Kim’s Declassified: Fear & Loathing In Choosing Housing

By Kimberly Illowiski
Features Editor

That fateful week of room selection is finally upon us. Although some of us feel like we should be moving into the library for how many consecutive hours we spend there, we do have a wide-range of housing options to choose from. Whether you end up in a suite in Decker, a double in New Residence or with all your friends in Phelps, the road to the perfect living arrangement isn’t always so easy.

Last semester when I was housed in ABE, people would apologize and look at me as if I picked the “living in a tent in lot 7” option. Sure, this wasn’t number one on my list of places to live, but the best thing I learned was to find ways to love it.

When timeslots came out the other week, everyone was abuzz with who got what timeslot. Some boasted an impressive 9:00 a.m., while others flinched in fear whenever asked to reveal their 4:30 p.m. slot. “Nah, it’s cool guys, I wanted to live in a box on Metzger Drive.”

Luckily, your friend with the best time can take you under their wing and you can fly together to the personal bathrooms and air-conditioned rooms of Eickhoff. Other times, though, you have to go down with your ship of a heinous timeslot. “It’s okay guys, go on without me, I’ll be in a better place soon.”

There’s no telling what will happen on the day you pick housing, but if you’re prepared you can alleviate any built-up stress about it.

TALK: This may seem obvious enough, but communication is the first and most important thing you can do before your day to pick housing. Make sure everyone in your group is on the same page about where to live and who will be roommates. Speak up and discuss aspects of the living arrangement you might not like, because it’s better than dreading going back to your room for an entire year.

PLAN: Walk around campus and visit all your potential residential buildings. Knock on doors and look inside to really see if you can imagine yourself living there. Familiarize yourself with the online process and rank a list of backup options everyone in your group is okay with.

PICK: When your day and time finally arrive, make sure you’re sitting at your computer and ready to make a selection. And pray to every god you know that TCNJ-DOT1X doesn’t go down the millisecond you log in to the housing portal.

ACCEPT: Whether you got into your first choice building or are stuck with something you weren’t expecting, learn to accept it and make the best out of it. No matter where you live next year, it’s up to you to make it what you want. Any floor can be a social floor, any room can be arranged exactly how you would like, and any building can become home sweet home.

photo courtesy of
photo courtesy of

Great Big Pile of Leaves headlines Rat show

By Sydney Shaw
News Editor

The last time A Great Big Pile of Leaves performed in New Jersey, the stage at Asbury Lanes collapsed under the weight of the indie-rock unit, their instruments and over a hundred fans.

The band’s show at the Rathskeller on Friday, Feb. 20, was not nearly as rowdy, but according to frontman Pete Weiland, it was just as energetic.

“The first two times we played here, less than half the tables were full, and everybody stayed in their seats,” Weiland said. But on this night, dozens of students flocked to stage and danced through the 45-minute-long set.

Before Leaves took the stage, the College’s own Gianna’s Sweet Debut opened the night with its punk-rock sound.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous,” lead singer and guitarist Chase Destierro said before the show. “But hey, even Jay-Z gets nervous. Or at least I hope so.”

Destierro, along with guitarist Matt Decker, bassist Scott Calhoun and drummer L.J. Dosono, performed songs such as “Accurate Self Appraisal” and “Rest in Peace, Hopes and Dreams.”

“We have a house show or two planned, and we’ve been preparing for the release of our EP,” Destierro said after the set.

The EP, titled “Barely Getting By,” took the band just three months to complete, compared to the two years it took to put together its first effort, “North to the Future.”

New Jersey natives Accidental Seabirds performed next, opening their acoustic set with “Untitled 16.”

Vocalist and guitarist Jesse Lee Herdman and usual drummer Alex Letizia sat side-by-side, trading banjo and guitar every few songs.

“We’ve been doing the two-piece thing since May,” Herdman said after the show. “It’s a little easier to pack into a car and find a place to sleep when it’s just two people. It cuts the cost of touring in half.”

Letizia taught himself to play guitar and Herdman learned the banjo so the duo could perform their inventory of songs acoustically together.

“Playing guitar really pulled me out of my element,” Letizia admitted. “I’m used to drumming.”

Accidental Seabirds play a engaging acoustic set for the Rat audience. (Kimberly Ilkowski / Features Editor)
Accidental Seabirds play a engaging acoustic set for the Rat audience. (Kimberly Ilkowski / Features Editor)

He and Herdman have traveled all the way up and down the East Coast and as far as the West Coast during their current tour, occasionally joined by bassist Anthony Defabritus.

The pair has proven to not only be talented musicians, but innovative ones, as well. The band personally cut six-packs apart and stitched pieces of the boxes back together to make CD sleeves for their full-length album “The Greenpoint Spill.”

They also handmade a percussion instrument that Letizia controlled via foot pedal during the set.

“It’s made from beer bottle caps and fishing line,” Herdman said. “Alex literally popped holes in 300 bottle caps.”

Accidental Seabirds played “Black Horse Blues,” a secretly recorded single, as well as fan favorites such as “Where are you, how’s your son?” and “The Appearance of New Animals.”

When headliner, A Great Big Pile of Leaves, took the stage, students clamored to the front of the Rathskeller and earnestly sang along to hits like “We Don’t Need Our Heads” and “Snack Attack.”

For Weiland, drummer Tyler Soucy, bassist Tucker Yaro and guitarist Matthew Fazzi — ex-member of Taking Back Sunday — this was their first time headlining a show at the College. The band opened for The Narrative in 2011 and for Casey Crescenzo of The Deer Hunter in 2012.

Fazzi, an ex-member of Taking Back Sunday, plays with frenetic energy. (Kimberly Ilkowski / Features Editor)
Fazzi, an ex-member of Taking Back Sunday, plays with frenetic energy. (Kimberly Ilkowski / Features Editor)

The Brooklyn-based band was signed to Topshelf Records in 2011 and has since toured with Hellogoodbye, Say Anything and other major groups.

“Tonight was just incredible,” Weiland said. “A Great Big Pile of Leaves will keep coming back to play for as long as you keep inviting us back.”

The Awards Forecast: Oscars Recap

By Jonathan Edmondson
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Say what you will about award shows, but there’s something utterly intriguing and captivating about some of the worlds finest artists coming together to celebrate each others works for one night each year. The Academy Awards are known as the most prestigious award show, and this years broadcast did not disappoint.

Let’s start with the biggest award of the night — Best Picture. Despite massive momentum and nonstop critic support, “Boyhood” did not walk away with the night’s ultimate prize. Instead “Birdman” snagged the award, in addition to director Alexandro G. Inarritu winning for his work behind the camera. Both are worthy wins, for “Birdman” is cinema at its finest, featuring incredible writing, stunning technical effects and passionate performances from an all-star ensemble.

Per usual, the acting awards elicited memorable speeches from the honorees. J.K. Simmons kicked off the evening by accepting his award for Best Supporting Actor for his work on “Whiplash,” reminding everyone at home to call their parents — not text or email — and thank them for everything.

When Patricia Arquette was announced as Best Supporting Actress for “Boyhood,” the entire theater rose to their feet. Arquette has had a long career in both television and film, but this was her first nomination and win. During her speech, Arquette demanded that equal pay be given to women, which elicited a thunderous response from the audience, including Meryl Streep who literally hollered in passionate agreement.

Best Actor winner Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”) took the stage to accept his win in front of a standing ovation from the audience. Redmayne jumped up and down with pure excitement, bliss and shock.

Finally, there was Julianne Moore, who won for her stunning performance in “Still Alice.” The actress, who has had a long career in Hollywood and a total of four previous Oscar nominations, was the clear favorite — and deservedly so. Tears of joy ran down her face as she accepted her first Oscar and thanked everyone who has ever helped her in her career.

In addition to the awards, the broadcast also featured musical performances from artists such as Adam Levine, Jennifer Hudson and Tegan and Sara. The highlights, however, came from Common and John Legend and Lady Gaga. Common and Legend performed “Glory” from the film “Selma,” (which ultimately won Best Original Song later in the evening). Their performance left the audience in tears, and was met with a long period of applause.

Gaga performed a medley of songs from the hit movie-musical “The Sound of Music,” which is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year. Normally a pop artist, Gaga shocked viewers with her pitch-perfect rendition of the classical Broadway hits. The moment was only sweetened when Julie Andrews herself appeared and congratulated Gaga with a loving hug.

Other standout moments included a stellar opening from host Neil Patrick Harris, and Graham Moore’s (Best Adapted Screenplay winner for “The Imitation Game”) moving and inspiring speech. After revealing that he had attempted suicide at age 16, Moore urged everyone out there who is hurting to “stay weird” and never give up on life.

This years Oscars were entertaining, surprising and inspiring — everything a good awards show will be.

Dear Judith – Future Plans

By Judith Signal
Advice Columnist

Dear Judith,

I’ve been on a path here at TCNJ to have a career in law, which was always the plan. But recently some strange things have been happening to me, and I think they might be signs that I should do something else with my life, some kind of higher calling. I’ve never been very religious exactly, but now I’m conflicted. Should I stick to the plan or follow my gut?

- Distorted Plans

Dear Distorted Plans,

I think there’s something incredibly exciting and deeply terrifying about having plans for your life. Let’s examine your plan, shall we? You have come to the College to pursue a career in law. Seems simple enough. I don’t know anything about your background or how you feel about the legal field, but it’s clear now that, regardless, you are having trouble accepting that this could very well be the career you are attached to for life.

First, know that your anxiety is totally valid. As young adults, we are often forced to jump into a life that we are not entirely sure of. College is about exploring that path and figuring out if the light at the end is where you want to be for the rest of your life. I think it’s clear, Distorted, that you may not be suited to continue down this path.

And that is completely OK! Do you know how many people feel that way at this school? A very small population of students actually  have cemented their life paths. After all, college is about the exploration you are able to do. Take advantages of opportunities. Slowly, but surely, you will begin to form an identity that you will be proud of.

Now, this is not to say that you are definitely not cut out for law school. You very well may be. But it’s so important that you listen to that feeling inside that is telling you that maybe it’s time to pursue something else.

I think the best course of action is to, as always, breathe. Remember that you are not alone. You do not need to have your entire future planned out for you tomorrow, regardless of what people may tell you. If you’re a senior and already super committed, keep in mind that most people today don’t stay in the same careers for more than four or five years. There’s more to life than “this or that” — there’s always “this and that.” Who says you can’t have it all, Distorted? I say you can.

Regardless of your religion (or if you even believe in a higher being), it is very natural to feel like you are meant to be doing something greater. So many of us go through that “holy shit, am I actually doing what I’m supposed to be doing with my life?” moment during our college career. Again, it’s natural.

I know it seems like the future is fast approaching and you need to make a brash decision, but I guarantee that is the worst possible course of action. Slow down. Breathe. Listen to your gut. Explore. Take chances. And remember that you can always come back to your initial path.

After all, that’s what college is truly about. You have the rest of your life to be boring and serious.

Love, Judith

Wisniewski aims to continue updating Philadelphia’s open data access. (Brendan McGeehan / Staff Photographer)

Wisniewski discusses accesible government data

By Mackenzie Cutruzzula
Review Editor

The government has always been required to publish public documents and records, but until recently there was no easy access to the records for civilians. Enter Tim Wisniewski, the Chief Data Officer for the City of Philadelphia. When Wisniewski joined the Administration in 2012, it became his mission to make government data easily accessible online.

As part of the ongoing Brown Bag lecture series, Wisniewski visited the College on Friday, Feb. 20 to explain how access to open data leads to better working partnership between the city’s residents and its government.

Wisniewski’s experience with civic technology began with his political science background rather than his technological one. 

“In middle school I wanted to create a website around Harry Potter,” Wisniewski admitted. “I bought CliffNotes books on HTML and Java Script and as people got involved with the site I enjoyed the interaction and continued programming, but only has a hobby.”

Wisniewski chose to pursue his passion of political science first. After working on campaigns, he settled into a career related to community building. While being involved with the civic associations, Wisniewski used community hack-a-thons to garner new ways to improve neighborhoods. During one particular competition, he and a partner built an application that took all the city’s public information on property owners and organized it so that potential buyers, sellers and renters could easily research whom they would be working with.

Wisniewski became hooked on the idea of civilians and government interaction through new and emerging technologies. After becoming Chief Data Officer, he encouraged civic engagement by letting civilians choose how they wanted the open data set up. Members of the community, not the government, create all of the websites and applications that are promoted by Wisniewski’s administration.  Applications created include online campaign finance reports, crime rates by area and the school district budget.

“We wanted to take all of the data and put it online to eliminate the confusing process of asking for it,” Wisniewski said. “By putting it out there in a clear way for residents to understand, it makes governments more accountable and their decisions more transparent.”

Wisniewski aims to continue updating Philadelphia’s open data access. (Brendan McGeehan / Staff Photographer)
Wisniewski aims to continue updating Philadelphia’s open data access. (Brendan McGeehan / Staff Photographer)

To highlight the versatile use of open data, Wisniewski explained how Philadelphia is specifically using the data. The website PHL Crime Mapper uses police records that allows an individual to draw a circle around a specific area in Philadelphia and see pinpointed locations the violent crimes reported in that area. Another application, “School District of Philadelphia Budget,” organizes the allotted money for the budget into a color-coded pie chart. Within that chart the individual can scroll over a specific section to gain better understanding of where every dollar is going.

“As an IMM major, all of the different ‘apps’ that members of the community made for the government data was really interesting to me because it is nice to see that the ‘apps’ civilians make get noticed and are used,” sophomore Devon Tam said.

Going forward, Wisniewski intends to keep updating the city’s open data access. He feels that there are still too many departments using outdated technology and print strategies that are hindering the access to open data. He wants no department left behind and feels the support he has is a sure sign of positive progress ahead. Part of this progress includes a new government website that includes links to the 156 data sets from 29 departments. The old website is still up and running, but rather than waiting up to two years for the new finished product, Wisniewski’s administration is publishing the components piece by piece to keep the website fresh and updated. The new website can be found at

“We understand that interaction with the government is happening online now,” Wisniewski said. “We want to make sure our city has a digital front door.”

Many students focus more on their work, spending less time with friends.

Young adults more focused on schoolwork: Study finds students socialize less than in the ’80s

Many students focus more on their work, spending less time with friends.
Many students focus more on their work, spending less time with friends.

By Jackie Basile

According to society, teenagers are often viewed as partying all the time and hanging out with their friends 24/7. A typical assumption of college students is that they are consuming illegal beverages and substances at all times without focusing on class work or studying. If you think this is how students live their lives, then think again.

According to a new U.S. News and World Report, college students are studying more and socializing less.

In 2014, the University of California, Los Angeles published The American Freshman Survey, data consisting of over 150,000 freshman participants currently enrolled in over 200 colleges across the United States. Compared to students from 1987 and now, current students spend less time socializing.

According to the survey, just 38 percent of students reported spending less than five hours with friends per week, while 18 percent said they spend more than 16 hours around others. In 1987, the majority of students said that they socialized more than 16 hours a week.

The report begs the question: why the drastic change? 

Young adults are focusing more on getting good grades now as colleges become more demanding and selective as compared to 1987. Today, colleges have all-time low admission rates, including Ivy League schools. Stanford University, for example, has a 5 percent acceptance rate, and Princeton University has just a 7 percent acceptance rate.

Students in high school are conditioned to excel in everything, from acing the SATs to holding top positions in clubs and playing varsity sports, all to receive that precious acceptance letter at the best possible college. It is drilled into students from the instant they walk through those doors freshman year just how important  and limited their time in high school truly is. With the pressures of doing well in school and extracurricular activities, students have less time to socialize and instead learn to put their education first at all times.

“It’s required to have higher education for jobs now,” freshman open-options humanities and social sciences major Emily Loevy said. “Where in the past you used to need a master’s degree, now you need a PhD. It’s more competitive in the world.”

By the time students start college, the instinct of doing well and being involved on campus does not simply disappear. By having limited time to socialize with friends, the routine of focusing more on schoolwork becomes normal. Many students do not want to drink or do drugs because they want to focus on doing well in their classes.

“It’s so much money to get here that it’s a waste otherwise,” freshman nursing major Madison Lacken said.

Thinking back to those first few days of freshman year, everyone was excited to finally be here at the College. Doors in the hallways were always propped open, and people were constantly in and out of each others rooms. Then, classes started and almost everything changed.

“When classes began, I learned to balance my time better,” freshman computer science major Giacomo Corcione said. “I am now able to hang out with my friends a lot less.”

Gradually, doors began to slowly shut and many ran to the library to get their work done. The entire atmosphere seemed to shift within a day. Students love to have fun, but they know when the right time is to hangout with friends and when it is appropriate to buckle down to get work done on time.

“(In this semester), now that we have classes that have to do with our major, you have to pull yourself away from your friends to focus on individual schoolwork,” freshman open-options business major Holly Billand said.

While classwork is vital of course, it is still healthy to interact with friends. By studying in groups, an individual can be surrounded by friends while also being productive.

Contrary to what many may believe, students are devoted to their work and understand the importance of studying hard. Small steps may just be the answer to a better, strong balance of school work and socialization.

Teens texting have become a costly distraction

Even when crossing roads, many are still on their phones.
Even when crossing roads, many are still on their phones.

By Chelsea LoCascio                                                                                       Production Manager

In the aftermath of last weekend’s blizzard, I watched helplessly as another student slipped on the slush but was too focused on her phone to even notice. As a society, individuals have become so desensitized to embarrassing blunders like this that witnessing distracted students jaywalk in front of cars or walk into someone without apologizing is a part of daily routine.

And yet I still hope that they will notice how rude they are being and pull their attention away from their phone in time to see what is happening all around them.

According to a report that was published in October 2014 by Safe Kids Worldwide, every hour there is a teen pedestrian in the United States who is injured or killed after being hit by a car. Of teens who have been hit or almost hit while crossing the street, 47 percent were reported to be listening to music, 18 percent were texting and 20 percent were talking on the phone, according to the same study.

These numbers are too high.

The statistics highlight an alarming amount of people who are downright obsessed with their phone. Next time you are in Eickhoff Hall, look around at everyone eating. A majority of people who eat by themselves cannot stand being alone, so they turn to social media, games or texting, all of which suck them into a virtual world so the real one seems less lonely.

There are also those who eat in a group but cannot pull themselves away from their phone long enough to join in on the conversation. With their eyes glued to their screen, these people miss contributing to great conversations, developing social skills and bonding with new people.

This obsession can also hurt friendships. While an individual vents or needs consoling, they are often ignored and possibly convinced that their problems are not important enough to discuss in conversation. People become so absorbed in checking their YikYak that they unintentionally neglect their own friends.

Oftentimes, when someone even travels, they have become so captivated by taking selfies or snapchatting they forget to appreciate the new environment they are in. Foreign countries are remembered by photos on a screen, not by having experienced the sights of being there. Even at concerts and parties, the priority for many has become taking a ton of  pictures and videos, not enjoying the new surroundings.

It is important for people to remember to take a step back from the phone and stop trying to document every little detail rather than live it. One should not deal with awkward moments or intimidating situations by turning to their phone to avoid learning how to cope. Facing real places, people and even emotions helps someone mature. Inhibiting that growth in this pivotal point in our lives will only make the transition into adulthood more difficult than it already is.

As Edward Norton’s character Mike Shiner said in the Oscar winner, “Birdman,” “Stop looking at the world through your cell phones. Have a real experience.” I could not agree more.

Mindful meditation soothes student stresses

By Jovia Ferris

As the semester gains momentum, it can be challenging to remain energized and free of the stresses caused by tests and assignments.

In order to combat these issues and teach daily alleviating tips, three founders of the Holistic Life Foundation joined students at the College on Saturday, Feb. 21, for a five-hour Mindful Life Workshop with their yoga mats in tow, ready to meditate in the Brower Student Center.

Students learn techniques that can be done anywhere. Brendan McGeehan / Staff Photographer
Students learn techniques that can be done anywhere. (Brendan McGeehan / Staff Photographer)

Holistic Life Foundation, a non-profit foundation, was founded in late 2001 by Ali and Atman Smith and Andres Gonzalez in hopes of highlighting the benefits of meditation and yoga.

The trio learned most of what they know about yoga and meditation from their teacher, Ali and Atman’s godfather.

“(When we first started out, our) community thought we were starting a gang,” Atman said, touching on the difficulties the trio faced when starting the organization. “We had the attention of everybody, and we decided to do something positive with it.”

The trio now travels nationally and internationally to promote others to lead a “mindful life.”

“We throw all expectations out the window,” Ali said of the different locations the team goes to teach, whether it’s a school or a prison.

The workshop consisted of many simple, mindful exercises and techniques aimed to help busy college students or swamped professors. The trio taught the audience five exercises to maintain or restore youth as well as de-stressing mental counting games.

“(This is) a very open-minded environment,” assistant librarian Louise Bizon said. “(It is) important for all ages.”

Spinal twists and neck movements were among the many exercises that could be done while sitting at a desk or virtually anywhere, aiding many conditions ranging from coughs to vertigo.   

“(The meditation practices) improve your attention skills in class,” said Erica Rodriguez, a Circle of Compassion e-Board member and senior communications and public relations major. “I find that if I take three deep breaths before class, it helps me focus.”

For the average college student, Gonzalez advises meditation in the morning and before bed. Students are able to tell if morning meditations better their day and if nightly meditations help with sleep. The workshop also highlighted the importance of mindfulness and the positive effect it has on the body and mind.

“We’re called human beings, but we’re never being,” Gonzalez said. “We’re always worried about what the future has to hold.”

The Bonner Institute for Civic and Community Engagement at the College also invited high school students in an after-school program, the Academic Sport Academy in Trenton, to the event.

“We’ve been working to include mindfulness to try and bring self-awareness to the kids,” said Emma Young, a freshman Bonner scholar and urban elementary and history major.

“(The workshop was) very relaxing,” said Briana W., a high school student attending Trenton Central High School West.

The College is offering several additional classes and events to students and faculty to promote mental health and self-awareness.

Circle of Compassion is currently hosting a four-week Mindfulness Training Program for students in the Spiritual Center on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.

“I’m taking the course to inspire me to be more mindful of my body and my health and my family,” Bizon said.

The Circle of Compassion, along with Active Minds and Healthy Campus Program Council, is hosting the Mindfulness Challenge which promotes mental and physical health.

A mom and her master’s

By Ashley Thomas

Philippa Jenkins finds a way to remain upbeat and conquer the day despite her grueling schedule. When she is not counseling parents at work, she is at the College taking classes to earn her master’s degree or at her on-campus internship. As her day comes to an end, Jenkins arrives home at 9:30 p.m. to see her two children and husband preparing for bed — before she even takes off her shoes.

Jenkins, like many women of the 21st century, is working hard toward a career goal and is not taking the once-traditional homemaker route.

“It’s setting a good example for the kids,” Jenkins said. “Not only did I set my goal, but I pursued it and I achieved it.”

Graduating from the College in 1999 with a degree in psychology, Jenkins had eagerly set her sights on assisting those around her. While in pursuit of her bachelor’s degree, Jenkins worked with autistic adults by helping them with their day-to-day activities.

The Jenkins family enjoys time together on weekends. (Photo courtesy of Philippa Jenkins)
The Jenkins family enjoys time together on weekends. (Photo courtesy of Philippa Jenkins)

“I fell into social services after (graduation), and I liked what I was doing, helping people,” Jenkins said. “Now with my master’s degree, I hope to help at a more intensive level proactively, as opposed to reactively.”

Similarly, she has been able to touch numerous lives through her past employment as a case manager within the Mercer County area. In this field, she was able to be a light in a dark path for many.

“I used to work as a case manager at a shelter for homeless families,” Jenkins said. “Working there was one of the reasons why I chose to go back and get my master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. I saw the skill sets that I had weren’t what the families needed it to be. They often came to me for counseling, and as a case manager, that wasn’t what I was trained to do. As a case manager, you don’t get to the root of the problem. You just Band-Aid it, and I wanted to help them on a greater level.”

By going back and getting her master’s degree, Jenkins will be able to do just that, and she has seen the fruits of her labor already. She takes what she learns in her class and applies it not only to her job, but to her internship as well.

At the College clinic, Jenkins counsels couples and families and maintains a good rapport with her fellow interns. As a master’s level marriage and family service intern, Jenkins finds a way to keep a positive attitude even in an area that can often bring stress.

“I enjoy what I’m doing at the clinic,” Jenkins said. “I love helping the families, and it’s rewarding in a different way. The people are supportive, as in my co-workers, fellow students and interns alike. Plus there’s a light at the end of the tunnel — I only have six months to go.”

With all the help that she is doing for other people, sometimes Jenkins needs her own support system. This is where t her family comes in.

“I have to get a lot of help to do what I do, my husband helps a lot,” she said. “Monday through Thursday I’m in school (and) working. It’s a lot. There’s little time to do anything else, as in school work and housework, by the time I get to that I’m exhausted.”

A typical day for Jenkins starts at 7 a.m. — which she considers to be waking up late — when she wakes up and gets ready to go to work.

“I definitely get to sleep in later because Prince (her husband) gets to take Sarea (her daughter) to school, which is 15 to 20 minutes away,” she said.

While her husband is preparing their daughter for school, their son is getting ready himself to catch the school bus.

“I do get to see them off for school, which is nice, but I do not have much time to spend for breakfast and such considering I have to be in the office at 8:30 sharp,” she said.

After a long day of work and being on campus, Jenkins is finally able to go home and “rest,” but she still has homework to do and preparations to make for the following day, all while spending time with her husband. Somehow, she is able to fit it all in and still wake up the next day energized and ready to go.

Although the family has now become accustomed to their routines, the road to their sound schedules was not as smooth. Once Jenkins got her latest job, it meant more hours and more time away from her family. Her husband, Prince, has since been able to adjust accordingly and receives plenty of help from his sister when needed.

“It was a hard adjustment at first because I was the one that was always working and she was here a lot with the kids, but now that I have been able to get a more solid schedule, I do what I can, and it’s been fun with the kids,” Prince said.

The children have been able to enjoy a lot of quality time with their father during the weekdays and are able to be with their mother on the weekends.

“The weekends are really my time to catch up,” Jenkins said. “That’s when I am usually sleeping in or I’ll take the kids out for a movie or something fun.”

Not being there all the time for her children has had its impact on Jenkins, as well.

“(There’s) a lot of guilt associated with the kids … By the time I’m home, they’re already done with everything, and I don’t get to go to a lot of their extracurriculars either,” she said.

Even so, she does what she can and spends as much time with them as possible while maintaining her busy work load.

“It’s a juggling act,” Jenkins said. “You’re always making a choice. You’re either doing something you want to do, don’t have the energy to do or resting. Especially on the weekends with family, you’re being pulled in a lot of directions.”

Her children, nonetheless, seem impressed by their mother’s drive.

“You go to school, you go to work and you’re our mom, that’s gotta be tough!” said Sarea, age 7.

All Jenkins can do is laugh at the antics in which her children partake while taking a quick second to rest on the couch. She smiles at them with a certain ease that ensures her that her work ethic choices are not done in vain.

Jenkins also does something that most college students do not: She includes her family in her academic schedule. 

“When I get the opportunity, I try to include them on campus,” she said. “I’ve brought my son to class with me before, and I’ve walked them through my internship. I try to include them in my college experience so they know what all these sacrifices are for.”

Her career has taken off in a route that she has truly fallen in love with, and she has high hopes for her own future, as well as the individuals and families she works with.

“I’m hoping to graduate and ideally get a job as a marriage and counselor therapist in Mercer County,” she said. “Also, I hope to get a license in my field which would probably take three to four years.”

As for her clients, Jenkins hopes to empower families and couples by helping them find the things that are attributing to their problems and discover long-lasting solutions.

“When they leave me, they don’t necessarily have to come back to therapy because they have the tools to address the issues on their own,” Jenkins said.

All of this encompasses Jenkins’s grand ambition. Whether it’s at work, her internship or home, her efforts always go to helping others, assisting them so they can some day help themselves and fulfilling her calling as supermom.

Students utilize neutral colors. (Photo courtesy of Jordan Koziol)

Campus Style: Barcelona Fashionistas!

By Jordan Koziol

While I am abroad in Spain, I caught up with my fellow study abroad students Abbey Despain, an international business and finance major at the University of Oklahoma, and Lori Shapiro, an international relations major at the University of North Carolina, to get the scoop on Barcelona’s style.

Students utilize neutral colors. (Photo courtesy of Jordan Koziol)
Students utilize neutral colors. (Photo courtesy of Jordan Koziol)

What are some unique trends you’re spotting while in Barcelona?

Abbey: In other European cities, locals dress up much more. For example, everyone wears jeans and T-shirts here (in the U.S. compared to trousers and blouses. We’ve concluded that the casual-nature of the style is due to the beach influence. They almost have a California style here.

What would you say the main difference is between Barcelona style and American style?

Abbey: They don’t accessorize as much and surprisingly dress simpler than we do.

Lori: They tend to wear darker and more neutral colors, and like Abbey said, it’s much more simple. They pair basic, yet high-quality pieces to create chic outfits.

Have you had any fashion faux pas yet?

Abbey: The other week I wore a brightly-colored rain jacket and got the weirdest looks from everyone. They really stick to their neutrals here, so I was turning heads.

Is there anything you’ve purchased to feel more European?

Lori: A euro-style jacket, darker clothes and booties.

Abbey: Chunky heels, scarves and more black clothes.

Do you have any packing regrets?

Lori: I would say to pack dresses and warmer-weather clothes in general. Even though it’s often 60 degrees here, the locals act like it’s frigid. They bundle up in enormous jackets and scarves because this is the coldest weather they experience!

Opinions on Euro-male style?

Lori: It’s so much better — structured jackets, nice shoes (and) fitted pants.

Any Euro trends that you just don’t get?

Lori: Those crazy, full-fur jackets and the whole shorts/tights combo.

Abbey: Harem pants … and don’t get me started on man buns.

What is the most stylish city you’ve traveled too?

Lori & Abbey: Paris!

Abbey: Parisians have mastered effortless style. They only ever pick two or three things to emphasize: lipstick, a great coat and a handbag. A scarf, tousled hair and simple makeup. They have such a classic look.

Are there any trends that you’ll bring home?

Lori: Statement jackets, cool booties and the all-black look.

Abbey: I’ll definitely create more simple ensembles. Sometimes people in America are overstated. They wear chunky necklaces and too many patterns and tend to over-accessorize.

Classic Signals: Feb. 1956 Science department buys electric “brain”

By Kimberly Ilkowski
Features Editor

Nearly 60 years ago last week, the Feb. 17, 1956 issue of the State Signal was distributed around the State Teachers College at Trenton, N.J. The week’s biggest story, written by features editor Alice Schuster, highlighted the Science Department’s purchase of an electric “brain.” Its functions and abilities predate the first marketed calculators and gaming consoles.

Math and science majors experiment with the new Geniac Kit No. 1. (Kimberly Ilkowski / Features Editor)
Math and science majors experiment with the new Geniac Kit No. 1. (Kimberly Ilkowski / Features Editor)

The do-it-yourself fad has invaded Apgar. Envying top scientists (and) their electric “brains,” Apgar decided to construct some electric brains of its own.

Dr. V. Crowell, through the science department, purchased for Apgar the Geniac Kit No. 1. Geniac comes from the phrase “Genius Almost-Automatic Computer.” It is not entirely automatic, because the problem must be told to the machine by turning dials and connecting switches before Geniac can produce the correct answer.

The kit contains basically: switches, for calculating and reasoning; flash-light bulbs for signaling answers; and a battery for power. Also, a pamphlet entitled: “Geniacs, and How to Make Them.”

Armed with this equipment, plus an assortment of nuts and bolts, several yards of wire and other miscellaneous articles, several math-science majors set to work. Bill Guthrie, president of Apgar, Bill Boaz, Paul Kumple, Siegfriend Haenisch, and Herb Langdon are setting up the first machine to play a game called Nim. The game consists of selecting matches from four piles, with the number of matches in each pile 4,3,2 and 1. Two played take turns, each taking one pile. The player taking the last match wins the game.

Other machines which can be made from Kit No. 1 include: Reasoning Machine, Intelligence-Testing Machine, Masculine-Feminine Testing Machine, Adding, Subtracting, Multiplying and Dividing Machines, Coder and Decoder, and machines that play several games.


‘Two and A Half Men’ ends 12 season run

By Joe Passantino
Staff Writer

Of course Charlie is dead. Well, now he is, anyway.

“Two and a Half Men” brought its record-breaking 12-season run to a close Thursday, Feb. 19, ending in the same way in which it existed for much of that run — with controversy.

The show was based around Charlie Sheen’s character, Charlie Harper. The description of the final episode read, “Charlie Harper is alive. Or is he?”  At the beginning, Charlie’s longtime stalker, Rose (Melanie Lynskey) tossed one of Charlie’s trademark bowling shirts into a pit in her basement.  She later revealed that Charlie was indeed still alive.

Sure sounds like a setup for a return, right? Well, that is probably what creator Chuck Lorre wanted you to think.

The episode concluded with a Charlie look-alike walking up to the front door of his formerly owned Malibu beach house and promptly getting smashed to smithereens by a falling piano.  The camera then panned to Lorre, who smirked and said, “winning,” before being smashed by a piano of his own.

Not exactly the ending many longtime fans of the series wanted.

Frankly, it came off as if Lorre was looking for some measure of revenge against Sheen following their 2011 controversy.  In his final “Men” vanity card, which is shown after most Lorre productions, he explained that he offered Sheen the opportunity to come back and perform in the final scene himself.

“Our idea was to have him walk up to the front door…and go off on a maniacal rant about the dangers of drug abuse,” the card read.  “He would then explain that…he was a ninja warrior from Mars. He was invincible. And then we would drop a piano on him.”

It is hard to blame Sheen for not being ecstatic about that idea.  The troubled actor has obviously undergone serious issues, and its understandable that he would want his return to be more celebratory of the eight years he spent on the show.  After all, there would have been no Ashton Kutcher-led “Men” had it not been such a ratings-grabber with Sheen.

Then again, Sheen’s supposed idea was “a heart-warming scene” that would set up Sheen co-starring with Jon Cryer (who played his brother Alan Harper) in a new sitcom.  That is just about the definition of overkill, even as someone who has watched all 12 seasons of “Men.”  It is hard to say what would have been different about such a show, and 12 years of any non-animated TV family is about as much as one can expect.

Despite the disappointment of no Sheen, the show managed a suitable farewell in its first 37 minutes.  It treated viewers to several surprises, including the return of half-man Jake (Angus T. Jones) and several other notable series characters: Alan and Charlie’s mother, Evelyn (Holland Taylor), Charlie’s daughter, Jenny (Amber Tamblyn) and several of Alan’s and Walden’s (Ashton Kutcher) former love interests, including Marin Hinkle, April Bowlby and Judy Greer.

These nods served as about as fitting a tribute to the series could get without including Sheen.  The surprises were not done there, though: Appearances by Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Stamos and Christian Slater strengthened the cast.

The most praise-worthy aspect of the finale was that the show was not afraid to make fun of itself.

“I can’t wait for this to be over,” Walden said as he looked directly at the camera.  The finale also joked about the wonder of Cryer, Kutcher and Jones having, “made so much money with such stupid jokes.”

The show also poked fun at its overtly sexual content. “After 12 years, everybody’s slept with everybody,” Allen said.

Of course, there were quite a few jokes aimed Sheen’s way as well, including a reference to “tiger’s blood” and a joke about how he “tried anger management” but it “didn’t work,” referring to Sheen’s recently cancelled FX sitcom.

While these were funny, the show may have taken things a bit far in an animated scene that revealed Charlie’s character had been intimate with a bisexual goat.  As Lorre said to Vulture, though, “We never had any dignity attached to the show.”

On that note, he was correct.  This was not a show that needed to end with dignity. But it should have ended with Charlie Sheen

IGC violates three SFB policies, loses most of its funding

By Jonathan Edmondson
Arts & Entertainment Editor

The Student Finance Board meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 18, included a special hearing with the Inter-Greek Council, which violated SFB policy multiple times in conjunction with TCNJam, an event that took place Saturday, Jan. 31.

The board allocates funds for this year’s Ratfest (Kim Iannaorone/ Staff Photographer)
The board allocates funds for this year’s Ratfest (Kim Iannaorone/ Staff Photographer)

The IGC was charged with three violations in the following areas — charity, food and advertising. According to the board, fundraising money was collected at the event. SFB policy states that SFB-funded events are not allowed to collect money for a fundraiser at the event — only beforehand. Instead, the event was supposed to be a celebration that raised awareness of childhood cancer.
Additionally, pizza was used to draw attendees, and “SAF Funded” was not put on advertisements. Ultimately, the board ruled to deactivate IGC for the remainder of the semester (except for the use of copying and fundraising), in addition to charging them a $3,000 fine for policy violations.
The meeting also featured normal special appropriation requests, which began with a proposal from the Class of 2016 for “TCNJ’s Got Talent.” As stated in its application, the purpose of the event is “to showcase the talents of TCNJ students.” This event has been organized for the past five years, and the council hopes this year will continue to develop it into a “legacy event.”
The event was allocated funds of $1,316 and is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, March 11, in Kendall Hall.
The College Union Board proposed next for “Ratfest ’15,” an outdoor spring concert to commemorate the Rathskeller (which will close at the end of the semester as the Brower Student Center undergoes renovations) with a farewell concert. Headlining options include Mayday Parade and Jukebox the Ghost, while the list of openers includes Modern Baseball, Surfer Blood and The Menzingers.
The event, which is scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 19, was allocated funds of $28,305.
CUB also proposed for their Solo Circus event, which will include a circus-like performance by Michael DuBois and Viktoria Grimmy. Scheduled for Thursday, March 12, in the Student Center, the event was allocated funds of $7,695.
The meeting also included multiple cultural organizations proposing for events, the first of which was Union Latina for “Platanos and Collard Greens y Callaloo.” According to their proposal, the event is a “hip-hop theater play” that aims to educate the student body about prominent issues within the Latino and Black Community. The event, which is schedule to take place on Wednesday, March 4, in the Don Evans Black Box Theater, was allocated funds of $6,628.

The Eurasia/Middle East Society (EME) also proposed for “Nowruz: Celebration of the Persian New Year.” According to their proposal, the celebration “aims to introduce students to an important holiday that is celebrated throughout the Middle East, Eurasia and Southeast Asia,” and to “bring important elements of Persian culture to the campus community through music, food, dance, etc.” The event, which is scheduled to take place on Monday, March 23, in the Education Building, was allocated funds of $4,965.
Next, The Asian American Association proposed for their annual “Mystique of The East” event, which includes multiple performances from various Asian clubs on campus. The event, which will be free for everyone this year and is scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 11, in Kendall Hall, was allocated funds of $4,430.

Finally, MEDLIFE (Medicine, Education and Development for Low Income Families Everywhere) presented for an event entitled “A Taste of South America.” According to their application, the event will involve “traditional South American Food, with a specialization of Peruvian food, which will provide students the opportunity to be subjected to the foods of a different culture than their own.”
The event, which is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, April 2, in the Lions Den, was allocated funds of $2,482.50.

*Even though SFB agrees to finance certain events, there is no guarantee these events will take place. The approval only makes the funds available.

Suspected terrorist shooting in Denmark

By Sean Harshman
Staff Writer  

A suspected terrorist opened fire on a free speech debate and a synagogue in Copenhagen on Saturday, Feb. 14. The attack at the free speech debate left one dead, 55-year-old Danish director Finn Noergaard, and three Danish Police injured, according to the Associated Press.

Emergency rescues services gather outside location of shooting (AP Photo).
Emergency rescues services gather outside location of shooting (AP Photo).

After the gunman left the scene, he moved on to a synagogue where he shot and killed security guard Dan Uzan, 37, and injured two police officers on duty, according to BBC. 

The suspected shooter, now identified as Omar El-Hussein by Danish Media, was shot and killed by Danish SWAT members early Sunday, Feb. 15, according to BBC.

Present at the free speech debate were several prominent artists and political leaders including French ambassador and Swedish cartoonist, Lars Vilks. Vilks, known for his depictions of the Muslim prophet Mohammed, is believed to be one of the main targets of El-Hussein’s attack.

Vilks stated in an interview with CNN that he believed it was very likely he was the target. In 2007 after publishing depictions of Muhammad, al-Qaida placed a bounty on Vilks’s head upwards of 100,000 USD.

Danish police have now arrested and charged two men in connection with the attack. According to Danish authorities, the two provided support to El-Hussein. It is believed that they provided El-Hussein with a change of clothes and additional weapons after the first shooting and helped bring him to his second target, the synagogue, according to BBC.

Investigators released information about El-Hussein’s background and possible motives. El-Hussein had been in jail in Denmark for gang-related violent crimes, it is believed that he may have been radicalized while serving out his sentence, according to BBC.

A memorial for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shooting (AP Photo).
A memorial for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shooting (AP Photo).

On his Facebook page, El-Hussein swore allegiance to the Islamic State and Abu Bakr al Baghdadi — leader of ISIS — only hours before beginning his attack Saturday, according to CNN.

According to BBC, the FBI has stated that this attack may have been inspired by the Charlie Hebdo attack earlier this year.

The College of New Jersey Student Newspaper Since 1885