VALLEY Magazine | Spring 2021

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Back in Business The Future of Fitness Diving into Dopamine Breaking Down the #BossBabes The Healthy and the Wealthy Glowing on a Diet

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I Still See Your Shadows in My Room… The Buzz on Bubbles Micro-Dosing on Magic The Science of Not Giving a F*ck Is the For You Page Good FOR YOU? Living in a Jungle Can’t Talk Right Now...Doing Hot Girl Sh*t



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Penn State’s premier student-run life and style magazine. VALLEY Magazine is published once per semester and distributed for free on Penn State’s main campus in University Park, PA. Our mission is to recognize Penn State students for their academic and extracurricular accomplishments and to feature local style, entertainment and lifestyle trends. VALLEY Magazine is named after Happy Valley and was founded in September 2007 by former Penn State students Nicole Gallo, Meredith Ryan, Katie Zuccolo and Kathryn Tomaselli. The Spring 2021 magazine is VALLEY’s twenty-seventh issue.

32 CAMPUS CULTURE 33 34 36 41 42 43

Every Day Arts Fest Putting the “I” in Allyship Changing the Tides Gentrified I Am Lost The Cost of the College Experience

44 ENTERTAINMENT 45 46 47 48 50

Gen Z: Dark Humor or Disturbing Depression? You’re Not Their Only Fans Gender Equality? Or Sports Media Patriarchy? What Keeps Us Watching Gone Too Soon

51 FASHION 52 56 58 59 60

Raw Regality Cycles Depop Dumpster Fire Lounging in Luxury That’s Hot! The Return of Y2K


Three years ago nearly to the day of this issue being published, my good friend and basically life mentor, Kylee McGuigan, invited me to attend this super cool launch event for the magazine she was on staff of, just as her plus one for the night. Little did I know that attending VALLEY launch party in the spring of 2018 would almost overnight change my entire career path and basically, my outlook on everything. Maybe it was the stories told or the people I met, but I had this feeling in my gut that I needed to be a part of this magazine. After joining as a web writer in May of 2018, the rest is truly history. Just a few months later, I was blessed with the opportunity to be a section editor, and with a ton of hard work and more importantly, confidence and belief in myself, I am now the proudest Editor-in-Chief alive. One year after joining staff I was afforded the opportunity to work for my favorite magazine of all time, PEOPLE Magazine, and that opportunity only came about because of VALLEY. VALLEY, more so than anything, has given me and so many others a voice, a passion and a purpose. I have truly never met another community of people who were so passionate, so accepting and so dedicated to what they do. To everyone on staff, past and present, the only words I can find to say are this: thank you. My purpose for sharing this story with the world is this: there is no limit to what you can do or what you can achieve. Every day is a new chance to go after your dreams and your goals, and you can truly do anything you set your mind to. It won’t always be easy, but it sure will be worth it. The last year has been hard and filled with more dark days than bright ones, which is why my main goal for this issue was for it to be a source of hope, and possibly an escape from some of the scary parts of the world right now. Sure, we dive into difficult topics, but often we’re not dwelling on them, but rather reflecting on how these experiences shape us, inspire us and make us better people. When I first met our cover star, Jake Snyder, in minutes I knew he was the perfect choice. His dedication to his own authenticity and achieving his goals is beyond inspiring. He is truly breaking barriers and making history everyday with his passions and his life goals. For lack of a better term, he is changing the tides of our world today. I know you too will be inspired when you read his story. I certainly did not create this issue alone, and I have several people to thank for making this magazine even possible. To Nicole, our managing editor and my absolute lifeline, thank you for being my go-to gal, and for having all of the answers. I have no doubt that I’m leaving this magazine in the best hands next fall. To Emma, our copy editor, thank you for being my VALLEY best friend from day one, and for being the most detailed-oriented editor I’ve ever met. VALLEY won’t be the same without you in future semesters. To Kristine, our web director, thank you for your constant leadership and dedication to VALLEY and our web content. I have no doubt you will continue to do amazing things on staff for the semesters to come. To Caroline, our business director, thank you for always holding down the fort and quite literally, making it all happen. I know you’re going to do great things in your future post-grad life. To Annie, our creative director, thank you for not being afraid to step up when the time was right, and for sharing your creative talents with the world. To our entire team of directors: public relations, events, finance, advertising, casting, editorial, creative, photo, design, and video, thank you for trusting me and your constant leadership. You all have such a special place in my heart, and I’m so proud of what you all have accomplished. To our amazing staff across all divisions, thank you for your endless hard work and dedication to VALLEY. Every single one of you has made an impact on this magazine, and you all deserve to be so proud of yourselves. Every season of life has waves that feel like they’re crashing down on you, with no end in sight. Beyond the horizon, though, as the tide calms and comes in, there’s always hope on the other side. The past year has felt like a never-ending storm for many, but truly I believe we are beginning to be on the other side. Keep the faith, keep pushing and most importantly, never give up on yourself or your dreams. The times are changing, and so are the tides. All my love,

Carmen DiPippo Editor in Chief, VALLEY Magazine






THE FUTURE OF FITNESS BY ELISE TECCO With classes and clubs mostly on Zoom, the amount of time we spend staring at screens has only increased since the pandemic. A sedentary lifestyle triggered by the lockdown led to more people looking for ways to get fit and stay fit, physically and mentally. The pandemic was the “wake-up call the fitness industry needed,” Penn State Campus Recreation Assistant Director for Fitness and Wellness, Jill Garrigan says. According to Garrigan, the fitness industry seemed “stagnant” before the pandemic. It catered mostly to exercise enthusiasts and sometimes ignored people who needed more encouragement to participate.


The pandemic created a “mission readjustment” and the fitness industry struggled. According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, the U.S. gym and health club industry lost $13.9 billion from mid-March to August 31. By the end of 2020, around 15% of gyms had closed permanently. A former gym owner, Garrigan teaches a kinesiology course and is in charge of recreational fitness activities for the campus community. Under her direction, Penn State fitness classes immediately switched to a virtual format when the pandemic began. “If there is one group of people who can adapt to change, it’s group fitness [instructors],” Garrigan says. To create these virtual workouts, Garrigan converted a former cycling studio in the IM building into a sanitized recording studio complete with ring lights, camera stands, a sound system and fitness equipment. This space allows instructors to record their classes without being interrupted at home, providing a much less distracting environment for the instructor and audience. She quickly realized that the instructors needed to be more entertaining, interactive and creative to catch people’s attention. Garrigan also noticed that with so much screen time nowadays, people wanted shorter virtual exercise sessions. “We need to be the delivery method, know our fitness, but even more we need to bring whatever that added value is that makes you go to a class rather than watch a [pre-recorded] YouTube video.” Since exercise can be a very social activity, Garrigan has found that many clients still prefer synchronous workouts with personal interaction. “We are finding that fitness is more than just going to a gym or going to a class,” Garrigan says, “It’s about being around like-minded people in a clean, healthy environment.” Offering live classes, instead of recorded ones, played a role in helping motivate people to work out. Penn State also created virtual sessions that allow instructors to simply interact and chat with their clients as they would if they were all together in the same room. Many instructors miss the benefits of teaching in-person classes. Grace Bradley, a Penn State Fitness Instructor, doesn’t feel the same connection when she teaches on Instagram or through Zoom. She explains that a lot of people on Zoom don’t put their cameras on, so it’s harder to keep the energy up or correct someone if they are performing an exercise incorrectly.


When the IM building reopened in the fall, the staff did their best to keep the facility clean and safe. The cardio machines were spaced out; units were installed to purify the air; and the exercise equipment was regularly sanitized. Also, a limit was set on how many people could be exercising at the same time, so students had to reserve times to work out. According to Megan Forgie, manager of a corporate fitness center in Wayne, PA with 10 years of experience in the industry, a modified layout similar to Penn State’s current setup will continue for at least the next year to provide a more open atmosphere. “Gym owners will realize they don’t need as many selectorized (weight) machines and instead can offer more circuit style training, like plyometric boxes, agility ladders and resistance tubing. The number of participants will continue to be limited in group exercise classes. Members will be more concerned that a fitness facility is kept clean, so hand sanitizers and tools like disinfectant spray guns will be regularly used.” Garrigan thinks that even when people are exercising in person, the classes will be offered virtually at the same time. People who felt uncomfortable working out at the gym will always have a convenient, non-intimidating way to exercise at home. Garrigan also sees a trend towards new, unique inventions for home fitness, such as a space-saving, murphy-bed gym that folds open when it’s in use. Two other fast-growing products are the MIRROR Home Fitness and the Peloton bike. With so many people exercising at home, it’s not surprising sales of the high-tech Peloton bike with its on-demand cycling classes skyrocketed. In fact, Peloton expects to see its online subscriptions doubling to around 2.05 million this year.

proven that it’s something she and so many others need in their daily lives. “I would go on a walk every day and workout later,” she says. “I didn’t want to sit around on social media because that’s when a lot of mental health issues start to come in.” In the classes she teaches, Bradley emphasizes using that time to take your mind off everything. “We are all going through something,” she says, “but just focus on your workout.” While people who were intimidated by the gym before are likely benefiting from the influx of at-home workouts, gym memberships aren’t going away. Bradley, Garrigan and Forgie all agree that fitness centers will continue to offer benefits people can’t get anywhere else. “Our industry is so adaptable, driven and motivated to give our patrons whatever we can give them,” Bradley says. “We are not going to stop no matter what comes our way. We are going to provide that outlet to our patrons and give them what they need.” While the pandemic has certainly changed the fitness business, it hasn’t been for the worst. It has pushed fitness professionals to find new ways to be accommodating and accessible. As a result, more people are working out and more attention is being given to everyone’s well-being.

Erica Shertz, a 2020 Penn State Kinesiology graduate and Certified Personal Trainer, who is now a Coach at Orangetheory Fitness in Potomac, Maryland, says there has been a “wait list of at least 10 people for nearly every class.” In order to stay safe, indoor classes are maxed at 13 participants, and people are distanced with two stations between them, providing well over the recommended 6 feet of distance. The adjustments have definitely impacted both members and coaches alike, but the benefits of an in-person experience are there. Everyone has to wear masks at all times due to COVID-19, but safety measures such as these can encourage potential clients that there are safe ways to exercise in a gym again. “I think wearing masks has gotten a lot easier….you get used to it,” Shertz says, who believes “the more we can make people feel comfortable, the more people will want to come back.” Also a Site Manager for Synergy Fitness, Shertz says the best part about in-person group exercise classes is the ability to connect with people again. Exercising with the same people in the same room feels like a “community, it’s such a social thing,” she says. Being able to work out together “makes everyone value the experience more because it was once taken away.”


Exercise impacts our mental health, too. In college especially, people often want a physical place to escape to when they need a break. A study of 2,400 Californians conducted by Emicity Market Research found that 54% reported negative impacts on their mental health and well-being directly due to gyms closing. Fitness has always been a big influence on Grace Bradley’s life, and quarantine has


diving into dopamine BY AMANDA FLYNN If you dive into the brain and explore the complex workings of the nervous system, you will find something very special that helps create feelings from love and lust to pleasure and euphoria. Say hello to dopamine.


Dopamine is one of the many neurotransmitters found in the human body. Neurotransmitters act as chemical messengers that transmit signals throughout the nervous system. Dopamine is responsible for transmitting sensations that make us feel like we are on top of the world. From smelling fresh cookies or seeing your favorite artist live in concert — it is dopamine that rushes through the brain during these moments, enacting a wave of instant delight. These feelings are not just brought upon by dopamine, there are other components and neurotransmitters that contribute to this involved and complicated process.


There are many parts and pieces that go into releasing and transmitting dopamine. In order to get a sense of why this transmitter makes us feel the way it does, it is important to take a closer look. In terms of understanding at a basic level, dopamine is released in the deep areas of the brain known as the brainstem, midbrain and hindbrain. It is transmitted by its own cells into the front parts of the brain in areas referred to as the frontal cortex and basal ganglia. When it is released, there are multiple positive impacts on not just your mood, but of your way of thinking and processing information. “When dopamine is being released when you’re learning, you’re actually making better connections for remembering things in the future. There’s more to it than just mood and reward,” Penn State Assistant Teaching Professor of Psychology, Dr. Joyce A. Furfaro, who specializes in integrative biosciences and neuroscience, says.


There are many natural and healthy ways to make sure that you are releasing stable amounts of dopamine each day.For starters, nutritious foods can lay the groundwork. Bananas, almonds, soybeans, chicken, eggs and avocados all have one thing in common: they contain tyrosine, the amino acid that is an imperative component of producing dopamine. Keeping a steady sleeping schedule is also essential, as neurotransmitters replenish themselves each night. If you are looking for a pick-me-up, look towards your interests. Whether it is music, art, mediation, cooking or reading — you name it, the activities that make you happy prompt dopamine to rush through the brain. Something as simple as going for a drive while listening to music is all it takes to get signals to fire throughout your nervous system. Tuning into the reward component of dopamine also is helpful in releasing ample amounts of this neurotransmitter. “Set yourself up for rewards, small rewards. Don’t make your hurdles too high. Do things that make you feel good, within reason of course, and that can increase your motivation to repeat those things,” Furfaro says.



There is no doubt that COVID-19 has put dopamine at a crossroad. The drastic change in lifestyle has made it extremely strenuous for some college students to feel motivated and enthusiastic about life and their interests like they used to before the pandemic hit. Along with that, not having physical touch can place a lot of stress on the body for certain people. “Being engaged with friends online, especially if you can see the person, is going to help the brain in general cope with not being able to see people in person,” Furfaro says. “Don’t cut out those experiences that can keep us close, even when we are not able to be close in person.” If there is something to hold onto as this new year kicks into action, it is to remember to keep in touch with dopamine, as it is able to provide the human body with some of the most layered and complex feelings that transcend into many different aspects of life, leaving the brain with indescribable sensations — sensations that everyone could use a little bit more of. If you feel like you need help communicating or just want someone to talk to, Penn State provides resources through the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and the 24/7 crisis line. You are not alone during these unprecedented times. Penn State Counseling and Psychological Services: 814-863-0395 Penn State 24/7 Crisis Line: 1-877-229-6400 or text “LIONS” to 741741 National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255

happy hormones


BY KristIn Gjelaj In a fast-paced digital era, companies have optimized their reach by changing their marketing strategies, especially on social media. The corporate world has created ambassador programs and brand deals, targeted to influencers with large followings and high audience engagement to promote sales and in-turn, receive a commission. Some companies have even gone one-step further, implementing a direct multilevel marketing sales model and allowing anyone to receive a capless commission. Now, with just a $200 buy-in, you can become a business owner.


To its definition, multilevel marketing (MLM) is the practice of selling goods or services on behalf of a company in a system whereby participants receive commission on their sales as well as the sales of any participants they recruit. In layman’s terms, anyone can receive commission by selling directly to customers or signing someone up to become a distributor, and earning a commission for each sale they make, too. MLM companies have promoted the phrase “work from WiFi,” engaging distributors not only by their high-quality products, but financial freedom and earning potential — there is no cap to income potential. Corporate careers usually tie incomes to market standards, causing limitation in earning potentials. MLM companies do not hold you back. In theory, what you put into the business is what you will get out.


The MLM model has dominated the health and fitness world in recent years, with many companies achieving billionaire revenue status yearly — Young Living, Beach Body, Arbonne, Amway and Monat, to name a few — thanks to distributors. “It’s a brilliant business model,” Brianna Califano says. “I’m able to help someone who then can help someone else and I can earn a profit. The tide rises together that way.” The ease of a residual stream of income is a main attractor for many, according to Califano. Califano was introduced to Young Living — the essential oil leader of the western world — by her mother, when she was a freshman in high school. Young Living’s oils are therapeutic-grade oils and hold a “seed-to-seal” standard, meaning Young Living oversees total production control, from the farms these oils are grown on to the plastic that is selected to seal the bottles and everything in between. Califano had seen the oils change her life for the first time, she said, when she was a cheerleader struggling with confidence issues.


“I needed something to ground me and get all the negative energy out so I could perform,” Califano says. “They were my saving grace.”

“It’s simply not true,” Califano says. “Every part of the model is completely legal. I don’t engage or entertain any of that kind of discussion or negativity.”

Separate from confidence and mindset, Califano also uses the oils for sleep, energy, stress and immune support.

A pyramid scheme is centered around the idea that “no program can recruit new members forever,” according to the Federal Trade Commission.

When she arrived at college, Califano realized there was a new market for her to showcase her holistic lifestyle. She started her own Young Living business and promoted her lifestyle through her Instagram handle: @essentiallybrie.

As of now, Young Living and Monat are only continuing to grow and adding more members yearly.

“A lot of my friends on my floor in college saw me as a positive influence and always wondered how I stayed so healthy in college, so I saw it as a way to reach more people both at home, school and with strangers,” Califano says. “I believed in it and wanted more people to have access to that to see how it could help them. At its root, I just really love these products.” Newer to social selling, sophomore Tara McCafferty began her journey with Monat this past January. Monat — formerly known as “Modern Nature” — is a non-toxic, plant-based hair care, skin care and wellness brand aimed at targeting health from the inside-out. “When I started learning more about the company and doing my own research, I was like ‘oh my god this seems like something right down my alley,’” McCafferty says. “I’m also trying to go vegetarian and taking small steps toward that lifestyle, looking into products that are vegan and cruelty-free. It was a perfect sign.” McCafferty was exposed to the business by previous Dance Moms actress, Brittany Pent. Pent started her Monat selling journey over three years ago and McCafferty messaged her first. What stuck out to her was the authenticity of both the business and its distributors. “They’re not a weird pushy company looking to take advantage of people like a lot of companies do,” McCafferty says. “What stuck out to me was how personable they are. You can see that with anyone who is a market partner. Whenever I was talking to Brittney I could feel in my gut that she wasn’t trying to scam me, it felt genuine.”


It’s no secret that this marketing strategy faces harsh backlash with constant criticism branding the model as “a pyramid scheme.” Due to the structure of the sales model emulating that of a pyramid, many have often confused the model as a means to funnel earnings from those on lower levels of an organization to the top, associating all with fraudulent operation allegations.


McCafferty shared her sister’s negative experience with network marketing company Beachbody. Her sister advised her to do full research into Monat before committing. “I know there are many other networking companies that do not have the best customer service,” McCafferty says. “You just have to do your own research and make sure you love the products.”


For full-time students, Califano and McCafferty, it serves as a second stream of income. They both promote the products on their social media channels and engage with their followers on a routine basis. “I see it as a constant in my life,” Califano says. “It will always be a piece of me and I know my check will continue to grow over the years. I love hustling and doing many things and it’s just part of my lifestyle at this point.” McCafferty hopes to be a social worker after graduation, but knew she always wanted a side hustle to use her “creative side.” “I know I have creativity skills naturally, our generation grew up with social media,” McCafferty says. “I have always known I needed a mix of something that will go well with my dream of working in the non-profit realm, but also that could exist independently.” As of now, it is more of a side hustle for both girls. “Once I am more steady, I definitely want it to flourish as much as it can,” McCafferty says. “I am not putting any caps on it. I’m letting things happen, right now I would call it a side thing, but I know it has the potential to grow beyond that.”


THE HEALTHY & THE WEALTHY BY Kristine Wang What started out as a push to eat fewer packaged goods and more fresh produce, has now quickly evolved into harsh food rules that are contributing to more problems than just our wallets. Clean eating is widely important for our overall wellness; however, it is hard to determine what exactly clean means. Brands across the country have rebranded their foods to contain buzzwords to tap into the emerging trend of health and wellness in the food industry. Clean eating is no longer solely about the ingredients it seems, but also the complete elimination of carbohydrates, sugars and fats — all necessary to keep us satiated and energized. Grocery stores like Whole Foods specialize in organic products that often cost a whole dollar, if not more, than the generic item and niche products that claim to fill any extreme diet needs. There are a few layers to this misconception of the clean eating fad. One, it’s more evident than ever how socioeconomic gaps in our society affect the food families put on their table. In addition to the sometimes expensive price tags that are associated with solely “clean” products, the ill-informed clean diet fads have given rise to a whole new category of disordered eating that can become dangerous. As college students, we all grocery shop and look at the prices more so than some other generations have, as we strive to eat within our budgets. In addition to our demographic, low-income families are witnessing large scale food deserts, or situations where it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food. The quality of diet between high and low income families continues to grow apart even farther as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. The accessibility of supermarkets and grocery stores in low-income neighborhoods in comparison to the sheer amount of fast food chains is shocking. According to a research study conducted by the Harvard University School of Public Health, the diet quality between the “haves and have-nots” has widened significantly where families in the low-income bracket see a much worse quality in food. This diet quality metric was based on food and nutrients found in what are scientifically deemed “good-quality” diets. The study attributed the decline in diet quality to the higher cost of convenient and healthy meals as well as limited access. One of the key factors for the infamous documentary “Super Size Me” made in 2004 by director Morgan Spurlock, was to explore why many Americans tend to reach for the convenience of McDonalds rather than a nutritious and healthy meal. In his documentary, he states that it can be easier for lower-income families to drive through a fast-food restaurant and order a $1 burger for each member of their family than it is to make a trip to a grocery store and pay more for produce. In addition to a higher cost of groceries, there is an issue of opportunity costs associated with cooking a meal from scratch.


5 MIN READ Much of these socioeconomic issues continue to contribute to the health inequality between the upper and lower classes — almost 2 decades after the film aired. Although programs such as SNAP, spearheaded by Former First Lady Michelle Obama, have made strides to improve the diet quality of Americans, the gap is still wide and very present. Scientists at the American Heart Association crafted their “ideal” diet based on necessary nutrients and calories which included lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and unprocessed products. They were able to measure diet quality from 2003 to 2012 and on, and they found that changes in diets were highly associated by class. Low-income groups, or those who make less than $30,000 for a household of four, still ate poorly and significantly lower than the “ideal” diet with only 38% of low-income people eating an intermediate diet. Those in the high-income bracket, or people who make more than $69,000 for a household of four, had more than 62% of families eating an intermediate diet and above. A mass study conducted by the American Public Health Association in 2012 investigated neighborhood disparities by income, race or ethnicity and urban or rural all across major cities in the United States. One of their studies looked at 448 block groups in New York City and found that some African American block groups were more likely to have fewer opportunities to obtain healthy foods and instead had higher access to fast-food restaurants than any other ethnic block group. The study concluded that the emergence of urban food deserts — areas with limited access to healthful food sources and high levels of racial segregation and income inequality — mandated serious public health intervention. On the flip side of the “clean eating” coin, comes another dangerous misconception associated with the trend — orthorexia and other disordered mindsets. American physician Steve Bratman first coined the term “orthorexia” in 1997. The term is defined as an unhealthy obsession with proper or healthy eating. A few of the warning signs and symptoms of orthorexia, according to the National Eating Disorders Association, are compulsive checking of ingredient lists and nutritional labels, an increase in concern about the health of ingredients, cutting out an increasing number of food groups and an inability to eat anything but a narrow group of foods that are deemed “healthy” or “pure” to the patient. Even though orthorexia on the surface seems like an overly health-conscious individual, the health consequences of the disorder can be just as dire as any other, including possible malnutrition.

“The concept of turmeric lattes and solely organic foods has not proven to truly change the course of your health, and much of it is false information,” Rosenberg says. “If you are an intuitive eater, you won’t crave Big Macs for lunch every day and people don’t believe until they try it. Letting go of the whole concept of ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’, ‘clean’ and ‘have-to’ is so important because none of it is a thing,” Rosenberg says. The pandemic has created a tricky and dangerous environment for many when it comes to disordered eating. Rosenberg explains that food is oftentimes how people maintain a sense of control. With something as large and uncertain as COVID-19, many of her patients have attempted to manage their anxiety through food, whether it be overeating, undereating or any form of restriction in between. “Those who suffer from orthorexia probably aren’t the ones who end up in the hospital, but they are sucking the joy out of their life because they’re so rigid and restrictive with their food,” Rosenberg says. Intuitive eating is such an important mechanism and way of life to best be in tune with one’s body and what your body craves. “If you eat what you crave, and have the privilege to buy what you crave, and the time because you’re not working four jobs, you will crave healthy foods. You do not need to restrict yourself from any one food or food group,” Rosenberg says. Rosenberg leaves us with this, “Finding ways to eat intuitively is a lot easier to suggest to people who don’t struggle with food shortages and food insecurity. Figuring out what you crave and obtaining it is much harder to prioritize when someone simply does not have access to a variety of food choices.”

Alison Rosenberg, LCSW, who has practiced clinical social work for 30 years in Pennsylvania. She has a range of clients in the Southeastern Pennsylvania region, many of whom suffer from disordered eating. Rosenberg talked about her experience and insights into the clean eating fad and what she has personally witnessed in her practice and research.


GLOWING ON A DIET BY meg wallach What is one of the secrets to clean, clear and glowing skin? It can actually come down to what’s on your plate. Studies show that certain foods can be beneficial in achieving skin goals. According to Healthline, “Certain foods can raise your blood sugar more quickly than others. This causes your body to release insulin. Having excess insulin in your blood can cause oil glands to produce more oil — increasing your risks of acne.” Foods with high levels of carbohydrates, or “high-glycemic carbohydrates” contribute to higher levels of insulin. These foods include, but are not limited to pasta, watermelon, bagels, white rice, white bread and sugar. Don’t place all the blame on the carbs, though. Dairy products and fried foods also are proven to have negative effects on your skin, as well. Additionally, any foods you may be sensitive to could be triggering your skin troubles. Dr. Cindy Yoon Soo Bae, a board certified dermatologist, discussed with Elite Daily about a study conducted in China where specialists collected data from their patients, showing the correlation between ingestion of sweet and spicy foods with oily skin. She did note that because the study was self-reported, there may be a chance of bias. However, the results showed that high glycemic index foods may play a big role in some skin concerns. We’ve all heard about the benefits of healthy fats, but a common question may be, why are they necessary in a diet? Wouldn’t that make the skin oilier and more prone to breakouts? Well, this is a false myth. Fatty acids such as fatty fish and various other omega-3s are extremely high in vitamin E, which, according to Medical News Today, is a “crucial antioxidant.” Some beneficiaries include the reduction of inflammatory symptoms, as well as protection from UV sun rays. The key is polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats are natural, and great for keeping skin hydrated and youthful. Salmon, sardines and mackerel are just some examples of fish that are great polyunsaturated fatty fishes. Walnuts and flax seeds are also great options, as well. Corisa Mills, a Penn State sophomore majoring in nutrition, has recently been studying diet habits in correlation to skin. “A recently published study in JAMA Dermatology medical journal discovered a correlation between acne and a diet consisting of large amounts of high fat and sugary foods,” Mills says. “This includes foods like meat, milk, candy or sodas. However, having these foods in your diet are not known to be a direct causation of acne and eating a “clean” diet has not been proven to completely prevent it. Bottom line, it is okay to enjoy eating these foods in moderation, but it may be worth it to take a look at your diet to see if any changes could be made.” There are plenty of alternatives to the things we love to eat, as well. If you’re a big soda lover, consider switching out for a sparkling water or seltzer drink. If


3 MIN READ you find dairy triggers your skin troubles, there are plenty of dairy substitutes such as nut milks, dairy-free cheese and ice cream alternatives available at most grocery stores. Cooking with olive oil instead of butter can be another simple swap that may make a huge difference. Rather than focusing on eliminating your favorite foods, consider finding a healthier alternative. Overall, it is important to remember that while avoiding certain foods can be beneficial, it won’t hurt to indulge in your favorite foods once in a while.




Scientists don’t have a definitive reason for why people dream but do have plenty of theories. The history behind lucid dreaming is fascinating, and a process we’re still unraveling. While dreaming can produce a wide range of emotions, the most pleasant dreams for many come from a lucid interval, with reports of semi-awareness or even total control.


A reported 55% of adults have had the experience of looking around with sudden clarity that they are experiencing a dream state and not their waking world at least once in their lifetime. During a lucid dream, the sleeper is aware a dream is taking place but chooses not to leave their dream state. According to Danielle Pacheco from the Sleep Foundation, lucid dreamers have shown an increase in prefrontal cortex activity of the brain, a reason why some call it a “hybrid sleep-wake state.” This state is different to regular dreams where the sleeper is aware of the events transpiring around them, but doesn’t know that they’re dreaming. In either case, memory is a factor that influences whether or not the sleeper picks up on the changes in their environment.


The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute reported that various types of memories are integral to dreams. Short-term memories register the instant recognition of facts. Long-term memories are filing cabinets that store information away deep in the crevices of the brain. In dreams, a combination of these memories come together to manufacture the scenarios that are played through. Even if the sleeper happens to momentarily recognize that they’re in a dream state, the short-term memory can wash over recent discoveries to pull them back in. According to research by social scientist John Hobson, correlations can be made between different sleep stages and formal features of dream experiences. In fact, most lucid dreaming has been discovered to happen during the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep stage in the middle of a non-lucid state.


Lucid dreams disrupt the dream’s usual “reset” qualities by allowing the dreamer to bend reality and its environment. “It is not the usual case for dreamers to know that they are dreaming while they are dreaming,” according to Stephen LaBerge of the Stanford University Sleep Research Center. Our brains are constantly playing through scenarios during our waking hours. Lucid dreams give the ability for the sleeper to revisit and work through old

“lucid interval n. transferred and figurative. A period of rest or calm in the midst of tumult or confusion; an interval during which there is a reversion to a normal, reasonable, or desirable condition.” -Oxford English Dictionary arguments, practice tough conversations that haven’t happened yet and even go through trial by error processes without consequence in the waking world. Scientific dialogue is still ongoing as to if these disruptions are harmful or helpful to mental health. These debates tend to revolve around how the individual chooses to handle their dream state.


According to Dr. Denholm Aspy in the University of Adelaide’s School of Psychology, research found the combination of three techniques to be the most helpful. Three groups of participants in the study committed to reality testing, waking back to bed and MILD (mnemonic induction of lucid dreams). Reality testing is when an individual performs multiple checks throughout the day to test whether or not they are dreaming. Waking back to bed is a method where an individual will wake up after five hours of sleep, stay awake for a short period of time and then go back to sleep to induce the REM sleep stage. MILD is similar to the wake back to bed method, but involves the intentional repetition that the dreamer will recognize they are dreaming the next time it happens. Among the group of 47 who combined all three techniques, participants experienced a 17% success rate, much higher than their baseline trial where they tested using none of the techniques. The success rate of inducing lucid dreams in those who were able to fall asleep within the first five minutes of completing the MILD technique soared to nearly 46% of participants.


Regular lucid dreamers online swear by a combination of physical and mental rituals that are similar to those backed by scientists. First, make sure the bedroom is a comfortable temperature and free from interruptions. Additionally, perform a series of checks in your waking hours. Take note of your surroundings and how they stay the same even if you leave and return to them. Creating these habits will force your brain to recognize patterns. Similar to this technique, keeping a dream journal can help your brain remember settings or characters that may reappear. Finally, the power of manifestation. Creating a narrative for yourself and repeating the same thoughts before bed may have them trickle into your subconscious at night.




By Kristin Gjelaj

By Hannah Bingham

The beer industry has dominated the beverage market for the last 192 years, since Yuengling opened the first brewery in Pottsville, Pa. After decades of beer consumption and a steady $119.3 billion net in yearly revenue, the domestic beer industry has found itself competing with a light, refreshing can of water, alcohol and bubbles: hard seltzer.



“Big beer” is determined to transform the hard seltzer landscape by marketing their already strong reputation status, coupled with unique takes on seltzer. Big beer is not new to the hard seltzer market — Bon Viv is managed by Anheuser-Busch — but are far behind White Claw and Truly.

Hard seltzer hit the playing field in 2013, first launched by Bon & Viv and soon gained nationwide popularity. The bubbly drink markets a healthier approach to alcohol consumption, while containing 4-6 % alcohol by volume — similar to traditional beers. Most seltzers fall between 90-110 calories per can, and promote low sugar content, ranging from zero to 4 grams. “Essentially, you can drink more without feeling as bad the next day,” Sharkies general manager Beth Boyle says. Boyle has monitored the hard seltzer rise in State College, Pa. since 2018. From its conception in 2016, White Claw and Truly’s sales ascended 250% in its first year, according to CNBC. Everyone from college students to adults began echoing “No rulies when you’re drinking Truly” and “Ain’t no laws when you’re drinking claws,” during summer barbecues, beach days and graduation parties. The refreshing summer staple fostered a comradery and yearly sales continue to justify the love. In 2016, Mark Anthony Brands — owner of White Claw and Mike’s Hard Lemonade — declared a nationwide shortage of White Claw in September amid increased demand that White Claw purchases were outpacing supply. Similar shortages occurred in 2019 and 2020. White Claw flavors consist of black cherry, raspberry, lime, lemon, ruby grapefruit, tangerine, watermelon and mango. An even lower calorie option, in clementine and pineapple flavors, have emerged, standing at only 70 calories per can. Truly has also proved its versatility by creating berry, citrus, lemonade and ice tea variety packs. Both companies continue to raise the bar and release new varieties of seltzers, and it doesn’t seem like the demand is changing any time soon.

White Claw and Truly have created a “transformational” effect in the beverage industry, forcing other beer companies to put out their own renditions of spiked seltzers. Popular beer brands like Bud Light, Corona, Coors and Michelob Ultra have all created a seltzer to compete with the growing market.

Constellation brands even put up a $40 million marketing budget Corona Hard Seltzer — it’s biggest ever single brand investment. Safe to say, “big beer” is taking the seltzer game very seriously.


Albert Einstein once said, “the most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.” However, if this is true, why are the things we don’t understand often considered dangerous?


For thousands of years, different civilizations across the world have used hallucinogenic drugs for traditional and spiritual purposes. Ayahuasca, a trippy tea made from a vine in South America has long been used by native South American tribes for spiritual rituals and healing. Similarly, Peyote is commonly used in traditional and religious ceremonies among native groups in Mexico. In these cultures, the magical effects of these drugs were often thought to help people communicate with the gods. The mystical effects of these drugs made them a topic of research in the United States throughout the 1950s as scientists began to explore the therapeutic effects of a drug that can strengthen the human and spiritual relationship. In the 1960s, hallucinogens became popular among the hippie counterculture as people struggled to gain perspective into their turbulent environment. Their rejection of the typical American lifestyle and loose ideas about drug use and sex led to restrictions such as The War on Drugs in the 1970s and hallucinogens were no longer considered a topic of research or a spiritual substance, but a danger to humanity.

“In 2018 when college students came back, there was a lot of speculation of if this was going to be a fad. Beer distributors and bar managers were going back-and-forth trying to figure out what was going to happen,” Boyle says. “But it’s become more of a cultural thing now. That’s what this generation wants now. Older generations are also getting on board.”


Boyle notes that Sharkies sales are split 50/50 between hard seltzer purchases and domestic beers. She’s also realized that social factors play a role in which seltzers are purchased over others.

Griffiths and his colleagues conducted studies on the effects of psilocybin, the “magic” ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms first on healthy volunteers who had never experienced the mind bending effects of these types of drugs. After overwhelming positive results, the researchers went on to study the effects of psilocybin on anxiety and depression in people with life-threatening cancer and in those who have tried and failed to quit smoking.

“Brands are really important in State College,” Boyle says. “We’ve noticed a lot of people like to be seen drinking Truly or White Claw.” According to Business Insider, hard seltzer is expected to be worth $2.5 billion by the end of this year, and $14.5 billion by 2027. During quarantine, it continued to rise 200% in market growth. At this rate, the potential for hard seltzer growth is untapped. Regardless of the season, hard seltzers have become a beverage staple. If rates continue to increase as they have been for the sparkling drink, we can confidently speculate hard seltzers will be around for a good time and a long time.

Roland R. Griffiths, Ph.D., a psychopharmacologist as well as a professor and researcher at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine followed a curiosity about psilocybin to treat several emotional disorders and began the psilocybin research program at Johns Hopkins over 20 years ago.

In a talk with TEDMED on the science of psilocybin, Griffiths walks the audience through his research process. The adverse effects of psilocybin mushrooms are real, so volunteers were given high doses of psilocybin in a calm environment under supervision if any feelings of anxiety or fear were to arise. Commonly, the subject’s experience gave them a “sense of unity and a feeling that all people and things are connected accompanied by a sense of positive mood, love and joy.” Despite being on a mind altering drug, these experiences felt more real to participants than their everyday experiences.


One month following their session, Griffiths reports that about 80% of the healthy volunteers classified the experience among the top five most personally and spiritually significant of their entire lives. 90% reported increased satisfaction with their life following the experience. Clinically depressed cancer patients experienced exponential improvement in their mood after one experience with a large dose of psilocybin. In addition, 92% of cancer patients reported feeling better after five weeks and 79% reported continued mood boosts six months after the experience. Finally, 80% of study participants who struggled for years with an addiction to tobacco were still abstinent six months after the study took place. Dr. Griffiths firmly believes that the increased sense of joy felt by the participants comes from the recognition that “at some deep level, we are all in this together.” His research has shown that with the use of hallucinogenic drugs, humans can ultimately shift their world view and feel levels of joy that most people find unimaginable.


As Griffiths’ research shows, psilocybin could be the cure to many emotional disorders by allowing people to pull themselves out of damaging thoughts or habits. In a powerful way, the drug psilocybin can help those struggling with things like ADHD, anxiety or eating disorders rewrite the way their brain makes them think about life and their situation. In his most recent research, Griffiths and his colleagues believe psilocybin could even benefit those with Alzheimers and severe PTSD.


Slowly but surely, there has been more freedom to explore the medical benefits of psilocybin. Recently, Oregon became the first state in the United States to legalize the use of psychedelic mushrooms for therapeutic use under supervision, meaning we are starting to progress past our fear of psychedelics and their association with the chaos of the 1960s.


Allowing ourselves and our brains to open up to what scares us is the first step in rewriting our world view and arguably the key to our survival.

THE SCIENCE OF NOT GIVING A F*CK By Marissa Yackenchick In a span of a lifetime, most people fail to recognize their intrinsic magnificence. Instead, our society is plagued by approval addiction. Societal perception has become the universal mode in which we measure our success. But what would happen if you recognized your capabilities?

Spoiler alert: You stop giving a f*ck. Craving validation is deep rooted in Western Culture and is part of being human. In order to unlearn the social fallacy, you need to find validation in yourself. This requires spending alone time with yourself — a daunting idea for many. To live your truth, one must distinguish the difference between being lonely and being alone. Jen Anderson, a Biological Science professor at Penn State says that it even takes practice. “As with trying anything new, there will be times of discomfort. The learning curve may be steep and awkward at first, but I am convinced that it does get easier as one “lives into” the way of being comfortable being alone.” Walks, a special meal or perhaps a visit to a museum, are all recommendations Anderson offers of opportunities to find a friend in yourself. In her own life, she avoids screens and tech, as that can sometimes mean she is being more attentive to someone else’s story rather than her own. Our stories are told through our reactions, our fears, the things that make us cry and the things that make us laugh. To not give a f*ck means you are the rhetor to your story in all of its glory. It means that you have listened. Anderson compares this journey to a date, where you are inclined to want to know what that other person is thinking and feeling.

“Except now, on this date with yourself, YOU are the fascinating one,” she says. Not caring can be difficult when you are in the company of individuals who do. Bad company can fuel the demands of our false self. Jaclyn Navaro, co-founder of Wholesome LLC, says it is important not to be discouraged, as these individuals are channeling insecurity and it is not your job to be accommodating to those who have yet to accept themselves. “Our job is to hold compassion and have understanding for those who have yet to accept themselves and others. The only person you have to prove anything to is yourself. The only person who can give you permission to live unapologetically is yourself,” Navaro says. The mission of Wholesome LLC is “to inspire, uplift, enlighten, and empower all men and women to see themselves in a better, more authentic light.” Jaclyn Navaro, a junior at Penn State, became the co-creator after expressing those same values. Founder Emmanuel Williams, along with Navaro, says that their project has been a gateway towards expressing what they wish to see more of in the world by the virtues of universal love, compassion, acceptance, integrity, authenticity and self-empowerment. “Through managing and maintaining the business, we too are continuously striving towards living up to the Wholesome lifestyle; a lifestyle that empowers our body, mind and spirit. With these ideologies present, we are motivated to put our best selves forward everyday in hopes of influencing others to do the same alongside us.” The journey to self actualization is often ridden with the past experiences that justified our validation addiction. The job you did not get, the significant other you never heard from again, perhaps the gossip you wish you never heard. The world has given you a million reasons to believe you are not enough. Williams says that these things should be viewed as positive tokens of our journey. “Every negative experience holds nuggets of wisdom that allow us to grow within ourselves. Through positive self awareness, we are able to understand what those negative experiences can teach us.” Despite being the only true advocate for yourself, little convincing is needed to believe the things that people say about you. In these times you must ask yourself: Am I taking criticism from someone who I would not take advice from? Recognize that the only way to avoid criticism would be to do and say nothing at all. “We all make mistakes. We all make bad choices. We all make oversights and miscalculations,” Anderson says. “The first step to forgiving ourselves is acknowledging all of the emotion that comes with the situation. Often, there are lots of emotions around these situations. Really digging into what’s held in the layers is valuable to creating an outcome of peace.”

What if the reason we hold back is because we know just how capable we really are? “Sometimes I think about the word “faults,” Jen Anderson says. “For instance, I can accept my faults, but what if they are not faults? Faults implies weakness, where something is wrong … Who makes the judgment on what is a fault? What happens if I embrace those parts of me that have been labeled as faults? What if those parts of me just make me more unique and beautiful … more me?” While the journey to not giving a f*ck about how others see you and think of you can take time, finding it in yourself to live your own truth and your desired life is certainly worth the hard work. Growth isn’t easy, but it will always be worth it.


It’s like any other day — you wake up and open your phone, checking all of your socials and responding to messages from the night before. You open up TikTok to scroll through the for you page and the first thing you see is a girl decked out in designer clothes, living her best life in an amazing city. Sitting in your college apartment, you start to ask yourself questions like, “Why can’t I look like that?” or “Why can’t that be MY life?” TikTok can be a fun place filled with comedy, cooking videos and outfit inspiration, but every platform has a toxic side. It has become common for young people to use their TikTok platforms as a way to showcase their lives, participate in viral trends and express themselves, but like Instagram, much of it is a highlight reel. The girls posting about body positivity may be struggling with their body image behind the scenes and the people posting lavish travel videos may be deeply unhappy — but you would never know. We’re all guilty of solely posting about the positives in our lives, but when you are bombarded with what people are trying to project on the for you page, it can be overwhelming and discouraging. “My for you page is full of stuff I do really enjoy but there’s also a lot of videos that come up that focus on women’s bodies and the transformations they go through. At least 3-4 times a day, I get a TikTok about a girl who’s gone through a massive weight loss transformation that has thousands of likes,” Katie Ache, Penn State sophomore, says, adding, “Obviously power to women who want to make healthier changes to their lifestyle, but can we also accept people who are beautiful in their bodies regardless of what they look like?” Although the health and fitness side of TikTok can be a great place for finding workout routines or healthy recipes, the common trend of posting about weight loss can be incredibly damaging and unrealistic. People tend to attribute their progress to one staple workout or diet, which neglects the many other factors to losing weight. The same idea applies to creators who post about their amazing lifestyles. You’re just seeing one snippet of their life from a day they most likely dedicated to filming a video, rather than the entire picture of what they’re experiencing.

It can be easy to feel like you’re not doing enough for yourself or having enough fun when you’re constantly consuming a compilation of other people’s best moments. When you’re using this app every day, it’s important to make it a healthy space. In order to curate your for you page to your own wants and needs, you can either work on your mindset regarding the content you’re viewing, or you can use the algorithm. Ashley Quinones, Penn State sophomore and TikTok creator, has taken advantage of the algorithm to make her for you page a motivating space, “The content that I tend to interact with more and like compared to others are those who live these lavish lifestyles filled with travel, money, clothes, and food. I personally like this content compared to others since it is something that helps me escape and aim toward working hard for,” Quinones says. “I do tend to compare myself to these people who have such a different lifestyle from me, but these people also motivate me to hopefully one day be able to live and treat myself like the girls on my for you page. The algorithm definitely works for me. Since I am obsessed with fitness and finding healthy recipes my for you page has also been filled with that content that has made me feel much more comfortable with both my body and eating habits.” By understanding that what you see from creators isn’t the entire picture, you can turn self-criticism into motivation. If you do choose to embrace the videos you’re seeing, make sure you take everything with a grain of salt. Nobody is who they portray themselves to be on the internet. Use others as inspiration, but don’t compare what’s going on inside of yourself with what people project on the outside. If you’re someone who feels like the toxicity is getting to you, take advantage of the algorithm. Don’t interact with posts you don’t like, and interact with ones you do. You can even select the “Not Interested” button to ensure that you avoid related content to what you dislike seeing. By taking advantage of this system, you can scroll as long as you want without any worries. Be honest with yourself about what content makes you happy, and what causes you to turn negative. Once you’ve determined your own preferences, focus on making your for you page a positive and inspiring space for you.




Heart-Leaf Philodendron

Moderate To Bright Light, Low Light Tolerant

Corn Plant

Bright Light

Baby Rubber Plant

Bright Light, No Direct Sun

Cast Iron Plant

Low To Moderate Light

Parlor Palm

Low Light To Moderately Bright Light

Chinese Evergreen

Bright, Indirect Light To Low Light

Spider Plant

Bright, Indirect Light

ZZ Plant

Bright, Indirect Light

Mother-In-Law’s Tongue or Snake Plant

Bright Light To Full Sun, Low Light

Golden Pothos

Low Light To Bright Light

(Source: Guide-To-

LIVING IN A JUNGLE By Kira Sarsfield

In a new world of social distancing and online classes, it is fairly common for college students to feel anxious and stressed. Although video-chat platforms like Zoom and FaceTime have kept us somewhat connected, the absence of in-person communication leaves college students feeling isolated and lonely. So, how can college students overcome the struggles of feeling alone in their apartments? One answer that is often overlooked is plant therapy. Think about the last time you received flowers or bought a plant from your local store. How did it make you feel? Did you feel the excitement when taking care of your plant, watching it bloom and grow into something beautiful?


It’s been scientifically proven that plants are mood boosters. A study done by Texas A&M University revealed that plants and flowers increase productivity, especially in an office setting. With “Zoom University” confining college students to their apartments and dorms, it’s time to invest in some house plants. Succulents make for great interior design, but consider these houseplants that have extra benefits. The Peace Lily is known for being one of the best houseplants for cleaning air, which makes for a beneficial plant for first-time owners. Not only will the Peace Lily purify the air in your apartment, but it will also spice up your interior design with its beautiful white blossoms and deep green foliage. Another option is the Gerbera Daisy, which is known for its ability to increase oxygen levels at night. This houseplant is perfect for those who struggle with a good night’s sleep — and the beautiful colors are spectacular and make you feel comfortable in your environment.


Houseplants have become all the rage this past year, with interior design professionals praising houseplants for their simple and tasteful look. Are you looking to achieve a homey aesthetic? It’s quite simple — invest in houseplants. Houseplants are the best solution when looking to fill empty space. When choosing 27

your houseplant aesthetic, look for a variety of colors, textures, heights and styles to spice up your apartment. For essential decoration, indoor vines are featured all over social media. If you’re looking to add a pop of color to your apartment, Philodendron and Pothos are popular indoor vines. They hold a beautiful green hue that cannot be missed — and they are easy to care for.


Pamela Hubbard, Penn State master gardener emerita, said that all college students should invest in houseplants for their apartment. Since the coronavirus pandemic, Hubbard has seen the true impact of her houseplants on her personality and mood. “The coronavirus pandemic has been very difficult on me,” Hubbard says. “But, my garden has saved me — all last year. If I didn’t have my garden, I don’t know what I would have done.” After her retirement, Hubbard became involved in the gardening community by developing her own blog. Through her online platform, she shares advice to upcoming gardeners and provides updates on her house plants. Hubbard and her grandson, Jonathan, often garden together. He is considered her “garden helper,” assisting Hubbard with ordering and planting new seeds. “He [Jonathan] said getting away from his room and his computer and coming here and helping me with my plants really made him feel better,” Hubbard says. “So, I think we have a little private research there to show that they do help.” For stressed out college students, Hubbard recommends that a plant sanctuary is vital to creating a peaceful and relaxed environment in your apartment. “Buy two or three plants with different textures and put them where they can be easily seen,” Hubbard says. “Add a water feature like a tabletop fountain and put a comfortable armchair where you can see and hear the water.”


Houseplants are a win-win. Providing college students with unlimited benefits, they are sure to spice up your apartment’s aesthetic.

I CAN’T TALK RIGHT NOW... I’M DOING HOT GIRL SH*T By Maddie McCabe Megan Thee Stallion is by far one of the biggest names in the female rap world right now. The self-proclaimed ‘hot girl’ promotes owning one’s sexuality and being confident through her lyrics. Whether you’re listening to “Hot Girl Summer”, “Girls in the Hood” or “Savage” — if there’s one thing to take from her songs, it’s how they make you feel empowered. While trying to navigate how to work towards building up your self confidence and loving yourself can be tricky, with dedication and time, you’ll be feeling like the best version of yourself.


Troy Steiner, a professor in the psychology department at the University of Maryland, says that the one of the most important parts of improving one’s self confidence is simply not being afraid to admit that. “People have a difficult time admitting things they’re insecure about, their faults—and the ability to recognize you want to be better, you want to be happier, that you want to feel more confident about yourself — that is such a strength to be able to admit that I think people shy away from,” Steiner says. The first step in being your most confident self is letting go of limiting beliefs, which are negative thoughts that hurt and prevent you from achieving your goals and living your life. Some examples of limiting beliefs include “people don’t like me”, “I can’t do it” and “I’m not good enough”. It’s important to become aware and do some introspection to figure out what limiting beliefs you have. This may be difficult to do on your own and you may want the help of a friend or a mental health professional. There are two ways to debunk a limiting belief that builds on each other; you can either assume another belief is true, or seek information to disprove a current belief and replace it with a new one.


Practicing gratitude can result in a lot of positive effects, and is a key stepping stone in improving your overall happiness and enhancing your self-esteem. While you can choose

to write gratitude lists on nearly anything, Steiner says that focusing on a singular event or person to dig deep into is an easier way to get all the benefits gratitude offers. This can be done through something called a gratitude letter. “Find a singular event or singular person you’re grateful for or towards and you write them a letter thanking them, I think that has so much more benefits than simply writing an itemized list of three things you’re grateful for every single day.”


While it is important to be confident with who you are at the moment, visualizing your future self can actually help improve your self image and optimism. The best possible self exercise can be used to help imagine your own best future where you have accomplished all of your attainable goals. This exercise not only helps one feel more optimistic about the future, but can also increase the likelihood you take the steps necessary to accomplish these goals. The best possible self exercise can also help with diminishing goal ambivalence, stress management, self-esteem and adjustment difficulties. You can use this exercise in different time frames based on your specific goals. When looking to improve your confidence, you can use this exercise to help envision how the most confident version of yourself would feel.


Affirmations are short, powerful statements aimed to affect the conscious and subconscious with the goal to positively affect our behavior, thinking patterns and habits. When these positive statements are thought or said out loud you are asserting them as truths. Some of the benefits of using affirmations include changing the way we view ourselves, motivation and more positive feelings overall. Try to set a time when you first wake up and before you go to bed to repeat your affirmations. Say each affirmation multiple times, for example repeat each statement 10 times each in a slow, confident voice.


When looking to implement any of these practices to your daily life the most important aspect is to stick with it. Remember to only focus on adding one or two practices at a time for the best likelihood of being consistent. While being the most confident, ‘hot girl’ version of yourself may take time and a lot more effort than expected, it’s worth it. In the meantime, play some Megan Thee Stallion and enjoy the journey. 30


Penn State’s campus is undeniably beautiful in its flora, architecture and attention to detail. Part of what adds to this beauty is the art pieces installed all around campus, if you just take the time to walk around and find them.

The Obelisk The Obelisk, built in 1896, can be found along the Pattee Mall. It stands over 32 feet tall and weighs over 53 tons. It is a column of 281 different rocks that are arranged geologically, with the oldest at the bottom, getting younger as you go up the column. Most of the rocks are from Pennsylvania, and some have even been marked with the locations where they are from. This obelisk, although a seemingly strange installation upon first encounter, is super interesting once you realize what it actually is, and how long it has been standing on campus.

Penn State’s Veterans’ Plaza

The Veteran’s Plaza is located just off of Pollock Road, between Schwab Auditorium and the Department of Mathematics. It was the 2011 class gift, and features a white, curved wall which surrounds a fountain, which is meant to look like a floating shield. On the wall is a phrase, written in Greek, which translates to “either with it, or on it.” The “it” in this statement, refers to a soldier’s shield. This phrase is said to be what Spartan mothers would tell their sons before they went off to battle, implying that they would either come back with their shield, or die a heroic death in battle, and be carried home on their shield. The wall was named in honor of Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a Penn State alum who served in Afghanistan and was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Breaking Column III

Have you ever noticed the huge, rotating metal column outside of the Palmer Museum of Art? This is a piece by artist George Rickey, and it’s a loan from a private collection. It is made of stainless steel and is over 25 feet tall, so it’s pretty hard to miss. Despite being so large, it still moves gracefully with the wind, and as Rickey is considered to be an extremely influential sculptor, it’s super exciting to have one of his pieces on campus.

The Heister Street Mural

The mural on Heister Street (on the side of the Student Bookstore downtown) is a classic Penn State attraction. It is 96 feet long and 24 feet high and depicts many influential people from State College. Among those painted into the mural (and there’s a ton of people!) you can find football coach Joe Paterno, former PSU icon Mike the Mailman, the Nittany Lion and former equipment and facilities coordinator, Brad “Spider” Caldwell. A couple even got engaged in front of the mural in 2014, and their portraits were added to the mural, as well. The artist, Michael Pilato, has made several updates to the mural since its initial completion in 2000. Twenty-one years later, it still serves to inspire and enrapture Penn State students and State College residents alike.


The tile wall that stands between Target and H&M seems rather innocuous at first glance, however, the tile colors mean something! There are 409 colored tiles on the wall (excluding the dark blue ones), 409 being a common PSU symbol, because that’s how many games that Penn State won under the coaching of Joe Paterno. Each tile’s color corresponds to the color of the team that was beaten.

The Willard Mural

The Willard Mural is little known, and very mysterious. It is located in a sort of underground maintenance tunnel, and features brightly colored, geometric paintings of suns and various plants. No one knows where it came from, or when it was painted, but it’s a great secret place to take cool photos.

The Palmer Sculpture Garden The designer of this garden, George Dickie, imagined it to be like a series of rooms that you walk through, separated by benches and plants. One of the most noticeable, perhaps, is Doc/Pride/Humility by Bonnie Collura. It is large, yellow, made of plastic, steel and expandable foam, and was originally installed at the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress in Koblenz, Germany. There are many other cast iron and granite sculptures around the garden, some of which you can even take a seat on.

With many of us needing a break from the monotony of self-isolation, taking a walk around Penn State’s campus to see the art that surrounds us every day is a great way to get out of the house.


PUTTING THE “I” IN ALLYSHIP By: Tierney Smith CALL OUT BIAS With various social justice movements occurring over the past few years, both locally and internationally, everybody has voiced their opinion. People are standing together in the face of injustice and inequality. But what does being an ‘ally’ really mean? From the Women’s March on Washington to the sweeping Black Lives Matter protests, social justice and reform has been at the forefront of American culture for the past decade. Many causes are at the top of our conversations, whether it be climate change, prison reform, union rights, LGBTQ+ rights and more. With over 60% of Penn State students identifying as white, classifying the university as a predominately white institution (or PWI), many Penn Staters have asked what they can do to help beyond the surface level. What if the answer is to look inwards?


Once you feel you have gained a concrete understanding of your topic, it is important to address real life examples of discrimination yourself. This can be in any and every aspect of your life: at work, with friends, around peers or even in your own family. Not all discrimination presents itself the same way. The notion that bias and discrimination is loud and obvious is an extreme misconception. In many instances, microaggressions can be so covert they fly under the radar, even to the person making the comment. Comments like, “They are so well-spoken!” or “I’m not even going to try to pronounce your name,” have charged undertones that can be quite hurtful. It is important to address this subconscious hostility in order to change the problem. Another key step is addressing the bias whether or not the person being discriminated against is in the room, especially if the bias includes the use of slurs. Don’t just speak out whenever you have someone to defend in-person, it is important to address it either way.

The primary step in becoming a better ally is to become more educated. Our society is catered towards the majority, whether it be white, heterosexual, cis-gendered, able-bodied or neurotypical individuals, which allows for certain privileges for those majorities. Some people may not realize the subconscious personal biases they hold from growing and learning in an environment catered to the bodies in which they were born. This self-reflection is the starting point.

As you become more outspoken, it is important to hold on to your active listening skills. It is essential not to talk over marginalized voices as you voice your opinion. Not every situation is black and white and it is essential to listen to those who do the actions hurt the most.

Many of today’s issues are heavily influenced by action (or inaction) from many years ago. Educating yourself on both the history through to the modern day struggles of a social issue can help expand your understanding and reduce your personal bias. There are endless sources to find, such as books, podcasts, TED Talks and scholarly articles. Penn State University Libraries has subject guides for over 300 different topics, which can be a great starting point for students. Many non-traditional sources can provide more insight than knowledge, like movies, plays, poetry, fictional works or autobiographical books. Streaming services often highlight featured content within subjects such as LGBTQ+ or Black voices.

The last step is to aid the cause wherever you can. Co-founder of Black Lives Matter Opal Tometi recently said, “Our allies really have a responsibility to join organizations, join community groups that stand for justice … That one, do some work to educate oneself right, or educate one another about the issues. But also beyond the education and awareness raising is the action. Action is required if we’re going to have a world.”

One of the biggest parts of learning is listening. Many of the topics that you will discover throughout the history of the marginalized communities are the hardships they faced. This can be uncomfortable to learn, but it is essential to your growth. Active listening throughout these experiences is essential for comprehension. Too often we listen for the end of another’s phrase so we can say our opinion. Active listening removes you from the center of the conversation, and it allows space for the silenced voices to be heard. Another important factor is to listen to the voices who were turned away. In many instances, the amplified voices on a particular topic come from the majority talking about the minority. Listen to your friends, professors, activists and other professionals. Many times these people will disagree with each other and that’s okay. Don’t blindly accept their ideas, listen to many voices and form your own opinions. There is never a single right answer to a problem. Make connections to other social issues wherever possible. Ask yourself critical thinking questions and then try to find the answers, “What does homophobia or transphobia have to do with homelessness? How does racism and healthcare relate to each other?” Intersectionality will open many paths to topics you thought were exclusive. Education is not a simple step. Continuing your learning is essential to preserving your knowledge on the topic and helps you become the best ally you can be.



Support can be shown in many different ways. Donations are always encouraged at any level. Finding an ethical organization to support can be simple with sites like Charity Navigator, which rate organizations on their financial status, transparency and accountability. Due to COVID restrictions, monetary donations are preferred over donations in-kind (or physical donations). If your topic has volunteers or services a population, many organizations have Amazon wish lists you can buy from. Donate your time. Both nationwide programs and local causes always need boots on the ground. Many organizations are understaffed, and volunteering is a great way to gain first hand experience. Attending programs by student organizations like the Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity, the Paul Robeson Cultural Center, the Gender Equity Center or other smaller groups on campus are a great way to get involved as a student. Don’t forget to take the extra step. If you want to learn about Black history, buy the book from a Black-owned bookstore. If you are passionate about climate change, find out what lifestyle changes you can make to aid your support. Think critically about who you are giving money to and where their priorities lie. Take the extra steps in your personal, professional, academic and social lives, too. Systemic oppression can and will manifest in every aspect of our lives, so we must address it in every aspect as well. Being an ally means so much more than attending a march or posting on social media. Performative activism is merely a facade that will not invoke real change. Being a true ‘ally’ is something to work for every day, since there is always something new to do or learn. These topics can be heavy and disheartening, but change is possible if you work for it.

Changing the tides By: Carmen DiPippo


The calm tides and crashing waves upon the shore of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware felt like home for a young Jake Snyder. What he didn’t know at the time, though, was that each wave that washed upon the shore would lead to vaster oceans and destinations beyond any horizon. Just like the change of the tides, in and out from low to high, he too would soon find his own ebb and flow through the stormy waters of life.

LOW TIDE Growing up, Jake’s fascination with water grew through his passion for swimming, and studying life in the ocean itself. The fluidity of the water and the calmness of the shore felt comfortable to him, even when nothing else did. This place of comfort has now become his mission and career, and he is making waves for those who will come after him. Raised in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, right outside of Harrisburg, which Jake (he/they) refers to as “not the most welcoming community” presented challenges as he grew and attempted to mold into himself and his identity. By the time he was in middle school, Jake had determined that he was gay, but the bigger thing on his mind was how his friends, family members and peers would respond to him eventually coming out when he was ready to. The reality is that same-sex marriage has not been legal in the United States for very long. It wasn’t until June 26, 2015, that the United States Supreme Court no longer permitted states to have bans on same-sex marriage in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. Even with laws in place, many people who identify as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community face harsh discrimination, ranging from mean comments online to hate crimes. While the legalization is a great step, individuals like Jake are still faced with the fear of judgement or hate when they consider coming out. Almost five years later, and this community still faces fear of acceptance just because of who they love. While Generation Z, or Gen Z for short, is generally known as one of the most progressive and accepting generations in history, that isn’t always the biggest roadblock that queer individuals can face. While his family was quite supportive of him being himself, there was definitely some uncertainty regarding exactly what the response would be. “I never gauged my family’s opinion on same-sex marriage growing up. But I do remember conversations that made me uneasy about how they would take it.

“I felt like I might be accepted, but there was also this area of uncertainty that kept me from coming out to my family for a while,” he says. One day in eighth grade, Jake recalled a friend asking him in a rather blunt manner what his sexuality was. He went home, thought about it, and then came out as bisexual to a close circle of friends, and then to a few more people as gay. Growing up in a small town, though, it didn’t take long for Jake’s news to spread rapidly.

HIGH TIDE High school for Jake was a new season of life, but the idea of embracing who he truly was wasn’t the easiest. He accepted himself for being gay, but the idea of gender and sexual identity and fluidity was something that took nearly three years for him to be confident in. He found himself doing more to fit in — instead of doing more to stand out. “There were some uncomfortable times where I was like ‘who am I?’ because I was just trying to sink into the background and not be noticed too much because it was scary,” he says. For Jake, fashion, makeup, earrings and nail polish are all means of expressing himself. In the heteronormative eyes of his community, he was constantly fighting the battle of embracing his identity while trying to fit in with the crowd. “I kind of toned down my sexuality a little bit,” he says. “Until this one party senior year of high school, and I decided to dress more feminine. I went to the party, and I realized my friends didn’t really care what I was wearing — no matter how feminine or outlandish I wanted to dress. That’s when I began to accept myself.” Jake’s friends and family proved to be such an incredible support system for him throughout his journey of coming out and self discovery. He recognzies, though, that so many queer individuals do not have this same level of support, which is a huge reason why he is such an advocate for more acceptance of the community. “I am grateful for the support and open-mindedness of my peers and family. Though, it is important to acknowledge that so many LGBTQIA+ people do not have as smooth a coming out experience as me. There are so many different coming out stories that should be heard and acknowledged. It is vital to uplift queer stories and voices,” he says. Something that brought him peace and further allowed for self-expression was Jake’s artwork. It didn’t take long throughout his high school journey to realize that he had inherited some of his family’s creative talent and abilities. After submitting his work into a local art competition, and winning a scholarship to the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, Jake’s confidence soared. Soon after, he would go on to win two regional gold key awards, and have those pieces displayed in the Pennsylvania State Art Museum. Now, he is pursuing an art minor, with an emphasis on watercolor medium. Art, ultimately, is what tied together Jake’s sense of identity and purpose, all into one place. “I was using the fluidity of marine creatures to express fluidity in my gender and sexuality. And that’s how I conceptualized all of my art pieces,” he says. It was this sense of courage and accepting of himself that would bring Jake to Penn State and allow him to push past any boundaries and limitations.

CHANGING THE TIDES As he entered Penn State as a freshman in the fall of 2019, Jake was brought back to his safe space of Rehoboth Beach as he pursued his biology degree and art minor. “I’m a very water-oriented person. That’s what inspired me as a child to go into marine science,” he says.

“I’m one of my town’s rare gay men, so the word spread pretty fast,” he says. Jake also made the decision to utilize a social media page to come out during this time as well, as it was a safe space for him and individuals he felt comfortable with.

Realizing his passion and rediscovering his purpose, he applied and was accepted to a jellyfish research lab on campus, which further has allowed him to dive deeper into his passion for marine science.

“I announced my sexuality to everyone on my social media pages because at that time my social media was just like me and my friends,” he says. “I announced it, but then I also realized that one of my close friend’s moms was also on that social media page. I addressed her specifically and I was like, “I know you may have seen that I just came out online, but please don’t tell my parents about it.”

“When I got to college, I applied all of that deep love for the ocean, that was fostered at Rehoboth, and my outdoor adventures as a child to a jellyfish lab here on campus. I got into the lab, and I’ve been doing research there ever since. In that lab, I’ve really seen how coral reefs and other marine resources are really essential in maintaining the human population and preventing extreme events,” Jake says.

Just days later, though, on the way home from swim practice, his father made him aware that he knew he was gay, and that he had been outed by a family friend without him even knowing. Considering coming out is such a personal experience, it wasn’t the easiest way for Jake to have this conversation. Now, though, Jake sees his parents as some of his biggest advocates and supporters.

However, being an LGBTQIA+ individual in the sometimes heteronormative world of STEM presented challenges. Once again, the fear of acceptance loomed over Jake as he began his first year of college. 38

Only 3.5% of the entire American workforce identifies as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, and this number is extremely small in the STEM field. Rather than sit on the sidelines, Jake took action to better lift up LGBTQIA+ voices both in his college and in the Schreyer Honors College. He attempted to find an organization like the one he was looking for, in order to connect with other students of similar experiences, but struggled to find such. As a result, as only an underclassman, he decided to start his own organization. “I was looking for an LGBTQIA+ oriented organization, just to find my people in Schreyer. I couldn’t find exactly that, so I co-founded Gender and Sexual Diversity in Schreyer,” he says. The organization aims to be a safe space for queer individuals across the honors college, and create meaningful dialogue about the LGBTQIA+ community. Jake recalls how important this community has been in his growth as an individual so far during his journey at Penn State. To say Jake Snyder is making waves for the future for LGBTQIA+ individuals in a STEM field would be an understatement. As only a sophomore, the change he’s already created across Penn State’s campus has allowed for conversation across the honors college and STEM departments alike. In terms of next steps for Jake, this summer, he has the opportunity to do research outside of Penn State for the first time, at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, as part of their Healthy Streams Healthy Coasts Research Experience for Undergraduates. Above all, though, he hopes to pave the way for other aspiring queer scientists, hopefully as a professor one day. “My main goal is to make the STEM fields more of an inclusive space, especially for the LGBTQIA+ community. In the future, I want to be an open and proud queer professor to educate the next generation of marine scientists. We need to give queer people a presence and a representation in the STEM disciplines, ” he says.

“My main goal is to make the STEM fields more of an inclusive space, especially for the LGBTQIA+ community. In the future, I want to be an open and proud queer professor to educate the next generation of marine scientists. We need to give queer people a presence and a representation in the STEM disciplines, ” The way of the world is changing. Boundaries and stereotypes can sometimes put us into boxes, but Jake Snyder proves that you can accomplish anything — no matter who you are, where you come from or what you identify as. The tides are changing, and they’re changing for the better.

GENTRIFIED By: Bianca Alvarez

Downtown Improvement District, commonly known as Downtown State College, is the center of all things commercial and culture in State College — attracting visitors far and wide as they visit the university’s campus.

For some individuals, the price is worth the living condition and have found solace in knowing their home is updated. For many residents, the idea of amenities and personal space contributed to the decision to choose a modern upscale apartment.

With it’s close proximity to Penn State, the downtown area has grown, tailoring itself to the needs and demands of the students as the population of the district has grown from previous years.

“I chose The Metropolitan because I believe the benefits of the building were worth the cost,” senior Chris Jones says. “Personally, I was attracted to the modernized living spaces and the multiple amenities I have at my disposal. I knew that a place like The Met would be maintained well and it offered indoor parking which isn’t common in State College. I don’t believe that the price is fully justified but if you have the ability to pay for such a place I would recommend doing so.”

Roughly 4,470 individuals reside in this half of State College, becoming one of the densest cities in the U.S. and is only growing, as millions arrive for festivities and celebrations. While downtown is attracting more visitors than ever, its race to meet the housing needs and further developments are increasing as locals and college students are noticing the demolition of the old and the insurgence of the new. As older residential housing options come down with the swift move of a construction truck, these once affordable living spaces are being replaced by high rise buildings and these buildings are not the only things skyrocketing — so is the cost of living. With demolition after demolition, residents of State College are at odds with one another as the gentrification of downtown is causing an increase in attraction but decreasing the affordability and character of the infamous borough. “It’s a mix of emotions to see how the skyline of State College has changed over the years,” Abby English, Penn State sophomore and State College native, says. “Part of me views it as progress, but the other part of me sees a large amount of the community frustrated by the costs of living in State College in recent years.” With a spike of skyscrapers in Central Pennsylvania, new restaurants and shops are replacing the old and coming in with something new for locals and students. “I’ve grown to like the changes,” Gillian O’Neill, a sophomore student and State College native, says. “I think the new restaurants and stores being added are positively affecting the community. I would say that State College is very different than most towns because it’s being gentrified by people who are in a similar socioeconomic class to its residents.” From one end of downtown to another, high rise apartment buildings are there to give residents a more updated urban living area as opposed to the traditional college apartment complex. While these apartment buildings are offering luxurious living, the prices aren’t changing despite their primary demographic’s age or location.

While these apartment complexes are competitive to live in and filled to capacity due to the popularity surrounding them, some cannot fathom a college student paying these rates for a nice place to live. “It’s not fair at all,” sophomore secondary education major Owen Bennett said. “Housing is a human right and focusing your money to benefit a specific demographic that is relatively well off to begin with, is unfair to the people that can’t help themselves during these times.” Some students have found themselves in different living conditions, willing to share their personal space to save money on their monthly rent. The hike in housing prices is not new to most college towns. Due to an influx of students in the position to pay tuition, either in-state or out-of-state, these towns turn from your traditional suburban neighborhood to a city filled with nightlife, housing developments and new businesses. Following numerous reports conducted, the development and expansions of universities nationwide has led to the displacement of current residents. There are of course other factors that go into increased rates, yet universities remain one of the main contributors where gentrification occurs. “The Penn State community needs to become more aware of their impact on the State College community, as they are impacting the lives of people who are here much longer than four years,” English says.


THE COST OF A COLLEGE EXPERIENCE By Maia Egan Higher education allows a diverse crowd to continue learning beyond high school, but at a hefty price. Although financial aid and scholarships are available, not all students have the access to these applications or are aware, if they even qualify. The high tuition rates and growing student aid crisis present a huge problem for those looking to start attending a university, and for some, it seems there is no end in sight. University of California, Berkeley President Clark Kerr writes about it in his book, The Dream is Over. “Higher education fosters a society that increasingly resembles a caste system: it takes Americans who grew up in different social strata and it widens the divisions between them and makes them more rigid.’ It stratifies Americans by income group rather than providing them with ladders of opportunity,” He explains. “ ...poor kids who succeed academically are less likely to graduate from college than richer kids who do worse in school.” The system can be often seen as set up against the people who need it the most.

I AM LOST By Lia Pagnotta

We’ve been defined as students for the past 15 years of our lives. For seniors graduating in May, that identity will disappear. Many will go on to medical, law or graduate school but for those who are entering the “real world,” it’s a complete redefinition of self-identity.

Maggie Kreienberg, Penn State Class of 2019, remembers feeling a little out of place at her first job, “On my first day of work I still felt very much like a college kid, I was just a month out of school, and it was confusing to figure out how I felt as an adult in the “real world.”

Throughout our childhood, we always had someone instructing us. Teachers taught lessons and assigned work; coaches facilitated practices to prepare us for games and our parents assigned chores to help us become independent adults. The concrete structure of a student’s life is predetermined as soon as they begin kindergarten. Six years of elementary school, three years of middle school and finally four years in high school. One of the first big decisions we make is the college selection process, and now four — maybe five — years later we’re left with the question, “What comes next?”

Similarly, Ally Edwards, Penn State Class of 2020 says, “There was a level of confidence and reassurance I had to build in myself to say, ‘You’re not a student anymore, you’re a whole person.’”

After graduation, there are dozens of options on how to proceed with your life and there is no real “correct” answer. No matter what path you take, the structure of your everyday life in Happy Valley will be uprooted and you’ll be left with the task of rebuilding your life elsewhere. This time of uncertainty can lead some to experience what is known colloquially as “post-grad depression.” Ryan Salamo, Penn State Class of 2019 says, “Everyone talks about the come down from college, but no one can really understand it until they experience it.”

Applying to Jobs While some lucky students find jobs before graduation, a lot of graduates will be faced with rejection after rejection. Sometimes the job application process can be so time consuming, it may feel like a job in and of itself. As Salamo continues to deal with this process today, he says, “Something a lot of people don’t understand about the process is that it’s really frustrating. You can apply to all of these places and most of the time, they won’t ever get back to you.” This past year was exceptionally difficult with cancelled internships and limited opportunities due to the pandemic. Employers understand the circumstances, so if it takes you a little more time to get on your feet, you won’t be alone.

Imposter Syndrome Remembering that most people experience a type of imposter syndrome after college can help put your nerves at ease. The psychological phenomenon of imposter syndrome reflects the belief that you are less competent or qualified than you are in reality. 41

It’s important to be proud of the degree you earned and not question your validity in your new position, but actually use the knowledge and expertise you’ve gained over the last four years.

Making Friends After you leave the college environment, moving to a new city where you don’t know anyone can be extremely daunting and uncomfortable. This feeling of displacement can occur even if you live at home after graduation. Moving back into your childhood home after four years of growing up in college can have you feeling like a stranger in your own hometown. Leaving behind friendships and entering a life full of new responsibilities can be overwhelming, so it’s important to take a step back. “I started work the Monday after I moved in, so I was just sort of thrown into it,” Penn State 2019 grad Tess Petak says. “I made some friends at work and we started doing happy hour and hanging out on weekends. You will get acquainted, just remember to take it one day at a time.” The reality is, as much as post-grad life can cause some to lose their sense of identity, it can also be a time to grow and change for the better. Petak says, “I honestly feel like I found my identity after college because now I had a different sense of purpose.” You can take the opportunity to reinvent and redefine yourself within your new, post-grad role. The key elements of your identity — the ones that make you who you are — won’t be going anywhere.

Bethany Simon, a sophomore at Penn State, explains how money easily affects your performance in the classroom. Simon is a Landscape Architecture major, where many projects and substantial grades consist of physical hand drawings and built models. In Spring 2020, all of the students left their supplies in the Penn State buildings for spring break. Professors threw out thousands of dollars in students’ supplies to clean the space, leaving many students with the bare minimum to work with. “As we move forward, a lot of our work has been moved digitally which I think has been an advantage for me personally when it comes to the cost of school supplies. We also do use a lot of drawing materials and they were all thrown away last year. As someone who does most of her work by hand, it was really challenging for me this year because I couldn’t afford to buy the supplies. When I reached out to some of the Penn State professors, they did not have any solutions.” Simon describes. All students have supplies that they need to buy, whether it is textbooks, devices, software, printing or other materials. Combined with tuition, housing expenses, food, and transportation, these things can be a huge financial burden and stressor. Plus, many students have to pay for access to extra websites to even turn in homework, like Pearson or Packback, even though Penn State has Canvas already. Beyond the classroom, the dollars don’t stop adding up. More often than not, student organizations, whether Greek life, club sports, service organizations or anything in between, require some sort of membership dues fee, and it’s easy for additional expenses to acrew throughout the year. It’s understandable that clubs and organizations have expenses that need paid, but it’s worth noting that these fees can keep some students from getting more involved, which can have a huge effect on socialization opportunities and overall mental health. Additionally, student housing costs both on and off campus continue to rise. Nowadays, housing is not always guaranteed on campus after freshman year, and downtown apartment complexes continue to raise rent prices in order to keep up with the gentrification of State College. Wanting to go out with a group of friends? Whether you’re an underclassmen attending a house party or a senior headed out to the bars, expenses such as covers, alcohol, food or transportation can add up quickly. In a normal school year, too, Penn State football tickets aren’t cheap, either. While all of these things may seem like fun extras and not necessary, they are a valid and important part of the college experience. Meeting new people, continuing to pursue hobbies by joining clubs and socializing are all very important parts of maintaining a work-life balance as a student. However, when financial burdens are in place, it can be difficult for students to keep up with this lifestyle. This problem is certainly not the fault of student organizations or State College establishments, but it’s certainly a factor in how finances can play a role in the experience that a student does or doesn’t have, beyond the classroom. The cost of the college experience goes beyond just the laid out tuition and fees. In order for a student to get what is deemed as the “full” experience, there are thousands of dollars of other expenses that are required, from anything to food to housing to basic academic supplies.



By Julia Saganowich

Scrolling through your social media feed, there is a lot of different content at your fingertips, but have you ever come across a particular post that just made your jaw drop? Maybe you cracked a smile or let a small chuckle slip out, only to immediately regret doing so. Maybe you stopped dead in your tracks, eyes wide and gut-wrenching, in shock about the events or statements that just transpired across your screen. If this sounds familiar, odds are you’ve come across some dark humor on social media. Gen Z has put a modern spin on the genre and made a trend of circulating dark humor jokes, memes and videos across the internet. In fact, Gen Z’er, Schreyer Scholar and sophomore at Penn State, Neil Patel, states that “Dark humor almost defines Gen Z in a sense.” Although many members of Gen Z create, share and consume dark humor content on social media, not every Zoomer is going to take a liking for it. This divide begs the question, is dark humor a good thing? Or are there genuine concerns about the distribution of dark themes on social media?


With the power of the internet, dark humor has the potential to reach vast audiences online — whether people are actively seeking it out or not. Between features like the Explore Page on Instagram and spontaneous reposts by friends in your social network, dark humor, one way or another, can end up on your screen. However, as Penn State sophomore Morgan Hutchison points out, dark humor’s prevalence on social media and in everyday conversation may significantly discount the gravity of serious topics. “Now, death is just all around us,” Hutchison says. “It’s just something we talk about so normally, like ‘I have an exam, I want to die’ … It just kind of desensitizes us to it, so I definitely don’t think it’s good for the younger half of this generation to be watching [dark humor].” Another concern with dark humor is its potential to impact our own mental health. For example, Dr. Beth Gerace, associate teaching professor with the psychology department at Penn State, suggested that in some situations dark humor could be damaging to mental wellness.

“If someone is really, really struggling and they’re seeing it maybe joked about, maybe that’s going to be hurtful … just in the sense of … they feel like people are laughing at the issue or not taking it as seriously as they should.” Dark humor can be incredibly insensitive to those struggling with mental health or who recently lost a loved one, primarily when these posts can circulate freely across the internet without regard for users’ personal circumstances.


In many ways; however, dark humor can serve a greater purpose for young people and be a positive outlet for stressful scenarios. While dark humor can provide relief on an individual basis, it can also positively impact others facing similar struggles. Dr. Gerace emphasizes that humor can be used to cope but also brings people together. “Instead of being real serious about it, we might use some dark humor, and then if people relate to that humor … it’s comforting to us.” Finally, the prevalence of dark humor content on Gen Z’s social media feeds could also explain the progression of the mental health movement. Even though dark humor posts are not appealing to all audiences, they do open up the conversation about difficult subjects and help normalize themes such as seeking professional help. In this light, dark humor and social media are unique cultural phenomena for Gen Z, setting it apart from other age cohorts. Gen Z is, “Open about mental health in a way that I don’t think any other generation has been…You guys do tend to do this via social media and via some darker humor ... To me, it could be a good thing in the sense that [dark humor] is a way to connect,” Dr. Gerace says.


Maybe, it’s not such a bad thing to have a dark sense of humor. After all, Gen Z has become some of the most outspoken advocates for therapy and mental health, found an outlet for coping with stressful situations and connected with each other in a culturally unique way. While it could be harmful in some contexts, it’s not the dark humor genre Gen Z should be worried about. Rather, it’s social media. Social media allows dark humor to reach audiences regardless of their background or intent to view dark media. While it also plays a role in dark humor’s benefits, social media is responsible for dark humor’s negative impacts. 44



By Nicole Rogosky

By Tatiana McComber

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The subscription service has become a household platform due to the fact that it intitally offered a safe way for sex workers to earn an income. Unlike other subscriptions services, such as Patreon, OnlyFans doesn’t report or flag users for producing NSFW (Not Safe For Work) content or pornography. Although OnlyFans is often seen as being synonymous with sex work, there’s a wide range of content steming from creative to explicit images and videos.

Because celebrities already have platforms and large followings on social media sites that are not synonymous with sex work such as Instragram, Twitter and TikTok, they are able to earn another form of income by posting pictures, videos and even ads. But when they bring their large following to OnlyFans, they are ultimately pushing sex workers off their own platform that they’ve popularized.

But as the COVID-19 lockdown struck in March of 2020, the popularity and use of the site soared. According to Buzzfeed, OnlyFans reached 24 million users by May of 2020 — more than doubling their amount of users just months before. Now with 30 million users, OnlyFans has taken the world by storm. Along with this sudden increase of popularity, came the influx of celebrities looking to make a quick buck — with most of them creating content that has nothing to do with sex work. From OnlyFans to YouTube to TikTok, many people aren’t happy about celebrities recent infiltration on upcoming sites — seeing it as a cash grab, especially since celebrities are making such a large profit from it. Celebrities, such as Bella Thorne, Cardi B, Tana Mongeau, Tyga and Tyler Posey, have created OnlyFans accounts, as a way to earn money, “connect with fans” or “destigmatize sex work,” without realizing the negative consequences their content means for sex workers, especially those who primarilty use OnlyFans as their only source of income. Some celebrities, such as Jordyn Woods, Aaron Carter, Blac Chyna and influencer Caroline Calloway are retailing their subscriptions so high that they are making upwards of six figures or more — just from a limited time on the site. Because more and more celebrities joined the site and started making a hefty profit, this ultimately led to a lot of backlash on social media, especially from the sex worker community. One of the most prime examples of backlash from celebrities infiltrating OnlyFans is Bella Thorne’s recent debut on the site. Thorne, the former Disney channel star, shattered records by making $2 million in less than a week, after making $1 million on her first day, according to the Los Angeles Times. Because of this skyrocketing amount of money, Thorne started charging $200 pay-per-view photos, only to mislead customers with the type of content they were paying for — sparking refund requests. This coincided with OnlyFans’ new restriction where users are limited to charging customers to $50 pay-per-view, sparking outrage from OnlyFans users and sex workers, despite OnlyFans denying the correlation between the two. Although Thorne’s said motive was to “normalize sex work,” her and the multitude of celebrities’ usage of the site has sparked a continuous debate between normalization and hindering opportunities for sex workers. With celebrities such as Caroline Calloway publicly discussing her six figure salary just from OnlyFans to Tana Mongeau

It also brings up the debate on how celebrities’ usage of the site perpetuates the notion that sex work is “easy money.” This notion of celebrities viewing sex work as “easy” or as a hobby has made life as a sex worker unneccesarily harder in order to make a living and receive respect, whereas celebrities already have privilege and platforms to earn that extra form of cash. Many people have argued that there are other ways celebrities can normalize sex work without profiting off of it, such as promoting smaller accounts on social media and taking openly about sex work with their following. Although celebrities had the right idea of wanting to “connect with fans” or even “normalize sex work,” they’ve seemingly missed the mark.

king “Celebrities are ra n in more money tha rs.” most OnlyFans use

Sports media is a rewarding and challenging career to take on, especially for women. One way or another, you have watched national sports on TV, witnessing the majority of the people running the show to be males, whether it be producers, sports commentators or field reporters. Having more women in sports media would create a more inclusive community, allowing for sports to not be recognized as something just for the male gender, but also for women to showcase their passion and understanding. According to ESPN, when surveying women about their experience in the field, 60% reported experiencing sex discrimination as well as being paid less than men who have the same job title. When looking at TIDES 2018 Associated Press Sports Editors Racial and Gender Report Card, an evaluation was done of over 75 newspapers and websites and of all sports editors, only 10% were female and 11.5% of reporters were female. Based on research from Bleacher Report, it took nearly thirty years for females to start sharing the role, and there doesn’t seem to be a drastic change from then to now of women taking a greater hold on the industry. “I’ve actually had a really good experience within the sports industry,” Tori Bookwalter, Editorial Content Intern at Blue Wire Podcasts, says. “At first I was extremely nervous being a woman in a predominantly male field but as I’ve gone through internships, classes and clubs, I’ve realized that most of the men you’re surrounded by want to help you be successful.” But there have been times Bookwalter felt she wasn’t being heard or taken seriously, just because she’s a woman. “I use those moments as fuel to prove not only to them but myself that I know what I’m doing and I deserve the same respect despite my gender,” Bookwalter says. “I think my biggest challenge was finding the confidence in myself to put myself out there and surrounding myself with people I knew had more experience than I did.”

Overall, she believes that the industry is shifting to accept women as equals, respecting the knowledge they do have for sports. “I feel there are certain situations where it’s extremely easy to be intimated when you’re the only woman in a room full of 30 men — but as you progress in this industry you learn to not shy away from those types of environments.” Bookwalter offers advice to females that want to work in sports media, “Don’t shy away from opportunity or think you’re not as good as the men you’re surrounded by. I think it’s easy to get intimated when you’re the only woman in the room, but I think that’s a great opportunity to grow and prove yourself and what you’re capable of. Do everything with confidence and don’t let anyone tell you you aren’t capable of something because of your gender. Bookwalter says that one of the perks of being in a male-dominated industry is the support from fellow female coworkers. “We grow together as a community and I think that bond between women in sports media is an unbreakable one. We’re all here to help one another succeed and pick them up when they’re feeling down.”



Within the media industry, for a woman, confidence is key. Tori mentioned that she always had a looming thought that she wouldn’t be welcomed or respected in a male-dominated industry. But she built a support system and it helped to know that she had her own group she could rely on. “I definitely believe as a woman in this industry you have to work harder than your male counterparts,” Bookwalter says. 46


THE SLOW BURN IN TV Similar to movie tropes, TV shows often follow the same patterns. However, unlike movies, shows have a seemingly unlimited amount of time. That means that while love triangles, and saving the world tropes are a good use of time, the slow burn romance has become exceedingly popular in long standing series. Because of the extended time that tv shows have, especially ones that seem to never end, like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Bones,” the slow burn romance has become a popular choice. Slow burn love is when one character has been in love with the other for a large chunk of time, or neither character will admit their feelings. The audience knows that they will eventually end up together, but when is the question.

By MJ Bergin What is the one thing that keeps us watching movies, TV shows and reading books? Is it the love triangles, the slow burn romances or even enemies to lovers? Most would agree that these storylines,

told time and time again, are what keep audiences coming back for more. They are the lessons we take away from books and the adventures we want to have from movies. These repetitions in entertainment are more commonly known as “tropes.”

WHAT ARE TROPES? Tropes by definition are thematic storytelling devices that communicate something figurative to an audience. But to most watchers and readers, they are: the enemies to lovers, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet in “Pride and Prejudice,” the slow burn love, Stiles and Lydia in “Teen Wolf” and the all too popular love triangle, Edward, Bella and Jacob in the “Twilight Saga.” They take place in all mediums of entertainment. Writers and creators use them as a way to keep people interested in the story they are telling. The major reason being … they sell well. More often than not, people are drawn to a storyline that they have seen before. There is something oddly satisfying about seeing the couple that you knew were going to end up together from the beginning, actually end up together. While most movies, books and tv shows attempt to use these tropes as well as make them stand apart from their counterparts; there is still a very predictable formula that they follow. Using the trope as their blueprint, creators are confident that no matter what story they tell, lovers of that particular trope will enjoy it to some degree.

MOVIE PATTERNS Tropes in movies are probably the most popular and most notable kind. They are what keep audiences coming back for every Nicolas Sparks book adaptation and what has them continuously surprised by the car accident storyline in almost all romance movies. The most popular in recent years would have to be the “fake dating” trope. Previously popular in the 90s with movies like “She’s All That,” “Drive Me Crazy” and “10 Things I Hate About You,” the trope has come back in style. Most notably in the “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” trilogy. Another prime example of the fake dating trope is when the two main characters pretend to date for the benefit of one or both of them. 47

Since movies have a limited run time, there is only so much the writers can do to make their storyline different from the thousands of best friends to lovers movies already out in the world. Some divulge from the path and put the trope on the backburner. This would be the case in most action and comedy movies, but those kinds of movies have a trope of their own.

FRIENDS TO MORE Arguably the most beloved trope in any form of entertainment is “friends to more,” which plays out exactly how it sounds. Two characters start the story as friends, most of the time best friends, and end the story by dating, getting married or at least admitting they have feelings for each other. Whether it’s in a book or on a screen, “friends to more” or “friends to lovers” as most people call it, is a widely popular trope that is enjoyed on any medium of entertainment. In the realm of TV two of the most notable pairings would be Monica and Chandler from “Friends’’ and Cory and Topanga from “Boy Meets World.” Both of these relationships started with one or both characters finding the idea of being together unfathomable, but as time goes on and their friendship grows, and so does their relationship. In literature, Ron and Hermione from “Harry Potter” whose relationship started with the two barely tolerating each other as friends and ended being married with two kids. Movies also carry the same impact, even if audiences don’t get to see it happen slowly, it still happens. “Love, Rosie,” “When Harry Met Sally” and “13 Going on 30” are all movies that show a strong friendship turning into an even stronger relationship.

THE PSYCHOLOGY BEHIND THEM Everyone loves a new movie or a new tv show, but what is the one thing that keeps us watching them over and over again? Some people say that they enjoy being able to predict what happens and those that don’t say that might not realize that they are feeling that comfort, too. According to psychologists, rewatching TV shows or movies, or even ones that have similar plotlines can actually be very therapeutic. Knowing what’s going to happen during what you’re watching is extremely anxiety reducing. Studies show that people with higher levels of anxiety are more likely to rewatch things rather than start something new. This can be played directly into the use of tropes. Audiences know more or less exactly what is going to happen at the end, thus drastically reducing anxiety.

There are some shows that make their audience wait for multiple seasons before throwing them a shared moment between the characters. While it can be a frustrating experience having no control over two fictional characters, it’s what keeps the audience tuned in for every episode.

LITERATURE LOVE AND OVERDONE ARCS Most of the tropes found in books are very similar to those in TV and movies, but there are certain tropes in literature that stand out. From a popular standpoint, within the genre of fantasy or dystopian, there are a multitude of tropes. The quest, the society that needs to be rebuilt, the chosen one and the evil overlord are all ones that have been seen time and time again. While every book has a different story, they all quench the sense of adventure that most readers feel. Most young adults don’t care that “Harry Potter ‘’ and “Percy Jackson ‘’ are the same chosen one story but in different packaging or that most Disney movies with evil stepmothers end with the princess taking her rightful place on the throne. They’re also not just for romance purposes. There’s the “Hallmark” staple of the back to my hometown trope, the young adult novel save the world trope, such as in “Divergent”and “The Hunger Games” and even the fan favorite: an unlikely group of friends bands together to complete an unrealistic task.

WHY THEY KEEP COMING BACK What keeps people coming back is not only the comfort of knowing how it’s going to end, or the sense of adventure; it’s also the allure that every story has the chance to be different. Nothing is exactly the same or written in stone. Who’s to say that the next love triangle movie won’t end with all of the characters alone, or that the next unlikely hero book won’t end with the good guys losing? Entertainment is about the stories and the lessons taken from those stories. Seeing the same thing over and over again doesn’t make it less impactful; instead, it makes it more possible.

Slow burn romance has become exceedingly popular in long series.

GONE TOO SOON By Caitlyn Garrity More often than not, when a celebrity or music icon dies, the feelings of pain and loss can feel similar to those of someone you personally know passing away.


Whether it was their music, their story or their journey that touched us, artists can leave a huge impact on us as individuals, even if they have no idea who we are.

“A lot of artists have a ton of unreleased material and end up releasing more projects after their death,” Hyman says. Unreleased music and ongoing music on TikTok are allowing for artists to leave a large impact on their fans or even create new ones beyond their lives.

Young artists like Mac Miller, Juice Wrld, Pop Smoke and more have short-lived fame and careers. Recognizing these short careers is not focused on the matter of death, but how an artists’ premature passing can affect their fans and the music they leave behind.


MAC MILLER: DEATH DURING A CREATIVE PEAK One of the biggest examples of celebrity deaths that the public has to overcome in recent years, is Mac Miller. Just a month before his passing, Miller released his fifth and final album, “Swimming.” Miller was highly criticized during his life and his music was overanalyzed by many. Dan Hyman, a freelance entertainment journalist for the “Rolling Stone,” spoke to Mac Miller just two weeks before his death. It was not until he died when people began to see the potential Miller held and the true value of his music. Hyman said that Miller passed during his creative peak, which made his death far more impactful in the rap industry and on his fans. In some cases, Millers’ death can be compared to individuals such as Amy Winehouse, as one of the most significant celebrity deaths of our generation. When artists die, especially during the current era of streaming music, their music is listened to on repeat. “It’s easier to reminisce with music; you can stream it faster and quickly,” Hyman says. Streams for Miller increased after his death as people used his music to look back on his life and reflect on the impact he had made within rap. Penn State sophomore Tobey Prime considers himself a huge Miller fan and found out about his death on his ride home from school. “To remember him, I listened to Swimming, which had just come out and cried my eyes out on my ride home,” Prime says. Considering how fame is fleeting throughout the rap and hip-hop industry, musicians are dying young, but their music is living on. Prime says, “As long as his music is still available to listen to, Mac Miller will never die.”


Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G., also Biggie, are two huge names in the hip-hop industry. The passing of these artists not only left fans using their previous music to remember their lives, but it actually created a whole new dynamic in the hip-hop community. The idea of East Coast rappers versus West Coast comes after the death of these legends. After the passing of Tupac, West Coast rappers felt to continue his legacy by building upon his legacy and the same occurred on the East Coast. This kind of competitive divide that allowed hip-hop to evolve can be accredited to the death of two influential artists of those areas. When it comes to the way we view artists after their passing, there will hardly ever be negative journalistic pieces. “You won’t see much bad criticism rather than constructive and reflective,” said Hyman. Journalists and critics tend to view artists’ lives and their careers through “rose-colored lenses.” This means that journalists are not over-critical but aim to reflect and breaking apart the elements of what made that artist’s career important. People form strong bonds with artists and songs, and emotional connections to artists. That is what makes young deaths, as we see in the rap community, extremely heartbreaking to fans. These fans love artists quickly and when they die at a young age before they can fully explore their potential, it is difficult. So, while artists like Mac Miller, Pop Smoke, Tupac and more are no longer with us physically, their music finds a way to live on past those who are gone too soon.


The idea of passing too young is tragic, but in the case of musicians, it is also important to look at how that affects their work. In this new age, there are many ways that musicians in the hip-hop and rap industry live on beyond their death and affect others.

It is no doubt that musicians are gaining quick fame through TikTok’s ability to blow up videos overnight. However, in the case of artists like Pop Smoke and Juice Wrld, music is continuously growing even if the artist is no longer there.



CYCLES By: Huntyr Kephart

The times are changing and fashion is no exception to that. Fashion trends are on an endless cycle of what’s in and what’s out, with old trends making their reappearance every few years in new, innovative ways.

Brands trend forecast by going to other fashion shows, looking to influencers and other industries by creating mood boards constructed with images from art, film, nature and even different fabrics, colors and patterns.

A fashion trend occurs when a specific clothing item, accessory, color or silhouette becomes increasingly popular. These trends are cyclical, going through five different stages beginning with the introduction of a trend into the fashion world.

The industry is able to predict both future short-term and long-term trends and how they will make their way into our lives.

THE STAGES The concept of a trend has been around us for hundreds of years, introduced by fashion designers, marketing agencies and affluent people within our society such as celebrities and influencers. They take previous trends from other decades and refresh the idea with slight modifications. The late 1800s were a time of conservative floor-length dresses and body-numbing corsets, while the 20s were roaring with glitz, glamour and carefree living. The 1960s were a time for revolution and change, so it only seems right that the fashion would match. As freedoms and independence grew for women, hemlines tended to shrink with the mini skirt and shift dresses. The 1980s were a time in which we saw bold colors, patterns and big hair, which makes sense as this age was filled with tons of pop culture moments in music and television. We look to the 2000s for their funky, pop culture moments as well, but were also sparked into a new age of technology. What’s going on in the world has such a heavy impact on the clothing that is worn within each decade, and can help to identify what new trends will make an appearance.

THE INFLUENCE This is done by trend forecasting, which allows people involved in the fashion industry to predict the next big trends and the future of the market.

The next step in the fashion cycle is the “increase” stage. This is where new styles and colors of clothing start gaining momentum and we begin seeing them on our favorite fashion influencers and celebrities. After the trend starts making its way onto social media is when we see a few retailers carry these specific fashion items. Chunky boots, shackets and the colors green and brown are all trends we once only saw on our Pinterest boards worn by celebrities that were only sold by brands on the pricier side.

Another shift in the industry has been the increase in buying second-hand or thrift shopping – Macklemore was really trying to tell us something before Emma Chamberlain claimed the spotlight as the reinventor of vintage fashion.

When pieces of clothing become outdated and different trends begin to shed light, the fashion cycle closes with obsolescence, but that doesn’t mean those trends will stay forever hidden away.

Although there has been a huge push for sustainability in the fashion world, the cycle of what’s in and what’s out has begun to accelerate so much that people can’t afford to keep up, which in turn makes them opt out for cheaper alternatives like buying from stores that promote fast fashion.

Trends from each decade have snuck their way back into the industry while others have run their course. This is why we see baggy jeans and corsets making a comeback, and why we don’t often see people wearing leg warmers and poodle skirts anymore.

“The increase in the sharing economy (e.g., rent the runway, nuuly, etc.) is also a response to the sustainability concerns and such platforms are also changing the landscape,” Penn State Professor Meg Meloy says. “They are making it possible for individuals to get the fresh look without the guilt of buying new.”

“The fashion industry has been pushing out so many trends at once, and many people feel as though they can truly get creative with their own personal style and not worry

Another shift in the industry has been the increase in buying second-hand or thrift shopping – Macklemore was really trying to tell us something before Emma Chamberlain claimed the spotlight as the reinventor of vintage fashion. Although there has been a huge push for sustainability in the fashion world, the cycle of what’s in and what’s out has begun to accelerate so much that people can’t afford to keep up, which in turn makes them opt out for cheaper alternatives like buying from stores that promote fast fashion.

Now, we see almost every retailer offer their replication of these different trendy pieces for much more affordable prices and we see everyone wearing the trend. This is what is known as the peak of the fashion cycle.

“We are hopefully getting away from fast fashion; the sustainability hit from it is huge in terms of the amount of emissions, water use and other resources needed to churn out trendy, cheaply-made clothing that is worn a half a dozen times or so and then discarded – truly horrifying,” Meloy says.

Our fashion choices are more thought out than we really even notice them to be. Seeing Kendall Jenner wear a brown North Face puffer jacket is really just the spark that lights the fire and becomes that one thing everyone wants.

Too much of something is never good and this is where the decline of a fashion trend begins.

THE IMPACT Although cycling through fashion to find the newest, coolest trend may be fun, it has serious harmful effects to not only our wallets but to the environment as well. The fashion industry has been evolving even more since the push of sustainability. Many companies produce mass amounts of clothing that ultimately end up getting put in a landfill, instead of being recycled or reused.

People get turned off of seeing the same thing over and over and want to try something less mainstream and more unique. “When you see an overabundance of something, like in a thrift store or online, you’re not interested in it, but when it’s fizzled out and you can find pieces that there aren’t as many of, that makes them more desirable,” Penn State student Mariah Dougherty says. “The fashion industry has been pushing out so many trends at once, and many people feel as though they can truly get creative with their own personal style and not worry so much about what others have to say about it,” Penn State student Krista Chen says.

It’s no secret that the pandemic has affected the fashion industry, and experts are now beginning to predict what fashion will look like once the world goes back to some version of normal. “Once COVID-19 settles down and more vaccines roll out, I think many people will dress up more when going out to gatherings; for example, wearing things they bought over quarantine or things they haven’t had the opportunity to wear out in a long time,” Chen says. “Similar to the 1920s, fashion may be more extravagant, balancing out the comfort and laziness of quarantine.”

THE FUTURE Some notable trends that we hope to see this spring and summer are statement trousers, colorful chunky jewelry, low-rise jeans, G-string details and a comeback of the mini skirt. Fashion pieces will forever be cycling their way in and out of being popular, and we’re looking forward to watching all the trends that will continue to unfold throughout 2021.


Fashion is also a victim to the recent issues of gentrification. The reselling industry has been very popular over the past few years, but Depop has frustrated buyers in recent times. Reselling apps and websites such as Depop and Poshmark have been prevalent not only in the past few years, but especially in the last year. Online shopping and selling has become the only real and safe way we can get our clothing with the pandemic being eminent. To understand how Depop has gotten their prices so high, it is important to understand that thrifting has been under criticism for overpricing items before Depop even existed. According to a 34th Street article, in the early 2000’s, sellers and thrifting businesses marked up prices of vintage Nike and Champion due to it being the next fashion trend. This has also occurred on Depop — often with items relating to “y2k.” Specific brands such as Juicy Couture selling for double, if not triple what they are worth, just as one example of this major problem.


You may ask, how can they get away with the bold pricing? Websites and apps such as Depop and Poshmark do take out the profit for shipping costs which could also be another reasoning as to why the prices are so steep. Sellers often have to allot a cushion for the shipping price to even profit off their items.

By: Paige Burruto

However, it does not mean that the sellers can buy new items and sell them for double the price. Telfar is another brand where this seems to happen a lot. Telfar is a business whose statement is, “it’s not for you, it’s for everyone.” Resellers on Depop are selling the brand’s handbags for a whopping $350 when the most expensive bag retails for $257. This practice of overpricing items can be deemed as unethical and many influencers have actually been called out for it in the past few months. This isn’t always the case, though. Penn State junior Emma Houston says that she has been on Depop since 2019. “Since the beginning I have believed in pricing my clothes the same or close to the price you would find them at a thrift store in person. I do this because I believe in making sustainable fashion accessible,” Houston says. The issue with this lies deep beneath the prices. It has to do with the fact that there are people who depend on shopping second hand for their wardrobe stables. Users on Depop who exploit these prices to make a quick buck, are actually gentrifying something that could be easily accessible for people.

Depop has made it quite the challenge for people to have accessibility at their fingertips, which is something we all need in this time where going out to a mall or strip of stores isn’t always an option. The brand prides themselves on being a creative outlet for their community; however, the price gouging doesn’t allow for full creativity – only for those who can afford it. Looking deeper into the issue, the trend of reselling thrifted pieces at a steep price tag has a profound effect on consumers who rely on thrift stores to fill their closet. With some Depop users overtaking these stores, it leaves nothing left for those who need it the most.

“It really does upset me to know that larger sellers are participating in this behavior because it defeats the purpose of shopping second hand, which is a traditionally less expensive way to shop. Because this is happening, shopping second hand as a means of shopping sustainably has become a classist pass time,” Houston says.

Houston suggests a more ethical approach when thrifting that is a great rule for everyone to live by, “When I shop at stores like Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and other second hand stores, I make sure to leave nice quality or brand name clothes on the racks. I do this because shopping second hand for clothes originated out of necessity. People who struggle financially rely on the low prices of second hand stores, and when someone like me walks into a shop, it becomes an issue of exploiting and taking advantage of the low prices and generous donations from others.”

The people who over price items on Depop are the same people who turn around and criticize fast fashion for being unethical. However, they are the ones causing people to turn to fast fashion because the prices of second hand clothes are too high of an access point for others.

Thrifting is certainly a sustainable and fun way to shop, but it’s important to be mindful of the needs of other consumers in the process. There’s a right and a wrong way to resell pieces on an app like Depop, and if everyone does their part, thrifting can be both a fun pastime and a hub for essentials.


In recent months because of the pandemic, athleisure and luxury loungewear have all become widely popular. We normally would view loungewear as something to wear when our day is over – but during this past year in the age of COVID-19, we’ve adapted to wearing loungewear while doing basically anything.

Speranza uses Lululemon as an example, saying that many of their products feature dressier items, but are still made out of their well known, classic comfy material. For those staying at home, designers are creating pieces where you still feel fashionable, but are comfortable at the same time.

Loungewear had been on the rise for a while, but the trend has accelerated rapidly since the beginning of the quarantine last March. Loungewear in recent months has not been what you might think of in the past – your old sweats with holes in them, or a t-shirt from years ago. The loungewear in style is much different now - and comes at a high price.

Another one of the many luxury loungewear brands is Talentless, by Scott Disick. Disick’s brand has taken off recently, especially since the pandemic. Talentless sweatshirts average at about $140. Many wonder why Talentless and similar brands can charge so much for something like a sweatshirt. A lot of it has to do with the advertising, especially because Scott Disick’s name is attached to it. The brand is also seen worn by many of the Kardashian and Jenner clan, and other influencers. When people that influential are wearing the brand, a high price won’t stop people from buying it.

According to Forbes, there were many changes to shopping trends that aligned with the outbreak of the coronavirus. Throughout the first months of the pandemic, sales of pajamas increased by 143%. This trend is projected to last well over the end of the pandemic. According to Fashionista, those studying trend forecasting are projecting that this “loungewear pivot” could last for several years or decades. The working from home lifestyle has caused a shift in traditional workwear. The transition from going from comfy clothing back to work clothing is going to be a difficult adjustment for many, if it’s even necessary. Companies are adapting to align with this new lifestyle, making versatile clothing that works for both work and relaxation. In fact, many jobs will remain in an at-home office permanently, which will only increase the demand for comfortable but fashionable options. Some are curious to see what companies will do in the near future with this movement. Fashion Business Management student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Chloe Speranza, says that she is excited for the future of this trend. “Something I’m really excited for is to see where they’re going to start taking athleisure. I think that what they’re going to do is start making pieces that aren’t as like your basic sweatpant. I think that they’re going to start making pieces that are a little dressier but still comfy.” Speranza says.

Until the time comes when we need to hang up the sweatpants, stores across the globe are busy creating more and more loungewear sets. Many companies such as SKIMS, Essentials, Madhappy, Aviator Nation, and more have been gaining immense popularity. All of these brands are definitely more high end, but frequent customers will argue that they are worth it. Many who have purchased from these brands admit that the quality is superior, and is the reason they continue to buy products. Like Talentless, these brands are worn by many influencers, which ultimately is also how these companies can get away with charging so much. Although expensive, people can’t seem to get enough of expensive loungewear, especially because they are acceptable to wear out and about, unlike past cozier options. One thing we can say is that we hope the pandemic ends soon, but this trend lives on.


THAT’S HOT! THE RETURN OF Y2K By: Mason Shaffer Every 10-20 years, trends are born again and given new life on a younger generation. In the last five years, we saw the resurgence of the 90s: moody neutrals, vampy makeup, scrunchies and mom jeans. It was as if we were transported back in time to 1995 with flannel prints, chunky shoes and vintage band tees. As another era of browns and sleek street style draws to a close, a fashionable new dawn approaches: The Resurgence of Y2K. Instead of partying like it’s 1999, start dressing like it’s 2003. It’s time to live out our childhood dreams of dressing like our Bratz dolls.

The Origins of Y2K Fashion A major transition from the moody 90s aesthetic, Y2K fashion was a breath of fresh air — and rhinestones. Early in the new millennium and new decade, fast fashion was becoming readily available in stores like Macy’s, Forever 21 or the GAP. Stylists also began to mix designer with fast fashion and department store pieces, which was relatively uncommon up until this point. Many trends were over shortly after they started, as new trends were more accessible than ever. Celebrities of all industries were quickly becoming a new generation of style icons. Whether you were a singer, reality television star or professional athlete, your style and clothes were influencing what retailers produced and what the public wanted to wear. As reality television was on the rise, people started looking to reality stars for what to wear. This was a dramatic shift from stars like supermodels dictating what was on-trend. Celebrities like Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Amanda Bynes, Lindsay Lohan, Lauren Conrad and Destiny’s Child were the ones calling the fashion shots in the early 2000s. Instead of Instagram or VSCO, we turned to our favorite celebs’ MySpace pages, tabloids, red carpets and magazines like Tiger Beat, J-14 or Teen Vogue for the hottest trends all our favs were rocking.

What is Y2K fashion? Much of Y2K fashion was about color, excess and shock value. Asymmetry in shapes and hems were very popular, especially in skirts and dresses. Instead of navy blue, black and brown, hues of pink, purple and blue were everywhere, whether they were pastel or neon. Skirts were shorter than ever before, and in the words of the 00s queen herself, Paris Hilton, “should be as long as a belt.” Animal prints like cheetah and zebra were everywhere. Butterflies were just as common on T-shirts and bags as they were as clips in our hair. Colors were neon or nothing, baby tees were the original crop top and everything was covered in sparkles. Vampy, matte lips were traded out for sparkly, pink glossy ones and frosty eyeshadow with an obnoxious brow bone highlight was all the rage. As trends came and fads went, there were a few select staples that seemed to last the entirety of the 2000s. The Juicy Couture velour tracksuit was a piece that was on constant rotation in everyone’s wardrobe. The infamous Ugg boot had its moment in the sun, and we wore them everywhere. Finally, the Louis Vuitton bag became an instant classic and is still popular in many different variations today. Like every era, the early 2000s were full of misses. As fabulous as the fashion of Y2K was, not every trend of the 00s was a hit. Styles such as dresses and skirts over jeans, fedora hats and thongs exposed from the top of your pants were some of the hottest looks everyone was trying to purchase. We were also obsessed with one of the most controversial trends of all time: low-rise jeans. 59

If you’re curious about Y2K fashion, take the time to binge some of the best shows and movies of the decade. Shows such as “One Tree Hill,” and the early seasons of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” and “Jersey Shore” are prime examples of what the 00s were all about. Movies like “Mean Girls,” “Legally Blonde” or “What a Girl Want,” are great references for 00s fashion as well. Gen Z would’ve seen Y2K’s finest trends on shows like “That’s So Raven,” and “Hannah Montana” or movies like “High School Musical” and “The Cheetah Girls.”

How to Wear the 00s in the 20s When new trends resurge, it can be difficult to navigate which ones are hot and which ones are simply not. When a decade full of hits and misses is making its comeback, it is confusing to adapt the best looks for modern times. So, now that the 00s are back, what do you wear? Time to ditch the moody all-black ensemblé for something brighter, more colorful, more fun. Opt for colors like lavender, neon green or lime, baby blue and all shades of pink. Whether they are neons or pastels, start implementing color into your wardrobe. Anyone who was anyone was spotted in a Juicy Couture tracksuit in the early 00s. To keep this same style throughout the 20s, opt for a matching sweatsuit or coordinating loungewear. Whether your sweat set is velour, cotton or fleece, a matching athleisure set is going to become a staple in your closet whether you’re in class, on Zoom or grabbing coffee with a friend. Rhinestones were practically neutral in the 00s. They went with everything and could never do you wrong. The same rule applies in the 20s; start looking for all that glitters, even if it’s not gold. Logos are definitely in, just like they were in the 00s. From trucker hats to crop tops, Von Dutch was everywhere. Baby Phat was on everything, the Juicy Couture logo was scrolled across everyone’s butt and nobody could forget the coveted LV logo. Get ready to see logos make a major comeback and start stocking up on some of your personal faves. Lizzo was onto something with her little purse at the AMA’s, and we’re not just talking about the meme. Tiny purses are on their way back in style this year, so look out for teensy bags to hold the bare minimum of your belongings. Barrettes and hair clips will be popping up everywhere this year. This Y2K staple made a major comeback after Ariana Grande famously brought oversized, jewel and pearl hair clips back into style on her Sweetener World Tour. They were previously seen on stars such as Paris Hilton and Hilary Duff back in the day. The lacey little numbers with the lining around the bust are not going anywhere any time soon. Start stocking up on them in all of your favorite colors to coordinate. These pair perfectly with everything from jeans to denim skirts, joggers to leather pants. On the subject of pants, they’re getting a major upgrade. Long gone are the days of our beloved skinny jeans, so start shopping for pants with a wide or flared leg and add to cart. Bustiers and corsets were hot long before “Bridgerton” — as a matter of fact, they were a Y2K staple. There’s nothing wrong with a cinched waist in fun fabrics and colors, so seize this outstanding outfit opportunity. Grab your mini purse and bright colors, cause get in loser — we’re going shopping.

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