Dear… Me

Graduation is 10 days away! Congrats you did it!

Dear-Younger-MEDespite the odds, you make it… Not many people thought you’d make it this far. Not because you weren’t smart enough or didn’t have the willpower, but after all you’ve been through… statistically you weren’t supposed to make it this far in life.

Losing your mother at the age of 12. Suffering through depression and suicidal thinking throughout the years. Not living with your Daddy, despite desperately wanting to. Moving from house to house. Moving in with your spiritual parents. And so much more.

I, for one, am proud of you! I’m proud of you for pushing through and not giving up even when you wanted to. Thank you. I wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t.

You’ve beat the odds. You’re about to graduate college. You’ve accomplished so much and422089_10150689657004460_910857626_n learned a lot, especially over the last five years.

During this journey, you’ve learned about time, friendships, stress, life after college

Time management is important. Although you did learn over the years that you can work quite well on deadline. But you’ve also learned how relieving it can be to work ahead and pace yourself. Know yourself and your limits. You may not have finished in four years, but what’s important is that you finished.

You’ve learned to take time to relax. Sitting by the bayou in the sun or in the quad reading a book or studying outside Starbucks or taking walks around campus. Whatever medium you used, you learned the importance of breaks.

While it is important to stay focused, you learned that it is just as important to enjoy life while it happened and not to let it pass you by.

Along this journey, you’ve connected with some pretty amazing people and met some great friends.The connections and friendships you’ve attained will hopefully be lifelong. How would you have made it without these people? Through these relationships, you’ve learned self-sacrifice, patience and so much more. You’ve learned the importance of friendships and how to be a good friend.

530360_10152092066589460_820806667_nOver the years you’ve allowed stress to get the best of you. It took you quite awhile, but eventually you did learn to not stress. Stressing never helped you get anything done. It actually wasted a lot of your time and got you nowhere. You’ve learned to pray and relax instead of stressing.

Take one day at a time, one assignment at a time. There’s no need to stress and no time to stress either. Just breath and enjoy life.

You’ve also learned not to stress over life after college. God has a plan and purpose for your life. So why stress when the creator of the universe has a unique plan in mind for you?

You may not have a job lined up and may not know exactly what you want to do in life. So what? It’s not the end of the world and you still have some time. Don’t rush to make decisions because you think they should’ve been made already. That is never a good idea.

untitled010Get ready! Ready for your career. Ready for marriage. Ready for a family. Ready for all the possibilities and opportunities life has to offer you. Remember to take chances and experience life. Take adventures and get out of your comfort zone. Do things you’ve never done.

The future has some much to offer you, but you can’t be scared. Don’t allow fear to cripple you. You are great! You have greatness within you. You were born to make a difference and you will, but don’t be afraid to take the next step, to jump into the unknown.

13177483_10154891403674460_2587620321745547303_nMost importantly, don’t lose yourself or your faith. You are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. And He makes no mistakes. Stay true to yourself. Always seek Christ first in everything and keep God at the center. Follow His guidance. You’ll never go wrong. You are loved! You are important! You are needed!

Push yourself. With Christ, you can do all things. Don’t place limits on yourself or on what God has for you. Follow your heart.  And always strive for your best. You beat the odds before and you will continue to do so. Have faith in God and in yourself.

I pray that you are happy and healthy and living life to the fullest. I pray that you remembered everything that you’ve learned and how much you’ve grown over the years. Take time to reflect and always be thankful. Life will continue to throw curveballs and maybe even fireballs your way, but they won’t stop you. They never did. Remember that your are strong. Your strength is found in God.

13151996_10154891399374460_5781943470641969158_nYou have a bright future ahead of you. So, don’t give up.

I can’t wait to see what amazing things you do. Because you were born to be great. Remember that God loves you! And whenever you feel lost or don’t know what to do next, just go to Him. He’s never steer you wrong.

Set goals and then exceed them.

Don’t worry because everything is going to work out in God’s timing. Keep believing in Him and trusting in Him. Who knows where you’re going next? Or what you’ll be doing next? I’m excited to find out. Continue to do everything that said you couldn’t or wouldn’t do. You’ve got this.






To name or not to name

This is a question many journalists, especially investigative journalists, are faces with.

An anonymous source is someone a reporter interviews but is not named in the actualanonymoussource story. One of the reasons is that they may fear losing their job. Another reason is that t may fear for their lives or their family. They may want to provide the information but don’t want the people they are talking about to find out the information came from them.

But there are also many problems and concerns with anonymous sources.

One: readers might question their credibility. Two: their reasoning may be to push their personal agenda. Three: descriptions used instead could be misleading.

But sometimes they are the only key to unlocking the true to a big story.

Nixon Resigns

The most famous anonymous source is “Deep Throat.” He was the source Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein used to help them uncover the Watergate scandal in the Nixon administration.

Watergate was the major political scandal that occurred in the 70s in the United States after a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters and President Nixon‘s administration’s attempt to cover-up its involvement.

Through their investigation and discoveries, they were able to connect Nixon to the burglary. Further investigation of Nixon was done which lead to Nixon’s resignation.

President's MenTwo years after the burglary and two months before his resignation, Woodward and Bernstein released their book, All the President’s Men. The book details the investigation by Woodward and Bernstein from the initial reporting of the Watergate burglary to realization that Nixon was involved.

The book names sources, such as Hugh Sloan, who were not identified in their initial articles. It also gives detailed accounts of Woodward’s meeting with “Deep Throat,” whose identity was unknown for 30 years

Woodward promised him that he would never reveal his identity.

mark-felt“Deep Throat” provided them with many tips and important information during their investigation. And like all journalists should do, they always tried to check his information with information other sources had given them.

When using anonymous sources it is important to keep them anonymous. Not doing so could result in a law suit. Also, the information from anonymous sources should be verified. This can be done by talking to other sources.

While anonymous sources are a must in some cases and can prove to be extremely useful, it may not always be the wisest choice.

There have been many cases when news organization used anonymous sources in their reporting and it has backfired. Which is why many, like the Times, are now choosing to use them sparingly.

The Associated Press lists several standards and practices regarding anonymous sources. They list three rules for material provided by anonymous sources:

  1. The material is information and not opinion or speculation, and is vital to the news report.
  2. The information is not available except under the conditions of anonymity imposed by the source.
  3. The source is reliable, and in a position to have accurate information.

Before using an anonymous source, you should always get approval to do so. Also, if the sources is approved, the managing editor must know the identity of the source. The source’s identity must be kept confidential.

Although anonymous sources may not be used as often as they used to be, they are still important in investigative stories, especially those involving politics.

Remember… the Watergate scandal would never have been reported without the use of anonymous sources. Using anonymous sources doesn’t equal to bad reporting. Only use them when it is absolutely necessary to.



So, you’re graduating… What’s next?

grad hat

Seniors, as we near the end of our undergraduate careers, there are so many things running through our minds.

We have to finish assignment upon assignment before the week is up. Then study for finals and finish projects while preparing for presentations. And it seems like the more you take off your to do list, the more you add to it.

It’s never ending.

gradAnd to add more stress to the ever-growing problem of ‘senioritis,’ everyone and their grandmother, no matter if you know them or not, keeps asking you that dreaded question: What are you going to do after graduation?

Some of us have plans and know exactly what we’re going to do after graduation. They have their dream jobs lined up and are preparing to move into their new apartment, maybe in a new city. They’re ready to jump into this thing called adult life.

Jessica Meyer

Mariah Mitchell

Gina Williams

While there are still some of us who cringe when asked this question because we haven’t exactly got it all together. They’re just glad to be graduating and might not have had time to think about the future. They may know what they want to do but just haven’t found the job that’s perfect for them. And who knows, they might even be going back home to live with their parents.

blog10-post-gradEither way, it’s okay. If you’ve got it all planned out, good for you! Go out and adult it up. lol. But if you don’t, there’s no need to panic just yet. It really is okay not to have it all together at this exact moment in life. Don’t rush into a job or career or back to school because the world around you is pressuring you to have a plan or get a job.

You have to do what’s best for you. You have to live with the decisions that you make, so make sure whatever you decide is what you want to do with your life. Take some time to think about it. Pray about it. Talk about it. Don’t ignore it.

If you haven’t even started thinking about it… Now might be the time to start. Get your resume together. Write your cover letter. Ask for recommendations, if needed. Don’t wait until after graduation to start. Start now.

So, what are your plans after graduation?fb488f31e8f140ec066b23804e55c407e8c1





“Buddy Check on 22”

Suicide continues to be a major problem is our society. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. And also the second leading cause of death for people 15 to 24 years old.

421a8a8668508294ca1cd04a05e076a6According to the American Foundation for Suicide Awareness, there are on average 117 suicides in a day. “Each year 42,773 Americans die by suicide.” For every one person who commits suicide, another 25 attempt suicide.

My oldest niece posted on Facebook Thursday morning about how heartbroken she was that two of her high school friends had committed suicide. She said, “Both Nathaniel and Brendan were friends of mine and I hate that they chose to end their lives at such a young age without living to become great people they set out to be.”

Both students attended Mandeville High School and committed suicide within 48 hours.

Suicide is a very personal and sensitive subject for me on many levels. And I have become very interested and passionate about suicide awareness and prevention over the years.

When I was younger I suffered from depression and often thought about suicide. Although, I have since overcame it, it was a battle of mine for years. My niece, the one mentioned bca2ce7220c587d496ba2e491cc1b585above, attempted suicide a couple years ago.

It has been a very long and tough journey for the both of us, but as she said in her post, we
“know how it feels to wanna take your life, to feel as if you have no one who cares and I had to learn that suicide wasn’t the answer.”

Also, a couple years ago a friend of mine from high school committed suicide. It caught us all by surprise. All of these incidents and situations in some way or another have sparked my passion to want to work with and help those who are suffering with depression and/or battling suicide.

It’s a subject that no one likes to talk about, but  over the last decade it “has again increased to 12.1 per 100,000,” according to SAVE, Suicide Awareness Voices of Education.

backSo, after seeing her post, this had been on my mind all that day. Then I saw the headline on the NY Times, “‘Buddy Check on 22’ Veterans Use Social Media to Fight Suicide.” I had to read the article and couldn’t stop until I was finished.

The article’s main focus was veterans and active duty soldiers. It also focused on how they keep in touch and let the others know they are “living life.”

This “spot check” on social media happens every 22nd of the month. “The 22nd of every month is a reminder to make a suicide prevention spot-check on former comrades,” the article reads.

They use different Facebook groups with the similar name to keep in touch throughout the years and on the 22nd someone will always post something like this: “Buddy check on 22! Where are my warriors?” And one by one the veterans will check in and tell everyone what they’ve been up to.

I thought this was beyond amazing! There are so many support groups and preventions centers and things of the such, but it is always important and helpful to have people around you who know first hand what you’ve been through and what you’re going through. This is very powerful.

The Department of Veterans affairs did a study in 2012 that concluded that “an estimated 22 veterans” committed suicide in 2012. That is where the number came from. And it has appeared on social media in the form of these roll calls and the push-up

To end this post, I think it is appropriate to include some of the various contacts that there
are for people dealing with depression and/or suicide: National Suicide Prevention Life Line 800-273-TALK (8255)    or    800-SUICIDE (784-2433)   or    211 or 911





Respect your elders


Different cultures value different things: religion, family, money, education, etc. Where they are placed on the list depend upon which country or culture you’re in.

Different cultures have different values and practices when it comes to aging. Some cultures celebrate the elderly, while others celebrate youth.

In some places, the elderly are respected and honored, while in others they are seen as old and incompetent. In some places, children take care of their parents at home, while in others they send their parents off to nursing homes.

imagesAgeism is a form of discrimination in the United States that includes negative views and stereotypes about the elderly. Because of this there is a significant negative impact on the care and well-being of elderly people.

Check out this article to see “7 very cool things other countries do for their elderly.”

From my experience, in America, growing old or becoming elderly isn’t typically a good thing. Most people don’t look forward to that time in their lives. People do whatever they can – no matter the cost – to look and/or feel younger.

I have yet to understand why Americans value youthfulness over age.

The elderly have so much that they can offer. For one, they have knowledge and wisdom and are more than happy to share it. But so often, they are left alone with no one to talk to. Why don’t people take more time to spend time with them? To just talk?

In today’s society everyone is so busy with their lives. So busy, in fact, that they can’t sit down for ten
minutes with an elder. Who knows how much they could have gained in just those ten minutes?

In other cultures the elderly aren’t seen as a burden. They are loved, honored and celebrated. They aren’t pushed aside, sometimes never to be seen again. They are a part of their families and the society.

Check out this article to see “7 cultures that celebrate aging and respect theircensus elders.”

Growing old is frowned upon in the West. In other cultures it’s frowned upon if growing old isn’t
respected. For example, “For citizens of Shanghai, not visiting their elderly parents will soon have a somewhat strange consequence — a lowering of their personal credit scores,” an article reads.

This goes into effect on May 1.

In China, there is also the “Elderly Rights Law” mandates that adult children visit their elderly parents often, no matter how far away they live. Punishment for not complying could range from fines to jail time. This went into effect in 2013.

This new set of rules takes it a bit further. The article reads, “The regulations decree that adults living separately from their parents must ‘visit or send greeting often,’ and also gives the parents a right to file lawsuits against their children for neglect.”

If a lawsuit is filed and the children still don’t comply, it could then “result in a negative impact on their credit rating.” The city’s law office believes that this will ensure that the law is adhered to.

article-2456273-18B2B35500000578-638_636x382Aging is a great thing that should be celebrated and honored all over the world – not just in some places. Our elders or the elderly are just as important as the youth and have just as much to offer.

How the world treats their elderly:





The New Day: Print Comeback?

Stephen King once said that “sooner or later, everything is new again.” Stephanie Mills said, “Everything that’s old is new, and everything that’s new is old.”

For some time now, print has been considered “old” and technology/Internet is “new.” But if high waist short shorts, crop tops and leggings can make a comeback. Certainly print newspapers can too. (They didn’t actually go away, but some say they have been in a steady decline.)

In a time when digital/Internet continues to grow and expand, one British paper has done the opposite of what many newspapers/ industries are doing.

They’ve gone print. The New Day, a new start-up, is a print-only daily. The paper prints five times a week, is available at 40,000 newsstands across Britain and sells for 70 cents.

But what it doesn’t have is a website or app. And the only social media presence they have is promoting their print product: “broadcasting screen shots of its front page and teasers about specific articles.”

Courtney Collins doesn’t believe that this type of paper can thrive in today’s world, a time when most industries are switching to or focusing more on digital/Internet.

Linda- blog“People want immediate information right at their fingertips. Instant gratification,” said Collins, associate producer at KNOE 8 News. “How can one obtain the same excellent results in the shortest amount of time?”

Collins graduated from ULM with a degree in mass communications in 2013.

One aspect in which the news industry has thrived on the web is in breaking the news. Reporters are able to publish and update stories in real-time. That’s what people want. 

In an NYTimes article, Alison Philipps, editor of The New Day, said, “‘There is still a significant number of people who have the habit in their blood’ of paying for content and who prefer the experience of reading off-line.”

The newspaper has a “photo-driven design and colorful typography.” It has a wide range of topics and “a punchy, conversational tone.”

This could be one reason why this paper will thrive. Some print newspapers are too dense while others are often one-sided. There are some that are just not appealing to the eyes. People want to look at things that are more visually interesting and that’s what the New Day is striving for. 

“It’s not just about news. It is about the experience. For many people, going to a Facebook page for the news is pretty unfulfilling,” Philipps said in the same article.

The experience of reading a print newspaper is different than reading the news online. You can hold the newspaper, feeling it’s pages. It even has a smell. It’s something physically in your hand. You can flip the pages. It’s this experience that matters and another reason why Philipps believes the paper will succeed. 

The digital/ Internet presence is growing in every aspect of our daily lives. We work on computers. We are constantly on our smartphones. We spend so much time on our tablets or watching television. Our eyes never get a break from screens.

A blog on lists this as one key benefit to print. This could also be another reason this new paper thrives in a digital world.

“Print allow you to step away. It catches people when they’re singularly focused on the page in front ofSteph- blog 2 them – not going back and forth between multiple screens,” the blog reads.

It’s hard to focus on only one thing on the Internet because you can have multiple tabs open at once. While you’re reading an article on the NYTimes, you can be listening to music, watching Netflix, scrolling down Facebook and so many other things.

With the print product in front of you, it’s more likely that you will focus on what you’re reading. Not that there can’t be other distractions: work, children, cooking, etc. But there are a lot fewer distractions than when you’re on the Internet.  

Collins said she doesn’t mind leaving her phone at home, reading a hardcover book or picking up a newspaper to read. She said that she believes there are still people like that, but also people who can’t go one minute without some form of technology.

“The younger generation doesn’t want to step away from the screen if everything they need is right there,” Collins said.

But since this paper won’t be like other print papers that are out there, who knows if it won’t be appealing to the younger generation? Maybe its “photo-driven design” will lore the younger generation in. 

Is it possible for print flourish again? Or is it continuing to fall to its ultimate death?

The first newspaper was published in Boston in 1690. Since the 1700s, newspapers have always been the primary medium of journalism.

Print has continued to maintain its credibility throughout the years. It has found ways to flourish despite constant changes in technology. Could print be making a comeback? I guess time will only tell.

Carter’s Text-Suicide Case


The highest court in Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court in the state, heard the controversial 25729case of Michelle Carter on Thursday. Carter’s attorney is appealing a juvenile court judge’s decision not to dismiss the involuntary manslaughter charge.

For those who don’t remember the case. … Here are some details.

In 2014, Conrad Roy III, was found dead in his pickup truck on July 13, 2014. Roy died by carbon monoxide poisoning. Although, his death was a suicide, Carter was indicted in February of 2015 after police found text messages between Roy and Carter. Prosecutors claimed that the messages proved that Carter “assisted Conrad’s suicide”.

Click here to see text messages between Carter and Roy leading up to his death

After reviewing the messages, police said, “Michelle not only encouraged Conrad to take his own life, she questioned him repeatedly as to when and why he hadn’t done it yet, right up to the point of when his final text was sent to her on Saturday evening, July 12, 2014.”

Carter was charged with involuntary manslaughter and would most likely stand trial. If convicted, she untitled1111could face up to 20 years in prison because she was charged as a “youthful offender” instead on a juvenile.

In September of 2015, Carter’s attorney attempted to get the charge dismissed in juvenile court. However, the judge ruled for the case to go ahead which meant that the case would proceed to trial.

On Thursday, the case was heard by the highest court in Mass. The goal was for the judge to dismiss the juvenile court judge’s decision.

Prosecutors argued that when Carter told Roy to “just do it” and when she told him to get back in the truck that day that she was committing manslaughter. While, Carter’s lawyers argued that her actions don’t meet the legal definition of manslaughter.

According to, manslaughter is the unlawful killing of another person without premeditation or so-called “malice aforethought” (an evil intent prior to the killing). It is distinguished from murder by lack of any prior intention to kill anyone or create a deadly situation.” There is voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.

untitled12365The court has to decide whether or not Carter’s texts “qualify as reckless actions that led to a predictable loss of life, a legal requirement for an involuntary manslaughter conviction,” according to

According to an article on, the court gave no indication on when it would rule.

This case has been very controversial since the beginning. Some people believe that she should be convicted. Reasons being that instead helping Roy or talking him out of suicide, she “pressured” him into it and encouraged it. Some articles state that she lied to his family, friends and the police.

Some argue that she should not be convicted because they believe Roy’s mind was already made up and that no matter what Carter said, he would have gone through with it. It is also argued that what she did was not manslaughter.

While I don’t think there is one single event that leads someone to commit suicide (I think it is combination of multiple triggers or events), I do believe that her actions and text messages did aide or encourage or even push him to go along with his decision. And I do strongly believe that there were so many other options that she should have done instead.

I do think that she should be punished for what she did, but I’m not sure if I would agree that she should serve 20 years in prison. What she did was wrong but 20 years is a long time.

What are your thoughts? How do you think this court will rule? Do you think she should be convicted or not? tumblr_nv9aplPrt31qgwi7to8_1280




Post Spring Break Blues

untitled8784I was going to write about something going on it the news. … But I’ve decided to write about something that most students might be feeling right about now. … post Spring Break blues.

Spring Break is the longest and last break in the Spring semester. And this semester it seemed as though it came a little earlier than normal. Which means we have four weeks left until finals, well for graduating seniors.

We’re in the home stretch. But how can we focus on all the projects, exams,imagesUROWYHCC papers, presentations and finals we need to prepare for when it’s so warm and pretty outside.

I should be motivated with only four weeks left of my undergraduate career, but my motivation level is at an all-time low. No motivation to go to class. No motivation to pay attention. No motivation to do homework. No motivation to study.

But I somehow someway, I have to find some motivation. Any amount would help me right now. I don’t have time to slack off. Gotta shake these post spring break blues. But how?

First, I am going to make a to-do list of all the assignments I have left in the semester.

Second, I have to pace myself and prioritize.

Third, don’t forget to leave some time to relax and catch your breath. Sit outside in the sun. Eat ice cream. Watch Netflix. Sleep.

It’s important to remember that it’s only four weeks and that I’m not alone. And to remember summer is closer than you think. Always keep the end goal in mind: graduation!

With that being said, let’s shake off these post spring break blues and get motivated to end this semester strong. After all, for some of us, this is our last semester undergrad. Let’s make the most of it!





And the countdown begins…

Or if you’re like me, the countdown really started the first day of this semester.

It’s kind of hard to believe that I graduate from college in less than two months. But I am really excited! I just have a few problems…

  1. I have senioritis bad!

Senioritis is an affliction that students in their last year of high school or college deal with. Common symptoms of this affliction are loss or decline in motivation and performance.

Signs you have senioritis (excuse the language):

And it seems like the closer it gets to graduation, the worse this condition becomes. The untitled1587courses I am taking require a lot of work. I always have assignments due and others that I should really start working on and on top of that I still have to study. But there never seems to be enough time in the day to get it all done.

I make to do lists. But they never get done. Whatever is left on yesterday’s to do list, is added to today’s to do list. And the cycle continues throughout the week. Sometimes to make myself feel better, I just throw away the list and start over. I still have the same amount to get done but it helps me not to freak out.

I don’t think there is anything that could help or cure my senioritis besides walking across the stage at graduation, but for those of you who are looking for tips to battle your senioritis, maybe these tips and sites will help you:

2. Life after graduation

People keep asking me what my plans are post-graduation… And for the past couple of months my response has been the same… I laugh and trying not to cry I tell them, “I’m just trying to make it to graduation.”

untitled15896How do I find the time to plan for my life after graduation? I barely have time to think about that.

So, not only are we seniors fighting senioritis – or who have given up on fighting – but at the same time we have to start planning for what we’re going to do after we graduate.

My brain just exploded for the umpteenth time this semester. So much to do, so little time left to do it all.

And the countdown continues… Good luck to all my graduating senior buddies! And may the odds be ever in your favor…

986bd5241162a781e764ae7fa5fe3012P.S. it’s okay to cry and/or scream…




Canada, not the only option

Since Trump announced that he was running for president, people have been talking about fleeing the country if he is elected. Those statements resurfaced last week.untitled546

As Super Tuesday results began to come in, more and more people searched phrases like: how to move to Canada or move to Canada. Why? Because Trump won most of the Republican primaries and caucuses. And the possibility of him actually becoming presidential became much more of a reality.

For those who plan on fleeing the Trump administration, where are you going to go? I’ve only heard talk of Canada, but are there other options? I ask because, Canada’s winter temperature falls below freezing in most of Canada. And I am not a fan of cold weather.

In article on the Washington Post, there is a guide to see where you might want to go based upon the reason you want to leave – basically what you dislike most about Trump.

imagesFHFS6FEAFor example, if you prefer your press free and “want to live in a place where no one bullies the press,” then you might want to consider Finland. Finland was at the top of the 2015 World Press Freedom Index. Norway and Denmark where also at the top, according to the website.


Other reasons to flee if Trump is elected:

  • You find his coarse behavior obnoxious
  • You don’t want to fight wars
  • You don’t think he’s tough on abortion
  • You trust the federal government more than private industry
  • You like the idea of people being “politically correct” or rather, not offending each other
  • You think he’s a misogynist, and you want a country that appreciates having a woman in charge

Check out the website above if you’re curious to see which places would be best for the following reasons listed.

Have you considered moving if Trump is elected? If so, why? If past elections, very few people have made good on their promise to flee. Will this year be any different?untitled1545