Crunch Time.

With the semester in full swing and summer vacation right around the corner, City College students are kicking into full gear as Finals approach. City College student, Berenice Oseguera feels the stress of the semester as she study’s for her upcoming exams. Final exams begin next Monday May 20th and run up until Friday May 24th. The overwhelming struggle for Berenice and many City College students is tough but the end is near and students are determined to finish.

Let’s hit the books CCNY, it’s crunch time. ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

A hypnotic religious experience.

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I was raised Catholic. My mother embedded the morals of God into the daily lives of my brothers and sister and me from the moment we could speak. We would go to church on Sunday, volunteer at church events and attend Bible school two days a week every spring. My mom knew that eventually we would grow up and make our own decisions in life, and she always supported us because she knew that our decisions would align with God’s teachings.

About a year ago, my sister moved to Paterson New Jersey. She is 25 years old, and a nurse who attends night school. As soon as she moved into her new home, she began searching for a church nearby that she could become a part of. That is when she found World Mission Society: Church of God. She thought that she had finally found a church that teaches without the lies and man-made scriptures of the Catholic church. Shortly after her first visit, she became baptized in this church and committed more than 4 days a week to Bible study and attending mass.

At first our family was skeptical about this church. After hearing some of its practices, it became quite evident that it was not a typical church. Parishioners would cover their heads with veils as they prayed, sit segregated by gender during mass, and the members didn’t have much of a life outside of the church walls.

As my sister became more involved in this religion, she began to change. She would spend all her time at the church, and when she wasn’t there she was preaching about its teachings or planning her next visit. <!–column–>My mom became increasingly worried and disappointed. She would cry endlessly, and pray that my sister would leave this cult-like church for good.

It was exactly one year after being baptized that the pastor started pressuring my sister into coming to the church more often. He and others would tell her that in order to be closer to God and to become a preacher, she would need to come more frequently and for longer periods of time. My sister then realized that she was being coerced into quitting her job at the hospital, and guilted into dropping her classes in order to be “closer to God”. The church consisted of mainly young members, typically in their twenties, all of them fully committed to the church.

One day as my sister was talking to a friend about the church, her friend who had discussed this matter with a psychologist questioned the church and its practices. After explaining to the psychologist about what happens during mass, she realized for the first time in over a year of being a part of this church, the control it had over her. She was hypnotized—for real.

For an entire year, this church was hypnotizing my sister into believing everything its leaders taught. It suddenly hit her, as she was speaking with her friend about this, that before every mass the pastor would stand in front of the entire room of people and say “You’re getting sleepy, you’re getting sleepy”.

My sister saved herself. She managed to escape this church before it took over her life for good. She broke the hypnotic trance she had been in for a year and is now able to discuss this serious matter with her friends who were also hypnotized. For some of them, it is too late. They won’t admit to the fact that the pastor hypnotizes them nor will they associate with people who leave their church. Our family, of course, is thankful to have my sister back. This experience will forever stay with her and has reminded us all to never trust a person’s actions unless you know the motives behind them.

A big world, made smaller.

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With the sudden rise of the smart phone, beginning around the year 2005, society is beginning to feel the sudden need to constantly stay connected. Whether it’s with friends, family, Facebook, or the New York Times, the smart phone has integrated itself into the lives of millions of people. The advancements made in recent years to phones, tablets, and computers have recreated how people interact with the rest of the world and how often they do it. With such incredible improvements in technology, the accessibility to contact someone is easier than ever and with new technologies being created every day, it’s only getting easier.

Undoubtedly, the rise of internet technology has changed the world for the better. The smartphone, for example, has completely revolutionized the cellphone and what we can do with it. Aside from being able to make a phone call, these devices are complex enough to take photo/video, play music, and even get directions to virtually anywhere. This one device has replaced hundreds of devices, while at the same time remains light and compact enough to fit inside a pants pocket.

Many people, despite their failed attempt at avoiding it, are opposed to the assimilation into this high-tech culture. We’ve all been warned against the dangers of texting, particularly texting and driving. This argument is a valid concern, however does this issue outweigh the inconceivable number of ways it has dramatically developed our world, for the better?

Yes, being distracted by your cellphone while driving is a major concern for drivers, but distractions are going to happen whether you have a cellphone or not. AAA has done extensive research and determined that rubbernecking at the scene of an accident is the number one cause of accidents, proceeded by looking at scenery, and being distracted by others in the car. A distraction can come from anywhere, but rather then blame the cellphone for existing, it’s more logical to examine the responsibility of the driver and their awareness on the dangers of multi-tasking while driving.

Similarly to being able to drive at 16, and drink at 21, cell phones and other advanced internet based devices simply require a certain maturity level. The age that parents are introducing cell phones to their children is getting younger and younger, and rather then blame the technology for it’s negative effects on children, the age in which children should have access to the internet world should be re-evaluated.

Technology has opened the door to an incredibly innovative world that continues to advance everyday. The cell phone in particular has revolutionized what people think about phones, how they live their daily lives, and the way in which we make this huge world, much smaller.

YouTube Personality Talks Beauty

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Rosa Chang-Crespo, a 20 year old college student from Queens, has what some may call another personality, but not just any personality, a YouTube personality. With the boom of YouTube when it launched in early 2005, many people from Justin Beiber to Psy all became famous because of videos that they posted to the popular site. Rosa, however, isn’t interested in singing or dancing, she’s known as a Youtube Makeup Guru. “I started wearing makeup when I was 14 or 15, ever since then I’ve always wanted to get better at applying my makeup and experiment with new things”.

Rosa, known to her subscribers as “RositaApplebum” began her Youtube channel about 2 years ago on April 24th of 2011. Since then, her videos have been a hit to the makeup community on Youtube, with one of her videos reaching to over 50,000 views. “I didn’t expect such a huge audience for that video, it was a video on ‘What’s in my bag’, which is a popular Youtube tag that YouTubers do”. She has viewers from multiple countries all over the world but her top locations are here in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. She receives offers from makeup and fashion companies wanting to sponsor her, but she is currently not under contract and gets paid directly through Youtube based on the number of subscribers and views she has on her videos.

With the thousands of viewers and subscribers, Rosa doesn’t always get the response she hopes for. “Of course I get negative comments and messages, who doesn’t? Especially in the makeup community you’re gonna get a lot of insulting remarks that is completely out of my control”. Rosa, like many other YouTube personalities, even have fake accounts of subscribers pretending to be them. “I’ve had to report fake Instagram profiles and Youtube channels, but the worst one was a fake Tumblr account that many people believed was actually me.”

In the years to come, Rosa says she doesn’t plan on pursuing makeup as a career but that anything is possible. “I love making videos and being a role model to girls that are insecure. I love to remind them that makeup is just something to make you feel better about yourself, and that they’re already beautiful”.

My favorite place to be.

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Whether my day consists of going to class, studying, going to work, cleaning my apartment, hanging out with friends, or even just relaxing and watching Tv, my day isn’t complete unless it starts here. 135th street and Riverside Drive. It is a 0.7 mile walk from my apartment door, which takes me approximately 12 minutes. I like to leave my apartment at 6 am so I can watch the sun rise at around 6:15, before running 3miles down riverside and then 3 miles back up.

This spot serves as my starting point and my finish line, and has been my own private stretching space for the last 8 months. It’s the perfect spot to look over the edge, across the Hudson river and into New Jersey on the other side. At 6am, the sun rise is absolutely breathtaking, almost like a wave of light that illuminates the river and brings life to a dark city.

I grew up in New Jersey, and lived there until I moved into the city when I was 18. I remember being in high school, when I used to run on the opposite side of this river and look into New York  and watch the sunbeams make their way through the tall buildings as night turned to day. It’s where I would look into this beautiful city and contemplate my dreams and goals of one day coming here and accomplishing them.  Coming to this spot is my motivation, it’s my daily reminder of where I am, and most importantly, where I came from.