Time For Change

written by Kris Costa

The hearts at Mindset are deeply saddened by recent events at Umpqua Community College.

Unfortunately, it is my belief that this will not be the last school shooting to take place. The rash of violence spreading across the nation against our schools and the innocents within is nothing short of evil.

My appreciation goes to the first responders, medical responders, crisis centers and others, whose grim tasks now include and necessitate drill upon drill of reacting to such domestic terrorist emergencies. No longer carrying an element of sheer surprise, these tragedies have become scenarios whose practiced responses are now a matter of protocol in our American culture. The re-enforced skill sets of our task forces, and other emergency preparedness teams and individuals have no doubt increased the likelihood of surviving such a horrifying scenario, however, much needs to be discussed and implemented to avert the terrorist act in the first place. It is not enough to deal with the after effects. These occurrences MUST be eliminated. It is my opinion that the most influential to facilitate effective change in our own schools lie with us, the civilian public.

I often wonder how many parents have asked the serious questions to our schools regarding  security and preventative measures, and if so asked, what are the responses?

Our government representatives and the like, will address various talking points around gun control, mental health, etc., all of which are vital and valid and necessary discussions to have,  for quite some time to come. However, let us not forget that it is not the government’s responsibility to appoint school security to all the schools in the nation and regulate it. Our Legislative branch will provide rules to govern society, and the Judicial branch will set ramifications when violations occur. The police and others will respond to such violations. However, the job of keeping our schools safe lie with us, the proactive general public. It simply is not acceptable or effective to wait around in fear for someone, or some other body of people, to do the job we need to be doing, which is stand up for safety of our youth and other personnel in schools.

If you are a parent, have you questioned your child’s school on security procedures? Do you know what the procedure is concerning lock down? Do you know if those procedures are drilled with any regularity? What situations are covered? Most importantly, how is the school addressing preventative measures? How is the school physically secured? Are there increased security measures in place?  Are there “No Gun Zone” signs posted? Does your school believe that is a deterrent? Would they consider additional preventative security measures if the budget for such could be supplemented? Would you pull your child/young adult out of the school if you were not satisfied with their answers? Is there a parent group formed and it is applying pressure  (and support) to the school to make the hard decisions and take serious action?

This is only the tip of the iceberg. Do your children know how to adapt to life where they hear about school shootings in the news regularly? Do they really feel safe? And there is so much more.

If it is not worth the effort to find the answers to the above, and more so, to do everything possible in our power to protect our children in school, then we may loose a lot more lives waiting for others to address these issues on our behalf. I believe in prevention, and it begins in our own neighborhoods. Speak up, form a collective, offer solutions, pressure the schools to respond, financially contribute. It’s not about who “should” be doing what, it is about doing the best we can and now. Lives matter.

There are so many facets to the issue of school violence and violence prevention. Enforcing physical boundaries against it, before it happens, may just be the easy part.

Here is the real question: If we could go back to the day before each school shooting, knowing what we know now, would there be one thing that could be done differently?  If the answer is no, then there is no need to pay attention to this post.

~KBC

MISS DEMEANOR- Willpower, The Not So Invisible Force

MISS DEMEANOR
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Willpower- The Not so Invisible Force


 

It calls to you like a sweet lullaby, lurking beneath the pasta and cereal, but you remind yourself not to give into the temptation. Regardless, your hand reaches for it anyway; without the consent of your brain. Just as your finger-tips touch the plastic wrapper of the last chocolate bar in the cupboard, your brain finally takes hold and snaps your hand back into your jean pocket. What is this invisible force that has hastily retracted your hand from indulging in sweet surrender?

That force is called willpower. It comes in many different strategies and many different forces, yet sometimes it does not even come at all. Sometimes when we are in need of it most, the will-power to not do something is nowhere to be found.

There are many people who feel that willpower has a mind of its own, but in reality we are the ones who hold the neck of it. We are the ones who steer it in the right direction and steer it in the wrong direction. There are plenty of us out there that have enormous amounts of willpower, but believe that we have none. This is because willpower can very easily be wrongly directed. Often times, people believe that they could improve their lives if only they had a little more of that willower we all have instilled within us. The truth is that willpower is not
as invisible as we think. It lives within us, waiting to be utilized in the healthiest way. It would be easier if it went dormant for decisions that do not benefit us, but that is not the
case. The key to willpower is using it for the right things and sometimes this process takes people years, but it does not have to be that way.

Personally, I struggle with the willpower to make the right decisions every day of my life. There is not an hour that goes by throughout my day when I do not reference the back of my brain and ask my willpower a couple of questions. The problem for me is not whether or not I have willpower. I know I have the willpower and I know that the willpower that I have is not weak. I struggle with steering it in directions that are best for me. There are many times when I take a situation and pick it apart to pieces, looking at the positives and the negatives, sometimes for hours. I contemplate what the right decision is and by the end of the day I know what the right
decision is. Seems pretty straight forward, right? Knowing the right decision and then just to do it! However, that is nearly ever the case. The right thing to do is usually the hardest and often times, I lean towards the opposite direction. It is my willpower that then hits me in the face, spins me around and shoves me towards the route that my mind knows is best.

As a young woman, I am faced with challenges each day and I am persuaded into following the wrong path. For years, I let my heart hold me by the neck and override what I knew was the best
thing to do. Whether the decision was staying in a friendship that was unhealthy or a relationship that was damaging, there was always something that my heart and my head were fighting about. If there is one thing that I have learned thus far in life, it is that barely ever do my heart and my head agree. What my heart wants, my brain often knows better. Life is a constant battle between emotion and reason. If we can find a way to let our willpower settle
this ongoing battle between the two, only then may we find peace. I believe that, with practice and a little bit of willpower, that battle can come to an agreement. It won’t be without a little blood, sweat, and tears, but it will be worth it. There is nothing worse than feeling like you have no control over your mind, body and soul.

By no means do I have the whole process figured out, but that’s what makes life so interesting. The fight is what we get up for in the morning. The human body is capable of experiencing so many
different things, so many great things and so many terrible things. Life can truly be so incred-ibly intriguing and beautiful if it is utilized in the right way. That energy that pushes a person to run the last mile of a triathlon or the force that drives a person to pluck the strings of a guitar is the same energy that creates the burning sensation on your lips when you kiss a lover or that crippling sensation that pulses through your veins when you lose a friend. Those are the things that true willpower thrives on and will grasp onto. If you believe in
yourself and have faith that you are capable of achieving your goals, true willpower will follow.

It is funny how many people believe that willpower is this invisible, mysterious force that science cannot define. Willpower is defined by what you make of it. You can use it to stick a needle in your arm through beat up veins and bruises or you can use it to write the last page of a midterm exam. Willpower is not so much invisible, but more so waiting for you to sculpt it into what you want it to be. Life is what you make it. So is your determination, ambition and willpower. Make the right decisions and do what is best for you in your life. Other people can
help you find where to channel that energy, but at the end of the day it is up to you and no one else. When you’re lying in bed at night thinking about everything in your life, remember that you are in control of a lot more of it then you think.

~ Alexandra Costa
Allie Costa
Alexandra was born in Red Bank, New Jersey and moved to Scottsdale, AZ with her family in 2002. She is currently pursuing her college degree in English and Psychology.

Miss Demeanor- First Time out.

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Miss Demeanor

First Time Out


It’s funny the way that words work and how they have so many different meanings and so many different forms. When said in one context, a word can mean something so different than if it were said in another context. Being independent can mean so many different things and has so many forms.

Independence is not only a word, but an action, a feeling, a way of life, and such an important aspect of being an adult that I have yet to even figure out its true definition myself.

What does one do when in the process of figuring out what something really means? One action to take is to look it up in the dictionary. As I sit here with my Webster’s Dictionary open to the correct page, I am still not convinced that I have fully comprehended the meaning of the word “independent”. Webster defines it as follows:
Independent; free from outside control, not depending on another’s authority.
Then beneath that there is another definition that reads;
Not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence.

So, what does this tell us? Does it tell us that being independent means to be free from outside control? Does that mean we should not listen to our parents or our teachers in school? Does being independent mean we should say “no” when a professor asks us to write a paper? Maybe we should throw our hands in the air and crawl into bed when our boss tells us to come in for work.

I think that independence is something different for all of us. I always thought I knew what it was or what I wanted it to be, but I don’t think that I ever really experienced independence until this year and I believe that what I have experienced of it is only a taste. I guess the first time I felt independent was when I moved away from home and into the dorms at the college I was attending. I was nervous, but so excited, and I think that both of those emotions are huge ones that preclude the feeling of being independent.

Living away from home was awesome. There were so many things that I enjoyed like the freedom and the privacy away from everyone at home. I didn’t have to share anything and I could keep my room in any condition I wanted. I could come home at three in the morning and wake up at four in the afternoon. However, with every positive there is always a negative to follow. With that being said, I am not trying to sound like a pessimist, but more a realist.

I learned a lot. I learned that if I stayed out until three in the morning and slept until four in the afternoon, that I would be absolutely exhausted and my whole day would be ruined. I learned about loneliness and that sometimes I would rather have people around me than not at all. I missed family dinners on Sundays and my little sister stealing my clothes.

Being independent teaches you a lot about yourself and the scary thing about that, is that it is not always easy to learn the truth about who you are. Being on my own ignited
a new perspective in me that I would have never gained if I were in the comfort of my own home. When out of your comfort zone and thrown into situations that make you feel on edge sculpt us into the grown ups that we are supposed to become in the world Suddenly, all the friends that I used to hangout with and spend all my time with began to look so minuscule in my eyes. I began to see them for their true colors and their true motives for being a part of my life and I no longer found time to entertain them. I figured out what relationships in my life were worth hanging on to and which were absolutely worth letting go of. When it all comes down to it, I ended up really surprising myself and I pushed people out of my life that I once thought would never leave it. I also learned that some of the people that were so hard to let go of were actually the most important to move on from.

Life is all about making choices that are good for you. If there is one thing that I have learned recently, it is that it is so important to make choices that are beneficial for your future. People, myself included, are often weighing their decisions based on the actions and feelings of other people, and that is where I believe we are at fault. That is
where we stumble and lose course because life and your choices are about YOU and only you.

I sometimes think that we were created with our hearts bigger than our heads because it is so hard to make choices when they are not both in an agreement. I believe that real independence within yourself is learning how to make a choice that both your heart and your head agree on. It is one of the hardest tasks to accomplish, but when it is executed, nothing ever feels so good.
-Alexandra Costa
Allie Costa
Alexandra was born in Red Bank, New Jersey and moved to Scottsdale, AZ with her family in 2002. She is currently pursuing her college degree in English and Psychology.

Miss Demeanor-Real Eyes Realize

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Everyone has that one person that they look up to in their life; maybe you call this person your hero. My mother is by far the greatest woman I have ever known, and she has never steered me wrong. She always taught me never to judge anyone and accept people for who they are.

Admittedly, it was still a little difficult for me not to judge people when I approached my middle school years. I was at that awkward stage in my life where I was not yet a woman, but still a
child, and there was so much pressure from peers to fit into a certain mold. My confidence in myself was still developing and fragile. As you can imagine, it was difficult to stay true to myself when I would hear girls yell “her hair is too long” or “her hair is too thick” and “she’s fat” at me when I would walk into class.

My mother always taught me to keep an open mind, and my head up, and to break free from the criticism that young girls force upon each other every so often. Sometimes it was too hard. I would judge the people around me, because the people around me did the same, but does that make it right?

We have all been judged and have judged others. Our society revolves around judgments. In our humanly defense, we can’t really help it. Judging people comes second nature to most people, and we do it without even thinking. When we meet someone new,judgments on top of judgments begin to flood our minds. We consider all the physical characteristics and appearances of a person before we even finish introducing ourselves. No one is proud of it, but let’s face it… we are all guilty of the crime at one time or another.

The truth is that making judgments is just a part of life and helps us form opinions, but acting on them is a completely different story. It is normal, and we are somewhat conditioned to make assumptions about a person based on what they look like, but you have to keep an open mind with every person that you meet. Being a freshman in college, I meet new people everyday, and if I did not have an open mind, I would not have many friends.

Sometimes the people we initially judge the harshest, turn out to be our best friends. Our society prompts us to believe our first impressions and base harsh criticism on people, but often this is not a healthy way to live.

Her hair was jet black and her make-up was penciled dark around her eyes. She approached me, and I was instantly hesitant. I could not help but
to make judgments about her many facial piercings and dark clothing.

I assumed her personality was as dreary as her appearance. I also assumed that she and I would never be friends. Basically, l was full of assumptions based on my judgments. Maybe I looked strange and weird to her with my brown hair and neutral-colored clothing, (another assumption on my part)however, she did not let it show. If that was the case, shut her down because she did not fit my description of “normal.” But who was I to say what was normal?

Always, she approached me with the biggest smile on her face. I began to see something wonderful in the way this girl carried herself. It was as if she had no care in the world, about what other people thought of her and I envied that freedom. Her presence was light, and I soon came to love being around her.

I wondered how I had been living my life with such concrete parameters on the people that I met. Least to say, meeting her got me thinking.I wondered how many friends I had missed out on, how many people I judged and never got to know. I never would have guessed that this girl, pierced nose and black painted lips, would soon become one of my best friends. If I would have let my judgments continue to cloud my mind, I would have never let myself open up enough to get to know her.

We pass people everyday, in the grocery store or on the way to work, but are we really looking? We are all so busy with getting to school on time or whatever it may be, that we forget to look past our judgments. We forget to notice the wonderful individuality that exists in our world today.

Being a woman, there are many boundaries that need to be respected and never crossed. There are physical boundaries and there are mental boundaries that should never be disrespected. With that being said, I encourage you all to realize that there are some boundaries that should be broken; for example, the boundaries that we put on ourselves about judging people. Just because someone has purple hair or a huge tattoo across their arm does not mean they aren’t a great person. These physical characteristics say nothing negative about their character. If there is anything I have learned, it is this golden rule: don’t judge a book by its cover. I say this within reason. Do not confuse me with trusting your gut. If someone looks dangerous, that is
different than simply looking unique.

We all catch ourselves Judging at times, but many of us live our lives inside a bubble of judgments and assumptions on a regular basis. I challenge you to look at life with an open mind and break free from unjustified labeling. This simple task could change your life drastically.

If there is anything that I have earned from being a shy middle-schooler who is now a freshman in college, it is that judging a person simply by their appearance does no one any good. I encourage people of all ages to really consider cutting unnecessary judgments from your everyday routine. The world is a beautiful and diverse place!
-Alexandra Costa

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Alexandra was born in Red Bank, New Jersey and moved to Scottsdale, AZ with her family in 2002. She is currently pursuing her college degree in English and Psychology.