Five Tips to Keep Political Peace at the Holiday Table

As eggnog is poured and rolls are served, a looming topic of debate is likely to come up: politics. Especially with midterm elections recently occurring, students at college are more inclined to form independent political views without family pressures. Holiday gatherings – infamous for family arguments – may very well be the first time students will join in on the political debate and share their differing political opinions.

Dr. Carolyn Brodbeck, associate professor in psychology at Chapman, talked to Prowl about coping mechanisms intended to help prepare students for political disagreements that may await them at home. Here are five tips that stood out.


  1. Before heading to dinner, self-reflect.

As students spend a majority of time with peers and professors in a college setting, their beliefs may change or develop to differ from how they were raised. As a result, “a student may perceive their place in the family as changing,” Brodbeck states, which requires a reflection on one’s own beliefs as a separate entity. In the process, it is useful to reflect on the university experience in shaping ideas, as well as your place in the family and in the world. Ask yourself for example, “How would I describe my current relationship with my family? How has my relationship with my family changed since embarking on my Chapman university experience? What do I see as the most important challenges that my family and community are dealing with?” Brodbeck informs.

Self-reflection is important to creating a sense of awareness of the world around an individual, an essential part of the university experience as we learn to become more independent. Photo by Alyssa Harrell.


  1. De-escalate the debate.

Instead of lashing out at family members for their differing political views, note contrasting opinions and separate them from your relationship with the individual. “Dad, I can see that we have extremely different perspectives on this political issue. It seems like this is really important to you. I just want to let you know that I will always respect you as my father even if we don’t agree on this or other topics,” Brodbeck uses as an example.

Because many discussions occur at the table, it is useful to simmer down a heated debate with compliments about the food. Photo courtesy of Claire Treu.


  1. Use entertainment to divert debate.

Before heading home for the holidays, look to your favorite games to steer the altercation into a friendlier direction. Plan in advance, having games like “Monopoly” or “Life,” to extinguish a brewing or heated political debate. Just maybe don’t suggest Cards Against Humanity…

Games typically require sole concentration, so it is a good way to steer clear of debate either temporarily or permanently. Photo by Alyssa Harrell.


  1. Help out in the kitchen.

Although it is nice to show appreciation directly at the holiday table, a good way to express your gratitude is through helping set, serve, and clean up after the meal. This acts as a good way to escape from argument while earning respect from your family members. “Your grandparent or whoever is heading chef duty will be grateful that you are taking the initiative to help out!” Brodbeck states.

Heading into the kitchen is a good way to contribute help to the table rather than another person to engage in conflict. Photo by Alyssa Harrell.


  1. Engage in family tale-telling.

In a heavy discussion, make light of the situation through compliments of a family member. Perhaps ask how holiday dinners were when older family members were growing up. “Your interest shows respect, especially towards courageous ancestors who have made today possible,” Brodbeck informs.

The telling of familial stories promotes bonding as it steers away from a perhaps less than desirable debate. Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels.


 

10 gifts you never thought your pet deserved

7% of pet owners dress their pets on a regular basis, 5% have given their animal a social media account and another 95% of pet owners admitted to having bought a Christmas gift for their pet, according to a recent survey conducted by Rover.com – the nation’s largest network of dog sitters and walkers.  

Make sure your pet isn’t overlooked when the holiday present come out. Here are 10 of the most ridiculous pet gifts we found.


1. Dog High Chair

Say goodbye to setting the table for one. Since the idea of letting your pet be a pet for 20 minutes seems absurd, check out this alternative. This pet high chair keeps your pup from sitting on your lap or at your feet begging for your food when you’re eating. Instead, it can have a chair of its own.

Price: Ranges from $56-$100

Photo Courtesy of Donna Slem.


2. Ceiling Cat Playground

Tired of your house being full of cat toys and scratch pads? Give your cat their own overhead playground to get them out of your hair. Combined with a wall bed to rest, you provide your cat a relaxed retreat.

Price: $102.50

Photo courtesy of Alexandra Botezatu.


3. The Doggy Thong

The Doggy Thong is fashionable and practical. Made of charcoal cloth, designed to neutralize a dog’s anal odors, it will keep Stinky smelling and looking great! We cannot, however, guarantee your dog won’t be bullied.  

Price: $15

Photo courtesy of Imgur.


4. Cat Music

Teyus Music, by musician David Teie from a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra, has created a playlist specifically for cats. Teie bases his sounds on cats’ physiological traits and instincts. Incorporating feline-centric sounds – like the suckling for milk – can help cats relax, according to Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

Price: $15-$20 per album

Photo courtesy of Imgur.


5. Portable Fishbowl

Need to take your fish on a walk? Of course you do! Check out the stylish backpacks and handbags with built-in fish bowls that allow you and your pet to hit the town.

Price: $25.00

Photos from Michal Shibitali on Flikr.


6. Non-alcoholic wine for your cat

After a long day of work, sometimes you just need to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine. Why drink alone when your furry friend can join you? Infused with salmon oil and organic catnip!

Price: $5 for one bottle

Photos by Steve Heap on Pixabay & @pandabearsermahgerd on Imgur.


7. Petcube Camera – The Pet Equivalent of Skype

The Petcube camera lets you see and hear your pet in an HD wide angle lens when you’re out of the house. The product is also equipped with an interactive laser so you can play with your pet even when Snickers is home and you’re in Minsk.

Price: Ranges from $150-$179

Photo by @iceburg99 on Imgur.


8. Pawdicure Polish Pen

Look good, feel good. This non-toxic polish pen allows you to decorate your dog’s nails in a rainbow of colors. Do you still wonder why dogs bite people?

Price: $7.99

Photo courtesy of @tinyCartoonBeats on Imgur & @AjKaramba on Imgur.


9. Marry your pet

Are you in love with your pet? Well the two of you can share the same living quarters, enjoy tax benefits, and the sanctity of marriage. Just sign the marriage certificate – oh yeah – and pay.

The price: $230.00 for the “biggest” option, which includes an ‘I married my pet’ t-shirt, a certificate and a hand embroidered, personalized wall plaque to always remind you of your special day.

Photo by Amber Lou on Imgur & Michelle Geer on Imgur.


10. Kitty tunnel

Keep your kitty in the holiday spirit by giving him a soft and warm place to cuddle – or hide while being chased away from the Christmas decorations or holiday roast.

Price: $16.99

Photo courtesy of Claire Treu.


From putting your pooch in a high chair to getting married to them, you never know how far some pet owners will go for their pet.

How I Found Out Santa Wasn’t Real

Trigger warning: This article contains content regarding the existence of Santa Claus. This content may cause feelings of betrayal or loss of innocence.

When the beard comes off and the true identity of Santa Claus is revealed, Christmas loses some of its magic. Children usually find out that Santa is a myth around the age of eight, according to a 1980 study performed by Eastern Michigan University researchers.

Here, six Chapman students tell us how they found out the hard truth of Santa Claus.


Santa Quits Through a Letter

Every year Santa would write Davis Anderson, sophomore strategic and corporate communication major, and her sisters letters congratulating them on their accomplishments. Anderson loved getting these letters. She distinctly remembers one year anxiously peeling open Santas letter to read: “Dear Davis, I hate to break it to you, but I’m not real.”  She was crushed.

Anderson still celebrates the holidays despite a crushing childhood memory. Photo by Julianna Franco.


“The Talk” Takes A Turn

Marissa Dunn, junior strategic corporate communication major, was about 11 years old when she got the ‘girl talk.’ Her mother explained that Dunn’s body would be going through a variety of changes soon. It was nice at first, until the mother started to explain the menstrual cycle and what would happen every month.  Dunn burst into tears. Reality seemed so cruel. “Is Santa even real?!” she blurted out.

Sorry, kid.

“I felt I actually became a woman,” in that moment.

Dunn is now able to smile about the devastating day she “became a women.” Photo courtesy of Marissa Dunn.


Investigation Backfires

Santa didn’t add up for Trey Makishima, sophomore TV writing and production major, and his sister. The two started their search by cross referencing wrapping paper and gift tags they had around the house with what Santa had brought. They compared Santa’s penmanship to that of their parents and relatives They brought the evidence of their investigation to their parents – proof that the fat man was a fraud.

Great, said mom and dad: Since you don’t believe in him anymore he won’t bring you anymore gifts.

Makishima decided the truth hurt too much: He faked renewed belief in Santa for the next three years.

Makishima is made into a decorated Christmas ‘Trey’ – ‘tree.’ Pictured: Avery Girion, sophomore, Trey Makishima, sophomore, Graham Byrne sophomore. Photo courtesy of Trey Makishima.


Early Santa Delivery?

Javari Hunt, sophomore public relations and advertising major, was eight years old when she snuck into her mother’s room to check out a pair of high heels she knew would be under her mother’s bed.

Next to to the heels she saw a wrapped present in the shape of a Bratz doll box. What a coincidence! That’s exactly what she had asked for from Santa! And the tag read “From Santa!” But the handwriting on the tag looked just like as her mom’s. Santa must have dropped off her gif early and in a rush and “my mom did him a favor and wrote his name on the tag,” she rationalized.

Christmas morning she opened the same present she spotted under the bed, and her mom looked at her with a big smile. “He dropped that off, fresh this morning, while you were sleeping,” her mother said. It was then she knew the truth.  

Hunt thinks back to how strong her trust in her mother was, before the Santa lie. Photo Courtesy of Javari Hunt.


Grandma Goes Hardcore

Ali Whu, sophomore strategic corporate communication major, was eight years old when her aunt asked her grandma where she bought the play kitchen that Whu loved so much. Grandma explained that Whu’s mom had bought it for her.

“No, Santa bought it for me,” corrected Whu.

Her grandma then looked at her dead in the eye and said, “Well now you know Santa isn’t real.”

Whu remembers the good days before she was exposed to the truth of Santa. Photo courtesy of Ali Whu.


The Text That Changed It All

Cassidy Kaufmann, freshman business administration major, is Jewish. She didn’t realize the significance of Santa until she ruined it for a friend.

“Santa isn’t real,” Kaufmann sent.

Her friend was heartbroken. Kaufmann stole away the magic of Christmas in a matter of seconds. Though they are still friends, Kaufmann knows she is responsible for stealing her friends innocence.

Kaufmann poses with a cookie, although she never put any out for Santa. Photo by Julianna Franco.


 

Five seniors give advice to freshman about what they learned at Chapman

Many students show up for their first day of college wide-eyed and unaware of what will happen during the next four years. Prowl talked to five seniors who have survived the four years of frat parties, horror story roommates, scary professors and the terror of midterms and finals to tell the tale — and give college advice, share experiences and reveal what they wish they had known or done differently.

 

Jonathan Hernandez, senior business administration major, Captain of Chapman Men’s baseball team.

From: San Mateo, California

My one regret is that I never got to study abroad, but as a college athlete I knew I could never do it. I never thought it would be something I wanted to do but after hearing friends experiences I would have loved to immerse myself in a new culture.

College is a learning experience, but not all my lessons came from the classroom. I became more independent learning how to cook, clean and budget money.

I never had a problem getting classes. It helped being a student athlete, and all the teachers were very understanding. So I would find a friend who has the same major and take your classes together so you have a study buddy and keep each other accountable.

I would tell freshman that you can treat these four years as party years and waste your time and be screwed for the real world or you can take classes seriously and be in a position after school to make good money and have fun for the rest of your life. You have to have a balance. If you want, you can find a party pretty much every day of the week, but you don’t need that. Get your work done and have fun on the weekend.

 

Sara Utsugi, communication major, libero on Chapman Women’s Volleyball team.

From: Aiea, Hawaii

I wish I had opened myself up sooner and taken advantage of more opportunities. I was pretty closed off my freshman year, so I wish I had let more people in sooner. I also wish that I stopped using volleyball as an excuse not to do things. I told myself that I was tired and didn’t have time to get involved, but if I had really made time to, I could have done so many more things.

I learned that seasons of life come and go so to not be upset or discouraged when things don’t go to plan because there is always something around the corner. I also learned that friendships — the true, lasting, tough-love friendships — are precious and require care and nurturing. And finally, I learned that it’s okay to be selfish. In fact, it’s necessary to be selfish when it comes to the love you show yourself and time you pour into your own growth because in the end, without self love and self respect it’s really hard to live your version of a full and meaningful life.

One reason I came to a smaller school was to avoid the scramble for classes and teacher attention. I would suggest creating at least two or three class schedule options just in case you can’t get in. Also, in the days leading up to your registration date, it’s a good idea to check back in on classes and see which ones are filling up. As for doing well in classes, my best tip is to show up for class both physically and mentally.

It was tempting to blow off homework and studying for hanging with friends, but I am the type of person who will always get my work done — it just might get done at 2 a.m. Find a balance between saying yes and no to invitations but do say yes. The late night runs to Pizza Press and 3 a.m. dorm room hangouts are the memories that you’ll take with you after college is over.

 

Henry Miller Mein, senior creative writing major

From: San Jose, California

I learned to be more of a people person. A college like Chapman brings with it hundreds of outlets of students and organizations and I was able to build many different connections with diverse students. Whether planning a concert or selling pickles at Picklefest, I managed to influence a lot of people.

Getting to know your professors is always important. This way you can develop a relationship early on. My plan in picking classes has always been to try to be early in registering, but if I’m waitlisted for a class I’ll try to go in and talk to the professor because it is likely you’ll be able to get in.

Try to make a connection with everyone you meet. Some might be small and end up not leading to anything, but a small interaction could also blossom into a long lasting friendship. Knowing a handful of people can help you work through college in times of need.

 

Serena Steele, senior communication studies major

From: Ontario, California

I wasn’t as involved on campus as much as I would’ve liked to, in part due to that I work a lot during the week.

I learned that my worldview is capable of changing every now and then. Classes and people here have challenged the way I think about myself and life. I come from a low-income, single mother household. There are so many different types of people here with a dissimilar background from mine. I’ve learned that I can’t change some people’s conceptions about welfare or low-income areas, but I can take what they taught me and grow from that.

Learning to ask for help when needed really helps. If you’re struggling with mental health or having familial issues, talk to your professors. Most of them will care and try to help. Also, don’t take any classes before 9 a.m.

You will probably never find the perfect balance. Some weeks, you will probably go out and party every night. Sometimes you’ll be stuck in the library for hours, eyes straining and fingers pounding away at your keyboard trying to make that 11:59 p.m. deadline. Don’t punish yourself over going out, because you need a good story to tell years down the line about that crazy thing you did as a freshman.

 

Reed Nakakihara, senior double major in accounting and business administration,

From: Santa Ana, California

I’ve learned a lot in college and one of the biggest is time management. From having to study, to going to basketball practice, to hanging out with friends, to doing laundry and cooking food, there is just so much to do. I’m thankful that I had to struggle with all of these things because it made me appreciate and respect what other people endure in life that have way more going on.

My best advice would be to take the classes that interest you. Don’t be so obsessed with the letter grade, rather, focus on understanding the big concepts and how you can use it to help you in the future.

Balance is a big part of freshmen year. You don’t want to have too much of one or the other. Obviously, your academics are important and should come first. My best advice is to work hard in the classroom and then reward yourself by having a good time with your friends whenever you can. As long as that doesn’t become a priority over academics, you will be just fine.

Breaking Down the Movie Loyalty Programs for Theaters Close to Chapman

Movie tickets can be extremely expensive these days, especially if you’re a broke college student. Thankfully, many theaters and ticketing companies provide various loyalty programs for movie-goers to save on some cash and not to miss out on any of the biggest new releases. Here are five different loyalty programs that work at all the movie theaters within a five-mile radius of Chapman along with some pros and cons of being a member.

 

AMC A-List

AMC A-List may have be the most expensive loyalty program on this list, but it’s packed with benefits! Graphic by Ethan Williams.

Pros:

  • You’re able to see at most 12 movies a month for $20, which is quite the deal!
  • You’re able to see films in the IMAX and Dolby theaters for the same price as you would pay for any a 2D movie
  • Shorter lines at the concession stand
  • You’re able to reserve your seats online
  • You get a free large popcorn and drink on your birthday!

Cons:

  • Dropping $20 a month can be quite spendy depending on your financial situation
  • It’s only valid at one theater near Chapman

Atom Rewards

When using the Atom Tickets app, you’re able to purchase and have access to your tickets through your phone. Graphic by Ethan Williams.

Pros:

  • The program allows you to link other memberships like AMC A-List to your account, giving you the ability to use your three free movies a week from A-List to count towards a fourth free movie on Atom Rewards
  • The program is not subscription-based, so there’s no pressure to get your money’s worth

Cons:

  • You still have to pay for three movie tickets at regular price if you want the fourth ticket free
  • Like AMC A-List, it’s only valid at one theater near Chapman

Cinemark Movie Club

While Cinemark Movie Club may only provide one free ticket a month, it is the cheapest subscription-based loyalty program on this list. Graphic by Ethan Williams.

Pros:

  • $8.99 a month is less than one average movie ticket in Southern California
  • Discounts on expensive concessions definitely come in handy
  • The Century Stadium 25 is the closest theater to Chapman

Cons:

  • Again, this program is only valid at one theater near Chapman
  • You still have to pay extra for premium screening like the XD Theater

Fandango VIP Plus

Much like the Atom Tickets, Fandango allows you to purchase movie tickets through your phone. But this time it can be used for more movie theaters! Graphic by Ethan Williams.

Pros:

  • If you link your Atom Rewards account to AMC A-list, you can use your three free movies a week can count towards a fourth free movie
  • The program is not subscription-based, so there’s no pressure to get your money’s worth
  • It works at multiple theaters near Chapman

Cons:

  • You still have to pay for movie tickets at regular price in order to get discounts and rewards
  • There’s a service charge for buying tickets through Fandango
  • You have to see a lot of movies to in order to gain enough points for some serious discounts

 

MoviePass

MoviePass has had a rough past year in terms of making a profit and its customer service. If you’re considering to finally get a MoviePass, proceed with caution. Graphic by Ethan Williams.

Pros:

  • MoviePass can be used at the most theaters out of all the loyalty programs on this list
  • Three movies a month for around $10 is less than one average movie ticket in Southern California

Cons:

  • You’re only able to watch a select group of films that changes from day to day
  • Due to poor management from the company, the app rarely works these days, restricting you from getting a ticket
  • MoviePass has notoriously bad customer service

 

Overall, if you’re an avid movie fan, AMC A-List is definitely the biggest bang for your buck. If you’re a bit more casual and only tend to see only one film a month, Cinemark Movie Club may be your best option. Atom Rewards and Fandango VIP Plus may not be the best option alone if you want to watch movies for cheap, but they do come in handy when linked to other loyalty programs like AMC A-List. As for Moviepass, recent announcements from the company have revealed changes to their structure, including newer payment tiers that allows subscribers access to more free movies per month. Since these changes won’t be put into effect until January 2019, it’s hard to determine whether this will actually save MoviePass from its poor customer service or dysfunctioning app, but it does look promising.

Seven New Year’s Resolutions to Improve Chapman

Photo by Jennifer Sauceda.

New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for individuals. Institutions that desire self-improvement can also commit to changing for the better. In the spirit of helping our school become even better, we’ve gone ahead and drawn up the resolutions that Chapman should accomplish in 2019. You’re welcome.

1. Save the Panther Bucks

Chapman’s Agora Gift Shop sells a variety of products from Chapman apparel to care packages to school supplies. Photo by Jennifer Sauceda.

At the end of each semester, students’ remaining Panther Bucks expire, making them unusable for the next semester. An expansion of their usage to purchase supplies at the gift shop would result in a decrease in leftover Panther Bucks. Better yet, allowing students the options of transferring Panther Bucks to a friend, carrying them over to the next semester, or giving refunds of unused balances, would give students a more Panther bang for their Panther Bucks.

 

2. Address the Diversity Problem

The Global Citizens Plaza displays 64 flags, which represent the home countries and nations visited by Chapman’s students and staff. Photo by Jennifer Sauceda.

With more than 52 percent of undergraduate students identifying as white, the campus fails to reflect California’s diverse population. For example, only about 1.6 percent of undergraduates are black, a stark contrast to California’s 6.5 percent black demographic. Offering more need-based scholarships for low-income students would help alleviate the underrepresentation of African American students and bring more socio-economic diversity to campus.

 

3. Make it Onto The Princeton Review’s “Guide to 399 Green Colleges”

The Princeton Review’s list takes university policies, programs and conservation efforts into consideration. Photo by PublicDomainPictures on Pixabay.

In case you haven’t heard, Chapman’s portfolio has long included substantial investments in fossil fuels. As a result, the university opts out of participating in The Princeton Review’s rating system for evaluating sustainable colleges. It’s time to face the music and confront our own contribution to global warming. Divesting from fossil fuels to establish a greener investment portfolio would allow us to join other enlightened peers on the Princeton Review list.

 

4. Introduce Menstrual Products in the Men’s Restrooms

Pads and tampons used to cost 25 cents each before the university offered free menstrual products. Photo by Jennifer Sauceda.

Earlier this year, Chapman began providing free menstrual products in some of the women’s and gender-neutral restrooms throughout campus. Yet, there are no menstrual products available in men’s restrooms anywhere. Menstrual products should be available to all Chapman students who experience menstruation. And, while we’re at it, in all bathrooms.

 

5. Fix the Panther Shuttle Schedule 

The first shuttle of the day typically arrives around 7:30 a.m. on weekdays. Photo by Jennifer Sauceda.

With overcrowded shuttles and unreliable arrival/departure times, the simple task of getting to class on time has become a mission for students who live in Chapman Grand or Panther Village. The addition of more shuttles arriving at shorter intervals would ease the worry of missing out on class for those who can’t drive themselves to school.

 

6. Keep Cafeteria Food in the Cafeteria

The Loyal E. Horton Dining Award was presented to Chapman’s dining services in 2017. Photo by Olaf Broeker on Pixabay.

Organizations on campus are not allowed to serve food valued over $50 unless approved by Sodexo, the campus’ food provider. This poses a problem for cultural clubs who organize events that offer homemade dishes or food that exceed a limit of $50 worth of food. By eliminating the limit, organizations would be more inclined to share traditional foods with the Chapman community as opposed to serving Sodexo-prepared meals.

 

7. Make It Easier to Enroll in G.E. Courses

The university’s average class size is 23, but popular classes may easily exceed the average.  Photo by Jennifer Sauceda.

Chapman prides itself in providing small class sizes for an intimate learning experience, but the increasing student population is making it difficult for students to enroll in courses to fulfill their general education requirements. Opening more sections for overcrowded classes would alleviate the stress of being on the waitlist.

 

 

The Christmas Gifts You Never Wanted

We all know the excitement of holding a wrapped present during the holiday season, and then opening that gift and thinking to yourself “Why did they get me this?” It’s either something you’d never use, something you’d never wear, or something that makes you think “wtf grandma.” It’s safe to say most of us have been there before, so here’s what some Chapman students had to say about their bad gift experiences.

 

Photo courtesy of Brett Hayes.

When I was 11 me and a couple of other people went to my friends house during winter break to hang out and she said she had gifts for us. She gave my other friends gift cards and other things you would want for Christmas, but when it was my turn she gave me and one of our other friend hangers. In her defense they were nice hangers, but like who wants hangers as a Christmas gift?

– Brett Hayes ’19

 

Photo courtesy of Dylan Dahle.

When I was 15 my mom gave me condoms for Christmas. It was super awkward because you don’t really want to talk about that stuff with your mom when you’re 15, and especially when it’s Christmas.

– Dylan Dahle ’21

 

Photo by Claire Tafoya.

In my life I’ve been given around seven Bibles and I’m not really religious at all. I usually get them from my Irish side of the family, but I once got one from a friend. I don’t know what to do with them so they just sit on my bookshelf untouched with these cross necklaces I’ve been given over the years.

– Davis Anderson ’20

 

Photo by Claire Tafoya.

When I was really young a family friend got me a really expensive lip pencil but being like 8 years old I was really confused because all I wanted was toys.

– Alya Hijazi ’21

 

Photo Courtesy of Zack Morse.

My family always has Christmas dinners with two of our close family friends, and they always give really bad gifts. About two years ago one of the families gave me and my brother fake lottery tickets. We didn’t even realize they were fake until we thought we won and our dad pointed out that the back said “for entertainment purposes only.”

– Zack Morse ’19

Even though it’s fun to make jokes about how bad some gifts are, it’s important to remember the holidays are about more than just presents. Take the time over break to relax, enjoy life, surround yourself with the people you love, and put the extra mile into your gifts so you don’t end up on a list of worst gift givers.

Holiday Horror Stories: When ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ Gets Weird

Some students are excited to go home and reunite with their families for the holidays. Others…not so much. Some families are notorious for having disastrous experiences at gatherings, so certain students may have some difficulty getting excited. On the bright side, holiday horror stories provide “remember when” fodder for the next time everyone convenes!  Here are five Chapman students who have had holiday gatherings go south.

The Wannabe Elf

My mom and I were decorating the fresh Christmas tree my dad and I picked the day before. It’s our tradition to put the star on the tree together. Because this tree was so tall, my mom insisted on getting the ladder to place the star instead of standing on the couch as I usually do. I decided with star in hand to leap for the top of the tree. In what turned out to be an epic Elf move, I took the whole tree with me on my way down.

-Sarah Kaino, junior communications and theater major.

 

The Drunk Reveal

My family get-togethers have always been a little crazy, as drinking is part of it. When I was 15, my extended family on my dad’s side came for Christmas Eve. The dinner was going great until my very intoxicated uncle spilled that he secretly dated my dad’s ex after college. My uncle thought it was hilarious but my dad started yelling at him, creating a screaming match between the two of them. My mom ended up storming out of the dining room and it was just silent for a good 10 minutes.

-Melissa Olsen, sophomore strategic corporate communication major.

 

 

Canine Christmas Saboteurs

My parents bought my siblings and I baskets filled with chocolate, cookies and all that good sweet stuff. Some of the treats were baked by my grandma from Japan so those baskets were really special. On Christmas morning, we woke up to chocolate… everywhere. My four dogs murdered the baskets, the crumbs and sweets stained all the carpets. My parents were not too happy about cleaning chocolate stains on Christmas.

-Stephanie Parish, freshman history major.

 

The Wandering Geese

My family and I were going to a ski resort the week before Christmas. We trudged through snow for 20 minutes to get to our resort cabin. The door for our cabin would not budge and we pushed on it for a good five minutes. When a woman opened the door, we realized we went to the wrong cabin. The woman didn’t even flinch when she saw all of us in puffy jackets standing outside her door. She invited us in for cocoa which was super nice! But after that, we realized we went the wrong way and had to walk another 40 minutes to get back to our cabin. By then we had lost all feeling in our toes, hands, and faces.

-Riley Kendall,  junior biochemistry major.

 

Extra Brandy for the Extra Family

My aunt was making sangria for Thanksgiving. Our family likes sangria and family get-togethers are a good excuse for it. Her recipe calls for brandy and she poured in a whole jug. But the pomegranate juice disguised the taste, so people drank it like fruit juice. My family tends to let out all their problems when they’re drunk. They rambled about their childhood and blamed each other for their present problems. Oh – and I threw up.  

-Axl Avenue, sophomore strategic and corporate communications major.

 

 

This time, it’s PERSONAL: 10 DIY Gifts You Can Make in One Sitting

Giving gifts in holiday “Secret Santa” swaps and white elephant gift exchanges can be so unsentimental and impersonal. Here are 10 inexpensive and easy to make do-it-yourself gifts likely to make the recipient remember you long after they’ve used up the balance on the Amazon and Starbuck cards they received from less crafty gift givers.

1. Handmade Clay Dishes

These stylish bowls can be various sizes and hold more than just rings; they can be plant saucers or hold office supplies as well.  Photo by Lily Currin.

These polymer clay ring dishes look glamorous but are actually simple and cheap to make. But how? To achieve the marble effect, roll together multiple strands of colored polymer clay, flatten, shape it in an oven-safe bowl, and bake according to the clay’s instructions.  Spice it up with a simple finish and line the rims with gold acrylic paint after baked.

2. Hot Cocoa Ornaments 

Sprinkles, peppermint candies, and marshmallows add a pop of festive color to a hot cocoa ornament.  Photo via Instagram user Sprinklesomefun.

Fill a clear glass ornament with hot cocoa mix to brighten the day of any recipient. You’ll need 2 cups of confectioners sugar, 1 cup of cocoa powder, and 2 cups of powdered milk to make your own homemade hot cocoa mix. Then funnel the mixture into the ornaments and drop in your favorite toppings. Just add hot water and you’ll have hot cocoa wherever you go! If you want to hang it on your tree, the cap might need additional support for the weight, so be sure to secure the top with clear packing tape.

3. An Artful Mug

This customized mug can be personalized to match the interests of your gift recipient.  Photo by Lily Currin.

Give your friends a warm reminder that you care every morning. You can customize any dishwasher safe mug when you use paint sharpies and then bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  

4. Mystery Movie Box

Include enough snacks for two and you’ll have a built-in movie night for you and the recipient.  Photo via Instagram user Creativecarepackages.

All this gift takes is a classic DVD from the discount bin at Walmart and some appropriate snacks to throw in a fun movie themed box.  A mystery movie box is likely to appeal to any cinephile. To go the extra mile, try picking one of the recipient’s favorite films and include small trinkets or memorable treats that were enjoyed by the characters.

5. A Customized Plant 

This painted face gives personality to a miniature cactus. Photo by Lily Currin.

Make sure your gift doesn’t “succ” and give this one a try. Succulents are very trendy and don’t need much tending – a good choice for a gift to last well beyond the holidays. Customize the plant’s container by using acrylic paint to inscribe a specific face or design that is meaningful to the recipient, just make sure to paint before potting the plant!

6. Holiday Tea Bags

Adding labels to the peppermint tea bags is a simple and helpful touch. Photo by Lily Currin.

This gift could warm anyone’s heart this holiday season. These tea bags are so customizable you can make everything from hearts to tree bags.  All you need is tea filter paper, a needle and thread, and your favorite holiday blend.

7. Homemade Bath Products

Himalayan salt infused with a lavender scent can create a calming bath for stressed students. Photo by Lily Currin.

This self-care gift is so easy it doesn’t even require a trip to Lush! You can make an ordinary bath more relaxing by infusing Himalayan salt with your favorite combination of natural essential oils. Give the gift of a release from the stress of finals and provide them the relaxing break they deserve.

8. Make Their Own Gift

A watercolor set, brushes, and sketchpad is sure to be a welcomed challenge for any artist. Photo by Lily Currin.

For the artist friend, gather some supplies they may not use often so they can experiment and make their own gift. This is a perfect present if you are intimidated by the do-it-yourself aspect of the other gifts.

9. A Personalized Vase

Acrylic paint won’t run with minor exposure to water. Photo by Lily Currin.

Flowers are a classic gift, so why not go the extra step? Simply use acrylic paint and painters tape to keep lines straight before applying paint. Customizing an old glass bottle to use as a vase is an eco-correct way to match a specific décor or upgrade a holiday bouquet.

10. The Gift of Style

The Chapman University shirt was cut in a triangle shape and given a new handsewn collar with an eyelet fabric.  The “Love is Love” shirt was tie-dyed and the message was ironed on. Photo by Lily Currin.

Customized shirts are a cheap way to add some original flare to your recipient’s wardrobe. You can tie dye, cut, or iron on messages to any t-shirt you desire. It’s a way to show their personality or show some school spirit.

First-generation student is first Chapman Rhodes scholar

Chapman’s first Rhodes Scholar, senior biochemistry and molecular biology major Vidal Arroyo. Photo courtesy of Vidal Arroyo.

Vidal Arroyo was the first member of his family to go to college and is now Chapman’s first student to receive the Rhodes Scholarship. He was one of 32 students chosen for the scholarship from a pool of over 2,500 applications nationwide, according to Rhodes Trust.

Chapman joined the more than 320 American institutions who have had applicants accepted into the highly selective program. Arroyo, a biochemistry and molecular biology major, was one of two winners from District 16, the Los Angeles District, that was compiled of students from top schools such as Stanford and Berkely.

The scholarship covers full expenses for students to study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom for up to four years, relieving financial issues Arroyo has considered a barrier between himself and academics throughout his academic career.

“It’s a blessing, I think it will be the first time I’ll be in an environment where I’m not battling against some barrier,” he said. “I’ll actually be on an equal playing field and feel what that feels like for the first time.”

The Rhodes Scholarship wasn’t even on Arroyo’s radar last spring when he was planning to study in Israel through the Fulbright Program, a U.S. student exchange program that provides individually designed grants. But he was encouraged to apply to other programs in the UK by Julye Bidmead, the Director of the Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs.

Bidmead helps students with scholarships she believes are a good fit for them and the application processes but recommends the Rhodes Scholarship to a select few students, she said.

“It’s a really competitive scholarship,” she said. “I won’t encourage it if they don’t have the credentials.”

Bidmead has been working with Arroyo since his sophomore year and has helped him apply to seven or eight scholarships. Only two or three students from Chapman apply to the Rhodes Scholarship each year, she said.

“He’s a hard worker, self-motivated, and follows through,” Bidmead said about Arroyo. “He has a desire to help other people.”

At Oxford, Arroyo said he will be studying statistics and partnering with faculty in the department who work with genetics through machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms, he said.

The past two summers Arroyo spent away from his home in Rancho Santa Margarita researching pediatric cancer at Baylor College of Medicine through funding received from the National Cancer Institute. Arroyo and his team discovered current statistical methods don’t work well with small data sets that are used for analyzing rare diseases, an issue that inspired him to pursue studying the area, he said.

“We worked designing new ways to analyze data so that we can bring the reality of personalized data not just to really common diseases, but also to rare diseases where there’s not as much data to deal with,” Arroyo explained.

After Oxford, he wants to continue pursuing his education with an M.D./Ph.D.

While Arroyo will be studying algorithms, genetics, and statistics, Rhodes scholar Jin Kyu Park plans to use the opportunity to study at Oxford to explore citizenship and membership in American society, he said in an interview with CNN.

Park, a senior at Harvard, is the first undocumented immigrant to receive the Rhodes scholarship, according to Rhodes Trust. Park’s immigration is covered by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the first year DACA recipients were eligible for the scholarship.

President Donald Trump ordered an end to DACA, first reported by The New York Timesand said he’d phase the program’s protections out on Sept. 5, 2018.

As one of the approximate 700,000 young adults who were brought to the United States illegally as children who qualify for DACA, Park is concerned about getting back into the U.S. after traveling to Oxford, he said in an interview with PRI.

“Like everybody else, he’s very deserving of the award,” Arroyo said about Park. “[The program] is going to have to work it out at some level for him.”

Almost half of this year’s winners are immigrants or first-generation Americans, and the majority of the scholars are minorities. In addition, the 21 women who received the scholarship makeup the greatest number of female recipients in a year, according to Rhodes Trust.

The other scholar selected from District 16, in addition to Arroyo, is one of those women: Madison L. Tung in the Air Force Academy. Tung is an acquaintance of Arroyo’s from high school, the two connected through wrestling.

In high school, Arroyo didn’t always have dreams of going to college, but it paid off.

“I’m thankful to have come to Chapman,” Arroyo said. “This was definitely the place for me to be.”