My Fall Bucket List + Fall Activity Ideas

Words by Marisa Santillo

There is no denying that fall is my favorite time of the year, and I have also noticed that it is a lot of people’s favorite season as well! There are certain things that are a must-do for me during fall every year, and hopefully, some of my ideas will get you into the fall spirit! 

1. Pumpkin patches

Pumpkin patches are my favorite way to celebrate fall! The apple cider, fun fall snacks, corn mazes and cute Instagram photo ops are the best! 

2. Haunted houses

There is no better way to celebrate spooky season than by going to a haunted house with your besties! 

3. Fall Starbucks drinks

I love the seasonal drinks at Starbucks! I always have to get them all at least once per season. My new favorite and go to right now is a hot salted caramel mocha. 

4. Buying new sweaters and boots

One of my favorite things about fall has always been the perfect sweater and booties weather! I also love updating my sweater collection a little bit every fall! My current favorite types of sweaters right now are the ones with the frayed and distressed ends.   

5. Halloween costumes

Halloween is such a fun time especially here at Kent! Having the perfect Halloween costume is always the best feeling. Remember to take cute pictures! 

6. Spending time in the leaves

On a beautiful fall day, one of my favorite things to do is sit in the leaves and work on my homework, relax or hang with my friends! Something about being outside with all of the fallen leaves is so peaceful. Blanket hill is the perfect spot for this right now! 

7. Baking

One of my favorite things to bake right now is the festive Pillsbury cutout cookies. Plus, they are super simple to bake even in a residence hall kitchen area! 

8. Carving pumpkins

 Carving pumpkins with my friends or family is always one of my favorite fall activities! I love getting to make a new design every year and being creative! Also, baked pumpkin seeds are a yummy snack! 

9. Football games

Football games can be a lot of fun! I always like to go to at least one every year! 

10. Fall festivals

I love fall festivals! I love getting to see the fun crafts, food and just getting to walk around! 

Hopefully, some of these activities will help you get in the fall spirit like I am!

Instagram & Twitter: @marisaaa_rosee | YouTube: Marisa Rose

What Autumn Shows Us

Words by Marisa Santillo

Fall has always been my all-time favorite season. From Halloween to pumpkin patches to cozy sweaters and the crisp air, there is nothing that I do not love about fall. One of my other favorite things about fall is that it is truly the season for a fresh start. 

“Notice how the trees do not cling to their leaves. Fall is about releasing the old to make way for the new.” – Unknown

The thought of the trees letting go of their leaves every year gives me a sense of peace. It serves as a reminder that, like the trees, I too have grown and blossomed another year, and there comes a point every year when there are things I have to let go of to continue my growth. Autumn has always been the season that inspires me to let go of things I am unhappy with, try new things that help me grow and blossom into the person who I am meant to become. 

“Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go” – Unknown

The act of letting go is one that is beautiful and graceful. One of my favorite sights to see is the leaves beginning to turn into a beautiful arrangement of colors, and after they do, they decide to let go so delicately. Over time, a new life begins. Seeing the leaves fall always gives me the greatest sense of peace within myself and reminds me that after letting go there is an opportunity for “new life” to begin through a new job, memories, friendships, relationships and even giving more love to myself. It is only after we let things go that we are truly able to grow. 

“Be thankful for what you have, you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey

Fall always reminds me to keep a thankful and grateful heart. Instead of focusing on the things we are unable to have, it is important to appreciate the people and things that we do have. Being grateful for every opportunity and every day will allow us to truly have the fresh start that fall welcomes. 

Autumn has the power to show us many things if we have the courage to find them.

Instagram & Twitter: @marisaaa_rosee | YouTube: Marisa Rose

Ramen Noodle Packet Four Ways

Words by Natalia Cruz

Growing up, I was always in the kitchen, from helping my mom bake cakes to making my own creations. One of my favorite things to play around with was ramen noodles. Mainly, because they were so cheap, I didn’t feel bad if what I made didn’t turn out. Unfortunately for me, I learned later in life that I have borderline celiac disease. My time with ramen had to come to an end, but during my time at boarding school, I thought my friends a few tricks on how to shake up ramen noodles. 

Ramen Noodle Mac and Cheese

What you’ll need: 

  • any type of cheese, but if you are able to find it, I recommend getting powdered cheese
  • 1 TBSP of butter
  • 1/2 – 2 TBSP of milk 
  • 1 noodle packet
  • Water (enough to cover the noodles)

This is a fairly easy recipe to do, and for the most part, if you don’t have measuring utensils, you are able to eyeball it. Now, the important part of this recipe is remembering to save the flavor packet for later. So, once you have boiled and cooked the noodles, you add the butter, milk, cheese, and flavor packet. This gives you some flavorful cheesy noodles and it is a cheap way to mix up the staple ramen noodles. 

Crunchy Salad

What you’ll need: 

  • Plain ramen noodles (1 packet)
  • Bowl of leafy greens of own choice
  • A handful of shredded carrots
  • 1- 2 Hard-boiled eggs
  • soy sauce

This recipe is best fit for when go to the dining hall to get a salad to go and forget to put in crotons or if you are one of the people who want to feel better about enjoying uncooked Ramen. 

Now, all you have to do for this is break up the noodles into chunks and keep the seasoning somewhere else, because you can use it for another recipe. Alternatively, if you desire, you can sprinkle the seasoning on top of the salad. For the salad mix I recommend in this recipe, I picked some of the elements of pho, in order to give the salad an abstract pho vibe. 

Flavored Rice

What you’ll need, 

  • Personal serving size of rice (I recommend microwaveable types)
  • A little bit of butter (optional)
  • The seasoning packet
  • Cheese (optional)

If you are like me and have a gluten intolerance or allergy, but you still crave those flavor packets, then this is the recipe for you. It is also a way to gain more nutrients, especially if you are using brown rice, compared to ramen noodles. For this recipe, you can make it two ways. The first way is to prepare the rice and then add a little butter in order for the seasoning to stick better to the rice, then adding the seasoning. The second way is to also add some shredded cheese. This creates flavored cheesy rice, and it is one of my favorite things to eat on the weekend when Prentice Cafe is closed. 

Ramen Noodles and Meatballs

What you’ll need, 

  • 2 packets of Ramen noodles
  • 1 lb or less of ground beef/chicken/turkey/plant-based ground
  • Pepper
  • ¼ cup of Milk
  • 1 Egg
  • Sauce (optional) 
  • Cooked spaghetti (optional)
  • Mixing bowl
  • Greased Cookie sheet
  • Ziplock bag

This isn’t a quick recipe, so if you plan on making these meatballs, make sure you have at least an hour. The first thing you’ll need to do is set the oven to 400 F and make sure the meat is defrosted. Next, get a ziplock bag and place the 2 noodles blocks in them, then use something to crunch them up until they are all in little pieces. I recommend using something heavy like a hardback textbook. Once those items are prepped, place your choice of ground meat into the bowl, then add the milk and egg. After that, add in all of the dry ingredients. This includes pouring in the seasoning and crunched up noodles into the mix. At this point, you can either use your hands or a fork to mix everything up. Once the egg is thoroughly beaten in and the noodles are evenly dispersed, you can start making balls. I recommend the standard of 1 ½ inch, but if you please you can make them bigger or smaller. On the sheet give them at least a half-inch in between balls for growing room.  If you chose to make them the standard size, let them cook for 20-25 minutes, for the smaller one you would probably do 15 minutes and for bigger ones 30. However, the most important part is checking to see if they are actually done, once the time has elapsed. This is because different ovens can add or quicken the time. After they are all done and ready to go, you can pair them with a sauce, pasta, or even put them in your ramen noodles.

Tyler, the Creator IGOR Tour Recap

Words by Kelsey Paulus

After a big-hit release in May of his fourth studio album, “IGOR,” Tyler, the Creator began touring the U.S. near the beginning of August. While Tyler has always been the type of artist with great stage presence, “IGOR” has brought out a new personality and act of professionalism than previously seen with him. “IGOR” has transformed him into a character who is performing an act on stage – an act that follows the successes and triumphs found in the new album. 

After seeing Tyler in both Columbus and Pittsburgh, I have fallen in love with the new album all over again. Thus far, “IGOR” has been my number one album of the year, and these two performances solidified my opinion. He played every song off of the album except for “I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE,” so fans were able to get a nearly-full live experience of the album.


Tyler performs “See You Again” in Pittsburgh on Sept. 24, 2019.

Kicking off the show with the song “IGOR’S THEME,” this bass-heavy track was able to transport attendees into the world of “IGOR.” Tyler arrived on stage in full character attire, and was ready to put on an act for the masses. Seeing him perform in such a lively, passionate manner was something I have never experienced before, and adds to Tyler’s credibility of being one of the most unique and hard-working artists in the current industry. To take an idea – especially one as a character following a plotline throughout an album – and execute it greatly is something rarely seen from a popular artist. 

After playing a few various songs from the new album, Tyler took a step back and played songs from his older albums. He played some of the classics off of “Flower Boy” and also dated back to play songs such as “IFHY,” “Yonkers” and “She.” Although these songs are not a part of his current era, they still added to the performance as a whole. These songs show how much Tyler has grown as an artist, and also showcases the immense support he has from his fans, as they were still shouting the lyrics as loud, and maybe even louder than they were before. In addition, Tyler mixed new renditions of songs “GONE GONE” and “RUNNING OUT OF TIME” to add a bit of variety into the show. 

Even though Tyler was in a characterized mindset throughout the show, that did not stop him from interacting with the crowd. He was most talkative to the Columbus crowd, discussing topics such as his old music, how smelly we all were and even stopped in the middle of performing one-off single “OKRA” to tell us how exhausted this song makes him, then playing “Tamale” instead. At the Pittsburgh show, he sang a vulgar rendition of “Happy Birthday” to a girl who kept telling him it was her birthday. It was admirable to see Tyler’s humorous side come out to show the audience more than just the performance, but to also express his personality in real life. 


Tyler, the Creator steps onstage, preparing to perform “IGOR’S THEME” in Columbus on Sept. 22, 2019.

Aside from Tyler’s insane amount of passion in performing, I would consider the stage visuals to be the most enhanced part of the entire concert. Throughout the show, there were different visuals displayed on an LED screen, which played along with the storylines behind the songs. These visuals made the entire experience seem like a new world, and was the perfect cherry on top for both nights. It was clear to see that Tyler had a vision, and he executed it with great care and perfectionism to make the performance come to life. 

I had high expectations when I first purchased my tickets to the IGOR tour back in June, and it is without a doubt that I can say my expectations were greatly exceeded. It is always such a surreal feeling to experience one of your favorite musicians live, but when they take the experience to a new level for attendees to step into a world of creativity, that is when it becomes a rare occurrence. The IGOR tour was nothing short of brilliance, and it will be a show that I will never forget.

Apps That All Kent State Students Need

Words by Marisa Santillo

I personally find that different and unique apps on our phones make our lives easier. I especially felt that way when I first moved to Kent. From trying to find my way around to keeping up with my classes and meeting new people, there are multiple apps that have made my life a lot easier in my transition to college. Some of these apps I have used for a long time, and some I have just started using within the last month. In this article, I have listed my favorite apps that I use to make it through the day and make my life a little easier. 

KSU Mobile

If for some reason you still do not have this app at this point, you seriously need to get it. It has so many resources for you to access pretty much anything that you need related to Kent State. My favorite features have been the campus maps, dining menus, bus tracker, class schedule and events. Literally everything that you could possibly need on a daily basis is on this app. 

UNiDAYS

This is an app that I personally used a lot before coming to campus, and I still use it quite frequently. If you haven’t heard of UNidays, it is an app that offers a  ton of discounts for college students, from favorite brands to tons of scholarship opportunities. Some of my favorite discounts include American Eagle, Aerie, Apple Music, Forever 21 and so much more! The app also offers discounts in other categories, but my favorite has to be the fashion section, mainly because it is rare to get a discount on name brands every time you shop there. 

Handshake Jobs & Careers

If you are in need of a job on campus, Handshake is the way to go. Although I am not personally looking for a job right now, it is a good app to have so you know where to go if you decide to get an on-campus job. The app shows you all of the options you have, however, it is important to keep up with it because the options can change daily! 

Egenda – School Planner & Assistant

Egenda is my favorite way to keep up with all of my student-related responsibilities. It is basically a planner for your phone that I use to put all of the stuff from my planner into. I still use my planner every day, but it is convenient having everything that needs to get done a couple of weeks in advance on my phone. I also love that you can delete everything that you have already accomplished. So satisfying. 

Pocket Points: Student Rewards

This is one of my favorite apps on this list!  The app works by giving you points for every minute you are not using your phone (such as while in class). Your points can then be redeemed for awesome student discounts and coupons as a reward for staying focused and spending less time distracted on your phone. When I am trying to study, it is the best incentive to think of the free stuff I am earning. 

Mobile ID

This app allows you to link your student ID to your phone. The best thing about this app is that you can use it to get into your dorm if you lost or do not have your ID on you. It is honestly a lifesaver. 

SPOT PARTA

When I first got to campus, I could not figure out the bus schedule. One of my friends told me about the PARTA app, and it saved my life. I just figured out how to use the bus this week thanks to this app (embarrassing I know), but I am so relieved I did, especially for those rainy days and winter is fast approaching. 

Food Apps

When you have a late-night craving or just want something other than dining hall food, I definitely recommend downloading apps like Doordash, Grubhub, and my favorite (but the most dangerous) the Insomnia Cookie app. All of these apps allow you to order your favorite foods from your phone and deliver them right to your residence hall or apartment. I am also a huge fan of the Starbucks app. In on-campus locations, you are able to use gift cards that are loaded to your phone and earn rewards by using the app, which I find very convenient. The only downside is that you can’t redeem the rewards you earn at on-campus locations, but you can always take a short walk to downtown Kent and visit that Starbucks to use your free drink reward. 

Quizlet

Quizlet is my favorite way to study and prepare for exams. Having the Quizlet app on your phone is so convenient, especially for reviewing your flashcards between classes, while grabbing some lunch or when you are in bed (like I do). 

Google Apps

There also are quite a few Google apps that I find myself using pretty frequently. My favorites include Google Docs and Google Drive to keep up with or work on assignments. I also have had to download Google Sheets to schedule meetings or other events. 

Blackboard

Hopefully, everyone already has the Blackboard mobile app by now, but if you do not, it is so useful. It allows you to access everything for your classes pretty quickly if you are in a rush, having random worries about an overdue assignment or when you just do not feel like grabbing and turning on your laptop. I personally check my Blackboard every day anyway, but having it on my phone is just more convenient. 

Hopefully, these apps can help add a little extra convenience into your everyday life as they have done for me! There are honestly so many awesome apps out there to help with college life, but hopefully, you will love some of my favorites just as much as I do!

Contact Marisa on Instagram and Twitter: @marisaaa_rosee & YouTube: Marisa Rose

Music to Get Your Fall Vibes in Gear

Words by Kaitlyn Finchler

Here’s a collection of my go-to songs for fall. They give off the vibe of crisp autumn air, the leaves falling and an episode of “Gilmore Girls” playing in the background by the fireplace.

“Hallucinogenics” by Matt Maeson

“When You Love Someone” by James TW

“Sex” by EDEN

“1985” by Bowling for Soup

“Cemetery” by COIN

“Ever Since New York” by Harry Styles

“Parallel Line” by Keith Urban

“Nicotine” by Panic! at the Disco

“Ophelia” by The Lumineers

“Cough Syrup” by Young the Giant

“Green Light” by Lorde

“Wake Me Up When September Ends” – Green Day

“Defying Gravity” by from the “Wicked” soundtrack

“Olivia” by One Direction

“Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman

Mental Health is Physical Health: Keeping Up With Your Mental Health in College

Words by Marisa Santillo

Prior to beginning my first semester of college a little over a month ago, I had no concept of how to “college,” and I am still learning every day. One thing I do know, however, is that staying healthy and actually taking care of yourself while at college is pretty difficult to do. It is like really hard. Between classes, exams, a social life, extracurriculars, and other campus events, our health is one thing that tends to always be put on the backburner of our priorities. All of these aspects of college life have the potential to add more stress and anxiety into our everyday lives. 

Most people in general, but especially students, do not really know the best ways to cope with stress or how to take care of their mental well being. It is important to remember that mental health is equal to physical health. Neglecting your mental health can easily lead to damage to your physical health. In honor of the start of the new semester and September is national suicide prevention month, here are a few tips, strategies and reminders to help you take care of your mental health and overall well being for the start of the new semester.  

Eat a healthy and balanced diet

Although eating healthy is something that tends to be more associated with our physical health, the foods we eat to fuel our bodies have just as much to do with our mental health. Eating a well-balanced diet with lots of fruits, veggies and grains can help us feel more energized, alert, motivated and can help our immune system. Luckily for us, the dining halls and food options on campus offer a lot of healthy options every day, but remember, it is okay to treat yourself to some pizza and ice cream as well!   

Self-care is the best care

While we are running around with our busy daily lives it is so easy to forget to actually take care of yourself and do something for you. Self-care should be tailored to each individual and be a source of joy, happiness and escape. 

My favorite forms of self-care include dancing in my dorm to my favorite songs, writing, editing a YouTube video or a much-needed nap. It is important to set aside some time for yourself every day to relax and unwind through some activity. Whether it be reading, painting or even running, remember to make time to give yourself some love and joy. 

Remember to smile

It has been continuously proven that smiling and laughing has a positive effect on our mental health and overall well being. No matter how hard of a day you might be having, a simple laugh with a friend can always brighten up your mood!

The power of positive thinking

Changing your daily thoughts from pessimistic to optimistic SERIOUSLY can have a HUGE effect on your mood and perspective on occurrences in your daily life. Looking at stressful situations with a positive attitude will not only help you deal with stressors easier, but it will also remind you to not let something small ruin an entire day. If you have never made a conscious attempt to see the positives in your life every day, I seriously recommend giving it a try. Also, remember to surround yourself with positive people who want to empower you, help you and build you up. No bad vibes over here. 

A grateful heart is a happy heart and mind

One of my favorite things is to start every day with a grateful heart. Remembering to give thanks, express gratitude for the good things in your life and the ones you love is one of the best things that you can do for yourself. Honestly. Doing this helps to keep your thoughts positive and serves as a reminder of the positives in your life when you are faced with negatives. One of my favorite things to do is to write down in my planner or think of three things that made me smile throughout the day. It is important to appreciate the little things. 

Be active

I personally am not the type of person who spends a lot of time working out, but if you are, working out has some serious benefits to your mental health as well as physical health! The release of endorphins and serotonin in your brain act as a natural antidepressant. Even if you are not a gym person like myself, just being active in some way and physically moving can also have the same effect. My 15 minute walks to class honestly make me feel refreshed and energized every morning. Having an active lifestyle in some way, whether it be working out, dancing, sports or just walking to class will help keep you happy and healthy! 

Talk it out

After a long and stressful day, one of my favorite things to do is vent and let it all out. Talking to a good friend, calling a parent or even talking to a counselor can be one of the best methods for dealing with daily stress and anxiety. Do not keep it bottled up! Someone is always there to listen and remember you are not alone. 

It’s okay not be okay; utilize campus resources!

Luckily here on campus, there are many resources if you are not feeling okay. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking help. Whether it be adjustment issues, stress and anxiety from classes or social situations, Kent has someone who is willing to help you! If you feel that yourself or a friend is in danger, do not hesitate to reach out for help. We all have issues, struggles and face adversities; it is okay to ask for help! Keeping up and coping with your mental health in college can be difficult, and you may not even notice if you are mentally unhealthy. This is also okay, and you are not alone. 

Remember to take care of yourself, your friends and keep up with your family back home this semester. Remember you are loved, important, worthy, beautiful and doing your best.  

If you or someone you love needs help, here are some resources on and off-campus: 

Kent State Psychological Services Website: https://www.kent.edu/psych

Phone Number: 330-672-2487 

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States, anytime, about any type of crisis. A live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds, from their secure online platform. The volunteer Crisis Counselor will help you move from a hot to a cool moment.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices and building awareness.

Call 1-800-273-8255 if you or someone you love is in danger of harming themselves. 

Follow Marisa on social media: Instagram & Twitter: @marisaaa_rosee, YouTube: Marisa Rose

Your Guide to Navigating College as a Freshman

Words and Photos by Kaitlyn Finchler

As new students come in for the semester, some might find themselves feeling like they’re distant from loved ones or that they don’t fit in. Some might find that they’re overwhelmed by a newfound sense of adulthood they encounter post-high school. Here are some tips and tricks to making the transition into college a bit smoother.

Make your room feel like “at-home” as possible.

It’s apparent that no one really likes living in the dorms, it’s overpriced for under quality utilities. If you average it out and compare the cost of an average dorm to monthly rent in an apartment, some campuses are ripping off their students. The dorms at Kent average out to about $1,000 a month when you break the numbers down. That’s factoring in sharing a room, fridge and microwave with one to three people; and bathrooms with almost 50 other people. 

Sometimes you just need a space you can call your own. Decorate your room, add a rug and some photos, make it as comfortable as possible. In the picture below, you can see that I have a tapestry, as well as a few cacti pillows and multiple photos of family, friends and my dog, Phoebe.

Get to know the people on your floor

Now, granted this might not be applicable to everyone, but talk to the people on your floor and make them acquaintances if not friends. It just so happens that a good half of my floor props their doors open and anytime one of us walks by, we’ll shout “Hey neighbor!” They don’t have to be your best friend, but it wouldn’t hurt to get along with the people you’re living with for the rest of the year.

Join a club or organization

This can help with the sense of loneliness students can encounter when entering a new environment for the first time. It doesn’t matter what campus you go to, there are hundreds of clubs you can join catered to every interest. Another good option to definitely gain some friends whether you actually end up joining or not is sorority recruitment. You make so many friends throughout recruitment, even from signing up, you’ll make friends regardless.

It’s okay to call Mom and Dad

Some people have the stigma that you can’t rely on your parents anymore, or that you can’t talk to them every day because you’re on your own now. This is completely false. Talk to your parents, I promise they want to hear from you too. 

All in all, life is what you make it, so you might as well make the best of it. We’re all learning about ourselves and who we are as people, so it should come naturally to do this in a comfortable setting.

BROCKHAMPTON, “GINGER” Review

Words by Kelsey Paulus

Yet another comeback by BROCKHAMPTON has shown the hip-hop boy band in a light they have never been seen in before. “GINGER” made its release into the world on August 23, 2019, after much teasing via the release of four singles and a copious amount of merchandise – nothing short of what usually comes of a new album from the group.

Following a rather bumpy rebound after a God-like trilogy completed in under a year’s time, the band is now back on track. While their fourth studio album, “iridescence,” still contains worthwhile songs and discusses troubling events that have transpired within the band’s timeline, the emotions it expressed were  somewhat convoluted. One of BROCKHAMPTON’s defining traits is their ability to crank out projects quicker and more efficiently than the average band, mainly due to the number of members on their team, adding up to 13 of them. This worked well during the “SATURATION” trilogy days, but seemed to be disconnected when they tried again for their fourth album. And just a month short of a year later, “GINGER” has brought the boy band back to their roots to reflect on their time together. 

While many fans expected an album full of bangers for the summer season, their ears were instead met with solemn subjects accompanied by subtle, yet still impressive, production – a much-needed change in sound for the group. In the past, projects have been filled to the brim with perfectionist techniques, with almost every song detailed with upbeat characteristics. Now, the band has taken a step back and has taken the time to reflect upon their past as a group and on their personal lives as a whole. 

One of the most admirable traits of the new album is the maturation in the group’s lyricism. While BROCKHAMPTON has always talked about topics such as mental health, drugs and their troubling hometowns, “GINGER” defines them in ways the group has never shown before. It is not necessarily an increase of these topics, but rather the manner and tone in which they are discussed. Upon one’s first listen to the album, well-defined by opening track “NO HALO,” it is easy to see that the group is taking a step away from their lyrics being hidden behind crazy beats and moving more towards their songs using lyrics as the shining stars in songs. “NO HALO” sets the scene for the rest of the album, with each of the members discussing hardships that they face in everyday life, best expressed by the line “No one help me when my eyes go red.” 

“ST. PERCY” and “LOVE ME FOR LIFE” both define the true tone behind the album. With grimier production and deeper bass, these songs reflect the solemn topics discussed throughout the whole project. These two songs provide diversity to the album as a whole, straying away from the typical shock value production that BROCKHAMPTON typically exhibits. Not to say that the production is anything short of greatness, but the messages relayed are not diluted by an abundance of distinctive synth beats. 

Although songs such as “SUGAR,” “BOY BYE” and “GINGER” have upbeat notations, the meanings behind each of them are rather somber. This relays one of the more important messages behind the album, that in our lives, we tend to accentuate our most positive events and features, regardless of what is truly happening. Many people tend to hide behind a mask, as cliche as it typically sounds. This concept is well-represented throughout the entirety of “GINGER.” Hypothetically, if the group had previously wanted to return to the old days of living together in the BROCKHAMPTON house, cranking out music nonstop and resisting the urge to sign to a label, they realize now that that time has passed and it is time for them to move on. These memories are fond to not only to the band but to many fans as well. And while many fans would love to hold onto the days of the “SATURATION” era, it is going to take acceptance of growth of the group to move forward. 

Throughout the promotion of the album, member Kevin Abstract proclaimed many times that this summer was going to be a “ginger summer.” Tagging back to the idea of a banging album, this may be seen as an “empty promise” due to the difference between expectations and the true nature of the album. However, a “GINGER” summer is one seemingly void of creating good memories, and more so about reflecting on ones of the past. A “GINGER” summer is one of reminiscence. A “GINGER” summer is one of accepting the past as it is and moving forward. Although many times we wish to return to the way that our lives were before, it is best to sit back and reflect on the good times. Personally, while this summer still contained many great memories and events that I am fond of, it was mainly one of reflecting on the past few years. And these reflective seasons are some of the healthiest times of our lives that we can experience, just as it is healthy for a group to experience growth and to move on from their identity in the past. From now on, BROCKHAMPTON is going to move forward in a positive light regardless of what they have been identified as before. 

Follow Kelsey Paulus on social media @kelseypaulus 

On Hold

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[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Facing his third straight season-ending injury, quarterback Nick Holley looks toward the future[/perfectpullquote]

Words by Jack Kopanski | Photo by Kassi Jackson

While joking he “likes it dark,” Nick Holley draws back curtains, letting in light that reveals a small but cozy apartment. A white motorcycle leans against a wall in his kitchen, and an intact Nintendo 64 waits for a heated match of “Super Smash Bros.,” a childhood game in which he says he can’t be beat. Setting down a stuffed burrito, he takes a seat to put a brace on his left knee, snapping it into place with ease.

Quarterback for Kent State’s football team and a fifth-year senior, Holley’s current season will end on the sideline the same way it has the last two seasons, recovering from an injury.

It was a broken back that ended his 2015 season just three games in. He managed to play in all but the final game last season due to a torn ACL in his right knee. This season, like 2015, three games in, Holley was taken off the field with a left knee injury, later diagnosed as yet another ACL tear, and several months off the field. “I’ve been through a lot throughout my life,” he says. “I felt like … all my goals and dreams were right there in front of me, then it was snatched away.”

The original plan for Holley was to declare for the NFL Draft after this season. Having already fulfilled credits for a bachelor’s degree in business, he was assigned a new major, pan-African studies, to maintain his eligibility. Now, though, he says his future is up in the air, while making it clear getting his MBA isn’t something he considered. “I could petition for a sixth year, or I could test the waters professionally,” he says. “The only plan that I have right now is that I feel like I have a lot more football left to be played.”

ACL tears are becoming increasingly common occurrences in athletics. Part of what makes the injury so devastating is not only the amount of time recovery typically takes, but also that the injury can happen without any contact. One can go through daily life without an ACL, but the reason it’s so debilitating to athletes is because the ligament is crucial to the cutting motion of the knee. “If you’re going to continue to play a sport, you’re going to have to have your knee fixed,” says Steve Pritchard, an athletic trainer at Southwest General Health Center in Strongsville. “You’re going to have to have it reconstructed. You can get back to very close to where you were before, but your knee is never the same.”

A common feeling athletes can go through when enduring season-ending injuries like this is an experience known as identity confusion, in which the athlete questions his or her purpose when a sport is taken out of the picture. According to a 2009 study in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 33 percent of athletes with injury histories could be classified as depressed. Another common side effect is the self-esteem hit that athletes can go through after an injury. Sports allow participants to feel a sense of independence, and if the injury is severe enough, there will be a period of time where the athlete will need to rely on others to take care of them.

Part of the way Holley tried to combat these feelings was by limiting the time he spent thinking about the negatives. “Part of me says, ‘Why me, why me?’ Another part of me looks at it as just another obstacle,” he says. “When I tore this, I gave myself three days; I said, ‘You can feel bad for yourself for three days.’”

Following Holley’s high school career at Toledo Whitmer, he had multiple college football offers to choose from. Recruited as an athlete, allowing him to be assigned to any position, he saw offers from Navy, Harvard, Michigan and Kent State. After having his offer from Michigan withdrawn, and with the high standards that come with an Ivy League school like Harvard, Holley narrowed it to Navy and Kent. While Kent State’s performance during his stay has been less than ideal, Holley said he still feels he made the right decision. “I don’t regret not going to Navy, mainly because it’s too strict and that was never for me,” he says. “Kent gave me my opportunity so I stuck out with it. I’ve tried to make the best of it; obviously it’s been a rocky road, but like I said, they gave me my opportunity.”

Since starting at Kent, Holley has bounced around the offense in his five years with the team. During his sophomore season, Holley was a starter, mainly at running back, before breaking his back and ending his season. Through the first three games of the following season in 2016, Holley was a utility player, seeing time at both running back and receiver, before getting the news he’d been waiting for. “The fourth game, after we got a couple guys injured, they say, ‘You want to play quarterback?’ And I just said, ‘Yup.’”

The transition was just as exciting as it was nerve-wracking for Holley. “I was jittery and, shoot, even at practice I was nervous as shit,” he says. “When it came to my excitement, I just felt like I was finally getting my opportunity. Before then it was always: ‘You’re too short,’ ‘You’re not a throwing quarterback.’ Whatever the excuse was, I heard it all. By that time they finally asked me, I just felt relieved, excited, nervous.”

With the extra attention the quarterback often receives on a team, Holley said that didn’t affect his on-campus student life. “I got a little more attention than usual, but I don’t know if it changed my social life,” he says. “I think I was noticed more as like,  ‘Hey, you’re the QB. No. 4, Holley,’ stuff like that.”

Holley dealt with a different type of attention last season when his twin brother Nate Holley became wrapped in a legal battle. The trial ended with a jury finding Nate not guilty in February of kidnapping and felonious assault, although he pleaded guilty to criminal mischief in April. Nate was suspended from the football team where the brothers played side by side. During all this, Nick found solace on the field. “We kinda were taught that when you go on that field, everything else gets pushed aside,” he says. “Obviously, he [Nate] was always in my mind, but it just made me push that much harder because I wasn’t just playing for myself or just playing for the team, but I was playing in his honor.”

Of all the moments he has experienced at Kent State, Nick says one of the most memorable for him was getting the opportunity to play alongside his brother. “When we first got here, I sat down with him and I told him, ‘I’m glad you’re here. I’m glad you’re with me. I’m glad we went through this together,’” Nick says.

The absence of Nate, one of the country’s leading tacklers in 2016, affected more than just the team dynamic. “For me, it was very weird,” Nick says. “I went from standing up and watching every play to, when I wasn’t in the game, I sat on the bench, minded my own business and when I went in, I went in.” Nick says, despite the tumultuous past several months, his brother looks faster, stronger and better than he’s ever seen him, and is staying ready for his shot as a professional athlete. “He looks like a freakin’ machine,” Nick says. “His diet is so crazy and he is so determined. His A-plan, B-plan and C-plan are all NFL, NFL, NFL.”

Regardless of how long it takes or what avenue he goes, Nick knows he wants football to be part of his life. Coming from a MAC school like Kent State, athletes looking to play professionally don’t always receive the recognition athletes from bigger name conferences and schools might. Nate sees the gritty stereotype of playing for a MAC school as an advantage for him. This attitude of hard work and determination has fueled his desire to get back on the field after this injury. “I do some sort of rehab every day,” he says. “My main sessions are three days a week, but I rehab every day and try to workout to get myself ready to come back every day.”

Although his road has been littered with setbacks up to this point, Nick’s focus has never shifted. “The way I look at it is it’s gotta be the hard route,” he says. “I’ve never gotten anything easy. It is demoralizing, but you just gotta go back to work and work that much harder for it. It’s a story to be written is how I look at it. This is me writing my book.”

jkopansk@kent.edu

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