windows overlooking the lake, it makes sense to question how exactly the tuition money is allocated.
When music creates political change
Left to right: Saad Sultan, Chris Stromquist, Ali Aftab Saeed, and Conner Singh VanderBeek practicing for their concert (Credit: Dr. Laura Brueck)
Baani Singh On their first US tour, Pakistani artists Ali Aftab Saeed and Saad Sultan spent two weeks in-residence at Northwestern. Sponsored by the Global Humanities Initiative, Saeed and Sultan were named Jean Gimbel Lane Distinguished artists. They are well-known throughout the world and have collaborated to create catchy and politically-charged songs, released in response to growing civil unrest and terrorism in Pakistan. Saeed sparked his music career with a viral YouTube sensation titled “Aalu Andey,” which means “potatoes and eggs.” He is the lead vocalist of a band called the Beygairat Brigade, which means “the shameless brigade.” The band name satirizes the censorship entity known as the Honor Brigade in Pakistan. Although the title and video are playful and lighthearted, the lyrical content reveals scathing criticism about the civil unrest and religious persecution of non-majority Muslims in Pakistan. When asked about the inspiration for the song, Saeed
remarked, “We were initially driving to the studio to record a song titled ‘Rickshaw,’ but one of my bandmates spontaneously came up with the main verse [of ‘Aalu Andey’]. I stopped the car and said, ‘That’s it.’ People always expect the song was the product of a long process, but it is so special because it was spontaneous. ” Several hit songs later, Saeed, 30, has become increasingly popular and remains controversial for his satirical style. While many of his videos were banned from YouTube, the censorship sparked increased interest and helped expand his fan base. In addition to his musical repertoire, he produced a documentary titled “Strangers in Their Own Land,” chronicling the everyday struggles of religious minorities in Pakistan, including Christians and nonmajority Ahmadiyya Muslims. This documentary was screened for the first time in the United States at Northwestern on April 11, followed with a keynote address by Saeed.
In addition to the political satire seminars and screening, Saeed and Sultan recorded their latest single in Louis Hall’s brand new recording studio. Titled “Jaagay Koi,” which means “someone awakens,” the track features Saad Sultan on guitar and several local musicians, including students from the Bienen School of Music. Simultaneously, several students from the RTVF department helped create a music video in the sound studio and in various sites in downtown Chicago. When asked if he had any final pieces of advice for students after staying at Northwestern for two weeks, Saeed responded, “Each student should follow their passion, even if they are experiencing resistance from their families or friends. Doing what you love can open doors to opportunities that will help you grow further in many more important aspects of life. I wouldn’t have been hired to produce a documentary or help make organizations for children’s music education if I wasn’t a singer. ”
5 Spring 2016 • thenorthwesternchronicle.com • @NUChronicle
Cello performance shatters conventions Continued from page 1
Marhaug. Lee trusted Marhaug with complete artistic control of the album’s cut, arrangement and sound edits. The evening began on the second story stairwell of the Block with a range of guests in attendance, from elderly Evanston residents to tastefully dressed Europeans to a handful of bleary-eyed, midtermfraught Northwestern students. Lee ceremoniously strut through the gallery’s double doors and assumed her starting position on a plastic chair somewhere between the first and second floors. The crowd quieted as she began with a series of dissonant harmonic notes, progressing to deep carvings into her instrument with long, full bows. The focus and ferocity with which she played astounded me, and her gaze was often focused on some indeterminate point ahead as her hands lay into the cello. One movement of her improvisation featured continual strokes of the same note, akin to the rhythmic thrums of an airplane propeller. Often, her left hand crawled down the fingerboard to produce higher, more discordant notes as her right hand plucked wildly at the stings, sometimes encroaching on the left hand’s territory. Lee used many techniques
popular in contemporary improvisation such as rapping her fingernails against the strings, and making audible strokes and rubbings on the body of her instrument with her non-bow hand. The performance art portion of the act came when Lee moved to the first floor entrance of the Block. She took a short break to towel off the shower of rosin her cello received while she was furiously bowing, and then she plugged her instrument into a small, portable electric speaker. At this point, the audience poured out from the second floor and took positions leaning against the stair railings and sitting cross-legged on the floor. Lee grasped her cello by the neck and begin playing while walking towards her seated audience. Anyone who displayed a slight bit of exerted interest, whether with a craned neck or widened eyes, was treated to a cello performance just a few inches from their face. After completing a full circle of the lobby, Lee continued playing glissando notes past the stairwell, intermittently thwacking the wooden part of her bow against the metal railing, until the thwacks overtook her playing, and the music was overtaken by applause.
(Credit: Luke Vogelstang)
Captain America dominates box office Jake Leshem In Captain America: Civil War, the latest in a long line of superhero movies, Marvel has once again shown its ability to present comic book characters in an adult setting. With the previews showing the appearance of countless heroes from prior Avengers movies, and rumors of even more characters appearing, there was some question as to whether or not this film would just be a de-facto Avengers 3. Luckily, this was not the case. While other characters have major roles throughout the film, the attention is always centered on Captain America. The plot itself, which walks through the breakup of the Avengers in a surprisingly realistic way, never strays far from Cap, which makes the film stronger in the long run. Clearly, a major goal of the film was to make the movie more realistic and mature, moving away from the black and white, good guy versus bad guy narrative of classic comic book movies of the past. No longer do heroes and civilians alike walk away from explosions unscathed. In this film, people die, many times at the hands of the “good guys” the audience is supposed to root for. Marvel’s on-screen superheroes no longer fight supervillains, but each other instead, giving the movie a more grownup feel. The characters
face ethical dilemmas involving innocent deaths, familial guilt, and especially loyalty to friends, while the safety of the world hangs in the balance. Though Civil War shone with masterful side characters—both Tom Holland as Spider-Man and Paul Rudd as Ant-Man knocked their appearances out of the park—it would be remiss not to mention the masterful performance that Chadwick Boseman delivered as the Black Panther, a new character to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In only a brief period of screen time, the Black Panther made great strides as a character, and raised a great deal of excitement for his stand-alone film, to be released in 2018, just a few months before Avengers: Infinity War – Part One. The film, however, was not without flaws. Perhaps the greatest of which was the persistent assumption that all viewers had a full understanding of prior plot points from each Marvel movie and comic book. If one were to watch this movie without having seen the prior Captain America films, or even the Avengers and Iron Man films as well, much of the plot would become extremely confusing. This prevents the film from being as enjoyable for a casual, rather than hardcore, fan.
(Credit: Ryan Meinerding
Another issue with the film is its lack of clear climax or ending. While it was no secret that this movie would set up the next phase of Marvel Cinematic Universe films, it was nonetheless disappointing to sit through a two-and-a-half-hour film and not feel a real sense of conclusion at the end. The main superhero battle, which pitted the Avengers against each other, also felt much less serious and dangerous than the rest of the film, preventing the scene from reaching its full potential. Even with a few flaws to the film, Captain America: Civil War is a well-made movie comparable to the best of the Marvel films so far. It successfully achieves its goal of generating a great deal of excitement for the next few installments in this series.
Mental health awareness doesn’t warrant conversation solely because of the occasion. Mental health, which is relevant to all of our lives, deserves recognition and awareness year round.
Searching for answers online
#MentalHealthAwarenessMonth Ananya Agrawal The Internet is a wonderful place. From the answers to the latest problem set to the location of your next one-night-stand, anything you could want to know about is just a few clicks away. One of the most important resources that the Internet offers though, especially in light of the fact that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, is a variety of tools and services that can help YOU stay on top of your mental wellness game. Seeing a therapist in real life can quickly get expensive, and often be impractical with the fastpaced, busy nature of most of our lives. Luckily, for nominal fees that often undercut even insurancesubsidized therapy, there are a multitude of online therapy options, all of which work through a variety of different pricing and therapy models. Here are some of the best: Breakthrough Breakthrough is essentially Yelp for therapists. It lets you search through available therapists,]sing a variety of filters like location and insurance plan compatibility. It even lets you message potential therapists to find the best fit, before letting you schedule an online appointment that you can complete right in your browser! Grace Tree While similar to Breakthrough, Grace Tree has the added advantage of offering email, direct chat, or phone conversations for therapy sessions, thus catering to audiences who may prefer one form of communication over another. Unfortunately, it isn’t quite as Tinder-esque as Breakthrough, but with a highly qualified pool of staff, that should not prove to be too much of an issue. Talkspace A somewhat unique offering, Talkspace operates in a manner somewhat similar to the “Let’s Talk”
initiative on campus that offers low-commitment therapy when you want it, where you want it. All you need to do is navigate to the website, enter your questions or concerns into the box in the middle of the screen, and bam: you’re connected with an appropriate therapist who will then guide you through the next steps of setting up your account, and scheduling regular online sessions. Proven Therapy Not sure if online therapy is for you? Slide over to Proven Therapy, and take their free consultation before deciding if you want to pay for a service. If you decide to use it, you’re charged either by the minute, or per session. Don’t want to pay? Proven Therapy also has an active user forum where people can post questions for free. BetterHelp With the goal of making mental health care affordable and accessible to everyone, BetterHelp provides a low-cost therapy solution: a private chatroom for you and your counsellor. No matter when, you can type in your thoughts or feelings, and your assigned counsellor shall respond. Like Proven Therapy, BetterHelp also offers a free period, though in this case it’s a whole week’s worth of therapy as a trial. That said, even if none of these are appealing, technology can still be one of the best things for your mental wellness, if used judiciously. The simple ability to place a phone call, or send a text message when you’re feeling low can boost a bad day, and make it better. The availability of online mooddiaries can be instrumental in helping you find patterns underlying mental wellness slumps, and help you be proactive when it comes to keeping on top of your psychological well-being.
Mental Health: Courtney Chatterton Since 1949, May has been Mental Health Awareness Month. But, more often than not, mental health is something discussed in hushed tones and with shame and disbelief. This willingness to deny the existence of mental health -- as well as the silence surrounding it -- is known as the mental health stigma. As a result of the stigma, hundreds of thousands of Americans go undiagnosed, and the numbers are even higher in Eastern countries where mental illness is looked down on even more. You might ask how we can break the stigma, but there is no simple, straightforward answer. To start, we can speak out about our experiences, how the stigma has affected our lives, and what our fears are for the future because of our disorders. I use plural pronouns because I am one of the 57.4 million people living with mental illness in the United States. That number may seem high, but the real kicker is this: two thirds of those suffering from mental illness go untreated. Roughly? That's 38.3 million people. In order to collect data about what people have gone through because of their mental illnesses, I conducted an anonymous survey of 100 people, and many shared their stories, thanking the Chronicle for reaching out and trying to break the stigma one step at a time. But, even someone who voluntarily took my survey denied that the stigma existed, something that more than 90 other participants with varying mental disorders would disagree with. When asked about the mental health stigma, one participant explained that it has prevented them from approaching friends or family about it out of fear of being judged or disowned, and that “it initially prevented me from getting any kind of help because then I’d have to own up to being who I really am.” The stigma makes it hard for many people to accept that they are affected by mental illness. It took me several years to even begin to connect my general apathy, internal sadness, and lack of excitement and motivation with depression. I just thought that I was a sad, moody teen and, frankly, so did my parents. Parents are more often than not a reason that younger people are unable to receive the help they need. One participant, who didn’t speak openly to others about her illness but instead displayed symptoms of depression, said that she has to “hide medication from Dad because he refuses to believe [that] medication is effective” in treating mental illness, and was even called a “hypochondriac” by friends and family. Another participant confessed that her mother was “hesitant to get me help for a
7 Awareness Month
Spring 2016 • thenorthwesternchronicle.com • @NUChronicle
the current narrative long time because she thought I could just snap out of it.” But, snapping out of something often caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain is impossible. Chemistry isn’t affected by someone telling you to get up, find a new hobby, rediscover yourself and snap out of your depression. For these reasons, a participant stated that the stigma has “prevented them from receiving help and support because nobody really understands [mental illness and eating disorders] unless they are going through them.” Many went into detail about how their family members didn’t believe in mental illness, despite the symptoms that they displayed. Others cited their culture and heritage as reasons why the stigma is so strong against them. “Because of my culture, mental illness is almost nonexistent,” described a student that claimed an Asian heritage. “Mostly I have had issues with my parents refusing to believe me . . . because I come from an Asian family where, culturally, it is seen as shameful to deal with mental health problems,” another participant described. A student of color said that their mom, who is a woman of color, viewed their anxiety as an excuse and a weakness. But the stigma is not always family-oriented or externally focused. In fact, one participant openly admitted that the stigma was more internal than external, while another participant agreed and stated that “it isn’t that my family ignores my symptoms. I do.” One student revealed that before he reached out to get help, he thought that his mental health issues were just a part of who he was, and that it wasn’t something that he could change. When it comes to treatment, many of the methods are also stigmatized. Countless people refuse to be medicated because they don’t want their personalities to be altered, or because they are afraid of the side effects. Collectively, the 100 participants have used over twenty different medications, ranging from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), other antidepressants, and antipsychotics to homeopathic and natural treatments like lithium and St. John’s wort. “I’ve had a lot of medications that have made me worse but have finally found a combination that works for me after a lot of trial and error,” stated one participant, while another admitted that it took half a year to figure out the correct dose. For some, however, the process may take years, but a participant had advice for those seeking treatment
via medication: “I caution others to not put too much weight into [specific] anecdotes. Every person’s body is unique, and finding the right drug is a trial-anderror process that can take a very long time.” Those who wish to not be medicated -- or need an extra boost -- may get help from therapists, counselors, psychiatrists or even their friends. “I’ve seen a therapist for the past three years, which has been really good for me,” explained one participant. “It was very difficult to open up at first, but once we built a relationship, she became someone I deeply trust and respect.” Just like with medication, not every trained professional in the field of mental health is the right fit. A student revealed in the survey that their psychiatrist told them “I don’t think you’re really bipolar. Most teens have mood swings, y’know?” This is a frank dismissal of a serious problem, and something that discourages many from pursuing treatment. Other participants spoke of their experiences, which varied from meeting with a long string of psychiatric professionals to finding a perfect fit from day one. Many shared both heartwarming and horrific stories detailing their past relationships with medical professionals. Several spoke of how their friends helped them when the stigma did not stand in the way between them. “What helped most,” according to one participant, “was talking to my friends about situations that made me anxious. When they were aware of it and accepting and willing to help, that’s what helped ease [my]
anxiety.” But the most important step? Being ready to reach out for help. No matter how many people may continue to ignore the growing dialogue about mental health awareness, there will always be those willing to stand up and fight against the stigma. Like one participant summed up their survey, “Depression doesn’t just go away. It’s a battle every single day to feel emotions and live my life. Even five years on from my suicide attempt, there are still bad days and thoughts I have to confront, and that terrifies me. Suicide isn’t cowardly, depression isn’t cowardly, and the people who say that victims who succumbed to the fight within themselves have no idea the kind of daily pain and long lasting damage fighting your own psyche can bring about.”
Perspectives on Northwestern experience. Suddenly, the party animals and shy A freshman's take: flowers all blend together, as students. The backpacks Pranav Dhingra College began as a dream of escaping home, living life on my own terms and taking it by the horns. However, the whirlwind of new people and exciting experiences that engulfs you makes it pass by quickly. I still think I’m dreaming, with no recollection of how I got here, constantly questioning the ridiculous rate at which change takes place around me. Within me. I’m approaching the end of my freshman year, and Pranav Dhingra there’s much reflecting to be done. Fall quarter. The leaves are turning colours, the weather’s still great, and you realise that you live next to a giant lake, as well as one of the greatest cities in the world, which you don’t really visit as much as you thought you would. Still, you’re finally living the dream, and everything around you just seems too beautiful to be true. The people that you meet in college are entirely different from those you know at home. They come from all four corners of America, and the world, for that matter. As you try to navigate the moshpit of different personalities you’ve found yourself in, you feel just a bit overwhelmed, and know that part of your perspiration can be accredited to your nervousness. That little bubble you were living in just popped, and you smell the real world for the first time. A weird combination of sweat, perfume and cheap beer. To some, this smells great! The more socially inclined freshman settles in rather well, making friends quickly, and becoming very friendly with some quite easily. The shyer are left awkwardly standing around, unused to all the illegal activities going on around them. Nevertheless, at some point, everyone realizes that the canvas is blank, and sets out to paint a picture according to their liking, or rather, somebody else’s. Friends are picked out like cherries, placed into one’s basket. However, the pictures aren’t complete. Next night, the cherries might turn into oranges. They’re not the same, but it’s okay. They may be a little sour, but on the whole, still pretty sweet. Regardless of all of the mind games, you’re still a freshman, and Wildcat Welcome soon turns into a blur. You’re not quite sure of who you met, what you did, where you were and how you got here; all you know is that you’re here, much like a dream. However, with school starting soon, things begin to come into focus. Seeing familiar faces as you walk down Sheridan Road in broad daylight is a completely different
and the brisk walks remind you why you’re actually here. As the quarter progresses, classes, interactions and student clubs make you realize how average you are. Hey, it’s alright. It was the first quarter of college, and you’re only going to get smarter. College is less about knowledge, and more about resourcefulness. You’ll come to realize that it’s okay to use your friend’s code when you’re desperate, work on problem sets together and skip a class to have a good time. You only have one freshman year. Better live it, not regret it. Meanwhile, some of those oranges and cherries in your friend basket have gone bad. Well, now you can tell the good ones apart. Nevertheless, people change, yourself included. Next quarter, you might find that you prefer apples. Don’t worry, not all your friendships are going to be transitory. Some of them will become like family, and family is forever.
A call to remember
Anthony Settipani As an outgoing senior, I was asked to fill out a survey detailing my experiences, suggestions and memories from my time at Northwestern. I was told my opinion mattered, and that it would help improve this place I have for four years called home. I was given all the freedom in the world, provided my answers fell along a scale of one to ten. The following are those observations I couldn’t quite fit in a Google Form. To me, the daily rhythm of this university mirrors in so many ways the turning of some great machine. We see buildings go up; we see trees go down. We see football teams triumph; we see them shattered and shambling. We see children go in, and sometimes, if we’re lucky, we see adults come out. I should have known how coming to school in Chicago would be. The city of broad shoulders, they call it, and just across its breadth you can still find the old husks and carcasses of the meat-packing industry that nourished the city itself — and the corruption and exploitation for which it has always been singularly famous. I quickly realized that it’s a common misconception that the students at America’s universities are their cause, or even their customers. Often, however, it seems we are simply their product. To see what I’m talking about, step over to the Alumni Relations and Development offices over at Church and Davis, or the John Evans Alumni Center south of Jones, and see the lavish quarters the University reserves for returning alumni — fresh from world domination and flush with potential philanthropy. Slip down to stately Hardin Hall beneath the
clock tower and the Rebecca Crown Center, where Northwestern entertains its visiting dignitaries. Take a walk through the beautiful new visitors’ center, monopolizing the view over the lake from the back of a parking garage. These places are not for students, and though we may visit they are not ours. We see the signs every day that we are helping to “build a better Northwestern,” yet we see the dates of their completion scheduled for long after we have left. We see the names of wealthy donors scrawled like accredited graffiti upon the walls of our homes and classrooms. We see money changing hands every day, yet we only ever see it leaving our own. Some things at Northwestern, we only half-see. Of the recurrent vandalism of menorahs and interfaith chapels, we see only the results. Of the marginalization of minority groups and students of color, we hear only the muffled cries. Of the frequent episodes of domestic abuse and sexual assault within our own student body, we see only the banners that advertise support and solidarity. Through trial and trauma; through over-indulgence and folly; through even the deaths of our friends and fellow students, we are guided by the ever-prompt and perfunctory emails of President Morton Schapiro. And we rest easy knowing that the problems we face today will likely still be with us tomorrow. I don’t want this to be read as a condemnation. To newly-accepted students, I say: by all means, choose Northwestern. It’s entirely possible to have an overwhelmingly positive experience here, as I and many, many others have done. But I think it’s also easy to overlook the problems that lie just beneath the surface, or outside the groups you join and the meetings you frequent. It’s easy to ignore big issues in favor of studies or sleep or grades. Just remember that in the end, you will most likely not be remembered for your contributions to discussion sections, or your hours spent working late in lab. But an open heart and a hand on the shoulder in a time of need— those are things that last a lifetime. Finally, this is a reminder to those like me. Those on their way out, or those long gone, and already finding their way in a world after NU. To you I would say: Don’t forget about where you came from. Don’t forget about those who may suffer in silence, simply because their pain is not your own. And don’t believe that simply because something goes unseen, it ought also to go unheard or unchanged. Be the change. Anthony Settipani is an investigative reporting fellow at The Medill Justice Project, a graduating senior in the School of Journalism and a former Editor-in-Chief of The Northwestern Chronicle.