Tangents and Tirades
Make Time for 7 P.M. Mass
By Zach Rossi ’23
As a Catholic institution, Providence College does a phenomenal job providing Mass to its students. In their tours of PC, nearly all members of Friars Club or Admission Ambassadors discuss the Mass options for students, focusing on one specifically: the 10 p.m. mass. While this service gets an abundance of attention and hype at the College, it is inferior to the 7 p.m. Mass.
The 10 p.m. Mass is often completely filled with students. To get enough seats for yourself and your friends, you need to get to the chapel relatively early. It tends to get so packed because the Mass is such a production. The music, performed by some of PC’s best singers and musicians, is unique to the service and gives a more contemporary alternative to a traditional Catholic Mass. While this format can be refreshing, it likens the service to more of a spectacle than an actual Mass. The environment of it all, tied in with getting out at 11 p.m., gives people the feeling of attending a packed, late-night concert. The 7 p.m. Mass, on the other hand, is at a reasonable time and gives people the chance to enjoy a traditional Catholic Mass, and without being on top of one another.
The 10 p.m. Mass has a great reputation, but is it really all that? The 7 p.m. Mass offers a standard service and gives one the chance to enjoy it with one’s friends in a comfortable setting. While one may be unique, the other is more preferable if a person is really trying to just enjoy Mass.
Embrace the Discomfort of Being Alone on Campus
By Olivia Bretzman ’22
Walking to the Slavin student center from Phillips Memorial Library takes approximately three minutes. Most of that time, although so brief, is spent on one’s phone.
When walking alone from a residence hall on lower campus to the science building, the task becomes even more daunting. There seems to be an unwritten script for students to quell their feelings of discomfort walking alone by going on their phones.
Students hardly ever walk alone with their head up or ears unplugged. While understandable when one is trying to make one’s walks more enjoyable, often there is a sense of urgency to constantly fill any sort of empty space, conversation, or moment.
This habit has become part of almost everyone’s daily life and is incredibly detrimental. In life, there are supposed to be moments of silence, of respite, of repose. Life should not just be a huge jumble of distractions and screens.
Our campus yearns to be appreciated. People are meant to be acknowledged and smiled at. Humanity finds its place in nature by looking up every once and a while and putting down one’s phone.
Not only do people lose out on opportunities to be silent, but also to learn something. By looking for the details on our campus and in others’ faces, students, professors, administrators, and coaches can gain a perspective on life that will impact them far more than anything on their iPhone.
Of course, there are moments during one’s walk that are perfect for a phone call to one’s mother and should be cherished, but aside from a call or genuine human interaction, it simply makes no sense to pass up on the opportunity to look around and smell the roses.
Moreover, everyone can and should try to embrace the discomfort of being alone when walking around campus and take in life for its raw and pure nature.
Why Being a Material Girl in College Is Not a Smart Thing to Do?
Ashley Seldon ’24
For the last couple of months, one of the most popular sounds on TikTok has been “Material Girl” by Saucy Santana. Many users have been quoting the sound to brag about their poor spending habits while actually having little-to-no money in their bank accounts. While it is fun to listen to, and can be entertaining to pretend everyone can live out their “Blair Waldorf” dreams, most expenses are unnecessary and give insight into how wrapped up young women have become in material items. Some girls will brag that they cannot stop buying expensive oat milk lattes or constantly have packages from Amazon arriving at their houses. However, spending hundreds of dollars on nails that last two weeks or fast fashion is merely short-term gratification, and in the long term, women will likely regret spending money on these items because many college students do not have steady incomes and either work few hours at minimum wage jobs or live off the money their parents put in their bank accounts.
While these TikTok videos are jokes and are often intended to merely poke fun, it is concerning that the trend seems to be encouraging young women to buy useless items that they do not need.. To combat this, it would be wiser for college-aged girls to begin to recognize their toxic spending habits now before it leads to dangerous adult behaviors that could affect one’s credit score or ability to save money. For example, instead of instantly buying something or constantly “treating yourself,” try to sit on online orders for longer and recognize that the things you want are probably not needed. There is already a stigma that young women do not know the value of money—prove everyone wrong.
It Is Time to Make the Super Bowl a Federal Holiday
It Is Time to Make the Super Bowl a Federal Holiday
by Zach Rossi ’23
Sports are an essential part of cultures across the world. In America, football is the most popular sport. An abundance of resources are put into football programs across the country, all with the objective of winning a national championship. At the professional level, the National Football League harbors the same culture of working towards a championship, only itsbig game is quite literally the biggest spectacle in the western hemisphere: the Super Bowl. While tens of millions of Americans tune in, there is so much more behind this event that makes it such a staple of American culture and deserving of a federal holiday to the likes of the Fourth of July, Veterans Day, and Memorial Day.
The NFL itself is one of the most watched programs throughout its season. From September to February, no other sport receives the same attention as professional football. On Sundays, the only thing outperforming the NFL in ratings is God. Besides that, millions of Americans are putting a pause on life, gathering with friends and family, and watching seven hours of football. It is so big, there is an entire channel on television without commercials just so fans can get their fill of football. These are not ordinary fans, but fans who live and die by their teams, rooting like they have control over a game’s outcome. To watch the Super Bowl after months of dedication to the league is the culmination of all that time and energy put into the rollercoaster of emotions that come with being a fan.
What makes the Super Bowl different from any other football Sunday is the fact it brings the diehard football fans together with everyday friends and neighbors who might not care about football at all. People come together at Super Bowl parties all over that nation, and it might not even be for the game itself. There are the one-of-a-kind commercials that will not air anywhere else, the halftime show with high profile performers for a fifteen-minute concert, and the endless array of classic football food. Burgers, hot dogs, ribs, you name it. Even if someone does not watch the game or go to a Super Bowl party, they will still be subject to the constant media coverage of the big game. It is an unavoidable event in this country; therefore, it should get the recognition it deserves.
This country would have done a great service if the Super Bowl was declared a federal holiday. No matter who you are, where you are, or how much of a fan you are, the Super Bowl will be observed in some sort of capacity. This is not a matter of getting a free day off from school or work, but instead the recognition of one of America’s most unifying days of the year. The vast majority of Americans are spending time with loved ones and enjoying all the various elements of the Super Bowl. It brings the nation together for one day to celebrate the culmination of yet another football season. That is a difficult feat, especially in the current climate, and only furthers the significance of the game. Therefore, to have a day off every year to fully enjoy some unity and bonding with friends over the sport this country cherishes should not be a question. The Super Bowl as a federal holiday honors football and gives the nation at least one day to come together. That should be encouraged.
Tangents and Tirades
PC Needs to be on Flip or Flop
Ashley Seldon ’24
Providence College announced their construction project to create a new residence hall named after Father Shanley, a relief to students since many friars remember the hassle of finding housing last spring. While it’s nice that PC is taking action to solve this issue, it would be nicer if the college devised a plan to renovate the existing dorm buildings. Many of the residence halls were built in the 1950s and 60s, and that’s apparent once stepping inside.
The tuition and room and board costs have gone up expeditiously in the last ten years, now exceeding $77,000 for students to attend. Despite these heavy prices, students feel that their needs are not being entirely met in terms of comfortable living. Basic living standards need to be met to justify the elitist cost families are expected to pay. The rooms in McVinney hall are way too small to be considered “doubles.” Most residence halls don’t offer air-conditioning or adequate storage space, and provide few wall outlets. In Mal Brown, there are only four washers and dryers for the 142 residents to fight over. Considering the differences in technological needs over the last 50 years, printers and spacious study lounges in dorms would help modernize these spaces.
The school administration and alumni’s efforts to renovate and improve PC are appreciated. However, instead of building more, they need to update what the campus already has by partnering with students.
COVID-19 Cannot Stop the Friars
Zach Rossi ‘23
The Providence College Men’s Basketball Team is ranked within the top 25 best teams in the nation for the first time in years. With a record of 16-2 and being ranked seventeenth in the country, this year’s squad is eyeing an NCAA tournament berth. There is only one thing stopping this from happening, and it is not any of the competition.
COVID-19 stands in the way of the college basketball season. Even if athletes do follow proper pandemic protocols, the season could still be ruined by an executive decision due to COVID-19 “problems.” For any upperclassmen, they can remember the incredible run of the 2020 season where the Friars took down top teams left and right. As the Big East Tournament rolled around, their run to glory was destroyed by the beginning of mass quarantines. At the time, little was known about the virus and how it would affect people. Now, with that knowledge, let the kids play.
Our Friar athletes work too hard to have their chance at a great accomplishment stripped from them. They dedicate their time, energy, and effort to their sport. As their hard work finally comes to fruition with a phenomenal season, let us not have the virus be a greater concern than rival Villanova University. It is time to finally move forward with some normalcy, and there is no better way to do it than by continuing to watch the Friars win basketball games.
Tangents & Tirades
Die Hard Is Not a Christmas Movie
Zach Rossi ’23
The Christmas season is finally underway, which restarts a prominent debate of our time: Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? The decades-long debate finally ends here, for the correct take is that Die Hard is not a Christmas movie, and to think otherwise does not make any sense.
Die Hard is an action and thriller film. It revolves around the character John McClane, an NYPD officer tasked with saving his wife and other civilians who are being held hostage by terrorists. The movie is a constant battle between McClane and the terrorists. It provides viewers with great action scenes, but the only aspect of the movie that has to do with Christmas is that it takes place on Christmas Eve.
Compare Die Hard to actual Christmas movies like The Santa Clause, Elf, or National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. It is clear there is no actual element of a Christmas movie within Die Hard. The movies listed above have some sort of Christmas theme within them, whether it be Santa Claus, a literal elf, or hanging out with a crazy family for the holiday. Bruce Willis with an assault rifle shooting at terrorists while yelling “yippee ki-yay” does not exactly scream Christmas.
If the movie took place on any night besides Christmas Eve, there would be no debate. Die Hard is a great movie, and if people want to watch it at Christmas time, good for them. But it is not a Christmas movie.
Snow Days: A Thing of the Past?
Erin Garvey ’22
Waking up in the morning, seeing the white flakes of snow outside my window, and thinking, “Maybe today will be a snow day,” was always one of my favorite ways to wake up during the winter because it meant an extra day off from school and more time to sleep in. But thanks to Zoom, are snow days a thing of the past?
The snow made commuting to school dangerous or even impossible under some conditions, which, in turn, resulted in a snow day. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Zoom has become the go-to for teachers when they feel in-person classes are not the safest option. So, if it is too dangerous to commute and professors are unable to travel to school, will they move to remote learning for the day?
Currently, it is unclear what a snow day will look like in the near future; however, it is safe to say that it will not be the snow days that we all experienced in the past. Snow days might be changing into days of remote learning and learning from home, replacing days off and sleeping in.
What does a snow day mean to you? Will remote learning on a snow day be just as accepted as a day off? Or, should we just start hoping now that we have no snow days soon? Personally, I am going to miss waking up to an email stating “Snow Day: Day Off.”
Tangents & Tirades
A Break is A Break
Emily Ball ’22
Thanksgiving break, a time supposedly set aside for family time, lots of delicious homemade food, and tons of relaxation.
Yet, how are Providence College students supposed to relax when professors still make the decision to assign homework over the five day break?
The two weeks following Thanksgiving break leading up to Christmas break are notably some of the most stressful in the entire semester. Finishing up any semester-long projects, writing the last few pages of a final paper, all while preparing for finals that loom over students’ heads.
PC students deserve Thanksgiving break to enjoy time with their families and to relax and unwind before their minds return to their academics for the remainder of the semester.
Some professors say that they are not assigning homework, YET, they encourage you to practice what you learned in class or review certain concepts and expect a quiz when you return. While this isn’t actual written homework, it still puts pressure on the students to do some academic work while home for the holidays.
Everybody deserves a break, especially around family-oriented holidays when some students may be struggling with their home situations. By resisting assigning homework over break, PC professors would do a great justice for the well-being of their students.
PC Should Have a Full Week off for Thanksgiving
Zach Rossi ’23
Any student or staff member at Providence College is aware of the days off to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Most would agree that normally scheduled classes on Monday and Tuesday before break are more counterproductive than anything else.
Full-time students at PC only have one day off prior to this three-day relief, the Monday of Columbus Day weekend, while other institutions give at least two or three days off for a mini “fall break.” Since PC students are exceptional at staying on top of their work, that means they are spending a lot of time and energy trying to complete their assignments and prepare for exams to the best of their ability, all while balancing extracurriculars, internship and job searches, and work obligations. With the absence of a “fall break” to give some sort of breathing room to accommodate everything being juggled, there should be a full week off for Thanksgiving.
It is not just students that need this sort of breathing room, but professors as well. Not only do they face poorly attended classes on Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, but the amount of work they have, whether it be prepping for lectures or grading on top of outside research, calls for just as much of a break as the students do. Therefore, for the sake of students and staff, the full week can be spared to regroup and finish the semester strong.
Facebook to Meta: A Cause for Concern
Facebook to Meta: A Cause for Concern
By Zach Rossi ’23
It has been nearly three weeks since Facebook announced that their company name is changing to “Meta.” While the move will not affect Facebook as a social media platform, the name change is motivated by the company itself and their hope for being the leading force in establishing the “metaverse,” a virtual reality in which users can socialize through the use of avatars.
Upon the announcement, Facebook’s co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said his focus on a future metaverse is molded around attracting younger users to his company’s services, believing that this sort of virtual reality is to be “the successor to the mobile internet.” Early launches of the “experience” have not included Facebook, but other companies, such as Roblox Corp. and Epic Games Inc., released a virtual concert that users could attend as avatars, which was attended by millions. The initiative taken by companies outside of Facebook, as well as the large amount of people using the content in its beginning stages, indicates that the metaverse is indeed the future of the online realm.
With the early success of the metaverse product, and the expectation that further developments will make these sorts of virtual events more lifelike for users, some cause for concern is warranted. A software like this becoming as vastly mainstream as using the internet on your iPhone would be detrimental to normal human functions within society. It would result in everyday people reverting to their virtual realms to connect with one another as modern-day society now does on social media, a media experience that is substantially less realistic than the metaverse, yet already results in severe psychological damage for younger users. As Zuckerberg has admitted, the push towards the metaverse is to draw in younger users; one can only imagine the mental and emotional damage a real-life virtual reality will do to teenagers.
While the incredible advancement of technological abilities is worth celebrating and admiring, when the advancements are being used to society’s detriment rather than benefit, consumers should not give into the product no matter how intriguing it may be. Facebook itself has admitted, and outside sources have confirmed, that their platform is harmful to young people’s minds. The damage that will be done to young people by the embracement of virtual reality will only make their actual reality more miserable. Within a virtual reality, people will be able to tailor everything to exactly how they want it, allowing them to live through perfect experiences. Once people leave these perfect surroundings they created for themselves, they are left with a reality where everything is far from perfect.
There is no question that the metaverse will become mainstream in due time. A CNN poll recently showed that 76 percent of American adults believe Facebook is making society worse, yet the vast majority of people are still active on the platform. If Facebook is already making society worse, the metaverse will have far more detrimental impacts on the way society functions. In a society where the metaverse is as mainstream as social media today, people will be attending concerts with millions of other “people” while interacting with each other’s avatar, but in reality these users are likely going to be sitting in their bedrooms alone instead of having legitimate human interaction. It has already been made clear that social media today is no substitute for actual relationships, experiences, and lived entertainment, so why should we expect the metaverse to be any better? Instead, we should expect the virtual reality experiment to be as dangerous as it sounds. The metaverse should not be encouraged, but condemned in order to keep some sense of normalcy in society.
Facebook’s Effect on Mental Health
Facebook’s Effect on Mental Health
Social Media Megalith Hides Concerning Details
by Zach Rossi ’23
Facebook hid their knowledge of Instagram’s harmful effect on teenagers’ mental health, according to The Wall Street Journal. The story broke as a part of the Journal’s investigative series titled “The Facebook Files,” where they have published multiple pieces exposing the secrets of the social media giant. Although all of these stories are significant, the relevancy of Instagram makes puts this one among the most pressing to address.
The report notes how Facebook conducted an internal investigation into the matter of teenagers’ mental health issues relating to the use of Instagram. In 2020, at the conclusion of the investigation, they found that not only social media but Instagram in particular, causes an increase in anxiety, depression, eating disorders due to body image concerns, and suicidal thoughts among teenagers. The internal report was presented to CEO Mark Zuckerberg last March, yet, at the request of Senators to release their findings, the company gave evasive excuses as to why they would be keeping them quiet. With 40% of Instagram’s users being 22 years of age and younger, it is understandable why profits are prioritized.
That is the most egregious aspect of the entire story: not that Instagram is harmful to teenager’s mental health, but that Facebook was aware of the harm and actively tried to hide the truth in order to keep their bottom lines in tack.
This is not to say there was no action taken by Facebook. Instagram adopted new features such as the ability to hide the “like” count on pictures, since most teens have reported that the amount of likes they get is a major source of anxiety. But not only was this feature found to be ineffective when used, it was a voluntary measure to begin with. Including this feature on posts is not exactly a “norm” when using Instagram, so why would anybody use it? It seems more counterproductive to solving the problem when this social aspect is considered
Regardless, whatever “efforts” made by Facebook were intentionally minimal: to fix the problem entirely would mean altering their source of immense profit which is clearly not a risk they are willing to take.
If Facebook is not going to solve the problem, then it is up to the users of Instagram to rethink how beneficial being active on the platform really is. By having users utilize the app as it was initially designed and currently operating, they become part of the problem. The current state of the platform has been proven, by the owners of the platform themselves, to be extremely harmful to young people’s mental health and well-being. Therefore, it is only logical to think that the users themselves are encouraging the current structure of the app by their unofficial endorsement through their participation.
Everyone has bought into Instagram as a habitual part of their social lives, but it is time to address the elephant in the room: the general negativity the app can create. People were aware of the application’s harm, even before this concrete evidence by the Journal was published, yet everyone kept going back.
Although no solutions to the problem will be offered in this piece, hopefully a conversation will be started among Instagram users as to where the social media platform fits in their lives, and whether or not it is really worth it.
Tangents & Tirades
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.