Planning your best vacay ever

Leenika Belfield-Martin | Lifestyle Editor

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Leenika Belfield-Martin

As a child, going on vacation was as simple as helping your parents pack. As adults, we are tasked with the duty of actually having to plan out and finance our vacations. This is definitely easier said than done.

Here are some tips from planning your trips and even some places in Virginia to check out if you’re still in the area this summer.

The first tip is to plan within your group’s budget. Not everyone is going to be able to afford Cancun, and that’s fine, because they are cheaper options. Just keep in mind that during a vacation you will spend a lot of money on food, excursions and attractions. Sites such as Groupon can help you save a little money and figure out the discounted places in the area.

Pack wisely and try to limit the valuables you bring. Items you absolutely can’t leave at home are money (cash and card), I.D., cellphone and chargers, an itinerary and a passport — if you are traveling abroad. Observe the weather trends in the area to help you select reasonable clothing.

Research your hotel/resort beforehand to understand if the hotel is the best fit for you and your party. Some hotels also won’t let you check out of a hotel room until you’re 21, so keep that in mind. Choosing a hotel is more about comfortability and amenities than flashiness. Yes, staying in a five-star, fancy hotel is fun, but you aren’t on vacation to stay in the hotel room.

Always have a form of transportation beforehand. Nothing ruins a vacation quicker than being stranded in an unknown place. Become familiar with the local public transit options and taxi companies. But, if you want some independence when it comes to traveling, consider renting a vehicle. However, people between ages 21 and 24 may experience a “young renters fee.”

Now that you are ready for your trip, here are some Virginia venues you can visit on your trip.

If you like the beach and the boardwalk, then Virginia Beach is your spot. Because so many of the restaurants, hotels and attractions are close to one another, it is easy to walk from one to the other. You can even visit the aquarium in the area while you are there.

Virginia as a whole has a rich culture filled with historical landmarks. Williamsburg is the hub of history in the commonwealth. Colonial Williamsburg is a live, interactive museum that takes you back to the 18th century.

Williamsburg is also the home to Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, two popular attractions in Virginia. There’s also a family-friendly indoor water park and resort, Great Wolf Lodge.

Say you are tired of traditional resorts and hotels, try going camping. Virginia is a perfect state for camping because of its temperate weather and diverse land. Shenandoah River State Park is one of Virginia’s many camping sites. This park features beautiful views of mountain ranges and water streams. You also can choose between camping in a cabin or in a tent on the camping grounds.

Planning your vacation may be hard and frustrating, but in the end you will have lasting memories with your families and friends. So start planning your next getaway today.


Conquering the captivity of your comfort zone

Zipporah Baldwin | Staff Writer

Whether it’s shooting your shot, performing at an open mic night or just contributing to a class discussion, each day, we are faced with new opportunities to step out of our comfort zones.

However, we often refuse to follow through, simply due to fear. It is time to change things up and become free from unproductive, self-imposed limitations, if considering new positive opportunities will contribute to our growth.

Hampton students have experienced success when they stepped out of their comfort zone. Take, for example, graduating senior Mion Edwards.

“I found a deeper part of myself by having the courage to go for opportunities that would enhance me,” Edwards said. “I found that the only way to truly grow was to explore things that I’ve never done.”

Fellow graduating senior Da’Quan Jones agreed.

“Stepping out of my comfort zone has allowed me to meet numerous individuals that I probably would not have met otherwise,” Jones said. “It has also developed my social skills, so I feel like I can communicate with anyone because I have interacted with people from all over.”

With a shift in perspective, a motivation for self-elevation and undeniable courage, march toward victory as you claim success, hurdling each obstacle of fear. You can start today.

It’s never too late: Study hacks that may save your college career

Raven Reaves-Jackson | Contributing Writer

The transition from high school to college can be difficult for most students, especially if you choose to go to school far away from home.

You start to go through an array of emotions that you were not used to because you probably never had to face them until college. With those emotions, you may find that it is hard for you to stay focused on your classes, resulting in a couple of bad grades.

Don’t worry. Here are some simple, yet effective study hacks for you to ace all your assignments – and especially your upcoming finals.

The first hack is Quizlet. Just because you may have used Quizlet in high school does not mean it needs to be left there. Many think that because the content of college work is much stronger than high school work that using Quizlet is a waste, but it’s not.

This site is very effective for remembering terms, whether it is 5 or 100 words, science- or history-related terms or even songs that can be broken up into parts. With this site, you have the choice to test yourself any type of way. Quizlet does it all.

The next hack is a study group. Whenever college students see the word “group” they tend to automatically dread the idea, especially in college. It is no secret that group projects somehow always go way left in college, but this is not a project. This is a group of students meeting up to succeed together. Even if one student in the group is the only person who has any idea about what is going on in the class, that helps.

Now, the final hack, which is probably the most effective, is studying before bed. This idea is overlooked by many but is an extremely smart thing to do. If you think about it, when you dream, you usually dream about something you saw or thought about before you went to bed, and when you wake up in the morning, you are thinking about that same thing. So, if you study right before you go to bed and do a run-through of the material as soon as you wake up, it is more likely that you will remember everything.

Is it relationship abuse?

Sydney Shuler | Staff Writer

Women ages 16 to 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence, about three times the nation average in the U.S.

As young people, identifying signs of abuse in a relationship can be difficult. The National Domestic Violence Hotline defines domestic violence, also referred to as dating or relationship abuse, as “a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another in an intimate relationship.”

These behaviors are not at all limited to physical abuse. Victims of relationship abuse often experience emotional and verbal abuse such as serial cheating, having their appearance controlled by their partner or being blamed for the way they are being treated.

In a relationship where the finances are shared between the two, someone may experience financial abuse that include receiving an allowance or living in the home while refusing to work or contribute to the household.

In the age of social media, digital abuse is seen in cases of domestic abuse as well. Digital abuse includes one partner keeping the other off social media, having control of usernames and passwords or posting negative or embarrassing things about their partner.

College relationships are hard enough with making time for one another between classes and work, and balancing dates to the cafeteria or library with dates out.

Forty-three percent of dating college women report experiencing violent or abusive dating behavior during their time in school.

Dating abuse rears its ugly head in a number of ways. It’s critical to be aware of the warning signs before it’s too late. When you’re forced to question whether the one you care for is the one hurting you, thoughts and emotions can get cloudy. If you’re not sure if you or a loved one is in an abusive relationship, ask yourself:

Do they become jealous when you hang out with friends?

Do they get angry when you choose to take (much-needed) time alone?

Do they discourage you from seeing family or friends?

Do they pressure you to use drugs or alcohol?

Do they keep you from class to spend time with them?

Do they intimidate you with weapons or aggression?

Do they constantly put you down or tell you that nothing you do is right?

Do they pressure you to have sex when you don’t want to?

Fifty-seven percent of young people surveyed by admit that relationship abuse is difficult to identify, while 58 percent say they don’t know to help someone who is experiencing abuse.

A lack of knowledge of the signs of domestic abuse and the actions to take to avoid investing into an unhealthy relationship is part of the reason that only 33 percent of teens who were in violent relationships ever told anyone about it, according to

Thirty-eight percent of college students say they don’t know how to get help for themselves on campus if they were a victim of dating abuse.

On Hampton’s campus, any report of sexual assault and/or sexual harassment should be reported to the Title IX Office, located in room 205 of the Wigwam Building.

After filing a report, the following steps will take place, according to HU’s website:

– Honor a student’s wishes NOT to move forward with an investigation, and close the case.

– Provide interim measures while an incident is being investigated.

– Conduct an investigation where both parties will present facts.

– Submit the report to the Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Committee for a hearing and adjudication of the matter.

The decision of the committee is final, and the parties receive written notification of the outcome of the hearing from the appropriate administrator.

The case is CLOSED!

An abusive relationship does not have to be a trap. Educate yourself on the early signs and continuously remind yourself of your worth. Don’t suffer in silence.

If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t right, and it’s OK to leave.

How to snag your summer internship

Leenika Belfield-Martin | Lifestyle Editor

As the academic year comes to a close, many students begin to ask this question: “What’s next?”

Those nearly three months between the spring and fall semesters can be spent a number of ways. Maybe you’ll spend it on a beach in an exotic country. Maybe you’ll spend it at your high school summer job. If you want to spend your summer enriching your future, then consider interning.

An internship is not only the best way to brand yourself for future employers, it can be a fun and rewarding experience. USNews said in an article that “university officials and employers almost universally maintain that partaking in an internship — or several, which sets a student apart from his or her peers even more — before graduation is integral to finding meaningful employment in today’s seemingly impenetrable job market.” So, both colleges and employers recognize the crucial part that internships play.

The first step to securing an internship is to have an excellent resume. The purpose of a resume is to highlight experiences you have that correspond to work ethic and work experience. Essentially, a resume shows employers that you are the best candidate for their company. After you finish creating it, try to have at least three people, including a counselor in the career center, review your resume. Also, consider having a cover letter and personal statement that clearly shows your future goals and current endeavors.

After you have your materials, it’s time to start the internship hunt. The university’s Pirate-link system can narrow down potential jobs and internships in their database, and email you new ones whenever they appear. You can access your Pirate-link account by first signing up for an appointment in the career center. The system also will email you about companies that visit the university.

Some other great resources for finding internships are, LinkedIn and even social media. Yes, social media is for more than just cute selfies and cat videos. It can potentially help you land your dream job. Follow the companies you’re interested in on social media and keep your eyes peeled for when they post about their internships.

After you’ve found an internship that meets your interest, apply! Make sure to follow all of the instructions for the application. Don’t fabricate any information about yourself. If you impress the reviewer enough, you may be invited to interview for the company

An interview can make or break your career efforts. The key is preparation. Depending on the company, interviews can take place over the phone, through video or Skype or in-person. If in-person, try to arrive 10 to 15 minutes before your interview. If through phone or Skype, make sure you’re in a quiet place with strong cellular connection. Days before the interview, research the company. By the time of your interview, make sure you know at least this information: What is the company’s purpose? Who founded the company and when did they found it? Has the company been in the news lately for anything?

Waiting for the company’s decision is the best/worst part of the process. You will get a number of “no’s,” but one “yes” could change your life.

Are you addicted?

Zipporah Baldwin | Staff Writer


Do you find yourself binge drinking the pain away or sparking up to forget it all? This article may be for you.

Addiction is something that a great deal of us, at one point or another, may experience throughout our lives. Whether a battle with drugs, a dependency on alcohol or even an obsession with social media, many have experienced – or witnessed a loved one experience –

the detrimental effects of addiction. As we grow consumed in our poor habits, we forget how we are impacting our families, our friends and even ourselves.

Despite the temporary relief found in addiction, according to American Addiction Centers, “individuals before their mid-20s have the potential to increase addiction later on in life due to the lack of development of the brain.” Gain control now, while you still can.

In elementary school, we were taught to ask the Five W’s, “who, what, when, where, and why,” to see the bigger picture of a story. Let’s see the bigger picture of our own stories:

Who are you becoming on this path that you are on?

If this dependency is restricting your opportunities, determine for yourself if it is really worth it.

What is your stronghold?

Whether daily dependence on weed, steady binge eating or indulgent overuse of the internet, evaluate what consumes you in an unhealthy manner on a consistent basis.

When will you move forward?

Determine what it will take for you to turn away from these habits and put a plan in place to follow through.

Where are these addictions fed?

Does your environment contribute the continuation of your addiction? We tend to shy away from severing relationships, even if they are toxic, typically due to the length or history of the relationship, alongside the fear of being alone. But if the people who you call friends are only feeding the fire, consider taking at least a temporary break. Be sure to reinforce your support group with people who have your best interest at heart during recovery.

Why are you dependent on this addiction?

If you are using to cope, what are the things that you are covering up with these habits? Is it emotional pain? Is it a lack of interest? Is it self-hatred? Whatever that cause may be, it may be time to address the problem head on, instead of using your dependency as a coping strategy.

How will you plan to overcome? Seek a medical health care professional if necessary.

Whether on campus in the counseling center or off campus with a specialized practice, get the additional tools that you need to conquer your addiction and maintain victory over it.

So, you want to be vegetarian or vegan?

Leenika Belfield- martin | Lifestyle Editor

Beyoncé’s newly vegan lifestyle in preparation for her upcoming Coachella performance has her fans ready to go vegan, too. Are you considering a lifestyle change?

The Vegetarian Society defines a vegetarian as someone who “does not eat foods that consist of, or have been produced with the aid of products consisting of or created from, any part of the body of a living or dead animal.”

Benefits of going vegetarian, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, include prevention of cancer and heart disease, decrease of blood pressure, reduction of possibility of osteoporosis and diabetes.

Some people may also experience aesthetic changes, such as Imani Thomas, a graduating senior, liberal studies major from Detroit. Thomas said that since going vegetarian this year, “My body feels lighter and cleaner. My skin has never been bad, but it’s just looking a lot brighter.”

Sophomore psychology major Ashley Childs said that going vegan has caused her to not only become more conscious of her physical self, but also her spirituality. Childs has been vegan for over a year and said that her mom being diagnosed with breast cancer is one of the reasons she adopted the lifestyle.

“I’ve started becoming more conscious of myself; having more knowledge of self and knowing that what you eat affects not only your physical body, but your spiritual body as well,” Childs said.

Adopting a vegetarian lifestyle can not only cause a change in your body, but also can help the environment and world around you. According to Time Magazine, vegan and vegetarian diets can cut 63 to 73 percent of the global greenhouse emissions produced by livestock. Time Magazine also reports that “changing dietary patterns could save $1 trillion annually by preventing health care costs and lost productivity.”

College students often have a limited selection when it comes to food choices. Most of these options are extremely processed and are rarely vegetarian-friendly.

“I cook all my food at home,” Childs said. “It’s hard eating out because you can’t really trust any [place] or anything.”

Jill Davis, a sophomore elementary education major from Maryland, has been vegan for over a year.

“At first, it was pretty hard because I wasn’t getting enough food and I was being hard on myself.” Davis said. “You have to really want it in order to succeed and resist certain cravings or substitute them.”

Childs said the thing she struggled with the most was “attending family events” due to the “cultural change.” You’re not only getting adjusted to your new diet, but your family is, too.

If you live on campus, the cafeteria offers a variety of vegetarian options. If you live off campus, consider purchasing a couple of vegetarian cookbooks to help you.

Some other great resources are Pinterest and YouTube, where you can find a number of great recipes and tips for becoming vegetarian.

Changing anything about your daily routine, especially your diet, can be a hassle.

Davis’ best piece of advice to students considering becoming vegetarian is: “Don’t give up even when it gets hard, and don’t let others tell you how to live your life.”

“Who am I and where am I going?” Defeating identity crises

Zipporah Baldwin | Staff Writer

Micah McNair | Leenika Belfield-Martin

“Who am I?” and “Where am I going?” are questions that we, college students, ask ourselves on a regular basis.

The discovery of personal purpose is an everyday task, both rewarding and challenging, as we uncover our greatest passions along with our deepest fears.

Whether we’re drowning ourselves in procrastination or obsessing our priorities, we tend to direct our focus everywhere else but to ourselves. Often times, we end up so busy with others, that we forfeit taking the time to get to know ourselves.

According to the American Psychology Association, “The concept of identity is made up of two parts – self-concept and self-esteem.”

In other words, your identity includes your beliefs about yourself and how you feel about those beliefs of yourself.

The self-discovery journey can be a tedious one, but there are steps to help you reach that destination.

Consider your…

POSITIVITY – Are you optimistic about your future and your existence right now in the present? Positivity will be a major fuel behind your success. This includes: positive attitudes, positive beliefs, positive energy, positive thoughts and positive words.         Do away with self-defeating behavior and remember that your quality traits outweigh any and every shortcoming that you see within yourself.

PASSIONS – What are you passionate about? Your passions can typically give you hints to where your purpose lies.

PURSUIT – Are you in pursuit of what you want to get out of life? Maintaining a healthy balance by avoiding idleness and avoiding overexertion is a major key for success.

PERSISTENCE – Are you consistently going after what you want to gain out of life? Destroy self-doubt and fear of the unknown. Be persistent in order to maintain your well-being along your journey.

PERSONAL GROWTH – Are you at peace with who you are becoming? Keep an eye out for signs of your personal growth to guarantee positive, forward-moving productivity, instead of stagnation or decline.

Continue to plant good seed in your purpose, on purpose, so that you may bear a plentiful harvest in due time.

Certainly, the process of self-discovery is not immediate, but it is undoubtedly worthwhile.

“The best part of my self-discovery journey has been finding peace,” senior Desiree Jones said. “The main portion of my peace is realizing who deserves my time and who doesn’t.”

Sophomore Brooke Arrington affirmed, “The best part of my self-discovery journey [has been] the people that I’ve met along the way. They have inspired me to strive to be the best version of myself that I can be.”

Is “bounce-back” happiness true happiness?

Sydney Shuler | Staff Writer

We all know what it’s like to get that surge of motivation after life has done us dirty with a heartbreak, job loss or end of a friendship, but how long does it last? It’s not easy, but it’s time to stop waiting for a reason to put yourself, and your happiness, first.

The saying “you have to love yourself before you love anyone else” isn’t a theory or a myth; it’s a must. We quickly find ourselves in dangerous emotionally codependent relationships when we have not yet figured out how to rely on ourselves for the things we look for in other people.

You find yourself checking your phone for a call or text a little too often, or abandoning your commitments and responsibilities to spend time with or tend to another person. You tell yourself that it’s supposed to be this way, but it’s not. No one is going to give you the same love and attention that you can give yourself.

It all starts with a choice. Recognize your happiness as your own and declare that you won’t give anyone power over it or you.

Dedicating time to yourself daily and without apology is crucial. Whether it’s practicing your choice of meditation or sitting down to read a good book, do it. We can get so lost in the chaos of day-to-day life that we end up neglecting ourselves.

Alone time should be appreciated and used to better get to know yourself. If you make “me time” a consistent part of your daily routine, you’ll eventually stop looking for it from others and become comfortable with riding solo.

Thorough redirection does more than you think. You have the ability to change your emotions solely based on adjusting the way you think. When you find yourself feeling lonely because you are alone, remind yourself of the difference.

When you start to put yourself down, stop the thought and say twice as many good things about yourself. Don’t be afraid to become your own biggest fan.

Lean on your support system. Often times we hesitate to go to friends or family with our problems because we don’t want to feel like a burden or complainer, without realizing that we are the only ones with those thoughts.

The people around you love you. They want to see you happy, and they want to help you achieve happiness.

“I have relied on countless other people to make me happy…and in the end, I didn’t feel happy,” sophomore Brandi Robinson said.

“People do hurt you [intentionally and accidentally], but if you’re happy within yourself, you can better get over the pain because you never depended on them in the first place.”

How racial discrimination plays into dating

Chevmonay Gaines | Staff Writer

Leenika Belfield- Martin

FreeForm’s Grown-ish follows a young black woman throughout her college experience. The show’s most recent episode new episode, “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” addressed an issue that many young black women face today.

The episode opens with the friends at a nightclub. Noticing the black athletes with various white women by their side, the Forster sisters Jazz (Chloe Bailey) and Sky (Halle Bailey) notice that everyone seems to be getting love BUT the black women on campus.

The Forster sisters mention “The List,” a hierarchy of dating.  At the top of the list are Asian and white women; at the very bottom: black women.

Now, granted, this show is based on a predominantly white institution, so the culture is significantly different. However, even from a historically black college point of view, it still holds truth to my entire life experience of dating as a black woman — more specifically, dating as a black woman who doesn’t pass the “Brown Paper Bag Test.”

Out of curiosity, I created questions to gain insight on general thoughts and issues I often face while dating and being a black woman. Below is my input along with a couple of other responses from men and women, all shades of black:

Are black men more sought after than black women?

I graduated from a predominantly white school, and the amount of times I have heard the white girls talking about dating a black guy simply for the riskiness of it and how pretty their kids would turn out was ridiculous.

Timia Ferguson, an international human rights major, also shares similar views toward interracial dating.

“A good bit of interracial relationships, especially with black men, are solely based off of experimentation, as in wanting to see what it’s like to be with a black man – hence the phrase ‘once you go black,’” Ferguson said. “Being with a black man and having black children as a non-black woman is not a trend or a fad; it’s a lifestyle change because you must wear the belt of understanding experiences of black people when you choose to be in that relationship.”

Journalism major Simone Bell-Dennis said, “Black men are the poster children for what a ‘manly man’ is. All races are equally attracted to black men, while black women are often on the outskirts. In my high school, black women were the last picks. We were the good friends or too ‘hood’ – no in between.”

What cultural beauty standards have an impact on dating black women? 

“The music industry has the biggest impact on cultural beauty standards. Growing up watching -all these rap videos, all I saw was big-butt, big-breasted, light-skinned women in music videos. At the time, that was the standard,” cybersecurity major Kendall Douglass said.

“Once you begin dating, you start basing your potential significant other off the women you see on TV, and hold them to a ridiculous, unrealistic standard of looks.”

Have you ever been labeled as bossy, sassy or attitude-filled?

I have always been given the half-compliment of “I thought you would be mean!” way before people even cared to know the real me. I often wonder is it my tone when I speak, my rebellious hair or is it just the stereotype that came with me being a black woman?

“I think they automatically throw these titles on us because they’re intimidated by us when in control. They go in with these preconceived notions that every black woman has this horrible attitude,” a female sophomore five-year MBA major said.

“They label us as such before getting to know the real us, and that turns some men away.”


What has your experience been when dating while black? Would you say you are at more of an advantage or disadvantage? When will it be cool to date black women again?