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Volume 85 Issue 2 Spring 2014

“You know you’re going to hell, right?” LGBTQ at GSU

Pg. 25

One Year Later:

Pg. 10


How thirsty is GSU’s Thursday?

ways to spend a Statesboro Saturday

Coping with the loss of her best friend Pg. 26

Pg. 14

i am not Redefining student stereotypes



10 16 18


5 8

Online Dating

This college version isn’t suitable for your lonely aunt and her cats.

Soldiers in School See what it’s like to come back to such a different environment.

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Budget Friendly

Local acclaimed chef preps six quick dishes that are healthy and cheap.



Living (and surviving) as an LGBTQ Eagle in a conservative world.


Best of the Boro “There’s nothing to do in the Boro.” Wrong! Check out these four fun, local activities.



I Am Not

Six Georgia Southern students confront stereotypes and reveal that there is more to them than meets the eye.


24 26

Business Savvy

A GSU alum and small business owner shares his know-how.

Live. Laugh. Love.

Cory Wilson’s girlfriend and mom remember his heart and quirks.


25 30

Party School

Georgia’s colleges ranked by more than rumors.

Business Growth

See how much the Boro has expanded in 15 years.

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Letter from the Editor

In this issue, you will see stories through the eyes of students who are just like you, even if you didn’t know it. You will find stories of triumph and overcoming the darkest days of someone’s life. You will read about students that you may see everyday, but you may never know the secrets they are holding back. You will see your life as a college student relating to the people in these pages in ways you may have not thought of before. The words our staff kept repeating to each other for this issue of the Reflector were “Student Lifestyle” and we worked hard to make a magazine

just for you. This is a magazine full of stories that exemplify your life: what you like to do, who your friends are and what you care about as a student at Georgia Southern University. I thought that as a graduating senior, I basically knew everything there was to know about our school, including what kind of people the students here are. Putting this magazine together was like seeing GSU through new eyes. I got to see worlds outside my own that I didn’t notice before and I hope that is what this magazine does for you, giving you a new perspective of our campus

JESSIE REESE Reflector Editor and the people within it. I hope that you enjoy this issue of The Reflector as much as we have enjoyed putting it together.

Arielle Coambes Jessie Reese Jeff Licciardello Alanna Navin Charles Rudison Chase Chalker Hayden Bordeaux Lindsay Gaskins Macy Holloway Matt Sowell Maureen O’Leary Peyton Callanan Rashida Otunba

Production Manager Design Editor Designers

Jose Gil Matt Veal Alexandra Tobia Kate Rakoczy Kelly Slyfield Heather Yeomans Brandon Warnock Christal Riley Courtney Bonacci Ryan Woodham Sarah Holmes

Photo Editor Photographers

Your Editor,

Special thanks to…

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Reflector Staff List

Magazines Editor-in-Chief Reflector Editor Reflector Deputy Editor Contributors

Marketing Manager Marketing Coordinator

Marissa Martin Cydney Long

Business Manager Distribution Manager

Chloe Douglas Bradley York

Reflector Statement of Operations The Reflector is published twice a year by Georgia Southern University students. The office is located at room 2013 in the Williams Center. The Reflector is copyrighted 2011 by Reflector Magazine and Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Ga. It is printed by South Georgia Graphics, Claxton, Ga. The Reflector is operated by GSU students who are members of Student Media, a Georgia Southern student-led organization operating through the Dean of Student Affairs Office and the Division of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management. The magazine is produced twice a year by GSU students for the Georgia Southern University community. Opinions expressed herein are those of the student writers and editors and DO NOT reflect those of the faculty, staff, administration of GSU, Student Media

Advisory Board nor the University System of Georgia. Partial funding for this publication is provided by the GSU Activities Budget Committee. Advertisements fund the remaining costs. Advertising inquiries may be sent to Office of Student Media, PO Box 8001, or by calling the Business Office at 912-478-5418. Inquiries concerning content should be sent to Magazine EIC Arielle Coambes at 912-478-0565 or by emailing magseditor@ georgia All students are allowed to have one free copy of this publication. Additional copies cost $1 each and are available at the Office of Student Media in the Williams Center. Unauthorized removal of additional copies from a distribution site will constitute theft under Georgia law, a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine and/or jail time.

Student Led. Student Read.


All of the statistics to the right were found from their respective websites along with The Daily Beast, The Dating Gurus, Statistic Brain, Wired, Appolicious, and Tech Crunch. All of the above statistics were found at Campus Explorer and Statistic Brain.

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Local acclaimed chef cuts in By Jessie Reese

Easy, fast recipes for By Maureen O’Leary

Breakfast High protein, low carb scrambled eggs (or an omelet) with veggies and cheese and a little meat makes for a healthy, flavorful, balanced breakfast. Ingredients: • 2 large eggs • 2 tbsp. chopped onion • 2 slices Canadian bacon • 1 wedge laughing cow cheese • veggies of your choice (i.e. broccoli, peas, spinach, etc.) Instructions: Scramble the eggs and add in other ingredients. It’s that simple!

Outland Marsh began his cooking career at the age of four, helping his grandmother on Sundays. “She gave me the choice: I could either go to church or I could cook the meal for the family. At four years old I was rolling my own dumplings,” Marsh, now a senior at Georgia Southern, said. His interest in cooking grew from there. “When I was eighteen, I had to learn to cook for myself instead of eating McDonald’s everyday. I got a lot of dates [from] cooking, and I thought, I enjoy doing it, so why don’t I just go to school for it?” Marsh then went to culinary school at Ogeechee Technical College, and after graduating, became the Executive Chef at a local restaurant. In 2006, Marsh was named one of the top three chefs in Statesboro. During his time as an executive chef, Marsh also tried out for the television show Top Chef. Marsh didn’t make it on the show, and after trying his luck in Atlanta and discovering there weren’t many jobs for chefs, he decided it was time to go back to school. “I was sitting at Piedmont Park and I started seeing couples, and they were happy, weren’t working night times, they were obviously well paid, they were with their families, and I decided that that is what I want,” Marsh said. Marsh began school at Georgia Southern University in 2010. “I told myself, if I can make it through this first semester, then maybe I am able to do this college thing. I was scared to death. I didn’t know if I was made for college,” he said. Marsh then bet himself a year, then two, and so on until his senior year, when he realized that his dream of becoming a GSU alum was within reach. He said, “I’m from this town, so that’s a big thing, to become an alumni of Georgia Southern University. It is a childhood dream of anybody that enjoys Eagle Nation as I do. So here I am, four years later. I was able to do it and I graduate next semester with a degree in public relations and I’m excited.”

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For a more protein-powered breakfast, oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate, and tastes pretty good. Ingredients: • 1 ½ cup plain oatmeal • 1 tsp. honey • 1 sprinkle salt • 1 handful frozen blueberries Instructions: Follow cooking instructions on package for oatmeal. Once the oatmeal is fully cooked, add the frozen blue berries, and mix them so the heat from the oatmeal thaws them. Add the sprinkle of salt and the honey and stir.

Lunch A sandwich becomes an entirely different experience when it’s grilled. Ingredients: • 2 slices of bread (recommended rye or multigrain) • light sour cream and chive cream cheese, or preferred flavor • 4 pieces of sliced cucumber • 4 slices of turkey ustard if desired, 2 tsp. • light butter spread Instructions: You know how to assemble a sandwich. Once you’ve done that, lightly butter the outsides and grill them in a pan on medium heat until they’re golden brown on the outside, a few minutes on each side.

a college budget Dinner

Snack: Greek Yogurt Dip

Casseroles are easy and quick, which makes them perfect for busy college schedules. Plus, you can add in different ingredients to make fun casseroles no matter your budget. The penne casserole recipe includes these ingredients: • 16 oz. wheat penne pasta • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil • 1/2 cup chopped onion 2 cloves garlic (finely minced) • 1 large (28 oz.) can tomatoes, broken up • 1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano, • crumbled, salt and pepper (to taste) • 1 1/2 to 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (divided Instructions: Cook penne pasta in boiling salted water as directed on package; drain and set aside. Meanwhile, heat vegetable oil in a medium saucepan. Add onion; sauté for about 4 minutes, or until tender and translucent. Add garlic, tomatoes, and oregano; cook until heated through. Taste and add salt and pepper. Combine cooked penne pasta, the tomato mixture, and 1 cup of the shredded cheese; spoon into a in a lightly buttered casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake the penne pasta recipe for about 20 minutes at 350°. If a casserole is not your idea of a good dinner, you can try this easy chicken recipe. It’s also fast and easy and fairly cheap to make. It is perfect for a quick dinner for one, or can be added to sides to make a dinner for friends. Ingredients: • One chicken breast • Salt and pepper • Italian dressing Instructions: Place chicken in pan, salt and pepper to taste and brush with Italian dressing. Cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

Food prepared by Outland Marsh at the Statesboro Inn REFLECTOR S p r i n g 2 0 1 4 | 7

By Peyton Callanan Instead of tequila shots, they heard gunshots. Instead of happy visits home, they got tearful goodbyes at the airport. Instead of beginning a college career straight out of high school, these students served their country before taking the step toward an education. They make up the roughly 600 military veterans and active service members at Georgia Southern University. Some came back from war zones across the globe to start school for the first time. Others returned after boot camp to focus on their studies. Like many other military students at GSU, Jacob Riffe, a senior graphic design management major and a Sergeant E5 in the United States Army, had to adapt to his life as a full-time student and as a civilian, a world away from his life in Afghanistan. “You take being a student for granted. You can be making a ninety in a class and afford to skip it. You can’t skip work. It’s a huge difference,” he said. Steven Thomas, an undeclared freshman, started spring semester at GSU after completing basic training for the National Guard. When he came to college, he realized that basic training was very different from the campus lifestyle and even the ROTC training doesn’t exactly compare. “It’s not the same at all. You’re in a college environment. [In basic training] they take away all of your personal freedoms. You’re cut off from home,” he said. “A normal day we would wake up at five o’clock in the morning. If it was six o’clock, then we got to sleep in. We would do personal hygiene, shave,

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brush your teeth and get dressed, [in] either uniform ACU or PT’s if we were gonna go exercise, or work out for the day. [We would] come back, shower, go to the range [and] practice rifle precision. We shot our M4s a lot. It was good training. Some people went there and had never fired a weapon before in their lives,” he said. Even basic can’t compare to the reality of war, Thomas said. “You’re still in a safer environment because you’re in a training zone in the United States.” “I’m just remembering a letter that I got from my friends while he was in Afghanistan. He said ‘The Taliban started off October with shooting off rockets at us, so that’s a good alarm clock’,” Thomas recollected. Transitioning from basic to college life has been crazy, Thomas said. “I feel like I have better time management now that I was so used to being on a regimented schedule that when I got some freedom back, I was like, ‘from this time to this time I have some leeway, maybe get some breakfast before class’. If I hadn’t done [basic training], I would probably be waking up a few minutes before class, throwing on some shoes, and booking it to government or something,” he said. For many soldiers, joining the military before beginning their education helped to prepare them for college, and in some cases, pay for their education. Riffe started at college at Augusta State University before he decided to enlist as a means to pay for college. “I pay for everything for myself. I didn’t [have] the funds for college, I

didn’t have HOPE. I needed an outside source to help pay for school and the Army provides that for me,” he said. Riffe enrolled at GSU in the spring of 2009 and was deployed in Afghanistan from 2010 until 2011, but his time away from school allowed him to focus more on his studies when he finally returned home. “I know when I was eighteen I wasn’t as focused as I am now. I saw college as a bridge into my future and I don’t think I would have taken it as seriously if I had not been in the military,” Riffe said. He has since found a way to be both a member for the GSU community and the military through the ROTC program. “I wanted to continue to be in the military. I am benefiting from being in college and taking a step further with ROTC. I will be an officer after college,” Riffe said. The ROTC program helps to prepare students for the military, but students who haven’t had as much experience in the military may not take it as seriously, Thomas said.

“People can join the ROTC program without any military experience before at all. I think sometimes people get the wrong idea about what the military is going to be like, so they might tend to not put as much effort into it as it needs to be,” he said. Shaun Brooks, a Sergeant E5 in the Army, has also found a home with the ROTC program. Brooks enlisted in the army after graduating from Georgia Southern with a B.S. in Psychology. “I wasn’t very satisfied with my career when I graduated. I really wanted more,” Brooks said. Brooks then enrolled as a graduate student in the Green to Gold Program at Georgia Southern while he was still deployed to Quatar in 2012. He is now four years into his military career and is currently working toward finishing graduate school and becoming a Lieutenant in the Army while still being on active duty. Deciding to join the military before college helped Thomas to discover what he

wanted to do with his career. “When I was in training, I kinda felt like a want to go to school so I could experience other things in life. Just over time, you start to wonder, what else is there I can do?” he said. Thomas is an infantryman

“I know when I was eighteen I wasn’t as focused as I am now. I saw college as a bridge into my future and I don’t think I would have taken it as seriously if I had not been in the military,” Riffe said. and has not been sent overseas for active duty yet, but there is always the possibility that he could be. “I’m stationed at a unit in Forsyth, Georgia. Since we are

still in a time of war, if need be, they could activate our unit and we could go overseas, [but] not necessarily to the Middle East. We could do a mission to South America or anywhere else that they need us.” “I would be ready if they called,” he said, although he would be afraid. “I think anybody would be somewhat afraid to go, even if they wouldn’t like to admit it. Honestly, I would say I wouldn’t be happy to go,” Thomas continued. GSU was been named a Military Friendly School for the last three years by G.I. Jobs magazine thanks to its high enrollment rates for veterans and the programs it has put in place to help veterans feel at home, and GSU also offers a Military Resource Center in the Nessmith-Lane Conference Center, which offers a place for veterans to study and connect to other service members and veterans. Riffe said, “They offer an outreach so everyone can feel together as a whole. They extend a hand to those who are new to campus life.”


FA L L 2 0 1 4


No matter what’s wrong, let us take care of you.



April 2 & 9 ・ 7 p.m. REFLECTOR S p r i n g 2 0 1 4 | 9

Fa l l D e a d l i n e

april 15

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LGBTQ AT GSU AN UNFILTERED PERSPECTIVE By Matt Sowell A point-blank question that you never expect to hear: “You know you’re going to hell, right?” Trint Smalley heard those exact words as an openly gay student at Georgia Southern University. “He said that straight to my face, and I couldn’t believe he had just said that to me,” Smalley explained.

LGBTQ at a Southern college

“My first year here at Georgia Southern, it took me a while to realize just how accepting it is,” Smalley said. “For the most part, though, Georgia Southern is a pretty open campus. Most people are pretty accepting, and if they’re not they keep their mouth shut about it.” College campuses are more accepting than the high schools that students used to attend, according to However, bigots and bullies still present a threat – mentally or physically – to members of the LGBTQ community, so some names in this article have been changed and marked with asterisks. Brian LaGrange* is a closeted member of a fraternity at GSU. He said that while many students are accepting of the LGBTQ community, “it will take a while for Southern fraternities to be accepting of openly gay members and potential new members. If you are an openly gay male rushing for a Southern college fraternity,

you are more likely to not be matched with any established fraternity,”LaGrange explained. Smalley thought that the students at GSU would treat him much like the people in his conservative hometown did. “When I came here for an honors day, I met a lot of gay people, and I was like, ‘Wow, this is kind of surprising. They seem like they’re out and proud and no one is really bothering them about it and they’re free to be who they are here,’” he said. Most fraternity brothers look down on or avoid the LGBTQ community, but homosexual behavior does happen through the hazing of prospective members, LaGrange said. “There are some hazing tactics that I have heard about and experienced during fraternity hazing — and yes, hazing happens to everyone — that may come off as ‘gay,’ but nothing extreme,” said LaGrange. LaGrange remains a devoted brother. “It is way more than homophobia and ‘buying’ friends. You meet a group of guys who see you as their equal and eventually they see you for more than just your sexual orientation because you have bonded in a way that only you guys can relate to,” he explained. “You may not want the whole fraternity to know, but when it comes down to it, any member of that organization will have your back in the end because you are part of that unique


Acceptance in the Southern community

Smalley has experienced some judgment in the Statesboro community when out with friends of the same sex. “We’ll just be two friends hanging out somewhere, and just because we don’t fit into the mold, we’re judged. It’s not like we’re having sex in public, so why is it a problem?” he asked. Lauryn Oglesby* is a lesbian sophomore who grew up in rural Georgia. After she came out to her cousin, news started trickling through her family. While most of Oglesby’s family was accepting, her religious mother was not, and Oglesby had to tell her mom many times. “Recently my mom found out for the third time. She has this thing where she tries to make me stop talking to people [and] I used to do it because I was younger. Like in tenth grade when she first found out, she had this fit. She called me and said, ‘So you like girls?’ and she started crying. She threw the phone.” Oglesby’s father was more understanding. “My dad handled it, telling me not to answer the phone when she called for now. People always ask me how I deal with [my mother’s reaction]. I’m used to it. I used to get upset and cry but now it’s at the point

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“It makes no difference what your sexuality is — what I look like naked is still not your business.”

where I’m an adult. I haven’t broken up with my girlfriend — I’m still talking to my friends. My dad tells me to just not tell her stuff and live my life,” she said. Julie Douberly, an English professor at GSU, knows what it was like to grow up in the South as a lesbian. “Growing up in a Southern Baptist church was certainly not easy. They were very vocal about their thoughts on homosexuality,” she said. “I think that is the biggest reason that it took me so long to accept that part of myself. I didn’t admit to being gay, even to myself, until junior year of college,” Douberly said. “I can remember a gay friend saying, ‘You are totally a lesbian. You know that, right?’ And my response

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“I can remember a gay friend saying, ‘You are totally a lesbian. You know that right?’ And my response was, ‘I cant be a lesbian. I’m a Baptist.’” was, ‘I can’t be a lesbian. I’m a Baptist.’” Douberly is now happily married to the love of her life. “My wife and I actually met in our first freshman orientation class here for the University Honors program. We were in the same circle of friends all through undergrad — and secretly in love with each other. Having her was the only way that I was able to get through my coming out experience, which was probably the worst year of my life,” she explained.

Hiding behind a screen

Austin Lanier is an openly gay sophomore nursing major. He has used the dating application Grindr, which is a location-based app that can be used for socializing with other gay men. “It’s garbage,” said Lanier. “You’re only getting the sex. I think that it serves a purpose in this area because there aren’t many outwardly gay people here. At the same time, you’ve got to ask what

purpose is it really serving. Is it, ‘Hey dude, I’m Austin. Let’s get coffee,’ or is it, ‘Hey dude, I’m Austin, come suck my dick?’ I guess it’s how you use it,” he said. Lanier said that Grindr “creates this counter-culture where you can hide behind your chest. That’s all you ever see is a chest, never a face. You don’t get the benefits of being in the gay community. You don’t see an app like that for other minorities. Grindr creates this notion that it has to be a secret.”

The ‘T’ in LGBTQ

Transsexual refers to someone who was born physically one sex, but mentally another. When Michael Lopez*, a transsexual man, was born, he was

physically a female. As he matured, he realized he was in the wrong body. Lopez now identifies as a gay male. “Most trans come out as gay first, but I like men so I never had to come out as that.” “I started medically transitioning when I was nineteen — it’s been a process. To transition, there [are] several medical procedures that one takes, like taking hormones and having surgeries done. It’s a much more complex process than a lot of people and even the media like to portray it as,” he said. Lopez said that people can be ignorant because they never try to figure out accurate information. “People make certain assumptions or ask questions that they honestly don’t know are extremely rude. I think sometimes gay people are worse about it because they think that since they’re gay that we’re cool, and we’re

not. It makes no difference what your sexuality is — what I look like naked is still not your business.”

Coming out

“Don’t be pressured to come out,” said Oglesby, offering advice to closeted students at GSU. “Make sure you’re ready to do it, because if you’re not you may not be able to handle what comes afterwards. Make sure you’re strong as a person before you do it.” “Coming out is a huge step and not all families and friends are going to be supportive,” said Douberly. “You have to make sure you are emotionally ready to take that on. One of the things that got me through the experience with my parents was knowing that I had a group of friends back here in Statesboro who did accept me. I also had a few professors — some gay and some straight — who were

“We’ll just be two friends hanging out somewhere, and just because we don’t fit into the mold, we’re judged. It’s not like we’re having sex in public, so why is it a problem?” sounding boards during that time. They let me sit in their offices and they listened to what I was going through.” Lanier offered some coming out advice of his own: “Life’s short. Sure, some people are gonna flip, and some are gonna trip, some will even dip. But in the long run your life will be filled with people and experiences that you with hold dear and will never fade away from memory, all because you

decided the truth was better than a lie.” “The important thing for people to know is that if you think somebody is gay or transsexual/transgender or questioning or anywhere in the middle, it is not up to you to decide when they come out — it’s a very personal thing,” Smalley said. “If you have a friend who you think might be gay that’s great, but you don’t have to know until they’re comfortable telling you.” Smalley continued, “Even though I’m gay, I’m still a person. I have interests. I have likes and dislikes. Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean that I’m attracted to all guys. It doesn’t mean I do drugs or drink a lot of alcohol. It doesn’t mean that I am sleeping with every other guy I meet. I have tons of things outside of being gay that are more important to me. Just because you meet me and I’m gay doesn’t mean that that should be my main identifier.”

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Best of the ‘Boro Staff picks: Make the most of your Statesboro weekend

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A Saturday downtown Downtown Statesboro has a lot to offer when it comes to a day out with friends. From extensive boutiques to vast choices of eateries, downtown Statesboro has something for everyone.

To do: 11:30 a.m. Check out Farmer’s Market

12:30 p.m. Shop at Frills, the Cobbler’s Bench or R.J. Pope

2:00 p.m. Grab lunch at South & Vine, Sugar Magnolia or Chops on Main

3:30 p.m. Paint mug at Free Spirit Pottery

6:00 p.m. Dinner and drinks at 40 East Grill

Photo taken at 40 East Grill in Downtown Statesboro REFLECTOR S p r i n g 2 0 1 4 | 15

Sweetheart in the sun Sweetheart Circle is a landmark at Georgia Southern, making it one of the best places to be for a college student on a low budget. On a beautiful day, you can hammock, study, play Frisbee with friends, play fetch with a furry friend or simply lie out and enjoy the sun.

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Waterside fun In addition to their scheduled trips, CRI’s Southern Adventures allows students to rent equipment for outdoor fun. Students can rent gear for one day, three days or even a week at reasonable prices. Pictured above: 4-person tent: $9, one day rental Basic sleeping bag: $4, one day rental Backpack:$4, one day rental Tandem sit-on-top kayak: $10, one day rental (includes two paddles, two pfds, two seat backs)

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Shots fired The Clubhouse is a great place to meet up with friends and proves you are never too old to play games. Laser-tag can be anyone’s game—no particular skill required! Just pick up a vest, laser-gun, a cool codename and fire at your friends to your heart’s content. It is the kind of game you can play with a large or small group and it brings a little friendly competition to a night out.

Photo taken at The Clubhouse in Statesboro REFLECTOR S p r i n g 2 0 1 4 | 19

i’m not who you think Pulling off the mask of stereotypes By Rashida Otunba Since elementary school, we were taught never to judge a book by its cover, but if it’s what we are inside that really counts, why do we continue to stereotype? There are many stereotypes that we see on campus every day, however there is always a bigger picture to who someone really is.

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I’m Muslim, but I’m not oppressed Nadia Dreid

senior journalism major, religious studies minor

Being a Muslim female, the biggest misconception I have faced has dealing with autonomy and independence. I have had to deal with people assuming that my actions are always dictated by outside forces or male family members - whether it’s my father or brother or husband. They think that my decision to wear the hijab and dress the way I do was pushed on me rather than a personal spiritual choice. In popular media I think that Muslim women are barely being portrayed at all, and when they are it’s almost always as a caricature or stereotype. There’s this concept that you can be Muslim as long as you don’t look different or behave differently. There’s the idea that you have to fit into this mold of what people think a Muslim should look like. There’s the idea that you shouldn’t inconvenience anyone in any way when they look at you so they don’t have to look at you and understand that you are different. As college students, we have access to a wealth of information that our parents didn’t have and that people in other countries don’t have. It’s not hard to learn about something and just because

someone is different from you, you should consider that they choose to be that way, not because some outside force is forcing them to be different. Most people are the same when you get down to it. You may choose different lifestyles but there is nothing really fundamentally different about a Muslim or a Christian or a Jew that would result in them needing to be treated a different way or viewed a different way.

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I’m a black guy with dreads, but I’m not an Eagle Alert Timarcus Wyatt

senior early childhood education major

I want to teach elementary school and then get my Masters in counseling. One day, I’ll probably go on to teach special needs. My mom is a teacher, and she really inspired me to get into the education field. I’m the only man in this childhood education program. All the other guys want to teach higher education or be coaches. By now, I’m used to being the only man. It’s only awkward if I make it awkward. I’ve been going to class with the same girls for the last three years, so they pretty much know what to expect out of me. I don’t really worry about the way parents might perceive me when they first meet

me. I’ve always been myself, and I know what people think when they first see me, so it’s up to me and how I carry myself that determines how people perceive me, not appearance. I want my students to see me and say, ‘If he can go to school and do it, then I can.’ I’m no different than the students I teach. My main inspiration for wanting to be a counselor is having that counselor be there for me when I was in school. The teachers used to put me out of the classroom every single day and I had to go to the office every single day. I needed someone to be there just to listen, and I just want to be there for somebody else and just be there to listen to them.

I’m a girly-girl, but I’m not weak Karaline Schmitz freshman nursing major

When I’m not wearing my uniform and I tell people that I’m in ROTC, usually people are really surprised. They don’t think to associate me with ROTC. When I tell my sorority sisters that I’m ROTC they’re shocked and they don’t expect it. When I tell my ROTC people that I’m in a sorority, they’re kind of shocked also. You usually wouldn’t pair the two together just because sororities are more girly and they’re about having fun and sharing a college experience, whereas ROTC is more about gaining experience for your future career. It’s definitely

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something people characterize as being something for tomboys rather than more feminine girls. I’m definitely one of the more girlier girls in ROTC. I like to work out, and I’m not afraid to get dirty when I’m working out, but I wouldn’t really characterize myself as a tomboy. I’m definitely more girly and I think that a common misconception with being more girly is that people think you’re dumb. For females in ROTC, we have lower standards for certain things like in our army fitness test. A lot of the guys think that the girls do better on the tests just because of that, but really it’s just that our bodies don’t work the same way. It’s just as hard for

a smaller framed body to meet those standards as it is for a male with more muscle and stature to meet their standards, and the only thing that I can do to prove to them that our standards aren’t any easier is just to keep up with them. Being in ROTC and a sorority are both very time consuming things. They both are things that you really have to commit to and I have to balance my time well and learn to do both at the same time. I’ve definitely been judged by some ROTC people for being in a sorority. They think that sorority girls are dramatic or all about partying when really it’s just about sharing experiences, rather than going out all the time.

I’m in a PanHellenic sorority, but I’m not white Ebony Turner

sophomore psychology major member of Delta Phi Epsilon

When I tell people that I’m in a sorority they always ask if I’m in a traditionally black sorority. When I tell them that I’m in Delta Phi Epsilon, they always ask what it is. When I tell them they’re like, “Aren’t those for white people?” DPhiE doesn’t judge. They accept everyone. So it’s always a process of me having to explain what it is and how we are. Even when I wear my letters sometimes, African-American women come up to me like, “Oh, you’re a Delta!” [Delta Sigma Theta, a traditionally black sorority] and when I explain to them what my sorority is, I kind of see their face fall. From what I have been told, people are surprised to see black people rushing for a

predominantly white sorority. Personally, I’ve never experienced anything overtly offensive, and I don’t think any of my other African-American [DPhiE] sisters have either. I didn’t want to be in any sorority at first. I was very anti-Greek life and I didn’t like the thought of paying for your friends. The bonds that I’ve made with my sisters made me change my mind about Greek life. It’s not for everyone. I didn’t think that it would be for me simply because I’m not social, but you spend so much time with your sisters that you talk to them and get to know them and it makes you a better person. I don’t like the term “typical sorority girl.” It’s not a thing. There’s not one person in DPhiE that isn’t unique. We do accept everyone and it’s not totally accepted by the other sororities.

I’m from a small Southern town, but I’m not a hick Jacob Jay

junior biology (pre-med) major SGA Senator

I’ve never been called a hick or anything like that, but I am from a very small town and people can tell by my accent. When you go to talk to your adviser about registration you don’t want to come across as someone who’s dumb or somebody who doesn’t sound like they know what they’re talking about. Especially coming from someone who’s biology/ pre-med, I want my professors to know that I’m capable and I’m perfectly ready to learn just like anyone else is. Even though I’m from a small town I’m capable of doing any-

thing just like anyone else is. I serve as a Student Government Association senator and through that role, you feel pressured more than anything else to go up there and kind of clean your accent up, make sure that you’re presenting yourself well. I can also tell with other people who might have an accent from New York or somewhere like that, they don’t want to come across as someone who’s a Yankee. It’s the same way with someone from the South. They don’t want to come across as some dumb redneck.  Student Government gives me the opportunity to branch out to different organizations, and I think that the more you

start to associate with other ideas and other cultures you begin to develop an international perspective and that’s when you start looking at the picture as a whole instead of just zooming in and just focusing on yourself.

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BY JEFF LICCIARDELLO It all started with ink spilled on a page. Chris Mitchell, founder of Pladd Dot Music and Georgia Southern alumni, said, “I was planning a gig one night at three a.m. and I fell asleep [designing] a flier and my pen put a black dot on the page. It was for our first gig in States-

Advice from an alum Mitchell had a spark of inspiration. He transformed his hobby and passion into success and is now sharing his tips on how to turn your great idea into a career.

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boro on November 17, 1993. I had to improvise.” “I told the bass player, ‘You know it’d be really cool if we could afford color because then we could make [the black dot] a plaid dot. So it started as black ink on a page by accident, it wound up with fourteen thousand

square feet, twenty employees, manufacturing guitars and amplifiers. It’s insane.” Mitchell has been a business owner since he was fifteen with the start of his band. “The moment you start a band, you’re in a business. You negotiate contracts and prices. You make plans to buy things and work to build up a show,” Mitchell said. Mitchell started Pladd Dot before he graduated from GSU in 1999. It is now a vast business with divisions in music, distribution, publishing, recording and pro-audio. In 2010, Mitchell launched Pladd Dot Toys, a nonprofit charity that sells collectible toys and donates proceeds to the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Department’s local toy drive for children in







I’ve been able to take all of my hobbies and interests and turn it into my life — that’s fun. That’s why I can work until three in the morning if I have to.

My goal has never been the money. My goal has been the creation – it has to be. If your end goal is money, there are a lot of obstacles that are going to prevent you from that success.

You have to be willing to take no and also take no more than once. It’s a big challenge, but one time they’ll say yes.

need. “We sell a lot of toys online and in store. All the proceeds go to benefit charity – not most of the proceeds, 100 percent,” Mitchell said. During Mitchell’s time as a student at GSU, he was the music coordinator for Union Productions, now known as University Programming Board. He was responsible for booking acts to come perform and maintaining the budget. This spring, Pladd Dot is building a guitar for GSU. “The color is going to be True Blue. We are going to match the football jerseys and have customizations for the entire university,” Mitchell said, “I love GSU. [It] really helped me define who I was and it gave me the perfect working environment for doing what I do.”





No one cares about your career half as much as you do, so you are going to have to do all of the work. You’re going to have to put in the hours – you’re going to have to do all of the labor. When you think you don’t have any more energy to go on, you’re only halfway there.

I was never afraid of hard work, and it takes a lot of hard work. I’ve seen a lot of businesses fail simply because they do not understand how many hard hours you actually have to put in. You have to be committed to working on your business from the time you get up in the morning, until three hours past your bedtime or longer.



By Jessie Reese











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“He was the one to always get me out of my funk. I get so worked up about the stupidest things and he was always the one to mellow me out,” said Olivia Nelson.

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A year later, memories live on Remembering Cory Wilson’s fear of the dark, taste for croutons and love for girlfriend Olivia Nelson By Lindsay Gaskins


Thursday last January was a typical day for most students at Georgia Southern University as the start of a new year. For one student, Jan. 17 was the day her life changed forever. Olivia Nelson lost her boyfriend Cory Wilson that day after he collapsed during class and was rushed to the hospital. Cory and Olivia met in high school, where she said it was love at first big red truck. “It’s really weird to think back on it. I would see him – or I would see his red truck – and I didn’t know who he was, but I would see it and try to pass by him on the way home everyday,” Olivia said. They went to separate high schools in Savannah and Olivia said she would always try to talk to Cory one way or another. “My friend from high

school went to school with Cory and one night, she was at my house and she was texting him about a school assignment. I took her phone to get his number and I texted him saying that her phone died and that he could text her here - her phone really didn’t die, I just wanted to talk to him,” Olivia said. Texting quickly grew to conversations, and conversations grew to spending time together, which turned into their first date. “We just kind of started talking and then he asked me out on a date, like a legit date, and the rest is history,” she said. “We went to The Exchange in Savannah. We went out to eat with a group before this, but I like to count this as the first date. He was in a camo shirt, a camo belt, camo hat and I was in a red scarf, which is now kind of funny to think about,” Olivia said.

Cory’s favorite color was red. Friends and family knew him best by the way he always wore a red bandana. Cory, a construction management major, and Olivia, a public relations major, were together for a little more than three years when the unthinkable happened. “I remember that morning we walked to class together and I had been in a bad mood because something had happened, one of my classes got messed up and I was just being my typical moody self and right before he just told me, ‘Don’t worry about it. We will get it worked out – don’t worry.’ That’s my last memory of him, him telling me everything was going to be fine.” Cory collapsed soon after in class. Olivia was right across the hall, having no idea what was happening. “My phone kept buzzing and my friend Blair was

messaging me and it was coming through on my iPad. It said ‘Emergency Cory.’ I turned and I saw him go by on a stretcher in the hallway,” she said. “I went over to the other classroom and everyone was sitting there saying he had collapsed and they didn’t know what happened,” Olivia said. After making a call to her mom, Olivia rushed to the hospital, still not understanding what was happening. “We go to the hospital and I’m still so calm, as I now think back on it, I couldn’t believe how calm I was because none of that had ever crossed my mind. It couldn’t happen to me.” Cory’s family was called one at a time, first his parents then his younger sister Morgan. It was all a blur after that, Olivia said. “I was just sitting there, then they called Morgan back

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and I heard Morgan scream. Then they called me back there, and I can’t remember after that. I can, but it’s such a blur and such shock that I just couldn’t even fathom. Honestly, I still think I’m in denial.” “The next four days were just like hell. The only word that I can describe it as was just quiet. It felt like I was just in this bubble of silence,” Olivia said. Cory passed away that day on Jan. 17, 2013, and this year marked the one-year anniversary of Cory’s passing. “He was the one to always get me out of my funk. I get so worked up about the stupidest things and he was always the one to mellow me out,” Olivia said. “Thinking back about that, and thinking if I had just stayed mad at him [after our last conversation], I could have never lived with that.” In their three years together, Olivia can recall countless times Cory made her feel loved. He always made sure that Christmas was special for her. “Our second Christmas we had together, I had found this Tiffany’s ring I really liked. I had never said anything to him, but I think my mom ended up saying something to him, and at that point we had been together a year. He would come over on the morning of Christmas and he would have this huge box and I’m like, ‘What in the world?’ So I start unwrapping and it is like the most random presents. I got a package of disposable bowls and sponges, then a thing of Windex and I am just unwrapping and saying, ‘Okay, thanks.’ Then finally, I get to the bottom and it was the little blue Tiffany’s box and it had the ring in it that I wanted.” That became a tradition for them. Cory always came up with a way to surprise Olivia each Christmas.

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“I think what’s really important about the gifts he gave me is that he always knew that to me, what mattered was not necessarily something he gave, but the memories,” Olivia said. Cory’s mom Lisa agreed with Olivia about the countless ways to describe Cory’s character. He was loving, over-the-top and kind. “He was so charismatic and energetic and fun and out there, but at the end of the day, his love was Olivia and what he wanted was for her to be happy and them be happy together. He spent all of his energy making memories with her and us too,” Lisa said. “He knew where his roots were and what was important and I think that is what I am most proud of Cory for,” she said “He had so many little

quirks about him that I think I learned over the years,” Olivia said. Those quirks include putting chocolate on his bacon, his deep love for his Chapstick and croutons and his fear of the dark. “He did not like the dark. He had to sleep with the light on,” she said. Although it has been difficult, Olivia said she has had an enormous amount of support. “I think in the beginning months after it, I was in such denial that I was able to be there for [Lisa] because I remember I had a hard time crying because I couldn’t even have emotion,” Olivia said. “I feel like I was able to be there for her when she was really upset. Now, she’s there for me. When it hit the year mark the other night, she called me and we were just talking. I felt

like the roles were reversed and she was the one holding me up,” she said. Olivia’s mom also played a vital role in supporting both her and Lisa in the following months after Cory’s death. “Words won’t describe the way she has held us up,” Lisa said. “Even more than that, [Olivia’s] family just embraced Cory and they have been amazing and so strong,” she said. “My daughter Morgan is here and she has had a ton of support come from RUF [Reformed University Fellowship] and they have been a major part of helping us get through this,” Lisa added. Olivia’s sisters in Phi Mu and Cory’s brothers in the Kappa Alpha Order were also there to lift her up when she needed it most. “I had just been elected president and they expected nothing from me but I expected so much from myself that I felt accountable. Cory wanted me to be president. He called me his ‘bad ass prez’ and it made him so happy so I was not going to give that up,” she said. “His fraternity has done so much for me, more than I could have ever imagined,” Olivia said. GSU was there, and still continues to be there for Olivia, offering support every step of the way. “Dean Jackson was just wonderful. She still checks in with me and I still go to meet with her. Georgia Southern as a whole has just been incredible to me,” she said. Cory and Olivia’s relationship set the example for all of those who surrounded them, Lisa said. “We were thrilled with their relationship. It was a blessing to our family. I think Cory

Here, Olivia and Cory share a sweet moment while taking pictures for her senior prom. The couple was together for three years before Cory passed away in January of 2013.

Photo courtesy of Olivia Nelson and Olivia were sort of icons to their friends and their family members. They had the best of both worlds, they balanced each other,” she said. “We would get so frustrated with each other over the stupidest things and I think we could just do that just because we could, but we would never go thirty minutes being mad. Not a single time did we go to bed or separate and be mad at each other,” Olivia said. Before Cory passed, he

had a conversation with his mom about proposing to Olivia. “Cory and I talked over Christmas. He said ‘Ma, you gotta help me pick out a ring for Liv.’ I told him, ‘Okay honey, do you know what you want?’ He told me he knew she loved those blue boxes from Tiffany’s. I smiled knowing he did not know one thing about Tiffany’s,” Lisa said. “I told him he might have to go small if he went there and he looked at me so seri-

ously and said he was going to ask Kenny (Cory’s dad) to float him a loan. Since he worked for his dad, he was planning on getting the ring over Spring Break then would work off his loan over the summer.” “He never minded working for what he wanted and he made his mind up that a life with his Liv was his dream,” Lisa said. Although Cory is no longer here, Olivia will always be a part of the Wilson family.

“We can’t wait to see what great things she is going to accomplish because we know that she is and we are going to be right there cheering her on,” Lisa said. “We will be there for everything and hopefully, someday we will be invited to her wedding.” She added, “It was a blessing to watch them and I am very, very thankful. My entire family, we embrace Olivia, we love Olivia. We are going to be a part of her life for a long, long time.”

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The Reflector, Spring 2014  
The Reflector, Spring 2014  

Georgia Southern University's student lifestyle magazine, produced by students in the Department of Student Media.