A Final Viewpoint Simply on the Art of Trying

Geoffrey Allen, Viewpoints Editor

I have written so many articles for this student-run publication, and yet I feel like there’s not much to say any more for this final Viewpoint. It’s all become bittersweet. I have been so angry with life and anxious about graduation all year long that I have forgotten how much time has passed. And yet, here I am finding time to recognize that throughout all of this, I have grown somehow. I am not the history major that I thought I would be entering college, but I did become a Viewpoints editor who has found interest and vigor to tell stories and write theses. I am not the naive 18-year-old who left his preppy Ivy League town in 2019, and for the most part, I am proud of that fact. The only problem is that this came with change. A lot of change. There were some positive changes, like joining a D-III running team or trying out some weird discipline called “anthropology,” but then there were others that were really hard. Whether it was when the College shut down in response to the recent pandemic, when friendships and relationships decayed or when the insurmountable weight of the independent study begins with a lot of stress and plenty more to be desired. It almost sounds like these changes bog a student down, but these trials of college life are doable. I’m sure my fellow senior editors feel the same in one capacity or another.

So what’s the saving grace for all of this blood, sweat and tears? For a while, I used to say it was the community found on campus. In many ways, that is the case. With The Voice staff, my cross country/track & field team, the dedicated members of the SOAN department, as well as the admissions team, it’s easy to think like this. But as many friends and communities begin to fade away from my life, I recognize another core reason for my success at Wooster. It is simply the fact that I have tried, through more ways than one, to engage with the community and overcome the internal and external obstacles undergraduate life has presented me. The people just came along the way. The grades just got better as I continued to try to be better. My independent study, despite being a graduation requirement, is itself one grand test of our culminated knowledge and critical thinking skills.

A fictional revolutionary in a space opera spin-off show once said, “Remember this: Try.” People often believe that they have to prove themselves whether with an abundance of achievements, their social prowess or even sacrificing a dinner because they stubbornly believe their thesis is more important than their own welfare. The meritocracy tells us that we have to work hard and grind ourselves to be seen. But I’ve managed to get by doing a lot of things at my own pace. I write this as no slacker either, I just simply make an effort. This is what the viewpoint is really about. Just trying a new opportunity or a new challenge will go a long way to show how much you’ll grow than forfeiting your chances under the assumption you won’t stand a chance at all. This is always worth celebrating every day as it’s easier to reflect on our woes than wins. Let’s try to navigate this life in a more meaningful way.

Finding an Artistic Voice: Evolving Oneself Throughout a Career

“Jimmy Durante,” a wire sculptor by artist Alexander Calder (Photo courtesy of The Calder Foundation).
Colin Schrein, A&E Editor

Many musicians and artists have unique voices and styles in their art. Some have an easily identifiable style while others have more widespread characteristics. In developing a personal voice in art, there is usually a process of finding that voice through experimentation and exploration. Some artists find their style and stick with it their entire lives, while others are always growing and evolving, searching for themselves.

In the musical world, you can usually divide artists’ styles into different periods. Perhaps a band has a breakout debut album, marking their “signature” sound and by the end of their careers they have morphed into an entirely new genre. For Josh Tillman, known professionally as Father John Misty, certain aspects of personality are usually going to be present but evolution is always around the corner.

In his debut album “Fear Fun,” Tillman defines his now trademark commonalities as odd story-like lyrics, political criticisms and religious satire. These would become staple aspects of later albums, but on “Fear Fun,” he explores a folksy sound and more straightforward instrumentation. This album is what sparked his initial fame and put him on the map as a bohemian indie-rocker. In subsequent works, Tillman notches up his ambition, and by the time he releases his LP “Pure Comedy,” he is delving into deeply existential thoughts backed by lush string sections. Father John Misty is a perfect example of a progression through humor and seriousness, sparseness and eloquence, all the while maintaining a signature sound.

Alexander Calder was one of the most influential visual artists of the early-mid 20th century. His iconic mobiles and structural installments are what he is most widely known for, but before he moved into abstraction, he went through other phases. During the 1920s, Calder dabbled in wire portraiture, bending wires into shapes of human faces. “Jimmy Durante,” from 1928, balances between portraiture and caricature, with wire accentuating facial features and exploring the depth of space. This “drawing in space” style was much different from what his contemporaries were doing at the time and was deeply influential for artists that followed him.

A 1930 visit to Piet Mondrian’s studio prompted Calder to consider abstraction, as Mondrian’s bright and geometric paintings popped with primary colors. He was even cited saying he wanted to “make moving Mondrians.” He had been tinkering with tactile art for years but only now thought to extend it to more abstract ideas. It was in 1931 that Calder developed his first mobile- a suspended sculpture to move freely in the air. This would become his most notable contribution to art, fusing sculpture and movement. In finding this artistic voice of balance and flow in mobiles, Calder’s use of wire and experimentation with physical space stayed constant while he evolved somewhat from humanistic work to abstract work.

In looking briefly at two seemingly dissimilar artists, Father John Misty and Alexander Calder, there are in fact some parallels. Both developed key stylistic elements early on and incorporated them throughout their bodies of work – pseudo-humorous/pessimist lyricism for Father John Misty and structural forms of wire for Calder. Although they are defined by certain aspects of their art, it encompasses much more than just that. Every artist starts in one place and ends up somewhere else, in one way or another. Finding an artistic voice is an ongoing thing, evolution is natural with every found voice speaking for a part of yourself.

Viewpoint: It’s Been Real, Sports

Langston Hood, Senior Sports Writer

It is with immense remorse and sadness that I press these keys in service of the noble Wooster Voice for the last time today. Covering sports for this newspaper has been one of my favorite parts of attending Wooster over the last four years. My love for sports has also left me remarkably empty-handed for this venture. I was not given a prompt, I was not given an event, a team nor a game to cover. So, I don’t really have a plan for this one, no emails to send, no quotes to copy and paste, just the contents of my mind and my mind alone.

     I don’t have any privileged wisdom or secrets to share. I have long been plagued by indecisiveness and it seems that it is striking again at this very moment. It has also long been a struggle of mine to discern between what is worth sharing with the world and what is not. I’m well aware that the target audience of this newspaper is not the whole world and if you’re still reading at this point you must have a vested interest in what I have to say. And if that is the case I’ll just share some general thoughts and you can do with that what you will. 

     First and foremost, talk to strangers. Wooster is supposed to be unique, because of the small student body and the interconnectedness that is supposed to follow. And this seems to have taken a steep downturn post-COVID and the new age of remote classes. But, I think it is something that we ought to try and fix. Everyone around you has something worth sharing and I firmly believe that any given person is a singular good conversation from becoming friends with anyone else. So, talk to the people next to you in class. Be present and grow in the uncomfortability of breaking the silence that falls over every classroom in the minutes before instruction begins. 

     Next, and arguably more importantly, please treat the people that make this school function with some semblance of respect. We’ve all stormed into Lowry famished, starved and exhausted, but this should not manifest itself in blatant disrespect to our service staff. Dealing with 18-22 year-old college students all day is undoubtedly frustrating and it is only made worse when exchanges are voids of pleases and thank yous. The people behind the counters and behind the glass displays deserve to be treated kindly. 

     Thirdly (I’ve always liked that word), talk to your professors. It’s hard sometimes, but they want the best for you and their being in education attests to that. They might not make it known, but I would venture to say the vast majority of professors would love for you to make a concerted effort to know them outside the classroom and beyond their lessons. Also, they have been through most of the trials and tribulations that you have and they have an abundance of experience that they would likely share with you.

     And lastly, enjoy your time here. It goes fast, and I cannot stress this enough, it goes so, so unbelievably fast. It seems like just yesterday I landed at Hopkins Airport and made my way to Wooster. Those endless summer nights jammed in a triple on the third floor of Douglass quickly melted into my new reality, staring down the barrel of the real world. So, enjoy it while you can, say yes to things, take risks, sit in Lowry for hours on end and savor every last moment of it. Before long, Wooster will be a far cry away and so will everything that made you fall in love with it. Thanks for everything, it’s been a pleasure.

Aya Daniako’s “DNK” Teaches Us about Love, Heartbreak and Self-Worth

Namara Rwakatare, Contributing Writer

The Malian-French artist Aya Daniako, formally known as Aya Nakamura, is a powerful force that is taking the music scene by storm with her latest album “DNK.” As a dark-skinned and Malian woman in France, Daniako has been subject to sexism, racism and colorism. She has had to create a space for herself in the industry. Today, she is able to use her platform to inspire us to live our truths and find confidence by recognizing our worth. This album invites us to get personal with Aya who steps out of her role as the performer Nakamura and welcomes us to get to know a different part of her as Daniako.

The album kicks off with “Corazón” where the themes of navigating relationships and heartbreak are explored. Daniako dives deep into the difficulties of longing for a love that just isn’t working out, allowing herself to exist in that space and giving herself permission to have those emotions. Self-acceptance and empathy in our relationships can be difficult to grapple with, especially when considering how one’s social identities may intersect with their experience of love and relationships. Daniako reaffirms that these feelings are valid and encourages us to give ourselves and others grace when navigating relationships.

The hit song “SMS” is a call for human decency and respect from her partner. Throughout the song, Daniako demonstrates patience and understanding towards them and asks only that they communicate with her – “Juste un SMS” (translation: just send a message). Daniako knows what she brings to the table and what she deserves in a relationship. She makes clear that anything less will not be accepted and demands that her partner treats her better and accepts responsibility for their wrongs – “Fais doucement d’abord. Peux-tu déjà mieux assumer tes torts?”

Daniako has experienced many ups and downs when it comes to her romantic relationships, which many are able to relate to. Her music serves as a safe space for listeners to reflect on their identities and how it impacts their experiences with love, intimacy and emotional vulnerability. From being cautious in relationships, presented in “Cadeau,” to dealing with the emotional pain inflicted by others in “J’ai mal,” listeners can appreciate the openness and honesty that Daniako expresses in her relationships and are encouraged to do the same.

The album concludes with an evolution of Daniako. The last three songs on this album present a powerful shift in her tolerance to partners with no intent and how she reacts to them. In “Haut Niveau,” she inspires listeners to recognize their worth and to only welcome those who can see and appreciate their value. “Bloqué” further explores this concept and urges us to let go of those who are not adding value to our life. The album ends with “Fin,” where Daniako establishes that she is “à part, [elle] est à part. Tu veux trouver comme moi, y a pas” (translation: She is unique/special. You want to find someone like her, but you won’t). Because Daniako realizes her worth and is intolerant of people that don’t appreciate her and what she has to offer, in the end she is willing to walk away and leave what isn’t serving her behind.

Giving Thanks

Samuel Boudreau ’23
Samuel Boudreau, Editor in Chief

To help align my memories at the Voice, I want to devote the majority of this viewpoint towards thanks. First, I want to thank you, the reader, for taking time out of your day to read our newspaper. Whether satisfied or dissatisfied with our paper, your interest in our work inspires us to try and fulfill our attempts at journalism. Speaking of the Voice’s staff, I want to thank all of the staff members I had the pleasure to work alongside at the paper: Mekdes Shiferaw ’23, Melita Wiles ’22, Kaylee Liu ’23, Kayla Bertholf ’22, Miles Rochester ’25, Eliiot Barrengos ’26, Haley Huett ’23, Blakely Dishman, Langston Hood ’23, Alex Nathanson ’24, Gianna Hayes ’26, Julia Garrison ’25, Zach Perrier ’25, Emma Shinker ’24, Sam [great name btw] Killebrew, Caroline Ward ’25, Zoë Jurkowski ’24, Craig Akiri ’23, and Colin Schrein ’25. Your contributions to the Voice are immeasurable, only outdone by the positive impact you will make in your lives beyond Wooster.

There are a few staff members I met through the Voice whose memories have profoundly shaped me into who I am today.

To Geoffrey Allen ’23, whose reflections on college and life always help put my various problems and complaints into perspective, helping me find and center myself.

To Thomas Pitney ’24, whose passion for sports, the newspaper, and justice in the world brings a smile to everyone he crosses paths with in life. While your love of Boston sports pains me, your giant heart makes it slightly bearable.

To Mudiwa Mungoshi ’24, whose wisdom always enlightened my day and the Voice’s role within the campus community. If you have time in your day, I highly recommend Mudiwa’s viewpoint, “We Exist as One Community,” published on April 22, 2022. It is one of his many viewpoints that will change your life for the better.

To Colin Tobin ’23, for countless hours spent together uploading stories to the Voice’s website. Your dedication and work towards the Voice kept the Voice afloat this year, always willing to do whatever it took to maintain the paper’s mission and provide something for people to read every week. While you are quiet, your actions do enough talking for all of those around you. As the great Chuck Noll paraphrased from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Your actions speak so loud, I can’t hear what you are saying.” You are the embodiment of that quote, my friend. Additionally, your fandom of Pittsburgh sports provides me with a space to share my love (and frustration) of our beloved teams, combating Eliot and Thomas’ Bostonian propaganda.

To Lark Pinney ’23, for being there every step of the way through this period of the Voice’s storied history. There is simply nobody else I would rather lead this newspaper alongside than you. While there were many moments of accomplishment and proudness at the Voice, there were equally as many difficult, stressful, and painful moments along the way. Through it all, however, we stuck it out, as you taught me so much about leadership, perseverance, and grace under pressure. I will forever be proud of making it to this point, the finish line, alongside you.

Turning to the “old guard,” I want to thank Maggie Dougherty ’21, Sam Casey ’21, Chloe Burdette ’21, Aspen Rush ’23, and Jonathan Logan (Jlo) ’22, for helping me start at the Voice and entrusting me to help lead the Voice, maintain its mission, and do my best to improve the paper. You all set the standard for the Voice’s purpose on this campus and your work is forever engrained in the story of this place. To Jlo, for countless late nights in the office, exploring old Voice copes and teaching me about the paper’s story, especially in times of historical enormity.

And, finally, to Bijeta Lamichhane ’22, my fellow news editor aka partner in crime, on the front pages of the Voice and the frontlines of the College. While we may have “ruffled a few feathers” among the College’s trustees, faculty, administration, and staff, I will forever look back on our work with proud eyes and cherished memories. You always supported my journalistic ideas and taught me so much community, belonging, and friendship. Whether we were slipping interview requests under custodians’ office doors, interviewing dining staff members, or struggling to find any content on Tuesday nights, you always reminded me that enough people care.

To Ellen McAllister ’24, Tyler Rak ’24, and Emilie Eustace ’24, Lark, Colin, and I are so proud you, and we are confident and excited to stand from afar and see your leadership of the Voice.

Closing out this chapter of my life, I want to finish by dedicating all of my work at the Voice to the memory of Rebecca (Becky) DeWine ’93, a Wooster graduate and Voice assistant features editor. Shortly after graduating from Wooster, Becky was an aspiring journalist at the Xenia Daily Gazette in Xenia, OH. Returning home from work, Becky was killed in a car crash in 1993. She was 22. I hope my written work honors her memory and inspires other students to pursue her dream. 

Softball Halted by Division Rival Wittenberg: Denison Ahead

Julia Jennings ’26 and Stephanie Griffin-Sanchez ’24 confer at second base during a pause in play (Photo courtesy of Craig Akiri ’23).
Eliot Barrengos, Sports Editor

The College of Wooster softball team was on the brink of losing four consecutive games in a row. After splitting the opening two games of conference competition against Ohio Wesleyan University and sweeping away the lowly Kenyon Owls, the Scots looked primed to fight for an NCAC softball championship throughout the spring. But last Saturday, April 15, 2023, DePauw University knocked the Scots on their back, sweeping away the Friday afternoon doubleheader by two fairly wide margins. Wooster dropped both games by five or more runs. 

Saturday proved to be a second chance. With Wittenberg University visiting Galpin Park, the Scots had a crucial chance to reassert themselves on the NCAC circuit. Pitcher Lynsey Deilo ’26, who has been superb this season, had a rare poor performance, faltering to the tune of one and 2/3 innings pitched, surrendered three runs on four hits and two walks. She was relieved by standout Addie Tagg ’23, who did her best to hold back the dominant Wittenberg offense. The Tigers were relentless, ambushing Wooster, for a total of 10 runs on 11 hits; the Scots never had the chance to get the bats going and fell by a final of 10-2. 

Wooster needed to find their mojo in game two, as another loss at the hands of a NCAC opponent would cast serious doubt on any chance of competing within the conference. With a building pressure to escape the day with a win, they turned to one of their best, in the form of Rachael Dudziak ’24. Shortstop Stephanie Griffin-Sanchez ’24 commented on the team’s approach going into game two saying “We needed to have a good, balanced mindset knowing we had to win but also playing loose and not putting too much pressure on ourselves… I think we did that perfectly and made the adjustments necessary.”  

In need of a stopper, Dudziak stepped up, tossing a gem of a game, going the full seven innings to claim the complete game, and yielding just one run on five hits. The start was reminiscent of the five-inning no hitter Dudziak tossed in early February in non-conference play. 

“When I’m pitching well, I’m usually very focussed on the present pitch…It sort of seems like tunnel vision in the moment.. I try to take a breath between each pitch to ground myself, and it is really a mentality of winning every pitch one at a time.” 

In the bottom of the third with her teammate mowing down the Wittenberg lineup, Griffin-Sanchez broke the scoreless tie and gave the Scots their first lead of the day by crushing a home run to left center field. The solo shot completely changed the momentum of the afternoon. Sanchez elaborated on her approach saying “I went in with the mindset that I was looking for an inside pitch. Honestly my goal was to just put the ball in play and swing hard. First pitch I took was low for ball one. Second pitch I heard my head coach yell ‘turn on it’ as the pitcher was in her motion so I knew it was going to be inside. Just swung hard and it ended up going out.” 

Wooster clung to a 1-0 advantage until the sixth inning when Emma Hetkey ’26 scored on a fielding error and Ella Wolff ’26 singled in another two runs to give the Scots some much needed breathing room. Infielder Julia Jennings ’26 who went 4-4 in game one, and has swung a hot bat as of late, commented on what the team needs to adjust going forward in conference competition: “Especially in conference play, it is important to take it one game at a time.We changed our mindset and started stringing together hits and scoring runs. We are hoping to carry that same mindset through the rest of conference play.”

Aftering salvaging what could have been a truly disastrous weekend late on Saturday afternoon, Wooster will host Denison this upcoming weekend in another heated battle of conference rivals.

Scots Boast Three Champions in All-Ohio Meet: Finish Sixth as Team

Morgan Kromer ’23 participating in the pole vault (Photo courtesy of Wooster Athletics).
Payton MacLean, Contributing Writer

The Wooster Fighting Scots men’s and women’s track and field teams made their way over to Ohio Wesleyan University for the heavily anticipated All-Ohio Division III Championships this past Saturday afternoon. The teams faced off against 12 other Division III competitors, including four NCAC programs (Denison, Kenyon, Oberlin and the championship hosts). On the men’s side of the meet, the Big Red of Denison University were out to defend their crown as Ohio’s top team, after winning its first championship meet in school history one year prior. The NCAC track powerhouse has done well to defend its elite reputation this outdoor season, finishing second out of 27 teams at the Emory Thrills in the Hills Open in Atlanta, GA., and second at the Marv Frye Invitational, finding their best form in the weekend leading up to the championships. The biggest roadblock in their path to destruction? A feisty Wooster squad that held them even at 82 in a draw on Wednesday, April 12. This major result certainly upped the tension going into the Championships, with all eyes on the Scots to see if they could repeat this remarkable showing.

With the electrifying duo of juniors sweeping the pole vault, Wooster got off to a flying start in the field. With a PR and new school record, Dylan Garretson ’24 finished first. His height of 16′ 2.75″ was the fourth-highest in Division III this spring and the best in Ohio. Davis Patterson ’24, who came in second place right after him, had a PR of 15′ 3″ that ranked fourth in program history. Luke Henke ’23 tied for first place in the high jump with a leap of 6′ 4″, a personal record, and the eighth-highest height in the history of the competition. In addition, Echo Kidd ’25 had an All-Ohio performance (finishing in the top three in an event) with a long jump distance of 22′ 3.5″ that saw him place third.

In the track events, Will Callender ’25, who has enjoyed a dominant sophomore campaign, placed second in the 5,000-meter with a 15:26.91. Drew Robertson ’25 also secured All-Ohio honors with a 3:57.73 in the 1,500-meter. Additionally, Nick Scherson ’23 finished fifth in the 400-meter with a 50.26, and also competed with the 4×400-meter squad of Joe Schilts ’23, Will McMichael ’22 and Davis Patterson that earned a fifth-place finish with a time of 3:28.46. Despite multiple record-breaking efforts and a total of six All-Ohio performances, the Denison squad was determined to prevent its dethroning as it completed its run for back-to-back Ohio champs with a score of 153.50 points. The Scots still left the meet with their heads held high, earning an impressive 57 points en route to a sixth-place finish. 

Elite NCAC results in 2023 have defined the women’s track and field landscape in Ohio, leaving many to wonder which team would prevail when they squared off in this Championship event. In the field, Drew Patterson ’24 dominated the high jump with a 5’4.25,” securing a first-place effort and fifth-place all-time for the program. Claudia Partridge ’25 also earned a fourth-place height with 5’ 2.25.” Wooster saw its second All-Ohio effort of the day come from Morgan Kromer ’23 who tied for third place for pole vault with her PR of 11’ 3,” ranking second all-time in program history.

On the track side, it was Arena Tharenos ’24 who secured the Scot’s second first-place effort with a commanding victory in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, coming in over a minute ahead of the next closest finisher with an 11:08.22; her PR ranked second in Wooster track and field history. The third first-place finish came from Isabelle Hoover ’23 in the 5,000-meter, where she turned in a remarkable 18:33.74. Haley Bloom ’23, Izzie Cozzie ’26, Igna Mendez ’25 and Tharenos’ 4×400-meter relay team finished third to earn another All-Ohio achievement for the women’s team. In a close race for fourth place, the 4×100-meter team of Maia Doescher ’25, Claire Mackin ’25, Drew Patterson and Cozzie found themselves on the verge of All-Ohio recognition. 

The Scots came away with three champions and five All-Ohio performances that secured them 73.5 points, making them one of four NCAC squads to finish in the top six. Ultimately, Case Western Reserve bested the competition with 111 points and Wooster women earned the same spot as the men, with a respectable sixth-place performance. 

On April 22, both teams will return to action when they go to Gambier, Ohio, to take on the Kenyon College Owls.

Turf Project: A Short Term Obstacle, but a Needed Change

Construction for the new turf field at John P. Papp Stadium is underway (Photo courtesy of Craig Akiri ’23).
Langston Hood, Senior Sports Writer

The Athletics Department recently embarked on a new project to replace the turf inside John P. Papp Stadium and the surrounding Carl Munson Track. In the summer of 2009, the facility received a new, all-season synthetic turf field and the track was refurbished. However, both have become dilapidated over the years, as the life expectancy of turf fields is only eight to 10 years. To meet both safety and performance requirements and keep pace with the other facilities in the NCAC, an upgrade was definitely necessary. 

Football player Andrew Armile ’24 shared his thoughts, saying, “I think replacing the turf was a great move for the school and its athletes. The old turf was getting worn out and it was definitely time for an upgrade. The new turf will allow our teams to excel in our sports and keep us safe.” Excitement around the new turf is plentiful as the renovation is scheduled to wrap up just in time to host football’s preseason. Additionally, the facilities around the NCAC have seen significant upgrades since the installment of the Andrew Turf Field. Oberlin rolled out a new turf field and stadium in September 2014, followed by Wittenberg in 2015 and Wabash in 2020, with a couple other institutions sprinkled in along the way. 

Although the project has sparked excitement, it has not been without difficulty as it has disrupted the normal operation of the turf that the athletics department is so reliant on. There was no ideal time for the nearly four month project as it is in use year round, aside from the winter season which would make construction impossible. This construction window has created some difficulties for the lacrosse teams which were in the middle of their seasons when the turf became unavailable. Additionally, the football team has been moved to the quad following the turf renovation project. 

Both lacrosse teams now practice and/or play at a variety of facilities including Wooster High School, Triway High School and Maurer Field depending on the school’s existing athletic schedules and the use of local youth sports programs. However, the teams are taking it in stride, as Tucker Joseph ’23 said, “I think originally we would have expected the turf replacement to have more of an impact on our season. There was some worry about how we would be able to practice on the grass, and whether the change in surface would impact our play. I think overall, it has not been that big of a deal. We have had great success this year and I think the team has handled the adversity quite well.” 

Teammate and classmate, Mason Poisson ’23, echoed Joseph’s thoughts, saying, “I will say that the relocation of practices and games to off campus sites is certainly not ideal. However, I feel our team has made the best of the situation and worked hard in practice to keep improving day in and day out.”

Not all the sentiment has been positive and there have been a number of material difficulties that have affected the team’s daily lives, namely transportation. Kenzie Morris ’24 said, “With having practices away, there is a new difficulty every day. We have to put 30 girls into vans, and with travel time, adds an extra hour to our evening. Our practices are usually set 5:30-7:30, and we get home past 8, meaning we can never eat dinner at Lowry. Everyone on my team is running out of flex from having to buy from the C store, and when we spoke to someone from the dining hall, they told us to do late night (which is almost exclusively fried food and pizza). Our usual two-hour practices at the Papp have extended to an all-night ordeal.” 

The men’s team has dealt with the same problem as Joseph added, “The main ‘difficulty’ has been getting everyone to and from practice. We have a large team with 56 guys and it can be a bit of a hassle getting everyone out of the locker room and to practice on time. Overall though, the team has managed very well and we are making the most out of it.”

Both teams shared that they are looking forward to the new turf even if they won’t be able to experience it as Clare Leithauser ’23 said, “I’m looking forward to the future players to have a better playing surface and the successes they will have on the new field.” 

Morris was more critical in her hopes for the new turf as she said, “I am most looking forward to having fresh turf that doesn’t have holes, and a track that doesn’t have weeds growing out of it. I only wish they could redo our stadium at the same time, because that is an even bigger issue and embarrassment.”

The new turf will greatly increase the appearance of Wooster’s athletic facilities and go a long way in attracting new student athletes to what should be another jewel in Wooster’s crown of iconic buildings and campus features. 

I.S. Spotlight: Katiasofia Gonzales

“Stressed Out and Struggling to Concentrate: The Relationship Between Cortisol Reactivity and Cognitive Control in College Students”

My name is Katiasofia Gonzales, and I am a senior Cognitive Neuroscience major. For my I.S., I decided to focus my research on the relationship between stress and cognition in my project, “Stressed Out and Struggling to Concentrate: The Relationship Between Cortisol Reactivity and Cognitive Control in College Students.”

As the title implies, I wanted to focus on the college experience because, as we all know anecdotally, it is extremely stressful. But how exactly does that stress affect our ability to learn and thrive in a highly demanding academic environment? What exactly is happening in the brain as we struggle to learn in the middle of the chaos?

To answer these questions, I decided to focus on a particularly stressed population: first-year students, and, in contrast, a slightly less stressed population: sophomores. I asked students from both groups to come to my lab in order to complete a series of questionnaires, a computer cognitive test and provide a saliva sample. The saliva was used to measure the stress hormone cortisol to better understand their overall stress levels. During the computer test, I monitored brain activity through EEG.

While I wasn’t able to find much significance due to my very small sample size, the brain activity recordings and statistical analysis hinted that the experiment design could work with a larger population, which was very encouraging. Perhaps, in the future, other students with similar questions will be able to use my research as a guide for their projects.

Overall, it was a very enriching, while challenging, experience. I am incredibly grateful to my very patient advisor, Dr. Grit Herzmann, for her guidance, the additional advice of Dr. Sharon Lynn, and my wonderful lab assistants, Emily Pistorova and Emma Barnard, who were instrumental in data collection.

Viewpoint: How Deleting Instagram Can Change Your Life

As a young person struggling with my mental health, the internet has opened my eyes to the realm of self-help, whether it be self-soothing affirmations, self-care ideas or journaling prompts for self-discovery. While there is a sort of ridiculousness to a lot of self-help culture, I have been able to navigate this and find nuggets of positivity and small tips to integrate into my life. A while ago, I watched a video from the channel “bestdressed,” where the videographer, Ashley, chronicled a week in her life without a phone. I had always wanted to try this, but for me (and many others), a phone is essential. Videos like these, however, weighed on my mind, and I always wanted to emulate the freedom from reliance on social media for affirmation like these influencers talked about. They were always able to stop and appreciate the world around them better after these exercises. I used to have to justify my use of social media to myself to paint it in a better light, but I always knew the ways it contributed to the degradation of my wellness—from constantly checking to see if I had notifications and getting sad when no one wanted to talk to me every five minutes, to comparing myself to the posed bodies of Instagram models, from romanticizing mental illness, to procrastinating putting time into the more fulfilling aspects of my life. Ever the enjoyer of video essays, over spring break I watched Shanspeare’s video entitled “Femcel Feminism and Transgrrressive Girlhood” and was subsequently inspired: I was going to take back my life and be my own agent of change. While I didn’t find this quite as simple as just writing affirmations in my journal and drinking water, I did do one thing that has honestly changed my entire attitude: I deleted Instagram.

Sure, you may be asking, “What’s the big deal? It’s just an app for photos and memes.” If you find yourself asking that, then this Viewpoint may not be for you—rather I speak to my chronically online besties who share self-deprecating memes and repost Nina from “Black Swan” and Cassie from “Euphoria” with captions like “normalize being unhinged.” I used to indulge in these, I used to pride myself on how ‘manic’ and ‘femcel’ my explore page was. But over spring break, when I was at home sleeping until noon and staying up until 3 a.m. falling into the endless scroll of female hysteria memes, I found no joy. Instead, it was a sick reinforcement of my bad habits, which never failed to lead me to emotionally spiral. This literally messed up my brain chemistry—I would receive dopamine from laughing at these meaningless images, all the while reinforcing my mental illness and taking an almost sick pleasure in being all the more mentally ill. This emotional whiplash finally broke me, and it was when I was at my lowest point that I decided to end the cycle of negative self-talk and for once actually focus on learning who I was outside of my issues and how to live with myself.

Deleting Instagram was weird at first—I had so much free time, and when bored I would reflexively open my phone to find the place where the Polaroid icon once was. What was I to do with myself now that I could not entertain myself for hours on end? So I watched movies—maybe not much better, but I forced myself to think critically about them (follow me on Letterboxd @giannathehayes lol). I decided to get outside, take a walk, breathe some fresh air and exercise too, getting that endorphin boost and retraining my brain to seek dopamine from positive behaviors. I started picking up books for fun again, just like I used to in elementary and middle school. I could actually sit and read them, and my attention span was no longer reduced to 20-second videos and glances at images. I discovered new music and for once really listened to the lyrics, taking in every ounce of their meaning. I felt human again, like I was part of a collective consciousness, this population who lives and suffers and grows and appreciates. And this transformation was all just because I hit the uninstall button on one little application. You would think it’s inconsequential. But when one’s first reflex is to open reels or TikToks, without even thinking, you’ve let capitalism train your brain to be dissatisfied with life and, more importantly, with yourself. We should be okay with sitting in silence for a while, we should be okay with finding the quiet moments where we’re not entertained by self-deprecation, we should be okay with not being addicted to our phones, we should be okay not constantly looking at Instagram or Pinterest aesthetics to see how we don’t fit perfectly into these curated ideals, we should be okay with just being. Constant stimulation distracts us from what we should really be doing: deriving your own personal meaning from all that the world and humanity has to offer.