Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Addlestone's Renovations Provide Boundless Opportunities

Interior of the Addlestone Library

Progress- it’s what allows us to move forward as a society. Education is certainly no exemption to this idea, requiring establishments of learning to constantly update their curriculum, methods of teaching, and facilities. To keep up with the standard, College of Charleston made significant renovations to the Nathan and Marlene Addlestone Library over this past summer, providing great new opportunities for student achievement.

Beginning in March, the renovations lasted until the start of fall semester. One of these improvements was the addition of over 200 seats to allow for more students to use the library at once. This is especially beneficial for high traffic times such as finals week, when finding a place to sit in the library is as hard to find as a parking spot downtown. Along with this, many new power outlets and ethernet ports were placed throughout the facility so that students never have to worry about going off the grid.

The "Flex Room"
Three new study rooms were added as well, along with the new “flex room.” This room is located on the third floor (room 360) and provides a wide range of uses for students and faculty. It holds 50 seats and can be used for classes, lectures, group projects, and as a study space.

Another big change was the movement of the book collection to the second floor. Students looking for a book should direct their search to this area, where the material is neatly compacted onto the moving book shelves. Maps are located throughout the library to help in finding the location of a book.

Maybe the most obvious change is the instillation of the new Starbucks, in place of the Java City on the first floor. Now students are able to get their favorite Starbucks beverages without having to leave the library, with the option to pay with dining dollars or even their own Starbucks card. The only trade off with this change is that the prices at Starbucks will be more expensive than they were at Java City.

Boxes of books took up the entire center of the first floor
during renovations
While the renovations made are a definite improvement and add to the list of great resources offered,there are still areas in which Addlestone is lacking. The most notorious might be the nearly ten-year-old computers located on the first floor. These outdated machines are known for their infuriating slowness and proneness to crashing. “The library needs to invest in new computers,” said CofC Junior Lauren Holton. “The current ones are
very out of date and have the speed to match that. I’ve been late to classes before because it takes 30 minutes just to print out one document.”

However, there is good news for frustrated students! Brandon Lewter, who served on the committee responsible for the library renovations, hints at some possible improvements. “There will be upgrades to the computers in the lab in the very foreseeable future, that’s all I can say,” Lewter said.

Students currently do classwork on computers that
date back to 2005
The College of Charleston is always open to listening to recommendations for improvement. Students who have concerns should contact the person or office in charge of the part of the college of which the concern is held. For library recommendations, Lewter advises that you contact either James Williams or Claire Fund.

The new renovations to the Addlestone Library have great implementations for education. Even more additions will be arriving in the next few months. The S.C. Historical Society will begin to
move its collection into the facilities starting in January 2015, adding its repertoire of rare materials to the library’s vast assortment of resources (speaking of history, check out what the CofC libraries have looked like in the past).

So whether you are a student, faculty, associate, or member of the public, the library provides an amazing educational resource for all. Remember, no one is ever too old to learn, and what a better place to do so than the Addlestone Library!

Q&A with Brandon Lewter
Libraries History
Library FAQ
Library Resources Slideshow

Q&A with Brandon Lewter on Addlestone Renovations

Brandon Lewter, CofC Interlibrary Loan Coordinator

Now that the Addlestone Library renovations have been mostly completed, it is easy to observe the hard work that went into the process. Who do we have to thank for all the new upgrades? Meet Brandon Lewter, a library faculty member who played a key role in the library renovations. Lewter, a coordinator for CofC’s Interlibrary Loan, served on the committee responsible for making decisions concerning the changes that were made to the library over the summer. I had the chance to speak with Lewter about how the whole process worked.

Q: What was the official name of the renovation committee?
A: Oh you started with a hard one. The name changed a few times. It was called The Addlestone Improvement Communications Committee, I believe.

Q: What was your role on it and what were your key responsibilities?
A: I worked on some of the new signage we are putting up, as well as the new floor plans, the designs, and getting input from other faculty about room numbers, what should be labeled. I was part of the discussion of how the stacks are arranged.

Q: How often did the committee meet?
A: We would meet usually once or twice a month. The meetings started a few months before the renovations started, in July.

Q: When did the process for making the renovations start? Including planning?
A: The process for the renovations started years ago. They first introduced the possibility of library renovations the summer before; that was before they got funding for it.

Q: Which changes are you most proud of and which changes benefit the library and students best in your opinion?
A: The extra study space, more seating. The flex room is definitely a cool space. That’s room 360. The implementation of power and ethernet ports on the tables.

Q: Are there any plans for future changes or renovations?
A: The S.C. Historical Society is going to start moving in their collection in December.

Q: Will Addlestone update its lab computers in the foreseeable future? When?
A: Yes, the very foreseeable future. That's all I can say.

Q: If students wanted to suggest changes be made to the library, or anything else at CofC, which would be the best office or person to contact?
A: I would contact either James Williams or Claire Fund.

One only has to walk into the Addlestone library to witness how much care and enthusiasm went into the new renovations. With this in mind, the college community can only look forward to the best; especially with Lewter’s hint at the lab computer upgrades. We are very fortunate here at CofC to have a diligent worker such as Lewter leading the way to improving one of our most valued educational facilities.

A Brief History of the CofC Libraries

The Towell Library, as seen in modern day

A library is one of the most essential institutions to a university. It is the storehouse of knowledge, where scholars go to seek out information for their studies. Without a library, there would simply be no college. The College of Charleston is rich in history, and therefore, so are its libraries.

There are three buildings that have served as libraries for CofC, all of which can be found still standing on campus today. The first of which is the Towell (pronounced “toll”) Library, the construction of which was completed in 1856. Located adjacent to Randolph Hall and next to the Cistern, this original library housed the college’s first print collection, which consisted of approximately 25,000 volumes.

The interior of Towell Library, circa 1927
An interesting myth is associated with the Towell library. As you will notice if you ever visit, the front doors to the library are surprisingly narrow. Supposedly, the doors were made that way to keep women out of the building back when it was an all-male college. The women would have had a
difficult time walking through the doors in the big hoop skirts of the period. There is no confirmation of this theory however.

The Towell Library served as the college’s library for over a century. In 1970 College of Charleston became a State institution, qualifying it for a legislative appropriation for a new library. This library was constructed on the Cougar Mall in 1972, and was named the Robert Scott Small Library. Around the same time, the school’s student body drastically increased. To meet the demands of the influx of scholars, Robert Scott Small’s collection grew to around 450,000 books.

Construction of Robert Scott Small Library in 1971

A little over three decades later, the Nathan and Marlene Addlestone Library was founded, its doors opening to students for the Spring semester of 2005. This institution filled the ever growing needs of the college, allowing the housing of one million printed volumes with the aid of its new mobile shelving. Addlestone also moved the college into the 21st century, providing students with lab computers, printers, and a wireless network. One of the most revolutionary advances this modern library provides is its access to countless online databases, extending CofC’s knowledgebase far beyond the walls of the school.

The Nathan and Marlene Addlestone library, built in 2005

As the transition to electronic material continues to put all the information we could ever want in the palm of our hand, the question remains as to what the future of libraries will hold. Little by little we lose the need for large collections of physical books. What will the function of the CofC library become if we will no longer actually need to go to it? Regardless of how libraries may evolve, there will always be appreciation for the foundations of the past and the need for a place where scholars can continue their quests for knowledge.

CofC Library History Page

Addlestone Library FAQ

The circulation desk

While the Addlestone Library can be a helpful place for students, it can easily cause confusion for those unfamiliar with it. To give you a better sense of what resources are available, and where to find them, here is a list of frequently asked questions pertaining to the library.

Q: What time is the library open?
A: During the Fall and Spring semesters, the library hours are as follows:
·         Sunday: 10 a.m.-2 a.m.
·         Monday-Thursday: 7:30 a.m.-2 a.m.
·         Friday: 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m.
·         Saturday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
     A more detailed schedule and holiday hours can be found here.

Q: How can I reserve a study room?
A: Study rooms are for groups of two or more people. You can check their availability and reserve them here. No need to notify the front desk before, simply walk into the room at your reserved time.

Q: How do I print from my laptop?
A: You will need to download the “Campuswide Printing” program, available on the Student Computing Support blog. Ensure the program is running and that you are connected to the “cofc-secure” network and you should be able to send your job to be picked up at any of the student printers in the library.

Q: Oh dear me! The printer in the library is not working and I need a paperclip once I do print my assignment. Who should I contact?
A: You should notify someone sitting at the information desk located on the first floor, or someone at the circulation desk if no one is available. Employees at the information desk are able to fix most problems regarding lab equipment. They also have basic office supplies for you to use, and can answer most questions you have pertaining to the library.           

Q: I have a question about some research I’m doing. Is there someone in the library who can help?
A: There is usually a reference librarian on hand at the information desk that is able to assist you in all of your research needs. If one is not available, or you need in depth assistance, you can request a research consultation here.

Q: I’m having trouble with my laptop. Is there anyone who can help?
A: Student Computing Support is available in the library to help with your technical issues. You can bring your equipment to the information desk where the staff will guide you in resolving your problems.

Q: How can I find/check out a book?
A: You can find books located in the library by searching the catalog. Once you have found a book that is available, you can locate it on the second floor using the book’s call number. Then use your CofC student ID (Cougar Card) to check out the book at the circulation desk or the self check out station. If a book you need is not located in our library, you can request it from another library to be sent to CofC using Interlibrary Loan or PASCAL.

Q: I need a specific item to do my schoolwork with while in the library. Where should I go?
A: The circulation desk offers a plethora of items for students and faculty to check out for use in the library. Such items include: phone chargers, iPads, rolling whiteboards, whiteboard markers, industrial paper cutters, DSL cords, geology rock boxes, and much more.

Q: Can I print in color at the library?
A: Color printing is available from the color printer located on the first floor. You must print from a lab computer and select “color laser” on the printer list. It costs 35 cents per page, using Cougar Cash or regular cash.

Q: Where can I talk out loud in the library?
A: Conversations spoken at a normal level are allowed on the first floor. Whispering is allowed on the second floor. On the third floor you must remain silent, as this is a space allocated for students to work in quiet concentration. 

Library Questions Page

Resources at the CofC Addlestone Library

Students at College of Charleston have access to one of the best libraries in the country, the Nathan and Marlene Addlestone Library. Located at 205 Calhoun St., this institution offers a wide variety of resources to help students in their academic endeavors. Check out the slideshow below to see all that Addlestone has to offer!

To stay up to date on all library events, feel free to check out their blog. Happy studies!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Palmetto Islands County Park

The Charleston area has several places to enjoy the outdoors. One of the best places it has to offer is Palmetto Islands County Park. Only a 20 minute trip over the bridge to Mount Pleasant and costing only a dollar per person, this location provides the perfect opportunity for folks of all ages to have good outdoor fun. There are several attractions within the park itself. It has six nature trails, a playground for the kids, boat rentals, a fishing area, and a water park to name a few. Check out this slideshow I made and see for yourself how great Palmetto Islands County Park is!

So pick a sunny day and head on over to Palmetto Islands! It is one of the most affordable things to do in Charleston. If you are a frequenter of local parks, you might also want to consider purchasing a season membership, which gives you access and parking to all of the Charleston County Parks, including beach parking at Isle of Palms. Don’t be a couch potato, get out to Palmetto Islands County Park and experience all the fun it has to offer!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Apple CEO Tim Cook Comes Out as Gay, Good Implications for the LGBTQ Community

Tim Cook, Apple CEO

Same-sex marriage in the United States has been the subject of controversy more recently than ever. The U.S. Supreme Court’s early October ruling- or lack thereof- has set in motion the legalization of same-sex marriage in several states, including South Carolina. Going along with this progressive movement, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced  in a Businessweek article on Oct. 30 that he is gay.

This action has had a great impact on the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Queer community and its push for civil rights. As the head of one of the world’s wealthiest and well-known companies, Cook has made himself a powerful role model for the community. Isabel Williams, president of the CofC Gay-Straight Alliance, says that, “[Activists like Cook] strengthen the demands of LGBTQ people for equity, and many even unlikely allies can relate to them for their work and their bravery.”

Apple has long been a supporter of human rights. Cook hopes that revealing his sexual orientation will help to further inspire others in the LGBTQ community and potential allies. “If hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy,” Cook said.

But was Cook’s statement purely for the benefit of the LGBTQ community? Apple has come under fire in the last several years for allegations claiming that the company has violated human rights in their Chinese factories. These include accusations of unsafe working conditions, discriminatory hiring, and forced unpaid overtime.

 “Cook has been known for his stringent lock on his private life, and the sudden decision to come out was a political calculation to mitigate the looming bad press,” said CofC alumni Jeremy Morgan, who now works as a software developer for Apple. “I get a little suspicious when someone normally so private opens up suddenly.”

Despite Cook’s motivation for coming out, he has certainly benefitted the LGBTQ community. And like Cook said, he did it at the great cost of his own privacy. “He didn’t have to out himself as a gay male, so I commend him on his bravery and courage,” said CofC senior Kyran Davis. More states are anticipated to make decisions on same-sex marriage in coming months, Cook hopes to have an impact on the play of events.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mallory Frankel, a CofC Communicaton Student at the Forefront of the Battle Against Animal Abuse

CofC Junior Mallory Frankel

“I was working with some really dramatic things over the summer. Once I picked up a story about a pit bull that got beat on the head with a brick.” College of Charleston junior Mallory Frankel, a 20-year-old student from the town of Bethesda, Md. made a huge difference in fighting animal cruelty this summer with her internship at the Humane Society.

Frankel is a communication major at the College of Charleston. What makes her so unique is that she has found a way to combine her passion for animals and her career aspirations in the communication field. Frankel aims to work in public relations after graduation, and was fortunate enough to get the chance to work as a media relations intern for the Humane Society in Washington this past summer.

The Humane Society is an organization that focuses its efforts on advocating laws for the better treatment of animals. As an intern for this organization, Frankel had the chance to work on several impactful projects. One of her biggest assignments were press statements on the case of Charla Nash, who made headlines after she was almost mauled to death by a chimpanzee and had to undergo a face transplant. She also helped set up a press conference about a bill that went through the House of Representatives and senate about the interstate trade of exotic species. 

Working at the Humane Society opened Frankel’s eyes as to what it is really like to work in public relations. Some of Frankel’s stories were even picked up by the Associated Press, a great honor. She envisions herself furthering her work at the Humane Society after graduation. “I learned a lot about how media works in today's world and the benefits of working in a nonprofit,” Frankel said. “I also really liked that people could bring their dogs into work with them, it was nice to be surrounded by some of the animals we were protecting.”

As a result of working so actively with animal welfare, Frankel has recently become a vegetarian; a practice which she says is common among those who work for the Humane Society. “I never thought I would like tofu, but it wasn't as hard as I thought,” Frankel said. One of her favorite places to eat in Charleston is Co restaurant, a venue that has several tofu options.

Now that Frankel is back in Charleston, S.C. for the school year, she continues to further her active involvement in the community. She is a member of the Kappa Delta sorority, on which she serves on the Academic Excellence Committee. Her favorite things to do in Charleston include exploring new places, running around the local parks, and reading at The Battery.

 Being from out of state, the biggest difference Frankel notices about Charleston culture is that people seem to be more obsessed with race than they are back at home. Her hometown is near Washington and has a much more diverse population, so race is less of a discussed topic there according to Frankel. “People [in Charleston] seemed a little backwards. Took me off guard,” Frankel said.

With animal abuse becoming a growing concern in the United States, the cause for improving their living conditions could not have a better advocate than Mallory Frankel. With what she has already done for the Humane Society and the goals she has set for the future, Frankel’s peers and mentors at the College of Charleston will certainly be cheering for this aspiring young woman on her way to success.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

College of Charleston President Glenn McConnell Speaks on the Future of the School

CofC President Glenn McConnell

It’s no small matter that in the past year there has been big controversy over the appointment of Glenn McConnell as College of Charleston’s new president. Numerous students and faculty protested his hire, angry at the presidential search committee that was paid thousands of dollars only to appoint someone the majority did not approve of. Just do a quick search on Twitter of his name and you can observe all the distaste the community still has for the new president today. Journalist Quintin Washington recently conducted an interview with McConnell, in which the president shed light on his recent actions to better the college in spite of the negativity he has received.

McConnell seems to be earnestly committed to making CofC a better school, and he started doing this through the athletics program. Almost immediately on the president’s first day in office, he met with the school’s basketball team and set his focus on them. Not long after, he hired local basketball coach Earl Grant as the head coach for the men’s basketball team. McConnell believes that Grant has what it takes to bring the team to the next level. “Earl Grant is such a commodity to the college, it’s impossible not to look forward to the future,” McConnell said.

Another hot topic issue at CofC has been whether the college will be renamed as “The University of Charleston.” McConnell also puts the facts straight concerning this matter in the interview. He explains that the college’s name will remain The College of Charleston for undergraduate degrees, and will offer doctorate degrees as a part of the college under the title of The University of Charleston. “The University is a component of the college, the college is not a component of the university,” McConnell explained. There was much worry in the community over the college’s potential name change, which can now be put to rest with the changes McConnell made.

Diversity is another key issue McConnell says he is tackling at College of Charleston. “The position I have always taken is a mutual respect for people’s differences,” McConnell said. In recent years the minority ratio at the college has dropped from 8.8 to 6.6 percent. He plans to raise number of minorities at the school by implementing the “10 percent concept,” which means that students in the top 10 percent of their high school class in the 3 surrounding areas will automatically be admitted to the college. The president also plans to reach out to a few other counties with low socio-economic complexions and help integrate them into a more diverse student body.

Glenn McConnell, though controversial in his presidency, is taking steps to create a better college. “We have this great liberal arts and sciences institution that will continue now to chart its own future, rather than be shaped by the future,” McConnell said. He makes important decisions on a daily basis, many of which he shares on his twitter page. Only time will tell if he will successfully lead The College of Charleston to a brighter tomorrow.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Midterm Stress? Melissa Hortman Delivers Key Advice for Better Test-Taking

Eat, study, sleep, and repeat. Does this sound a lot like your daily routine? Now that midterms have arrived here at CofC, many students are finding themselves stressed over studying for their exams. And for several people, the studying and test taking methods that they have used in the past may not be working as well in the more strenuous college setting. Is all hope lost for our GPAs? Never fear, the Center for Student Learning is here!

Melissa Hortman gives test-taking tips
Melissa Hortman, the study skills coordinator for CSL, hosted a “better test-taking” seminar this past Friday and shared with students all the essentials for acing those pesky midterms. In her lecture, she stressed the importance of developing certain habits while studying and testing.

The first step to better studying is to find a place that has the least amount of distractions so you will be as focused as much as possible on the material. Next, it’s recommended that you challenge yourself while reviewing. If you feel like you are breezing through the material, chances are you are not retaining it well. “Think of it like being at the gym,” Hortman said. “You should be mentally sweating when studying.”

Preparing as early as possible is another important tip. Many students cram right before tests, which is bad because our brains won’t retain the information as well. Spaced practice with material helps enable retention in the long-term memory. It is also advised that you make practice tests, as simply re-reading info has been historically proven to be ineffective.

Students attending the study skills seminar
It is equally important that you be prepared while taking the test as well. Don’t go into the test in a sour mood. “If you go into a test with a positive attitude, you will do on average ten percent better,” Hortman said. To recall the information you studied best, first write down anything you can remember on the test. Make sure to take your time, and review when finished.

The Center for Student Learning is a great resource for students. It is located on the first floor of Addlestone Library, and completely free of charge. CSL offers many other seminars like this one throughout the year, along with free tutoring for almost any subject. Students have reported significant improvement through their involvement with CSL. “I got some good info from this seminar,” said attendee Mitchell Hill. “What she said made sense and I have confidence I’ll do better on tests now.”

Another good thing is that the seminars won’t take up much of your time, lasting about 30 minutes each. So if you find yourself stressed from tests, take advantage of all that the Center for Student Learning has to offer! There’s nothing better than a quick, easy and free way to do better in college!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Review on "Gotham," Fox's New Batman Prequel Series

Fox’s new television series “Gotham” made a riveting debut this past Monday, Sept. 22. The show is made out to be a prequel series to the DC Batman franchise, giving the origin stories of many popular characters such as Bruce Wayne, James Gordon, Catwoman, and several others. It is immediately apparent from watching the pilot episode that this series is going to be a big hit with Batman fans and non-fans alike.

The all familiar dark mood of the franchise is instantly established from the first shots of Gotham City, where the towering buildings loom and the night is seemingly eternal. Even scenes that take place during the day are dimmed with brooding black clouds. This gives an excellent foundation for the show’s plot, which is equally as sinister.

Ben McKenzie as James Gordon
Taking a different approach than most other media in the franchise, the plot of “Gotham” primarily follows the character James Gordon rather than Batman. Gordon, played by Ben McKenzie, is a young detective just getting his start on the Gotham Police Department.  McKenzie fits the role perfectly, creating a character whose youth and strong moral compass help him to combat organized crime. He and the other actors do a fantastic job at creating realistic representations of the characters.

The storyline of the show is just as compelling as the actors. Starting out with the investigation of the murder of Bruce Wayne’s parents, it promises to be fast-paced and filled with surprises in each new episode. Curiously, there are many aspects of the show that are reminiscent of previous Batman films. One such example is when Mrs. Wayne is murdered and the camera focuses on the pearls from her necklace bouncing onto the asphalt. This same kind of shot was used in the 1989 “Batman” movie.

With its pilot, “Gotham” has proven to be a legitimate new Batman series. The show’s producers have artistically designed all aspects of it- from the foreboding Gotham skyline, to the intrinsic relations between the characters. Fox may find itself bringing in new fans to the Batman franchise with this new spin, as well as giving seasoned followers a new fixation. Gotham airs on Fox Mondays at 8/7 CST. Visit the series website to keep up-to-date on the show and to view other related media. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Comedy Leads to Tragedy: Robin Williams and the Sad Truth about Comedians


Many have wondered in recent days what could have lead comedian Robin Williams to take his own life. Famous for making people laugh till' they cried in his numerous comedy roles, it was unthinkable that this seemingly joyous man could suffer so terribly from depression. I have even heard several people comment something along the lines of "how can a guy with so much money be depressed?"

Believe it or not, the sad reality is this: the vast majority of comedians suffer from some form of depression. How can this be so? According to a recent study, comedians are significantly more likely to have psychotic traits linked to depression than other creative individuals.

So what's the deal here? I went around CofC's campus to get students' opinions on the subject. Here's what they had to say:

Lauren Holton
Lauren Holton
Junior Psychology Major
Lexington, SC

"He was basically my childhood, like Jumanji, Flubber, Hook were all big in my family. I could go on and on. I connect that to growing up. I think many comedians are too self-critical. I know that depression is highly correlated with creative people. Like the more creative you are, the more likely you are to have suicidal tendencies. It ticked me off when they were saying on the news that he seemed so happy. Of course he is going to seem happy, he was using comedy to help bury his problems."

Jessica Smith, Ph.D.
CofC Instructional Technologist
Jessica Smith, Ph.D

Knoxville, TN

"I loved him, I remember I wasn't very old when Mrs. Doubtfire came out. I remember that vividly and enjoying that film. I know Goodnight Vietnam was one of his biggest roles, but Patch Adams was my favorite. That one really reflected his philanthropy and humor. It doesn't surprise me that most comedians suffer from depression, I think that applies to artists in general. My mom was an MFA and taught ceramics, so she was an artist and I grew up in the Arts scene. Just like if you're a scientist or mathematician, artists see the world in a different way, and you can clump comedians in with them. They just feel things so intensely, it would be hard not to let it get to you and drag you down. Comedy to them is a defense mechanism, like if I can make a joke out of it, maybe it's not so bad.

Kendall Ilerz
Kendall Ilerz
Freshman Archaeology Major 
Indian Land, SC

"I used to watch Mork and Mindy with my mom, Hook, Aladdin was my favorite. He just always made me laugh and see the funny side of things. I get why he and other comedians might be depressed. When they are sad and upset they don't want others to feel that way and so they try to make them laugh. I think they hide their emotions that way for the benefit of others and it ends up getting the best of them."

Sarah Caro
Sarah Caro
Freshman Communications Major
Columbia, SC

"Robin Williams showed me that it was okay to be different and silly and to always put smiles on peoples faces no matter what. I love his classic movies. My favorites are Mrs. Doubtfire, Flubber, Patch Adams, Jumanji, and Happy Feet. I wouldn't say it's just comedians who suffer from depression. Many people deal with depression or what I like to call "reality." Many people put smiles on their faces and go about their days but there are hard days where people face reality. Comedians get wrapped up in their own worlds -- entertaining people -- and don't have time to deal with reality on a daily basis like the rest of us. They get hit with it overwhelmingly where we get doses of reality everyday and learn to cope. I guess this could also go along with celebrities. They live in a world that isn't real, it's entertainment, their life is in the spotlight and not a lot of people realize what else goes on in their lives."

Corey Jorgenson
Corey Jorgenson
Senior History Major
Hanahan, SC

"[Robin Williams] didn't really impact my life at all. And definitely Flubber and Aladdin were my favorites. I'm sure in his case it was due in part to his cocaine addiction. Substance abuse really takes it's toll on a person's mental stability. He was also diagnosed with early stages of Parkinson's. As for other comedians I'd say their acts are a facade for how they are really feeling."

To put matters briefly, personality traits that cause a person to have a comedic personality can be directly associated with traits that cause depression. In order to cope with their own hardships, comedians often joke about their struggles to make themselves feel better and to attain social acceptance. But joking doesn't make their problems any better, it only buries the feelings until one day the person is unable to cope with them.

Suicide as a result of depression is one of the biggest killers in America. According to data compiled by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide claims the lives of nearly 40,000 Americans yearly.
The bottom line is, if you are ever feeling depressed or that you may commit suicide, seek help immediately. A great resource is the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, which can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. The College of Charleston also provides counselling services free of charge to students.

As the popular saying goes, "Those who laugh the loudest are often the saddest."

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Favorite Places: The Unitarian Church Garden-Graveyard

Dearly Beloved,

We are gathered here today to experience one of Charleston's most beautiful and historic locations, the Unitarian Church Graveyard. This is one of my favorite spots to visit in the Holy City. 

Entrance to the Graveyard

Located in the heart of historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina, this graveyard has served as a serene and natural final resting place for several centuries. 

One of the many overgrown graves

The Unitarian Church, to which the graveyard belongs, was established in 1772 by a group known as the Society of Dissenters. Known today as the Universal Unitarian Congregation, they focus more on making life better on Earth rather than the afterlife. According to the church's website, the graveyard was established in 1800. It was designed to resemble a garden, going along with the Unitarian's deep connection with nature.

Spanish moss drapes over the gravestones

Several myths and legends surround the graveyard. It is a popular spot for the famous Charleston ghost tours to come to as it is home to a few famous phantoms. I highly recommend one of the tours if you are interested in the supernatural, click here for a list of them. One such myth involves the spirit of Annabelle Lee, the girl whose tragic death Edgar Allen Poe wrote of in one of his famous poems. It is said that she would secretly meet her lover in the Unitarian graveyard before she met her dismal demise.

Shadow the Graveyard Cat

I've never seen any of these ghosts personally, however I see this friendly black cat most times when I visit. I don't know if he already has a name, so I just call him Shadow because he likes to shadow (follow) me around the graveyard. Interestingly enough, in ancient Egyptian mythology, cats were depicted as the guardians of the underworld, ensuring the no one got in and that no evil spirits would escape. Nevertheless, Shadow is an adorable addition to the graveyard experience.

Dazzling flora grows alongside the headstones of the dearly departed

As you stroll along the narrow paths of the graveyard and take in the earthy smells, you instantly feel at peace. Its natural glory provides an ethereal convergence between the realms of the living and the dead. 

A lively path

Among the graves are several open areas with benches and arranged plants. These areas are excellent places for relaxation, meditation, and spiritual growth. Something about being so close to the departed along with the serenity of the garden awakens the imagination and puts a person into a state of bliss.

Steps to a dais

The atmosphere of this amazing place has inspired many famous writers and poets such as Emily Dickinson, Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, and Margaret Fuller. Transcendentalist/philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, famous for his On Walden Pond, gave a speech here in 1827.

A perfect place for meditation
Though the graveyard may at first appear neglected and overgrown, it is actually well kept. Gardeners of the church work diligently year round to keep the paths clear and do the best they can to maintain the graves. The plant life is allowed to grow out to attain a more natural look. This beautifully contrasts the meticulously manicured gardens of the surrounding Charleston houses.

An Overgrown Grave

So whether you are a frequenter of graveyards, enjoy walks in nature, or are just looking for an interesting place to visit in Charleston, this should definitely make your list of places to go! It is open during daylight hours and located on 8 Archdale Street, click here for directions. Like I've said, it is one of my favorite places to peruse when I'm downtown. The garden-graveyard is a serene embodiment of the cycle of life, bringing liveliness and beauty to a place where there is normally only death. 

As the plaque at the entrance to the graveyard reads, "Nature never did betray the heart that loved her."

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Excitement at Carowinds and New Ride Revealed

“It doesn’t matter that it’s a hundred degrees out, Carowinds is the coolest place to have

Michelle Privette is not alone in this opinion, as thousands of other thrill-seekers traveled
from all over the south to enjoy Carowinds’ attractions in the famous Carolina heat. For those who have yet to experience it, Carowinds is an amusement park located in Charlotte that straddles the SC and NC border.

I recently had a chance to join the crowd and get firsthand experience of the amusement park.

There are rides for all ages and all levels of comfort. As a thrill seeker myself, I favored the
Intimidator, one of the park’s newer attractions that entails ninety degree drops and exhilarating
speeds of up to 75 mph.

For the more sedate, there are attractions such as the Windseeker, which lifts riders 300
feet into the air for a panoramic view of the park.

“The Windseeker is awesome,” said my brother Tucker Privette, “I love the extreme
heights and views. I felt like I was superman flying!”

Visitors this weekend also got a glimpse of a project that has been a mystery for the past
few months. The construction near the front of the park was revealed to be a new attraction
coming next spring called the Fury, claiming it will be their most electrifying roller coaster yet!

A trip to Carowinds makes for the perfect weekend getaway. It is only a short 3 hour road trip from Charleston and tickets are around $42 when purchased online.

Check out Carowinds' video introducing their new upcoming ride, The Fury!

Useful Links
Tickets: https://www.carowinds.com/tickets/
Directions: https://www.carowinds.com/hours-directions/directions
Reviews: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g49022-d268022-Reviews-Carowinds-Charlotte_North_Carolina.html