Tag: Joseph Kulesza ’22
The Grass Is Not Always Greener On The Other Side
by The Cowl Editor on December 9, 2021
The Grass Is Not Always Greener on the Other Side
Living off Campus Is Not Everything It Is Made out to Be
Joe Kulesza ’22
When it comes to freedom, if high school is structured like an authoritarian regime, then college is the promised land. In this world of no parental oversight, unlimited meal plans, and personal autonomy, students who once followed a rigid schedule in high school are now free to do as they please, confined only by their academic schedule. One of the many forms of freedom that is part of college and is not present in high school is the option to choose where one lives.
While underclassmen are largely confined to on-campus residence halls such as St. Joe’s, Cunningham, or Aquinas Hall, rising seniors have seemingly unlimited options to choose from, as living off campus becomes a possibility.
Excitement over off-campus housing usually begins sophomore year, when deposits on houses are placed. This, in itself, totally makes sense. Commit to your future housing and roommates only a year into college, what could go wrong? Talk over who is living in which house follows shortly after deposits are made, when the words “02908” and “lease agreement” enter into the vocabulary of many students eager to bask in the even greater amount of freedom that comes with living off campus.
The prospects of endless parties, no resident assistants, and private bathrooms seem all too tempting to prospective off campus residents. These benefits are so tempting that the downsides to off-campus housing are seldom taken into consideration.
Along with the heightened freedom of living off campus comes a plethora of responsibilities and contingencies that await students eager to enjoy their senior year.
The picturesque college campus that students are accustomed to during their underclassman years is quickly relinquished for many responsibilities that come along with renting a house in Providence.
Freedom of off-campus living comes at the expense of weekly chores. The previously foreign concept of trash day quickly becomes a reality for students living off campus. If trash barrels are not brought out to the curb on the required day, the trash that would have been picked up is left behind for students to deal with for another week. The problems created by excess trash can quickly compound if missing trash day becomes a habit.
Along with the responsibility of managing trash also comes the responsibility of security. The sheltered environment on campus is starkly contrasted by living off campus in Providence. Break-ins off campus are unfortunately commonplace in the neighborhoods surrounding the College’s campus, and while forgetting to bring out the trash might smell, leaving a car or house door unlocked can result in much worse outcomes.
Living off campus not only means being away from classes, but also food. Many off-campus students find it necessary to cook for themselves since they live farther from the on-campus dining options. But cooking is no simple task, especially for those students who have never had to cook for themselves before.
Students quickly forget about their dirty dishes after placing them on the conveyor belt in Raymond Dining Hall, but this luxury is not available to off-campus students without a meal plan. Dirty dishes are, therefore, left in the sink until someone in the house feels compelled to clean them.
Cooking, dirty dishes, and break-ins aside, the excitement of off-campus living needs to be had with careful consideration into all the contingencies that come along with it. Having an off-campus house is an important step for many students in between college and adult life, but this step should only be taken cautiously with tempered expectations.
The Right to Register: The Politics of Registration at PC
by The Cowl Editor on November 18, 2021
The Right to Register: The Politics of Registration at PC
Joe Kulesza ’22
Next to studying on a Friday night, waking up early is a close second when considering rare events in a typical college student’s life.
Very few things can get a college student out of bed, and sometimes this does not even include the need to go to class. If age is just a number, then so too is the time on a clock, as college students are happy to disregard the significance of certain numbers on their clock if they happen to be followed by “A.M.”
But, as with every rule, there is an exception to this consideration, and this exception manifests itself in the form of class registration.
Having the potential to evoke feelings of hope, exuberant joy, or despondent misery, class registration is an emotional roller-coaster of an event occurring biannually for every college student, and this event’s ability to get college students out of bed is positively unparalleled.
On no other day of the academic year do entire droves of students wake up at the previously unthinkable hour of 6:30 A.M., as they sit in front of their computers, login to Cyberfriar, and frantically hit the refresh button in the seconds leading up to registration.
In the moments following this process, students await their fate for the next semester, as they will soon find out how many of the classes they got into. Lucky students will get all five classes, while the unfortunate ones will be cast back to the schedule planning page, where they feverishly search for empty seats in other classes.
And for those students where fate has truly dealt a fatal blow, an error message will appear, resulting from an incorrect PIN, conflicting class schedules, or a multitude of other issues.
Last week, every student in the senior class was a victim of this registration horror, as error messages were plastered over laptop screens.
Satire aside, this instance, while it was resolved within a reasonable amount of time, begs questions about the functionality of the registration process as a whole. It seems ironic that colleges require students to take certain courses, while they simultaneously use systems which are not conducive to many students registering for those courses.
In no type of successful economy does a situation exist where suppliers consistently advertise a service, only to later fall short in accommodating that service’s demand. Economies that do not result in the proper allocation of goods are considered failed systems, and it does not seem to be a stretch extrapolating this understanding to the registration system which consistently results in students not getting classes they need to take.
A failed registration system not only hurts students, but hurts the College as well. Students who do not get the courses they need, or the courses they want, end up defaulting to enroll in courses in which they have no desire. A lack of interest in course work inevitably results in a lack of effort on the student’s behalf.
Winston Churchill famously said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others, and perhaps if he were a student at PC, he would say something similar about the registration system.
It is unfair to say that PC’s registration system is a total failure, as this system has reasonably allowed students to take the majority of the classes they need over their time spent on this campus, granted there are frequent issues.
But even with taking this under consideration, registration is part of a $70,000 service that students are paying for, and in relation to price, registration at PC is like manual roll up windows on a luxury sports car.
If colleges are going to continue raising tuition at rates which have been consistently twice as high as concurrent inflation rates, then it is not unreasonable for students to be frustrated when they do not get into required classes for which they pay tuition.
Like democracy, course registration is not perfect, but this is not sufficient reason to be complacent about changing it.
Tangents and Tirades
by The Cowl Editor on October 28, 2021
A Germophobe’s Worst Nightmare: Flu Season
by Joe Kulesza ’22
Dating back to ancient Mesopotamia, human civilizations have wrestled with great existential questions which are part of the human condition.
Fyodor Dostoevsky, in his novel Crime and Punishment, critiques the ideas of rationalism and utilitarianism through the main character, Raskolnikov, who struggles with an inner conflict fueled by his nihilistic view of the world.
And philosopher Soren Kierkegaard writes about constructing meaning in a seemingly meaningless and finite world through placing faith in things that transgress the material world.
Rivaling in salience to these topics of purpose, freedom, and mortality comes another set of great questions that relate not to the aforementioned subjects, but to flu season.
Every fall, not an existential crisis, but a sanitary crisis, takes hold of germaphobes, as the advent of flu season provokes the perennial fears of dirty door knobs, people coughing in public, and running low on hand sanitizer or Clorox wipes.
Being a germaphobe in college is an even more perilous endeavor, as several thousand students live in close proximity to one another.
The contrary to this fear of germs or uncovered coughs in public is the prospect that one’s immune system will prevail.
Common convention holds that not washing hands is doing the body a favor, as a lack of hand washing acts essentially as a vaccine does, bolstering immunity against pathogens.
This is a tempting philosophy, but is one that should be avoided. Immunity from exposure to germs does in fact act similarly to a vaccine, but like a vaccine, exposing oneself to germs is only exposure to specific types and variants of germs.
Like all living organisms, germs evolve, and can do so rather quickly. With this said, the germs that someone is exposed to one day can differ from other variants they could encounter the next.
Additionally, while exposure to germs is similar to a vaccine, it is not a vaccine itself, as germs in vaccines have been altered to promote a certain immune response. The germs on a door knob have not.
While asking people to entirely convert to germaphobes is an unrealistic demand, it is in everyone’s best interest to be one for at least a few months, and now is not a bad time to start.
Manchin and Sinema: Disrupting the Democratic Agenda
by Gabriel Capella ’25
When Joe Biden won his bid for the presidency in November of 2020 and the Democratic Party retained control of the House of Representatives, Democrats still had one more obstacle preventing them from full control of Washington: the highly competitive Senate races. The Senate elections were so close that in the state of Georgia, they went to a runoff. Ultimately, both Democrats won their Georgia runoff races, marking a 50-50 divide in the Senate. Immediately after these results, political analysts across the country predicted that while Democrats technically had control of the upper chamber of Congress, the Democratic Party would be almost unable to pass their long-desired big pieces of legislation because of obstruction from the two moderate senators of their caucus: Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.
Those analysts’ predictions have been exactly right in recent weeks.
These two senators are the cause of Democrats’ struggle to pass their $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, more commonly known as the Build Back Better Act. Reconciliation is a Senate procedural rule that allows for budget legislation to be passed evading a filibuster. The Senate is allowed to utilize this process only twice a year, and Democrats have only one more chance at it as the 2021 American Rescue Plan passed through reconciliation.
Just a month ago, Manchin reinstated his opposition to the Build Back Better Act when he said: “I, for one, won’t support a $3.5 trillion bill, or anywhere near that level of additional spending.” Senators Sinema and Manchin’s number one reason to oppose the bill is its high cost. They worry that additional government spending will cause inflation in the economy. However, although the price tag of this bill may appear sky-high at first, the federal government does not have to immediately write a check to pay for it. In fact, the legislation was enacted so that we could pay for it over a period of 10 years.
It appears illogical that these two senators continue to obstruct this bill, especially considering the majority support that it holds in public opinion among voters. Ultimately, their lack of support shows discord among the Democratic Party and proves that there is little room for reconciliation among leaders of the same party. What this means for the future of the Build Back Better Bill is yet to be determined, but it does not bode well for the state of the country’s recovery.
Tangents and Tirades
by The Cowl Editor on October 24, 2021
Rivalry of the Seasons
by Joe Kulesza ’22
Of all the geographic regions in the United States, New England is typically the scapegoat for various reasons. Whether it be the sports teams that frequently win titles, the sometimes reckless driving in the cities, or even the touchy personality of some locals, there is always something with which people take issue about New England.
An additional point of contention regarding New England is also the weather. Famous for its long winters and wet and dreary springs, the weather patterns that New Englanders are subject to are often held against this region of the country.
And while it may be true that the perpetually sunny state of California is enticing during the throes of February, New England has one weather attribute that virtually no other state or region can boast about.
The ephemeral period of time wedged between the jubilant days of summer and the long nights of New England winters is autumn, and it is this season that makes up for the deficiencies of every other.
During this time of year, the diminishing levels of chlorophyll in deciduous trees give way to an array of colors, which are entirely absent throughout the preceding seasons.
The arrival of fall also means the advent of better food. The cliché summer foods such as hamburgers and hot dogs give way to apple cider donuts and pumpkin pie.
And lastly, if not for fall, there would be no such thing as the widely enjoyed pumpkin spice latte. It is because of this very reason that every region, not just New England, owes its gratitude to the season of fall.
As Long As You Have Done Enough, You Have Done Your Best
by Jezel Tracey ’24
Being a college student is not an easy thing. It is not just about getting good grades, but is a combination of maintaining a good GPA, having a social life, and simply just existing. Unfortunately, midterms add on to the pressures of being a “good college student.”
While it is said that test scores do not define a person, the pathways to a successful life seem to go against that idea. When it comes to getting into one’s top choice of graduate, law, or medical school, grades do matter.
Exam scores should not be misunderstood as a measurement of what someone is and is not capable of. The scores of assessments are based on what one is able to remember within the given time of the test, not how much a student comprehends a concept.
It is when individuals do not understand or accept this reality about test grades that they begin to subconsciously think less of themselves, creating more stress in their efforts to become, as mentioned above, the epitome of a “good college student.”
During this overwhelming time, it is important to remain grounded and focus on the things that can be controlled.
When students concentrate on the things out of their control rather than those within it, they fall victim to the workings of the mind, causing unnecessary anxieties when, in reality, it is possible to control those thoughts.
Tangents & Tirades
by The Cowl Editor on September 23, 2021
PC’s New Commitment to Health
by Emily Ball ’22
With October being a month focused on mental health awareness, Providence College will be hosting events and initiating many efforts to decrease the stigma around talking about mental health issues and seeking help.
One of these steps is the distinction between the Health Center and the Personal Counseling Center. The Health Center is now located in Davis Hall, while the Personal Counseling Center is located in Bedford Hall.
This separation provides more appointment bookings for students seeking help with both mental and physical health. It is also a step towards providing more privacy for students seeking mental health guidance from a professional counselor.
“I think it is important to work on privacy because some students just don’t feel comfortable with other people knowing about what they are going through,” Maddie Guth ’22 said. “I hope that the extra space will allow students to be seen faster, especially those who may not feel completely comfortable walking into the Personal Counseling Center.”
Separating the two centers also shows students that both mental and physical health are equally important. This is a major step in breaking down the stigma against mental health and encouraging students to seek help when they need it.
PC’s decision to separate the Health Center and the Personal Counseling Center is one that will be beneficial to mental health awareness efforts across campus.
Break the Stigma: Walk Across the Lawns
Zach Rossi ’23
It is apparent to anyone who has stepped on Providence College’s campus how much the College invests in its landscaping. Nearly every day as students walk to class, there is some sort of work being done to maintain this investment.The lawns being mowed on a consistent basis is a prime example. Whether it is the amount of effort put into the lawns or the admiration for the pathways around campus, PC students have created an unwritten stigma around walking across the grass that needs to be broken.
Even though most students understand it would be a lot faster to cut across Slavin Lawn to get Dunkin’, everyone adheres to the pathways, most of which are spread out and take more time to walk. Put aside general convenience—it’s basic logic to cut these corners. Why do students who live in Davis walk all the way along the surrounding pathway to go to Accinno when they can cut across the grass to the parking lot? It would not only benefit students in saving some time, but professors would not have their lectures interrupted within the first few minutes by the path-adhering stragglers at 8:35 am.
The stigma needs to end by normalizing walking across the grass on campus. In today’s PC culture, the student that walks across the lawn is the odd one out. But really, it is the people who refuse to use the lawns to save time that are the weird ones.
Study Spots Fight for Power
Joe Kulesza ’22
While the number of hours may vary, the amount of time students spend studying at school constitutes a considerable amount of the college experience.
Even for students who are more concerned with their ability to play beer-die than with understanding the concept of quantitative easing in finance class, there comes a time for all students when opening a book is necessary.
And for the majority of students, the question of where they study is just as important as how.
Tradition at Providence College has allowed the library to enjoy a long interval as the premier study spot for many classes of students. In years past, one was lucky to even find an empty chair on the upper level, much less an entire table on any given weeknight.
But COVID-19 dethroned the library from its long-enjoyed incumbency, and on the post-coronavirus campus, as the power struggle between study spots has left no clear winner, the issue of where to study has become an important topic of discussion.
Among the top study spot contenders is the business school, which, compared to the library, has much more comfortable chairs.
The docket also features the Slavin Center as a top contender, which boasts many more food options than the library.
Despite these advantages, the library needs to once again reinstate its position as the best study spot on campus.
PC’s library has lived to bear witness to the sweat, tears, and last-minute papers of many generations of students, and this legacy is more important than comfortable chairs or readily available snacks will ever be.
Putting Lipstick on a Pig
by The Cowl Editor on September 16, 2021
Putting Lipstick on a Pig
Raymond Dining Hall Aesthetic Renovations Are Not Enough
Joe Kulesza ’22
Providence College is in many ways a beautiful campus. The Gothic architecture of Ruane and Harkins Hall is a historic staple of Catholic colleges, situating PC in the greater tradition of liberal arts institutions. The west side of campus is where Saint Dominic Chapel is located, decorated with 45 stained glass windows and an ornate cupola. On lower campus sits the business school, which opened in 2017, and serves as a mark of how far the College has come and how much it plans to grow and develop into the future.
Yet, despite all the prominent buildings and the beauty on this quintessential New England campus, it is the College’s Raymond Dining Hall, colloquially referred to as “Ray,” which incontestably elicits the most conversation among students here on campus.
But Ray’s reputation is one that is quite different from the other buildings on campus, for if Ruane was the class salutatorian, Ray is that kid your parents do not want you hanging around with after school.
Conversations surrounding Ray do not involve ornate cupolas, or Gothic architecture, but rather include topics such as stomach pain, heartburn, or gastrointestinal tract upset. Yes, it is true that Ray is the problem child of the buildings here on campus, and recent renovations inside Raymond Hall have continued its reputation of being the talk of the town.
In the College’s concerted efforts to make changes for the better, though, improvements have been made to the interior of the building, including but not limited to: new serving stations, different seating arrangements, and an upgraded DIY station.
Just like an indecisive teenager, Ray has taken on yet another identity this year, trying desperately to change its reputation so that it can avoid further criticism and blame as the cause of students’ various digestive troubles.
The conversation now becomes whether these changes have been enough to serve as an inflection point in Ray’s long and tumultuous history with the student body at PC.
Thus far, it appears the renovations have had little impact on the student body’s opinion of the dining hall. Seasoned Ray customers Tommy Diverio ’22 and Frankie Radics ’22 are students who have opted for a meal plan during their final year at school.
While both of them find it convenient for the majority of their cooking needs to be taken care of during the busy academic year, they voiced concerns about the changes. Diverio spoke to the fact that the food has not changed, saying: “The new lights are pretty cool, but the food is exactly the same as last year. When did we ask for new lights?”
A similar conclusion was made by Radics, who opted for the 105-swipe plan this year. Radics reiterated other students’ concerns that “the food is still pretty much the same” as years prior.
A final interview with Chris DeLuca ’22 only served to substantiate the two previous opinions, as he, too, was left wondering, “Why is Ray changing everything but the food?”
With all of this having been said, it is very likely the case that satisfying the different eating preferences of 4,000 college students is a monumental task for just one kitchen. Yet, despite this, there have been concerns with the food at Raymond Dining Hall for at least the past several years.
Niche, a popular website for reviewing colleges, has consistently rated the campus food a “D,” and the student consensus has also been quite obvious, with various petitions being signed by students over the last few years.
The novel-length saga of Raymond Dining Hall is one that continues into yet another year, with every student curious about how much longer it will continue.
It has become apparent the crux of the issue is the food, and not the facilities. Putting lipstick on a pig still leaves you with just a pig, and changing the serving stations of Ray still leaves you with Ray.
Busyness is Not Always What It Appears to Be
by kwheele4 on May 7, 2021
Busyness is Not Always What It Appears to Be
By Joseph Kulesza ’22
The college student is often subject to procrastination, writer’s block, or indifference from time to time; and it is during these times that we further subject ourselves to ridicule, calling ourselves lazy.
These moments of sloth seem like a dire contrast to the perpetually busy nature of being on a college campus, where the phrase “get involved” is as common as the phrase “clean up your room” is at home.
Any moment of time that is not spent studying for a chemistry exam, annotating a book for a humanities course, or socializing with friends is seen as a debit against our attempts at being successful on the balance sheet of life.
This attitude leaves us to seldom consider the contrary to perpetual busyness, so much so that it leaves the default mode of thinking about one’s time in college uncontested.
Yet, it may just be the case that the real threat to success lies not in one’s inability to be constantly busy, rather in our inability to be lazy.
The execution of everyday demands can be a taxing endeavor for the college student, one that leaves them subject to neglecting a more vulnerable part of their psyche, that being their interior mind.
It is in this realm of the interior mind where we contend with our problems, fears, and desires, and without adequate attention to this portion of our mind, everything else can quickly become disjointed.
Being helplessly preoccupied, it is all too easy to be burdened with problems and difficult decisions; while at the same time, it is in the quieter times of self-reflection that we come to understand the foundations of our problems and arrive at decisions that ultimately govern the plan we were otherwise feverishly trying to carry out.
These instances of access to our interior minds only occur when we are brave enough to ignore the immediate demands of our lives, or more bluntly, to be lazy for once.
In a way, what is many times seen as busyness can also be seen as avoidance, for those who may appear to have everything figured out the most may actually have it figured out the least.
The appearance of dutiful work and an extravagant social life can in actuality be distractions from the more abstract questions and problems that everyone is tasked with navigating eventually.
Although brains are better apt to carry out plans than reflect on their ultimate purpose, this doesn’t mean one ought not to be reflective.
What is seen as laziness can in fact be the incredibly fruitful activity of self-reflection. In the absence of laptops, textbooks, and friends, the sometimes chaotic nature of one’s time in college can be temporarily left behind and replaced with meaningful thoughts that have been previously ignored.
Under the guise of laziness, one can perform the important work of cleaning up the thoughts of our interior mind, and this task becomes even more important during final exams.
While it may be the case that there are textbooks for every class that is offered, there is not a textbook for life. This fact warrants that adequate time is spent attending to the difficulties and problems that come along with it, even if this is done at the expense of socializing or studying.
Ironically enough, time taken away from studying, annotating, and socializing can improve what time is spent carrying out these activities which are all commonplace in college life.
It is important to realize that not all forms of busyness are beneficial. Understanding why one is completing a task is just as important as understanding how that task will be completed. Only through the act of being lazy can one truly be productive, and in this way, busyness is not always what it appears to be.
Tangents & Tirades
by kwheele4 on April 22, 2021
At Least Send Me a Rejection
As the spring semester comes to an end, students find their summer fate in the hands of companies, firms, and publications. Due to the pandemic, this year’s internship search has been brutal. Many companies are hiring graduate students or post-graduate students in place of undergraduates as summer interns because of the dismal job market.
This leaves many Providence College students internshipless, spending hours on Handshake and LinkedIn in the wee hours of the night, vying for the few coveted paid internship positions. They send resumes out to quite frankly anywhere that seems remotely employable.
The worst part that accompanies this digital, human-less process is the failure of employers to follow up with their applicants. This is due to a few reasons, one being that many digital job platforms are not up to date. Many companies leave up their listings even after filling the specified position. Thus, students’ efforts are for nothing.
Secondly, humans are barely involved in the review process anymore, with some companies sending resumes through a word-searching software to find proper verbiage that they think fits their position. The resumes that do not qualify are pushed to the side, and the student applicant has no idea.
Lastly, a lot of companies have too many applicants. They just pick out the highest-qualified graduate student and move on, without even a notice to the 200 other undergraduates who thought they really, maybe, had a shot.
This cycle ends with a lot of frustration and confusion on students’ ends because they have no idea what to look for, who to contact, or if they even should keep trying to apply! Employers should have the decency and courtesy to send out a rejection letter to those they do not end up moving forward with, or, at the very least, they should update their postings. With these bare minimum techniques, students may have a better chance of enjoying their spring semester, knowing how to move forward with their summer plans.
—Olivia Bretzman ‘22
Cooking and College Students
For the upperclassmen who live in Cunningham, Mal Brown, Ditraglia, Bedford, or Davis halls, there is always one room that is used significantly less than the others.
While students spend the most time in their bedrooms by virtue of sleeping there, it can be said that out of the three remaining rooms, the kitchen, bathroom, and common room, it is the kitchen that is inhabited the least.
In residence hall kitchens across Providence College’s campus, stovetops and ovens remain unused, cabinets seldom opened, and refrigerators rarely see substances other than alcohol. It is true that kitchens here on campus remain rather desolate places, and it can be assumed that this situation results solely from a lack of cooking.
For the college student, cooking is often viewed with as much dread as midterm exams, and, as such, students simply default to eating at the dining hall out of convenience.
While the vast majority of students do not like to cook on campus, an even greater majority do not like the dining hall food. A precarious situation results from not wanting to cook and not wanting to eat what is provided.
The irony of this situation is that it is one that can be avoided, as kitchens can and should be used for more than the purpose they currently serve in students’ lives.
College is a place to learn practical as well as academic subjects, and one of these practical things may just happen to be cooking.
—Joseph Kulesza ‘22
Wear a Comfortable Mask Size
Before the pandemic, we thought that the only masks that existed were the traditional, light blue medical masks, and that only doctors needed to wear them. As we approach the year-and-a-half mark of wearing masks, we now know that they come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns. But which is the right mask for you?
Masks are mandatory in most states, which means that we have all had to adjust to the habit of wearing a mask in public. However, there are some tricks to making this uncomfortable habit more tolerable during this time.
With reusable masks that are usually made from cloth or other fabrics besides the traditional polypropylene mask, there is a wide range of available sizes for sale. Wearing the proper size can make all the difference in helping a mask become tolerable during this already difficult time. When looking to purchase a mask, think of a couple different options.
First, use a reusable mask, as it will save you money and will save the environment in the long run. Second, look at the available sizes to see what size is recommended for your face. You may have been using an adult large mask size for the past couple months, when you are really an adult small.
This year is already pressing the limits of tolerance for all of us, so why let an improper mask size become another nuisance in your day?
—Erin Garvey ‘22
What History Fails to Teach Us: Teaching Sterilized Versions of History in Schools Is Detrimental
by kwheele4 on April 15, 2021
What History Fails to Teach Us: Teaching Sterilized Versions of History in Schools Is Detrimental
by Joseph Kulesza ’22
The prominent way that people gain knowledge about the world is through the means of testimonial knowledge: knowledge that is obtained from other people. With this said, very little of the world is understood through our direct experience.
In science class, students are not expected to individually discover electron orbitals, as Niels Bohr already did that. In calculus, if it were not for Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, students would not know much about integrals.
And in history, if it were not for historians who have recorded events of the past, there would be very little to this subject area. Yet, history does not benefit from a thoroughly objective nature that the sciences benefit from, making the testimonial knowledge gained from the sciences reliable knowledge.
History is vulnerable to subjective accounts of events that have occurred, as people often see the world as it seems, and not as it is. Further, it is possible that events have not even been recorded at all.
It is because of these potential shortcomings that there is a danger regarding what history lessons students are taught in school, as there is no guarantee that what is taught accurately reflects what actually happened; in this way, history can fail to teach us.
It might come as a surprise for students to hear about some events that never made it into the standard curriculum taught in schools.
While slavery is a common area in high school curricula, other abuses against Black people, such as the Tuskegee study of syphilis in Black men, have become part of a history that students are entirely unaware of.
In this study, the U.S. Public Health Service, a federal agency funded by taxpayers, conducted research using Black men to study the effects of syphilis without patients’ informed consent. Additionally, participants in this study were lied to about the study, and adequate medical treatment was never given. Today, these circumstances would be classified as medical malpractice.
This documented event is somehow left unrecognized by virtually all high school curricula.
And while the Manhattan Project is thoroughly cemented into the textbooks of many students, not all of this event is told. It is true that physicists were authorized by President Roosevelt in 1942 to weaponize nuclear energy, but what is lesser known is that medical physicians were also a part of this effort.
During the Manhattan Project, physicists served to create radiation via nuclear fission, while physicians tested the effects of this radiation on humans. Working for the Manhattan Project exposed the workers to unhealthy amounts of radiation, and it was in the government’s best interest to understand these effects. When animal testing ended in unsatisfactory results, the government then turned to testing the effects of radiation on humans via plutonium injection.
It is written on the Atomic Heritage Foundation website that “these plutonium injections were given between 1945-1947 at the Manhattan District Hospital at Oak Ridge, the University of California San Francisco, the University of Chicago, and Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester.”
A compromising of human health at best, and human rights abuse at worst, these events are not found in the standard curriculum. The theme of these two instances, as well as other instances of this kind, seems to be an attempt to preserve a type of narrative which results in a government that is immune from criticism.
While it is convenient for a government to have positive public relations, these types of attempts to sterilize American history only do a disservice to the people. In order to properly make decisions regarding the future, an accurate understanding of the past is needed.
A sterilized history is an inaccurate one, and the image of any organization should not take priority over the truth.
Tangents & Tirades
by kwheele4 on February 25, 2021
Convert to Cold Showers
Other than going to bed, a hot shower is one of the small things that people often look forward to at the end of each day. This welcomed event takes anywhere from five to possibly even 45 minutes, depending on how stressful of a day you had and how long you have before you deplete your hot water tank and end up with angry family members.
It is considered heresy to speak out against hot showers, given their almost sacrosanct status in everyone’s lives. Hot shower’s long forgotten brother—the cold shower—is therefore left only for those who are insane enough to wish themselves pain and misery as the cold water droplets bombard their skin.
It is unfortunate that cold showers have gotten this bad reputation, especially given that most of the people who speak out against cold showers have never actually taken one themselves.
Hot-shower-takers would be surprised to hear that cold showers carry with them many benefits: increased blood circulation, expedient recovery after workouts due to a phenomenon known as vasoconstriction, and better looking hair and skin.
All of these benefits, and many more, can be had by adopting cold showers as part of your nightly routine. So come and be a defector, or even heretic against the tyranny of hot showers. Your skin and hot water boiler will thank you.
—Joseph Kulesza ’22
Just Stop Using the “R-Word,” Please
One of the most disturbing and common practices in today’s society is using slurs to degrade someone, particularly when used by educated, “morally righteous,” Christian students at Providence College. More than ever, the “r-word”—one of the most outdated, outwardly malicious words—has been notably prevalent recently.
The “r-word” is never acceptable to use. Period. Obviously the same goes for any other slur. The use of slurs simply serves to harm people.
Utilizing the idea of a person with a disability who holds the exact same dignity as oneself to make fun of someone or something opposes the very nature of Christian ethics. It degrades an entire group of wonderful and capable people that bring beauty and honesty into the world.
Not only do people offend the entirety of the world’s disabled population when they use the “r-word,” but they also offend those who have people with disabilities in their lives. The use of this word stings them to their core and creates resentment within relationships. It makes one re-evaluate the very nature and character of the offender. This word also nullifies the Catholic concept of inherent human dignity.
It simply makes no sense. Feeling the need to use this word should serve as a call to action to reevaluate oneself and what one is trying to say. Before using this word, perhaps think about how using it only serves to show more about oneself than it does the person the word is directed towards.
—Olivia Bretzman ’22
Normalcy Via Viewing Friars Athletics Virtually
One of the biggest benefits of Providence College is the sense of Friar pride at sports games. Whether it’s a basketball game at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, a hockey game at Schneider Arena, or a field hockey game at Lennon Family Field, students always show up excited to cheer on the Friars.
Amid a pandemic, it is still important to watch sports games, even virtually, in order to maintain the sense of pride and normalcy that students experienced at PC in the pre-pandemic world.
Some believe that watching these games virtually is not worth it because it is not the same as being there in person. However, watching these games online can still foster a sense of pride and community when you watch them with your roommates.
“Even though it feels very different, I still love to watch all of the basketball games with my housemates,” Madeline Guth ’22 said. “We stream them on our TV and make food, so it is still a very fun experience even if it isn’t the same as it was when coronavirus wasn’t a thing. I love cheering on PC sports teams because it makes life feel slightly more normal.”
Students can still feel a sense of Friar pride by tuning into the virtual sports games and watching them with roommates or housemates.
In a world that does not feel very normal, it is important to adapt to this new reality and to do things that make life feel as close to the pre-pandemic reality as possible.
—Emily Ball ’22