Fo c u s Inside: The Adderall Epidemic s
A Baylor University Student Publication
A Note from the Editors: WRITERS
Caroline Brewton Larissa Campos Greg DeVries Daniel Hill Liz Hitchcock Alexandera Layton Jamie Lim Robyn Sanders
PHOTOGRAPHERS When contemplating this semester’s theme for Focus, I had a thousand different things on my mind with my graduation quickly approaching. The nostalgia of arriving at Baylor was also starting to set in. I can vividly remember sitting at my desk in North Russell, writing down all of my exam dates and assignments on my monthly calendar. I quickly began to panic about how exams all seemed to fall during the same one-week time period. As the first round of exams began, I looked around Moody one evening (er, morning), and I noticed no one seemed as tired as me. After time, I found out about this magic “study drug,” Adderall. I was baffled by how far students were willing to go to stay awake and advance their grades. In this issue we chose to highlight the lengths at which college students will go to be successful and, in some instances, literally survive. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy this issue of Focus!
Laurean Love EDITOR
As Laurean and I thought about a theme for this issue of Focus, we quickly discovered that we had one thing in common: we were trying to survive. Coming from the great state of Oklahoma, Edmond to be exact, there were many things I had to adjust to in regard to joining the Baylor community. From meeting people and attempting to find my niche, to trying to stay afloat in classes that challenged me, I was forced into “survival mode.” We then wondered, how many other students and people in the Waco community share our story? After much contemplation, we decided that this issue would focus on a problem that plague many, especially in college. In this issue, you’ll find stories similar to the obstacles Laurean and I faced during our undergraduate experience. Stories of those who overcame obstacles in order to survive. I hope you enjoy.
Reubin Turner EDITOR
Cover Illustration and Editors’ Photos by Matt Hellman
Sam O’Brien Meagan Downing Matt Hellman Laurean Love
DESIGNERS Laurean Love Reubin Turner
ILLUSTRATOR Asher Freeman Murphy
Photo by: David Castor Wiki Commons
WE WOULD LIKE TO EXTEND A SPECIAL THANKS TO: Paul Carr, Director of Student Publications Julie Freeman, Assistant Media Adviser Dr. Douglas Ferdon, Associate Professor of Journalism Dr. Clark Baker, Associate Professor of Journalism Baylor Journalism, Public Relations and New Media Department
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Spring 2013 Baylor Focus Magazine
table of contents
Living on Edge
The Boy Who Lived
The Damsel in This Dress
Eric Bostick was no stranger to physical endurance. His strength, however, would be tested when it came to saving his life.
Books and school related activities consumed the life of this 8- year-old until a life-threatening illness changed his outlook.
At a university where Nike shorts summer tees dominate fashion, this damsel chooses to fit in among another crowd.
20 Surviving the Night Students have always found creative ways to study. Baylor studentsâ€™ newest trend is potentially life threatening.
26 Crushed Dreams He had big dreams, and big accomplishments to match. Find out how one spring scrimmage changed his entire life playbook.
30 Coming to America After the loss of her father, Jia Liang did the one thing she felt would honor the memory of her father: She left for America.
The King of Hearts
A regular on the McLane courts, Dr. Henderson was the picture of health. Then suddenly he fell dead of a heart attack.
In a society where many struggle with identities, this Baylor alumnus embraces both of his Nigerian and American roots.
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Spring 2013 Baylor Focus Magazine
Living on the
Edge Written by: Greg DeVries Photography by: Matt Hellman
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Spring 2013 Baylor Focus Magazine
Senior decathlete Eric Bostick was dangerously close to not Bostick said. “She is falling, so I have to grab her. I’m trying to pull becoming a Baylor Bear. His decision to commit to Baylor was easy, her back up. Meanwhile, two or three more [waves] hit and every but in the summer before his freshman year, he fell inches from death time I had to pull her back up, trying to keep her up, trying to keep while trying to save a girl’s life. her from falling. The last one was too much.” On a graduation trip to the British Overseas Territory of Turks and As the waves continued to assault the rock, one image in particular Caicos, located just southeast of The Bahamas, Bostick, his friend, the stands out in Bostick’s memory. friend’s family, and a girl named Paige all made the trip to relax after “Her looking back at me crying and saying, ‘Please don’t let go. the school year. Please.’ And she kept saying it. ‘Please don’t let go. Please don’t let go.’ At this point, Bostick had not committed to any college track And I said, ‘I’m not. I’m not going to let go.’” Bostick said. “I know program. He was a district champion in multiple events, including the moment that she slipped out of my hand, I thought I had failed. I the 200, long jump and the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. He had just thought, ‘I screwed up. This is it. If I could have only held on longer…’ finished all of his college visits and was taking the vacation as a time I just couldn’t. I had hit my limit.” to clear his head and make a decision about where to go to college. With fatigue mounting and pain escalating, Bostick had to let go The group made its way to a rock known as Dragon Cay. Named of the rock altogether. He says that it felt like he was up there for an after its long shape, this collection of sharp, pointed volcanic rock hour. In reality only about 20 seconds had passed. was known for its beauty and the view it “I remember as I was falling, I thought, “She is falling, so I have to grab her. I’m ‘This is probably it.’ I was looking down provides to those who climb it. The formation was just off of the coast. trying to pull her back up. Meanwhile, and it was spikes of volcanic rock. How I Its visitors climb up the side that faces two or three more [waves] hit and every missed the spike is beyond me, but I did hit the shore, but because of the dangerous face-first,” Bostick said. “Everything moved time I had to pull her back up, trying in slow motion and I thought I was going shape, have to climb down the side that faces the open ocean. to keep her up, trying to keep her from to either drown or hit a rock… I thought “We had climbed up to the top to see about my parents. I thought, ‘My parents falling. The last one was too much.” the view of the coastline,” Bostick said. sent me on this trip. They trusted me not “We could see for miles at the top of it. It was gorgeous. We could to do anything stupid. We shouldn’t have gone up here.’ I thought look back in and see the topography of the whole thing. It was really about my brothers. I thought, ‘How are my brothers going to take pretty.” this?’ My older brother was very emotional because he was going One side of Dragon Cay faces the Atlantic, so waves often get through a tough time and I didn’t want him to have to go through violent. As the group was descending, the waves became rough and this. Thinking back on it, life necessarily didn’t flash before my eyes, attacked the path that they were climbing. At this point, Paige was but my family and people that were important to me did.” just below Bostick. Bostick fell onto the rocks, but somehow never blacked out. His “I see her eyes get big and then a wave hits me in the back and body was cut up so bad that many people afterwards asked if a shark forces me down, almost pulls her off. My friend who was standing had attacked him. His face was bloody. His nose was broken. His behind me falls down, lands, and breaks his collarbone on the sand,” hands were torn up from holding on to volcanic rock for so long. A piece of volcanic rock was Photo by: Mason Cooper stuck in his ankle and there was flickr.com/photos/masoncooper a big gash on his knee. If he had continued to lay there, another wave would have hit and dragged him across more volcanic rock, so he had to keep moving. “I hit the ground, and it kind of dazed me for a second,” Bostick said. “Then somebody said run because another [wave] was coming, so I took off sprinting towards a cliff face and I got tackled into the salt water. Somebody hit me to keep me from running into the cliff because it would hit the rock and kind of spill over, but they told me to run.” It took two and a half hours to get everyone to the nearest hospital, which was located on the main island. Bostick, his friend and Paige were eventually loaded into a van. Thirty minutes later, they arrived at the dock.
After a 45-minute boat ride to the main island, they were loaded into an ambulance and taken to the hospital, where they spent the next four days. Because the group immediately left for the hospital, Boctick never got to thank the person that saved him from running into more volcanic rock. The medical attendants rubbed salve all over Bostick’s body to treat all of the cuts that ran literally from head to toe. Much of his body was then wrapped in bandages. His nose turned out to be broken, but was only treated for cuts. His nose has never healed properly and is still crooked. In order for his hands to heal, he had to wear gloves and sleep with his elbows at his side and his hands cupped over his body. “I looked like a corpse,” Bostick said. The other two, however, were given antibiotics as a precaution to Courtesy Art treat their minor cuts, and Bostick’s Above: After suffering life-threatening falls, both Eric Bostick and Paige Blaize await treatment in emergency room located friend was in a sling to treat his broken southeast of the Bahamas.Bostick and Paige were rubbed in salve in an effort to heal their wounds. collarbone. Doctors also rubbed their Bottom left: A cliff located in the British Overseas Territory of Turks and Caicos, located southeast of the Bahamas. wounds with salve as a precautionary measure, but both able to leave the him, but he still performed well. hospital the day they were admitted. “I did all right. I went over 6,000 points, which was my goal,” Paige avoided serious injury because Bostick held on to her long Bostick said. “I did OK in the Big 12’s. I set the school record indoors. enough for someone to run under her and catch her on the sand. Bostick told his parents about his injuries but left out a lot of details It wasn’t a mark that I liked, but it was still a decent mark. All things considered, I think I did pretty decent my freshman year.” so that they would not worry too much about him. Bostick still competes for Baylor despite a sensitive ankle that will “They didn’t think it was that bad. I played it down to them,” never be completely healthy. He still sees Paige and her very grateful Bostick said. “I said, ‘Hey, I got into an accident. I’m fine, just a little parents once in a while, and they are never modest about thanking cut up, but nothing big.’ Then they picked me up when I got home him for what he did. and I was covered with bandages because I had to be in bandages for This was not the first time Bostick had the opportunity to save two weeks. And they were like, ‘Had we known this, we would have someone’s life. While in middle school, a friend of his crashed a four flown there.’” wheeler into a barbed-wire fence and cut his neck open. Thinking Everyone on the trip remained with Bostick for the duration of his quickly, Bostick loaded his friend onto his four wheeler and sped off hospital stay. back to his house. “They would go and come back to bring me food, but for the most “He had a pretty big gash in his neck and started to bleed out. So I part, they stayed there almost all day,” Bostick said. “I told them to go Jet Ski, but they didn’t want to. They were kind of shell-shocked. They had to put him on the back of my four wheeler, drive him up to my house, and call the ambulance,” Bostick said. “My parents kind of thought, ‘Let’s just get out of here with what we have and hopefully took care of the rest, but I had to put him on the back, not freak out, nothing else bad will happen.’” drive it, and not kill us while we were driving the four wheeler back. Bostick committed to Baylor, and the coaches did not know about He was starting to bleed out. He got pale and really light-headed, and his injuries until he showed up on campus. While he was recovering he passed out, so I had to hold on to him while I was driving.” back at home, he had MRIs done on his damaged ankle and knee. These experiences have changed Bostick for the better and really His knee turned out to be fine, but he needed to stay off of his ankle shed light on what is important in life. in order for it to heal properly. Like athletes sometimes do, Bostick “Everybody talks about near-death experiences and I feel like continued to train despite the injury. everybody gets one. That was my one. That was the closest I’ve been “That’s how I got my nickname Cliffhanger, from my coach,” Bostick said. to dying where I had a real chance of dying, and it was scary,” Bostick “He doesn’t call me Eric. He doesn’t call me Bostick. It’s just Cliffhanger.” Paige is now a pharmacy student at the University of Texas. She has said. “It made me value what I had more. I was a typical 18-year-old kid, just didn’t have a care in the world. It just made me realize that some permanent scars, but nothing too major. She and Bostick have at one point, we’re not going to be here. You can’t put off everything, since fallen out of touch. especially relationships and people.” In his first year of competing, Bostick’s ankle continued to bother
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Photo by: Meagan Downing
S u r v i v i n g w a s t h e o n l y o p t i o n fo r t h i s 8 - y e a r - o l d after being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness Written by: Robyn Sanders Photography by: Meagan Downing & Robyn Sanders
Cheryl Whitehouse was sure that her 8-year-old son had appendicitis. She analyzed Casey’s symptoms in her head as she drove him to Providence Hospital: severe pain in the lower right abdomen, nausea and loss of appetite. Surely, she thought, this ordeal would be resolved within a day. Upon arrival at the hospital, Casey was in such relentless pain that the hospital staff gave him, as Cheryl remembers, enough pain medicine to put down a cow. Something was not right. The scans of Casey’s abdomen revealed something far more serious than an inflamed appendix – a large mass was blocking his intestines. There was no pediatric surgeon at Providence, so Casey had to be transferred to a different hospital. An ambulance transported Casey and Cheryl to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, where surgery was performed on Casey immediately.
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hen Casey emerged from surgery around 3 a.m., nearly 2 feet of his intestines had been removed, leaving him with a 4-inch scar on his abdomen. Casey’s intestines were sent over to pathology as per the routine. Cancer was the last thing Cheryl expected. “Never once did it cross my mind. Never in a million years,” she said. “Because, you know, this is my little 8-year-old kid who runs and plays.” They received the pathology report on Casey’s intestines a few days later. “You know how when the doctor says, ‘I need to talk to you,’ you know it’s bad?” Cheryl said. But even then, she said she still didn’t have a clue about what was coming. The mass from Casey’s intestines had come back cancerous. He was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which is extremely aggressive and would have to be treated just as aggressively. The doctor broke the news to Casey. He told the 8-year-old they were going to give him a lot of medicine that would probably make him sick, but in the end, it would get all the bad stuff out of his body. Then Casey would be better and could run and play again. That night, Casey was moved to the cancer wing of the hospital to begin chemotherapy – a treatment that would, hopefully, kill the rapidly dividing cancer cells ravaging his body. “I’m sitting there going, ‘This isn’t happening,’” Cheryl said. “It happens to other people, but it doesn’t happen to you. It was horrible.” Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of lymphocytes, cells that are part of the body’s immune system. Because the disease attacks the immune system, patients can become extremely ill, or even die, if they contract something as seemingly harmless as a cold. Casey said his first day of chemo was torture. “It was scary having to fall asleep and then people come in and try their best not to wake you up while they draw blood,” Casey said. He endured chemotherapy six days a week, six hours at a time on some days and an hour and a half on others. After a few days
Baylor Focus Magazine Spring 2013
of intensive chemo, Casey received a shot in his leg that would stimulate the growth of healthy cells in his bone marrow; otherwise, the chemo would stunt his bone growth. The majority of the medicine in the shot affected Casey’s body in his rib cage and his back, leaving his body aching as if he had the flu. Then the whole process would start again. Casey said he remembers being giving heating pads and cooling pads to dull the pain. “But then when I woke up in the morning, my back or my chest would be on fire, and I would still have pain,” he said. On top of all his treatment, Casey still had to take a handful of pills by mouth every day, but the tube that was threaded up his nose and down his throat made his throat sore. “My throat was killing me, so I didn’t want to swallow anything,” he said. Because it was hurting him to swallow, there were times when Casey wouldn’t drink either, and he became very dehydrated. He remembers his worst days as the “throwing up” days – when the chemo would make him sick to his stomach. Cheryl remembers him being very pale. He couldn’t walk – not even to the bathroom. “When it’s your kid, and you don’t know what to do, it kind of makes you a little crazy because you’re trying to do everything that you can,” she said. Casey wouldn’t eat, either. Because of the chemo-induced nausea, he was afraid that eating would make him sick. He lost nearly 30 pounds during his treatment, and Cheryl said it took him a while to gain the weight back because he was so reluctant to eat. There were times when the nurses would try to convince Cheryl to go downstairs and get out of the room for a little while, and she just didn’t want to. “The nurses were very worried about me because I wouldn’t leave,” she said. “My son’s in the hospital and he’s a little boy – I’m not leaving.” Her greatest fear was that he would wake up and reach out for her, and she wouldn’t be there. “I didn’t want Casey to Photo by: Robyn Sanders wake up and be by himself . . . how horrifying for a little child to go through that,” she said. The tube that was threaded up Casey’s nose and caused him so much pain was finally removed after a port and a catheter were implanted into his chest, right below his collarbone. The port was a round metal disk, roughly the size of a nickel, covered with a rubber seal and connected to a catheter (a small tube) that was inserted into a vein in Casey’s chest. His treatments could then be administered and blood could be drawn directly
through the port. His first meal after the insertion of the port, Casey fondly remembers, was soup. Casey didn’t start losing his hair until his first round of chemo was finished and he had gone home for a while. He would wake up with hair in his eyes and covering his pillowcase. He also started to lose his hair in the bathtub. Cheryl said she remembers the time Casey got out of the tub, he exclaimed to her, “Mom, my bathtub looks like a hairy man shaved his back!” Having his head shaved wasn’t weird for Casey. He was ready for it – anything to keep the hair out of his eyes and off his pillow. Cheryl says Casey is a “school kid,” and he absolutely loves to read. He spent much of his stay in the hospital perusing the adventures of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. The child life specialists in the hospital would bring Casey books for first-or second-graders, which weren’t advanced enough reading material for him. Cheryl says Casey’s oncologist was huge a Harry Potter and a Percy Jackson fan, and once he and Casey connected their shared love of the fictional boy-heroes they had plenty to talk about. Cheryl was blown away at the way the Robinson and Waco community came together to support Casey. When Casey needed a blood transfusion, Robinson Elementary school counselor Lindsey Richard organized a blood drive at Robinson High School. Almost 200 people came and donated blood on Casey’s behalf. “We just had kids coming out of the woodwork that wanted to help, especially in his class,” Richard said. “Robinson’s a great community. Our hearts were just open to the situation because it was just so shocking. One day [Casey] was fine, and then the next day he had a severe stomachache and then he was going to the hospital and was diagnosed with cancer.” Richard and friends of Cheryl’s in Robinson and Waco threw fundraisers to help pay for Casey’s treatment and hospital stay after insurance coverage wouldn’t pay for Casey anymore. They organized a “Candy for Casey” fundraiser that sold lollipops, several classes donated baskets of goods to be sold at an auction, and one grandmother held a garage sale at her home and donated all of the proceeds to Casey’s family. “You know, it’s amazing how people come together,” she said. “People I don’t even know would send me checks in the mail.” The day Casey knew it was the final day in the hospital, he says, was the best day of his life. When his final tests came back, Cheryl says she knew in her heart that everything would be okay. “When the doctor came in and said Casey’s tests were clear, that everything was gone, we almost started crying,” she said. After Casey came home, everything about home life changed – they way they cooked, the way they ate, their activities and their schedules. Casey was still not quite back to normal, even though his treatment had finished; he had no energy and he still was reluctant to eat for fear of making himself sick. Casey’s hair is still growing back. Before his diagnosis, it was straight, and now it’s growing back curly. He proudly boasts that his curly locks are 4 1/2 inches long, and he has no interest in cutting it, no matter how much his older brother teases that Casey has “girl” hair. “He’s afraid that once it gets cut, it won’t be curly anymore,” Cheryl said. “At Christmas I said Casey’s gone from a point where he couldn’t grow hair . . . so for the time being, he can wear it as long as he wants to” – a statement Casey has not forgotten.
Photo by: Robyn Sanders Cheryl Whitehouse (left) sits with her son, Casey (right), as he reads The Tales of Beedle the Bard.
Whenever his mother suggests getting a haircut, Casey is quick to remind her of what she said. After failing an eye test at school, Casey had to get glasses. His oncologist said this could be a result of the chemo. The round frames he selected remind him of Harry Potter. Casey rarely talks about his time in the hospital, but certain things trigger his memories. “When different songs come on the radio, he says, ‘You know what I think of when I hear this song, Mom? Being in the hospital,’” Cheryl said, which usually means he doesn’t want to hear that particular song anymore. Casey seldom stands still anymore, and who can blame him after spending 300 days in the hospital. He started playing basketball after he regained the energy that the chemotherapy had taken from him, and does sit-ups with his older brother, Trent. “Before, he didn’t care about sports,” Cheryl said. “He just wanted to read.” Even with his newfound love for sports, Casey’s still an avid reader. Now that he’s back in school, his counselor, Lindsey Richard says, “I see him with his nose in a book all the time.” Now that his cancer ordeal is over, he wants to stay fit. “He says, ‘Mom, I don’t want to get sick again,’” Cheryl said. For every procedure and treatment Casey endured while he was in the hospital, he would earn “beads of courages” to put on a necklace. By the end of his hospital stay, the necklace reached midway down his chest, laden with beads. Casey finds his heroes in a boy wizard and a son of Poseidon – characters in Harry Potter and Percy Jackson and the Olympians, two of his favorite book series from his time spent in the hospital. He does realize, however, that he’s somewhat of a hero himself. After all, he says, his own name means “brave.” “I had cancer,” Casey said. “I whipped it.” 13 Spring 2013 Baylor Focus Magazine
Written by: Caroline Brewton Photography by: Laurean Love
On any given day, a college classroom can feature a rainbow of outfits ranging from the very casual, like pajamas, to Nike shorts, T-shirts and jeans or even business suits. But while you may take the time during your morning routine to really dress up for class, chances are you don’t paint a yellow submarine on your face or wear a wig. Erica Heath does. Heath wears outfits that draw the eye, often including interesting or offbeat pieces you won’t find in your typical Target. Giant skull earrings for Dia De Los Muertos or an oversized sequin sweater. The result is colorful; you’ll notice her easily in a crowd.
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the makeup inspires what I wear. Sometimes what I wear inspires eath, a junior University Scholars major from the makeup.” South Pasadena, Calif., doesn’t always trouble With tastes so diverse and wide-ranging, it’s no surprise that herself to pick out something particularly Heath chose the University Scholars program, which offers her outlandish — but even on days she doesn’t the chance to pursue a course of study of her choosing outside the exert herself, she still sticks out. typical degree requirements. “The thing about my wardrobe is I don’t really have boring Instead of required classes, University Scholars majors must clothes—I’ve only got one pair of blue jeans, so that’s not take a three-course sequence in the Great Texts program, write a something I can really default to,” Heath said. thesis and create an independent reading list. One subject Heath The difference is this: some may throw on a T-shirt and jeans has chosen to focus on is Japanese, and she’s writing her thesis on for an easy outfit, but Heath throws on fishnets and a petticoat. the influence of the arts of Japan on those of the West. The stunning results take Heath anywhere from five minutes In Japan, there’s a proverb: “deru kui wa utareru.” It means “The to two hours to complete. Heath doesn’t stop with eye-catching standing nail is driven.” clothes, though. She often wears elaborate hairstyles or makeup The saying expresses the tension between the individual alongside them. and society as a whole; that is, in Japan, society will mold the “What does take a long time is if I do makeup other than just individual to be ... well, less of an individual in order to better lipstick, or if I decide to do my hair. I have so much hair; it takes fit society. Japan is a fairly homogeneous society: more than 98 so long. Hair can add an hour to an outfit, more if I curl it all,” she percent of the population is ethnic Japanese. said. Baylor isn’t quite so homogeneous, but there is a definite and It wasn’t always this way. Heath said she didn’t start dressing clear majority. According to statistics from Baylor Institutional up until her sophomore year of high school, when she received Research and Testing, students are mostly white and Christian, a pair of white vinyl go-go boots for Baylor has significant Hispanic, “I do this for myself, but I love although Christmas. Heath received the shoes Asian and African-American student and some patterned tights, which she people’s reactions. I love making populations. There is no category for took to wearing in place of the typical other people happy, helping them “students who paint submarines on jeans and a t-shirt. Her wardrobe their faces and wear wigs,” but Heath is reach into their inner child and probably the only one. She is a standing escalated from there. Heath isn’t the only member of her just enjoy a bright color or a new nail in Baylor’s society. Dr. Sara Dolan, an assistant professor family who has been noticed for her idea. I love that.” in the department of psychology and unusual style. Her father and fashion neuroscience and a practicing clinical psychologist, has been forebear John Heath, a Baylor alum from the class of ’84, former practicing psychology since she was licensed in 2006. Dolan said NoZe brother and current Elizabeth W. Gilloon Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, has also been in the course of her practice, she has noticed that not fitting in is an issue that arises, in some form or another, again and again. the subject of discussion for his offbeat dress code. “I would say that a majority of people I see feel isolated from a A post featuring Heath’s father appeared on the blog The community in one sense or the other. One of their core problems Dayside and mentioned his casual attire (a Hawaiian shirt, shorts is they don’t feel connected,” Dolan said. and sandals) despite the freezing weather in Portland, Ore., the Communities, she explained, occur on all levels among peers, city hosting the physics conference at which he was presenting. at work, in the home. Each community may have a different The father, however, was compared to other “sartorially set of norms that reveal what qualities help you fit in. However, insouciant” physicists. it isn’t conformity that makes you happy, Dolan believes. It’s Heath herself is anything but sartorially careless, but like her connections. father, she does enjoy wearing Hawaiian shirts. “I think for a majority of people, connection is a very crucial “They’re really freeing,” she said. factor in their happiness. You can be connected without What else does she like to wear? Corsets. conforming,” she said. It’s up to the individual. Dolan said she “I love wearing corsets. Historically this isn’t the case, but finds that for extremely confident people, fitting into the group personally they really make me feel very powerful in a very doesn’t matter so much. But for those who are insecure, or value pleasant way. They feel good, and they really flatter my figure. I conformity, it could be difficult. Fitting in, or the level of comfort mean, that’s their job,” she said. an individual has with the acceptance the peer group offers, varies She also owns ties, jackets, a pair of Victorian walking boots and by individual. several petticoats, not to mention a treasure trove of jewelry and “Speaking from a psychological perspective ... it would be accessories. Heath, who described her figure as “Victorian,” said she more important for an individual to feel comfortable from the feels fortunate to enjoy the fashions of that era, as well as others such acceptance that they’re getting,” Dolan said. as the ‘40s and ‘50s in which “hips were a thing to be cherished.” Heath freely admits that she’s never tried to fit in. In fact, she There is no single unifying element to Heath’s style. Instead, actively tries to stand out. She doesn’t dress just for the attention she is inspired by a variety of different things: holidays, colors, — although, Heath admitted, it’s a pleasant side-effect—but to individual pieces or combinations of items she sees while looking spread joy to others. in her closet. “I do this for myself, but I love people’s reactions,” she said. “I “Sometimes it’s just that two things will catch my eye, or love making other people happy, helping them reach into their sometimes there’s just one piece that I want to wear, so I build an outfit around that,” Heath said. “Sometimes I do makeup first, and inner child and just enjoy a bright color or a new idea. I love that.
People notice when I go a few days without dressing up and they tell me, and I start to feel guilty for disappointing people, so I dress up again and it’s so much fun.” Despite her obvious difference in appearance, Heath isn’t unhappy, nor does she feel compelled to be any different than she is. “I didn’t come to Baylor and decide to be different so that I could be a martyr. For one thing, I’m not a martyr; I’m flourishing here. For another, that would be stupid,” she said. However, Heath’s differences with the mainstream Baylor community don’t begin and end with her wardrobe. Among a majority Christian student population, Heath practices Wicca, a modern pagan religion associated with witchcraft. She also identifies as gay. Having differences from the community could be negative if the community shuns or isolates an individual for not conforming to the community’s norms, Dolan explained. However, it could also be positive if the peer group values individuality. Being gay could definitely affect how an individual fits into the Baylor community, she said. “Like everywhere else, there are pockets of communities here that have certain norms. Some pockets would be affirming and some would not. I think there are enough communities around here that a person could be part of and feel comfortable,” she said. Communities like SIF, or the Sexual Identity Forum, a group that meets to discuss issues of gender and sexuality. Heath co-founded SIF, and the group meets on Thursday nights at 8, often featuring speakers who share their experiences with the LGBT community. Their latest meeting on March 7 hosted a pastor named Charlie Garrison, who spoke about his own experiences with the LGBT community. “We are for education and discussion, but nothing past that,” she said. The group has made several attempts to secure a charter, but all have been denied. However, while her differences in dress are visible —or, if she’s wearing something particularly elaborate, very visible—Heath’s unorthodox beliefs might not be so readily apparent. Heath doesn’t hide her beliefs, but she doesn’t push them on people either. “I am myself definitely an activist, and as an activist you don’t want to be shoving yourself down people’s throats. You don’t want to be a tonic. You want to be likable, develop relationships with people, and then just happen to be different in some way,” she said. Dr. Tom Hanks first met Heath when she began
attending a regular discussion group with him that met on Friday afternoons. Since then, he has had ample time to get to know her; Hanks, a professor and master teacher in the English department, also teaches a 9:30 a.m. Sunday School class at Lake Shore Baptist Church, which Heath regularly attends despite her Wiccan religion. It’s not his first time to have Heath as a student, though. In the spring of 2012, Heath accompanied Hanks and other students to Europe for the Baylor in Maastrict program, where she took two classes from him. Regarding her opinions, “she is not pushy in the conversation, but she always has something to say,” Hanks said. Hanks said he believes she often presented a novel perspective, and that Heath brought unique points of view to topics discussed in the class. “I am what I am, and the people here don’t care that much and that’s perfect for me. But I don’t exactly go around waving my beliefs on a banner. If I did it might be harder, but that would also be pretty pointless and stupid,” she said. Instead, if she wants to change someone’s opinions, she gets to know them first. “What doesn’t irritate people is being their friend, listening, being there for people, and then saying “by the way you’d really like my girlfriend, she’s pretty great,” and they get to decide for themselves whether or not loving someone makes you a terrible person,” Heath said. It’s the same with her religion. “I don’t complain about how persecuted we are, because that makes me a complainer, and nobody likes a complainer. I just talk to people, and when people get to know me, they decide they don’t care what name I call God, because it’s all the same thing.” After college, Heath said she plans to live wherever she can get a job. She doesn’t have plans. Heath said while she can be happy anywhere; she likes to move around. “I like to move. I like places. They’re like people; they have personalities. The difference is that places are far more giving than people, and far more forgiving. I like places a lot,” Heath said. Heath documents her past outfits and thoughts by blogging. Her blog, Lovely Wednesday, can be found at http://iwantlovely.blogspot.com. In it, she discusses her clothes, offers her thoughts on her outfits and reveals where she found certain pieces.
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Clothes can’t speak but aren’t mute in showing inner self While you may not know what a person is thinking from five feet away, it’s not impossible to form an impression. How? By their clothes. Dr. Lorynn Divita, an associate professor of Apparel Merchandising in the Family and Consumer Sciences Department, said she believes that even silent and standing in a corner, a person’s clothes can make a statement about who they are. But it doesn’t work in every case. “The thing about clothing is, the more intentional those statements are, the more accurate they tend to be,” she said. So while it may not be easy to form an impression of, say, a woman who has thrown on sweatpants and tennis shoes to run to the grocery store, someone like Erica, who makes an intentional statement with her clothes, can give you a very good picture of who she is. Divita, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina Greensboro, teaches classes including “Fashion Trend Analysis and Forecasting” and “Case Studies in Apparel and Retailing.” Divita explained that for the majority of people, fashion, which she defines as a group behavior, works on a bell curve that can be used to forecast trends’ popularity. Groups adopt trends at different times. There are innovators, who help to start trends, early adopters, the early majority, the late majority, and finally, the laggards. “The first time you see something, and you think ‘That looks good,’ you’re probably looking at an innovator,” she said. “By the time you see it everywhere, you’re probably looking at majority. By the time you see someone and think ‘that looks dated,’ you’re probably looking at a laggard.” However, there are who operate
outside of the fashion bell curve. Divita calls them trend creators. Whereas the mainstream will follow trends which cycle in and out, these trend creators continue to act individually of the trends, she explained. She gave the example of Patti Smith, who is credited with helping to start the punk rock movement, and whose grunge-punk style sometimes cycles in and out of fashion. “Erica is one of those,” Divita said. Erica’s style gives a hint as to her nature: enjoying a variety of styles and pieces, she also enjoys making friends with a diverse group of people. There really are two kinds of people - at least to Divita. Those who are monosocial stay in social groups containing members who are similar to themselves. Polysocial people enjoy different groups of people, ideas and experiences. “Erica is polysocial. She enjoys lots of diverse activities and lots of diverse experiences. Because of her enjoyment of a wide range of activities and experiences, she meets other people like that. She is still able to find acceptance,” Divita said. Dr. Sara Dolan, an assistant professor in the department of psychology and neuroscience and a practicing clinical psychologist, also said she believes mainstream conformity isn’t key to happiness. Instead, Dolan said she believed that connections between individuals, which can occur in a variety of different communities, are the crucial factor. It’s not the group’s opinion that you fit in that matters — it’s about your own comfort level with the acceptance you get from your peers. This makes feeling connected, even if you’re different from some way from the mainstream community, easier for confident individuals. “For insecure ones, acceptance might be more important. It could be difficult for them,” she said.
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Surviving The Night “It was a parachute remedy,” said Maverick, who before coming to Baylor had never had the urge to take pills. “I was about to hit the ground hard, mess up the entire semester. So what did I do? I took the pill.” Maverick hesitated as he opened his hand to accept the small, clear bag from someone he had met in a marketing course the day before. He thought he would never do this; he thought he never needed to do this. Reluctantly, he pocketed the bag and handed his new friend a $20 bill.
Written by: Liz Hitchcock Photo Illustrations by: Matt Hellman Illustration by: Asher Freeman Murphy 20 Baylor Focus Magazine Spring 2013
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is thoughts raced during the drive back to his apartment close to campus. Unsure of what would happen, how he would feel, how this contradicts everything he had learned, Maverick went to his room and pulled the bag out of his pocket; his eyes remained fixed on the four small, orange pills inside the bag, each marked with the number 20. Amphetamine, known by its brand name Adderall, is classified in the group of drugs called stimulants, along with cocaine, according to Dr. Diaz-Granados, chair of the department of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor. “It’s widely prescribed for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),” Diaz-Granados said. “It’s also used off-label for depression, weight control and weight loss.” Growing up in a close, somewhat traditional and Christian family, Maverick’s hard-working parents had greatly influenced him and his brother in their work ethic, always pushing them to give 100 percent in everything they do. His parents believed in achieving things on their own merit, not using anything other than their genuine hard work to get ahead. Maverick had just as expectedly adopted their morals and values, especially pertaining to his academic pursuits. This changed for Maverick however, during his time at Baylor. Following his academic advisors’ suggestions for finishing his degree program in four years, Maverick took his basic classes during his freshman year, never feeling that they were too rigorous or difficult for him. After his first semester at Baylor, he began to notice that the workload and what was expected of him were far more than he had foreseen or was prepared for. He was overwhelmed by the progression into upperlevel courses and noticed his fellow students put in less effort and received higher marks. It was then that he made the troublesome decision to rely on a drug to help him in school. Discouraged by the results of those who take the drug Adderall, compared to those who use the old-fashioned method of coffee and caffeine, Maverick represents a growing number of students who use the drug for academic gain. “I was barely able to stay awake and I wasn’t retaining anything even though I knew the material better than they did,” Maverick said. “I hadn’t studied, so I bought some Adderall. I put my headphones on, listened to Pandora and sat there. I didn’t text, I didn’t talk to anyone, I just sat in the library for eight hours,” he said. “I knocked out every chapter, every question and every problem that could have possibly been on the test. I aced that test.” “It helps to increase dopamine and norepinephrine,”
Diaz-Granados said. Adderall works on the brain by increasing chemicals, dopamine and norepinephrine, heightening sensory and motor effects. Essentially, the drug releases adrenaline into the user’s brain, causing the body to feel a rush. The initial period results in dilated pupils, an increased heart rate and an overall sense of well-being in the user, as if naturally feeling a rush of adrenaline. In short, it makes the user feel unusually good by heightening sensory and motor effects. Diaz-Granados says that the majority of psychologists agree that the affirmation of higher scores is the fundamental factor to continue using Adderall for academic purposes, but this, coupled with its euphoric effects, can lead to abuse or addiction. “A positive incentive of taking the drug is to feel good by increasing your levels of dopamine,” said Diaz-Granados. “Dopamine plays a large role in mediating pleasure. There’s the fact that students are able to use it to study. They see the benefits of being able to stay focused or work long hours.” Like many students at Baylor, Maverick is not prescribed Adderall, but he finds ways to obtain it through fellow students that have prescriptions. He said students will pay anywhere from $2 to $10 depending on the milligrams. Certain times of the semester, such as finals or midterms, can also drive up demand and prices. “I know I’m getting ripped off paying $10 a pill, but there’s nothing I can do about it,” Maverick said, saying even students like him that do not have an addiction to Adderall will pay a large amount of money for the drug. Maverick continued his use of Adderall through his sophomore year and into his junior year, progressing from using it for academic purposes only to occasionally using it for other activities. Even through
his nonmedical use of Adderall, Maverick does not see his use as a problem, but now he sees problems with his use. “I never thought about the risks or what it did to me. I could take one during the day, go to sleep, then wake up and take another one,” Maverick recalled after recently taking two stress tests to monitor his heart. “And now in my senior year at Baylor, I’ve realized that there are some really bad consequences to taking Adderall.” Diaz-Granados confirmed Maverick’s fears of heart troubles being potential long- or short-term ramifications of Adderall use, saying that one key negative effect that many patients, abusers and doctors alike often overlook is cardio myopathy: the weakening and deterioration of the heart muscle. “The population that we are most concerned about is the one that is less regulated,” Diaz-Granados said. “They’re taking it when they’re not supposed to be taking it, it’s not prescribed to them, they’re not taking it under the care of a doctor, or they’re taking too much
of it.” Some users of Adderall however, came into contact with the drug long before they stepped onto the Baylor campus. While most students like Maverick were attending grade school, making new friends, riding their bikes and just having fun, Victoria was experiencing something much different than the typical 11-year-old sixth-grader. As she arrived at the institution with her mother, apprehensive and scared, she thought to herself that at least the men in white coats were kind to her. She was given many different tests that took hours to complete, certainly not her favorite thing in the world. She returned for what seemed like a week, but was only four days, and took tests. Finally, the doctors made a diagnosis. She had ADD. Over the years before this, her parents had tried countless ways to correct her behavior in school and were initially skeptical of putting their daughter on medication at such a young age.
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“I never thought about the risks or what it did to me. I could take one during the day, go to sleep, then wake up and take another one” After a prolonged time of watching her struggle, unable to pay attention and missing assignments, they felt it necessary and decided to follow the suggestions of the doctors. “My parents saw my grades improve, so they kept me on Adderall for as long as my doctor said I should be,” Victoria remembers. “They noticed that I could focus and finish my work better than before.” Now nearing the end college at Baylor, she often looks back and wonders what life would have been like without Adderall. “I didn’t really know what it did to my body since I was so young,” Victoria said. “I wonder if my brain ever got
a chance to fully develop. I always felt like I might have turned out different, but my parents trusted the doctors, so they decided to keep me on Adderall.” Diaz-Granados agrees with Victoria’s concerns, stating that adolescence is considered before the age 25 and this is when the brain stops developing. He also says that despite the current research, longterm ramifications of Adderall use, even under doctor supervision, has risks and concerns and some are still unknown. The largest of these concerns is the stunting of the brain’s development, which can lead to a major difference in the perceptions of happiness, excitement and enjoyment.
Because Victoria hates the way the drug makes her feel now, she only takes Adderall when she feels she needs to focus. Anxiety, restlessness, depression or even anger, among many other negative side effects, can occur while on Adderall, Diaz-Granados said. In Nahel Kapadia’s “Adderall Abuse and its Implications for the College Academic Community,” other side effects of Adderall include insomnia, weight and appetite loss, nausea, hallucinations and, among other dangerous side effects, an increased chance of death. These effects were the reason Victoria cut back on her dosage, allowing her to sell her prescription. Often times she will only use half of the pills given to her; the other half she sells to friends at Baylor that need an extra pick-me-up or need to study. Eight years ago, Houston native Michaelyn Wagner was prescribed Adderall for ADD. Now a senior at Baylor, uses the drug only to help treat her depression, which she believes works better than any other drug she’s been prescribed. Wagner represents the student population that is prescribed Adderall but uses it as directed. Although these students indeed need the drug, they also see great increases in GPA and general daily functioning. “I think that Adderall has a significant effect on my grades,” Wagner said, “It helps me to study and stay focused. It helps me get through the day, gets me out of bed, gets me going, allows me to focus and keep a conversation. Like many students with ADD, Wagner feels that Adderall not only keeps her focused on her school work, but it is also essential for daily tasks. Her ability to function in society is dependent on it, and her sleep cycle can also be disrupted if she forgets to take it occasionally. Her friends offer money to buy her prescription, but since Wagner takes it as prescribed, she rarely has any extra to spare, and she believes that without it she would not even be able to function properly at all. It may come as a surprise to know that a large portion of the student body, at any given school, is either prescribed to a stimulant or takes one illegally. For some, even the thought that one pill can help to complete the seemingly impossible, conquering topics as organic chemistry or Calculus 3 in one night, is enough to hand over their cash for the magic pill. This is the choice many students, including many at Baylor, make. They only take one pill. For others, the thought of a felony on their record for carrying an illegal drug (illegal if not prescribed), is enough to make them study the oldfashioned way.
adderall by the numbers • “The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports that 15 percent of college students have admitted to using some form of psychotherapeutic drugs for non-medical use. Of those 15 percent, 7 percent have claimed to use Adderall to either increase attention span, party, or improve grades.” • “Full-time college students aged 18 to 22 were twice as likely as their counterparts who were not full-time college students to have used Adderall® nonmedically in the past year (6.4 vs. 3.0 percent)” • “Nearly 90 percent of full-time college students who used Adderall® nonmedically in the past year were past month binge alcohol users, and more than half were heavy alcohol users.” • “Between 1993 and 2003, the number of prescriptions given for Adderall has more than tripled. However, not all of the Adderall obtained by college students is prescribed. In fact, about 14 percent of students note that they have been asked to sell, trade, or distribute Adderall, while only 2 percent actually have a prescription from their doctor”
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To be human is to dream. Every kid has dreams and hopes of one day achieving them. Emphatic wishes are what make us all human. We desire something monumental. For Anthony Moore, his dream was to play professional football at the highest level, the National Football League. What happens when those dreams are shattered? How does anyone survive and move on when their dreams are broken? After a promising freshman season as a defensive back at Baylor University, Moore shattered his tibia and fibula in a spring scrimmage before his sophomore campaign. The injury derailed Moore’s football career and required five surgeries to fix. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound safety from Judson High School in Converse, had all the makings of a future star. With 169 tackles in his junior season in high school and a state title game appearance, Moore felt the next step after high school would be playing college football. During his senior year, Moore received scholarship offers from various schools, including Mississippi State, Texas State and Northern Illinois. The main reason he made the decision to attend Baylor was because of head coach Art Briles. “With Coach Briles, it’s not always about football,” Moore said. Briles was more interested in knowing the players on a more personal level. “He wasn’t interested in trying to sell me the school. He just sat down and had a regular conversation with me.” When Moore arrived at Baylor, Briles was still in the process of revamping the state of the football program and Briles wanted him to be part of that process. Because of his natural athletic ability, Moore received playing time in the first game of his freshman year. “When we went to Wake Forest and coach called my name to go into the game, I was shocked,” Moore said. True freshmen rarely get the opportunity to play at all, so to play that early in his career was a major accomplishment. “When they recruited me, they told me I had a good chance of playing as a freshman, but I didn’t think it would be that soon.” Going into the offseason to start his sophomore year, Moore says he was ready for a breakout season. He was in a position
battle to try to win the starting safety position in spring practice. Moore admits to dreaming of lofty goals, like an NFL career. “I wanted to have a great offseason to get me ready for the next season. I felt like Byron Landor and me were both battling for the position,” Moore said. It was during this offseason at spring practice that Moore’s football career and his dreams playing in the NFL would come to a screeching halt. As Moore backpedaled and started to switch directions to go tackle tight end Jerod Monk, he planted his left foot and began to accelerate forward. “I knew right when the injury happened that it was bad,” Moore said. Baylor’s athletic trainers rushed out to Moore and put a wrap on his leg. With such a severe injury, Moore was rushed to the emergency room immediately.
“I kept the faith that [God] had a plan and a purpose for my life,” Moore said. “The doctor said I broke both the tibia and fibula in my leg and that the whole middle part was just shattered,” Moore said. After one week in the hospital, Moore had three surgeries due to complications from Compartment Syndrome that developed after his injury. Moore had five surgeries in total in an attempt to completely fix his leg. He still has a permanent metal rod in his leg. Although the physical toll the injury had on Moore’s life was devastating, the psychological and emotional toll of the injury was the most difficult aspect to handle. Moore thought he may never be able to play football again. “I asked the doctor if there was any chance of me playing football again,” Moore said. Once the doctor said yes, he knew right then he wasn’t going to stop until he got back on the field.
The rehab process was immensely challenging and discouraging at times, but when Moore felt as though he was almost done with rehab, doctors would come back and tell him he needed another surgery. “I would get closer and closer to getting back on the field and then find out I had to have another surgery over and over again,” Moore said. The only reason he made it through this trying time in life was because family and friends constantly surrounded him for support. He also relied on his strong faith in God. “I kept the faith that God had a plan and a purpose for my life,” Moore said. One of the chief motivations for getting back on the field was to silence the many critics who did not believe he could ever overcome such an obstacle. Through hard work and a determined spirit that wouldn’t let him quit, Moore was healthy enough to conquer winter workouts in 2012 and to participate in spring practice. Moore accomplished his goal of getting back onto the football field. Through grit and determination, Moore overcame a devastating injury both physically and psychologically. After two years of watching Moore battle through rehabilitation, Briles had a heartto-heart conversation with Moore that would ultimately close the football chapter of his life. “I sat down and talked to Briles, and he put it to me straight forward about how he didn’t want to see me go through that pain again, considering everything I had been through,” Moore said. With much prayer and guidance, Moore decided to stop playing football, but to still be around the game by being a student assistant coach for Baylor. For Moore, football will always have a special place in his life. “I see myself doing it in the future because I want to stay around football and I feel like I can impact people’s lives just from my story and what I’ve been through,” Moore said. Making the decision to stop playing football and go into coaching was one of the hardest decisions he has ever had to make. “That was a very hard time in my life since I still talked to a lot of the same people I played with, and they would tell me about what was going on in the football world,” Moore said. He often felt
disconnected, but his mom encouraged him with uplifting Bible scriptures to get him out of the slump. When Moore made the decision to participate in spring practice in 2012, he felt as though he still had something to prove to himself. “People told me I wouldn’t be able to do it and I didn’t want to quit anything until I actually see for myself that I can’t do it,” Moore said. Despite the injury that in the end would crush Moore’s dreams of going to the NFL, Moore has grown from the experience. “Don’t take anything for granted because you never know when or if something can be taken away from you in an instant,” Moore said. The only way he endured through it all was his faith in the Lord and knowing that God had a plan for him. Football will always be a part of his life, no matter what he decides to do after college. “I feel like I can steer players in the right direction,” Moore said. “It’s a great sport with a lot of lessons, and I just love everything about it.” Bottom: Senior Anthony Moore shattered the middle portion of his leg, and broke the tibia while practicing in a spring scrimmage. Moore had three surgeries after one week in the hospital due to complications from the injury.
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america Story by: Alexandera Layton Photography by: Meagan Downing
For this international student, coming to America was more than just a dream. It was a mission. In the valley of the Ningxia Plane of Northern China lies Yinchuan, the hometown of Jia Liang. Liang lived in Yinchuan until she moved to Beijing for her undergraduate studies. It was there she began a journey that would eventually lead her to Baylor University, the worldâ€™s largest Baptist institution of higher education. Liang grew up in Yinchuan with both of her parents and an extended family close by. Liangâ€™s parents were both professors at a local college and as a result, knowledge and learning have always been a big part of her life.
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After completing her primary schooling, Liang chose to attend Beijing Normal University in the heart of the city, expressing she wanted a change of pace from the rural setting she was accustomed to. She studied language and literature and graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Chinese language. Liang said that going off to school in Beijing was the farthest she had been from home and that the transition was hard. “The move helped me want to go abroad and study because I knew then I wanted to go and learn more about other cultures,” she said. Liang first had to pick a field in which to study abroad, one she felt would be interesting and challenging. An advisor from Beijing Normal University told her about social work. She found it interesting, seeing as though social work is not a common field of study in China. After searching for schools that offered a master’s program in social work, she came across Baylor. After researching the school’s credentials in the field of social work, as well as the location of the school, Liang finally decided to make the 7,000-mile trip to Waco. “It seemed the professors here were very nice,” said Liang, adding that the small classes were an advantage since it allows students to have closer relationships with the professors. “This was very important to me, especially considering the fact that I am an international student.” Roughly one month before Liang was set to leave China, tragedy struck. Her father, who was her biggest supporter, died after an extended illness. Although Liang put off responding to Baylor’s offer during the duration of her father’s sickness, his passing became the motivation she needed to go ahead with her plans to study abroad. She said her father always encouraged her to experience other languages and cultures. “My father always wanted me to go out and learn, so I think leaving China is what he would have wanted for me. I want to continue his dream.” The decision to leave her family after her father’s death was tough and took a considerable toll on her family. Liang says her mother took it the hardest, and that leaving made Liang feel guilty. She added that sometimes, however, you have to choose between your dreams and your family and in the wake of her father’s death, Liang felt that following her dreams was the best way to honor him. When Liang arrived in Texas for the first time, she had no apartment or bank account. She did not know anyone personally, neither was she familiar with how to get around throughout the city. She was, however, offered a hotel room to stay in for the first few nights after she arrived in Waco. It was here that she met Kaley Eggers, a fellow graduate student in the Master of Social Work program. Eggers offered to check in on her, help finalize her living arrangements and introducing her to some fellow social work
students. “I was immediately taken aback by how brave Jia is,” Eggers said. “She applied to a school in foreign country and had faith that things would work out despite having faced huge obstacles, and I really admire her for that.” According to the Center for International Education, 587 international students are on the Baylor campus. International students often deal with many struggles before they can start classes in America. Besides the often complex legalities of the transition, they must also acclimate themselves with a new environment at the American university setting, all while securing a place to live.
“My father always wanted me to go out and learn... Leaving China is what he would have wanted for me.” One student, according to Alexine Burke, International Student Programs director for the Center of International Education, ended up having to pay rent on his apartment in Waco for a whole semester before he could even get his Visa approved to come to America. In Liang’s first semester in the social work program, she was assigned an internship with Communities in Schools, an organization that works to help students get involved in their local communities. Liang said that after losing her father, going to school full time in a foreign country and working in the Waco Independent School District was overwhelming for her. She was not performing well in her classes and in order to keep herself in the program, she had to drop the internship. Currently she is a part-time graduate student and is doing much better in school. She plans to go back into the internship program in the fall semester. “Baylor international students like Jia Liang are one of the best-kept secrets on campus,” Burke said. She added that many of them have experienced wars, famine, poverty, civil unrest, political strife and other life experiences that the average Baylor student “cannot imagine and will never see in their lifetime.” For Liang, the hardest, yet most rewarding part of coming to Baylor is getting an opportunity to meet the people. She says the daily life activity is similar to Yinchuan, which
helped make her feel more comfortable and at home. “The people here are so close,” she said, adding that she pictured virtually all parts of America to be similar to that of New York or Los Angeles. Liang says her time in America has been hard without her family, but her friends help and she has daily Skype calls with her mom. After she finishes the graduate program, Liang has some ideas as to where social work and her Chinese language degree will take her. She has noticed during her time at Baylor that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is not well represented and as a result, she is passionate about finding work within the community. “It is kind of special here at Baylor because religion and faith make people less comfortable talking about it,” Liang said, stating that for her, it’s a great field for social work since there continues to be many prejudices in the area. “I wants to help people fight prejudices and find jobs to be a support system for those who need it.” Liang has been through a lot to get to where she is today. Despite having to deal with the death of her father coupled with the strain of leaving her family, she still made the decision to travel to a new country where she was completely unfamiliar with the language and its citizens. Despite this extreme obstacle, she persevered and pressed on toward the mark of her higher calling. Most importantly, Liang survived. Liang’s friend Kaley Eggers puts it this way: “Since the beginning, Jia has worked really hard to do whatever it takes to follow her calling and in the process, has taught many that sometimes, the things that are the most challenging are worth pursuing.” “It takes a unique person to go through all that Jia Liang has and still come out on top.” “Liang is the epitome of a survivor,” Eggers said.
Right: Liang studies for an upcoming exam in one of her graduate courses. Liang says she enjoys the classes she takes through the program, as it gives her valuable insight into her career in social work.
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King The of
Written by: Larissa Campos Photography by: Sam O’Brien
It started out as any other day in room 361 of the Hankamer School of Business. Dr. James Henderson, Baylor professor of economics, grabbed his gym bag at about 3 p.m. and started walking to the McLane Student Life Center. He laced up his basketball shoes and took the court. After two games, Henderson felt good. As he was walked back from the water fountain to start game three, he suddenly collapsed onto the floor. Henderson says he was talking to one of his teammates, on his way back to the court, when he, as his teammates describe, stopped and fell back like a tree. “People think if there’s something wrong they’ll have warning signs,” Henderson said. “But it happened just like that.” After hitting the ground, fellow player and assistant track coach for Baylor, Danny Brabham, began to perform CPR. Assisting was Zach Beaty, son of Baylor philosophy chair Michael Beaty and Josh Waits, the university’s CPR trainer at the time. While Zach and Danny did CPR, Josh got the defibrillator hooked up. “Everyone stepped away and 200 joules of electricity kicked me in the chest and restarted my heart,” said Henderson. It wasn’t until about 10 minutes later that the paramedics got to the SLC. By then Henderson was conscious and sitting up. He had been out with no pulse for about five minutes until the defibrillator revived him. Upon admission into the hospital, Henderson learned his heart attack was a result of ischemia, or reduced blood supply to the heart. Doctors discovered that one of the arteries in his heart had a blockage, which caused the heart attack. “Most of the times arteries are fairly straight. The artery of
mine that got blocked did sort of a tight loop,” Henderson said. Despite going through a surgery to place a stent in the blocked artery, Henderson felt strong within a few days and was eager to continue on with his plans for the summer. “I was at the time, and still am, the director of the Baylor in Great Britain study abroad program, and we were less than three weeks from leaving for that summer,” Henderson said. Although he was eager to follow through with his commitment to the program and spend the summer overseas, nothing could persuade his doctor to release him. “From the time they put the stent in, I had to wait three weeks to take a stress test before I was released,” Henderson said. Even though Henderson wasn’t allowed to travel with the group when they left, he still played his part as program director and was a big reason the trip was able to happen that year. The day the group was set to leave for Great Britain, the infamous London underground bombings occurred. On July 7, 2005, a series of suicide bombings targeting civilians in the underground transportation system killed 52 civilians and injured more than 700. During the crisis, Henderson spent his time, days after having a heart attack, dealing with parents, students and the university’s president attempting to gain clearance for the trip to continue. Houston graduate Sam Shalala says his devotion to students makes him unforgettable. “He makes it a point to prepare you for life after Baylor,” Shalala said. Upon recovering from his heart attack, Henderson felt as if his life was returning to normal. He was back on the basketball court in a couple of weeks and he passed his stress test. He even met up with the Baylor in Great Britain group to spend the rest of his summer overseas as
planned. Almost a whole year had gone by when a slight complication arose. “A year later I had another stress test and they found a problem,” Henderson said. “My stent was medicated and it got a blood clot, which blocked it up the artery again.” This time, open-heart bypass surgery was the only solution. This surgery set him back more than the first surgery. He wasn’t able to go on the trip to Britain that summer or able to teach. But once fall semester rolled around, he was back in the classroom and back on the basketball court, Since the heart attack, Henderson has seen Baylor’s MBA Healthcare Administration program, one that he had a huge hand in starting, really succeed. The program will graduate its ninth class this year since its inception in 2005. Henderson is also in the process of staring a PhD program for health policy set to begin next year. Henderson also likes to credit himself and his heart attack for the marriage of his oldest son, Luke. Luke had been living in San Antonio working on his master’s degree at Trinity University. Upon hearing the news, he traveled home to spend time with his family. While in Waco, Luke got together with old Baylor friends and met Lisa Mark, who would one day become his wife. “It’s almost like the heart attack gave them an opportunity to interact with each other that they otherwise wouldn’t have had,” Henderson said. “Who knows whether that led to them getting married or not, but I like to think it did.” Eight years and one open heart bypass surgery later, Henderson is still a regular on the courts of the SLC. He wakes up every morning knowing that he is lucky to be alive. Surviving a heart attack allowed him to see his two sons, Luke and Jesse, graduate. He was also able to witness the birth of his first grandchild, Lottie. “All of that I would’ve been gone for. I would’ve missed,” said Henderson. “And they would’ve missed out on me being a part of it, which I think is a big deal too.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart attacks account for 1 in every 4 deaths in the United States. That’s approximately 600,000 deaths a year. Henderson would not be included in those numbers. “People have these survivor stories where they cut their own arm off or something pretty amazing like that. But what did I do? I just sort of laid there.”
Thanks to Baylor’s proactive steps in heart care, Henderson was able to beat the odds. Just two years before Henderson’s heart attack, Baylor’s Medical Service Organization received a $55,000 grant to distribute defibrillators across the campus. The Department of Health Defibrillator Program reports that 95 percent of heart attack victims die before even reaching the hospital. They also say that a victim’s chance of survival is decreased by 7-10 percent with every minute that passes with their heart stopped. Across the country, states are establishing their own laws and precedence on installing defibrillators in public places. For example, Oregon’s has Senate Bill 556 would require automated external defibrillators in facilities with 50,000 square feet or more. “Any time you have people that congregate in areas like the SLC or Waco Hall or the Ferrell Center where you’ll have 100000 people, various age groups in there, its’ probably a really good idea to have them,” Henderson said. Since the defibrillators were installed on campus in 2003 one of the units has only been used once. Although some public officials argue it’s a waste of money to install these units in public areas, to Henderson, his family and friends, and the next heart attack victim, these life-saving devices really are priceless.
Top left: Dr. James Henderson’s life was saved by an AED defibrillator when he collapsed playing basketball in the McLane Student Life Center’s basketball courts. Right: Henderson, professor of economics, says he enjoys working with students on a daily basis. “It’s really fulfilling to know I’m training the next generation,” Henderson said.
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35 Spring 2013 Baylor Focus Magazine
Great E xpectations Written by: Jamie Lim Photography by: Matt Hellman
With one brother in medical school and another studying architecture in graduate school, Ogbonna Okonkwo undoubtedly comes from a family of achievers. Okonkwo, however, has decided to take the road less traveled on his path to success.
His birth certificate says Ogbonna Okonkwo, but you can call him Alvin. “When you see it, you’re going to think it’s Og-bana, but it’s Oh-BWANnah. It’s hard to say unless you practice the accent,” said Alvin. Alvin Ghidozie Okonkwo was born to Chuck and Irene Okonkwo. Although he himself is from Texas, his parents grew up 6,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean in Nigeria. Therefore, it may be no surprise that Alvin and his three siblings were raised on traditional Nigerian customs and values. “They say that our home is not this home,” Alvin said. “To them, our home is Nigeria and they want us to know that.” Alvin describes Nigerian traditions as conservative at least. Most Nigerian families view men as the dominant figures in the household. He adds that parents are strict and stern who try to raise responsible and respectful children whom are taught to be independent at a young age, as it in an important Nigerian custom. “They were more of the people that were like, ‘you are six years old, you are old enough to go into the kitchen, cook yourself dinner and lock the doors,” Alvin said. This teaching of independence helps emphasize the Nigerian standard of affection coupled with tough love.
36 Baylor Focus Magazine Spring 2013
37 Spring 2013 Baylor Focus Magazine
his type of affection seen in many Nigerian households is emphasized through actions and servitude. Alvin recalls that while his mother, a nurse, was at work, he would clean the house making sure it was spotless and that all the chores were completed. “There’s a deep connection and bond there, but it’s in a different language that most of us today don’t understand,” said Alvin, emphasizing his mother’s point of view that working hard to support and provide for her family was her way of being affectionate. “We were raised on the principles that nothing is given,” said Alvin. “Nothing is free, so you’re going to work for it.” For the Okonkwo’s, these principles further sustained the importance of education. Okonkwo’s father began his children’s education at a young age. When he was four, Alvin says Chuck took him to the library and soon after, began dropping him off at the library. Furthermore, before Alvin went to preschool, Chuck home-schooled him. It was because of this early start and his parents’ tough stance on education, Alvin rarely made below an A throughout his educational experience. The first time he made a B, Alvin says he was terrified about how his father would react. Alvin says many Nigerians see education as a way to compete and survive with Americans. “They felt as immigrants, their children had a slight disadvantage,” Alvin said. “They never wanted us to be labeled as immigrants or Africans, but rather normal American children.” Alvin says another key reason Nigerian parents hold education to such a high standard is because they feel it controls their child’s future. They generally aspire for their children to go far in education, hoping they become doctors or lawyers. Kenneth, Alvin’s older brother, is in medical school, while his twin brother Andy is in graduate school for architecture. Alvin’s little sister, Nina, is currently a freshman at Baylor majoring in neuroscience. Nina is expected to attend medical school and lead a comfortable life as a doctor. “I want to be a doctor mainly because of my parents’ influence,” said Nina. “Medicine however is interesting to me and I feel I could really enjoy a career in practicing it.” Although Alvin had no intention of joining two of his sibling in the medical profession, he says law was something he always felt was in his future. “One day somebody mentioned that I should be a lawyer and it just stuck with me,” Alvin said. “My parents went along with it and pushed me to pursue a law degree, which I ended up not doing.” After graduating from Baylor in May 2012 with a degree in political science, Alvin still had some sort of a desire to become a lawyer. However after partaking in Teach for America, Alvin began to rethink his plans. TFA is an organization where college graduates teach in inner-city public schools, hoping to create change in the community through positive guidance. After teaching kindergartners for a couple of months, Alvin made the decision to no longer pursue a law career. Through a life-altering experience in teaching, Alvin decided to further his career in the field. Currently, he plans to continue his education in graduate
school for educational administration or educational policy. Alvin says although he is perfectly content with his teaching job, his mother is constantly encouraging him to attend law school. He mentions that many Nigerian parents have set definitions of success that they like to impose upon their children for image purposes. “In the Nigerian culture, it prestigious for my mom to be able to converse with her friends and say that, yes, her son is a lawyer,” said Alvin. “I just don’t believe in the same things,” adding that he stopped doing so at an early age. Although the integration of both American and Nigerian customs can sometimes be troublesome, he says this uniqueness is essentially his identity. Growing up, Alvin identified himself as a rebellious child. As the second oldest, he says he often created the most trouble for his parents. “I grew up very obstinate, and there’s something in me that’s naturally defiant so I argued a lot.” In junior high, Alvin began to realize how different his family was from other non-Nigerian families. This created confusion and a desire to stray away from his family’s values and beliefs. This confusion led to a number of quarrels between he and his parents. So many in fact, his parents reached a point where they stopped getting angry and would simply say, “It’s him again.” When he arrived at Baylor, Alvin felt as though he was free from his Nigerian roots. After his parents dropped him off and they said their goodbyes, Alvin felt freed. “When you leave a controlling atmosphere, you feel liberated in a sense,” Alvin said. “But at the same time, you start to really miss the same values of the people who raised you.” Although Alvin appreciates his Nigerian customs and values, he doesn’t fully embrace them. This includes one very important custom: the custom that includes him marrying a Nigerian woman. What most would considered to be an All-American blonde hair, blue-eyed white girl, junior Michelle Ratliff, a Baylor track and field athlete from Amarillo is Alvin’s current love interest. When Alvin first told his parents about Ratliff, they made him feel as though it were a temporary relationship, often referring to her as a new friend instead of a girlfriend. “They had in their mind a picture of me marrying a Nigerian, possibly from a family they knew,” Alvin said. “It’s a step down from an arranged marriage” Ratliff describes the first time she met Alvin’s parents as awkward. Alvin said he could see his parents wanted to be cordial and nice, but didn’t know how. Chuck greeted Ratliff by telling her to come in and sit down, he asked if she wanted anything to eat or drink. When she politely refused, Irene and Chuck viewed her as being disrespectful. “They weren’t necessarily rude, but it wasn’t a typical greeting that I’m accustomed to,” Ratliff said. “They didn’t really know what to say to me and I didn’t know what to say to them.” Alvin explains that because they have thick Nigerian accents and are self-conscience on how they talk to others, it is difficult for them to strike up a conversation with anyone who is not Nigerian.
Above: Alvin says despite Nigerian customs, he plans to continue dating his girlfriend, even though his parents do not approve. Alvin and his girlfriend, Michele Ratliff, have been dating for over a year. Right: Alvin’s sister, Nina, is currently studying neuroscience in hopes of one day becoming a physician. Alvin says his parents have always had high expectations for both him and his siblings.
After a year of dating, Ratliff says it is still hard for her to relate to her boyfriend’s parents. She understands that his parents want him to marry a Nigerian, but feels that they should be more accepting. “They should care more about the happiness of their child rather than their culture,” Ratliff said, adding that although she doesn’t fully understand Nigerian values, she still has respect for them. Ratliff added that she realizes the hard work Irene and Chuck have put into raising their children. Alvin, the once rebellious child, is beginning to understand and appreciate his parents’ upbringing. Now living independently, Alvin and his father see each other as man-to-man rather than father-to-son which ultimately has smoothed their relationship. Alvin says that when he has children, he will incorporate a few values that his parents taught him. He wants them to be independent and respectful. “I want to raise my son or daughter on the values that Michelle and I create and come up with together,” Alvin said. “At the same time, I want my children to recognize that they have two grandpas from two very different backgrounds,” adding that for him, cultural awareness is essential.
38 Baylor Focus Magazine Spring 2013
39 Spring 2013 Baylor Focus Magazine
Published on Sep 19, 2013