Entries Tagged as 'Life on the Hill'

How It Feels…to Flip Your Car

4.24.2017

How It Feels2

By Hallie Holton, 22, KU senior majoring in strategic communications, as told to Jackson Vickery

It was a Friday night when I flipped, my car that is.

I was driving 80 miles per hour on I-35 South, excited to get into Fort Worth, Texas, for my friend’s 21st birthday weekend. Only 45 minutes out and two miles from the Oklahoma-Texas border, I was feeling pretty great considering it was 11:30 p.m.

There wasn’t much to look at on the road. The last memorable sight was the sunset I saw a few hours before. My auxiliary chord and Spotify playlist were enough to get me through the tail end of this trip.

“Willie,” my car’s name, was in cruise control as I was sailing in the left-hand lane. The lights from the WinStar World Casino captured my attention. My head and eyes continued to follow those lights as my car started to drift left.

The bowl-sized rumble strips caught me off guard. The car was shaking. Within mere moments I had overcorrected.

“Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god,” I repeatedly screamed.

I could see the grey hood of my car nosedive into the ditch, which acted as the divide between the sides of traffic. During the flip I felt like I was floating until the car jolted to a stop.

My hands were grasped tightly to the steering wheel for 30 seconds until I started feeling myself. No cuts. I looked for my phone, which was previously in the cup holder. It ended up in the middle console. Phone in hand, I looked out of the window watching cars fly by in the opposite direction I was.

I unbuckled and unsuccessfully tried to open the driver side door. In this minute and a half window, cars had stopped to see what had happened. A man in his mid to late 30s came over and asked if I was okay. He too couldn’t open the driver’s side door.

As this was going on, my insides started shaking. I kept trying to take deep breaths and reassure myself that I was fine.

The man says from the back end of my car to come and walk through the trunk. I was barefoot. Holding onto whatever I could and stepping on glass that scattered the inside of the car, I made my way out. The last thing I remember seeing was the tripod-style lamp my mom had gotten me for my house back in Lawrence, left in the back of the trunk.

I walked across the lanes of traffic to a couple’s car. I sat there with my bare feet dangling, saying to myself, “Shit. What happened? Did I hit something?” The gravity of what just happened didn’t hit me until I saw my overturned car in the grass.

After that, multiple paramedics came to ask me if I needed to go to the hospital. The only scratch I had was a tiny one on my foot from the broken glass. A frenzied phone call with my mom followed, who was thousands of miles away in Seattle. She made sure to talk to every individual I did.

Before leaving, the paramedic asked if he could get anything from my car. I asked for my KU duffle bag and Birkenstocks. This was the last trip someone would take to my car.

I had gone on a lot of road trips before – St. Louis, Chicago, Gulf Shores. That night, “Willie” wouldn’t make it to Dallas. I was lucky though.

My car was totaled, but I was thankful for everyone who had helped me, from the paramedics to the state trooper to the couple who drove me to Fort Worth that night instead of spending their night at the WinStar.

The state trooper was right – if I hadn’t been wearing my seatbelt that night could have turned out much worse than just a cut on the foot and a headache the next morning.

Head on the Hill

4.20.2017

HOTH crop

  • “He sounds like he has a cat up his nose.”
  • Person 1:”Stop singing about president Putin!”
  • Person 2:”But he’s my best friend.”
  • Person 1:”Shut the fuck up”
  • “Do I need to know his name? No. I just need to know his body.
  • Person 1:”I’m just endlessly eating food, I need help.”
    Person 2:”NO you need sustenance.”
    Person 1:”Damn you’re right, I can’t argue with that logic.”
  • Person 1:”Guys, Mahershala Ali was the first Muslim to win an Oscar!”
    Person 2: “Wait, I thought he was black.”
  • “Your uterus is probably like Chernobyl.”
  • Person 1: “Who even invented tequila?”
    Person 2: “Someone who wanted to see the world burn.”
  • “What is it with white people and not staying with the stove?”
  • “I clock in, take a nap, go to the wheel, and then clock out.”
  • “I just remembered my grandmother uses Royal Crown as mouthwash.”

dis / connected

4.19.2017

By Cody Schmitz

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Two years ago, Leyli Beims was starting her freshman year of college, had thousands of followers between her Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Vine, and Facebook accounts, and was just learning to cope with severe depression. But as she logged in to her social media circles in search of connection, Beims says she was met with an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy.

“Comparing myself with others on social media fueled my depression,” Beims said. “When I was home alone on a Saturday night, I saw my friends having fun at a party or cuddling with a boyfriend. And that kind of content just made me feel worse and worse about myself.”

Beims, now 21 and a junior at Washburn University, says deactivating all of her social media accounts in early 2015 was an answer to a question of mental health. In vulnerable moments, as Beims scanned a virtual highlight reel of her friends’ lives, she felt completely alone. The problem with modern social media use, however, is just how widespread these feelings of isolation have become.

Benjamin Stodt, a researcher in the department of cognitive psychology at the University of Duisburg-Essen, co-authored a study about the consequences of heavy social networking in teens. The study focuses on “FOMO,” or the fear of missing out on experiences that one’s friends may have and post about online. Stodt says, “The results of our study showed that having more severe symptoms of depression and anxiety lead to a higher experience of FOMO and a more excessive use of social media. This overuse could lead to further intensification of mental health problems.”

According to a study performed by the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa, Canada, children and teens who used social networking sites for more than two hours a day also independently reported high levels of psychological distress, a poor self-rating of overall mental health, and suicidal ideation.

What makes this statistic even more alarming is that compulsive social media use as described in this study is no longer an anomaly in modern teens. According to a 2015 report by the Pew Research Center, 92 percent of teens say they go online daily, and 24 percent go online “almost constantly.” Stodt says that — while most individuals use social media as a functional and inherent part of everyday life — “research indicated that a small amount of younger adults and teens show problematic social media use. Although an ‘internet use disorder’ or ‘internet communication disorder’ is not officially classified as an addiction, past research has shown that these behaviors share common symptoms with other substance-related or behavioral addictions.”

Before she deleted her accounts, Beims says she found herself compulsively refreshing the familiar apps in order to feel a connection to the outside world. But what she saw online only fed her feelings of disconnection.

“People get so worked up about a million different issues, and then they dump all of their thoughts on social media. And then you as a user ingest all of that anger. Ingesting all of that toxicity all day long paints the way you see the world,” Beims said. “I got hooked on that high emotion, so I kept going back to it. Even when I wasn’t online, I was thinking, ‘What am I missing? What are people posting?’ That’s how our world is set up right now. You never get any peace of mind when you’re doing that.”

Finding peace on the web may soon be a dream of the past. As politics grow more polarizing, so do our Facebook posts, according to a study performed by Facebook scientists and published in the journal Science. In fact, the months following the 2016 presidential election have seen Facebook, Twitter, and Google implementing new features in order to stop the growing trends of fake news and online harassment, according to NPR. But adding new ways to mute certain sites and individuals may not be enough to quell the often overwhelming sense of negativity that can be found online.

According to a 2016 report from the Pew Research Center, a majority of adults now get their news from social media. Alyssa Soto, a junior at the University of Kansas, says Facebook is one of her primary sources for staying on top of current events, but she’s finding it harder to keep up as her feed is flooded with bad news and strong opinion. “I like to know what’s happening in the world, but I also find it to be overwhelming. The majority of what I see is negative,” Soto says. “I usually leave Facebook feeling drained.”

These feelings of helplessness in young adults magnify when they are observed with a wider lens. Close to 3 million American teens had one or more significant depressive episode in 2015, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Almost 6.5 million have an anxiety disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Stodt doesn’t think a simple solution like banning smartphones in schools is the solution to such a complicated problem. “Communication through mobile devices is integrated into today’s society, and not every young adult suffers from consequences because of smartphone use,” Stodt says. “Nevertheless, we have to use our devices consciously in order to maintain control over them. Choose to put the smartphone aside and have a face-to-face conversation. Self-regulation is a necessary skill for internet use without negative consequences. Our research showed that these skills can be key competencies to prevent problematic use.”

Two years after first disconnecting from social media, Beims says she has made great strides in managing her depression through regular therapy and medication. Beims also attributes a significant portion of this shift to the release she felt after removing social media from her daily life.

“The peace of mind I felt after deleting my accounts changed everything,” Beims said. “Being on social media really is carrying something around with you. All day long I used to carry around my Twitter and Instagram feeds, and it never led to a positive feeling. To have that weight gone and to be able to think about things that mattered to me — one day I was suddenly like, ‘I am really into my life.’ And after a while, when you are just really working on school and really forming connections with people offline, you think, ‘Oh. I haven’t even thought about what’s happening on Facebook.’”

How It Feels…To Be Racially Profiled

4.17.2017

By Nashia Baker

How It Feels2

Four years ago in her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, University of Kansas law student Rhavean Anderson was stopped by police and racially profiled during a run. This is what it felt like.

It was about mid-day on Thanksgiving Eve of my freshman year, and as I got ready for my 7-mile run that my coach assigned for the holidays, I saw my mom cooking away to prep for Thanksgiving Day, and I knew I was finally home. It was the first time I’d been home since I joined the KU track team earlier that fall as a middle-distance runner, and it was a much needed break from school to visit my family in Memphis, where I was born and raised.

I let my mom know that I was headed towards the main street in town, stretched, popped my headphones in, and took off. I was about 2.5 miles into my run when I felt eyes stinging my back from a Memphis squad car, creeping up behind me. I didn’t pay it any mind until the police car sped past me and parked in the middle of my path ahead.

Two white police officers stepped out of the car, stopped me, and coldly asked, “Why are you out running?”

I looked at them, took my headphones out, and cautiously stated back, “I’m a track and field athlete. I’m out training.”

They continued by aggressively asking, “…You’re a college athlete? So where do you go?

I looked down at my outfit covered in crimson, blue, Adidas, and a large Jayhawk on my chest, and said back, “The University of Kansas…”

The questioning continued for about five minutes, but all I could think about was what I could be doing wrong. I was running in daylight, because everyone knows not to run in the dark in Memphis, and I was clearly jogging. But I didn’t want anything to escalate, so I kept answering to their satisfaction until they finally let me go.

As they drove off, I looked ahead, put my headphones back in, and got back to my run. When I got home and told my mom what happened, I could feel the anger welling up inside of me and I could see the confusion in her eyes.

Being a Jayhawk, a college student, an athlete, daughter, and more – those things won’t save me. But the color of my skin will not stop me.

Heard on the Hill

4.13.2017

HOTH crop

  • “You look like a young Santa Claus.”
  • “You can never have too much moonshine.”
  • “Microwaving any longer than 3 minutes is cooking. That’s just not worth it.”
  • “You only call her when you need a ride. And it’s not free because you pay her in sex! You’re a fucking prostitute!”
  • “Bears are the seals of the animal kingdom.”
  • “I wanna go to a Chinese buffet, but only, like, a nice one.”
  • Person 1:”I’m just endlessly eating food, I need help.”
    Person 2:”No, you need sustenance.”
    Person 1:”Damn, you’re right I can’t argue with that logic.”
  • “You’ll be a really pretty grandma, not now but when you’re a grandma.”
  • “I’m going to start drinking my own tears to help the environment.”
  • “I’d cut off my left tit to get out of that situation.”
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