Busty Girls are Chic Too: 5 Styling Tips for Top-Heavy Women

9.26.2016

By Rebekah Swank

If you are like me, then you probably understand what it’s like to be forced to grab a top the next size up, because that medium you thought would fit doesn’t even come close to squeezing over you lady lumps.  Yes, life is hard when your style icon is Kendall Jenner or Chiara Ferragni.  It’s a never-ending battle to find clothes that are stylish and flattering.  Most days you end up throwing something on, looking like a potato sack, and accepting that this might be your fate forever.  Well ladies, put aside your sweatshirts, because the only thing you’ll be swimming in today is compliments.  Here are five styling tips for busty women.

    1. Accentuate your waist

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This is the best thing you can do to avoid looking like you have no shape.  Avoid billowy tops that will hang off your chest and hide your figure.  These kinds of garments end up making you look larger than you really are.  By highlighting your waist, you can show off your real curves. 

     2. Balance with boyfriend jeans

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For years, busty girls have been told to avoid this trend.  However, wearing slouchy boyfriend jeans with a well-fitting top can actually provide a little bit of balance to the top and bottom halves of your body.  Try half-tucking a button down or v-neck top into the waistband.

    3. Rompers and jumpsuits can be flattering

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Most top-heavy ladies steer clear of rompers and jumpsuits.  In reality, they can be very flattering.  Most of the time they are cinched in just the right places, and the single piece means less time getting ready in the morning (bonus 10 minutes of sleep!).

     4. Long lines elongate your torso

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Sometimes, busty girls can look stumpy and short.  Wearing long lines on top, like a shirt with vertical stripes or an oversized blazer, will create the illusion of a longer torso. 

   5. Own it

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Busty women are often told what to wear in order to hide their natural curves. But guess what? Big boobs are beautiful too! Don’t be discouraged by the styles you think you can’t pull off, and embrace your lady lumps. 

Show off what you’ve got!

Photography by Jaidan Royal

WTF Is Up?! – Another Hashtag, The Divorce Heard ‘Round The World, & More!

9.23.2016

By Darby VanHoutan

WTF-Darby

I may have slept through my alarm on three different occasions this week but who’s counting? The W’s outweigh the L’s and now I just need to catch up on WTF happened this week!

A 4th Grade Teacher Restores Your Faith in Humanity

In the midst of a mental breakdown at the Underground on Tuesday, I did what I do best. I exited out of the stuff I was supposed to be working on and got onto Facebook. It was here amidst the procrastination that I discovered Mr. Reed.

A first year teacher in Chicago, Dwayne Reed, created a ‘Welcome’ video to his incoming 4th grade students. In the video Reed demonstrates the riveting things his class will take part in during 4th grade like: history, science,  and mathematics. He also raps about his style, love for pizza and excitement to meet his (lucky, blessed, fortunate, etc.) 4th grade class.

I’ll let you know that I’m not exaggerating when I say that I will pre-game to this uplifting, life-changing rap. After watching the inspirational video at least five times in a row, I even felt motivated enough to finish my homework.

Love Isn’t Real – (Evidence Included)

I’ve never been 100% sure of whether real love exists in the world, but after what happened on Monday I’m on the side of the skeptics. Angelina Jolie filed for divorce from husband Brad Pitt. The two of them, although technically being together since 2004, have been married since August of 2014. (Remember the flawless wedding where Jolie had a veil covered in doodles done by her kids? *sigh*)

There aren’t many details regarding reasons behind the divorce. According to TMZ, the first source to leak the news, the main reason is just unsolvable differences between the two. Obviously love is cool and I’m sure sometimes marriages are pretty cool and 100% of the time couples, even mega-admired, mom & dad, indestructible, power couples, don’t need to give other people a single reason for their separation. Jolie is also requesting physical custody of their six children and visitations from Pitt.

Most importantly, let’s remember that this event occurred while Mercury was in retrograde and so the situation may never make sense to anyone.

Gigi (Bad B!tch) Hadid

Model Gigi Hadid was legitimately swept off her feet this weekend, during the Max Mara event at Milan Fashion Week on Thursday. While strutting away from the show with model/sister Bella Hadid and weaving between paparazzi, Gigi was grabbed from behind and picked up by a random muggle who was then elbowed in the face and chased by the model. It’s about as amazing to hear about as it is to watch.

Of course society then attacked the model for doing what people tell young women to do everyday – defend themselves. The Sun newspaper tweeted a story about the incident with the headline “NOT MODEL BEHAVIOR: Gigi Hadid aggressively lashes out and ELBOWS fan in the FACE after he tries to pick her up.” This tweet was later amended, most likely after they realized “oh wait…why am I using caps lock so often?” or “Wait maybe the focus shouldn’t be on a defensive model but instead the random civilian who picked up a 21-year old off the ground while she was leaving her place of work?”

Hadid took to Twitter herself saying that “ I had EVERY RIGHT to defend myself. How dare that idiot think he has the right to man-handle a complete stranger. He ran quick tho”.

WTF Is happening in OK & NC

Keith Lamont Scott was killed by police on Tuesday. Scott was shot by police in Charlotte, North Carolina after being forced to exit his car while sitting outside the residence of another individual who was set to be served a warrant. According to police, after he was approached (for apparently just sitting in his car) the police asked him to exit the vehicle and drop his weapon. According to Scott’s family, he was waiting for his son to be dropped off from school at his bus stop. The city of Charlotte has been in a state of constant protests every night since the incident.

Terence Crutcher was killed by police on Friday September 16. Crutcher was shot by the police in Tulsa, Oklahoma after officers were called to the scene of a car blocking a road. When officer Betty Jo Shelby arrived, Crutcher interacted with her in a scene that was recorded from four different angles. Although all the concrete details of the case are not evident, the details available are the videos showing Shelby shooting an unarmed Crutcher. Shelby was immediately put on a paid leave before being charged with first-degree manslaughter on Thursday evening. According to Shelby, the fact that Crutcher was unarmed was not evident to her and she felt in fear of her life.

This is where it becomes necessary for an opinion to be had. The issue isn’t going anywhere. The hashtags aren’t going anywhere. That feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you see a video of a man being shot to death isn’t going anywhere. Research things. Talk to the people around you. Find out the insecurities and un-easiness your peers may be feeling around you that you may not even be aware of. This situation has gone past the stage of WTF.

A Thank You Card to Shawn Mendes

I may indeed be the only 19 year old who consistently listens to Shawn Mendes and announces it to people but in the hopes that I’m not, let me tell you some exciting news – Shawn Mendes has a new album. The first millisecond that it was available, I sat down and listened to it in it’s entirety and I would 10/10 recommend it to a friend. Mendes tweeted out a link to the album, which is available FREE on Spotify.

The album is titled Illuminate and was released by Mendes today. It contains a total of 12 songs including the hit Treat You Better released earlier this year that I KNOW you all jam to in your car when you think no one is watching. The album is filled with guitar, Mendes’ vocals, and ~all~ of the feels. Go ahead. Listen to it. No one will judge you. I support you. Do it.

Listen Up!

9.22.2016

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Photo by Maggie Russell

Considering the current weather, it’s a little difficult to believe that the Autumnal equinox is already upon us. Let’s welcome the new season with open arms! Here are some tunes to help you shed your summer skin:

 

Heard on the Hill

9.22.2016

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Heard on the Hill is back!

  • “Let’s play a game called ‘How lit can I get in a minute’.”
  • Person 1:“Is that a condom?”

          Person 2: “No it’s a beef ramen.”

  • “Stop being a bad bitch, go to bed!”
  • “I would pole dance for a pizza right now, just saying.”
  • “I really want to order something but I can’t read the menu because I never learned to read cursive.”
  • “I thought I lost my shirt. Then I realized I’m wearing it.”
  • “I think Michelle Obama’s kinda hot.”
  • “Can I use beak Em bucks at the liquor store?”
  • Person 1: “What are you up to tonight?”

          Person 2: Well, NBA 2k17 came out and I got ton of rice cakes, so that.”

  • “I sing the Greek alphabet when I run because it helps me concentrate.”

Finally, More Frank Ocean in Our Lives

9.21.2016

By Elias Medici

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The purgatory impatience finally ends for Frank Ocean to release new music. On August 20th, 2016, his next project Blond was available for the world to drool over after four years of being silent. His last album, Channel Orange, brought worldwide attention to the young artist, perhaps contributing to his hibernation from the music industry. But the wait is over, and Blond blesses our ears with a re-defined sound and an inspiring story so well crafted by the mastermind himself, Mr. Ocean.

Four years is a long time. The struggle of waiting can be explained by a leap year baby trying to celebrate their birthday and turn one year older. His distinct style favored by the masses can be enjoyed throughout the album and provides a depth into his personal life. In the first song, “Nikes,” it takes around three whole minutes to finally hear his voice. He as well incorporates a tribute to Pimp-C, A$AP Yams and Trayvon Martin, who all in-explicitly died at different times. He as well mentions a tribute to Hurricane Katrina in “White Ferrari,” which connects the death tributes to a common theme of never forgetting personal devastation suffered in the past.

As seen in the album cover, there is no immediate signal of anything “blond” especially since he has Chia-pet green hair and is hiding his face. However, Spotify and Apple Music have displayed the album as Blonde, which the public determined as misspelling all over social media. In the English dictionary, the term “blond” is defined as a “fair-haired male” and “blonde” is “a fair-haired female.” In 2012, Frank posted on Twitter an open letter about his true self and the answers he is seeking for in the matter of love. He explains about his relationship with a man. He stated that four years ago he “met somebody, I was 19 years old. He was too.” He then goes on saying, “by the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping, no negotiating with the feeling. No choice. It was my first love.” This may be a contributor to collaborate with the streaming services to define his sexuality in the ways he feels. He as well encourages listeners to do the same and be open about it with tracks such as “Be Yourself,” “Good Guy,” and “Facebook Story” which provide a calm, holy-like instrumental, with a speech as lyrics from different sources. They all support staying true to oneself and not letting any influence change real identities.

Ocean’s album involves an array of writers including Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, and even The Beatles. The song “White Ferrari” includes lyrics provided by Paul McCartney and John Lennon in their song “Here, There, and Everywhere.” He as well incorporates Rostam Batmanglij from Vampire Weekend for lyrics on the second track “Ivy.” The strong support of writers provides a sensible tone to enjoy throughout the album and a new choice of words not present in previous works by Ocean.

The wait is well worth it. All expression of a struggling person in society is found throughout the album and triggers an enormous emotional response listening to its entirety. The public has yet to acquire the knowledge for the reasoning behind the release delay, but it’s here to enjoy. Blond can hopefully be recognized as a generational masterpiece and reach historical significance. Effective music embodies a personal narrative with political ideals and consistency to present a message, which this album successfully does. Take 40 minutes uninterrupted out of the day to listen carefully and learn something from the album.

Ethical Shopping on a Student’s Budget

9.20.2016

By Justin Hermstedt

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The only thing better than finding a new piece of clothing you love is finding it for a good price. But when I say “a good price,” I don’t mean a fair price. I mean a cheap price.

Throughout the last decade, fast fashion has made it easier and easier to find cheap, trendy clothing. Everything else seems to cost more, but you can go to the mall any day of the week and grab a pair of jeans from Forever 21 for fifteen bucks.

The inconvenient truth of the matter is that the fashion industry, particularly fast fashion, benefits from exploitative production methods overseas.

According to the American Apparel & Footwear Association, 97% of clothes in the United States are made outside of the country. Fifty years ago, over 90% was made in America. This outsourcing is fueled by a 71% cotton/29% polyester arms race, in which fashion companies vie to stay relevant by having the lowest prices. Companies that resist and only use factories in the United States, such as American Apparel, are basically being run into the ground. Strictly American-made brands cannot compete with fast fashion brands because, simply, the United States has much higher standards of how workers should be treated. There isn’t some nifty technology that has allowed clothes to be made cheaper. The cost has remained the same to construct a t-shirt, but the market demands the price to go down, so factory owners must cut corners to stay in business.

It’s widely accepted at this point that these factories barely provide their employees a living wage; the minimum wage in Bangladesh is $68 per month. However, the harms to communities in countries like Bangladesh are more than just underpaid employees. A more blatant, catastrophic example was the Rana Plaza collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2013. The Rana Plaza was a massive building that was composed of several clothing factories, a few shops and a bank. The day before the collapse, cracks appeared in the walls, but the man in charge mandated workers come back the next day for work, threatening to dock a month’s pay if they didn’t show up. The building collapsed, killing 1,130 and injuring 2,500.

The documentary The True Cost (available on Netflix) discusses these issues and covers the grand scheme of things, including legitimate environmental concerns.

Should you feel awful and guilty for supporting this industry? That’s for you to decide, but I don’t think so. The system itself is the actual perpetrator, while you were just fiending for some dope threads. All of this is sad, and no one wants to contribute to it, so what can one person like you or me do? Particularly as college students, it’s not feasible to buy only hand-made-in-the-USA luxury brands. Can ethical shopping also be economical? Fortunately, there are some tactics anyone can employ to shop a bit more responsibly.

2Wild Man Vintage

Explore the vibrant world of shopping pre-owned.

Thrift shopping is an excellent and unique option. Sure, you could only see your parents pulling off a lot of the clothes, but there are always some gems that you couldn’t find anywhere else. Many stores are selective of what clothes they take in, meaning you’re mostly looking through high quality pieces for a low price. In Lawrence, check out Arizona Trading Company and Plato’s Closet for newer, trendier, branded clothes. Wild Man Vintage, Goodwill and The Salvation Army  are perfect for finding some rare, frugal items.

If possible, stop supporting fast fashion.

Hear me out. As awful as it sounds, giving up on stores like H&M and Forever 21 is the best thing to do. Chances are you can find those brands at Plato’s Closet a month later anyway (for half the price as well).

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Shop more efficiently.

Seek quality over quantity. Your clothes will last longer and the extra money spent will be worth it in the end. Be sure to buy clothes that you’re excited to wear. If you have no use for a piece any more, donate it; more clothes are being bought than ever before, which means landfills are overflowing with them.

4Seen above: a shameless plug of my personal favorite thrift shop find.

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All in all, the simplest advice is to reduce, reuse and recycle. As the consumers, we ultimately have the purchasing power to shape the fashion world of the future. Think of your dollars as votes. Vote for companies you want to see survive, and more importantly what types of unethical business practices you want to see die out. Every vote counts, after all.

 

Photography by Maria Rodriguez

Killer Croc Styles

9.19.2016

By Logan Gossett
It starts with the email account you made as a kid. The hieroglyphic remains of that emoticon email extension that was literally just a virus contaminates your sent folder; the inbox has been marinating for years in a buffet of expired digital food; your spam folder still laboriously filters out emails from sexy, totally real singles in your area. Buried deep in the annex of the spam folder, however, is a discount code for the dinosaur of footwear: Crocs.

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There’s strength in numbers, which, combined with the inherent strength of Crocs, makes for an unstoppable duo (Pro-tip: Wiggle into some Crocs to increase the likelihood of catching otherwise rare water-type Pokémon in Pokemon GO.) Photo by Nicholas Purcell. Modeled by Samuel Berridge and Blair Watson

For those who haven’t spelunked to the bottom of their spam folder, Crocs are the rubber sandal-flops that some kids wore to the pool, and other kids courageously wore everywhere. You might have overheard somebody’s mom fetishize them with, “It’s like walking on clouds!” For the most part this is true, but all of the clouds I’ve walked on were actually stale trampolines stuffed inside of a trash bag, so who knows. While podiatrists and people with eyes find them disagreeable (the most liked positive review of the iconic Classic model begins its five star review with, “Honestly, these shoes are horribly ugly,”) Crocs have curated a niche following and a signature style.

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The CrocPot (pictured above), pushes the paradigm of what fashion-conscious people – and people who wear Crocs – are capable of. Photo by Nicholas Purcell. Modeled by Samuel Berridge

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PunkCroc (pictued above) is a budding aesthetic that synthesizes the soothing, domesticated nature of punk with the countercultural fervor that Croc Classics are known for. Let’s Croc ‘n’ Roll! Photo by Nicholas Purcell. Modeled by Grace Macke

Nostradamus may have defeatedly sighed in his grave when Kim Kardashian endorsed Skechers, but he couldn’t sleep for weeks when he saw Prince George Croc-Crawling in 2015. I guess the saying proves true: you must learn to crawl before you can Croc! Behemoths of fashion Jack Nicholson and Jonah Hill illustrated that Crocs can be walked on with their signature elegance. Or, if you’d rather turn heads and break necks during a night out, Crocs’ Cyprus V Heels might be for you. With The Cyprus V Heels, Crocs did what they do best: compromise. They listened to their consumers and finally provided a way to go fishing without needing to swap out of high heels. Students at a Minnesota high school even danced on the Croc-Cloud for prom!

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Classes at KU can be overwhelming, much like life without Crocs. Next time you’re having a difficult day, throw on your Crocs Classics and pull up your joggers — an outfit that just screams, “I am currently wearing Crocs and having a difficult day.” Photo by Nicholas Purcell. Modeled by Samuel Berridge

After monetary tumult from 2006-2011, Crocs seem to have found their market since 2012. Things aren’t necessarily looking up. Things aren’t even looking sufficient. But Crocs are unquestionably alive, which is more than Nostradamus can say. Heck, Jeff Foxworthy hasn’t even done a “You know you wear Crocs when…” bit yet! When he does, cool kids will wear Crocs to the pool again, just like the good old days.

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Floating On — Crocs are a durable brand with durable tags. Photo by Nicholas Purcell

Peer into the singularity of your spam folder and you’ll see Crocs peering back. Sure, seeing Crocs is like being enveloped in latex while suffering from a latex allergy, except on the soul. And while the soul may survive after death, few souls have seen an afterlife after seeing Crocs. But Crocs’ most successful days may very well be ahead. Bruce Wayne was a nobody/billionaire before he put on his Bat-mask; Air Jordans didn’t exist until Michael Jordan did. Only time will tell if Yeezy will be renewed for another season, or if Croc reruns are gaining momentum right around the corner.

 

WTF Is Up?! – A Pitch-Perfect Wedding, An Essay by Knowles, and more!

9.16.2016

By Darby VanHoutan

WTF-Darby

A Powerful Essay by Solange Knowles
This past Sunday, activist, singer, and all around badass Solange Knowles published an essay on her website Saint Heron. Overall, the essay addressed the lack of comfort and acceptance of black families in predominantly “white spaces” and damn, it’s spot on. Although there are countless experiences that back up the fire-fueled sentences that Knowles writes, the essay was triggered by an experience her and her family had at the Kraftwerk concert in New Orleans, Louisiana this past weekend. Before the essay, Knowles documented the racism around her family at the concert with live tweets that she later removed.

One of these tweets was “I’m just going to share my experience … So that maybe someone will understand why many of us don’t feel safe … in many white spaces”. Documenting is exactly what the singer does. She explains how out of my altercations, a group of four white women threw food at Knowles, her 11-year old son, and her husband.

The essay is titled “And Do You Belong? I Do”.

WTF Is a Deplorable
This weekend, a presidential candidate made a comment that delivered a low-blow to the supporters of the opposite candidate. I know what you’re thinking….Donald Trump please stop being racist and homophobic! PLEASE JUST TAKE ONE WEEKEND OFF. However, it was Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton that grouped together Trump supporters this weekend instead of the more common derogatory name-calling used be Republican nominee Donald Trump.

At the LGBT for Hillary Gala in New York City on Friday September 9, Clinton made the following statement: “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Drumpf’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it.” Then the world stopped. News outlets, Trump supporters, and that blonde woman that screams about things on facebook were all up in arms.

When I heard the news, I firstly had to look up what ‘deplorable’ meant. (BTW the definition is: causing or being a subject for censure, reproach, or disapproval; wretched; very bad). I then sat back and thought, okay that’s a super cool word and I think I’m going to use it more often. After getting over my new found favorite word I went on to digest what Clinton had said.

Clinton has since issued a statement saying that she was probably too “grossly generalistic”. This apology for generalizing a group of supporters into a negative cluster is something that the Republican nominee himself has yet to do.

A Wedding to Make You Feel Aca-Single
I’m delivering you this news assuming that you are as basic as me and have seen and are passionate about the Pitch Perfect movies. Hoping that you are and moving on, let me tell you…two of the main characters just got hitched IRL.

Anna Camp (AKA the leader of the female a cappella group in the first movie that vomits all over everyone) and Skylar Astin (AKA the cute boy who’s the love interest of Anna Kendrick) got married this past Saturday and my heart completely disintegrated. Camp’s dress was strapless and designed by Reem Acra. She then gave everyone around the world a new reason to love her by changing into a life-changing, short, feather dress and gold sneakers. Multiple Pitch Perfect costars were in attendance Elizabeth Banks, Rebel Wilson, and Brittany Snow. The crew documented the entire thing via Instagram and the photographs are wholeheartedly worth seeing.

Tailgating 101: Five things every newcomer should know about game day in LFK

9.10.2016

By Ellie Milton

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Photo by Georgia Hickam

Ask anyone on campus: the KU football team hasn’t had the best of luck in the recent years. Yet, that definitely doesn’t mean that Jayhawks don’t know how to throw a tailgate! Whether you’re from Kansas or you’re here from out of state, there are a few things you should know about game day here at the University of Kansas.

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Photo by Georgia Hickam

  • Even though we aren’t the number one team in the Big 12, fans still go crazy for KU football. I come from a state where college football is a huge deal. Knowing KU’s recent records, I was not expecting much from the first game’s festivities. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how much KU football spirit the people of Lawrence have. I saw kids wearing little Jayhawk costumes, food tables looking more like something out of a Hogwarts banquet than a college tailgate, and most of all, everyone was wearing crimson and blue.
  • Dressing up for game day is a big thing. A quick tip when picking out an outfit for game day: if you’re comfortable, you’re probably underdressed. Girls in heels and dresses, guys in dress polos and button downs, and everything in between.
  • The RCJH chant will absolutely give you chills every time you hear it. I’ve been to Jayhawk football games before and I grew up a fan of KU, so the “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk” chant is nothing new for me. Even though I’ve heard it a hundred times before, the second the entire stadium starts chanting, I truly felt like a KU student for the first time.

 

  • There are TONS of options for tailgating. Whether it’s greek tailgates, family tailgates, club tailgates, or just house-party type tailgates, you’ll find a place to get hyped for the game. The best spots? The neighborhoods and parking lots by the stadiums are some of the hot spots, as well as a few of the Greek fraternity houses.
  • Finally, if you think LFK goes hard for football games, just wait until basketball season. Allen Fieldhouse, we’re coming for ya!
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Photo by Georgia Hickam

 

WTF Is Up?! – New Headphones to Lose, New Videos to Watch, and More!

9.09.2016

By Darby VanHoutan

WTF-Darby

 

Who Would Fight With Drake at Cheesecake?

The Canadian treasure that is Drake released a video for Child’s Play, a song from his most previous album Views, on Monday. The video is life changing. Of course, I may be biased because I wake up every morning and pray to a shrine filled with Drake pictures.

The video is set in the nicest Cheesecake Factory in history and features the rapper with a face full of cake for a majority of the video. It also stars a very relatable Tyra Banks who screams my new favorite line of all time “I call you Aubrey. Your mom calls you Aubrey. These bitches call you Drake”. If you’re having a bad week or enjoy an angry Tyra Banks, I would 10/10 recommend this video.

 

WTF is the Pipeline & Why Does it Matter?

At this moment, there are plans for a 1,170 mile pipe to be placed under the United States to serve the purpose of transporting oil.  This pipeline is set to cost $3.7 billion and will carry roughly 470,000 barrels of oil every day. I know. Cool, right? No. It’s a pipeline. We’ve heard about this before. However, this particular pipeline is set to be placed under North Dakota prairies. I know. Cool, right? No, it’s some prairies.

Here’s the important part: these North Dakota prairies are home to the Standing Rock Sioux Indian tribe. The pipeline will run under their homes, villages, families, and cemeteries. This pipeline, which could result in spills and contamination of the water of the Missouri River which is essential to their lives, is set to be put in place soon. They have requested a halt to construction on this pipeline and it is currently up for debate at a federal court in Washington. It may take a judge until the end of the weekend to decide a verdict on whether or not to allow a continuation on the project.

Every day an estimated several hundred people from the tribe – many from around the country – make the trip to the construction site to protest the environmental tragedy. This protest has been happening at Cannon Ball, North Dakota since April.

 

Sia pays Tribute to Orlando Victims

I can’t count the amount of times I have been truly confused by a Sia video. However, the video released for her latest song The Greatest on Tuesday comes with a more straightforward message. Like previous videos, it stars dancer Maddie Ziegler who is this time accompanied by 48 other young dancers. The setting of the video seems to be throughout a house, ending with all the dancers falling to the ground in what looks like an empty club full of disco balls. Ziegler who is present throughout the entire video starts the video by smearing rainbow paint below her eyes.

Although not confirmed by the singer herself, this video seems like an obvious tribute to the 49 victims of the massacre that took place at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando this summer.

 

iPhone gets Extra

For those that didn’t attend the iPhone 7 launch event in San Francisco, California on Wednesday, what exactly happened there may be a mystery. I know that I personally found out everything from my Apple-obsessed roommate that shouted everything at me from across the room.

It started with a James Corden led Carpool Karaoke with Apple CEO Tim Cook and a randomly selected Pharrell Williams. Cook then took the stage at the launch and told us all about the ~things~. These things are the iPhone Seven, iPhone Seven Plus, Apple Watch, and some iOS10 (arriving September 13) that will no doubt update on my phone when I’m mid Instagram trolling. Both phone updates include new things such as: no headphone jack, more storage space, new colors (“jet” and “black” which are both…black), a water resistant feature, and I’m sure other technology things that aren’t made for muggle minds like mine to understand. Read all about EVERYTHING included in the updates → here.

Of course Apple also released a stroke-inducing video summing the event up as well. You could watch it – It’s pretty cool. There’s some drums and lots of words that go by too quick to read and lots of stuff in different languages. Basically, there’s some new phones, watches, and tech-savvy things that I will truly never understand.

High Waisted – A Party On Roller Skates

9.04.2016

By Darby VanHoutan

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Photo by Sabrina Sheck

Jessica Louise Dye weaved in and out of the crowd, gin and tonic in hand, before bringing her roller skates to a halt and introducing herself to me. Dye is the lead singer of the surf-rock band from New York, High Waisted. She, with three bandmates in tow – drummer Jono Bernstein, bassist Jeremy Hansen, and guitarist Stephen Nielsen – carried with them an infectious vibe that made you want to stay a while.

Their website (appropriately titled highwaisted.party) describes every show as a party. I was determined to see if this was true. After watching Dye bend in half while singing and playing guitar, Bernstein throw out his shoulder from drumming, and the infatuation of the crowd, I’d have to say that they live up to their website. I also got a few minutes to talk to Jessica about what inspires her and how she got to where she is.

 

Q: What are you feeling at this moment?

A: Oh man, I’m really excited to take off my roller skates. I’m in a really good mood. The best part is that these shows have been really early which is such a contrast of playing in New York. There shows don’t normally start until ten or eleven o’clock. They’re late, late nights. Basically, in New York you see the sunrise often. Here, I’m playing at sunset so this whole tour has been a different vibe.

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Photo by Sabrina Sheck

Q: How long have you guys been on the road for?
A: God, nine days almost? About a week. The whole tour is 32 days total.

 

Q: Are you stopping anywhere in Lawrence after this?

A: After this? I don’t know yet. Let’s see how many gin and tonics I have.

 

Q: I read that you moved to New York to follow a boy. What would you say to the girl who did that now?

A: I mean, I’m the same person. I’ve been the same person since I was like fourteen. I just have more experiences and a lot more fun now. I wish I could tell the girl who was going through that New York breakup to keep being lonely, and savor that loneliness because it’ll eventually work out.

HW5

Photo by Sabrina Sheck

Q: How did you guys find your aesthetic that you have now?

A: I just really like surf music. I realized that I can’t really dance so much. I’m a goofy dancer. But if you put on a good twist-and-shout and I slay. Okay? That is my jam. So I thought, okay I wanna play music that even myself could dance to. We also all have common interests in the genre. It’s also really fun to play. I love a good sentimental, sad song, but that’s not fun to play every night. Imagine if you went on a tour for a month, and you had to sing these songs that were about pain, hardship, and sorrow. God! How depressing. That’s not fun. I don’t wanna do that. I want to get on a stage every night and maybe sing about things that are the catalyst of sorrow but then spin it, make it happy, shake my hair, shake my booty, have a drink, high five my best friends and go to the next city.

 

Q: Would you describe the band as your best friends?

A: Absolutely, yes. If they’re not then we’re fucking up.

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Photo by Sabrina Sheck

Q: Do you guys ever fight?

A: Absolutely! Don’t you ever fight with your mom or your brother? You have to. Your relationships aren’t healthy if you don’t tell someone that them clipping their toenails in the van is obnoxious. There are growing pains. We are brothers and sisters and we fight like that. That’s totally fine. We get to the venue and everyone does their job and we get on stage and everything is fine again. Even our fights are so baby. It’s like, “Wah, I wanted to go to Taco Bell and we went to Wendy’s”. They’re not real fights. They’re just family annoyances.

 

Q: What’s the difference between shows in New York and touring all over the United States?

A: It’s totally different. New York is like it’s own animal. People in the midwest actually watch your set. They come early and they’ll come talk to you at the merch booth and say hi. If they liked it, they feel obligated to tell you. That fun, positive feedback is really great. You don’t get that in New York. In New York everyone is just too cool.

 

Q: How would you describe a party?

A: Balloons, red lights, short skirts, and low ambitions.

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Photo by Sabrina Sheck

Q: Who is one person that inspires you creatively?

A: Patty Smith. I’ve read all her books and all her poetry. She’s such an influence.
The band is continuing their with a show today in Denver and other dates following it.

WTF Is Up?! – Brazil impeaches president, things get stranger, and more!

9.02.2016

By Darby VanHoutan

WTF-Darby

I paid my first rent, remembered to eat three meals a day, and managed to stay informed this week. Now, here’s a few happenings from the world for all! WTF happened this week?

 

2017 – Full of Stranger Things

Many people remember where they were when Michael Jackson’s death was announced or President Obama announced the assassination of Osama Bin Laden. Me, on the other hand, I remember the exact moment I first saw Eleven – or Elle for short – on my television.

 

The Netflix original series Stranger Things debuted this summer, and the world has never been the same. The show follows some ~spooky~ happenings of adolescents living in a small town in Indiana. Don’t worry—I won’t give away any spoilers. Besides the fact that Barb is dead, Will was rescued from the upside-down, and Eleven has some sort of supernatural connection to the monster.

 

The most exciting part is that Netflix announced via Twitter on Wednesday that it has been confirmed for a second season that will come out in 2017. Unlike me, Netflix really didn’t give away any clues besides some 80’s-esque thriller music and words like “Palace”, “Storm”, “Pollywog”, etc. Good News! Only three months until 2017.

 

Brazil Seeking Leader

This past Wednesday while the rest of world was partaking in some dollar-night-like festivities, the Brazilian Senate impeached their president. The first female president of the country, Dilma Rousseff, was suspended this past May to await trial, and as of Wednesday, has been removed for the rest of her term.

 

This impeachment comes at the closing of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games and, in summation, was due to what the Brazilian Senate saw as Rousseff covering up the country’s growing economic and social issues. The final vote in the Senate was 61 in favor of the impeachment and 20 opposed.

 

Rousseff’s Vice-President Michel Temer is currently serving as interim president, will remain in the position until the end of the term in 2018.

 

Willow Smith gets Shady

Ever since Willow Smith whipped her hair in 2010, I’ve been infatuated. The latest move by the daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, is serving as the ambassador to Chanel’s AW16 eyewear campaign. The entire campaign, shot in black and white, features the model/actress/singer sporting….sunglasses. No virgin to starring in high end fashion campaigns, Smith has also modeled for Marc Jacobs and more.

 

Chanel creative director and all-around mastermind Karl Lagerfeld photographed the entire campaign which can be viewed here → AW16 Campaign.

 

One Big Explosion for Mankind

Facebook’s first ever communications satellite was set to launch this coming Saturday. The satellite, attached to sexily-named rocket SpaceX Falcon 9, would have extended internet access across 14 countries in Africa. However, during a static fire test this Thursday the rocket exploded. (I feel you, rocket) The explosion destroyed the rocket along with the entire payload, satellite included. Luckily, the rocket was unmanned and there were no civilians injured at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station where it resided.

 

Don’t worry SpaceX, just like college students tell themselves every day – this too shall pass.

NYC Surf Rockers High Waisted Wanna Party with You in Lawrence 09/01!

8.30.2016

By: Darby VanHoutan

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There’s nothing quite like good music. High Waisted, a band led by singer and all-around badass Jessica Louise Dye, is going to bring an entire night of good music to Lawrence. Currently on a Summer long tour, the band will be in Lawrence at the Jackpot Music Lounge on Thursday September 1.

Lawrence is one stop of many on the band’s tour for their debut album On Ludlow that was released in March of this year. The album, in summation, sounds like Summer and is appropriately classified as a surf rocker album.

Along with Dye is Jono Bernstein on drums, Jeremy Hansen on bass, and Stephen Nielsen on guitar. Over the past year the group has received praise from numerous publications around the world as well as being named Best Party Band by GQ Magazine. If there’s any band I make room to see – it’s one holding this title.

If you can’t wait for their concert, you can find their music on Spotify, Soundcloud, or on their website which appropriately ends in .party instead of .com. After listening to a few of their songs and realizing the only thing better than dancing to them in your room is seeing them in person, join us on Thursday night to watch them live.

Stay tuned for updates and rock on!

How to take the “Slump” out of the Second Week Slump

8.29.2016

By Logan Gossett

The intrigue is gone. Walking to class is a burden. Class A’s room is going to be suffocatingly warm. Class B is a 50 minute class that goes 50 minutes too long. Class C is a type of motorhome. Class D is too easy and class E is too difficult. And I couldn’t think of anything to say about class F, so let’s assume it’s okay. With the exception of the hypothetical class F, all of the above are thoughts of someone ailing from the second week slump.

The second week slump, or SWS as I just arbitrarily decided to abbreviate it, is a malady that plagues college students entering their second week of classes. Syllabus week won’t prepare students for the gauntlet of the following semester of stress, and the most notable victim of the post-syllabus week life isn’t grades or mental stability: it’s the quality of outfits.

Laundry has to get done at some point and, when it inevitably doesn’t get done, students end up dressing like every day is laundry day. That mysterious orange stain may objectively ruin the beige top that matches with everything, but sometimes the stain’s obscured by denial, so that helps. For the most part everyone’s already made an impression on one another, so solemnly walking into class wearing a hotel bathrobe to open week two feels mostly harmless anyway.

Second Day Slump

To paraphrase an amateur life coach, everyone is thinking about themselves too much to judge people as viscerally as people judge themselves. That being said, everyone probably notices the mysterious orange stain loitering on that dynamic beige shirt. And everybody better notice those spotless triple white Adidas Ultraboosts (I’m not paraphrasing life coaches anymore; I just really love my Ultraboosts.) SWS can’t be cured. SWS doesn’t have a single remedy. Nonetheless, those who suffer from SWS have two options:

  1. Domesticate the madness. Put a leash on it. Name it Fido and take it for regular walks — do what has to be done to acclimate to the madness of life after the first week of classes. Once a routine is established, it becomes much easier to process the mayhem. Laundry would probably be a good place to start.
  2. Suffer from SWS for the next 17 weeks, which kind of ruins the name “Second Week Slump.” A two semester slump can be miserable, so it’s worth trying the first option before perma-slumping. As the old adage goes, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil,” whatever that means. Just assume you’re a squeaky wheel and get some oil.

Fortunately Style on the Hill is here to help assuage the second week slump! We’ve prepared a playlist that’s sure to be the oil to your squeaky wheel.

WTF Is Up – Ryan Lochte gets confused, Natalie Portman gets spooky and more!

8.26.2016

By: Darby VanHoutan

WTF-Darby

It’s time! It’s time to live strictly off of expired milk and frosted flakes, cry quietly on the KU buses, and it’s finally time to be back at KU. Of course, while you’re having weekly emotional breakdowns, the world is still turning and it’s up to you to stay informed and up to me to let you know WTF happened this week.

An Earthquake in Italy

An earthquake struck Italy this Wednesday August 24, hitting small towns the hardest. So far there have been 247 victims declared dead. The earthquake reached up to a size of 6.2 on the Richter scale, which translates to devastation. The cities of Amatrice, Accumoli, and Arquata del Tronto were hit at around 3:30 am (8:36 pm CST). The Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is currently touring areas affected by the disaster. The death toll is unbelievably high and it’s believed that many more survivors may still be under rubble. The earthquake is two days behind us but the weight of the disaster is all around, as Italy and the entire world, mourn. 

Ryan Lochte

Once upon a time a beautiful, blonde angel named Ryan Lochte blessed all of our TV’s at the 2016 Rio Olympic games. We had some good times together. We laughed, cried and celebrated. However, the grand finale of his time in Rio de Janeiro will most likely be the most notable Yet, it didn’t take place in the pool.

After going out with three other teammates on August 13, Lochte told reporters about a robbery that occurred on the morning of August 14. According to the athlete, his teammates and himself were held at gunpoint. After many questions and surveillance footage, Brazilian authorities have revealed that Lochte fabricated the event. Later on, the swimmer came out and said that his testimony of the event may have been exaggerated. He has since lost four commercial endorsements and been summoned back to Brazil to appear before a judge.

There are still many questions unanswered for Lochte. Will he appear at the 2020 Olympic games? Will he color his hair purple? Will people realize that a man who exceeds at a sport can take missteps just like everyone else?

Two Girl Crushes – One Movie

Personally, I don’t think it’s fair to combine too many of my favorite things. However, the new film Planetarium might do just that. First of all, it stars goddess divine Natalie Portman, who could be in a 5-second-commercial and completely change my life as well as Lily-Rose Depp who is 17 years old  and makes Victoria’s Secret angels look like potatoes with legs. That’s not all. It’s also a thriller. WHAT!? The only thing missing is George Clooney and some sort of adorable puppy.

Portman and Depp play two American mediums in Paris, who get swooped up into ~spooky~ French adventure with a world renowned producer. The trailer doesn’t provide us with many clues besides Portman’s cute glasses, some saucy bath-time stuff and French…lots of French. The film has no release date as of now, but I’ll be patiently waiting.

New Semester, New Planet

Are you a student at KU looking for somewhere new to live? Look no further! Scientists have recently discovered a potentially habitable planet that’s only 4.2 light years (24,690,000,000,000 miles) away from Earth and the KU campus! According to researchers the new planet, named Proxima b, has a rocky surface similar to Earth but 1.3 times larger. Proxima b orbits its Sun, Proxima Centauri, and is the closest exoplanet to us in the Universe. There’s also many things that researchers don’t know like if there’s water on the surface, if it has an atmosphere, and whether it needs Hot Box Cookies. Hopefully, these questions and more will be answered in the following years.

Sapochnik Serves the Juiciest Pie in GOT History With Season 6 Finale “Winds of Winter”

6.29.2016

By Logan Gossett

[HEAVY SPOILERS]

On Sunday, Miguel Sapochnik concluded season six of Game of Thrones with two of the three best episodes in television history, per IMDB and totally objective Game of Thrones fans. If it wasn’t the best episode in television history, “Winds of Winter” was at least the best episode in the series. You know an episode’s phenomenal when “best episode in the series” is a compromise. Due to the resonant hype from the impeccable season six finale “Winds of Winter,” a coherent recap of Sunday’s episode is out of the question. What that question is, I have no idea. Instead, these are six incoherent ramblings from an overhyped Game of Thrones fan. Bullet points are present to give the illusion of structure.

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  • “Winds of Winter” essentially confirmed the most popular fan theory in the history of entertainment, but two scenes somehow carried more gravity.*

First, Peter Dinklage elevated the exchange between Tyrion and Daenerys to another impossibly impressive level. Tyrion hasn’t appeared to be that genuinely fulfilled since his relationship with Shae in season four, which turned out to be manufactured by his father who was *ahem* similarly fulfilled by her.

Second, the first twenty minutes of the show displayed unparalleled visual storytelling. The word “game” in Game of Thrones has never felt more darkly ironic. Cercei’s game overcooked a notable slab of King’s Landing, including the player at the top of the leaderboard in Margaery Tyrell, although an argument can be made that Mace “the ace” Tyrell’s rousing, even arousing, motivational abilities will be missed with greater longing. Perhaps the most impressive cinematography of the episode was Tommen pulling a voluntary Bran by falling from a window after Cercei’s wildfire explosion. The longshot of a charred King’s Landing framed between two pillars illustrated the collapse of faith and the crown, with Tommen falling in-between them. The visual storytelling was like Pearl Jam’s music video for “Jeremy” except good, and not similar whatsoever. Plus, the casting budget for next season was reduced considerably. The Great Sept of Baelor’s explosion was basically a cost saving collaboration between Cercei and frugal HBO executives.

Tommen_Baratheon(Lannister)_jumps_out_of_his_window,_Season_6_Episode_10.

  • Imagine if the most attractive tourist destination in the Bahamas was a kiddie pool with hungry piranhas in it. Now imagine a great white shark idling next to the pool, yelling obscenities at visitors. Throw in a Steve Buscemi selfie at the bottom of the pool for good measure. Thanks to Dorne, this is the obstacle Miguel Sapochnik overcame to make “The Winds of Winter” the greatest episode in Game of Thrones history. Sapochnik turned an episode featuring a Dorne scene into the best episode of the series. Dorne is a kiddie pool with piranhas inside, a verbally abusive shark outside, and a picture of Steve Buscemi at the bottom. Yet, Sapochnik’s brilliance meant that somehow didn’t ruin the experience. Amazing.
  • Bronn should totally be dead by now. When a side character becomes likable, they suffer a prompt, brutal death. Just a few victims of the Law of Likability:
    • Myrcella Baratheon (aka Cercei’s normal kid) : Poisoned by the belligerent great white sharks of Dorne.
    • Roose Bolton (aka vampire guy): Poisoned by his enemies.
    • Syrio Forel (aka ballerina warrior): Killed by the Lannister’s Gold Cloaks, beaten mercilessly by fan theories involving Jaqen.
    • Oberyn Martell (aka staff-wielding ballerina warrior): Rekt by the Mountain.
    • Shireen Baratheon (aka hyper-literate greyscaled girl): Burned at the stake.

In sum, Game of Thrones writers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss don’t beat around the bush: they uproot it. The fact that Bronn is still alive is unprecedented in Game of Thrones. After hearing “bad pussy,” I’m surprised he didn’t uproot his bush himself.

  • Apparently Arya killed Walder Frey, so that’s nice. Arya’s efforts to ensure that Walder Frey sniffed out her pun before she killed him were admirable. This scene was mostly forgettable, despite its implications for Arya and the satisfaction of seeing Walder Frey eat his sons and die. Many fans bemoaned the heartless nature of Arya’s morbid execution of Walder Frey, but I’m all in on vengeful Arya. If Melisandre peered into Arya’s peepers now, even she would be mortified by the killing machine staring back. Considering Melisandre’s placement on Arya’s list and her removal from Jon Snow’s, Mel should avoid studying flames for a while, because her future doesn’t appear promising.
  • What the hell is Euron Greyjoy doing? There’s no way he’s built more than 15 ships by now, and the few that he has can be quickly charred by dragons. With Dany sailing to Westeros, everything but the White Walkers seems pretty trivial anyway. What are 1,000 ships without a dragon?  What’s an Iron Throne with a limitless army of the dead marching to the wall? What’s a god to a non-believer? What’s one more rhetorical question?
  • Game of Thrones fans have universally lauded Lyanna Mormont (aka bear queen?), but I’m having a difficult time reconciling her role. The reason D&D increased the ages of most POV characters is because a 7 year old killer-assassin-Arya rampaging through Westeros is impossible to take seriously on-screen. If a 14-year-old Jon Snow were to giants in the north and evolve into Lord Commander, we might as well be watching Spy Kids. Bella Ramsey, Lyanna Mormont’s actress, provides a nice performance, but she’s also portraying a 10-year-old girl.

When I was 10, I was probably learning how to walk. An exceedingly competent, inscrutable kid is just intrinsically ridiculous. Arya’s a believable kid character. She’s reactionary, unintelligent, and lacks clear judgement. Her bravery and resolve have triumphed, but she’s not going to hush a maester when he’s offering sage advice. If she did, arrogance and neglect would be the motivating factors, not wisdom.
Dragons? Totally believable. I draw the line at unimpeachable kid characters.

 

*This is probably hyperbole, considering how widely accepted R+L=J was by A Song of Ice and Fire fans in the 20 years preceding Sunday night. Then again, I can’t imagine “Jimmy Neutron is actually an eggplant” or “Family Guy is literally human feces,” carried as much hype as R+L=J.

WTF Is Happening in Europe – An Update on Brexit

6.24.2016

By: Darby VanHoutan

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This summer has definitely been one full of political tension and issues that hit home for too many people. Across the pond in Britain, millions of citizens turned out just yesterday to vote on a decision that will change the lives of not only the European Union but everyone around the world.

The United Kingdom held a referendum on Thursday (referendum: a general vote by the people on a single political question that has been given to them for direct decision) to decide whether Britain would stay in or leave the EU. The “leave” campaign won with 52% to the “stay” campaigns 48%. As the results from this voting piled in, the value of the euro dropped significantly to its lowest level since the 1980’s. In the hours since the voting, Britain has lost a total of 350 billion euro (this converts to about $389,304,995,370.39). This morning after receiving the news, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he would resign by October. Cameron served as a leader of the “stay” campaign and an important voice in the debate. According to his speech, Cameron made the decision to step down because he feels that he would not be the right person to lead the people of Britain to their next destination.

Why did this happen? The reasons behind the “leave” campaign were promises such as restrictions on immigration, more money for an independent United Kingdom, better handling of crises, and other issues within the country. These issues include things such as lack of trust in people like the Prime Minister, the UK’s relationship with Europe, and the big names that backed the “leave” campaign. These names included that of Michael Gove and Boris Johnson (the head runner for replacing Cameron). Another thing worth noting is the different turnout of people at the polls on Thursday. There was a 25 percent turnout of people aged 18-25 and a 61 percent turnout of people 65 and up. Ironically, this decision made by a majority of older citizens, will be the issue for the newer generations instead to handle.

Currently, the EU is a 27-member block, being knocked down from 28 after Britain is the first country to exit. However, this referendum does not stand alone. This decision is causing traction and debated in other countries in the EU such as Scotland who voted to remain in the EU on Thursday.

What does this mean? Although the news on the decision is not even a day old, the ripples from Britain’s vote will surely last for decades. This decision shows that the United Kingdom is now independent from Europe and more right-winged than ever. This decision will change traveling from Britain to members of the EU and vice-versa. Technically, this decision isn’t a legally-binding one but it isn’t likely that the British government will ignore its voters. Within the vote was also the fact that there won’t be any ~major~ changes in the next two years. This is because it will take about this long for the remaining 27 members and the independent Britain to decide things like how to maintain trade, travel, etc.

 

Storming the Battlefield to Hitting The Books: Back to School for Student Veterans

5.12.2016

By Maddie Farber

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For student veteran Ian Appling, it’s not the sound of gunshots and loud noises that affects his PTSD, but rather the murmur, the low talking voice, that one often hears when in big groups of people. When he was a part of the Navy, he says that a large part of his security training was to be always listening for danger. He says that when he hears a lot of people talking it makes him immediately paranoid, suspicious and hypersensitive.

Appling, 27, from Kerville, Texas, joined the Navy in 2009 after his freshman year at KU. He was deployed in July 2010, and spent the majority of his time serving as a sonar technician on a ship called the U.S.S. Winston S. Churchill. After 6 months he returned, but was deployed again in June 2012 for nine months. During that time he worked out of the Persian Gulf doing mainly counter Iranian operations. He began his transition back into college in the fall of 2013 at 24 years old.

When he first returned, Appling says he would be on his way to class, walk halfway up the hill, and get overwhelmed by the amount of people. “I would turn around a go back home,” he says. He would close the door to his room and lock himself inside. It was the only way he knew how to deal with the staggering feelings he was having being back on a college campus and around so many people.

Though they account for just 4 percent of the national student body, more than one million military veterans have been taking advantage of the Post 9/11 GI Bill passed in 2008, making it easier for student veterans to seek higher education than ever before. Between 2009 and 2013, nearly 720,000 more veterans are taking advantage of education benefits, according to data from United States Department of Veterans Affairs. 83 percent of those student veterans attend a public university, so colleges around the country have been grappling to meet the needs of the growing student-veteran population. At KU alone, the number of student veterans has gone from 350 to 1,000 in the past four years, according to the KU’s Office of Graduate Military programs.

The increase in numbers is a challenge for universities, but for student veterans, the challenges transitioning back into a college lifestyle seem to be endless. From a lack of shared experiences among students and faculty, difficulty obtaining credit for military training experiences and state residency requirements, to the age gap among their peers, these are the problems that lead to increased stress, anxiety, isolation and an overall disconnection from campus life for student veterans.

On top of this, a study from the American Psychological Association found that almost half of all college students who are U.S. military veterans have reported having suicidal thoughts, and 20 percent said they had planned to kill themselves. Another report from the Rand Corporation found that 300,000 veterans overall suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is about 20 percent of all veterans. The study also found that college campuses cause PTSD sufferers to experience more severe symptoms.

April Blackmon Strange, KU Student Veteran Center Director, is a self-described “military brat.” Her father, who is now retired from the military 100 percent disabled, and her husband, who is also retired from the military, both served in the army. She graduated from high school in Bamberg, Germany, where her father was stationed at the time. Post-graduation she returned to the U.S. and attended K-State.

The Student Veteran Center is the University’s single point of contact to coordinate integrated support to military-connected students. Blackmon Strange, along with others who work in the Student Veteran’s Center at KU, connects students with veteran-centered academic support, career services, healthcare and wellness resources, and more.

veteransDespite the statistics showing the amount of student veterans who suffer from PTSD, Blackmon Strange says that the Student Veteran Center doesn’t know the exact number of student-veterans that have PTSD at KU. Student veterans are not required to disclose their medical condition to the University. For the student veterans who do choose to disclose their medical issues, Blackmon Strange says her office works closely with the Academic Achievement and Access Center (AAAC) to get accommodations for those students.

It’s stereotypical to think that if someone is a veteran they must have PTSD, she says, because that’s not always the case. According to her, the Student Veteran Center is more focused on helping student veterans deal with the cultural shifts from military to college life. The drastic cultural shift student veterans face when transitioning from military to college life, and the emotional toll that can take on student veterans, is the biggest issue the Student Veteran Center sees on a consistent basis, she says. The transition from a structured military world to a less structured college environment is one of the most overwhelming aspects of returning to or attending college for the first time.

“You’re 25 and coming to college for the first time and you don’t have your parents,” Blackmon Strange says. “It becomes more of a challenge when you feel like you’re by yourself and don’t have a support system or structure around to help you. How do you navigate a system that seems foreign to you?”

For many military-connected students, the military was more than a job; it’s a part of their identity. Leaving the military isn’t like leaving a 9-5 job. “You’re leaving a core support network of brothers and sisters who ‘get it’ through shared experiences and, sometimes, hardships,” she says.

Camaraderie is a huge part of the military family, and some students can feel alone and isolated when that military family network is no longer right there on a daily basis. Connecting with other veterans on campus can be a huge relief for some, but with tens of thousands of people at KU, it can be a challenge to find them. “That’s where groups like the Student Veterans of America, and facilities like the Student Veteran Center can really assist,” she says.

For Appling, what may be the most difficult aspect of being a student is being labeled as a veteran first, and Ian second. In his opinion, labeling veterans as the most “ostracized group on campus” is an understatement.

 

“Veterans as a whole just want to be treated as students. I know every single one of my cohorts at school feels this way too,” he says. “We don’t want anything special. We just want to be normal, and accepted as normal people.”

Appling’s desire to feel “normal,” and the lack of understanding he has experienced is not unusual, according to Blackmon Strange. Student-veterans deal with stereotypes, most of the time regarding their mental health and political beliefs. Many may not realize there are a lot of positive attributes in being a student veteran including resilience, maturity and leadership, she says.

veterans ryan lu

Ryan Lu, 24, and originally from Kearney MO., first joined the Kansas Air National Guard in 2009, during his first year at KU. In the spring of 2010 he was shipped off to basic training, before deploying in September 2011. In Bastion, Afghanistan, Lu says he worked in air transportation loading planes and inspecting cargo. He did this for six months before he returned to KU.

Lu had three semesters down when he came back from deployment, but the transition was still hard. Lu says he had to take a lot of general requirements for his degree in biochemistry, and did OK during his first few semesters. But taking a one and a half year gap presented its problems, especially after coming back from deployment. Getting back into the swing of studying, tests and homework wasn’t exactly easy for him. But what was even harder was catching up, academically, to his younger peers.  Lu had to backtrack on some of the material and re-establish basic studying habits.

But perhaps what bothered him the most when returning was being two years older than everyone in his classes. As an older student he felt as though he “should’ve had more knowledge, more wisdom, more whatever,” as he says. But he was still an older person in a freshman level class. For Lu, this was intimidating, because the people in his classes were younger, but more knowledgeable than him in the major at the time.

“It sets you back,” he says.

veterans lu

Feeling isolated because of the age difference between student veterans and their peers is another major obstacle that student veterans face, Blackmon Strange says.

Some veterans find challenges relating to or connecting with traditional college students, who tend to be younger and have different life experiences. Age differences can also mean different priorities and stressors for some student-veterans, including balancing school, work and family for those with children, for example. “There are different perspectives on issues that we stress over when we’re 18, 19, 20 vs. 25, 30, 40 years old,” she says.

With all the issues that student veterans face when transitioning, it begs the question: is transitioning back into college harder for some student veterans compared to others? Blackmon Strange says a student veteran’s ability to assimilate better or worse than their peers is based on a combination of experiences, knowledge and just individual circumstances. As she reflects on her experiences of being a military family member throughout her entire life, she admits coming out into the civilian world was scary for her, too.

“When you get to college, you’re on a campus where everyone already has friends, there’s not a huge welcoming,” she says. “If that’s what I went through as a military family member, there could be some similar circumstances like that [for student veterans]. Again, it’s dependent on individual experiences and circumstances, but it’s hard no matter what.”

Appling’s experience echoes a similar sentiment. He explains that there wasn’t a lot of guidance about what transition back would be like.

“I wasn’t warned that the transition was going to be terrible,” he says.

Appling says when he first left the Navy he didn’t personally know any vets that had transitioned to students. As he puts it, he didn’t have anyone telling him, “this is what you need to do.” His closest family was a few hours away. The lack of family near by, combined with a lack of friends, created a huge stressor.

Appling had one friend left at KU who was finishing his doctorate when he returned. Other than that, he didn’t have anyone he knew when he came back to school. He had to start all over again. When he first returned, he was going through some of the lower level courses for his major in International Studies. “I was as old as some of my TAs. That’s kind of hard,” he says.

“A lot of people think that ‘you guys are just a bunch of messed up fools’. But we [student veterans] think a lot of students that are younger and going to school have no clue what’s going to happen, they have no clue what the real world is like outside the confines of the United States,” he says.

Even if a student-veteran doesn’t suffer from any mental or physical issues, or was never deployed, Appling thinks that student veterans, no matter what, are classified as having a problem. It’s those assumptions, in Appling’s opinion, that make it the most difficult to re-assimilate.

Although some actions have been taken to ease the transition for student veterans, such as the University’s proposal for a new Student Veteran Center, meeting the needs of student veterans is more imperative now than ever before. According to Blackmon Strange, a “place-based” strategy, such as the Student Veteran Center, creates a “one-stop shop” for outreach, G.I. Bill or financial information and assistance, class information, and more.

Despite the University’s growing efforts to create a better transition for student veterans, for Appling, “coming into a place and knowing that I was different,” was the hardest part of his transition. Changing the environment on college campus for student veterans is no small feat, but according to Appling, should be the University’s top priority with regards to student veterans.

Photography by Maddie Farber
Modeled by Ian Appling and Ryan Lu

Smooth(ie) Sailing: A Guide for Surviving Finals

5.06.2016

By Sabrina Sheck

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Finals week is coming up super fast (aka next week). We know how hard it is to stay motivated this time of year, especially when stress and lack of sleep are threatening your health. Don’t let finals be the death of you—grab a quick and flavorful smoothie before hitting the library and you’ll be feeling healthier and (hopefully) acing those tests/projects.

Juice Stop is the perfect place to get your smoothie fix, and they have great nutrient blends to keep your mind and body under control. No one wants to forget everything they studied as soon as they start the test, and you definitely don’t want to get sick right before finals! When you head into Juice Stop you might be a little overwhelmed with what to order, but have no fear, you just need to know which fruits are going to be your best friends to survive finals week.

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We headed into Juice Stop and ordered a Half Nelson with the Wellness blend. Not only does this smoothie already have oranges in it, which are high in Vitamin C to help knock out any viruses, but adding the Wellness blend will make sure your immune system is in tip top shape.

Another great fruit to have in a smoothie are blueberries. The Volley smoothie contains blueberries, which are known for being rich in antioxidants and helping your memory stay strong. Add in the Green blend to give your brain an extra boost to make sure you won’t lose any important information during your finals.

Finally, try a smoothie with banana in it, such as the Off The Lip. Not only are bananas going to give you a full day’s worth of energy, but adding in the Energy blend will keep you going until the wee hours of the morning when you are studying late for your last final.

 

If you can’t make it to Juice Stop before your study sesh, pick up a smoothie from The Pulse in the Underground or the Union on campus. You can find immune health, energy, and protein add-ins to carry you through these last few weeks. Good luck studying!

Photography by Sabrina Sheck

The Hill: Volume 4

5.05.2016

The Hill has returned to print! For the first time in three years, you can hold an issue of our magazine in your hands. It’s been a year of hard work, but the staff wanted nothing more than to bring our readers a physical edition this spring. Look for a print edition in the Journalism School, the School of Engineering and the Art and Design building on campus. The staff will also be handing out copies (completely FREE for KU students!) this afternoon on Wescoe Beach and at Tea @ 3 at the Union. Follow us on social media to see where to find us and when! Finally, we invite you all to come celebrate this beautiful magazine with us tonight at The Nest on Ninth at the Oread. Our Release Party will be held from 5-8pm, and there will be a bartender and servers available all evening. We can’t wait to see you!

The issue is also available to read online digitally at issuu.com. Be sure to follow us on Issuu for all future publication updates!

Don’t forget, this issue is free to download! Create an Issuu account and keep the digital version on your laptop, tablet, or mobile phone for offline & on-the-go reading.

 

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